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The Daily Brief Thursday, January 3, 2013
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:18,19)
The Daily Brief
1. Iran to Citizens: Flee Isfahan - Washington Free Beacon
Iranian officials have instructed residents of Isfahan to leave the city, renewing concerns that a nearby nuclear site could be leaking radioactive material.
- Father, if there is any radioactive leakage from this facility, we ask that You protect all of the residents and help them escape. We pray that You will do whatever it takes to not only stop this leak, but destroy Iran's nuclear program.
- "Draw out the spear, and stop those who pursue me" [Psalm 35:3]
2. UN: Syria death toll tops 60,000 - Ynet News
At least 60,000 people have died in Syria's conflict, UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said on Wednesday, citing an "exhaustive" UN-commissioned study.
- Father, as the death toll rises in Syria, we pray Your help for the citizens of the country. We ask that Your Holy Spirit be released to move through that nation, saving souls and destroying the foundations of evil.
- "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." [John 3:17]
3. Obama Linked Benghazi to Video 3 Days After CIA Eyewitnesses Confirmed No Protest There - CNS News
Three days after CIA and State Department eyewitnesses reported on Sept. 15 that there had been no protest in Benghazi, Libya, before terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission and a CIA facility there on Sept. 11, President Barack Obama and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney both publicly linked the attacks, which killed four Americans, to protests against an anti-Muslim video that had been posted on YouTube.
- Lord, we are continually the victim of lies perpetrated by our government. We pray for a mighty gift of discernment and truth for the American people. We pray that You will convict this administration of sin, righteousness, and judgment according to Your Word.
- "And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." [John 16:8]
4. Gov. Christie lashes out at House GOP over delayed storm aid - Fox NY
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, was fuming over the House GOP leader's decision to not hold a vote on Superstorm Sandy relief package.
- Father, we are dismayed at the proclivity of Congress to ignore the needs of the people in favor of their own personal agendas. We ask for quick relief to help the victims of superstorm Sandy, and that Your Spirit will hover over them and provide their needs in time of trouble.
- "May He send you help from the sanctuary" [Psalm 20:2]
5. How corporate tax credits got in the 'cliff' deal - Washington Examiner
The "fiscal cliff" legislation passed this week included $76 billion in special-interest tax credits for the likes of General Electric, Hollywood and even Captain Morgan. But these subsidies weren't the fruit of eleventh-hour lobbying conducted on the cliff's edge -- they were crafted back in August in a Senate committee, and they sat dormant until the White House reportedly insisted on them this week.
- Father, we cannot understand why every bill that goes through the legislature needs to have pork attached to it. Please provide a giant wake-up call to our leaders, and show them the truth. We thank You that for those who love You, provision is from Heavenly realms.
- "The Lord will also be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble." [Psalm 9:9]
6. Senators Got 154-Page 'Fiscal Cliff' Bill 3 Minutes Before Voting on It - CNS News
The U.S. Senate voted 89-8 to approve legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff despite having only 3 minutes to read the 154-page bill and budget score.
- Pray about this continual problem with the current administration- huge bills not given in a decent time frame for reading.
- "The lips of my enemies and their whispering against me all the day - Repay them, O Lord, according to the work of their hands" [Lamentations 3:62,64]
7. Twenty-five House Republicans said to have reservations on Boehner for speaker- Fox News
At least 25 of the House's 234 Republicans are said to have reservations about voting John Boehner in for another term as speaker, Fox News has learned -- a number significant enough to tee up a potential drama on the floor after the new Congress is seated Thursday afternoon. (Read more)
- Father, since there is no specific person to take his place, we ask that You will touch His heart with strength and the power of Your Spirit to be able to stand on Your principles. We pray that he will no longer bend in the winds of politics and pressure.
- "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind - he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." [James 1:6,8]
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:
"Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Your name give glory, for Your mercy, and for Your truth's sake. Why should the nations say, Where is their God? But our God is in the heavens. He has done whatever He has pleased." (Psalm 115:1-3)
1. Israel 'cracking down' on West Bank terror suspects - Ynet News
Israel plans to step up arrests of suspected terrorists in the West Bank to prevent the simmering civil unrest in the region from escalating into a full-blown uprising, security sources say.
2. US calls on Israel, Palestinians to 'make a fresh start' and rekindle peace talks - Times of Israel
The United States on Wednesday urged Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table and resume, in earnest, long-dormant efforts to hammer out a comprehensive peace deal.
3. Jordanian minister accuses Israel of planning to erect the third Temple - Times of Israel
A Jordanian minister accused Israel on Wednesday of planning to partition the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount plaza surrounding it in order to erect the third Temple.
4. PM: Must act now, or new Iranian terror base will rise - Ynet News
Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel should "Act responsibly and not hastily, otherwise a third Iranian terror base will rise up in the heart of the country."
Today's Focus: The Persecuted Church
Today's Focus: The Persecuted Church
"Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just; for the righteous God tests the hearts and minds." (Psalm 7:9)
1. Kazakhstan Adopts Oppressive Religious Law
An oppressive religious law adopted by Kazakhstan last year has reduced the number of officially recognized religions from 46 to 17, according to Eurasianet.
About 70 percent of the 16.4 million population of Kazakhstan are Sunni Muslim; 25 percent of the population is Christian, mostly Russian Orthodox. Read more.
2. Pakistan--Christian Worker Shot to Death
A 70-year-old Swedish Christian worker was killed on Dec. 3 by unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle as she returned home from work. Birgitta Almby, Area Director of Full Gospel Assemblies (FGA) in Lahore, was flown to Sweden for treatment after the shooting, but she died in the hospital. "From the information available so far, it seems that the two assailants were following her or were waiting for her to reach her house, where they opened fire on her," said Liaqat Qaiser, the principal of FGA Bible school. Birgitta served in Pakistan for 38 years. Pray for the peace and encouragement of Birgitta's fellow Christian workers. (Voice of the Martyrs) Read more.
3. Iran--VOM Project
Pray for increased effectiveness of Christian TV programs broadcast into Iran. Pray that the broadcasts will strengthen new converts and help seekers come to know Christ. (Voice of the Martyrs)
4. Fifteen Christians Have Throats Slit by Boko Haram Extremists
in Northern Nigeria
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that at least fifteen Christians were killed by suspected Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria. (Read more)
For more news about the Persecuted Church, go to:
www.persecution.com (The Voice of the Martyrs)
www.persecution.org (International Christian Concern)
[Please note: ICC is a "read only" page, so we are unable to post details of cited headlines here.]
Join The Persecution Watch!
Our brother in Christ, Blaine Scogin, is sponsoring conference calls several nights each week, to lift up specific prayer needs for those who are under persecution, worldwide.
You are welcome to join Blaine and his team by contacting him anytime at:
The Daily Jot
The Daily Jot:
Your Place in Prophecy
Many good people are pushing back on my messages of the new year. They say that they are offended that I am holding every Christian, every American, accountable for the evil that is overcoming this nation. They defend their position by saying that they write letters, make phone calls, send emails, sign petitions, teach Sunday School or various other things that are right. They think that I am being harsh on everyone but not giving any solutions. I want you to know that I appreciate all that you do; that I am not pointing the finger at anyone in particular, but I sense the Lord telling me repeatedly that our actions today, in this time, determine our place in prophecy . . . (Read more)
"Shining City" Or National Decline?
"Shining City" Or National Decline?
After the Newtown school shootings, an ABC/Washington Post poll found that 52% of the public felt the shooting reflected "broader problems in American society." The poll didn't ask what kind of problems, but I would submit that the breakdown of the family and reliable standards of right and wrong are at the top of the list. A new USA Today/Gallup poll confirms that Americans are feeling down about the future of our country.
According to the poll, 50% of adults believe that our best days as a nation are behind us, while 47% believe the best is yet to come. Looking to the year ahead, by a 2-to-1 margin Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of economic difficulty rather than prosperity.
A similar margin believes crime rates will rise. And by 20-points (57% to 37%), a majority of adults expect American power to decline internationally.
Reading the headlines and watching the dysfunction in Washington, the pessimism seems justified. Yet, having worked all eight years in Ronald Reagan's Administration, I find these views deeply disturbing. Have we really lost confidence in our country? Are we destined to fade away like previous world powers?
It would be an interesting study in social science to see how such attitudes might change people's behaviors. What would you do differently if you believed your future would be bleak and your children would be worse off than previous generations?
We live in amazing times. The world is figuratively at our fingertips with iPhones and tablets. But men and women of faith know that man does not live by bread alone. Apparently all our great technology cannot fill the void either.
As conservatives, we know the values that can sustain us. We know the economic principles that can revive our economy and lead to prosperity. We know that peace comes through strength and that America is a force for good in the world.
As Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, "We're Americans and we have a rendezvous with destiny." Yes, there will be difficult days ahead. There have been tough times in the past. But I still believe America remains the "last best hope of man on Earth."
For our children and grandchildren, we must not give in to despair. We must fight the good fight to make this great nation a "shining city upon a hill." (Gary Bauer)
Al Gore & Al Jazeera
Al Gore & Al Jazeera
For years the Muslim propaganda network Al Jazeera has been trying to break into the American media market. Major cable distributors have refused to carry it. But the network has finally broken through. Al Jazeera announced yesterday that it has bought Al Gore's failing network Current TV, which is available to 40 million homes.
Sources familiar with the deal say the sale is valued at $500 million. According to the New York Times, "Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1."
In a bit of poetic justice, the deal was not approved until yesterday. But Mr. Gore will be fine. The former vice president stands to make as much as $100 million thanks to his 20% share in Current TV, and will reportedly remain on the board of the new network, Al Jazeera America.
But here's the more disturbing concern. For years I have warned about the growing alliance between radical Islamists and the political left. It may seem an odd alliance, because there is little that unites them at first glance. But in reality they have much in common. They are united by their hatred for America and Israel, as well as our Judeo-Christian values.
Current TV has been losing money for years and never attracted big audiences. According to the Nielsen ratings, just over 40,000 people watched it on average each night. Yet Mr. Gore and his partners were very picky about potential buyers. Consider this from the Wall Street Journal:
"Other suitors who didn't share Current's ideology were rebuffed. Glenn Beck's The Blaze approached Current about buying the channel last year, but was told that 'the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view.'"
Apparently the pro-Islamist Al Jazeera network is more aligned with Al Gore's views than is the conservative Glenn Beck! (Gary Bauer)
More about the "Cliff" Deal
Hollywood Gets the Reel Deal in Cliff Bill
Some folks have a tradition of eating pork on New Year's Day--but in Congress, they prefer passing pork. As part of the sweeping, 150-page tax deal reached yesterday, members proved they were just as intent on avoiding financial responsibility as they were the fiscal cliff. It seems the bill that was supposed to extend our tax rates also extended billions of dollars to the Democrats' closest pals. Today, while 77.1% of households watch their taxes skyrocket, the President's friends are toasting the goodies tucked away in the bill's fine print. The Democrats' belated Christmas presents included $430 million in tax perks for Hollywood, $331 million for railroad operators, $222 million for Puerto Rico and Virgin Island rum producers, $70 million for NASCAR, $59 million for algae growers, $4 million for electric motorcycle makers, and even $15 million for asparagus growers. If this is what President Obama calls a "step in the broader effort to strengthen our economy," Americans had better buckle up.
Unfortunately, the billions in liberal back-scratching are probably the least of voters' concerns in Congress's new compromise. Without any real spending cuts or entitlement reform, this deal doesn't begin to address the country's fiscal problems--and, in many cases, may actually exacerbate them. For starters, the legislation takes direct aim at married couples, saddling many of these homes with hundreds of dollars of new penalties. Though details are not clear yet, in effect, the deal leaves joint tax filers with less than twice the standard deduction for individuals. It's a ridiculous proposition, especially since the family the greatest generator of human capital--and thus, one of the biggest engines of economic growth. Discouraging marriage only creates more government dependence.
On top of the tax hikes for individuals and couples making more than $400,000 and $450,000, the middle class (which the President promised to spare) will see a chunk of their paychecks disappear. The Social Security tax jumped by 2%, and that means Americans can expect to take home anywhere from $50 to $189 less each month. Add that to the wave of ObamaCare taxes starting in 2013, and suddenly, the legislation doesn't seem like such a good deal after all.
Of course, members like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) cheered the bargain as a "happy start to the New Year." Like some Republicans, she believes the bill's $25.1 billion in spending cuts is something to be proud of. And it would be--if Congress hadn't increased spending by $330 billion in the same bill.
Obviously, President Obama has no intention of addressing Washington's out-of-control spending. And by voting for this package, 346 members of the House and Senate are giving the green light to finance his liberal agenda and stick taxpayers and their children with the bill. That's a nice how-do-you-do for the next Congress, which is not only inheriting the debt crisis, but the messy negotiations over the military's budget. Under Tuesday's compromise, leaders tried to avoid another fight by kicking the sequestration can two months down the road, ensuring that the headaches of this deal linger long after the Congress that passed it. (Family Research Council)
A "Win" for Domino's Pizza!
Pizza Company Shows Domino's Effect of Mandate
The House and Senate weren't the only ones working long holiday hours--so were the courts. Of the more than 40 lawsuits against the President's contraception mandate, two plaintiffs made headlines over the Christmas break, including mega-retailer Hobby Lobby. Owned by the devoutly Christian Green family, Hobby Lobby has asked to be excused from the rule ordering employers to provide free abortion drugs to workers. After a loss in Oklahoma's federal court, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the chain, asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor to "set aside" the mandate while the suit worked its way through the appeals process. (As FRC's Ken Klukowski explains, each of the 13 federal appeals courts is overseen by one of the nine Supreme Court justices. Sotomayor presides over the 10th Circuit Court, where the Hobby Lobby case now resides.) She refused, dealing a huge financial blow to the company, which could face crippling fines of more than a million dollars a day once the mandate kicks in.
But even the prospect of massive losses isn't deterring Hobby Lobby from its pro-life convictions. The Green family announced this week that they will not comply with the mandate--no matter what it costs them, and even if it means endangering their business's survival. If their case takes another ten months to decide, that could mean as much as a half-billion dollars in penalties. For Hobby Lobby--and potentially hundreds of thousands of other Christians whose religious freedom is at risk--civil disobedience is the only option.
Fortunately, Domino's Pizza won't have to resort to the same drastic measures--at least for now. On Sunday, a federal judge ruled in favor of Catholic owner Tom Monaghan, who argued that offering contraception to employees is a "gravely immoral" practice. In his decision, Judge Lawrence Zatkoff wrote that Monaghan "has shown that abiding by the mandate will substantially burden his exercise of religion." Zatkoff agreed to exempt the company from the mandate until the Domino's case is resolved. Both companies are putting their profits on the line to do what's right. And for that, they deserve our prayers, our respect--and our business. (Family Research Council)
The Good News Corner
The Good News Corner
Ambassadors of Prayer for Canadian Government
"You don't blame meat for rotting when it's unattended. Jesus called His disciples the 'salt of the earth,' so we need to be rubbed into the meat of society and bring that preservation of morality." -Rob Parker Jr.
(Ottawa, Canada) - Rob Parker Jr., associate director of National House of Prayer (NHOP) in Canada, believes there is a "strong sense of prayerlessness in the Church in Canada."
In response to that need, NHOP is trying to "raise up a generation of prayer leaders" by offering an intensive three-month internship program.
"As we do what we, the Church, are called to do," says Parker, we empower the government to do what it's supposed to do. We can't ask the government to look after the poor and make righteous decisions, if we are not looking after the poor and walking in righteousness."
According to a report in Christian Week, Parker also drew a connection from 1 Timothy 2 - between revival and praying for governments.
"Sometimes we think revival is something external that God does, but true revival is just the Church being the Church." (Source: Christian Week) Read more.
[Reported by: Breaking Christian News]
Worship with Us Today!
Worship with Us Today!
My Life Is In Your Hands
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
You don't have to worry
and don't you be afraid,
joy comes in the morning,
troubles they don't last always.