Why does an all-powerful God permit pain and injustice in our lives? Mankind has struggled with this tough question since time began. For those who have been victimized and traumatized, the question becomes far more than just a stimulating topic for discussion. Driven by a desperate search to find truth and meaning, we eventually resolve the question one way or another. For some of us, the search leads to trust and faith. Others, too angry or anguished in spirit to continue the search, walk away empty.
The Old Testament Book of Genesis contains a story that rivals any current bestseller or famous classic for its suspense and attention-gripping plot. It is the incredible story of Joseph, a young man who victoriously overcame one injustice after another, any one of which would be enough to embitter or break the average person. It is also the story of Joseph’s incredible God and how He turned Joseph’s pain into preparation for promotion.
For years Joseph was the target of his brothers’ vicious jealousy, hatred, and rejection. Their father, Jacob, had never disguised the fact that Joseph was the favorite of his twelve sons. Because of their father’s partiality, his ten older brothers hated Joseph so much that they couldn’t speak a kind word to him.
When Joseph was seventeen, his brothers’ malevolent feelings reached the boiling point. Genesis 37 records the ugly scene. Instead of killing Joseph as they had originally planned, they threw him into a well in the wilderness and then sold him to a band of traders whose caravan passed by. In Egypt, the traders sold Joseph to Potiphar, a high-ranking officer and chief executioner of the royal guard for Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Jacob’s favored son was now a slave.
Things went from bad to worse, and Joseph ended up in prison on false charges. Then one day everything changed. He went from the prison to the palace. Thirteen years of some of the longest, darkest trials imaginable had neither embittered nor broken Joseph. His life serves as a strong reminder that it is not suffering itself, but our reaction to the suffering, that makes or breaks us.
In the final analysis, it was a powerful, sovereign God, not Joseph’s brothers, who sent Joseph to Egypt. But the Bible puts the responsibility for all the agony Joseph endured exactly where it belongs—not upon God, but upon the people whose offenses against Joseph caused his unjust pain and suffering. The Bible also clearly reveals that God took the wicked injustices intended for Joseph’s destruction and reversed them, making the offenses work together for Joseph’s development and deliverance instead.
In the middle of your darkest trial, keep seeking development as did Joseph. He learned to forgive. He learned to resist sin and serve God in a pagan society. He learned to defeat bitterness, loneliness, and hopelessness and to persevere in faith and prayer. Like Joseph, you will discover that as you seek development, deliverance will come in God’s appointed time, and the pain you have endured will become a necessary step on your pathway to promotion.
Prayer is an essential part of the life of a Believer. But just what is prayer? It has been described by some as practicing the presence of God. By others, it is defined as the abandonment of self-reliance and the admission of our need for and our total confidence in Jehovah. We humble ourselves, let our petitions rise heavenward, and release our faith and hope in almighty God.
Through prayer, mere man can touch the heart of God. When you have a great need in your life, circle it with prayer. What does that mean, and how is it accomplished? It is a metaphorical circle that allows you to focus on a particular need or needs according to Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (KJV). Prayer is not an attempt to manipulate God to our way of thinking. It is not trite, repetitious, ritualistic, or showy. Author and pastor Dr. Paul Chappell defines prayer: “Prayer is not a show nor a ritual. Prayer is you speaking directly to the Creator of the world about your deepest needs, desires, and burdens. It’s expressing your thankfulness for His goodness.”
It’s your privilege and honor as a Believer to pray—not just for yourself, but for others as well. In the Old Testament, God uses one of the most captivating images in the Bible—a watchman. What does that have to do with prayer? How can we learn about prayer by studying the watchman? The prophet Ezekiel delivers a cautionary word of warning from Jehovah in chapter 3, verse 17 (ESV): “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.”
The metaphor is drawn from the earliest days of agricultural societies when posts were erected overlooking crops to provide a tower for a watchman. The towers were designed to offer a view of thieves—man or animal—who would ransack the ripening harvests. For many, the harvest was a matter of life and death, of having food for the coming winter or starving. The man who was appointed as a watchman was crucial to the survival of his village. The same was true of cities. During times of impending attacks, watchmen would scour the horizon for invaders and then sound the warning to alert inhabitants to approaching danger. The city gates would be closed and barred, and defenders would take their positions on the battlements.
Just as a watchman warned the people of a coming enemy and was, therefore, the first line of defense, intercessory prayer warriors are the first line of spiritual defense for our nation and our communities. What happens when the watchmen fail to do their jobs? The prophet Ezekiel gives us insight: “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood” (Ezekiel 33:6, NIV).
A watchman cannot be apathetic; indifference will suffocate our faith. It must be replaced by steadfast prayer in order to revive our spiritual lives. Nothing is more important to God than prayer! God will do nothing without prayer. It is the fuel that moves the engine of humanity.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been accused of sending out over two million Jew-hating comments to Facebook as part of a massive cyber-attack at Facebook in May.
Over three days, May 12-14, more hate messages poured into Facebook than any other time in its history. It was a very strange day for Facebook, as the messages were associated with the Jerusalem Prayer Team, the world’s largest Christian, pro-Israel Facebook page. It ranked 24th worldwide in engagement, with more than 77 million followers.
A similar page with 1,197,000 likes and 1,242,000 followers seemed a little strange. It looked like the Jerusalem Prayer Team, including a similar look and content, but was officially the Jerusalem Prayer Teams with an “s” added to the end of the name.
Another odd addition to the lookalike page was a picture of Netanyahu and Jerusalem Prayer Team Founder Mike Evans when they were both 28-years old. It was clearly a fake page. The content was fraudulent.
In addition, the usual posts of prayer and support for the Jewish people were replaced with violent anti-Semitic content. During the recent Hamas attacks, comments included, “Gaza under attack, Gaza under attack, Gaza under attack,” and a picture of the Hamas flag.
The violent content stood alongside devotional content from Evans and comments from Netanyahu.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, was allegedly involved in sending over 2 million hateful anti-Semitic comments to Facebook. The claim is laughable. Why would the Jerusalem Prayer Team become an anti-Semitic tool of Hamas? It’s one of the world’s largest Facebook pages.
But the event was no laughing matter. During this controversy, Facebook shut down the authentic Jerusalem Prayer Team Facebook page, ending prayers among the 77 million followers. There was no warning, and its ruling was deemed final. The only reason given was the allegation the page violated rules related to spam and unauthentic behavior.
Instead, the truth is that the event may have been the largest cyber-attack in Facebook’s history, and certainly the most anti-Semitic comments posted on a Facebook page in 72 hours. The Israeli prime minister’s picture or name is included in nearly every comment.
The real culprit is a man named Ahmed Saleh. He said, “I hacked the page because it did not reflect the real image of Zionism and to stand under His Majesty’s firm stance on the Al Aqsa mosque, Muslim holy site in Palestine, and Hashemite Kingdom. The page was created to glamorize the public image of Zionism, and mask its crimes.”
He added another post on Facebook saying he used botnets. They farmed a huge network of viruses, and they act according to orders from a troll center to add millions of likes to your pages. That’s how he added Netanyahu’s face on so many comments.
The Daily Pakistan website reported, “The rating of the social networking giant Facebook has dropped from 4.0 to 2.5 on Play Store after it was hammered by a large number of users for censoring the content related to the recent developments in Palestine and the massacre of unarmed civilians in Gaza at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces.”
The hacker gave an interview with a Jordanian news source. He has a picture of Facebook on his phone and shared with Jordan’s Ahmed Saleh on Saturday how he hacked the Jerusalem Prayer Team on Facebook, which allegedly garnered almost 76 million likes. “I received word that Facebook created a page in support of the Zionist and had falsely given 76 million likes on the page. You may not even view the page, but still could find that you are a friend and had liked it.” Saleh told Alghad, “I attacked the page because it did not reflect the real image of Zionism and to stand under our Majesty’s firm stance on the LX Hamas. The page has been officially shut down due to its unofficial support of the Zionist entity and for breaching the privacy of Facebook users by adding their likes to the page without notifying them.”
He added, “The social media platform used external applications which had been granted access to user accounts and managed to like the pages on their behalf.”
Ahmed Saleh is very clear about his motives. He’s seeking the destruction of Israel and wants Israelis killed. He has posted images of swastikas and Nazi symbols on his own Facebook, which is still active. During Operation Protective Edge, Saleh openly provided help to Hamas terrorist fighters by publicly supplying them with suggested locations to attack.
He provided images or screenshots to exact locations that he described as sensitive locations for the resistance of the target, including the site’s Patriot missile pads, and even including exact horizontal and vertical details of the location to help Hamas rocket launchers deliver precise targets.
Strangely, he only has 5,000 friends and 2,600 followers on Facebook, but then his new Facebook page has 77 million followers. It’s the Jerusalem Prayer Teams page (with an “s” added) that is protected by the monarchy in Jordan because he’s been a vocal, loyal supporter of the royal family.
The posts throughout the Middle East include glorious celebration. “We did it. We destroyed the virus, the Zionist,” one post said.
Another wrote, “Congratulations to our viewers. The Jerusalem Prayer Team, the Jew page, has been disabled and removed successfully from Facebook. Congratulations to all our viewers.”
They’re bragging and celebrating over the entire Islamic world over the biggest cyber-attack they have successfully pulled off.
Others have become upset. Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary, tweeted, “Facebook shut down the world’s biggest pro-Israel website, 77 million followers, rather than protect them from a massive cyber-attack by radical Islam.” Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted, “This… is…nuts.” Sean Hannity tweeted, “Facebook Shuts Down Prayers for Israel Page with Over 77 Million Followers.” Gov. Mike Huckabee tweeted, “Why does FB hate @Israel? And Christians who support it?”
On and on, the tweets continue. Gadi Taub tweeted, “This is outrageous. 77 million members have lost their forum. Is prayer for Jerusalem now against Facebook’s ‘community standards’? Because prayers for Israel’s destruction by murderous anti-Semites, such as Iran’s leaders, are somehow fine by those same standards.”
Many of the fake posts include a picture of Mike Evans alongside Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and his wife Tammy. The event celebrated the first anniversary of the embassy dedication hosted by Evans, who also hosted the official gala for the embassy dedication and put up 220 billboards in support of Donald Trump moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
What do Benjamin Netanyahu and the State of Israel do now? That’s the question. They have been slandered and accused of unspeakable crimes on a social media platform owned by a Jew named Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg could have stopped these posts in one hour. He didn’t have to wait 72 hours to act. His company had the tools to stop them. But he didn’t stop them. Why not? Why did he allow the biggest cyber-attack to take place over 72 hours despite more than a dozen appeals by Mike Evans’ team to stop it? They did nothing except notify Evans that he was going on vacation for a week and a half.
The attitude now seems to be that “since we have burned your house down and sacrificed you for ransom against a Hamas cyber-attack, don’t be upset. You’re just a pissant and nobody cares. Enjoy your life.”
Mike Evans and his son are receiving death threats. If the State of Israel does not have the hutzpah to stand up to Mark Zuckerberg, then shame on you.
Evans appealed on Newsmax on Thursday for every senator to sign up with Mike Pompeo to add their name to a letter to Zuckerberg after Mike Pompeo investigated all the facts. Israel could easily make that happen. The Israeli embassy is in touch with every one of those senators. With one click of a computer, that request could go out to every senator.
It’s time for Israel to fight cyber wars and win them. Mike Evans has been fighting them single handedly for years. He is the one that mobilized evangelicals who brought about all the astonishing feats in four years with Donald Trump. Evans was the one whispering into Donald Trump’s ear on matters related to Israel. He’s been a cherished friend of Netanyahu for 41 years.
Now Netanyahu and Evans, two of the world’s top supporters of Israel, are being labeled as two of the biggest anti-Semites ever thanks to a Jew named Mark Zuckerberg. How did Zuckerberg let this happen? Did he want to so he could show hundreds of millions of angry Muslims during the Gaza War that he was their friend? Was this motivated by money?
The story of a blind man named Bartimaeus in Mark chapter 10 is a beautiful illustration of how to unleash more of God’s favor in your life—even when your situation appears hopeless. One minute this man was begging along the roadside, just as he had done for much of his life. But in a moment’s time, everything changed for him.
Suddenly, he could see! He had received a new beginning beyond his wildest dreams.
Bartimaeus had stumbled upon the secret to unleashing God’s miracle-working power, and his life would never be the same. When he went to sleep that night, his life was completely different than it was when he had awakened that morning.
You see, the Favor of God (F.O.G.) is all you really need. Everything else will follow when you seek Him and His kingdom (Matthew 6:33). Bartimaeus started his day seeking favor from anyone passing by on the road, but then he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was coming by. Faith began to rise in the heart of this blind man, for he knew that Jesus was no ordinary man. “‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (v. 47) Bartimaeus cried out. At that point, people in the crowd told him to be quiet, but he “cried out all the more” (vs. 48).
If you need some kind of breakthrough in your life today, it begins when you recognize that Jesus is nearby and you begin to call out to Him by faith. And a crucial principle here is to not let anyone talk you out of your plea to the Savior! There will always be naysayers, trying to discourage you and undermine your faith, but you need to keep crying out to Jesus for your miracle.
Something stunning happens at this point in the story: “So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called” (v. 49). If not for the impassioned cries of Bartimaeus, Jesus would have passed right on by. But sensing faith in the voice of this blind beggar, Jesus “stood still.” If you’ve been crying out to Jesus for some kind of turnaround in your life, I encourage you to take a moment to picture Him stopping…pausing…standing right in front of you. Yes, the Lord of all creation is taking time to stop and hear your petition, ready to meet your need!
Jesus asked Bartimaeus one of the most important questions in the entire Bible—and it’s the same question He is asking YOU today: “What do you want Me to do for you?” (v. 51).
Let that sink in for a moment. Jesus is right there with you, and He wants you to tell Him what your greatest need is. What, exactly, do you want Him to do for you? This is a critical component of what it takes to unleash the F.O.G. in your life:
When Bartimaeus’ breakthrough came, it was sudden and amazing: “immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road” (v. 52). Of course, Jesus could have told the blind man that his healing would come gradually, over a long period of time, but that was not the case with Bartimaeus. Jesus had unleashed the miraculous, and the results were instantaneous.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana, in Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1
A shocking study released in 2018 during the week of Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, revealed that the horrors of the Holocaust are being erased from people’s minds—especially the young. The survey revealed the two-thirds of American millennials (those aged between 22 and 37) could not identify what Auschwitz was. Perhaps even more startling was the revelation that more than one of every five millennials said that they either had not heard of the Holocaust or were not sure whether they had heard of it.
This news coupled with the rising tide of anti-Semitic threats and attacks in Europe, Africa, Asia, and even here in America, is a grim warning for the future. There are no guarantees that the horrors of the past will not be repeated. If the spirit and knowledge that motivated the pledge “Never Again” are forgotten, the evil that motivated the last attempt to destroy the Jewish people will return to power and attempt to finish the job.
The lack of knowledge about the Holocaust is partly the result of the success of Israel’s enemies in denying and downplaying the horrors of Hitler’s plot to exterminate the Jewish people. Partly it is the result of the passage of time. More than 70 years have gone by since the final death camps were liberated in 1945 and the wholesale slaughter brought to an end. And finally, this tragic lack of knowledge is partly from a failure of any particular plan to reach future generations with the truth.
The only major Christian ministry working to educate and activate millennials to support Israel is your Jerusalem Prayer Team. The wonderful news is that a huge portion of our online members are millennials who have taken up the cause of supporting Israel. Make no mistake—this is a crucial battle for Israel’s future. Today’s college and university campuses are hotbeds of anti-Semitism. If we sleep, the next generation of leaders will turn against Israel. There must be a powerful online program to educate and activate millennials…and that is exactly what we are doing.