Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Daily Brief - Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"[Thanksgiving] I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way-in all your speaking and in all your knowledge - " (1 Corinthians 1:4-5)

Today's Daily Brief - Wednesday

1. GOP Candidates Voice Wariness Over Annapolis - NY Sun and NBC

Republican candidates for the presidency are distancing themselves from President Bush's effort to broker a Middle East peace at an ambitious Arab- Israeli summit that will begin next week. Former Tennessee U.S. Senator, Fred Thompson, said in Sioux City, Iowa that he saw no reason for optimism with regards to Annapolis. "This has been a longstanding thing. --These are tough, tough problems, and a part anyway, of the Palestinian Authorities are committed, apparently still, to the destruction of Israel."

In October, the former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, told the Republican Jewish Coalition, "There's just not anyone to talk to right now who has those institutions in place." Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain warned against going for a permanent solution all at once. "An encompassing, all encompassing, one-step solution was tried by former President Clinton and I think that's probably a very, very difficult accomplishment," he said.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani kicked off the Annapolis skepticism among his party's presidential nominees in August with his essay in Foreign Affairs. He wrote, "It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism." The pending peace summit has divided the New York congressional delegation as well.

· Dearest Lord, may our President and his advisors see Your truth regarding the dividing of Israel that any nation who does this abomination will be rebuked and/or destroyed. May we not take Your admonishment lightly, either, and may we remain in prayer over the Annapolis Peace Conference as it looms before us on Tuesday, November 27th. May Israel, America and Israel's allies be saved for Your glory! Amen.

· "'And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; and they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you to save you and deliver you,' says the Lord. 'I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.'" (Jeremiah 15: 20-21 NKJV)

2. Fed Predicts Slower Growth, More Jobless - AP
You can understand a lot about the current financial crisis surrounding the sub-prime mortgage market if you understand a premise of the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life."

The housing collapse and credit crisis will slow economic growth and nudge up unemployment next year, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday in a first-of-its- kind forecast that some economists believe will lead to interest rate cuts early in 2008. Tuesday's economic forecast was a fulfillment of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's pledge to bring more openness to an institution that historically has been enshrouded in secrecy. With this report, the Fed is now releasing quarterly economic forecasts, versus twice-a-year projections; and is also saying what it thinks the business environment will be for the following three years, not two. They also are giving unprecedented detail into policymakers' thinking into the economy's outlook and the risks facing it.

· Thank You Lord for selecting a Federal Reserve Chairman with a heart. Please continue to guide Mr. Bernanke as he develops economic policy for our country's Federal Reserve System and seeks to lessen the financial burden on America's citizens. We pray for his ability to turn to You as he chairs the Federal Reserve and may he be able to manage both inflation and slow economic growth.

· "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit." (Jeremiah 17: 7-8 NKJV)

3. Supreme Court Will Hear D.C. Guns Case - AP

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will decide whether the District of Columbia can ban handguns, a case that could produce the most in-depth examination of the constitutional right to "keep and bear arms" in nearly 70 years. The government of Washington, D.C., is asking the court to uphold its 31-year ban on handgun ownership in the face of a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the ban as incompatible with the Second Amendment. Tuesday's announcement was widely expected, especially after both the District and the man who challenged the handgun ban asked for the high court review.

· Drear Lord, You gave our country's founders wisdom to include the Second Amendment in our Constitution, that guarantees citizenry "the right to bear arms." May this ban be repealed and may responsible American citizens everywhere be allowed without impunity, the ability to protect themselves, to hunt and to own guns.

· "When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness." (Proverbs 2: 10-13 NKJV)

4. Breakthrough As Stem Cells Are Produced From Skin, Not Embryos - London Times

Scientists say they have succeeded in genetically reprogramming skin tissue to create powerful "master" cells that are as versatile as the stem cells from human embryos -- and which can help in the development of treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's and diabetes. The reprogrammed cells have the potential to form any kind of human tissue, according to two separate research teams, from Japan and the United States. The results allow for a new approach to stem-cell therapy that skirts some of the ethical and practical problems that have limited its progress to date, such as the destruction of human embryos. Once perfected, the technique would allow scientists to take skin cells from patients with conditions such as diabetes and spinal paralysis, and turn them into stem cells. These could then be grown into "spare part" tissue, which could be transplanted without fear of rejection by the body's immune system because the cells are genetically the patient's own.

The method requires neither cloning nor the destruction of human embryos, regarded as immoral by many religious groups. It also gets round the shortage of human eggs and surplus embryos, which has held up research into stem cells and therapeutic cloning.

· Thanks be to God for this successful study that shows that adult skin cells successfully heal, and that this truth has been revealed in the media and within the scientific and medical communities. May many more startling revelations for healing and longevity be discovered for Your glory, O God!

· " Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord - how long?" (Ps. 6:2)

5. E.U. "Should Expand Beyond Europe" - BBC

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has suggested the European Union should work towards including Russia, Middle Eastern and North African countries.

· Father of all nations, we humbly ask that You would decide which organizations all the countries of the world that You created should belong to; and most importantly, that they would swear allegiance to You! Maranatha, Lord Jesus, come quickly to save all nations for Your sake!

· "He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming quickly.' Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." (Revelation 22: 20-21 NKJV)

The Middle East in Focus

The Middle East in Focus

This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE:

"Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet home, a tabernacle that will not be taken down; not one of its stakes will ever be removed, nor will any of its cords be broken." (Isaiah 33:20)

1. Olmert: Agreement can be reached in 2008 - Ynet News

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday presented his plan for the day after the US-sponsored Mideast peace conference: "Ongoing, comprehensive and intensive negotiations" for the implementation of the vision of two states for two people.

2. Israelis claim joint Annapolis statement is drafted, Palestinians say no - Israel Insider

Agreement has been reached on a draft for a joint Israel-Palestinian statement ahead of the Annapolis conference, Army Radio quoted diplomatic officials as saying after a meeting into the wee hours of Monday night between the Israeli team led by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the Palestinian negotiating team headed by Ahmed Qurei.

3. Iran, Syria said to be stepping up support of terrorists - Jerusalem Post

A day after a young father was gunned down in a Palestinian shooting attack near the settlement of Kedumim, IDF officers warned Tuesday that Palestinian terrorist groups would continue trying to perpetrate terror attacks in an effort to derail peace talks ahead of the Annapolis peace summit.

4. Police to decide Olmert indictment on Sunday - ICEJ News

Decision will come on eve of Annapolis
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could go to next week's Annapolis summit with a huge cloud over his head, as Israeli police are to decide on Sunday whether he should be indicted in the Bank Leumi scandal. The team investigating Olmert will weigh whether the evidence gathered so far justifies prosecuting him for a crime.

5. Annapolis set for November 27, invitations sent - ICEJ News

Conference wins support from Egypt
The Annapolis peace conference has been set for November 27, and invitations to 49 states and other entities were sent out Tuesday (Click here for full list). Israel and the Palestinians received formal invitations signed by George W. Bush, while US embassies began notifying countries, groups of nations, financial institutions and individuals, requesting them to send their foreign ministers or other officials. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm e-Sheikh and won key support for Annapolis.

Annapolis: "Peace" At The Best Price

Annapolis: "Peace" At The Best Price

Jerusalem Prayer Team

What is the worst thing a Republican president with an evangelical base could do less than a year before the next election? Probably nothing could doom President George W. Bush's party more than his pressuring Israel at the upcoming Annapolis conference to give up its Bible lands, in particular to re- divide Jerusalem.

With Annapolis gearing up to have a major impact on the battle between radicals and moderates for the future of the Middle East, the forecast does not look very promising. For one thing, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, facing both Arab and Palestinian hardliners, appears unable to make even minimal compromises to advance the peace process.

Perhaps the clearest indication of how desperate Bush is to score a peace-making legacy is his guest list. He has invited more than 40 countries, including Syria, to participate in the talks. Somehow Syria rates an invitation, despite the Bush administration's efforts to isolate Bashar Assad's regime due to its murderous attempts to retake Lebanon and its support for terrorism.

Bush is not the only one to worry about the Jerusalem issue. Two of Olmert's allies, the Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas parties, have threatened to collapse his coalition if Jerusalem is put on the Annapolis agenda. The two parties are pushing a bill to make any territorial concessions in Jerusalem subject to approval by a special two-thirds majority of the 120-member Knesset.

Christians United for Israel has mobilized its followers to deluge the White House with e-mails urging Bush not to pressure Israel to make territorial concessions at Annapolis. The US evangelical community supports Israel for much the same reasons most Americans do: the biblical promise of Israel to the Jews, the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and Israel's steadfast alliance with the United States in the war against terrorism. Evangelicals share Israel's appreciation of the threat from Islamofascism.

The US must not pressure Israel to give up land that is part of its biblical inheritance as a price for peace. Many evangelical Christians -- and Jews -- believe the Bible promises the whole Land of Israel, including Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and West Bank, to the Jewish people as a divine, eternal inheritance.

President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice need to understand that the "two-state vision" is bankrupt. Not a single condition of the Roadmap has been implemented by the Palestinians. If the evangelical community perceives that the United States is forcing concessions on the Land of Israel, it will come down on the president's party next year like a ton of bricks.

· "While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape." (I Thess. 5:3)

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

(Editor's Note: As we read the commentary below, offered by the New England Concerts of Prayer, we realize that we give THANKS unto the LORD for HE is good; and because, through His work at the Cross of Calvary, we have come into relationship with Him and can now call Him our Father.

In spite of all the news now coming out of Annapolis, we nevertheless maintain our own attitude of gratitude, and give Thanks to God our FATHER. Amen.)

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting." [Ps. 136:1]

Psalm 136 is one of the great Thanksgiving psalms. The refrain of the psalm is: "For His lovingkindness is everlasting." Another way to translate it is: "His covenantal love is everlasting."

Israel's covenant with the Lord, of course, originated with His covenant with Abraham. The Israelites were thankful for who God is. He is God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the Creator. Then they remembered all He had done in bringing them out of Egypt as slaves and into the Promised Land. They thanked Him for their inheritance and His many blessings.

We are a nation that has made a covenant with the Lord, and He has poured out His blessings on us. We have copiously experienced His covenantal love. Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863 amidst the Civil War; but its celebration began in 1622 when the Pilgrims had their first Thanksgiving. Their crops had survived a severe summer drought because the Lord answered their prayers on a fast day, much like Georgia just recently. They were very grateful because their very existence was preserved.

The Native Americans celebrated the day with them, bringing deer and turkey they shot in the forest. So, together they celebrated the first Thanksgiving after the tradition of Hebrew feasts to honor God.

No other country has quite such a holiday. It is a powerful thing. Let us pray this Thanksgiving that people's eyes be opened to what this holiday is all about: a time to give thanks to God for who He is and what He has done, both individually for us and our families and corporately for us as a nation. He has been faithful to us even though we have been faithless. So we pray that we will remember our covenant with God and turn back to Him. We pray that the soul of America come alive to God and the revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation
October 3, 1863

"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord."


May God Bless You and Yours on this Thanksgiving Day . . . Praise the Lord!


"Always give thanks to God the Father for everything for this is God's will for you in Messiah Jesus."(I Thessalonians 5:18).