Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A challenge

The time has come once again for our pastor to challenge us to read our bibles through, cover to cover, in the coming year. I am extending that challenge to all my readers out there.

The Bible is the most important book in the world and holds the key to life. We should read our Bibles more than anything else. How else will we know God and what pleases Him?

Just a little math:

We have 168 hours in every week.

A Tithe on that would be would be 16.8 hours. If you remove two hours on Sunday and one on Wednesday for church you have 13.8 hours left. That leaves about 2 hours per day for you to give to God just to equal a tithe. (And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD. Lev 27:30) Your hours are something God gives to you so they are something you should tithe on.

The average American spends 28 hours/week (more than 4 hours per day) watching TV and 56 hours sleeping, just for perspective.

Now I am not really going to challenge you to spend 2 hours per day in praying and reading your Bible.

I am going to challenge you to do four things.

1) Read two chapters of the Bible to yourself every morning and spend five minutes in prayer. This whole thing should take you a whole 15 minutes. Doesn’t you relationship with God deserve a MINIMUM of 15 minutes every morning?

2) Read one chapter of the Bible with your spouse and pray every day. This activity will draw you closer to each other as it draws you closer to God.

3) Read one chapter to you children and pray every evening. From the founding of this country until the invention of television a family that claimed to be Christian was assumed to be doing this (plus sing a hymn, but I won’t scare you by challenging you to do that.) This was simply what Christians did. We have replaced the “Family Alter” and often the “Family Table” with the “Family Entertainment Center.”

4) Actually go to church every week.

This will get you through the Bible in a year, draw you closer to God, and open up doors you wouldn’t believe to work for Him.

Where do I start?

Start in Genesis with your children, John with your mate and Psalms in your alone time with God. This begins to train your children in a biblical world view; something very few CHRISTIAN children are being trained in. it will also start you and your mate in becoming familiar with the words of Jesus. And what better way to begin the day than with the praises of Psalms?

Just keep reading straight through until you come to a book you have already read. Then pick something you haven’t read this year and read it. Keep a list of each book as you finish it so you know where you stand.

Or the internet has many “read through the Bible in a year” programs and many charts of each chapter where you cross each one off as you read it.

The important thing is to actually read the foundational document of your religion; to actually learn what it is you are saying you believe.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Teaching sharing

I witnessed what I guess was a modern miracle this Christmas. We didn’t have one fight over toys. Actually, this is normal here. My children willingly share their things without me having to tell them to. How did I accomplish this? Well, not by teaching sharing.

“Sharing” is not a skill; it is the natural result of a Godly love for your brother plus security in your property rights.

If my neighbor wanted to borrow my vacuum cleaner, I have the legal right to tell her no if I want to. No police man will make be “play nice” and give it to her, even for a minute. Also, she can’t come into my home and take my vacuum cleaner without my permission or I can have her arrested. If I do loan it to her and she breaks it, I can sue her and get money to replace it. This is true property ownership rights. Anything less is socialism and a violation of my rights.

If she had the right to take my vacuum without my permission or to get a policeman to give it to her, I would have to result to hiding it or even punching her in the nose to protect my rights.

Why would it be different for my children?

Any child may, in my home, not allow any other child to borrow his belongings of any kind if he doesn’t want to. I will not make him share (the only exception is if a six month baby happens to get a toy, they have to trade with her instead of just taking their toy away. Babies have to learn yet). If one child takes any belonging without permission they will be punished for stealing. If they break a toy they borrowed, they will pay for it or replace it with something of their own of equal value (“equal value” is decided by the victim child with mom’s approval so this is not abused). My children have absolute confidence their rights will be enforced so they don’t have to worry about protecting their own stuff from others (though they do have to take care of it, but that is another subject:-)

The rule in our home at all times is “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you.” No, I don’t apply this to loaning toys. I apply it to teasing. I do not allow any words in any tone that will hurt, because words hurt MORE than sticks and stones. Broken bones and bruises heal. Words often don’t. Because of this policy, my children don’t have wounds caused by the cruel words of their siblings; they are free to honestly love each other.

Add to all this that children who whine for toys are corrected for ungratefulness. I mean, isn’t it ridiculously unthankful for a child, just after opening all their presents, to turn around and demand their sibling’s presents too?

The results are that on Christmas morning my children opened their presents, expressed gratitude for them, admired their siblings’ gifts, but didn’t whine for them. Their was a couple of cases later in the day of “May I play with x?” which was responded with “sure” or “if I can play with Y.” We even had a couple of cases of “Hey, [brother] come play with me and my new x!”

Treat the roots and the tree will be fine.

Why in the world would anyone choose to have their baby at home?

I mean, everyone knows it is safer and nicer to go away to the hospital, right?

Ummm, no, it's not.

Just some background; I have had eight children, all naturally (no C-sections, forceps, vacuums or epidurals); Four at a hospital and four at home. I have not had any major problems with my hospital births (I had one of the best doctors in town. He was recommended to me by a doctor and labor room nurses). After the fourth I would have told you they were as pleasant as you could expect something like labor and birth to be, (in other words not very pleasant but not a nightmare either.)

I have since changed my mind. Here are the facts.

Home birth is safer. Yes, you read that right. It is safer to have a baby at home than in a hospital. In all the world, America is the 28th safest country in which to give birth, statistically speaking. That means that even though we have the BEST emergency medical care system in the world and spend more per mother than anyone else, it is more likely for mommy and baby to get through birth alive and uninjured in twenty-seven other countries. In all of these countries, most babies are delivered by midwives. The safest countries are in Scandinavia where 70% or more of births are delivered by midwives. In America, it is 4% or less. These other governments encourage the use of midwives (I will get to the reason in a minute).

Within the US, the safest place to give birth is Vermont. Guess what state has the highest percentage of midwife attended births. Yep, Vermont.

I have read about many studies done comparing the safety rates of midwife assisted home births with OB assisted hospital births. Only one ever showed the hospital births to be safer. These studies only compared equally matched, low risk pregnancies. Midwives do not generally take high risk patients; OBs do. But high risk patients were not counted in the studies. Only low risk patients from both. Some studies took Family Practitioners into account also. Here are the numbers I have heard repeatedly:

· Emergency, unplanned home (or back of car, or elevator, etc.) birth...15 out of every 1000 births have complications (infection, injury, death, etc.)
· OB assisted hospital births...10 out of every 1000 births have complications.
· Family Practitioner or DO assisted, hospital births... 7 or 8 out of every 1000 births have complications.
· Midwife assisted, PLANNED home births...4 or 5 out of every 1000 births have complications.

The one study that showed midwives to be more dangerous than hospital births lumped unplanned, emergency, out of hospital births (including doped up teenagers giving birth in mall bathrooms and dumping the baby in a trash can) in with midwife assisted home births. The study was commissioned by the obstetrician’s union who were trying to get midwives outlawed. It worked in many states.

If you have never studied the differences, these numbers may not make sense to you. Here is the explanation:

Doctors are trained to treat complications (and they do a great job of it, too.)

Midwives are trained to prevent complications. Big difference. (You simply are less likely to die from a complication that never happens than one that is even treated well.)

Doctors are trained to believe that pregnancy is an illness, labor an emergency and a woman's laboring body is in need of being acted upon. All births are assumed to have complications until afterwards when they have proven otherwise.

Midwives are trained to believe that birth is a natural, normal part of life, a natural everyday bodily function not generally in need of intervention. They believe all births are normal from the start until they prove otherwise.

Doctors and hospitals make more money the more interventions you have in your birth.

Any interventions (from suture thread to transporting to the hospital) cost midwives, personally, money. I hate to imply that doctors and hospitals are materialistic enough to use unnecessary interventions so they can make more money. I honestly believe that most doctors and nurses are really doing what they think is best for the mommies in their care. However certain numbers can't be explained any other way. For example: one HMO run hospital had a 27% C-section rate until they began only paying their doctors the same for C-sections as for natural births. Suddenly their C-section rate fell to 10%. Isn't it interesting how women suddenly got healthy enough to birth naturally when it meant no extra money for the doctor's wallet to do a C-section?

The idea that it is safer to give birth in a hospital stems from the time in the 1800's when "half of all women died in child birth." The problem is that that simply is not true. Half of all women birthing in hospitals died. You see, doctors of the day scoffed at the germ theory of illness; the idea that microscopic germs caused illness. They went from doing an autopsy to delivering a baby without washing their hands or changing their blood stained lab coats. The real amazing thing is that they only lost half their patients! Midwives, though not knowledgeable of germs, would have washed dishes and laundry between births. They would have accidentally been cleaner than the doctors of the day (and they didn’t even do autopsies). Less than 10% of women gave birth in hospitals (understandably!) We have no way of knowing the exact number of women who died during this time but we do have many personal journals and some death certificates. We can guess from this evidence that it was really a rare event. In fact, the human race could not have survived if the home-birth population died as often as the hospital population. Remember that human beings gave birth for thousands of years with the aid of midwives only while keeping the overall population growing at a fast rate. They had to have done something right.

Now to be totally fair, birth was more dangerous then, even in the home. Fashion dictated that women have milk-white skin; something only achievable if you stayed inside at all times. Many women, especially in the upper classes, suffered from rickets-deformed pelvises. Eating meat, going outside when pregnant, and birthing while squatting were considered vulgar. Fruits and vegetables were simply not available to most city women. These things combined made birth more dangerous, at least for upper class women.

In the late 1800's our entire society fell in love with science. Anything "new" or modern was better than anything old fashioned or natural, especially after c-sections were perfected. This stems from the growing belief in evolution. Of course intelligent human beings could design everything better than random accidents. The problem is that evolution is not true. The all knowing God designed our bodies and this world. He designed us to give birth and nurse our babies. He knew what He was doing.

Midwives spend more time with their patients (45 min to an hour with midwives compared to 10-15 with doctors) during prenatal visits and discuss things like diet, exercise, and stress in and out of the family. These all make a big difference in how labor goes. Doctors just do not have the time nor training (besides that they are usually men. Who wants to sit and gossip with a man?:-) My midwife did all the same medical things, such as blood pressure, chemical level checks, and checking baby's heartbeat, that the doctor did. But she also discussed nutrition and exercise, as well as what was going on in other areas of my life.

If a mammal is scared during birth their body will stop labor until the danger is past. Many a woman has been well into labor only to have it stop when she arrived at the hospital. Few people are as comfortable and feel as safe at the hospital as they do at home. Thus, those at home don't need artificial help to keep labor going like those in the hospital often do.

Can you pee in front of people? Few people can. Yet the same muscles that control pee, control childbirth. So now imagine what happens to those muscles at a hospital when people you have never met before come into your room and start staring at and even handling your private parts!

Fear causes the release of adrenalin which enhances pain to aid the "fight or flight" reflex. Laughter increases endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. Where are you more likely to laugh? Where are you more likely to feel fear?

Labor is allowed to begin by itself at home. Midwives believe it is an “estimated due date” and don’t get stressed if baby takes his time arriving as long as his heart rate is good. She trusts the mother’s and baby’s bodies to know when baby is really ready to come out of there.

Doctors today seem to think the due date is and “expiration date.” They are now routinely inducing labor before the due date. (Gee, I wonder why rates of prematurity are going up in this country?) The forty-week-due date was set by a Germon doctor who thought pregnancy should go ten moons. No study. Just “That’s the way it should be.” Actual studies have shown that pregnancy actually lasts 41 weeks and one day on average. Normal pregnancy can safely go anywhere from 37 weeks to 42 (and I have heard of even 44 weeks) without the least complication.

Medicines used to induce or hurry labor can cause uterine prolapse or rupture, plus they are more powerful and thus more painful than the natural hormones causing mommy to really need more painkillers. Both, induction meds and painkillers can cause distress in baby.

Hospitals routinely use pain killers. It is hard to resist them when someone is coming in every hour asking you if you are Really SURE you don't want any. Besides, due to fear, embarrassment, and limited movement, it really hurts more in the hospital. Analgesics (the ones that go in through the IV) slow labor and can cause breathing problems in the baby if given too close to birth. Besides, they do not actually take the pain away (I know! I had them for more than one birth.) They just make you not care so much that you are hurting. They made me feel dizzy and cold.

Epidurals are the numbing of the woman through her spinal column. She feels nothing from belly button to knee (unless the technician misses, of course. Then she is numbed from the belly button up making it difficult to breath.) You can't push if you can't feel, so epis are associated with more forceps and vacuum deliveries (both associated with more tearing) as well as more c-sections. They also cause more complications with the baby (and forceps and vacuums cause birth injuries otherwise known as birth-defects) and potentially permanent life long disability (everything from headaches to paralysis) for the woman.

What are the side effects of the pain of child birth without pain killers? Ummm, you hurt. That's it. And you know what? Just pain won't kill an otherwise healthy woman (Ask everyone of us who has ever worn high heels, underwire bras, girdles, plucked our eyebrows, waxed our bikini areas and all the other silly, painful things we do to try to be pretty). It simply is not worth the risk, in my opinion. In addition, contractions of labor are "clean pain." When labor is over, you don't hurt anymore. C-sections, episiotomies, and headaches from epidurals continue to hurt long after childbirth.

Once labor begins, the midwife stays with you for the whole time. A doctor is in and out of the room, taking care of other patients and even going home for a nap (Don't blame him, really. Being an OB is a hard job.) You are attached to monitors that the nurse out on the desk watches all the time. This is supposed to get you help when you need it. If the monitor is working right. And no one went on coffee break. And they aren't too busy with other patients. If the baby's monitor slips the doctors or nurses read that as the baby in distress and rush you into a C-section (Since hospitals began using continuous fetal monitors, the rate of c-sections has skyrocketed and the rate of infant morbidity has also risen! Not fallen as promised). Babies born by C-section have more problems, especially with breathing, even if the surgery was preformed because the mom just wanted it that way, not because of a problem. In fact, none-emergency c-sections have a HIGHER rate of respiratory problems. It seems the baby needs to experience labor contractions in order to squeeze the fluid out of their lunges and to stimulate hormones needed to “get started.” Once an hour or so someone (a complete stranger) comes into your room and checks how far along you are (Anyone who has had a baby knows what I am talking about. Yuck!) You just hope things don't go fast between checks or that the monitors are all working correctly, which they usually are. Carla Emmery said the place you are most likely to give birth unassisted, though, is at the hospital.

At home, once the midwife arrives at your house, she will stay there with you, attending to you until your baby is a couple of hours old and you are both ok and resting in your own bed. The midwife is always there, even following you to the bathroom if you are close to your time. (You noticed the studies said Family Practitioners have fewer complications than OBs? Family Practitioners usually only have one patient in labor at a time, just like a midwife.)

Midwives are far more likely to let labor progress at its own pace. Doctors don't really like to wait more than around seven hours. Insurance companies don't like them to let you go longer. It makes them lose law suits. Midwives will hang around for a couple of days as long as you are progressing (If you are not progressing, however, she will suggest several natural ways to "pick up the pace" so to speak. Only if that doesn't work will she suggest a trip to the hospital. This is the time to be thankful for our modern medicine). She will let you labor anywhere you want to in any position you want to as long as you and the baby are doing fine (The midwife, though not using continuous monitors, does keep an eye on your blood pressure and the baby’s vital signs, same as a hospital. She doesn't need the continuous monitors because she is there looking at you all the time and is trained to see a problem. Monitors are made to replace experienced human eyes looking at you. They are cheaper than hiring more nurses but not as reliable.) She will help you with natural pain controls such as focusing and breathing exercises. (Though in one study I read, teenage girls in labor needed half as many pain medications if they just had another woman sitting in the corner of the room. It may be that we just find another woman being in the room to be more comforting and thus our pain is decreased.) She will let you deliver in any position you want to. The whole "lay on your back and push the baby out up hill" thing started with King Luis the XIV who wanted to watch his baby born so they put mom in the best position for the king- on her back! This is the WORST position to give birth in (next to maybe hanging upside-down)! It cuts the oxygen off to the baby (Beep! Beep! Fetal Distress! Rush her to the OR!), your tailbone is pushed into the birth canal up to four centimeters (making many women “too small” to birth. Hello! The same God that made the mommy’s body, made her baby. He doesn’t make misfits), and you have to push up hill with your muscles all in the wrong place to do it effectively. Contractions just can't do their job right. The best position? Either squatting, kneeling, on all fours, or even standing. Any position where gravity can pull on the baby (The more your position resembles the position you would have to be in to pee without a toilet, the wider and shorter your birth canal will be). The midwife will let you pick based on what you feel will be the best at the moment (your body will tell you how it needs to be). She will accommodate you by lying on the floor or squatting or chasing you all over the house if necessary. Doctors don't really want to do anything but stand at the end of the raised table and catch. And in a hospital, not much else is sanitary.

Doctors don't like being thrown up on, so they won't let you eat when you get to the hospital. Besides, you don't want food on your tummy if you need a C-section (Now at 30% in this country! Gee, what did those women do a thousand years ago? Cross their legs until hospitals were invented?). Midwives encourage you to eat to keep your strength up and just keep a bowl handy for catching.

The biggest killer of birthing mothers in this country today is infection of the episiotomy (an incision made in the opening to the birth canal to allow the baby out. Like, God didn't know how big to make it?) 9 out of 10 hospital births have an episiotomy (though I never had one. My doctor was unusually good). 1 out of 10 home births have episiotomies. Guess which one looses more moms to infection? And guess which group has the most serious tears? It seems violating the integrity of the perineum by giving an episiotomy severely weakens it CAUSING greater tears.

Hospitals are where sick people go. There are germs in hospitals that don't exist anywhere else in the world. You are already immune to all the germs in your own home and have passed that immunity on to your baby. Infection rates are significantly lower in home births.

And my favorite- no one will steal your baby at home. At the hospitals where I gave birth they made you sign papers saying you wouldn't let anyone without a certain badge take your baby out of your room and you are to call a nurse whenever you need to go to the bathroom after delivery so she can baby-sit. Our new hospital puts an alarm on the belly button that goes off if someone takes the baby out the door. When I "felt the call of nature" after my first home birth I looked around to see what I should do to keep my baby from being stolen. It dawned on me that the only people on the planet that even knew she had been born were my husband, my mother (who we had just called) and the midwife. Wow! No one could take her!

Midwives are highly trained personnel that are trained to spot a potential complication before it IS a complication and stop it. If it is beyond her ability to stop, she recognizes it and gets you to the best emergency medical care in the world; your local hospital. Very few complications are so fast as to not allow time to get to the hospital while being slow enough for a doctor to do anything in the best of facilities.

Home birth is cheaper. We didn't consider this a deciding factor, just a nice bonus. Our midwife charges about what a doctor does for a birth. But our home does not charge us like a hospital does. Since we had no insurance, we would have had to pay as much to the hospital as we would have paid to the doctor; twice, total, what we paid the midwife. This is why foreign countries encourage midwife births. They have socialized medicine so their governments like to save money wherever they can. Lower initial cost and lower costs over all because of fewer complications with midwives. This is great from a politician's point of view. Well, from mine too, to tell you the truth.

Home birth is more pleasant and you have more control. You don't have total strangers coming in your room and sticking their hand up you to see how far you have dilated (the midwife will do checks sometimes if you want her to, but will respect your wishes if you don’t; and you have at least had some lovely visits with her during your pregnancy, unlike the nurse that just happens to be on duty at the hospital.)

I controlled what noises were going on and I was able to read or walk or even clean house (or, in the case of my fifth baby, paint the cradle) during labor if I wanted to. It was entirely my choice.

After the baby is born at the hospital the nurses take him away to the nurse's station, give him tests, clean him up, then bring him back to you. You get about an hour with your baby, then they take him into the nursery for tests and "observation". They wheel you to your room and will bring you your baby when their schedule says to or when he cries so much they can't stand it anymore. After a few hours they will take you to the door of the hospital, make sure you have a properly installed car seat and send you home.

At home, my midwife flips the baby onto my tummy (just like a doctor does) and encourages me to nurse...before she even cuts the cord! (Delayed cord cutting allows the baby to receive oxygen from me while he is still learning how his lunges work) She lets me be the one to check "who we have here, Johnny or Janey." After the baby has nursed, she does all the same tests they do in the hospital but right in front of me. My baby never leaves my sight. During the whole time with four home births the only time she took my baby out of the room was when my next to last one was a little messier than the others had been. She took her to the bathroom to wash her up a little better than she could do in the living room (Yes, I gave birth on my living room couch.) After she was sure the baby and I were alright, she tucked us into bed, threw a load of laundry in the machine while her assistant cooked me an egg and toast, gathered up her equipment and went home. I hardly knew when she left because I was already dozing off.

As far as post-natal care, she has me take my and my baby's temperature every hour in case of infection and she comes back the next day and three days later (or how often she feels I need to be seen) to check us out. I really feel I was better monitored at home than I ever was in the hospital, (which threw me out the door after a few hours and had NO follow up after that) and as I said, I had good care in the hospital!

My husband doesn't like it when we walk into a hospital when I am in labor and the receptionist asks which one is the patient. You see, he has "White Coat syndrome." He doesn't like doctors and turns green in a hospital. I remember when we were taking birthing classes in a building in the parking lot of the hospital before our First was born. During a break we decided to go to the hospital cafeteria to get a bite to eat. We got just past the reception area and he turned green. I barely got him out before he passed out.

Now, he was present at all of our children's births, even the hospital ones. But he feels a great deal healthier after the home births. Besides he has something to do during the part of labor when I need to be monitored but I don't really need him yet. At home he can go play the computer or read his newspaper. When I need him (and, ohhh, he is so much help during transition) he is right there.

All in all, the home births are far more pleasant and less stressful. The whole thing seems so much less like major surgery and more like a normal part of life.

Of course, home birth isn't for everyone. Some have medical conditions that really do require the attention of a doctor (about 10%). Praise the Lord we have that available.

Pray. Research. You have many options. God will guide you to what is best for your family. Just remember that God designed your body to give birth. He made it that way. If left to itself there is a very good chance it will perform just as it should all by itself.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two families answered.

Have you guessed which family can afford a stay-at-home mom? It is of course the poorer family. You see statistics tell us that two income families to are generally middle or higher class. One income families are generally middle or lower. The second income is what puts families into the upper bracket.

Isn’t it interesting that it is the poor who think motherhood is worth sacrificing for? The ones with fewer material goods?

And of course they are the ones who homeschool. They can’t afford to keep their children clothed fashionably enough to keep them from getting beat up. And anyway, they enjoy being with their children and, after studying the Bible, believe that that is the best way to teach a child about God anyway. In fact, when offered a private school scholarship for their children, they politely decline.

Homeschooling only costs and average of $500 per child. Some families spend a great deal more to be sure. But that means some spend way less.

The fascinating thing is that the poor family is also the one more likely to have more children, too. It is almost as if the value people and relationships more than things and status. Hmmmm.

“Meanwhile, think about which one describes your family. If I were to look at your financial records, what would your decisions say about your priorities? “

Now, I have no desire to actually see your financial records. I have a lot more interesting things read:-) but maybe you should think about what your check book shows about your priorities.

For a foundation...

of my research into the Bible's view of children and homemakers:

This is the sermon I gave last Mother's day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

For your entertainment:

Two families

I want to tell you about two families. These are fictional families created by combining several families I know. You tell me which one affords a stay at home mom.

Both families attend church regularly and pay their tithes. They are even both in the ministry of their respective churches.

Family 1: Dad earns about $60,000. They own a 2500sq ft home for their two children, dog, three cats and canary. They drive new cars, replacing them every five years or so when the last one is paid off. They buy their clothes at Pennys and their food at the local grocery store.

Family 2: Dad earns about $40,000. They rent a 1000sq ft condo for their three children, one dog, two cats and three parakeets. Her parents bought her a used car for her birthday two years ago and he bought one at the local auction for $600 cash for him. They buy their clothes off the wal-mart sales rack while doing their grocery shopping or they go to thrift stores.

Can you guess which one has the stay at home mom? Can you guess which one has their children in a form of private education and which is sending their children to “free” public school?

I will tell you which is which next time I write.

Meanwhile, think about which one describes your family. If I were to look at your financial records, what would your decisions say about your priorities?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The constitution

We the People of the United States,(not the aristocracy, no the rulers, THE PEOPLE)

in Order to form a more perfect Union,(More perfect than the Articles of Confederation)

establish Justice, (make a just court system)

insure domestic Tranquility (make sure we can have peace instead of the sates fighting among each other),

provide for the common defense (Have a standing army to protect our borders),

promote the general Welfare (this does NOT mean taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor. Quite the opposite. It means to put in place such laws as will provide the most freedoms and liberty for everyone. Welfare, business bailouts, subsidies all hurt the people that receive them and remove money that has been earned by others from their pockets and redirecting it to bureaucrats to be used at some politicians discretion. This is NOT good for the common good),

and secure the Blessings of Liberty (make the blessings of God and His freedom, as designed in the bible, available…)

to ourselves and our Posterity (to us and our children and grandchildren),

do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This is the reason for the writing of our supreme law of the land.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is the American dream dead?

I recently read an article where the person being interviewed thought the American dream was dead because he can longer go out and buy a house, SUVs’, big screen TVs, etc. This drives me nuts! Where did this idea come from that material wealth is the American dream?

It is not!

The American Dream is:
1. To worship our God in anyway you feel He has called you to. That is why the Pilgrims left everything they knew, (their homes, jobs, friends, families,) risked a dangerous, month long ship ride here, and suffered the death of half of their colony the first year. It certainly wasn’t for $$$$$$$!!!!!!!! Religious Freedom is the number one American Dream. Sadly, this freedom is disappearing quickly. We can no longer speak of Christ at the work place or even wear religious slogans on our clothes without risking being charged with “hostile environment.” We can’t display nativities on public property. We can’t even say “Merry Christmas” to our customers. There are many who are trying to remove religious programs from the TV and radio, force the teaching of Atheistic Evolution in private education, and pass laws that would arrest my father and husband for saying homosexuality is a sin. Religious freedom is just about gone.

2. A big part of the “American dream” was the respect for private property. Now, this may sound like I am saying that owning a house and cars is part of the dream, but it is not, not exactly. The “American Dream” is the RIGHT to own property, not necessarily the achievement of ownership. The achievement is up to you and God, and luck, if you believe in it. But as far as the United Sates Government is concerned, every citizen has the RIGHT to own property. Or they used to. Now, if you own land with an endangered species on it you still have the “honor” of paying property taxes, but you can’t do anything with the land. It must sit there costing you money. And of course you can’t sell it because no one else can do anything with it either. No one would buy it. The one who controls the land, owns it.

Our governments are also telling us what colors to paint our houses and stores, how tall to make our fences, what trees to plant in our yards. They have also mandated that everyone live at a middleclass standard of living; in other words, you have to afford electricity and running water or else loose custody of your children.

The “war on drugs” has done a great deal of damage to these rights also. Did you know that if a government official accuses you of carrying drugs, they can take away your home, cars, everything, without trial, without jury, without recourse? You will never see your property again even if you are found not-guilty. Now, I don’t approve of drugs, of course. But this is a direct threat to every citizen’s rights to property.

3. The right to Liberty is threatened. Right now, if I want to move across country, I can. No one can question me. No one asks to see my papers when I am traveling. This idea of a national drivers license and ID card is the beginning of the end of that. The fact is that your school and financial records already follow you for life. Plans are in the works to do the same with your medical records. It is one short step from keeping records to keeping control.

4. The right to Life has, of course, been gone for a long time. Oh, our government isn’t rounding up adults to execute…yet. But when we deny the very weakest of our citizens the right to live just because they were conceived at an inconvenient time, we have given the government the right to deny us our rights when we become “inconvenient.” It won’t be long, maybe a generation, before the government begins to encourage the elderly to commit suicide. They are too expensive to care for, you see. Then the handicapped, the Christians (always among the first to be executed), followed by anyone else who is deemed “unworthy” or “inferior.”

How can I say these things?

I have studied history.

“He who does not know history is doomed to repeat it.”

Our society is horribly lacking in historical knowledge. All this has been tried before: welfare, government schools, feminism, homosexuality, public works, business bailouts, farm subsidies, hate crime laws, abortion/infanticide, easy divorce, “free sex,” every value and government institution that marks our society has been tried (these institutions and values lead into one-another, so you seldom have one without eventually having them all).

The results have always been the same; tyranny and a lot of dead people. Everyone else in slavery.

Just watch; there will be a major attempt at removing our weapons very soon. It will likely succeed this time. This is the next necessary step.

Our Founding Fathers knew all this. They were very well versed in History. They feared a big government as well as the “rule of people.” That is why they created a Republic (not a democracy), where every power is supposed to be balanced by the others. That is why it is so slow to get anything done in our country; it was designed that way in order to protect us from a corrupt justice system, power-hungry politicians, and even ourselves. We have slowly destroyed these checks and balances. Executive orders, Judicial Mandates, ruling by popular opinion polls, yes, they are destroyed or well on the way.


The American Dream is Dead

Friday, December 12, 2008

Don’t make pies with little girls and stay away from bats

When I went to make the pies for Thanksgiving, I had three little girls volunteer to help; ages 7, 5, and 4 (the 7yo is just starting to read and the other two don’t at all yet). Three pies to make. Perfect right?

I set the 7yo to peeling apples with an automatic apple peeler, the 5yo to melting butter in a pie dish, and pulled out the pre-made crust for the 4yo. I opened the cans of cherry pie filling for her to dump into the crust, whipped up some crumble topping, and showed her how to sprinkle it on, popped the whole thing in the oven. One down, two to go!

Oh, gee. (1yo) just figured out how to climb up a chair and onto the table. Great.

I told the 5yo to mix the crumb mix from the no-bake cheesecake box into the butter, then I evaluated the apple peeling. Hmmm, not quite enough apples to fill the pre-made shell, so we peel a few more and I cut them all up. At this point the 5yo brings me her well mixed crust. It looks weird, but I don’t take the time to figure out why. I just show her how to press the graham cracker crumbs into the side of the dish. Then I help the 7yo to mix up the seasonings for the apples and gently dump them into the bowl “…but hold the crust so it doesn’t fall into…” Too late.

Ok. Shift gears. Homemade crust for the apple. “Oh, (5yo), now put 2 cups of milk in the mixer bowl and add the filling package.” She gave me a totally blank look. I knew right then why the crust had looked funny. She had added both the crust mix AND the filling mix to the butter in the pie plate!

“OK, set that bowl aside. (Thank You Jesus! I have another mix in the cupboard!) Let’s start over.” I set her to melting butter again, and carefully make sure she adds the right package to it. From there her 9yo brother who can read quite well begins to help her so I turn my attention to the homemade curst for the apple pie.

(1yo) figures out how to climb onto the kitchen counter.

Woops! My pie plates are bigger than the pre-made-crust ones! One cheesecake mix won’t fill the plate and I don’t have any others in the cupboard. Oh I know! “(9yo), fix these two boxes of chocolate pudding and add them to the top.” 7yo and I peel and cut more apples, put them on the bottom so the seasonings will fall down to them as it cooks, add a crumble topping and exchange an apple pie for a cherry in the oven. Whew! Now to that cheesecake…

It’s done, but it looks funny. I taste a tiny bit of the pudding. VERY chocolate. “How many cups of milk did you add, (9yo)?”


Sigh. The recipe calls for three. And I don’t have any more pudding and scrapping all that off the top wouldn’t work anyway. It would just make a mess. Oh well.

As it all turns out, all three pies tasted just fine.

But I think next time I will assign an older, reading sibling to help each child, at different times, and I will just supervise. I don’t think my blood pressure could take doing this again.


Wednesday, all the children were outside during our lunch break. I was quietly going through emails. Suddenly the two oldest run up the stairs caring the 1yo, who is screaming.

“She got hit with a bat!”

(??? We only have plastic bats don’t we? That wouldn’t cause that kind of screamin.)


They just turned her head. Already a purple bump the size of a baseball was forming on the side of her face, at about the temple area! Obviously we do have a real bat.

I look at her pupils. They are the same size. That, and the fact that she didn’t pass out and wasn’t vomiting, were very good signs. I made a couple frantic calls to daddy and grandma and head to the nearest urgent care with my 16yo sitting in the back keeping her awake.

Urgent care sent us right to the hospital, telling us to keep her awake the whole time.

Yeah, right. She is 1yo; it’s nap time; she is exhausted from all the screaming; and it’s a twenty minute drive to the hospital!

My 16yo did a fantastic job, though. She kept putting a cold rag on the baby’s neck to keep her awake (and screaming!)

ER took us right in. “She is probably ok, but let’s do a cat scan.” The doctor explained that at this age some doctors would just sedate her, but then we would have to stay there for several hours to make sure she woke up ok from that (sedation meds sometimes have side effects). So he just wanted to tie her down. She would scream, of course, but it would all be over in ten minutes. I hated the thought, but preferred it to the sedation.

When the tech came to get her, I just stood up to carry her out, expecting them to have me put her on the table and then they would tie her up. They assumed that because I didn’t just hand her over to them, I wanted to hold her during the test. I didn’t even know that was an option and wouldn’t have thought I could anyway.

I laid her on the table and the head tech told his assistant to just let her calm down a minute (after offering her a binky, stickers and a new stuffed animal, all of which she obviously thought were deadly poison.) I patted her on the chest and sang “Away in the Manger.”

After a minute she stuck her thumb in her mouth, stared into my eyes and was still. They draped a lead apron around me while I kept singing, and began the test. Every time that table moved, she thought the big machine around her head was going to eat her and she tried to get up. I gently pushed her back, like I do when changing a diaper, and told her “no, just a minute.” (Another advantage of teaching even very small children to obey) I smiled a lot to reassure her she wasn’t fixing to be eaten alive.

A few minutes later the tech came out and said he was going to call me the next time he had trouble sleeping, because I had calmed HIM down so much!

Turns out there was no bruising on the brain and she is absolutely fine.

Except for the horrid bump on the side of her head.

And sometimes she acts like she has a headache.

Go figure.

God is Good!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Options in Homeschooling- You have no excuse

The options for homeschooling range from “mom babysit that kid and nothing else” to “grab your library card and leave the cash at home.” There really is no excuse for any married couple to not find some way to homeschool in this country. If you live in Germany I would give you a pass as you would be risking going to jail, but not here.

First of all, there is K12 School. This is a school created on Christian values while trying to be as neutral as possible (an impossibility of course). The child logs on to the internet site, does his work, it is corrected by his teacher and new assignments are given. The parent’s job is to make sure the child sits at the computer long enough to get his work done. That is it. This school is paid for by many public schools as an independent study. The school stills gets money for your child, you don’t have to do any work, the child spends less time in a classroom but gets a better education. You can add a bible study into the day. The draw backs are of course that it is still not a Christian education, though it is much better. And the parents have no control of what their child is being taught. I can’t find a price for individuals, but it’s free if you go public school route. (Note: I honestly believe this could be a good stop-gap on the way from public school to true homeschool. I don’t think it is the best long term idea, but it is certainly better than traditional public school.)

Next is Abeka book video school. You buy the books and rent the DVD of the class(es) your child is enrolled in. He watches the DVD for the day and does the work. If you are enrolled in the correspondence school, you pack up his work and send it to his teacher who grades it and sends any other assignments to him, keeping records. If you aren’t in the correspondence school, you do the grading and keeping the records. This isn’t much more work for the parent than K12, but it is VERY Christian. Since it is the most used private school curriculum in the world, it is recognized and accepted by state authorities everywhere (if that is important to you. It isn’t to me). It is a very high quality curriculum; very academically advanced. You can buy the books without the DVDs and do the teaching yourself if you wish. They have teacher’s guides to help you. It costs around $700 for the first child with DVD correspondence school (includes text books). They offer a sort of discount for additional children. Just the text books runs around $400 depending on the grade.

Bob Jones University has a satellite school. you get a special receiver and set your VCR to record at 3am or so. From there it functions just like Abeka. Same quality, same prices, too. The university itself has had some problems with racism, but I understand there is NONE in their homeschool texts. The advantage is that you own the tapes when you are done, where with Abeka you have to send the DVDs back.

Alpha Omega publishers has two options: Lifepacs And Switched On School house. The later is the first on computer disks. The first is a set of ten workbooks per subject (five subjects) per year. Your child goes through them at his own pace. When he finishes one book he goes on to the next. The parent does very little beyond correcting the final test for each booklet. They do have correspondence school. very good quality, costs less than $400 per year, I believe.

Christian light is the same thing as Alpha Omgea printed on cheaper paper with cheaper ink and with all fantasy stories changed to be realistic. Also all pictures show boys in long pants and girls in dresses (Christian Light is Mennonite).

Accelerated Christian Education was one of the first Christian Curriculums in America (Abeka was the other one). They give the equivalent of a public school education in the fastest format possible. I have heard of 14yo graduating from high school with this program. Their program is identical to alpha Omega’s only they have twelve “PACEs” instead of ten. I don’t really like them as they are very weak academically (equivalent to public school, not better) and they are more expensive. But some people love them. They also offer their curriculum on computer disks now.

The most extreme option is to simply go to the library, check out books, read them together or apart, have each child write (or narrate) a report on it, take spelling and grammar lessons from their mistakes. Math can come from everyday for the early grades. You cover all subjects this way. It takes more work, but costs nothing.

From here there are many options, many programs and correspondent schools that all function like Abeka’s textbook correspondence course. You can also pick and choose one subject from one program and another from another. There are also many companies that only produce one subject. Every child is different and every family is different. You will have to find what works best for you. This may take some trial and error, but it is worth it.

Just for interest sake, I use;
• The Bible for Bible study
• Alphabet island for phonics
• McGuffey readers for reading
• AVCO for spelling
• Easy Grammar and Daily Grams for grammar
• Math U See and Calculaddars for math
• The Story of the World for History
• The internet for science (we are studying the human body right now and I know enough about it to put together my own course.
• The Drawing Textbook for art
• My mom for music lessons

If you are interested, Google the names and you will go right to the publisher’s sites.

There it is; “homeschool” means everything from hiring tutors for each subject to sitting the child in front of a computer everyday to buying a book designed to teach from to visiting the library every week. Most homeschoolers actually mix and match many of these options. The point is that the parent is in control and footing the bill instead of a politician with ideological goals (different from the parent’s goals) and the taxpayer.

Contact me if you want anymore information of need help. I am happy to help;-)

What would it take?

Is there anything the schools could do to make you take your children (biological, or if you are in the leadership of a church, the children in your congregation) out of the public schools? Are you in the schools no matter what? Is there anything they could do that would be the final straw and make you quit? Where is your line of tolerance?

I will tell you, my line was passed while I was still in school myself. I realized that though no teacher stood in front of the class and said “there is no God,” that they were teaching us just that (even the Christian ones) because they were leaving God out of History and Science especially. I was only 16 when I coined the phrase “To teach without God is to teach there is no God.” Does anyone think the schools have gotten better in the last quarter century since I left school? Have they become more godly since then?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 Not the fear of an F.

“In (Christ) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3 God is where we will find all the answers to life, not in human designed schools.

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” Psalms 127:3 Your children are presants from God. you are answerable to Him for everything they learn, including the swear words from the play ground.

“And thou shalt teach them (God’s Words) diligently unto thy children and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:7 In other words, every waking moment. There is no time left here for not teaching God’s words (well, maybe while in the bathroom.)

“…Bringing into captivity EVERY thought (including math and spelling) to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 Does every thought mean EVERY THOUGHT?

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 We should not look like our neighbors. We should look very different (and I don’t mean physically, but in the structure of our families and our relationships)

“Fathers (Parents)… bring them (your children) up in the nurture (culture) and admonition (education) of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 Is there ANYONE out there who believes our government schools present the culture of God or educate children in Him?

“He that is not with Me (Jesus) is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth…” Luke 11:23 There is no neutrality, no middle ground. We are either working for God or we are working against Him.

“…if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives liberally.” James 1:5

“I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 Even teach your own children.

If you are in the leadership of a church, where is your school for those who really can’t teach their own? It doesn’t take much to open a school. will you be able to stand before God and explain why His little children in your congregation were taught that He is irrelevant to their lives? Will you have a good enough excuse for not having a school in those Sunday school classrooms during the week?

A very serious video. These things are hard to say and hard to hear but we need to hear them.

the Society for the Separation of school and state.

You do realize that our schools are not good enough for our president’s children. Nor for our senators’ children. Nor our congressman’s children. Nor governor, state representatives, mayors, etc.

Next post: Options In Homeschool.

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is our foundational document. It is our first law as a nation. It was written to declare that the thirteen colonies were no longer part of England, but their own country. Understanding the Declaration is important to our understanding our country. A simple reading will dispel many myths about our nation and its history that are being circulated.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another (We need to be our own people) and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station (separate from and equal to England) to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God (Gasp! What’s this? A mention of God in our founding document? YES! Contrary to what some are saying, most of our Founding Fathers were Christians and those that weren’t still acknowledged the Christian Creator God and the morals taught in the Bible. The thought of a “secular” country never entered their heads.) entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.(You, England, deserve to know why we are “divorcing” you.)

“We hold these truths (Not opinions, TRUTHS) to be self-evident (Everyone can see them), that all men (The words men, man, him, his, he and several others are gender neutral unless the context of the sentence says otherwise. In the sentence “The man ate his soup.” man means a male member of the human race. In the sentence “Man is in control of his destiny” man and his are generic and can be replaced with “humankind.” So here our founding fathers are saying “all humans…”) are created (You have to have a Creator to be created.) equal (This does not mean they thought everyone to be of the same intelligence or deserving of the same salary. Nor does it mean “equality of outcome.” It means they believed that all humans are subject to the same moral laws of God. In history until this time, if someone was of a higher social rank they could kill you, imprison you, or take your property, all with the assumption that because they were your “better” they had the moral right to do this. The common man- peasants or serfs- were in fact slaves, mere property of the lords, dukes, kings, barons, etc. Our Founding Fathers were saying here that it is obvious to them that all humans, no matter their station, are subject to the same laws. It was worded in the New Testament, “God is no respecter of persons” Acts 10:34), that they are endowed (given) by their Creator (Here’s that God thing again) with certain unalienable (“Not to be separated, given away, or taken away”) Rights, (“legal or moral entitlements or permissions.” In other words, “God has given all humans certain entitlements that are not to be taken away.”) that among these are Life (“Do not Murder.” Exodus 20:13. If you have been reading my blog, or probably even if you haven’t, you have heard that certain politicians oppose the “born alive” act. This law would require doctors to save the lives of babies born alive after an attempted abortion. Currently in some states doctors are not permitted to save these children’s lives. As if letting little babies die from exposure, starvation, or dehydration isn’t bad enough, this state of law actually threatens EVERY citizen of the US. Anyone born in this country is a citizen. These babies are born in hospitals in this country. THEY ARE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!! Yet, their Unalienable Right to LIFE is being denied without Due Process of the Law- trial by jury with the right to face their accusers, conviction of committing a federal crime. If our politicians so callously destroy these citizen’s rights, what would make any of us believe our Right to Life or any other right is any safer? Once that breech is made and we allow ANY citizen’s rights to be taken away, ALL of EVERYONE’S rights are very much in danger and it is only a matter of time before we lose them all. It gets scarier…), Liberty (“Liberty” is not the right to have sex with whoever you want, nor the right to behave in vulgar and selfish manners. “Liberty” is the right to control your own life. In Europe at this time, a common man could not move or change jobs without his “lord’s” permission, and if the lord told him to move, he had no choice but to obey. In many European countries today, you are still told what occupation you will pursue in high school and college and you are not allowed to change. If the auto companies need two hundred new workers, then by golly, you are going to be an auto worker! Socialist countries are even more restrictive, often telling you how many children you can have and who you are allowed to marry.

My dad told me about some men from Sweden he worked with who were appalled when a coworker quit his job. In their country, to quit like that was a death sentence since you would not be allowed to get another job for six months as punishment and would be given no public aid. They were totally floored when the same man showed up the NEXT DAY in a delivery truck for another company. They could not comprehend having that kind of control of your own life. In America, if my hubby were to decide to quit being a middle manager, move to New Jersey and become a Petunia farmer, there is nothing anyone in government can say to stop him. He has Liberty.) and the pursuit of Happiness. (“Do not Steal.” Exodus 20:15. This is a quote borrowed from John Locke who said that "no one ought to harm another in his life, liberty, or possessions." Thomas Jefferson evidently believed ownership of property to be just one aspect of “the pursuit of happiness” and so changed it to a more inclusive word. Again, this phrase does not mean we have the right to unlimited partying or big screen TVs. It means we have the right to own land and houses and other things, that we earn the money for, without anyone taking them away from us without Due Process of the Law. Throughout history, any higher official (which would be anyone higher on the social ladder) had the right to tear down your house and make it a manure pit if he wanted to. You did not own your own land unless you were a lord or higher. Everyone else (the common man) had to rent his home and land from the “land lord.” This document states that everyone, no matter their rank, has the right to own their own land as well as pursue their own interests (something unique to the US and ancient Israel. Check out your Old Testament). It does not guarantee the attainment of those things we pursue. That is between us and our God. It does guarantee that the government can not take your land away, nor stop you from doing what you want without a jury trial. Everyone, from that unwanted baby in a ghetto hospital to the President himself has these rights and are not allowed to interfere with anyone else’s right. Unfortunately, zoning laws and “environmental” laws are increasingly infringing on these rights.) — That to secure (make sure everyone has them and are un-interfered with) these rights, Governments are instituted among Men (not among higher, simi-devine beings as many think of politicians, but human beings), deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, (the only just government power comes directly from permission from the people being governed) — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness (If a government becomes oppressive and quits acknowledging and respecting these rights, it should be replaced by the people of that nation.). Prudence (wisdom), indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes (We should work within the system whenever possible); and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed (Humans tend to put up with a lot of abuse in order to keep the peace. Things have to get pretty bad before they will be changed). But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security (But we owe it to ourselves and our children and even to God to change things when they do get bad). — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States (King George of England had treated the colonies as little or no more than slaves. Things had got to the point that the colonists felt they had no other choice than to revolt). To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world…”

They then list their complaints against King George (murder, kidnapping, stealing property, torture, burdensome taxation, etc.). They had in fact tried every peaceable way they could to achieve a tolerable amount of their rights. The King just wouldn’t listen and, in fact, had intentionally treated them worse for their attempts.

“We, therefore, the (Elected) Representatives of the united States (A “state” is an independent country. The colonies thought of themselves as thirteen mini-countries, not one big one.) of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world (God) for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence (“Providence” is God’s direction, His will.), we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Did you notice how often God is mentioned? So much for this not being a country founded on the Christian religion. In fact, the rights listed here come from our Bibles. These men were some of the most educated men the planted has ever seen and they were very familiar with their Bibles as well as history. They had seen what worked in the past and what didn’t.

For the complete Declaration of Independence complete with the biographies of the signers, go to

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Parent’s Job

Psychobabble Parenting
All you really need to know about parenting. Seriously.

Giving Children Freedom and Self-Control
“I pray for the day we will stop jailing our children in government institutions…. Education has become religious dogma.”
What a child really needs to become a successful adult.

Parents: Never Underestimate Your Importance
What does prostitution have to do with parenting?

I don’t even know why American parents have children. Seriously. They complain about being pregnant the whole time and instill fear in soon-to-be-parents about labor (and obviously they think it WAS that bad because they only do it once or twice). The minute the kid is born they get rid of it at some kiddy-prison. They do everything they can to make sure they don’t actually have to spend any time with the little brat (oh, they call it extra curricular or enrichment activities, but the kids all know the truth. Mommy and daddy don’t want to be part of their lives.) They don’t even want to worship with their child but pick churches that squirrel them away where they don’t have to see them for the whole day.

What’s the deal? Are children really so awful?

Well, actually, if I had most kids I meet now a-days I would probably have far fewer too.

The fact is that children become what you make them to be. What they are taught does matter. They are learning every minute; when you walk out the daycare door, the bully takes their toy, no one answers when they cry from lonliness, or mom and dad are too tired to listen at the end of the day. Yes, they are learning.

Now, again, I am NOT talking to the involuntarily single mom. They don’t have a lot of choice. Churches should do more to help them stay home with their children.

I am talking to the married couple. The one with the nice house, nice car, nice clothes and enough food to be fat. Yes, I am repeating myself. You are putting your life style, your comfort, your “feel goods” ahead of what is good for your child.

And it shows.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What is Home For?

A recent blog at got me to thinking about the home. The fact is that the purpose of the home has changed for most families over the last 150 years.

Today the home is used for:
• Sleeping
• Eating (One meal per day per family member, not necessarily the same meal at the same time as anyone else in the family.)
• Watching TV
• Making love

That’s about it. Oh, occasionally, maybe, entertaining. But, really, our modern homes, as big and fancy as they are, are no more than refueling stations.

150 years ago homes were used for:
• Sleeping
• Dinning (Everyone in the family together at the table at the same time three times per day! The meal was an experience, not just a refueling. And the food was made by scratch meaning it contained no preservatives, and was simply much more nutritious- and cheaper- than today’s “zap and go” foods.)
• Relaxing and Recreation (This meant reading newspapers and books to each others, talking to family, doing fun handcrafts like knitting, embroidery, whittling, playing horseshoes, holding quilting bees, barn raisings, singing around the piano in the evening, little plays in the living room with mommy and daddy as the audience, in short, just enjoying life and family and friends. It did NOT mean getting your blood going with a good car chase or murder story. How could that be relaxing?!)
• Making love (Some things don’t change ;-)
• Birthing babies (Most babies 150 years ago were born in the same bed they were conceived in. More than half of the women who gave birth in hospitals at this time died of infection, so hospitals were avoided. Even today, infection is one of the biggest killers of women during childbirth. Infections happen far more often in hospitals than in homes where you are already immune to the germs. Many, many studies have proven it is at least as safe for most women and their babies to birth at home, still today, as in a hospital. Many of these studies actually said it was safer at home.)
• Artistic expression (No one thought of hiring someone to decorate their home. The whole house was considered a canvas for the homemaker to express herself on. Women took pride in every aspect of their home, their castle. They often did flower arrangements, paintings, stencils, weavings, quiltings, and many, many other art forms we buy today. Their very house was the expression of who they were.)
• Education (That’s right, the house was the place for education. At this time in American history, most children were simply taught by their parents. Literacy levels of the time were 99.8% compared with the most optimistic estimate of today; 85%. Parents knew it was their responsibility to make sure their children were prepared for the future. Observers of the time claimed every home, even the poorest, had a Bible, law books, and Euclid’s Geometry. Nearly everyone read the newspaper. Education was considered vitally important and one of the main jobs of a family.)
• Making money (The vast majority of families were farmers. They worked together all day to provide the necessities of life for the family, either directly or by growing enough to sell to buy what they couldn’t grow. Other families worked together as store owners. The parents needed the children’s help, the children felt important because they knew they were truly needed, the parents knew they needed to teach their children for the future and the children knew their parents knew a lot about life and what it would take to survive.)
• Nourishing the sick and dying (Today we send sick people to the hospital, sick kid daycare, and elder care. 150 years ago the ill were cared for by those who loved them most and knew best what would make them feel better. Generally, they used time tested herbal remedies grown in their own yard. Yes, serious illness is better treated with modern medicine. But minor ailments are still better cared for with these mild, nourishing herbs handed down for generations.)
• Christian outreach (In most Christian homes, the Bible was read, hymns sung and prayers made after every meal. Christian doctrines were lived in front of the children, as well as discussed all day as a part of life while working. They did not loose 85% of their children to the world as we do. Outreach begins at home. Also, the home was the place to invite friends and neighbors to for dinner and afterwards to join you in your devotions. It was also the place you brought those in need to help them.)

In short, the job of a family was to raise godly children and provide for all their needs (education, food, job training, etc.).

Today it is a refueling station and maybe a place of some of our entertainment. Each individual’s goal is to get as many toys as possible and have as much fun as possible. Family is not a part of those goals.

So, a homemaker 150 years ago was a cook and nutritionist, artist, teacher, doctor, entrepreneur, missionary, manager, musician, and often philosopher, midwife (women know better than a man what a woman needs during childbirth and most communities had several) and part time actress (well, someone needed to play old Sarah in the children’s “Abraham” play). She literally “Made the Home.” She was the center of the families world.

The homemaker of today is a babysitter and short order “zapper” at best. No wonder many feel bored. No wonder the family is torn into pieces. Most people spend more time with co-workers than spouses or children. Most children know their peers and teachers better than their siblings and parents. You can’t build a strong family this way. Oh, yours may be stronger than your neighbor’s, but it isn’t at all strong compared to our ancestor’s.

There is no reason to give into the new ideas of “home.” Our men may be stuck in the “work a day” world, but there is no reason a woman can’t reclaim all the roles listed above. And if she did, she would provide a more pleasant home, nutritious meals, better educated children (homeschoolers skunk even private schools on tests), and healthier family all around. Her family would be much better off and so would she, even if they had to lower their standard of living to allow her to do it. Not only that, but the community would be better off too. There would be someone around to care for the ill instead of relying on government aid, someone to teach the children right from wrong and good work ethics, someone to make the world more beautiful, one room at a time. Less reliance on government means less need for taxes. Less need for taxes means more resources available to grow each family individually. Some women attempting to accomplish this have even been able to get a home business going and bring daddy back home too. This should be our goal. The more the family is physically together the stronger it will be. The more things the family does together the tighter their bonds. I am not talking about “quality time” nonsense spent at the movies not speaking to each other. I am talking about working towards common goals and being truly important members of each other’s lives.

In order to accomplish this, we need women to make homes again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

End Times-Daniel

There are three main theories regarding the end times. The most popular one is Dispensationalist (i.e. The Left Behind Series). This theory assumes most prophesies have not been fulfilled yet. Generally speaking they believe Israel will be restored to its previous place with God, there will be a tribulation and the rapture will take the righteous and leave everyone else.
The second most popular is the Pederast teaching which says that (in its most extreme form) all prophecy has been fulfilled by ad70 (including the second coming of Christ).
The third is the Historical view. It is the one held by most of the Historical churches (Lutherans, Methodists, etc). They (and for the most part, I) believe that most of the prophecies have been fulfilled over the course of the last 2500 years with only the ones directly relating to the return of Christ left.
In Galatians 3:16 Paul says,
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
The promise of Eternal Covenant is to Abraham and Christ, not some physical group of humans. The Israelites were chosen to be the linage to Christ and the bearers of the law. They were never saved just because of their Jewish-ness. The Bible has many examples of people that believed God and were evidently saved even though they were not Israelites, though most of those following God were Israelites.
Isaiah and Jeremiah (plus many others) prophecy that the Israelites would be taken captive, followed by Judah being taken and that Solomon's temple would be destroyed. Most of the scriptures that are obviously talking about Jerusalem, capital city of Judah, refer to its inhabitants as Israelites. God obviously sees both nations as one, really. In fact, in the 37th chapter of Ezekiel, God tells him that He will make Israel and Judah into one nation again. I believe this happened at the return from the Babylonian captivity.
Jeremiah 29:10) For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place...
Seventy years later, a man named Cyrus would give the command for all Israelites (decedents of Jacob) to return to Jerusalem (This was some one hundred fifty years before Cyrus came to the throne.)
Isaiah lived in the 700bc's, Jeremiah in 627-586. Cyrus was born 580.
Isaiah 44:28) That saith of Cyrus, he is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
Isaiah 45:1) Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates and the gates shall not be shut;
(Babylon could not be sieged because the river flowed through the town under two gates that did not allow anyone through. The night the Medes and Persians (Cyrus) took over, someone left the gates open!);
Isa 45:2) I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron
Isa 41:25) I have raised up one from the north (Persia is north of Babylon), and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon mortar, and as the potter treadeth clay
Shortly after these prophesies, (and many others from most of the prophets listed in the second half of the Old Testament,) Israel was captured by the Assyrians. Judah was captured a few years later by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. He destroyed Solomon's temple (581 bc). More than 100 years after Isaiah's prophecy, a man named Cyrus was born (580-529) in Persia. He grew up and became king of the Mede-Persian Empire and conquered Babylonia. He gave the command for anyone who wanted to, to go to Jerusalem (In 537 BC). They were allowed to rebuild if they wanted to but not commanded to nor funded.
Josephus, (Antiquities 11.1.2) the Jewish historian, says that they showed Cyrus the prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures which contain his name and described his role in the scheme of God. This is what made the ruler to fulfill what was written.
A clay barrel known as the Cyrus Cylinder was found in 1879-82. It contained a marvelous historical confirmation of the biblical narrative. It records Cyrus saying, “All of their peoples I gathered together and restored to their dwelling-places.”
During the captivity, God gave king Nebuchadnezzar a dream of a statue with a head of gold, shoulders and chest of silver, hips and thighs of bronze, legs and feet of iron and toes of iron and clay. Daniel interpreted the head to be Babylon (gold was extremely common in Babylon), the silver to be Media-Persia (silver was the standard currency in Persia. Taxes paid in gold were even converted to silver), the bronze to be Greece (the Greek army used bronze shields, helmets and weapons), the legs to be the Syrian and Egyptian parts of the late Grecian empire, and the feet to be Rome (Rome was the first country to really use iron weapons and armor). The rock that crushed the whole thing by landing on the feet (the Roman Empire) was Jesus.
God gave Daniel a dream (chapter 8) of a ram with two horns standing on a mountain (Mede-Persia). A goat with one big horn killed him. The horn fell off and was replaced by four smaller horns. One of these horns grew and conquered a great territory.
“Therefore the he goat (Alexander the Great) waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken (Alexander died at the height of his power in his early thirties); and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven (Alexander’s kingdom was split into four parts). And out of one of them came forth a little horn (Antiochus IV of the Seluciud rulers of Syria), which waxed exceeding great, toward the south (Egypt), and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land (Israel).”
The account in Daniel goes onto describe in great detail what would happen…. in the next 500 years! The only way it could have been clearer would have been if he had actually named the names of the various kings.
Daniel had another dream in chapter 7. Four great beasts came up from the sea. The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. The wings were plucked, then it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. (Babylon- Nebuchadnezzar appears to have accepted our God.)
A second beast was like a bear. It raised itself up on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth between its teeth: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. (Mede-Persia) Cyrus conquers Lydia (546 BC), Babylon (539 BC), and Egypt (535 BC).
Another beast, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a fowl. The beast had four heads; and dominion was given to it. (Greece again. Alexander with his kingdom split between his four generals.)
A fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were.
This fourth beast is the kingdom of Syria, the family of the Seleucidae, which was very cruel and oppressive to the Jews, as we find in Josephus and the history of the Maccabees. This empire was different from those which went before because none of the preceding powers compelled the Jews to renounce their religion, but the kings of Syria did, and used them barbarously. Their armies and commanders were the great iron teeth with which they devoured and broke in pieces the people of God. The ten horns are then supposed to be ten kings that reigned successively in Syria; and then the little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes, the last of the ten, who by one means or other undermined three of the kings, and got the government. He was a man of great ingenuity, and therefore is said to have eyes like the eyes of a man; and he was very bold and daring, had a mouth speaking great things.
9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (God on the throne. Daniel saw the rest of history.)
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. (Imagine standing before His throne with millions worshiping Him?!:-)
11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. (Rome destroyed the Syrian empire)
12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. (These nations still exist, more or less, in a VERY reduced state as Iraq, Iran, and Greece)
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (Christ)
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (The kingdom of heaven which began at Calvary)
Daniel receives the interpretation I have explained above.
22 Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints (True lovers of God) possessed the kingdom (of God).
Dan 9:2 In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
Daniel realizes it is time for the decree to go back to be given (he had to have been close to ninety years old!) He tells God we have been baaad, but You are good. Forgive us and do what You said You would. God sent Gabriel to talk to him.
24. Seventy weeks (a week means seven just as our word dozen means twelve. Nearly everyone agrees that this is talking about 490 years; 70x7 years) are determined upon thy people (Israel) and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity (Calvary), and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy (Jesus).
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment (given by Artaxerus I.) to restore and to build Jerusalem (He paid for it. Cyrus said they could go home but didn’t pay to rebuild.) unto the Messiah the Prince (Jesus) shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks ([7x7]+[62x7]=483 Broken up this way to account for the time of the Maccabees): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (No kidding. Read Ezra and Nehemiah)
26 And after (the) threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off (crucified), but not for himself (for us): and the people of the prince (gentiles- Romans) that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Ad 70 Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the nation of Israel was no more)
27 And he (Christ) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week (seven) he (Christ) shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease (we don't have to torch sheep anymore), and for the overspreading of abominations (abundance of sins) He (Christ) shall make it (the city) desolate, even until the consummation (The end or completion of the present system of things; Noah Webster 1828 dictionary), and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (The Jews remaining in Jerusalem.)
Daniel spent time in fasting and prayer. God again sent an answer by an angel.
11:2 And now will I (the angel) shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia besides Darius, in whose reign this prophecy is dated,
These are Cyrus, Artaxasta or Artaxerxes, called by the Greeks Cambyses, and Ahasuerus that married Esther, called Darius son of Hystaspes.
and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
That is, Xerxes, of whose wealth the Greek authors take notice. By his strength (his vast army, consisting of 800,000 men at least) and his riches, with which he maintained and paid that vast army, he stirred up everyone against Greece. Xerxes's expedition against Greece and the shameful defeat that he met with is famous in history.
3 And a mighty king (Alexander the Great) shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
He foretells Alexander's conquests and the partition of his kingdom,
4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
Alexander's kingdom shall soon be broken, and divided into four parts, but not to his son, nor shall any of his successors rule as much land;
5 And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes ; and he shall be strong above him shall be stronger than the king, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
The rise and power of two great kingdoms out of the remains of Alexander's conquests. The kingdom of Egypt, and the kingdom of Syria. Again, Daniel gives great detail of what is GOING to happen- all but the names. This is the time of the Maccabeus.
Chapter 12 And at that time (After everything that happened since Daniel, through the Maccabees) shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people:
Jesus Christ shall appear his church's patron and protector: At that time, when the persecution is at the hottest, Michael (Michael = who is like God. Strong's Concordance) shall stand up. Christ is that great prince, for he is the prince of the kings of the earth, (Rev. 1:5).
and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time:
This is applicable to the destruction of Jerusalem, which Christ calls such a great tribulation as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, (Mt. 24:21).
and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book
Thy People are those that love God as much as Daniel does. We are delivered through Calvary; all of us that are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
There shall be a distinguishing resurrection of those that sleep in the dust. When God works deliverance for his people from persecution it is a kind of resurrection; the Jews' release out of Babylon was represented as resurrection in vision (Ezekiel. 37) as was the deliverance of the Jews from Antiochus. Many of those who had long slept in the dust of obscurity and calamity shall then awake
Those resurrected to everlasting life are the many Jews that accepted Christ in the first decade or so of the Church Age; those wise enough to recognize Messiah and teach others about Him. Those resurrected to shame and contempt are those that rejected Christ.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end (of the Jewish nation; the subject of all these prophecies): many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
These prophecies need to sealed until the time of their fulfillment because no one will understand them until then. At that point they will be considered valuable and studied.
And [one] said to the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, How long [shall it be to] the end of these wonders?
And I heard the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that [it shall be] for a time, times, and an half;
Here is a more general account given of the continuance of these troubles to the angel that made the enquiry that they shall continue for a time, times, and a half, that is, a year, two years, and half a year. Josephus says expressly, in his book of the Wars of the Jews, that Antiochus Epiphanes, surprised Jerusalem by force, and held it three years and six months, and was then cast out of the country by the Maccabees.
And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what [shall be] the end of these [things]?
And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end (of Israel). …
And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, [there shall be] a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed [is] he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days
Here we have, [1.] The event fixed from which the time of the trouble is to be dated- from the taking away of the daily sacrifice by Antiochus- and the setting up of the image of Jupiter upon the altar, which was the abomination of desolation. They must reckon their troubles to begin indeed when they were deprived of the benefit of public ordinances; that was to them the beginning of sorrows; that was what they laid most to heart. [2.] The continuance of their trouble; it shall last 1290 days, three years and seven months, or (as some reckon) three years, six months, and fifteen days; and then, the daily sacrifice was restored, and the abomination of desolation taken away, in remembrance of which the feast of dedication was observed even to our Savior's time, (John. 10:22). The completing of their deliverance, or at least a further advance towards it, which is here set forty-five days after the former, and, some think, points at the death of Antiochus, 1335 days after his profaning the temple. Blessed is he that waits and comes to that time.
But go thou thy way till the end [be]: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
Daniel will die before this all comes to pass.
I have spent a great deal of time on Daniel because many take verses out of Daniel to prove the future interpretation of prophecy when the whole book speaks of the end of the Israelite time frame. To take verses here to prove something in Revelation is not dividing the Word of God correctly.

Matthew 24
1. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.
2. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.
History tells us, that this was fulfilled in 70 AD. General (and future Caesar) Titus took the city and did all he could to preserve the temple, but he coundn’t stop the enraged soldiers from destroying it to the degree that Jesus said it would by. Turnus Rufus ploughed up the ground on which it had stood. : thus that scripture was fulfilled (Micah 3:12), Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed [as] a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.
In the time of Julian the Apostate, the Jews were encouraged to rebuild their temple, in opposition to the Christian religion. What remained of the ruins were pulled down, to level the ground for a new foundation. But the attempt was stopped by fire erupting out of the ground which destroyed the foundation they laid, and frightened away the builders.
3 And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying; tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
The disciples ask three separate questions, though they may not have thought they were separate. To them, the destruction of the temple would have been the end of the world and it certainly was the end of their world. They were still expecting Christ to set up a natural kingdom at this point, so the sign of thy coming, would have referred to the natural kingdom they were expecting. Surely, if He set up a kingdom that lasted forever, as scripture predicted, the temple could not be destroyed. In short, they were confused.
4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5.For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Josephus speaks of several such impostors between this time and the destruction of Jerusalem.
6.And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Christ was born during the Pax Romana (Roman peace). This was a time of relative peace in this part of the world. Christ is predicting that the Great Peace is almost over. War is coming. But the world is not ending yet.
The time of the Jews must end as predicted in Daniel, the Jews must be punished and ruined
7.For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
We read of a famine in Judea, not long after Christ's time, which was very impoverishing (Acts 11:28); but the worest famine was during the siegeof AD 70.
In some places the horrors were worse because Jews fought against Jews. In Scythopolis alone above 13,000 were slain at one time. Josephus relates the case of one prominent man who, because of the terrible things happening all around, and in order to save his family from a worse fate, killed first his father and mother with the sword--they willingly submitting--and afterwards his wife and children, finally taking his own life. This incident will give us at least a faint idea of the awful conditions of those e.
There was a lot of infighting among the Jews as well as neighboring nations during the late 60's. General Titus came to calm things down. There was also a great deal of pestilence and Vesuvius blew in AD 79 accompanied by massive earthquakes all over the Mediterranean.
8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9.Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
The persecution of the early church at first by the Jews (see the early chapters of Acts) led at first by Saul/Paul, and later by the Roman Empire, especially Nero is well documented.
11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Another class of trouble makers were men who, Josephus says, “prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen and went before them into the wilderness, pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty.”
12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13. But he that shall endure unto the end, (of life) the same shall be saved.
14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Paul said that this had been fulfilled in his time. Romans 16:26
15. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary:
1. Extreme hatred; detestation.
2. The object of detestation, a common signification in scripture.
The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. Prov.15.
1. The act of desolating destruction or expulsion of inhabitants; destruction; ruin; waste.
The abomination of desolation was the hated destruction and empting of Jerusalem.
The Jews throughout the area revolted against the Romans. The Romans slaughtered the Jews in towns from Egypt to Syria.
16. Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains:
17.Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18.Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19.And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20.But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:
The Roman general, Cestius, led his army from Syria into Judea, destroying widely, and laid siege to Jerusalem. He went so fast that the city was on the point of being captured. The evil Jews fled in large numbers, and the peaceable Jews were about to surrender to the Romans, when a remarkable thing took place. It can only be attributed to the direct intervention of God for the fulfillment of the word of Christ. Josephus tells how Cestius suddenly recalled his soldiers and retired from the city without any reason in the world.
This was the abomination of desolation spoken of by Christ. In other words, When you see the army coming like they did during the time of the Maccabees when Daniel's Abomination was fulfilled, GET OUT.
The Abomination Of Desolation was the armies of Rome, and the unparalleled sufferings of the Jews during those five years of terror, were the “Great Tribulation” foretold by the Lord in Matthew 24:21.
21.For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
After the retreat of Cestius, there was a slaughter of about 10,000 Jews at Damascus; and then, it being obvious that war with the Romans was inevitable, the Jews began making preparations to defend Jerusalem. At that time Josephus, the writer of this history, was appointed general of the armies in Galilee. He seems to have had great ability and success as a soldier, though he was finally overpowered and captured by the Romans. Concerning one of his military operations his translator says “I cannot but think this stratagem of Josephus to be one of the finest that ever was invented and executed by any warrior whatsoever.”
At this point the emperor Nero appointed Vespasian, an experienced general, to the task of subduing the Jews; and Vespasian designated his son Titus to assist him. They invaded Judea from the north, marching along the coast, and killing many--18,000 at Askelon alone. Thus Galilee was all over filled with fire and blood; nor was it exempt from any kind of misery or calamity. Josephus opposed the Roman invasion with such forces as he had, but one by one the cities were taken and their inhabitants slain. Finally, Josephus himself was driven to take refuge. The incidents of this siege were terrible; and among them were events which forcibly recall the Lord's words, “But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days.” The Romans were so enraged by the long and fierce resistance of the Jews that they spared none, nor pitied any. Many, moreover, in desperation, killed themselves. The life of Josephus was spared in a manner which seems miraculous, and he was taken captive to Vespasian, to whom he prophesied that both he and Titus his son would be Caesar and emperor. From that time till the end of the war Josephus was kept a prisoner; but he was with Titus during the subsequent siege of Jerusalem, in which the atrocities and miseries reached a limit impossible to be exceeded on earth. Only the state of the lost in hell could be worse.
For a right understanding of Matthew 24:15-21 it is important to know that the Roman armies were, for more than a year, occupied with the devastation of the provinces of Galilee and Judea, before Jerusalem was besieged. It should be noted also that Christ's first warnings to flee were to them which be in Judea (Mt24:16). This makes it perfectly certain that the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, which was the appointed signal for those in Judea to flee into the mountains, was not an idol set up in the inner sanctuary of the Temple. For the desolation of Judea was completed long before Jerusalem and the Temple were taken.
At the time Vespasian led his armies to Jerusalem, that doomed city was in a state of indescribable disorder and confusion insomuch that, during the entire siege, the Jews suffered far more from one another inside the walls than from the enemy outside. Josephus says there were disorders and civil war in every city, and all those that were at quiet from the Romans turned their hands one against another. There was also a bitter contest between those that were for war, and those that were for peace.
Josephus further tells of the utter disgrace and ruin of the high priesthood, the basest of men being exalted to that office; and also of the desecration of the sanctuary.
The most violent party in the city was the Zealots. These called to their aid a band of blood thirsty Idumeans, who set upon the people who were peaceably inclined, and slaughtered young and old until the outer temple was overflowed with blood, and left were 8500 dead bodies there.
Josephus also tells of the terrible torments inflicted upon nobles and citizens of the better sort who refused to comply with the demands of the Zealots. Those, after being horribly tortured, were slain, and through fear, none dared bury them. In this way 12,000 of the more inhabitants perished.
Along all the roads also vast numbers of dead bodies lay in heaps.
About this time above 15,000 fugitive Jews were killed by the Romans, and the number of those that were forced to leap into the Jordan was prodigious. The whole country through which they fled was filled with slaughter, and Jordan could not be passed over, because of the dead bodies that were in it.
At this point Vespasian was called to Rome because of the death of the emperor Nero, and the operations against the Jews fell upon Titus. Vespasian himself was soon thereafter made emperor.
Among the calamities which befell the city was the destruction of the granaries and storehouses of food; so that famine was soon added to the other horrors. The warring factions were agreed in nothing but to kill those that were innocent.
1,100,000 died in the seige and besides 97,000 were taken captive.
“For I venture to say that the sedition destroyed the city, and the Romans destroyed the sedition. This was a much harder thing to do than to destroy the walls. So that we may justly ascribe our misfortunes to our own people (V. 6. 2).” Josephus
This is the most astonishing feature of this great tribulation; for surely there never was a besieged city whose inhabitants suffered more from one another than from the common enemy.
At this point the siege began in earnest. Titus, however, sent Josephus to speak to the Jews, offering them clemency. Josephus made a most earnest plea to them not to resist the might of Rome, pointing out that God was no longer with them. But they didn’t listen. So the siege proceeded outside, and the famine began to rage inside, insomuch that children pulled out of their parents' mouths the morsels they were eating, and even mothers deprived their infants of the last bits of food that might have sustained their lives.
Under pressure of the famine many Jews went out at night into the valleys in search of food. These were caught, tortured and crucified in sight of those on the walls of the city. About five hundred every day. The number became finally so great that there was not room enough for the crosses, nor crosses enough for the victims. So several were ofttimes nailed to one cross.
Then the famine widened its progress and killed the people by whole houses and families. The upper rooms were full of women and children dying of starvation and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged. The children also and the young men wandered about the marketplaces like shadows, all swelled with the famine, and fell down dead wherever they were standing.
In this connection Josephus relates in detail the case of a woman, eminent for her family and her wealth, who, while suffering the ravages of famine, slew her infant son and roasted him, and having eaten half of him, concealed the other half. When presently the seditious Jews came in to search the premises, and smelt the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her life if she did not show them what food she had prepared. She replied that she had saved for them a choice part, and withal uncovered what was left of the little body, saying, “Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself. Do not you pretend to be more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother.” Even those desperate and hardened men were horrified at the sight, and stood aghast at the deed of this mother. They left trembling; and the whole city was full of what the woman had done. It must be remembered that all this time the lives of all in the city would have been spared and the city and temple saved, had they but yielded to the Romans. But how should the Scripture then be fulfilled? Soon after this the temple was set on fire and was burned down, though Titus tried to save it.
Many were put into bonds and sold to slavery in the Egyptian mines, thus fulfilling several prophecies that they should be sold into Egypt again, whence God had delivered them (Hosea 8:13; 9:3).
Thus ended, in the greatest of all calamities of the sort, the national existence of the Jewish people, and all that pertained to that old covenant which was instituted with glory (2Co 3:7,9,11), but which was to be done away with.
22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
23. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25. Behold, I have told you before.
26. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
I believe this is why Thomas was so skeptical of the other disciples having seen Christ after His resurrection. Jesus told him not to believe rumors of Christ being around.
27.For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
When Christ returns, EVERYONE will know it instantly.
28. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Christ shall be revealed with a sudden vengeance; for when God shall cast off the city and people like a carcass thrown out, the Roman soldiers, like eagles, shall straight fly to it with their eagles (ensigns) to tear and devour it.
29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
In the patriarch Joseph's dream, Jacob (Israel) was the sun and the moon was his wife. The stars were his sons. So Immediately after the tribulation of the siege of Jerusalem the nation of Israel will no longer be visible.
30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Then shall the Son of man give a proof of himself, who they would not before acknowledge: a proof, indeed, not in any visible figure, but in vengeance and judgment so visible, that all the tribes of the earth shall be forced to acknowledge Him the avenger.
The sign of the Son of Man is the great power with which God allowed the Jews to be destroyed.
31.And he shall send his angels (servants) with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
When you begin to see the Roman armies approach, you will know the time is here.
34. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
This will all come to pass before all the ones He is speaking to die.
35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Everything I say will happen. It is the only permanent thing in the universe.
36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
The day of Christ's second coming is unknown to anyone but God Himself. If anyone tells you Christ is coming in (fill in the date) don't believe them.
37. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,
39. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
People won't be expecting Him.
40.Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
You know, this doesn't say the good will be taken and the bad left. In His parables, Jesus consistently says the bad will be taken out and punished THEN the saved will be gathered together.
42. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43. But know this, that if the Goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Live as if Christ cold come in the next five minutes.
45.Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46. Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Work as if His coming will be in a hundred years.
47. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49. And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50. The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51. And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
So in answer to the disciple's three questions, “Tell us, when shall these things (the destruction of the temple) be?” When you see the armies coming to destroy Jerusalem. And “what shall be the sign of thy coming?” No sign. Live as if Christ could come in the next five minutes. Work as if His coming will be in a hundred years. And “of the end of the world?” Same as above.