Blue Flower

AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER

This all American news bulletin is the first we have been able to produce for a long time in which all articles have a positive bent to them. Could it mark a turning point in America's journey back to more conservative Christian values?      

 

CHRISTIAN LEADERS RESPOND TO TRUMPS NEW MILITARY TRANSGENDER BAN

President Trump shocked the country when he announced transgender people would no longer be able to serve in the military. The president tweeted: "After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you." The policy garnered mixed reactions, some enthused and others offended. Here's what popular Christian leaders had to say.

Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas: The militant liberal agenda has not only savaged the moral values of our country but has imperilled the defence of our nation by adding needless confusion, complication and expense. Thank God for a president who is willing to say "Enough is enough!" I applaud President Trump for exercising his judgment as commander in chief to make America safer and more secure by allowing our armed forces to concentrate on "decisive and overwhelming victory" rather than serving as a petri dish for social experimentation. People suffering from gender identity confusion should be treated with compassion and counselling, not exploited by the left to further a liberal ideology.

Michael Brown, author, radio host and blogger said “While I appreciate everyone who wants to serve in the military, President Trump's decision is absolutely right and necessary. The idea that the military would pay for sex-change surgery or that the privacy of others would be compromised to allow those who identify as transgender to serve was wrongheaded and impractical. The president has done what is right both practically and morally, and he and his generals should be applauded for it. This decision is a major pushback against an overly aggressive LGBT agenda, and President Trump will face the wrath of LGBT activists and their allies. All the more reason, then, for us to pray for him to stand strong. At the same time, we pray for those who identify as transgender, that they will find wholeness in the bodies and identities God gave them.

James Dobson, founder of Family Talk radio: For eight years, the Department of Defence under President Obama, went about the systematic and intentional transformation of the U.S. military, unnecessarily disrupting the world's most elite fighting force from their most pressing and urgent requirement, keeping our country and its allies safe. It is heartening to have a commander in chief who puts the expert opinions of his generals and military officials ahead of the destructive forces of political correctness and identity politics. I support the president's decision and commend this administration for having the courage to protect our military from what would only amount to an enormous and costly distraction.

Greg Gordon, founder of SermonIndex.net: God is the disposer and exalter of kings and rulers. It should not shock us that He is using someone as Donald Trump as a force of righteousness on the national scale. Evil has prevailed for a season and the demonic hordes have been very active, but now God is giving a season of mercy and relief from the very strong downhill slide America has been in morally. Only God through a great revival can shift the entire culture back to Himself. It is a time for Believers to prepare, to start to act more like disciples of Jesus, to focus on God like never before. We are living in evil days and they might only get worse.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council: This is a major victory for conservatives, for our military and it's a milestone from a standpoint of ending and reversing Obama-era social engineering policies that really crippled our nation's military. It's not about the individual, it's about the military. President Obama used the military for the advancement of his radical social agenda. This president is saying "no." The military is there for one purpose only, to keep America secure. Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association (AFA): AFA applauds President Trump for his courageous decision to end the usage of our military for social engineering and political correctness. American families deserve a military that is focused solely on readiness and national defence.

Bert Farias, cultural commentator and blogger: I believe it is a strong and righteous decision because the gross immorality of what one generation tolerates, the next generation celebrates. In order to reverse the confusion and curse that the abominable decisions of prior administrations have released upon our nation it is going to take tremendous conviction and courage, especially where the lines of moral absolutes have been blurred. President Trump has my full support on this matter. It's time to stop the social madness and immoral insanity and quit catering to the entitled unsound minority that would erode our troops' morale and put them in danger. Just as any physical defect, disability or injury prevents one from service in our military, so should a mentally unstable condition and confused identity be a means for disqualification.

Landon Schott, pastor of The Rev Ministries and author of Gay Awareness: Our nation is on a fast track to moral decay. The prophet Isaiah spoke of a day where men would call good, evil and evil, good (Is. 5:20). We are living in that day now! What surprises me the most about today is how the president is leading the call for clarity when it comes to sexuality. For years, our last president encouraged and celebrated sexual confusion and immorality. The world praised him for it. The world always celebrates the advancement of immorality. If the world celebrates it, why would God's house and God's people align with it? It's time for the Church to take a stand. I want to encourage pastors and spiritual leaders that now is not the time to be timid or fearful of man's opinion but to take a stand of righteousness knowing you will be persecuted (Matt. 5:10) for it. I'm praying the mercy of God over our nation!

Source: Charisma News

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VICE PRESIDENT PENCE SAYS THAT JESUS IS THE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

American Vice President Mike Pence recently accepted an invitation to speak to the National Student Leadership Conference at American University in Washington, DC. During the speech, the vice president brought up 1 Timothy 3:1, which states: "If a man desires the office of an overseer, he desires a good work." "As the Bible tells us, whoever aspires to be a leader, desires a noble task," the vice president said. "And I want to say you couldn't have picked a better time to study leadership. "At this very moment in this country, we're witnessing history in the making. We are in the midst of a great national renewal. We're seeing a return of security and prosperity to our nation and to our people. "I believe we're living through the restoration of America to its rightful role as leader of the free world."  Later in his speech, the vice president spoke of the model leadership displayed by Jesus.

Pence continued "The leader I most try and emulate each and every day said that He came not to be served but to serve. I believe that's the very essence of  leadership. And there are three qualities in particular that I encourage you to reflect on. The first is humility. The ability to consider others as more important than yourself.  Some of the most compelling leaders I've ever known in my life are people that are focused on others more than themselves, are considerate to others. True leaders listen first and then they decide. The second quality of leadership, I believe, is most needed in society today is orientation to authority. Recognize and respect those who have been placed above you. Honour them. Learn from them. Follow their example. Give them the honour that they are due.

There is nothing more meaningful than to take time to demonstrate respect for those who have been placed in authority over you; to listen to them and to defer to them, even while you offer them the broadest range of your counsel and your talents. And lastly, I encourage you, as you develop these inner qualities, the qualities of being leaders that people respect and will follow, I encourage you to embrace self-control in your life. As the Bible says, like a city whose walls are broken down is the person who lacks self-control. To practice discipline and to practice self-control is to become the kind of woman and man that people will respect and people will follow. If you want to make a difference in this complicated world, be different by leading an orderly life, by being an example of humility and orientation and have a servant's heart with all of those around you. If you model these three qualities in increasing measure, your service will be of distinction no matter where your life may lead.

The vice president gave one last admonition to the students telling them that leadership also brings with it opposition. He said they would need courage to face the adversity that comes with being a leader. "Nothing worth doing ever comes easy," he said. "You must be willing to face criticism from those who lack the same courage to do what is right, and no truer words are spoken. "Anyone who dreams big will encounter those who think small. Anyone who dares to step forward will find those who would rather stay put. And anyone who thinks they can will always hear from those who are sure they can't. "So I say to you, cheerfully, expect criticism. Listen to it. Have the humility to learn from it. And then push through it. That's the essence of leadership."

He urged them to have faith in their calling  and abilities. "We have a Bible verse over the mantle in our home. It's been there since I ran successfully for office back in 1999. It simply reads 'For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future'" (Jeremiah. 29:11). "Today you may be students; tomorrow you will be leaders. And I know that with your help and hard work, with your character and efforts, and with God's help, this generation will take this country to heights unimaginable and a boundless American future. " As I look out across this gathering, inspired by the shining faces that are looking back at me, and I look at the leadership that we enjoy in this nation at every level, I'm confident, and I say to this rising generation, together, we will make America safe again. We will make America prosperous again."

Source: Charisma News

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VICTORY IN CALIFORNIA STATE COURT FOR PRO-LIFE PREGNANCY CENTRES

The State of California has attacked pro-life pregnancy centres by requiring them to advertise free or low-cost abortions paid for by the State. Called the "Reproductive FACT Act," the law is a brazen attempt to coerce pro-life groups into supporting the very thing to which they religiously object and provide alternatives. Pro-Life advocates have filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to reverse the decision of the Ninth Circuit that held that the FACT Act does not violate the First Amendment. That petition remains pending and a decision is expected from the Court on whether it will intervene in this case in the fall. Another pro-life group "Advocates for Faith and Freedom" is also seeking to vindicate the free speech rights in the federal court, by representing a pro-life pregnancy centre, the Scharpen Foundation, which is challenging the very same law.

Recently, Judge Gloria Trask of the Riverside County Superior Court issued a ruling rejecting the State's attempt to dismiss that case. Judge Trask noted in her decision that "This statute compels the clinic to speak words with which it profoundly disagrees when the State has numerous alternative methods of publishing its message. This statute places too heavy a burden upon the liberty of free thought."  The court found that many of the State's legal arguments in defence of the FACT Act did not comport with the Constitution. In response to the State's argument that the notice mandated by the State is simply a neutral statement of fact, Judge Trask held: This compelled speech is not politically neutral. This speech is not merely the transmittal of neutral information, such as the calorie count of a Big Mac, or that smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol can be hazardous to health.

The State commands the clinics to post specific directions for whom to contact to obtain an abortion. It forces the clinic to point the way to the abortion clinic and can leave patients with the belief they were referred to an abortion provider by that clinic. With respect to the State's argument that the compelled speech requirement was an efficient means of advising women of California's family planning programs, the court rejected that one too.  The burden placed on the compelled speaker must be subject to some reasonable limitation. This statute places too heavy a burden upon the liberty of free thought. The State can deliver its message without infringing upon anyone's liberty. It may purchase television advertisements or purchase billboard space. It can do everything but compel a free citizen to deliver that message.

Finally, the court made it clear that the so-called "right" to abortion does not mean that all other rights, including the right to free speech, must take a back seat. It is entirely proper for the State to take its position supporting access to abortion, a right protected by both State and federal Constitutions. It may enact laws that support abortion access and tax its citizens to make abortions available. It can require informed consent for all medical procedures. But its ability to impress free citizens into State service in this political dispute cannot be absolute; it must be limited. The wisdom of Judge Trask in seeing through the specious arguments of the California Attorney General in defence of this outrageous law is most welcome. We trust that the U.S. Supreme Court will exercise that same wisdom in granting our petition and reversing the flawed decision of the Ninth Circuit.

Source: LifeSiteNews

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U.S.HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSES BILLS AIMED AT ENDING HUMAN TRAFFICKING

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed 3 bills aimed at ending what Speaker Paul Ryan, described as a "sinister enterprise" that is striking at the very hearts of our communities. The bills, all passed by voice vote, were: H.R. 2664, which directs the secretary of labor to train Department of Labor personnel how to effectively detect and assist law enforcement in preventing human trafficking. H.R. 2480, which expands federal funding for local law enforcement to include "programs to combat human trafficking" and H.R. 2200, which reauthorizes funding to combat human trafficking both at home and abroad through 2021. After the bills were adopted, Ryan gathered a bipartisan group of legislators to discuss the ramifications of the legislation. "Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world," Ryan said. "It's a sinister enterprise that strikes at the very heart of our communities."

This is a national problem, and that means it's going to take a national effort to solve it. "So today we have taken more action to end human trafficking, and we are going to keep at this because it is about the safety and security of our children and nation." President Trump immediately issued a statement demanding that the Senate take action. He said he wanted the bills on his desk quickly so that he can sign them into law: "My administration is focused on ending the horrific practice of human trafficking, and the bills the House of Representatives passed today are important steps forward," he said. "Since taking office, I have met with courageous survivors, non-profit groups and faith leaders who are devoted to raising awareness about human trafficking. I am hopeful that the Senate will also pass these bills as soon as possible, and I look forward to working with the Congress on this important issue."

Back in April, the president hosted two of the Chibok schoolgirls, Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu, in the Oval Office. They were two of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists who kidnapped between 200 and 300 girls for the purpose of enslaving them. Bishara and Pogu are among the 50 girls who have escaped the terrorist group. They recently graduated from Canyonville Christian Academy in Oregon and told their story to the president, first lady Melania Trump and the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump. During the visit, they read a short letter they had written to the president: Mr. President, We urge you to keep America safe and strong. We know some people are trying to discourage you. Do not be discouraged. You are right to keep American safe and strong. Not only for America, but for the world. If American is not safe and strong, where can people like us look for hope, when there is danger?

Source: Charisma News

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CHRISTIANS OVERTAKE MUSLIMS TO BECOME LARGEST GROUP OF REFUGEES ENTERING U.S.

Christians made up the majority of refugees admitted to the U.S. in the first five months of the Trump administration, reversing a trend that saw Muslims entering the country at higher numbers under President Obama, a new Pew Research report shows. Out of all the refugees who arrived between President Trump's inauguration and June 30, about half were Christians and 38% were Muslims, according to recently released data. But when monthly figures are viewed, the data (from the U.S. State Department) reveals a steady decline for Muslims, from about 50% of refugees in February to 31% in June. Most of the world's refugees continue to be from Muslim-majority countries. According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, Syria accounts for the largest number of new refugees, with more than half of all new refugees worldwide fleeing the conflict in that country. Afghanistan and Somalia also top the list.

In the wake of Trump's executive orders restricting travel to the U.S. from six, Muslim-majority countries, the report said, "the religious affiliation of refugees has come under scrutiny." Muslim refugees to the U.S. outnumbered Christians only three times between 2002 and 2016: in 2005, 2006 and 2016, which saw a record number of Muslims (38,901). And their refugees' countries of origin have changed. Of the top six countries of origin for U.S. refugees, three (Iraq, Somalia and Syria) are Muslim-majority. But beginning in April, that changed. Now only Iraq remains among the top six nations, in addition to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, Ukraine, Bhutan and Eritrea. Refugee admissions to the U.S. in fiscal 2017 (which ends Sept. 30) are on pace to fall below the 85,000-person ceiling established by the Obama administration for fiscal 2016, the report said.

Source: ChristianHeadlines.com

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BILL INTRODUCED IN U.S. SAYING SEX AND GENDER NOT OPEN TO INTERPRETATION

American lawmakers have confirmed that the meaning of "sex" and "gender" is not as fluid as the LGBT community would like to think. The House Judiciary Committee introduced legislation that would prohibit "sex" and "gender" from being interpreted as "gender identity" under civil rights laws. The Civil Rights Uniformity Act (CRUA) affirms that Congress passed  laws to protect against discrimination when it comes to a person's biological sex, rather than their "self-professed" gender identity. The CRUA would ensure that policies which affect the privacy and safety of women and girls are no longer reshaped to meet the demands of the LGBT agenda. "The terms 'sex' and 'gender' refer to objective biology, not self-professed 'gender identity' as the Obama administration tried to push" said Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel Action.

In May 2016, the Obama administration ordered a directive demanding schools allow students to use the bathroom of their choice. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice released a "Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students", indicating that agencies need to "treat a student's gender identity as the student's sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX." However, the Trump administration reversed the decision, but it was limited to Title IX and the Department of Education. This new bill, would essentially cover what the Trump administration missed. Stayer said "The Founding Fathers never intended unelected bureaucrats in federal agencies to make sweeping changes to the definition of gender." He added. "We must restore the voice of the people given to them by our Constitution and put an end to this dangerous precedent of removing Congress' power to make laws." 

Source: CBN News

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