There is a concerted effort underway that is nothing less than a demonic plan that has been birthed in hell to destroy the nation of Israel…to literally bankrupt her and curse the nation. It is known as BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions). It is all about money. The plan is to turn worldwide public opinion against Israel, to isolate the Jewish nation and turn it into a pariah state, which no one will be willing to defend. It is a “Curse Israel” movement, and sadly, it is a fast growing and very popular movement.
The BDS campaign officially started on July 9, 2005, when nearly 200 Palestinian organizations met together and called for a worldwide economic boycott to attempt to force concessions from Israel. The main stated goals of BDS are to end the Israeli “occupation” of the Bible lands of Judea and Samaria and the so-called “right of return” for Palestinians into Israel.
The unstated goal is much darker. The Palestinians have repeatedly rejected the two-state solution. They do not want to live side by side with Israel in peace. They want the Jewish state to be destroyed. Some are more open about their aims than others, but the desired end result is the same. The popular chant among Palestinian supporters (sadly, often heard here in the United States) goes like this: “Palestine must be free, from the river to the sea.” Of course, the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is where Israel currently exists; those who join in this chant are calling for nothing less than the complete and total end of Israel.
The BDS campaign is founded on a lie. While there are good and well-meaning people who have been deceived by that lie, it is also being used as cover by those who hate the Jewish people. While anti-Semitism is rampant in much of the world, it is still regarded as unacceptable in some quarters. So the “collective Jew” of Israel replaces the individual Jew, and all of the hatred and contempt that must be concealed in polite company can be expressed under the cloak of BDS.
Many, many people here in the United States have accepted the propaganda that the Palestinians are an oppressed people, who are occupied by a foreign power. This false portrayal of events shapes the way news is reported, and it shapes the way people think. Often, people say they want a two-state solution, without remembering that in 1948, Israel offered a two-state solution, which was rejected by the Arabs and Palestinians who immediately launched a war to destroy Israel. They did not want peace then, and a great majority do not want peace now. We are fighting against the BDS movement and the lies they are promoting as part of our effort to defend God’s Chosen People.
Those near Jesus told Bartimaeus, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you” (v. 49). Some other translations say, “Cheer up!” In other words, your negative words or attitude can block God’s favor. Bartimaeus had an attitude of expectancy, and that was a vital factor in the miracle he would soon receive. He was also told to “rise” and hear Jesus’ voice. Without a hint of procrastination, this desperate man sprang into action: “Throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus” (v. 50).
Notice that if you want to activate the Favor of God (F.O.G.) in your life, you often must take action of some kind. It’s likely that Bartimaeus never would have received his healing if he had remained seated on the side of the road. OBEDIENCE is one of the most important ways to unleash God’s favor, and we see that principle here in the story of the beggar who needed a breakthrough.
Another thing Bartimaeus did was throw aside his old garment. If you are going to start a new life, you need a fresh set of clothes! We see this in passages such as Isaiah 61:3, where God promises to give us “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” In order to enter into a new dimension of God’s favor, you will need to cast off any old garments of fear, depression, unbelief, or unforgiveness. It’s a new day!
Jesus next asks 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:
You must be able to define the miracle you are seeking from God. To no one’s surprise, Bartimaeus told Jesus that he wanted to receive his sight. I’m sure Jesus already knew this, just as He already knows the desire of your heart today. However, He wants you to pray it and say it, letting your specific request be known before His throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16, Philippians 4:6).
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.
How did this happen? What secret had the blind beggar discovered? Jesus told him plainly: “your faith has made you well” (v. 52). Through faith and obedience, Bartimaeus had activated God’s supernatural favor and healing power.
In November of 2017, a massive earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck near the border between Iran and Iraq. The quake, the deadliest of the entire year, left more than 500 dead and more than 8,000 injured, along with significant damage to many towns and villages in the region. Over 12,000 residential buildings were reported to be either damaged or completely destroyed. Most of the deaths, injuries, and damage occurred on the Iranian side of the border.
There is a major fault line that runs through western Iran and northwestern Iraq where the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Earthquakes in the region are not uncommon, but this one was one of the most severe in recent times. More than 150 aftershocks, the strongest measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, following the major earthquake were reported. According to Iranian authorities, at least 70,000 people were in need of emergency shelter because of the extensive damage.
Many nations responded with emergency aid, but one came as a surprise to most: Israel. Despite the public and blatant hostility of the government in Tehran toward the Jewish state, and despite the millions of dollars Iran has spent arming terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas, Israel reached out with help in the time of crisis.
Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the aid, saying, “I’ve said many times that we have no quarrel with the people of Iran. Our quarrel is only with the tyrannical regime that holds them hostage and threatens our destruction. I saw these heartbreaking images of men and women and children buried under the rubble. I’m proud to announce tonight that a few hours ago, I directed that we offer the Red Cross medical assistance for the Iraqi and Iranian victims of this disaster.”
Israeli doctors, search and rescue teams, and other aid workers are often sent around the world following natural disasters. In the past decade, at least 40 countries have benefited from such relief efforts. Among those was the United States following the massive flooding in Texas brought about by Hurricane Harvey. Israeli workers helped clear debris and helped survivors piece their lives back together.
The reality is that many of the nations of the world take every opportunity to both publicly and privately castigate the Jewish state, often blaming Israel for the unrest in the Middle East—not just with the Palestinians, but in other nations as well. Israel is a convenient scapegoat. Yet the Jewish state continues to respond with help in times of crisis.
The story of a blind man named Bartimaeus 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. So, what can we learn from this amazing story, told in Mark 10:46-52? Let’s take a look…
When Bartimaeus encountered Jesus, he “sat by the road begging” (v. 46). This man had learned to depend on the favor of PEOPLE to give him his daily sustenance. However, even though God wants to give you favor with other people (Luke 2:52), you must look to HIM as the main source of your favor and provision. That’s why King David wrote, “those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 34:10).
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” (v. 48).
If you need a breakthrough in your life today, it begins when you recognize that Jesus is nearby and you begin to call out to Him by faith. 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 a 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!
In 2012, I traveled to Jerusalem to seek a location for a Christian Zionism Museum. Through the museum, my plan was that the accounts of Christians who played crucial roles in helping to promote, defend, support, and establish the modern State of Israel could be told, as well as the stories of those men and women who fulfilled the moral duty to rescue Jewish people from the Holocaust. I believed the museum should offer interactive displays, areas for research, and also provide a bond between those Christians who have aided Israel through the years. My vision was to have a place where their achievements could be shared with thousands of visitors yearly.
During that trip, I met the owners of a five-story edifice at 20 Yosef Rivlin Street, just a stone’s throw from the Temple Mount. As Joshua circled Jericho, I prayerfully circled the blocks around the area, seeking God’s gracious approval to purchase the property. God granted me favor with the owners, for as we negotiated the price for the building, they not only lowered the price by $2 million but also carried the note interest-free to the end of 2014.
The Friends of Zion Heritage Center is now a reality and proudly stands in the heart of Jerusalem in a prominent location overlooking Independence Park and within walking distance to the Old City. It is one more building block in the plan and purpose God has surely had for my life.
The Friends of Zion Heritage Center is ground zero for the global Jerusalem Prayer Team prayer movement. With over one billion Christian Zionists worldwide, the goal is to unite them to stand with Israel and the Jewish people.
FOZ now has a vast social network platform to mobilize Israel’s greatest friends. The organization already has more than one million members in Indonesia alone and is presently growing at the staggering rate of two million members monthly.
Today my heart is overflowing with gratitude to God, as the dream He placed in my spirit more than 30 years ago has become a reality. When the contract for the purchase of the building that houses the Friends of Zion Heritage Center was signed, I was reminded once again that every promise from God is certain and sure, no matter how long we have to wait for it.
Abraham waited for the promised birth of Isaac for some 25 years, but in God’s perfect timing, the son of promise was born. When I first met with Prime Minister Menachem Begin more than 30 years ago, and we agreed to work together to build a bridge between Christians and Jews, part of that dream was to have a permanent presence in the Holy City. Now we proudly point to this beautiful facility that ministers to the physical needs of the Jewish people and to the spiritual needs of Christians worldwide. Don’t ever give up on what God has promised and placed in your spirit!