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Friday, April 12, 2013

30 Days of Knowledge - Day #19

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

Holding Too Tightly


Scripture: Luke 12:13-21

I. God is the Source of every blessing: But when we treasure His gifts more than our relationships with Him, He sometimes has to strip away some of those benefits. As Life Principle #19 says, anything you hold too tightly, you will lose. This truth is illustrated by the parable of the rich man, found in Luke 12:13-21.

II. There is more to life than living for yourself.

A. In the parable, God blessed a rich man with abundance. But the one who received this great provision failed to acknowledge the Lord as its source. In arrogance, he planned to take life easy, but God ended his life that very night (Luke 12:13-21).

B. It is foolish to ignore our Maker and think only of what we can experience, achieve, or accumulate (Luke 12:15). Example: An elderly man challenged his grandson to think about eternal goals, not just material ones.

III. What do people hold too tightly?

A. Relationships—A sure way to destroy a relationship is to smother or try to control someone.

B. Goals and dreams—We should ask the Lord to show us which goals to pursue.

C. The past—One of the most destructive things you can cling to is the past.

D. Old hurts—Surrender those difficulties, heartaches, and problems to the Lord.

E. Wrong ideas and perceptions—Every thought should be tested against the Word of God

F. Timing—We must learn to submit to God’s schedule.

G. Possessions—We should be careful not to make anything into an idol.

IV. Benefits of Intimacy with the Father

A. Stability. In the midst of life’s storms, a solid relationship with God is your anchor.

B. Security. You can have the assurance that He is always with you, ready to help in any situation or circumstance.

C. Serenity. Intimacy gives you quietness and peace in your spirit, no matter what happens. You can trust that the Lord will guide you through difficulty.

D. Sensitivity. God will give you greater spiritual understanding and increased awareness to the needs of others. .

V. Biblical Examples

A. Some people believe that Judas betrayed Christ in hopes of forcing Him to take military action and set up an earthly kingdom.

B. Pilate agreed to have Jesus crucified because he feared losing political power.

C. King Saul relentlessly pursued David, who had been anointed as the next king.

D. Peter tried to protect the Lord, even when his good intentions hindered Christ’s divine mission.

E. Potiphar’s wife forfeited all interaction with Joseph when her false accusations put him in jail.

F. When the children of Israel tried to hoard manna, it always spoiled.

V. Biblical Examples

A. Fear of loss—Remember that if God gives you something, He can guard it for you.

B. Failure to trust God—When we start to love His gifts more than we love Him, we lose our contentment and joy.

C. Pride—We can grasp our positions, possessions, or prominence in a way that deeply hurts other people.

D. Wrong sense of values—Many folks place too much importance on worldly goals, such as accumulating wealth. Don’t let anything ruin your relationship with God.

E. Jealousy—Do you ever wish you could have someone else’s looks, accomplishments, or wealth? Most likely, you wouldn’t be prepared for it. God gives each of us what we are equipped to handle.

V. Biblical Examples

A. When we make anything a higher priority than our relationship with the Lord, He sees it as competition.

B. God will target whatever comes between Him and us.

C. The Lord may allow us to experience brokenness so that we turn from sin. He doesn’t want any idol to hinder our fellowship with Him.

V. How can you release your grip?

A. Begin by recognizing that God is not first in your life.

B. Then ask Him, “How much of my time, thoughts, or energy do I put towards this item, position, or person?”

C. Acknowledge that you devote more time and energy to something other than the Lord.

D. Decide to put everything in its proper place. Let Jesus be first, and He will help you arrange all other priorities.

VI. Conclusion:Is the Lord the most important person in your life? Don’t fixate on your own objectives and thereby miss out on His blessings and purpose for you.

I pray that you will make the Lord top priority. Open your hands and let Him have what you’re holding. When you allow God to be number one in your life, the blessings will flow beyond human explanation.

 

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

The Many Collapses of Keynesianism

 

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

It should be obvious to everyone but the most dedicated adherent of Keynesianism that the stimulus did not accomplish its end. The combination of outright spending by Congress, the desperate schemes to reflate the housing market, the attempt to transfuse bleeding firms with other people’s money, and the creation of trillions in artificial money, has not done a thing to lift the US economy.

Actually, the reverse has been true. All these efforts have prevented the adjustment of economic forces to the post-boom world. And all the resources that the stimulus consumed were extracted from the private sector, for we must always remember that government has no resources of its own. Everything it does must come from the hides of private producers and the citizenry in general, in the future if not immediately.


It’s tedious that we had to learn this lesson yet again, for it was only 38 years ago that we experienced yet another collapse of the Keynesian paradigm. The color of the theory was a bit different in those days. The fine-tuning operations of the government were supposed to operate according to a fixed model in which there was a tradeoff between inflation and recessionary unemployment. If unemployment got too high due to slow economic growth, their solution was said to be simple: reflate and deal with the costs. If unemployment then became too low in recovery – leading to an "overheating," as the parlance of the time put it, the answer was to deflate.


The point of this simple trade-off was to boil down the opaque notions of Lord Keynes to their central-planning essence, and to avoid the endless legislative tangles that plagued the New Deal years. The Keynesians had claimed that FDR’s experiment in countercyclical policy was not well planned and not scientifically administered, which is why it didn’t go as planned. Thanks to the postwar clarity of the new, simple model, Keynesians would get it right this time.

They certainly got their way in terms of policy. In 1971, Richard Nixon had abolished the last vestiges of the gold standard, finally untying the dollar from any relationship to physical gold and setting it loose to float like a kite on a string – or maybe without the string. It was supposed to be the Keynesian ideal. No more fetters. No more of the barbarous relic. No more limitations on what the scientific planners in government could or could not do. Now they could act to bring about the socially optimal combination of inflation and unemployment. Nirvana!

Now keep in mind, here, that this was a testable proposition. If there was a trade-off at work here that the government could manage, what we would not see would be, for example, unemployment increasing at the same time as inflation. Mostly we had not seen this in the past, it is true. During the Great Depression, prices kept falling (and thank goodness for that, for this was the only saving grace of the entire period). There was a slight uptick of inflation in the mid-1950s but it wasn’t enough to set off alarm bells.


Then came 1973-1974. Unemployment was high and rising from 4 to 6 percent from the recession lows – and, yes, that was considered high in those days. At the very same time, inflation rocketed upward into the double digits. Thus was born the inflationary recession. This was an animal that was not supposed to exist, according to the model as understood at the time.

Writing in an essay now featured in his giant collection Economic Controversies, Murray Rothbard explained:

This curious phenomenon of a vaunting inflation occurring at the same time as a steep recession was simply not supposed to happen in the Keynesian view of the world. Economists had always known that either the economy is in a boom period, in which case prices are rising, or else the economy is in a recession or depression marked by high unemployment, in which case prices are falling. In the boom, the Keynesian government was supposed to "sop up excess purchasing power" by increasing taxes, according to the Keynesian prescription – that is, it was supposed to take spending out of the economy; in the recession, on the other hand, the government was supposed to increase its spending and its deficits, in order to pump spending into the economy. But if the economy should be in an inflation and a recession with heavy unemployment at the same time, what in the world was government supposed to do? How could it step on the economic accelerator and brake at the same time?

The answer, of course, was that government and its policymakers could do no such thing. This was when panic set in, and every cockamamie theory known to man was employed to reduce unemployment and inflation at once. But there was a problem. The policy makers are always and everywhere loath to admit fault for anything. Surely it is not monetary policy that is to blame, they said. Instead, it was the greed of businessmen, the voraciousness of the consumer class, the panic of the general population – anything and everything was at fault except the government itself.

So while the Keynesian paradigm had obviously failed, who in government was willing to take responsibility for this failure? No one. Therefore matters only became worse, and the inflationary recession became a way of life for Americans, all the way to the outrages of the late 1970s that finally swept Ronald Reagan into office.

Reagan campaigned on an anti-Keynesian platform. He even talked about re-instituting a gold standard. He said he would cut taxes and let the economy work. Those promises amounted to nothing, but there did seem to be some consciousness at the time that government was not capable of forever leaning against the market winds. The real credit, of course, goes to Carter-appointee Paul Volcker. As head of the Fed, he engineered an actual reduction in the money supply, and broke the back of the crisis. Think of him as the anti-Greenspan or the anti-Bernanke.

Greenspanism-Bernankeism reigns today, and that is the true tragedy of our times. The Fed, the Treasury, the president, the regulators, and the Congress have done everything possible to reflate, stimulate, stabilize, and counter market forces. As expected, they have lost the battle. Unemployment is still outrageously high, and inflation is working its way up yet again. But there is an even more serious problem. In the course of stimulating the economy, the Fed has created incredible amounts of fake money that it has stuffed in the vaults of its best friends in the banking industry. And those phony reserves seem now to be leaking out to cause horrific waves of price inflation.

Those who blame Obama for this might consider whether any Republican but Ron Paul would not have done exactly the same thing. The Obama prescription for economic recovery was actually started under George Bush – in exactly the same way that Hoover was the first New Dealer. The problem is the man in the White House, to be sure, but he is not the only problem. The core issue is that 1) we have a monetary and banking system that is socialistic and therefore used by the power elite to enrich themselves at our expense, and 2) the policy elite clings to the Keynesian pretense that government is capable of waging a war against market forces. That, and the fact that Keynesianism empowers the elite, is why this pathetic and dangerous history keeps repeating itself.

In the market economy, there is a long-run tendency for errors to be corrected and replaced by different practices that uplift the people. In government, there is a long-run tendency to keep trying the same thing again and again, no matter how often or how badly it fails. Keynesianism is, after all, as Joseph Salerno points out, the "economics of state power." And that guides us to the foundational problem: the monopoly entity that rules and devastates society for its own benefit.

 

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

Rule #19

 

If, in your return, you have to cross rivers, avoid the usual fords as much as possible, lest the enemy should have discovered, and be there expecting you.

 

4) 52 Weeks to Preparedness by Tess Pennington

Week 29 of 52: Charity

 

Within each of us is an innate need to be compassionate towards our fellow man. With December being the most celebrated month of the year, it is equally the most altruistic. We tend to give more during this time because no one likes to see suffering while they are celebrating. Further, when we give to our brothers and sisters in need, we feel generous and kind-hearted.

Preppers tend to find themselves in conflict over the subject of charity during an extended disaster. Although many want to help, there is a large concern with drawing unnecessary attention to oneself when lending a hand. In regards to the unprepared, many believe that desperation knows no boundaries. If a person were desperate enough, they may not only want the hand out you are giving them, but the “whole enchilada.” Many fear that the unprepared would make attempts to overtake your home to get to all of the supplies, or get a group together to attack your home. A person can never be too paranoid in a situation like this.

Many believe that helping others is not only the right thing to do, but may help improve your own survival situation. Of course, if you help the wrong person out they may come back and take the rest of what you have at any means necessary to get it. But if you help the right person out, they may be there to help you out when that wrong person comes knocking for more supplies. I believe that many of us are “cut from the same cloth” so-to-speak as far as our believe systems go, and will feel compelled to help our fellow man when the right situation presents itself. Being spiritually and mentally equipped to handle those asking for charity can help you feel less conflicted.

Those that are at odds with how they could provide charity and still maintain good OPSEC and keep a secure home at the same time can take alternative measures to ensure their safety. To put it simply if you want to help those in need, ensure that you take measures to provide charity inconspicuously and anonymously. This can be achieved by going through a third party to give out the charity to eliminate the danger involved in face-to-face donations and blowing your operational security. This method would also eliminate the risk of people knowing that you made a donation and risk others spreading the word around that you have extra supplies at your disposal. A third party could be a member of a church, a charitable organization, a friend or family member. For example, you could drop the donation off at the church door with a note asking that the donation be given to someone who could benefit the most from the charitable donation. Further, if someone comes by your property asking for help, you can direct them to the church or organization that you donated to.

Ensuring the well-being and safety of your family is the reason why you are getting prepped in the first place. In my humble opinion, before any charity occurs, ensure that your family has enough to survive before giving away precious supplies. Further, we never know how long a disaster can last, so keep this in mind before you decide to provide charity. (To gauge how much food your family needs for extended emergencies, use the food calculator at Ready Nutrition.) If you are fortunate enough to have any extra supplies consider setting the charitable items aside in a separate location from your family’s supplies. This will keep your supplies more organized. For the most part, keep the basic survival needs in mind when setting aside items for charity. Basic survival items such as food, water, baby supplies (diapers, formula), medical supplies, blankets, etc.

In all honesty, if you are not in an isolated area, it would be very difficult to ignore those in need. Survival during a long term disaster depends not only on making the right choice, but the smart choice that is right for your family. And we all know that sometimes the smart choice is the hardest one to make. I am not here to tell any of you that providing charity is right or wrong. I am simply trying to present both sides of this preparedness issue.

Action Items:


  1. Use the food calculator at Ready Nutrition to determine how much food you have for an extended disaster.
  2. If you are planning on storing charitable items, store them away from your family’s supplies to ensure they do not get mixed in.
  3. When purchasing charitable items, keep the basic survival needs in mind.

Preps to Buy:


  • Canned goods of soups, stews, vegetables or fruit
  • Boxes or cereal
  • Dry goods (rice, beans, oats, etc.)
  • Water
  • Jars of peanut butter
  • Protein bars
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Infant formula
  • Infant cereal
  • Baby food
  • Powdered milk
  • Protein/calorie drinks
  • Soap
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Medical supplies
  • Pocket bibles

Week 30 of 52: Nutrition and Exercise

 

Each emergency provides us with its own set of unique challenges. One aspect of emergencies that is always present and yet one we tend to overlook is the fact that we must adapt to the physical challenges an emergency presents. Some may find themselves chopping more firewood, or scaling rooftops or bending over more while gardening, thus putting more stress on the back. In any case, if your body is not prepared to handle this influx of physical activity, you will be more susceptible to injuries and strain.

The term “survival of the fittest” is not just a phrase someone coined to describe the evolution of organisms who best adapt to the environment. In a survival sense, those who are the fittest will have the greatest chance of surviving. Our bodies were not designed to sit stagnant at a desk for 8 hours a day. We have large muscular systems that were created to help us maintain a physical activity level. Yet, we have been conditioned to be sedentary due to our jobs, and ease of transportation. How do you think you can survive if your body is not conditioned to make it?

Here’s another scenario, say you and your family have made the decision to bug out of the city. If you have not conditioned your body to hike with multiple pounds of gear strapped to your back, then you will a very difficult time bugging out. Lugging around extra pounds on your body on top of all the gear you have in a bug out scenario will quickly wear you out, could potentially cause an injury and even put you in harms way. Therefore, we must begin preparing the body now for those physical activities we may find ourselves in. Here are a few changes to consider:

  • You are what you eat – Make healthy snacks ahead of time to avoid binge eating. When you are ready for a more dramatic change, get rid of your weaknesses (junk food, sodas, ice cream, chips, etc) and begin incorporating more healthy meals into your diet. To learn more about healthy eating habits, click here.
  • Drink lots of water. We all know that water helps your body and organs function properly, so start drinking more water. It really does a body good.
  • Bring on the protein. Adding more protein into your diet helps rebuild muscles that are torn from exercising. It also provides with more energy.
  • Strengthen your muscles, especially those in your back by stretching exercises such as yoga. Cardiovascular activities are also a great way to strengthen muscle groups and lose the extra pounds.
  • Stretch regularly - Stretching promotes blood circulation, strengthens and elongates muscles. Stretching before any type of activity can assist in preventing injuries from occurring.
  • Create muscle memory. Any activity you believe you will be doing in an emergency situation, begin practicing in order to develop muscle memory. You want your body to be able to fall back on what it knows and what it is used to doing when an emergency occurs. This “second nature” response is very beneficial in an emergency situation.
  • Take your vitamins. Vitamins have a beneficial effect on the body and also help build stronger muscles as well as assist in building the immune system.
  • Stop the bad habits. Make a commitment today to stop consuming anything that is harmful including alcohol, tobacco products, and harmful drugs and substances. You do not want to be dealing with withdrawl symptoms during an emergency.

Personally speaking, I dusted off my elliptical machine last year and began incorporating an exercise program into my daily life. My goal was to prepare my body physically for working outdoors. When I began, I could barely do 20 minutes at the lowest setting. The more I continued, the easier it got and I have worked myself up to 45 minutes/ 2-3 times a week. I have also included doing yoga to further strengthen my muscles. What I did not realize is the largest change I noticed wasn’t the sweat equity, but I became more aware of what my body needed. Another great reward was the increased energy that I had. With three kids, a busy lifestyle and my homesteading hobbies, I needed all the energy I could get; and spending time on the elliptical gave me that much needed energy boost.

What you may find after incorporating physical exercise and stretching is that not only will you begin a physical transformation, but your mind and spirit will transform as a result of making healthier choices. Being physically well is realistic and a very important aspect of preparedness. Peter Holy, CEO of 123 Feel Better Company suggests that, “A physically healthy person is someone who strives to do all that they can to maintain their body at the optimum level of functioning both in times of sickness and good health…Total health reaches far beyond Physical Wellness, but adequate Physical Wellness provides a good foundation for a whole and complete life.”

Action Items:


  1. Start an exercise routine and make a commitment to do at least 10 minutes a day of physical activities and gradually build up when your body gets used to the workout.
  2. Begin a daily vitamin regimen.
  3. Plan healthy meals before you go grocery shopping and stock up on healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, trail mixes, eggs, yogurt, etc.
  4. Always stretch your muscles before doing any type of physical activity.

Preps to Buy:


  • Speak with a wellness advisor or physician about what your physical exercise plans are and short/long-term goals. See if they can give you any pointers.
  • Buy any exercise equipment needed for your exercise regimen.
  • Begin purchasing foods that will enhance your health. Some super foods to consider can be viewed here.
  • If you plan on hiking outdoors, consider a good pair of hiking boots. More information can be viewed here.

5) 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation by George Washington

#55 – Eat not in the Streets, nor in the House, out of Season.

 

#56 – Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for 'is better to be alone than in bad Company.

 

#57 – In walking up and Down in a House, only with One in Company if he be Greater than yourself, at the first give him the Right hand and Stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him, if he be a Man of Great Quality, walk not with him Cheek by Joul but Somewhat behind him; but yet in Such a Manner that he may easily Speak to you.

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