Saturday, July 23, 2016

Patriots' Prayers for 7/24/2016

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." --2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

Folks, as I look around America today, I am shocked by what I see. Anger. Hatred. Decadence. Murder. Terror. A country divided. Political and social turmoil beyond what I've experienced before. There is blood in the streets. A spiritual sickness infects the USA. I believe we are literally under demonic attack. I ask that you pray two prayers this week. The first is the Prayer for Repentance and Forgiveness for America. The second is a prayer against demonic influence for our nation, which I have adapted from a traditional Orthodox prayer. May our Heavenly Father hear our prayers!

Prayer For Forgiveness and Repentance of America

Our Father in heaven, have mercy upon these United States of America, according to Your lovingkindness and tender mercies. Blot out our transgressions, cleanse us of our sins. We acknowledge our transgressions, our many sins against You: We have allowed our God-given liberties to be taken away by our politicians and leaders. We have allowed Your Word and commandments to be banned from our public squares. We have allowed prayer to be eliminated from our schools. We have allowed Your place in our nation’s history to be erased from our textbooks and our minds. We have allowed the epidemics of abortion, pornography, and sexual immorality to fester out of control. We have allowed perversion, decadence, and depravity of all sorts to become public and commonplace.

As a nation, we have replaced the authority and perfection of Your Word with the whim of our own opinions for our standards of right and wrong. We no longer keep Your commandments, or follow Your teachings.

We confess these and all our sins to You and ask forgiveness for ourselves and our nation. Bring us to a state of true repentance - a returning to You - as both individuals and as a nation. We confess Your lordship over every aspect of our lives and our nation. Help us to follow You once again. Restore your mercy and blessings to these United States of America, and re-establish a hedge of protection around us. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen. 

Against Demonic Influence

Almighty God, who delivered Your people from the bondage of the adversary, and through Your Son cast down Satan like lightning, deliver these United States of America also from every influence of unclean spirits. Command Satan and his minions to depart far from these United States by the power of Your only begotten Son. Rescue this nation and its peple from demonic delusion and darkness. Fill the American people with the light of the Holy Spirit that we may be guarded against the snares of crafty demons. Grant that angels always watch over our nation and lead us to the path of righteousness forever, to the honor of Your glorious name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Preparedness for Non-Preppers

From an ordinary (non-prepper) person's point-of-view, the problem with the prepper/survivalist community is that we are preparing for extreme disasters - EMP attacks, worldwide plagues, economic and political collapse. Things that ordinary folks don't really believe will happen (or at least they don't want to believe will happen). But smaller, and much much common, emergencies do happen to thousands of ordinary people everyday - skinned knees, kitchen fires, power outages, car breakdowns, an unexpected job loss... We all, preppers or not, need to be prepared for life's little emergencies.

Preparedness for Non-Preppers: Everyone Needs To Be Ready For Life's Everyday Emergencies

Personal Preparedness

1-  Personal preparedness starts with a good attitude and mental health. Develop healthy relationships (spouse, family, friends, God). Weed out toxic people from your life. Deal now with any addictions you may have. Get enough sleep.  Learn to relax and reduce stress in your life. See my article on mental preparedness for more details on this topic. 

2- Personal preparedness includes developing good health and fitness. This is hard and time consuming, but well worth the time and effort! Learn to eat healthy. Be physically active. Stop smoking and/or abusing drugs or alcohol. Get enough sleep. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Visit your doctor and dentist on a regular basis. For more details, please see my article Steps to Good Health.

3- Personal preparedness includes learning new skills. I suggest everyone take a good first aid/CPR course. Everyone should take a good self-defense course. Learn how to swim. Other skills you may want to consider are learning a second language, learning to sew, learning basic auto maintenance and repair, learning to garden, etc... The more you know, the better off you will be. Build Self-Reliance.

4- Preppers and survivalists have a concept call Every-Day Carry (EDC). Basically, it is the stuff you carry with you everyday - your cell phone, car keys, wallet, sunglasses, and so forth. Preppers look at their EDC with an eye towards being prepared for emergencies, and often include such things as a pocket knife, multi-tool, a small, individual first aid kit (IFAK), and other useful items. For a look at my EDC, see the article My EDC Pocket Dump, as well as the article My Most Often Used EDC Items. Start looking at the stuff you carry everyday with an eye towards your own preparedness.

5- Keep you cell phone charged at all times. Carry a cell phone charger with you always.

Financial Preparedness

1- Emergencies can be expensive. Every family should have an Emergency Fund in a savings account at a local bank or credit union. How much depends upon your family's size and circumstances. Many financial experts recommend between six-months and two-years worth of expenses. Dave Ramsey recommends that those trying to get out of debt have at least $1000 stuck back for emergencies as step one of his Baby Steps program. My rule is "Some is better than none, and more is better still." Start as small as you have to, and build upon that start until you achieve a sizable emergency fund. 

2- ATM's and other electronic devices may not be working due to a power outage or whatever. Or the banks may simply be closed (weekends, holidays) when you need cash. So, it is a good idea to have some money stuck back in a safe, hidden place at home. Decide for yourself how much you ned, but I'd try for at least a couple hundred bucks in cash. 

3- There are lots of other aspects to financial preparedness. If you are interested in this subject, I'd highly recommend you read my article Finances - Get Back to Basics.

Preparedness at Home

1- Make sure everyone in your household is aware of what to do in case of a fire. They should know at least two escape routes.

2- Make sure everyone knows, especially younger kids, how to call 911 in an emergency.

3- Every home & apartment should have at least one working smoke detector. Make sure the batteries are fresh!

4-  Every home & apartment should have at least on Fire Extinguisher. Be sure everyone in your home knows where it is and how to use it. A possible alternative, back-up, or supplement to the traditional fire extinguisher is the Fire Gone Extinguishers. These are smaller, less expensive, very easy-to-use, and easier to clean-up.

5- Have a First Aid Kit in your home. Make sure everyone knows where it is and how to use it. A good first aid handbook is useful, but all adults and all children of school age should take a first aid/CPR course.

6- Have a good LED Flashlight, and extra batteries. Several are better than one. Consider keeping a flashlight in each major room of your house.

7- So you can stay informed of what's going on in a power outage, you should have a battery-powered AM/FM/NOAA Radio. Don't forget to have plenty of extra batteries. You can keep up with weather and news reports, emergency announcements, school and business closings, and so forth...

8- You need to have some food & water stored. Many preppers and survivalists strive for a year or more worth of stored food & water, but most non-preppers think that is extreme. But everyone should have at least a week's worth (and two weeks is even better) of food & water. Think in terms of not being able to go to the store because of a bad winter storm or similar event... Oh, don't forget to include some foods you don't have to cook (peanut butter, pop-tarts, canned tuna, canned pasta, canned fruits, etc.) in case their is a power outage.

9- Do a home safety inspection. Walk around every room of your home, looking for potential problems, such as clutter that can cause falls, fire hazards, and poison that is unmarked or easily-accessible by kids. Make sure all knives, guns, matches, lighters, etc., are secured from young kids. Walk around you property and all outbuildings doing the same thing. Most scouts learn to do these safety inspections as part of earning various merit badges and skill awards, so if you know a scout, have them do it for you! 

10- If you have guns, please teach your children gun safety. The NRA has gun safety programs for all ages, including young kids.

11- You may also want to check out my article Workshop and DIY Safety.

Preparedness On the Go

1- Keep your vehicle in good repair. Perform all routine maintenance on a regular basis. Make sure your tires and brakes are in good condition, and all your headlights, taillights and directional signals are working. Drive safely, and practice defensive driving. Pay attention. Don't drive distracted (no talking on a cell phone or texting while driving). Doing these things will make you less likely to get in a wreck, break down, or get a ticket.

2- Keep a pair of jumper cables and/or a car battery charger in your vehicle. Make sure all drivers in your family know how to use them.

3- Make sure you have a good spare tire in your vehicle, along with all tools you need with it.  Make sure all drivers know how to change a flat tire. Consider a can of Fix-a-Flat for quick use in an emergency.

4- All drivers should know how to check the oil level, and how to add extra oil if needed. Same for transmission fluid, brake fluid, engine coolant, and other fluids.

5- Its a good idea to always keep an overnight bag packed and ready to go at a moments notice in case you ever need to evacuate your home on short notice (approaching wildfire, nearby chemical spill, etc.). Peppers and survivalists typically call this "bugging out" and put together "bug out bags" that can be quite extensive. Non-preppers should pack, at a minimum, a change of clothes, personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.), some snack food (possibilities: packs of seeds & nuts, peanut butter crackers, energy/protein bars), and a couple of bottles of water. Other items you might consider: a small first aid kit, a compact emergency survival kit (see my article on putting one together), a good road map of your area, a three-day supply of any prescription medications. an extra pair of glasses, a good multi-tool, etc. You should also include copies of important paperwork (either on paper or a USB flash drive), such as driver's license, birth certificate, insurance numbers, credit card and bank account info, mortgage/deed info, medical information, etc.

You might want to pack a few items to keep you entertained while waiting to return home. Possibilities for adults include playing cards or a book. Possibilities for kids include coloring books & crayons, a small toy, or card games like Old Maid and Go Fish.

6- If your typical footwear is dress shoes, high heels, sandals, or flip-flops, I suggest you keep a pair of more practical athletic shoes or hiking boots in you vehicle, for when you need them.

7- Maps, a road atlas, and written directions to possible destinations in an emergency (Grandma's house, Uncle Fred's place, etc.) are a good idea. Smart phones, Google maps, and GPS may be temporarily down.

8- Keep your gas tank topped off. I rarely let mine drop to even the halfway mark.

A Note on Children

All kids should learn their full names, address, phone number, and parents' full names as soon as possible, well before kindergarten. Consider getting them "dog tags" to wear with this info, along with blood type, allergies, and import medical info. They should also learn how to call 911 in an emergency. They should start learning first aid early on - various scouting programs are great at this and teaching other skills, so join them up as soon as possible.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Patriots' Prayer for 7-17-2016

"The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it." -- Proverbs 22:3

A Prepper's Prayer

Heavenly Father, You are our refuge, our fortress. In You we find the courage and strength and wisdom we need to live and thrive and do your will in all things. You call us to live lives set apart from the worldly system of the Evil One. Have mercy on us and help us as we seek to live according to your will.

In Proverbs*, Solomon teaches us that a wise man, a prudent man, foresees danger and prepares for it, while a worldly man, a foolish man, ignores danger and suffers the consequences. O Lord, help us to be wise, not worldly. Help us be prudent, not foolish.

All wisdom flows from You, Father, so help us with our most important preparation for dangerous times: building a deep relationship with You. Give us a love for your laws. Give us your wisdom. Make the words of the Psalmist** ring true for us: Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me.

Paul teaches us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.*** Help us to care for your temple properly, to keep it healthy and fit, both spiritually and physically. Help us to make wise moves financially, for Solomon teaches us that the borrower is slave to the lender,**** therefore let us be enslaved to no one, so that we can live our lives for You unimpeded.

Help us, Lord, to not be lazy or indulgent, but rather to be industrious and thrifty. Help us to save and store up food and other necessities for difficult times, for we are commanded to provide for ourselves and our family at all times.*****

Help us, Lord, to be able to defend ourselves, our families, and those who cannot defend themselves, for You have given us the right of self-defense against those who would do us harm.******

Lord, You have also taught us the value of Charity,******* to be a help to those who cannot help themselves - orphans, widows, the elderly, the disabled, and others in need. Help us to live wisely, so that in times of great need we are not in need ourselves, but therefore are able to provide generously to those who are in need.

In the name of our Lord and Savior , we pray. Amen.

* Proverbs 22:3
** Psalm 119:97-98
*** 1 Corinthians 6:19
**** Proverbs 22:7
***** 1 Timothy 5:8
****** Exodus 22:2 & Luke 22:35-36 among many other passages
******* Matthew 5:3-12, Matthew 25:35, Acts 11:27-30, Et. al.

Friday, July 15, 2016

How Diabetes Has Changed My Prepping

Last July, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, a condition that I likely had for several years without realizing it. I only realized something was seriously wrong after I developed severe eye problems (diabetic retinopathy, with wet macular inclusions). I wrote about this experience back in October. In this article, I want to examine how my diabetes and eye problems have changed my prepping one year later. 

A New Emphasize on Health and Fitness

Having gone trough what I have over the last year, I now have an even greater appreciation for good health and fitness. I've made major changes to my diet and lifestyle aimed at rebuilding my health and improving my fitness. Health and fitness is no longer an afterthought in my preparations, but is now a major foundation of my preparedness activities. Daily exercise is a must. And eating healthy is the goal of every meal and snack. This means that I have done a lot of research on what constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle, reading a variety of books and articles. Most importantly, I've also kept an extensive food & health journal, recording how individuals foods, food combinations, exercise, and sleep effect my blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, and energy levels.

In my opinion, most preppers and survivalists including myself, treat health as almost an afterthought, preferring to spend their time and efforts on stockpiling food & water, guns & ammo, and other more interesting (and, frankly, easier) activities. Just take a look around at how many preppers still smoke, or are overweight/out-of-shape.

Changes in Food Storage

I've learned that my body cannot handle grains, even supposedly healthy grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal. Even a small serving of these "healthy" grains cause huge spikes in my blood sugar. Problem: Storing large quantities of grains, pasta, flour, and sugar, as part of your food supplies is a prepper mainstay. But I can't eat bread, pasta, cereal, or sweets. Potatoes are another food that plays havoc with my blood sugar, so scratch dried and instant potatoes off my list of foods to stockpile. What to do?

I have to store more of the foods I can eat. Luckily, beans have only a mild effect on my blood sugar, so I've been stocking up on those, both dried and in cans. But I have to watch the canned beans to avoid those that have a lot of added sugar! I've also been stocking up on other canned veggies, such as tomatoes, carrots, spinach & other greens, and sauerkraut (fermented foods are very good for diabetics). But, again, I have to pay attention to the ingredients because many brands include lots of added sugar!

I'm also increasing the amount of my canned meats, such as chicken, turkey, tuna, and salmon. Meats have no negative impact on blood sugar, as long as there is no added sugar, of course.

I don't use sugar anymore. I either eliminate sugar from recipes altogether, or use Stevia or small quantities of fruit or honey as a sweetener. So, I've been stocking up on Stevia and honey.

Adjustments to Gardening

Gardening is a great way to get exercise, and to get lots of fresh, healthy produce. The adjustment I've made to my gardening this year is no corn (I can't eat grains) or potatoes, and more of the ultra-healthy leafy green stuff, like spinach, lettuce, cabbage, and turnip & mustard greens. I also added broccoli this year, with excellent results. Of course, I've continued to plant tomatoes, beans, squash, cucumbers, zucchini, and other veggies. All those foods are healthy and have only a very mild impact on my blood sugar. (I've never grown wheat or other grains, and now probably never will.)

Some Other Adjustments

My distance vision is back to normal, but I still need reading glasses to read. I've stocked up on reading glasses, buying a dozen over-the-self pair in the magnification I currently use, as well as a few in higher magnification in case my vision worsens later on. In addition to keeping a pair of reading glasses on me at all times (now part of my EDC), I also have extras at my desk, in my vehicles, and in my survival pack (BOB). .

The treatments to restore my eyes (six injections in my left eye, nine in my right eye, plus laser surgery to seal leaking capillaries in my right eye) have thankfully worked, but have left my eyes extremely sensitive to bright light. I cannot go outside or drive without sunglasses, and will sometimes wear sunglasses indoors if its very bright inside. So, I've stockpiled lots of extra sunglasses. I have extras at home, in my vehicles, and in my survival packs.

Although I don't need large print books, as the reading glasses work just fine, I decided to purchase a large-print Bible just-in-case I need it later on... I might look into getting large-print editions of a few other books, too, for the same reason.

I'm currently working an a separate article about what I've learned regarding what really constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle. It should be posted on my website by the end of this month, so please look for it soon. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Patriots' Prayers for 7-10-2016

As you are most likely aware, law enforcement officers were ambushed at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, Texas, this week. Five police officers were murdered, and many others were wounded. The murderer was an individual who stated that he "wished to kill white people, especially white cops," no doubt motivated by the lies, anger, and hatred intentionally spread by those who practice such divisiveness for political and ideological gain. Let us not stoop to their level, but rather rise up in prayer. Please pray throughout this week for the family and friends of those officers killed in the line of duty, and for the safety and well-being for law enforcement officers throughout our nation. 

Please pray for the family and friends of the officers murdered in Dallas:
  • Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens
  • Police Officer Michael Krol
  • Sergeant Michael Smith
  • Police Officer Brent Thompson
  • Police Officer Patrick Zamarripa
Please pray for healing for the seven officers and two civilians wounded in Dallas.

Please Pray for Law Enforcement Officers Throughout America

Heavenly Father, bless and have mercy on all law enforcement officers throughout these United States of America. These brave men and women put their lives on the line everyday to protect and serve their fellow Americans. Watch over them, protect them, and keep them safe. Guide them in their duties, and grant them courage and wisdom. Watch over and protect their families. Comfort those who have lost friends and loved ones in the line of duty. Let them all know your love and saving grace. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

I would also like to make everyone aware of the Officer Down Memorial Page which lists all law enforcement officers (including K9 units) killed in the line of duty throughout the United States. These people deserve to be remembered.