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Worthy News Brief - March 13, 2014

%%First Name%%, press through the swamps!

Psalms 107:2-6 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.

In his book, Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan has written one of the most beautiful allegories about the journey we all travel as a believers.  The book describes the hero, Christian, and his journey from the City of Destruction to his heavenly destination, the Celestial City. Now there's one part of Pilgrim's Progress that I want to focus on today -- walking through the Swamp of Despondency!

At one point during their travels, Christian and his companion suddenly find themselves there....in the Swamp of Despondency. Still bearing his burden, Christian, begins to sink in the mire.  His traveling companion manages to get out, but he returns to the City of Destruction without giving aid to Christian.  Christian is left all alone and sinking even deeper in the mire, until Help, the allegorical figure for the Holy Spirit, pulls him free from the swamp.

Christian then asks Help why this dangerous plot of land has not been mended so that poor travelers might go safely to the Celestial City. Help replies, "This miry slough is such a place that cannot be mended."

How true it is in real life!  As hard as we try to avoid them, whether young in the Lord, or spiritually mature...swamps of despondency seem inevitable, and we must struggle through them!

Charles Spurgeon once wrote to his students in the book, "Lectures to my Students", "Fits of depression come over most of us.  Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down.  The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.  There may be here and there men of iron...but surely the rust frets even these."

%%First Name%%, there are times in our lives when we will struggle through the swamps of despondency -- but praise God that He has provided us a helper for those times of need!  We need to press through, seeking and trusting the power of the Holy Spirit to pull us out of those nasty swamps, and set our feet back upon the Rock of our salvation.  Let's also look around us to see our brethren who may be struggling in the swamps of despondency, so that, rather than abandoning them, we might give them a hand on their journey to the celestial city!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Negev Desert, Israel

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Today's Breaking News
Around the World
Russia prepping for 'full-scale invasion,' Ukraine says as G7 warns 'annexation of Crimea' breaks in - National Post
Ukraine accused Russia of preparing for a "full-scale invasion" on Wednesday, as the G7 nations warned Moscow that the "annexation of Crimea" would break international agreements.

Russia mulling sanctions against West - Russian Radio
Moscow is preparing a bill that would freeze the assets of European and American companies operating in Russia in response to potential Western sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine's Republic of Crimea.

Internet editor fired as Kremlin media crackdown intensifies - Financial Times
The longtime editor of Russia's leading internet news site, Lenta.ru, has been fired by the company's tycoon owner and replaced with a Kremlin-friendly successor, the latest episode in a media crackdown by Vladimir Putin's government.

N.Z. Raises Key Rate to Become First Developed Nation to Tighten - Bloomberg
New Zealand raised its key interest rate, the first developed nation to exit record-low borrowing costs this year, and said it plans to remove stimulus faster than previously forecast to contain inflation.

Markets hold breath as China's shadow banking grinds to a halt - UK Telegraph
A slew of shockingly weak data from China and Japan has led to a sharp sell-off in Asian stock markets and the biggest one-day crash in iron ore prices since the Lehman crisis, calling into question the strength of the global recovery.

G7 calls on Russia to stop all efforts to 'annex' Crimea - AFP
The Group of Seven most developed economies is calling on Russia to stop all efforts to "annex" Ukraine's Crimea region, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday.

Russia agrees to build at least two more nuclear plants: Iran - AFP
Russia has signed a preliminary agreement to build at least two more nuclear power plants in the Iranian port city of Bushehr, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported on Wednesday.


Israel-Palestinian Conflict
Ministers to hold emergency meeting as rocket fire resumes - Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to convene an emergency cabinet meeting Thursday morning to discuss the situation in the south after terrorists hit Israel a day earlier with the largest barrage of rockets since 2012.

Syria's secretive rocket industry spotlighted by Israeli weapons seizure - CS Monitor
Israel's seizure last week of the Klos-C ship and its weapons cargo that included 40 Syrian-manufactured M-302 rockets has drawn attention to Syria's secretive rocket industry.

Egypt 'destroys 1,370 Gaza smuggling tunnels', says army - AFP
Egypt's military said Wednesday it has destroyed 1,370 smuggling tunnels under its border with the Gaza Strip, as Cairo's ties remain sour with the Hamas movement that rules the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli aircraft strike targets in Gaza after rocket attack - Times of Israel
The Israeli Air Force launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip shortly after 10 p.m. on Wednesday in retaliation for a massive rocket barrage earlier in the day, the largest of its kind since 2012.

Barrage of at least 20 rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel - Jerusalem Post
Southern communities near southern and northern Gaza have come under heavy rocket attack on Wednesday evening. The IDF said it was aware of up to 20 rockets fired in the largest attack since 2012's Operation Pillar of Defense.


Inside the United States
Obama runs special forces into the ground - Washington Times
America's in-demand global force against terrorists is showing signs of stress and appears to be gliding toward a decline in readiness, says a Pentagon budget overview on special operations forces.

WSJ/NBC News Poll: Obama's Approval Rating Hits New Low - Wall Street Journal
President Barack Obama is struggling to overcome widespread pessimism about the economy and deep frustration with Washington, notching the lowest job-approval ratings of his presidency in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Military families would take a $5,000 hit in benefits with Obama budget - Washington Times
If President Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel get their way, a typical U.S. Army sergeant stands to lose up to $5,000 in annual benefits, according to a leading veterans group that is mobilizing for battle over the proposed cuts to the retirement, health care and other compensation offered to those who serve.

House Passes 'Enforce the Law' Act - Washington Free Beacon
The House of Representatives passed the "Enforce the Law Act" Wednesday, a bill designed to push back against the numerous unilateral moves the Obama administration has used to circumvent the law.

Obama sidesteps CIA-Senate fight over spying allegation - Washington Examiner
President Obama declined to take sides Wednesday in a simmering feud between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Senate over whether the agency spied on a congressional panel.

House OKs religious exemptions to having a healthcare plan - The Hill
House Democrats joined Republicans on Tuesday to pass legislation that would expand an exemption under ObamaCare for people who don't want health insurance for religious reasons.

Obama to order expansion of overtime pay for millions of workers - Fox News
President Obama, flexing his executive authority once again, plans to order the Labor Department to expand overtime pay requirements to include millions more workers -- in a move likely to rankle the business community.

NYC buildings explosion kills three, others missing - Reuters
Two New York City buildings collapsed on Wednesday in an explosion believed to be caused by a gas leak, killing three people, injuring at least 36, and setting off a search for more victims feared trapped in the rubble, officials said.

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