Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
"A National Prayer Alliance"
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The Daily Brief:
"Praying for All in Authority"
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
"There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men." (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
The Daily Brief
1. Thousands Gather at Lincoln Memorial for Easter Sunrise Worship Service - Christian Post
Approximately 7,000 worshiping Christians gathered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter morning to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ at the 37th-annual Easter sunrise service, The event was hosted and organized by Capital Church, an interdenominational congregation in the Washington suburb of Vienna, Virginia. The service began at 6:30 a.m. and featured . . . a brief sermon from the congregation's lead pastor Amos Dodge.
"Washington, D.C. is arguably the one most influential cities in the world and I do believe it is important in the heart of the most influential city of the world to declare on Easter morning our faith in the risen Lord," Dodge told The Christian Post. "I think it is important to reclaim some of our own spiritual heritage and we do that from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and declare our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again."
In his 15-minute sermon, Dodge told the crowd that Easter is about celebrating the certainty in knowing that not only did Jesus die for our sins but he also rose again from the dead. "You can trust a man who died for you," Dodge continued. "Jesus died for us and then came back from the grave." (Read more)
- Father, let Your people lift up Your praises wherever they may be- whether at the Lincoln Memorial or anywhere on the face of the earth. Let us proclaim Your truth that the world may see!
- "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."
2. Thousands of Christians from around globe celebrate Easter in Old City - Jerusalem Post
As thousands of Christians from around the world made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem's Old City on a sunny Easter Sunday afternoon, many expressed awe of being so close to history, as well as hope for a peaceful future.
As he exited the Room of the Last Supper, Hans Putman, a native of the Netherlands who has lived in Bethlehem for the past 30 years, said he was praying for the tens of thousands of persecuted Christians across the Middle East.
"Many Christians are being persecuted in Iraq and Syria, so I am praying for all the Christians in the Middle East to have strength," he said. "This is the point of the resurrection - that good is stronger than evil; that love is stronger than hate." (Read more)
- Lord we praise You for the sacrifice of Your Son and for the privilege to visit Jerusalem. We ask that all those who are called by Your name worldwide unite in prayer - across denominations - to seek Your Face for the persecuted.
- "Evening and morning and at noon I will pray and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice." (Psalm 55:17)
-We lift up praise, Our Father, for the multitudes who were able to celebrate the Risen Lord in this capital city of Israel where our Savior died and rose again! Bless You, Lord, that in spite of the severe persecution of Your people in the Middle East, that Christians are able to celebrate in Jerusalem.
- "Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth in singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel." (Isaiah 44:32) [Two prayers offered here - the editor]
3. Al-Shabaab Threatens More 'Bloodbath' in Kenya After Killing Christian Students - Christian Post
The Somali terror group al-Shabaab Saturday threatened to launch more bloody attacks on Kenya after its militants killed nearly 150 students in a targeted attack on Christians at Garissa University College Thursday.
"No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities," the group said in an emailed statement Saturday, according to Reuters. The al-Qaeda-affiliated group called it a long and gruesome war with Kenya, saying its cities will "run red with blood." (Read more)
- Lord , we call forth Your angelic host to protect the Christians throughout Africa and the Middle East. As these groups attempt to eradicate them, may Your mighty armies stand against it.
- ". . . for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways . . ." (Psalm 91:11)
4. Al Qaeda in Yemen expanding footprint amid chaos, giving guidance to al-Shabaab - Fox News
Al Qaeda's Yemen affiliate is expanding its footprint amid the chaos in the country and now providing guidance to the Somalia terror group that claimed responsibility for last week's deadly terror attack at a university, an intelligence source told Fox News.
The warning underscores the growing threat posed by Al Qaeda in Yemen at a time when the advance of Shiite rebels has effectively created a power vacuum in the country, with the unrest stalling what had been a robust U.S. counterterrorism operation there.(Read more)
- Lord as these militant Islamic groups increase in power we pray that a mighty wind of the Holy Spirit begin to blow over the region - granting strength to Your people, and changed hearts for the enemy. We also pray that every plan they make will be destroyed.
- "For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed you will look diligently for his place, but it shall be no more." (Psalm 37:10)
- Father God, we ask You to go into the midst of this Moslem terrorist group to scatter their unity just like the tower of Babel and to hinder their communication so that they cannot put any plan together to harm Christians and cause chaos. We pray for the country of Kenya to be able to effectively defend its citizens and have Your kind of special intelligence to detect future raids. We pray for the grieving families and we pray for the wounded students to fully recover. Lord, send the perpetrators dreams in the night to convict them and visions in the daytime.
- "He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth." (Isaiah 14:6)
[Two prayers offered for Kenya - the editor]
5. Pope welcomes Iran deal as 'a definitive step' for a safer world - Times of Israel
VATICAN CITY (AP) - In an Easter peace wish, Pope Francis on Sunday praised the framework nuclear agreement with Iran as an opportunity to make the world safer, while expressing deep worry about bloodshed in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa.
Francis made his first public comments about the recent framework for an accord, reached in Lausanne, Switzerland, and aimed at ensuring Iran doesn't develop a nuclear weapon. "In hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world." (Read more)
- Precious Lord, we pray this mischaracterization of this evil agreement will be corrected by You and that this religious leader and the rest of the world will see through the obvious flaws. Father, we pray the actual truth of this agreement, that harms the US and favors a dangerous rogue nation, will come out for all to see. We bind up a spirit of deception over this nuclear deal and speak a release of truth to replace it. We bind up the promotion of this deception to the world. In the name of Jesus we pray.
- "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:10)
6. Boehner demands Congress approval for Iran deal - Israel Hayom
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner did not hide his criticism of the Iran framework deal announced on Thursday and accused U.S. President Barack Obama's administration of seeing fit to hastily lift sanctions while ignoring Congress.
"The parameters for a final deal represent an alarming departure from the White House's initial goals. My longtime concerns about the parameters of this potential agreement remain, but my immediate concern is the administration signaling it will provide near-term sanctions relief. Congress must be allowed to fully review the details of any agreement before any sanctions are lifted," Boehner said Thursday.
Boehner recalled a recent tour of the Middle East in March, and cited Iran's negative influence on the region. "After visiting with our partners on the ground in the Middle East this week, my concerns about Iran's efforts to foment unrest, brutal violence and terror have only grown. It would be naïve to suggest the Iranian regime will not continue to use its nuclear program, and any economic relief, to further destabilize the region," he said. (Read more)
- Lord, as much as congressman Boehner has compromised his own party, we ask that Congress heed his concerns in this matter. We ask, Lord, that any and all things within this "framework" that in any way jeopardize the United States or Israel be deleted.
Lord, we pray for You to intervene to stop this agreement from going forward, as it empowers an anti-Christ spirit. As citizens of this Judeo-Christian country, we call for the Commander-in-Chief to be reigned in when violations like this occur.
- "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." (Ephesians 5:6)
7. Ya'alon: Iran a 'terrorist monster' wreaking havoc on the Mideast - Jerusalem Post
As an onslaught of condemnation from Israeli officials continued to target the framework deal reached last week on Iran's nuclear program, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Sunday blasted Iran as a "terrorist monster" that creates disorder in the region and around the world.
"Iran is a terrorist monster that funds, trains and arms organizations and entities to wreak havoc among the pro-Western regimes in the Middle East and around the world, and it has no intention of stopping this," Ya'alon charged.
He added that the agreement reached Thursday would not pose as an obstacle to Iran, rather it would set the stage for the Islamic Republic to "increase its appetite to spread disarray." (Read more)
- Thank You, Lord, for these words. May the nations wake up and take note, and may they refuse to accept the "final deal" with Iran that is due to be complete by June 30. Amen.
-"Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you." (2 Chronicles 19:2b)
8. Iran's Revolutionary Guards said 'preparing for war' in case deal collapses - Times of Israel
Iran's Revolutionary Guards "are preparing for war" in the event that negotiations to turn Thursday's framework nuclear agreement into a binding deal by June 30 collapse, an Israeli TV report said Sunday night, citing Arab intelligence agencies
The Israeli Channel 10 report said Arab intelligence agencies have warned "France, the UK and the US" that the Revolutionary Guards fear Iran could face a military strike should the talks break down, and that the Guards are ready to close the Strait of Hormuz and take other unspecified measures. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the US was working as recently as January on improving its biggest bunker buster bombs in case they were needed for strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities.
The Sunday Israeli TV report highlighted the major discrepancies that have emerged between the US and Iran since the framework agreement was announced on Thursday, raising the concern that the non-binding understandings reached to date will fall apart and the negotiations collapse.
A little over a month ago, the Revolutionary Guards held large-scale naval and air defense drills near the Strait of Hormuz - a strategic Gulf waterway, through which one fifth of the world's oil passes - in which dozens of speedboats swarmed a replica of a US aircraft carrier. (Read more)
- Father we bind up any actions of the Iranian troops that would signal war against the US, Europe, of Israel.
- "No weapon formed against you shall prosper . . ." (Isaiah 54:17)
9. Netanyahu on US TV: Iran's missile program aims at you, not us - Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday that the political framework for a nuclear deal with Iran reached Thursday in Switzerland would keep Tehran's vast nuclear program in place, and that its inter-continental ballistic missile system (ICBM) - an issue not addressed in the deal - was more of a threat to the US than to Israel.
Speaking to CNN as part of a US media blitz, the Israeli prime minister said the deal will not roll back Iran's nuclear program. The deal "keeps Iran's vast nuclear infrastructure in place, not a single centrifuge destroyed, not a single nuclear facility shut down, including the underground facilities that they built illicitly. Thousands of centrifuges will keep spinning, enriching uranium, that's a very bad deal."
"They're getting a free path to the bomb," he said.
Netanyahu also warned that Iran's ICBM program, an issue that was not negotiated on as part of nuclear talks, was a real threat to the US.
"The ending of their ICBMs, that's not in the deal, and those missiles are only used for you, they're not used for us. They have missiles that can reach us and they're geared for nuclear weapons," he said. (Read more here.)
- Lord God in heaven, we ask that Congress AND the White House listen to these very wise words of warning from the Prime Minister of Israel. We have been warned.
- "And it shall come to pass at that time . . . and punish the men who are settled in complacency." (Zephaniah 1:12 a,b)
10. Archaeologist believes he's found site of Jesus's trial by Pontius Pilate - Times of Israel
When Amit Re'em embarked on a 1999 excavation of an abandoned Ottoman prison in the Old City of Jerusalem, he didn't expect anything revolutionary
The dig was primarily aimed at inspecting the site before it was transformed into an event space for the nearby Tower of David Museum, and Re'em, then just 28, hoped at most to uncover some remains of a Herodian palace, or maybe part of a wall from the second century.
He did find those things - along with much more.
In one 49 meters by 9 meters (160 feet by 30 feet) space, Re'em unearthed an archaeological timeline of Jerusalem dating back 2,700 years. Layers from nearly every era of the city's history lay on top of each other, from the time of the First Temple through the Roman, Crusader and Ottoman periods, and up to Israel's independence in 1948. (Read more here.)
- Father, this find is significant, if it is the place of Jesus' trial. As Christians are being murdered across the earth, the fate of their lives - and our faith- hangs in the balance as it did for Jesus so long ago. We pray for mercy for each one, for Your peace and protection.
- "For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth." (John 18:37)
The Middle East in Focus
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you." (Isaiah 54:10)
1. The IDF has warned us about the next Lebanon War - Ynet News
Last November, a senior IDF officer warned of the implications of a Third Lebanon War. His name is Yair Golan, and he was at the time ending his stint as GOC Northern Command and transferring to Tel Aviv to serve as deputy chief of staff.
Everything was laid out in his warning - hundreds of rockets every day, severe damage to infrastructure, loss of civilian life, and, if anyone was in any doubt, the closure of Israel's airports. especially Ben-Gurion Airport.
Thus, the rich and the poor, Sephardis and Ashkenazis, Arabs and Jews, those with European passport and those with only an Israeli one - everyone in fact - will be here to stay. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who listened carefully to the major general and others in Israel, was happy to chime in and fill in the blanks: Not only would Ben-Gurion Airport be closed, he vowed from his bunker, the entire country would be closed. (Read more)
2. 'Iran funding the rebuilding of Hamas tunnels in Gaza' - Israel Hayom
Sunday Telegraph: In sign that they have put their rift behind them, Iran has renewed financial support of Hamas, which is reconstructing tunnels destroyed by IDF during Operation Protective Edge and replenishing its rocket stockpile. (Read more)
3. 'A dream deal for Iran, a nightmare deal for the world' - Israel Hayom
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is continuing to speak out against the framework nuclear deal reached between six world powers and Iran last week in Switzerland. On Sunday, Netanyahu did a round of interviews with American media outlets, appearing on ABC, CNN and NBC.
"I think this is a dream deal for Iran and a nightmare deal for the world," Netanyahu said.
The prime minister compared the framework nuclear deal with Iran to a similar deal reached with North Korea in 1994, which ended up failing to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. (Read more)
4. Netanyahu: Iran must recognize Israel's right to exist - Israel Hayom
In the wake of the framework nuclear agreement reached between six world powers and Iran on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a meeting on Friday of the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet. Following the meeting, in statement issued just before the start of the Passover holiday, Netanyahu demanded that a final deal with Iran include an explicit Iranian commitment to Israel's right to exist.
"The cabinet is united in strongly opposing the proposed deal," Netanyahu said. "This deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world and would threaten the very survival of the State of Israel. The deal would not shut down a single nuclear facility in Iran, would not destroy a single centrifuge in Iran and would not stop R&D on Iran's advanced centrifuges. (Read more)
5. G.O.P.'s Israel Support Deepens as Political Contributions Shift - New York Times
WASHINGTON - As the proposed agreement over Iran's nuclear program is debated in coming weeks, President Obama will make his case to a Congress controlled by Republicans who are more fervently pro-Israel than ever, partly a result of ideology, but also a product of a surge in donations and campaign spending on their behalf by a small group of wealthy donors.
One of the surprisingly high-profile critics is Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who burst to prominence with a letter signed by 46 Republican colleagues to leaders of Iran warning against a deal. Mr. Cotton, echoing criticism by Israeli leaders, swiftly denounced the framework reached on Thursday as "a list of dangerous U.S. concessions that will put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons" - words, his colleagues say, that expressed his deep concern about Iran's threat to Israel's security. (Read more)
6. White House goes on offense in selling Iran nuclear deal to Congress - CNN
Now that President Barack Obama has the framework of a nuclear deal with Iran, the White House attention shifts to the challenging task of selling this agreement to Congress, and the administration is already deploying its troops.
"In just the last 24 hours we've had everybody from the President to the White House chief of staff, to officials at the Department of State and the Department of Defense briefing members of Congress to make sure they understand exactly why we believe this is a framework agreement that puts us on the path of making sure that we're preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and putting in place inspections to verify that that's actually the case," White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told CNN on Friday. (Read more)
7. Corker Says He's Just 2 to 3 Votes Shy of Overriding Obama Veto - Israel National News
Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, said Sunday on Fox News that the legislation that would force President Barack Obama to bring a deal on Iran's nuclear program before the Senate is close to achieving the support of a veto-proof majority.
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, sponsored by US Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), would mandate that the president submit to Congress the text of any pact with Iran, and bar the administration from suspending congressional sanctions on Iran for 60 days.
"The White House has said that the president would veto the kind of legislation you're proposing," noted interviewer Chris Wallace. "If he does, you don't need 51 votes or even 60 votes, you need 67 votes, which means 13 Democrats to override his veto. Do you have 67 votes?"
"Well, I don't know whether we have 67 votes or not," Corker replied, "just with cosponsors and if every Republican supports it, we'll see how that all shapes out. But we've got 64 or 65 that we're aware of today if that were the case." (Read more)
8. Obama defends Iran deal, tells Israelis if anybody messes with you US will be there - Jerusalem Post
America would stand by Israel if it's attacked by any state, including Iran, US President Barack Obama pledged in an extensive 46-minute interview with The New York Times in which he advocated for the framework deal to curb Tehran's nuclear program.
"What we will be doing, even as we enter this deal, is sending a clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anyone messes with Israel, America will be there," Obama told Times reporter Thomas Friedman. (Read more)
- Lord God, it is difficult to believe this statement, when Obama's track record over the past eight years tells an entirely different story. We ask that the American people and the Israeli people not be deceived by flattering words, in Jesus' name, amen and amen.
- "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." (Ephesians 5:6)
The Daily Jot
Monday, April 6, 2015
Your walk to Emmaus
Christians around the world celebrated their most high Holy Day this past weekend--the commemoration and celebration of the Passover Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who was found without blemish, was crucified, buried and risen, overcame sin and death that those who believe may have everlasting life. Many pastors saw folks that they see maybe twice a year--the other time being Christmas. Many may have celebrated at home with family and friends, having a more traditional Passover Seder or reading of the Holy Scriptures. It is a day when most everyone who claims to be a follower of Christ comes together in some way. Then they go home. And often just go about their lives. But there is so much more.
The story of Christ after his resurrection gives us insight into how we are to walk out our faith. I am reminded of the account in Luke 24 about the two men on their way to Emmaus when Jesus walked with them after he had resurrected. Their "eyes were holden that they did not recognize him." They told Jesus what had happened in Jerusalem during Passover and how Jesus of Nazareth had been crucified." Jesus, as he continued to walk with them, explained (verse 27), "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." He sat with them to eat and, Verse 31 says, "their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight."
Luke 24:32 says, "And they said one to another, did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" These guys were so excited that they ran back to Jerusalem only to find the disciples gathered together and told them of what happened. "And as they spoke, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them Peace be unto you." And he explained to them how the things were fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning him. The men who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, and now the disciples, had a new understanding of the scriptures as explained by the resurrected Christ.
Christ remained on earth some 40 days after his resurrection and appeared to over 500 people. During this time, the disciples gained a clearer understanding of the scriptures and found a deeper meaning to their relationship with Christ Jesus. Jesus instructed them to go out and witness and make disciples. It must have been an amazing and terrible time to witness the fulfillment of those prophecies during that Passover. But how precious it was to walk with Jesus after he was resurrected. During these difficult times, as prophecies pointing toward the return of Jesus seem to be in process, it is ever more important to draw close to Jesus, to walk with him on our own road to Emmaus that we might have greater understanding and a stronger relationship with the one who died that we may live.
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!
About That Deal
About That Deal
Concern about the nuclear agreement negotiated between the Obama White House and the Islamic regime in Iran grew over the weekend. That's not at all surprising given some headlines that emerged following Thursday's announcement.
President Obama was quick to declare this a "good deal" and "our best option," but few are rushing to embrace his view. For example:
- The Wall Street Journal ran a report last week headlined, "Concessions Fueled Iran Nuclear Talks." Those would be U.S., not Iranian, concessions.
The talks were meant, the Journal writes, "to dismantle most of the country's nuclear infrastructure." But Olli Heinonen, a former U.N. inspections official, said, "I'm a little puzzled by the political agreement. You're going to leave Iran as a [nuclear] threshold state."
- The Washington Free Beacon reported, "Iran Brags About Nuke Concessions." According to the Beacon, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said, "None of those measures include closing any of our facilities. We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development."
- Within hours of Mr. Obama's White House press conference announcing this "good deal," the Iranians accused the president of lying. They've done that before. Zarif tweeted, "There is no need to spin using 'fact sheets' so early on." He then issued a series of tweets suggesting that U.S. and European sanctions would be lifted immediately, not gradually as Obama suggested.
- Over the weekend, the New York Times wrote, "Outline Of Iran Nuclear Deal Sounds Different From Each Side." There are "some noteworthy differences," according to the Times, between the Iranian and U.S. versions of the agreement "which have raised the question of whether the two sides are entirely on the same page."
One foreign policy expert warned that these "noteworthy differences" will allow the Iranians to "exploit all ambiguities with creative interpretations."
- Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes that Obama's deal "leaves unanswered at least as many questions as it resolves. . . . It is closer to the truth to say the real debate about the Iran nuclear accord is just beginning." (Gary Bauer)
"Trust, but verify" was Ronald Reagan's maxim in dealing with the Soviet Union. There is no reason to trust Iran and many experts doubt this deal is verifiable.
It is important to realize that the inspections will be conducted by the United Nations, not the United States. And the U.N. has a long record of accommodating the hostile regimes it is supposedly monitoring.
Moreover, the concept of inspections is based on the flawed assumption that we know where to look. Iran has hidden nuclear facilities in underground bunkers, repeatedly blocked international inspections of known sites and is very likely operating nuclear sites that we don't know about.
Concerns about Iran's previous attempts to weaponize is nuclear program remain unresolved. Politico quotes Jofi Joseph, a former Obama National Security Council aide, as saying, "It doesn't appear as if Iran agreed to do anything specific" regarding military applications of its nuclear research.
Thomas Moore, a nonproliferation expert with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, adds that the deal "allows Iran to engage in nuclear activities -- like stockpiling low-enriched uranium and operating a plutonium reactor -- that have no civilian necessity."
David Sullivan, a former CIA arms verification expert, asks, "Why are we negotiating for a new agreement, when existing Iranian [Non-Proliferation Treaty] violations remain in effect, ongoing and unresolved, suggesting that Iran is unlikely to comply with any new agreement?"
Unfortunately, even our own intelligence agencies don't have the best record. On August 24, 1949, the CIA predicted that the Russians were at least four years off from testing a nuclear bomb. They detonated one five days later.
As national security expert James S. Robbins wrote recently, "The United States has an abysmal record at predicting when countries will go nuclear. U.S. experts have gotten it wrong every time." In addition to his Soviet example, Robbins notes we were wrong about China, Pakistan and North Korea too. (Gary Bauer)
Those applauding the deal should cause us all to reconsider. Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, reportedly "heaped praise on the country's negotiating team" in a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Hezbollah is happy too. Nawar Sahli, a leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, called the deal a victory for Iran and "global recognition of Iran as a member of the nuclear club."
Meanwhile, the reaction from Jerusalem is understandably grim. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday:
"This deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world and would threaten the very survival of the State of Israel. The deal would not shut down a single nuclear facility in Iran, would not destroy a single centrifuge in Iran and will not stop R&D on Iran's advanced centrifuges. . . .
"The deal would lift sanctions almost immediately and this at the very time that Iran is stepping up its aggression and terror in the region and beyond the region. . . . Just two days ago, in the midst of the negotiations in Lausanne, the commander of the Basij security forces in Iran said this: 'The destruction of Israel is non-negotiable.'
"Well, I want to make clear to all. The survival of Israel is non-negotiable. Israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period.
"In addition, Israel demands that any final agreement with Iran will include a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel's right to exist."
If Iran's nuclear program is truly meant for peaceful purposes, then recognizing Israel's right to exist ought to be a starting point for future talks and an easy thing for Iran to do. But it won't have to. The Obama Administration immediately rejected the prime minister's request. (Gary Bauer)
The Crossroads of America Crossed on Freedom
On the eve of Good Friday, big business leaders jingled some silver in front of Indiana's elected leaders to entice them away from defending religious freedom and sadly they took the silver. After huddling with CEOs and LGBT groups, the legislative leadership unveiled a new law that not only guts the state's newly enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Act but imposes punishing fines on people who follow their beliefs about marriage. While most were expecting some kind of 'clarification,' few expected the proposed law that outrageously contemplates criminal prosecution for business owners who decline to be a party to a same-sex ceremony. The proposal doesn't directly create criminal punishment, but for the first time establishes that if the legislature were ever to adopt criminal penalties in the future, a religious freedom claim would provide NO DEFENSE against imprisonment. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty describes the proposed language as making "specific allowances for criminal prosecution."
But the intolerant left isn't waiting on lawmakers and the governor to sort out what punishments might be imposed. They have turned their fury on Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana all because a co-owner of the restaurant told a reporter, who was asking local small businesses if they would service same-sex weddings, that she would not cater a same-sex 'wedding.' The restaurant temporarily closed its doors yesterday "due to the volume of calls and threats it had received."
You may be wondering why legislators, who just last week overwhelmingly voted to protect religious liberty, would now introduce a new law that would use the government as a weapon against people who simply follow their beliefs on marriage. It isn't because the American people are clamoring for it. In fact, a new Rasmussen survey released just yesterday finds that 70 percent of Americans supports the right of a Christian wedding photographer to decline a same-sex ceremony. The answer is Big Business.
Big corporations like Apple, Angie's List and Walmart are now putting religious freedom in a worse place than before RFRA was signed into law. Under this gutting law, even nonprofits deemed "not religious enough" face government discrimination for declining to facilitate same-sex wedding ceremonies. If the government punishes people for living their faith, there are no limits to what government can control.
> > >
Meanwhile there was a better outcome in Arkansas in the tussle over their Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This afternoon the legislature approved and Governor Asa Hutchinson immediately held a ceremony where he signed into law an amended RFRA that mirrors the 1993 federal RFRA. "I think it's sending the right signal," said Governor Hutchinson.
Earlier this week things really heated up when two-thirds of the legislature voted to send HB 1228 -- the original Religious Freedom Restoration Act -- to the Governor, which he promised would receive his signature. However, after reportedly hearing from Walmart executives, he shocked everyone when he responded with a press conference calling on the legislature to go back to the drawing board and send him a bill that would "more closely mirror the federal RFRA."
Arkansas Family Council President Jerry Cox had it right this afternoon when he said, "If the Arkansas General Assembly passes Senate Bill 975, most of what we were trying to accomplish will have been done. The original religious freedom bill, H.B. 1228, was the Rolls Royce of religious freedom laws. S.B. 975, the replacement bill, is a Cadillac." (Family Research Council)
The Good News Corner
Tropical Cyclone Pam: Why the Vanuatu death toll was so low
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Below is an ABC article setting out the secular reasoning as to why only 11 people have been confirmed to have died when Category 5 Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through the nation of Vanuatu from north to south last month.
I would not dispute any of that reasoning, but I would add one more significant reason . . . the intervention of our merciful, compassionate, prayer-answering God. Please join me in praising the Lord for His gracious intervention.
Thank you all for your prayer and intercession for Vanuatu and its people during Tropical Cyclone Pam.
Please continue to uphold Vanuatu and its people before the Lord, and call on Him to guide and provide for all aspects of the recovery process underway in Vanuatu.
With love in Christ Jesus,
Australian Indigenous Prayer Network
PO Box 27, Mapleton, 4560, QLD
Ph: (07) 5478 6765
Tropical Cyclone Pam: Why the Vanuatu death toll was so low
Read this article here.
Songs Our Grandmothers Sang
Songs Our Grandmothers Sang:
CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY
"The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." (Matthew 28:5,6)
In these perilous times, when all that can be shaken is being shaken, let us return to the "faith of our fathers" and sing the hymns and songs of old.
May we each draw strength in our own time, as we "dig the wells of treasure" to draw upon the strength that carried our ancestors through their own perilous times. Amen.
Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun's eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!
(Read more lyrics here.)
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About the Author:
Words: Charles Wesley, 1739.
Music: Easter Hymn, composer unknown, in Lyra Davidica (London: 1708)
About the Hymn:
Wesley's words were written for use at the first worship service at the Wesleyan Chapel in London. The chapel, on the site of a former iron foundry, became known as the Foundry Meeting House, and this hymn was included in the Foundry Collection.
Signs and Wonders
Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Missouri: Earthquakes 28 March-3 April 2015
Some weeks there's not a lot of earthquake activity - some weeks there is. The week of 28 March-3 April 2015 was one of the latter, with the United States Geological Survey's real time earthquake map (which shows tremors of all magnitudes in the US and its territories and those of at least magnitude 4 elsewhere) showing a total of just over 1,550 earthquakes, four of them larger than M6.0 and one of M7.5. (Decoded Science) Read more
Today's Birthday on the Hill
Today we wish a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to:
Governor Jerry Brown (CA)
Re. Robert Brady (PA)
God bless you!