Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13, 2014 - If My People - On Watch in Washington


Israel and the Hamas militant group accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal Sunday, clearing the way for the resumption of talks on a long-term truce to end a month of heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip that has taken nearly 2,000 lives.


The announcement marked the second time in less than a week that the bitter enemies had agreed to Egyptian mediation. A similar three-day truce last week collapsed in renewed violence over the weekend.


"Cease-fire" means that the firing of guns and rockets should cease for the agreed-on time period - usually aimed at negotiating terms for a permanent cessation of hostilities. If so, then the last two declarations have failed before they began. In short, Israel will not let itself be destroyed, and Hamas will not relent in its do-or-die determination to utterly wipe out the Jewish state. It appears that Hamas wants no restraint on its goal of eradicating Israel, while Israel wants to live and move and trade and do commerce and educate its children in peace, without a sword over its head. Pray for U.S. leaders to maintain our committed relationship to Israel's well-being, which seems at times to be wavering.  


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


"Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; nor are there any works like Your works. All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name. For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God." (Psalm 86:8-10)



Predicting whether Obamacare survives its latest battery of court challenges could be as easy as looking at the judges making the decisions - and the presidents who appointed them.   


A Washington Times analysis of the votes cast by dozens of federal judges in appellate courts since the 2010 law was enacted shows that while Democratic and Republican appointees were evenly represented in the cases, they differed dramatically in how they ruled.


There is a potential trap here that intercessors must avoid. A shallow response is to think that if we elect the "right" candidates so that the "right" judges are appointed, then the country's problems will be solved and our "land" will be healed. Some of us have heard sincere "conservative" friends say, "Just wait until November [elections]. Then everything will be okay." But everything will not be okay. Intercessors will not stray from Scripture but be first to embrace a spirit of repentance, seeking the correct heart posture to "Go and make disciples of all nations..." Pray for a widespread awakening and extended mercy to the nation. If our country is to hear the truth, the Church must speak forth.


"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." (Prov 14:34)


"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Pet 4:17)



Neel Kashkari, the Republican candidate for governor of California, just recounted in The Wall Street Journal his week on the streets of Fresno posing as a homeless man looking for work. At the end of his op-ed, Mr. Kashkari lamented that he didn't need a higher minimum wage, paid sick leave or a health care plan. What he needed was a job.   


Mr. Kashkari made the important point that all of those government benefits, especially extended unemployment benefits, are work disincentives that may actually block job creation.

People who treat the Bible casually often believe that work is the result of sin, not realizing that God created work in the Garden as a gift to mankind, an avenue of stewardship. Today's work ethic has become distorted, often mired in class warfare between management and labor. While unemployment benefits create a bridge to survival, they are not intended to stifle the quest for work or make citizens dependent on government. Pray for renewal in the Church to lead the way in benevolence and care for those who are truly poor. Pray for restoration of a national view that sees work as a holy occupation.  


"He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given." (Prov 19:17)


"... and when [the apostles, the pillars] ... perceived the grace that had been given to [Paul], they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles.... They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I (Paul) also was eager to do." (Gal. 2:9-10)


"For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat." (2 Thess 3:10)



After an absence of 90 years, the ancient institution of the caliphate roared back into existence on the first day of Ramadan in the year 1435 of the Hegira, equivalent to June 29, 2014. This astonishing revival symbolically culminates the Islamist surge that began 40 years ago. A Western analogy might be declaring the restoration of the Hapsburg Empire, which traced its legitimacy to ancient Rome.


Whence comes this audacious move? Can the caliphate last? What will its impact be?


Prayer focus: IFA respects Daniel Pipes' reporting. His Middle East views and clear stand for Israel's survival are balanced. This article on Muslim history explains the new rise of exceptionally brutal and barbaric Islamist terrorist atrocities in Iraq and elsewhere. The demon-inspired war on Christians in Iraq is now "old news." This article's final sentence is the key to our intercession: "On the positive side, the caliphate's barbaric zealotry will have the salutary effect of awakening many of those who still sleep to the horrors of the Islamist agenda." Pray that God will prompt world opinion to rise up and condemn this militant and murderous evil sect. The devil overplays his hand. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church" (Tertullian, Second-century Church Father). God is watching, and heaven keeps careful records. The final chapter is coming. Intercede with fervor.


"And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!' And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: 'We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.'" (Rev 11:15-18)



The militant Islamic State group could launch a direct attack on U.S. soil, warned South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, who urged President Barack Obama to do more to counter the group that has taken large parts of Iraq and Syria.


"Mr. President, be honest with the threat we face," Graham said in a Fox News interview on Sunday. "They are coming."


Is God forcing the U.S. government, led by President Obama, to take a strong, open stand against this emerging, dangerous brand of hyper-militant, Islamist terrorism? We are reportedly bombing northern Iraq jihadists selectively but not effectively. President Obama shows typical restraint. Media outlets remind us regularly that he was raised in Muslim culture, heard daily the call to prayers of the imams, and for many years sat under the ministry of a hate-filled minister who openly supported the rise of Hamas. Yet, he is America's twice-elected president, and we are enjoined in Scripture to pray for him. Let us do so fervently, committing him to God's grace and mercy. Pray that he will be enlightened by the Holy Spirit with the truth of Jesus Christ and the Gospel.


"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus..." (1 Tim 2:1-5)


[Jesus prayed,] "... You, [Father,] have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:2-3)      









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