Tuesday, January 06, 2009


(Southern Israel, January 7, 2009) -- "When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. He shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you." (Deuteronomy 20:1-4)

Please forgive me for not writing for the past few days. I flew to Israel on Sunday and arrived Monday morning, joining several colleagues in southern Israel to assess the situation and help direct The Joshua Fund's relief efforts. It's been an intense 48 hours, and it's currently 5:54am Wednesday morning Israel time. Allow me, therefore, to make a few brief observations, and I will write more later.

* First and foremost, the situation is very intense here. Hamas has fired more than 500 rockets at innocent Israeli civilians over the past ten days or so. They are coming in at 40 to 50 rockets a day. More than 500,000 Israelis live within range of these instruments of terror, and many are traumatized by the fear of injury and death, not only for them but for their children as well.

* Six Israeli soldiers have died in the fighting so far. Israelis throughout the country are mourning their loss, name by name, family by family. That said, Israelis are also overwhelmingly relieved that their government is finally taking strong action against Hamas after some 2 1/2 years of doing virtually nothing.

* Some 1.5 million Palestinians who live on the Gaza Strip are being held hostage by Hamas. Hundreds are dead and thousands have been injured because of Hamas' evil reign of terror that finally provoked an Israeli response. The latest example came Tuesday when Hamas fighters fired mortars at Israeli forces from a U.N. school. This forced Israel to bomb the school to suppress the attacks. In the end, some 42 Palestinians - including the terrorists - died, and more than 50 were injured.

* Where is the world outrage against Hamas? The Palestinian people desperately want and need to be liberated from Hamas, and would privately welcome Israeli success against the terror leaders.

I can report that The Joshua Fund continues working with Jewish and Christian allies on the ground here to care for Israelis caught in the crossfire.

Two days ago, we were able to help evacuate a bus filled with more than 40 Israelis from the southern border town of Sderot. We have moved them out of the war zone, up to a more secure location in the North of Israel, and are paying for their lodging and meals while they are there. We are working around the clock on the logistics to move more Israeli families out of harm's way. We are also helping several organizations prepare to deliver more food and relief supplies to elderly Israeli shut-ins in Sderot. I will have more to report on these efforts soon.

We are also actively seeking ways to provide humanitarian aid first to followers of Jesus Christ in Gaza, and then through the Christians to Muslim Palestinians living in fear and terror of the Hamas-triggered war. Thus far, however, it is not yet clear how to help effectively. We are in direct contact with key Arab Christian leaders. But there are reports that Hamas fighters are stealing aid that non-Christian relief agencies have sent in. And the violence is so intense right now it is not safe for aid workers to take in new relief supplies.


* First and foremost: Please keep praying for real and lasting safety and security for Israelis and Palestinians on both sides of the border, and peace for Jerusalem and all of the epicenter, that the war will not spread to the North and East. (Psalm 122:6)

* Also, please pray for true justice to be done. Let's ask the Lord to save the souls of all the Hamas leaders and fighters, just as He has saved the soul of the son of the Hamas leader. But at the same time, please be praying for the success of the Israeli Defense Forces to have success in crushing the Hamas terror infrastructure and liberating the Palestinian people. This is not the openly declared goal of the IDF, but this is my prayer. Remember: Hamas fighters have slaughtered Christians in Gaza. They blew up the Palestinian Bible Society book store in Gaza. They throw their enemies off of high rise apartment buildings. They steal money and relief supplies that are supposed to help suffering widows and orphans. They are cruel, evil people. Pray that the Israeli forces truly turn to the Lord God of Israel and seek His power, His strength, and His victory. "Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight with me....Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me." (Psalm 34:1,4)

* Please pray that not a single innocent Israeli or Palestinian civilian is killed from this point forward. "The Lord...is patient toward you," wrote the Apostle Peter, "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

* Please pray for those who have been wounded on both sides, and for the family and friends of those who have been killed on both sides of the conflict. Pray that the Lord would bring them supernatural comfort and healing. Pray that they will turn to the God who said through the Prophet Isaiah, "the Lord has annointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bink up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners...to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion...the oil of gladness instead of mourning." (Isaiah 61-3)

* Please pray for the Israeli and Palestinian pastors and their congregations to have wisdom to know best how to love their neighbors and love their enemies, as Jesus commands -- and pray that they can help those who are suffering on both sides discover God's true and transformative love and plan for their lives.

* Please pray for wisdom for The Joshua Fund leadership as we seek to care for Israeli families suffering in the war zone. Pray, too, that we can find ways to care for Palestinians, as our heart goes out to both sides.

* Finally, please pray that we can recruit 100,000 partners ready, willing and able to pray with us for the people of the epicenter. Already, more than 80,000 people from around the world have signed up for Flash Traffic emails with geopolitical updates and prayer requests. I would really like to see us reach our goal of 100,000 such prayer partners by the end of January.

* Thanks so much for your faithful prayers and generous financial support. I am hearing from many Israelis here who are so grateful for the unconditional love and unwavering support of true followers of Jesus from the U.S., Canada and all over the world via The Joshua Fund.

Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." The Lord commanded us to love our neighbors. He commanded us to bless the people of Israel in real and practical ways, including to feed those who have no food. We are seeking to obey in the power of the Holy Spirit.

As always, we will do our best to keep you up-to-date on the kinds of projects we are doing, and brief you on how those projects are proceeding. We will also let you know about the kinds of projects we are developing for the future. In no way do we want to pressure anyone to give financially. We fully believe the Lord will provide for the needs of the people we seek to serve. But if you or others wish to help, we welcome your support, and all financial gifts are tax-deductible.

If you would like to make a year-end contribution to the on-going work of The Joshua Fund please make your check payable to "The Joshua Fund" and send to:

The Joshua Fund
18950 Base Camp Road
Monument, Colorado 80132-8009

Thanks so much and may the Lord richly bless you and your family as you bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus -- especially at critical moment in history of the epicenter.