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The Daily Brief
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
"Be on the alert, then, for you do not know the day nor the hour." (Matthew 25:13)
The Daily Brief will not be published tomorrow, Wednesday, January 1, 2014,
on New Year's Day. We will return on Thursday, January 2.
The Daily Brief
1. Second suicide bomber in Russia's Volgograd kills 14 on bus - Reuters
A bomb ripped a bus apart in Volgograd on Monday, killing 14 people in the second deadly attack blamed on suicide bombers in the southern Russian city in 24 hours and raising fears of Islamist attacks on the Winter Olympics.
- Father, we pray Your shield of protection around the Winter Olympics and the people of Russia. We declare no evil will befall them, no disaster shall come near them. In Jesus Name.
- my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. 4) I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. (2 Samuel 22:3-4)
2. New laws in 2014 cover much ground
Thousands of new laws and regulations are going into effect next year -- mostly on Wednesday. . . . residents might want to brush up on the changes -- state lawmakers approved nearly 40,000 bills and resolutions this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
- Lord, we pray guidance upon our lawmakers to bring forth laws that are for the general welfare of the nation. Give wisdom, we pray, as some of these new laws are quite bizarre.
- "Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?" God answered Solomon, "Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked long life, but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like."(2 Chronicles 1:10-12)
3. Obamacare Vending Machine Mandate Expected to Cost Millions
Not even vending machines are outside the scope of Obamacare mandates. Around 457 pages into Obamcare, section 4205 stipulates: the vending machine operator shall provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories contained in the article." This new mandate will cost the vending machine industry an estimated $25.8 million initially and an additional $24 million for every subsequent year. The rules will apply to about 10,800 companies that operate 20 or more machines. Nearly three quarters of those companies have three or fewer employees, and their profit margin is extremely low, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association. An initial investment of $2,400 plus $2,200 in annual costs is a lot of money for a small company that only clears a few thousand dollars a year, said Eric Dell, the group's vice president for government affairs. "The money that would be spent to comply with this - there's no return on the investment," he said.
- Father, we pray a blessing on these vending machine companies. May they prosper like never before. Raise their profits to offset this cost of this new mandate. It seems more and more jobs are being damaged or destroyed by this law. Strike it down, Father, so that it cannot rise again. We ask in Jesus' Name, Amen and Amen.
- And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything; you may have an abundance for every good deed; (2 Corinthians 9:8) "The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."(Psalm 9:9)
4. Bald eagles dying in Utah from mysterious illness SALT LAKE CITY - (KSL)
Just this month, 13 bald eagles have died in Utah, and no one knows why. "All the birds that have been brought in have varying degrees of paralysis, weakness in the wings and legs, and then very quickly moving in to having tremors then full blown seizures," said DaLyn Erickson, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. "Once the seizures start, that's pretty much it." Eight bald eagles have been brought into her Ogden clinic in the past three weeks, and five of them have died.
- Father, reveal the cause of this mysterious illness affecting the bald eagles. We speak protection over these creatures. These birds are a wonder of Your creation.
- Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold. From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away. (Job 39:27-30) Who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Psalm 103:5)
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:
"Hear the Word of YHWH, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands afar off, saying, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep/guard him, as a shepherd keeps his flock.'" (Jeremiah 31:10)
1. Netanyahu: Israel's security, Palestinian demilitarization are necessary conditions for peace - Jerusalem Post
Israel will only sign a peace agreement with the Palestinians if its security and the PA's demilitarization are guaranteed, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday, ahead of the release of a third group of Palestinian terrorists.
2. 26 Palestinian prisoners released, head home to celebrations - Jerusalem Post
Israel released 26 Palestinian security prisoners Monday overnight, after the High Court of Justice rejected a petition filed by bereaved families to prevent their release.
3. Free abortion for all women 20-33, panel recommends - Times of Israel
Israeli women aged 20-33 will be able to receive state-funded abortions for non-medical reasons if the recommendations of a Health Ministry commission, published Monday, are passed into law.
4. Netanyahu says Lebanese rocket attack constitutes double war crime - Jerusalem Post
The rocket fire from Lebanon into Israel early Sunday morning was a double war crime because it endangered innocent civilians on both sides of the border, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the cabinet Sunday morning.
The Persecuted Church
Today's Focus: The Persecuted Church
"Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living." (Psalm 27:12,13)
A Real Cause for Christian Outrage
Christians Massacred Worldwide: Where is the Outrage?
Swiftly on the heels of Christmas comes the feast of the Holy Innocents. On December 28, churches around the world commemorate the first Christian martyrs-those who lost their lives when King Herod ordered the execution of all males two and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem.
We consider such atrocities relegated to the ancient past, a barbaric time of intemperate, megalomaniac rulers. In today's enlightened era of diplomacy, such evil would not go unchecked.
And yet, Christians today are massacred on a far greater scale than from any edict issued from Herod. According to Open Doors, which provides support for Christians around the world, Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world today, with 100 people martyred for their faith each month. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reports that Christians suffer persecution, discrimination, and harassment in 133 countries-a full two-thirds of all countries worldwide. . .
These martyrs were real, living, breathing human beings with hopes, dreams, and loved ones. Each and every one was, at one time, someone's baby. They could all be my babies. Or yours.
Whig politician and statesman Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Whatever the root cause of Western Christian silence on the matter of global Christian persecution-be it the silence of the media, the culture wars, economic concerns, busyness, lack of global awareness, a passive acceptance of persecution, or a diffusion of responsibility, as Christians we have an unavoidable obligation to defend the oppressed. We've shown ourselves to be proficient at rallying toward a cause; it's time to rally to this. (Christianity Today) Read full article here.
For more news about the Persecuted Church, and how you can be more involved in intercession for these precious saints, go here.
Update: Religious Freedom in the Military
Finally! New Military Defense Bill Will Protect Freedom of Religious Expression among Service Members
The bill states that the US Armed Forces must "accommodate individual expressions of beliefs" of each service member.
According to a CBN News report, freedom of religious expression in the military has been preserved within the latest defense bill, signed into law by the president this past Thursday.
Although the law restricted any religious belief that would hinder "military readiness, unit cohesion and good order and discipline," it reportedly states that the US Armed Forces must "accommodate individual expressions of beliefs" of each service member.
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty's Chaplain Ron Crews said that he believes the law will protect the freedom of troops that believe in traditional marriage, and would allow them to state their belief without fear of reprisal. (Breaking Christian News)
Update: Obamacare and Christian Colleges
New Court Ruling a "Powerful Blow" to Administration's Attempts to Impose HHS Mandate on Christian Colleges
(Washington, DC)-On December 27, a Houston federal court delivered a major blow to the controversial HHS mandate ruling in favor of East Texas Baptist University and Houston Baptist University.
In a 46-page opinion, the court ruled that the federal mandate requiring employers to provide employees with abortion-causing drugs and devices violates federal civil rights laws, and issued an injunction against the mandate. Religious plaintiffs have now won injunctions in 9 out of 12 such cases involving non-profit entities challenging the mandate.
"The government doesn't have the right to decide what religious beliefs are legitimate and which ones aren't," said Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and lead attorney for East Texas Baptist and Houston Baptist Universities. "In its careful opinion, the Court recognized that the government was trying to move across that forbidden line, and said "No further!"
In its opinion, the federal court specifically rejected the government's argument that it evaluate the Universities' beliefs: "The religious organization plaintiffs have shown a sincerely held religious belief that the court cannot second-guess."
The decision is part of a recent groundswell of cases decided against the government. In nine of the twelve cases decided thus far, federal district courts across the country have issued injunctions against the mandate.
"The government has enforced the health care reform law very unevenly, handing out exemptions to those it sees as its allies," stated Rassbach. "Perhaps the worst part of the government's approach is that it seems to have decided that religious institutions are the only ones not to get an exemption." (The Becket Fund) Read more.
Reported by: Breaking Christian News
The Good News Corner
The Good News Corner:
Thanks to a 95-Year-Old Christian, Every Resident in Austin
to Get the Gospel of John
"We want to get the word out about this in an effort to encourage people to join with us in prayer. There is nothing that needs to be done, as all the funding is in place and the project is going forward-but we do covet the prayers of God's people for the success of this project." -Sermonaudio.com
(Austin, TX)-An anonymous, 95-year-old Austinite has written a check for the Gospel of John Project by Sermonaudio.com to facilitate the distribution of the Gospel of John to every resident of the city.
According to World Net Daily, dozens of cities across America have already benefitted from similar distributions, but officials from Sermonaudio say theirs is different.
"In the 11th largest city in America [Austin] there stands a building that once dominated the skyline," notes the project's website. "It is now simply known as 'The Tower.' On its façade is an inscription carved [from the Gospel of John] in giant letters of stone that has, for 77 silent years, proclaimed to the city words first spoken over 2,000 years ago: 'Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.'"
"Austin will be the 22nd city to be targeted, but what makes the Austin campaign so unique is that every single home in the entire city will be reached due to the heart desire of a single generous donor. Having lived more than 50 years of his life in Austin, he would now like to introduce its citizens to those immortal words from John's Gospel and the One that spoke them."
"We are in the process of preparing the preparing the print run now and should have these in the mail destined for Austin hopefully by sometime in January." (Breaking Christian News) Read more.
Billy Graham's Prayer for the New Year
Billy Graham's Prayer for the New Year
Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.
We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us-but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.
In the midst of life's uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.
In the midst of life's inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.
In the midst of life's temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.
And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: "Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end" (Psalm 119:33).
We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.
Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Psalm 33:12).
As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us-far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.
And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come.
© 2008 Saturday Evening Post Society. Reprinted with permission.
Worship With Us Today!
Worship With Us Today
We Exalt Your Name
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.
> > > OPTION ONE: AboutJesus.net
> > > OPTION TWO: The Great Commission Map!