· The Middle East in Focus
· Iran in the News
· Pray for the Persecuted Church
· Statement of the Embassy of Israel
· New Coalition Confronts Oil Speculators
Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
P.O. Box 5152
Herndon, VA 20172-1970
The Daily Brief Wednesday, July 16, 2008
"The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth." (Isaiah 26:7)
The Daily Brief
1. "Homosexual Couples" In U.S. Are One Step Closer To Marriage In Massachusetts - International Herald Tribune
Same-sex couples in the United States are one step closer to being able to marry in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Senate voted Tuesday to repeal a 1913 law that has been used to bar gay couples residing in other states from marrying in Massachusetts. The law prohibited couples from obtaining marriage licenses if they could not legally wed in the states in which they reside. The state's House of Representatives is also expected to vote on the repeal this week. "The Massachusetts Senate has no right to infringe on the internal issues of how other states define marriage, but that's exactly what they voted today to do," said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute. The bill passed on a voice vote.
· Man has no right to challenge and change God's Word on marriage between one man and one woman. We humbly ask for forgiveness, God, for our nation and for those states who have wrongly "justified" their creation of "same-sex marriage." Please teach us how to rightly pray so that these abominations against You and Your definition of marriage can be reversed. In Your Name and for Your glory, we pray. Amen.
· "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination." (Leviticus 18: 22 NKJV)
2. McDonald's Boycott Blows Into Chicago - OneNewsNow.com
Representatives from several traditional values grassroots groups -- Americans for Truth, Liberty Counsel, Illinois Family Institute, AFA of Pennsylvania, and Culture Campaign -- calling for a boycott of McDonald's restaurants across America are in Chicago today, bringing attention to their cause right across the street from the company's world headquarters. There they will ask consumers to join a boycott already called and led by the American Family Association (AFA), in response to active participation by corporate McDonald's in the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).McDonald's gave $20,000 to the NGLCC for membership and received a seat on its board of directors for its Vice President of Communications Richard Ellis. The company has indicated it throws its full weight behind that group's advocacy efforts. AFA President Donald Wildmon said the situation is "strange" because "it's the family that McDonald's appeals to - Children's playland, you know, all the little toys, all of that. And they are promoting a lifestyle that would utterly destroy the traditional family."
· Dearest Lord, may we as Your children always remember to let You go before us as we encounter the things of the world. Please be with these conservative groups as they continue to bring to light these problems that sully Your Name and Word. We ask for Your grace and mercy to visit the thousands of employees and franchise owners now in the McDonald's system, as they seek Your face to draw a line in the sand against this gay agenda at headquarters. May all of this be rectified for Your Glory. In Your Name, we pray. Amen.
· "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. . . And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6: 7-9 NKJV)
3. Europe Looks No Longer Immune To U.S. Economic Storm - International Herald Tribune
On Tuesday, an influential poll of German investors by the Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim found that confidence has plummeted to its lowest level since the survey was started in 1991. Results say that Europe, which held the world's economic storms at bay for the last year, has finally succumbed. Spain, Ireland and Denmark are either in, or on the brink, of a recession. Italy is stagnating. France is weakening fast. And Germany, the sturdy locomotive of European growth, is suddenly faltering - dashing most residual hopes that Europe could escape the upheaval in the United States. The tense mood in the United States is pushing investors to sell dollars and seek refuge in the euro. For all the storm clouds here, Europe still looks like a safe harbor next to the United States, where fears about the solvency of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have rattled the broader market. The euro hit a new record high against the dollar Tuesday. But still, the strong euro -- combined with high oil prices -- is finally exacting a toll on Europe's export machine.
· May Europe begin to turn their hearts, minds and souls toward You, Lord, as America and the world seeks economic relief that only can come from You. May You continue to give wisdom to those financial analysts and organizations who have responsibility for America's and Europe's well-being. Again, may many be saved due to these economic downturns and financial failings. In Your Mighty Name we pray. Amen.
· "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6: 33-34 NKJV)
4. Paulson: No 'Immediate' Freddie, Fannie Aid - ABC News
As President Bush sought to reassure Americans about the state of the economy, the Federal Reserve chairman today painted a considerably bleaker picture and the U.S. treasury secretary urged Congress to pass a mortgage assistance plan that, thus far, has no price tag.
· No matter WHAT our personal circumstances might be, our Lord promises to sustain each of us, and His word is true. Continue to seek Him daily for guidance in all matters pertaining to your own finances; and continue to cry out that this economic shaking might cause others to find and know the only One who has all power and all answers for men: Jesus Christ, our Lord.
· "I am the way, the truth, and the light; no man cometh to the Father but by Me." (John 14:6)
5. As Losses Mount For Airlines, Passengers Likely To See Higher Fares And Fees - Associated Press
As Delta Air Lines and American Airlines reported big second-quarter losses Wednesday, they signaled customers should expect more hits to their checkbooks. That point was underscored as Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. reported a $1.04 billion loss in the April-June quarter and Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp., the parent of American, posted a $1.45 billion loss for the quarter. One-time charges and unprecedented fuel costs impacted both airlines, which saw their shares soar as their results beat Wall Street expectations and oil prices dropped. The two carriers have posted combined net losses of $9.2 billion since the start of the year. According to Department of Transportation statistics released last week, the number of domestic passengers carried by U.S. airlines decreased 3.3 percent in April from a year earlier. Fares have risen across the country since January over 20 percent, and much higher in smaller cities, according to Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com. Oil prices have doubled in the last year. Airlines find themselves in a fight for survival, as they furiously try to conserve cash to keep their operations going.
· Help our airline industry, gracious Lord. May they turn to You for help. For Your glory and in Your Name, we pray. Amen.
· "Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man, the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy." (Psalm 147: 5, 10-11 NKJV)
6. President Bush: "We're going through a tough time"- USA Today
President Bush sought to reassure Americans Tuesday about the strength of the nation's banking and mortgage lending institutions, even as he urged Congress to prop up troubled home mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "The bottom line is this: We're going through a tough time," Bush said. "My hope is that people take a deep breath and realize that their deposits are protected by the U.S. government." The president said his administration's actions to solidify the housing market, coupled with needed action on energy and trade bills, should enable the nation to "come through this challenge stronger than ever before."
· Yes, let's do pray in agreement with the heart of this President, that all Americans WILL "take a deep breath" and get a bigger perspective on what is developing. Again, wisdom is ours in Christ Jesus. Let us ask Him to help us now.
· "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." (James 1:5-8)
The Middle East in Focus
The Middle East in Focus This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE: ". . . mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15b)
Capitol Hill Prayer Partners wishes to extend our prayers and condolences to the families of the two brave IDFsoldiers, who tonight are mourning their loss. We join with you in honoring the lives and the sacrifice of these two brave young men, Staff Sergeant Eldad Regev and Sergeant Major Ehud Goldwasser, who have given their lives in the service of their country.
1. Kidnapped troops return in coffins from Lebanon - Ynet News
The bodies Israel Defense Forces soldiers Staff Sergeant Eldad Regev and Sergeant Major Ehud Goldwasser were handed over to the Red Cross on the Lebanese side of the border at 9 am Wednesday, more than two years after they were kidnapped into Lebanon on July 12, 2006.
2.The Red Cross transferred two coffins to Israel - Jerusalem Post
IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu announced Wednesday, that the process of identification had begun and could take many hours. Benayahu said that Israel does not trust the UN's identification and will conduct its own examination. "We trust only ourselves."[These bodies have since been officially identified as those of Staff Sergeant Eldad Regev and Sergeant Major Ehud Goldwasser. Please refer to the statement, printed in Article Five, below, for more information about this tragic incident.]
3. Palestinians Celebrate in the Streets - Jerusalem Post
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were handing out sweets to celebrate the handover of the two coffins. Dozens of Palestinians, holding Palestinian and Lebanese flags, rejoiced at the prospect that Samir Kuntar would be freed.
4. Hero's Welcome for Grisly Killers - Front Page Magazine
Israel's neighbors are gearing up for celebrations. For those Israelis who still have the stamina to look, these events will again reveal the chasm between Israel's life-affirming Jewish-democratic culture and the unchanging Middle Eastern jihad-and death-culture of its neighbors.This week most of the Olmert government's . . . swap with Hezbollah will be completed including the freeing of Samir Kuntar and four other live, dangerous Lebanese terrorists.
5. Synagogue becomes terrorist training center - Israel Today
Israel's largest daily newspaper on Tuesday published photographs of a synagogue in a former Jewish town in Gaza that has now been transformed into a Hamas training center. Where Jews once worshipped God, Islamic terrorists now rehearse the murder and abduction of Israelis, reported Yediot Ahronot.
6. Tony Blair Cancels Gaza Visit After Israeli Intel Uncovers Plot to Kill Him - Fox News
On Tuesday, Mideast envoy Tony Blair called off what would have been the first visit of a top Western diplomat to Hamas-ruled Gaza, after Israel's Shin Bet security service received "pinpointed and imminent" intelligence that there was going to be an assassination attempt on his life.
Iran in the News
For all the headlines below, we thank God for the promise of His Word: "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you." (2 Chronicles 20:6)
1. Iran Could Strike U.S. by 2015, U.S. Officials Say - Worthy News
Iranian technology is on pace to build a long-range missile that could strike the United States within a decade, a high-level Pentagon official told FOX News.
2. U.S. Says Iran Has Missile That Could Hit Europe - ABC News
The Pentagon said on Tuesday that Iran has the ability to launch a ballistic missile capable of hitting sections of eastern and southern Europe.
3. Secret Letter From Iran: No Nuke Talks, Just Peace - NewsMax
Iran has told big powers it will enter no more "condescending" talks meant to scrap its nuclear program but wants to negotiate a broader peace and security deal, according to an Iranian letter leaked on Tuesday.
4. U.S., Iran To Have 'One-Time' Nuclear Meeting - NY Sun
In a break with past Bush administration policy, a top American diplomat will for the first time join colleagues from other world powers at a weekend meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, The Associated Press has learned.
Pray for the Persecuted Church
Prayers for the Persecuted Church This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE: "May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you." (Psalm 20:1)
1. Protestant Christian Faces 15 Years Prison In Uzbekistan - Worthy News
A Protestant Christian leader in Uzbekistan faces up to 15 years in prison on charges that include teaching religion without official approval and encouraging people to read "prohibited Christian literature," a major religious rights group said Monday, July 14.
2. Indonesia: Religious Tensions Rise in West Papua - Worthy News
Authorities in West Papua, Indonesia, must move fast to prevent tension between Christian and Muslim communities escalating into a Malukan-style conflict, according to a recent report by the International Crisis Group (ICG).
3. Uzbekistan "Bans" Bibles - Worthy News
Thousands of Christians in Uzbekistan were without anticipated Bibles and related Christian literature Sunday, July 13, as authorities have reportedly imposed a ban on Bible imports, a major Christian publishing group said.
4. Ex-Pakistan Minister Appeals For Christian Rights Amid Fresh Reports Of Kidnappings - Worthy News
A former federal minister and key human rights official has demanded more political influence for minority Christians in Pakistan's parliament amid fresh reports of anti-Christian violence and kidnappings of believers.
Statement of the Embassy of Israel
Statement of the Embassy of Israel: Remains of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser Officially Identified[an excerpt]
Late this morning, the bodies of First Sergeant Ehud Goldwasser and Sergeant First Class Eldad Regev were positively identified by representatives of the IDF Military Rabbinate, the Medical Corps and other forensic experts at the Rosh Hanikra crossing. First Sergeant Goldwasser and Sergeant First Class Regev have been posthumously promoted to Sergeant Major and First Sergeant, respectively. The times and locations of their funerals will be announced later. These are difficult times for the Israeli people and the families. The IDF mourns with and accompanies the families in their hour of need.
With the completion of the identification of the fallen soldiers and having informed their families, the IDF has begun transferring the Lebanese prisoners and terrorists' bodies to Lebanon as decided by the Israeli Government on 15 July 2008. This painful process exemplifies Israel's moral commitment to secure the return of all of their soldiers sent out on operational missions. It demonstrates a compelling moral strength which stems from Judaism, the values of Israeli society and the spirit of the IDF.. . . Israel has a duty, as a nation and as a people, to protect those who risk their young lives to defend its citizens. Every Israeli soldier knows that their country will do its utmost to retrieve them should they fall into the hands of the enemy. This is an expression of Israel's deep reverence for human life and of its respect for the fallen. This principle stems from Israel's sense of morality as well as from Jewish ethics. It is a demonstration of Israel's moral and physical strength.
There is no comparison between soldiers who guard a border to protect civilians and terrorists who penetrate it in order to kill them. Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were serving as ordinary IDF reserve soldiers, checking a border fence, when they were abducted by Hizbullah on 12 July 2006. They were on Israeli sovereign territory conducting routine duties when seized by terrorists in a cross-border attack.
On the other hand, Samir Kuntar, the foremost terrorist of the five being released, is a heinous murderer, responsible for one of the most notorious terror attacks on Israel. Kuntar led a squad of four terrorists belonging to Abu Abbas's Palestine Liberation Front who infiltrated Israel via the sea on 22 April 1979. At midnight, after killing a police officer, they broke into the Nahariya home of the Haran family and abducted Danny and his four-year-old daughter Einat, taking them to the beach.
Danny was shot at close range by Kuntar, as his terrified daughter looked on. Kuntar then slaughtered Einat in cold blood by smashing her head against a rock with the butt of his rifle. In the gunfire battle that developed, another Israeli policeman was killed. In the meantime, Danny's wife Smadar was hiding in the home's crawlspace with her two-year-old daughter Yael. Tragically, she accidently smothered her little girl while stifling her cries to prevent the terrorists from discovering them.
It is morally reprehensible that Samir Kuntar, a vile child-killer, is now being hailed as a hero by Hizbullah. An organization, just like a society, can be judged by whom it chooses to idolize and to hold up as an example for its youth. Hizbullah, an extremist Islamist organization, worships death and destruction, all the while clinging to its goal of destroying Israel.
Hizbullah not only poses a danger to Israel, it is also an obstacle to peace and a threat to Lebanon's stability. Hizbullah, an Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization, is dedicated to the destruction of Israel through violence and terrorism. Its extremist Islamic ideology rejects all peace talks and threatens the security of any pragmatic Arab party that seeks a negotiated settlement with Israel. While based in Lebanon and claiming to represent its interests, Hizbullah is oblivious to the aspirations of the Lebanese population. It should be recalled that it was Hizbullah's unprovoked abduction of the two Israeli reservists, along with its simultaneous bombardment of northern Israel, that sparked the Second Lebanon War, to the detriment of millions of Israelis and Lebanese citizens alike.
Hizbullah persists in defying the international community. It is continuing to smuggle arms and ammunition into Lebanon, and to rebuild its missile arsenal, in blatant violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701. It trains, equips and deploys its terrorists not only in areas bordering Israel, but throughout Lebanon, intimidating both Lebanese security forces and UN peace-keepers. The international community must act with determination to remove this manifest threat to the civilians of both Israel and Lebanon.
It is important to note that the deal to return IDF soldiers doesn't legitimize Hizbullah. Israel's decision to return its soldiers should not be interpreted as indicating any change in Israel's policy towards this Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization. The international community must continue to recognize the danger posed by Hizbullah and its extremist cohorts to the stability of the Middle East and should redouble its support of the pragmatic elements in the region, who seek to make peace through dialogue and compromise.
For other related information please visit the website of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs at www.mfa.gov.il
New Coalition Confronts Oil Speculators
'STOP OIL SPECULATION NOW' COALITION CALLS FOR ACTION TO STOP RECORD ENERGY PRICE INCREASES
Record-high oil prices are hurting American families and damaging our nation's economy. In response to this growing crisis, 38 organizations have joined together to push for effective short-, mid- and long- term solutions to help materially reduce unnecessarily high energy prices. The Stop Oil Speculation Now coalition is a diverse and growing organization of industries, businesses, labor groups and ultimately concerned citizens united in support of responsible energy policies and prices. Most Members are airline companies and associations; others include bus, cargo and trucking groups.
"Oil speculation has upset the traditional balance between supply and demand," said Michael W. Masters, short equity hedge fund portfolio manager and founder of Masters Capital Management, LLC. "If Congress would pass meaningful speculation reform, oil prices would drop significantly within a matter of days or weeks."
The Stop Oil Speculation Now coalition, in addition to its mid- and long-term supply and conservation elements, is calling for Congress to push for lower prices immediately. (Air Transportation Association, PRNewswire 7/11/08) To learn more about oil speculation and its effects on America's economy, or to tell your member of Congress now that you demand action, now, please visit www.StopOilSpeculationNow.com [Source: Intercessors for America]