A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth


Showing posts with label Mindset. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mindset. Show all posts

September 9, 2014

You Need To Ask Yourself: Am I Prepared?

     We are living in a time many of us are not ready for.  After all, every generation is supposed to surpass the quality of life of the previous one, right?  Weren't we supposed to be the generation that prospered above and beyond what anyone expected?  We're Americans, and nothing can stop our progress; at least that's been our arrogant mindset up until now.
      I am blessed that I have lived during the greatest explosion of American ingenuity, inventiveness, and entrepreneurship.  None have equaled us.  I have enjoyed more creature comforts than my parents or grandparents.  I have known the heights of working for a great company, and the even more valuable benefits of working with my husband in our own business.  Yes, life in America has been all that anyone in the free world could hope for.  But there are storm clouds threatening to rain on our parade, and some of us will be caught without an umbrella.
     Lately, my focus has been on spiritual preparation, and I still believe that should be our priority.  But I also believe that those of us who are spiritually equipped should also be physically ready, so that we can assist others who are not prepared spiritually OR physically.  I believe we will still need to fulfill our commission of serving God and others, even during societal collapse, and therefore it is incumbent upon us to be prepared to survive the aftermath of whatever is coming.
     The latest whispers of impending upheaval and disorder center on the vulnerability of our national grid system; or a possible terrorist attack upsetting the normal balance of everyday life.  Last week, SHTFPlan had a great article asking the question, "What If You Had A Week To Prepare For the End of the World?"   I highly recommend that you read this article -- it asks some pretty serious questions that I think you need to answer for yourself, if you have not done so already. Whether massive mayhem and pandemonium are the result of an extended power outage, or something more devastating and destructive, I want you to ask yourself these basic questions:
     How would I get food if the grocery stores are closed?  First of all, a grid-down scenario means food in the stores will start spoiling, cash registers won't work, and every shelf will be emptied within hours.  You don't know how long you'll be without power.   Are you prepared for days or weeks, or even months, without a source for buying food?  The food in your own refrigerator will only last so long, and how much do you have on your own shelves?  Right now, I have a freezer full of meat, but I'm prepared if we lose power for any length of time.  My American Canner will get a good work-out canning all that thawed-out beef, and I'll have quarts of savory meat to last for months.  If you don't know how to can food, or bake bread from ground wheat (which I hope you've considered storing), then I suggest you learn those skills soon.
     How will you cook food, even if you've got it?  Do you know how to start a cook fire?  Do you have the necessary tools and cast iron cookware you will need?  What about a solar oven or a rocket stove?  You will get real tired of eating cold beans out of a can; I promise you that.
     Are you prepared for extreme heat and cold if there is no power for months?  I know that our grandparents and great-grandparents managed to survive without central air and heat, but this generation of Americans will suffer without their conveniences.  You will need to adjust your activities and have a plan for coping with the debilitating effects of extreme temperatures.
     Can you cope with no lights?  Your scented candles won't last long and won't provide much light when there is no electricity.  How is your provision of flashlights and batteries; matches, kerosene for lanterns, etc.?  You will be surprised how important a little light can be in the darkness of calamity.
     No transportation?  How fit are you?  If there is no power due to an EMP, your car's computers will be destroyed and the gas pumps won't be working.  Do you have a good pair of shoes (think several pairs)?  How far can you walk?  Our sedentary population will suffer greatly if they are not prepared for physical activity.
     What will you do for water?  If you live in the city, municipal water facilities will no longer be able to provide you water.  And if you live in the country, your water well is run by electricity, so you'll be out of luck.  Water, food and shelter are necessary for life, so without water you are in serious trouble.  The old-fashioned hand pump is the way to go in the country, and city dwellers will have to find a way to store water, both for cooking and sanitation.
    Speaking of sanitation ... Human waste will become a huge problem and a recipe for disease.  In the country, an old-fashioned outhouse would be an option; or a product like the Luggable Loo, a portable 5-gallon toilet.  Either way, sanitation will be an important issue that must be addressed.
     There is so much more that you should have a plan for ... medical needs, self-defense, and how you plan on serving others, yet not putting the health and safety of your own family in jeopardy.   I think we all have a sense that something is coming ... and sooner, rather than later.  If you have been avoiding taking the necessary steps that will give your family a chance to survive a variety of crises, then I would ask you to first pray ... ask God to give you a sense of peace and calm as He directs you on how to prepare.  Ask Him for spiritual strength and knowledge to teach you what you need to do in this physical world.  I don't want to unduly scare you, but I urge you to make haste ... I sincerely believe that time is short.  You can do this, and you can accomplish it in the shelter of His protective presence.

Psalm 91:1-2     He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

September 6, 2014

I'm Weary .... But Determined!

     I can honestly say that today I feel like "turtle-ing up" ... just pulling myself into my shell and waiting for all this worldly mess to either fix itself, or come to its prophecied conclusion, so we can kick off the Millennium Kingdom.
     There is so much going on that we cannot (and are not meant to) understand.  Who really knows what is going on in the Russian/Ukraine War ... or the European Union ... or with the World Bankers ... or with the illegal immigrants and our Southern border ... or any number of other complicated world scenarios that threaten to upset our daily existence?
     About the only thing I do know is that what we see or what we are being told is likely not the truth.  Who's backing and funding ISIS?  You don't produce top-rate videos and publications while on the march to decapitate Christians and innocent Iraqis.  What is Homeland Security doing to protect us from the threats of terrorists?  In case anyone has noticed, the anniversary of September 11th is around the corner, and that never bodes well for Americans.
     But rather than focus on all these uncertainties, my spirit is telling me to concentrate on what I can impact; what I can do to positively influence my small territory on this earth.  I do not want to let this impending sense of Judgment keep me from making a difference.  Most of all, I want to make an unparalleled try to reach those in my life who have grown distant; those I have tended to let slide from my gaze for one reason or another.... distance, contrasting lifestyles or dissimilar personalities can no longer be viable excuses.
     I must figure out a way to reach my brother, a man I have always been at odds with since childhood.  Furthering that incompatibility is the fact that he is a genetic cancer doctor, with more degrees than I can count on one hand; is as far Left as I am Right; finds nothing interesting about my life; and is an avowed atheist.  Not much to work with, is there?  But I keep hearing that whisper in my soul to not give up on him.  So, I have written him a heart-felt letter and sent it along with a book by an eminent and distinguished geneticist, who wrote a book to explain how his brilliant scientific mind led him to the conclusion that God does exist.
     In the letter I told him that it is important to me that he read the book, give it some serious thought, and then invite Jesus to show him He is real.  It is my fear that time is running out for him to realize that he needs a Savior. I know he won't hear it from me, but maybe if he reads it from someone he respects, he will answer the call.  I'm determined to reach him in his own language.
     I also must make an effort with an old friend, a woman who has been a friend since our days in college and who has been the one to keep our friendship alive.  Like my brother, she is a doctor, and she needs proof that the Gospel message is true.  At times, I wonder how we have stayed friends, because God has taken me down such a different path than hers.  Our household incomes, our values, our marriages, and what we worship are poles apart.  She worships anything that fills the emptiness in her soul, and I think she secretly believes that Jesus will limit her ability to seek all those "adventures".
      During her visit last year, there were words bordering on anger, and she removed herself to our porch, where PLW told her, "You know, she just cares about you and your soul."  When I asked her one time, "What do you think happens the moment after you die?", she just looked at me with the saddest expression, and said "That, I can't answer."  I'm determined that she will discover the joy and the grace of knowing her Lord and Savior.
     I also want to reach all my friends who have languished in a lukewarm Christian environment, and I want to share just how big our God is!  I want them to know that recognizing His Power and His Sovereignty and His Plan and His Mercy and His Judgment .... all of His mighty attributes ... will directly affect how they get through the difficult times ahead.  Instead of worrying about all the negative things that might befall us, let us come closer to God and revel in the understanding of just how much He loves us.  Let us understand that His judgment is coming on the earth, and let us present ourselves in repentance and humble servitude.  Let us instead focus on how we can lead others to the refuge that we will have from the approaching storms.
     While I don't want to look upon the world anymore, I realize that this is not feasible.  I have to live in this broken world, and I have a job to do while I'm here.  I'm tired of the misery I see, but I can look beyond it.  And I want to take as many people to the throne of God as I can.  So, join me... don't give up; but reach out and show someone else how to look up.  Let's deny the Enemy any further gain!

Galatians 6:9     "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."


   

August 25, 2014

Is It All Smoke and Mirrors?

     There are so many things going on in this world that are all striving for our attention ... massive earthquakes; the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel; the uncertainty of an ebola outbreak; the illegal immigration debacle at our southern border; civil unrest in our heartland; and the growing persecution of Christians and the rise of IS (Islamic State) --- just to name the top contenders!
     I had determined that today I would write about the beheading of journalist James Foley and what this means for all Americans.  I bolstered my courage to watch the video; not really wanting to allow that image of evil to enter my mind, but feeling that, somehow, I owed it to this fellow American.  Perhaps I thought that by watching his death, it honored his life.  Plus, how could I possibly ignore this horrendous event, or take no notice of it, as if it never happened?  It is time we Americans face the fact that Evil is coming ever closer to our comfortable, secure lives.
     I said a silent prayer, asking God for some small semblance of courage as I witnessed Mr. Foley's extraordinary courage.  I braced myself and clicked on the button to start the video.  As the cowardly jihadist grabbed the back of Foley's head and placed his knife at the victim's throat, I braced myself.  And I was soon asking myself, what did I just see?  Certainly not the complete act of a head being cut off; yet at the end of the video, I'm pretty sure it is Foley's severed head lying on the back of a supposedly lifeless body.
     Before I go any further, let me say that I am not aligning myself with the myriad of conspiracy theorists or false flag proponents.  I am simply saying that yes, I believe James Foley was killed and most likely beheaded, but I do not believe that video is an accurate portrayal of this evil act.  So where does that lead me?  To be honest, I'm not really sure... anymore than I am sure of anything that I am being shown in this world.  
     More and more, I am becoming convinced that what is presented to us as facts may be a complex web of deception; designed to push us toward a preset and calculated response.  Can we believe anything based on outward appearances, or is it just a pretense; the invention of an imaginary situation to yield a desired result?  We all know that technology is so advanced that videotape of a purported event can be forged, doctored, or manipulated to look like anything the imagination can create.
     By now, you might be thinking I am a really skeptical and suspicious person; that I am seeing the bogeyman behind every incident or event.  It's not the bogeyman, my friends, for he is an imaginary evil spirit used to frighten children.  No, I'm beginning to think that the real deal, the Devil, is working his deception in, and around, and upon the earthly realm and its leaders, in efforts to instigate undesirable and violent actions that will move his agenda forward.
     I am not denying that actual warfare is going on in Gaza; or that the ebola virus is present and killing people; or that a young black male's death in Ferguson, Missouri has resulted in rioting and violent protests; or even that Christians (and journalists) are being beheaded.  I believe all this chaos is happening.  I'm just not sure that we are being told the truth about the origin, the cause, or the motive behind the event.
     Yes, I know that all evil doings come from Satan.  And I know that he schemes to keep us from a personal relationship with the God of the Universe.  But I also believe to the depths of my soul that he can manipulate the message we receive from these chaotic and lawless events by using men to control our perception and our response.
     I find myself no longer able to believe everything I see at face value.  I sense the Enemy's presence in every narrative and every image that is presented to us.  The more shocked and unsettled we become, the more receptive we are to his lying whispers.  His strategy is really very simple ... keep us from the peace that comes from trusting the Lord, and we take our eyes off our refuge in the coming storm.  Bombard our minds with visions of grisly death and social pandemonium, and we begin doubting God's ability to protect us.  And ultimately, if he can crack open the door of fear, he is home free and we will accept any counterfeit solution to guarantee our safety.
     In the final analysis, our focus should not be on whether these recent events are 100% bona fide or not.  The real take-away we should perceive are the attempts to achieve the pre-determined consequences planned by the Devil and those whom he influences.  In reality, we need to make absolutely sure that we know and discern the real Truth ... God's Truth.  When we resolve to dwell in the secret place of the Most High and under His sheltering shadow, we will not be moved by the turmoil or the lawlessness.
     Remember:  We are not designed for destruction nor deception.  Let the evil ones demonstrate their scheming tricks and strategies to those who would be fooled.  Let us keep our eyes, our minds, and our hearts on the One who is faithful to keep His promises... smoke and mirrors are not necessary to convince me of His Truth.

1 John 5:19   "We know [positively] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] is under the power of the evil one."

August 18, 2014

"That Will Never Happen..."

     How many times have you heard this phrase uttered, as many of our fellow Americans still refuse to abandon their normalcy biases?  Don't you want to shake them out of their blindness and point out all the ways in which the world is changing?  The ways that they have repeatedly claimed would never transpire?
     For instance, there are the people who refuse to look at the possibility that the U.S. dollar could one day lose its status as the world's reserve currency.  "That will never happen," they say.  "The U.S. is the economic leader of the world.  The dollar is as strong as it's ever been."  Well, I would like to point out that at the beginning of this month, during its annual economic summit, Russia signed a joint cooperation pact with China to begin moving away from the U.S. dollar and promote their own currencies between themselves.
     Combine this news with the fact that Russia just signed a $400 billion, 30-year deal to supply gas to China.  Economic analysts explain how this effects America:  China buying Russian oil exports means the Chinese yuan will be exchanged directly into Russian rubles -- this, in effect, bypasses the U.S. dollar.  And as Russian deals with the U.S. economic sanctions, it is forced to use the ruble for its trade purposes.  This, in effect, changes the ruble from a convertible currency to a reserve currency.  No need for the dollar, there!
     If more major and developing countries begin to conduct their trade in their own currencies, and outside of the U.S. dollar, it doesn't trend well for the strength or value of the dollar.  While the dollar has been strong against foreign currencies in the past, it has also allowed us to borrow great sums of money from fellow nations.  But that has meant rising U.S. debt, and a growing lack of confidence in the solidarity of the dollar.
     While the dollar still remains as the world's reserve currency, there are cracks in the foundation of that position, and the signs of our economic collapse grow more prominent.  But that will never happen, right?
     Another issue to which Americans have been blind is the creation of a Global Caliphate.  "That will never happen," they said.  "You are over-reacting to Islam and its adherents.  It's just a small minority who are radicalized.  No one wants a Caliphate."  Can they still say that?  If the events of recent weeks and months does not wake them up, then they must truly be in a "normalcy coma".  I do not believe that any rational person can deny that a new Caliphate is a distinct possibility.  Radical jihadists from all over the globe are flocking to the call of a sophisticated, social media-savvy, blood-thirsty army of Muslim extremists.  They have made their goals known, and in case anyone is paying attention, they are doing a pretty good job of accomplishing their objectives.
     And in case anyone is unaware, we are directly in their sights.  I've also noticed that ISIS is making inroads in Lebanon, strengthening themselves in Syria, and threatening to launch a campaign in Jordan ... is all this with the ultimate goal of surrounding and attacking Israel?  They have declared themselves a Caliphate; an Islamic state ruled by strict Islamic laws.  From where I sit, they're well on their way to establishing exactly what they proclaim.  But that will never happen, right?
     Finally, Americans cannot foresee that another Holocaust could ever be perpetuated upon the Jews.  "That will never happen," they answer.  "The world would never let that happen.  It was such a horrendous crime against humanity; we have progressed beyond that."  Are they aware of what is going on in Europe and on the streets of our own cities?  Read my post from Friday.  Do they know that Muslim radicals in France, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden; and yes, even Germany, have targeted Jewish citizens and businesses --- just as they did prior to WW II?  Do they know that Jewish schools and institutions are being burned, and people have been killed?  Are they aware that Orthodox Jews in our own country have been shot and killed while on the way to synagogue, or that swastikas are beginning to appear across the landscape of our cities?  Do they know that Jews are beginning to fear for their lives and property, just as they did only 75 short years ago?  The signs are there!  Are we being reckless if we keep insisting, "this will never happen again"?
     As you can see, the world is struggling ... it is struggling for stability; it is struggling to maintain its humanity; and perhaps most importantly, it is struggling against pure Evil. But do we put our futures at risk when we refuse to acknowledge what the world is showing us?  Are we just too darned preoccupied with our own selfish little world that we can't possibly imagine a pole shift?  Because I can tell you that the spiritual forces behind these events are hoping that we will remain preoccupied while they set their plans in motion.  If we will just stay self-absorbed a little longer, events will fall into place and the things we couldn't imagine happening will be impossible to avert.  I imagine if on September 10th, 2001, you had asked a sampling of Americans if planes could be flown into the World Trade Center towers and bring them down, the overwhelming answer would have been "That will never happen...". Have we learned nothing?

1 Peter 5:8    "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

   

August 16, 2014

Testing The Limits In The Heartland

     The alarming situation in Ferguson, Missouri has so many undertones, it has got us all scrambling for answers ... and the truth.  I must admit that I am very conflicted because I'm confused about what we're being shown by the media ... and why.  I believe that nothing is done by chance.
     There are images of out-of-control looting and rioting, which serves no purpose except for taking advantage of a volatile situation.  There is news coverage of police in full military gear arriving in armored vehicles, shooting rubber bullets and tossing tear gas canisters at citizens.  Photos appear online of cars and stores on fire, and thugs lighting molotov cocktails; clearly these citizens are breaking the law.  And then there are stories of journalists being arrested for attempting to report on all the chaos; the freedom of the press appears to be suppressed by a militarized police force.
     So what are we to think?  Is this going to be another racially-charged circus like the Trayvon Martin incident?  Was this the murder of an innocent victim by an overzealous cop, or was it a justified shooting of a combative robbery suspect?  How do we keep this explosive crisis from being used by different factions for their own purposes?  Like I said, I don't have the answers ... but I fear that the ramifications we could see coming out of Ferguson, Missouri are nothing any of us wants.
     I have to admit that I have nephews who are police officers, and who work in communities adjacent to Ferguson, although none of them are part of the police presence we've seen televised, thank God.  But I know of the dangers that they face each day, and of the lawlessness that is embraced in the surrounding areas.  Unemployment is incredibly high and incentives to escape the economic hopelessness are low.  That's not a good combination for producing law-abiding citizens, nor is it a reason to adopt victimhood.
     On the other hand, I am quite disturbed at the videos I've seen of police in camo and helmets, as if they are waging war against American citizens.  As Senator Rand Paul stated, "The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action…. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement."
     I think we can all agree that police must be given the authority to keep the peace and enforce our laws.  But when the police take on the appearance and role of a military-like agency, then it is only natural that we citizens fear the loss of our constitutionally-guaranteed rights.  And because the news media is always looking for that "juicy" story to boost ratings, nothing gives them more opportunity to fill air time than a racial incident, and we all know that they can distort their coverage to show any narrative they want.  So what's the real story they want us to take away from the non-stop reporting?  (Keep in mind, there's always the possibility we're only seeing what they want us to see).
     But I have two very real concerns regarding this unfortunate situation.  And I think they both point to the heart of the matter.  Number One:  Will true justice be served?  Conflicting stories on the victim have surfaced, and are sure to muddy the legal waters.  Was he innocently walking down the street when he was harassed by a prejudiced police officer, as his companion states?  Or did he fit the description of a robbery suspect at a nearby convenience store, as new crime scene photos seem to suggest?  (That same companion is allegedly an accomplice in that robbery).
     And once again, as in the Trayvon case, the officer (who claims self-defense) supposedly has injuries sustained in the confrontation with the victim.  The police department of Ferguson has handled this affair poorly.  Information has been sporadic and conflicting; thereby, lending an air of suspicion to the whole proceedings.  They haven't helped us feel confident we're getting at the truth.  (Maybe we're not supposed to feel "confident"?  Sorry, my conspiratorial side is on the loose).
     Number Two:  My greatest fear is that this "crisis will not go to waste", and any number of players can use this calamity to their advantage.   The recklessness of the citizenry can be manipulated to give the government cause for instituting martial law.  There are groups such as the Black Panthers that will eagerly use the death of Michael Brown to further their agenda of alienation of the races.  There are politicians and social engineers who will use Ferguson to promote their position that economic disparity and discrimination in the judicial system are reasons to  justify the actions of looters and rioters ... that their "outrage leading to destruction" is a natural reaction, so to speak.
     With this many elements all jockeying to further their "agendas", there will be no winning side.  We all stand to lose.  And if each group is given a little piece of the pie in an effort to appease them, then one more brick crumbles at the foundation of American freedoms and our way of life.  We will all be a little less than we were a week ago.  But then again, (smirk, smirk) maybe that's the plan....

     Latest News:  Out of this chaotic situation steps the calming, professional influence of Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson.  The governor of Missouri was smart enough to hand over the reins of security control to Johnson, and the result was a night of no arrests, no tear gas, and the opportunity for the citizens of Ferguson to exert their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble.
     Captain Johnson did what should have been done from the outset; he listened.  Watching him at a news conference, I couldn't help but think, "This man knows how to communicate with the people.  He knows how the police presence should be represented.  And most of all, he knows how the police and the community need to respect each other."  He removed all the heavy military gear; including gas masks, military armored vehicles with sniper posts, and most specifically, the attitude.  He then walked the streets with the protesters, showing them they had nothing to fear from the police, and that  they needn't destroy their own communities in the effort to express their opinions.
     As I listened to him speak, it was obvious that this man is special.  I could sense that he wants the best for all parties involved and he will tolerate neither lawlessness nor injustice.  Could he be the answer to prayers for non-violence and godly leadership?  Then he quoted Scripture and my soul leaped in response!  Thank you, Lord for sending this compassionate man in the midst of all the Enemy's servants.  Perhaps Evil just got check-mated and Ferguson can begin to heal!

Ephesians 5:11    "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them."
   
 
 

June 10, 2014

What's The End Game?

     This is another one of those days when everywhere I look, and everything I read, leaves me in a state of distrust and suspicion.  The Bowe Bergdahl scandal continues to grow as those who served with him directly contradict the "official" dialogue about his time with the Taliban.
     The emaciated bodies of babies and children found in an Irish convent's septic tank is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the implications of the Catholic Church and child mass graves.  And who can forget the tens of thousands of American veterans who have been denied the health benefits they were promised through the Veterans Administration hospitals?  Some days it is just too hard to figure out what was behind the original decisions that sent us down these roads.  What was the true intention of these acts?
     I guess the most perplexing to me at this moment is the continual flood of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens across our southern border.  Yes, I have posted the human side of this surge, and it is a legitimate one.  Many of these people are children escaping revolutions and tyranny in their homelands; or they are a product of the truly evil sex slave trade that is inundating our country.  I get it.  And I truly have empathy for them wanting a better life.  I, too, would do everything I could to escape the evil they have lived.
     But it is not just about innocent children trying to make it to a family member somewhere in America.  Our border security is being intentionally "softened"; our federal government is deliberately allowing thousands of people to enter the country -- people that include criminals and terrorists.  Besides the threat to our physical safety, there is the issue of disease and viruses.  Already, cases of measles, chicken pox, MRSA and various staph infections are present in those streaming across the border.  How long before we have an out of control epidemic?
     The worst part of this situation is that it is all being done without a nod to the Constitution.  In fact, there are those in Washington D.C. who hint that the Constitutional process is too slow, too complicated, and too burdensome.  I just can't figure out if this is the end result they're after.  Are they trying to deliberately create this humanitarian crisis in order to prove that the U.S. Constitution is a hindrance in dealing with it?  In other words, create the crisis first, then use the panic to show the public that our existing laws (and the foundation for those laws -- the Constitution) are inadequate and must be "fundamentally changed".  If so, this is a classic Cloward & Piven strategy.
     But is that the only game being played?  I am just a simple woman.  But I am smart enough to know that some kind of game plan has been put into effect.  And it seems to me that it is designed to crash the system of the United States.  Why else ignore the laws of the land and spit in the eye of our elected officials who, by the way, seem as if they are stupefied and mummified in the face of this onslaught.  Our laws are being defied at every turn, yet Congress has done nothing to defend the Constitution.  There is a process to be followed in changing federal immigration laws.  Unfortunately, it is being ignored as if the laws do not exist.
     Yet, on the other hand, as reported by the Washington Times, Attorney General Holder announced a program late last week that would provide attorneys for young illegal immigrant children, saying they want to make sure the unaccompanied minors are getting fair legal representation.  How much is that going to cost American tax-payers?  Consider the fact that the government admits it is expecting over a quarter million children in the next 24 months, and you can see how the system will be tremendously burdened.  It is a clearly unsustainable situation.
     But like everything else in this deteriorating world, nothing seems to make any sense.  In my post relating my friend Betty's Christian perspective of caring for these children, she suggested that if one's priority is to fix the problem, rather than tending to these souls in need, one should run for office.  As I stare at the immensity of this issue, I realize that there is no answer in politics.  In fact, it is not even a political question.  This is a spiritual battle between Good and Evil.  These are the circumstances in which we fight the wiles of the Devil.  As Paul warned us in Ephesians, we are battling "against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
     What seems to us like a battle between ideologies and social agendas is, in reality, the age-old war for dominion over the earth.  We are not in control, and the sooner we realize that, perhaps the quicker we will look up for our deliverance.  The "end game" is not more votes in future elections, and it is not even a true humanitarian cause --- it is all about creating chaos and disruption; it is about sowing the seeds of rebellion against God and our fellow man.
     You know, as I followed my argument to its logical conclusion, the one thought that sprang to my mind was "God help us."  And in that moment, I realized that it is the only option we really have.  I'm sad to say that I do not think there is a human solution to this contest for ownership of the world.  So, as the headlines over the coming weeks, months and few years will continue to cast a shadow upon our land, I am going to take great delight in knowing the outcome of the battle.  All these controversies before us will soon be settled.  I can hardly wait!

John 16:33     "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."




   
   

May 2, 2014

The Pope, Poverty, and Social Justice

     It's sometimes hard for me to comprehend the world in which we live; for instance, who could have foreseen the Pope using Twitter to express His opinion on a theological matter?  Please don't be offended; it is not my intention, but ... somehow it seems below The Sovereign Pontiff's dignity.  Shouldn't the religious leader of more than 1.1 billion Catholics be separate from this world system?  Maybe, it's just me.  But it is not his method of communicating that I would like to discuss today.  I would like to respectfully comment on his answer to the following question, What is the root of all social evil?

     Before we get to his answer, the Pontiff's Twitter campaign included statements "that every individual must realize the responsibility he or she has to help those in need", and "None of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice."  I totally agree!  As Jesus said, "For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them" (Mark 14:7).  Concern for the poor should be a natural outpouring of our relationship with God.  But it's that controversial phrase "social justice", that must be defined in terms of our faith.
     In fact, the term is so politically charged, that I'm pretty sure that most people confuse its modern-day context with its Biblical significance.  In today's lexicon, Wikipedia has given us a complex idea of what "Social Justice" means:  Social justice is a concept that some use to describe the movement towards a socially just world. In this context, social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution. These policies aim to achieve what developmental economists refer to as more equality of opportunity than may currently exist in some societies, and to manufacture equality of outcome in cases where incidental inequalities appear in a procedurally just system.
     Did you notice three very important phrases in this definition?  By definition in today's world, Social Justice aims towards "economic egalitarianism", "equality of opportunity", and "to manufacture equality of outcome".  In other words, adherents of this economic concept believe in a principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities, and it is society's responsibility "to manufacture (make/create/construct" a fair outcome for everyone.
     As a political doctrine, there is some justification in the idea of Social Justice... all people should have the same (equal) political, social, economic and civil rights. This idea is based on the foundation of inalienable human rights enshrined in such documents as the Declaration of Independence.
     But when applied to an economic doctrine, the idea of Social Justice is most often coupled with "manufacturing" equality through redistribution of wealth, confiscation of property, social welfare programs, etc.  These are the hallmarks of communism and socialism.
     Please understand this ... the command is to us, as individuals, not collectively as a society.  Where is the opportunity and the choice to "love your neighbor as yourself", if it is forced upon you by law?

     So does Social Justice exist in the Bible?  First of all, Deuteronomy 32:4 says that "all God's ways are justice"; He is a God of Justice -- including Social Justice.  He commands us to care for the sojourner (traveler), the fatherless (orphans), and the widows -- people that are unable to fend for themselves, or have no support system.  We each have a moral obligation, as individuals, to care for these poor who may be unable to care for themselves.
     Another difference between the Biblical and Modern concepts of Social Justice is this: today’s social justice operates under the assumption that the wealthy exploit the poor.  Wealth in itself, is not evil in the Bible.  We are called to be good stewards of what God gives us, and wealth can be a great blessing by which you are able to bless others.  Furthermore, Biblical social justice, in the form of Christian charity, comes from the heart; it is how we choose to share our time, treasures, and talents.  Social Justice, today, would have the government accumulate the redistributed wealth and decide who gets what.
     The bottom line for me is the fact that social justice is a moral duty to fellow citizens who find themselves in a state of poverty and need a helping hand.  It is not forced distribution of what I have earned to those who choose to live in poverty because it has become a lifestyle.  The former leads to a display of love and gratitude; the latter to resentment and entitlement.  One method is a God-centered approach, while the other is a man-centered system.  When you define social justice by God's standards, Jesus Christ is the Savior of the poor.  When you apply social justice through man's machinations, the government becomes the savior.
     So back to the original purpose of this post... what was the Pope's answer to the question, What is the root of all social evil?  In one word, he said it was Inequality.  In his second major teaching document, the Pope is quoted as saying, "Money must serve, not rule!" and "“The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor.”  It remains to be seen what he means by that small, but important word must.  Does he mean we ought to or we should help the poor, out of the love of our hearts?  Or does he mean we should be required or be compelled to help the poor by government mandates?
     Only Christ, upon His return, will execute "perfect" justice.  Until then, I choose to follow His example and give freely from my blessings and from my heart.  It is His model that benefits all men.

James 1:27    "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit torphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."




April 28, 2014

OPSEC and the Nation

     If you are doing any kind of self-defense training, then you are certainly aware of the term OPSEC ... Operational Security.  There are several implementations of OPSEC, including keeping valuable information from your adversary, but I want to consider a specific application of this strategy.
     Very simplistically, as a military term, it means identifying critical information to determine if further action is needed to protect the mission or to stop a threat.  But it is easily applied to civilian life as well.  If I'm exiting a mall late at night, am I employing a process of protecting little pieces of information that could be grouped together to give me a bigger picture?  Am I alert and off the phone, so my eyes are scanning the immediate area for any threats?  Is there a van parked next to my car?  Is there anyone hovering in the area between me and my destination?  How is the lighting in the parking light?  Do I have a method to defend myself, and is it readily available?  Is it worth the risk of trying to make it to my car, or am I better off seeking assistance from mall security? There are  many other questions that will provide me with critical data to protect myself, if need be.
     In short, Operational Security requires Awareness, Assessment and Action.  You can see how important it is to personal safety, and many Americans are taking the steps to be more vigilant and alert in terms of defending themselves.  Yet, why haven't we done the same thing when it comes to defending our country?
     The same elements apply.  We need to take our eyes off our phones, iPads and computers and look around us --- we have failed to identify the threats to our nation and way of life.  And now that we are waking up to just how much devastation has been done to our national foundation, how many of us are taking the time to seriously analyze the threats and vulnerabilities that still exist, and forming a plan to recover our national character and distinctiveness?  And what will your part be?
     Because I can tell you that if we stand a chance of defending America or returning her to even a small vestige of her glory, we are all going to have to do our part ... it has to be accomplished by more than the guys/gals who wear the uniform; whether combat veteran or law enforcement.  We all need to take responsibility for what this nation has become!  We fell asleep on the watch, became obsessed with our cell phones, and relegated the OPSEC to someone else.  It may be too late ... we may be too far down the rabbit hole to ever return to who we were.
     This much I know for sure ... I can identify where we're off balance and out of sync.  We have neglected our education, training, mindset, and morals, and now everything is out of alignment.  We don't run straight or true to ourselves.  These 4 things are the pieces of the puzzle, that when fit together, give us the bigger picture of who we were.  But since we didn't protect them, our OPSEC has left us vulnerable, and put our future in jeopardy.  We were supposed to defend our country with each of those pieces of the pie.
     Our military has done a tremendous job of keeping us safe and secure.  But I'm afraid that the foundation upon which they stand is rotting, and our failure to attend to our essential duties of guarding America has left us all in a perilous and deteriorating state.
      As a Believer, I am all too aware that nothing is accomplished on our own.  For 200 years, God Almighty kept His protecting hand on this land; on a nation that recognized we had a unique relationship with a Creator who bestowed Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness upon this blessed republic.  But the last few decades have shown that we failed to recognize the slow disintegration of that relationship -- we weren't aware it was slipping away, we didn't assess the damage that would do to our culture, our society, or our government; and we didn't take the proper action to curb the encroaching decay.  Now we will pay the price, and it is a costly one.
     I'm not one to ever give up; I know that all things are possible; and I believe in miracles.  I'm willing to do my part and with a renewed vigor to protect, not only all those pieces of the pie, but to take my place in providing Operational Security for my country.  I have been born for this time and for a purpose.  It is not to stand with downcast eyes on the latest technological marvel, but to scan my immediate environment and the horizon in order to thwart further perils upon this nation and its people.  But above all else, I will be looking up and praying that God hears my voice as I ask for forgiveness for my part in the deterioration of the land He established.  I promise that my OPSEC will be solid, steady and unyielding.  Will you?

1 Corinthians 16:13     "Remain alert. Keep standing firm in your faith. Keep on being courageous and strong."

   

January 25, 2014

Lessons Learned

   
     We, here in Texas, are not accustomed to the icy conditions of winter weather we received yesterday.  Although parts of the state have experience with snow, ice and sleet, it is highly unusual for the entire state to find itself in the clutches of an arctic blast of inclement weather.
     But I imagine that a lot of people learned some valuable lessons... or at least I hope they are smart enough to assess their experience and plan for the future.  We have sure learned some lessons!  First of all, we were awakened in the middle of the night to a succession of power outages, and by daybreak the outage seemed to be permanent.  That meant no heat, of course.  As many of you know, there is a difference between a "dry" cold and a "wet" cold.  And because it was sleeting, it made the cold seem even more miserable.
     Of course, the phones weren't working, and the internet was down as well.  But my neighbor and I confirmed, via cell phone, that our entire neighborhood was without power.  Since we have wood-burning stoves, we had a convenient source of not only heat, but a way to cook breakfast.  I had the tea kettle boiling in no time, and french toast cooking in the cast iron skillet.  But it made both PLW and myself quickly realize that if one had to exist through a prolonged bout of wintry weather with no electricity, it would take a boatload of wood to sustain you.  Note to self:  you can never have enough firewood.
     The only real problem we had, and one that we simply did not anticipate, was the loss of some of our chickens.  We have suffered temperatures this low before without any loss of life, but the combination of the icy winds and the sleet were too much for them.  The sheltered side of the chicken coop was not facing north, and they were exposed to the wintry mix.  Extra hay in the nesting boxes wasn't enough to protect them.  The chicken coop was too heavy for the two of us to try to move ourselves, and our chickens paid the price.  Until we can enlist the aid of neighbors and their tractors to make the necessary adjustment, we decided to create a "greenhouse effect" by stapling plastic around the entire house.  That meant a trip to town for the plastic and supplies, which revealed several more important lessons.
     Of course, without power, computers and credit card machines don't work.  So if you didn't have cash, or the store was unwilling to keep a hand-written list of charges to add to your account when power was restored, you were simply out of luck.  We were prepared, but the eye-opener for us were the lines outside the small, local Dollar General store.  Food-stamp recipients had no way to purchase anything with their EBT cards, and both this discount store and the grocery store simply locked their doors.  This was going to be a temporary shutdown and these people literally looked lost!  Blank faces and vacant stares told me that if we are faced with a real long-term crisis, there will be thousands upon thousands who will be unprepared.  Without at least a small amount of cash on hand, you will find that your plastic cards are useless.
     The next apparent thing was the inability of people to gas up their cars -- the gas pumps don't work without electricity.  Even if people had relatives or friends they could bunk with, how far could they get on empty tanks?  We at least had warning that this weather system was headed our way, and still there were many who were caught with no viable form of transportation because they didn't think ahead.
     Power was eventually restored by noon-time; this was really a non-event and a minor irritation.  But I can imagine that many people felt a sense of panic and had no plans in place to deal with the inconveniences.  What happens when it is a full-scale, permanent emergency with devastating consequences?  Those blank stares are going to become expressions of anger; panic will turn to fear and violence; and neighborly concern will change to every man for himself.
     It's these little "practice runs" that should make us all aware of our shortcomings, as well as our strengths.  It should show us where we have it "right" and encourage us to fortify those areas even more.  We should also see even more clearly those activities and spheres in which we are lacking.  Think things through to the extreme.   So you made it half a day just fine without power.  What if you found yourselves without power for a week?  Where would you suffer?
     I've always said that when TEOTWAWKI happens, I will be happy to spend endless hours studying my Bible and commentaries.  But I quickly realized the number of online study tools that I use.  I have an extensive book collection, but some of my most valuable resources are online.  This was a reminder to get those sources in the paper-and-ink variety.
     All in all, it was not a huge inconvenience for us.  But it does shake you out of your "normalcy bias" and reacquaint you with the notion of how important it is to be prepared.  Old Man Winter showed us how quickly our world can change, and that we can't take anything for granted.  I'm hoping that this historical winter will serve to teach these valuable lessons to millions of Americans before it's too late.

Proverbs 21:20    "The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down." 
   

January 4, 2014

Perhaps I Can Help....

     I won't lie to you.  Today, I woke up in the dark hours of early morning, my mind instantly alert and fighting off what I can only describe as the creeping tentacles of fear.  Maybe it is that the beginning of a new year is supposed to be filled with thoughts of better things to come and new potential; yet, everything I see and hear is telling me the exact opposite.
     Normally, I am strong and resilient, always able to see and understand my purpose in these times.  I have become adept at fighting off the doubt and stoically resuming my state of readiness.  But there are times that I let those defenses down, and revert to what we all are ... vulnerable people in a distorted and unhealthy world.
     I am fully aware of the countdown on the clock, and that these are once again, "the times that try men's [and women's] souls".  But while I have taken the informed and reasonable steps to prepare myself, my family, and my friends for what is coming upon the earth, that doesn't mean that I am continually brave or strong or persuaded that I am following the correct path.
     I imagine that I am like many of you ... up to speed on the economy, as well as national and global security issues; and fully knowledgable about the threats to our healthcare, our faith, and all the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution.  We listen to the Mainstream Media and we read the "crazy" websites; at least, they used to be considered crazy before time and circumstances have proven that many of their projections were accurate.  Our discernment and our understanding have morphed and grown; we are educated in ways we never imagined possible.  In a sense, we have achieved an altered state of consciousness; risen to a new level of perception of ourselves and the world.
     Yet that doesn't keep us from returning to our deep-rooted human instincts and our powerful desire to escape back in time to what used to pass for normalcy.  Do you even remember what "normal" used to look like just a few short years ago?  When you didn't give a thought to the location of your much-anticipated family vacation, or have to worry about eating seafood out of the Pacific?  What about when you took your retirement and 40l(k) accounts for granted.  And remember when you used to trust the government?  When you accepted their every action as being in your best interest?  Now we find ourselves living in a constant state of renunciation, at worst; or skepticism, at best.  Then there was the certainty of what the future held for our children and grandchildren; everyone could expect an education, a job, a family and the successful fulfillment of your dreams.
     In the back of our minds is that yearning: "I just want my life to be normal again !"  Hey, I'll admit it.  I do, too!   But here's a truth that you may not want to hear ... that time that we knew as "normal" is gone!  We can't ignore the reality of what has changed in our country and the world. We may not want to acknowledge it, but we have to face it.  We have crossed a threshold, taken the exit ramp, walked through the looking glass, and all the other clich├ęs that describe the trajectory we're on.  There is no real possibility of turning back.
     And if you are a Christian, you know where we're going.  Just as importantly, if you are not a Believer, I urge you to research the promises that have been made regarding eternity.  You can't deny what the Word has revealed to us.  But you will also find that there's more to the story than the events we see unfolding all around us.
     So, as I laid there in the dark this morning, listening to the soft breathing of my husband, I was fully aware of where the anxiety was coming from.  I knew that this was the time the Enemy found easiest to distract me.  When he could dump a big 'ol pile of what ifs into my brain; and show me all the scary scenarios that could unfold.  He tried whispering, "Do you really think you can escape my plans for the world?  Just how do you think you can change what I've set in motion?"
    I have to admit, it would be easy to succumb to those doubts and/or slip into a "safer" mode of thinking; one where I long for the security of the past.  But I refused to let the dark of the early morn pervade my soul.  I know that I am just one person among millions on this planet; here for just one moment in all of time.  But I am created in the image of the Lord; I am a child of His Light, and the darkness has no power over me.  My life may not be of any great consequence in the annals of history, but I can choose to live it by being engaged in the fight between Good and Evil.
     I know this morning won't be the last time I face this struggle.  As the days progress, I have a feeling that the attacks of doubt will become more persistent.  But I have a choice in how I react, and so do you.  When you find yourself bogged down with fear, unbelief or uncertainty, turn to the One that created you and the One who is faithful to fulfill His promise to you.  He will never leave us nor forsake us in our times of trouble.  Escaping to the past and our lost notion of "normalcy" won't bring us closer to Him.  That just turns us away from where He is calling us.  Turn towards Him and take just one step at a time in His direction.  I think we will be surprised at just how calm and strong and brave we can be.  We are not alone on this journey --- we have each other, and we have our Lord and Savior.   And that's all we really need to face the future!

John 1:5     "The Light shines in the darkness; and the darkness has not overcome it."

November 29, 2013

All I Want For Christmas Is ....

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that I detest the commerciality of the Christmas holiday.  In fact, I have a completely different perspective on the truth behind this religious holiday, which I may be bold enough to share in the coming weeks; but for now, this post will ask you to do some intensive soul-searching before you succumb to the excessive emotions of the season.   

     OK, yesterday you feasted on turkey and dressing, indulged in numerous football games, or maybe went to the movies.  Today is traditionally the day that the Christmas shopping season begins.  All the Christmas decorations are hauled out of the attic, and mobs descend on the malls for that perfect gift at a bargain price.  But before you give in to the addiction perpetuated by creative advertising executives, I implore you to stop and rethink your shopping list this holiday season.
     Push aside the nostalgia and sentimentality, and take a good hard look at the reality of our situation.  Do we really need to be buying extravagant gifts that we can't really afford?  Do your children need another technological narcotic to numb their brains?  Or do any of us truly need that shiny new toy to take our minds off what ails us and the country?
     I'm going to suggest that this year we put on our Big Boy pants and stop pretending that it is life as usual.  If you can't look around you and see that we are in a serious free-fall towards major change, then I'm here to tell you to PAY ATTENTION! 

     Between the disastrous rollout of Obamacare and the millions who are seeing their health insurance rates double ... or losing coverage altogether! ... to the less-than-honest portrayal of the Iran nuke non-deal ... to the increase in regulations and taxation while there is an attempt to decrease our freedoms --- it is all designed to reconstruct the very foundation of America.  So, don't you think it might be a good idea to rethink how you want to spend that hard-earned dollar?
     No one can deny that prices are sky-rocketing at the supermarket; in fact, everything is getting more expensive.  Why not rededicate this holiday season to shoring up your family's foundation against possible adversity?
     As a family, agree to allocate your funds to items that will help you endure some hard times.  Think about what you would need if you lost your job and couldn't afford the price of groceries.  Might it not be a good idea to have some long-term food storage?  Or possibly buy a wheat-grinder and stock up on buckets of wheat?  Home-made bread will seem like a luxury if trouble comes knocking at your door.  And what about purchasing a pressure canner and some seed packets for next summer's garden?
     If we have a grid-down scenario --- and believe me, there are any number of events that could contribute to that picture --- what are your plans for water; for cooking; or for light?  North Korea has threatened more than once to carry out an EMP attack.  And let's not forget all the solar flares and geological occurrences that are daily fodder for the web.
     Instead of that big-screen TV, wouldn't it make more sense to think about purchasing a hand-pump (remember that your well needs electricity to operate)?  Other items to consider are a Deadwood stove or Dietz lanterns and good quality sleeping bags.  Let your imagination wander ... I know this is the season to be jolly and light-hearted, but I urge you to set aside the frivolity for a few days and seriously contemplate preparing for that rainy day.  Once you've hardened your survival preps, then treat yourself to a "feel good" trinket.
     If you are serious-minded and willing to face reality, I think you will agree that this is the year to do a little less of Santa and a little more of SHTF Preppin'.  It's time to get our priorities straight and our plans in place.  By the time Christmas rolls around again next year, it might be a whole new world.

Jeremiah 10:2-3     Thus says the Lord: "Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity."

July 6, 2013

Renewal and Regeneration

     We are all tired.  It's not easy to adapt to this changing world and face a new and declining reality.  But face it, we must, and this post is a warning of sorts ... to the "sunshine" realists; those who purport to be awake and prepared for the times in which we find ourselves, yet so easily slip back into their normalcy bias.  We cannot afford to "coast" when things seem calm and routine.  It is exactly that conventional mindset that will lull us into a state of complacency; a feeling of uncritical satisfaction in which we tell ourselves "I've done enough" or "Maybe things will be OK."
     I'm seeing it everywhere; from friends and family, to business associates, to the church pulpit.  Folks are definitely aware that we have entered a new concept for our country and the world.  They sense that it is harder to live life freely and independently; that there are forces that want to limit a wide array of rights and privileges, not only here in America, but across the globe.  And yes, it is still frightening to many of our fellow citizens.
     But instead of standing and protecting those rights, they continue to go about their daily business, with one eye on the headlines and the other focused on maintaining their customary existence.  I know how hard it is to step outside that comfortable box; that not everyone can afford to fly to rally's across the country to register their objections.  I also know that it costs money to do the things that the "experts" tell us need to be done to secure the safety of our families.  Food, alternate sources of energy, a viable water supply, self-defense, getting in better physical shape, growing a garden ... they all take what seems like an insurmountable amount of time, money and will-power.
     And there is the inevitable heavy heart, as we ask ourselves, "how the hell did we get here?"  Not only do we need to find the ways and means to accomplish new tasks and develop new skills, but we have to fight the despair that comes from our new reality.  I'm not saying it is easy!  And it doesn't seem to matter if one has a big bank account or small.  I know those who would have no trouble outlaying the cash to prepare for the future, and yet they think their money makes them exempt from any hardship that's coming.  But money alone won't get you there!
     So we all have to do whatever our finances, skills and drive allow us to do.  If that means you can only afford a few extra dollars a month to allocate towards extra food and "How-To" books; or you have no extra money, but can spare a few minutes to make a phone call to your congressional representative -- then that's all you can do.  But we have to keep moving forward!  We cannot rest in our comfort zone!  If you are a teacher, continue your education; learn how to live a sustainable lifestyle, and then teach it to someone else.  If you are an outdoorsman or hunter, do you have all the instruments and tools to provide shelter and food for your family?  If you're an economist or businessman, do you see how the shrinking dollar will effect not only the nation's and the world's economies, but your own family unit?  Can you enlighten your neighbor and help them protect their assets?
     Believe me, I fully realize that there is no set of political solutions that will solve this nation's difficulties.  I know we have a Spiritual problem.  That is why, it is essential for Pastors and Church leaders to ask themselves this question ... Are you using your pulpit to tell your flock the truth?  And I'm talking about the Truth, with a capital "T", as well as the secondary truth of the decline of their nation.  Are you revealing the Truth of God's faithfulness through His coming judgments as spoken through the Prophets?  Or are you just tickling their ears with messages of love, mercy and grace?  Are you keeping His church holy by condemning abortion, defending marriage between a man and a woman, and calling out immorality throughout the land?  Or are you afraid to offend some government institution and endanger your tax status; or perhaps you have a major donor that will turn off the spigot if you bring up these politically incorrect subjects?  Maybe you should read the Book of Jesus's Revelation and see how he calls out the leaders of the First Century Church.  We, in Twenty-first Century America will be held no less responsible!
     I am not advocating that we all live our daily lives with a black cloud over our heads, and mire ourselves in doom and gloom.  But this is not the time to let up on perfecting our new reality, or growing our relationship with our Creator and being obedient to His calling.  I'm not promoting the idea that we all retire to underground bunkers and live off the grid, nor am I calling for a march on Washington or demonstrations in the streets.  But I am calling for a renewal of our minds and spirits to the truth of our circumstances.  We must consciously enjoy the blessings that God provides each day, while being prepared to manage a variety of difficult living environments, remaining in spiritual covenant with Him, and educating ourselves in regards to our rights, our representatives, and our redresses.
     God has not given us a Spirit of despair or complacency, but rather one that is hungry for increased knowledge of Him.  Let that hunger thrive in you and move you forward.  I think you will find that you can navigate this new reality with clarity, purpose and courage.

Proverbs 1:32-33      "For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil."

June 13, 2013

Soldiers = Leaders

     I take it as a positive sign that members of our military are returning home from a decade-plus of war and continuing to serve our country in the halls of Congress.  I'm not talking about the 4-star Generals who serve as policy wonks; who have been bought off and have compromised their loyalty to the country in return for posh positions and pushing a progressive agenda.
     I'm talking about battle-hardened soldiers, who have been knee-deep in the ugliness of war and have proven themselves trustworthy and able to make the difficult decisions that saved lives.  These men have dealt with the black and white issues of death vs. survival, right vs. wrong, and moral vs. corrupt.  They entered the military knowing they owed their allegiance to the Constitution and the American people --- something that cannot be said of many politicians.  I am hopeful that these young men who went to war in response to an attack on the country they love, will now fight to preserve and protect her heritage of personal freedom.
     Our nation has a long history of soldiers that transform to statesmen.  Not all of them have made commendable leaders, and I will let you decide which ones put their country first.  Among those who served this nation in the military are George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush.  While I cannot say that I agree with all the decisions and policies of these Presidents, I do believe their experiences gave them valuable leadership skills.  Whether they all used those abilities to conserve American liberty is debatable.
     According to an article on Breitbart.com, "after the 2012 election, Congress is now comprised of the fewest number of veterans since World War II.  Just 19% of our elected leaders in Congress have served in the military. This is down from nearly 80% in 1977."  So what effect has that statistic had on the government of this country?
     I believe that a leadership position in the military is vastly different than that performed in Washington D.C.  Again, I'm not talking about arm-chair Generals who run the war from a conference room at the Pentagon.  I'm talking about the officers in the field who earned the trust of their troops and who performed their duties with one goal in mind:  to win and to do it honorably.  Honesty and honor ... that is what is missing in the leadership in D.C.
     Our soldiers stand up and take responsibility for their actions and work together for the good of their unit.  Instead, we see Congress passing the blame, looking out for #1, and selling out their constituents for more power and kickbacks.  The result is an increasing number of Americans who feel apathetic about even exercising their right to vote.  What difference will it make?  I have to admit that I and my friends have felt this same despondency.  We have wondered, Is our voice being heard?
     But there seems to be a breath of fresh air rising from the ranks of our returning veterans.  Nine Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were elected to Congress in 2012, with more stepping up to run for upcoming Senate races.  They come from the ranks of the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy SEALS.  Instead of focusing on a party platform, they seem to be serving for the same reason they joined the military in the first place:  to strengthen and fortify America's standards and values, and to uphold the Constitution.  This will benefit all of us, regardless of what party you identify with.
     We need to pray for these men and women.  Like all who serve in Washington, they will face temptations, and be forced to make moral and ethical decisions.   But we can ask God to place those in positions of authority that will first, glorify Him; and second, exhibit trustworthiness in continuing the blessings upon this great nation of ours.

Isaiah 30:21    "And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left."
   

June 11, 2013

A Different Kind of Prepping

     Maybe you've noticed it, too.  In 2008, the term "Prepper" was fairly new in our lexicon; and to be honest, it didn't exactly have a favorable connotation.  More than likely, if you considered yourself one, it meant that you were part of a fringe group of fruitcakes who hoarded buckets of beans and rice, balls of string, and stacks of toilet paper.  The rest of the world thought you were paranoid and delusional.  It was OK for Bear Grylls to eat insects and imagine being stranded in a desolate location, but most Americans were living comfortable, affluent lives and saw no need to take such drastic steps.
     By the year 2010, "Prepper" had become more mainstream, with literally millions of Americans coming on board our "crazy train".  Businesses that catered to "emergency" stockpiles of food flourished, and "sustainable living" became a worthwhile goal.  We returned to traditions and skills of the past, with women (like me) learning to can food, make soap, and garden.  The failing economy had a lot to do with convincing our neighbors that it might not be a bad idea to plan for a "rainy day".  And the increasing instability in our nation and the world told us that our laissez-faire attitude about our future needed to change.  It was becoming important for us to prepare to protect our families; not only for financial hard times, but for personal safety, as well.  The label "Prepper" was becoming both credible and necessary.
     But now, as we near the mid-point of 2013, you've either made the transition to a "prepper" mindset, or you haven't.  If the state of the world and the nightly news hasn't convinced you of the need to prepare your family for a decisively different destiny, then I'm afraid there is no reaching you, and no amount of persuasion is going to convince you of your vulnerability.  I'm pretty sure that all those who have the aptitude to see our situation clearly are members of our "Prepper Nation".
     However, as of late, I am seeing a new dimension of prepping on the rise.  Instead of material and instructional preparation, there is a growing movement of "spiritual" prepping.  Maybe it is a natural consequence of having all your ducks in a row when it comes to your food, supplies and personal protection.  Perhaps that frees your mind to begin considering your soul.  Most likely, the process is different for different people, but I am witnessing an increase in people who realize that they now want to be prepared to meet whatever we might face spiritually.
     People I would have only known in a social manner or setting are now engaging PLW and myself in deep discussions on spiritual preparation.   They are reading their Bibles and know what time it is.  They are worried about their children and grandchildren, and their ability to withstand the enemy that is coming against them.  We are hearing testimonies of "messages from God" and an overwhelming awareness on the part of these individuals that they need to be ready, willing and equipped for spiritual battle.  That is the definition of Preparation.  And this is the area in which I urge all who consider themselves "Preppers" to concentrate their energies.  You've secured your food supply, your skills and your safety.  Please make sure you strengthen and fortify your faith!
     You have accumulated all these things and abilities to ensure that your family will be sheltered from the coming storm.  But what is the point of gathering all this food and tools, if you are going to leave your spiritual pantry empty?  If you have not considered their spiritual well-being, you have left them vulnerable and defenseless.  Provide them with the ultimate security.  Become a "Spiritual Prepper."

Psalm 23:5    "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."

May 1, 2013

Artificial Intelligence Lacks The God Component

     The Wikipedia definition of Artificial Intelligence sends chills down my spine.  According to the online resource, major AI researchers and textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents", where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success.  Sound like science fiction and the stuff of movies?  You betcha!  But it is also our fast-approaching reality!    
     Ray Kurzweil, a leading scientist and strong proponent of "Artificial Intelligence", truly believes that we are less than two decades away from creating consciousness in an artificial being.  Think about what that really means .... he has been charged by Google to develop natural language understanding.  To put that into terms you and I can understand, it looks like this .... Search engines have moved beyond just finding keywords.  But Kurzweil and Google (among others) want to be able to read all the billions of web pages and book pages for semantic content.
     In other words, if you write a blog post, your intent is to express what you think; what you feel.  Let's face it, you’ve got something to say, and you’re not just creating words and synonyms. Kurzweil stated, "We’d like the computers to actually pick up on that semantic meaning."  His excuse is that people could then ask more complex questions.  (Here's where I put my tin foil hat on).  I think this kind of technological advancement has more sinister overtones.
     Kurzweil has teamed with fellow researcher, Jeff Daniels, who has developed a system he calls deep learning.  The self-proclaimed subtitle of his website, deeplearning.net, is "moving beyond shallow machine learning since 2006!"  He goes on to proclaim that "Deep Learning is a new area of Machine Learning research, which has been introduced with the objective of moving Machine Learning closer to one of its original goals: Artificial Intelligence."
     Just go to any movie theater and watch the previews.  PLW and I joined our neighbors in going to see Tom Cruise's latest sci-fi, futuristic movie, Oblivion.  All but one of the litany of previews touted some form of Artificial Intelligence that sought to rule the universe.  The message was clear.... man is no match for the superior "brain power" of Artificial Intelligence; we will be easily conquered and will become subservient to our AI masters.
     Think it can't happen?  Listen to Kurzweil's answer, when asked what would be the outcome if he is actually able to create a "Google brain" that could understand the meaning behind the words we type:  "I’ve had a consistent date of 2029 for that vision [of computer intelligence]. And that doesn’t just mean logical intelligence. It means emotional intelligence, being funny, getting the joke, being sexy, being loving, understanding human emotion. That’s actually the most complex thing we do. That is what separates computers and humans today. (Oh, how deceived he is!) I believe that gap will close by 2029."  If Hollywood can think it up and make it look real on screen, do you really doubt that scientists aren't further down that trail?
     Still not convinced?  Kurzweil goes on to make his case:  "We can now see inside a living brain and see individual inter-neural connections being formed and firing in real time. We can see your brain create your thoughts and thoughts create your brain. A lot of this research reveals how the mechanism of the neocortex works, which is where we do our thinking. This provides biologically inspired methods that we can emulate in our computers. We’re already doing that. The deep learning technique that I mentioned uses multilayered neural nets that are inspired by how the brain works. Using these biologically inspired models, plus all of the research that’s been done over the decades in artificial intelligence, combined with exponentially expanding hardware, we will achieve human levels within two decades."
     Here is where it gets real scary!  Kurzweil is a strong proponent for what he calls this "exponential growth of knowledge" and is focused on controlling the neocortex part of our brain (where we do our thinking).  He even goes so far as to trying to understand why some people (like me) are so resistant to accepting this kind of research.  He seems to think that people who are resistant have disorganized neocortexes (read there is "something else" that prohibits us from being manipulated).  See if you can guess what that "something else" might be from this statement he made in reference to his friend Steve Jobs (of Apple fame).  Jobs famously proclaimed, “Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent.” 
     Kurzweil, has a very unique perspective on Jobs's thought.   "I call this a deathist statement .... Religion, which emerged in prescientific times, did the next best thing, which is to say, ‘Oh, that tragic thing? That’s really a good thing.” We rationalized that because we had to accept it. But in my mind death is a tragedy. Our initial reaction to hearing that someone has died is a profound loss of knowledge and skill and talents and relationships."
      See what a lack of God does for you?  Because my initial reaction to hearing that someone has died is, "What was it like standing in the presence of Jesus?"  The irony of the whole Artificial Intelligence system is that the researchers and scientists see only the significance of the human brain.  They deny the plausibility of our soul and connection to a living God.  So while vehemently denying the existence of God, they are, in effect, trying to play God.  (Boy, are they in for a surprise!)
      I may not be able to fight their system on a scientific level, but I have to ask this question .... in light of how I plan to spend eternity versus their strategy for expanding knowledge, who is really the intelligent one?

2 Timothy 3:1,7      "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self .... always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth."