Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
"A National Prayer Alliance"
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The Daily Brief:
"Praying for All in Authority"
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
"For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock."
". . . under his wings you will find refuge . . ." (Psalm 91:4)
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. Egyptian warplanes using Israeli airspace- YNET News
Egyptian Air Force planes have in recent months crossed into Israeli airspaces part of Egypt's military campaign against the local Sinai affiliate of the Islamic State terror group, Ynet learned on Tuesday.
The unprecedented flights, apparently conducted in coordination with the IDF, were conducted mostly in the triangular border area between Israeli territory, Egyptian land, and the southern Gaza Strip.
The flights are believed to be the first time that Egyptian warplanes entered Israeli airspace since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
The Egyptian aircraft bombed IS targets mere kilometers away from the Israeli border, in the vicinity of El Arish and Sheikh Zuweid in the northern Sinai. Entry into Israeli airspace did not result in any clashes with Israeli planes, presumably because of prior coordination.
2. Syria opposition groups set framework for proposed talks - Washington Post
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - A powerful Syrian insurgent faction pulled out of an opposition conference on Thursday in protest over the role given to groups it said are close to the Syrian government, signaling continued divisions among rival factions ahead of proposed peace negotiations with President Bashar Assad's government.
Ahrar al-Sham, a Saudi-backed ultraconservative group that operates mainly in northern Syria, said in a statement that it was withdrawing also because the conference failed to "confirm the Muslim identity of our people."
The group's withdrawal came at the end of the two-day conference in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, which sought to form a unified opposition front ahead of the proposed talks for ending Syria's nearly five-year conflict.
3. Israeli Defense Minister Rails Against IDF Whistle-Blower NGO Breaking the Silence - Algemeiner
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon railed against Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO based in Jersualem, in a Facebook post on Monday, after the group took part in a Haaretz conference in New York over the weekend.
The defense minister charged Breaking the Silence with engaging in "hypocrisy and false propaganda" in an attempt to delegitmize the Israeli defense establishment.
Ya'alon said he would forbid Breaking the Silence members from being present in any IDF activities. Undermining the group's legitimacy, the defense minister said that there had been unsuccessful investigations into claims made through Breaking the Silence testimonies in the past.
4. Likud MK seeks to label foreign-funded NGOs as 'plants' - Israel Hayom
Likud MK Yoav Kisch on Sunday introduced a legislation proposal seeking to label nongovernmental organizations operating in Israel while receiving the majority of their funding from foreign governments as "plants" or "agents" of the governments funding them.
The bill seeks to impose stricter record keeping and reporting guideline on such NGOs, and bar them from fostering collaborations with government ministries and the military, unless specifically authorized by the Justice Ministry.
5. Kerry warns: Israel could become a 'unitary state' - Israel National News
Secretary of State John Kerry is once again warning that Israel is headed towards a "one-state solution" and that the Palestinian Authority (PA) could collapse.
The comments came in an interview with the New Yorker published on Monday, and which was conducted after Kerry's recent meeting in Germany with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Kerry told the magazine that he believes that Israelis headed toward becoming a "unitary state that is an impossible entity to manage" and warned that such a reality would lead to Israel becoming like a "big fortress" and strengthen groups like Hezbollah.
He added that he is particularly concerned that the PA could collapse, causing its 30,000 security officers to scatter and leading to chaos and increasingly violent clashes with Israel.
6. Report: Israel offered terrorist releases for soldiers' bodies -Israel National News
The families of slain IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Hamas to strike a deal for their sons' bodies on Sunday, prompting a wave of sympathy and criticism from the public and political officials.
But Israel already made such an offer to Hamas at the end of Operation Protective Edge, a senior diplomatic source revealed Tuesday - and Hamas promptly rejected it.
Instead, Hamas insisted then - as senior official Mahmoud A-Zahar insisted Monday, during a rally for Hamas's 28th anniversary in Gaza - that it would only release information about the soldiers in exchange for the release of every terrorist rearrested in Israel following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens last summer. Hamas, at the time, also insisted on lifting import and export restrictions which hinder their terror tunnel construction.
7. Survey: 60% of Palestinians support violent intifada against Israel- Jerusalem Post
A new survey released by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah showed that a majority of Palestinian respondents support the current wave of terror stabbings and a violent intifada and oppose a two-state solution with Israel.
In the survey, consisting of 1397 adults throughout the West Bank and Gaza, 67 percent of respondents said they supported the use of knife terror attacks against Israelis. Almost three-quarters (73%) said they were against young school girls carrying out these attacks.
8. Abbas: Palestinians attacking Israelis because 'they see no solution ahead' - Jerusalem Post
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that the current wave of attacks against Israelis was the result of the "despair" of Palestinian youths and Israelis' visits to the al-Aksa Mosque.
Abbas said that continued settlement construction and Israeli military checkpoints were also responsible for the habba jamahiriya (popular puff).
In a speech marking International Anti-Corruption Day in Ramallah, Abbas said he was unable to "ask the Palestinian youths why they are setting out" to attack Israelis.
The Daily Brief
1. Obama Praises 196-Country Climate Deal; Republicans Say Pact Not Legally Binding - Christian Post
While President Barack Obama Saturday hailed the ratification of a universal pact, signed by diplomats from 196 nations in Paris to slow global warming by adopting green energy sources and cutting down on emissions, Republicans responded by saying the United States is not legally bound to the agreement without approval by Congress.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, the Republican chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, reacted to the climate pact Saturday.
"This agreement is no more binding than any other 'agreement' from any Conference of the Parties over the last 21 years," he said, according to CNN. "Senate leadership has already been outspoken in its positions that the United States is not legally bound to any agreement setting emissions targets or any financial commitment to it without approval by Congress." (Read more)
- Abba Father, in Genesis, You gave man dominion over the birds of the air, and the fish in the sea and the cattle on the plains. But in Job, You tell Job how You control the weather. So who is man to make plans about the weather when You are in charge? Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
- "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22)
(See also Job 38:1-4, 34-38)
2. Multiculturalism is a sham, says Angela Merkel - Washington Post
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that multiculturalism in Germany remains "a lie," telling immigrants to "obey our laws, values and traditions." Her comments came as part of a speech on Dec. 14, in Karlsruhe, a city dominated by Europe's refugee crisis.
"Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a 'life lie,' " or a sham, she said, before adding that Germany may be reaching its limits in terms of accepting more refugees. "The challenge is immense," she said. "We want and we will reduce the number of refugees noticeably."
Although those remarks may seem uncharacteristic of Merkel, she probably would insist that she was not contradicting herself. In fact, she was only repeating a sentiment she first voiced several years ago when she said multiculturalism in Germany had "utterly failed." (Read more)
- Abba Father, we thank You for establishing our multicultural nation. Over the centuries, we have come from Europe, Africa, and Asia . . . and we all wanted to be Americans. We learned English and we assimilated into the American culture. And yes, we remembered our roots.
Now in our changing world we are faced with Islamic refugees whose religion is a theocracy. Do they want to assimilate or do they want to change us? Will they accept our values and our democracy? Or will they thrust Sharia upon us, forcing us to yield to the dictates of the tyranny of a global caliphate?
Give us Your wisdom, O Lord, as we confront this new challenge to our nation. We pray that each Moslem refugee will yield to the sound of Your Spirit, accepting You as their own Savior and Lord . . . for You died for them, too. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen and amen.
- "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:5-8)
3. Saudi Arabia forms Islamic counterterrorism coalition - CBSNews.com
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia says 34 Muslim-majority nations have agreed to form a new military alliance to fight terrorism with a joint operations center based in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh.
The announcement carried early Tuesday by the Saudi Press Agency says the Saudi-led alliance was established because terrorism "should be fought by all means and collaboration should be made to eliminate it."
While Saudi Arabia's regional rival, Shiite Iran, is not part of the coalition, the alliance brings together diverse Muslim countries from several continents, including Mali, Malaysia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Egypt as well as neighboring Gulf countries such as the United Arab Emirates. (Read more)
- Abba Father, we pray that this Sunni Islamic coalition has Your blessing to defeat ISIS. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
- "All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God." (Deuteronomy 28:2)
4. U.S. has mapped ISIS hiding spots, but won't launch strikes for fear of civilian deaths - Washington Times
In a secret project tied to the overall U.S. campaign against the Islamic State, intelligence officials have spent months mapping out known physical locations of media safe houses where the extremist group's operatives are compiling, editing and curating raw video and print materials into finished digital propaganda products for dissemination across the Internet.
Most of the locations are embedded in heavily residential areas in Syria, Iraq and Libya and are not being targeted by U.S. airstrikes because of Obama administration concerns about civilian casualties, according to sources who spoke to The Washington Times only on the condition of anonymity. The White House also has been pressing the intelligence community to continue studying the facilities for a deeper understanding of how the Islamic State and its media enterprises operate, the sources said. (Read more)
- Father God, we repent of our own weakness within the Church, to refuse to confront evil when we see it flourishing, preferring to "protect" man. As we repent for the evil among us, we ask You to grant Your mercy to our nation, and Your forgiveness to a president who is so weak-kneed in his own foreign policy. Lord God, help us all to find our strength in You, that we might rule wisely in our own lives, in our families, and in our nation. We ask this in Your name, amen and amen.
- "I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected." (Habakkuk 2:1)
5. ISIS in America: 3 charged with terror-tied crimes - WND
A 30-year-old Maryland man named Mohamed Elshinawy was arrested and accused in a court hearing of receiving almost $9,000 from ISIS to finance a terrorists attack in the United States. And that's just after a couple of Illinois men were arrested and charged with planning to attack a military armory with grenades. (Read more)
- Lord God, we thank You that these men are being convicted of these dangerous crimes, and we ask Your Hand of grace to rest upon the FBI as they continue, at breakneck speed, to locate and bring more of these home-grown terrorists to trial. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen and amen.
- "Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb." (Psalm 37:1,2)
6. White House looks to curb anti-Muslim sentiment - Washington Examiner
The White House on Monday began "staff-level" meetings and calls with religious leaders to discuss how they could help combat growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States.
Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, and Melissa Rogers, who leads the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, held a conference call with leaders of all religions from across the country. "Spoke with 890+ religious leaders to thank them for speaking up for every American's right to be free from religious discrimination," Jarrett tweeted on Monday.
Administration officials "routinely" interact with religious leaders, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday, stressing that the latest round of talks is being led by staff members, not the president. The "hateful, divisive" comments of a "handful of Republicans running for president is hurtful and dangerous" to the nation's national security, Earnest said, presumably referring to candidates such as Donald Trump, who has proposed banning all Muslims from the U.S. (Read more)
- Lord God, we see that Valerie Jarrett has been named the appointed leader in this initiative. Holy God, we lift up prayers, asking that You place Your hand of restraint upon this woman, a native of Iran and one who practices Islam, as she works to ensure that each of us -- no matter what faith we practice -- has the right to do so. We ask this in the name of our Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen and amen.
- " . . . if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)
7. Gen. Boykin: 'Sharia Means the Destruction of the U.S. Constitution' - CNSNews.com
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Wlliam G. "Jerry" Boykin, a former commander of Delta Force, said the Islamic law that most Muslims live by, the Sharia, cannot coexist with democracy, and added that to try to introduce Sharia in America would result in "the destruction of the U.S. Constitution."
In a radio interview on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, Gen. Boykin, a born-again Christian and executive vice president of the Family Research Council, said, "Islam is only about 16% religion -- that has to be protected, the five pillars of Islam."
"But it is first and foremost a legal system called Sharia," said the general. "And if you survey most of the Muslims in America, even though they're not violent, they don't participate in jihad, and if you ask them if they would support the implementation of Sharia, sadly, recent polls show that they would support the implementation of Sharia. . . Tony, that means the destruction of the U.S. Constitution," said Boykin. "You cannot have a coexistence between a democracy and Sharia."(Read more)
- Thank You, Father, for General Jerry Boykin. Please keep him covered under the shelter of Your wing, now and always . . . as well as the members of his family, that he might continue to broadcast the truth of the dangers of Shariah law in our nation. In Jesus' name, amen and amen.
- Psalm 91
8. What's inside the $650B tax deal - The Hill
Congress's top tax writers late Tuesday night unveiled a $650 billion deal after weeks of negotiations. The 233-page bill cements a host of tax breaks for individuals and businesses, with both parties scoring policy wins.
Here's a rundown of what's inside the legislation, which is expected to pass Congress later this week. (Read more)
- Father God, this is such a huge and a complex process . . . we ask for Your hand of intervention to rest upon this Congress before they bring this budget to a final vote this year. If there are any hidden snares in this budget, we ask that they come to light, and for this vote to even be delayed until next week, if needed. Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayers, in Jesus' name, amen and amen.
- "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Matthew 21:22)
9. Los Angeles schools to reopen after email threat - CNSNews.com
The Los Angeles school district on Wednesday will reopen more than 1,500 school buildings that were shut for a day and searched after an emailed threat of violence. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says the FBI has concluded it wasn't a credible threat. Garcetti says the motivation for the email remains a mystery. (Read more)
- Lord God, we thank You for the fact that this incident has now passed, and we ask that the authorities in these school systems would gain greater insight from this episode in the days ahead. We now live in a new environment in our nation, but Abba, You are still watching over us in love. In the name of Jesus Christ we ask this prayer, amen.
- "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
10. What Was Said in Final GOP Debate . . . - CBN
The Hot-Button Issues That Dominated the 5th GOP Debate: Here's What Candidates Said
National security and defeating ISIS were the hot button issues of the fifth Republican presidential debate, which took place only weeks after major terror attacks abroad and at home shocked the nation. (Read analysis by CBN staff here. Also reported by Breaking Christian News)
- Father God, it seems that this tumultuous campaign within the Republican Party is a mirror of a nation in turmoil. We come to You in repentance, O Lord, and we ask that Your Hand of grace would rest upon each one of us as we examine these issues -- and these candidates -- in light of the prism of Your truth. Help us, O Lord, we pray, amen and amen.
- "But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble." (Psalm 37:39)
11. Congress Drops All Pretense: Quietly Turns CISA Into A Full On Surveillance Bill - Techdirt.com
Remember CISA? The "Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act"? It's getting much, much worse, with Congress and the administration looking to ram it through -- in the process, dropping any pretense that it's not a surveillance bill. . . the intelligence community has basically taken over the process and more or less stripped out what few privacy protections there were.
In short: while before Congress could at least pretend that CISA was about cybersecurity, rather than surveillance, in this mad dash to get it shoved through, they've dropped all pretense and have stripped every last privacy protection, expanded the scope of the bill, and made it quite clear that it's a very broad surveillance bill that can be widely used and abused by all parts of the government.
There is still some hesitation by some as to whether or not this bill belongs in the omnibus bill, or if it should go through the regular process, with a debate and a full vote on this entirely new and different version of CISA. So, now would be a good time to speak out, letting your elected officials and the White House know that (1) CISA should not be in the omnibus and (2) that we don't need another surveillance bill.
In the meantime, if Congress were actually serious about cybersecurity, they'd be ramping up the acceptance and use of encryption, rather than trying to undermine it. (Read more)
- Lord, we ask that this bill be stripped from the current budget package and re-examined. We ask this in Your name, amen and amen.
- "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." (John 14:14)
The Daily Jot
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Zeroing in on Islam in America
There are at least two, and maybe only two, presidential candidates who are tapping the brakes on mainstream political correctness when it comes to Islam, and neither of them have ever held any elective office. Donald Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US until the government had clarity on handling the threat posed by Islamists. In a September 15 policy statement, Dr. Ben Carson said, "Congress should immediately establish a war-time emergency visa and immigration policy; establish an emergency inter-agency task force to review all visa and immigration policies; and limit visitor visas to three months with mandatory check-ins for extensions no longer than three months."
In his 7-point plan, Carson also said the US should declare war on the Islamic State as well as have the State Department "designate the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations that propagate or support Islamic terrorism as terrorist organizations, and fully investigate the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and a supporter of terrorism." Carson and Trump are articulating what many Americans are saying in private conversations, but fear retribution in public. This sort of soft tyranny was evident in the recent terror attack in San Bernardino, where neighbors saw suspicious activity, but didn't say anything for fear of being called racists or bigots.
Carson said, "We can no longer dawdle while ISIS continues to persecute Christians, enslave young girls, oppress civil societies and perpetrate terrorist attacks against the free world. We must destroy their caliphate and prevent their terrorists from infiltrating our homeland. We must also secure our borders, identify radical Islamic extremism by name and root out its agents and collaborators in our own country." Politicians and the mainstream news media are aghast at the response by Americans to the comments of Trump and Carson. Trump, for example, rose six points in the presidential polling and took a commanding lead among Republicans after calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US.
No matter how much the other candidates are calling the remarks repulsive, bigoted, racist, Islamophobic or whatever, the American people do not seem to be buying it. It's because leadership and the politically correct media have become so brainwashed by the anti-American crowd that they cannot see, or refuse to see, the perils of accepting Islam as a religion of peace when in reality every indicator demonstrates undeniably that Islam is a fascist military and political organization bent on overthrowing America. These are Isaiah 59:7 people, "Their feet run to evil, and they make hast to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths." At least two leaders are zeroing in on Islam in America.
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!
Defunding Planned Parenthood; ObamaCare
Defunding Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare
- Lord, Thank you for giving FRC and the pro-life movement grace steadfastly to persist after all these years. Yet the blood of 57 plus millions of unborn infants cries out to You! Grant us repentance and favor to turn the tide in 2016. Grant us a new president of Your choosing who will eagerly sign legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare.
- "So you shall put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 21:9)
Rev. Pierre Bynum
Chaplain & National Prayer Director
Family Research Council
Last night's GOP presidential debate certainly featured its share of arguments and insults, and the occasional good discussion of policy. But, ultimately, I did not see any clear winners or losers.
Three candidates appear positioned to go the distance -- Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. It is easy to see how any of them could become the party's nominee.
Dr. Ben Carson is a wonderful man and certainly an extraordinarily gifted surgeon. But events in Paris and San Bernardino have seemingly eclipsed him, and it was evident at times last night that he is struggling to overcome his soft-spoken demeanor and project the confidence of a war-time leader.
Gov. Chris Christie is trying to claw his way into the top tier. The path for Christie is a surprise showing in New Hampshire, where he recently won the endorsement of the Union Leader, one of the state's leading newspapers.
Beyond that, nothing happened last night that changes the current state of play. The top tier candidates remain in the top tier, while those struggling to break through will have to continue to look for opportunities to connect with the voters. (Gary Bauer)
The Intentional Obama Administration
The Intentional Obama Administration
The most frequent question Understanding the Threat's (UTT) President - John Guandolo - receives when he speaks in the media or during public presentations these days is: "Are our leaders THIS stupid, or are they intentionally advocating for, aiding and abetting, and directly supporting our enemies."
The truth is, no one is that stupid.
In the last week or so, UTT has reported:
- The U.S. Attorney General put the full weight of the Department of Justice and her office behind a jihadi organization (Muslim Advocates) while committing to silence any speech with maligns Islam.
- Members of Congress (Democrats) called on their colleagues to support a Hamas Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia to show their "solidarity" with them, and actually participated in a function at this terrorist haven.
- The President stated we must involve the American "Muslim community" in any strategy to stop "terrorism" despite the fact that all of the Muslim leaders with whom President Obama's administration is working are easily identifiable as leaders in the jihadi/Muslim Brotherhood Movement here.
- The Secretary of Homeland Security, speaking at a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood center in Northern Virginia (ADAMS Center), confirmed his father was a target of an FBI investigation because he was a member of the Communist Movement in America
(Understanding the Threat)
IMPORTANT! Read full article here.
International Prayer Alert: Overcoming Global Terrorism
John Robb, President of the International Prayer Council, has asked specific, targeted prayers for Pakistan, Afghanistan, and ISIS and its Global Threat.
Please go here to read this article and the prayer points that have been included. Thank you.
> > > We wish to thank Intercessors for American for allowing us the opportunity to publish this article by means of a link to their own website.
"Every joint supplies!" (Eph. 4:16)
Our Grandmothers' Songs
Songs Our Grandmothers Sang:
O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL
"The shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.' So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby, who was lying in the manger." (Luke 2:15-16)
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.
True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal, Lo, He shuns not the Virgin's womb; Son of the Father, begotten, not created;
Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation; O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above! Glory to God, all glory in the highest;
See how the shepherds, summoned to His cradle, Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze; We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps;
Lo! star led chieftains, Magi, Christ adoring, Offer Him incense, gold, and myrrh; We to the Christ Child bring our hearts' oblations.
Child, for us sinners poor and in the manger, We would embrace Thee, with love and awe; Who would not love Thee, loving us so dearly?
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to Thee be glory given; Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
Please go here.
About the Author:
Words: John F. Wade, 1743
Signs and Wonders
POLAR STRATOSPHERIC CLOUDS--UPDATE
For the second day in a row, sky watchers are reporting an outbreak of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) around the Arctic Circle. Unlike normal grey-white clouds, which hug Earth's surface at altitudes of only 5 to 10 km, PSCs float through the stratosphere (25 km) and they are fantastically colorful. Truls Tiller photographed these over Tromsø, Norway, on Dec. 16th:
"Here the sun is gone for now," says Tiller, "but this beautiful view makes the winter darkness nice to be in as well. The picture was taken at 10.30 am, in the middle of the 'day.'"
Also known as "nacreous" or "mother of pearl" clouds, the icy structures form in the lower stratosphere when temperatures drop to around minus 85ºC. High-altitude sunlight shining through tiny ice particles ~10µm across produce the characteristic bright iridescent colors by diffraction and interference. Once thought to be mere curiosities, some PSCs are now known to be associated with the destruction of ozone.
"Nacreous clouds far outshine and have much more vivid colours than ordinary iridescent clouds, which are very much poor relations and seen frequently all over the world," writes atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Once seen they are never forgotten."
To view these spectacular photos, go here.
The Good News Corner
"Overwhelming Response" to Facebook Project Showing Christians Celebrating Christmas, Even in Countries Where It's a Crime
In the eye of increased Christian persecution around the world, a newly-launched Facebook campaign called My Treedom, posts daily photographs of Christmas trees and holiday decorations from some of the hardest places to live and practice as a Christian.
Launched by foreign affairs journalist Lisa Daftari, the project, which asks followers to send in their photos, is intended to celebrate "freedom from persecution and the right to Christmas everywhere around the world," the page states.
There are pictures from Pakistan where attacks on Christians have recently escalated to areas of Iraq, steps away from the conflict with ISIS. The page ensures that all photo details including faces are blurred for protection.
Some are photos of Christians secretly celebrating in underground churches and homes, while others, like one photo of a large Christmas display in a department store in Dubai, U.A.E., show a more public celebration.
Worship With Us Today!
Worship With Us Today!
O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL
Sung by: Casting Crowns
(This week, we will sing the traditional carols of the season, along with Grandma! For the lyrics, please see the "Grandmother's Songs" above. Merry Christmas!)
Now, let's all sing along with . . . Casting Crowns!