Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
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The Daily Brief:
"Praying for All in Authority"
Monday, January 11, 2016
"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love."
(I Corinthians 16:13,14)
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" (Rev. 22:17)
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!
Even though some of the headlines we bring you are naming "Palestine" as a state, in the Word of God there is no "Palestine." Rather, the correct terminology is "the West Bank" or "Judea and Samaria." The only state is the state of Israel.
Due to legal constraints, we are not allowed to change text we are forwarding to you. Thank you for hearing our heart in this critical matter.
Sara Ballenger, President and Senior Editor
Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
1. IS-linked group claims Cairo attack that targeted Israelis - Times of Israel
An organization affiliated with the Islamic State terrorist group on Friday claimed responsibility for a Thursday attack on a hotel and tour bus that had been awaiting its Israeli passengers in Cairo.
In a statement carried by IS supporters on Twitter Friday, the group claimed the attack a day earlier left dead and injured among tourists and the security officers protecting the hotel. (Read more)
2. Jordan to form judicial committee to 'inspect Israel's violations' at Temple Mount - Jerusalem Post
Jordan has been selected to establish an international judicial committee to inspect Israel's "violations" on the Temple Mount, the Amman-based daily Al-Rai reported on Sunday.
This role was assigned to Jordan, which is recognized by many as the custodian of the holy places in Jerusalem, during a conference that took place recently in Egypt, assembling Arab judicial experts.
Faisal Hizahi, an international judicial specialist, will chair the committee; he said it will inspect and document all the "violations" that harm the holy places in Jerusalem, and initiate criminal procedures against Israel in the International Criminal Court at The Hague. (Read more)
3. Israel's expansion of Gush Etzion settlement bloc harmful to peace, US says - Jerusalem Post
The expansion of the territorial boundaries of the Gush Etzion Regional Council in the West Bank is harmful to peace and makes it more difficult to achieve a two-state solution, according to US State Department spokesman John Kirby.
Settlement activity is "illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace. Continued settlement activity and expansion raises honest questions about Israel's long-term intentions and will only make achieving a two-state solution that much more difficult," Kirby told reporters in Washington on Friday.
He spoke days after Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon agreed to expand the Gush Etzion bloc to include a 4-hectare site with eight stone buildings that is located off of Route 60 between the Gush Etzion junction and the Kiryat Arba settlement. (Read more)
4. Israeli Official Blasts Abbas for 'Perplexing' Leadership, 'Many Contradictions' - Algemeiner
A senior Israeli government official blasted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for comments he made during a televised speech from his Bethlehem office on Wednesday night.
"There are so many contradictions in Abu Mazen's [Abbas'] stance in general that it's difficult to know where to start," the official told The Algemeiner on Thursday. "He says he wants peaceful resistance [against Israel] and then praises knife attacks [against Israelis]. He threatens to dissolve the PA and then says he'll never do it. He says he believes in peace, but embraces Hamas. His leadership is perplexing, and it's high time the international community demand that he unequivocally condemn terrorism and return to peace talks without any preconditions." (Read more)
5. Haniyeh: We won't back down from 'Palestine' - Israel National News
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh continued to threaten Israel on Thursday, declaring in a speech in Khan Yunis that Hamas will never back down from its goal of controlling all of what it considers "Palestine", and urging Palestinian Arabs to continue attacking Israelis.
"Hamas will not accept a solution apart from Palestine on all the land from the river to the sea," he said in the speech, excerpts of which were quoted by NRG/Makor Rishon. "We are building the power underground and above ground. Behind enemy lines. On the earth, sea and sky."
"We are building the power here that will surprise the world, not just to defend Gaza, but to liberate Jerusalem and liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to free all of Palestine," said Haniyeh, whose relatives have in the past received medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. "The building of power here in Gaza is part of the strategic plan of our people." (Read more)
- Heavenly Father, we pray for Your continued will to be done. We pray for truth to be set free, and for the eyes and ears of people of the world to be opened to hear and see the greatness of You, oh God! We pray for these Arabs, that they may come to know You and Your Truths! Reveal to them who You are! Let them see the true Messiah, so that their falsehoods will be crumbled! In the name of Yeshua we pray, amen.
6. Hamas sympathizers vow to 'slaughter Jews' in Jerusalem rally - Israel Hayom
Thousands of Palestinians rioted in the Shuafat Refugee Camp, north of Jerusalem, on Tuesday, firing weapons in the air, waving knives and chanting slogans threatening to "slaughter Jews." Footage of the riot, which took place roughly 100 yards from the capital's French Hill neighborhood, was aired by Channel 10 News on Thursday.
The incident took place during the funeral of terrorist Muhammad Said Ali, killed on Oct. 10 when he attempted to stab two policemen. His body was returned to his family earlier this week.
The report showed crowds of mourners, waving Palestinian and Hamas flags, brandishing swords and guns, and chanting, among other things, "Itbah al-yahud" -- "slaughter the Jews." (Read more)
- Oh Abba, we pray for Jerusalem and all the Jews! We hate that they are suffering through violence. You are the Great Comforter, Protector, Deliverer, and we trust in You! Deliver them, we pray. May they seek You, and take refuge in You. In Yeshua's name we pray, amen.
- Psalm 37:40, "The LORD helps them, and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him."
7. At terror memorial, French PM laments Jewish emigration - Times of Israel
PARIS - France's prime minister lamented the growing number of departures of French Jews for Israel, as he and Jewish leaders honored four people gunned down in a kosher market a year ago by an attacker claiming ties to the Islamic State group.
Saturday evening's ceremony was part of a weekend of efforts to ease religious tensions and mark the anniversary of the attacks on the market and the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Times remain tense for France's large Jewish and Muslim communities after a year marked by Islamic extremist violence that left more than 150 people dead.
Mosques all over France are opening up to the public this weekend to ease anti-Muslim sentiment and highlight the differences between jihadism and moderate Islam.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls joined families of victims and survivors to mark the anniversary of the Jan. 9, 2015 shooting and hostage-taking at the Hyper Cacher market in eastern Paris, which ended with attacker Amedy Coulibaly slain by police.
"France would not be France" without its Jews, Valls said. He called it intolerable "to see French Jews leave their country, in larger and larger numbers, because they no longer feel safe" or at home. (Read more)
- Father, for those of us who understand what You have said regarding Israel and Your children in the end days, we know that this is fulfillment of prophecy. We ask that You would release the revelation of this to the French Prime Minister and to others who do not understand yet. We pray for protection for those Jewish brothers and sisters who are moving to Israel.. We ask for Your provision in jobs, housing, and all their needs. We also ask for protection for those who are still in the nations. In the name of Yeshua, amen.
The Daily Brief
1. Report: Netanyahu to lead effort in thwarting Obama bid for UN chief - Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remembers well just how US President Barack Obama brushed aside Israeli objections and went ahead with the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran. Now, Netanyahu is reportedly planning some personal payback.
According to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, Netanyahu will make common cause with moderate Arab governments in order to sabotage Obama's plan to succeed Ban Ki-moon when the South Korean diplomat ends his term as United Nations secretary-general on December 31 of this year.
Al-Jarida quoted sources as saying that Obama has already discussed the issue of running for secretary-general with Democrats, Republicans, and Jewish officials in the US. The sources said that once Netanyahu got wind of Obama's plans, the prime minister began to make efforts to submarine what he has referred to as "the Obama project."
"Wasn't eight years of having Obama in office enough?" Netanyahu is quoted in the Kuwaiti daily as telling associates. "Eight years during which he ignored Israel? And now he wants to be in a position that is liable to cause us hardships in the international arena."
The newspaper cited the widely acknowledged fact that personal ties between Netanyahu and Obama are frayed. "Obama is the worst president Israel has had to deal with and the worst president for the Middle East and its allies, the moderate Arab states," a Netanyahu aide is quoted as saying. (Read more)
- Thank you, Lord, that Prime Minister Netanyahu is quietly taking this position. We ask that all efforts to nullify Obama's plans to run for Secretary General of the United Nations would be prospered by Your Hand and succeed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray, amen.
- " . . . in whatever he does, he prospers." (Psalm 1:3)
2. Obama vetoes Obamacare repeal bill - CNN
President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed legislation that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act and cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The bill goes back to the Republican-led Congress, which does not have the votes to override the veto.
Obama's veto was expected, but it marks the first time Republicans have been able to get a bill that would repeal his signature health care law to the White House, after more than 60 votes to roll back all or part of the law. (Read more)
- Lord, by this action, we see total disregard for our nation's ability to protect the unborn and to provide affordable healthcare for our citizens. We see disrespect for Congressmen that are elected by the people. More importantly, we see disrespect for you, Lord. As a nation, we ask forgiveness for this action on the part of the man who sits in the Oval Office. You, Jesus, are our hope and our sustainability as a nation. Come Lord Jesus, come.
- "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even, forever. The Zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:7)
3a. Obama faces choice in final State of the Union address - The Hill
President Obama is faced with the choice of focusing on the past or the future in his his final State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Obama wants to underline the accomplishments of his presidency while tying a bow on his legacy, but is also tasked with setting the table for a Democrat to succeed him in the Oval Office.
Obama and his aides have cast his approach to the final State of the Union as nontraditional. (Read more)
3b. Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina will deliver the Republican Address to the nation following next week's State of the Union.(Read more)
- Father God, we ask that, now that the president has stated he will be doing some unusual things during his address, You will guide the American people with discernment as they watch this event on Tuesday night. The "empty seat" Obama has arranged, supposedly to remember all those who have been killed by guns, we dedicate instead to You, asking You to be sovereignly present in Congress that night. We ask this in the name of 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)
4. Pentagon begins wave of Gitmo transfers, sends 2 detainees to Ghana
- Fox News
The Pentagon on Wednesday announced that two Guantanamo Bay inmates with Al Qaeda ties are being sent to Ghana, the first in a wave of 17 detainees expected to be transferred from the prison camp. Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby will be transferred from Guantanamo to the custody of the government of Ghana.
Bin Atef is an admitted member of the Taliban and fought for Usama bin Laden, while Al-Dhuby trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Pentagon had earlier determined that bin Atef was a high risk to the U.S. and to American interests, while Al-Dhuby posed a medium risk.
The two inmates are the first of a group of 17 detainees expected to be transferred out of Guantanamo Bay that includes "multiple bad guys" and "Al Qaeda followers," a source who has reviewed the list told Fox News.
With the announcement of the transfer, 105 detainees remain there. While the identities of all those scheduled for transfer are closely held, the source who spoke with Fox News said it includes "multiple bad guys . . . not taxi drivers and cooks." (Read more)
- Lord God, we cry out to You that that these prisoners - physically and spiritually - might come to the saving knowledge of Christ. For You " . . . will have all men to be saved,and to come unto the knowledge of truth," (1 Tim 2:4) and are well able to deliver them from the power of darkness.
We continue to cry out to You for godly leadership in our nation. We pray for men and woman with Your own heart, with hearts like that of the Good Shepherd who will lead this nation in safety, in welfare and according to righteousness.
- "I exhort therfore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour" (1 Tim. 2:1-3)
5. Two Mideast refugees arrested on terror charges appearing in US courts - Fox News
Two men born in Iraq who came to the U.S. as refugees had court dates in California and Texas Friday on terror-related charges, as investigators say one of the men wrote that he wanted to travel to Syria because he was "eager to see blood."
The judge in Texas ordered 24-year-old Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan to be held without bond as he faces charges of trying to provide support to the Islamic State group. Al Hardan, who speaks Arabic and used an interpreter in court, said he lives in a Houston-area apartment, is married and has a child. He said he earns about $1,800 per month, but did not say his occupation. He was the 80th person charged under federal law in an ISIS-related case since April 2013, and the first in 2016.
[In California]A criminal complaint unsealed Thursday accused 23-year-old Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, of Sacramento, Calif., of traveling to Syria to fight alongside terrorist organizations and lying to government investigators about it. He was due in court Friday afternoon. In addition to writing that he was "eager to see blood," Al-Jayab also claimed that he wanted to learn "long range shooting," and that "God has facilitated" his travels, court documents show. (Read more)
- Gracious and Loving Heavenly Father, how thankful we are to be YOUR children and also followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We do rely upon You to keep us out of harm's way as the evil plans of Isis are revealed and thwarted daily.
Surely Lord God Almighty, Your desire is that none should perish, and it is one's will and choice to turn from their wicked ways and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Concerning these two men, namely Al Hardan in Texas and Al Jayab in California, and the sentencing of their present actions and confessions, may the justice of our court systems not turn away from computing a sentence worthy of their crime. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
- "These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren." (Proverbs 6:16-19)
6. House Committee Approves New Iran Sanctions Bill; Democrats Predict Veto - CNSNews.com
Less than a week into the new year, Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee signaled to the Obama administration that its Iran nuclear deal remains a target, marking up a bill that would restrict the administration's ability to ease sanctions on Iranian banks.
Democrats deplored what they characterized as a blatant attempt to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and embarrass the administration. Ranking Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said the bill had no chance of becoming law: "We know that if it passes both Houses the president will veto it." (Read more)
- Father, You are the only One that knows what the administration has in mind to do with these sanctions on Iran. That nation has not been held accountable for anything in the Iranian nuclear deal, but instead seems to be able to simply go its own way as they continue to develop a nuclear weapon. Lord Jesus, we pray that these sanctions be held in place.
Now that this action has been approved in Committee, we pray that You will give discernment to the full House as they vote about easing these sanctions. Our nation is ruled by law, and not by the stroke of a pen at the White House. Let the laws of America be unchangeable in this matter. Let the USA be ruled by the God we trust. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
- "Diverse weights and diverse measures, They are both alike, an abomination to the Lord." (Proverbs 20:10)
7. US official: Few Russian strikes in Syria are against Islamic State - Jerusalem Post
Only a third of Russia's air strikes in Syria are targeting Islamic State and its imprecise attacks are forcing the population to flee, fueling Europe's refugee crisis, a senior US official said on Saturday.
Of the 5,000 air strikes carried out by Russia since it began its air offensive in Syria on Sept. 30, about 70 percent hit rebels opposed to President Bashar Assad, rather than supporting the efforts of the US-led coalition, the official told reporters in Brussels. Rescue workers and rights groups say Russia's bombing in Syria has killed scores of civilians at busy market places and in residential areas. Russia denies this. (Read more)
- "Watch not what they say, but what they do" is clearly applicable here. And who are the losers? Humanity. Lord our prayer is that while we look to You for Truth to be revealed in the entire stage of world events, we appeal to You for protection. We ask Your Counsel, Your Wisdom and for Your understanding that we might truly know what to do and how to pray. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
- "The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." (Isa 11:2-4)
8. With Turkey-Israel Reconciliation Looming, Egypt Fears Turkish Influence In Gaza Strip - IBTimes
Following years of tense relations, Israel and Turkey are inching toward an apparent agreement that could result in normalized relations. The primary stumbling block to reuniting the important Middle Eastern economic powers, however, has revolved around the Gaza Strip, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would like to see opened to the world - or at least to Turkish aid agencies.
But as a deal nears, Turkey's top regional rival, Egypt, has expressed worry to Israeli officials over Ankara's potential reach into the region, Haaretz reported Thursday.
Egyptian officials are concerned a role for Turkey in Gaza, which borders Egypt's restive Sinai province, could threaten its own security. While analysts said the agreement was likely to support regional peace, they also said the deal, depending on its conditions, could also be seen in Egypt as lending power to a top adversary, as well as causing security concerns by propping up Islamist forces.
"President Erdoğan and President [Abdel-Fattah] el-Sissi are the hottest enemies in the Middle East, and it has not ebbed at all," said Paul Salem, vice president for policy and research at the Middle East Institute, a Washington think tank, referring to the Turkish and Egyptian leaders. "Inviting Erdoğan to get a foothold in Gaza - of course the Egyptians are going to be very much against it." (Read more)
- Lord God, as we serve You as Your watchmen on the wall, please help us to keep a careful eye upon the nation of Turkey, whose leader, Erdogan, just two weeks ago has declared himself to be the leader of the global Islamic caliphate. We ask for great wisdom to be upon P.M. Netanyahu in the current negotiations with the nation of Turkey. In Your Name we pray, amen.
- "I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths." (Proverbs 4:11)
9. The Latest: US Navy Watching North Korean Situation Closely - New York Times
U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan, says the Navy is watching North Korea closely after the country conducted its fourth nuclear test. Aucoin told reporters Friday morning that the Navy has ships in the area and is monitoring very closely, and added that he could not be more specific.
He says, "We want them to abandon any nuclear activities and comply with the international commitments and obligations. Until they do that they're not going to achieve prosperity, they're not going to achieve the security they desire. They're going to live in isolation." Aucoin spoke aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at the Yokosuka naval base. (Read more)
- Lord God Almighty, You alone are wise and You alone know the outcome of North Korea's fate concerning the alleged violation of setting off nuclear testing. We are very thankful that U S Naval Admiral Joseph Aucoin has reported that he and those under his command with him there, will closely monitor North Korea's activity. Surely we are hoping that North Korea complies with requirements concerning nuclear activity.
Father God, pride is the great sin. It is the devil's most effective and destructive tool. Pride and unbelief in the minds of the North Korea's leaders continue to suppress the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD in their lives and the lives of all who dwell in that nation, allowing spiritual darkness to continue to prosper. . . If they do not comply not only with man's laws but God's as well.... a rude awakening surely awaits these leaders of North Korea.
As long as we have breath, the people of God will call out to Him for justice and salvation in the land of North Korea!!! In Jesus name we pray . . . for a spiritual revival to take place there . . . Replacing man's ways with God's ways . . .amen.
- "This is what the LORD says: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven's Armies." (Zechariah 4:6B)
10. Driver Brought to Tears When Police Officer Offers Prayer Instead of Ticket - Christian Post
An Indiana police officer brought a motorist to tears when he offered to pray with the speeding driver instead of issuing him a ticket. Indiana State Police Sgt. Todd Durnil pulled over Rodney Gibson in Bloomington on Monday along a local highway. Durnil, a Christian, told ABC News that he noticed Gibson seemed "agitated" after he pulled him over.
Gibson then reportedly told the police officer that he had been distracted while driving because he recently found out that his daughter's breast cancer had reached a more intense stage and that he didn't believe she would survive it. The police officer said he thought "this man already has enough, I'm not going to write him any paperwork for a ticket or even a warning."
"When I walked back to his truck, I explained everything. He still seemed agitated, but not as bad, and he apologized, saying, 'I'm sorry, I usually don't act this way, I've just been going through a lot,'" Durnil added. Durnil explained that when he returned to Gibson's vehicle, he planned to ask if they could say a prayer together. Upon his return, Gibson was the one to ask him to pray.
"He reached for my hand, and this man sent up a prayer, for my daughter and for my family, that sent chills all over my body," Gibson told the Herald-Times on Wednesday. "I will never, ever forget this, nor will my family. I know there have been a lot of negative things said about police officers and law enforcement, and I want people to know what this officer did for me," Gibson continued. "He helped get me down the road, because I had so much on my mind and was having a pretty rough day." (Read more)
- Abba Father, we thank you that Sgt. Durnil heard and followed the Holy Spirit's leading in the troubled heart Mr. Gibson. Sgt. Durnil was given the opportunity to be Your hands and feet giving Mr. Gibson a witness of God's love and encouragement. The family of Mr. Gibson also reaped the blessing of God's love and compassion. Let God be praised and honored!!
Praise God for the wonderful job that law enforcement personnel do for the safety of the public. With so many risks and negatives they face each day, we ask Yeshua's protection over them and their families. These men and women are not only law enforcement officers, but they are fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. God bless them, Lord, in Jesus' name, amen and amen.
- "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of theses My brethren, you did it to Me.'"
A Bad Move in Congress
Congress Moves to Endorse Islamic Blasphemy Laws
There is a bill before Congress (HR569) that singles out hate speech against Muslims. And then some. As of this writing, the resolution, which is nothing short of sharia law, has 82 co-sponsors. All of them are Democrats. And while the bill has little to no chance of passing, it is a window into our future if we don't change the self-destructive course we are on with respect to how we understand and relate to the Quran and those who follow its teachings.
The Gates of Vienna reports on this chilling reality - one we may have called creeping sharia in the not so distant past but is advancing at such a rapid pace and across such a broad spectrum of our society that "creeping" is now an outmoded term. It's racing, and it's infecting every nook and cranny of our culture.
HR569 is just one of the latest stabs aimed at the heart of America. It is another example of Islamic supremacy and dhimmitude in action, as it elevates Muslims to a protected class, superior in position to all others. (American Thinker) Read more.
"Arise, O Lord! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble.
Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart,
'You will not require an account.'
But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand.
The helpless commits himself to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man;
seek out his wickedness until You find none." (Psalm 10:12-15 NKJV)
FRC's 2016 State of the Family Address
FRC's 2016 State of the Family Address
When President Obama addresses Congress and the nation in the State of the Union Address, he'll likely tell the gathered legislators and television cameras that the state of our union is strong. While the extent of America's strength is debatable -- depending on who you're talking to -- there is no question the American family has always been the backbone that makes this country strong. Strong families make a strong America.
From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., Family Research Council is in a unique position to examine the state of the family in our nation, and on Monday January 11, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. ET FRC President Tony Perkins will deliver a State of the Family Address to the nation.
Perkins will examine how the family is doing in the areas of religious freedom, life, and marriage. Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis will attend the speech. Also in attendance will be Jason Rowland, principal of Airline High School, which has been threatened with lawsuits by secularlists. Texas Pastors Hernan Castano and Charles Flowers who have led efforts to protect religious liberty in their communities will also be present for the address.
. Please tune in to this unique perspective on the issues facing the family. Watch live on Monday January 11, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. ET, and on-demand shortly after the event. Follow the discussion on Twitter with #stateofthefamily.
Your friends at Family Research Council
New Policy at Dept. of Education
DOE Uses Dough to Coerce Schools
Only the Department of Education would try to stop bullies by becoming one! Instead of starting a dialogue about what constitutes sexual harassment, the agency is ordering colleges to adopt its radical new definitions -- or lose federal funds. Like the rest of the Obama administration, the DOE has gotten into the habit of throwing its weight around without any accountability or justification in the law. And while one of the biggest culprits of that, Secretary Arne Duncan, may be gone, his legacy of intimidation continues.
Not surprisingly, the engine driving this politically correct train is the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights (OCR), which has long been an enemy of free speech. Obviously, we all care about sexual assault and bullying, but the changes the DOE requires would fundamentally trample the First Amendment. For starters, the former head of the ACLU pointed out, it would change sexual harassment to mean any "speech with any sexual content that anyone finds offensive." That overly broad definition, warned Nadine Strossen, "actually does more harm than good to gender justice, not to mention free speech." The policies for non-verbal abuse are so broad that even a neck rub could be considered "sexual battery."
Its heavy-handed approach to bullying policies and sex-related incidents is so over the top that even the former president of the ACLU is raking the agency over the coals. Now, thanks to Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.), she has company. In a scathing letter to Acting Secretary John King, Senator Lankford demands to know why the department is bypassing the normal rules process and ordering universities to change their sexual misconduct policies -- or else. . .
"Perhaps," Senator Lankford wrote, "OCR sought to avoid notice-and-comment procedures, fearing that education officials and other interested groups would have voiced substantive objections to the letters' policies if given an opportunity." As the universities pointed out, "Sexual assault is indeed an important problem, but the federal government has dictated a set of policies and twisted universities' arms into compromising some of the safeguards that we teach our students are essential to fairness." Unfortunately for students, this is just another example of an administration bent on fundamentally transforming America. (Family Research Council)
The Discussion We Need
The Discussion We Need
What we ought to be debating is the president's continued abuse of power. According to CNN's own polling, 54% of Americans "disapprove of Obama's decision to go around Congress and implement changes to gun policy by using executive power." A new Rasmussen poll finds that 58% of Americans oppose Obama's unilateral actions.
If the president wants to change the laws, he should go back to the Senate and offer amendments or new legislation.
Kudos to Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS). He has introduced a resolution to formally censure President Obama for exceeding his authority. Of course a censure resolution has no legal implications for Obama. But at a minimum, Congress should go on the record saying, "We object!" That formal statement could be useful in a future court challenge to these orders.
And speaking of court challenges, here's something else the GOP Congress should do to reassert its authority as a co-equal branch of government: Refuse to confirm anymore Obama nominations, most especially judicial nominations!
Many of Obama's actions are being challenged in the courts, where we hope we can reverse them. But our chances will be slim if we keep confirming Obama-nominated left-wing judicial activists to the bench. (Gary Bauer)
What to Ban? Islam or Guns?
Ban Radical Islam. . . Not Guns
President Obama was on CNN last night [Thursday, Jan. 7] for a national "town hall" discussion about gun control. Of course, it was no such thing. It was political theater with an audience tilted heavily toward Obama's agenda.
By the way, CNN's Anderson Cooper explained at the beginning of the event how it came to happen. He said:
"We are here tonight to talk about one of the most divisive issues in America today: guns. Now, protection is enshrined in the Constitution and the Second Amendment, and gun ownership is an integral part of American history and culture. . .
"This town hall is not something the White House dreamed up or that the White House organized. CNN approached the White House shortly after the San Bernardino terror attacks with this idea, and we're pleased . . . to welcome tonight the president of the United States, Barack Obama."
So in response to a radical Islamist attack, CNN thinks we need a national debate about the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms.
In response to a terrorist attack -- not Sandy Hook, not the Colorado theater shooting, not any routine multiple-murder weekend in Chicago -- our left-wing president finally decides to make his move on guns. He seems more agitated with supporters of the Second Amendment than with supporters of Sharia law!
Beyond making it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights, the president's proposals aren't going to accomplish anything meaningful. Even the Associated Press agrees. (Gary Bauer)
The Persecuted Church
This Is What It's Like To Be Christian And Live Under ISIS
TEL ABYAD, Syria - Like the other Christians, Sarkis Kirbukiyle packed what he could and fled when ISIS militants captured his hometown.
But then he went back.
The mustachioed 57-year-old had lived in the same small apartment for 35 years, his bedroom window looking onto the quiet courtyard of the Armenian church in Tel Abyad, a town on the Syrian border with Turkey that fell to ISIS in June 2014. Taking refuge with relatives, he was going stir-crazy - until he got a call from an old friend.
The friend, a Muslim, had charted a far different course through Syria's civil war, radicalizing and becoming an official with ISIS. Still looking out for Kirbukiyle, he warned that if he didn't return to Tel Abyad, the jihadis would confiscate everything he owned, from his apartment to the shop he ran, which sold water pumps. There was a way to avoid this, the friend said. ISIS wanted Christians to pay jizya, the ancient tax levied on them during the times of Islamic caliphates - an era that ISIS, in its own extremist fashion, was trying to reclaim.
Kirbukiyle thought it sounded too dangerous: You cannot trust them; they can behead a person very easily. The friend promised to protect him if he followed the rules and paid taxes. (BuzzFeed) Read more here.
Our Weekly Bible Study
Our Weekly Bible Study:
Week of Sunday, January 10 - Saturday, January 17, 2016
> > > 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:
SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER?
"A pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." (Revelation 22:1-2)
Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?
Yes, we'll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.
On the margin of the river,
Washing up its silver spray,
We will talk and worship ever,
All the happy golden day.
Ere we reach the shining river,
Lay we every burden down;
Grace our spirits will deliver,
And provide a robe and crown.
At the smiling of the river,
Mirror of the Savior's face,
Saints, whom death will never sever,
Lift their songs of saving grace.
Please go here.
(Sung by Burl Ives)
About the Author:
Words & Music: Robert Lowry, 1864
Part of this hymn was sung in the Academy Award winning movie, Trip to Bountiful (1985). It was also sung at the funeral of American Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.
About this Hymn:
One afternoon in July, 1864, when I was pastor at Hanson Place Baptist Church, Brooklyn, the weather was oppressively hot, and I was lying on a lounge in a state of physical exhaustion.
My imagination began to take itself wings. Visions of the future passed before me with startling vividness. The imagery of the apocalypse took the form of a tableau. Brightest of all were the throne, the heavenly river, and the gathering of the saints.
I began to wonder why the hymn writers had said so much about the "river of death" and so little about the "pure water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb."
As I mused, the words began to construct themselves. They came first as a question of Christian inquiry, "Shall we gather?" Then they broke in chorus, "Yes, we'll gather." On this question and answer the hymn developed itself. The music came with the hymn.
Signs and Wonders
Solar Wind Sparks Big Auroras
On Jan. 8th, a display of auroras appeared over Kvaløya, Norway. It was so large, photographer Anne Birgitte Fyhn had to take 8 pictures to capture the whole thing. Click to view the complete panorama.
The Good News Corner
Skunk - Israel's Ingenious Crowd Control Solution
Israel's new weapon for crowd control. Brilliant!
To view this video, please go here.
Worship With Us Today!
Worship With Us Today!
Heaven's Embrace, Waves Of Love, You Delight In Me
A video . . . made of Three beautiful songs by Julie True, when you can meet the Lord and be overwhelmed by His embrace and love from heaven! Hallelujah. Enjoy His Embrace!!
Two Daily Conference Calls
Capitol Hill Prayer Partners encourages you to participate, any day of the week, on these calls which are each ongoing, day and night! To learn more about how you can join these calls, please go here.