Saturday, May 31, 2008

Where Is The Ark of God?

Indiana Jones made a movie about it once... where is the Ark of God?

I was watching Digging For The Truth on the History Channel once, and they had an episode of where the ark might be. One of the plausible sounding guesses was that it was in Ethiopia. Some people think that somehow it got over there because King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba had a relationship of some sort... or so some believe.

The Ethiopian theory is based on the belief that the last known reference to the ark in the Bible was from King Solomon's day.

I guess whoever came up with that little bit of research failed to read the entire Bible.

While I was reading II Chronicles 35 today, I ran into verse 3: "Then he said to the Levites who taught all Israel, who were holy to the Lord: "Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, built. It shall no longer be a burden on your shoulders. Now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel."

So evidently, the location of the ark was known in King Josiah's day, and he sent it to one of the houses which Solomon built. I would guess he would put it in a house in Judah? And not in Ethiopia, even if Solomon built a house there. Josiah followed the Lord, and I would find it hard to believe that Josiah would send something that important away from his country during his lifetime. He also had no reason to believe that the ark would have been taken by enemies.

He died fairly suddenly in battle.

His sons did evil in the sight of the Lord. One of them was carted away to Egypt, Nebudchadnezzar carried away another king and also took some of the articles from the house of the Lord to Babylon.

II Chronicles 36:18 says that all the articles of the house of God, great and small, ended up being carried away to Babylon.

Perhaps somebody had foresight in the days of the final evil kings, and hid the ark away... or perhaps the ark ended up going to Babylon. But the Bible says one thing: it didn't leave Israel in the time of Solomon.

Revival Challenge Day 14


Hope you are all having a great day today, whether you are reading in the middle of the morning or in the middle of the night.

The expected bad news has happened... Governor Ritter of Colorado signed a bill that will allow sexual predators to enter women's restrooms at any time that they feel like, as long as they claim to believe that they are female at the time they do so. Of course, that was not the intent of the bill... the intent of the bill is to allow transgendered people to use the restroom of the gender they perceive to be... but the unintended consequence is that it will allow sexual predators to use the women's restroom as well. They need our prayers.

I was reading II Chronicles 35-36 today. King Josiah was a good king. Unlike Joash, who became king at age 7 and was good for all the days of his mentor Jehoiada, then ended up killing his mentor's son after his death, King Josiah seemed to be a good guy all the days of his life. Chronicles doesn't really say anything bad about him.

But he did sin, and that was his undoing. King Necho of Egypt was fighting against Carchemish, and Josiah decides to join in the fight. Necho sends him a message from the Lord, basically saying butt out, this isn't your fight... don't meddle with God, or he'll destroy you (II Chronicles 35:20-21). Josiah didn't listen, and that was the end of him.

I bet there are a lot of people like Josiah out there. I know lots of people that love the Lord. They try to do what pleases God most of the time. They go to church, teach their kids right from wrong, try to stay away from filthy movies and television shows... but it's very easy for even people that want to follow the Lord to fail just as Josiah did.

Anyone can be like Josiah. I'm not perfect. Only Jesus is.

I pray today that those of us that love the Lord can follow him today with our whole hearts, and not fail to listen to him when he speaks today, as Josiah did with the king of Egypt.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Revival Challenge Day 13


I was thinking this morning as I woke up... what could revival mean to this country? I suppose most Christians generally think of it as a good thing... and it is. But... the road to revival might not always be sunshine and roses.

I mentioned the Fulton Street Revival on Challenge Day 1. Lots of people got saved, people got rid of the ungodly trash in their lives, and the crime rate went down. Great! BUT... to get there, there was a stock market crash. When things look down for a people, that's often when people turn their hearts to God.

I think that's true in most people's lives. Like Hezekiah in II Chronicles. Today I read chapters 32-34. Many of us who have read the Bible a few times know that Hezekiah was about ready to die, then he prayed that he wouldn't die, and God let him live another 15 years. During those years, he was full of pride and didn't serve God the way that he was supposed to.

I noticed today, that his son Manasseh was an evil king, for the most part. Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king, which meant that he was born while Hezekiah was in those 15 years that he spent in pride, not following the Lord. So all he saw of his father's life were the bad things, and not the years and years of good that he did before that, repairing the temple and the like.

Manasseh was an evil king for most of his life... but in II Chronicles 33:12, after Assyria took the country and he was in bondage, he humbled himself. So for the last few years of his life he was good.

Manasseh's son Amon probably saw the evil that his father did for most of his life, and he was an evil king. He didn't repent, and only reigned 2 years. He had a young son named Josiah, who was 8.

Josiah saw the evil that his father Amon did, for all 8 years of his life, but he was 6 years old when his grandpa Manasseh died. Manasseh had repented in his latter years, so during the 6 years that Josiah was alive before his grandpa died, he probably saw his grandfather doing good.

But before Manasseh repented... he was taken away into captivity by the Assyrians.

What good is it if our country gains the whole world, but loses it's own soul? The riches that God has to offer us in the next life are better than the riches that we can find in our toys, the clothes, the food, and all the wonderful things that we find down here. I know I'm saved, and if you're praying for revival along with me you probably are too, but we live with people that aren't saved, and some of them are probably people we care about.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Revival Challenge Day 12

America continues to have some serious challenges. Focus on the Family had a broadcast yesterday about a law sitting on the governor's desk in Colorado saying that private businesses can not discriminate against transgendered people who want to use the bathroom of the opposite gender. So anybody that thinks, or says that they think, they are of the opposite gender can go into the restroom of the gender that they believe they are.

I do feel for transgendered people... many of them seem to struggle with their identity. BUT... this law is fairly dangerous. How is a business supposed to know that someone feels they are of the opposite gender? There is nothing to stop a man from going into the girls bathroom, claiming to be transgendered, when his true motive is of a predatory nature. Locker rooms at schools and gyms would allow for peeping toms, who could simply state that they felt like they were female, which gives them a reason for using the female locker room.

Colorado needs our prayers, only God can keep the governor from signing this law at this point.

Although things look bad, I was encouraged when I read II Chronicles 30-31 today. While the people of King Jotham were wicked, and the people of King Ahaz's day followed him in his evil doings, the people in King Hezekiah's day had a real revival. They cleaned up the temple, got the priests and Levites cleansed, and even sent out messengers to Israel inviting them to join them in the Passover... they had their own little band of missionaries going out, I guess you could say.

This change in the hearts of the people took place quickly... II Chronicles 29:36 says that "Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people, since the events took place so suddenly." It just happened. Only God can do that.

Perhaps you think that praying for revival is futile... aren't we in the last days? I think that we are, but other countries are seeing people turn to Christianity, why can't it happen here too?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Sputtering End To The School Year

Life is funny. Around the beginning of April, I had this schedule all ready. I was going to be done with school before Memorial Day, it was going to be great.

Then our house caught on fire.

It is so hard to get back into your life's groove when everything is so suddenly interrupted. We missed a couple of weeks of school, and the lessons that were so easily begun at 9 have now become afternoon classes.

But I'm finally starting to see the end. We have 3 more math lessons. My dd's birthday is coming up very soon and I'm not teaching reading past that date. Those are our most difficult classes.

I really enjoyed BJU's Vacation Stations last year. It only took about 15 minutes a day, and last summer dd seemed to blossom under the program. At the beginning of the summer she could sound out individual letters, but she couldn't blend them to form words. By the end of the summer, just by reviewing what she already knew, she had gotten blending, and I was confident enough in her abilities to put her right into Reading 1.

So we're getting Vacation Stations 1 this year, and we'll start that the week after her birthday. We won't be finished with Bible or history (we have 10 lessons of each left), but both history and Bible are not intensive classes, and they have information that I'd like to teach before we hang it up for the summer. I'm hoping that Vacation Stations will reinforce all the addition and subtraction facts that dd has been learning all year, as well as reinforce all the reading that she's been doing.

We picked up the items for the summer reading program at our new local library today. Dd's all excited about that.

I wrote earlier today about the faithfulness of some of Judah's kings... or in their case, how their faithfulness sort of went to a sputter in the latter years of their lives. I think that homeschooling requires a great deal of faithfulness. You just have to keep plugging away at it. It takes faithfulness, especially when things are going well. If I hadn't been on schedule when our house fire happened, it'd be very difficult to catch up, or I'd have to teach reading and math all summer.

Last year, we were able to end our school year in April, for a very long and enjoyable summer. This year is seemingly ending in a sputter. First the math goes, then the reading goes, then we slowly morph into our summer schedule while tying up the loose ends of history and Bible. But I guess one great thing about homeschooling is that you can be flexible in this sort of way if you want to.

Revival Challenge Day 11

In the last couple of days, I've been reading from II Chronicles, chapters 24-29. Most of the kings talked about in these chapters were "good" kings, but they all had some problems:

Joash - was a good king while his adopted father Jehoida was alive, but after Jehoida died he ended up murdering Jehoida's son for rebuking him.
Amaziah - outwardly followed God, but his heart wasn't in it... later set up an idol, which was his downfall.
Uzziah - followed God when he was young, but became proud as he was older, decided to offer his own sacrifices in the temple rather than doing things God's way, and was stricken with leprosy
Jotham - was a good king... but the people of the day were wicked
Ahaz - must have listened to his wicked peers, because he was a wicked king.
Hezekiah - must have learned about the Lord from Grandpa Jotham, who died when he was 9 years old (if you do the math). He was a good king who followed the Lord. He reopened the temple that his father Ahaz had closed, and you could probably say there was revival.

I made a note about the first three of those kings... they were good and followed the Lord, but they didn't stay faithful. I don't know about you, but if the Lord doesn't come back soon and I live a full life here on Earth, I could have many more days left on the earth than I have already have had... I pray that no matter what happens, I will remain faithful, so my end doesn't go the way of the first three of these kings.

What I noticed about the second three kings was how Jotham was a good king that followed the Lord, but he ruled a wicked society... kind of like today. His son Ahaz became king when he was 20 years old, and was more like the society than his father. He reigned for 16 years. Ahaz's son Hezekiah became king at age 25... do the math... Ahaz was 11 years old when Hezekiah was born (!), and Hezekiah was 9 years old when Jotham died. It seems to me that Hezekiah must have learned from his grandfather when he was still around, because he followed the Lord like his grandfather did.

Things weren't going very well in Ahaz's day... a lot of battles were lost and many people were carried away captive. But when Hezekiah took over, he returned to the temple sacrifices and to following God.

I haven't read past this this time around, but I remember that things were pretty peaceful in Hezekiah's day, and he added a lot to the storeroom... so much so that his biggest mistake listed in the Bible was showing off all that he had to the king of Babylon.

Part of what I'm going to pray about today, as I pray for revival to this country as a whole, is for faithfulness so I don't go the way of the first 3 good kings I mentioned here, and for my kids to follow the Lord, so they don't decide to follow the wicked society, as king Ahaz did.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Teacher Has Class "Vote Out" Their Classmate

This article is so sad.

A Kindergarten teacher allowed the children in her classroom to vote out their classmate, who is in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

I feel so bad for this little boy. Perhaps he was acting up... but that really isn't any reason to vote out a five year old. How are we going to expect this little boy to learn to behave and feel loved if we're rejecting him before he even hits first grade!

School is tough enough without your teacher rejecting you, especially if you have a disability like Asperger's. Kids are more than likely to tease him as they get older, on account of how cruel they often tend to be. There's absolutely no excuse for a teacher encouraging that sort of behavior.

The Bible says that in the last days, the love of many will wax cold. I think this lady is just one example.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Revival Challenge Day 9

Hope that you had a great Memorial Day.

There are many heroes who have died for the freedoms that we have, but true freedom comes from God. Which is why we need him so much. We are endowed by our creator... is what our founding fathers said with regard to freedom.

Hope that you found time today to pray for revival of this country, amid all the fun that you hopefully had with your family and your friends.

Revival Challenge Day 8

I'm posting this after midnight, but I haven't gone to bed yet, so I still consider this to be day 8. :-)

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Our country has a lot of heroes in it. Not the kind you see on TV or in the movie theaters, but the people that serve in the Armed Forces day after day. Especially the ones that happen to be on the battlefield... or the ones that give their lives for our country.

I found out something interesting today... since 1776, not a single generation has gone by without having to defend freedom. I guess it's something the devil likes to attack. Because the freedom that we have had includes the freedom to worship God. The Chinese don't have the type of freedom we do... they have to meet underground. Neither do many people in the Middle East.

Today I read II Chronicles 14-17. I noticed something interesting. King Asa was a pretty good king, and followed the Lord for most of his life. He fought a battle with 580,000 soldiers against armies with more than a million soldiers... and he won, because he followed the Lord and God was on his side. When he got older, he became more prideful and relied on his alliances with other countries more than he relied on God. As a result, Judah was constantly in battle for the rest of his life. Similarly, he had a problem with his foot, and rather than praying and relying on God, he relied on physicians, and was never healed. He died 2 years later.

His son, Jehoshaphat, also loved the Lord, but he continued to rely on God all his days. I noticed something interesting. The fear of the Lord fell on all his enemies. This was only because the country under Jehoshaphat was a good country... if you would use the terminology of today, you would think of it as a "Christian nation".

Our country is quickly losing it's status as a "Christian nation". For the most part, it hasn't been for years. I watched some old speeches that Ronald Reagan made the other day, and it was really sad to see, because he referred to a Christian God in his address, in a way that would be scandalous if a president said today. It would be nice to go back to a day where presidents could talk about the birth of Jesus Christ and of the creator.

The only way we're going to get there is for revival. Don't know if it will ever make a difference, but I'm going to keep on praying.

In church today, our preacher preached about our military heroes, and about Christian heroes. We also sang some patriotic songs. Like a verse that rarely gets sung any more:

Our Father's God! To Thee,
Author Of Liberty,
To Thee We Sing;
Long May Our Land Be Bright
With Freedom's Holy Light;
Protect Us By Thy Might,
Great God, Our King!

Almost a prayer for revival in itself.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Clarification Regarding Todd Strandberg

I posted earlier today about my 13 year history with the Rapture Ready web site. I want to make something perfectly clear, because I do not want another innocent person's reputation being ripped to shreds as mine has.

Todd Strandberg had nothing to do with my situation. While he does own the web site, to the best of my knowledge he had nothing to do with what has happened in the last day. His friend and fellow co-writer, Terry, also has nothing to do with what has happened.

Todd is a good person who just wants people to know about Jesus, repent and get saved, so they will be ready when the rapture happens. I have admired him for many years, although the only time that I have ever really had contact with him was several years ago when I sent an email offering to help him with something he had requested volunteers with. I guess he was swamped with offers or my offer got lost in the email, because he never replied.

He writes great columns and I believe he lives what he says. He has poured tons of his own money into helping this cause for Christ, on what probably wasn't a very large salary. He has done so much for God for as long as I have known of him and followed him. I have nothing but respect for him, and I expect when he reaches the pearly gates, he will have many jewels in his crown and God will definitely be telling him "well done, thou good and faithful servant."

I just wanted to clear this up, because I did not want to malign the reputation of either him or of Terry. He was not the person that called me a demon-possessed, single male with multiple personality disorder. I don't want anybody accidentally thinking that. While I am not going to publicly reveal the name of the person that did accuse me of these things, I wanted to make sure that everybody knew that it was not Todd. I continue to have nothing but respect for him.

Thanks. :-)

Revival Challenge Day 7

Okay. I have done all I can and I'm going to try to put the past 24 hours and hurt behind me. The real problems with this country don't stop just because a few people hate me.

Gotta get back to the business of praying for revival! I hope that you join me! :)

Trashed Reputations Are Impossible To Recover...

I've been going through a struggle for about the last 24 hours, and it has to do with the loss of friends... and ends with a trashed reputation. I suppose that we should all be careful of what we say to other people... because although in my circumstances it was not caused by gossip, people can lose their good names over false rumors as well.

I'm going to tell my story about how my reputation was trashed here. Hopefully in an attempt to clear my good name with some people. Probably not everybody, some people may not believe me, but that's okay. Airing my dirty laundry publicly, and hopefully rationally, is about the best that I can do.

It starts about 13 years ago. It was 1995, and I was in college. I went to a Superbowl party with some friends, and this random lady was there. She was a Christian, as I was, and she started telling me about all this stuff that was happening behind the scenes... European Union stuff... all tin-hatty at the time. This one chance encounter with her introduced me to Bible Prophecy, and made me realize that we were in the last days. I had always enjoyed the book of Revelation, but I always thought that stuff was far off into the future.

That year, yahoo and other internet search engines were still in their infancy, and I did a search and stumbled across the Rapture Report. It was a report run by a wonderful man of God named Todd Strandberg, that came out every week that detailed the events of the day, sort of like a report card on how close it seemed that we were to the Rapture. I thought we were within 10 years of the rapture. But I guess God has different timing, because we're still here. Of course, his ways are better than mine, in ways I can't understand.

Years went by, and eventually the Rapture Report started a bulletin board, and renamed themselves Rapture Ready. I had gotten interested in other interests for a while, so I missed the first board they were on, but then I was a member of the second board. I was a very active member... I remember back in the days they posted their post count, and there was almost something of a competition to see who could have the higher post count. Those were fun times.

I was having a great time posting, and I was always talking about my friends on the board or something that we were discussing. My husband decided that he wanted to have an account. I was all cool with that at the time. For a while, things were going great. We both had friends on the board, they knew we were a married couple, and everything was cool.

Until my husband started getting involved in the political forums on the board.

He's a great guy, but he's not exactly... political. I'm the kind of person that can tell you that you stink and be nice about it. He'll come right out and say it, and you'll be offended.

That's when things started going downhill. Because he'd post things that were usually Biblical, but he'd say them in such a way that he would get under people's skin and rile up some nerves. So he started getting on the "bad boy" list with the mods. They started giving him warnings, but he didn't tone it down.

Then it happened. He got banned. Not just himself... he got us BOTH banned.

I was absolutely livid. We weren't on speaking terms for about a week. Finally after two weeks they let me back. Unfortunately... they also let my husband back. Anyway, he knew how upset I was over him getting me banned, so he did tone it down, and when he found out that he was having a personality conflict with one of the moderators, so he asked to be put on vacation. He never posted to that board again. That was 2005, I think.

Anyway, time passed. In 2006, I found out that we were going to have our second baby. I started becoming a regular poster over at the forums. Several months into posting there, I was getting into the debates and everything, and I was discussing with my husband what was going on over there. It happened again! He decided to become a member over there. Again, he was abrasive in the political forums, as he tends to be. Again, he got banned. Fortunately, the moderator knew me very well over there, and decided not to ban me.

It didn't stop there. Dh decided to create this alter ego on the Epregnancy forums. Again, stirred up some trouble. But he was less abrasive, and because he was pretending to be a girl, they didn't run him out of town that quickly.

About the same time, Rapture Ready (the forums) came under new management, and started all over again with a new database and everything. Since my husband had never had a problem with Todd or anybody else over at these new forums with the same name, he decided to create a new account there. So did I, because I had friends that went over at both boards now.

What do you know, my husband does it again. He starts posting to the political threads, starts offending people, and gets put on vacation. This time, they do the sensible thing and only put him on vacation. It's biblical that you should be punished for your own sins and not the sins of others, right?

If it would have stopped there, this whole thing would have ended and my reputation would still be intact. I wouldn't be writing this long diatribe today.

But no... not satisfied with being put on vacation, my husband decides to violate the Terms of Service on the board by dredging up his old alter-ego from the Epregnancy days. Even though there was a post on the site that says loud and clear you will be banned for creating multiple identities he decides to do so anyway. He thought that he was being slick by masking the IP that he was using while creating the account.

So yesterday afternoon, I get back from my wonderful vacation in Los Angeles, planning to respond to someone who had asked me a question while I was away, and I found out that I was banned.

I had not done anything to deserve this. Unless you believe that you should be punished for marrying the wrong person.

I had a good, long conversation over AIM with my husband over this yesterday afternoon. I was livid. When he did this to me over on RR three years ago and I finally got reinstated, I told him to never do this to me again. But he did.

And you know what? He also told me that he had several accounts that he only logged into from work. I was absolutely floored. He said that they had not banned his other accounts. He told me that he had no intention to stop posting to Rapture Ready from these other accounts, if they were ever so kind to reinstate me, but he did promise to not post from home. Oh great. Get me into trouble and then not stop doing what got me into trouble in the first place. Thanks.

I had a PM conversation with one of the moderators in the last evening. I'm not going to post his name because it is not my intention to hurt anybody in all this. I just want to do what I can to clear my reputation publicly.

Anyway, I could not convince this person that I and my husband were different people. I sent him a link to my and my husband's picture over on a site that he should have been familiar with as being valid, I sent him the names of several people that had spotless reputations that could vouch for the fact that both me and my husband were different people (some of them I have met in person). I even took a picture of our driver's licenses and sent him a copy for him to view. You would think that perhaps this would be enough proof that I and my husband were different people. Somehow, I can't think of anything else that could provide more proof than that.

But no, it was not. We do live in the same house, and accordingly, have the same IP address (duh). We have our domain names registered under the same account (yes, that makes it easier, you only have to pay one bill). I suppose that that proof supercedes the fact that we have different driver's licenses, there are two of us in the picture, and that there are several people who have met both of us and can vouch for the fact that we are not the same person.

Anyway, my reputation has been tarnished in the process. According to some people, not only am I a deceitful person who creates multiple accounts in order to violate the rules of a message board that I have many friends on, I also have multiple personalities and am demon possessed (because I asked them to never reinstate my husband to the board EVER in order to prevent this from happening to me again). Oh, and I am also a single man.

Well, for anybody who has stuck around to read the whole thing, this is who I really am. My real name is Brooke, and my middle name is like Lorren. I have been going by Lorren, or Brookelorren, on the internet since 1994. If you google my internet nickname, Brookelorren, you will find out more than you would ever need to know about me. Read my writings. If I truly am a demon-possessed, single male trying to create a fake identity in order to post on the Rapture Ready message board, I've got a real problem... because if I truly am the fake that some people think I am, then I have been carrying on this elaborate hoax for more than 10 years. Do you think that I am intelligent enough, that I have the foresight, to start writing hundreds and hundreds of articles and posts over a period of more than a decade, in case one day I get banned from a message board? I assure you, I am not. I may think that I'm pretty smart, but it's more of a book learning thing and not a people smarts thing.

Well, there's nothing really more than I can do to try to recover my reputation than what I have just said. I can't make anybody believe me. But I will say that you will find out that I am who I say I am at the Rapture. At least Jesus knows who I am.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Revival Challenge Day 6

Ugh... today has not been such a good day.

In order for God to heal the land, God's people have to pray and turn away from their sins. Well, I'm having a hard time with the second part today.

My husband decided to create fake identities on a message board that I've been a member for more than 10 years for, which is against the rules. They ended up banning me over it. I'm trying to contact some people off board because it is completely unfair to punish me for something that he did, but so far no luck.

I'm having a difficult time thinking kind thoughts towards him at this moment. He knew that he was doing wrong and this is the second time that he's caused me to get banned from a message board because of something that he did (the first time I was reinstated after a few weeks of pleading). I feel angry and hurt over all this. I'm also feeling hatred towards myself over this... I have the tendency to self-flog myself when people are punishing me for things like this.

So I'm trying to pray for revival, but today it is difficult.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Revival Prayer Challenge: Day 5

I didn't post yesterday because it was a pretty busy day. We went to Universal Studios, the American Idol Finale, went to have dinner at a Disney Diner type place, then I went for a swim in a pool 5 stories up. Plus we didn't have internet. But I did continue to pray for revival, I hope you are too.

Today is day 5 in my challenge to myself to pray for revival. Oddly enough, this morning I read about the verse in II Chronicles saying "if my people, who are called by my name, pray .... then I will heal their land". That's a paraphrase from the top of my head. As Christians, we are called by Jesus' name. What does healing our land mean? Does it mean that crops will grow well? Does it mean that our country's leaders will start making wise decisions?

I don't really know what it means, but it is probably good, and I'd like to find out. I heard once that in Haiti, they have horrible crop yields, but over in the Dominican Republic, same island, they have wonderful harvests. I heard that Haiti was dedicated to Satan... I'm not sure about that, but I do know that voodoo and witch doctors are big around there.

Hope that you all keep praying :-)

Oh, while you're at it, you might have heard the news that Steven Curtis Chapman's 5 year old daughter died in a car accident. He's the person that sings "Cinderella" and "Miracle of the Moment," along with many other Christian songs. He could probably use your prayers too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Revival PrayerChallenge: Day 3

I'm in Los Angeles today, I may not post tomorrow because wi-fi is scarce, but I'll keep praying anyway. We're here on a trip that I won.

California needs your special prayers because of the recent court decision allowing gay marriage. It will be allowed in 20something days unless the supreme court of CA allows a stay until the voters can decide. They really need our prayers.

America needs our prayers too, and I'll keep on continuing to pray for revival. And for the Californian government. There is a post on about what the effects of gay marriage might be and it would be shocking. Could you imagine engagement homosexual engagement ring commercials? Dreaming for your Prince Charming being hate speech?

Gotta go! Hope you join me in prayer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Homeschooling Infants: Signing Time is Paying Off!

Most homeschoolers realize that children don't just learn between the hours of 8 and 3. Kids learn all day long. My daughter learns about history and geography at bedtime when I read to her from Little House On The Prairie. She might learn math at the grocery store. While we have formal learning, it doesn't stop there. Since I'm her sole teacher, if I can find ways to integrate learning in the rest of my daughter's day, I will.

The same is true for age. Kids don't start learning at 5 and know everything they need to know by the time they turn 18. They start learning at birth. In fact, they learn at a more rapid rate when they are younger.

Although my homeschooling efforts are currently focused on my daughter, I also have an 18 month old. As he gets older, I can do more "formal" learning with him. Not really formal because we don't have a curriculum that we use yet, but I can tell him what a train is, or a fish or a bird, and he'll pick that up from me.

I've been trying to teach my son sign language since he was about 3 months old. I wasn't expecting him to sign with me at 3 months, I just wanted him to start getting used to it. I haven't been the most consistent person in the world at it, but I kept on plugging away at it.

At around a year old, ds started picking up a few signs. He first signed dog, then he learned fish. He started signing milk and pointing to his mouth to tell me that he was hungry or thirsty (I just had to guess). It's very nice to have your baby be able to tell you what he wants.

Now he can tell me a lot more about what he wants or is thinking. Just today he made the sign for water (he doesn't do it correctly, but I know what he's trying to do) and I knew that he wanted something to drink. He will also make that sign when he sees a lake. We went for a walk and he heard an airplane, and made the sign for plane. Just a couple of days ago, he heard dd running the water in the bathtub to get her hair wet, and he made the sign for bath.

I have to thank the people at Signing Time for their great DVDs. They have catchy tunes and are made with children in mind. I'm glad that our library has them, although they tend to be a hot item and are often gone. Our local PBS station is now showing Signing Time on Sundays, so I have Tivo set to record it.

Dd has picked up on sign language too. She's getting pretty good at it. :)

Revival Prayer Challenge: Day 2

Yesterday I challenged myself to start praying for revival for this country, every day, from now until the election. I think that only God can make a difference in this country, not any political candidate or legislative reform.

I prayed for revival, not only of this country, but of myself too. Because it has to begin with ourselves. Anyway, I already got a small blessing out of it. It was my turn to work in the nursery, and usually I'm a little disappointed that I have to be in the nursery and not in church. But I prayed for a better attitude and to see it as an opportunity to help others. Anyway, my baby is in the nursery still, and there were only three babies in the nursery yesterday. One was asleep, so it was just my little boy and one other girl. We have two nursery workers for the accountability. Working in the nursery was a nice time of bonding and playing with my little boy yesterday.

I read 1 Chronicles 28-29 this morning, and I came across an interesting verse. 1 Chronicles 28:8-9 (and I'm paraphrasing here) say that if we seek the Lord, we will possess the land and leave it as an inheritance for our kids, but if we forsake him, he will cast us off forever. I know that this was written to Israel, but I think that the principles translate to any country.

Today I'm including a little prayer... nothing fancy, but I know that some people, like my little girl, don't really know where to start.

Dear Lord, thank you for this wonderful day. Our country needs your help. In the Bible it says that if we forsake you that you will cast us off forever, but if we seek you, we will possess the land and leave it as an inheritance. I know that I have sinned, and while it may be a convenient excuse to say that "everyone else is doing it," I know that that's not an excuse. Please help me to live for you today, please bring revival to me. And dear Lord, please bring revival to our country, we need it desperately. We can't fix it ourselves, only you can. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Prayer Challenge: Pray For Revival

Our church is starting week-long revival services. This got me to thinking about a sermon that I heard about a year ago about the Fulton Street revival. Here is some info on it.

The Fulton Street Revival started out with one guy deciding to hold weekly prayer meetings. Only 6 people came the first week. More came the next week. Then more, until soon they had to find a bigger room. It spread to other cities. God was moving in this country in a big way. People stopped drinking and bars were put out of business. I think they had to lay off police officers because there were fewer crimes.

Our country could use God's help right now, don't you think? I don't know about you, but I'm not really impressed with any of the major political candidates. Courts all over this country are legislating from the bench and going against the people's wishes. Our country seems to be headed towards economic ruin, illegal immigrants are taking away jobs, our school system leaves something to be desired, there's so much garbage on television and in the movies... we need God's help!

So here's my challenge to you: pray. Pray for a little bit every day. Pray for this country to undergo revival once again. The Bible says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). This is the kind of prayer we need.

Our guest preacher today started off preaching from Nehemiah for the morning Sunday School Service. In his day, Israel had just finished building the temple, but the walls had been torn down. Nehemiah prayed and wept for 4 months before anything happened. But he also did something else. He confessed his own sins, he confessed the sins of his own country. You can read it in Nehemiah 1. Revival followed.

So my challenge is this. Pray every day, not just for the revival of our own country and for God's help, but also confess your own sins and pray for a revival in your own heart. Because revival has to start with ourselves.

I challenge you, and myself, to continue to pray for revival from now until election day. If God is working within this nation, it really doesn't matter who wins the election. God can work through any of the candidates. God can work in the hearts of anyone. What matters is that we pray. What matters is that we pay attention to ourselves and what we are doing.

This is as much a challenge to anyone stumbling across this post as a challenge to myself. I hope to make updates, hopefully frequently.

So this is day one.

Friday, May 16, 2008

How Does This Happen?

Here's one of the more morbid stories that I've heard in a while...

Lady Lies Dead For More Than 35 Years

Hedviga Golik died years before I was born, and nobody discovered her dead body until now? Nobody noticed? How does something like that happen?

I've read stories about people laying around in an apartment for a couple of weeks before they've been discovered, but 35 years? Unbelievable.

I wonder where her family was, or if she was all alone. Her neighbors said that they thought she was going to travel abroad. It's really sad that nobody knew or cared about her enough to even wonder... they just forgot about her until she was found.

What I also found sad was that the neighbors almost immediately started bickering about who owned the apartment.

Fortunately, there is someone that never forgot about her. Someone that will never forget about us. God cares about her, and always has, for the 35 years that her body lay still in the shut up apartment, and for whatever lonely years of her life were spent by herself before she died.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Mattress: The Safest Place for Your Valuables?

In the days of increasing state budget shortfalls, some states have decided to seize assets in people's safe deposit boxes. Like this story:

Carla Ruff's Safe Deposit Box

Somebody got a good deal, because the government figured that her box was unclaimed and the owner was unknown... even though she still had an account with the bank and the safe deposit box was paid for. They decided to sell off her great-grandmother's pearls for $1800, even though they were worth more than $82,000. Good deal for whoever bought them at auction.

Perhaps the best place for your precious valuables is in your mattress nowadays. The government feels free to take anything from you whenever it feels that it wants to.

No wonder living "off the grid" is becoming more popular.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lazy Americans And Their Jobs

I saw this on Glenn Beck today... thought it was amusing.

I guess the New York Sun or some newspaper like that reported on one of their pages that they are having problems finding people to pick cherries because the governor won't let them import workers from Mexico and Jamaica...

On the same page, right next to the complaints about the lack of workers to help them pick fruit, there is an article saying that teenagers are having trouble finding work this summer.

Hmmm... what's wrong with this picture?

Why can't the teenagers pick fruit? Are they too good for that job?

I was talking to my grandma on the phone yesterday for Mother's day, and she was talking about how there are tons of immigrants (whether illegal or not I don't know, probably a lot of them are illegal) that have moved up to Washington State to pick brush and shuck oysters. My dad did that job when he was younger, as did my great-grandpa and grandma back in the days.

So where is the disconnect here? Are teenagers to lazy... or to good... to pick fruit in New York? Or brush in Washington state?

I'm not sure what is the answer. Perhaps the teenagers do find themselves too good to pick fruit and brush, or perhaps the job seekers are not looking in the same place that the employers are advertising.

Take brush picking. I lived in Washington state for many years, but I'm not sure where I would go to find a job like that... if they would even hire me nowadays because I speak English and have a US birth certificate. Do they advertise in the newspaper or on places like How do the teenagers find out that there are jobs to be had?

Where are the cherry farmers advertising their jobs?

I know in Arizona there used to be a lot of employers that would hire illegal immigrants. They can't any more because if they get caught they will lose their business license. But back in the days, many of these jobs would send trucks out to specific street corners where the illegal immigrants would hang out and wait to be hired for the day. I'm not sure if white, English speaking teenagers would have been welcomed there.

In Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina, many construction workers flocked to the state to work on rebuilding the city. Until they were all fired so the construction companies could hire illegal immigrants instead. I know someone that this happened to.

So I'm not sure whether the cherry picker shortage is the fault of the teenagers who don't know that there are jobs to be had out on the farms, or if the fault is of the farmers who don't want to hire them.

But I will say this: people should learn how to work hard. It's what made this country great. I remember reading an article a year or so ago where businesses felt like they had to cater to the new twenty-somethings, who would not even bat an eyelash at quitting their jobs if they didn't like the working conditions, hours, or other aspects about the job. Not sure if that still holds true today, with fewer jobs to go around.

I graduated from the University of Southern California. I've had some cool jobs, like working as a movie extra one year. I've had some less than prestigious jobs as well. One summer in college I worked at McDonald's. I've had high-paying, "important" jobs, like being the anti-terrorism officer at the Navy base in Naples.

A couple of years ago, I took a job as a teacher at Kindercare, making less than 1/5th of the pay that I had received at my job in the Navy. It was the right job at the time, because it allowed me to keep tabs on my young daughter. I blended in fairly well, but my life was not the typical day care worker's. Most people would not like to take an 80% pay cut to care for other people's children with a college degree.

My dh took a 50% pay cut for a while to go stock shelves at Wal-Mart at night. He's a college student, and he needed a night job so he could go to school during the day. You do what you have to do, even if it involves doing hard work, or working at night. He has since found a better paying evening job.

Many successful Americans learned to work hard doing jobs that many would consider "beneath them". 60 Minutes did an interview with Clarence Thomas where he talked about having to work hard as a kid. Wasn't it Abraham Lincoln that split rails? George Washington was an everyday guy in an earlier American war before he became a great war hero in the American Revolution. Chris Gardener, from the Pursuit of Happyness, spent a year taking care of his son while homeless in order to graduate.

There may be easier ways to do things, but sometimes you have to work very hard for a while to get what you need to get done. And if the fruit pickers need workers and the teenagers need jobs, perhaps some people need to work hard for a while.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ebay Forces Paypal Use In Australia

Back when internet commerce came out and Ebay was just a baby... one of the first companies to actually make a profit on the internet... I thought it was a great idea. It's really cool to be able to look up and find just about anything that you want to buy. It's great to be able to sell something to a wide audience.

It still is a great idea, but I'm not a big fan of Ebay the company any more.

I feel similarly about Paypal. It's a great idea, being able to take credit cards online easily... but I don't like Paypal at all. I think they're a bunch of crooks. They stole $300 from me several years ago and I've never gotten over it.

We were living in Italy, in Navy housing, when Paypal stole money from me. I don't remember the exact details, but I was trying to get money into my USC Federal Credit Union account so I could pay a bill. After completing the transaction, Paypal decided to steal money out of our account (without authorization) and then decided to freeze the Paypal account where the stolen money went to. The only way to unfreeze this account was to produce gads of paperwork, including driver's license, some other stuff, and a utility bill. Since we lived in Navy housing and the Navy paid all of our utilities (and we therefore had no utility bills), we could not meet their excessive demands, and Paypal still has our $300 to this day.

There are many more horror stories (some worse than ours) on

So eventually, Ebay purchased Paypal, and then Ebay decided to make the Paypal thieves their preferred method of payment. Oh... goody. There are alternative methods of making online payments, but some people are more reluctant to accept those.

Ebay was once a fine company, but it has gotten too big and thinks to highly of itself. It has raised fees for sellers. It has banned the sale of homeschool teacher's editions, for no apparent reason. They say that it is because it's impossible to prove that someone is buying a book to get the answers... but these same books can be purchased online by anyone with a credit card, so I don't buy that... I think they're just kowtowing to the textbook publishers who don't like it when people purchase used books in favor of new books.

Lately they've screwed up the Ebay feedback system. They've made it more difficult for buyers to get good feedback, and if you are a casual seller on Ebay who doesn't do much business there and hasn't built a high enough feedback, you are banned from using their special features like buy it now.

Ebay's recent move is not in this country. In Australia, they are making a rule so that all transactions have to be completed through Paypal. Great... Australia has an alternate method of payment through bank transfers, that is popular with Australians, but Ebay doesn't want to allow that any more. They want more money, and more control. Perhaps they want to freeze a few more accounts and steal more money that way?

Who knows how long it will be until Ebay wants to enforce that rule here?

Will we ever see a real Ebay alternative? People have tried, but nobody has reached the success of Ebay, as of yet. If Ebay remains too big for themselves and keeps on passing rules that anger buyers and sellers alike, perhaps that will give Ebay's competitors a little help.