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    Setting Brushfires of Freedom by Don Jans

    America: The End and Our Hope (Oct. 16-22)

    Edited by Michael Hernandez

    (Editor’s Note: this is part of a weekly compendium of recent significant events, culled from world news and curated by Michael Hernandez.)

     

    Poll: Voters believe Republicans more concerned with top issues, Democrat leaders out of touch

    HANNAH BLEAU (Oct 17) Breitbart News

    Voters believe Republicans are more in tune with the top issues plaguing the country, while Democrats are focused on partisan goals, an October Harris Poll/HarrisX survey found.

    The survey asked respondents, “What would you say are the most important issues facing the country today,” weeks ahead of the highly anticipated 2022 midterm election. The top issue, overall, is price increases/inflation, with 37 percent noting it as the most important issue. Twenty-nine percent identified the economy and jobs as the top issue, followed by 23 percent who said immigration, and 18 percent who said crime and drugs.

    What is more, the perceived concerns of Republicans match up with top issues for Americans, as respondents said Republican Party leaders are most concerned with immigration, price increases/inflation, and the economy and jobs.

    Meanwhile, Democrat leaders appear to be out of touch, as voters view their top issues of concern to be January 6, women’s rights, and the environment/climate change. This data could spell trouble for Democrats, as Americans have witnessed a dramatic rise in prices, crime, and illegal immigration under the leadership of President Biden and Democrats controlling both the Senate and the House.

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2022/10/17/poll-voters-believe-republicans-more-concerned-top-issues-democrat-leaders-out-touch/

    Female Democrats voters tell NY Times they’re shifting to GOP over economic concerns: ‘It’s all about cost’

    By Kristine Parks (Dec. 17) | Fox News

    Economic concerns and “intense” disapproval of President Biden are giving Republicans an edge with independent voters in the  upcoming election, according to recent polling from The New York Times.

    NYT/Siena College poll found independent female voters in particular swung dramatically to the right in the past month, despite Democrats’ focus on abortion rights.

    “In September, they favored Democrats by 14 points. Now, independent women backed Republicans by 18 points— a striking swing given the polarization of the American electorate and how intensely Democrats have focused on that group and on the threat Republicans pose to abortion rights,” the paper reported.

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/female-democrat-voters-tell-ny-times-shifting-gop-economic-concerns-all-about-cost

    Biden vows abortion legislation as top priority next year

    Oct. 18 (NewsMax)

    President Joe Biden promised Tuesday the first bill he sends to Capitol Hill next year will be one that codifies Roe v. Wade — if Democrats control enough seats in Congress for Biden to sign abortion protections into law — in a speech designed to energize his party’s voters just three weeks ahead of the November midterms.

    “If you care about the right to choose, then you gotta vote,” Biden said during remarks at the Howard Theatre in Washington. He urged those in attendance to recall how they felt when the Supreme Court in late June overturned the landmark 1973 ruling legalizing abortion, and repeatedly lambasted Republicans nationwide who have pushed for restrictions on the procedure, often without exceptions.

    Biden said “the only sure way to stop these extremist laws that are putting in jeopardy women’s health and rights is for Congress to pass a law.” He acknowledged that right now, “we’re short a handful of votes” to reinstate abortion protections at the federal level, urging voters to send more Democrats to Congress.

    “If we do that, here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade,” Biden said. “And when Congress passes it, I’ll sign it in January, 50 years after Roe was first decided the law of the land.”

    That is a big if. Republicans are widely projected to gain control of at least the House. Abortion rights have been a key motivating factor for Democrats this year, although the economy and inflation still rank as chief concern for most voters.

    For the White House, it will not be enough just to keep control of both chambers of Congress, already an uphill battle, to be able to enshrine the protections of Roe into law. The Senate would need to abolish the filibuster, the legislative rule that requires 60 votes for most bills to advance in the chamber, in order to pass an abortion measure with a simple majority of senators.

    “If we do that, here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade,” Biden said. “And when Congress passes it, I’ll sign it in January, 50 years after Roe was first decided the law of the land.”

    https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/abortion-midterms-house/2022/10/18/id/1092405/

    Arizona Republican Kari Lake vows to protect children from CRT, cross-sex curriculum

    NICK GILBERTSON (Oct. 16) Breitbart News PHOENIX, Arizona – Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, Kari Lake, told Breitbart News during an exclusive interview that if elected, she will be committed to protecting children from Critical Race Theory (CRT) and cross-gender curriculum.

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2022/10/16/exclusive-arizona-republican-kari-lake-vows-protect-children-crt-cross-sex-curriculum/

     

    NYC Tent City for migrants includes free wi-fi, video games, popcorn maker, foosball tables

     

    JOHN BINDER (Oct 19) Breitbart News

    New York City officials have set up a tent city solely for migrants arriving on buses from Texas sent by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) that includes televisions, video games, laundry service, a popcorn maker, and more amenities.

    Since Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) started sending border crossers and illegal aliens to New York City, a sanctuary city, more than 19,400 have arrived on buses — 73 percent of which remain in the city’s overcrowded homeless shelter system.

    To relieve homeless shelters, Mayor Eric Adams (D) has set up a tent city solely for newly arrived migrants on Randall’s Island, which sits between Manhattan and Queens. New photos inside the tent city show a host of amenities for migrants, including recreation rooms, laundry services, and a stocked cafeteria, all paid for by New York taxpayers.

    Specifically, the tent city will begin housing 500 single male migrants. The tent city features around-the-clock snacks, coffee, and tea as well as Xbox game consoles, televisions, couches, popcorn makers, foosball tables, board games, phones for international calls, and free WiFi.

    The tent city, officials said, could eventually house 1,000 migrants.

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2022/10/19/photos-nyc-tent-city-for-migrants-includes-free-wifi-video-games-popcorn-maker-foosball-tables/

     

     

    Israel providing key intel on Iranian drones to Ukraine

    DEBORAH BRAND (Oct. 13) Breitbart News

    Israel is providing Ukraine with intelligence on Iranian suicide drones used by the Russian army in its bombardment of Ukrainian cities in recent days, a report in the New York Times said citing a senior Ukrainian official.

    https://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2022/10/13/nyt-israel-providing-key-intel-on-iranian-drones-to-ukraine/

     

    Obama admits ‘mistake’ in not supporting ‘Green Revolution’ in Iran

    JOEL B. POLLAK (Oct 16) Breitbart News

    Former President Barack Obama admitted Friday that it had been a “mistake” not to support Iranian democracy protesters in 2009, when they rose up against their tyrannical regime in what was called the “Green Revolution.”

    At the time, Obama chose to remain quiet about the protests, as he hoped to preserve the regime, and the administration of radical, Holocaust-denying Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in the hope of pursuing negotiations toward a deal on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Obama struck a nuclear deal in 2015 that would allow Iran to emerge as a nuclear power within a decade. Obama told Pod Save America he was still proud of the Iran deal, which gave billions to the regime and relieved it from sanctions.

    Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. withdrew from the Iran deal, and spoke out forcefully in favor of Iranian demonstrators.

    https://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2022/10/16/obama-admits-mistake-in-not-supporting-green-revolution-in-iran/

     

    Officer begs school not to unlock doors for armed men, but Vice Principal did the unthinkable

    Samantha Chang  (Oct. 17) The Western Journal

    The nation’s largest police union blasted the “woke” assistant principals of an Ohio high school for allowing four masked gunmen to enter because they were more concerned that the police would apprehend the suspects than they were about the safety of the students hiding inside from the intruders.

    In a scathing tweet Wednesday, the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) savaged school administrators who unlocked the doors and let the gun-toting criminals inside Cleveland’s Garrett Morgan High School on Sept. 14 after the school went into lockdown.

    The FOP — which represents more than 364,000 police officers nationwide — tweeted that the “reckless and dangerous” administrators “allowed MASKED GUNMEN to enter the school in order to protect the gunmen from *wait for it* police officers outside.”

    The union underscored: “They risked the lives of CHILDREN to show how woke they are. Can’t make it up.” Police later chased down and arrested the gunmen, and no one was hurt.

    “Two assistant principals from leadership let the males into the building,” one witness statement said. One of the vice principals affirmed the witness’ account: “I confirmed the interior doors were locked and instructed the four suspects to come to the vestibule because it was unsafe to be outside because I saw police officers.” In so doing, the vice principal defied the advice of the police dispatcher, who told the school’s security officer to “keep the school locked down.” For his part, the security officer is repeatedly heard on the 911 call yelling to others: “Do not let anybody through that door!” and “Do not let them in the building, people!”

    The chilling incident unfolded last month when armed assailants drove up to Garrett Morgan High School in three stolen cars. The school then went into lockdown. The intruders were able to pass through one door after it was unlocked for them, but a second door prevented them from escaping into the building. Authorities later learned that one of the suspects had an arrest warrant out for him from a prior robbery case.

    https://www.westernjournal.com/officer-begs-school-not-unlock-doors-armed-men-vice-principal-unthinkable/

     

    Nolte (Editorial): Democrat solution to everything is kill more babies

    JOHN NOLTE (Oct 20) Breitbart News

    “Rising Star” Stacey Abrams proved just how stupid she really is by trying to tie inflation to abortion.

    While Democrats ridicule Georgia Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s intelligence, Georgia’s most famous election denier, Stacey “President of Earth” Abrams, said this on MSNBC when she was asked about inflation:

    Let’s be clear. Having children is why you’re worried about your price for gas. It’s why you’re concerned about how much food costs. For women this is not a reductive issue. You can’t divorce being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy from the economic realities of having a child.

    Let’s be clearer still. … You are a stupid, stupid woman…

    We all know what she was trying to do here. Polls show Democrats are focused too much on abortion and too little on economic issues. Polls also show Republicans surging all across the country.

    But. Democrats know their hysterical base needs to hear about abortion, needs those sweet-sweet baby-killing hits that soothe their neuroses and self-hate…So.

    Governor-in-Her-Own-Mind Abrams thought she’d show off her second-to-none political acumen by tying the two issues together. Listen, morons, if we kill more babies, prices will go down, and you won’t have to buy as much stuff.  

     

    If Stacey Abrams were any dumber, she’d have to wear a helmet. After all, this is the same Stacey Abrams who said the fetal heartbeat was a manufactured sound. But Stacey isn’t alone. No matter the problem, Democrats have a solution, and it’s more baby killing. Here’s that rocket scientist we call Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen:

    “I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades,” she said.

    Yeah, the problem isn’t Biden’s supply chain crisis or Biden’s energy crisis or flooding the country with millions of illegals; it’s the lack of access to baby killing.

    Over at that think tank we call the HuffPo, they’re saying killing da’ babies will help reduce a deficit, a deficit no one at the HuffPo ever cared about until killing da’ babies came up: More than 4 in 10 births in the United States — 42% in 2019 — are paid for by Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor whose costs are split between the federal government and individual states. At an average of $18,865 per birth and with one estimate that there will be more than 150,000 extra births annually because of Dobbs, there will almost certainly be more spending.

    This, of course, is naked eugenics: Kill da’ poor people’s babies. But look at how dishonest and desperate this HuffPo argument is. When it comes to budget expenditures, why don’t we compare 150,000 more babies per year to a million illegal aliens per year?

    Naturally, Democrats want you to believe infanticide will save the planet: Are you kidding me? Listen, what causes climate deprivation is population. If we had not been systematically forcing women to have children they don’t want or can’t care for over the 500 years of patriarchy, we wouldn’t have the climate problems that we have. That’s the fundamental cause of climate change. That was Gloria Steinem. So there you go, America…

    Want to end inflation? Kill da’ babies. Want to lower the deficit? Kill da’ babies. Want to save Mother Earth? Kill da’ babies. Kill da’ babies! Oh, Satan, yay, Satan. Kill da’ babies!

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2022/10/20/nolte-democrat-solution-everything-is-kill-more-babies/

    Steve Bannon sentenced to 4 months in prison for contempt of Congress

    Jake Gibson ,  Timothy H.J. Nerozzi (Oct. 21) Fox News

    Former Trump White House official Steve Bannon has been sentenced to four months in prison and a $6,500 fine for contempt of Congress. Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress in July after he ignored a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 Committee. “I want to say one thing — I respect the judge, the sentence he came down with today is his decision. I’ve been totally respectful to this entire process on the legal side,” Bannon said after the sentencing.

    Bannon was released pending appeal, which he and his legal team promised to make. If an appeal is not made, Bannon must surrender voluntarily by Nov. 15, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols ruled. Bannon predicted his political opponents will be voted out on Election Day.

    The Justice Department had recommended a six-month prison sentence and a $200,000 fine for former Trump aide Steve Bannon due to his failure to comply with a subpoena to appear before the House Select Committee investigating January 6.

    “I want to thank all you guys for coming,” Bannon said entering the courthouse Friday. “Remember this illegitimate regime, their judgment day is on the eighth of November when the Biden administration ends. I want to thank you all for coming.”

    Federal prosecutors pushed for Bannon to receive at least six months in prison, citing his “bad faith” behavior in and out of court. “From the moment that the Defendant, Stephen K. Bannon, accepted service of a subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, he has pursued a bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt,” federal prosecutors argued on Monday. They continued, “The Committee sought documents and testimony from the Defendant relevant to a matter of national importance: the circumstances that led to a violent attack on the Capitol and disruption of the peaceful transfer of power. In response, the Defendant flouted the Committee’s authority and ignored the subpoena’s demands.”

    Bannon claimed executive privilege precluded him from appearing before the committee to talk about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, though prosecutors noted that he left the White House in 2017.

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/steve-bannon-sentenced-4-months-prison-contempt-congress

    TikTok is China’s Trojan Horse

    By Adonis Hoffman (Oct. 19) The Hill Opinion

    People are easy to dupe. Give us something for free and we will open the door to just about anything in return, including our most sensitive family, health and financial information.

    The ancient Greeks knew something about the human psyche when they built a massive wooden horse and put it outside the enemy gates at Troy. Unsuspecting Trojans marveled at the gift and ushered it inside unexamined. Hidden in the horse were the Greek men of war who emerged to sack the city.

    The Chinese know something about human nature too. TikTok is China’s Trojan horse. Enwrapped in millions of comedic, cute, and catchy little videos, TikTok has slipped in deftly under our defenses and found a home behind America’s security walls. It is a free, easy-to-use, app taking the world by storm, one naive user at a time. It was the most popular iPhone app download in 2021 and the most popular overall app downloaded globally in 2020 and 2021. There are over 78.7 million U.S. users, with a projected 90 million users in 2023.

    TikTok is owned by ByteDance, one of China’s most valuable private companies. As an app, its lofty mission — it calls itself “the leading destination for short-form mobile videos with a mission to inspire creativity and bring joy” — seems quite benign. But that belies its corporate character. Most private companies in China come under direct or indirect control of the Chinese government, which is notoriously secretive and opaque on ownership and operational details.

    TikTok seems to be no different. Its algorithm is at once simple and sinister. Download the app on your smartphone and you are connected to millions of viewers across the world — very simple. Download the app on your smartphone and you have given China access to all your data — very sinister.

    This opens a treasure trove of data on millions of Americans for the Chinese government to use whenever and however they choose. And history shows they use that data for nefarious purposes.

    Many cybersecurity experts believe the Chinese government intends TikTok as a propaganda or censorship tool or to somehow blackmail users. This is especially ominous for today’s millennials and Gen Zs, who are the next generation of American leaders.

    Over the past three years, TikTok has come under the scrutiny of both Congress and the Executive Branch. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) opened an investigation in 2019 and Democratic and Republican Senators asked the Director of National Intelligence for a review of the company’s practices.

    Citing national security concerns, President Trump first asked ByteDance to divest its ownership in 2020, and later imposed a ban on TikTok if it was not sold to an American firm within 45 days of the executive order. Microsoft and Oracle both engaged in serious discussions to buy the company, but there was staunch resistance from TikTok’s Chinese leadership, which reportedly did not want the company’s algorithms or AI technology to fall into foreign — American — hands.

    Later, TikTok filed a series of federal lawsuits against the Trump administration, amounting to a stay in the company’s operations. When President Biden took office, he issued an executive order in June 2021 reversing the Trump ban on TikTok and mandating a Commerce Department review into the national security ramifications. That review has not prompted any further U.S. action against the company, which continues to operate unfettered today.

    FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has become a latter-day Paul Revere. He recently tweeted: “TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing. It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing. I’ve called on @Apple & @Google to remove Tik Tok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices.” That warning, thus far, has fallen on deaf ears.

    TikTok’s battle for social media primacy presents both challenge and opportunity for Facebook, its main competitor. To be sure, Facebook has its own share of problems: layoffs; poor morale; investigations by regulators in Europe and the U.S.; multi-state litigationprivacy issues and more. Facebook has been eclipsed by TikTok as the app that users spend the most time with at 850 minutes per month.

    But TikTok’s foreign ownership — and indeed its practices — may yet be its own undoing.  Recently, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, took down a network of fake accounts from China that sought to interfere in American politics ahead of the November elections. If Facebook can distinguish its privacy and security practices from TikTok, among others, that should earn plaudits from U.S. security agencies who should be concerned — very concerned. Whether that is enough to save the company from the raging competition from Beijing or further regulatory action remains to be seen.

    As the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Congress and the Justice Department continue to scrutinize Big Tech leaders including Facebook, Google, and Amazon, they should not lose sight of the serious national security issues presented by TikTok, especially during election season.

    A look at TikTok’s privacy policy states that “We may share all of the information we collect with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group” — and that means the Chinese Government too.

    American policymakers and regulators should also keep in mind TikTok’s marketplace realities. According to Influencer Marketing Hub tracking TikTok statistics:

    • It has the highest engagement rate per post of any social media.
    • It boasts over 1 billion monthly active users and is the most popular social media app for American kids and teens.
    • 61 percent of American Tik Tok users are women.
    • 80 percent of its revenue comes from China.
    • It earned $19 billion in gross profit in 2020.

    When it comes to TikTok, millions of Americans have been laughing, dancing and singing along with the popular and entertaining videos.

    But we should not overlook what is actually happening under our very noses. In America’s simple, silly and sublime desire for endless entertainment, we are literally dancing with the enemy.

    (Editor’s Note: Adonis Hoffman is CEO of The Advisory Counsel, Inc. He is a former chief of staff and senior legal advisor at the FCC and served in legal and policy positions in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.)

    CA Dem Jacqui Irwin’s solution to trans females competing in women’s sports? Transition them earlier

    By Jennifer Van Laar | (Oct. 20) RedState (Commentary)

    A four-term California Assemblywoman, Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), herself a former college athlete, had a horrifying answer to a voter’s question about whether it’s fair to allow transgender females (biological males) to compete in women’s collegiate and professional sports. That answer?

    “I thought this out already. We start at age 8 or 9. By the time boys transfer into girls and teens at age 12 or 13, they have new friends. By the time they turn 17, 18, or 19, nobody knows their past.” Instead of addressing the actual issue, and seemingly without regard for the fact that this transition includes genital mutilation, sterilization, and irreversible hormonal impacts, Irwin thinks it’s easy-peasy to handle this sticky “social justice” situation by simply mutilating boys at an even younger age, when they have no capacity to make a life-altering decision – and so by the time they’re in college, they can easily obfuscate their biological gender.

     

    That is not a “solution.” That is extreme child abuse, and torture. The voter who’d asked Irwin the question, Pacific Palisades resident John Alle, shared his experience at a fundraiser for Irwin’s challenger, political newcomer and Republican Lori Mills of Simi Valley. Alle said:

    “I wanted to tell my story about a recent conversation I had with her opponent, incumbent Jacqui Irwin. And I have often wondered — and I — I love to talk to the officeholders to find out how and why they stayed in office for so long and switched from one position to another.

    “At a candidate forum we were discussing schools, gender change, and trans issues. Jacqui Irwin, your opponent, was an academic All-American swimmer at UC San Diego. I took the opportunity to talk with Jacqui about college and professional women’s and men’s sports. I asked Jacqui Irwin, quote, ‘How do I reconcile and justify to myself and others that it’s fair for men who trans into women, with biological advantage, to take over swimming and women’s sports, and, as a result, throw Title IX and women’s sports out the window?’

    “Jacqui Irwin’s response: ‘John, I thought this out already. We start at age 8 or 9. By the time girls transform into boys’ — I’m sorry. ‘By the time boys transfer into girls and teens at age 12 or 13, they have new friends. By the time they turn 17, 18, or 19, nobody knows their past.’

    “How creepy and negative is that? It’s time for positive change. We need a better agenda that reflects our values. And that’s why I’m here.” It’s disappointing and illuminating that Irwin’s solution, which she admits having thought out, so it’s apparently not an off-the-cuff answer, relies on subversion and deception. This issue is hotly-debated around the country, and especially in Irwin’s district – she represents the area where Mario Presents of Gays Against Groomers gave a passionate speech to a local school board, railing against the “woke” agenda. On local social media sites, parents who express concern about what’s happening in schools and share feelings that they aren’t being fully informed about what their children are being taught are dismissed as paranoid and are told that nothing secretive is happening. How can those parents possibly have confidence that they’re being told the full and complete truth regarding these issues when the sitting Assemblywoman is openly advocating deception to advance her agenda?

    Irwin recently spoke to Democrat candidates in Simi Valley about the importance of getting out the vote, saying that while they were all running against “crazy Republicans,” her opponent, Mills, “is the craziest.”

    Her full quote: “So, most of you at the local level are running against crazy Republicans. But I have to say, my crazy Republican takes the cake. She is the craziest. And, she comes right here from Simi Valley. She’s a Realtor that was actually kicked off of Twitter. She was kicked off of Facebook…”

    Mills tells RedState that she was kicked off of the social media platforms for posting about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the runup to the 2020 Presidential Election.

    Irwin continued: “We have to make sure that we don’t get those crazy people up in the State Assembly representing Simi Valley, and we also have to make sure that those crazy people do not run the City Council or the School Board or the Park District. Because what they are doing right now, the far right, the election deniers…because they are having trouble winning a statewide office or winning national office in California, they are trying to come up through these local offices, through the School Board, through the City Council, and through the park districts.

    “So. it is imperative that the ground roots, which is all of you, go out and do everything you can to make people understand how crucial this election is.”

    This election is crucial, but not for the reasons Irwin thinks it is. Her district covers wealthy areas of northwestern Los Angeles (Malibu, Calabasas, Brentwood, Bel Air) and eastern Ventura Counties, where violent attacks and smash-and-grab robberies are on the rise, where drought-fueled wildfires are a threat year-round, and where people are paying between $6 and $7/gallon for gas.

    And, Irwin is the chair of the CA Assembly Select Committee on Gasoline Supply and Pricing, a group that’s met exactly twice – the last time on August 11, 2022. Perhaps she ought to think through some other issues and let kids be kids – and let parents be parents. Irwin did not respond to a request for comment.

    (Jennifer Van Laar: I have known Lori Mills for more than three years and have endorsed her campaign and spoken at fundraisers.)

    https://redstate.com/jenvanlaar/2022/10/20/ca-dem-jacqui-irwins-solution-to-trans-females-competing-in-womens-sports-transition-them-earlier-n645899

    Our Hope

    Prayer:

    By Greg Laurie, (Oct. 19) Christian Post

    I don’t even want to contemplate what life would be like if I didn’t have the privilege of taking my sorrows, cares, and worries to the Lord.

    In Acts 12, when the apostle Peter was in Herod’s prison, facing imminent execution, the young church met one of its greatest tests. This evil king had already killed James, the brother of John. And now he had Peter, their leader, in custody. He was imprisoned behind two gates, chained to two guards, and guarded by 14 more.

    The odds of Peter living out the week were slim to none. So what did the church do? Flood the palace switchboard? Call their member of congress? Organize a protest and picket the palace? Fill up Twitter with negative posts?

    No. Verse 5 gives us their entire strategy: “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” We have a secret weapon in the church called prayer. Though all other doors may remain closed, one door is always open: the door into the presence of God through prayer.

    So often, however, we save this as our last resort — what we do when “all else fails.” But this church prayed as a first resort, and it was by far the most powerful and effective thing they could have done.

    Acts 12:5 says, “Constant prayer was offered to God.” Jesus made this exceptional promise: “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted” (John 15:7 NLT).

    Don’t miss the big “IF” at the beginning of that sentence. If you are investing daily time in studying His Word and growing in your understanding of the nature and character of God, you will begin praying for what He wants. True prayer is not bending God my way. It is bending myself His way.

    The early church also prayed passionately and passionately in “constant prayer.” Another way to translate it would be “earnest prayer.” The term used is the same word used to describe the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. That was an agonizing prayer of passion. And that’s the way the church prayed for their leader, Peter.

    Our prayers often hold no power because they have no heart. If we put so little passion into our prayers, we can’t expect God to put much passion into answering them.

    We get so wrapped up in our own thoughts and concerns that we really don’t give our full attention to prayer. Someone will tell us of a crisis they’re facing, and we may send up a quick, “Lord help them,” but if truth be told, we don’t care that much. We don’t pray with passion, and we don’t pray continuously.

    Jesus taught, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, NKJV). However, a better translation of the original language would read: “Keep on asking. Keep on seeking. Keep on knocking.”

    God isn’t irritated at all when you keep knocking at His door. He wants to open the door to you, His much-loved child. In fact, He tells you to be persistent and to keep at it. One translation suggests that we pray with “shameless audacity” (Luke 11:8, NIV). Keep praying about that matter on your heart.

    So the church in Jerusalem kept praying with great passion and persistence for Peter, knowing he was in peril for his very life. And they prayed together. The church met together at the home of Mary, mother of John Mark, to plead with God for Peter’s release.

    There is power in united prayer. Jesus said, “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in Heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:19-20, NKJV).

    If you have a crisis or a need in your life, go to your Christian friends to unite in prayer. When the early church did so, God dispatched an angel to break Peter’s chains and open the prison doors. Before long, the answer to their prayer was knocking on the door of the prayer meeting.

    In Psalm 61, David wrote:  “Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”(vv. 1-2, NKJV)

    In other words, when your heart is overwhelmed, start looking for higher ground. God will answer in His time, in His way. In the meantime, He will lift you up and give you strength.

    (Editor’s Note: Greg Laurie is the Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship and the speaker at the Harvest Crusades. He is also the author of Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus: A Spiritual Biography of Rock And Roll.)

    (Michael Hernandez, co-founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted at [email protected] and is editor of “America: The End and Our Hope”.)


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