How to Stay Faithful to God

How to Stay Faithful to God

Daniel and three young companions were among the scores carried off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar’s armies. They were snatched from their homes and families, and we are not told if any family members survived the battle and ransacking of Jerusalem. The young men would be forced to endure whatever trials and degradation faced them. Despite the circumstances surrounding these four young men, they did not relinquish their faith in Jehovah.

These Hebrew boys from noble, nurturing families had been accustomed to being in a warm and caring atmosphere. They were homesick and unsettled, and things would only get worse. Their familial protection had been stripped from them, and they were at the mercy of a pagan king and his minions. Yet God had not forsaken them; their training had not abandoned them; their faith in Jehovah was secure. They would be faced with trials and demands that would challenge their beliefs. Would they remain faithful?

One of the first tests to which Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would be subjected was over the food provided to them. The king had ordered that they be fed from his table with food that was not allowed under the Law of Moses. The three young men were determined not to eat the food offered to idols and petitioned the Babylonian official to allow them to partake of only vegetables and water. With reluctance, the keeper agreed. The resolve of the young men and their obedience to God’s law won them the respect of the official, of Nebuchadnezzar, and of God. They had passed the first test with flying colors, but a more difficult test lurked around the corner. How would they handle a life-threatening situation?

Nebuchadnezzar was not unlike many in the public eye today: He began to believe his own hype, his own public relations fantasies. As his ego grew, so did his desire to erect a statue that would reflect his untold wealth and power. His artisans loosely based the design of the image on a dream that Nebuchadnezzar had experienced, the meaning of which Daniel had interpreted. The king opened the doors to his vast storehouses of golden treasure to provide the materials from which the idol was to be made. It is entirely possible that some of the golden vessels taken from the Temple in Jerusalem were included in those melted and used to fashion the commanded graven image.

The Chaldeans worshiped a number of heathen deities, but nothing as brilliant and magnificent as the statue that rose up from the plain of Dura. It was said to be 90 feet tall and nine feet wide—probably with an appearance much like an obelisk. Nebuchadnezzar was elated with the statue when it was completed and issued an edict to the people of Babylon: The graven image was to be dedicated as an object of worship, and all would display their consummate devotion by bowing down before the idol:

Now, Daniel and his friends had cut their teeth on the laws of God, specifically the Ten Commandments.  The tenets and precepts of God’s law were deeply ingrained in the minds and spirits of those young men. The first and second commandments are very specific: You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make any graven image. And even though their lives were threatened, those Hebrew children would not bow down.

Battle Stations

Battle Stations

The time has come for Christians everywhere to stand up and “Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly” (Joel 2:15). There is a gap, a breach to be filled, and a price to be paid. Dedicated watchmen are needed on every wall. God’s Word is rife with examples of intercessors who prevailed against the Enemy, the prayer warriors of Hebrews 11 who subdued kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, set armies to flight, raised the dead, and secured the promises of God—all through faith in God and prayer!

Daniel put his life on the line by praying three times a day despite the king’s order to abstain. Prayer is a priority we cannot and must not overlook. Israel’s, and indeed America’s, future hope lies in the hands of prayer warriors, those who will take up the banner and commit to prayer. It is not the last resort; it is the first step in winning the battle against the evil that stalks this world today.

If Daniel prayed and mighty angels were sent to do battle against demon spirits, so can you and I. Since Daniel lived in the Babylonian Empire, it is quite possible that the prince of Persia he fought in the spirit was one of the same spirits at work today to bring death and destruction. Regardless of which spirits are now involved or how many there are, the clarion call goes out to God-fearing people everywhere to man the battle stations and fight the war in prayer.  Just as America has been forced to take the war on terrorism to the battlefields of the nations that sponsor it, we must take our fight to the battlefield in the spiritual realm to defeat the demons that sponsor it.

We must take the battle to the Enemy and defeat them through prayer in the name of Jesus! Prayer is the only exploit that takes hold of eternity. It is the action that touches heaven and moves earth. It pierces the heart of God, turns the head of God, and moves the hand of God. For a Christian, it is not the last resort; it must always be the first line of defense! Through prayer, we must do everything possible to overthrow kingdoms of darkness, shut the mouths of the lions of terror, and quench the flames of hell by the power of almighty God! How you and I respond to God’s call will determine whether we succeed or fail.

Prayer and Renewal

Prayer and Renewal

Prayer is as essential as air and water if we are to maintain a spiritual life of constant contact with God. If we don’t make that connection, no matter how sincere our intentions, we will not see a change in the circumstances of our life. We must pray! James 4:2 tells us: “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask” (emphasis mine).

During a dark hour of Israel’s history, the Assyrians demanded heavy tribute from King Hezekiah. In response, Hezekiah stripped the Temple of its gold and silver in order to meet that demand. Still, that was not enough; the Assyrians mounted an attack against the city. When King Hezekiah was informed in a letter from the king of Assyria that Israel would be destroyed if the demands were not met, he took the letter to the Temple. There, in the presence of God, he spread the letter on the altar and prayed:

O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. . . . Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone. —2 Kings 19:15–16, 19

God answered the king’s prayer with an overwhelming victory! The Bible says the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. In great gratitude for God’s mercy, Hezekiah cleansed, repaired, and reopened the Temple of God. Worship to Jehovah was restored, daily sacrifices were resumed, and the Passover Feast was again celebrated by the nation of Israel.

Years earlier, when King Solomon had prayed at the dedication of the Temple, God revealed himself and His plan to Solomon with great power:

Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” —2 Chronicles 7:12–16

Isaiah encouraged the Israelites with: “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’” (Isaiah 58:9). King Solomon prophesied that a national revival would come to Israel. It has yet to occur, but when that renewal does come, it will certainly be through the power of prayer. You and I can help usher in that renewal through prayer.

The Necessity of Intercessory Prayer

The Necessity of Intercessory Prayer

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.”  Prayer is not an attempt to manipulate God into our way of thinking. It is not trite, repetitious, ritualistic, or showy.

Author and pastor Dr. Paul Chappell defines prayer this way: “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.”

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: “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.”

In chapter 33, Jehovah repeats His instructions to the prophet. 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 men who were appointed as watchmen were 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). 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.

Remembering Shimon Peres

Remembering Shimon Peres

Though God has allowed me to travel to Israel numerous times and spend the last 40 years defending His Chosen People, meeting with leaders from around the world and having the privilege of being a friend and confidant of Israel’s prime ministers, I can truly say that this ministry entered a new phase of effectiveness and favor in 2012. That was the year we purchased the first building of what has now become the Friends of Zion Center campus. That beautiful five-story building is now home to the Friends of Zion Museum, the first Christian museum in Israel.

When it became apparent to me that we were taking a major ministry step, I realized we were going to need a board of directors specifically for the Friends of Zion outreach. After a great deal of prayer and with a reliance on God’s direction, I did something completely crazy and with no hope of success. I reached out to Shimon Peres, who was nearing the end of his term as Israel’s ninth president (in Israel the president can only serve one seven-year term).

This giant of a man was the last of Israel’s founding fathers—the courageous souls who defied the odds and called a nation back to life. There was no earthly reason to think that a Jewish president would join hands with an evangelical Christian ministry…but we are not on an earthly mission. We are carrying out a heavenly mandate! And when God truly leads you to do something, no matter how unlikely it seems, He brings it to pass.

President Peres immediately agreed to serve as chairman of the international board for Friends of Zion. This astonishing measure of God’s favor gave us so many amazing open doors. Shimon Peres was not just our chairman; he became our champion. He used his influence and personal credibility to open doors for us to begin to influence the world as never before.

President Peres had several favorite sayings. One of them was, “Count the number of dreams you have and compare them with the number of achievements you’ve had. If you have more dreams than achievements, then you are still young.” Shimon Peres was still young when he died at 93 years of age!

President Peres told me more than once that he considered me as part of his family. My mother’s family came from the same small town in what is now Belarus that his family was from. Though Shimon and his parents made their way to Israel before World War II started, he told me that every member of his extended family who remained behind perished during the Holocaust. The shared tragedy in our family trees knit our hearts together in a powerful way.

In the summer of 1942, soldiers from the German SS advanced through Poland slaughtering Jews at every turn in an effort to clear the area of inhabitants, making way for the planned resettlement of Germans returning from abroad to take up residence under the Third Reich. On August 30, the soldiers arrived in Vishnyeva. Twelve hundred Jews perished in Vishnyeva that day. Almost all of them were at least distantly related to either Shimon Peres or to me, and that is why he said that we were family.

Why Jerusalem Matters

Why Jerusalem Matters

Jerusalem matters. It is vital to God’s plan for the past, present, and future of our world. All of the land, including Jerusalem, was a gift from Jehovah, and the ownership of Israel’s land is non-negotiable. In March 2002, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) addressed the issue of Israel’s right to her land: “Every new archaeological dig supports the fact that the Jews have had a presence in Israel for 3,000 years—coins, cities, pottery, other cultural artifacts. The Jews’ claim predates the claim of any other people in the region. The ancient Philistines are extinct as are other ancient peoples. They do not have the unbroken line the Israelis have. Ownership is and will be in the hands of God’s Chosen People—forever.”

When you sign your name to a check, you represent that you possess the amount indicated on that check. God wrote His Name in Jerusalem, and He has the power and authority over that which His name represents. On July 30, 1980, the Israeli Knesset voted to affirm a united Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. Shortly afterward, I had the privilege of speaking with the man who would become my dear friend, Prime Minister Menachem Begin. We discussed the vastness of the territory held by Israel’s enemies. For instance, at that time Arab dictators controlled 13,486,861 square kilometers in the Middle East, and Israel controlled 20,770. The population of Israel was roughly 7.8 million, compared to the population of 300 million living in the surrounding Arab countries.

The odds against Israel are decidedly skewed. The Arab nations demanding a Palestinian state are represented by 21 separate countries. Several arguments have been offered as to why Palestinian Authority head, Mahmoud Abbas, continues to reject any and all offers of a Palestinian State. Chiefly, formal statehood would limit the ability of the PA and of Hamas in Gaza to commit acts of terrorism. It would rob them of the cover they now enjoy when it comes to terroristic acts against the Jewish people in Israel. It is obvious, when at some point in each round of negotiations, the Palestinians cry foul, pick up their marbles, and go home.

To this day, the same countries trying to foist a Palestinian state off on Israel do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Holy City is the symbol of all that Israel represents in our world. Teddy Kollek, Jerusalem’s first mayor wrote: “Jerusalem, this beautiful, golden city, is the heart and soul of the Jewish people. One cannot live without a heart and soul. If you want one single word to symbolize all of Jewish history, that word is Jerusalem.”

A world map drawn in 1581 features Jerusalem at its very center with the then-known continents of the world surrounding it. It resembles a ship’s propeller with the shaft in the center being Jerusalem. Another analogy is of Jerusalem as the navel of the earth.

Jerusalem belongs to God despite the detractors who wish to offer the city up as appeasement to her avowed enemies. Satan would dance gleefully should Israel be forced to make that move. When the Messiah returns, it will be to the City of David, not to Al-Quds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem.) We are the Jerusalem Prayer Team—the largest prayer movement in history—dedicated to fighting the spirit war for the future of the Holy City, the Jewish people, and the nation of Israel.

The Jerusalem Prayer Team with Dr. Michael D. Evans exists to build Friends of Zion to guard defend and protect the Jewish people and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We pray for peace in Jerusalem because the Scriptures tell us to in Psalm 122:6. The Jerusalem Prayer Team was inspired from the 100-year long prayer meeting for the restoration of Israel held in the ten Boom family home in Haarlem, Holland. We are committed to encouraging others to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and God's Chosen People. The Jerusalem Prayer Team mailing address is PO BOX 30000 Phoenix, AZ 85046 or you can call us at 1-888-966-8472. The Jerusalem Prayer Team is a dba of the Corrie ten Boom Fellowship. The Corrie ten Boom Fellowship is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is registered with the IRS, Fed Tax ID# 75-2671293. All donations to CTBF (less the value of any products or services received) are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Donations made to the Jerusalem Prayer Team are put to work immediately and are not refundable.