Thursday, November 26, 2015

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the following Proclamation declaring the last Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving, and ordering all federal offices closed on that day. Prior to this proclamation, Thanksgiving was not an official national holiday, but was celebrated by individual states and localities on various dates of their choosing. Lincoln's Proclamation codified the last Thursday in November as the federally recognized holiday of Thanksgiving.

By the President of the United States of America.  A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Patriots' Prayers for 11-22-2015

"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)

This Week's Patriots' Prayer

Heavenly Father, save and protect these United States of America and have mercy on us. Grant us Your forgiveness, and treat us not as we deserve, but according to your loving-kindness. As a nation, we have turned our backs on you and have sinned. As a nation, as a people, 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. Yet, our wisdom is but folly if it isn't rooted in You. Worldly wisdom is no more than whim and opinion, ever-changing with the trends and fashions of the times. Forgive us for our folly, and help us to repent and turn back to You and Your Word as our standard of Truth. 

Help us, O Lord, to seek Your wisdom, and to keep Your commandments. Help us to no longer compromise with the world, but to stand firm on Your absolute truths. Help us to truly make the prayer of the psalmist* our prayer:

"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways. You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently. Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments. I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments. I will keep Your statutes. Oh, do not forsake me utterly! 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. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word."

In the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

*The third paragraph is from Psalm 119: 1-7. The fourth paragraph is from Psalm 119: 98-101. At some point this week, you may want to take some time to read Psalm 119 in its entirety (it is the longest chapter in the Bible!).

NOTE: This week I am initiating a slight change in Patriots' Prayers. The weekly prayer, which changes each week, will continue to be posted as usual. The other "fixed" prayers, which typically don't change each week, will be kept on the Prayer Page of my website. Just click the link to go to the Prayer page to pray those prayers. Please feel free to print a copy of those prayers to use each week, if you wish. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fight Back! -- Defending the Second Amendment

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

1) Know Your Rights - All people have a natural (God-given) right right to self-defense. This inalienable right is recognized and guaranteed by the second amendment to U.S. Constitution. Guns are a very useful, even necessary, tool of self-defense. They are also great for hunting, providing food, and recreation through shooting sports and collecting. But their primary function, as enshrined in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers, is for self-defense, against both bad people and bad governments. WE HAVE A GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE, AND THE TOOLS NEEDED TO DEFEND OURSELVES.

"If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed." --Exodus 22:2

Jesus advised his disciples to arm themselves in view of likely persecution. --See my study of Luke 22:36

If someone comes to kill you, arise quickly and kill him.” --Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin

Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow.” --Catechism of the Catholic Church (2264)

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." --Thomas Jefferson

"What is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." --George Mason (the Father of the Bill of Rights)

Action Steps:

A) Read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
B) Get a "pocket copy" of both (various organizations often give away such copies).
C) Read the article "The Six Things Americans Should Know About the Second Amendment" by Richard W. Stevens.
D) Check out the Biblical Self-Defense website.
E) Read my article Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Worship, to understand the important difference and how progressives try to water-down our rights.
F) Check out the book Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense by by Massad Ayoob.
G) Learn the laws of your state and locality regarding firearms, self-defense, and concealed-carry & open-carry. Your local gun store should be able to help with this step.

2) Work to Change Unconstitutional Laws and Excessive Regulations

Many states and localities have already passed legislation that violates the second amendment and/or otherwise restricts the inalienable right to self-defense. We must work diligently to change these laws and to prevent new restrictions. This will take some time, effort, and awareness.

Action Steps:

A) Know the positions of political candidates regarding guns and self-defense. Do not vote for candidates that do not support the second amendment or that favor excessive restrictions on guns and self-defense.
B) Vote for and otherwise support candidates at that respect the second amendment and promise to resist gun bans and excessive regulations.
C) It is as important to hold local and state level officials accountable, as it is to hold federal level politicians accountable. 
D) Make your voice heard. Pressure your politicians at all levels to be pro second-amendment, and to resist gun control efforts. Most moderate (non-ideological) politicians end up voting in the direction they feel the greatest pressure. We have to make sure we out-pressure the progressives. Write, call, email, and visit your elected officials often. Attend town halls. Write newspaper editorials. Be outspoken. Here's how to contact congress.
E) Many gun rights organizations (see below) provide legislative alerts and suggested actions to take. Join their email lists and/or follow them on twitter to stay informed of these opportunities.

3) What about civil disobedience?

Civil disobedience of unjust and/or unconstitutional laws is legitimate and may be necessary at some point. However,the penalties for breaking gun laws are often quite severe, so please think long and hard before breaking them. The negative consequences may not only affect you, but also your family. If you do get into trouble, either through civil disobedience or just accidentally, seek legal help from a law firm friendly to the second amendment. Here are two directories:

A) The Shooter's Bar -- Pro Second-Amendment Attorneys
B) JPFO Guide to 2A/CCW Oriented Attorneys

4)  Join Forces with Others Defending the Second Amendment

A) National Rifle Association (TwitterWebsiteYouTube)
B) Gun Owners Association (TwitterWebsite, YouTube)
C) Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (TwitterWebsiteYouTube)
D) National Association for Gun Rights (TwitterWebsiteYouTube)

5) If you are in Law Enforcement or the Military, please Join Oath Keepers.  Even if you're not, you can support them by joining as an associate member. You can also sign up for their free email list.


6) Know the Facts

Several politicians and activists have been caught lately reciting facts and statistics that were highly distorted and, in several cases, completely made-up. Opponents of the second amendment have no qualms about lying to get their way. It is crucial that we know the real facts and statistics so that we cannot be mislead, and so that we can correct the record and prevent others from being mislead. Here are several resources to help you learn the facts:

A) Gun Facts Website
B) Gun Facts 6.2 (link will download a .pdf of a 119 page book)
C) Gun and Murder Statistics (on JPFO website)
D) Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America by Dana Loesch

7) Schools and Zero-Tolerance

Schools have enacted zero-tolerance policies that go way beyond banning the actual weapons from schools. School kids have, and are, getting suspended, expelled, and sometimes arrested for such absurdities as merely using the word "gun" in a paper, drawing a picture of a gun on paper, having a green plastic army man with a gun, biting a pop-tart into the shape of a gun, having a toy "bubble gun" that looks nothing like a real gun, and even holding their fore-finger and thumb into a gun shape while playing on the playground (no more playing cowboys and indians, or even cops and robbers).

School officials understand the difference between a drawing of a gun and a real gun. They over-react to such an incredible extent not to discourage guns on campus, but to intentionally instill a fear of guns into students. Progressives know that if the current generation of students afraid of guns, it will be easier to ban guns once they grow up.  

Fight these absurd zero-tolerance rules in your kids' schools. Stand up to administrators who think your kid should be arrested for biting a potato-chip in such a way that it vaguely resembles a gun. Most importantly, make sure you are voting for school board members who respect the second amendment, as well as the rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Teach your kids to respect guns, not to fear them. Teach them how to use guns safely. Take team shooting and hunting. Check out the NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program for kids.
8) Promote Gun Ownership
Own guns and enjoy them. Encourage others to own guns, and to pursue hunting and shooting hobbies. The more people who own and enjoy guns, the harder it will be for progressives to take our guns away. Invite a gun-wary friend, neighbor, or co-worker to go hunting or shooting with you. Get to them before the progressives do.

Other Resources

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dog Attack! -- Lessons Learned

Earlier today I was involved in a dangerous situation that really brought home to me the need to always be ready for whatever may occur. Complacency and a false sense of safety are easy, but dangerous, habits to fall into.

What Happened

After breakfast this morning, I took my small dog for a walk in our neighborhood. My Mother, who is in her 70s, went with us. It was a walk around our neighborhood that we take almost daily, and only takes about 20 minutes.

On the way home, we were suddenly confronted by a very large dog (over 100 lbs) I had not seen before in the neighborhood. This dog immediately started acting aggressively (not playfully) towards my dog, to the point that I feared for my dogs safety, so I picked her up to carry her home. That was when the other dog started jumping on me, pushing and scratching me while trying to get to my dog. This aggressive behavior kept up as I tried to get home with my dog and my Mother, who was near panic over the situation (the dog concentrated on me and my dog, and mostly left my Mother alone).

My next door neighbor saw what was happening and came out to help us get home, waving a stick and yelling to distract the dog. My legs, hips, and back were all scratched up by the dog, with a few of the scratches deep enough to draw a little blood. However, the dog never bit me or anyone else, so I describe its behavior as very aggressive, but not vicious. I do wonder what would have happened had it managed to knock me down. It could have been a lot worse.

After getting inside, I called the county's Animal Control to report what happened. More on that later in this article.

My Mistakes and Lessons Learned

I live in a very solid middle-class to upper-middle-class neighborhood in the exurbs of Charlotte. We are in a neighboring county, in a area off the beaten path, in a neighborhood that I know well, and consider(ed) relatively safe and quiet. I am embarrassed to admit that I had developed a false sense of safety and complacency about my immediate surroundings. I was caught totally off-guard by the events of this morning.

Mistake 1: Because I had nothing going on this morning, I had not gotten ready like I normally do before leaving the house. In fact, I was still wearing the sweat pants I slept in the night before, along with a lightweight jacket. After all, what could go wrong on a short walk in my safe neighborhood? The sweat pants offered no protection against the dog's nails. Had I been wearing jeans or cargo pants like I normally do, I would not have been as scratched up as I am.

Mistake 2: For the same reasons, I did not have my full EDC on me, and I was not carrying at the time of the attack.

Mistake 3: My Mother, who is in her 70s, had no idea what to do and was near-panic throughout the attack. What she should have done was to go to the nearest neighbors, get inside to safety, and then called 911. Instead, she kept wanting to try to do something to help (there was nothing she could do). I kept telling her to just go home, but she kept stopping to yell at the dog and trying to shoo it away. This only distracted me, put herself in danger, and made the situation worse. In hindsight, I should have previously talked to her about what to do in a dangerous situation, whether it be a dog attack, mugging, or something else.

The Big Lesson 1: Do not be complacent. Danger can happen suddenly and unexpectedly at any time and in any place. There is no truly "safe place" where you can completely let your guard down. I should have been fully and appropriately dressed, carrying my full EDC, including handgun. Even for a short walk in my safe neighborhood.

The Big Lesson 2: Make sure everyone in your family/group knows what to do in dangerous situations. Some folks, like my Mother, may not be able to be "fighters" because of their age or health, but they should still know what do do, how to react, when danger presents itself. Everyone needs to be taught safety and security, regardless of age, health, or whatever...

Another Lesson: Physical fitness is very important. I had to carry my 26-pound dog about 400 yards while she was struggling in my arms, while I was twisting and turning trying to keep her away from the other dog, while the 100+ pound dog was constantly jumping up on me, pushing me, and scratching me. I'm in fairly good shape, but that was difficult. Hours later, I am exhausted, and my shoulders and upper arms are aching.

Animal Control

Naturally, I called my county's Animal Control to report the incident. It took three phone calls and just over four hours before I could get them to respond, despite the fact that the aggressive dog was still running around the neighborhood. I hate to say this because I am a big supporter of law enforcement, but in this case they left me with the distinct impression that they just didn't want to be bothered to do their job, and simply tried their best to blow me off and not deal with it. They only responded because I kept calling, finally getting angry about it. If I had not become the proverbial "squeaky wheel," I don't believe they would have ever showed up.  

Today's reality is we cannot count on government to protect us; we have to protect ourselves. 

Final note: As of now, the situation seems to have finally been resolved. I won't give the details, but this appears to be a case a serial irresponsible pet owner. Thankfully, neither my Mother nor my dog were hurt, and I only received  a number of scratches. It could have been much worse.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Patriots' Prayers for 11-15-2015

This Week's Prayer (in response to the terrorist attacks in France)

Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who are in all places and fill all things; the treasury of blessings and giver of life: Come and abide in us, cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Gracious Lord.

Father, You are our rock and our fortress. You are our deliverer, our strength, and our courage. In You we find refuge and comfort. We are in desperate need of that refuge, that comfort. Only a few days ago, the world was violently reminded that the dangers of Evil are very real, as pawns of the Evil One, carrying out the dictates of their false religion, created terror and chaos, bringing death and pain, in Paris, France. Hundreds of ordinary people, simply going about their everyday their lives, were brutally killed and injured by Muslims carrying out what they consider their religious duty. Families were ripped apart. Lives snuffed out. Many, many survivors will have to deal with their injuries, and their memories, for the rest of their lives. Many, many people will be dealing with the grief of loss of fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and friends.

Lord, remember those who died, who were murdered in those attacks, who have departed from this life. May that they have the hope of the resurrection. May that they found forgiveness of sins, eternal rest, the gift of Your kingdom, and the enjoyment of unending life with You.

Father of mercies and God of all comfort, come to the help of those who survived, who live on with the aftermath. Bring healing and mercy to those in need. Bring comfort and courage to those who lost loved ones. Take away fear, anxiety, and distress.  Lord, we know that all trials of life are under Your care and that all things eventually work for the good of those who love You. Help the people of Paris, and all those affected by this Evil, to face and endure all with faith, courage, and wisdom. Grant that this trial may bring people closer to You, for You are our rock and refuge, our comfort and hope, our delight and joy. Help us to trust in Your love and compassion.

Lord Jesus, in Your great mercy You prayed for the forgiveness of those who crucified You, and You taught us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Lord, I pray that You forgive those who committed these evil deeds, or in any way aided those who carried them out. Forgive those who plot future evil deeds in the name of their false religion. Bless them and guide them according to Your will, and most importantly save them from their false religion and the clutches of the Evil One. Show them the evil of their religion, and bring them to a true knowledge of You, to a point of true repentance for their sins, and to salvation in You. Lord, may Your forgiveness, goodness and love be revealed in all of us, to Your praise and glory.

Blessed is Your name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages.

It is in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that we pray. Amen.

Pray for America

For Forgiveness and Repentance

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.

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 the unclean spirits. Command Satan 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 the 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.

For Our Government Officials

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon all leaders, politicians, and civil authorities of these United States of America. I especially hold up to you President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, Chief Justice John Roberts, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. I also pray for all the President's Cabinet members and advisers,  the associate judges of the Supreme Court, all federal, state, and local judges, all members of the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as all governors, state legislators, and local authorities. Grant them wisdom in their duties and decisions, and have them serve Your Will in all things. Block all 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. (Additionally, please feel free to pray by name for any elected officials at any level, especially those with jurisdiction over your locality.)

For the Church in America

Remember, O Lord, Your Church, which You purchased with Your precious blood – protect it, strengthen it, and multiply it. Keep Your Church in peace, and bring to naught all plots and threats against Your Church. Have mercy, O Lord, upon the whole clergy of Your Church, and grant them the courage, wisdom, and strength needed to boldly preach and do Your Will during these perilous times.  (Please pray by name for your church, your pastor or priest, and fellow church members.)

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Additional Prayers
  • 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.
  • Grant, O Lord, blessings and mercies to all current and former members of our armed forces. Save them, 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 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.

Special Prayer Request

Please pray for God's mercy and healing on the five Americans being held hostage in Iran. Pray for them to have the courage and strength they need to survive their ordeal. Pray that their captivity quickly come to an end, and that they return safely home very soon. Pray also for God to provide comfort and mercy to their families and friends.
  • Siamak Namazi - an Iranian-American businessman arrested in late October while visiting relatives in Tehran. Details of his arrest are sketchy, and any charges have not been made public. However, it appears he was arrested by the intelligence division of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and apparently is being held in Evin prison.
  • 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. His captors have recently subjected him to new harsh interrogations, including using a stun gun on him, and are threatening him with new charges and an even longer sentence. NOTE: Please also pray for his wife, Naghmeh Abedini, who is dealing with tremendous emotional stress and difficult family issues.
  • 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.
  • Amir Hekmati - the 32 year-old former US Marine was visiting his grandmother and other relatives in Iran when he was arrested in 2011.
  • 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.

Why Patriots' Prayers?

"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)

The core idea of Patriots' Prayers is to get Americans praying together, seeking forgiveness for our nation and turning back to God (repentance). Please pray these prayers throughout the week, and have others join you in praying.