The Daily Brief: Thursday, June 22, 2017
Every prayer below is presented to our Lord in the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.
1. Senate Republicans Unveil Their Version of Healthcare Bill; It Defunds Planned Parenthood and Seems to Add "Heart"- Breaking Christian News
A LifeNews report noted: That the final version of the legislation contains the defunding Planned Parenthood provision is a sign that McConnell believes he has enough votes to get to that magic 50 number, which will allow pro-life vice president Mike Pence to break the tie and approve the legislation.
As for what else the 142-page bill contains, it does seem to go a long way toward eliminating the worst of Obamacare, in that it ends the "individual mandate," stopping the tax penalty imposed on people who don't buy insurance, and "would repeal tax increases Obama's law imposed on higher-income people and medical industry companies to pay for expanded coverage," according to a Fox News report.
The new Senate healthcare bill protects patients with preexisting conditions, prohibiting states from opting out of those provisions. (Read more)
- Father God, we thank You for this answer to prayer, and for the wisdom seen in the writing of this bill. We thank You, too, that Vice-President Mike Pence is ready to break a tie vote, should it occur, in order to move this bill forward to a conference committee. Amen.
- "Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!" (Psalm 47:1)
2. Tropical Depression Cindy Made Landfall Along the Gulf Coast Early Thursday Morning; Life-Threatening Flash Flooding Possible as Storm Moves Inland - The Weather Channel
Cindy has weakened to a tropical depression after making landfall as a tropical storm on the northern Gulf Coast, between Cameron, Louisiana and Port Arthur, Texas early Thursday morning. Potentially life-threatening flooding remains the biggest concern along the Gulf Coast and in parts of the South through Friday.
Gusty winds, rip currents and isolated tornadoes are also expected.
Moisture and energy from Tropical Depression Cindy will spread north and east ahead of a cold front Thursday into Friday, which will result in heavy rain and possible flooding from the South to as far north as the Ohio Valley. (Read more)
- Father God, we thank You that this storm is already weakening. We pray for safety of all life and limb in the path of Cindy, and that any flooding that results would be minimal. We ask this in Your name, amen,
- " . . . if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)
3. China Leapfrogs U.S. in Critical Strategic Technology - PJ Media
The year's most important news story probably never made it into your news feed. Nonetheless it might change your life forever. For the first time, China has demonstrated that it is far ahead of the United States in a critical new technology, namely quantum communications. A Chinese satellite succeeded in transmitting so-called entangled photons to earth stations. That's the high-tech equivalent of sending a message in undeveloped photographic film: If you try to read it, the light will destroy it. The Chinese breakthrough has huge implications for cryptography, and for a host of other applications.
The tortoise just overtook the hare. We haven't woken up from a decades-long nap, and we're at serious risk of losing the race. If we do lose, there will be a name for an American who works for a Chinese: "Employed." This is not a drill. This is the real thing.
China has the world's fastest supercomputers built entirely out of Chinese components. It has the world's largest radio telescope. It has thousands of surface-to-ship missiles that can hail down on American aircraft carriers from the stratosphere, and it has ultra-quiet diesel electric submarines that can lurk on battery power for weeks. It has satellite killer missiles. China might spend barely over $1,000 to equip foot soldiers, about 1/100th of what America spends, but it has invested massively in high-tech defense. (Read more)
- Father, we trust in You to be our ultimate place of safety. Help our armed forces develop the technologies needed to keep our nation safe and secure.
- For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord; In You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless. (Psalm 141:8)
4. Russia cancels diplomatic meeting in wake of US sanctions - ABC News
The Kremlin voiced displeasure Wednesday about new United States sanctions against Russia and called off much-anticipated talks with a senior U.S administration official in response. The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it had imposed sanctions on 38 Russian individuals and firms over Russian activities in Ukraine. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the penalties were designed to "maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution."
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Wednesday that the U.S. move wasn't constructive and warned of possible retaliation. Later in the day, Russia's deputy foreign minister said he had cancelled talks that were scheduled for Friday with the U.S. undersecretary of state. "The situation is not conducive to holding a round of this dialogue", the Russian Foreign Ministry quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the sanctions that were expanded on Tuesday "didn't come out of nowhere" and would remain in place until Russia honors the peace deal for eastern Ukraine and stops occupying Crimea. (Read more)
- Father, we know Russia will never give up Crimea, so this posture from the State Department essentially ends diplomatic relations. We pray for wisdom as we seek solutions in Syria, Iran, and North Korea - knowing Russia will need to be involved in the negotiations.
- Many have become my enemies without cause; those who hate me without reason are numerous. (Psalm 38:19)
5. Russell Moore, Ravi Zacharias, 100 Christian Leaders Sign Criminal Justice Declaration - Christian Post
Leading Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore, apologist Ravi Zacharias and nearly 100 other Christian leaders have signed onto a declaration that calls for restorative criminal justice reform in the United States and urges Christians to unite in opposition to the nation's "misguided response to crime."
Organized by Prison Fellowship, the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the National Association of Evangelicals, Christian leaders gathered at the National Press Club Tuesday to sign the "Justice Declaration."
"Our country's over reliance on incarceration fails to make us safer or restore people and communities who have been harmed," Ackerman continued. "The Justice Declaration represents a framework grounded in biblical values to guide the church's response to this crisis. It has already been signed by approximately 100 Christian leaders from across the country. ... Today, we invite Christians of any denomination or background to add their names at JusticeDeclaration.org." (Read more)
- Father, we pray for momentum behind this declaration and for the prescribed changes to be implemented by our legislatures and criminal justice system. Help us have the courage to do the restorative work these convicted people need.
-You can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. (James 5:20)
6. Nonprofit Tracker Smears Dozens of Conservative Organizations as 'Hate Groups' - Daily Signal
The nation's leading source of information on U.S. charities faces mounting criticism for using a controversial "hate group" designation in listings for some well-known and broadly supported conservative nonprofits. GuideStar, which calls itself a "neutral" aggregator of tax data on charities, recently incorporated "hate group" labels produced by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center.
The decision by the tracker of nonprofits prompted 41 conservative leaders to protest the move in a letter provided exclusively to The Daily Signal. The letter, dated June 21, asks the website to drop the "hate group" labels put on 46 organizations. GuideStar's use of the "hate group" designation for certain organizations, many of them Christian, unfairly and inaccurately adopts the "aggressive political agenda" of Southern Poverty Law Center, the leaders write. (Read more)
- Father, we pray GuideStar will publicly apologize, correct their documentation, and restore the reputations of the targeted conservative organizations. We also pray the Southern Poverty Law Center will be exposed for its malicious slander.
- But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
(1 Peter 3:15-16)
7. Soros-Backed Foreign Media Outlet Bashes Conservatives Using US Taxpayer Dollars - CNS News
For additional proof that the State Department has no business teaming up overseas with the vast network funded by the billionaire George Soros, look no further than the portentously named Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). The OCCRP calls itself "an investigative reporting platform formed by 24 non-profit investigative centers --- spread across Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America."
It is, however, almost fully funded by Soros, a financier with a penchant for subsidizing radical causes around the world-with assistance from our own State Department. And now, this group bearing the imprimatur of the U.S. government-literally, on its website-is being used to target Republicans in Congress and conservative think tanks like The Heritage Foundation who have dared to question the nexus between Soros and the U.S. government. (Read more)
- Father, we thank You for continuing to expose the deception of the left. We pray the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project would stop receiving taxpayer dollars to continue its targeting of Republicans and conservative think tanks.
- No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. (Psalm 25:3)
8. Judge acts quickly on claim Comey obstructed justice - WND
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has acted quickly in a case alleging fired FBI chief James Comey obstructed justice by burying an investigation into the mass surveillance of Americans by their government. As WND reported, whistleblower Dennis Montgomery - who worked as a contractor for the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the director of national intelligence - and his lawyer, Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, filed a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction late Monday. By late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon scheduled a status conference for Friday afternoon in his Washington courtroom.
What Montgomery and Klayman seek from the court is a protection order preventing the destruction of evidence. They are asking the court to prevent the defendants, including Comey, the FBI and other federal officials mostly under the Obama administration, from continuing "illegally and unconstitutionally spying on and surveilling millions of Americans, including plaintiffs, without probable cause or a warrant." Secondly, they are asking the court to prevent the defendants from "destroying evidence of illegal and unconstitutional spying" that Montgomery turned over the Comey based on the promise it was going to be investigated. (Read more)
- Father, we pray for exposure and justice for James Comey and all Obama Administration officials in the way they used their power and authority to unconstitutionally violate the rights of citizens of the United States.
- Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness; they chatter on and on. (Ecclesiastes 10:13-14a)
9. McCarthy: House Aims to Fundamentally Transform Foster Care - Lifesette
Every child deserves a loving family. In families people find support, purpose, and identity. The family is at once the best means to becoming a responsible and happy person, and the only means by which a community can sustain itself because families teach children how to be good citizens and neighbors.
For children without families, the future becomes much more trying. Those in the foster system face much stiffer challenges than their peers, experiencing higher rates of teen pregnancy, homelessness, and lower graduation rates. So when it comes to public policy, we should strive to ensure every child has the love and support of a family to help them become good and successful adults.
The House is considering five bills this week to do just that by helping families stay together and making needed improvements to our foster care system. (Read more)
- Father, we pray these reforms will restore families and stabilize the lives of children. Help Representative McCarthy move these worthy bills through Congress with bipartisan support.
- Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. (Isaiah 1:17)
10. BREAKING! 238 arrested in sweep of suspected child sex predators - LA Times
A monk from Riverside and an Australian man looking to buy a 6-year-old boy were among 238 people arrested during a two-month operation targeting child predators in Southern California, officials said Monday. Conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes against Children task force, "Operation Broken Heart III" targeted offenders wanted for the sexual exploitation of children, child prostitution, sex tourism and possessing and distributing child pornography, said Deputy Chief Matt Blake of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Among those arrested during sweeps in April and May were entertainers, community leaders, white-collar professionals and clergy members, said John Reynolds, acting special agent in charge for U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations. "The incidence of child sexual exploitation has reached staggering proportions," he said at a news conference. (Read more)
- Father, thank You for helping our law enforcement remove these wicked people from our communities. We pray for a restoration of healthy sexuality, and honor for traditional marriage to counter these abhorrent desires.
- But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:2)
11. Independent investigators: Seth Rich 'likely' murdered by contract hitman - WND
DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was brutally murdered on July 10, 2016, on a street near his Washington home - sparking discussion that he might have been the source of party insider emails turned over to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential race - probably wasn't the victim of a random homicide. Or a robbery gone bad. Rather, his murder "more likely (was) committed by a hired killer or serial murderer."
Those are the conclusions of the Profiling Project, which released the results of a months-long investigation into Rich's death on Tuesday. The project, an "all-volunteer group of current and former George Washington University forensic psychology graduate students and instructors," said it came together for the investigation to "aid the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police utilizing forensic psychology skills and tools in hopes of providing at least one actionable item." (Read more)
- Father, we pray the truth about Seth Rich's murder and the following investigation will be fully revealed.
- The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, (Romans 1:18)
12. Mark 'X' for Transgender: Licenses Become 'Inclusive' in Washington, D.C. - CBN News
Washington, D.C. will soon offer gender-neutral licenses and IDs. Instead of only offering an 'M' for male and 'F' for female on licenses, there will be an 'X' option for those who identify as transgender.
"The 'X' gender marker allows for individuals to have more privacy around their gender," explained Arli Christian, a spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality. "Any individual who chooses to have additional privacy can request an 'X'," she added.
Washington, D.C. is the second jurisdiction in the country to approve such a measure. A plan for gender-neutral licenses will be approved in Oregon on July 3. The California Senate approved a bill adding a non-binary option on licenses. House members there are examining the measure. (Read more)
- Father, we pray for an end to LGBT+ accommodation. Help these people embrace Your plan for them, male or female, honoring You as their Creator.
- Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. (Psalm 119:34)
13. Court affirms state's plan to protect religious freedom - WND
A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a Mississippi law that protects the religious freedom of those who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and that gender is determined at birth.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court not only reversed an injunction imposed by a lower court - preventing the implementation of the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act - it went further and simply dismissed the case.
The ruling found that the individuals and homosexual advocacy organizations who challenged the law didn't have standing to bring their claims. (Read more)
- Father God, we thank You for this glorious news . . . a wonderful way to end our own week of intercession. We ask that all other Appeals Courts would follow suit with this ruling, when traditional marriage cases are brought before them in the other states in our nation. Amen.
- Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6)