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The Daily Brief:
"Praying for All in Authority"
Monday, November 9, 2015
"The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
(2 Timothy 4:18)
Honoring Our Veterans . . .
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)
GOD SENDS A SIGN OF LIFE IN THE SKIES OVER ISRAEL
Amazing. Above Israel, "Chai" shines -- the Hebrew symbol of life!
1. Report: Israel worried Egypt's Sisi might fall to jihadist insurgents - Jerusalem Post
Israeli officials are reportedly growing concerned over the long-term viability of the current Egyptian regime in light of gains made by Islamists in their insurgency.
Bloomberg News quoted a former Republican lawmaker on Friday as saying that Israeli government figures are beginning to wonder whether Egypt's president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, can successfully overcome the threats posed to his rule by Islamic State-inspired Salafist gunmen.
Egypt's tourism industry - a key source of revenue for the cash-strapped Arab giant - is expected to take an even bigger hit in the wake of Saturday's crash of a Russian airline in the Sinai Peninsula.
2. Six Israelis hurt in three separate West Bank terror attacks - YNET News
Six Israelis were wounded in three separate terror attacks in the West Bank on Sunday, all happening within the span of a few hours.
Four pedestrians were wounded in a morning vehicular attack at the Tapuah Junction. Two people in their 20s were wounded moderately and seriously while a pregnant woman was lightly hurt. Another woman suffered light-to-moderate wounds.
3. IDF seizes homes, blocks roads in Hebron following shootings - Times of Israel
Israel Defense Forces troops moved into Hebron overnight Friday after a shooting attack in the divided West Bank city wounded two Israeli teens, one seriously.
The Hebrew-language Walla website said that soldiers took over several houses near the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the Jewish holy site at which the two youths had been praying before they were shot. During the operation, the troops went up to the rooftops of a number of homes to bolster security at the tomb in the wake of the attack.
The Ynet news website quoted Palestinians as saying that the IDF has also blocked roads leading into Hebron, using concrete blocks and mounds of dirt to prevent passage.
4. In Protesting Against Israel, Youth in Gaza Also Defy Hamas - NY Times
El BUREIJ, Gaza Strip - The Palestinian youths huddled in the prohibited zone along the fence separating Gaza from Israel on Friday, cloaked by thick smoke pluming from flaming tires as they hurled rocks at Israeli jeeps. A tear gas canister came thudding down over their heads, and one teenager dashed over to pick it up and throw it into a puddle on a rainy afternoon.
This is the new normal in Gaza, where nearly every day since early October hundreds of youths have staged a demonstration of defiance against Israel by rushing the Gaza security fence en masse, and sometimes crossing it, to show solidarity with Palestinians under fire in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
"We want to send a message to the Israelis that we exist," said Suheil, 24, who like most of the demonstrators requested that his family name be kept secret to avoid reprisal. "I feel like I'm in solidarity with our brothers in Jerusalem and the West Bank."
5. Israel, Jordan launch first ever joint infrastructure project - YNET News
Israel has issued a tender for the construction of a new bridge across the Jordan River which would connect it with its neighbor from the east, the Ministry for Regional Cooperation said Sunday.
The bridge will be part of the "Jordan-gate" project, which will see the establishment of a joint industrial zone between the two countries.
The tender was issued through the Valley of Springs Regional Council in northern Israel, on whose land the industrial area will be built.
A ministry statement said that the project, which is the first ever joint infrastructure project between the two countries, will include two industrial areas and employment zones on both sides of the river, with a bridge that will connect between the two.
6. Al-Aqsa preacher: Israel 'lying' about Temple Mount - Israel National News
A preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday accused Israel of "lying" when it says the Temple Mount is holy to Jews.
The preacher, Mohammed Salim, declared that the compound belongs solely to Muslims, claiming that the proof is in its name "Al-Aqsa" (lit. the extreme). In light of this "fact", claimed Salim, the question is "how the Jews are lying about their sovereignty and claim that the Temple stood on this mountain?"
Salim stressed that the Muslims are the sole owners of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and that praying in it is the right of Muslims. Control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the entry of Muslims is a matter of their own and no one has the authority to intervene but Muslims, said he added.
Salim also said that the Jews perform rituals in the area that "defile" the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He claimed that Muslims around the world are completely opposed to Israel's steps on the Temple Mount, and they demand to restore the situation in the period that existed before the 1967, when the area was under Arab and Muslim rule.
7. Europe lawmakers convene to help Israel - Jerusalem Post
Members of parliament from Europe began meeting in Berlin Saturday to plan strategy for fighting the pending publication of guidelines to enable EU member states to place consumer labels on exports from east Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.
The 24 lawmakers attending the three-day Israel Allies Foundation annual Jerusalem Chairman's Conference came from Estonia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Poland, Romania, France, Slovakia, Macedonia and Germany.
They were joined by Congressional Israel Allies Caucus Chairman Eliot Engel and MKs Yair Lapid, Yoel Hasson, Merav Ben Ari and Sharren Haskel.
8. Weekly Update from Intercessors for Israel
To read this newsletter, please go here.
9. Weekly Update from Bridges for Peace
To read this newsletter, please go here.
10. Weekly Update from Hebrew Nation News
To read this newsletter, please go here.
The Daily Brief
1. Reset on agenda for Obama-Netanyahu meeting - CNN
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to Washington on Monday seeking to mend his relationship with President Barack Obama after the Israeli leader's controversial address on Iran to Congress eight months ago soured ties between the two allies.
Expectations for the visit aren't high: U.S. officials said no final agreement is likely on new U.S. defense aid to Israel, and they conceded the possibility of negotiating a two-state peace deal with the Palestinians is off the table for the remainder of Obama's time in office.
But the White House does see indications that the Israeli leader is working to mend fences in the United States and attempting to move away from politics in bilateral ties that both countries insist must transcend domestic party lines.
"There are occasions when we've had disagreements, and that's well-known about this past year, particularly around the Iranian negotiations," said Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, on Thursday. "But I think both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama are clearly focused in the meeting we're preparing for next week on looking forward." (Read more)
- Father God, we ask for Your wisdom to guide P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu in all of the discussions that will take place today inside the White House. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen and amen.
- "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16)
2. White House: Netanyahu Will Not Get The Additional Aid He Is Requesting - Ynet News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be getting what he wants out of his trip to Washington, according to White House sources who spoke with the New York Times on Friday.
One of Netanyahu's central goals for the trip was to strike an agreement on a new defense deal for Israel for the next decade, including compensation Israel was supposed to receive in light of the Iran deal.
The White House sources noted that the issue would not come up in the meeting between Netanyahu and Obama, and furthermore claimed that any compensation would not be increased as had been suggested in earlier reports. (Read more)
- Father God, we humbly ask that the net result of these talks will be the opposite of this headline. We ask that You would move upon the heart of Barack Hussein Obama to grant Israel ALL the aid it needs in order to stand strong against the enemies that now surround it, and are located within its boundaries. We ask for Your help, O Lord, in Jesus' name, amen and amen.
- "if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them [a]by My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)
3. Scott Walker approves administrative rule to require drug testing for public benefits - Madison Cap Times
Wisconsin is one step closer to implementing a policy that would require some applicants to take a drug test in order to receive food stamps, job training or unemployment insurance.
Gov. Scott Walker announced on Tuesday that he has approved an administrative rule submitted by the state Department of Children and Families that would establish a process to screen for and test for the use of controlled substances by applicants for state work experience programs, and to refer those determined to be abusing drugs to a treatment program. The rule is set to take effect on November 9.
Walker's proposal to drug test for some recipients of public benefits was approved in the state budget, passed in July. Our 2015-17 State Budget implements common-sense reforms that put in place drug screening, testing, and treatment mechanisms, so we can continue strengthening Wisconsin's workforce," Walker said in a statement. "Employers across the state frequently tell me they have good-paying jobs available in high-demand fields, but need their workers to be drug-free. These important entitlement reforms will help more people find family-supporting jobs, moving them from government dependence to true independence." (Read more)
- Heavenly Father, we lift up praise that Governor Walker is working on implementing a drug test requirement if people are receiving public benefits, so that if the person is found to have a 'problem' they can be treated and then worked with to place them into a job. We ask that You extend Your right hand over this action, so that people may be truly helped and not just left to collect benefits with no 'healthy, self-supporting' future. We pray this in the Name of Jesus, Amen and Amen.
- "And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful." (Titus 3:14 NKJV)
4. 'Unvetted foreigners' working as U.S. baggage handlers - WND
James Woolsey, former director of the CIA, said in a somewhat shocking statement Friday on Fox News that many of the nation's airport security staffers are not subjected to full vetting. Many, in fact, come from overseas locations and are hired through the same process used to employ farm workers, he said. In other words: they're not subjected to background checks that could alert to terror ties.
"They used to be vetted," Woolsey said in an interview on "America's Newsroom." "Now, quite a few of them are foreign nationals who have just worker visas. They're treated like agricultural workers."
The comments came in a discussion about the Oct. 31 downing of the Russian jetliner over Egypt that is looking more and more like a terrorist attack. British intelligence has already determined a bomb most likely downed the craft. (Read more)
- Abba Father this is a truly frightening report, especially considering how recently a plane was destroyed by an internally placed bomb. We ask that this hiring policy be changed immediately, so that needed vetting of baggage handlers at all of our airports and with all airlines that fly within the United States becomes mandatory. Potential terrorists simply must be ruled out! We pray this in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen and Amen.
- "Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all nations." (Psalm 82:8)
5. U.S. companies 'bow' to Obama's 'global treaty' - WND
The Obama administration is actively lining up corporate America to champion his controversial climate agenda that the president hopes to push through a United Nations summit in the coming weeks, and businesses are jumping aboard by the dozens, either out of profit motive or to avoid punitive action from the White House.
Back in June, a Daily Caller article reported that Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett was using both sticks and carrots to woo big businesses onto the climate-change bandwagon. In a column for Conservative Review, energy expert and crony capitalism watchdog Tom Borelli says corporate leaders are only too eager to join forces with Obama. "Eighty-one companies have signed onto a White House climate change pledge, where each company volunteers to take certain actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions," Borelli said.
Some firms signing onto the Obama climate plan are focused on renewable energy and see a major windfall in profits headed their way if carbon dioxide standards are slashed in the U.S. Others have different incentives. "There's a group of food companies that have also signed on. I believe some of these companies, specifically Coca-Cola and Pepsi, are really just trying to align themselves with the administration because they fear at any one moment the progressives will start talking about a tax on sodas," said Borelli, who noted that this is the latest episode of Obama taking aggressive steps to get what he wants. "Probably the most dangerous legacy he's going to leave us with is this corporatist state, where big business and big government align themselves temporarily for a policy goal," Borelli said. (Read more)
- Heavenly Father, it is frightening that 81 companies are agreeing to 'promote' President Obama's highly questionable 'climate change' agenda. This is so potentially dangerous because of the effect it will bring to bear on our national as well as global economies by 'controlling' regulations as well as cost to implement. Direct our prayer, Father, we pray, in Jesus' Name, Amen and Amen.
- "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV)
6. Kim Davis victory! New governor to drop clerk names from marriage licenses - WND
The governor-elect in Kentucky - a conservative Republican who stunningly rallied from behind to defeat a powerful Democrat candidate, the state's attorney general - says one of his first acts will be to formalize an accommodation for county clerks whose religious beliefs are being violated by demands they issue "same-sex marriage" licenses. Matt Bevin on Friday confirmed he will work on a solution in a situation that came to a head for Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis when she refused an order from U.S. District Judge David Bunning to violate her faith and issue "same-sex marriage" licenses and he sent her to jail. The AP reported Bevin "vowed to remove the names of county clerks from marriage licenses."
Officials with Liberty Counsel, who have been representing Davis, and continue to fight her appeals at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said it is a clear victory for Davis. Liberty Counsel said in a statement, "The people of Kentucky have overwhelmingly spoken in support of Kim Davis and others who believe our nation should be a place where all people can live out their faith without fear of being put in prison. This is a day that our constitutional principles are being used as intended to protect innocent people from undue harm. This promise is a clear, simple path to resolving all the legal efforts on behalf of Davis." (Read more)
- Heavenly Father, we rejoice that the newly elected governor of Kentucky will carry through with his promise to remove clerks' names from marriage license in his state. We pray that many other states will follow this example so that people may continue to work without having to violate their religious beliefs, and that the original intents of the U.S. Constitution may be followed. We pray protection over all the officials involved, praying this in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen and Amen.
- "You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked." (Psalm 97:10)
7. WSJ: Obama preparing to transfer Gitmo detainees to U.S. via executive order - Canada Free Press
It's impossible not to notice how brazenly President Executive Order is willing to blow off Congress and simply do whatever he wants, so you can't argue for a second with the view of WSJ editors that he's getting ready to do it again with regard to Guantanamo Bay.
The gambit they envision is, having already vetoed the defense authorization bill precisely because it contained a ban on closing Gitmo and bringing the detainees to the U.S., Obama will now propose a new Gitmo closing bill so completely unworkable that it's guaranteed to fail on Capitol Hill. That's the idea Then he repeats his familiar refrain about how he tried to work with Congress but they just wouldn't reciprocate, so now he must act, blah blah blah, and that's how we'll end up with jihadis in our backyards when we could have kept them in Castro's backyard.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest repeated the familiar drill Wednesday. They "work with Congress where we can," Mr. Earnest said. "But if Congress continues to refuse, I wouldn't rule out the President using every element of his authority to make progress." (Read more)
- Heavenly Father, we come before You and seek Your mercy regarding this 'planned' executive order to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay and to bring those prisoners to the U.S. Father, help us as our administration continues to 'relocate' more and more dangerous people into our nation without sufficient protection for our everyday citizens. We repent for all our personal and national sins, as we know we deserve Your judgment. Direct our prayers for this please. We pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen and Amen.
- "Though his hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly." (Proverbs 26:26)
8. Obama Unleashes His Pro-Criminal Agenda - Canada Free Press
President Obama is attempting to fundamentally redefine and mainstream criminal behavior by fast-tracking criminals' federal employment applications, weakening criminal law penalties, and trafficking in get-out-of-jail-free cards for tens of thousands of imprisoned federal drug offenders.
Releasing prisoners because it's not fair to keep them locked up for their crimes, defending lawless so-called sanctuary cities, and banning the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) criminal record box on job applications, are Obama's goals.
Pinal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu (R) warns that the administration's claim that the roughly 1,700 illegal alien inmates-who are part of the group of 6,112 new parolees-will face deportation is nonsense. "There's no chance of them being deported to their country of origin and this is just another lie." But Obama doesn't care about what his critics say. (Read more)
- Abba Father, here is more action by the president to 'release' dangerous prisoners into our neighborhoods with no warning or protection. We cry 'mercy, mercy' , oh Father. We take the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and we decree that thsi plan will be defeated. We pray this in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Lord, Amen and Amen.
- "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)
9. Putin Associate Found Dead in DC Hotel - ABC News
A prominent Russian millionaire with high-level ties to the Kremlin has been found dead inside a Washington hotel, a Russian official and a senior U.S. official told ABC News.
Mikhail Lesin, the former head of media affairs for the Russian government who's been accused of curtailing the country's press freedoms, had been staying at The DuPont Circle Hotel when he was found Thursday, according to officials.
It's unclear why the long-time adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Washington, but the Metropolitan Police Department is now investigating his death. On Thursday, U.S. authorities notified the Russian embassy in Washington that one of its citizens had died, and Russian officials are now working with American authorities to determine the circumstances of the death, the embassy told ABC News in a statement. Citing an ongoing investigation, an MPD spokesman would only confirm the department is conducting a "death investigation." (Read more)
- Heavenly Father, we pray that Your truth will arise and justice will be served for this man's family. We ask that all that needs to be known be brought forth, praying this in Jesus' Name, Amen and Amen.
- "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." (Proverbs 27:1)
10. Mystery military activity forces LAX to reroute overnight flights - Fox News
Will be rerouted until November 12
Mysterious military activity west of Los Angeles International Airport is forcing the airport--one of the nation's busiest-- to temporarily divert overnight landings and departures. KABC-TV reported Saturday that secret military operations being conducted over the Pacific Ocean may make for noisier nights for people living in the flight path. "We clearly understand that neighbors and communities east of the airport will experience noise and we apologize for that," LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.
The military has been mum about what exactly it's doing and LAX says it's in the dark, the station reported. LAX began deviating flights Friday after being told by the Federal Aviation Administration that military airspace west of the airport would be active for a week. The airport said the deviations would continue until Nov. 12. Normally, LAX routes flights from midnight to 6:30 a.m. over the Pacific to reduce noise levels for nearby residents in places like Inglewood who may be sleeping at that time.
"Active military airspace will require the airport to temporarily deviate from this air traffic flow configuration and to remain in westerly operations (aircraft arriving and departing westbound) for the next seven nights," LAX said Friday. (Read more)
- Father God, as we write this prayer, the internet is filled with many rumors related to this event, and a possible sighting of a "UFO" over Los Angeles on Saturday night, too. Only You, O Holy One, know the truth. We ask a double measure of protection over our coastlines until this danger has passed, in Jesus' name, amen.
- "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (2 Timothy 4:18) -
Welcome Back, P.M. Netanyahu!
FRC's Perkins Welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's Visit to U.S.
Returning from a two-week trip to Israel, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins today said he is looking forward to next week's visit by Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu. While in Israel, Perkins led a FRC sponsored tour that not only visited sites important to Jews and Christians, but heard from a number of political and religious leaders on geopolitical issues impacting Israel and the Middle East. Perkins also delivered a keynote speech at the Jerusalem Leadership Summit on Wednesday night.
Perkins made the following statement as America prepares to welcome the Israeli Prime Minister:
"I greatly look forward to Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to the U.S. and to hear what he has to share with the American people. Our relationship with Israel has been rocky throughout the Obama presidency, but never more than in recent months given the dangerous deal struck by President Obama with Iran over that country's attempted development of nuclear weapons.
"Those feeling ambivalent about supporting the Jewish state need to understand Israel's strategic importance to the United States. Israel is a vital ally and the only democracy in the Middle East.
"Given Israel's loyalty to the United States, her geographic centrality in a vast region in which America clearly has security concerns, her military alliance with America, and her now almost seven-decade history of representative self-government, respect for religious liberty, the U.S. has both a moral and a strategic obligation to stand with the Jewish state. Israel is an island of liberty in a sea of repression and authoritarianism.
"If we want peace in the Middle East, it starts with Israel's enemies finally acknowledging two basic things: Israel's right to exist and to exist as a Jewish state. Until those hurdles are cleared, I fear that supposedly incremental progress will lead only to ongoing conflict.
"Our relationship with Israel must always remain unshakable and Bible-believing Christians must do their part to insure we select a President in 2016 that is committed to that vital relationship with Israel," Perkins concluded.
The text of Perkins' speech in Jerusalem can be viewed here:
[Press Release Issued on Saturday, November 7, 2015]
Next Debate: Tomorrow Night!
The Elite Eight
The next Republican presidential debate takes place Tuesday night, November 10th, on the Fox Business Network. But this time, the prime time debate stage will feature only eight candidates, instead of ten.
Yesterday, the network announced that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee had missed the cut (2.5% support) based on their averages in recent polls.
The eight candidates participating in the prime time debate will be billionaire Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, former CEO Carly Fiorina, former Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rand Paul.
Christie and Huckabee will be in the second-tier debate with Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Sen. Rick Santorum. Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Gov. George Pataki missed the cut for that debate after failing to register at all in several recent polls. (Gary Bauer)
About that Stabbing at UC/Merced (Part One)
Nothing To See Here. . .
Wednesday morning, an 18 year-old Muslim went on a rampage at a California university campus. After stabbing four people, he was shot and killed. For 24 hours, authorities refused to release his name -- Faisal Mohammad. By the time they did, the story was "old news," and thus no longer news.
Thanks to our 24-hour news cycle, this incident, like others before it, is already down the memory hole. I doubt 1 in 100 Americans know that a Muslim in California attempted to carry out a stabbing attack just like the attacks Palestinians have been committing against Jews in Israel.
Is it possible that Faisal Mohammad was inspired to use a large hunting knife by the actions of Palestinian Muslims who in turn have been inspired by ISIS thugs beheading people with large knives?
As is turns out, we don't have to guess. Faisal Mohammad, like many jihadists before him, left a manifesto behind in which he repeatedly praises Allah.
But that's not the worst part of it. The self-delusion of our politically correct authorities is truly frightening. Consider this Fox News excerpt:
"[Sheriff] Warnke stressed Wednesday's stabbings were not terrorism, just a grudge by an angry teenager, but Mohammad did praise Allah in his writings. [Warnke] added though that the writings about Allah would be like him, a Christian, referencing Jesus, since that is the religion he practices."
Right. And the Fort Hood massacre was just "work place violence."
Wake up, America! Political correctness and misguided notions of tolerance will destroy us. (Gary Bauer)
About that Stabbing at UC/Merced (Part Two)
Officials Find "No Motive" for UC Student Stabbings
- But Are Sure It's Not "Terrorism"
Note: Below please find an excerpt from an article, written by former FBI agent John Guandolo, founder of Understanding the Threat. To read this entire article, please go here.
. . . Recently, Hamas has specifically called for Muslims to stab non-Muslims (especially Jews in Gaza), and have even made videos and lesson plans on how to do it.
Not hard to keep the "JIHADI" option on the table regarding Faisal Mohammad when this information is known and understood. This is a lot more likely than . . . he was mad he got kicked out of a study group.
Why is it so hard to believe that there are some Muslims who actually take the Quran and the Sunnah (ie what Islam teaches) seriously and act on it?
While officials admit they are not sure of a motive in the UC - Merced incident, they sure were quick to announce what it wasn't.
> > > The Mission of Understanding the Threat:
Understanding the Threat provides threat-focused strategic and operational consultation, training, and education for federal, state, and local leadership and agencies in government, the private sector, and for private citizens. While UTT briefs and teaches about many of the threats external and internal to the United States, its primary concern is the threats to the Republic and the West in general from the Global Islamic Movement. (Read more here.)
Iraqi Christians Face Extinction
One of the oldest Christian minorities in the Middle East is in danger of extinction: the Assyrian Chaldeans in Northern Iraq and adjacent Syria. They are descendants of ancient Babylonians and Assyrians who were converted to Christianity in the First Century by disciples of St. Thomas, Mar Marie and Mar Addie. These Iraqi Christians revere the prophet Ibrahim, Abraham of the Old Testament, who left Ur of Chaldea, in Southern Iraq, to found the Jewish faith and nation in Israel. Following the conquest of Judea and the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem, Jews were removed by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylonia where a community flourished for over 2,500 years until their expulsion by the Iraqi nationalist regime following the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948.
Iraqi Jews and Christians share something in common, Aramaic, the lingua franca of the ancient Middle East of two millennia ago spoken by Jews, including Jesus and his apostles. Iraqi Christians built a significant religious culture and civilization over six centuries numbering more than 7 million until the grand jihad of Islam swept out of Arabia 1,400 years ago. Their homeland is the biblical Plain of Nineveh in northern Iraq with its historical center in Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, now occupied by another group of 21st Century jihadists, ISIS.
Over the millennia Iraq Christians, like the area's Jews, suffered depredations from Romans, Islamists, Mongols, Ottomans, Kurds, Arab Ba'athist dictators such as the late Saddam Hussein, sectarian Iraqi Shia and Sunni supremacists and barbaric ISIS jihadists who forced their flight from Mosul. At the start of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iraqi Christians numbered 1.4 million. Given the onslaught by sectarian Iraqi Shia militia forces like the Sadr brigade, the Christian community in Baghdad and Southern Iraq fled to Mosul and the Nineveh Plain in the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).
With the conquest of Mosul in June of 2014, Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities like the Yazidis were forced to flee. Their numbers have been reduced by more than 80 percent. Now there are less than 200,000 Iraqi Christians, 170,000 of these living in abject squalor and poverty bereft of housing and adequate humanitarian assistance in the KRG. They are threatened with possible extinction unless they can receive immediate assistance with the prospects of asylum and reunion with relatives in the US and elsewhere. (NER) Read more here.
"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." (Revelation 12:11)
Our Grandmothers' Songs
Songs Our Grandmothers Sang:
GRACIOUS SPIRIT, DOVE DIVINE
"The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove." (Luke 3:22)
Gracious Spirit, Dove divine, Let Thy light within me shine; All my guilty fears remove, Fill me full of Heav'n and love.
Speak Thy pardoning grace to me, Set the burdened sinner free; Lead me to the Lamb of God, Wash me in His precious blood.
Life and peace to me impart, Seal salvation in my heart; Breathe Thyself into my breast, Earnest of immortal rest.
Let me never from Thee stray, Keep me in the narrow way; Fill my soul with joy divine, Keep me, Lord, forever Thine.
Guard me round, on every side, Save me from self righteous pride; Me with Jesu's mind inspire, Melt me with celestial fire.
Thou my dross and tin consume, Let Thy inward kingdom come; All my prayer and praise suggest, Dwell and reign within my breast.
About the Author:
Words: John Stocker, 1777
Music: Louis M. Gottschalk, 1867
Signs and Wonders
As planets align, some see return of Jesus' Star of Bethlehem
Could the rare convergence of Venus, Jupiter and Mars seen on the horizon this week be a repeat of the biblical phenomenon, the Star of Bethlehem? As early bird stargazers enjoy this planetary trio through November 3, like everything else in religious tradition and astrology, what the skies portend is a matter of faith - and interpretation.
Coming on the heels of the October 8 Blood Moon, until the end of this week the three planets can be seen grouped together inside a five degree diameter circle, in an astral phenomenon known as a "planetary trio." On Monday, the height of the grouping, Venus and Jupiter will pass within 1.1 degrees of each other. Bright stars Regulus and Procyon have also been visible this week, forming a line in the sky with the planets.
Best beheld before dawn, the relative brightness of Venus and Jupiter make the event easily seen by the naked eye or binoculars and is being labeled by some Internet-savvy astronomers as the same Star of Bethlehem phenomenon the magi saw some 2,000 years ago.
But could this type of rare astral grouping really have been what propelled the three oriental gift-bearing kings to traverse afar, field and fountain, moor and mountain, while following yonder star? (Times of Israel) Read more here.
The Good News Corner
Why This Terminally Ill Dad Was Blown Away by His Daughter's "Blessing of Marriage" Ceremony
When Sarah Williams learned her dad, Joseph Williams, would be too sick to leave the hospital to attend her north Alabama wedding Oct. 10, she brought the ceremony to him inside University of Alabama (UAB) Hospital.
UAB Medicine Pastoral Care Director Malcolm Marler officiated a "Blessing of Marriage" ceremony for Williams and her fiancé, Jason Wire, with Sarah's dad and other family and friends by their side Oct. 8. Nursing staff in the Coronary Care Unit, including those who cared for Mr. Williams, helped Sarah plan the event, which included refreshments and a wedding cake.
"You look beautiful," a surprised Williams told his daughter when she walked into his hospital room wearing her wedding dress.
The event turned out to be more special to Sarah and Jason than they had imagined. Mr. Williams passed away Oct. 15, after a lengthy battle with congestive heart failure.
"Words cannot express how amazing UAB Hospital was to my dad and to my family for having that ceremony," said Sarah, who lives with Jason in Starkville, Mississippi. "This selfless act helped change an unfortunate situation into a memory we will be able to cherish forever. I am so thankful for the nurses, doctors, pastoral care and staff at UAB Hospital for helping create such a memorable day for us."
The day was also quite special for the staff of the Coronary Care Unit.
"Mr. Williams had been here for a little while and was critically ill, and every time we went on a trip to X-ray or CT, he kept saying, 'How am I going to get to my daughter's wedding?' He was disappointed that he might miss it," said CCU nurse Kelly Karell. "Our nurse manager, Delois Spencer, and I talked about it, and Sarah came to us and said she'd like to have a chaplain come and have a marriage ceremony here. We wanted to make it as special as possible, so we had places for the wedding party to change and a place for her to change into her wedding dress, and we ordered some food and a cake. We knew Mr. Williams was very sick, and you could tell he and Sarah had a close relationship. We wanted her to remember her father seeing her get married, and we wanted to do what we could to make it special for her."
Source: Breaking Christian News
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