Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Prepping: what should a Christian do?

"Prepare." We hear that word constantly these days. The Department of Homeland Security regularly promotes the wisdom of individual and community preparedness before disasters hit. The Centers for Disease Control have been issuing readiness bulletins. There's National Preparedness Month. And even in the chain stores like the Dollar Store, little tags next to the price of tuna remind us of which items are good to stock in readiness bags. Have you seen those? I have.

Preparedness only makes sense. The US and other nations have been hammered with constant man-made and natural disasters. Evacuations are called, electricity goes off, banks are closed, tornadoes, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes, and riots/protests have disrupted much of daily life, everywhere, at some point. Having food, water, and knowledge of an evacuation route prepared in advance is a practical and life-saving measure for any family.

Culturally, prepping hit the mainstream just a few years ago. While there have always been survivalists, much of Middle America considered them extreme. Eschewing the "survival gear, off the grid, Berky, arsenal, hands off my generator, shoot to kill" kind of prepping, the numerous disasters hitting the world have caused many lay-people to re-think their casual attitude toward the amenities we have taken for granted.

Now at least a light form of prepping is on everyone's lips. Recently we've even seen television shows about "prepping." Preparing for doom is now entertainment? I guess so.

Preppers abound now, and there are websites dedicated to the preparations one needs to make in order to survive whatever your flavor of doom in your opinion is coming. There are even church groups promoting preparation for coming disaster. (Christian Emergency Preparedness Network)  The entering into the fray of a Christian group seems to have unnerved the run of the mill preppers a little. Maybe this is getting serious, people think.

Yes. It is.

The Christian Emergency Preparedness Network says that their focus on preparedness is different from the survivalist or the layman prepper. CEPN member David Pike said,

"The thing that is so disturbing about so many of the preppers is that they have all of the food for themselves and they figure on taking care of their immediate family and oftentimes they'll have lots of firearms. Don't mistake me, I'm a firearms proponent, but it's like they're going to be shooting at the neighbors to protect their own food supply. That doesn't last very long," said Pike, a former president of the Champaign County Rifle Association. "You have to be part of a community. You have to have business continue to operate. You have to interact with your neighbors because that's what civilization is all about. You give and in exchange they give back. You maintain some kind of sense of community.  "This is very much Christ-centered. You want to extend yourself in charity to others. You can't do that without limits, but you want to maintain as much sense of community as possible."

When Joel Rosenberg writes, Pray for peace, but prepare for war, what does that mean exactly? In Israel, it means buying gas masks, keeping eyes open for terror activity, and staying up to the minute with government-issued bulletins. In America, that admonition by our country's most famous 'not-prophet' is a little murkier.

Certainly we see that no place in the US is immune from a 'natural' disaster. Floods, drought, hurricanes, earthquakes and even volcanic activity has emerged as a constant companion here on America's shores. FBI and DHS warnings of terrorist activity on our soil have been issued. Riots, strikes, and protests have disrupted cities. It is a fact that we need to be prepared.

The point of this article is to ponder, to what extent? And prepare, for what purpose?

If we prepare as the survivalists do, we are taking our eyes off Jesus, who is our provider. The story of the man in Las Vegas who died holding a grudge against the government and a deep distrust of everything, having hidden 7M in gold in and around his house comes to mind. Hoarding is not living.

The Christian group up above mentioned preparing so that we can connect as community in the wake of disaster and to help our neighbor is a better approach, in my opinion. However, I'd like to caution us all very much here. We may be Christian but we live with a sin nature. That nature is permeated with selfishness, greed, and an instinct for self-preservation. That is why when a person or family is faced with a disaster that has overturned their life, such as a hurricane or martial law or terrorist bombing, it will take a strong and mature Christian to apply the Godly principles of loving your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said that there is no greater love than laying down one's life for his friends (John 15:12-13.) Yet people today- even Christians- get ticked off if someone cuts in front of us on the highway or enters the 10 item check out lane with 12 items. Are you strong enough in Jesus to offer your neighbor your last piece of bread?

This means that no matter you or your family's decision on the level of personal preparedness you've undertaken, we have to be prepared in the Word. Christian maturity is the best preparation for what is coming. No matter how many canned goods you have, the only way to be prepared to give them to a neighbor will be to have allowed the Lord to strengthen you in sanctification. All the preps you want and all the good intentions you hold will matter nothing of your faith is a wisp that allows for quick entry of selfishness and greed and fear- at the expense of your application of Godly principles.

I say this for a reason. In March 2010 I'd written that I felt America's point of no return had been reached. That God's judgment would be falling soon. Not just warnings- judgment. I feel this even more strongly now than I did then. I do not know when we will be raptured, though it feels soon. However I really do not know the Lord's plan for us on earth until that point. We may escape all these things, or we may be on earth when the Psalm 83 war, Isaiah 17 destruction, Isaiah 19 violence, or other wars and terror occur. And a war in the Middle East will definitely affect us all. Would you be ready for $10/gallon gas? He may send more natural disasters upon our shores that even destroy cities as did Katrina or 9/11. Hatred of Christians is rising, even in America. I don't know. But it feels like things will get rough until we are called home.

You may be thinking you're strong enough to withstand trials and will certainly give your last piece of bread to your neighbor. Really? Peter was with Jesus for three years, was the first one to acknowledge Him as Lord, was the only one to get out of the boat, he cut off the soldier's ear in defense of Jesus, but when it came time to preserve his own life, he denied Jesus three times in quick succession. Are you stronger than Peter?

A big difference between us and Peter at that terrible moment is that we have the Holy Spirit inside us. Denying the Spirit the opportunity to have grown us while times have been good will ultimately be our disappointment when times get hard. Peter's life ended well. A martyr, he lived life after Pentecost in submission to Jesus and relied on Him for everything- including Godly integrity when times got very hard, even unto death. Are we weaker than Peter? I hope so, for when we are weak, we are strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Ron Graham recently had a very good essay about this. I feel the same as he does. His article is called "Judgment, Not Warning." He wrote,

"Many Christians see the gloom on the horizon but believe that the Rapture of the Ekklesia will occur before any serious consequences ensue. This is flawed thinking at best. The word of God tells us that the saints will be removed prior to the wrath of God to come, but we are never told that we won’t go through trials and tribulations prior to the Rapture. On the contrary, we are told by our Lord Himself that we will face much persecution, hatred, and menacing times."

"People, what is happening in America today is not a symptom of the times or even a “warning” of coming judgment. Judgment is here, America, and it’s not going to get easier to contend with. It’s growing exponentially worse every day. It may seem like I’m harping on this issue but as a watchman I have a responsibility to my brethren – and to my God. All God’s watchmen have been entrusted with godly discernment. So we step out into the front lines, place our focus on the coming storms, and then ride back to town and lay out a scenario of what we see coming – to all who will listen."

Well said, Brother.

Your own earthly preparation should be prayerfully approached based on your means, location, and family situation. Preparations should be enacted now. However, what is more important is your spiritual preparation. That should be deepening, and deepening fast. Do not take your prayer life casually. Do not take your bible study haphazardly. Do not forgo assembling with the saints. We must seek all the more to assemble together as we see the day approaching! (Hebrews 10:25). Preparation in Christ not only strengthens us spiritually as individuals, but Christian maturity in sanctification will allow us to apply Jesus's principles when the trials come.

We are told there will be Godlessness in the last days. This set of verses applies not to the unsaved, but to those people sitting next to you in the pew. They may be only holding to a form of Godliness, which will evaporate like a wisp the moment times get hard.

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power" (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Prepare yourself to be IN Christ very firmly for when the day comes when you may be tested by a choice to hoard food for yourself or to offer it to your neighbor at the expense of yourself. Yet always look to but through the hard times we're experiencing now and view the glory ahead. Look to Jesus! The best prepping is going on at this moment! Jesus is the ultimate prepper!

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." (John 14:3).

16 comments:

  1. Hi Elizabeth, Very good and practical exhortation on going on to maturity.

    With me it´s a matter of daily practicing the attitude and habit of giving up my right to myself, my desires and my natural sense of justice in relationship with others and what a better place to start but in the family.

    If we can develop a heart attitude that stems from having the same mind as Christ, asking him to give us a servant heart and esteem others more and better than ourselves, all biblical commands and instructions,he will give us opportunities and the strength to practice even in little things. If we don´t miss them!

    I don´t think we will be ready to face the big challenges coming to us in a christ-like manner if we haven´t learnt how to handle correctly the small ones. As you wrote. we human beings have a way to quickly revert to old fleshly habits and behavior when our rights, our comfort and chances of survival are threatened.

    Just a simple example: If I can´t up give up now my desire to have the last piece of a chocolate bar or the past portion of a cake or anything that my flesh craves and lusts after in order to be satisfied, how will I react when it´s time to practice what I preach and share what I have or even give up my share to others to show the love of Christ and encourage them to maturity.

    Lately I found myself doing the same thing you described in the supermarket check out counter.

    To deviate a little from the subject but still on the theme of habit forming practice this time with the tongue, I remember the powerful testimony of a Christian who witnessed the fateful crash in the Canaries island in the 70s and survived miraculously. One thing he said really stuck with me and helped me to consciously practice self control with my tongue. When the plane was ingulfed on flames and people all around him were changed into human torches, the last words coming out of their mouths were curses and profanities and not pleas for God´s mercy on their souls and cries of repentance for their sins. They had trained themselves for years to react with anger and curses and it had become an instantaneous reflex. Another important reason for people to not wait till they are at death´s door to repent and believe the Gospel.

    Then he had a very important lesson that I have never forgotten. He asked:(I paraphrase), when you are facing what ever hurtful, unpleasant, frustrating or unbearable situation what is the first thing that comes out of your mind through your mouth a loud ouch, tears, normal reaction to physical pain or hurt feelings or anger expressed through mild or stronger cursing? I must admit that lately I have felt that way and on one or two occasions, I have let out some mild French expletive I had to ask the Lord to forgive.

    Signs of the time that are not only happening only out there in the world but in us. The heat is turned on and all I know to do to keep being ready is find everything I need in Jesus, trusting in him and practicing what he gave us as instructions in his written Word while I wait for his soon return.

    Be well and stay blessed.
    Jean-Louis

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    1. Hi Jean-Louis, thanks as always for kind and insightful comments. I loved that you re-started the point, "I don´t think we will be ready to face the big challenges coming to us in a christ-like manner if we haven´t learnt how to handle correctly the small ones" so well. The story about the plane crash is vivid and pointed as well. So true, the last moment will be filled with curses if that is our life-time go-to reaction.

      Blessings!

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    2. Thanks Elizabeth! you are a blessing to us!
      Jean-Louis

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    3. Hi Everyone,
      I have read this article and its replies with much interest. I have been researching and trying to think of ways to prepare (for about the last 3 years now) for the beginning of sorrows, the great tribulation, the pale horseman (Rev 6:8) and the disasters man made (upcoming Nuclear Exchange and fallout is a big concern), natural (storms, earthquakes, etc.) and spritually influenced events (killing of people by the beasts of the earth, famines, pestulances, etc [please read Rev. 6:8 and surrounding scripture]) .
      While it is fairly easy to come up with the basic needs for the short term and some of the long term material items needed, its the surviving in the long term and where (where is that safe place to survive at?) to do it that I am having the biggest problems with. I.E. where will be the best place for protection from nuclear blast and radiation (possibly caves or abandoned mines, houses and fallout shelters are definately out of the question), the best place (what states, localities in states, etc. ) to escape and hide (while still trying to do the Lords work and ministry) from the coming persecution (you definately don't want to be captured by the beasts henchmen), how to help others (especially the decieved members of the church, the young and elderly inside and outside the church) escape to safety without jeopardizing your safe place (if you can find one), friends, family, etc.
      Maybe these concerns are outside the realm of some peoples thinking, they shouldn't be, these are very valid concerns that need to be addressed for anyone realistically thinking about surving these horribly devestating upcoming real threats. If you are not in a safe hidden place of refuge (that is unknown to the advisary(s)) when all this stuff breaks loose it is very unlikely that you be able to get there before either being captured or severely affected or handicapped while in a compromising position or situation. I don't mean to sound negative here but the beast (satan) won't be playing any games once he comes into power, he is and will act ruthlessly, mercilessly, torturously, and be a murderous advisary beyond your worst nightmares. The bible says will even overcome many in the church. Make no mistake here I pray nearly daily for guidance from the lord on where to go for safety and escape the afore mentioned threats to my life and well being and how to advise others and help them to prepare for their exit strategy and escape the upcoming horrible events that will take place!
      One other point I would like to make is about guns and ammo, I don't advocate their use on people and I wouldn't worry so much about the people (other than the beast and his henchmen) type threats. But all the beasts of the earth (both land and air animals for sure), from pets and domesticated animals all the up to big preditory wild beasts (lions, grizzly bears, wolves in the U.S.) these will be controlled by the rider and follower of the pale horse who will have power over them to cause them to kill people. You may want to be asking yourself the questions; am I sufficiently armed and do I have enough ammunition.
      I look forward to hearing from anyone out there who think they have valid and rock solid answers to my concerns for many of them for me are still unanswered.

      God Bless you all

      and be watchful and continous in prayer for the lord's guidance and mercy for whatever may come our way.

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    4. Hi Eugene,

      If you are saved by the blood of Jesus after repentance and He is the Lord of your life, and you've borne fruit by having submitted to Him in the Spirit, you are part of the Bride. The Bride AKA the church, will not be here for the Tribulation, the beasts devouring people,and nuclear blasts etc. You will be raptured out first.

      I'd advise to pre to the limit of what s normal person would prep for in a civil emergency. That means, if you like in CA or another earthquake zone, prep for quakes as advised by the civil authority. If you live in a blizzard area, prep for blizzards as you normally would. If you live where there are tornadoes, prep as advised for that disaster.

      Prep so you can help a person in need if a natural disaster strikes. Otherwise, rely on the Lord.

      There are threats to your life every day, not just because we seem to be nearing the end of the end times. Jesus explained what I mean in Luke 13:4-5. He said that the Tower of Siloam fell on people and 18 people died. No matter if the end times came or just an unexpected accident, if one has not repented at death, their eternity is fixed. We must be willing to give up our life, under any circumstances, end time cataclysm or simple car accident, because clinging to our life mans we care more for that than we care for Jesus

      For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
      Mark 8:35

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  2. Elizabeth, Thank you for addressing this issue of prepping. I have lately been feeling that I ought to make some sort of provision for my family but was not sure if doing so would be in line with what the Bible says. I had prayed to God for a confirmation about beginning my prepping in the past weeks and think that this is a terrific and balanced write up of the subject...very helpful. Praise the Lord!

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    1. HI ANonymous,

      You're welcome. I have wondered myself for a long time. In looking at prepping as a continuum with doing nothing on one end and survivalist bunker at the other, I have long wondered where is the line between doing diligence as the head of the family and crossing the line into Jesus's territory as Provider. I think that preparing for natural disasters in a normal way is a diligent thing for a family to do; that if means are available, buying a bit extra when possible is prudent, (if for nothing else, to have on hand to donate to food banks or friends in need for normal Christian charity); and being extra diligent in our Christian disciplines to strengthen us for when or if the really dramatic destructive times come... is the best way to go.

      The third thing leaves the survival provision to Jesus so His glory can shine through, and blesses us because we are being aware of the times as we are commanded to do. At least, that is what I feel I've been led to do.

      As an example: One thing I've decided to do this week is start keeping my car topped with gas. It only makes sense: either we may have to evacuate due to natural disaster (the flavor of disaster around here is tornado- and we actually had tornado threats all Monday night) and also because every time there's war tension in the MidEast gas prices go higher. It is a practical thing I can do which I believe does not intrude on Jesus's territory but at the same time demonstrates an awareness of the times in being both a diligent Christian and neighborly community member.

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  3. Jean-Louis,

    God is gracious! It still amazes me how He gives us what we need when we need it. Your sharing of the survivors words were what I needed to hear today. Thank you.

    And I restate the restated point,"I don't think we will be ready to face the big challenges coming to us in a Christ-like manner if we haven't learned how to handle correctly the small ones." Thank you both.

    Robert

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  4. Ah, that is funny, I had decided to do the very same thing with the gas top off a couple of weeks ago! I just bought my first 50lb bag of sugar since all the corn around here died and if you have seen the drought map of the US with 2/3rds of the country in the red zone. I imagine there are price increases in store for us since corn syrup is in a great deal of products.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I read with dismay the other day that food prices are expected to surge an average of 15% soon. That drought, which cause feed to increase in price, which in turn caused the mass sell off or slaughter of animals, is going to hit soon. Forex Flash and Sky News reported--

      "According to Rabobank "The "mass liquidation" of animals will pick up in early 2013, helping to food prices hitting new highs. From Sky News: "The cost of pork is expected to rise at the fastest pace - by 31% by the end of June next year - while beef costs could increase by up to 8%." "This record cost of meat and dairy will combine with already-high crop prices to increase food prices by 15% by the middle of next year,"

      Revelation 6 and the food inflation it depicts is on the near horizon...

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  5. Thank you for this blog - it's exactly what I've been looking for. God bless you for speaking His Word and helping us process the times as a community of believers. In Christ's Love.

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  6. Great post. I have asked this question many times but coming to a similar conclusion that you wrote. It's nice to see some validation. I personally have taken the approach of be prepared for natural disasters. We have had a few instances of prolonged power outages that drive home have some 'preps'. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst! :)

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  7. Greetings,
    Just came across this in my search for folks to be on radio....Check me out here
    http://www.prophecyhour.com/ and let me know if you have something of interest to say? Links to my archives are on that page as well as contact, oh I have been doing radio since 2001...

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind offer! I'm floored actually. I must humbly decline, I am not that smart and have difficulty talking extemporaneously. But thank you and best of luck on your radio show!! I think Jesus is coming soon!

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  8. I am a prepper but not for the reasons of most. I am a prepper for those that will be LEFT BEHIND. yes I am preparing a place for those that will not be ready for when the rapture does happen. god will lead them here 2 carry on what I started. I hope this place is a legacy of sorts and a refuge where they will protected by god for what this earth and its people will have 2 endure.

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    1. Great! Thank you. Dont' forget to stock lots of bibles, helpfully containing cheat sheets to show what is happening to them and why...

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