UPDATED: (Denver, Colorado) — We are witnessing a jihadist rampage in the epicenter.
Hamas has fired 3,000-plus rockets at Israel and is now threatening to re-launch its war against Israel as early as Friday. ISIS is beheading children, raping women, and killing scores of Christians in Iraq. They are also warning Christians to convert or be massacred. At the same time, ISIS jihadists are crucifying Christians and others in Syria, and the bloody civil war in Syria has left 170,000 dead and created millions of refugees fleeing for safety.
Please pray for Christ to show great mercy to all the people of the region. Please pray for ISIS forces to be stopped, and defeated. And pray especially for Christians in Iraq who are fleeing from the evil ISIS rampage, as well as all Iraqis who are being hunted, persecuted and killed.
Now here are the latest headlines:
- Airstrikes Begin: U.S. Navy Planes Drop Bombs on ISIS Forces (NBC News)
- Gaza archbishop says rockets were fired from church — Clergyman admits Greek Orthodox compound, which sheltered hundreds of Palestinians during shelling, used by Hamas as launching site (Times of Israel)
- “Islamic State pulls down church crosses in northern Iraq as 200,000 flee — Islamic State, the jihadist group formerly known as Isis, have occupied churches in Iraq, removing crosses and destroying manuscripts, witnesses report, having overrun Kurdish troops forcing 200,000 to flee.” (London Telegraph)
The world is doing little or nothing about these crimes against humanity. Instead, they are condemning Israel for defending themselves against a jihadist onslaught and threatening to charge Israeli Jews with war crimes.
[UPDATE: Late on Thursday, in a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy, “President Barack Obama authorized targeted airstrikes and emergency assistance missions in northern Iraq, saying Thursday the U.S. must act to protect American personnel and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the face of advances by violent Islamist militants,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The U.S. military said it completed a delivery of meals and water to thousands of members of a religious minority who fled the town of Sinjar and are trapped in nearby mountains by the group calling itself the Islamic State. Mr. Obama said he ordered the use of U.S. airstrikes if necessary either to stop militants from closing in on the northern city of Erbil or to allow local forces to aid the Yazidis, the religious minority. No U.S. strikes had been conducted by late Thursday, officials said. His remarks at the White House capped a day of soaring concern about militant advances in Iraq, where extremist fighters seized control of areas long considered safe and took over the Mosul Dam, the country’s largest, according to local reports.”]
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil,” wrote the Hebrew prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 5:20).
Woe to world leaders who are ignoring true evil and condemning those who are trying to defending themselves.
As Christians, we need to pray faithfully and consistently for Christians in the Middle East to have courage to stand for Christ and boldly proclaim the Gospel — the good news — amidst such darkness and evil. We need to pray for the Lord to protect Jews, Christians and Muslims from this jihadist wave of terror. We need to speak out — don’t be silent in the face of great evil — we must urge the democracies and all civilized nations of the world to fight such terror and help those who are defending themselves against Radical Islam. But we must not wait for governments to do the right thing. The Church must do all we can to help those who are suffering in real and practical ways.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the evil that is on the move in the epicenter:
- Hamas vows to restart attacks Friday if blockade not lifted (Times of Israel)
- ISIS to Christians in Mosul: convert, pay or die (CNN)
- Christian leader says ISIS beheading children and Christians, women being raped and killed (CNN)
- New ISIS blitz drives Iraqi Christians out (Lebanon Daily Star)
- ISIS crucifies nine people in Syrian villages — crucifixions have been meted out by Isis across Syria as punishment to rebels (London Telegraph)
- Jihadist offensive in Iraq sparks mass Christian exodus — Tens of thousands said to be fleeing for their lives as Islamic State fighters sweep across Kurdish area (Agence France Presse)
- Syria war toll tops 170,000 (Jordan Times)
- Watch: Rare videos that actually show Hamas firing rockets into Israel (Washington Post)
- ‘I have no sympathy for Hamas,’ Obama says (Jerusalem Post)
- President Obama says Hamas deliberately puts rocket launchers in civilian population centers — “I have said from the beginning that no country would tolerate rockets being launched into their cities. And as a consequence, I have consistently supported Israel’s right to defend itself, and that includes doing what it needs to do to prevent rockets from landing on population centers and, more recently, as we learned, preventing tunnels from being dug under their territory that can be used to launch terrorist attacks. I also think it is important to remember that Hamas acts extraordinarily irresponsibly when it is deliberately siting rocket launchers in population centers, putting populations at risk because of that particular military strategy.” (White House transcript of press conference)
- Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu holds press conference explaining the jihadist threat Israel is facing (see full transcript)
Tonight here in Denver I will speak these issues in a message titled, “The Future of America, Israel & the Middle East in the light of the Scriptures.” I will deliver a similar address on Saturday at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. On Sunday, I will preach at Grace West Church in West Des Moines, also on what Bible prophecy teaches about the future of Israel and the Middle East and how Christians must live in these dark times.
On Monday, I hope to post notes on these messages. But please attend, if you can. For more details or to register to attend either of these events, please click here.
Learn more about The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.com). This is an organization my wife and I founded in 2006 to educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her Arab neighbors in the name of Jesus, including caring for the poor and needy with food and other humanitarian relief. Read our 2013 Donor Report. Please pray for our team, especially as they care for Jews and Arabs in the region. And please prayerfully consider making a generous, tax deductible, secure, on-line contribution.
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