1) Dr. Charles F. Stanley's 30 Life Principles
The Dark Moments in Our Life
Scripture: Genesis 37:1-13
I. Introduction: The Bible never guarantees a life free from suffering. But the dark moments of our life last only as long as necessary for God to accomplish His purposes. The Lord uses trials, difficulty, and pain to equip us for more effective service to Him. As you and I continue to trust and obey Him, God uses hardship to develop the character of Christ within us.
King David knew how to have an intimate relationship with the Lord. Although he was far from perfect, David had learned that only the Father’s love could satisfy his heart’s deepest longings (Ps. 63:3). The king passionately sought God through prayer, repentance, and obedience. From his example, you and I can learn how to enjoy closeness with the Father.
II. A Scriptural Illustration
A. Joseph, the son of Jacob, certainly experienced a great deal of suffering.
1. As his father’s favorite child, Joseph was hated by his ten older brothers (Gen. 37:3) and sold into slavery.
2. As an Egyptian captive, Joseph excelled in running Potiphar’s household. However, the man’s wife accused Joseph of molesting her, and he was sentenced to prison.
3. While in jail, he interpreted a dream and predicted that Pharaoh’s butler would be restored to his former position. Unfortunately, once he was employed again, the man forgot to help free Joseph. Only when Pharaoh had a mysterious dream did the butler remember the young Hebrew’s amazing gift.
B. How did God use suffering in Joseph’s life?
1. As a Hebrew boy, Joseph knew nothing about Egypt. Suffering was the tool God used to prepare him to serve as Prime Minister and save his family from famine.
2. In captivity, he learned the Egyptian language and culture. While living among people who believed in multiple gods, he discovered how to keep his focus on the one true Lord.
3. Joseph also learned how to obey authority and persevere despite injustice. As he rose to leadership—once under Potiphar and again under the head jailer—he learned that God was in charge no matter how bleak his circumstances looked.
III. God’s Purpose for Dark Times
A. The Father’s primary purpose for adversity is to conform us to the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:29). He desires to mold you and me so that our character mirrors the nature of Jesus: the way He thinks,loves, and forgives. Through hardship, the Lord teaches us to depend on His presence instead of relying on our own strength. God’s love for us does not eliminate pain, suffering, and heartache. But it does guarantee that He will use it for His glory and our good (Rom. 8:28).
B. The Lord uses suffering to teach us to keep our focus on Him. We learn to trust that He will bring good out of our difficulty, and that rebellion only lengthens the duration of our trials. In the middle of a dark time, it may look as if the adversity will never end. But God loves you and will complete His plan for your life somehow—if you trust and obey Him.
IV. The Duration of Dark Times
A. Adversity lasts only as long as necessary for the Father to accomplish His purpose in our lives (1 Corinthians 10:13). God limits the heartache and pain we experience.
B. Think about the restrictions God set on Joseph’s adversity. He allowed Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery, but didn’t let them kill him. The Lord permitted the Egyptian authorities to throw the young man into prison, but prevented them from taking his life. God restricted the length of time that Joseph suffered. He will limit your hardship as well.
V. Surviving the Dark Moments
A. How did Joseph stay faithful despite adversity?
1. He remembered the prophetic dreams that had predicted his leadership role (Gen. 37:5-12). Even though he didn’t at first understand their full significance, the revelations gave him hope.
2. He lived out the teaching his father had instilled in him about God. Pagan nations had numerous deities, but the Lord revealed to the Hebrews that Jehovah was the one true God. What Joseph knew about the Lord sustained him through difficulty.
B. How can you survive the dark moments of life?
1. Trust God. Unless you rely on Him, you will not overcome difficulty.
2. Read His Word and allow the Lord to speak to you. As you meditate on the Scriptures, you will be training your mind to think as God does. The more you think Christ-like thoughts, the more you will act in a holy manner. That means you must dedicate time to reading and studying His Word. If you set aside time for listening to Him, He will lead you through every situation you encounter.
VI. Conclusion: When you face a time of darkness in your life, don’t miss what the Lord has in store for you. Devote yourself to seeking Him in prayer. Reprogram your mind by reading His Word and meditating on it daily (Rom. 12:2). Don’t give up, even when it seems that your pain will never end. Trust God to guide you through the dark moments of your life, and He will do amazing things in and through you.
2) The 30-Day Reading List That Will Lead You to Becoming a Knowledgeable Libertarian by Robert Wenzel
Is Greater Productivity a Danger?
by David Gordon
It is bad enough that opponents of the free market wrongly blame capitalism for environmental pollution, depressions, and wars. Whatever the failings of their causal theories, at least they are focused on undoubtedly bad things. We have really gone beyond the pale, though, when the market is blamed for something good.
Tim Jackson, a professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey, does just that in his article. "Let's Be Less Productive," which appeared in the New York Times, May 26, 2012.
Jackson suggests that greater productivity may have reached its "natural limits." By productivity, he means "the amount of output delivered per hour of work in the economy." He acknowledges that as work has become more efficient, substantial benefits have resulted: "our ability to generate more output with fewer people has lifted our lives out of drudgery and delivered us a cornucopia of material wealth."
Despite these benefits, danger lies ahead:
Ever-increasing productivity means that if our economies don't continue to expand, we risk putting people out of work. If more is possible each passing year with each working hour, then either output has to increase or else there is less work to go around. Like it or not, we find ourselves hooked on growth.
If financial crisis, high prices of resources like oil, or damage to the environment make continued growth unattainable, we risk unemployment. "Increasing productivity threatens full employment."
What then is to be done? Jackson has an ingenious remedy. We should concentrate on jobs in low-productivity areas. "Certain kinds of tasks rely inherently on the allocation of people's time and attention. The caring professions are a good example: medicine, social work, education. Expanding our economies in these directions has all sorts of advantages." A cynic might wonder whether it is altogether a coincidence that Jackson is himself employed in one of these professions.
Jackson has in mind other reforms besides greater emphasis on the "caring professions." (One wonders, by the way, whether by this name Jackson intends to suggest that those engaged in high productivity occupations do not care about human beings. To say the least, that would be a rather bold suggestion.) We should also devote more resources to crafted goods that require substantial time to make and to the "cultural sector" as well.
Jackson's program raises a question: how can these changes be achieved? He stands ready with an answer. Of course, a transition to a low-productivity economy won't happen by wishful thinking. "It demands careful attention to incentive structures — lower taxes on labor and higher taxes on resource consumption and pollution, for example."
Jackson is certainly right that if labor becomes more efficient, workers must find other uses for the time they now have available. But why is this a problem? Human beings have unlimited wants, and there are always new uses for human labor.
As Murray Rothbard notes,
Labor needs to be "saved" because it is the pre-eminently scarce good and because man's wants for exchangeable goods are far from satisfied.… The more labor is "saved," the better, for then labor is using more and better capital goods to satisfy more of its wants in a shorter amount of time.…
A technological improvement in an industry will tend to increase employment in that industry if the demand for that product is elastic downward, so that the greater supply of goods induces greater consumer spending. On the other hand, an innovation in an industry with inelastic demand downward will cause consumers to spend less on the more abundant products, contracting employment in that industry. In short, the process of technological innovation shifts work from the inelastic-demand to the elastic-demand industries.
Financial crises may interrupt growth, but given the unlimited character of human wants, they cannot permanently supplant it. Jackson has offered us a cure, but he has failed to show that a disease exists that requires his remedy.
David Gordon covers new books in economics, politics, philosophy, and law for The Mises Review, the quarterly review of literature in the social sciences, published since 1995 by the Mises Institute. He is author of The Essential Rothbard, available in the Mises Store.
3) Roger’s Rangers Rules or Plan of Discipline by Major Robert Rogers
If you are obliged to receive the enemy's fire, fall or squat down, till it is over, then rise and discharge at them. If their main body is equal to yours, extend yourselves occasionally; but if superior, be careful to support and strengthen your flanking parties, to make them equal with theirs, that if possible you may repulse them to their main body, in which case push upon them with the greatest resolution, with equal force in each flank and in the center, observing to keep at a due distance from each other, and advance from tree to tree, with one half of the party before the other ten or twelve yards. If the enemy push upon you, let your front fire and fall down, and then let your rear advance thro' them and do the like, by which time those who before were in front will be ready to discharge again, and repeat the same alternately, as occasion shall require; by this means you will keep up such a constant fire, that the enemy will not be able easily to break your order, or gain your ground.
4) 52 Weeks to Preparedness by Tess Pennington
Week 7 of 52: Basic Home Security
Everyone wants to believe that they are safe and sound when they latch the windows and lock the doors. We even experience an added security boost when we live in an expensive neighborhood, a home with a security system, and an active neighborhood watch program. Today, we would all love to have Gladys Kravitz (Bewitched) as our next door neighbor. In reality, security gadgets can protect the outside of your home, but it’s meaningless if you cannot protect what’s inside. People can still be mugged, burglarized, and attacked simply by opening the door to a stranger or by leaving vulnerable areas of their home exposed. I’m going to ask you a question. Have you ever placed a key under a mat? I ask this because we all have placed the spare key under the mat at one time, and the burglars know that trick. It is not my intention to promote fear, but to awaken you to potential hazards. You want to make breaking into your home difficult.
Designing a home defense system that includes multiple security layers is a proactive way to protect your home, family, and belongings. Security layers are preventative measures that will advertise to intruders that they should avoid your home altogether. The more layers you have in and around your home, the less likely a criminal is going to choose your home as his/her next “job.”
Layer 1: The Outside Layer. This layer comprises the outer perimeter of your home, the landscaping, and security features (e.g., flood lights, motion detectors, gates, doors, locks). Installing preventative measures around your home will advertise to anyone staking out your neighborhood that you mean business. Walk around your home and distinguish where the vulnerable areas are. Making some minor adjustments to the outside of the home can help secure it from the outside-in. By planting thorn-bearing plants, bushes and trees around the vulnerable and exposed areas of the home can help secure the property. One of the most vulnerable areas of your outside perimeter are the windows. One heavy lawn chair can easily be tossed into a window, thus shattering it and creating an easy entry. Investing in shatter proof window film may be a solution to this potential problem.
Layer 2: The Inside Layer. This layer comprises the inside of your home. Taking some small preventative measures (e.g., home alarm system, web cams, emergency protocols, and emergency phone numbers) can help secure the inner sanctity of your home. A person who is prepared for a burglar or home invader is well-equipped with knowledge of their home’s security features, how to get additional family members to safety, and, as a last resort, how to use a weapon. Teaching family members what a home invasion is and the emergency protocols associated with this will help each family member understand what to do if this situation occurs.
Layer 3: The Personal Layer. This layer is the most critical because it is based around all of the protocols, defense training, and emergency plans you have already established. The personal layer is the only layer that you can take into the outside world. When you are walking and someone tries to mug you, you will use your defense training and emergency protocols to deal with the attacker(s). Recently, there have been news reports about mob attacks at stores and on some personal property. Perhaps if the store owners had utilized all of the protective layers the outcomes would have ended differently.
Consider installing a safe room. A safe room is a great starting point for preparing a personal layer. In addition, it may be the last effort to defend yourself and your family. Although it is a personal preference to have a gun in the home, having multiple techniques of defending yourself would be prudent. Learning self‑defense to incapacitate your attacker or attackers through rapid response techniques would a great course for the entire family to take. There are many different forms of self‑defense courses available: Krav Maga and Wing Chun are two popular courses. In addition to using your body as a weapon, there are other weapons that can be used to defend yourself, such as the following:
- Pepper spray
- Fire extinguisher
- Hot coffee
- Metal baseball bat
- Salt in the eyes
- Butcher knife
Preps to buy:
Your security items should fit your personal choices and budget. Therefore, I will not make any suggested preps. I do hope that you will make some suggested improvements to your already existing home security. With the increase in crime, jobless rates, and increased food prices, home break-ins are likely to be on the rise. At the very minimum, you could buy these low cost items:
- Window alarm systems.
- Combination or key locks for the backyard fences.
- Infrared (IR) floodlights to illuminate the property (These can be motion-sensor activated).
- Ensure that your doors and locks are reinforced.
To read more information on different types of security features and locks, here is some suggested material:
Home Security: Securing the Doors
Home Security: Securing the Windows
1. Create an emergency protocol and discuss it with your family members. Be sure to include a list of emergency phone numbers and escape routes.
2. Create a safe room where family members can retreat to if there is a break in. Ensure that the safe room has a phone line, and if you have a gun in the home, ensure the gun is in the room. Please make sure that the gun is locked and put away so small children do not have access to it.
3. Install some outer preventive layers such as the following:
- Ensure your doors are strong. (A hollow-core metal or solid wood door is best.)
- If your doors are comprised of glass, install a double cylinder lock to reinforce the strength.
- Install 1-inch deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
- Install locks on the back fences.
- Infrared (IR) floodlights to illuminate the property (These can be motion-sensor activated).
- Put a peep hole in the door.
4. Install some inner preventative layers such as the following:
- Burglar-proof your glass patio doors by setting a pipe or metal bar in the middle bottom track of the door slide. The pipe should be the same length as the track.
- Put an anti-lift device in your windows.
- Add an intrusion detection system.
- Position hidden web cams strategically throughout your home. Place the computer that is monitoring the locations in a hidden spot so the criminals cannot walk off with it.
- Sign family members up for a self-defense course.
- If you have a gun, go to gun range. The only way you will be an accurate shot is if you practice on a regular basis.
5) 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation by George Washington
#19 – Let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters Somewhat grave.
#20 – The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon.
#21 – Reproach none for the Infirmities of Nature, nor Delight to Put them that have in mind thereof.