God’s Abundance Seen in the Land of Israel

The Jewish people have a special relationship with their land. The Lord gave it to them and they love the gift He gave.

Moses and the ancient prophets spoke of Israel as a land flowing with milk and honey. God promised them abundance. Yet, after they were driven from their land, it became desolate and barren. In fact, Mark Twain visited the land in 1867 and wrote this in Innocents Abroad:

A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action….We never saw a human being on the whole route….There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.

– 1867 (Quoted in Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, London: 1881)

The land was virtually uninhabited, as no one saw any value in it. Yet, the prophet Ezekiel wrote of the Lord’s preparation of the land for the Jews’ return. Chapter 36 of Ezekiel speaks of that preparation, followed by the Jews’ return in chapter 37. He had not forgotten His promise of abundance!

Today, Jews pray fervently for rain and for abundance in their land. When they get it, there is great rejoicing! When God grants the moisture, the land becomes a gorgeous testimony to God’s goodness.

Israel is currently in the midst of a terrible drought. In fact, the Sea of Galilee (Israel’s most important water source) recently reached dangerously low levels, and it was feared irreversible damage was being done to the ecosystem. But last week the God of Israel honored the prayers of His people, sending abundant rain (we might call it flooding!) to the land. Miraculously, the water level on the Sea of Galilee rose an astounding 19 centimeters (about 7.5 inches) in just 2 days!

In Israel, no one complains when it rains! In fact, it is always seen as a blessing. The land becomes lush and beautiful, reminding everyone of the Lord’s promise of abundance. Take a look at some of the sights. Enjoy!

Israel’s Blessing

PS: Check back tomorrow when I’ll share some interesting ways in which God is fulfilling His milk and honey promises!

Amir’s Bible Bites: Awaiting the Next Chapter

What’s the Latest in the Middle East? (Part 3)

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Ok friends, here we go with the third (and final) in our series of the latest news from the Middle East. In case you have missed them, two preceding posts focused on:

Today, we’ll focus on Iran.

It is definitely no secret that Iran has steadily and consistently tried to build up forces in Syria, even along Israel’s border, for years. It is also no secret that Iran has pumped millions (if not billions) of dollars into arms and infrastructure to both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza in an attempt to destroy Israel. All at great cost to Iran’s citizens.

Israel, however, continues operations in Syria to prevent Iranian-backed forces from setting up shop on their border, and to prevent more sophisticated missiles and other Iranian armaments from being transferred to Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, in Iran, the bottom is completely falling out of their economy, many industries are on strike, and Iranian citizens are rioting in the streets. Why? Because Iranian wealth goes virtually nowhere other than to the military.

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Iran is also experiencing other difficulties. Gigantic sinkholes are opening up, particularly in drought-stricken western Iran. In addition, over 500,000 illegal wells are said to be operating throughout Iran, depleting renewable water supplies. In some areas, excavations for things such as subways and parking lots are caving in due to the dryness of the soil in the ceiling of tunnels.

Furthermore, based on satellite imaging, some places in the capital city of Tehran appear to be sinking at an alarming rate of about 10″ per year. Couple that with diminishing rainfall and some scientists are wondering if it is too late for recovery.

If political, social and physical conditions are not enough, consider what is happening in the inner workings of Iran’s military. Drug use in the general Iranian population has exploded in the past few years, and reports are floating that drug use has equally (or more so) consumed Iran’s military. From front line soldiers to top commanders, every level has been impacted, and drug use seems to have driven Iranian forces to become even more irrational than ever.

(FYI – Afghanistan, Iran’s neighbor to the east, produces as much as 90% of the world’s opium, and Iran is a major transit lane for distribution to Europe. Is it any wonder drug use has increased so dramatically?)

Now, let’s turn another corner. Around Christmastime, Iran launched severe persecution of Christians in their country, causing Iranian Christians to cry out for help. According to Fox News:

The Iranian group Alliance for Rights of All Minorities reported on December 30 that “nine Christians were arrested in Karaj, Iran on alleged charges of affiliation with Christian Zionists and recruitment of Muslims to home churches. The arrests are also based on fears that this group intends to harm Iran and insult Iran.”

Iran is feeling the pressure of economic sanctions, civil unrest and inability to achieve the goals of an incredibly evil regime. As they continue to grasp at straws, Christians have become more and more a target.

But amidst the chaos, our Lord God is doing a miraculous work! Estimates vary widely, but it is believed there are at least 300,000 Christians in Iran, and that number is growing daily as Muslims, fed up with a failing belief system, find hope in Jesus Christ. In Iran, one puts his life in jeopardy by publicly proclaiming faith in Jesus. Therefore, it is believed by many that the number of believers is well over the 300,000 estimate.

But even if the conservative estimate is accurate, there is a revival happening in Iran that we don’t hear about in our western media! Ordinary Iranian people are just like us. They may follow a false religious system, but they were created in the image of God, just as any one of us are. (Genesis 1:27) Indeed, they are in search of the One True God, just as we are…they just think His name is Allah. (But the One True God is truly revealing Himself!)

In 2016, I wrote a piece called Is There Hope for Iran and the Middle East, in which I shared how the hope of Jesus Christ…the Blessed Hope…is causing revival in Iran. Please read it, then pray for the people of Iran. In many ways, they are slaves to an evil regime. They need the grace of God, and the hope of an eternal future.

Everything happening in the Middle East points to the soon return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, our world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket while Christians stand by and watch. Let’s not be “watchers,” but rather watchmen (and women!). Let’s be those who stand on the walls, setting our sights on what is to come, then shouting a warning from the vantage point God has given us. If not, then blood is on our hands. (Ezekiel 33:1-6)

Are we about our Father’s business today?

What’s the Latest in the Middle East? (Part 2)

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I hear the question often: What’s the latest in the Middle East?  Thus, I attempt to remain abreast of current events in light of Scripture, and enjoy sharing with you!

Yesterday, we focused on current events in and around Syria.  Today, we’ll scan the region for additional headlines that correlate to Biblical end time events.

So often, we focus on Russia, Iran and Turkey when we discuss the Gog and Magog prophecy from Ezekiel 38-39.  Indeed, they are key players, but Cush (modern-day Sudan and perhaps Ethiopia) and Put (modern-day Libya and perhaps Algeria) are notably listed in verse 5.  So, we can’t overlook them if we are to be accurate in our understanding of that prophecy.  In fact, I recently posted some info regarding Russia’s sights being set on those countries.  But, let’s look just a bit further.

Currently, Libya and Sudan are puppets on a string for Russia and Turkey, and play host to terrorist training camps for Iran.  Keep in mind that power-hungry Russian President Putin is in constant search of oil and gas to prop up an otherwise plummeting economy, while Turkish President Erdogan longs to extend his influence as he pursues development of a revived Ottoman Empire.  Don’t believe for one moment that Libya, Algeria, Sudan and Ethiopia will all sit on the sidelines when the northern coalition makes its move on Israel!  They, too, will make a move from the southwest.

Meanwhile, Europe is a total mess, and the European Union (as we know it) is falling apart.  Eastern European nations such as Hungary and Poland are nationalistic in their thinking, and tend to be supportive of Israel (at least to a significant degree).  On the other hand, Western Europe (particularly France and Germany) are suffering from years of liberal globalism, and they tend to lean toward Russian influence.

Friends, what we have is the perfect breeding ground for the Antichrist!  Western Europe is dark.  There is no desire for God, and the Muslim population is exploding.  They need a man who can pull it all together and somehow make it work.  The Antichrist will appear to be such a man!

Leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel press forward on plans to develop one unified military…and one unified society!  One World Order!  It is evil, it is fertile ground for the Antichrist, and the people are ready to receive such a leader.

These are days in which we must be in God’s Word, we must be discerning (false teaching abounds!) and we absolutely must be about our Father’s business!

Now, lest we get so caught up in Europe’s problems that we miss our own, let’s consider what is happening politically in Israel and the US.  Liberals are working overtime in both nations to spread evil (moral decay such as abortion, gay rights, etc; socialist entitlement programs, etc; and big government), and sectors of each society strongly desire to take down the leaders of both countries.  Those sectors are globalist in nature, aiming to create One World Order.  President Trump and PM Netanyahu stand clearly in their way.

Problems in the Trump administration are well known.  Accusations of collusion, immorality, and plain ‘ol lack of tact are reasons the president’s approval rating is at a very unusual low.  However, he was not supposed to win in 2016, but he did.  What do 2020 elections hold in store? Who knows!

Netanyahu, meanwhile, is facing exaggerated charges of fraud and other improprieties.  His government fell apart at the end of 2018 and early elections will take place soon.  Though he is currently expected to retain his position as Prime Minister, that may change if official charges are made and/or if rumors of Russian meddling in Israeli elections catch fire. 

Once opposing parties retake positions of leadership in each country, we will see a very different relationship between America and Israel, and a very different perspective of the world.  God help us!

Again, though, we must be reminded that things are not falling apart in our world…they are simply falling into place.  It is happening quickly, though, and this is no time to sleep!  Over and over in the New Testament we are exhorted to be awake, be alert, and to understand the times and seasons in which we live.  For those of us who enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we know how the story ends…our eternity is in heaven with Him!

But consider this…”being good” doesn’t secure our place in the Heavenly Kingdom.  Only a true relationship with Jesus does that.  For years I “played church,” doing all the things a “good church kid” does.  I was taught well and knew a lot ABOUT Jesus, but didn’t really KNOW Jesus until adulthood.

Perhaps you are in that place.  You’ve said the right things and you’ve played church really well, but you don’t really KNOW Jesus.  My friend, today is the day!  None of us knows the number of our days, and none of us can make it on the coattails of anyone else. 

Jesus spoke a parable about 10 virgins awaiting the bridegroom.  (Matthew 25:1-13) Five readied themselves and stayed ready, while the other five, though they knew much about the bridegroom, didn’t prepare for His coming.  There is still time for you…but the clock is ticking.

If you are not prepared for His coming, perhaps you do not truly know Him.  But you can know Him today.  Find out how:

Peace with God (from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)

If you prayed to accept Jesus into your life, welcome to the family!  You are loved.

PS: Tomorrow we set our sights on Iran, with a little twist!  Be sure to check back then!  See you tomorrow!