My name is Rana Mansour. I am Iraqi, a Christian, and an “infidel”. I was born in Baghdad, Iraq during the Baath regime. My family escaped the country when I was younger and emigrated to the United Kingdom, and later to the United States. I am a member of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an ancient people whose roots can be traced back to Abraham and the Apostle Thomas. Chaldeans have lived in ancient Mesopotamia, now modern day Iraq, for almost 2,000 years. However, given the rise of ISIS, an Islamic terrorist organization, the Middle Eastern Christian has become an endangered species, on the verge of extinction. But unlike the freshwater tortoise, no one is running to save the Christian.
ISIS seeks to establish a caliphate and spread terror beyond Syria and Iraq. They took over Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, with little resistance and “ethnically cleansed” the city of all Christianity. They set fire to churches (some 1,800 years old), destroyed the tomb of the Prophet Jonah, and marked Christian homes with the Arabic letter “N” for Nazarene. They gave Christians 24 hours to leave their homes, mandating that their alternatives were: convert to Islam, pay a jizya (a protection tax for non-Muslims, or “kufar”), or die by the sword. Needless to say, everyone left.
What is a refugee?
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark when the Obama administration refuses to address the forced exodus of Christians, (called the “Sunday People” in Iraq), by militant jihadists, yet speaks tirelessly regarding the hundreds of thousands of “refugees” from Honduras and Guatemala. According to the Oxford dictionary, “a refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.” Iraqi Christians fit this description … Central Americans do not. The latter should not be given preferential treatment, when the former is in such dire straits.
Iraqi Christians are forced refugees living in tents, in Kurdistan, while terrorists in Mosul are occupying their homes. Islamic militants have now cut off water supplies to the remaining Christian villages. The Peshmerga, Kurdish forces whose name literally means “those that face death,” are the only ones protecting the Christians now.
What is happening to America?
America is not my birth country, yet she opened her arms to my family. Since I was a little girl, my mother would tell me: “Every day, kiss the ground of America because our lives would be completely different had she not welcomed us.” However, with increasing secularism and “Christianophobia” in this country, which was once a beacon for religious freedom, America remains a silent spectator during this modern day inquisition and Christian Holocaust.
You are the salt of the earth, but what good is salt if it loses its flavor? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Matthew 5:13)
How ironic that Christianity, which predates Islam and was once the great majority of the Middle East, is now the persecuted minority. Chaldeans are the foundation and root of Iraq. When you kill the root, you no longer have a country, you no longer have Iraq- but just another terrorist state.
Even prior to the exodus of the Sunday People in Iraq, there was an exodus of Jews, called the “Saturday People” by jihadists. History repeats itself. I am reminded of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous quote as I look at what is happening in Iraq and adapt his words from the (temporary) safety of America’s soil:
First they came for the Saturday People, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Sunday People, and I did not speak out—
because it was a continent away.
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.
Be careful and stand watch. A caliphate could be coming to a village, a city, or a country near you.
Silence speaks louder than words. In our Christian desire to turn the other cheek to those who hurl insults at us, we are forgetting that there is a time and a place for righteous indignation. There is a time for silence and a time to speak. Pray that Christianity in the West will understand that the time to speak on behalf of the suffering Church is now. We cannot afford to look the other way. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s power because it is time for American Christians to be empowered to be seekers, promoters and defenders of Truth.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves … do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” (Matt. 10:16-20)
Dozens of Christian faith leaders from the greater New York area united at the Faith Exchange in New York City on Friday to express their support for Israel in its current conflict with the Palestinian Hamas group. Israel and Hamas are currently involved in a violent and ongoing clash that one religious leader attending Friday’s event described as one of the “defining issues of our time.”
Thirty-two Christian leaders joined media and Ambassador Ido Aharoni, consul general of Israel in New York, to discuss the importance of supporting Israel during this time of conflict and violence. Dr. Paul de Vries, president of the New York Divinity School, organized Friday’s press conference.
De Vries told The Christian Post that several important topics were discussed among the ministers, including what they believe to be a clear distinction of good versus evil between Israel and Hamas in the way they treat their own citizens.
“The media tries to paint this as two forces that we have to bring together and try to resolve their differences. One is terroristic and the other supports the core biblical values of life, liberty and justice. There really is no problem choosing sides between Hamas and Israel,” de Vries told The Christian Post. “The Palestinian people are the ones we love, along with the people of Israel, but the abuse by the tyrannical leaders of the Palestinians is just incalculable.”
An example that Dr. de Vries mentioned was the heavy investment Hamas has made in dozens of very long cement-reinforced tunnels used to attack Israelis, but yet the group has failed to build bomb shelters for Palestinian civilians.
De Vries went on to argue that it is in the U.S.’s best security interest to support Israel, saying: “Hamas is terrorizing its own people and the people of Israel, and if they had a chance, they’d terrorize America, too.”
While “in Israel the basic human rights are respected, right to life, right to freedom of religion,” de Vries argues that “Hamas embodies a mentality of death and is against liberty, against the lives of their own people, and against freedom of religion.”
Two of the pastors at the press conference have ministered in Gaza, and they talked firsthand about the torture, abuse and murder of Palestinian Christian ministers and leaders whom they have known. “The only country in the Middle East where there is freedom of religion is Israel,” these ministers said clearly.
The Rev. Robert Stearns, executive director of Eagles’ Wings ministry, also attended Friday’s news conference and told CP that he believes the current Israeli/Hamas conflict is one of the “defining issues of our time.”
Stearns said it was important to call together different streams of Christian faith leaders in the tri-state area to show that this conflict is not just an issue important to Jews or evangelicals, but rather it is a human rights offense that must be addressed by all “decent human beings.”
“I think that sometimes it can be perceived that Israel is just a Jewish issue or that Israel is just an issue for evangelicals who have a certain theological construct, but the reality is any decent human being that cares about basic human rights should be speaking about the atrocities of Hamas. Hamas is a violent terrorist organization and they are an absolute detriment to security.”
Stearns went on to say that he believes the Israelis have previously offered a “just and equitable” solution to their conflict with Hamas, and unfortunately, Hamas has refused to accept such compromises.
“If Hamas was neutralized and the Palestinian people put down their arms tomorrow there could be a Palestinian state of peace and security in the area,” Stearns said, adding however that if “If Israel put down their arms, there would be no Israel. That’s the reality.”
Tensions have flared between Israel and Hamas in recent weeks, with both sides exchanging missile fire since last month. In the past 18 days of conflict, the Gaza Strip’s death toll has risen to 850, the majority of the victims being civilians, while Israel’s death toll is at 35 army casualties and two civilian casualties.
The United Nations Human Rights Council announced this week that it would be conducting an independent investigation into possible war crimes committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The U.N. released a statement saying it would be investigating the “widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms” that have occurred in Palestine.
President Barack Obama also told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week that although the country has every right to defend itself against Hamas attacks, he was “deeply concerned” about the rising civilian death toll on the Gaza Strip.
Those supporting Israel in the conflict argue that Hamas members take advantage of Palestinian citizens by launching missiles near schools and hospitals without warning, or fail to offer shelter to their citizens from missile fire and other attacks. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said this week that the “Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize […] the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly pushing to announce a cease-fire agreement between the two areas by the end of Friday. A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that the country’s security cabinet had rejected a temporary cease-fire agreement proposed by Kerry earlier in the day, saying it leaned too far in favor of Hamas. The security council indicated that it was still open to diplomatic efforts to reach an agreeable cease-fire proposal. (Contributor: By Katherine Weber for Christian Post)
Pray fervently and with urgency. This is, without doubt, Israel’s most critical battle for survival since its national re-establishment in 1948. We stand with self-evident twin truths. First, if Hamas stops fighting, the region will have peace (however fragile and tenuous). Second, if Israel stops fighting, it will be destroyed. Even in a so-called cease-fire period, Hamas rockets continue to shell Israel. Pray accordingly. Christians desire Israel to be safe as a nation, but ultimately to know Jesus as Messiah.
[David said,] “Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47)
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:1-2)
The vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq has warned the end for Christians in the country appears “very near” as he appealed for help after a deadline set by Islamic militants to convert or be killed expired.
Canon Andrew White, dubbed “the bishop of Baghdad” for his work at St George’s church in the capital, spoke after the ultimatum handed to Christians in the northern city of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq Levant (Isis) to convert, pay a tax or be put to death passed last week.
For those Christians who did not comply with the decree by 19 July, Isis warned that “there is nothing to give them but the sword.” Many have since fled their homes and Rev. Andrew-White told BBC Radio 4 Today desperate Christians were trapped in the desert or on the streets with nowhere to go.
“Things are so desperate, our people are disappearing,” he said. “We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off.
“Are we seeing the end of Christianity? We are committed come what may, we will keep going to the end, but it looks as though the end could be very near.”
A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that from 14 July homes in Mosul were painted with the letter “N” for Nasrani (the Arabic word for Christian). Others were painted with the letter “R” for Rafidah, a word commonly used by Sunni to describe Shia.
The vicar is in London to speak about the crisis and raise awareness of the urgent need to provide more help to the persecuted minority.
“The Christians are in grave danger. There are literally Christians living in the desert and on the street. They have nowhere to go,” he told the program.
“We do not want Britain to forget us. We – and I’m saying ‘we’ talking like an Iraqi Christian – have always been with the British because they have already been with us.
“Individual churches, individual Christians in Britain, have been a bigger help than anybody around the world.”
Up to a million Christians lived in Iraq prior to the US-led invasion in 2003, with many residing in areas such as Mosul where the communities date back to the first centuries of Christianity.
There are now thought to be fewer than half that number. (Contributor: The Independent)
The cold-blooded murder of unarmed, defenseless Christians, coupled with the wanton desecration of Judeo-Christian sites in northern Iraq, may be enough self-disclosure by these terrorist Islamists to bring anxiety to other world governments. Is the world waking up to the dangers of militant Islamic rule by a radical, warring sect? In the light of the terror, some European leaders have expressed concern about terrorists taking over entire governments. Will such evil violence be “exported” from the Middle East? Pray that God will intervene and prevent ongoing attacks on Christians and Jews.
“How long, O Lord, will wicked people triumph? How long? They ramble. They speak arrogantly. All troublemakers brag about themselves. They crush your people, O Lord. They make those who belong to you suffer.” (Psalm 94:3-5)
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” (Rev. 6:9-11)
The National Prayer Committee is passing along this prayer request from Franklin Graham, via Tim Phillips. Please join in praying for these friends.
“Saturday afternoon, we learned that Dr. Kent Brantly, medical director for the Samaritan’s Purse Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia, had tested positive for the Ebola virus. He is currently undergoing treatment at the Samaritan’s Purse isolation center at ELWA [Eternal Love Winning Africa] Hospital. We are continuing medical operations at our Ebola Case Management Centers in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the Liberia Ministry of Health and other global health authorities.
“Dr. Brantly has been in Liberia since October 2013 with our World Medical Mission post residency program and is married with two children. His heroic and sacrificial service—along with the entire team there—is a shining example of Christ’s love in this crisis situation.
“Later Saturday evening, we learned of a second positive Ebola test result among those working with us in Liberia. Nancy Writebol is a SIM [Sudan Interior Mission] missionary and had been helping the Samaritan’s Purse team that is treating Ebola patients at the Case Management Center in Monrovia. SIM manages ELWA Hospital there, and we have worked very closely with them to combat Ebola since the current outbreak began in Liberia in March. Nancy is married with two adult sons.
“We are doing everything possible to help Dr. Brantly and Nancy. We ask everyone to please pray urgently for them and their families. Out of respect for the privacy of their families, I ask that you refrain from posting personal details or pictures of family members.
Skepticism has greeted the White House’s announcement that it is changing Obamacare rules requiring religious groups to give employees free birth control.
Under the compromise, the government would work directly with employees wanting contraception included in their health care.
“The change, announced by administration officials late Tuesday night, would allow nonprofit groups to opt out of the mandate simply by writing a letter to the federal government,” reports Ben Wolfgang at the Washington Times. “Until now, nonprofit religious groups such as charities and universities had to file paperwork with health insurance companies allowing those companies to offer birth control directly to employees.”
That paperwork was objectionable to Christian organizations who called it a form of “permission giving” that they viewed as complicity with evil.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled that Wheaton College, a private Christian school in Illinois, cannot be forced to help employees seek free birth control. Earlier, the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision had freed companies from providing contraception if the owners have moral and religious objections.
With Tuesday night’s announcement, “the Obama administration claims it will create a new option for religious nonprofits,” writes Stephen Ertelt for LifeNews. The announcement came in a court brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
However, the head of a pro-life group suing the White House said fears remain that Obama officials are merely circumventing the Supreme Court. Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, told LifeNews he doesn’t trust the administration and will continue the court case.
“The Priests for Life lawsuit against the HHS mandate is the next to be decided,” he said. Oral arguments have already been heard in the District of Columbia’s Circuit Court of Appeals.
“At the crux of the issue is that our completion of the form required under the ‘accommodation’ given to religious non-profit groups constitutes cooperation in the very evil that the form says we are objecting to,” said Pavone.
He said Priests for Life would be satisfied “if the government just kept us out of the process altogether of either triggering, authorizing, or in any fashion being the gateway for employees to receive coverage for objectionable practices.”
Other critics said the administration isn’t fully embracing the religious liberty required in the Supreme Court rulings.
“This is just the latest step in the government’s long retreat on the mandate,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “We hope the government will listen to the thousands of voices that called on the government to protect religious liberty. It’s time for the government to stop fighting the 30 federal court orders — including two from the Supreme Court — protecting religious ministries from the mandate.” (Contributor: Rob Kerby for ChristianHeadlines.com)
Pray with discernment. We don’t praise government for doing the right thing; we praise God. Even with “favorable” court rulings, we give our thanks to God. It is government’s duty to do right. When human government turns from God, He promises judgment, whether the U.S. or others. Whatever government “gives,” it can take back. True freedom comes from God. The Framers recognized this. We are endowed with certain rights by the Creator, not to be tampered with by government.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
“Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” (Hosea 14:9)
A merger between 21st Century Fox and Time Warner Inc. would reduce control of the major Hollywood studios to five owners, from six, and major television producers to four, from five.
“The widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public,” he wrote in the majority opinion that decided a 1945 antitrust case involving major newspaper publishers and The Associated Press. “The First Amendment affords not the slightest support for the contention that a combination to restrain trade in news and views has any constitutional immunity.”
Fox and Time Warner may no longer publish old-media newspapers or magazines, but they certainly disseminate information and opinions that may be even more vital to the “welfare of the public” today than the newspapers of Justice Black’s era. HBO alone, one of Time Warner’s cable channels, produces “Real Time With Bill Maher,” “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” and acclaimed documentaries like “The Case Against 8,” about the struggle for marriage equality, and the “Paradise Lost” series, which examined the murder convictions of the group of white teenagers known as the West Memphis Three.
How many of those would be produced under the ownership of a Rupert Murdoch, or for that matter, any other media mogul who controlled close to 40 percent of all major film production and nearly 20 percent of all television?
“I don’t see a bright distinction between news and entertainment,” said Christopher L. Sagers, an antitrust professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. “One person shouldn’t own all the cultural creativity resources. If one person can limit content, that’s a huge loss to society.”
Advocates for consolidation in media, who include not just Mr. Murdoch, who controls 21st Century Fox, and their allies, but also other big media, cable and telecommunications companies, tend to brush off antitrust concerns when it comes to content creation. (Even Time Warner has been cautious about raising any antitrust defenses, presumably because, should it thwart Mr. Murdoch this time, it may want to acquire its rivals at some point in the future.)
After all, the rise of Netflix and the popularity of YouTube demonstrate that anyone can make successful original programming in the freewheeling digital era. And even as television producers have consolidated, critics have hailed a new “golden age” of television.
But this ignores the fact that in 1983, 50 companies owned 90 percent of the media consumed by Americans. By 2012, just six companies — including Fox (then part of News Corporation) and Time Warner — controlled that 90 percent, according to testimony before the House Judiciary Committee examining Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal.
“The situation is already terrible and this would make it worse,” said Susan Crawford, a visiting professor in intellectual property at Harvard Law School. Coupled with giant cable and Internet distributors, like Comcast and AT&T, “you’ve got two highly concentrated markets that need each other to survive and protect their profits,” Professor Crawford said. “The public interest side of this conversation is hopelessly outgunned.”
Antitrust experts said that a merger of 21st Century Fox and Time Warner posed far more serious regulatory issues than Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal. That’s because Fox and Time Warner are direct competitors in the businesses of film and television production. (Comcast didn’t produce much programming before it bought NBCUniversal.)
“This is quite different from Comcast and NBCUniversal,” said Scott Hemphill, an antitrust professor at Columbia Law School. “It’s a straightforward merger of two competitors.”
These so-called horizontal mergers always reduce competition, the only issue being whether it’s enough to warrant blocking the merger or imposing conditions on it. And both Fox and Time Warner would come under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission, which is free to take a broader view of the public interest when examining mergers.
“It’s within the F.C.C.’s power as merger overseers to conclude that this merger would impose undue limits on diversity,” Professor Sagers said. “It could block it or it could impose conditions that would ensure diversity.”
A spokesman at 21st Century Fox declined to comment. But a person with knowledge of the company’s strategy said it saw no substantive antitrust issues other than in cable news. On the contrary, this person contended that a merger would encourage competition, because Fox has traditionally been a disruptive rival and innovator. A spokesman for Time Warner declined to comment.
Given that Mr. Murdoch, fresh from the phone-hacking scandal in Britain, is a political lightning rod, a proposed Fox-Time Warner merger would prompt intense scrutiny in Washington. But it is not Mr. Murdoch’s past or political views that are likely to pose the biggest hurdles to the deal.
Applying the Justice Department’s existing horizontal merger guidelines suggests that a combination of 21st Century Fox and Time Warner would “raise significant competitive concerns and often warrant scrutiny,” according to the guidelines. That’s because both theatrical film production and television production appear to be moderately concentrated industries, as measured by the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index relied on by the antitrust division.
Fox and Warner Bros. are the largest movie producers by revenue. So far this year, Fox has close to a 19 percent market share and Warner has close to 17 percent, according to the website Box Office Mojo. (The top six studios account for about 85 percent of theatrical film revenue.)
That Fox has promised to keep Warner Bros. as a separate studio is irrelevant, since the two would be expected to coordinate their budgets, programming and release schedules.
In television, five producers account for 85 percent of the market, according to the research firm IBISWorld, which also makes it moderately concentrated. The effect of a merger would be less drastic, however, since Warner and Fox are the smallest of the five, with 2014 market shares of just under 11 percent (Warner) and 9 percent (Fox).
Despite the tough language of the guidelines, the antitrust division has rarely challenged mergers in moderately concentrated industries. But it might use narrower market definitions. In broadcast television, Fox and Time Warner together produce nearly 40 percent of scripted programs. And in cable, regulators used a much narrower definition of “marquee” channels when they examined Time Warner’s 1996 acquisition of Turner Broadcasting. Marquee channels are those that command premium prices from distributors.
Cable channels can be further subdivided by subject, like news or sports. In offering to divest itself of CNN, Time Warner’s 24-hour news channel, Fox implicitly conceded that there was a separate market for news programming that would be dominated by CNN and Fox News under the same ownership. Once these narrower market definitions come into play, they may be “highly concentrated” markets under the Justice Department guidelines, in which case a merger would be “presumed” to enhance market power.
And this is simply to apply the same standards to a Fox-Time Warner combination that the Justice Department applies to all industries, whether they make cement, household appliances or movies. “When you’re dealing with media, you’ve got to look more carefully at the impact than with other commodities,” said Allen P. Grunes, an antitrust lawyer at the firm GeyerGorey, and an author, with Maurice E. Stucke, of “Antitrust and the Marketplace of Ideas.” “It has an impact on democracy and what the public discourse is.”
To look only at price competition and economic efficiency “makes no sense whatsoever” in the media context, added Mr. Stucke, a law professor at the University of Tennessee. In their article, published in 2001 while both were lawyers with the antitrust division in Washington, they argued that any analysis of competition in media mergers should include the impact on “the marketplace of ideas,” where competition “advances truth.”
Applying this standard, a Fox-Time Warner merger should be blocked whether or not it meets the antitrust division’s narrower standards.
Their proposal hasn’t gotten much traction outside of academic circles and among a few judges, in part because the impact on diversity of content is difficult to quantify, unlike price changes and market shares. “Antitrust is geared to thinking about each industry along economic lines, but not the larger questions of social policy,” Professor Hemphill said. “A speech objection fits uneasily into conventional antitrust analysis.”
But in the wake of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, and now a possible 21st Century Fox-Time Warner Inc. combination, the time may be ripe for the Justice Department to apply stricter standards to big media mergers. “I think we’ve crossed a Rubicon,” Mr. Grunes said. “There’s empirical support for the claim that there’s been a loss of creativity, originality and daringness as independent producers have largely been incorporated into the larger conglomerates,” he said. Witness the preponderance of sequels and action-adventure blockbusters in Hollywood.
“We hope this gains traction,” he continued. “These are legitimate enforcement ideas, and there’s already support for them in the law. They’re not stretches. Let’s just hope we don’t wait until it’s too late.” (Contributor: The New York Times)
There is much concern in the field of media broadcast and publication concerning the presentation of news to the populous. If too few organizations are in control of what is presented as news, a democracy is at great risk. Mergers or consolidating news agencies can narrow various views of news and therefore have great sway in what is presented to the people. A well informed public can draw their own conclusions regarding events of interest. A free society must have access to the facts concerning major events in a nation. Restricted or limited media access or simply not reporting news is cause for alarm in a free society. Jesus while He was with us here on earth wanted us to know His truths because they did indeed set us free from sin and the power of sin. In like manner, the truth about issues of the day can help to protect us and cause us to make righteous decisions that are in keeping with God’s will.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. (John 8:31-41)
The Rev. Franklin Graham recently reiterated his remarks from earlier this year, calling on Christians in America to stand for biblical values despite social opposition.
In a column published in the July-August edition of Decision magazine, the head of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, declared that “Heaven is not for cowards!”
“Christians cannot ignore parts of God’s Word because they are unpopular or cause division. Our commission is to proclaim Christ and all He stands for,” wrote Graham.
“This is what the church’s presence in the world is all about. We cannot sincerely proclaim the truth of God’s love while ignoring what He hates, and God hates sin.”
Graham also stressed the need for “godly courage” and for Christians to speak out against abortion and homosexuality.
“We are soldiers in God’s army, and we cannot stand down on biblical issues out of fear of being labeled a homophobe or judge,” wrote Graham.
“People make judgments every day. The world’s system passes judgments accepted by governments and citizens. But the world considers Christian judgment to be biased, judgmental and intolerant,” he added.
For his speech, Graham preached around Revelation 21:8, wherein God lists eight groups of people who will be “in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The first group listed in the verse are the “cowardly;” this led Graham to declare in his remarks that “God hates cowards.”
“The definition of a coward: a coward will not confront an issue that needs to be confronted due to fear,” said Graham, whose speech was titled “Standing Strong on the Controversial Issues.”
“God hates cowards. And the cowards that the Lord is referring to are the men and women who know the truth but refuse to speak it.”
As with his more recent column, Graham argued that churches need to speak out on the moral issues, including abortion and homosexuality.
“We have a responsibility to speak on the moral issues. Abortion, homosexuality, these are moral issues. This is a free country, you can do what you want to do, but I want you to know it’s a sin against God,” Graham asserted.
“Could we get our heads chopped off? We could, maybe one day. So what? Chop it off!”
In recent years, Franklin Graham has garnered controversy for his comments on same-sex marriage, President Barack Obama, and the religion of Islam.
Some have contrasted Franklin Graham with the comparably less controversial nature of the ministry of his father, renowned preacher the Rev. Billy Graham.
“Franklin has always leaned toward being more political than his father,” wrote Sally Quinn, founding editor of the site OnFaith.
“Where Billy Graham has always been a voice for inclusion, even of religions other than his own, Franklin has not.” (Contributor: By Michael Gryboski for Christian Post)
Give thanks for the strong voice of Franklin Graham calling the Church to stand firm on biblical values that are being trampled on in the Public arena. We urge intercessors not to get caught up in the comparisons between Franklin and his father, evangelist Billy Graham, who ministered in a different era and to a different population demographic. IFA applauds Franklin for the courage to speak out. Pray that his voice will not be silenced and that Church leaders respond positively.
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 3-4)
To cope with California’s drought, farmers are carefully selecting which crops they plant and overpumping from deep underground aquifers. But as the President of the Pacific Institute, Peter Gleick, tells host Steve Curwood, a viable long-term solution to the growing water crisis requires rethinking priorities and conserving much more water.
CURWOOD: So come December, there may be relief for California’s record-breaking drought, but for now, it’s about as bad as anyone can remember. Peter Gleick is President of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California, and a fresh water expert. Welcome to Living on Earth.
GLEICK: Thank you for having me.
CURWOOD: So, let’s talk about agriculture. California puts a lot of food on our tables here in America. What’s been the impact so far of the drought on the agricultural sector and where are things heading?
GLEICK: So, 80 percent of the water that Californians consume goes to the agricultural sector, and the Central Valley is a fantastic place to grow food. We grow a lot of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. The overall current estimate is that impact to the agricultural community will be perhaps a few billion dollars this year and maybe a few tens of thousands of jobs, which is in some sense is a big impact, but it’s a $40 billion ag. economy out of a $2 trillion statewide economy.
CURWOOD: Now how are the farmers coping exactly with the shortages?
GLEICK: What we do when we don’t have surface water in California is we over-pump groundwater, and so a lot of the farmers in the Central Valley this year are looking to groundwater to make up surface water shortfalls. One of the reasons the impacts may not be too bad this year economically is precisely because we’re over-drafting groundwater. We’re looking at that groundwater pool as a way to make up some of the surface water shortages, and we can do that in the short run, but that’s not sustainable in the long run. Groundwater levels are dropping and when groundwater levels drop we see decreases in flows in some of our streams that are also dependent on groundwater flows in the dry part of the year. And the reality, of course, is that not every farmer can pump groundwater—only those who can really afford to drill deeper and deeper, more and more expensive wells have that as an option. And some farmers will benefit and some farmers will lose.
NOAA’s report shows the difference in this year’s June temperature. (Photo: National Ocean and Atmospheric Association)
CURWOOD: I understand that there’ve actually been drops in the level of the soil in the Central Valley.
GLEICK: Well, interestingly, this has been a problem for decades. You know, 50 or 60 years ago, when groundwater was over-pumped, we saw very, very significant subsidence on the order of tens or even more feet of subsidence. There’s some remarkable old photographs from the Central Valley years and years ago showing how far land levels have dropped. We solved that problem in the 70s and 80s and 90s with deliveries of surface water, and groundwater overdraft decreased. But it’s increasing again: we are seeing subsidence on the order of tens of feet and potentially more as the drought continues.
CURWOOD: Now in your view, Peter Gleick, what crops does it make sense to grow in California given the tight water situation, the perennial tight water situation, and which ones maybe shouldn’t be grown there?
Effect of the Drought on the Uvas Reservoir in California. (Photo: Don Debold; Creative Commons 2.0)
GLEICK: Crop decisions are a complicated thing. It’s not just how much water is available, but in bad droughts, what we see is farmers shifting from crops that they can fallow for year—they may let field crops go for a year—but they don’t want to let their trees dry up and die. And so during a drought we see farmers protecting trees, investments in orchards and fruits and nut crops, even if they can’t give them their full amount of water, they don’t want those trees to die. Those are a decade-long investment. And so what we see is less planting of cotton and wheat, less planting of rice, less planting of alfalfa, and protection of some of these higher value fruits and nut crops.
CURWOOD: California is naturally actually a pretty dry place. There are massive water projects to bring water there from other places. How did we come to have so much human settlement and agriculture in the Golden State given the sort of intrinsic lack of water for California?
GLEICK: California is a complicated place. You know, we have a lot of water in the north and a lot of water in the mountains. The population has settled in the coasts and in the south where there’s less water; because of that we’ve built a massive infrastructure. We’ve built systems to store water in the wet season so we can use it in the dry seasons and aqueducts so we can move water from the north in the mountains to the south and the Central Valley and the coasts where we want it. And our development patterns have been such that, the assumption’s always been that we can live wherever we want and we’ll bring the water to where the people are. I think that can’t continue. I think we’re going to have to have some serious conversations about the kinds of development we want and permit in the future. We’re going to have to have serious conversations about whether it makes sense to grow certain kinds of crops in an incredibly arid environment. I think we’ll continue to have a strong agricultural economy. We’ll continue to have big populations in dry areas, but we have to seriously reconsider the systems that we put in place and manage to satisfy those demands.
A sign on a lawn in Sacramento (Photo: Kevin Cortopassi; Creative Commons 2.0)
CURWOOD: We talked a lot about agriculture. What about the built-environment: residential and commercial water use? How can we cut down on that?
GLEICK: About 20 percent of the water that Californians use goes to our homes and our industry and our commercial establishments. We’ve made a lot of progress, as we have in the agricultural sector in improving efficiency in those water uses, but there’s still lots of inefficient water uses in our urban centers. And we still use a tremendous amount of water for outdoor landscaping. We pretend as though we have an old English climate and can have English-style lawns, but we’re in an arid environment, and we need to get rid of, frankly, inefficient lawns and inefficient gardens. I got rid of all the lawn in my house, and I still have a beautiful garden, and my water use is half the state per capita average of the average person in California, and even I could save more water.
Much of household water-use in California comes from watering lawns. (Photo: Diego V; Flickr Creative Commons 2.0)
CURWOOD: And I gather you’re growing more than crabgrass?
GLEICK: Oh, no. We’re not growing any crabgrass.
GLEICK: Crabgrass is a terrible user of water, and it’s ugly. We have a beautiful garden: we have flowers; we have native plants; we have blueberries and strawberries, and yet our water use is half the state average.
CURWOOD: What if the phone rang—it’s Governor Jerry Brown. He says, “Peter Gleick, you are now the water Czar for the state of California.” What are the three or four things you’d do if you had that kind of power?
GLEICK: The solutions to our water problems are not the solutions that we looked at in the 20th century. We’re running into peak water limits. There is no more untapped, unallocated water in the state, and the reality is, we’ve given away far more water than nature naturally provides. So our options are fairly limited, but we do have options, and the key things that we need to be doing now are looking at the potential for more efficient use in our cities and more efficient use on our farms.
Farmers prioritize high-value tree crops like almonds during times of drought. (Photo: Marc; Flickr Creative Commons 2.0)
There’s a lot more that we can do on conservation and efficiency. But there are also a couple of new supply options that we really ought to be considering seriously. We ought to be exploring and expanding the use of treated wastewater. We use potable water to flush our toilets and to water our lawns, not just for drinking, and yet there is very high-quality wastewater available. We collect a lot of wastewater; we treat it with very high standard and typically we throw it away. Let’s put that supply of water to use. And similarly we ought to be expanding our efforts to capture and use storm water.
There’s a lot of potential for wastewater reuse, storm water capture and reuse as new supply options and improvements in conservation and efficiency. And those four options alone could produce a tremendous amount of new water for the state of California, and that’s where we ought to be going now.
CURWOOD: Now, what do you think the American West is going to look like in 50 years given what we’re seeing now with drought increase?
GLEICK: Well, especially with climate change, I think we’re going to see higher and higher temperatures. We’re going to see more extreme events in the western U.S. The climate models suggest unfortunately that the Southwest is going to get drier, not wetter, which is the opposite of what we would like if we had any choice in the matter. I think there will be fundamental changes in agriculture. I think we’re not to be able to afford to spend as much water in the west on agriculture as we currently do. And potentially I think we’re going to see the Midwest and the Northeast begin to advertise, hey, come back home. There’s not as much water in the Southwest, and it’s hotter and hotter in the Southwest, and our climate is increasingly attractive. And that’s going to be a turnaround from the old days when the Southwest advertised and drew people from the Midwest and from the North because of their more attractive climate.
CURWOOD: Goodbye. Go west, young man, huh?
GLEICK: I think so. I think we’re going to see more and more of that.
CURWOOD: Well, what, a fifth of the world’s fresh surface water is in the Great Lakes.
Peter Gleick is the Director of the Pacific Institute in Oakland. (Photo: Oakland Institute)
GLEICK: We’re already seeing conversations from some communities in the Midwest that perhaps they can advertise that their water availability and their water quality and their reliability as a way to draw industry and residents back to the region.
So far our discussion has really just focused on people and our needs from water. What about the rest of the natural world?
CURWOOD: We know we’ve taken far too much water out of the environment. Fisheries are collapsing; ecosystems are collapsing. There’ve been more and more efforts on the legal front and on the educational front and on the policy front to try and restore ecosystem health and restore some commitments of water for the environment. But during a drought, we measure impact on farmers; we measure impacts on industry. We’re not really good at measuring impacts on fisheries and ecosystems, and yet some of the worst impacts historically have been, for example, on the salmon fisheries and the salmon runs in the state of California during drought. We had better not give up on the environment during droughts in order to restore a little more alfalfa production or cotton production the Central Valley, or to save our lawns in our cities. I think that would be a big mistake.
CURWOOD: Peter Gleick is President of the Pacific Institute. Thanks so much for taking the time with me today.
GLEICK: Well, thanks for having me on. It’s always a pleasure. (Contributor: Living On The Earth)
In the Bible’s Old Testament, more than once God used drought to get His people’s attention. While the U.S. is not God’s covenant people, Israel, is it possible that God is using the California drought (which affects the entire country) and other climate changes to show us our need for His help and to bring our nation back to Himself? Is this a precursor for repentance and revival? Let us pray that it is, even as we intercede for the God-given blessing of rain for the Central Valley. Notice the first passage below. It appears we should quote v. 13 when we quote v. 14.
[The Lord God speaking directly to Solomon:] 13 “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:13-14)
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:17-18)
Egypt’s army said Sunday it has destroyed 13 more tunnels connecting the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip, taking to 1,639 the overall number it has laid waste to.
Cairo has poured troops into the peninsula to counter a rising insurgency since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year, and its security operation involves the destruction of these tunnels.
The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which is the main power in Gaza, reportedly uses the tunnels to smuggle arms, food and money into the blockaded coastal enclave.
Israel has been waging a military offensive on Gaza since July 8 to halt rocket fire, and it launched a ground assault on July 17 aimed at destroying the network of tunnels.
It accuses Hamas of using the tunnels to attacks on Israel.
Ties between Hamas and Cairo have deteriorated since the Egyptian army deposed Morsi on July 3, 2013. Hamas is an affiliate of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Cairo also accuses of Hamas of being involved in militant attacks inside Egypt, which have multiplied since Morsi was toppled.
Militant groups say their attacks are in retaliation for a police crackdown on Morsi’s supporters. The crackdown has seen more than 1,400 people killed in street clashes. (Contributor: AFP News)
Give thanks that God is preserving Israel. Despite worldwide anti-Semitism and quick “judgment” on Israel as the aggressor, a certain grudging acknowledgement is emerging of the vicious, ruthless, and unconscionable approach to warfare taken by Hamas. Specific focus is on the cement-reinforced tunnels and mounting evidence of using Palestinians, including children and babies, as human shields. Note that no other nation has joined forces with Hamas to “finish” Israel. Give thanks and press forward with intercession. Some day the Scripture below will be fulfilled.
“But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, and do not be dismayed, O Israel! For behold, I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity; Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease; No one shall make him afraid.” (Jeremiah 46:27)
Hundreds of police took down a church’s cross Monday in a city known as “China’s Jerusalem” for its many houses of worship amid a crackdown on church buildings in a coastal region where thousands of people are embracing Christianity.
Evangelist Qu Linuo said he and about 200 others had rushed to the Longgang Huai En Church in the eastern city of Wenzhou to protect the building but peacefully made way for the police, who used a crane to remove the 3-meter-tall (10-foot-tall) red cross from its steeple.
Authorities told the church the cross violated building height limits, and returned it to the parishioners, who wept and prayed around it, said Qu, who is a member of another church. A man at the county’s public security office said he didn’t know anything about the incident, and the Longgang township police didn’t answer phone calls.
Across Zhejiang province, where Wenzhou is located, authorities have toppled or threatened to topple crosses at more than 130 Protestant churches. In a few cases, the government has even razed sanctuaries.
Officials say they’re enforcing building codes, although often they won’t specify which ones. They also deny they are specifically targeting churches, and point to the demolition of tens of thousands of other buildings, religious and non-religious, that have apparently broken regulations.
But experts and church leaders in this province south of Shanghai – the only one where the incidents are happening – say the government appears to be trying to suppress the fast-growing religion.
Official 2010 figures put the number of Christians in state-sanctioned churches at 23 million believers, but the country also has vast numbers of believers who meet in secret. The Pew Research Center estimated 58 million Protestants in the country practiced the religion in 2011, along with 9 million Catholics the year before. Some experts say the total could be more than 100 million.
The church’s dramatic growth – and Christians’ allegiance to God above all else – has alarmed authorities, said Yang Fenggang, a Purdue University sociologist and leading expert on religious matters in China. It was difficult to imagine what sort of building codes the crosses would violate.
“The only reason I can think of is that the Zhejiang authorities intend to humiliate Christians by taking down the symbol sacred to them,” he said.
The province may have come under scrutiny because it is home to Wenzhou, where more than a tenth of residents are Protestant Christians, the highest proportion of any major Chinese city, according to Cao Nanlai, an anthropologist who has studied and written a book about Christianity in Wenzhou.
Half the province’s 4,000 churches are located here, he said, partly a legacy of early missionary efforts here.
Known for its entrepreneurial vigor, Wenzhou has tens of thousands of small family-run workshops making shoes, toys and other products. Believers here appear to have applied that same eagerness to starting new churches, Cao said.
The cross removals and demolitions reflect the occasional flexing of political muscle by authorities to show who’s in control, he said.
Last week, parishioners at another church in the city successfully protected their cross from hundreds of police, said Zheng Changye, a 36-year-old member of another church. He said three people suffered serious injuries in the clash with police, and photos posted online showed several people bleeding from head injuries.
On Monday, other photos posted on the China social media site Weibo showed parishioners at the Longgang Huai En Church praying on its steps and holding banners reading, “Anti-graft, anti-corruption, protect religion.” (Contributor: The Star and The Associated Press)
The cross of Jesus Christ has always been a scandal to the world system. Persecution of Christians in China is nothing new. It is often “dressed up” as being other than what it is, and Chinese leaders boast that “authorized” Christian worship is free to function. But still the suppression of religious freedom continues. Pray for patience and the retaining of strong faith for those pastors and people who often feel deserted and alone. Intercede for these persecuted saints as they continue to fearlessly witness even to their tormentors. Give thanks that there was no physical violence.
“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.” (Heb. 13:3)
“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14)
There’s worrisome news here in the southeastern US, buried in a journal that is favorite reading only for superbug geeks like me. The rate at which hospitals are recognizing cases of CRE — the form of antibiotic resistance that is so serious the CDC dubbed it a “nightmare” — rose five times over between 2008 and 2012.
Within that bad news, there are two especially troubling points. First, the hospitals where this resistance factor was identified were what is called “community” hospitals, that is, not academic referral centers. That’s an important distinction, because academic medical centers tend to be where the most cutting-edge care is performed, and where the sickest people are. As a result, they are where last-resort antibiotics are used the most, and therefore where resistance is most likely to emerge. That CRE was found so widely not in academic centers, but rather in community hospitals, is a signal that it is probably moving through what medicine calls “the community,” which is to say, anywhere outside healthcare. Or, you know, everyday life.
A second concern is that the authors of the study, which is in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, assume that their finding is an underestimate of the actual problem.
A little background first on CRE. (Archive of posts on it is here.) The acronym stands for “carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae.” Enterobacteriaceae are a large family of bacteria that normally are carted around in your guts without causing illness. When they escape, though — for instance, during ICU treatment — they are a common cause of serious hospital-acquired infections. “Carbapenems” are a small group of very powerful antibiotics that are viewed as drugs of last resort, which work against infections that have become resistant to most other antibiotics. The acronym CRE indicates a group of resistant organisms that go by other acronyms — NDM, OXA, VIM and KPC, for instance — and that have been spreading across the globe for more than 10 years.
CREs are serious stuff: On average, at least half of those who contract CRE infections die. There are only a few antibiotics — sometimes one, sometimes two, depending on the organism — that work against them at all, and those drugs have significant problems and side effects. Broadly speaking, the emergence of CREs brings us several steps closer to the end of the antibiotic era.
For reasons that no one has ever been able to explain, one of the CRE organisms — KPC, or Klebsiella pneumoniae resistant to carbapenems — seems to have emerged in North Carolina; it was first noted in a set of bacterial samples that a hospital in that state sent to the CDC in 1996. So it’s resonant that this study was conducted by researchers in North Carolina; it reveals how far that organism and others have spread.
About the study: It relies on data tendered to the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network by 25 community hospitals in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. The hospitals ranged in size from 100 to 657 beds, so some of them were truly small community institutions. The data was collected between January 2008 and December 2012, so as a snapshot of what is happened in the US with regard to CRE, it is pretty timely.
Out of the 25 hospitals, 16 identified 305 patients carrying or infected with CRE:
- 59 percent had identifiable infections; 41 percent were colonized, that is, carrying the bacteria asymptomatically.
- 34 percent of the cases became evident while the patient was in the hospital (hospital-onset healthcare associated) and 60 percent after patients had returned home (community-onset hospital-associated)
- Of the cases that were diagnosed after someone had left an acute-care hospital, 56 percent were associated with nursing homes.
- The key trend is here: In 2008, the rate of CRE detection was 0.26 cases per 100,000 patient days; in 2012, it was 1.4 per 100,000 patient-days.
Those may seem like small numbers. Here is what the authors say:
…rates of CRE, while still infrequent, are increasing dramatically in community hospitals, where the majority of Americans receive their healthcare. We believe this increase is attributable to growing reservoirs and transmission of CRE and improvement in detection. Overall, we believe the estimates from study hospitals are underestimates of the true incidence in these hospitals. This point underscores the fact that these organisms are increasingly important and relevant in all areas of healthcare, including small community hospitals.
The study is worth reading as well for an extended discussion of the challenges of CRE detection, including the pace at which new laboratory standards for detecting these organisms are being adopted (or not). Overall, though, it is a worrisome indicator that highly resistant organisms may be outpacing our ability to detect or to treat them.
Cite: Thaden JT, Lewis SS, Hazen KC et al. Rising Rates of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae in Community Hospitals: A Mixed-Methods Review of Epidemiology and Microbiology Practices in a Network of Community Hospitals in the Southeastern United States. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, Vol. 35, No. 8 (August 2014), pp. 978-983. DOI: 10.1086/677157 (Contributor: By Maryn McKenna for Wired)
It has long been known that so-called “superbugs” lurk in hospitals, with some resistant to even the strongest antibiotics. But we know that a powerful “medicine” in a hospital room is intercessory prayer. Where possible (and with discretion), urge praying family, friends, members of the prayer group, church leaders, pastors, and others to pray “cleansing prayers” in the room. If possible, provide praise and worship music to renew spirit, mind and body, even if through a smart phone and ear buds. With permission, include the roommate, which may open doors for a gospel witness.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)
Future U.S. Army soldiers sent into combat may have a brand new tool at their disposal: the pocket drone.
The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts is developing a “pocket-sized aerial surveillance device” for soldiers assigned to small units in dangerous environments.
When the Army’s efforts come to fruition, the Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance program will provide dismounted troops with real-time surveillance of threats in their environment.
“The Cargo Pocket ISR is a true example of an applied systems approach for developing new Soldier capabilities,” said Dr. Laurel Allender, acting NSRDEC technical director, Army.mil reported July 21.
“It provides an integrated capability for the soldier and small unit for increased situational awareness and understanding with negligible impact on soldier load and agility.”
The pocket drone will be required to meet the Army’s digital security standards, fly in low-light operations and successfully maneuver indoors, Army.mil reported. (Contributor: By Douglas Ernst for The Washington Times)
This is premature as a prayer focus, as the miniature drone is still being developed. Still, it calls attention to U.S. military forces who always need prayer and encouragement. If this tool becomes functional, making arduous military service in a war zone easier and contributing to the warfighter’s safety, intercessors can only give thanks. Pray especially right now for wounded veterans who, in many parts of the country, are still not getting the swift attention they require. Pray for physical, spiritual, and emotional healing. Pray for Robert McDonald, newly confirmed Veterans Affairs Secretary, whose job it is to bring order out of the agency’s present chaos.
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psaalm 73:25-26)
“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.” (Psalm 119:50)
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)