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The Daily Brief:
"Praying for All in Authority"
Monday, December 21, 2015
"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus,
for He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
Please enjoy our abbreviated editions of the Daily Brief during this very special Christmas week. Take time to enjoy the fellowship of your own family and friends as we all celebrate "the Word (Who was) made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John 1:14) Amen.
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. Shalom resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations; to be replaced by first gay Likud MK - Jerusalem Post
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom announced Sunday that he was resigning from the cabinet and Knesset and leaving political life amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Shalom made the announcement after 11 women came forward alleging that he had made inappropriate sexual advancements toward them. His announcement preempted an expected decision by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to order the allegations checked.
Weinstein decided in consultations with the state prosecutor and police to renew an examination into charges that shalom sexually harassed women. (Read more)
2. IDF attacks targets in Lebanon in response to rocket fire - Jerusalem Post
The IDF attacked targets in southern Lebanon with artillery fire on Sunday evening in response to earlier rocket fire from the country on Israeli communities in the western Galilee.
The IDF stated earlier that three rockets were believed to have fallen in open territory in the North. No injuries or damage were reported in the attack. (Read more)
3. Israel and Turkey Agree to Restore Diplomatic Ties - New York Times
JERUSALEM - Israel and Turkey have reached a preliminary agreement to begin restoring full diplomatic relations after years of deep freeze, Israeli officials said on Thursday.
The two countries, once close regional allies, fell out after a deadly confrontation in 2010 between Israeli commandos and Turkish activists on a passenger vessel seeking to breach Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The ship, the Mavi Marmara, was part of a flotilla carrying aid to Gaza when Israeli naval commandos rappelled onto the ship's deck and killed nine activists after being met with violent resistance. A 10th activist died of his wounds much later. (Read more)
4. Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza, reports Turkish newspaper - Jerusalem Post
Israel will ease its blockade on the Gaza Strip as part of a reconciliation with Turkey, the Turkish newspaper Sabah Daily, which is affiliated with the ruling party of Turkey, reported on Saturday.
According to t, Israel will also compensate the victims of the Mavi Marmara flotilla, totaling a sum of $20 million, and diplomatic relations will be restored between the two countries.
The front page story in the paper reported that Turkey had already received Israel's vow to ease the blockade. The paper reported that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will close the deal by the end of 2015, and immediately return diplomatic relations between both countries.
When asked about the prospect of diplomatic reconciliation between Turkey and Israel, the Prime Minister's Office said that it was working towards restoring diplomatic ties, without mention of the Gaza blockade. (Read more)
5. 3,000 rally in Tel Aviv against right-wing 'incitement' - Times of Israel
Some 3,000 left-wing demonstrators rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest what they called right-wing incitement against left-wing advocacy organizations, President Reuven Rivlin and others.
Organizers gave the protest the title: "Standing together against a government that incites instead of offering solutions, against the far-right's attempts to silence and intimidate, from inside the government and from outside."
The protest began outside Likud Party headquarters in the city's Metzudat Ze'ev neighborhood - "because the hands may be those of Im Tirzu, but the voice is that of Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet ministers," charged one organizer quoted by the Walla news site. (Read more)
6. Obama's ex-pastor: Israel is apartheid state, 'Jesus was a Palestinian' - Jerusalem Post
Jeremiah Wright, President Barack Obama's former pastor, called Israel an apartheid state and said "Jesus was a Palestinian" at a rally in Washington hosted by the Rev. Louis Farrakhan. (October 10, 2015)
At an hours-long event Saturday on the National Mall titled "Justice or Else," Wright said that African-Americans, Native Americans and Palestinians have suffered under the "three-headed demon" of "racism, militarism and capitalism."
"The same issue is being fought today and has been fought since 1948, and historians are carried back to the 19th century . . . when the original people, the Palestinians - and please remember, Jesus was a Palestinian - the Palestinian people had the Europeans come and take their country," Wright said, The Hill reported. (Read more)
7. Weekly Update from Hebrew Nation News
To read this update, please go here.
The Daily Brief
1. Jeh Johnson: DHS modifies terror alert system - CBS News
The public could be better-informed about potential terrorist threats, if changes to the Homeland Security Department alert system work as Secretary Jeh Johnson hopes they will. "We are creating an intermediate level to the [National Threat Advisory System], that includes an NTAS bulletin which describes general developments or trends regarding threats of terrorism," Secretary Jeh Johnson told reporters.
In conjunction with the announcement, DHS issued the first NTAS bulletin, which will be in effect through mid-June and can be found on DHS's website. "We are in a new phase in the global terrorist threat, which has implications on the homeland, particularly with the rise and use of terrorist groups of the Internet to inspire and recruit. We are concerned about the self-radicalized actors who could strike with little or no notice," the first bulletin says, according to Johnson.
Johnson said the government is concerned not only about terrorist-directed, but also terrorist-inspired copy-cat-like attacks. "The reality is terrorist-inspired individuals have conducted or attempted to conduct attacks in the United States this year," he said. (Read more)
- Father, we ask that this new, refined alert system would be fully effective, keeping our citizens safe from terrorist attacks. But Lord, we know that no plan of man can be perfect, so we especially ask, in repentance, that Your Holy angels would assist us in this need, as well. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen and amen.
- "But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind." (James 1:6 NLT)
2. FBI: Chattanooga Shootings Act of Terror - CBN
Five months after a Muslim man killed four Marines and one sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the FBI is calling it terrorism.
On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey told reporters the July 16 attack was "inspired and motivated by terrorist propaganda." Comey said Muhammad Abdulazeez, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was "consuming poison on the Internet" that led to his radicalization. Investigators also found writings that referred to Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born cleric who called for attacks on the United States.
The announcement clears the way for families of the victims to receive the Purple Heart. (Read more)
- Abba Father, we come to You in a time of sadness for the five people killed in Tennessee. We pray your comfort for their families as they mourn. Also we pray for the family of the shooter. Jesus, we ask that all members of these families will know You and be drawn closer to You.
- "But I would strengthen you with my mouth, And the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief." (Job 15:5 NKJV)
- When the internet is used as "consuming poison" we ask that it be taken down and become Babel without any understanding and no more poisonous information be released for harmful intent. Bless the FBI as they fight terrorism in our wonderful country. Keep them safe as they do their jobs.
- " . . . the Lord confused the language of all the earth." (Genesis 11:9b NKJV)
3. Hagel: The White House Tried to 'Destroy' Me - The Hill
Hagel, now that time has passed and he's willing to discuss his tenure in office, cited the episode as an example of a White House that has struggled to formulate a coherent policy on Syria, holding interminable meetings that would often end without a decision, even as conditions on the ground worsened and the death toll grew steadily higher.
The 69-year-old former Nebraska senator and Vietnam War veteran, speaking for the first time about his treatment by the Obama administration, said the Pentagon was subject to debilitating meddling and micromanagement by the White House - echoing criticism made by his predecessors, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta.
Looking back on his tenure, Hagel said in the Dec. 10 interview that he remains puzzled as to why some administration officials sought to "destroy" him personally in his final days in office, castigating him in anonymous comments to newspapers even after he had handed in his resignation. (Read more)
- Father we are not surprised when evidence surfaces again of the White House having its own agenda, defying all common sense and without regard to the true welfare of people or nations. We earnestly pray the hearts of our leaders will turn again to You, with a true desire for Wisdom. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, amen.
- (For our leaders)"My son, attend unto My Wisdom, and bow thine ear to My understanding." (Proverbs 5:1)
(For Chuck Hagel) "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' (Matthew 25:23)
4. Senior Hezbollah leader Samir Kuntar killed in airstrike - YnetNews
Al Manar reports the senior Hezbollah leader was assassinated by the Israel Air Force on the outskirts of Damascus, 36 years after murdering the Haran family and police officer Eliyahu Shahar in Nahariya. According to reports in the Arab media, eight others were killed in the attack, including Farhan al-Shaalan, another senior leader who planned terror attacks against Israelis in the Syrian Golan Heights.
"At 10:15pm on Saturday December 19, Zionist warplanes struck a residential building in Jaramana city in Damascus countryside. The Dean of liberated detainees from Israeli prisons, brother Mujahid Samir Kuntar was martyred along with several Syrian citizens in the strike," Hezbollah said in a statement. (Read more)
- Sadly, many will not choose Jesus as their Lord and Savior, even though Christ poured out His life for their redemption. May others from this terrorist group find You, Lord, before they, too, must go into eternity.
- "For God expressed His love for the world in this way; He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have eternal life." ( John 3:16 )
5. Palestinian factions vow to follow in Kuntar's footsteps - Jerusalem Post
Palestinian factions on Sunday condemned the assassination of Hezbollah operative Samir Kuntar and vowed to continue in his footsteps. Hamas called on the international community to "assume its responsibilities toward this Israeli revel." Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri condemned the assassination as an Israeli "crime." Ahmed Bahr, a senior Hamas official, said that the assassination would only strengthen the "resistance" against Israel.
Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, accused the "Zionist enemy" of being behind the assassination. It said that Hamas would remain loyal to Kuntar's path and "pursue jihad and resistance until the occupation is expelled, the prisoners and holy sites are freed and the right of return is achieved." (Read more)
- Father God, we ask You to rise up and take down this reorganized Hezbollah terrorist organization, setting each captive free to worship You and to know You, in the name of Jesus Christ we pray, amen and amen.
- "Arise, O Lord; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly." (Psalm 3:7)
6. Top Sunni Body Urges All Islamic States to Join New Saudi-Led Anti-Terror 'Military Alliance'- CNSNews.com
Sunni Islam's top seat of learning is calling on all of the world's Islamic nations to join a newly-announced "Islamic military alliance" against terrorists, although the world's largest Muslim country, Indonesia, is baulking at the "military" nature of the Saudi-led initiative.
The Cairo-based Al-Azhar institution called the formation of the alliance against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) and other terrorist groups "historic."
"This was an urgent demand of the people of Islamic countries who have suffered more than others from this black terrorism," it said. "Al-Azhar calls on all Islamic countries to join this coalition to counter terrorism."
While the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has 57 members, the Saudi-led coalition announced Tuesday currently boasts 34 Sunni nations. They include most of the Arab states - although Syria and Iraq are notable exceptions - Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and a handful of Islamic states in sub-Saharan Africa.
Saudi Arabia's regional archrival, Shi'ite Iran, is another prominent omission. (Read more)
- Lord God, we thank You that elements of the Islamic community are now rising up to face the evils and the danger of this extreme form of Islam, by forming this new coalition. We ask that all who enter in would come to know You as Lord and Savior, in Your name, amen.
- The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) -
7. As UN Endorses Syria Plan, Obama Says Assad Will Probably Have to Go - Haaretz
President Barack Obama said Syrian President Bashar Assad "has lost (his) legitimacy" and will have to "leave," as the UN Security Council approved a resolution outlining a peace process for Syria involving talks by representatives of the Damascus government and the opposition, but said nothing on the critical issue of what role Assad will play.
"I think that Assad is going to have to leave in order for the country to stop the bloodletting and for all the parties to be able to move forward in a non-sectarian way. He has lost legitimacy," Obama said. The president said diplomats need to find a way to create a political transition that allows Assad's allies like Russia and Iran to ensure "that their equities are respected" in Syria. (Read more)
- Please pray in the Spirit over this report. Obama has been going back and forth in setting his policy regarding Assad's reign. Lord, we need leaders with backbone; those who set a sound course and are resolute in seeing it carried out.
- "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" (! Corinthians 14:8)
8. DM: Iran to Continue Developing Missile Industries Irrespective of 2231 Resolution - (FNA)
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan underscored that the country will continue developing its missile and weapons industries even under the limitations envisaged in the UN 2231 resolution on the nuclear agreement with powers.
Although certain sides claim that Iran's endorsement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - on the nuclear agreement between Tehran and the six world powers clinched on July 14 - means that it has accepted certain restrictions in military areas, including its missiles, tests, operations and drilling activities, but "we have shown that despite certain limitations in the 2231 resolution, we continue research, development and production activities with all the (needed) tests and dimensions", Dehqan said in Tehran on Wednesday.
The minister reiterated that since endorsement of the deal, Iran has not stopped or postponed or changed its military development agenda. "Since day one of the endorsement of the JCPOA, our different tests have not postponed even for a single day, hour or moment; rather we have not even felt any doubt about declaring them." (Read more)
- Lord, we are not surprised by this report, as the Iranians continue to lie about everything they do, and every "agreement" they make. Father, we ask Your wisdom for our leaders in the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon in dealing with such a treacherous nation. Help us, O Lord, we pray, in Jesus' name, amen and amen.
- "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5)
9. Students Sing "Allah Akbar" at Holiday Concert - Townhall.com
Nothing says Merry Christmas like a Ramadan song - at least in Blaine, Minnesota. There was a big controversy after Thursday's holiday concert at the local high school - when the teenagers belted out a praise song to Allah. I'm sure a number of Lutherans along with other Protestant parents spewed their egg nog when they heard their offspring singing, "Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar."
Television station WCCO first reported on the holiday dustup - quoting several moms and dads who were not all that happy their children were singing about the glories of Islam. (Read more)
- Father, this is another blasphemy for Christmas. Tis the season to praise and worship the "new born King." We love You Jesus and praise You. Let the holiday concerts be a time to sing praises to You. You are the living Son of the one true God. Protect our students from singing praises to a dead god who has eyes but cannot see, ears that cannot hear and a mouth that cannot speak. Thank you for hearing our prayers. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, amen.
- "Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'" (Deuteronomy 4:6 NKJV)
10. A Surprising Venue for Christmas Carols: Abortion Clinics - Breaking Christian News
(Chicago) "No pregnant woman heads joyfully into an abortion clinic," said Eric Scheidler, Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action League, as he explains why pro-life advocates are gathering outside of abortion providers to sing Christmas carols. This is part of the Pro-Life Action League's nationwide "Empty Manger Christmas Caroling" event. Over the dozen years that the Pro-Life Action League has caroled outside of abortion clinics, the group has seen their share of Christmas miracles-women who choose life.
"We are here to counter that walk toward darkness with the invitation to choose life for the child they are carrying, a baby like the one meant to lay in the empty manger we gather around for our caroling," Scheidler shared. "It's particularly sad to think of someone getting an abortion during the time of Christmas, when we remember hope springing forth with the birth of a child. It can also be a special time to reach women and help them decide to not go through with the abortion." (Read more)
- Father God, your word is flawless and unchangeable. We ask that the mother's making the decision of full-term birth or not will know that You are with them and no matter how hard they think it will be to give life to their baby, they don't know of the pain they will carry in their hearts forever if they choose abortion. Give the mothers clear understanding about the decision. Let the mangers be full of beautiful living babies. In your Holy and Precious name let moms choose life. Amen.
- "Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; Their drink offering of blood I will not offer, Nor take up their names of my lips." (Psalm 16:4 NKJV)
American Minute: Part One
The First Christmas Tree in the White House
President Franklin Pierce placed the first Christmas Tree in the White House in 1856.
[Later] Lighting the National Christmas Tree, December 24, 1952, President Harry S Truman stated:
"Shepherds, in a field, heard angels singing: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' . . .
We turn to the old, old story of how 'God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life' . . .
Let us remember always to try to act . . . in the spirit of the Prince of Peace.
He bore in His heart no hate and no malice - nothing but love for all mankind. We should...follow His example . . . Let us also pray for our enemies...
Through Jesus Christ the world will yet be a better and a fairer place.
(Source: The American Minute, by Bill Federer. Excerpt. To read the entire article, please go here.)
American Minute: Part Two
Christmas Hymns Written by Charles Wesley:
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
"Joy to the World"
"O Come All Ye Faithful"
To read about the amazing life of Charles Wesley, who in addition to his work on the mission field also wrote approximately 6,000 hymns, please go here.
(Note: His mother, Susanna Wesley, home-schooled all her 19 children, giving them a classical education which included them learning Latin and Greek.)
You will be blessed as you read this article, written by Bill Federer, that relates the story of many of our favorite Christmas hymns . . . even today!
American Minute: Part Three
"CHRISTMAS TRUCE of 1914" during WWI
. . . Presidents' Christmas Messages
(Source: The American Minute, by Bill Federer. Excerpt. To read this article,please go here.)
Our Weekly Bible Study
Our Weekly Bible Study:
The Fourth Week of Advent: LOVE
Sunday, December 20 - Friday, December 25, 2015
> > > To read the "One Year Bible" weekly letter, go here.
> > > To read the Shabbat Torah readings, go here.
Our Grandmothers' Songs
Songs Our Grandmothers Sang:
WHAT CHILD IS THIS?
"She brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)
Why lies He in such mean estate, Where ox and ass are feeding? Good Christians, fear, for sinners here The silent Word is pleading. Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, The cross be borne for me, for you. Hail, hail the Word made flesh, The Babe, the Son of Mary.
So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh, Come peasant, king to own Him; The King of kings salvation brings, Let loving hearts enthrone Him. Raise, raise a song on high, The virgin sings her lullaby. Joy, joy for Christ is born, The Babe, the Son of Mary.
Please go here.
To View a Beautiful Graphic of the birth of our Lord, please go here.
About the Author:
Words: William C. Dix, 1865
Music: Greensleeves, 16th Century English melody
Worship With Us Today!
Worship With Us Today!
(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!)
What Child Is This?
by Josh Groban
Let's worship Him together in this holy season . . .