Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Daily Brief - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped." (Psalm 28:7)

Today's Daily Brief
1. UN, NATO Drawn Into Georgia-Russia Spy Plane Attack - AFP

The UN Security Council was to meet Wednesday over Georgia's accusation that Russia shot down one of its unmanned spy planes, as Moscow denied involvement and NATO called for clarification. Tension between the two former Soviet states and neighbors escalated after an unmanned Georgian reconnaissance plane was destroyed over Georgia's separatist province of Abkhazia on Sunday. The Georgians allege that a Russian MiG-29 shot the plane down before flying back to Russia.

A small mountainous republic on Russia's southern edge, Georgia is a growing flashpoint in Russia's tense relations with the West, particularly over the ex-Soviet republic's push for NATO membership. Abkhazia broke from Georgia in the early 1990s and a ceasefire has been in place since 1994, although Georgia's pro-Western government accuses Russia of propping up the separatist authorities.

· Truthfulness is what we pray for Lord to resolve this issue over the destruction of a Georgian drone spy plane. We know that there will never be true peace until Your Son, Jesus comes back for His Bride; but until then, we pray that You will be glorified in all contentious international situations and that You will reveal Yourself to resolve unrest. In Your Name, we pray. Amen.

· "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight." (Proverbs 12: 22 NKJV)

2. China Urged To Halt Arms Aid To Zimbabwe - Washington Times

U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey, cautioned China yesterday against additional weapons shipments to landlocked Zimbabwe after nations in southern Africa blocked a Chinese ship from delivering mortars, rockets, and bullets to the government of President Robert Mugabe. A South African newspaper reported that China was preparing a second shipment of considerably more sophisticated Chinese weaponry destined for Zimbabwe to be flown to Harare from China within the next week.

The Zimbabwean government has not published the results of the presidential election held more than three weeks ago, and the opposition says that is part of a ploy to steal the vote. There are reports of increasing violence and Mugabe's government is being accused of cracking down on dissenters.

· Heavenly Father, we look forward to the day when election results will no longer be colored with force and violence. May the truth about the recent Zimbabwean presidential election be known, and the Mugabe administration peacefully announce the results. We ask for Your Power to intervene in this tinderbox climate and that arms shipments not be allowed into Africa for murderous reasons. May Zimbabwe be saved for Your Glory. In The Mighty Name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

· "In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death." (Proverbs 12: 28 NKJV)

3. U.N. Says Darfur Conflict Getting Worse With Perhaps 300,000 Dead - Fox News

The conflict in Darfur is deteriorating, with full deployment of a new peacekeeping force delayed until 2009 and no prospect of a political settlement for a war that has killed perhaps 300,000 people in five years, U.N. officials said Tuesday. A joint U.N.-African Union (AU)peacekeeping force took over duties in Darfur in January from a beleaguered 7,000-man AU mission. But only about 9,000 soldiers and police officers of the authorized 26,000 have deployed.

The conflict began in early 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated central government, accusing it of discrimination. Many of the worst atrocities in the war have been blamed on the Janjaweed militia of Arab nomads allied with the government.

· How much longer will this abomination continue, Lord? We send our prayers for relief and protection for Your saints in this conflict and ask that You would grant Sudan a Godly government of Your choosing. May those who continue this murderous rampage be removed for Your glory and their false religion be quashed to show the invincible power and sovereignty of the Only True God. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

· "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep." (John 10: 10-11 NKJV)

4. Euro Breaks Through $1.60 As Dollar Slumps to Record Low - NewsMax

The dollar sunk to a record low Tuesday against the euro, which crossed $1.60 after a pair of European Central Bank governors said high inflation may cause the bank to raise interest rates. The U.S. currency also fell against the Japanese yen and the British pound.

The 15-nation currency euro rose as high as $1.6018, more than a penny above the $1.5916 it bought late Monday. The euro has risen 20 cents against the dollar in just five months and 10 cents in just two months. The dollar's slump is a boon for U.S. companies that rely heavily on exports, but it's the bane of travelers as worldwide inflation rises.

· We have faith, God, that you do hear our prayers for economic relief for America. May our dollar and economy be strengthened by Your right hand for Your glory. May there be none who would doubt that You have done these mighty miracles so that your saints here on earth will be encouraged and unbelievers be brought to faith in You as their Savior. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

· In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears." (Psalm 18: 6 NKJV)

5. Pennsylvania Church-Goers Turn Their Backs on Obama While Whites, Blue-Collar Voters, Gun Owners Choose Clinton
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) soundly defeated Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) among church-going voters in Tuesday's Pennsylvania presidential primary, exposing a potential weakness in the Democratic frontrunner among northern church-going voters, particularly Catholics, who have been a key swing vote in recent presidential elections.

Pennsylvania's working-class white voters helped Clinton on Tuesday, press reports said. According to exit polls, gun owners, people who attend church at least weekly, and rural residents supported Clinton by margins of about six in 10.

· Lord, You have continued to expose the agendas of both of these Democratic presidential candidates. Their views are not Your views on the sanctity of life, homosexuality and marriage to name a few. And most importantly, they do not support the Apple of Your Eye, Israel. We pray that somehow Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton and their supporters will seek Your Face and yield their lives to You. We humbly ask that You will grant America a president this Fall, who honors You. In Your Son's Name we pray these things. Amen.

· "I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress me, from my deadly enemies who surround me." (Psalm 17: 6-9 NKJV)

The Middle East in Focus

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

"For thus says LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, shout among the chief of the nations: publish, praise, and say, O LORD, save Your people, the remnant of Israel." (Jer. 31:7)

1. Peace with Syria suicidal, MKs say - Ynet News

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert undoubtedly heard about the Syrian report saying he had agreed to cede Israeli control of the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria, while on vacation.

2. 'Espionage case could seriously damage relations with US' - Ynet News

The prosecution of a second US citizen charged with spying on Israel's behalf is "like a Tomahawk missile to relations between the two countries" a top government official told Ynet on Tuesday evening following the arrest of Ben-Ami Kadish.

3. American accused of giving nuclear secrets to Israel - Ynet News

United States authorities arrested an American engineer on Tuesday on suspicion of giving military secrets involving nuclear weapons, fighter jets and air defense missiles to Israel during the 1980s, the Justice Department said. Investigators believe 83-year-old Ben-Ami Kadish took home secret documents and let the Israeli government worker photograph them.

Next Monday: "Day of Truth"
Students Encouraged to Stand Strong on Day of Truth

SUMMARY: 'We want to encourage Christian students to be salt and light and to speak the truth.'

On Monday, students from across the country will stand together on the fourth annual Day of Truth to support honest discussions about homosexuality. The event comes three days after GLSEN's (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Day of Silence, which disrupts class by encouraging students to remain silent throughout the day in honor of homosexual people who feel silenced.

Mike Ensley, youth analyst for Exodus International, said the Day of Truth is about opening dialogue. "I would encourage Christian students to brainstorm what they want to do, how they want to respond," he said. "It's not about being adversarial to the gay- identified students or organizations on campus. It's about helping people understand what their attitude really is towards their fellow students." Students are asked to pass out cards after class and wear T-shirts that encourage honest conversation about homosexuality.

Douglas Napier, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, said Christian students should not be silent. "We'd like Christian students everywhere to understand that they have the same constitutional amendments and constitutional privileges as every other student," he said. "Their viewpoint should be accepted in the schools, like any other student's. "The First Amendment protects their right to speak out on this, and we want to encourage Christian students to be salt and light and to speak the truth."


For an explanation of the Day of Silence and how you can respond, visit the Issue Analysis Web site.

(Source: CitizenLink)

Brownback Testifies on Abstinence


WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about the need for continued funding of abstinence education. "Studies have shown that abstinence education is effective in decreasing the number of teen pregnancy and rates of sexually transmitted diseases among youth," said Brownback. "Clearly our current approach to sex education is not working; STD rates among teens are rising, and it is irresponsible of us to silence the abstinence message. We need more funding for abstinence programs, not less. Cutting funding to such valuable programs will only have negative results as we see teens, and even pre-teens, engage in risky sexual behavior."

Each year, 2.6 million teens become sexually active; in 2005, approximately one in seven youth had sex for the first time at age 14, or even younger. Approximately one in 13 adolescent girls in the United States becomes pregnant annually. The percentage of teen births outside of marriage has increased from 46 percent in 1980 to 80 percent in 2002. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 4 teenage girls in America has a sexually transmitted disease.

Brownback continued, "Parents want the best for their children, and have high expectations and goals for their futures. It is ironic that most of my colleagues agree that abstinence education is preferred but are not willing to fund such programs at the same level as 'comprehensive' sex education, the funding of which is weaved throughout our federal budget. We, as legislators, should not undermine parents' ambition to raise responsible, healthy children."

A 2007 Zogby survey found that fifty-nine percent of parents believe more funding should go to abstinence education. The survey also found that seventy-eight percent of parents think sex education classes in public schools should place more emphasis on promoting abstinence than on condom and other contraceptive use and ninety-three percent of parents think sex education should include a discussion about the limitations of condoms in preventing specific STDs. Over eighty percent support the message of abstinence only education, to abstain from sexual activity until they are in a committed adult relationship nearing marriage.

(Source: Office of Senator Sam Brownback; R-KS)

ACLU Runs into Judicial Roadblock

The 1.6 million Hoosiers with "In God We Trust" license plates can breathe a sigh of relief that they won't be forced to revisit their local DMV for new tags. Yesterday, a state judge dismissed a suit brought by the ACLU alleging that it was unconstitutional to put our national motto on license plates. Marion Superior Court Judge Gary Miller wrote a blunt opinion about the judicial branch's role in the dispute, which read, "Courts are not to second-guess the Indiana General Assembly when it comes to calculations of this sort." In part, the ACLU had claimed that Indiana was giving the motto "preferential treatment" and should charge the vanity plate fee for the "In God We Trust" message since it isn't the standard state plate. However, the legislation authorizing the plate in 2006 specifically directed the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to offer the plate for free. Although the ACLU vows to appeal within 30 days, we applaud Judge Miller for refusing to overstep his authority and let this group carjack our national motto.

(Source: Family Research Council)

The Church and Poverty: Mission Accomplished?

Is the church doing enough to help the poor? Sixty- seven percent of Americans think so. According to a recent national survey the majority of those polled said their "church already does enough to help the poor in [their] community." But is there more to do? Steve Haas, the vice president for church relations at World Vision, is using the research as a call to conscience for believers. According to Haas, Christians are just "scratching the surface" when it comes to helping the less fortunate. As Christians, we have a personal and corporate responsibility to engage in the war against poverty. It is, and has always been, primary to the Gospel message.

As Harry Jackson and I write in Personal Faith, Public Policy, Scripture makes it clear that our responsibility to address the plight of the poor is fundamental to living out our faith. Arthur Brooks points out in his book Who Really Cares? that liberals equate this responsibility with the call for more government programs. This effort to shift the responsibility to the government deprives the giver and the recipient of tangible and intangible benefits and studies also show it is very ineffective. For decades, this reliance on big government to care for the poor has done more to perpetuate American poverty than alleviate it. Instead of breaking the cycle of poverty by addressing the root causes--like the breakdown of the family--government programs are actually prolonging the problem with short-term fixes. This liberal approach to welfare is devastating to the poor and to the entire nation. The more the church does, the less our government will have to do. Local faith- based charities are not only more effective, but they have also proven more efficient.

If your church doesn't have outreaches to the poor, I encourage you to consider partnering with another ministry or starting one of your own. The more energy we put into meeting our neighbors' needs, the greater our opportunity for sharing the rich message of Jesus Christ. (Source: Family Research Council)

[Added note from CHPP: We praise the LORD that this information is coming out NOW, just when our Call to Repentance on Sunday focused on the issue of "poverty and the church." Praise God!]



Office of the Press Secretary

(New Orleans, Louisiana)

­ For Immediate Release April 22, 2008

National Day of Prayer, 2008

By the President of the United States of America


America trusts in the abiding power of prayer and asks for the wisdom to discern God's will in times of joy and of trial. As we observe this National Day of Prayer, we recognize our dependence on the Almighty, we thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us, and we put our country's future in His hands.

From our Nation's humble beginnings, prayer has guided our leaders and played a vital role in the life and history of the United States. Americans of many different faiths share the profound conviction that God listens to the voice of His children and pours His grace upon those who seek Him in prayer. By surrendering our lives to our loving Father, we learn to serve His eternal purposes, and we are strengthened, refreshed, and ready for all that may come.

On this National Day of Prayer, we ask God's continued blessings on our country. This year's theme, "Prayer! America's Strength and Shield," is taken from Psalm 28:7, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped." On this day, we pray for the safety of our brave men and women in uniform, for their families, and for the comfort and recovery of those who have been wounded.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our Nation to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society by recognizing each year a "National Day of Prayer."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2008, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God's continued guidance, comfort, and protection. I invite all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.