Sunday, August 30, 2015

Patriots' Prayers for 8-30-2015

What is wrong with America goes well beyond politics & economics. It is a spiritual sickness which infects the USA. No politician, no election, no piece of legislation, will cure spiritual sickness. We must appeal to a Higher Authority for that kind of healing. Patriots' Prayers is an ongoing feature appearing each Sunday. Please join together, praying for America.


1) Please continue to pray the Prayer For Forgiveness and Repentance of the United States

Save and protect, O Lord, these United States of America and have mercy on us. As a nation, we have turned our backs on you and have sinned. We have allowed our God-given liberties to be taken away. We have allowed the epidemic of abortion to fester out of control. We have allowed prayer to be eliminated from our schools, and Your Word and commandments to be banned from our public squares. We have allowed Your place in our nation’s history to be erased from our textbooks and our minds. We have turned our backs on Your teachings. We no longer look to You and Your Word for our standards of right and wrong, replacing those absolute truths with the whim of our own opinions.  We have allowed decadence and depravity of all sorts to become public and commonplace. Common decency has become a thing of the past. 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.

Supporting Verse: "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) 

2) Pray for the new School Year

As schools across the country are starting the new school year, please pray for the safety of all - children, teachers, and administrators. Pray, too, that the rights of students be protected, as the start of each new school year seems to bring more and more intolerance for religious freedom and traditional values. We are already seeing examples of religious freedoms being attacked by atheist activist groups, in places like Texas, Mississippi, and Kentucky (links are to news stories on other websites).

3) Please pray these Additional Prayers
  • Bless, O Lord, and have mercy on President Obama, Chief Justice Roberts, House Speaker Boehner, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and all other political leaders of our nation. Grant them wisdom, so that they serve Your Will. Block any of their plots and schemes that run counter to Your good and perfect Will, or that threaten the inalienable rights You have given to us. 
  • Remember, O Lord, and have mercy upon the whole clergy of Your Church, and grant them the wisdom and strength needed to boldly preach and do Your will during these perilous times. 
  • Grant, O Lord, blessings and mercies to all current and former members of our armed forces. Protect them and keep them safe.
  • Bless, O Lord, and have mercy on those who serve as police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, and other first responders.  
  • Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon the old, the young, the unborn, the needy and poor, the orphans and widows, the sick, the disabled, the oppressed and the imprisoned. Especially have mercy on those suffering for Your sake.
  • Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon the State of Israel. Shield it with Your love, protect it, and let it know peace. Send Your light and wisdom to its leaders, and direct them with Your good counsel. 
4) Jonathan Cahn Prays for America.


5) Please continue to pray for the four American hostages still being held in Iran
  • Jason Rezaian - a 39 year-old journalist working for the The Washington Post as their bureau chief in Tehran, Iran was arrested on charges of espionage and propaganda on July 22, 2014.
  • Robert Levinson - now 67, went missing while in Iran in 2007. In 2010, his family received proof that he was still alive and being held prisoner. According to the AP, there is reason to believe that Levinson, a former FBI and DEA agent, was working undercover for the CIA at the time of his disappearance.
  • Amir Hekmati - the 32 year-old former US Marine was visiting his grandmother and other relatives in Iran when he was arrested in 2011.
  • Saeed Abedini - the 35 year-old pastor, husband, and father of two, has been held prisoner in Iran since the summer of 2012. Abedini was visiting relatives and helping to establish an orphanage when he was arrested.

 LET PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT PATRIOTS' PRAYERS!

 "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one." --Ezekiel 22:30 (NKJV)

Don't let that happen to America. Be willing to "stand in the gap" on behalf of our land. Pray for America!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Seven Keys To Life

This is intended to be a very simple list of seven keys to life. Lots can be written about each of these seven  keys, but sometimes the big picture can get obscured by the details. Do these seven things consistently, and life will likely become much easier for you. 

1- Put God First

2- Love others

3- Forgive

4- Be generous

5- Live Simply

6- Take care of your health

7- Avoid debt


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Patriots' Prayers for 8-23-2015

Ezekiel 22:30 "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one." --Ezekiel 22:30 (NKJV)

Don't let that happen to America. Be willing to "stand in the gap" on behalf of our land. Pray for America!


1) Please continue to pray the Prayer For Forgiveness and Repentance of the United States

Save and protect, O Lord, these United States of America and have mercy on us. As a nation, we have turned our backs on you and have sinned. We have allowed our God-given liberties to be taken away. We have allowed the epidemic of abortion to fester out of control. We have allowed prayer to be eliminated from our schools, and Your Word and commandments to be banned from our public squares. We have allowed Your place in our nation’s history to be erased from our textbooks and our minds. We have turned our backs on Your teachings. We no longer look to You and Your Word for our standards of right and wrong, replacing those absolute truths with the whim of our own opinions.  We have allowed decadence and depravity of all sorts to become public and commonplace. Common decency has become a thing of the past. 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.

Supporting Verse: "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) 

2) Urgent Prayers

Several situations have come to light in the past week that need prayer, as the push to remove all public signs of religion continues (links are to news stories on other sites if you want more information). Please pray that God's Will be done in these situations, and that safety and freedom of all be maintained.
  • In an extremely dangerous situation, someone has been planting bombs near churches in New Mexico. So far no one has been hurt, although property damage has occurred, but authorities have not yet made any arrests.
  • An atheist activist group is demanding that Mount Vernon Independent School District in Texas remove several quotes on school walls, including quotes from Ronald Reagan and George Washington, that the atheist group deems to be promoting religion. 
  • The Brandon High School Marching Band in Mississippi has been barred from performing half-time shows at football games because one of the songs they performed was a musical rendition of the hymn "How Great Thou Art."  
  • An activist group is trying to get a Veterans' Memorial taken down because it shows a silhouette of a soldier holding a gun and kneeling at the foot of a cross. 
 3) Please pray for the four American hostages still being held in Iran
  • Jason Rezaian - a 39 year-old journalist working for the The Washington Post as their bureau chief in Tehran, Iran was arrested on charges of espionage and propaganda on July 22, 2014.
  • Robert Levinson - now 67, went missing while in Iran in 2007. In 2010, his family received proof that he was still alive and being held prisoner. According to the AP, there is reason to believe that Levinson, a former FBI and DEA agent, was working undercover for the CIA at the time of his disappearance.
  • Amir Hekmati - the 32 year-old former US Marine was visiting his grandmother and other relatives in Iran when he was arrested in 2011.
  • Saeed Abedini - the 35 year-old pastor, husband, and father of two, has been held prisoner in Iran since the summer of 2012. Abedini was visiting relatives and helping to establish an orphanage when he was arrested.
4) The Lord's Prayer sung as an anthem by Carman. May it inspire your worship & prayers.



 LET PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT PATRIOTS' PRAYERS!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Building Community - Evaluating Potential Members

Many preppers, survivalists, and religious folks are looking to build community - be it an informal network of like-minded friends and neighbors, or a more formal arrangement where folks have a defined role within a group of people living and working together towards a common goal. If yuo are looking to build a community, you probably have some questions. Who should be in your group? Who shouldn't be in your group? How do you evaluate potential members 

Evaluating Potential Members for Your Community


0- The Basics  I am assuming the the person you are considering to join your group shares your goals for the community, and is of similar religious background and political views If not, why would you even be considering them for your group? 

If your group is a religious-based one, and person X is an atheist, then his inclusion in the group will not work, even if he is your cousin and a medical doctor. If you are forming a group over concerns about America's leftward lurch towards socialism, including your hippie socialist sister in the group will be a huge mistake. Sorry, but that is the harsh reality. Some people need to be excluded from the very start.

But is sharing common goals, religious backgrounds, and political views really enough? I've been talking to many current and former members of such groups, and the resonding answer is NO, it is not enough. Here are some additional considerations:

1- Stability   Look for signs of stability, or the lack of it, in their lives.  If they are holding a job – its a good sign.  If they bounce in and out of work often or spend large stretches of time unemployed  - it may be a bad sign. Same goes for other areas of their lives – friendships, relationships, living arrangements…  Do they have long-term relationships (spouse, friends, etc.), or do they bounce in and out of relationships often? Does their life seem full of drama where things seem to constantly go wrong and they always seem to have problems of one sort or another? Or does their life seem mostly drama free.  Of course context matters, so use common sense.  However, generally speaking, signs of stability in their lives are good, and signs of a lack of stability are warning flags.  Look for trends within their life, not one time events.

2- Friendship  If you cannot be close friends with someone, it doesn't make sense to include them in your group, no matter what skill sets they bring with them. You will be living and working closely together, depending on each other on a daily basis in very difficult and stressful times. This will create a more intimate relationship than just being a typical co-worker or neighbor. If there is  something about their personality that annoys you, it will only get worse in any collapse scenario.  If you don't like them, don't expect to be able to "put up with" them over the long-term, especially during stressful times. It will go wrong at some point. Some questions to consider: Do you enjoy being around that person?  Can you have a good time together? Are you both comfortable around each other?

3- Trust   Do you trust that person?  Do you feel you can tell them anything without them judging you, telling others, or spreading gossip?  Do you trust them to always tell you the truth? Do you trust them enough to always tell them the truth? Can you trust them to not put themselves above the group in a crisis? Can you trust them to take care of tools and other things belonging to the group, every bit as well as they take care of their own personal property? Can you trust them to make the same commitment of time, effort , and finances to the group that you are willing to make?

4- Reciprocity   By this category, I mean How do they treat other people? Is your relationship with them reciprocal (involving give and take on both sides)?  Do you get as much out of it as they do?  Are they a good host AND a good guest?  Are they a giver, taker or balanced?  (Taker is bad, balanced is best, giver may be okay as long as you or others don’t take advantage). How do they treat you and other people? Do they try to live by the golden rule, treating others  in the same way they want to be treated? As you get to know each other, do they seem willing to sacrifice (time, money, effort) as much for the group as you are? 

Warning Signs

1- Addictions   Addictions of any kind – drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling, TV, etc – are a MAJOR warning sign.  Does their addiction control them?  Does it create chaos in their life, or hold them back? Avoid anyone with any form of addiction. Pray for them. Offer to help them find assistance in overcoming their addiction. But do not make them a part of your group until they have successfully and completely overcome their addiction.

2- Nuts/Crazies   There are lots of nuts and crazies in the world.  I'm not referring to people who are unusual or marching to a different drummer, but those who have actual serious mental problems.  Avoid them. Remember, at some point in a crisis, their meds will run out.Besides, the stress and chaos of a crisis will likely make their illness even more serious. This might seem heartless, but including them in the group will put everyone else in the group at risk. Besides, you can help people without making them part of your group. Pray for them. Help them find assistance and treatment for their illness before a crisis hits. Even check on them during a crisis if you can, providing food or other assistance if needed. But, don't being them into the group. 

3- Bizarre or Unusual Requests Early On   If you are just getting to know someone and they hit you with a bizarre or very unusual request, tread carefully. Bizarre requests might be to borrow a significant sum of money, or to quickly make a serious commitment, or to do something illegal or unethical.

4- Dishonesty  Its one thing to be guarded with personal information, and concerned with maintaining privacy. Its something else entirely to outright lie, especially about major issues. Don't expect someone to completely open up to you and tell you everything about their life, especially early on. But you should expect them to be honest in what they do tell you.

Skill Sets

It is a good idea to include a wide variety of skill sets in your group, and that is the area I most often see discussed when folks talk about building community. However, I suggest that skill sets should be at the bottom of your list of things to consider when building community. Having a wide variety of skills sets will be of little value to a group that falls apart because of other more basic problems. A group that splinters over personality clashes is no longer a group. All the skills in the world won't change that fact.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Basic Starter Tool Kit

When I was living in apartments back in the day, it surprised me how many of my neighbors had no tools whatsoever. I know this, because wherever I lived, I quickly became known as that guy with the tools - that my neighbors would constantly ask to borrow! Even basic tools like hammers and screwdrivers were in short supply with many of my fellow apartment dwellers. This post is for those folks who are completely new to the do-it-yourself world of self-reliance, as I explain what should be in a basic starter tool kit everyone should own.

First, start with a basic Claw Hammer. Hammers are for, well, hammering, usually nails into things. The claw part on the opposite side from the head is used for extracting nails. Hammers can also be used to knock things apart, which can be a rather fun way of relieving stress, though that is strictly an "off-label" use!  For your starter kit, I suggest a 7 oz. hammer, though as you build your tool kit you'll want to add a heavier hammer and perhaps specialty hammers at some point.

Next, you need some screwdrivers. At a bare minimum for your starter set, I suggest four - two Phillips head (the ones that like kinda like a cross) in sizes #1 and #2, and two flat head screwdrivers (the ones with a straight edge) in sixes 3/16 and 1/4. You can buy screwdrivers in various lengths, but you'll probably start with six-inch ones. As you add to your tool kit over time, you'll probably want to add different lengths, sizes, and styles (yes, there are many more styles than just the most common Phillips- and flat- head screwdrivers). You can also buy screwdrivers with interchangeable bits, whcih can be a space saver.

You will also want a pair of needle-nose pliers (six-inch) and regular pliers (six-inch). Pliers are great for gripping, holding, bending, and twisting things (which can be surprisingly useful activities). The needle-nose pliers typically also come with built-in wire cutters/strippers, which can also be useful. Both regular and meddle-nose pliers come in various styles and sizes, and you'll be adding to your starter kit over time.

An adjustable wrench should also be part of your starter tool kit. Like other tools, they come in various sizes, and you'll probably get a larger one at some point (the big ones can get surprising expensive), but you should be okay starting out with the standard six-inch in length with a 3/4 inch opening.

A retractable tape measure will prove to be an invaluable addition to your starter tool kit, provided you use it, as it wil keep you from making too many mistakes. You can get them in almost any length imaginable, but I recommend a ten- or twelve-foot one for your starter kit. You can get longer ones later, if you need to...

A bubble level, sometimes called a spirit level, will help you make sure that pictures frames, tables, and other items are level. You could use a marble, but a level really is more convenient.

An Allen wrench set, also called a hex-wrench set,  are those weird-looking, L-shaped, hexagonal pieces of metal, that are surprising useful for putting together those some-assembly-required pieces of furniture you buy at the big box stores, among other things. They come in both SAE and metric sizes, and you'll want a set of each.

You'll also want to add a good utility knife/box-cutter to your starter kit. Great for cutting things. I also find a good, sturdy pair of scissors quite useful.

A final item to consider for your basic starter tool kit is a set of precision screwdrivers. There screwdrivers are especially deigned to fit very small screws, like those found on eyeglasses & sunglasses, and in watches & various electronics. Like regular screwdrivers, precision screwdrivers come in various lengths, sizes, and styles. For your starter tool kit, just get a basic set.

At this point, your most basic starter tool kit is complete.You'll probably want to add a bag, box, or case of some sort to store your tools in, to keep them together so you can actually find them when you need them.

You'll also find it handy to go ahead and buy a variety of hardware (items like nails, screws, bolts & nuts, picture-hanging wire, etc). You can typically find small kits of various hardware at the big-box stores. Don't forget duct tape!

For a more complete discussion of tools, see I recommend the book by James Wesley, Rawles Tools for Survival.

As you build your tool kit and workshop. don't forget about safety equipment like protective eye-wear, gloves, aprons, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and first aid kits! (Seriously, safety is important.  See my article Prepper Workshop and DIY Safety.)

The tool kit pictured at the top of this article is the Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner's Tool Kit, which mostly meets and even exceeds my criteria for a basic starter tool kit. In addition to the basic tools I mention in this article, it also has some additional drivers and a small socket set. The only thing missing that should be in a starter kit is an adjustable wrench, so you'll want to buy one to add to this kit (you can find one for a couple of bucks at any of the big box stores).