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.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

30 Days of Knowledge Day #27

1) Dr. Charles F. Stanley's 30 Life Principles
            Life Principle 27
Prayer is life’s greatest time saver.
Change is never easy, especially when our choices affect other people. Change means important decisions will be made—which introduces the possibility of terrible mistakes and ongoing consequences. When we make those choices without seeking the Lord’s leadership, we are headed for disaster. But when we pray to God, requesting His guidance and committing ourselves to His will, He moves in astounding ways to help us.
I remember the time when we needed to find a new property to house our “In Touch” television and radio ministry. Four months before we had to move, we found a building that we thought would be perfect. The only problem was that it cost $2.7 million. Several of our board members and executive staff felt good about the location and price, so they suggested we borrow the money for the property. Several others, however, rejected both the price and the idea of going into debt.
One Wednesday afternoon after that, a group of us met for a long time to discuss the move but were unable to come to any consensus. It was as if we were in a fog. We needed divine direction, and I knew we were not going to receive any sitting around that conference table. I asked my secretary to call Unicoi State Park and book some cabins for the following week. I understood that to stay there, we should have called four to six months in advance—it was unlikely they would have space for us. Ten minutes later, however, she returned and reported that we were all set.
On the morning we left for Unicoi, I asked a friend to negotiate with the owner to see if we could purchase the property for $2 million. I also asked our church administrator to see if we could possibly extend our stay at our current offices for six more months. Both told me they would do their best.
During the two hours I drove from Atlanta to the cabins, I thought and prayed. And God brought Zechariah 4:6 to my mind: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” I took it as a sign that He wanted to do something that we knew nothing about. So I prayed, “Lord, whatever You have in mind, please don’t let us miss it!”
For two days, we did very little talking and a whole lot of praying. We cried out to God in desperation, realizing that a deadline was looming while our peace and unity were missing. During one break, I called our administrator and discovered that we had been given an extension at our current location—we had six more months before we had to move. That was great news. Later, my friend called to tell me that the owner of the property had agreed to sell it to us for $2 million. There was only one problem. The building had a tenant who still had another six months on their lease. Moving them out early would cost us extra. We just kept praying.
When we left Unicoi two days later, we still didn’t have any clear direction about how to purchase the building, but we were committed to waiting on God. We were confident that He had something different in mind other than borrowing the money and that it had already been worked out.
When I arrived home, I had a message to call a man I had never met. He was an “In Touch” viewer who was interested in helping the ministry. I called him back and he said, “Dr. Stanley, I have had you and your ministry on my mind the past several days. I notice that you never ask for money on the broadcast, and I was wondering if you had any needs.”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I explained our situation and then told him about our prayer meeting. He asked how much the building cost. I told him I thought we could get it for $2 million. He said, “I think I can handle that.” And he did. We closed about 90 days later.
Can you imagine the mistake we would have made if we had not stopped to seek the Lord’s guidance and had failed to trust in His provision? Can you imagine the time, energy, and resources we would have wasted if we had tried to acquire that property in our own strength instead of God’s?
Prayer is always life’s greatest time saver. You may be facing a great change or decision that seems overwhelming to you. The Lord knows exactly what you need, and He will always answer your prayers as is absolutely best for you. Therefore, spend time listening to Him, receiving His wisdom and direction, and drinking in His presence and power. Be quiet before Him, rest in Him, and allow Him to order your steps. He will keep you from moving in the wrong direction or from wasting your time doing useless things.
Are you willing to stop and listen to Him? Are you ready for Him to make you the most fruitful you can possibly be? Then no matter what you face, commit yourself to His schedule, wisdom, provision, and guidance through prayer. You’ll find that your time with Him is the best investment you make every day.

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

What If Public Schools Were Abolished?
In American culture, public schools are praised in public and criticized in private, which is roughly the opposite of how we tend to treat large-scale enterprises like Wal-Mart. In public, everyone says that Wal-Mart is awful, filled with shoddy foreign products and exploiting workers. But in private, we buy the well-priced, quality goods, and long lines of people hope to be hired.
Why is this? It has something to do with the fact that public schools are part of our civic religion, the primary evidence that people cite to show that local government serves us. And there is a psychological element. Most of us turn our kids over to them, so surely they must have our best interest at heart!
But do they? Murray N. Rothbard's Education: Free and Compulsory explains that the true origin and purpose of public education is not so much education as we think of it, but indoctrination in the civic religion. This explains why the civic elite is so suspicious of homeschooling and private schooling: it's not fear of low test scores that is driving this, but the worry that these kids aren't learning the values that the state considers important.
But to blast public schools is not the purpose of this article. There are decent public schools and terrible ones, so there is no use generalizing. Nor is there a need to trot out data on test scores. Let me just deal with economics. All studies have shown that average cost per pupil for public schools is twice that of private schools (here is a sample study).
This runs contrary to intuition, since people think of public schools as free and private schools as expensive. But once you consider the source of funding (tax dollars vs. market tuition or donation), the private alternative is much cheaper. In fact, the public schools cost as much as the most expensive and elite private schools in the country. The difference is that the cost of public schooling is spread out over the entire population, whereas the private school cost is borne only by the families with students who attend them.
In short, if we could abolish public schools and compulsory schooling laws, and replace it all with market-provided education, we would have better schools at half the price, and be freer too. We would also be a more just society, with only the customers of education bearing the costs.
What's not to like? Well, there is the problem of the transition. There are obvious and grave political difficulties. We might say that public education enjoys a political advantage here due to network effects. A significant number of "subscriptions," etc. have been piled up in the status quo, and it is very difficult to change those.
But let's pretend. Let's say that a single town decided that the costs of public schooling are too vast relative to private schooling, and the city council decided to abolish public schools outright. The first thing to notice is that this would be illegal, since every state requires localities to provide education on a public basis. I don't know what would happen to the city council. Would they be jailed? Who knows? Certainly they would be sued.
But let's say we somehow get past that problem, thanks to, say, a special amendment in the state constitution, that exempts certain localities if the city council approves. Then there is the problem of federal legislation and regulation. I am purely speculating since I don't know the relevant laws, but we can guess that the Department of Education would take notice, and a national hysteria of some sort would follow. But let's say we miraculously get past that problem too, and the federal government lets this locality go its own way.
There will be two stages to the transition. In the first stage, many seemingly bad things will happen. How are the physical buildings handled in our example? They are sold to the highest bidder, whether that be to new school owners, businesses, or housing developers. And the teachers and administrators? All let go. You can imagine the outcry.
With property taxes abolished, people with kids in public schools might move away. There will be no premium for houses in school districts that are considered good. There will be anger about this. For the parents that remain, there is a major problem of what to do with the kids during the day.
With property taxes gone, there is extra money to pay for schools, but their assets have just fallen in market value (even without the Fed), which is a serious problem when it comes to shelling out for school tuition. There will, of course, be widespread hysteria about the poor too, who will find themselves without any schooling choices other than homeschool.
Now, all that sounds pretty catastrophic, doesn't it? Indeed. But it is only phase one. If we can somehow make it to phase two, something completely different will emerge. The existing private schools will be filled to capacity and there will be a crying need for new ones. Entrepreneurs will quickly flood into the area to provide schools on a competitive basis. Churches and other civic institutions will gather the money to provide education.
At first, the new schools will be modeled on the public school idea. Kids will be there from 8 to 4 or 5, and all classes will be covered. But in short order, new alternatives will appear. There will be schools for half-day classes. There will be large, medium, and small schools. Some will have 40 kids per class, and others 4 or 1. Private tutoring will boom. Sectarian schools of all kinds will appear. Micro-schools will open to serve niche interests: science, classics, music, theater, computers, agriculture, etc. There will be single sex schools. Whether sports would be part of school or something completely independent is for the market to decide.
And no longer will the "elementary, middle school, high school" model be the only one. Classes will not necessarily be grouped by age alone. Some will be based on ability and level of advancement too. Tuition would range from free to super expensive. The key thing is that the customer would be in charge.
Transportation services would spring up to replace the old school-bus system. People would be able to make money by buying vans and providing transportation. In all areas related to education, profit opportunities would abound.
In short, the market for education would operate the same as any other market. Groceries, for example. Where there is a demand, and obviously people demand education for their kids, there is supply. There are large grocery stores, small ones, discount ones, premium ones, and stores for groceries on the run. It is the same for other goods, and it would be the same for education. Again, the customer would rule. In the end, what would emerge is not entirely predictable — the market never is — but whatever happened would be in accord with the wishes of the public.
After this phase two, this town would emerge as one of the most desirable in the country. Educational alternatives would be unlimited. It would be the source of enormous progress, and a model for the nation. It could cause the entire country to rethink education. And then those who moved away would move back to enjoy the best schools in the country at half the price of the public schools, and those without children in the house wouldn't have to pay a dime for education. Talk about attractive!
So which town will be the first to try it and show us all the way?
3) Roger’s Rangers Rules or Plan of Discipline by Major Robert Rogers
Rule #27
            If you find the enemy encamped near the banks of a river, or lake, which you imagine they will attempt to cross for their security upon being attacked, leave a detachment of your party on the opposite shore to receive them, while, with the remainder, you surprise them, having them between you and the lake or river.

4) 52 Weeks to Preparedness by Tess Pennington

            Week 45 of 52: Long-Term Food and Water Needs

Let’s assume for a moment that a devastating disaster occurred and you have realized that the life you formerly knew has ended. You are now in a fight for survival. Luckily, unlike many of those around you, you have provisions in place and have planned accordingly for a long-term emergency. But, the longstanding disaster is now threatening to exceed your food supply. What do you eat after your food supply is depleted or, if it is ruined by insects and rodents?
Like any preparedness plan we must plan for the unexpected by finding food and supplies that can withstand the test of time. It is my hope that by now your preparedness supplies are diverse and large enough to cover both short-term and long-term emergencies.
From the start, my goal with this series was for you to be prepared enough to survive the above scenario. In order for you to get through this relatively unscathed, you must prepare for the worst.
Listed below are some examples of long-term food sources. If you are planning for emergencies such as EMPs, nuclear attacks, economic collapse, grid-down scenarios, apocalyptic epidemics, etc., then I would strongly encourage you to invest in the following prep items.
  • Lifetime Foods – Foods that can last for up to 10 years or longer will be a solid investment for your future, as well as  your best bet at surviving a long-term disaster. Foods such as wheat, sugar, salt, white rice and corn are some food items that can last a lifetime. To learn about more of these forever foods, click here. Ensure that these foods are stored properly and away from your food’s worst enemies.
  • Freeze-Dried Food  Freeze dried food can last for 20 years. There are a variety of freeze dried ingredients and cuisines to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The best part of investing in this long-term food source, is different cans of freeze-dried ingredients can be mixed together to create new entrees. The best way to get your money’s worth is to purchase the #10 cans. Further, purchasing by the case will save you even more on your investment. Due to the preservation measures, they can be pricey, but when you work out the math per serving, it is quite reasonable. Many preppers have stocked up on this as their initial food source for a disaster. Because of the long expiration date, I prefer to keep the freeze-dried foods on standby in the event that I run out of my other foodstuffs. Please keep in mind that due to the sodium in the freeze-dried foods, it tends to back up the intestines. Therefore, if you choose to stock up on these essential long-term foods, I would advise for you to also stock up on stool softeners.
  • Seeds – As previously indicated in the newsletter for week 43, non-GMO or heirloom quality seeds are the best types of seeds to store and grow during long-term emergencies as these seeds produce seeds you can save for future harvests.  However, some believe that having some packets of GMO seeds to rely on would be beneficial during times of long-term crises as they have been formulated to survive droughts, have larger yields and be disease resistant. Having dependable seeds and dependable fertilizers and soil amendments in times of a crisis is another example of having back up for your backups.  Further, if stored properly, these seeds can last much longer than their expected expiration dates. Consider growing vegetables that have high yields and high amounts of nutrition and vitamins, as well as finding varieties that possess medicinal properties. For other considerations for a survival garden, click here.
  • Water Catchment Systems – Those that do not have access to their own water sources run the risk of being completely dependent on municipal water supplies. Having knowledge about how to harvest water through means of rainwater catchment systems is a great place to begin this path towards self-reliance. Some suggested low cost options are: collapsible water containers or 5-gallon buckets, rain harvesting containers or barrels, rainwater downspouts routed to water tanks by PVC pipes. If outside water catchment systems are being used, learn more about which catchment system is best for your home. Here is a great YouTube video on creating a rain harvesting system from scratch. This website has multiple water conservation projects that you can adapt to your lifestyle.
  • Water Filtration Units – In an extended emergency, possessing knowledge on how to properly clean water will be essential in keeping sanitation related illnesses at bay. Water filtration systems with extra filters and parts, water purification tablets, chlorine granules, bleach, electrolyte or re-hydration powders, anti-diarrhea medicines are essential in having clean drinking water. Here is a YouTube video on how to make a gravity fed water system similar to the Berkey Water System for the low price of $50. There will be a high risk of water-borne viruses, so anti-diarrhea medications will also be valuable to stock.
For many of us, our core beliefs are to provide for our family and keep them safe. But, according to societal mores we should only provide safety up to a certain extent. It is a societal taboo to think in terms of worst case scenarios. But sometimes, we must break through societal codes to do what is best for our family. In the case of preparedness, thinking in worst case scenarios may help you better prepare. Unexpected events will happen during SHTF scenarios, and it will be up to you to be ready for them.

Preps to Buy:

[In Quantity]
  • Foods for long-term storage such as wheat, rice, sugar, salt, honey, and corn. To learn more, click here.
  • Freeze-dried foods
  • Stool softeners
  • Seeds, both GMO and Non-GMO
  • Fertilizers (enough for 3 seasons)
  • Water catchment system items
  • Anti-diarrhea medicines
  • Re-hydration powders or drinks
  • Filtration units such as the Berkey Water Filter

            Week 46 of 52: Survival Caches

Archaic food caches have been found all over the world.  The fact that our ancestors planned for the unexpected gives us a clear picture into their unpredictable lifestyle.  Foods such as nuts and dry goods as well as foraging tools were put away for a time when they needed them the most (Source). Today, we face the same uncertainties in life; and preparing for this sudden upheaval is the best way we can secure our odds at survival.
Survival caches are the ultimate back up plan. If you are going for your survival cache, that means, Plan A and Plan B went awry. In this case, you may be left to survive with only the contents in your cache. Therefore, you must plan out the contents accordingly.
Given the seriousness of this preparedness issue, many preppers see the value in having multiple caches spread out geographically to fall back on in order to lessen the risk of losing everything. Survival caches can be buried or hidden in secure areas around the property to ensure you have extra survival items to fall back on. Keep in mind that before you hide a cache, you need to have chosen a good location preferably within the parameters of your evacuation route. You also want to keep in mind that the best evacuation route would be one that does not require use of highways or frequently used roads.
Ideally, you want some of your cache(s) to be away from your retreat. One prepper in particular I read about has multiple caches along his bug out route and has even gone to great lengths of planting edible native plants he can use as an emergency source of food.
According to this article, a GPS would be ideal as you can program the location of the cache as a way-point in the navigation system. Special markings at the location can also be used as a way to identify the location. For instance, spraying yellow paint on two tree’s to mark that the cache is in between them. Ensure that you keep good track of where you hide your survival cache and also remember to keep the location of your cache quiet. The more people who know about your survival cache, the more vulnerable the cache is to being found and used by someone else.
Many preppers have chosen to hide or bury their caches in different locations and in an assortment of containers ranging from enclosed PVC pipes, water proof ammunition containers, 50-gallon drums and even small water bottles. To waterproof the edges of a pvc pipe use an extra bead of silicone sealant as a fail-safe. Whichever container you choose, ensure to keep the following suggestions in mind:
    1. Keep your storage space in mind. The best storage space for survival supplies will be in a cool, dry location that features elevated shelving and is sealed against rodents.
    2. Disaster caches should stock enough water to last a set number of people for several days. Normally, a person needs 2-liters of water per day. If your cache is for an isolated cabin with a reliable water source, a distiller or carbon filtration system and boiler are more important than a large supply of bottled water.
    3. Select and purchase a wide variety of canned goods. Most vegetables, many fruits and all meats are best stored in canned form, and the typical canned food product has a shelf life measured in years. Note: ensure that you have a means of opening your canned goods or purchase canned goods that are of the “pop top” variety.
    4. Supplement the canned goods with a multi-vitamin.
    5. Stock coffee and tea. Or, if you have small children, consider storing some packages of kool-aid or powdered drink mixes. These treats will boost morale, and they have a long shelf life.
    6. Stock cooking oil and extra cooking fuel. These are critical for cooking in the long haul.
    7. Store dried grains, such as flour, rice and corn or corn meal. Beans are also a good idea. These items will last almost as long as the canned goods.
    8. Consider growing mushrooms. If you have a cool, dark space (such as the cellar of an old cabin) you can set up a mushroom farm and let it take care of itself for months at a time. This is the only food that can be put into a survival cache that will partially replenish itself.
So, what items would you stash away? Would they be day-to-day essentials like canned goods, freeze-dried foods or would you stash hunting gear so that you can hunt for wild game? Depending on the size of the container, you could also include other necessary supplies that will benefit your basic survival needs. For example, if you were burying a 50-gallon drum or a large water-proof ammunition container, you could bury a fully packed bug-out bag. Here are some ideas from a previous newsletter on evacuation readiness. How great would it be to have everything you need for survival, just in case? Here are some other thoughts on what to store in a survival cache would be:
  • First aid kit
  • MRE’s
  • Small fire starting kit (matches/lighters)
  • Knife
  • Water filter
  • Duct tape
  • Handgun
  • Ammo
  • Spare clothes, wool socks and hiking boots
  • Emergency shelter – tent or tarp
  • Rain and cold weather gear
Choose the best survival cache container that fits your needs. Remember, you may need to solely rely on the contents in this container one day so be thorough when stocking it and keep track of where you hide it.

Preps to Buy:

  • PVC
  • Silicone sealant
  • 50-gallon drum, or water-proof container
  • First aid kit
  • MRE’s, freeze-dried food, canned goods
  • Small fire starting kit (matches/lighters)
  • Knife
  • Duct tape
  • Handgun
  • Ammo
  • Fishing kit with collapsible fishing rod
  • Spare clothes, wool socks and hiking boots
  • Emergency shelter – tent or tarp
  • Rain and cold weather gear
  • Hand-crank radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries

Action Items:

    1. Have multiple evacuation routes planned in the instance that Plan A and Plan B do not work.
    2. Make list of what items you want to have in your survival cache.
    3. Find a good location, along the planned evacuation routes and bury or hide your survival cache.
    4. Practice getting to the survival cache using different modes of transportation to see how long it will take to get there.
    5. Create multiple caches if necessary.

5) 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation by George Washington
#70 - Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard Name not your Author always A Secret Discover not.

#80 - Be not Tedious in Discourse or in reading unless you find the Company pleased therewith.

#81 - Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach those that Speak in Private.

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