Many voters place a lot of importance on polling results, and often swing from one view to the other, like a pendulum, as poll results vary and swing. The way people make book on the latest poll, you would assume that polls are prophetic and correct. Nothing could be further from the truth!
I am not a pollster, so don't expect anything scientific from this article-just some food for thought on the current practice of polling. Years ago, I worked for two different polling companies, so I think my perspective could offer some needed insight into the way polling has changed over the years.
I quit both polling jobs partly because I did not like the intellectual dishonesty I witnessed. Since those days, polling has changed because the culture and societal tools have changed. I'll let the reader decide whether polling has changed for the good or for the bad.
Today, polling companies and media giants (CBS, NBC, ABC, etc.), appear to continue to use the same methodology in spite of major changes in society. The most profound change is that, due to the explosion of cell phone use, most U.S. citizens no longer use a land-line phone, but polling of cellular phones is extremely limited, if not non-existent at this time. So, obviously, the pollsters are missing a huge segment of the populace who no longer have land-lines.
I believe this may have been a major factor in pollsters' complete mis-reading of the public in the recent 'Brexit' vote in the U.K. Here in Michigan, pollsters showed Clinton with a significant lead over Bernie Sanders in the Michigan Primary, but Sanders won the primary, much to the chagrin of the 'wizards of smart'.
The ability to reach the intended pool of people is significantly reduced due to the cell phone phenomenon . Most people who have only land-line phones are a somewhat predictable and traditional group, but, nowadays, any sampling may be badly skewed because it misses much of the demographic the poll seeks to measure. Couple that fact with the clear biases that polling companies apply to their poll results, and, no wonder they often miss their mark by a mile. Yet, they expect the voter to make monumental life decisions based upon these polls.
A poll is supposed to be used as a 'snap-shot' in time, but most pollsters report their polls as being fact-based and expect the citizenry to believe they can accurately predict the outcome of races and trends with this flawed methodology. My advice is to take polls with a large grain of salt, and study the poll internals to see how the poll arrives at its conclusions.
As A Christian, I never place my faith in polls, speeches, campaigns, etc. All are flawed efforts of flawed human beings to convince you that they have your best interest at heart, when, in most instances, they are in the race to gratify themselves or acquire power, which is why campaign promises rarely come to fruition. When we pray about an election, we ask the Lord to confuse and expose anyone with wrong motives, and to raise up the candidate who is best suited to serve rightly (if such a candidate in available).
We do not place our faith in polls. We place our trust in the One Who can make a difference in our lives-not in those who cannot make true difference. And , while no poll will point to Him. Scripture does.
Legacy: A Tribute
By James J Jackson
Legacy: We are constantly reminded that many people, from presidents to paupers, spend a lot of time and effort nurturing and shaping their legacy. What will they leave to posterity that is of lasting value?
But, what does it really mean to leave a legacy? According to Susan V. Bosak, of The Legacy Project, legacy is.." a powerful life tool...and a catalyst for social change. A is about life and living; learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future". She further opines that legacy is fundamental to what it is to be human.
I once wrote that my father's dying legacy was to leave his ten children with someone whom he could trust to instill in them the faith, moral courage and principles in which he believed and knew would stand us in good stead. My uncle, David Jackson, his brother, fulfilled that legacy by rearing us in a Godly manner, teaching us the love of the Lord, ad to love our neighbors as ourselves. I have tried to instill a legacy like that to my own progeny.
Consider the wonderful legacy left recently by Ethel and Jim Kocman. They lived relatively quiet lives, and taught their children and grandchildren humility, love of the Lord, steadfastness, honor and love for others.
Jim died in his eighties, over fifteen yeas ago, but he left a legacy of happiness, love for one another and respect for everyone they met. Jim had quite a sense of humor. I will never forget the way he gently nudged me into getting a much-needed total knee replacement. I kept putting it off, so he began calling me 'Wimp' whenever he saw me. "How's it feel to be called a wimp by an eighty-year-old man?", he would quip, sarcastically. Get your knee done, then we'll have a foot race.”
He and his beloved Ethel maintained a home that exuded love, and warmly welcomed visitors and family, alike. Jim loved to show off his mastery at woodworking. He crafted some awesome pieces for Ethel and for friends and family. He mostly enjoyed colorful banter about politics and the state of the world.
At Ethel's funeral service, I marveled as I listened to many of their progeny express the love they received from Jim and Ethel, and the countless stories about the many wonderful times in their presence. Their recounting of the life lessons learned from this awesome couple, made me think, "Now, this is a true legacy; people telling others about the experiences and life lessons they received from you”.
Ethel was born on a Sunday, and died on a Sunday, at age 100. As her age advanced, and her body weakened, she often asked why God was keeping her here. Her family and friends would remind her just how much of a blessing she continued to be to those around her.
Leaving a multitude of people who honor your memory and bask in the warmth of all that you taught them, by your words, deeds and by watching you live out your faith, means much more than monuments, buildings, street names, etc. Love is the only true and meaningful legacy we have to leave those we love.
Jim and Ethel’s Legacy? They Loved the Lord all the days of their lives, and passed that love to countless others! I am blessed to be one of them!
By James J Jackson
In the aftermath of the senseless slaughter of nearly 100 people in Orlando, Florida the usual suspects have unleashed their attacks on the victims, and, along with various other new voices, offer their slant on the murders and the surrounding issues.
One person opined on Facebook that he or she was concerned that those who died were unrepentent sinners, and, therefore, went to Hell. The insane Westboro Baptist Church, which protests at the funerals of those who died in war, or whom appeared to be involved in public sin issues. Still others believe that the victims received their 'just desserts' because of their lifestyles.
The dichotomy here is that the murderer also cased Disney World as a target. If he had chosen to attack Disney Park, would those mentioned above still believe that the victims would have received their just desserts for their sins? And, what of the victims who died in a hail of bullets after simply attending a Colorado movie theater, something we've all done at times? Are they to be considered as having gotten their just desserts, since every one of them were sinners?
I have a strong belief in the Bible as God's spoken and inspired Word, and I try to apply it's tenets in my life daily. Nowhere in His Word does God appoint me, or any other human as His 'Enforcer', nor does He ask us to police the sins of others. He tells us, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God".. He does not offer some of us absolution from sin, and not others. We are to share God's love in our words and deeds, and love our neighbors as ourselves at all times and in every circumstance.
One's relationship with God is a personal relationship, and I believe His Word teaches us to develop a that relationship with Him, through His Son, Jesus Christ and by His Holy Spirit. He warns us against concentrating on the "splinter in some else's eye, while ignoring the 'plank' in our own". A person who believes he will be rewarded for killing others (especially innocents) will be the most surprised soul in Hell, as he discovers, too late, that the devil is a liar and deceiver.
When people are victimized, regardless whether they were in the midst of sin or not, God wants us, as His people, to show compassion for them, and not waste time condemning or comparing their sin to ours. Although I disagree with many of the actions and lifestyles others choose, it is not my place to decide whether they are being punished for their lifestyle, or any other sins that may exist in their lives. Christ already died for all sin .
Members of the Westboro Church apparently live under a deception that they are sinless, and, therefore, can attack others for not being as 'pure' as they. The day when people such as this stand before the Living God, they will be very surprised that they misinterpreted God's message to them.
I don't believe that, as Christians, we are not asked to participate in or celebrate sinful lifestyles, and I take a stand on believing that God has declared what is right and what is wrong, both in His Word and in the hearts of His people, but, as I said previously, He has not appointed anyone to punish or kill those who may have a sin issue. That is truly between that person and God.
Clearly, evil is in the world, and, as the Bible says, Satan is roaming around, seeking people to devour. Don't become one of his victims by focusing on the sins of others, but, instead, be introspective, and seek to address your own sins, repenting and ask for forgiveness and turning away from those sins that the Holy Spirit has revealed to you. God's peace to the victims and their families. Enough said!
ASHAMED OF BEING A CHRISTIAN?
By: James J. Jackson
It becomes clearer each day that Satan is very busy trying to hold back the work of the Christian church. Many members of the major media and leading social personalities have succeeded in demonizing Christianity by ridiculing the so-called 'Christian Right', and treating Christians with disdain. They act as though being a Christian is something to be ashamed of.
Many in the media jump at the chance of reporting each and every human failing within the church. As a result, many Christians are ashamed of being e identified with such activities.
Even Christ’s disciples, at times, were ashamed or afraid of being exposed as Christians. Peter denied Christ three times. And the world believes that if it can stifle even the mention of God’s or Christ’s name, it will somehow cause Christ and His church to cease to exist. But, Christ tells us in His Word that if we remained silent, the very rocks and stones would testify that He is the Savior of the world.
Christ warns us that if we are ashamed of Him before mankind, He will be ashamed of us before His Father. Christians are asked to be prepared to declare Christ as Savior and Lord, even in the face of death. That’s a heavy responsibility, but it is nothing when compared to what He has done for us.
An elderly pastor who had suffered persecution in prison for many years in the former Soviet Union once told a story about an underground church service that was interrupted by armed men who burst in, loudly demanding that all Christians stand up and move to one side of the room. They then commanded all of the others to leave, and told the true Christian believers to prepare to die.
After most of the parishioners had left, the “attackers” told the believers to relax. The 'attackers' were also believers, but, before they joined the group, they wanted to weed out the deceptive non-believers in their midst. The group could then worship in earnest.
This same pastor made it through many years of imprisonment and persecution by holding onto Christ's admonishment, in Matthew 10:28, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." The moving hymn, “It is Well With My Soul”, by Horatio Spafford, became his sourc e of comfort throughout his captivity and afterward.
When traveling in foreign countries, I have often found myself in an area inhabited by groups that are antagonistic to Christians. I have played a scenario over in my mind in which I am confronted and commanded to declare whether I am a Christian. I believe that the Lord would have me answer in the affirmative, even in the face of harm or death. It would be a true test of my faith, but I believe that the Lord would deliver me, one way or the other.
I cannot, however, even take credit for the faith, courage, and whatever else gives me the peace to readily declare my love for the Lord in any circumstance. He gives me the faith to believe and the courage to stand strong on those beliefs. Who couldn’t trust a Savior like that?
I once was afraid to pray out loud in groups. I had convinced myself that prayer is such a personal time with the Lord, that it might be construed by others as boasting if I prayed out loud. Through growth in my walk with Christ, I learned that He expects me to lead others, particularly my family, in prayer. He gives me the words to say, and, by praying, I am teaching my family valuable life lessons, such as being bold in declaring Christ as Lord, and thanking Him for our blessings.
Not every Christian feels led to stand on a street corner with a mega-phone, shouting Scripture verses and calling others to repentance, but we are called to express and share our faith with others, and to proudly display Scripture references in our homes and wherever we go.
Hanging in a high and visible place in our home is a plaque, reflecting a verse from Joshua: ”As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Anyone who enters will have no problem identifying that we are, indeed, a Christian family. Ashamed? Absolutely not! We are proud to have been chosen, undeservedly, as heirs by the King of all Kings.
Are you ready for the end? A recent film titled, ‘Finding a friend for the end of the world’ includes a jilted husband traveling with a neighbor to find a childhood sweetheart with whom to spend the final day on earth. From my understanding of the end of the world, I don't believe it will be a time for seeking companionship and making new friends with whom to share the 'event'.
Humans have been intrigued with the end time since we were evicted from Paradise for disobeying God. Countless people claim to know when the last day will come. The ’seer’, Nostradamus warned us centuries ago that the earth would end in 2011. The Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012, so we were warned that that will be the last day for earth's existence.
Harold Camping is one of the most prolific predictors of earth’s last day. He has pronounced several dates as the final date for earth, then, when each date passes uneventfully, Camping simply chooses another date, and many of his believers blindly begin preparations for the new date.
Several groups in Europe waited as their chosen doomsday of September 15, 1994 came and went. Others watched October 10, 2010 come and go, yet they believed the next announced dooms day with the same fervor as they believed in all of the previous ones. I would rather ignore human wisdom (which will fail you every time) and, instead, trust in the only true guidebook, the Bible.
The ‘end of the world’ movie indicates that there is value in finding the right person with whom to experience the end of the world. It’s as though finding the right person to die with is the most important accomplishment one can hope to achieve, perhaps to have the last laugh on life.
Sadly, all of man’s calculations and guesses cannot discern when the earth will meet its end. Jesus Christ, Himself warns us, “… No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Scripture tells us that many people will claim to know exactly when Christ will return, or that He is already on earth. The Bible tells us that, “...For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other…It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”
It says nothing about finding new friends, holding ‘going away’ parties, etc. God chose not to tell even His only Son, so how can a sinful human hope to be given the ‘scoop?’ The Bible tells us that it is more important to be spiritually ready for that day than to try to determine exactly when it will come.
The Lord tells us to live each day as if it were our last, and as if each day is the day when He will return. We are to love others, and share His message of salvation and the free gift of eternal life that Christ offers freely to all who will receive it.
A friend recently opined that he doesn’t believe that the ancient Mayans, over 500 years ago, saw the end of the world coming in 2012, but did not forecast the Spaniards coming to destroy them in the 1500’s.
The Bible gives us many signs to watch for as the end of this age approaches, and many 'seers' point out signs that the coming of Christ and the end of the world is imminent. I believe I'd rather wait for the unmistakable sign—Jesus coming through the clouds as He promised. There is no need to worry what the future holds when you know who holds the future.
When well-loved actor and comedian, Robin Williams killed himself by asphyxiation this week, wild speculation ensued. One news source opined that Williams suffered from 'Survivor's Guilt", and felt that he had no right to live after three of his close friends (Belushi, Reeves and Coffman), died untimely deaths. Others say that years of drug abuse and depression finally overwhelmed him to the breaking point. Still others believe Williams was bitter about being recently relegated to insignificant TV and movie roles. We will never know for sure, unless a suicide note is discovered. We do know he was divorced several times, resulting in alimony taking much of his fortune. So,he killed himself. If he suffered from depression, we know that can lead to suicide, even when aggressively treated.
The world always seeks answers as to why a person would take his or her own life, particularly a wealthy, famous and well-loved person. We cannot comprehend the demons that may have haunted Williams, even though he always seemed jovial and made others laugh. I once wrote a column, "Suicide: A Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem", in which I wrote about three friends who had killed themselves, each thinking their death would make the world a better place. They left behind families, including children, who were virtually destroyed by their death, mostly blaming themselves, and feeling inadequate and worthless because someone they loved so much had taken such an extreme measure just to get away from them. Others blame themselves for not being there to say the right things to deter their friend or relative from killing themselves. It was reported posthumously that he was hiding a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (still no reason to commit suicide).Clearly, suicide never resolves any problems, but creates more problems for those left behind.
I was shocked to read that over 41,000 suicides occur in the U.S. each year. What an enormous waste of human potential, and what a huge amount of despair and pain is created in each case. It's saddening to think of all those left behind to carry guilt, sorrow, loss and despair throughout their lives because of a terrible decision by someone they love.
I have no idea where Robin Williams stood spiritually, and I haven't seen any public profession of faith in any deity or organized religion. The only remotely spiritual statement I had seen attributed to Williams, was that he stated that 'cocaine is God's way of letting you know that you have too much money'.
All major religions of the world (Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.), believe suicide is in violation of their religious tenets. The Bible teaches us that murder is a violation of God's Commandments, so some believe that, since one cannot repent taking their own life, they cannot be forgiven.
While such logic may work for many, it seems antithetical to the main truth of the Scriptures; that all humans sin constantly; we cannot be good enough to pay for our sins, and that even one sin can doom us to Hell. The truth of God's Word is that He had mercy on His doomed creation, and made a way to get the justice He rightly deserves, and to punish our sins...all of our sins. He sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the perfect sacrifice for all sin, and offers eternal life in Heaven to all who will accept His free gift. God, thru His Son, forgives all sin...past, present and future. Therefore, it would seem that a sin, such as suicide, would not keep one from entering Heaven, no more than if one dropped dead while in the act of any other sin. I am not a theologian or scholar, but I trust in God's promises.
We can't know where Robin Williams' soul resides for eternity, but we do know that John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life". I pray that Robin Williams is resting with the Lord, but, as for me, I place all my trust in the Lord-plus, I'm too nosy about what's coming up next to deprive myself of every day of life God is willing to give me.
Jim Jackson is a Nationally Syndicated Columnist (www.amyfound.org) and Author (In All Things...Tate Publishing, Oklahoma City). He's a freelance writer and Editor-In-Chief of the Amy Foundation Internet Writing Syndicate. Jim has been a member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church for more than 3 decades.