Blessed are those servants whom the master… will find watching… [He] will gird himself… and will come and serve them. Luke 12:37
Abraham Davenport (1715-1789) was a distinguished Connecticut statesman and churchman who served as a colonial assemblyman, senator, judge, counsel to the governor during the War for Independence, and colonel in the Connecticut militia. On what came to be known as New England’s Dark Day, which many feared was the Great Day of the Lord his response was classic and instructive amid the apocalyptic signs that abound today. May we be found faithful to our God-given duties today, even if we know the Day of the Lord will come tomorrow!
IN the old days (With breeches and cocked hats)
the people sent their wisest men to make the public laws.
And so, from a brown homestead, where the Sound
Drinks the small tribute of the Mianas,
waved over by the woods of Rippowams,
And hallowed by pure lives and tranquil deaths,
Stamford sent up to the councils of the State
Wisdom and Grace in Abraham Davenport.
’Twas on a May-day of the far old year
Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring,
Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
A horror of great darkness, like the night
In day of which the Norland sagas tell,—
The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky
Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim was fringed with a dull glow,
like that which climbs the crater’s sides from the red hell below.
Birds ceased to sing, and all the barnyard fowls
Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars lowed,
and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter
The black sky that the dreadful face of Christ
Might look from the rent clouds, not as he looked
A loving guest at Bethany, but stern
As Justice and inexorable Law.
Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts,
Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
“It is the Lord’s Great Day! Let us adjourn,”
Some said; and then, as if with one accord,
All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.
He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice
The intolerable hush. “This well may be
The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty, and my Lord’s command
To occupy till he come. So at the post
Where he hath set me in his Providence,
I choose, for one, to meet him face to face,—
No faithless servant frightened from my task,
But ready when the Lord of the Harvest calls;
And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
Let God do his work, we will see to ours.
Bring in the candles.” And they brought them in.
Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read,
Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,
An act to amend an act to regulate
The shad and alewive fisheries. Whereupon
Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,
Straight to the question, with no figures of speech
Save the ten Arab signs [the face of the clock],
Yet not without the shrewd dry humor natural to the man:
His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while,
Between the pauses of his argument,
To hear the thunder of the wrath of God
Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.
And there he stands in memory to this day,
Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
Against the background of unnatural dark,
A witness to the ages as they pass,
That simple duty hath no place for fear
(John Greenleaf Whittier, “Abraham Davenport,” Atlantic Monthly, May 1866. See History. Thanks Pastor Deamon Scapin, Triumph Church DC, for quoting Whittier’s poem in your sermon at FRC’s December staff chapel service).
2015 had its victories and losses but 2016 will bring even greater challenges in every sphere. Christians must not throw up their hands or flee to the hills. Everything that can be shaken may be shaken. But in the election year ahead, our duty as Christian citizens calls for extraordinary prayer, hard work, and Spirit-led actions. Our Christian duty is to occupy until He comes!
Defunding Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare – FRC was both on the front line and behind the scenes working with Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare. Using the budget reconciliation process, the U.S. Senate voted for the first time, ever, to place a moratorium on the majority of taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and repealed large parts of ObamaCare. The House will vote to approve the measure in January and put the bill on the president’s desk. The president will be entirely responsible for his decision to veto these measures. The American people, through their representatives, will have done their part to stop these evils. If the president vetoes, the new Congress can vote again and give a new pro-life president this opportunity (Abortion Funding in ObamaCare) .
- Lord, Thank you for giving FRC and the pro-life movement grace steadfastly to persist after all these years. Yet the blood of 57 plus millions of unborn infants cries out to You! Grant us repentance and favor to turn the tide in 2016. Grant us a new president of Your choosing who will eagerly sign legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare (Dt 21:9; 30:19; 2 Kg 21:16; 24:4; Ps 75:7; Pr 6:16-17; 29:2; Lk 18:1-8; Gal 6:9).
FRC in 2015 and the New Year – Because you prayed, FRC has achieved remarkable things in 2015 with a very compact budget and despite numerous targeted efforts to undermine our reputation and work. While we lost some battles in 2015 – most notably the Supreme Court marriage decision – we have won many others.
FRC is blessed with strong leaders: executives, policy experts, researchers, writers, lawyers, and other Christian professionals and support staff who give sacrificially to the Lord and his work.
Our Policy Division, besides it research and writing of policy booklets, papers, legal briefs, testimony before Congress and state legislatures, multiple websites, speaking engagements and op-eds, a robust lecture series, and much more, has launched two new Websites: Marripedia, an online social science encyclopedia and Abortion in ObamaCare, a map exposing the plan.
FRC 2015 major events were a huge success: 671 people from 43 states attended our Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Briefing in Washington, D.C.; 2,383 people from 49 states and 5 countries attended the Values Voter Summit; and 145 people took part in our first ever Israel Tour!
Our Church Ministries Division hosted more than 30 significant Pastors events in 2016: Atlanta, GA; Overland, MO; Plano, Houston, San Antonio, a National Hispanic Pastors Briefing and a National Pastors Summit, both in Dallas, TX; a Black Ministers Summit in Washington, DC; and more. We had 14 events in Florida with 886 in attendance; 7 events in North Carolina with 319 pastors in attendance. Ten thousand pastors have now signed FRC’s Watchmen Pastor “P-3” pledge to Pray; to Preach and to Partner with others to take a stand in their communities and states when their moral leadership is needed.
Our Government Affairs Division and FRC Action helped shepherd the “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion” and Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act through the House. We helped advance the “Defund Planned Parenthood” campaign through media initiatives in many states; a one-year moratorium on funding for Planned Parenthood in both houses of Congress via reconciliation; the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA); and the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA). We contributed to 2 states passing the Pain Capable Child Protection Acts, 13 State investigations of Planned Parenthood and more. We launched a vigorous prayer and action campaign against the Supreme Court’s marriage case before and after their wrongful ruling. We used the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) videos to help boost grassroots pro-life activism and petitions to defund Planned Parenthood via social media.
Tony Perkins, General Boykin and other FRC experts appeared on numerous TV news programs across the nation, including 65 Fox News appearances. US newspapers and online news sites published 240 op-eds written by our policy experts. We conducted 426 Radio interviews and produced Tony Perkins’ live, daily, week-day radio show, plus a recorded weekend edition. We added 49 new stations this year and negotiations are underway to add several hundred more stations in 2016.
General Jerry Boykin, FRC’s Executive Vice President, led a coalition effort to prevent Navy Chaplain, Commander Wes Modder from dismissal because of his unbending support for Biblical marriage. General Boykin presented 100,000 petitions in support of Chaplain Modder to the Military Chief of Chaplains. And he led many other FRC and coalition efforts. Next year, he will work to prevent a change the code to allow open transgenderism in the U.S. military.
In 2016, among other things, FRC will: counter the SPLC’s false claim that domestic groups, including Christian groups, are a greater threat than Jihadists and host another series of Pastors Briefings including a Hispanic Pastors Briefing in Colorado. We will place a major focus on religious liberty pursuing FADA, the Government Non-Discrimination Act (State Level), and the Abortion Non-discrimination Act (ANDA). FRC Action will work to keep the hard-won pro-marriage and other conservative measures intact in the GOP Party Platform (various groups want to see them removed).
On Monday, January 11th, Tony Perkins will host a nationwide webcast to deliver his 2nd Annual “State of the Family Address.” He will deliver the hard truth regarding the welfare of the American family, which has declined significantly under Obama administration policies. On Saturday the 16th, FRC will host a nationwide Webcast – Free to Believe, a hands-on, four-hour training event to help local churches to build “Culture Impact Teams” (CITs) that will enable them to make a powerful impact in the ongoing war for the soul of our nation.
All this said, FRC is facing significant budget challenges with just two weeks to go until the end of the year. Contributions during these two weeks will determine whether we are able to move forward as aggressively as we believe we must with our planned programs.
Please pray for us, that God will move upon men and women of all economic means to give liberally to support FRC’s efforts. Your contribution will help continue the Prayer Targets, Call2Fall and other FRC prayer efforts in 2016.
FRC’s Prayer Targets will join our other publications in taking a Christmas break and will resume the first week of January. May your family enjoy a God-blessed, Spirit-filled Christmas – strengthened by the joy of the Lord, enriched by the fellowship of family and friends, and refreshed by the rest and perfect peace that only the Holy Spirit can bring. May we all close out 2015 closer to Jesus and embark upon the New Year shining brightly with the light of Christ.
In this critical New Year may we act as the salt and light Jesus said we are, and do our part to “advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview.”
Let’s always bear in mind that he gospel of salvation alone can change men’s hearts and give them eternal life. And even as we enjoy this time of celebration, let us remember to keep our place in the National Security Prayer Wall. Thank you for praying!