Because Congress is still in session, we will publish an abbreviated edition of the Brief this Monday, December 31st. Happy New Year, Everyone!
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The Daily Brief Friday, December 28, 2012
"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)
The Daily Brief
1. Obama, lawmakers to discuss short-term fiscal deal - USA TODAY
President Obama and congressional leaders will spend Friday afternoon discussing short-term plans to avoid the tax hikes and budget cuts that kick in next week if the nation goes over the so-called "fiscal cliff." White House officials said they wouldn't comment before a 3 p.m. meeting between Obama and the leaders but noted that the president has offered to work on a short-term deal to beat the Dec. 31 deadline for the cliff.
B.) 'After you' dance on 'fiscal cliff' deadline - Washington Times
House Republican leaders said Thursday that they will bring their chamber back to town this weekend to try to avert the "fiscal cliff" -- the sole optimistic sign on a day when pessimism deepened within both parties on whether Congress can avoid the looming tax increases and automatic spending cuts.
C.) Lawmakers ramp up the rhetoric, with no plan in sight to avert fiscal crisis - Fox News
The rhetoric heated up Thursday as time on the clock wound down for a fiscal crisis deal, with lawmakers trickling back into Washington and no plan of action in place for averting the tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to hit next week.
- Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, we know that even when financially difficult times come, Your promises are always in effect, and You are faithful to watch over Your Word to perform it. Father, again we ask You to intervene in the affairs of man, to give wisdom to those who are making these decisions. We ask that You be present at this White House meeting of our President and leaders of Congress. We bind up spirits of division, strife, and intimidation. We pray for unity, a consensus of opinion, and fiscal integrity to come forth at this meeting, and in the house and senate, as they work to deal with this crisis. Also, we ask that as they work on a "short term" resolution, that they all realize the necessity of making long-range changes as well, and move in that direction now. In Your name we pray, Amen.
- "Learn to do good; Seek justice, Come now, and let us reason together,says the Lord."(Isaiah 1:17,18)
2. Will 2013 Mark the Beginning of American Decline? - Bloomberg
Sooner or later, it will be America's turn to fall out of favor with investors and to see its own interest rates rise. It is hard to know when that day will come, or precisely what pressures the country will face. Let me only venture one forecast: We will not be ready.
- Abba, we do see our debt soaring out of control now, and our credit rating having been downgraded once already. Surely we do reap what we sow, whether it be good seed or bad. Now that we are "teetering" on the edge of the "fiscal cliff", the world does take notice, and there are consequences for our decisions. We pray for our nation's leaders that they will "reign in" frivolous spending, and that the people will hold them accountable. May fiscal sanity return to Congress and the White House, we pray. Amen.
- "And when they heard it, lifted their voices together with one united mind to God and said, O Sovereign Lord, You are He Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them, Why did the heathen become wanton and insolent and rage, and the people imagine and study and plan vain (fruitless) things [that will not succeed]?" (Acts 4:24,25)
3. U.S. Drought: Third Highest Severe to Extreme Percentage on Record - Weather Channel
Extreme and exceptional drought, the worst categories on the U.S. Drought Monitor, are on the rise again. The graphic above from meteorologist Matt Sitkowski at the The Weather Channel shows this with the peak occurring back in August followed by a decline in the fall and now a rising percentage as we close out the year. When just examining the worst category "exceptional drought", the United States will end the year with its highest percentage in this category so far in 2012.
B.) Winter snow storm hits New England as '16 die' in US - BBC
Sixteen people have been reported killed by a severe snow storm moving through the north-eastern US after disrupting Christmas in the Midwest. States in New England are seeing heavy snowfall, with over a foot (30cm) already fallen in parts of Massachusetts, weather officials said. Flights were grounded and road collisions reported as the storm moved across the middle of the US.
- Father, while the nations rage with economic and political unrest, the weather is also groaning with extremes. Places that are already flooding, receive more rain or snow. Places that need rain, find that drought conditions continue. O Lord, we cry out to You for Your solutions. We humble ourselves and ask for rain or snow in those dry, parched areas of our nation. We also ask for relief from "inordinate" rain or snow, in flood ravaged areas of our nation, especially in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. We repent, Lord, for our national sins, and our individual sins, as well. We call on Your grace and mercy to cover us. Amen.
- "As high as the sky is above the earth are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For just as rain and snow fall from the sky and do not return there, but water the earth, causing it to bud and produce, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so is My word that goes out from My mouth - it will not return to Me unfulfilled; but it will accomplish what I intend, and cause to succeed what I sent it to do." (Isaiah 55:9-11)
4. Renewal of surveillance law set for vote in Senate - Washington Times
With talks stalled on averting the "fiscal cliff" ahead of Tuesday's deadline, the Senate spent hours Thursday debating whether to renew an antiterrorism measure that has led to warrantless wiretaps of Americans.
- Lord, we ask that our Constitutional rights would be protected and honored by those in this administration, from the President, on down throughout Congress, and the Supreme Court. We understand the need to track criminals or those who wish to cause harm. However, we ask that any surveillance would be limited to those who have given sufficient concern to warrant their being watched. Protect us Lord from unlawful search and harassment. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
- "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14)
5. National Rifle Association vows to fight arms trade treaty at U.N.- UNITED NATIONS (Reuters)
The leading U.S. pro-gun group, the National Rifle Association, has vowed to fight a draft international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global arms trade and dismissed suggestions that a recent U.S. school shooting bolstered the case for such a pact. The U.N. General Assembly voted on Monday to restart negotiations in mid-March on the first international treaty to regulate conventional arms trade after a drafting conference in July collapsed because the U.S. and other nations wanted more time. Washington supported Monday's U.N. vote.
- Lord, we come against a "one world government" that involves the losing of our sovereignty as a nation, and the ability to enact our own laws. We ask that You would cause the members of Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court, to not cite laws in other nations having any relevancy to our laws. We ask that the NRA would be successful in fighting any agreements within the United Nations from being incumbent upon our nation. We pray for the preservation of our Constitutional right to bear arms and defend ourselves. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
- "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." (I Corinthians 16:13,14)
6. After Newtown, Americans want their guns, with some restrictions - Yahoo
Nearly seven in 10 Americans support the idea of placing strong or moderate limits on gun ownership following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said on Thursday. But laws that permit citizens to carry concealed weapons or use lethal force for protection while in public were just as popular, the poll said. The Reuters/Ipsos poll, which surveyed 1,477 Americans online between December 23 and 27, highlighted the difficulty U.S. policymakers face in devising ways to curb gun violence: gun control laws enjoy fervent support in the abstract, but laws preserving specific gun ownership privileges are also well liked.
B.)Teachers learn how to use guns in Utah- MSN
Gun-rights advocates on Thursday provided six hours of training in the use of concealed weapons for 200 Utah teachers in the latest effort to arm teachers to confront school assailants. "We are providing a class for educators within the state of Utah, pre-school through secondary schools, to learn about concealed carry and proper gun handling and gun laws," said Clark Aposhian, President of the Utah Shooting Sport Council, the state's leading gun lobby.
~Father, we admit that all of us were horrified by the massacre of our children in Ct. two weeks ago, especially those of us who are parents and grandparents. We all have experienced intense emotions as we have tried to cope with this terrible tragedy. We do pray, however, that there will not be an impulsive reaction..by directing our attention and anger at the weapons, instead of the perpetrators. Abba, we have a sin problem in our nation. We have excluded You from our schools and much of our government. We have glorified violence through games and entertainment, numbing the minds of our young people and desensitizing them to scenes of violence. Lord, we ask, first and foremost, for Your forgiveness, and for revival to sweep this nation. We do pray for Your wisdom to be given to our national and state leaders, who wish to make positive changes in increasing security at all levels of our society. Lord, we do ask You to bring some good out of this terrible tragedy. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
- "The Lord says, "Whoever loves Me, I will save. I will protect those who know Me. They will call to Me, and I will answer them. I will be with them in trouble; I will rescue them and honor them. I will give them a long, full life, and they will see how I can save." (Psalm 91:14-16)
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:
" . . . the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He will." (Daniel 4:25)
1. Netanyahu says J'lem watching Syria carefully, warns that IDF's "long arm" will strike those who threaten Israel - Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Syrian pilots were using against their own people weapons forbidden under an international convention, and warned that Israel would act if necessary against any threat.
2. Israel will do everything to protect itself from Syrian chemical weapons, PM says - Times of Israel
Israel will do everything in its power to prevent a Syrian chemical weapons attack on it, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, a day after reports emerged that he had met with Jordan's king to discuss a preemptive strike on Damascus's chemical arsenal.
3. IDF contingency plans may have to be activated soon - Jerusalem Post
The Assad regime appears to be edging ever closer to disintegration, and the US and its allies may soon have to activate military contingency plans to secure or destroy Syria's arsenal of deadly chemical weapons.
The Daily Jot
You Decide--The facts surrounding gun related deaths
The Second Amendment to the US Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." In the early days of the nation, the Founding Fathers were terribly concerned that any government formed would become a tyranny such as that of Britain. Britain's military was brutal on the colonists. The Founders did not want this repeated. In fact, they did not want a standing army during peacetime. They believed it was the duty and honor of every citizen to defend the homeland and their property during times of armed crisis. They also believed that an armed citizenry would keep government in check.
The opposing forces of liberty always attack this premise of an armed citizenry. Nazi Germany sought to not only disarm the Jewish population prior to World War II, but also to remove from society those who they knew had guns. The result is the near extermination of Jews from the face of the earth. They could not defend themselves or their property, making them easy targets. Same is true for communist regimes around the world--they disarm the population, move to kill anyone they believe to be a threat, and then establish tyranny over a defenseless people. One place I know of that was not disarmed is Afghanistan. The Soviets tried for a decade to suppress them to no avail. The US has had no better results.
An armed citizenry is necessary to the security of a free state. That doesn't mean hunting rifles. It means an armed citizenry. The opposing forces of liberty, including the occupant of the Oval Office and his progressive minions in Congress, are set to use the Sandy Hook massacre and other shootings across the country to disarm the citizenry. This is exactly what the Founding Fathers stood to prevent with the 2nd Amendment. Guns kill people, they cry, omitting any amount of personal responsibility for those murderous cowards who pull triggers against the innocent. Let's look at the facts. According to the Department of Justice there were 9,203 deaths in 2009 resulting from firearms use.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2010 there were 32,993 deaths involving automobiles, of which 10,228 were from drunk driving. Your chance of dying as an American is over 300% higher from a car or truck than from a gun. Criminals or crazy people kill people with guns. They will get guns any way they can--legally or illegally. Responsible citizens don't take people's lives unless their lives or lives of loved ones are threatened. It comes down to personal responsibility. No one talks about outlawing automobiles.
The gun control debate boils down to one thing: Opposing forces of liberty will use any and all opportunities to disarm the public--the very thing second only to freedom of speech and religion that the Founding Fathers sought to prevent. When studying the hard statistics, we see that the debate is a fallacy. The pacifist Quakers who run Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, have an 11 member security team, many who are armed. Celebrities and politicians send their kids there, including the first family and many members of the media. Yet they ridicule those who suggest arming school personnel to protect kids. There were 1.21 million abortions in 2007, according to the Census Bureau. Let's get real.
2 Timothy 3 describes perfectly the political and spiritual times in which we live. Verse 13 says, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." The gun control debate isn't about saving your kids from the bad guys. It's about taking away the security of your freedom. See to it that you are not deceived. The lives of your children depend on it.
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!
Goodbye, General Schwarzkopf
Goodbye, General Schwarzkopf
General Norman Schwarzkopf passed away yesterday at the age of 78. General Schwarzkopf commanded the U.S.-led coalition that defeated Saddam Hussein's forces and liberated Kuwait in the First Gulf War, known as Operation Desert Storm.
While much of the credit for winning that war often goes to then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Colin Powell, Schwarzkopf was the battlefield commander. So brilliant were his tactics and so decisive was the victory that the ground war lasted all of 100 hours.
Schwarzkopf was a genuine patriot with a distinguished military career. A graduate of West Point, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam and earned three Silver Stars for valor, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals. He was described by one reporter as having "a John Wayne swagger and a growl like a grizzly."
Former President George H. W. Bush released the following statement from the hospital where he is recovering from a stubborn fever:
"General Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the 'duty, service, country' creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises. More than that, he was a good and decent man -- and a dear friend."
Please join Carol and me in praying for his wife, Brenda, and their three children. (Gary Bauer)
U.S. Encourages Travel to Israel
US ADVISORY ENCOURAGES TRAVEL TO ISRAEL
The US has toned down previous advice against travel to Israel. The latest advisory replaces a previous August warning, and in an unusual note of encouragement, it continues, "Over three million foreign citizens, including hundreds of thousands of US citizens, safely visit Israel and the West Bank each year for study, tourism and business. The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority make considerable efforts to protect US citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations. Personal safety conditions in major metropolitan areas, including Tel Aviv and Haifa and their surrounding regions, are comparable to or better than those in other major global cities. Tourists, students, and business people from around the world are welcome." No similar assurances were issued for Palestinian Authority areas, including Bethlehem, where the PA is supposed to control terrorism, although official PA media frequently incite terror by praising suicide bombers and other "martyrs." (Arutz-7)
Good News in Israel
LOST TRIBE OF INDIA JEWS ARRIVES IN ISRAEL
An Israeli chief rabbi recognized Bnei Menashe as a lost tribe in 2005 and about 1,700 moved to Israel before the government stopped giving them visas. Now that Israel has reversed that policy, 7,200 more are expected to immigrate. Dozens immigrated to Israel on Monday from their village in northeastern India. "After waiting for thousands of years, our dream came true," said 26-year-old Lhing Lenchonz, who arrived with her husband and 8-month-old daughter. Nearly 300 more members of the community will arrive in the coming weeks, according to an activist on their behalf. (Ha'aretz)
"See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return." (Jer 31:8)
[Reported by JNN News]
The Good News Corner
The Good News Corner
Federal Appeals Court Hands Victory to Religious Colleges
(Washington, DC)-Last week, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC handed Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College a major victory in their challenges to the HHS mandate. Last summer, two lower courts had dismissed the Colleges' cases as premature. Last week, the appellate court reinstated those cases, and ordered the Obama Administration to report back every 60 days-starting in mid-February-until the Administration makes good on its promise to issue a new rule that protects the Colleges' religious freedom. The new rule must be issued by March 31, 2013.
"The DC Circuit has now made it clear that government promises and press conferences are not enough to protect religious freedom," said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who argued the case. "The court is not going to let the government slide by on non-binding promises to fix the problem down the road."
The court based its decision on two concessions that government lawyers made in open court. First, the government promised "it would never enforce [the mandate] in its current form" against Wheaton, Belmont Abbey or other similarly situated religious groups. Second, the government promised it would publish a proposed new rule "in the first quarter of 2013" and would finalize it by next August. The administration made both concessions under intense questioning by the appellate judges. The court deemed the concessions a "binding commitment" and has retained jurisdiction over the case to ensure the government follows through.
"This is a win not just for Belmont Abbey and Wheaton, but for all religious non-profits challenging the mandate," said Duncan. "The government has now been forced to promise that it will never enforce the current mandate against religious employers like Wheaton and Belmont Abbey and a federal appellate court will hold the government to its word."
While the government had previously announced plans to create a new rule, it has not yet taken the steps necessary to make that promise legally binding. Lower courts dismissed the colleges' cases while the government contemplated a new rule, but the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided the cases should stay alive while it scrutinizes whether the government will meet its promised deadlines. The court acted quickly, issuing Tuesday's order just days after hearing lengthy arguments.
[Reported by: Breaking Christian News]
Worship with Us Today!
Worship with Us Today!
The Mighty One Of Israel
The Lord shall cause His
glorious voice to be heard
And you shall have a song in the night
Come to the mountain of the Lord
See His glory and His might