Prayer Targets: Franklin Graham; HHS Mandate; Marriage Update; Abortion/Life Update, More
May 15, 2014
Dear Praying Friends,
Franklin Graham, son of Evangelist Billy and Ruth Bell Graham, has been president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) since 2001. Since his first evangelistic crusade in 1989, Franklin has preached to more than 7 million people around the world. In his early 20's, Franklin joined the ministry of Samaritan's Purse (SP), an evangelical international relief agency. In 1979, after the death of SP founder, Dr. Bob Pierce, Franklin became president and continues in that role today. Graham's leadership is not only distinguished by his passionately persistent invitation to receive the Good News of Jesus Christ and for Christians to show the love of Christ in practical ways, but also for believers to pray and act to impact our culture and nation for righteousness:
[It] was particularly jolting when those who call themselves Christians departed from the clarity of God's Word, as the leadership of World Vision U.S. did in March when they announced their employment of "gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages." The very day World Vision announced its great compromise on a basic truth of Scripture-that a homosexual lifestyle is sin and that marriage is between one man and one woman-the Supreme Court began hearings to determine if the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, should be required to provide life-terminating drugs and devices in their employee health care plan, contrary to the Christian family's spiritual convictions.
The contrast was stunning. While the Christian-owned business stood up against a federal government bent on forcing them to compromise the right to life, a Christian charity compromised the sacredness of marriage, stating that "it's the right thing to do for unity within the church." Forty-eight hours after World Vision's announcement, they were forced to reverse their epic decision after a flooding backlash from offended donors.
The Bible gives strong warning to those who tamper with God's truth. "From among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away [followers] after themselves" (Acts 20:30).
The charity's original announcement was personally shocking to me because World Vision and Samaritan's Purse were founded by the same man, my mentor and dear friend, the late Dr. Bob Pierce. Much of my adult life has been guided by something he often said: "I want my heart to be broken by the things that break the heart of God." I believe the heart of God was broken by the decision of the board of directors of World Vision. This is no small matter. I was as grieved by it as I have been by anything in my lifetime of ministry, because the heart of World Vision was revealed-a disregard for biblical truth.
There was a day when World Vision's board was made up of people who believed in, and stood on, God's Word, but in making this decision they completely disregarded Scripture and made a decision based on what they perceived as public acceptance and popularity.
I do rejoice that the board of directors reversed its decision, but I pray that the fallout will cause a depth of soul-searching. True followers of Jesus Christ, whose salvation is based entirely upon God's Word, cannot endorse same-sex marriage, regardless of what our President, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the media or the latest Gallup poll says about the matter. This moral issue has been settled by God Himself and is not subject to man-made revisions or modifications. In the end, I would rather be on the wrong side of public opinion than on the wrong side of Almighty God who established the standard of living for the world He created. Marriage is a biblically moral issue, not a political or theological one... (Franklin Graham, "The Flood of Compromise," Decision Magazine, April 29, 2014).
Even a few years ago, who would have believed Americans would divide over what constitutes marriage or that even professing Christians would become confused about it. This is a Mt. Carmel moment for God's people. We cannot side step it and call ourselves Bible-believing Christians. May God help us to prevail in prayer!
HHS Mandate, Hobby Lobby, etc. - A new FRC-commissioned national survey shows that a majority of Americans remain fixed in their opposition to the HHS mandate, disagreeing with the government measure that requires Americans to participate in providing procedures that violate their religious beliefs. The 53% who oppose the Mandate cross age, income, party, gender, and ethnic lines. Meanwhile, three hundred plaintiffs filed 96 lawsuits against the HHS Mandate, which requires all employers who provide employee health insurance (except some exempted for political reasons) to include free coverage for contraceptives and sterilization, including the abortifacient "morning after" pill. Cases were filed by 48 non-profit groups and 48 for-profit businesses. Considering the merits of the cases, courts have granted 21 injunctions to non-profit groups to prevent the administration from imposing fines against them and have denied one. Among for-profit groups, 34 injunctions have been granted and 6 were denied. Ten cases have been dismissed on procedural grounds and 14 are awaiting court decisions on their requests for an injunction. (see Good Mandate Hard to Find; Information Central).
- May God guide the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of Hobby Lobby, and all employers whose faith is violated by the HHS Mandate! May Obamacare be overturned! (Dan 3:14-18; 6:10; Acts 5:29; 23:1; 24:16; 1 Tim 1:5, 9; Rev 12:11)
Marriage War Update - Tuesday, Idaho U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled Idaho's Marriage Amendment unconstitutional, overruling 63% of Idahoans who had voted in favor of man-woman marriage. Late last Friday, Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Chris Piazza overruled 75% of Arkansas voters who in 2004 ratified their state's Marriage Amendment. Yesterday, a three judge panel in Virginia's U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit heard arguments over a District Court Judge's decision to overturn Virginia's Marriage Amendment, ratified by 57% of voters in 2006. The effort was promoted by newly elected Attorney General Mark Herring (D). Courts in Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Texas, Michigan, and Ohio have also recently struck down marriage laws. The ACLU and collaborators have targeted all states that hold to natural marriage. Billionaire Tim Gill has dedicated millions of dollars to overturn marriage laws in the Bible Belt (see Idaho; Arkansas Chaos; Virginia; Gill's Southern Strategy).
- May God stir His people to speak the truth in love and to stand up to public officials who seek to destroy Biblical marriage! May the SSM Trend be reversed and may natural marriage proponents prevail in the courts and legislatures (Lev 18:22-130; Mt 19:4-6; Eph 4:14-15; Jude 7).
Abortion/Life Update - Over 60 members of the North Dakota legislature have written Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, asking him to appeal U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland's ruling that the fetal heartbeat law they passed is unconstitutional. They hope the case will make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court and reopen Roe v. Wade. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) hopes to see action on his Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to consider "take a look" at it. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also hopes to pass new measure that would pre-empt state laws requiring medical tests before receiving the morning-after pill and abortions.
Blumenthal and other abortion advocates can see that the pro-life movement has tremendous momentum. Between 2011 and 2013 more pro-life bills were signed into law than during the previous decade. Last year 70 pro-life bills were introduced in 22 states. By March 31 of this year, 303 pro-life bills had been introduced in 38 states; three had been enacted; and 36 had passed one chamber. A January 2014 Marist poll found that 84% of Americans think abortion should be restricted.(see World of Pain; Senator Seeks to Preempt Pro-life States; Pro-life Momentum; FRC's Arina Grossu).
- May the pro-life message continue to gain momentum in the states and in Washington! May God and His people propel each pro-life effort, stop the pro-abortion efforts, and ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade! (Gen 9:6; Ex 20:13; 21:22-25; Dt 30:19; Mt 18:6; Jn 10:10)
Finally, please pray for Nevada believers, whose state RNC is rolling the dice by abandoning the pro-life, pro-marriage planks in their national party platform. Yet 82% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents in Nevada believe in marriage "as between one man and one woman." Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday that the U.S. will not send Special Forces troops to help save the lives of 200 girls abducted by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. Israelis are concerned about the al-Qaeda rebels on the Syrian-Israeli border, murdering Christians, and a new U.S. poll shows that anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, led by the Muslim world. As always, thank you for praying!