On this week's episode, Gaza rockets rain down on Israel as Israeli defense ramps up; Franklin Graham: 'U.S. has turned its back on God'; imprisoned in Iran: one missionary's journey; and more.
Today on Christian World News –
Violence rocks the Middle East. Israel hits
back after rocket attacks from Gaza. How much
wider will the conflict go?
Jailed and beaten. This man risked his life
for just one thing: a copy of God's Word.
An American missionary boldly shares the love
of Jesus in a Muslim courtroom. Hear how the
Lord spared him from two death sentences in
All eyes on Israel as the conflict with Hamas
Hello, everyone, I'm Wendy Griffith. George
Thomas is on assignment.
Palestinian rockets have been falling on Israel
for a week now, some striking Jerusalem and
Tel Aviv. The assault forced Israel to ramp
up its efforts to take out terror sites. People
in Israel say that this time the Jewish state
has to be allowed to finish the job.
Julie Stahl has the story from Israel.
Air raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv for the
first time since the 1991 Gulf War on Thursday,
snarling traffic and sending shock waves through
the center of the country.
Some of us got panic. I was in the street.
I saw people run and trying to call their
One rocket reached further north than ever
before - some 30 miles - to the southern Tel
Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion.
Everybody just freaked out. People running
down like…it was crazy. It was the first
time here in Rishon Lezion.
More than 300 rockets hit Israel in the last
48 hours. Another 130 have been intercepted
by the Iron Dome anti-missile battery.
The army says they've struck more than 500
On Thursday, the army released this video
showing how it had dropped leaflets on the
Gaza Strip warning residents to stay away
from rocket launching sites. CBN News captured
it on video.
In the past, pressure from the international
community has forced Israel to stop before
it says it has accomplished its goal. But
Prime Minister Netanyahu says it won't happen
Israel will not tolerate this situation. This
is why my government has instructed the Israeli
Defense Forces to conduct surgical strikes
against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.
And this is why Israel will continue to take
whatever action is necessary to defend our
Israelis in Rishon Lezion say their country
should keep up the pressure.
The army needs its time to do its job and
finish the work over there.
I think they need to do more. Yeah, because
now after what happened yesterday I can feel…I
don't know how people in the south live, I
Don't stop until they are quiet. They should
go on their knees and beg for ceasefire, because
it can't continue like that.
Julie Stahl, CBN News, Rishon Lezion, Israel.
CBN's John Waage has spent years covering
the Middle East and joins us now.
John, how troubling is it that these rockets
are coming so close to Jerusalem?
Well, it is a source of trouble. This has
been something that even Israelis have been
able to kind of keep at an arm's length. It's
been hurting the people who live down in Sterota
(phonetic) and the other communities around
Gaza. But now it's reaching from Gaza into
the major population centers of Tel Aviv and
Jerusalem. And that's something that the Israeli
government just can't tolerate.
Now, whether there will be a ceasefire, we
have yet to see. But by-in-large, Christian
tourists come from all over the world to Jerusalem.
Ben Gurion airport is now within the range
of the rockets from Gaza. If they can hit
where they hit in Jerusalem, they can hit
the airport and it's a source of real concern,
not only for Israelis but for others coming
to the country.
Let's talk about the spiritual battle, John.
In the Bible it's so clear, God says he is
jealous over Jerusalem. He calls it the apple
of his eye. What do Christians need to understand
about the spiritual battle that's unfolding?
Well, this is a clash that's involving the
whole world's attention. And Christians need
to be actively involved in praying for the
peace of Jerusalem, as the Bible admonishes
us, and just to recognize that this is the
kind of thing that is going to be with us
really until the Lord returns. And it's something
that is an intense focus for prayer, even
as all the other things - hassles and economic
troubles - surround the world.
And of course we're praying for the innocent
Palestinians as well. God loves them as well.
John, thanks so much for being with us.
Thank you, Wendy.
Well, here in America, the Rev. Franklin Graham
is speaking out after the re-election of President
On the most recent edition of CBN's show,
The Brody File, Graham chastised Christians
and issued a warning to the nation.
What is your message to folks who are wondering
what just happened and it looks like they
feel like a semi hit them?
We know that from some of the statistics that
I've heard that the majority of Christians
in this country just did not vote, for whatever
reason. The vast majority of evangelicals
did not go to the polls.
God is in control and if Christians are upset
they need to be upset at themselves. We need
to do a better job of getting our people,
the church, to vote.
Now, I'm not trying to tell you how to vote,
but vote, my goodness! And vote for candidates
that stand for biblical values.
We need someone like a Jerry Falwell to come
back and resurrect the Moral Majority movement
where you get people that have a moral background
who are willing to come together and vote
for moral issues that are important to this
nation. If that will take place, we'd see
a great change in this country.
But our country is in trouble. It's in trouble
spiritually. We've turned our back on God.
The family is the backbone of society. And
if you take the family away—and there's
no way you can have a family with two females
or two males—if you just think biologically
how God made us, our plumbing is completely
different. He made us male and he made us
female. But God is the one who gave marriage.
And when you go to Genesis 2 and God made
Adam and Eve and said that the man is to leave
his mother and father and be joined to his
wife and they become one flesh.
And there's no room for us to consider gay
marriage, or same-sex marriage, because that
is redefining what God gave us. I want people
to know that I'm a sinner, I'm not better,
I'm not their judge, I'm not anybody's judge.
God is the judge, not me. I'm just here to
warn you what is going to take place if we
don't repent of our sins and be willing to
receive God's salvation, his Son, by faith.
Jesus Christ came to this earth on a rescue
mission to take our sins. He died and shed
his blood on Calvary's cross. He was buried
for our sins. And God raised his Son to life.
And if we're willing to simply believe it
by faith, God will forgive us, he will cleanse
us, and Christ will come into our hearts and
he'll change us.
And you can see more of David's interview
with Franklin Graham at The Brody File website.
Find it at cbnnews.com.
Coming up –
Meet a man who risked his life for a copy
of the Bible and spent 20 years in prison
Many of us probably have more than one Bible
in our homes, but in some countries believers
risk their lives to get a copy of God's Word.
The man in our next story was in prison for
his Christian witness in the communist nation
of Laos. What he wanted more than anything,
though, was to read the scriptures.
Here's his story.
I am in prison for telling others about Jesus.
You are an American spy! Write your confession
now! Write it! Confess now or I will have
I don't know why they didn't shoot me. The
interrogations are the only time I am out
of solitary. I am losing hope and fear I have
been forgotten. I recite Bible verses to myself
but the words are getting harder and harder
to remember. I can handle the torture, the
starvation, but I desperately need my Bible.
Every day I pray over and over for God to
give me a Bible.
Now I have my chance. The interrogations have
ended and the guards trust me to go into the
jungle to gather firewood. Working as fast
as I can, I will collect two days worth of
firewood. I'll bring one bundle back and leave
the second bundle in the woods.
This is what I need to do. It is very risky,
but God is answering my prayers. I will risk
everything to have a Bible.
I don't want to leave my wife, but I have
to or she will be in danger. Leaving her is
God has answered my prayer. I have a Bible,
but I must be careful.
They found my Bible but I would not give up.
I will bring in more Bibles. I will read God's
Word every chance
Then the letters came.
Bounchan, what is this? They are all addressed
to you! As is this one and that one.
Letters for me. Letters from Christians all
over the world.
Throw him back in solitary!
God not only answered my prayer for a Bible,
he let me know I am not forgotten.
I was encouraged to know…so many people
After retrieving my Bibles I was in prison
another 10 years. When I read my Bible I was
encouraged to keep fighting. I thank my brothers
and sisters around the world that were praying
for me. I thank the Lord so much…and thank
you once again.
Our thanks to the Voice of the Martyrs for
that story. And to find out more about Bounchan,
visit the VOM website. You can find the link
Coming up –
An American missionary boldly shares the love
of Jesus in an Iranian courtroom.
Swedish officials are halting the deportation
of an Iranian Christian seeking asylum.
Reza Jebbari converted to Christianity in
2010. He sought asylum in Sweden because he
feared persecution if he returned to Iran.
Swedish authorities originally rejected his
request. They questioned his conversion and
the risk of returning to Iran. His pastor
says Reza has a deep Christian identity.
This week the Swedish government decided to
grant him a new hearing.
American missionary Dan Baumann knows what
it's like to live in an Iranian jail cell.
He was arrested in Iran after spending two
weeks there spreading the Gospel.
After authorities put him in jail what happened
next was left in God's hands.
Yeah, in my walk with the Lord in the many
dangerous places, I've always seen God come
through. And all of a sudden the thought hit
me, well, what if this is different.
And there I was in prison in Iran. It was
out of my hands. There was nothing I could
do. Either God would do a miracle or I would
They put me in a cell in isolation. Had a
light in one corner and that was on 24 hours
a day. It was in the wintertime, there was
actually snow outside, but the heater didn't
They only let me out of the room to be interrogated,
which was once a day or sometimes not at all.
And then they would lead me down this hallway
and take me into the interrogation room, which
was an ugly room. It had bloodstains on the
floor, very dark and murky. It was definitely
the most terrifying part of the whole experience.
The beatings would start and they would be
slapping in the face, hitting in the stomach,
sometimes kicking. I struggled with faith:
was God with me, did he love me, if God's
good why would he allow me through this situation?
And I remember one day I woke up and I was
done, you know, inside. And I remember waking
up that day thinking to myself, if I'm going
to be here the rest of my life, why not check
out? My only thought was not to stay there,
and the only way not to stay there was to
I stuck my head in the sink. I filled it up
and tied one end to a bracket, put it over
my head, and then hopefully would tie the
other end tight thinking that, you know, with
my head in the water in a few minutes I'd
Four times I tried to kill myself, but every
time I tried I was too scared to tie the other
end. And I'll never forget the last time.
Again I tried, again I was like come on, do
it, and again I just couldn't do it, I couldn't
tie it tight. And I remember at that moment,
jerking my head out of the water, and if I
was ever aware of my brokenness I was aware
of it at that moment.
And I remember falling down on the ground
and I was broken. And if I was ever aware
of my shame, I was aware of my shame at that
moment. And I remember lying down on the ground
and in that moment all of a sudden the room
fills with this glorious light. And I turn
around to see what's going on, and there is
And he's standing in front of me with this
big grin and smile on his face. And it was
at that lowest point that he met me. And he
looks at me and he stretches out his hands
and he puts them underneath me like this.
And in the vision, as I see Jesus, he looks
at me and says this: He says, "Dan, I love
you and I promise to carry you through this
And from that day until this day, I've never
had those thoughts again. And that's who Jesus
is. He meets us at our lowest and he can rescue
us from the depths of us and he wants to give
us life in the midst of the pain of life.
And he meets us and he loves us. And he wants
to rescue us no matter what we're going through.
I found out indirectly that I was under two
death sentences – one for being a missionary,
one for being a spy. And again in that prison
I heard executions, yeah, quite regularly.
And there was my moment in a courtroom, I
stood on the stand, hundreds of people in
the room, video cameras, judges. And then
came the question: "Tell us today, sir, why,
why did you come to Iran?"
Something rose up within me that, yeah, the
power of God. And I remember looking at the
judge and saying this: "I came to Iran to
tell you about Jesus Christ."
And when I said that, I'm like, oh, what did
I say! And all of a sudden I said it again.
And then I said it again. And then something
started to grow in my heart and for about
twenty minutes I just preached the Gospel.
And I told everyone in that courtroom, and
I told everyone who could hear me all about
who Jesus is, all about how much he loved
All of a sudden I realized something – I
am free! I am free! So what if they kill me.
My life is bought by the blood of Jesus. My
home is in heaven and no one can take that
And I realized that in the midst of death
itself, God gave me the grace to stand up
and speak the truth. And in doing so it brought
freedom in my heart, knowing that this life
isn't it. There is more. And I'm going home
one day and no one can take that away.
The situation is even more difficult for Iran's
Christians. For the latest on their struggles
you can go
Guatemala is still recovering from a major
earthquake last week. At least 44 people died
and more than a million are suffering in the
As Ken Hulme tells us, CBN's Operation Blessing
was among the first responders.
Crumpled cars and collapsed buildings are
signs of the worst earthquake in Guatemala
since the 1970s.
We lost everything: our house, and everything
that was inside it. We were very scared.
Operation Blessing has been working hard to
bring that help. One of the first on the scene,
Operation Blessing brought trucks with 20,000
pounds of food, water, household and personal
We went to homes and shelters in the surrounding
communities. There, we found the needs were
just as great.
Then we met a teenager named Lady who suffers
with lupus. Without medicine, her pain is
unbearable. So we brought her enough medicine
to last six months. She expressed her gratitude,
for the most part, without words.
And of course we couldn't forget Odilia. For
now, she's staying here with the children
in this shell of a building that was once
We gave her a bag filled with food and other
commodities as well as two foam pads to sleep
Thank you. You are very kind.
And that's our show for this week. Thanks
so much for joining us. From all of us here
at Christian World News, good-bye and God