Saturday, April 29, 2017

Patriots' Prayers for 4-30 / ANNOUNCEMENT

The weekly Patriots' Prayers segment is moving - sort of...  Here's what's going on: 

The audio version of Patriots' Prayers will be posted to my You Tube channel each week. It will also be embedded in the upper right column of my website. You will be able to hear the weekly Patriots' Prayers series on both You Tube and this website. Just click the video at the top of the right-hand column to hear this week's Patriots' Prayers!

The text version of many of the prayers from the Patriots' Prayers series are posted on the Pray for America page of this website. (Several are already posted on that page, and I will be adding others in the future.) Just click the Pray For America tab in my website's menu bar above. 

Thank you for Praying for America with me!  

Is Prepping Selfish?

Over the years I've heard a number of excuses for not prepping. One of the more common excuses is that prepping and building self-reliance are somehow selfish. I argue that not only is preparedness and self-reliance NOT selfish, being prepared and self-reliant is in fact a very generous thing to work  towards. Here's why:

 If you have ever listened to a flight attendant give emergency instructions, you may have noticed that they tell parents traveling with a child to put the oxygen mask on themselves first, before putting one on their child. The airlines don't say that because they hate children. Instead, they say that because if a parent is to help their child, they must first be able to do so. A parent unconscious from the lack of oxygen will be of absolutely no help to their child.
Likewise, we will be of little help to our family, friends and neighbors, if we are the ones in need of help ourselves. In fact, our own helplessness may make matters much worse for our family and community. Far from being selfish, building self-reliance may be one of the most generous things you can do. 

In an emergency, you can only help others if you are not part of the problem. The first act of generosity is making sure you are not helpless. No matter how much a parent loves their child, they will be unable to help their child if that parent is unconscious. That is why the smartest - and most loving - thing to do is to put an oxygen mask on yourself first, before helping your child put their oxygen mask on.

 Here is my You Tube video on this subject: 

Yes, I now have a You Tube channel. Please subscribe! (I'm not a professional or polished public speaker, obviously, but hopefully I'll get better!)  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Scam Alert - Beware This Phone Scam

There is a phone scam that is going around the country right now. My mother received this call earlier this week. Fortunately, she didn't fall for the scam, but it did upset her greatly. Be aware of this scam, and explain it to any older folks you know since the scammers may especially be targeting the elderly.

The call will go something like this:

phone rings

You: Hello?

Caller: May I speak to <your name>?

You: Speaking.

Caller: I am Jane Doe with your bank - the fraud and identity theft department.  There has been some suspicious activity on your account. Can you confirm that you've authorized a $1,000 transaction on your account within the last 24 hours?

You: (surprised and worried) No. Absolutely not. I haven't made any such transaction.

Caller: Don't worry. We caught this in time. I'll cancel the transaction and refund the money back into your account immediately.

You: (very relieved) Thank you!

Caller: Are you still in possession of your card? Has it been lost or stolen recently? 

You: No. I still have my card.

Caller: Good. But we have to cancel that card and issue you a new one. You should get your new card within three business days.

You (thinking what a pain it will be to be without your card for 3 days): Okay.

Caller: We just need you to confirm your mailing address, and account number of the deactivated card we are replacing. 

You: Sure. My address is ------------. But I don't want to give the card number over the phone.

Caller: Never give the number for an activated card over the phone. However, your card has now been deactivated, and cannot be used to access your account. It is safe to give us the number of a deactivated card. We need the number to make sure your new card is tied into the correct account. Otherwise, it will delay the issuing of a new card by 3 to 4 weeks.

You (Thinking what a hassle it would be to have to wait that long for a new card): Oh. Okay. The number is xxx-xxx-xxxxxxx. The expiration date is xx/xx.

Caller: Thank you. You'll have your new card within three days. Good bye.

The scammer then uses the card number you just gave them to order lots of fun and wonderful stuff over the Internet. 

Here's why this scam often works: Banks do have fraud departments that will call you to confirm certain transactions that seem suspicious. That is true. Getting a phone call from your bank about a $1,000 transaction you didn't authorize will rattle most people, who will immediately jump to "No. Absolutely not. I haven't made any such transaction," thereby missing the first clue that this particular call is a scam. 

Without looking back at what you just read, did you catch the first clue? Banks are extremely professional in their contacts with the public, and will never so casually identify themselves as being "with your bank - the fraud and identity theft department." They will give you not only their full name, but the bank's name as well.  A legitimate call would go like: "I am Jane Doe with Bank of America - the fraud and identity theft department." Or Wells Fargo. Or whatever bank they are representing.

The scammer probably doesn't know which bank you are actually with, therefore will use generic terms like "your bank" or "the bank." They add the "fraud and identity theft department" both to make themselves sound more professional and to start the process of rattling the person they are scamming. Many people will be so rattled by the thought of losing $1,000 that they will rush headlong into denying the transaction and miss that the caller didn't actually identify which bank.

The second clue was when the caller asked for the account number. Banks and other financial institutions will not ask for account numbers, card numbers, passwords, PIN numbers, security codes, or other similar information over the phone. It doesn't matter if it is a deactivated card or account. They will not ask. 

A couple of years ago, I did receive a legitimate call from the fraud department of my credit union. Someone (a waitress at my favorite Chinese restaurant, as it turned out), did steal my card number and made a bunch of purchases with it. After confirming I did not make the purchases, they did immediately cancel the card. But they never asked for any account numbers or other information. I had to go to my local branch in person and fill out paperwork. In fact, I had to sign a affidavit stating that I didn't authorize the transactions in order to get the money returned to my account (which was returned in full the next day).

These scammers may be targeting elderly people with this particular scam (and others) because elderly folks are often more trusting, easier to rattle or confuse, and are less familiar with how these things work.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Patriots' Prayers for Week of 4-16-2017

TRANSCRIPT (with footnotes)

"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 Jesus' name 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.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Patriots' Prayers for Week of 4-9-2017

Audio Version: 

TRANSCRIPT (Prayer & Scripture Quotes Only)

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." - 1 Timothy 2: 1-4 (ESV)

Prayer For Our Government Officials

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon all leaders, politicians, and civil authorities of these United States of America. We especially hold up to you our new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch - grant him much wisdom in all his decisions as a Justice.

We also lift up to You President Donald Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, Chief Justice John Roberts, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. W 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. Most importantly, let them know Your love and saving grace.

Father, bless and have mercy on all law enforcement officers at all levels throughout these United States of America. Save 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 know your love and saving grace. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen. 

Links Mentioned in Audio Version: 

The Pine Tree Flag 
The Pine Tree Riot of 1772

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Patriots' Prayers for the Week of 4-2-2017

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. Please join me in praying for America.

Prayer for America (short version)*

God, we have sinned and deserve the just punishment for our sins as a nation who has rejected You in every possible way. And yet, Lord, I cry out for mercy for myself, my family, and this nation. Forgive us, and help us to turn oonce again to You. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

 *This short version of the Prayer for America is intended to be easy to memorize and use as a daily (or nightly) prayer for those who might want to do so. 

Additional Prayers

Have mercy, O Lord, upon the whole clergy of Your Church in America, and grant them the wisdom, courage, and strength needed to boldly preach Your Word and do Your Will during these perilous times.

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. Keep them safe as they perform their often dangerous duties. 

Please read the Word of God this week!

Reading the Bible on a regular basis is something everyone needs to do. Not just occasionally. Not just once a week. Daily reading of God’s Word is essential for building a solid relationship with our Father in Heaven. If you are not doing so already, please make daily Bible reading a part of your life. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of Bible reading plans you can follow. Your personal Bible may contain a daily reading plan. Several reading plans can be found at the Bible Gateway website. You can ask your pastor or priest for one. Or simply design your own reading plan, as random or as organized as you wish. Whatever plan you choose, please start reading the Bible every single day.