Hurricane Irene slams U.S. East Coast (AP photo)

>> Learn more about “The Gathering Storm” special simulcast for churches set for Saturday, October 22nd

This was a wake up call. At its peak, Hurricane Irene was the size of the State of Texas.  Had it remained a Category 3 storm — or even increased in intensity — it could have created the greatest natural disaster catastrophe in the history of the United States. Fortunately, that’s not what happened. The storm is now over, and even as the clean up begins, critics are saying it was hyped up and “overblown” by government officials and weather forecasters. 

But did the experts really badly “misjudge” Irene, or did God hear people’s prayers and have mercy on us by weakening the storm faster than the experts had predicted? I think both are true.  I am grateful to the Lord for His grace and mercy on us. I am also grateful to the forecasters and the government leaders who warned us as best they could and took decisive action to put public safety first. As I have written about several times in recent months, the Lord is shaking us, trying to wake us up and get us to focused back on Him and on His Word.

We need to recommit ourselves to prayer, fasting and reading the Bible and get our hearts right with the Lord. For Bible prophecy tells us that far greater storms are coming as we steadily approach the Day of the Lord. This is why we focused on the Book of Joel during the 2011 Epicenter Conference, and I would encourage you to watch those messages if you have not done so already. This is also why we’re doing the “Wake Up Call” webcast event with Anne Graham Lotz on Sunday, September 11th, and “The Gathering  Storm” special simulcast for churches on Saturday, October 22nd. Both will involve solid Bible teaching and analysis of current events and trends. Both are also calls to more prayer and fasting for America, Israel and the Church. I hope you will participate in either or both.

Update Monday at 11am eastern:

Update Sunday at 10am eastern:

Update Sunday at 2am eastern:

ORIGINAL POST: By God’s grace, Irene hit land as a Category 1 hurricane, not a Category 3, as feared, and it is steadily dissipating in strength. That said, it still is life-threatening for those along the coast lines — and exceedingly rare for Northeastern United States. Here in Washington we’re getting strong winds and heavy rains and more than 800,000 people in Virginia, Maryland and the District are without power at this hour. Please be praying for God’s grace and comfort on all those affected.


>> Al Qaeda’s number two leader killed in Pakistan



>> BREAKING: 20 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza….Israeli baby injured….IDF retaliating.

Today, my friend Reza Kahlili, the former Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officer, has posted an article on his blog  telling the world that he has renounced Shia Islam and become a follower of Jesus Christ. The article is also running today on the WorldNet Daily website

An excerpt: “Jesus came to me when I needed guidance. He came to me at a time when my faith in man and religion was totally shaken. His words and His love became the guiding light to set me free from sin and hopelessness. I found myself knowing there is goodness and kindness and that it comes from within us – that it is only through His love that we will find peace and eternal life….After a long journey, I have finally found my God. I feel at home now. And as I continue my fight against the evil in Iran, I know in my heart that the Lord will guide me in that fight because He loves the people of Iran even more than I do. The Iranian people are desperate for their freedom, and Jesus says, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (John 8:31-32).”

Publicly professing one’s faith in Jesus Christ is a big step for anyone from Shia or Sunni Islam. This is no less true for Reza today. Please pray for him to be strong. Please pray for him to walk with Jesus every day. Please pray that the Lord would protect him and his family spiritually, emotionally and physically as Reza takes this important step in the life of all Christ followers. Pray, too, that many will be moved to read the New Testament and consider the claims of Jesus of Nazareth and come to realize that Jesus truly is the Messiah. Feel free to share Reza’s article with family, friends and colleagues who would be encouraged by his story, and with those who may be searching for Jesus as well.

>> To learn more about Joel’s forthcoming novel, The Tehran Initiative, please click here

>> To support The Joshua Fund to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus — especially at this critical moment — please click here





Releases October 18th.

“While the U.S. is entering into a catastrophic financial and economic phase,” Iranian Brigadier-General Masoud Jazayeri recently said in a speech to the Guards’ ground forces, “Iran can, with a serious offensive, emerge economically and financially.”

You probably didn’t hear that on any of the networks’ evening newscasts. Indeed, with severe economic troubles here at home, the dramatic fall of the evil Gaddafi regime in Libya, and 140-plus rocket and mortar attacks against Israel in recent days, Iran has not been much in the news. But don’t let the quiet fool you. The fact that they aren’t making headlines this month doesn’t mean the mullahs aren’t feverishly trying to build nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them. Most Western intelligence agencies believe that work is continuing apace. What’s more, as the U.S. continues to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iranian leadership feels increasingly emboldened to dominate the vacuum we are creating.

Bottom line: the Iranian threat to Israel and the West is rising. What’s more, next month Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to return to New York City to speak to the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly. Will he again pray for Allah to hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam? Will he go further?

In this context, thanks to all of you who have been asking when my new political thriller would be released. I’m glad to announce that, Lord willing, The Tehran Initiative will launch on October 18th. The story picks up sixty seconds after where The Twelfth Imam (just out in paperback) left off. After The Tehran Initiative will come the third (and likely last) in the series, The Damascus Countdown. Here’s a quick video I recorded recently in Jerusalem discussing new novel, and I’ll be releasing more details about the book in the coming weeks.

To pre-order The Tehran Initiative at one of your favorite on-line bookstores, please click here.



5.9 earthquake shakes East Coast (AP graphic)

Two rare earthquakes have hit the U.S. in two days — a 5.9 magnitude tremor epicentered in southern Virginia on Tuesday shook the White House, Capitol and Pentagon and was felt up and down the Eastern seaboard; and the largest earthquake in Colorado and New Mexico four decades occurred on Monday.

Until now, I’d never experienced an earthquake before. While the one here in hte D.C. area was relatively mild (compared to the recent one in Japan, for example), it made me think of the column I wrote last month, entitled, “The Lord is shaking the nations physically, spiritually, financially: Why, and how should we respond?”  A few excerpts might be worth reconsidering today:

  • “Americans, too, are being shaken. We face arguably the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Nearly half of all Americans believe we are heading towards another Great Depression. Unemployment is over 9%. Housing foreclosures are skyhigh. People have lost enormous sums of money due to depressed housing prices and stock market volatility. The federal government is trying to spend our way to prosperity but is making things worse. Our annual federal budget deficit topped $1.3 trillion last year. This year, it looks like the feds will spend more than $1.5 trillion beyond what they are taking in in revenue. Our debt is skyrocketing. The U.S. is now on the verge of financial default, and hampered further by political ineptitude in Washington that threatens to comp0und an already precarious situation.
  • “What if these events are not all random? What if the God of the Bible is allowing these to happen to shake us, to wake us, to get our attention, that we might turn to Him and ask Him to have mercy on us and help us?
  • “The Lord said through the ancient Hebrew Prophet Haggai that the nations would be shaken in the future. “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations….I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations.” (Haggai 2:6, 7, 21, 22)”

Now would be a good time to rededicate ourselves to praying and fasting for America and Israel at this critical time and turning our hearts to spending more time in the Scriptures.


Add to the recent fallen leaders of Tunisia, Egypt and leader the fallen leader of Libya. The capital of Libya has fallen to rebel forces. Col. Moammar Gaddafi has fled from power, his whereabouts currently unknown. Over the weekend, Gaddafi’s sons were captured. “President Obama declared as much in a brief address, saying that the future of Libya ‘is in the hands of its people,’ reported the New York Times. “Emerging from his vacation home on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Obama hailed the rebels’ victory.  ‘Although there will be huge challenges ahead, the events in Libya remind us that fear can give way to hope,’ he said. He pledged that the United States would seek to help the country in its attempt to establish democracy.” Meanwhile, “the Arab League and Egypt threw their weight behind Libya’s rebels on Monday as opposition forces cornered Muammar Gadhafi’s loyalists in their remaining strongholds in the capital Tripolil,” reported Haaretz.

In the near term, the people of Libya face an uncertain and turbulent future? Who exactly are these rebels and what are their intentions? Who specifically will emerge as the next leader of Libya, and what will be his attitude towards the U.S., Europe, Russia, the Islamic world and towards Israel? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, it would be useful to examine carefully what the Bible tells us about the future of Libya. After all, the nation of Libya is referred to numerous times in the Scriptures, both directly and indirectly.

  • In Matthew 27, for example, we learn that it was a Libyan man — Simon of Cyrene (a part of ancient Libya) – who carried the cross for our Lord Jesus.
  • In Acts chapter 2, we learn that God-fearing men from Libya were present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and heard the Apostle Peter preach the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. Some 3,000 people that days repented of their sins and became fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. It is likely that Libyans were among them since they are mentioned in the text.
  • In Acts 11, we learn that Libyan (Cyrene) followers of Jesus Christ helped bring the gospel to Antioch, Syria, and made disciples for Jesus there.
  • In Acts 13 we learn that a Libyan man — Lucius of Cyrene — becomes one of the leaders of the church at Antioch, helping send out Barnabus and Paul to take the gospel to Asia and Europe.

Again and again in the Scriptures we see that the Lord loves the people of Libya. He wants them to know Him and receive His free gift of salvation.

That said, Bible prophecy also tells us the government and many of the people of Libya will be engaged in great evil in the End of Days.

  • In Ezekiel 38-39, we learn that Libya is one of the nations that joins the Russian-Iranian alliance against Israel in “the last days.” In this prophecy, Ezekiel uses the name “Put.” The first century historian Flavius Josephus wrote in his famous book, The Antiquities of the Jews, that “Put” or “Phut” is “ancient Libyos.” Ancient Libyos, we know, certainly included the territory of the modern nation state we refer to today as Libya, but also included Algeria and possibly Tunisia. This tells us the no matter what the near term outcomes of the revolutions underway in North Africa are, in the not-too-distant future Libya for certain and possibly her neighbors will have virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel leadership who will eagerly join a coalition bent on destroying the Jews and occupy the land of Israel. Gaddafi, of course, is already such a leader. Perhaps he will ride out this storm and stay in power. Perhaps someone worse will rise up after him. Hopefully Gaddafi will be deposed and a more moderate leadership will rise up for a season before the prophecy of the “War of Gog and Magog” comes to fulfillment. Either way, the Church should be using this window of time to do everything possible to get the gospel into Libya and to strengthen the persecuted believers in Libya before the country faces God’s judgment for attacking Israel.
  • In Daniel 11, we learn that Libya is one of the countries that will be under the control and direction of the Antichrist in “the last days.” The Hebrew Prophet Daniel tells us that “a despicable person will arise” during “a time of tranquility” and will seize global power “by intrigue” and by “overflowing forces” in the End Times. This person, known in Christian theology as the Antichrist, ”will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.” The Bible tells us the Antichrist “will enter the Beautiful Land” — that is, Israel — and “will stretch out his hand against other countries.” Eventually, the Antichrist will gain control of the entire world and force all people who haven’t received Christ as Savior and Lord to bow and worship him or be beheaded. But the Bible specificially notes that the Antichrist ”will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians [the people of “Cush,” which includes modern Sudan, Ethiopia and possible Eritrea] will follow at his heels.” It is not entirely clear why the Bible points specifically to “Libyans” and “Ethiopians” as among those who will follow and serve the Antichrist, but this is what the Lord tells us in advance will happen.

This is all the more reason the Church must seek to reach all of North Africa with the gospel of Jesus Christ before it is too late. Please be praying faithfully for Libya and all of North Africa at this critical hour.


Israel's "Iron Dome" system is shooting down rockets and saving lives.

After the worse spasm of terrorism against Israel all year, Hamas and other Radical Islamic jihadist groups operating in Gaza have declared a cease fire. It remains to be seen if they are serious. At least twelve rockets were fired at Israel overnight from Gaza, even after the cease fire was supposed to be operative. That was on top of some 30 rockets and mortars being fired at Israel on Sunday. This brought the total to more than 140 rockets and mortars fired at Israel since Thursday. Still, early indications suggests Israel’s retaliatory efforts were successful, yet the Palestinian Authority has been virtually silent about the violence and doesn’t appeared to have taken any visible steps to stop it.

Israel’s new “Iron Dome” rocket defense system — partially financed by American taxpayers — is working remarkably well at intercepting rockets heading for populated areas. The system hasn’t been perfect, but it has scored dramatic and numerous successes. It’s clearly minimizing casualties and saving lives. That’s very good news. That said, the terrorists are adjusting their strategies, probing for weaknesses in the Iron Dome system, so Israeli defense officials will need to keep improving the system in the coming days and months.

Let’s thank the Lord that things appear to be quieting down on Israel’s southern border, but let’s keep praying for peace and not get lazy in our prayers. Let’s continue praying, too, for all those Jews and Arabs on both sides who have suffered in recent days, that the Lord would comfort them and draw them close to His heart. Please pray for the families of the eight Israelis killed during Thursday’s terror attacks, and for the 30 Israelis wounded in those attacks. Please pray for hte family of Yossi Shushan, 38, who was killed on Saturday night when a rocket  directly hit his home. Please pray for the four-month-old Israeli baby and the nine-year-old boy  who were injured by rocket attacks over the weekend, among dozens of others. Also, it now appears, for example, that five Egyptians border guards were accidentally killed by Israeli forces pursuing the terrorists, not two as was originally reported. Please pray for the families and friends of these Egyptians that the Lord Jesus would show His love and mercy to them and save them along with all the others who have been affected in recent days.

Also worth noting:

IS A NEW WAR BREWING IN GAZA?: 100+ rockets fired at Israel in three days

** Special note to pastors: Please ask your congregations to pray today for Israel and the Palestinians. See suggestions below.

>> Jerusalem on high alert to prevent terrorist attacks

The collapse of the Mubarak regime in Cairo — and with it an organized, unified, disciplined, centrally controlled Egyptian security and intelligence force — has created a no man’s land in the Sinai desert. This, in turn, has created a fertile environment for Radical Islamic terrorist groups to expand their operations in the Sinai, including smuggling arms into Gaza and training jihadist commandos. Now Israel is beginning to pay the price. Multiple terrorist attacks have occurred in recent days along Israel’s southern border with Egypt.

More than 100 rockets, mortars and anti-tank missiles have been fired from Gaza at Israeli towns and cities along the south. A suicide bomber also detonated himself near the Israel-Egyptian border over the weekend. Eight Jews were killed in Thursday’s jihadist attacks on an Israeli public bus, and at least 30 were  wounded. A rocket hit a home in Beersheva on Saturday night, killing one Israeli and wounded four others. Dozens more Israelis have been hospitalized for shock. Israel has struck back with airstrikes against selected terror targets, but the violence has only escalated. Tragically, Israeli forces accidentally killed two Egyptian border guards during a raid against Gaza militants. Israel quickly apologized, but this has created new tensions between Egypt and the Jewish State. Meanwhile, Palestinian leaders — who want their own sovereign state beginning next month — have neither said or done anything to stop the latest attacks.

The question now is obvious: Is a new war brewing in Gaza Strip? Will Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu order the IDF back into the Strip for a ground operation akin to “Operation Cast Lead” in 2009? Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom was quoted by Ynet News on Sunday as saying, “The deterrence of has exhausted itself. We’ll need to respond, and we’re not ruling out the possibility of a ground operation.” Meanwhile, “at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, committee chair MK Shaul Mofaz of Kadima said that Israel must take steps against Hamas, ‘topple their infrastructures and create a system of ties with Egypt in order to prevent terrorism coming from its border,'” reported Haaretz. the “head of Kadima party Tzipi Livni made a similar call on Saturday, saying the party will support an extensive military campaign. ‘You must use force against terrorism,’ she said. ‘Just as we have taken steps against terrorism in the past, we will also support steps now that will defend the citizens of Israel.'”

No one is eager for a new war, and there may be other ways to stem the rocket attacks (assassinations, covert operations, etc). But one thing is clear: the terrorists in Gaza have suddenly become emboldened by the fall of Mubarak and the steady rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, their ideological compadres, and Israel must take decisive action soon or risk inviting more attacks not just from Hamas and their ilk but from Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.

I would ask for pastors and Christian families and individuals all over the world to pray for peace….for comfort for the victims and their families….and for wisdom for the Prime Minister and his senior advisors on how best to respond. Please also pray for Israelis and Palestinians at this time to turn their hearts back to the Lord, to seek comfort and wisdom from the truths of the Bible. Pray, too, that those who love the Lord Jesus to know how best to love and serve their neighbors and enemies and that the Lord would use these events to accomplish His purposes. As Joseph said to his brothers, “Do not be afraid…As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis 50:19-20)

TERROR ATTACKS NEAR EILAT: 50 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza since Thurs — please pray


ORIGINAL POST (Thurs): I’m asking followers of Jesus Christ all over the world to please pray as a very serious series of terrorist attacks against Israelis have occurred near the resort city of Eilat. “Seven people were killed and dozens were wounded Thursday in a series of terrorist attacks on Israeli targets approximately 20 kilometers north of the southern city of Eilat, close to the border with Egypt,” reports Haaretz. “The first attack, at around 12 P.M., was a drive-by shooting targeting Egged bus 392 traveling from Be’er Sheva to Eilat, near the Netafim junction. Shortly afterward, IDF forces rushed to the scene and were faced with several explosive devices that were detonated alongside an IDF vehicle. At approximately 12:35, a mortar was fired from Egypt to Israel. No casualties were reported. At 1:10 P.M., a terrorist cell fired an anti-tank missile at a private vehicle, wounding seven. Minutes later, another cell fired an anti-tank missile at a private vehicle, killing six. The IDF Spokesman reported that two to four terrorists were killed during the clashes….”


PUTIN RISING: But is he “Gog”?

After keeping a relatively low profile for the last several years, Vladimir Putin is rising.  In recent weeks, the Russian leader — currently serving as his country’s prime minister — once again has been making headlines, stoking controversy, and seeming to position himself to run for president of Russia again in March 2012. Consider the latest:

A lot can happen between now and then, so it’s by no means certain Putin will return to full power. But should Putin come back, it will not bode well for Israel, the U.S., or Europe. Putin is a power-hungry, greedy, authoritarian, Czar wannabe. He is determined to expand Russian wealth, power and control over her neighbors. He has worked especially hard to build strategic alliances with Radical Islamic leaders and states in the Middle East. Over the years, people have asked me if Putin might be the Russian dictator referred to as “Gog” in the Biblical prophecies of “Gog and Magog” in Ezekiel 38-39. I suspect as Putin continues to re-emerge, those questions will begin to be asked again. Here’s my quick answer: It’s too soon to draw such a conclusion. There’s much more that would have to happen to indicate that Putin was the “Gog” of Bible prophecy. But there’s no question in my mind that Putin is Gog-esque. He is dangerous, and both Israel and the West should keep a close and wary eye on him, especially given all that Putin has done to build a strategic alliance between Russia and Iran and the other countries mentioned in the “Gog and Magog” prophecies.