Take Up the Cross and Follow Him

Matthew 16:24-25 New King James Version (NKJV)

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

30 Days of Knowledge: Day #24

1) Dr. Charles F. Stanley's 30 Life Principles

Life Principle 24
To live the Christian life is to allow Jesus to live His life in and through us.
Many Christians today seem content to live what they think is an adequate Christian life. They believe that if they go to church, read their Bibles occasionally, and say their prayers once in a while, they will be all right with God. Occasionally, they may be inspired to go above and beyond their normal routines and volunteer to serve others as ushers, members of a church committee, or even go on a short-term mission trip. Though they go through the motions of being a “good Christian,” they do not enjoy the power, peace, and joy that should come with the abundant life Jesus promised (John 10:10). Eventually, the counterfeit Christian life they are living becomes a burden and does not comfort them when the storms of adversity assail.
This was not what you were created for. God does not call you or any believer to a marginal Christian life characterized by chores and rituals. He desires to have a daily relationship with you where you experience His presence and trust Him for wisdom, courage, and strength in all situations. With every step you take, decision you make, conversation you have, and thought you entertain, the Lord wants to glorify Himself through you. He desires to shine in your life—with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control illuminating your unique talents, traits, and personality as you walk in obedience to Him.
In other words, to live the Christian life is to allow Jesus to live in and through you. That is why Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).
How do you allow Jesus to do so? In what way does He live in and through you? If these two questions seem difficult or confusing to you, you aren’t alone. Many people never realize how powerfully Christ could demonstrate His life through them. This is because many believe that the key to living the Christian life starts with pious acts, when it really begins with a deep, intimate relationship with Him.
Therefore, to answer the first question: How do you allow Jesus to do this?—you must realize the answer comes by working on your relationship with Christ. You do this through Bible study, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other believers. You not only learn about Him, but you must also listen to Him, because He will teach you how to love Him, live for Him, and walk in His ways.
The answer to the second question: In what way does He live in and through you?—is as unique as each believer who follows Him. This is because He has a special purpose for your life, and the most important thing you can ever do is simply obey Him—no matter what He tells you to do. God will allow situations and troubles in your life that only He can solve. This is so He can demonstrate His glory, power, love, and wisdom through you.
Is there anything distracting you from having an intimate relationship with the Lord? Have you failed to trust God’s sovereignty? Are you worried that you’re not doing enough to deserve a relationship with Him or that you could lose the eternal life He has given you? Then you need to return to the basic truth that your salvation is through faith in Christ and not by works. There is absolutely nothing you can do to earn it or be worthy of it. Therefore, there is nothing you can do or fail to do that would cause you to forfeit it either.
The issue is not your salvation but the impact of your life for Christ and the joy and fulfillment you receive from Him. God does not call you to an adequate life—He wants it to be extraordinary. However, for you to experience the life He planned for you, you must stop being distracted by peripheral issues and focus your attention completely on Him. Can you do it? Can you trust Jesus to live His life through you and take care of all that troubles you?
Of course you can! The God who redeems you can teach you how to live for Him. The Savior you trusted for your eternity is more than capable of taking care of all the matters that burden you daily and shining through you brightly so that others can know Him and be saved. Therefore, die to your notions of what the Christian life should be so you can experience true life in Him.

2) The 30-Day Reading List That Will Lead You to Becoming a Knowledgeable Libertarian by Robert Wenzel

Open Letter to the International Justice Mission
Mr. Gary Haugen
Dear Mr. Haugen:
I attended your speech at Regent College in Vancouver on 7/14/04; I wanted to comment at that time, but the Q&A period was too limited. So I thought I would share my thoughts with you in this format.
If I had to summarize your speech, it was that callous acts are taking place on a massive scale all throughout the world at present, and it is the duty of Christians to try to stop these outrages. In order to do so, religious people should give up their self-centeredness, and increase their rate of charitable donations (both in terms of money and time) toward these ends.
According to Adam Smith, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages." [Wealth of Nations, 1776, p. 14].
What I get from this is not that benevolence does not exist within the human breast. Rather, that it is in very scarce supply. Which means that rational men will want to economize on this rare and precious flower, instead of advocating that it be used promiscuously; realizing it will always be in short supply, instead of thinking it can be radically expanded.
And, there are good and sufficient sociobiological reasons why this should be so. Why we as a species are "hard wired" in this direction. If there were a tribe of cave men who were not primarily interested in number 1, virtually to the exclusion of everyone else, they would have long ago died off. Better yet, if this theoretical tribe focused their limited benevolence widely, instead of narrowly, to their family members, friends and neighbors, they would have gone extinct. We are descended from folk like those; that is why we are the way we are, in the main. Yes, there are some very few exceptions, but they only prove the general rule. We are focused on our narrow little lives, because this was required by our ancestors, as a matter of survival.
I entirely agree with your goals: to reduce or better yet eliminate the massive viciousness that now plagues us, such as the mass murder, slavery, etc., you mentioned so eloquently. But your means toward this end, increasing the level of benevolence in society, and widening its focus, I think are doomed to failure based on these considerations.
You may not have noticed, but all the countries you mentioned as examples of brutality were underdeveloped or retrogressing ones (you called them "developing countries" but that is just a bit of misleading political correctitude you might consider jettisoning). This leads to an alternative means toward eradicating the cruelty: economic development. Happily, Adam Smith again rides to the rescue. The full title of his most famous book is Smith, Adam,An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, New York: Modern Library, 1776/1965. His recipe for economic development was, in a nutshell, with some slight reservations: laissez faire capitalism. Murray N. Rothbard, my own mentor, goes much further, and criticizes Adam Smith himself for deviating too widely from this proper goal of full economic freedom (Rothbard, Murray N. 1997. The Logic of Action: Applications and Criticism from the Austrian School, Vol. II, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar).
The idea was, that government which governs least governs best. Some of my research empirically supports the contention that economic freedom leads to prosperity: Gwartney, James, Robert Lawson and Walter Block. 1996. Economic Freedom of the World, 1975-1995 Vancouver, B.C. Canada: the Fraser Institute. Given that greater wealth reduces man's inhumanity to man, this is a course of action that should not be overlooked by you and your organization.
It is my contention that if your claim is true that to be a good Christian one must make an effort to stop the massive evils you mentioned, then it is no less true that it is also incumbent upon you to learn why some nations are rich while others are desperately poor. An aphorism might come in handy, here: "Don't fight the alligators, drain the swamp." You are fighting alligators; attempting to rescue little Marie or David or Jose. This is all well and good. I salute you for this. Someone has got to do this, as these injustices cry out to the heavens for redress. And, there is such a thing as specialization and the division of labor. But I think you should recognize that there is another and, yes, a better if only because more all-encompassing means toward this end: economic development based on free enterprise.
I emphasize this not so much because of what you said in your formal lecture, which ignored the points I am making, but based on your answer to the very last question asked of you. It was posed by a young lad who I took to be a Regent College seminary student, since his remarks were based on the usual Marxist claptrap taught in such establishments of higher learning. He asked if you were not concerned with systemic problems such as the "economic violence" based on unequal income distribution. (I don't remember this verbatim, but this was the essence of his stance.) His implication was that western countries ought to increase their level of foreign aid to underdeveloped nations. But this is economic illiteracy of the highest order, as the work of Peter Bauer has stressed over and over again. Instead of verbally slapping down this young man as he richly deserved, you bought into his basic premises, but excused yourself from acting on his principles, properly I thought, on the grounds of the need for specialization and the division of labor. But his socialist premises were wrong, and if implemented, will increase not decrease, the level of brutality in these poor countries.
Now, I admit that there are also good and sufficient sociobiological reasons why free markets are not now the order of the day. If there were not, we would all be living in a laissez faire paradise. (It is my contention that in the cave man days, we became altogether too hard wired into following the orders of the tribal chief. Also, since we lived in very small communities compared to the present day, only direct cooperation seeped into the genetic pool. Cooperating indirectly, through gigantic markets, has come far too late in the history of our species to have been incorporated into our genes.) But this is no reason for intellectuals such as yourself to accept the siren song of socialism.
The rich western countries do not really need capitalism that much; this system in the past has set up the capital, and the legal system, to ensure relative wealth, and thus little internal mass murder. It is the poor nations in Africa and elsewhere that are in the greatest need of free enterprise. Thanks to their enjoyment of relative economic freedom for many years, the capitalist west can now afford a modicum of pernicious socialism. In contrast, free enterprise being virtually unknown in the third world, socialist egalitarianism is the death knell of their economy.
In closing, one last criticism of your presentation: lose that film clip showing a child buyer being tied up by the police. You may not have noticed it, but it also showed a television set in the background. But this implies electricity, and a certain minimal level of prosperity — all totally incompatible with your story of people selling their kids motivated by dire poverty.
I hope you take these remarks in the spirit I mean them: as an attempt to help you with your very good works.
Yours truly,
Walter Block
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
College of Business Administration
Loyola University New Orleans

3) Roger’s Rangers Rules or Plan of Discipline by Major Robert Rogers
Rule #24

24. If you are to embark in canoes, bateaux, or otherwise, by water, choose the evening for the time of your embarkation, as you will then have the whole night before you, to pass undiscovered by any parties of the enemy, on hills, or other places, which command a prospect of the lake or river you are upon

4) 52 Weeks to Preparedness by Tess Pennington

Week 39 of 52: Alternative Power Sources

Those who are moving to retreat properties make it a point to look for land with its own source of fuel in order to accommodate future needs. Whether those sources are an ample wood supply, a natural gas well, or a surface coal seam, these resources will ensure that you can continue to power your home and your equipment.
Those of us who do not have these resources readily available to us on our own land may eventually run out of stored fuel sources. A way to avoid this future issue is to consider investing in devices that collect renewable energy to supply our homes and retreats with a continual supply of power. Therefore, consider the following, and keep in mind that all of these items would be ideal for barter situations:
Batteries - Most of our emergency devices require batteries, and having an abundance of them with the capability of being recharged is a good investment in your long-term livelihood. The best batteries on the market right now are NiMH (Nickle-Metal Hydride) that have a low self-discharge (LSD). To prolong the charge of your batteries, store them in a sealed bag in the back of your refrigerator. This prevents condensation and extends the life of the battery.
Also, consider purchasing lead-acid deep-cycle (DC) batteries (also called solar batteries). Solar batteries provide energy storage for solar, wind and other renewable energy systems. Different from a car battery, a deep cycle battery is capable of surviving prolonged, repeated and deep discharges which are typical in renewable energy systems that are “off grid”. Having multiple DC batteries hooked up and working together creates a battery bank and allows you to run more of your household appliances using solar energy. Deep cycle batteries can be a large expense for a sizeable off grid system, but with proper care and maintenance, they should last 5-10 years.
Solar Energy - Harnessing the sun’s magnificent power has become quite the craze lately. And why wouldn’t it be? In some states, having photovoltaic panels can make you eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit!
A solar power system has three components: Solar panel(s) + Charge controller + Batteries. As the sun’s rays hit the solar cells on a photovoltaic (PV) panel, the power is transferred to a silicon semiconductor. The power is then changed into (DC) direct current electricity and passed through connecting wires to enter a storage battery.
  • Solar Panels come in all sizes ranging from enormous to small enough to fit on the hood of your car for charging small devices.  If you are considering purchasing some supplies for a solar power, consider starting out with a basic set and then add additional items to the existing set up. To learn more about the equipment required to create a solar paneling system, click here.
  • Solar Generators have many advantages. A few being, they don’t produce dangerous fumes, they run quietly, they are energy efficient and no fuel is required to run them. The best part is these generators can last 25 years or longer! Although the initial expense can be high, there is no additional cost to run the generator, so it’s a great investment. And for that matter, who says that a solar generator can only be used during disasters? Running your solar generator regularly will keep your electricity bills down.
  • Mobile Solar Power Systems would be ideal for bug out bags. Keep in mind that these systems can easily be stolen, hence the word  portable solar power systems. They should be placed in a secure, well guarded area.
  • Solar Battery Chargers use trickle charging, and can be somewhat time consuming. To expedite the process, many preppers buy two or three chargers to use simultaneously. However, there are solar chargers that can be connected to a photovoltaic panel and can make a huge difference in recharging batteries and providing power to small scale appliances. Those that live in humid or rainy environments may want to consider a charger that is weather resistant. Lastly, ensure your solar battery charger can charge a variety of battery sizes and has smart capability.
To learn more about the equipment required to create a solar paneling system, click here.
Inverters - An inverter is an electronic device that converts DC power into AC power. Ensure that you find a inverter that can handle your initial needs and anticipated needs. You can get the wattage by looking at the manufactures label on the appliance or if only the amps are there use the formula (amps x 115 volts= wattage) to convert to watts. To learn more about inverters, click here.
To see a video on how all of these items working in conjunction with one another, click here.
Natural Power Sources - The power from wind and water has been used for centuries and can easily be adopted to fit most self reliant lifestyles.
  • Wind energy can be harnessed by mounting wind turbines in high locations such as a rooftop. (Having a professional mount the turbine would be beneficial.) Many preppers do not recommend wind turbines because of their high maintenance and the risks associated with tower climbing. However, if you happen to live in an area that is very windy with lots of cloud coverage it could be a suitable option. To learn more about recommended wind turbines, click here.
  • Water energy has a lot of power - anyone who has seen Niagara Falls knows what I’m talking about! Steep parcels of land with large creeks running through them can be ideal spots for water turbines. A water turbine or hydro generator has the capacity to produce 10 amperes around the clock and matches the usable power generated by over 40 amps of solar modules. The power system itself is the same as solar, except that only diversion type charge controls can be used with hydro. Click here for more information.
There are many reasons to invest in alternate power sources. If the subject of peak oil isn’t enough, consider the fragility of the grid. As it stands, our country cannot exist without the electrical grid, and sometime in the not-so-distant future our lives could change drastically by a single event or disaster. While there is no way to predict when or if this will happen, we would be wise to prepare for the possibility.
Portions of this article were adapted from How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It by James W. Rawles

  Preps to Buy:

  • Rechargeable batteries in assorted sizes – in quantity
  • DC Batteries – in quantity
  • Solar Battery Chargers
  • Solar Photovoltaic Panel (5 watts or more)
  • Generator (Solar powered, diesel ran generators  are preferrable. Also, keep in mind that a typical size for a home backup generator is 4,500 watts continuous and 5,500 watts peak.)
  • Inverter
  • Seasoned Firewood
  • Extra parts for any alternative energy equipment and generators
  • Extra fuel sources you regularly use (propane, gasoline, diesel, etc.)
  • Fuel stabilizers if using gasoline (such as Sta-bil), or diesel fuel supplements to prevent gelling and a diesel antibacterial additive to prevent both growth and gelling.
Action Items:
          Make a spreadsheet of the total wattage the household uses.
Purchase your alternative power supply devices and keep in mind if they are compatible to your needs.
                   Purchase spare parts for your equipment.
                   Ensure that your equipment is kept in a secure location and is unable to be stolen if in use. Hardened bolt-cutter-resistant security chains and a padlock can do wonders!
When using any alternative power supply, monitor your supply to ensure that the power is not about to run out.

Week 40 of 52: Cold Weather Preparedness

In a previous newsletters we discussed in depth the nightmare we would experience during a prolonged or long-term power disruption. Taking this a step further, what would happen if this event occurred in the dead of winter? This is a serious threat for those who see frigid cold weather temperatures during the winter? In this case, it will be up  to you to keep yourself and your family warm until the grid comes back up or until Spring arrives.
In an article written by the talented Sarah Duncan, she discusses this very issue and adds that, “Our society has become so certain that the grid is permanent that many homes built over the past 50-60 years have been designed without the vital elements of a fireplace or a wood stove for heat.” In the newer homes, most of the fireplaces are present for aesthetic reasons rather than practicality. For this reason, we must prepare accordingly in order to stay warm.
Exposure to cold for long periods of time can be caustic to the body tissues. When the cold hits the body and your core temperature drops, your body will kick into survival mode by cutting off circulation to the outer extremities first (like when a lizard detaches its tail). The fingers, toes, nose, ears, and lips are the first places your body ceases to keep alive when faced with death by freezing. These are the first parts of the body to show signs of frostbite. Keep in mind that you can develop hypothermia with temperatures above freezing. The fastest way to become hypothermic is a combination of cold temperatures with wind and rain. In this case, your body loses heat 25 times faster than it would by just being out in the cold.
Older individuals and small children are at the greatest risk of hypothermia. Diabetics and those who suffer from low thyroid levels are also more at risk. However, anyone who is subjected to the elements long enough will surely be effected. Learn about the signs of hypothermia and how to treat it.
Let’s begin discussing some solutions and practical ways to prevent this. Having some space heaters on hand will be a Godsend when temperatures start dropping rapidly. Propane heaters, such as the Little Buddy heater can provide a room with ample heat and are considered safe for indoor use in most states. There are several propane heaters on the market that do not require electricity. Kerosene/Oil heaters are also beneficial to have during cold months. These heaters burn a wick for heat, fuelled by the addition of heating oil.  An antique “Perfection” oil heater can be a charming addition to your decor that can be called into service during a grid-down situation.  Click here to read more information about the different types of kerosene heaters that are available.
Every preparedness layer makes a difference in the case of surviving the winter in a grid-down situation. We can make the most of a dire situation by insulating the body and insulating the home. Aside from the obvious ways to stay warm, consider the following:
Insulating the Body
  • A large majority of body heat is lost at the back of the neck and at the top of the head, so make sure that you use the layering principle with your clothing. Ensure you have a warm hat to wear and to make sure your chest and neck are covered with a scarf.  Lightweight gloves will also help you maintain your warmth. Wear heavy socks and shoes to protect your feet from cold floors.
  • Hand warmers and foot warmers are a great way to increase your core body temperature quickly. Click here to learn how to make a pocket for these warmers to prevent scalding to the skin.
  • Use heavy sleeping bags. Zipping into a sleeping bag will conserve your body’s warmth more than simply getting under the covers.
  • Bivvy sacks are ideal for adding an extra layer to your sleeping bags for added warmth.
  • Crumbling up newspapers and putting them in your clothing will provide some extra warmth as well.
  • Pitch a tent.  This works especially well when you have children because it adds an element of fun to an otherwise stressful situation. Inside a tent, you can combine your body heat to stay much warmer.
Insulating the Home
  • Light some candles. Burning candles can add some much needed warmth to a small area. And if you want to make the most of heat emitted from a candle, try making a space heater from a candle. This handy device collects, retains, concentrates, and radiates dry space heat from a candle.
  • Sealing off a room or a smaller area to heat by using a folded quilt at the bottom to better insulate the room.  You can also hang heavy quilts in the doorways of rooms with a heat source to block them off from the rest of the house. Ensure that you seal any drafts coming from windows in the room as well.
  • To prevent heat from escaping from the fireplace when it’s not in use purchase a Fireplace plug. It is an inflatable pillow that seals the fireplace damper, eliminating drafts, odors, and noise. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used, then reinserted after.
  • Insulate your windows. Rubber weather sealant and/or window insulation film can also keep drafts at a minimum.
    You can also use a plastic shower curtain or 
    bubble wrap and duct tape, topped by a heavy quilt to keep the wind from whistling through your windows.  This has the added benefit of keeping the windows dark if you are concerned about OPSEC (Operational Security). Another option is to purchase a draft door dodger or make your own. (The instructions for this are in the “Stats and Facts” section of this newsletter.) Layers of curtains made of heavy fabrics can also keep a room more insulated.
  • Here’s a way to convert your windows into passive solar heater.  This passive solar heater is very simple and can be made with items already in your house. If you want to read more about designing and building a solar heater for your home, here is a great article on Mother Earth News.
  • Heat some rocks. If you have a place outdoors for a cooking fire, you can add large rocks to the fire.  Rocks retain heat for a very long time. When you are ready to go to bed, move the rocks into a cast iron Dutch oven. VERY CAREFULLY take this into the room that you are heating. The stones will emit heat for several hours. This is an excellent way to passively heat your room when you’re sleeping. With this method, you don’t have to be concerned about the potential of a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning during the night.
In your search for warmth make certain that you also maintain safety. Keep fire extinguishers handy and invest in a battery operated carbon monoxide detector.  Keep children and pets away from items that could burn them or that could tip over, causing a fire. Be sure to store all flammable materials (such as propane and kerosene) according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Did you know that snow is an excellent insulator (provided you don’t touch it)? For those of you who may find themselves outdoors and exposed to the cold elements, knowing how to make an emergency winter shelter out of snow could save your life.

  Preps to Buy:

  • Space heater (preferably propane or non-electric)
  • Door draft stopper or windows and doors
  • Sleeping bag
  • Bivvy sac
  • Wool socks
  • Thermal underwear
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Rubber weather sealant
  • Caulk
  • Window insulation film
  • Bubble wrap or an old shower curtain set aside
  • Duct tape
  • Fireplace plug

Action Items:

Winterize your home before bad weather is expected:
          Check your furnace and replace filters monthly.
          Inspect the fireplace and get it ready for use. Ensure your firewood is properly seasoned, and stored away from the home.
          Insulate your exterior pipes.  
          Inspect exterior of home  and seal any crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes.
          Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.     
          Add insulation to your walls and attic, if necessary.    
          Consider purchasing insulated doors and storm windows to further protect your home from the cold. This will also help lower your heating bill.
          Replace cracked glass in windows. If is necessary to replace the entire window, be sure to prime and paint exposed wood.  
          If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
          Inspect roof, gutters & downspouts and clean out any debris.

5) 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation by George Washington
#70 - Reprehend not the imperfections of others for that belongs to Parents Masters and Superiors.

#71 - Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of Others and ask not how they came. What you may Speak in Secret to your Friend deliver not before others.

#72 - Speak not in an unknown Tongue in Company but in your own Language and that as those of Quality do and not as the Vulgar; Sublime matters treat Seriously.

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