Undecided voters thought Vice President Mike Pence was the clear winner of Wednesday night’s debate, according to a focus group conducted by political analyst Frank Luntz.
Luntz, speaking in media interviews after the debate, said his focus group of 15 undecided voters from eight battleground states found Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris to be “abrasive and condescending.”
“The complaint about Kamala Harris was that she was abrasive and condescending,” Luntz told Fox News. “The complaint about Mike Pence was that he was too tired, but vice presidential or presidential.”
“If this is a battle over style and substance, which is often the case with undecided voters because they simply do not choose on policy — they also choose on persona — this was Mike Pence’s night,” Luntz added.
Fox News Democracy 2020: Vice Presidential Debate (clip) (clip): AIR.TVwww.air.tv
“I want to emphasize, it’s not that Pence did so well, because they felt that both candidates were not answering the questions as well as they would’ve liked, they thought that Kamala made a greater effort to take down Donald Trump and the Trump/Pence administration, whereas Mike Pence did a better job in explaining what the Trump/Pence administration had done,” he said.
Luntz also said his focus group was more upset with Harris’ “smiling,” “smirking,” and “scowling” than Pence going over his time limit.
While he doesn’t think the debate by itself will change many undecided voters’ minds, Luntz did note that his focus group thought this debate was much better than President Donald Trump’s debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, which they characterized as embarrassing.
“The tone and demeanor of the discussion last night was exactly what the American people want,” Luntz told CNBC Thursday.
On substance, Luntz’s focus group thought both candidates spent too much time arguing over the Trump administration’s record and not enough time talking about their plans for the future.
“The number one question from them is what’s going to happen with the Supreme Court, will Joe Biden try to pack the Supreme Court?” Luntz asked. “Mike Pence did an outstanding job making that an issue yesterday and that is resonating in the minds of the American people today.”
On the economy, the focus group said they did not hear a plan from either candidate on how jobs lost during the coronavirus pandemic will return.
“Voters aren’t looking backwards, they’re looking ahead. We know what happened over the last four years. Now tell me what’s going to happen over the next four weeks, four months, four years,” Luntz said.
You can watch an abridged version of Luntz’s focus group here:
(H/T: Washington Examiner)
Analyst and pollster Frank Luntz appeared on FOX News on Wednesday night to talk about the VP debate. He had a group of undecided voters watch the debate so he could record their reactions.
They were not impressed with Kamala Harris.
Luntz said Vice President Pence won the night.
Nolte: Frank Luntz Focus Group ‘Overwhelmingly’ Says Mike Pence Won Debate
Pollster Frank Luntz hosted a focus group and found the participants “overwhelmingly ” believe vice president Mike Pence won Wednesday night’s debate.
After the debate was over, he asked for a show of hands as far as who won, and told everyone they had to choose one way or the others. No one was allowed to abstain.
Democrat vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris only received two votes out of the 15 undecided voters present. The rest went for Pence.
“It’s overwhelmingly Mike Pence ,” Luntz said as he counted the hands.
When he asked why, the answers sounded like this:
“Mike Pence was more factual. ”
“I felt he was a lot more composed and I wasn’t a fan of her continual facial expressions.”
“He had command of the issues.”
“Harris didn’t look presidential to me.”
“Harris struggled to put together coherent reasons for different questions.”
See the video below:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1314036236617744386&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com%2Fread%2Ffeeds%2F8941419%2Fposts%2F2955918895&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px
Here’s another clip from CNBC:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1314273847290589185&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com%2Fread%2Ffeeds%2F8941419%2Fposts%2F2955918895&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px
It’s easy to see why these voters were repelled by Harris.
She smirked and laughed as they were discussing serious issues.
Cross posted from American Lookout.
Everything that has happened in 2020 so far has set us up for a grand finale that none of us will ever forget. This year we have already witnessed the worst public health crisis in about a hundred years, widespread lockdowns all over the nation, a crippling economic collapse and civil unrest in major cities across America. To say that the American people are in a bad mood would be a major understatement. Now we are less than a month away from a bitterly contested presidential election, and as you will see below, one survey recently found that a majority of Americans are expecting violence. That is extremely unfortunate, but these are the times in which we live. Our country is literally falling apart all around us, and nobody seems to have a way to stop it from happening.
And the worse economic conditions become, the worse the mood of the nation is going to get. On Thursday, we learned that another 840,000 Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week…
The latest jobless claims figures from the Labor Department, which cover the week ending Oct. 2, show that 840,000 workers sought aid last week, about four-times the pre-crisis level. More than 63 million Americans have sought jobless aid since the coronavirus lockdowns began in mid-March.
If someone had told me late last year that 63 million Americans would file new claims for unemployment benefits this year, I would have thought that person was crazy.
Prior to 2020, the worst number for a single week in all of U.S. history was 695,000, and now we have been way above that figure every single week of this pandemic.
Of course the layoffs just keep rolling along. Right now, it is being reported that WarnerMedia expects to lay off thousands of workers in the coming weeks…
AT&T’s WarnerMedia is preparing a restructuring that seeks to reduce costs by as much as 20% as the COVID-19 panic drains income from movie tickets, cable subscriptions and TV ads, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The layoffs are expected to begin in the coming weeks and would result in thousands of layoffs across Warner Bros. studios and TV channels like HBO, TBS and TNT, the paper said.
Personally, I wouldn’t be saddened if WarnerMedia completely shut down on a permanent basis. They produce an endless barrage of garbage programming that is corrupting the minds of millions of Americans, and our society would definitely be better off without them.
But at the same time that millions upon millions of Americans have been losing their jobs, those at the very top of the economic food chain have been getting even wealthier thanks to the Federal Reserve’s reckless intervention in the financial markets.
At this point, the top one percent of all Americans have more than 15 times more money than the bottom 50 percent combined…
According to the latest Fed data, the top 1% of Americans have a combined net worth of $34.2 trillion (or 30.4% of all household wealth in the U.S.), while the bottom 50% of the population holds just $2.1 trillion combined (or 1.9% of all wealth).
If you think that there isn’t a lot of resentment out there, then you haven’t been paying attention.
We are seeing the rise of a “Robin Hood mentality” among many that live in deeply impoverished areas, and when things get really crazy out there they are going to be hitting wealthy neighborhoods really hard.
Unfortunately, a lot of people believe that this upcoming election could potentially be the spark that sets off a lot more civil unrest. Personally, I have such a bad feeling about what is going to happen, and I believe that having so many people voting by mail could cause all sorts of problems.
In fact, even the mainstream media is admitting that we could see a million ballots that are sent through the mail rejected for one reason or another…
Absentee ballot rejections this November are projected to reach historic levels, risking widespread disenfranchisement of minority voters and the credibility of election results, a USA TODAY, Columbia Journalism Investigations and PBS series FRONTLINE investigation found.
At least 1.03 million absentee ballots could be tossed if half of the nation votes by mail. Discarded votes jump to 1.55 million if 75% of the country votes absentee. In the latter scenario, more than 185,000 votes could be lost in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – states considered key to capturing the White House.
Any system of voting that could potentially disenfranchise a million voters is deeply broken and should not be used.
But at this point it is too late to do anything about it. More than 6 million people have already voted, and more votes are being sent in with each passing day.
Of course millions of other Americans are also deeply concerned about the integrity of this election. Just check out the results of a recent YouGov survey…
The YouGov poll of 1,999 registered votersfound that nearly half – 47% – disagree with the idea that the election “is likely to be fair and honest.” And that slightly more than half – 51% – won’t “generally agree on who is the legitimately elected president of the United States.” The online poll was conducted Oct.1-2 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.56 percentage points.
In essence, about half the country believes that this election may not be legitimate.
That is a major national crisis right there.
In addition, YouGov has also found that 56 percent of Americans believe that there will be “an increase in violence as a result of the election”…
In addition, a YouGov poll of 1,505 voters found that 56% said they expect to see “an increase in violence as a result of the election.” That question had a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.
This definitely is not the America that I grew up in.
In the old days, nobody would have ever imagined widespread violence after a presidential election.
Another recent survey discovered that a whopping 61 percent of Americans believe that “the U.S. could be on the verge of another Civil War”.
We have never seen anything like this before, and at this point it is undeniable that our society is breaking down all around us.
But instead of bringing us together, the results of this upcoming election are only going to deepen our divisions no matter who wins.
Everything that our forefathers worked so hard to build is at risk, and we are getting very, very close to crossing the point of no return.
I will not fear. What can man do to me?
Mighty Lord, who shall separate me from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword? Yet in all these things I am more than a conqueror through Jesus who loved me.
I will not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But Jesus has shown me whom I should fear: fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, Jesus says fear Him!
I am blessed when I am persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for mine is the kingdom of heaven. I am blessed when they revile and persecute me, and say all kinds of evil against me falsely for Jesus’ sake. I will rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is my reward in heaven. None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy. I will speak of Your testimonies, Lord God, before kings, and will not be ashamed.
May I fear You and You alone, Lord,
and therefore be bold in my witness to Your truth,
Your mercy, and Your grace.
Hebrews 13:6; Romans 8:35, 37; Luke 12:4–5; Matthew 5:10–12; Acts 20:24; Psalm 119:46
Head of Health Emergencies Program “best estimates” put IFR at 0.14%…
The World Health Organization has finally confirmed what we (and many experts and studies) have been saying for months – the coronavirus is no more deadly or dangerous than seasonal flu.
The WHO’s top brass made this announcement during a special session of the WHO’s 34-member executive board on Monday October 5th, it’s just nobody seemed to really understand it.
In fact, they didn’t seem to completely understand it themselves.
At the session, Dr Michael Ryan, the WHO’s Head of Emergencies revealed that they believe roughly 10% of the world has been infected with Sars-Cov-2.
This is their “best estimate”, and a huge increase over the number of officially recognised cases (around 35 million).
Dr. Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, later confirmed the figure, stating it was based on the average results of all the broad seroprevalence studies done around the world.
As much as the WHO were attempting to spin this as a bad thing – Dr Ryan even said it means “the vast majority of the world remains at risk.” – it’s actually good news. And confirms, once more, that the virus is nothing like as deadly as everyone predicted.
That’s an infection fatality rate of roughly or 0.14%.
Right in line with seasonal flu and the predictions of many experts from all around the world.
0.14% is over 24 times LOWER than the WHO’s “provisional figure” of 3.4% back in March. This figure was used in the models which were used to justify lockdowns and other draconian policies.
In fact, given the over-reporting of alleged Covid deaths, the IFR is likely even lower than 0.14%, and could show Covid to be much less dangerous than flu.
None of the mainstream press picked up on this. Though many outlets reported Dr Ryan’s words, they all attempted to make it a scary headline and spread more panic.
Apparently neither they, nor the WHO, were capable of doing the simple math that shows us this is good news. And that the Covid sceptics have been right all along.
A new report released Tuesday by the Cultural Research Center (CRC) of Arizona Christian University has a troubling conclusion. American Christians are undergoing a “post-Christian Reformation,” says Dr. George Barna, Director of Research at the CRC. Unlike the Protestant Reformation, whose goal was to return to the foundational teachings of the Bible, this modern movement is one where Americans are redefining biblical beliefs according to secular values.
“While the survey cannot determine if churches are failing to teach biblical truth or whether congregants are exposed to such teaching but rejecting it, the bottom line is that we are a society that has strayed far from the path of biblical truth,” said Dr. George Barna in a summary of the findings. “It certainly seems as if the culture is influencing the Church more than the church is influencing the culture.”
In January 2020, the CRC surveyed 2,000 adults in the U.S. from four major groups: evangelicals, Pentecostals and charismatics, mainline Protestants, and Catholics. The study was part of the American Worldview Inventory 2020, and the estimated margin of error was plus or minus two percentage points.
Researchers asked respondents about their views on 51 topics, including marriage, absolute truth, the sanctity of human life, and the authority of the Bible. While there were notable differences among the four Christian traditions, researchers found that all of them showed a clear trend away from the teachings of the Bible and toward a secular worldview.
Dr. George Barna: American Christians Are Redefining Their Faith
“The irony of the reshaping of the spiritual landscape in America is that it represents a post-Christian Reformation driven by people seeking to retain a Christian identity,” said Dr. George Barna. “Unfortunately, the theology of this reformation is being driven by American culture rather than biblical truth. The worldviews embraced by the adherents of these distinct religious communities reflect contemporary, worldly influence, rather than biblical influence.”
“The most startling realization” about this secular reformation, said Barna, “is how many people from evangelical churches are adopting unbiblical beliefs.”
Evangelicals have traditionally emphasized the importance of seeing the Bible as the infallible, inerrant Word of God. Now, however, 52 percent do not believe in objective moral truth, which “equates to most evangelicals believing that the Bible is either not inerrant or trustworthy in its content.” That, said Barna, “is a radical and critical departure from the traditional teachings and biblical reliance of evangelicals.”
In addition to their shifting views on absolute truth and the authority of the Bible, evangelical views of God and humanity are also becoming more secular. Seventy-five percent believe that people are basically good instead of basically sinful, 43 percent believe Jesus sinned during his time on earth, and 58 percent believe that the Holy Spirit is merely a symbol rather than a person. A majority of evangelicals do not believe it is important to follow the Christian faith exclusively. Sixty-two percent said that having some faith of any kind was better than having none at all.
Other findings from the survey include that 44 percent of evangelicals believe the Bible’s teachings on abortion are ambiguous, 40 percent do not believe human life is sacred, 34 percent do not believe marriage is between one man and one woman, and 43 percent do not believe that God has a unified purpose for all people.
The study also found that significant minorities of those who identify as evangelical do not confess their sins daily, worship God daily, or pursue God’s will for their lives. Said Barna, “While some of the ideas gaining traction in evangelical congregations may not reflect a majority perspective, the fact that one-third to one-half of those adults embrace these ideas can only be viewed as alarming for evangelicalism.” Finally, Barna found that 28 percent of people who attend evangelical churches are not born-again Christians.
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The findings on the other three Christian traditions are even more stark than those on evangelicals. Dr. George Barna said the survey reveals the “theological demise” of those who are members of Pentecostal and charismatic congregations. Sixty-nine percent do not believe in absolute moral truth. Even larger percentages of people from this tradition do not believe that human life is sacred and do believe the Bible is ambiguous about abortion. The “most unexpected perspective,” however, among Pentecostals and charismatics is how many people welcome the government’s involvement in their lives. For example, 69 percent said they preferred socialism to capitalism. And the study found that 45 percent were not born-again Christians, which Barna described as an “unexpectedly large proportion of people.”
Barna found mainline Protestants to be “the most secular” out of the four Christian traditions surveyed. Nearly two-thirds (60 percent) of the beliefs of those who attend mainline Protestant congregations “directly conflict with biblical teaching.” Said Barna, “The worldview possessed by most mainline church attenders revolves around three concepts.” These concepts are 1) individuals determine their own truth and morality, 2) there is no objective, transcendent purpose to life, and 3) traditional Christian practices (such as confessing sin, praying, and reading the Bible) are not important to one’s faith. Fifty-nine percent of those who attend mainline Protestant churches are not born-again.
Catholics, said Barna, “are the segment of the Christian community most likely to believe that a person can earn salvation by being a good enough person or by doing enough good deeds throughout their lifetime.” Catholics are also the most likely group to accept behaviors such as lying, speeding, and premarital sex. While mainline Protestants are the least likely Protestant group to be born-again, Catholics are the least likely group out of the four to be born-again—Barna found that 72 percent were not.
“What may be unexpected, though,” said Barna, “is that the most common answer given by Catholics regarding their eternal consequences is that they will experience Heaven because of their confession of sin and embrace of Christ as their savior (i.e., being spiritually born-again).”
Dr. George Barna hopes that shining light on these disturbing developments within American Christianity will prompt a reformation akin to that initiated by Martin Luther rather than the “post-Christian Reformation” that is currently taking place. He said,
It’s one thing for Americans to be confused on the finer points or even hotly debated elements of theology, but for Americans to misunderstand or to flat out reject the Bible as a foundational source of truth and moral guidance, to reject salvation by grace alone, and to reject core doctrines of the Christian faith points to a major crisis in our society. Hopefully, bringing these issues to light can generate greater attention being paid to what matters and how to fix what’s clearly broken.
Date: October 8, 2020
Host: Jim Schneider
MP3 | Orderhttps://embed.sermonaudio.com/player/a/10820211322791/
This Crosstalk looked at the Pence-Harris debate from last evening while also acting as a news round-up broadcast for the week.
Here’s a selection of topics Jim noted were addressed during the debate:
–Senator Kamala Harris would not trust a Trump endorsed coronavirus vaccine–Biden’s plan to repeal the Trump tax cuts–Harris denied wanting to stop fracking in spite of past quotes in favor of banning it–abortion–accepting the outcome of the election–Harris references Abraham Lincoln when talking about the nomination of a Supreme Court successor and more.
Other news items Jim covered included:
–Michelle Obama defended Black Lives Matter rioting and accused the president of being racist.
–Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she intends to discuss a constitutional measure to remove President Trump from office following questions regarding his health as he recovers from coronavirus.
–President Trump believes a ‘virtual’ presidential debate is a ‘waste of time.’
–A federal appeals court has ruled blocking a decision to extend the deadline for counting absentee ballots in Wisconsin.
–Lost in the reporting of the World Health Organization’s new estimate that about 760 million people, more than 20 times the confirmed cases, have been infected by the coronavirus worldwide is the impact on the estimated survival rate.
–Leading epidemiologists have launched a petition calling for an end to lock-downs of the healthy and instead focus on protecting those who are vulnerable to the coronavirus.
–President Trump ‘tweeted’ out that Nancy Pelosi is not negotiating in good faith so therefore the COVID-19 relief talks are on hold until after the election.
–The governor’s office from the State of California released a statement about wearing masks highlighting the extreme measures that governments are allegedly taking to fight COVID-19. This includes keeping a mask on between bites while dining.
–A professor at Oregon State University blames white Christians for the wildfires in California.
–The National Latino Peace Officers Association Advocacy publicly endorsed President Donald Trump.
rejoice in hope (12:12a)
Living the supernatural life inevitably brings opposition from the world and sometimes even sparks resentment by fellow Christians. Even after years of faithful service to the Lord, some see few, if any, apparent results from their labors. Without hope we could never survive. “For in hope we have been saved,” Paul has already explained, “but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Rom. 8:24–25).
Rejoicing in that hope, we know that, if we are “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” our “toil is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58). We can therefore look forward to one day hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). We know that “in the future there is laid up for [us] the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to [us] on that day; and … to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).
persevere in tribulation (12:12b)
It is because we can rejoice in hope that we also can persevere in tribulation, whatever its form or severity. Because we have perfect assurance concerning the ultimate outcome of our lives, we are able to persist against any obstacle and endure any suffering. That is why Paul could declare with perfect confidence that “we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:2–5).
be devoted to prayer (12:12c)
Doubtless one of the reasons the Lord allows His children to go through tribulation is to drive them to Himself. The believer who has the strength to persevere in trials, afflictions, adversity, and misfortune—sometimes even deprivation and destitution—will pray more than occasionally. He will be devoted to prayer, in communion with his Lord as a constant part of his life. So should we all be, no matter what the circumstances of our lives.
Proskartereō (devoted) means literally to be strong toward something, and it also carries the ideas of steadfast and unwavering. It was with such devoted … prayer that early Christians worshiped, both before and after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 1:14; 2:42). It was to enable the apostles to devote themselves “to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4) that deacons were first appointed in the church.
Devoted, steadfast prayer should be as continual a part of a Christian’s spiritual life as breathing is a part of his physical life. The victorious Christian prays “with the spirit and … with the mind” (1 Cor. 14:15). As he prays with his own spirit, he also prays “in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20; cf. Eph. 6:18). He prays “without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Paul therefore admonished Timothy to have “the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands” (1 Tim. 2:8).
12 The nature of “hope” (elpis, GK 1828) as confident expectation is something that should always be the cause of rejoicing. But because hope is in reference to something not yet seen, it can often weaken instead of providing the strength that it should. Hope is meant to sustain the servant of Christ and enable him or her to be “patient in affliction” (thlipsis, GK 2568). Paul brought together the same constellation of ideas earlier in 5:3–4. The last item in these verses is the Christian’s need to be “faithful [proskarterountes, GK 4674; lit., “persevering”] in prayer.” Regular prayer, of course, is a characteristic of the vibrant Christian. In brief, the thrust of vv. 11–12 is that Christians are called to live in a way that is consistent with the grace they have received.
12 The three admonitions in this verse are closely related in both style and content. For hope, endurance, and prayer are natural partners. Even as we “rejoice in hope,” gaining confidence from God’s promise that we will share the glory of God, we recognize the “down side”: the path to the culmination of hope is strewn with tribulations. Paul, ever the realist, knows this; and so here, as he does elsewhere, he quickly moves from hope to the need for endurance.49 At the same time, we realize that our ability to continue to rejoice and to “bear up under” our tribulations is dependent on the degree to which we heed Paul’s challenge to “persist in prayer.” (Note that Paul moves from hope to endurance to prayer also in Rom. 8:24–27.)
12 The next three are also closely related: “rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing stedfastly in prayer”. Hope has reference to the future (cf. 8:24, 25). The believer must never have his horizon bounded by what is seen and temporal (cf. vs. 2). The salvation now in possession is so conditioned by hope that without hope its character is denied; “for in hope were we saved” (8:24). The hope is hope of the glory of God (5:2) and it is one of unalloyed, consummated bliss for the believer. Hope realized will be a morning without clouds; there will be no mixture of good and evil, joy and sorrow. Hence “rejoicing in hope” even now. Hope is not here, however, the object to which rejoicing is directed. In Philippi’s words, “the summons meant is not to joy at hope … but to joy by means or in virtue of hope”. The hope is the cause or ground of the joy. However tried by affliction the reaction appropriate in view of hope is rejoicing. There is no comfort in sorrow except as it is illumined by hope. How eloquent to this effect is Paul’s word elsewhere to believers as they weep over the deceased, “ye sorrow not, even as others, who do not have hope” (1 Thess. 4:13).
“Patient in tribulation.” As Philippi again points out, this is not enduring tribulation but stedfast in tribulation. Our attention had been already drawn to the tribulations characterizing the believer’s pilgrimage and to his attitude toward them (5:3). Paul refers frequently to the affliction which he himself endured (cf. 2 Cor. 1:4, 8; 2:4; 6:4; 7:4; Eph. 3:13; 1 Thess. 3:7). It is also noteworthy how often with different aspects of life in view the apostle’s teaching takes account of the believers’ afflictions (cf. 8:35; 2 Cor. 1:4; 4:17; 8:2; 1 Thess. 1:6; 3:3; 2 Thess. 1:4). These often take the form of persecution and we are reminded that “all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persucution” (2 Tim. 3:12; cf. Rom. 8:35; 2 Cor. 12:10; 2 Thess. 1:4; 2 Tim. 3:11) and that “through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22; cf. Rev. 7:14). The exhortation of the present text evinces the need for constancy and perseverance in what is so pervasive in the life of faith.
The exacting demands involved in the preceding point up the relevance of the next injunction: “continuing stedfastly in prayer” (cf. Acts 1:14; 6:4; Col. 4:2). The measure of perseverance in the midst of tribulation is the measure of our diligence in prayer. Prayer is the means ordained of God for the supply of grace sufficient for every exigency and particularly against the faintheartedness to which affliction tempts us.
It is well to observe the interdependence of the virtues enjoined in this trilogy. How dismal would tribulation be without hope (cf. 1 Cor. 15:19) and how defeatist would we be in persecution without the resources of hope and patience conveyed to us through prayer. The sequence of David’s thought reflects the apostle’s exhortations: “Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands towards thy holy oracle … Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth and with my song will I praise him” (Psalm 28:2, 6, 7).
Ver. 12.—Patience, hope, and prayer. In the preceding verse the active, energetic side of religion is presented with vivacity and completeness. And this is perhaps the most important of all the trustful results of true Christianity. It was an end worthy of the Divine interposition to introduce amongst men the purpose and the power to serve the Lord with fervour and with diligence. Yet this is not all which our religion does for us. Our life is not altogether in our own hands; we cannot control and govern all that concerns us. We have all to learn the lesson that Divine providence has appointed for us; not only to work, but to submit; that we have not only to serve, but to suffer. True religion must give us, not only a law and impulse for fulfilling life’s duties, but also a power by which we shall endure life’s calamities and weakness. However our natural character may make active exertion congenial, however our lot may be, on the whole, one of cheerful and devoted service; there comes a time to all—a time, it may be, of sickness, or of infirmity, of calamity, or of old age—when another aspect of religion must be realized; when we must turn to Christ for grace, that we may be found “in hope joyful, in trial patient, in prayer unwearied.”
- To Christians tribulation is Divine discipline. The text implies, not only that the human lot is characterized by affliction, but that affliction is the occasion of the calling forth of Christian virtues. There would scarcely be such an emotion as hope unless the present were a condition from which (in some respects) it is desirable to be released, or, at all events, a condition susceptible of great improvement. Unless we had something to bear, there would be no scope for the virtue of patience. If all things were as we could wish them, if we had nothing to contend with, if nothing occurred to make us feel our own helplessness—in such case prayer would scarcely be felt to be urgently, or at all events constantly, necessary. Life is a very different thing to those who are enlightened by revelation, as this verse conclusively shows us. How truly Christian are these precepts, and how truly Christians those who fulfil them, appears, if we think of the heathen, and realize how they failed alike in patience, in hope, and in prayer. Philosophers inculcated patience in adversity, but they imparted no principle or power which enabled people generally to cherish this disposition. The hope which the unenlightened pagans cherished respected this life alone, and even the wisest and best knew nothing of a hope of immortality so vivid and powerful as to awaken joy. Their prayers were either purely matter of custom and form, or, being addressed to deities morally imperfect and capricious, were faithless, fitful, and uninfluential even upon their own nature. It is the glory of Christianity to have changed all this. Among the lowliest of the Saviour’s followers we find fortitude in the endurance of affliction, arising from the conviction that it is the chastening of a Divine Father. Hope—especially as reaching beyond this brief existence, and as a mighty sustaining power—is a virtue distinctively Christian. Whilst prayer, instead of being an occasional, doubting, and unprofitable exercise, is the atmosphere the Christian breathes, the power which sustains him in all trouble, and which inspires within him a hope founded upon the faithfulness and the promises of his redeeming God.
- As respects the present, the Christian is supported by patience. Patience suffers without murmuring the ills which Providence permits. Patience waits for the relief which, in due time, Providence will send. Suffering and waiting complete this unusual virtue. It is not easy for any one to be patient; it is easier to work with diligence and strenuousness than to endure trial without complaint—than to wait until a power not our own shall bring the trial to a close. Christian patience is not a stoical aquiescence in the inevitable, upon the principle “What can’t be cured must be endured” 1. It is the result of a belief in a wise and merciful Providence. We do not bow to fate; we submit to a Father in heaven. Often we cannot understand why he should permit all that befalls us. But faith assures us that the counsels of God towards us are counsels of love. We cannot shut out from the universe the unseen hand that guides and governs all for our highest and eternal good. We believed in our own earthly father’s heart, though sense could never have told us of it; and similarly our souls are patient, because we are assured that a heavenly Parent cares for us, and strengthens and heals as well as smites. 2. It is the fruit of fellowship with Jesus. There was no quality for which our Saviour was more to be admired than for his patience. He was patient with the misunderstandings of his own disciples; he was patient with his enemies and murderers; he was patient under insult and agony. In all this he left us an example; and an apostle prays that God may direct our hearts into the patience of Christ. Many, through faith in the meek and patient Saviour, have been enabled by Divine grace to overcome a naturally impatient and imperious, hasty and violent temper. 3. It is a virtue in which we are instructed and practically disciplined by the Spirit of God. “Tribulation worketh patience.” The lesson is not learned all at once. Let not those dispositions to which it is not naturally easy be discouraged. “Let patience have its perfect work.” Patience is tried, not that it may give way, but that it may be established. It is the handiwork of the living Spirit; and the day shall come when the Maker shall pronounce this and all his works to be very good.
III. As respects the future, the Christian is inspired by hope. Now, hope is an easier and more natural exercise of the human spirit than is patience. A person may rebel and fret under present discipline, and yet may hope for better times.
“… the darkest day,
Live till to-morrow, will have passed away.”
The Christian’s hope is, however, far superior to any other. Whilst he has higher pleasures and stronger supports now, he has brighter prospects for the great hereafter. There are several elements of superiority in this hope. 1. It is well founded, resting as it does upon the faithful promises of God. God is designated “the God of hope.” Hence the Christian’s hope is not vague, but definite; it is not hesitating, but sure. 2. It is hope of grace for all the needs that are to come. This means hope of deliverance from all dangers, support under all difficulties, consolation under all troubles, guidance in all perplexities. 3. It is hope which reaches beyond this present life; such hope as none has been able to inspire but he who “abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel.” Hope of rest, of victory, of a kingdom; a hope as “an anchor unto the soul, sure and steadfast, which entereth into that within the veil.” 4. It is hope which brings joy. Making the future real, bringing the future near, hope chases away the gloom and darkness, and creates a spiritual joy, pure, serene, and unspeakable. Thus, in the night, songs of joy and gladness ascend to heaven. “Patience worketh experience, and experience hope.”
- By prayer patience is perfected and hope inspired. It is evident that the admonition to prayer is introduced here with a special purpose in view. It is intended to point out to us that the demeanour here commended can only be maintained through cultivating a prayerful spirit. It is not easy, whilst pursuing this pilgrimage, to be patient amidst its difficulties, to be joyful when the present is dark, and the ray of hope alone illuminates the night. Still, though not easy, it is possible. That is to say, it becomes possible by prayer. Grace can be obtained, if sought in God’s appointed way; but it must be sought, not occasionally or fitfully, but steadfastly, perseveringly, constantly, habitually. This is reasonable enough. There is nothing in our condition that should put a close to our prayers, and nothing in our hearts. We do not become independent of the aid which such fellowship with Heaven alone can bring. There is every inducement, in the declarations and promises of God’s Word, to “pray without ceasing,” “always to pray and not to faint.” God’s fatherly heart does not cease to pity; Christ does not cease to intercede for his people. As long as our Lord is on the throne of power, and we are in poverty and need and helplessness, we may well continue our prayers. Private, domestic, and public; silent and uttered; stated and ejaculatory;—the prayers of God’s people are acceptable, and are heard.
Application. 1. The tribulations of life are common to all mankind. Why should any hearer of the gospel endure those tribulations without the grace that can sustain and comfort, the hopes that can animate and inspire? 2. If Christians are weighed down and distressed by the trials of life, is it not because they fail to give heed to the admonitions of God’s Word, because they neglect to use the means of grace and help which are placed within their reach? Tribulation will come. We can be sustained under it only by patience and by hope; and these virtues are the fruits of prayer.
12. Rejoicing in hope, &c. Three things are here connected together, and seem in a manner to belong to the clause “serving the time;” for the person who accommodates himself best to the time, and avails himself of the opportunity of actively renewing his course, is he who derives his joy from the hope of future life, and patiently bears tribulations. However this may be, (for it matters not much whether you regard them as connected or separated,) he first forbids us to acquiesce in present blessings, and to ground our joy on earth and on earthly things, as though our happiness were based on them; and he bids us to raise our minds up to heaven, that we may possess solid and full joy. If our joy is derived from the hope of future life, then patience will grow up in adversities; for no kind of sorrow will be able to overwhelm this joy. Hence these two things are closely connected together, that is, joy derived from hope, and patience in adversities. No man will indeed calmly and quietly submit to bear the cross, but he who has learnt to seek his happiness beyond this world, so as to mitigate and allay the bitterness of the cross with the consolation of hope.
But as both these things are far above our strength, we must be instant in prayer, and continually call on God, that he may not suffer our hearts to faint and to be pressed down, or to be broken by adverse events. But Paul not only stimulates us to prayer, but expressly requires perseverance; for we have a continual warfare, and new conflicts daily arise, to sustain which, even the strongest are not equal, unless they frequently gather new vigour. That we may not then be wearied, the best remedy is diligence in prayer.
Ver. 12 Rejoicing in hope.—
- What is it to rejoice? 1. Negatively—(1) Not to have the senses pleased. (2) Nor does it consist in the imagination. 2. Positively; it consists in—(1) The removal of sorrow from the heart (Psa. 42:5). (2) The soul’s content and satisfaction (Luke 1:47).
- What is hope? It consists in—(1) The belief of good things to be had (1 Pet. 1:13). (2) The expectation of them (Psa. 42:5). (3) Making use of all lawful means for obtaining them (Heb. 10:23–25; Esther 4:14).
III. What is it to rejoice in hope? To rest satisfied with the expectation of the good things God has promised. 1. An interest in Christ (1 Pet. 1:8; Rom. 8:32, 34). 2. The pardon of sin (Psa. 32:5). 3. The love of God (chap. 5:1). 4. The working together of all things for our good (chap. 8:28). 5. Continual supplies of grace (2 Cor. 12:9). 6. A joyful resurrection (1 Cor. 15:19, 20). 7. The enjoyment of God for ever (Psa. 42:2).
- What grounds have we to hope for these things, so as to rejoice in it? 1. The faithfulness of God (Tit. 1:2). 2. His power (Matt. 19:26). 3. The merits of Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). Conlusion: Rejoice in hope. 1. Otherwise you dishonour God by mistrusting His promises (chap. 4:20). 2. You dishonour religion by accusing it of uncertainties. 3. You deprive yourself of happiness. 4. The more joyful in hope, the more active in duty. 5. Rejoice in hope now; in sight hereafter. (Bp. Beveridge.)
Rejoicing in hope:—
- The source of this joy—Hope. 1. Glorious. 2. Certain.
- Its nature. 1. Sweet. 2. Solid. 3. Spiritual. 4. Purifying.
III. Its expression. 1. Lively. 2. Practical. 3. Constant.
- Its importance to—1. Ourselves. 2. The Church. 3. The world. (J. Lyth, D.D.)
Rejoicing in hope:—1. Hope is an instinct of the soul. “Thou didst make me to hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.” As an instinct—(1) It implies the existence of a prospective good, and the possibility of coming into its possession. (2) It is one of the strongest and most operative forces in our nature. Hesiod tells us, that the miseries of all mankind were included in a great box, and that Pandora’s husband took off the lid, by which means all of them came abroad, but hope remained still at the bottom, 2. The real worth of this instinct to man depends upon the direction it takes. (1) “Wrongly directed, it is a fawning traitor of the mind.” The goodly scenes it spreads out to the soul turn out to be a mere mirage. False hopes are like meteors that brighten the skies of the soul for a moment, only to leave the gloom more intense. They are mere blossoms on fruitless trees, pleasing the eye for the hour, then fading away and rotting into dust. Few things are more distressing than the loss of hope. Longfellow compares it to the “setting of the sun.” Solomon speaks of it as “the giving up of the ghost.” (2) Rightly directed, is among the chiefest of our blessings. It is that which gives sunshine to the sky, beauty to the landscape, and music to life. Such is the hope of which the apostle here speaks. Two things are essential to a “joyous hope.”
- A right object. 1. It must not—(1) Be selfish. So constituted is the soul, that the hope that is directed exclusively to its own happiness never satisfies. Down deep in the soul is the feeling that man has to live for something greater and nobler than himself. (2) Be incapable of engaging all our powers. (3) Less lasting than its own existence. Man can never be fully happy whose hope is directed to the transient and the dying. 2. That which will give a joyous hope is moral goodness—assimilation to the image of God.
- A certain foundation. Unless a man has good reason to believe that the object he hopes for is to be gained, he cannot rejoice in his hope. Three reasons for believing that a soul, guilty and depraved, can be brought into possession of true goodness, and restored to the very image of God, are—1. The provisions of the gospel. The life and death of Christ, the agency of the Spirit, and the disciplinary influences of human life are all divinely appointed methods to re-create the soul and to fashion it into the very image of God. 2. The biographies of sainted men. History abounds with examples of bad men becoming good. 3. The inward consciousness of moral progress. The man who has got this hope is conscious that he has made some progress, and that the steps he has taken have been the most difficult. His past efforts are aids and pledges to future success. (D. Thomas, D.D.) Patient in tribulation:—
- What are tribulations? Whatsoever—1. Is hurtful to us. 2. Vexeth us.
- What is it to be patient? 1. Not to murmur against God (Exod. 16:3). 2. Nor despair of deliverance (Psa. 42:5). 3. Nor use unlawful means to get out of them. 4. To rest satisfied with them (1 Sam. 3:18). 5. To be thankful for them (Job 1:21, 22; 1 Thess. 5:18).
III. Why are we to be patient? 1. They come from God (2 Sam. 16:10–12; Psa. 39:2). 2. Are no more (Lam. 3:39), but less than we deserve (Ezra 9:13). 3. Impatience does not heighten them. 4. By patience we change them into mercies as in Job, Joseph, David. Conclusion: Be patient. 1. No afflictions but others have borne (1 Pet. 4:12; 5:9). 2. Christ has undergone more than we can (chap. 8:29; 1 Pet. 2:23; 4:13). 3. God knows how to deliver us (2 Pet. 2:9). 4. By patience you make a virtue of necessity. 5. Will do you much good by them (Heb. 12:6–8). (Bp. Beveridge.)
Patient in tribulation:—
- Tribulation is unavoidable in this life. 1. Ordained of God. 2. For wise purposes.
- Should be borne with patience. 1. Not indifference. 2. But in silence. 3. Without repining. 4. With resignation.
III. The reasons. 1. God is kind. 2. Life is but a probationary state. 3. Consolations are provided. 4. The results are glorious. (J. Lyth, D.D.)
Patient in tribulation:—Some have floated on the sea, and trouble carried them on its surface, as the sea carries cork. Some have sunk at once to the bottom, as foundering ships sink. Some have run away from their own thoughts. Some have coiled themselves up in stoical indifference. Some have braved the trouble, and defied it. Some have carried it, as a tree does a wound, until by new wood it can overgrow and cover the old gash. A few in every age have known the divine art of carrying sorrow and trouble as wonderful food, as an invisible garment that clothed them with strength, as a mysterious joy, so that they suffered gladly, rejoicing in infirmity, and, holding up their heads with sacred presages whenever times were dark and troublous, let the light depart from their eyes, that they might by faith see nobler things than sight could reach. (H. W. Beecher.)
Patient in tribulation:—All birds when they are first caught and put into the cage fly wildly up and down, and beat themselves against their little prisons; but within two or three days sit quietly on their perch, and sing their usual notes with their usual melody. So it fares with us, when God first brings us into a strait; we wildly flutter up and down, and beat and tire ourselves with striving to get free; but at length custom and experience will make our narrow confinement spacious enough for us; and though our feet should be in the stocks, yet shall we, with the apostles, be able even there to sing praises to our God. (Bp. Hopkins.) Continuing instant in prayer.—
- What is prayer? 1. The hearty desire. (1) Mental (1 Sam. 1:13; Eph. 5:10). (2) Oral (John 17:5). 2. Of necessary things. (1) Spiritual, for the life to come. (a) Sense of sin (Luke 13:3). (b) Faith in Christ (Luke 17:5). (c) Pardon of former transgressions (Psa. 51:9). (d) Subduing present corruptions (Psa. 19:12, 13; 119:133). (e) The continual influences of His grace and spirit (Psa. 51:10; Luke 11:13). (2) Temporal, for this life (1 Tim. 4:8; Prov. 30:8). 3. From God. (1) God alone is to be worshipped (Matt. 4:10). (2) God alone understands our prayers (Isa. 63:16). (3) He alone can answer them (Psa. 65:2). (4) He commands us to call to Him (Jer. 33:3; Psa. 50:15). (5) Christ directs us to pray to Him (Matt. 6:9). See the error of Papists, who pray to the Cross. To the Virgin Mary, &c. St. Roche for the plague. St. Apollonia for the toothache. St. Eulogius for horses. St. Anthony for hogs. St. Gallus for geese, &c.
- Why should we pray? 1. God hath commanded it (1 Thess. 5:17). 2. Encouraged us with a promise (Psa. 50:15; Matt. 7:7). 3. Made it the condition of all promises (Ezek. 36:37). 4. It is part of Divine worship. 5. Hereby we give glory to God. (1) Of omnipresence (Psa. 139:2, 3). (2) Of omniscience (Psa. 139:7). (3) Of omnipotence. 6. All blessings are sanctified by it (1 Tim. 4:5). 7. Only by this we acknowledge our dependence upon Him.
III. How should we pray. 1. Before prayer, consider (Psa. 10:17). (1) Who is it you go to pray to (Exod. 34:6). (2) What you have to pray for (1 John 5:14). (3) How unworthy you are to ask or receive (Gen. 32:10). (4) That Christ is interceding for you (Eph. 3:12; Heb. 7:25). 2. In prayer. (1) Pray with that humility, reverence, and submission, as becomes a sinful creature (Gen. 18:27; Luke 18:13; Ezra 9:6). (2) Utter nothing rashly before Him, nor mingle stories with petitions (Eccles. 5:1, 2). (3) Let every petition proceed from the heart (John 4:24). (4) Pray only in the name of Christ (John 14:13, 14; 16:23; Heb. 7:25). (5) Let your affections and apprehensions go together (1 Cor. 14:15). (6) Pray in faith (Mark 11:24; James 1:6). (7) Without wrath (1 Tim. 2:8; Matt. 6:14, 15). (8) For others as well as for yourselves (1 Tim. 2:1; Eph. 6:18). (9) To the right end (James 4:3). (10) Add praise to prayers (Phil. 4:6; 1 Tim. 2:1). (a) Praising God is all that He expects for His mercies. (b) It is the best sacrifice we can offer (Psa. 69:30, 31). (c) It is the work of Heaven (Rev. 7:9, 10; 19:1). 3. After prayer. (1) Consider what you have prayed for. (2) Expect it (Psa. 5:3). (3) Use means for obtaining it.
- When should we pray? Or how continue instant in prayer (Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17). 1. Be always in a praying frame. 2. Take all occasions of praying. 3. Never faint in prayer (Luke 18:1; 2 Cor. 12:8, 9). 4. Make prayer your daily exercise. (1) We must serve God daily (Luke 1:75). (2) The sacrifices of the Old Testament were daily (Numb. 28:3; Acts 3:1). (3) Christ directs us to ask our daily bread (Matt. 6:11, 33). (4) The saints in all ages prayed daily (Psa. 55:17; 119:164; Dan. 6:10; 1 Kings 8:48; Luke 2:37). (5) The heathen and the Turks do it. (6) We need daily mercies. (7) We receive them. 5. Objection. I have oft prayed, but am never heard (Job 21:15). (1) However, we are bound to serve God. (2) If we get no good it is our own fault. (a) As to the matter (1 John 5:14). (b) Means (James 1:6). (c) End, of prayer (James 4:3). (3) Perhaps you never expected it. (4) Or have not used the right means for it. (5) You have not prayed long enough (2 Cor. 12:9; Luke 18:1). (6) Though you have not received that required, you have other mercies (2 Cor. 12:9). (7) You may be answered, and not know it. Conclusion: Continue instant in prayer. 1. Otherwise ye live in continued sin. 2. Prayer is the most honourable work. 3. The most pleasant (Psa. 84:10). 4. The only way of getting real mercies (James 1:5). 5. Right praying is a sign of a true convert (Acts 9:11). (Bp. Beveridge.)
Instant in prayer:—Prayer is the natural duty of religion. Its observance is as natural as conversation between men. The Scriptures urge a constant and careful performance, then, not only as a duty, but a privilege. The subject suggests an inquiry as to—
- The matter and subject of prayer. 1. Generally, it is to petition God to bestow upon us all that is good, and to deliver us from all that is evil: the pursuit of virtue, the direction of our affairs, immortal happiness. 2. Particularly, our own individual requirements, according to our particular weaknesses and difficulties, should form the groundwork of our petitions.
- The specific directions of the apostle—“Continuing instant.” We are not to make it a mere formal duty. It is to be the constant effort and breath of our very existence. We are hereby taught—1. That worldly duties are not inconsistent with heavenly thoughts. 2. That God may be worshipped at all times. 3. That religion is not a thing to be put off till we have leisure and opportunity.
III. The contrast which this direction affords to all false systems. We are taught that God is worshipped by the mind and thoughts, and not by external observances. How different to heathen worship! Even the Jews’ religion was, to a great extent, formal. (J. Jortin, D.D.)
Instant in prayer:—When a pump is frequently used, but little pains are necessary to have water; the water pours out at the first stroke, because it is high. But if the pump has not been used for a long while, the water gets low, and when you want it you must pump a long while, and the water comes only after great efforts. It is so with prayer; if we are instant in prayer, every little circumstance awakens the disposition to pray, and desires and words are always ready. But if we neglect prayer it is difficult for us to pray; for the water in the well gets low. (Felix Neff.) Instant in prayer doesn’t exactly mean that we should be praying every instant, though we can be doing that also, but not if we are to think a prayer, or speak a prayer, for how could we then be getting on with other things that need all our attention at the time? But there are prayers that are not spoken or even thought of. You have seen the mariner’s compass. When the ship is tossing about, the compass trembles and swings to and fro, but it always comes back and points straight to the north. That’s where it wants to go to; every time it points to the north it seems to pray, “Let me go there!” Now why is this needle so constant about this wish to go northward? Because it has got in it a spirit that belongs to the distant Pole, and so, even while it is busy in telling the sailors how to steer, it is itself always turning to the north, because its life lies that way. So we may be very busy about other things, and need to fix all our attention upon them; but if our heart is right with Jesus, we shall be always wanting to do things for His sake, and do them right; and that big wish that is always in the heart is a continual prayer. (J. R. Howat.)
Instancy in prayer:—
- The import of the injunction. This is indicated by the employment of the word in other Scriptures (e.g., Acts 1:14; 2:42; Rom. 13:6; Acts 8:13; 10:7; Eph. 6:18). These show the meaning of the word; steadfastness or perseverance as a habit. In this sense the passage has many parallels (Eph. 6:18; Philip. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:17). In the widest sense, therefore, the injunction lays upon us—1. The habitual maintenance of a prayerful spirit. 2. The embracing of opportunities for prayer. 3. The improvement of occasions of prayer. You will find these everywhere, in the commonest experiences of every day. 4. Watchfulness.
- Considerations by which the injunction may be commended and enforced. 1. What a mighty power of restraint would such an “instancy of prayer” exercise! 2. What a spiritual elevation! 3. What peace amid conflicting cares! 4. What strength! (J. M. Jarvie.)
Prayer, daily:—As those who keep clocks wind them up daily, lest the weights should run down, and the clock stop; so we must set apart some portion of every day for meditation and prayer, lest our hearts should so far descend, through the weight of the cares of this world, that our course in godliness should be hindered and stopped. (Cawdray.)
Prayer hindered, not defeated:—For so I have seen a lark rising from his bed of grass and soaring upwards, singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and climb above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and inconstant, descending more at every breath of the tempest than it could recover by the liberation and frequent weighing of his wings, till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over; and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing, as if it had learned music and motion from an angel, as he passed sometimes through the air about his ministries here below. So is the prayer of a good man. (Jeremy Taylor.)
Prayer, nightly:—It is said of that good old man, John Quincy Adams, that he never went to his rest at night until he had repeated the simple prayer learned in childhood—the familiar “Now, I lay me down to sleep.”
- What is here required? 1. Continuance in personal and secret prayer primarily. In these times Christ’s saying is reversed. Men seem to say, If you pray openly, the Father will reward you in secret. And if a man have a taste for prayer meetings and none for private prayer, he should give up the prayer meetings until he recover the taste for secret prayer. 2. Paul speaks of continuance in the sense of importunity and perseverance. “Instant,” means earnest, pressing, and urgent. The precept implies the danger of non-continuance—of a lack of earnestness and urgency. Now this danger arises from—(1) Scepticism about prayer. Men are often tempted to ask, “What profit shall we have if we pray to Him?” Then we may be beset by unbelief as to God’s hearing our prayers in particular. (2) Indifference. Men do not care to pray. There is no very pressing want; no very urgent danger. The man is looking simply on the surface of his life.
- Why is this requirement made? Habitual prayer—1. Keeps in habitual exercise the first principles of our religious life, &c. You cannot pray without bringing into exercise faith, trust, hope, and love. Now these principles are not intended to be within us like gems in a casket, but are like muscles. Work them, and they will be strengthened; give them nothing to do, and they will shrink, and when you want them, they will not be in a state to serve you. 2. Keeps a man face to face with God. This is the right position. We never see any matter as we ought to see it, except we look God in the face about it. 3. Recognises the two great blessings of the Christian economy. And what are these? (1) The mediation of Christ. (2) The ministration of the Holy Ghost. 4. Is the constant use of the highest agency which Christians can employ. What has prayer done? Conquered the elements, healed the diseased, restored life, &c. Prayer moves the hand which moves the world. 5. Is second only to ceaseless praise in the loftiness and in the sacredness of the habit. 6. Is in harmony with God’s present method of government. The basis of that government is atonement, i.e., an embodied supplication for mercy. (S. Martin.)
Prayer unceasing:—Fletcher’s whole life was a life of prayer; and so intensely was his mind fixed upon God that he sometimes said, “I would not move from my seat without lifting up my heart to God.” “Wherever we met,” says Mr. Vaughan, “if we were alone, his first salute was, ‘Do I meet you praying?’ And if we were talking on any point of divinity, when we were in the depth of our discourse he would often break off abruptly and ask, ‘Where are our hearts now?’ If ever the misconduct of an absent person was mentioned, his usual reply was, ‘Let us pray for him.’ ”
Constant, instant, expectant:—
- Instant. The Greek word means “always applying strength in prayer”; “blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee.” Brooks saith that the word is a metaphor taken from hunting dogs, which will never give up the game till they have got it. Prevalent prayer is frequently spoken of in Scripture as an agony—“striving together with me in your prayers,” and as “wrestling.” We must go with our whole soul to God or He will not accept us. We are to pray as if all depended upon our praying. How are we to attain to this urgency? 1. Let us study the value of the mercy which we are seeking at God’s hand. Whatever it is that thou art asking for, it is no trifle. If it be a doubtful thing, lay it aside: but if thou art certain that the blessing sought is good and necessary, examine it as a goldsmith inspects a jewel when he wishes to estimate its worth. 2. Meditate on thy necessities. See thy soul’s poverty and undeservingness. Look at what will happen to thee unless this blessing come. 3. Endeavour to get a distinct consciousness of the fact that God must give thee this blessing, or thou wilt never have it. 4. Eagerly desire the good thing. Stand not before God as one who will be content whether or no. There are times when you must say, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” 5. Now comes the tug of war; you are to plead with all your might. Gather up all your faculties to see whether this thing be a matter of promise or no. When you have found the promise, plead it by saying, “Lord, do as Thou hast said.” If you do not seem to prevail with one promise seek out another and another, and then plead, “For Thy name’s sake, for Thy truth’s sake, for Thy covenant’s sake”; and then come in with the greatest plea of all, “For Jesus’ sake.” 6. Still there is one thing more wanted, and that is strong faith. You cannot be instant in prayer, nay, you cannot offer an acceptable prayer at all except as you believe in the prayer-hearing God.
- Constant—“continuing.” Go back to the hunting dog. We saw him rushing like the wind after his game, but this will not be enough if it only lasts for a little; he must continue running if he is to catch his prey. It is a sign of failure in the iron trade when the furnaces are blown out; when business flourishes the fire blazes both day and night; and so will it be with prayer when the soul is in a flourishing state. If prayer be the Christian’s vital breath, how can he leave off praying? “That is difficult,” says one. Who said it was not? All the processes of the Christian life are difficult; but “the Spirit helpeth our infirmities.” Prayer must be continuous, because—1. It is so singularly mixed up with the whole gospel dispensation. 2. It is connected with every covenant blessing. 3. It has been connected with every living spiritual experience you have ever had. 4. There is no time when we can afford to slacken prayer. 5. Such remarkable gifts are vouchsafed to importunity. 6. The continuance of our instancy in prayer is the test of the reality of our devotion. Earnest men of business cannot afford to open the shop and do a little occasional trade, and then put up a notice, “The proprietor of this shop has gone out for an excursion, and will resume his business when he feels inclined to.” Beware of spasms of prayer.
III. Expectant. It is not in the text verbally, but it must be there really, because there will be no such thing as instancy or constancy unless there is an expectation that God can and will give that which we seek. Go back to our dog again: he would not run at so great a rate if he did not expect to seize his prey. If some people looked out for answers to prayer they might soon have them, for their prayers would be answered by themselves. I was reminded of that by a little boy whose father prayed in the family that the Lord would visit the poor and relieve their wants. When he had finished, his little boy said, “Father, I wish I had your money.” “Why so?” “Because,” he said, “I would answer your prayers for you.” I like better still that story of the good man at the prayer-meeting, who reading the list of prayers found one for a poor widow that her distress might be relieved, so he began to read it, but stopped and added, “We won’t trouble the Lord with that, I will attend to that myself.” The Lord might well say to us, “Thou sayest, Thy kingdom come; arise and help to make My kingdom come!” I shall close by recommending to all of you one simple but very comprehensive prayer. It was offered by a poor man in Fife, and it was copied out by the Duchess of Gordon, and found among her papers when she died. “O Lord, give me grace to feel my need of Thy grace! Give me grace to ask for Thy grace! Give me grace to receive Thy grace! And when in Thy grace Thou hast given me grace, give me grace to use Thy grace!” (C. H. Spurgeon.)
12:12 “rejoicing in hope” This is a PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE used in the sense of an IMPERATIVE. The term “hope” was often used in connection with the Second Coming (cf. 5:2). It is not hope in the English sense of a wish, but in the NT sense of a certain event, but with an ambiguous time element. See notes at 4:18 and 5:2.
© “persevering” This is a PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE used in the sense of an IMPERATIVE. The term means “active, voluntary, steadfast endurance.”
© “in tribulation” As in 5:3, 5 “hope” was linked to tribulation (thlipsis). This is the norm for followers of Christ in a fallen world (cf. Acts 14:22; Rom. 8:17ff; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:12ff). We must not seek it nor shun it! See Special Topic: Tribulation at 5:3.
© “devoted to prayer” This is a PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE used in the sense of an IMPERATIVE. Prayer is a spiritual discipline and gift that recognizes God’s active hand in history. Believers can affect a loving Heavenly Father. God has chosen to limit Himself to the prayers of His children (cf. Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4; Eph. 6:18–19; Col. 4:2). This makes prayer an awesome responsibility. See Three Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare by Clinton Arnold, pp. 43–44, 187–188.
 Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 190). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans (pp. 466–467). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
The house of the Rechabites.—Jeremiah 35:2.
My soul! as the prophet had his commission from the Lord, to go unto the house of the Rechabites, and the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to have the event of the visit recorded, do thou go down to it also, and see what instructions thou canst gather there, under his gracious teachings, for thine evening meditation. The house of the Rechabites drank no wine. And was not this to intimate the law of the Nazarites? Surely there was an allusion, in this prohibition, to the one glorious Nazarite, even Jesus! The Rechabites had no fixed dwelling-place, but lived in movable tents! and believers in Jesus, like their Lord himself, have “here no abiding city, but are seeking one to come.” Hence, when the king of Babylon came into the land where the Rechabites had no fixed abode, they had no attachment to the place, and therefore the more readily took their departure. Such, my soul, will be the case with thee, in the land where thou art but a stranger, if, as a stranger and a pilgrim, “thou abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; and set thine affections upon things above, and not on things of the earth!” Oh! how truly blessed to have no ties, no clogs, no impediments, to fasten down the soul; but “when the Assyrian cometh up into the land, this man, this” God-man, Christ Jesus, “is our peace.” (Micah 5:5.) My soul! ponder well this sweet view of the house of the Rechabites, and mark the Lord’s observation concerning them: They obeyed Jonadab their father, in all their abstinence and movements. The precept for this obedience, it should seem, was but once given, and the motive to it had no reward, either in dwelling-places here or hereafter. But with thee, my soul, all that thy God and Father hath enjoined thee concerning his dear Son, he hath again and again held forth; as he saith himself, “rising early and speaking, he hath sent all his servants, the prophets,” as if entreating an attention to what must make for thy present peace and everlasting happiness. Oh! how truly blessed, like the house of the Rechabites, to sit loose and detached from earth and earthly things, and to be viewing Jesus in all, and enjoying Jesus in all. Go, my soul, go down frequently to the house of the Rechabites, that there the Lord may cause thee to hear his word!
Jeremiah 10:3 – Is this passage talking about Christmas trees?
If people were praying to their Christmas trees or worshiping them as deities, these passages would certainly apply. But that is not, nor has it ever been, how Christmas trees are used. Christmas trees were never appealed to for blessings nor incorporated into religious rituals or acts of worship. While the exact origin of Christmas trees is unknown and highly disputed, the tradition seems to have come into existence as late as the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation in Germany. There is no evidence that Christians ever used them as anything other than home decorations for the holidays. There is nothing in this tradition that is innately idolatrous or in any way contrary to the biblical prohibitions against carving trees into false gods.
The better argument (in addition to anachronism) seems to be analyzing Jeremiah 10:6. These trees kept the people in fear because of an association with evil.
Jeremiah 10:13 – This verse helps us possibly identify Psalm 135 as being written by Jeremiah.
[Psalm 135:7] is practically identical with Jeremiah 10:13 and Jeremiah 51:16, suggesting the possibility that the prophet Jeremiah may have written the otherwise anonymous Psalm 135. The two Jeremiah passages do preface this statement with the note that there is “a multitude of waters in the heavens” in connection with the processes described in the verse.
In any case, this thrice-mentioned mechanism beautifully summarized what we now call the hydrologic cycle, and it did so over 2,000 years before the cycle began to be understood by modern scientists. In order to provide rain to water the earth, there must be vapors ascending all over the earth (that is, evaporation from the world’s great oceans), winds then blowing from God’s unseen treasury (actually the global atmospheric circulation), and, finally, lightnings for (or “with”) the rain (electrical discharges associated with the condensation and coalescence of the particles of water vapor in the atmosphere). All of this repeatedly transports purified waters from the ocean back over the lands to fall as rain and snow, there finally to run off back to the oceans after performing their life-sustaining ministries on the lands. “Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again” (Ecclesiastes 1:7).
Jeremiah 11:17 – Good thing today nobody offers incense unto Baal. But do we cast our care upon the LORD (I Peter 5:7) or other people? Do we seek Him early (Psalm 63:1) or do we seek other things?
Colossians 3:24 – Wives, Husbands, Children, Fathers, Servants all are given instructions – and then we’re told that we shall be rewarded for our work not by our spouses, parents, children, or masters, but of the LORD! For we are serving Him! That will change the way you approach your job!
Colossians 4:5 – Rick Grubbs of the radio feature Redeeming The Time shares many timely truths.
Colossians 4:12 – Ah, for a prayer warrior like Epaphras!
Colossians 4:14 – Poor Demas, in Philemon 1:24 he’s still a fellow laborer, but in 2 Timothy 4:10, he will have forsaken Paul for love of the present world.
Psalm 78:72 – Integrity of heart, Skilfulness of hands. May we seek to have a singleminded heart for God but also the capacity to serve Him!
Proverbs 24:29 – The golden rule is not “do unto others as they have done unto me” but (Matthew 7:12), “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
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By Chuck Ross
Daily Caller News Foundation
Two Senate Republicans have accused CIA Director Gina Haspel of withholding documents regarding intelligence the spy agency provided the FBI in its investigation of the Trump campaign.
In a letter to Haspel, Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley said that CIA officials have refused to schedule a phone call to discuss the document request.
“More than two months later, we still have not received any of the requested records that we detailed in that letter,” Johnson and Grassley, the chairmen of the Senate Homeland Security and Senate Finance Committees, respectively, wrote to Haspel on Wednesday.
The letter is a follow up to one the senators sent Haspel on July 28 requesting any CIA documents provided the the FBI as part of Crossfire Hurricane, the bureau’s investigation of Trump associates’ possible links to Russia.
The senators had also asked Haspel to provide any CIA documents related to dossier author Christopher Steele, FBI source Stefan Halper, and Trump campaign aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
They also sought any records of contacts the CIA had with Michael Sussmann and Marc Elias, two lawyers for the firm that represented the Clinton campaign and DNC during the 2016 campaign.
Haspel assumed office on May 21, 2018. She previously served as CIA station chief in London.
The senators said they have met with Haspel’s staff only once to discuss the requests but that “CIA has not produced a single document in response.”
“Moreover, your agency has ignored multiple requests to schedule a phone call to discuss our oversight letter,” they said in the letter.
It is still not entirely clear what role the CIA played in collecting intelligence on Trump associates in 2016.
On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified two CIA documents that showed the agency had intercepted Russian analysis that asserted that Hillary Clinton had approved a plan to link Donald Trump to the email hacks of the DNC in late July 2016.
“From these reports, it is clear that the CIA has information in its possession that is relevant to the FBI’s activities and our investigation into this matter,” Johnson and Grassley said of the declassified documents.
Both Republicans pointed to Haspel’s testimony at her confirmation hearing that, “If confirmed as Director, I will uphold the Agency’s obligations to Congress and ensure that oversight works on behalf of the American people.”
“Your apparent unwillingness to speak with us on this matter contradicts your testimony,” the senators said, noting that they voted to confirm Haspel.
“Both of us fully expected you to honor the commitment you made, but we are becoming increasingly disappointed by the CIA’s continued inability to timely respond to our legitimate oversight requests.”
They are calling on Haspel to provide the documents by Friday.
“Further delay is unacceptable.”
The CIA did not respond to a request for comment.
This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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Birds of a feather, flock…well, you know the expression.
The expression looks like it could certainly be the case when it comes to hiring attorneys, as well. Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate and accomplice to Jeffrey Epstein and suspected child sex trafficker, has hired the same “New York Super Lawyer” that once represented one of Osama bin Laden’s henchmen, according to the Mirror.
Maxwell has hired Bobbi Sternheim to join her legal defense team ahead of her upcoming trial in 2021. Sternheim specializes in ‘litigating difficult and complex cases,’ according to her website. According to the report, she has represented clients involved in all types of crime, including “racketeering conspiracies, international terrorism, capital murder, and inter-state transport of pornographic media.”
She represented Khaled al-Fawwaz, who was accused of playing a role in the twin bombings of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 where 224 people were killed. Her client was sentenced to life in prison. We can only hope that “Ghis” is as lucky.
Sternheim also defended Minh Quang Pham, who was ordered by al Qaeda to carry out a suicide bombing at London’s Heathrow Airport. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2016.
Interestingly enough, and as was pointed out on a recent podcast, Maxwell isn’t facing any crimes pertaining to engaging in sex acts herself with the minors. Independent reporter Whitney Webb of The Last American Vagabond, who is currently writing a book on the Epstein scandal, spent an hour explaining the details of Maxwell’s arrest back in July:
Instead, Maxwell is going to be fighting charges of “Conspiracy and seduction of minors to travel to and participate in illegal sexual acts; Seduction of a minor to travel to and participate in illegal sexual acts; Conspiracy to transport minors to participate in criminal sexual acts; Transport of a minor to participate in criminal sexual acts; and two counts of perjury.”
Maxwell awaits a 2021 trial.
840,000 Americans filed for first time unemployment benefits last week – worse than the 820k expectation, but slightly better than the upwardly revised 849k the priod week.
This is still over four times higher than the pre-COVID levels.
We also note that while aggregate jobless claims fell, Pandemic Emergency Claims (blue region) increased last week…
Florida, Illinois, and Virginia saw the biggest jump in jobless claims. New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania saw the biggest improvement.
Continuing Claims dropped back below 11 million – the lowest (best level since March)…
(USA TODAY) – Another stimulus package appears to be on hold until after the presidential election, threatening to delay urgently needed unemployment aid and a second round of $1,200 direct payments by at least a month. That would affect millions of out-of-work Americans who are struggling financially following a wave of job losses in the coronavirus recession, especially those in hard-hit industries like travel and hospitality who are relying on another stimulus check to make ends meet, experts say.
Two top Harvest Bible Chapel pastors today resigned, following a “season” of difficulty sparked by the termination and scandal involving disgraced celebrity pastor, James MacDonald.
Saying he had hit a “wall of exhaustion” in June, Lead Ministry Pastor Greg Bradshaw said he is not only leaving Harvest, but also the ministry.
“It’s hard for me, but I’m really trusting God,” Bradshaw said. “This is not about a senior pastor. It’s not about a campus pastor. It’s about Jesus. And it’s about the family of God.”
The 50 richest Americans now hold almost as much wealth as half of the U.S., as Covid-19 transforms the economy in ways that have disproportionately rewarded a small class of billionaires.
New data from the U.S. Federal Reserve, a comprehensive look at U.S. wealth through the first half of 2020, show stark disparities by race, age and class. While the top 1% of Americans have a combined net worth of $34.2 trillion, the poorest 50% — about 165 million people — hold just $2.08 trillion, or 1.9% of all household wealth.
The 50 richest people in the country, meanwhile, are worth almost $2 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, up $339 billion from the beginning of 2020.
Covid-19 has exacerbated inequality in the U.S., with job losses falling heavily on low-wage service workers and the virus disproportionately infecting and killing people of color. Meanwhile, many upper-middle class professionals are working from home, watching their retirement accounts rise in value after the U.S. Treasury and Fed pumped stimulus into the economy and markets.
Another key reason for the wealth disparity is that the vast majority of Americans aren’t benefiting from rising stock prices. The bottom 90%’s exposure to the stock market has been dropping for almost two decades. Since peaking at 21.4% in 2002, upper middle class Americans have seen a 10 percentage point decline in their equity interest in companies. A similar pattern is seen among the bottom half.
The wealthiest 1% own more than 50% of the equity in corporations and in mutual fund shares, the Fed data show. The next 9% of the wealthiest own more than a third of equity positions — meaning that the top 10% of Americans hold more than 88% of shares.
The Fed data also show that the Millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, control just 4.6% of U.S. wealth even though they are the largest in the workforce with 72 million members. And the share of the pie held by Black Americans is the same size it was 30 years ago.
Like the country as a whole, young Americans’ wealth is concentrated in just a few hands. Three Millennials — Facebook Inc. co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, along with Walmart Inc. heir Lukas Walton — personally control one out of every $40 held by their generational cohort.
“The pandemic is further widening divides in wealth and economic mobility,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said Tuesday, warning that the country’s recovery will weaken without more government aid. “A long period of unnecessarily slow progress could continue to exacerbate existing disparities in our economy.”
A few hours after his address, President Donald Trump told negotiators to halt talks with Congressional Democrats on another relief package until after the November election.
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