Saturday, March 23, 2013

CHPP Daily Brief Friday, March 22, 2013

Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
P.O. Box 5152
Herndon, VA 20172-1970

The Daily Brief Friday, March 22, 2013

"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
(Matthew 19:6)

The Daily Brief

1. US Congress Averts Government Shutdown - VOA

The U.S. Congress has given final approval to a spending plan that funds the government through September and averts a potential shutdown next week. The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for a plan that funds government agencies, but incorporates $85 billion in spending cuts that automatically took effect earlier this month. The budget measure gives the military and some domestic agencies more flexibility in how they trim their spending. U.S. spending authorization was set to expire next Wednesday. Without passage of the spending bill, numerous government functions could have been halted. The Senate already approved the plan and it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

With spending levels set for the fiscal year ending September 30, Congress is turning its attention to budgeting for next year and beyond. The Republican-controlled House also voted Thursday for its 2014 plan, which would cut spending and lead to a balanced budget within a decade without raising taxes.The Democratic-controlled Senate is considering a budget plan calling for nearly $1 trillion in new taxes during the next decade to fund increased government spending.

- Father, we thank You for Your great patience, as it appears that our Congress wants to play another round of "kick the can down the road", in deferring adoption of a responsible budget. We ask that You impress upon them the seriousness of this situation, and the need to make tough choices, in order to balance the budget without any further tax hikes to get there. Again, we ask that they would be more mindful of the results of their decisions as they impact their constituents. We ask that they humble themselves before You and seek Your wisdom in all their decisions. In Your Name, we pray. Amen.

- "Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it." (Ezra 19:4)

2. Senate Votes Against Key Health-Law Tax - Wall Street Journal

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday night to repeal a tax on medical-device sales, despite the fact that the levy helps finance the health-care overhaul.

- Father, we thank You for those in the Senate taking another look at this healthcare bill, which they all passed without reading it first. We pray that as it is read and understood, that there will be many more questioning of the wisdom of these edicts, and more repeals of its mandates. May it be truly "tweaked" to be of value to us all, in Your Name we pray, Amen.

- "They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!" (Deuteronomy 32:27-29)

3. US Cancels Part of Missile Defense System - VOA

The Obama administration recently announced plans to deploy ballistic-missile defenses in the state of Alaska. At the same time, though, it canceled a key component of its European-based missile-defense system. The Obama plan calls for stationing 14 missile interceptors in Alaska to protect the U.S. west coast from North Korea, which is seen as a threat due to its advances in nuclear and missile technology. It also calls for the deployment of a radar system in Japan, while 'scrapping' the European missile defense project, known as "phase four."

- Lord of all armies, we come to You, our Defender, and our God, and Provider, and ask again for Your wisdom to be given to our President and Congress as they deal with our economy. May they have Your priorities in mind, and realize that we need these defense capabilities in place to assure our freedom and protection. We ask You to visit these "civil servants" and instill in them a desire to seek You and Your wisdom concerning this great responsibility we, the people, have entrusted to them. In Your Name we pray, Amen.

- "When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul, Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you." (Proverbs 2:10,11)

4. US Air Force Facing Cuts in Manpower, Flying Hours - VOA

The U.S. military is getting ready for the impact of big automatic budget cuts, in what's termed "sequestration." The Defense Department faces bigger cuts than any other agency. For the 459th Air Refueling Reserve Wing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, that means pay cuts and reductions in flying hours, right before a scheduled deployment. Captain Frank Gilliard flies an air refueling tanker - a KC-135. "The 135 can also be set up as a hospital," he said. He and all other Air Force pilots are facing an 18 percent cut in flying hours. That means less time in the air to refuel other planes out on missions. "Yes, readiness definitely could be affected," Gilliard said.

All reserve civilians will be furloughed one day a week if the budget cuts go into effect. "It's going to be tough. It's going to be tough," Gilliard said. That's a 20 percent pay cut."

- Abba, it saddens us to see our real American heroes, our military, facing a 20% pay cut, while Congress raises their own salaries. We understand the need for a balanced budget, but this move makes it difficult for the men and women in the military to balance their own budgets. Somehow, we pray for a miracle, in that Congress will recognize that this is not the place to cut. Our national defense, and those who fight and die for it, should not be penalized. We ask that Congress take another look at this situation, and cancel those cuts to this vital part of our budget. We ask You to especially bless and provide for those who serve their country, and protect us and our freedoms. Amen.

- " For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack-that there may be equality." (2 Corinthians 8:12-14)

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:

"In this house, and in Jerusalem, which God has chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my Name forever; Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I, God, gave their fathers." (II Kings 21:7-8)

1. Kassam barrage fired at Israel, damage reported - Times of Israel

Four rockets were fired at Israel out of Gaza Thursday morning, as red alert sirens rang out in south, breaking a tense several month calm in the area.

2. Abbas willing to accept secret settlement freeze - Jerusalem Post

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may soften his demands that Israel halts constructions of settlements in the West Bank as a precondition for peace negotiations, the New York Times reported on Wednesday overnight.

3. Obama: 'Palestinians Deserve A State Of Their Own' - CBS Washington

President Obama called for a free and independent Palestinian state while visiting the West Bank with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas Thursday.

4. Obama says he's not giving up on Mideast peace - AP

President Barack Obama urged Israelis and Palestinians on Thursday to get back to peace talks but offered no new ideas on how they might do so, essentially abandoning his previous support of the Palestinian demand for Israel to halt settlement activity before negotiations resume.

The Persecuted Church

Today's Focus: The Persecuted Church

"The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive
to their cry . . ."
(Psalm 34:15)

1. Thousands of Christians Rescued from Repressive Regime in Sudan - Worthy Christian News

KHARTOUM, SUDAN (Worthy News)- Some 1,500 Christians trapped in Sudan are on their way to neighboring South Sudan, as part of a massive rescue operation dubbed 'Exodus', an aid group told Worthy News.

The Christians bring the total of rescued believers under the program to roughly 3,800 - almost double the number originally planned, explained Barnabas Fund.

"It has been a great privilege for us to be able to help suffering Christians - begin a new life in a place where they can be free to practice their faith in peace and have opportunities to improve their circumstances," said Patrick Sookhdeo, the Fund's international director.

A convoy of buses and lorries carrying the Christians and their belongings set off Tuesday, March 19, taking them to a new life in South Sudan, aid workers said.

2. Wife of Imprisoned Pastor in Iran: 'No Heart to Tell Kids Daddy Might Never Survive'- CP U.S.

Naghmeh, the wife of U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving eight years in a deadly prison in Iran for his faith, broke down as she testified on Capitol Hill, saying she has no heart to tell their kids that daddy might never survive if the government fails to protect him.

"Saeed is a husband and amazing father," Naghmeh told a standing-room only crowd at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress on Friday. "The kids and I miss him terribly. Our kids hold onto the hope of seeing their daddy very soon," she said, struggling unsuccessfully to hold back her tears.

3. Survivor of Suicide Bombing in Nigeria Recounts the Events of the Attack - The Guardian

IT was a moment of outrage and shock yesterday as the survivors of the bomb explosion in Kano that claimed several lives relived their ordeal. The casualty figure rose to 22 Tuesday.

Witnesses told the Agence France Presse (AFP) that they heard multiple blasts and saw wounded victims in bloodied clothes fleeing the area as authorities cordoned the scene.

"I was boarding the bus to Lagos when I heard a huge explosion," Abdulaziz Baban-Lamma, a 47-year-old trader, told AFP from his hospital bed.

The blast left him with severe injuries to his abdomen and other survivors ran to assist him when they saw his condition, he said. He later underwent emergency surgery.

"May Allah curse whoever was behind the act," he said.

Magawata Goje, 45, was selling dried meat at the station when the bomb went off.

"Something sharp hit me under my right ear," he said.

"Blood gushed out and I was drenched in my blood."

When he regained consciousness, "I could see many people burnt to death," he said.

Update from Israel

Israel agrees to advise before striking Iran

DEBKAfile Special Report

In his first conversation of three hours with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Day One, March 20, of US President Barack Obama's visit to Israel, the two leaders finally put to rest their long dispute over a unilateral Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear sites.

In their news conference that night, both reiterated the principle that Israel has the right to independently defend itself against a perceived palpable threat from Iran - even if Washington does not share that perception.

The practical application of this principle was rather different: Obama and Netanyahu spoke highly and repeatedly of the close military and intelligence cooperation their governments had developed and which they would hate above all to jeopardize.

Obama: "There's not much daylight between us on where Iran is at. Israel is differently situated than us. I would not expect Israel to defer to anyone in its decisions on this." Netanyahu: "We do have a common intelligence assessment on this. Although the US and Israel have different vulnerabilities and capabilities . . . there is no argument . . . I am absolutely convinced that Obama is committed to preventing Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb."

He added: "Iran has not yet reached the red line I defined in my UN speech, but it is getting closer all the time." 

[Reported by the Unity Coalition for Israel]

Obama Speaks on the Holocaust

Obama: Israel prevents another Holocaust

JERUSALEM (JTA) - Israel does not owe its existence to the Holocaust but its existence prevents another one from happening, U.S. President Obama said on the third and final day of his first presidential visit to Israel.

"Here we hope," Obama said on Friday at Yad Vashem's Hall of the Children after touring the Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem.

"Because after you walk through these halls, after you pass through the darkness, there is light - a glorious view of the Jerusalem Forest, with the sun shining over the historic homeland of the Jewish people; a fulfillment of the prophecy: 'you shall live again . . . upon your own soil'," he said. "Here, on your ancient land, let it be said for all the world to hear: The State of Israel does not exist because of the Holocaust. But with the survival of a strong Jewish State of Israel, such a Holocaust will never happen again."
[Reported by Unity Coalition for Israel]

Passover Begins on Monday

Passover's Enduring Message of Freedom

Ruth Wisse

On Monday, millions of children will ask their parents: Why is tonight different from all other nights of the year?

Children asking this question in Jewish homes around the world will be told that the Passover festival commemorates the liberation of their people from enslavement in Egypt and celebrates the civilization that emerged from that breakout into independence. Families gathered at an orchestrated meal-the Seder-will begin the story by tasting the bitterness of subjection, make their way through debates over interpretations of the event, and culminate in joyful and occasionally (after the designated four cups of wine) raucous song.

We were never to forget that our timely exit from Europe coincided with the loss of several million others like us. Every year, we include in our family reading of the Haggadah a postwar insert circulated by the Canadian Jewish Congress honoring both those who perished at the hands of the Nazis and those who went down fighting:

"On the first day of Passover the remnants in the Ghetto of Warsaw rose up against the adversary, even as in the days of Judah the Maccabee. 'They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided' [2 Samuel 1:23], and they brought redemption to the name of Israel through all the world."

This tribute concludes with one of Maimonides's 13 principles of faith: "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the messiah-and though he tarry, yet I believe." Participants in our Seder traditionally differ in how deeply they linger over the tarrying and how fervently over the belief . . . (The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2013) 
[Reported by Unity Coalition for Israel]

Capitol Hill Prayer Partners Wishes You a Happy Passover. Chag Sameach!

Asteroid Aims for NYC

NASA Chief Says "Pray" if Asteroid Aims for NYC

"If [an asteroid] is coming in three weeks: Pray." -Charles Bolden, NASA

"If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into." (Luke 12:39)

Folks in hurricane country never take a calm season for granted. Aware of the fickle tendency of hurricanes to strike when least expected, residents of Florida and other Southeast regions of the United States are always prepared: evacuation plans memorized, lumber at the ready for boarding up windows and emergency supplies up-to-date and handy.

Ditto for those who live in states historically impacted by tornados, droughts and earthquakes.

Of course, there are always some who thumb their nose at impending disasters and pay the price. Remember Harry Randall Truman? The old codger who refused to evacuate his lodge on Mt. St. Helen's when it erupted? And who can forget the thousands of poor souls who suffered and died in Katrina and Hurricane Sandy when they opted to stay instead of flee?

To dismiss the possibility of an impending crisis, or minimize its impact on life, may seem noble at the time-even courageous-but it carries with it a great risk of unnecessary suffering. Which is why, as Christians, we know to pray before these events are predicted to occur. Before the tornado touches down, before the hurricane strikes, before summer descends with a drought-scorching heat.
Even before an asteroid hits. That's right, an asteroid. We even have a sort-of, kind-of "word of warning" to do so by the Chief of NASA himself.

At a recent House of Representatives Science Committee hearing NASA chief Charles Bolden was asked by Rep. Bill Posey what he would do if the science agency detected a small asteroid aimed at NYC, similar to the one that detonated spectacularly over Russia not long ago.

In all seriousness, Bolden replied, "The answer to you is, if it's coming in three weeks: Pray."

Multiple reports indicate Bolden's recommendation surprised everyone in the hearing.

To emphasize just how close of a margin earth is at any given time to being struck by a terrestrial object, on the day when a 150-foot asteroid barely missed hitting the earth last month, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson told WNYC radio, "If we were in our orbit 15 minutes earlier than we will be this afternoon, then it would hit us."

Fifteen minutes.

Others have joked about earth's cosmic fragility, with one website snarking that New Yorkers have no cause to worry as Mayor Bloomberg need only ban asteroid hits to prevent them from happening. But jokes aside, the NASA Chief's admonition to pray-as off the cuff as it may have been-is, regardless, really God speaking to us.

Pray for protection for yourself, your family, your neighbors and your countrymen, and not just when an asteroid is aimed at NYC, or your city, or any other city. Pray before. Pray always. (Source: The Christian Post) 

[Reported by Teresa Neumann, Breaking Christian News, March 22, 2013]

The Good News Corner

The Good News Corner:

Kansas House Passes Bill Saying Life Beings at Fertilization

The new law, which the State Senate promised to act on quickly, states that human life begins "at fertilization" and that "unborn children have interests in life, health and well-being that should be protected."

(Topeka, KS)-The Kansas House of Representatives voted 92-to-31 on Wednesday, March 20, to strengthen protections for unborn babies, just one day after rejecting an amendment to the state's late-term abortion ban that would have allowed abortions after 22 weeks in cases of rape or incest.

The new law, which the State Senate promised to act on quickly, states that human life begins "at fertilization" and that "unborn children have interests in life, health and well-being that should be protected."

The bill, HB 2253, would ban abortionists from receiving tax breaks and would bar public schools from using sex education materials or teachers that are affiliated with abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

It also includes another provision meant to strengthen current laws preventing student doctors at state schools from using taxpayer-funded time or resources to perform abortions. Additionally, abortionists will now have to disclose additional warnings to patients seeking abortion, including the fact that the procedure has been linked to breast cancer.
On Tuesday, Rep. John Wilson (D-Lawrence) offered an amendment to the bill making an exception to the state's ban on abortions after 22 weeks, allowing them to be performed in cases of rape or incest. His amendment would have also allowed private insurance to pay for elective abortions in such cases, and exempted abortionists from the requirement that they notify parents in writing when a child seeks an abortion if the child claims to be a victim of rape or incest.

The House overwhelmingly rejected that amendment, with some lawmakers noting that state law allows abortion for any reason before 22 weeks. (Source: Life Site News) 

[Reported by Kristen Anderson, Breaking Christian News, March 22, 2013]

Pray for the Harvest!

Pray for the Harvest!

"Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." (John 4:35)

Every day, in every nation on earth, tens of thousands of men and women are making decisions for Christ. Now, you can monitor this amazing fact online by literally "watching" as these souls are born again into the Kingdom.

Of course, the identities of those who are coming to the Lord are never revealed, but our God knows who they are!

Join us as we monitor these "names" daily, praying over each one to be mentored and to grow in his or her faith . . . even in these perilous times. You may visit either or both of the sites below, to pray for fields that are ripe for harvest.