World Watch Today

Egypt's Military Issues Ultimatum

Steven LeBlanc

The Egyptian military is attempting to stabilize the massive unrest that is underway in Egypt. The Egyptian military issued an ultimatum Monday, demanding that President Morsi and the ruling Muslim Brotherhood start a dialogue with opposition members within 48 hours. If Morsi fails to dialogue with opposition groups the Military may immediately call for new elections.

The opposition movement called Tamarod (means: rebel) is behind the huge rally against Morsi. Tamarod has united a variety of groups under one umbrella to confront Morsi’s failure to improve the economy. Egypt is very poor and getting poorer. There is a very large class of unemployed or underemployed men who are desperate to see change—they are angry.

In an attempt to gain support from the people President Morsi plans to prevent bakers from selling wheat flour for profit. Wheat is the number #1 staple of the Egyptian diet, and Egypt (84 million population) imports more wheat than any other nation in the world. The price of bread is of paramount importance in Egypt; riots can break out if the price of bread goes too high.

Egypt is geopolitically important because it controls the Suez Canal, and because it is the most populous nation in the Arab world. The Suez Canal remains a major artery for global shipping (4 million barrels flow through the Canal every day).

America provides $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt every year—money Egypt desperately needs. Also Israel maintains a cool peace with Egypt. The Middle East needs to see a stable Egypt that retains a working relationship with Israel. War between Israel and Egypt would damage the world financial markets and the millions of people who live in that region of the world.

The next few days and weeks will reveal just how unstable Egypt is. Egypt plays a key role in the end-time prophecy of Daniel 11. We are told that just before Christ returns– “the land of Egypt shall not escape” the military invasion by the king of the North (verse 42)—a European power, that will move swiftly into the Middle East provoked by the leader of an end-time Muslim alliance led by the king of the South (verse 40). Remember, this scenario has not yet materialized, but it will happen in the near future.

Watching Egypt is important because of its Biblical relevance and geopolitical standing (most powerful army in the Arab world).

America Abandons Definition of Marriage

Steven LeBlanc

A verse from the Old Testament warns about the ruinous effects of a nation that does not seek God and abandons moral boundaries: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” — Judges 17:6. We have become such a nation.

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a watershed victory for gay rights on Wednesday by forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where it is legal and opening the door for sodomite marriage in California. The rulings come in the face of an American population that has become indifferent toward marriage. Opinion polls show a steady increase in U.S. public support for gay marriage, especially among those under age 35.

Today 12 of the 50 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, recognized gay marriage. California will become the 13th state to allow it.

It is impossible to restrain a people intent on throwing off Godly rules and principles. Proverbs 14:34 says that, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” – we have become a shameful nation.

President Obama weighed in on the ruling a day after the court decisions, saying he believed same-sex marriages performed in one state should apply in others, regardless of any bans. “If you’ve been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else, you’re still married,” he said. “Under federal law you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple.”

Our national leaders lead us in supporting evil and disrespect for God’s law. God spoke to such a country many years ago that pursued the same path of moral decay:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.—Hosea 4:6.

Dangerous Illusion-Iran's New President

Steven LeBlanc

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the international community should not be swayed to soften sanctions on Iran because “moderate” cleric Hassan Rouhani won the Presidential election. Rouhani appeals to the West because he is seen as a more reasonable man—a man the West can talk to. The hope is that now Iran may be more receptive to negotiations over its nuclear program. Israel is not taken with this illusion.

The danger for Israel is that Rouhani will take a more quiet and calculating strategy with the West. Netanyahu is saying Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

We continue to watch the international response to the Iranian threat, always keeping in mind that the bigger picture shows the Middle East and Israel being invaded by a European-based power described by Daniel as the king of the North (Daniel 11:40-41). Zechariah describes a vicious attack on Jerusalem will eventually take place, with half the city going into captivity (Zechariah 14:1-3).

“Listen to your heart”...Is Dangerous

Is God’s word the center of all you do? “My son, give attention to my words; keep them in the midst of your heart” ( Proverbs 4:20). The human heart is a vital organ that sustains life within our bodies. The left ventricle of our heart is larger than the right. It has to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body and therefore needs more room to do so. The right ventricle pumps blood to the closely placed lungs which is then oxygenated and pumped back to the heart so the left ventricle can do its job. It is because of these vital functions that the heart is still referred to as the center of the body, though it is not exactly centrally placed. Since God is our creator, He uses this example of the heart to parallel the utmost importance of having His word at the center of ourselves.

Gods’ word should be the center of everything we do. Unfortunately, Gods word is not found in the midst of many. In November of 1989 the number one song in this nation was entitled “Listen to your heart”. 24 years later our nation is still listening to their hearts. These hearts, without Gods word, are the same ones He tells us are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Each year about 2.4 million marriages begin in the United States. Within the same amount of time, one short year, about 1.2 million people end their marriage with divorce. It is safe to say that the better part of those 1.2 million people were “following their heart” to what they hoped would be a happy life. People often then file for divorce touting ridiculous popular mantras such as “do what feels right”, “you have to do what makes you happy” and, again, “listen to your heart”. We as a people have forgotten the benefit of keeping Gods word at the center of our decisions. Galatians 5:22 lists longsuffering as one of the wonderful fruits of Gods precious spirit. To work on the marriage and put all efforts in to making it better through Gods advice escapes people. This is sad evidence of a great lack of longsuffering. Instead of listening to God, we as a people listen to these modern advisors. Nowhere in God’s word will you find those easy exits.

“As in water face reflects face, so a mans heart reveals the man” (Prov. 27:19). In Genesis 27 we find Esau stewing over the difference in blessings given to himself and his brother. He allows evil, angry thoughts to take root in his heart. Verse 41 “Esau said in his heart, the days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob” Here is a perfect example of letting an angry heart lead instead of Gods word. God word tells us to “be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19) Also, Exodus 20 lists “though shalt not murder as 1 of only 10 simple straight forward commandments directly from God. Esau is choosing to listen to his heart instead of listening to God.

“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes” (Duet. 11:18)– God wants us to have His word firmly planted in our hearts. He advises us to do so because He knows if we do not totally commit our hearts in this way, we will be led to sin indefinitely. The word commit is defined as “pledging oneself to a position on an issue “. In Numbers 30:1-2 Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. This is not to be confused with another modern saying we hear so often, “give your heart to Jesus”. Many people use that saying as an event of temporary (shallow) commitment. Our commitment or pledge to follow God is not a onetime event. It is a constant, mindful effort that we choose to make each day. To consider it anything less, is disrespectful.

As our perfect advisor, God, has instructions for us to follow at all times. It is up to us to make the commitment, pledge to follow Him at all times. His word must be the central place from which we draw all advice. Luke 12:34” For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Crucial Iranian elections: June 14th

Steven LeBlanc

I am watching closely developments in Iran concerning the presidential elections that take place on Friday, June 14th. There is serious infighting among the regime’s rival factions; this election is already shaped by threats, fear and great uncertainty.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is not as powerful as he once was. The reality is that the regime’s rank and file are no longer a consistent group all on the “same page”, and since the chaos of the 2009 elections, many leaders in Iran have lost faith in Khamenei’s leadership as the unquestioned authority figure of Iran. A common slogan seen in graffiti throughout Iran is “my vote is for the overthrow” of the regime.

I continue to keep in mind what we are told in the book of Daniel, that God often removes and sets up leaders according to His purpose and insights: Daniel 2:21– He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings…

The favorite to win is hard-line presidential candidate Saeed Jalili (see photo above) – Iran’s top nuclear negotiator – but Iranian elections are so unpredictable it is impossible to know the winner in advance. Jalili, 47, has the support of ultraconservative cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who previously mentored Ahmadinejad. Jalili is not about to apologize for Iran’s nuclear program goals. Hardliners see the nuclear program as a sign of national pride and any concession to America and Europe as a slap in the face to Iran’s sovereign rights.

The Iranian president does not have a direct say in major policies such as the country’s foreign policy decisions; the country’s most important decisions are in the hands of the ruling clerics and the powerful Revolutionary Guard. The presidency, however, can help influence the man on the street. The president also directs the economy, which plays an increasingly important role as international sanctions stab deeper because of Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the presidential elections in Iran will have no impact on Iran’s continued advance toward nuclear weapons, or its arming of Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

On the nuclear front…10 rounds of negotiations in the last 17 months have failed to achieve any breakthrough. The West accuses Iran of stonewalling. Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, remarked, “To be frank, for some time now we have been going around in circles,”

It has been stated that if Iran got nuclear weapons, most of the Arab world would tremble, not celebrate. The question remains will America and Israel stop Iran?

Iran is also moving toward a possible confrontation with the West and most of the Arab world over Syria. Tehran is backing its proxy, the Syrian government, against major opposition from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and Qatar.

We will analyze Iranian election results next week.

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