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The Daily Brief:
"Praying for All in Authority"
Monday, January 4, 2016
"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing
I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13,14)
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!
1. Erdogan: 'Turkey needs Israel' - Israel National News
Turkey must accept that it needs Israel, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday, as the two countries seek to thrash out a deal on normalizing ties.
NATO member Turkey was a key regional ally of Israel until the two countries fell out over the deadly storming by Israeli commandos in 2010 of a Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, bound for Gaza.
AFP reports that Erdogan further raised hackles in Israel with his sometimes inflammatory rhetoric towards the Jewish State. But the atmosphere has transformed following the revelation last month the two sides were making progress in secret talks to seek a rapprochement, he says.
"Israel is in need of a country like Turkey in the region," Erdogan said in remarks to Turkish reporters published in leading dailies Saturday. (Read more)
2. Report: Hezbollah 'adamant' to avenge archterrorist's death - Israel Hayom
Hezbollah will no longer "accept Israel killing its operatives" and it has made up its mind to exact revenge over the recent death of terrorist Samir Kuntar, Lebanese media reported Thursday. Kuntar was killed on Dec. 19 in an airstrike near Damascus. Hezbollah head Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has accused Israel of assassinating the infamous terrorist, and vowed that a "painful retaliation will follow."
The threat prompted Israel to use third-party mediators to warn Nasrallah that any attempt by the Shiite terrorist group to escalate tensions on the Israel-Lebanon border would meet a forceful Israeli response. (Read more)
3. Israel strikes Hamas terror targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire - Jerusalem Post
The Israel Air Force struck four Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday in retaliation for two Gazan rockets fired on the Sderot area.
The rockets, which were fired by a Salafi- jihadist group, according to security assessments in Israel, set off warning sirens throughout the Sderot area, sending local residents fleeing for cover. They exploded in an open area in the Sha'ar Hanegev region. There were no injuries. (Read more)
4. Syrian army launches assault against rebels near border with Israel - Reuters
The Syrian army and allied militias launched an offensive in the Golan Heights on Thursday, in what rebels said was part of a major assault to regain ground in southern Syria the government had lost over the last three years.
Rebels said the attacks began at dawn, when the army stormed the village of Samdaniya al Gharbiya, near the border with Israel. The army said the village was captured, but rebels in the area said heavy fighting continued.
Under cover of rain and fog, government troops pushed towards the strategic town of Hamdanieh, in the Syrian Golan Heights, which they lost two years ago, according to residents and rebels. "They staged a large-scale attack under cover of heavy fog, where you can hardly someone only a few metres away from you, on the two villages," said Abu Yahya, a spokesman for al-Wiyat al Furqan, a rebel group in the area. (Read more)
5. Netanyahu to Israeli Arabs: You can't enjoy Israeli rights while failing to obey state's laws - Jerusalem Post
Israel cannot allow pockets of the country to have lax gun law enforcement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday evening, visiting the site of Friday's shooting on Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Street.
Shortly after police publicized the name of the suspected gunman, 31-year-old Nashat Milhem of Arara, Netanyahu spoke out about the need to fight incitement and increase law enforcement in Israeli-Arab areas.
"There are many among Muslim Israeli citizens who have come out against the violence and are crying out for full law enforcement in their towns. At the same time, we all know that there is wild incitement by radical Islam against the State of Israel in the Arab sector. Incitement in mosques, in the education system, on social media," he said, vowing to continue efforts to stop the incitement. (Read more)
6. Amid Attacks In Jerusalem, A New Fear: That Person Next To You On The Street - NPR
Rabbi Reuven Birmajer finished teaching his Talmud class at a religious seminary in Jerusalem last week, and then told his students he had to rush home. Deliverymen were bringing a new bed.
"He was afraid a Palestinian guy was going to deliver the bed, and his wife was going to be all alone," explains student Chaim Zbar. But it was the rabbi who was killed in a Palestinian stabbing on his way home. Now Zbar avoids going out in the streets. (Read more)
- Abba, we ask You to send down Your Holy Spirit to Your children of Israel. Father, give them Shalom Peace and take away any fear they have. We pray that they would feel Your presence and desire more of You. We ask that You cause their hearts to have reverential fear of You and no fear of man. We pray for their endurance, that they not lose hope during these times. We pray for their protection, in the name of Yeshua, amen.
7. Vatican accord with Palestine comes into effect - AOL
An agreement signed last year making the Vatican's de facto recognition of Palestine in 2012 official has come into effect, the Holy See said on Saturday.
The Vatican signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine" last June when it called for moves to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and backed a two-state solution.
" . . . the Holy See and the State of Palestine have notified each other that the procedural requirements for (the accord's) entry into force have been fulfilled, the Vatican said in a statement on Saturday. (Read more)
- Heavenly Father, we come before You and cry out for Your Will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. It is so hard for our human understanding to grasp how a man who is supposed to be a "great man of God" can not have an understanding of the implications of his actions. We pray for the Pope, Father God, and we ask that You move on his heart. Reveal more of who You truly are to him. We pray these things in the name of Yeshua, amen.
- "Father, forgive him, for he knows not what he does." (Luke 23:34)
8. Intercessors for Israel: Weekly Report
To read this insightful report from intercessors who are in position in Israel, please go here.
The Daily Brief
1. Iran, Germany, Middle East Muslim leaders condemn Saudi Arabia's execution of prominent Shiite cleric - Fox News
Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric Saturday drew strong condemnation from Iran, Germany and several Muslim leaders in the Middle East while stoking fears the execution could trigger new unrest among the kingdom's Shiite minority.
Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a central figure in the 2011 Arab Spring-inspired protests in Saudi Arabia, was one of 47 prisoners executed in the kingdom after being condemned to death on terrorism charges.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said the execution of al-Nimr, "who had no means other than speech to pursue his political and religious objectives, only shows the depth of imprudence and irresponsibility." His statement was carried by state-run Press TV. Iran's parliament speaker says the execution of al-Nimr will prompt a "maelstrom" in Saudi Arabia.
Germany's Foreign Ministry said al-Nimr's execution will exacerbate widespread Sunni-Shiite tensions in the Middle East. "The execution of Nimr al-Nimr strengthens our existing concerns about the growing tensions and the deepening rifts in the region," the ministry said in a statement which condemned the the mass executions. Germany does not allow the death penalty. (Read more)
- Father God, as the kings of the earth huddle together to know how to respond to the actions of Saudi Arabia, we ask that You would intervene and go ahead of them, so that only Your will shall be accomplished through them. Thank You, Father, that it is written: "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes." (Proverbs 21:1) We give these kings to You, Lord God, in Jesus' name, amen and amen.
2. Iranian Protesters Ransack Saudi Embassy After Execution of Shiite Cleric - New York Times
Iranian protesters ransacked and set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on Saturday after Saudi Arabia executed an outspoken Shiite cleric who had criticized the kingdom's treatment of its Shiite minority.
The cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, was among 47 men executed in Saudi Arabia on terrorism-related charges, drawing condemnation from Iran and its allies in the region, and sparking fears that sectarian tensions could rise across the Middle East.
The executions coincided with increased attacks in Saudi Arabia by the jihadists of the Islamic State and an escalating rivalry between the Sunni monarchy and Shiite Iran that is playing out in conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. Sheikh Nimr was an outspoken critic of the Saudi monarchy and was adopted as a symbolic leader by Shiite protesters in several Persian Gulf countries during the Arab Spring uprisings. (Read more)
- Father God, once again, we ask for Your hand of intervention and protection to rest upon the people of both Saudi Arabia and Iran. We do not understand these dramatic actions, but You do. Abba Father, bring peace we pray, amen, and protect Your people who live in these nations. Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayer.
- "The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous." (Proverbs 15:29)
3. Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Iran, foreign minister says - Fox News
Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran, the Kingdom's foreign minister announced on Sunday, deciding "enough is enough" with the Islamic Republic, according to a source with knowledge of the Saudi government's thinking.
"Enough is enough," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. "Again and again Tehran has thumbed their nose at the West. They continue to sponsor terrorism and launch ballistic missiles and no one is doing anything about it. The Saudis really don't care if they anger the White House."
Iran Deputy Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian suggested the Saudi government was using the severing of diplomatic ties as a way to distract from al-Nimir's death, FARS news agency reported.
Saudi Arabia has ordered its personnel back from Iran and asked the Iranian diplomatic mission and other entities to depart the Kingdom within 48 hours, Reuters reported. (Read more)
- Lord God, here is the next step in the increase of tensions between these two nations. Lord God, only You know how to calm the hearts of men, and we ask You to do so now . . . in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, amen and amen.
- "For with God nothing will be impossible." (Luke 1:37)
3. Turkey's Jets Fire On Syrian Kurds Allied With U.S. Against ISIS - NPR
Turkey has acknowledged attacking a Kurdish militia group that has been a U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS, saying fighters had crossed into an off-limits area in Syria. Turkey also says it has attacked ISIS within its own borders.
The attacks underscore the complications the U.S. and its allies face when forming a strategy against the extremist ISIS terrorist group in an area where regional and sectarian conflicts continue to play out.
Discussing Turkey's role in the region and its two strikes on the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD, in Syria, Turkey's prime minister said, "Turkey has not laid all of its cards on the table yet. The picture will be different when it does so. Everyone should watch its steps," according to Hurriyet Daily News. (Read more)
- Father God, Turkey has acknowledged that they did attack our ally in the fight against Isis. The enemy of our souls is trying to bring so much confusion into every battle but You Lord are our King and will fight where we need You, Lord, do not sleep or slumber and our trust is in You We pray for wisdom for our leaders in the US to know how they will deal with this incident. We call forth peace over this region so eyes will be opened to Your salvation . In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
- "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." (Romans 1:18)
5. Erdogan cites Hitler's system in bid for more powerful presidency - Boston Globe
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who is pushing to imbue the largely ceremonial presidency with sweeping executive powers akin to the United States or France, gave a new example of an effective presidential system on Thursday: Hitler's Germany. After returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia, Erdogan was asked by the Turkish news media whether a presidential system was possible given that the government is now organized under a prime minister."There are already examples in the world," Erdogan said. "You can see it when you look at Hitler's Germany." He did not elaborate. Erdogan became Turkey's first popularly elected president in August 2014, having dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade as prime minister. Since assuming the new post, he has aggressively campaigned to rewrite the Turkish Constitution and establish an executive system of government. (Read more)
- Abba Father, We bring this man before You and ask You to show him the foolishness of his ways. His pride will bring a hard fall. We ask him to take another look at Hitler and ask himself this question: Does his government still exist? Praise You Lord that it does not. Father, we ask you to break the power of pride and hidden agendas that may be taking place in Erdogan's heart and his proposed government. We seek Your truth Father. Expose the works of darkness. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
- "For the day of the LORD of hosts Shall come upon everything proud and lofty, Upon everything lifted up- And it shall be brought low-" (Isaiah 2:12)
6. Putin names United States among threats in new Russian security strategy - Reuters
A new appraisal names the United States as one of the threats to Russia's national security for the first time, a sign of how relations with the west have deteriorated in recent years. The document, "About the Strategy of National Security of Russian Federation", was signed by President Vladimir Putin on New Year's Eve. (Read more)
- Lord God, we pray for Your guidance of world leaders as they make decisions affecting so many people. We ask that all things that are hidden and not of You will be revealed.
Let your truth and light come forth. Show Your people how to pray for the situations that are arising everyday. We praise You and love You for leading us in your ways. Thank you, Lord Jesus. In Your name we pray, Amen.
- "And now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant, Jesus. "
7. Obama considers unilateral action on US gun violence - BBC
President Obama has said he wants to take unilateral action to tackle the problem of gun violence in the US. In his first weekly address of 2016, Mr Obama said he would meet Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss possible actions. He said he would seek to use his executive powers as president because the US Congress had failed to address the problem. (Read more)
- Abba Father, that You do a work in the heart of this president regarding gun control. No gun has ever picked itself up, pointed at an object and fired. Change the hearts of people, train the people and there are no problems with guns.
Changing a contrite heart is something that can only be done by You through the Holy Spirit. There is no power greater than Your power. You are the Great Executive of all power. Jesus, let the scales drop from the eyes of those taking action on gun violence in the US. We pray that all of the attention on guns be turned to something that will help our country in a way that helps feed Your sheep. May Your glory reign and souls be won to You through salvation. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, amen and amen.
- "Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the Lord is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed." (I Samuel 2:3)
8. Armed protesters at national wildlife refuge say government force would risk lives - Fox News
Armed protesters occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon-including three sons of a Nevada rancher who battled with the government in 2014-warned Sunday that any use of force by law enforcement agencies would be "putting lives at risk."
Hours into the occupation by activists and militiamen a spokesman for the group told reporters that there has been no contact with the FBI or other government law enforcement since the occupation began Saturday night. (Read more)
- Father, this is a complicated situation, but guns are clearly involved. At the same time, the president is about to issue an executive order, restricting our right to buy and sell certain types of guns. Lord God, this scenario is too close for comfort. We ask that You sever any link between the siege in Oregon with actions in Washington, and we place everything under Your Shed Blood. We pray for a peaceful solution, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen and amen.
- "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." (Eccl. 3:1)
9. Members of Congress Seek to Derail IRS' Proposed Change to 'Giving Rule' - CNSNews.com
Members of Congress in both the House and Senate are trying to legislatively derail a proposed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) "giving rule" that would change the way charitable gifts are reported.
The proposed amendment, which was published Sept. 17 in the Federal Register, would alter Section 170(f)(8) of the IRS Code that requires taxpayers seeking charitable tax exemptions to provide the IRS with a "contemporaneous written acknowledgement" (CWA) of any donations larger than $250.
It would give non-profits the option to file information on donors - including their Social Security numbers - on a new form that would be sent directly to the IRS no later than Feb. 28 of the year after the donation was made.
Adam Brandon, CEO of the non-profit FreedomWorks Foundation, agrees that the proposed rule "could have a harmful effect on giving and represents another step by the IRS to expand its power.
"The information the IRS is asking for would provide bureaucrats, the Lois Lerners of this corrupt agency, with a treasure trove of information that could be used to target those who contribute to non-profits that promote a message they disagree with." (Read more)
- Father God, we agree with those members of the House and the Senate who are seeking to repeal this act. We ask that our rights to privacy not be abrogated by the IRS, in the name of Jesus Christ we pray, amen and amen.
- (For the intercessors) "What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways." (Job 22:28)
10. GOP-led Congress set for first time to vote, pass bill to replace ObamaCare, not just repeal - Fox News
Within hours of reconvening Tuesday, the GOP-led Congress will finally act to fulfill a 2010 promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
The effort is set to begin Tuesday afternoon when the House Rules Committee meets on the repeal measure, with a full debate and vote as early as Tuesday. With the Republican-led Senate having already passed its version, GOP congressional leaders will send the measure to President Obama, daring him to veto it.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is promising to unveil a bill to in fact replace ObamaCare. For all of the GOP's sturm und drang about ObamaCare, neither the House nor the Senate has ever debated a bill that attempts to succeed the law. The reason is that nobody has crafted a plan that would pass in either chamber. . . (Read more)
- Father God, it would be so wonderful if this one promise might be fulfilled in this second session of Congress. We ask that it be so, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, amen and amen.
- "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." (Jer. 33:3)
11. As U.S. abortion case looms, both sides seek personal touch - Reuters
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear its first abortion case in nearly a decade, both sides have been quietly gathering vivid personal accounts from women to supplement the dry legal arguments... The case, which arises from a challenge to new Texas regulations covering clinics and physicians that perform abortions, could have broad political repercussions in a presidential election year. (Read more)
- Lord God, we realize that the shedding of innocent blood brings Your judgment against a nation. We feel so helpless in this matter; we can only turn to You, asking for mercy. May the voices of those who have endured the horrors of abortion be heard clearly in the written testimony that will be submitted to the Supreme Court, and may justice be rendered for the unborn in our nation. Jesus, we plead your forgiveness for us as a nation to have abortion even considered in our land. As the highest court in our land hears the abortion case coming before them very soon, we pray for the judges to hear You and make the decision that You would have them make. Thank you, Lord for hearing our prayers and for Your protection of these babies and the mothers. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
- "And He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures." (Luke 24:45)
The Persecuted Church
Middle East Christians Flee:
Populations In Syria, Egypt, Palestine And Iraq Dwindle Amid Strife
Christian populations across much of the conflict-stricken Middle East have rapidly declined in recent decades, and now many church leaders fear their ancient presence in the region could soon disappear, the Economist reported Friday. While Muslims make up the vast majority of victims in the Middle East's wars, minorities have been disproportionately impacted as Christians have seen their numbers dwindle across the region from 14 percent in 1910 to just 4 percent today.
Some have left due to violence, others due to economic unease. Still others complain of a generally hostile environment, including the spread of militant Islamic ideologies. Circumstances of Christian populations vary by country. Palestinian Christians, for example, widely complain Israeli policies - and not Palestinian militant groups - have hurt their communities, causing a massive exodus of Christians from the land that is at the heart of Christianity. For Christmas, hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza were granted rare approval to leave the besieged Palestinian enclave, and many were expected to look beyond Gaza and settle elsewhere. Ten years ago, there were some 3,000 Palestinian Christians in Gaza; today, little more than 1,000 remain.
Our Grandmothers' Songs
Songs Our Grandmothers Sang:
I'VE GOT PEACE LIKE A RIVER
"I will extend peace . . . like a river." (Isaiah 66:12)
I've got love like an ocean, I've got love like an ocean, I've got love like an ocean in my soul, I've got love like an ocean, I've got love like an ocean, I've got love like an ocean in my soul.
I've got joy like a fountain, I've got joy like a fountain, I've got joy like a fountain in my soul, I've got joy like a fountain, I've got joy like a fountain, I've got joy like a fountain in my soul.
(Come to Him as a little child!)
Please go here.
About the Author:
Words and Music: Traditional American hymn
Signs and Wonders
Illinois, Missouri assess damage, cleanup after flooding
The Mississippi River and many of its tributaries continued their retreat Sunday from historic and deadly winter flooding, leaving amid the silt a massive cleanup and recovery effort likely to take weeks if not months.
The flood, fueled by more than 10 inches of rain over a three-day period that began Christmas Day, is blamed for 25 deaths in Illinois and Missouri, reflecting Sunday's discovery of the body of a second teenager who drowned in central Illinois' Christian County.
The Mississippi River was receding except in the far southern tip of both states. The Meramec River, the St. Louis-area tributary of the Mississippi that caused so much damage last week, already was below flood stage in the hard-hit Missouri towns of Pacific and Eureka and dropping elsewhere.
But worries surfaced anew Sunday along the still-rising Illinois River north of St. Louis, where crests near the west-central Illinois towns of Valley City, Meredosia, Beardstown and Havana were to approach records before receding in coming days. (Fox News) Read more.
The Good News Corner
You'll Be Surprised What Trumps New Year's Health Goals for Many Americans
[CBN News] When it comes to New Year's resolutions, Americans say they want to improve spiritually almost as much as they want to get fit.
A new study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research shows that 57 percent of Americans make health-related New Year's resolutions while 52 percent say they address their relationship with God.
However for many groups, faith outranks health. They include African-Americans, Hispanics, Christians, and older Americans.
African-Americans and evangelicals are the most likely to make resolutions about their relationship with God. Close to three-quarters say they do.
"We don't hear a lot of talk about it but a relationship with God is still something people want," Scott McConnell, vice president of Lifeway Research said.
Worship With Us Today!
Worship With Us Today!
Kari Jobe - "Steady My Heart"
Two Daily Conference Calls
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