Contrast between US and ISIL

The contrast between the US and the nation ISIL/ISSI wishes to establish is enormous.

Last week, I wrote about our great nation and the vision of independence our Founding Fathers had for us when they gave us the Constitution. These great men established a country of freedom. Their faith in God led them to found this nation with liberty and justice for all. Male, female, black, white, or brown, all are equal in God’s sight and in our country. We have freedom of religion. We can choose to believe or not as we see fit. We can agree to disagree about all kinds of things and still remain countrymen. We hold our God given rights of liberty, freedom and pursuit of happiness close to our hearts.

ISIL is also a group of religious men who wish to establish a religious state, only an Islamic one. However, in contrast to the Christian forefathers we had who want everyone to be free, these men want to remove the rights of women and restrict religious freedom to only their beliefs. Anyone who is not currently of their faith, is given a choice: convert, pay a tax and submit to their religious state, or die.

The difference between our two philosophies is dramatic to say the least. It has been the goal of the Unites States to spread freedom and democracy around the world. Allowing each country and its people to establish their own brand of freedom and laws. Some try to make us out as warmongers who deserve whatever we get. However, we see our country as peacekeepers who sometimes get sucked into conflicts we would rather not be in. We simply want other countries to enjoy freedom and liberty too.

Yet for groups like ISIL, religious purity, total submission to their faith and expansion of their beliefs worldwide through dominance is the goal. In their minds, the two ideologies …Islam and Christianity (or any other religion for that matter) cannot co-exist and we believe they are right.

It is our personal belief, these extremists will be part of the darkness ahead. If not directly, then indirectly. We realize not all Muslims are evil, but those in these radical groups are and their voice is much louder than their peaceful counterparts. We must understand, the fanatics hate us and our way of life. They wish to destroy us and put us under their rule, where we submit or die.

Part of our preparation must be to understand what they believe and what their goals are. We must prepare our hearts for the day we have to defend our faith and our lives from their extreme religious views. We must hide the Word in our hearts should the day come our Bibles are taken from us either by religious zealots or a tyrannical government. Both threaten our way of life. I sometimes wonder if some in our government hope to use groups like these to bring chaos to our country, so they can take over and change our way of life too.

Any way you look at the things that may happen in the days ahead, they look dark. However, no matter how hard things might get…Jesus is Lord. His love will never die and he will never leave or forsake us.

We encourage you to walk in love. We must do a better job spreading the Word of Jesus Christ and his love for the world. Our genuine faith in a living and risen Lord. We must love God, love people and serve both. This is the only way the world will see a difference between our faith and theirs.

 

Our United States Constitution

Two hundred years ago, our Founding Fathers established a new nation and gave us our founding documents. The majority of men who wrote the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and our United States Constitution were Christians (though many would like to argue that fact). These faithful men used Biblical principles to write these documents and create our system of law. As a result, the Declaration of Independence says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (including women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This means all men and women; black, white or brown have equal rights under our law because those rights are given to us by God not by man. (Equality has not always been the case, but it is what we strive to achieve.)

The first amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  The second amendment says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. As a result, we have the right to pursue happiness, own land (homes) and work in whatever profession we choose. In addition, all people have the freedom to worship (or not) as they desire and speak as they wish and the government cannot interfere. Lastly, since we are ‘the people,’ we have the right to own guns.

However, for our country to remain free, we need to respect the freedom we have. We must speak out when our government over steps or does things we do not support. Through the years, we ‘the people’ have allowed our government to overstep their original purpose…to provide for the common defense of our nation and ensure trade foreign and domestic (between states).

John Adams wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” And: “To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt… I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple.”

In recent years, we have not held our elected officials accountable. We have not made them listen when we disagree with their decisions. We have not voted them out when they make choices we do not support. We must wake up now. Tyranny is gaining a foothold. We cannot stay silent any longer.

Darkness is closing in. Our debt is crushing us and will bring us down if we do not get our elected officials to cut spending and reduce our debt. We cannot continue to expand welfare. We, the people, need to help those in need…not the government. It is not and never has been their job.

We doubt we can stop the darkness, but by voicing our objections, we might be able to slow it down and give us more time to prepare. No matter what, we must continue on our path of preparation and self-reliance.

What can we expect in the days ahead?

Let’s begin by saying, no one knows what we can expect in the days ahead, except God alone. That said, we can look at the signs of the times and make some observations. 2 Timothy 3 (passage below) explains the attitudes of people we need to avoid, especially in the End Times. Unfortunately, this scripture describes a great many people in our society today. But as I read these important passages, what strikes me most is: ‘continue in what you have learned and become convinced of’ and ‘having a form of godliness but denying its power.’

First, it’s important to hold fast to what we have learned, because people come into our lives or we sometimes hear things, that can sway us from our path.  We must rely on the Holy Spirit to give us insight and discernment. There are more and more people who sound good, even great, but are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They know what people want to hear and many know the scriptures. They use them to draw us in. We must read the Bible and when something doesn’t sound or feel right…we must check them out. We can no longer trust so easily.

Evil in the hearts and minds of people is a major concern and we must guard our own hearts from these mindsets. The list of things we need to guard against are in our scripture below. When we go over it, nothing is surprising. What is surprising, how easily we overlook some of them or can be duped by those who use them.

Second, moral upright behavior and good character are important qualities. Many good people who don’t believe in God are nice and kind people, but they deny God’s existence and power. Sadly, even in our churches, some pastors and ministers are not sold on God’s holiness and don’t acknowledge God’s power. Especially, the ability we receive from him to avoid sin and do his will on this earth. Believers must acknowledge that God is our power and strength. Jesus is holy and we can be also. He will give us the ability to do all the good works God brings us.

As the days become darker, it will become more important for us to hold on to the truth Jesus has given us. Deceivers will try to draw us away from the path Jesus has laid before us or sidetrack us. Stand firm. Keep your eyes focused on the Lord.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-17 (NIV)
1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,
4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–
5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,
7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth–men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.
9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,
11 persecutions, sufferings–what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

Are Preppers crazy?

Last week, we talked about what we can tell people when they think we are crazy for prepping. We didn’t mention there is a large group of Christians, who agree we are nuts. They believe that God will take care of everything, so we don’t have to prepare for anything. So are preppers crazy or are we prudent for preparing  for what’s ahead?

Besides God providing all our needs (with no input by us I might add), another very common thought in Christian circles is: “I expect things to get bad, but I’m a Christian. I believe we will be raptured before anything really awful happens.”

Our usual response is:  First, how do you know when Jesus is coming? The Bible is clear, no one knows but God alone. Second, horrible things have happened throughout history and Jesus didn’t return then. What makes you so sure he will come now? I would love to believe we would be swept away when things get bad, but what if it’s not time yet? What if it is just really bad times and not the End Times? Are you ready for that?

To expand on that thought, I have heard people say: “God provided for the Israelites with manna. I’m sure he will take care of all our needs.”

Our answer: That Bible story is true, but what if they are looking at the wrong story of God’s help. What if Joseph’s story is what we should be thinking about. Sold into slavery in Egypt as a young man, Joseph endured years in a jail. Yet he found favor with the jailer. Many hardships and years later, the Pharaoh placed him in charge of preparing for a great famine. He was the ultimate Bible Prepper. What if Joseph is our example?

We believe God will help us. Just as he warned Pharaoh seven years of plenty would be followed by seven years of famine, we believe God is warning his people to get ready for some event that’s on the horizon. If it was just us who believe this, maybe I would think we might have misunderstood God. However, many people all over the world have received this warning. So for us, that is confirmation we have heard God, need to listen and do as he has told us.

So regardless of what others think or believe we urge you to prepare. Prepare your homes, gather your heirloom seeds, gardening tools, equipment, canning jars, lids and equipment, along with other needs that would make your life easier if you had to provide food for yourself and your family. Fill your pantry and keep it full. Learn how to can and preserve food. Learn how to generate electricity. Self-sufficiency is key, but we are not islands. Form a group in your area of like-minded people who you can work with to survive…people you can trade and share with.

In closing, whether people agree or disagree about the future, stay on the path. Prepare your heart and mind. Organize your home and do what needs to be done.  Even if things don’t get bad for a long time, your life will be better, more fulfilling and you will be less dependent on government and grocery stores. It’s better to know we are ready for anything than be caught unaware and unprepared.

What do you say when people think you’re crazy?

We hear, all the time, we are crazy for preparing for hard times ahead. Many people believe because we live in the best country in the world nothing, as bad as we think, will ever happen here. When we disagree, they look at us like we grew two heads. They think we’re lunatics and need to be locked up in the looney bin. So, what do you say when people think you’re crazy? How can you get them to consider we might be right.

First, no amount of explanation can get through to the really stiff neck people who simply refuse to accept all the signs of decay in our country. For these people no amount of reasoning will persuade them. However, if you mention our fears concerning where our country is headed and the person seems to listen…you might be able to plant seeds of understanding by telling them what you believe and what you are doing to prepare.

Tell them about our loss of freedoms little by little through the years and the intrusion of the government into our daily lives. Ask them how we are supposed to sustain the increase of national debt and how long can we continue to over spend?  How long can a decreasing amount of working people support and increasing amount of people who don’t work and expect increased welfare and support? Never in the history of our country has there been more people collecting support from the government than those working and paying taxes. This alone can damage an already weak economy, much less all the other problems.

Next, we have a group of activists, raised in our country, who wish to bring us down to the level of third world countries. They believe Americans have too much and our lives are too cushy. They push the idea of equality for all people and put down the wealthy…even those who worked to build their businesses through hard work and fortitude. They want everyone in the world to live the same…except them of course. They want to rule the world from their lofty places and fancy mansions.

Add the above problems to the fact, whether we want to accept it or not, there are people in our world who hate us and want our country to fall. They hate our free market system, our freedoms and most of all our faith. These people have vowed to destroy us and our way of life. Many of them already live in our country. We never know when they will decide it’s time to push their beliefs and begin our destruction.

Anything could tip the scales and bring devastation in our nation. If or when any major event happens, our country could totter. From there it wouldn’t take much to make it collapse. If that happens, even those of us who have prepared will have a difficult time. Those who have not will suffer greatly and many will die.

If people will listen at all, tell them your preparations. Most are practical things everyone can do to make themselves more independent. Share the idea of heirloom seeds, canning more of their own food and raising a vegetable garden. Having three to six months or more of food is a great start. It’s important to gather seeds, canning jars and lids, gardening needs, along with medical supplies, guns and ammo, etc. while we can.

Most of all, encourage them to prepare their hearts. We must come to realize we cannot help everyone. That in itself will be challenging. But knowing you may have to defend yourself from those who would steal your provisions will be very hard. However, it could make the difference between life and death for you and your family. You must be prepared to make the difficult decisions. Being a Prepper is challenging, but we are sure you’re up to the task.

Why do I struggle?

Glorious Wonderful Savior and Lord,

With a grateful heart, I praise You for Your many blessings. I’m awed by Your mercy and grace for I’m so unworthy. Yet, You love me. You came, taught, died and rose again…for me…and all who believe, past, present and future.  Through Your sacrifice we are reconciled to our Father God in Heaven. Your loving kindness is wondrous to behold, in the lives changed and the great care you have for us. You send the rain to water the crops, livestock, and our needs alike. You provide for all our needs day after day.

Since I accept all this, why do I struggle? Why do I have so much trouble trusting some things in Your Word? I see the great works of your hand across the land and even in my life, but still I battle to believe. Your Word says: “Believe and receive.” Or “Believe in things that are not as though they are.” I know this means I’m to believe in things that have not happened yet, but that you have told me will happen. I want to believe… so help me with my unbelief. Help me to be anxious for nothing. Worry is a sign of the unbelief I’m battling to rid myself of. I lack nothing. You provide all my needs (and many of my wants.) Help me walk in this truth. Help me build up my Shield of Faith. My heart seeks you, Lord Jesus. Be with me. Help me hear your voice. I want and need your direction in all areas of my life. I want your love to flow through me like a river to others. I give you my praise, glory, honor and love. I will walk with you forever and ever. Cloth me in your righteousness, hope and love. Shield me with increased faith day by day.    Amen!

To my readers:  I give you a peek into my spiritual life so you know that doubting is normal. Someone once told me doubting is not bad as long as you don’t take the thought captive and accept the false thought as truth. The fact is Satan would not bother us with false thoughts if we weren’t a threat to him. So whenever you are bothered with doubt and unbelief…cast the thought away and Praise God instead.

Are there weeds in your life?

Are there weeds in your life? To answer this question everyone needs to be on the same page…understanding what a weed is.

The official definition of a weed according to Webster’s is: 1. A plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially:  one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants 2. a: an obnoxious growth, thing, or person b: something like a weed is a detrimental quality

As you can see weeds are any unwanted plants that grow in gardens, walkways, driveways or any other place you don’t want them. They come up without your planting them from seeds that blow in and take root. They can survive without care, many times without even water. Weeds can overgrow a garden and choke out the good plants.Thistles are one type of weed we have in our yard. Though they have thorns, they can be pretty. Problem is they spread their seeds and soon you have so many they take over.

This is true of weeds that spring up in our life. These can be bad habits, attitudes, or behaviors. They include thoughts, suspicions, or feelings.   These weeds in our life can become a great nuisance to our Christian walk and they can damage our Christian witness. As with all weeds, if we pull them out by the roots when they are small, they are relatively easy to remove. However, once established, these weeds can be difficult to eliminate. They can spread until they take over entire areas of our life and cloud our reason or feelings. A bad attitude can take over and soon we behave poorly and without consideration for others.

We are the hands and feet of Jesus in this life…at least those of us to claim Him as Lord and Savior. When we allow gossip, rumors, impatience, upset, or any other negative emotion to take over, we can choke out Jesus’ love until His love is stifled and stops flowing. I am saying this not only to you, but to myself as well. I can be very impatient at times. If I allow that impatience to claim me, I can get short with those around me. I can become unkind and unloving. Most importantly, I can say things I will regret later.

I encourage your to root out any weeds in your life that can crowd out the Word of God. If you see negative things in your life, pull them out before they can take root. If they are already there, dig them out…make sure you get the entire root or it could come back.

God asks us to wait on Him. Be slow to anger or upset and quick to show His love to others. 2 Corn 10:5 says to take every thought captive. Don’t allow negative thoughts or feelings to mess with you. Our lives here on this earth are relatively short compared to an eternity with Jesus. Living an upbeat positive life will bring you happiness and peace. More importantly, it will be a positive witness to the love of our Heavenly Father.

Work is Good for Our Spirit

God worked six days in creation and then rested. That’s an example we are to follow. Besides, work is good for our spirit. Throughout the Bible, we are given examples of God’s people in their work. Jesus was a carpenter and teacher. Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector. Paul worked to support himself noting that he would not put that burden on the people he served. (Please note: this does not mean we aren’t supposed to pay our pastors or ministers today. Later, the Bible says it’s important that people are to provide for those who minister and teach to us.)

As you can see people worked. Since the time of Adam, humans must labor to support ourselves and our family. In fact, the Bible teaches if we don’t work, we don’t eat. However, that said, we must support widows and orphans. Those who are ill also need our help. All others…should hold a job, they need to work.

We are created in God’s image. He worked. He created the heavens and the earth. Now, he holds the universe in his hands and keeps things in proper order. Over and over, God shows us it’s important to work.

Every year we celebrate Labor Day. However, today more and more people are not working. I don’t wish to put down those who are diligently seeking to find work if you are out of a job. That is your job right now…finding a new one. But, others who have given up or just don’t want to work need to change their thinking. It’s not good for our spiritual life to take handouts when we can do for ourselves and simply choose not to.

Times ahead are going to get rough. It will take work to survive. Some will simply try to take from others, but that is not our way and we may have to protect what is ours. But that is a subject for another post. The fact is we will need to work to stay alive. Gardening, canning and farming may be our only means of providing for ourselves. It will take long days and great effort to provide enough food for our families, especially in northern areas where you must have enough to get through the winter.

Again, we urge you to prepare for the future. Work to gather or purchase seeds, canning supplies and trade ideas with other like-minded people. Start canning so you can learn how now. We don’t know how much time we have, so day by day, item by item, begin gathering and doing what you can today. Stay focused and continue to work as long as you can.

Do you live a Kintsugi life?

Have you ever heard of the Japanese art of Kintsugi? It is the art of taking broken pieces of pottery and repairing it using glue mixed with gold. The procedure fixes the damage and leaves the pot with a pretty gold filled seam. It enhances both the appearance and the value of the piece. It also returns the pot to usable and water tight condition. My question to you is: Do you live a Kintsugi life?

God’s people are spoken of as vessels or pots several times in the Bible. God is the potter and we are the clay. He created us beautiful and lovely (in His image). But through the years, we can become damaged through events in our lives. Cracks occur in our heart through illness, loss, pain. Many things can damage us in ways no one can see. These cracks can affect our spirit greatly and reduce our ability to do God’s will.

When you apply the principal of Kintsugi art to how God deals with us, our lives become a beautiful story of restoring our brokenness using the gold of His loving kindness. All the cracks in of our lives are fully restored with our acceptance of the love God has for us. His mercy and grace is more than sufficient to repair any hurt, pain, or mar resulting from the sins, shame, regret that caused the cracks in our being.  Just as in the broken pottery in Kintsugi art, the broken pieces of our life come back together with the glue of God’s love holding it together. The once ugly broken life is restored to a beautiful, functioning and strong existence through the power of the love of God.

All we have to do is believe in Jesus, rest in Him, and allow Him to do the mending. If we try to do the patching in our own strength, our vessel…our life can either crack again leaving us worse than before or leak badly reducing our strength and effectiveness. With the glue of God’s loving kindness, we can and will become whole again…stronger than before. Then, we can do the work of Jesus, working through His power and strength not our own.

As times become darker, it will be even more important than ever to rest in God/Jesus. We cannot do all the planning, preparation and work in our own power. Well, we could, but why would we want to? When we can rest in Jesus and know He will guide and direct us, there’s no reason to go it alone. Besides, the results will be greatly improved with God on our side. Humans have a long history of trying to go it on our own, only to fall flat on our faces. Yet, we have many examples in the Bible showing normal everyday folk doing extraordinary things through God’s power and strength in their lives.

I encourage you to turn your preparations over to God. Seek His guidance in your plans. Rely on Him and others who walk with Him to assist you. A three cord rope is stronger than a single one. So consider yourself as one part of the rope, others who are like-minded the second, and God as the third. When you do, you’ll be strong and sure as you walk along.

Allow Jesus to Seep into Your Spirit

It is the hope of every sincere believer to allow Jesus to seep into your spirit. Consider how our relationship with Jesus is very similar to the transformation tea brings to water.

As the tea steeps into the water it changes the color of the liquid. First, light brown tendrils flow into the water spreading until it is no longer clear but golden brown. As time goes on, the liquid gets darker and darker in color and richer and richer in flavor. This reflects our life with Jesus. At first only minor changes can be seen in our lives. As time goes on we see the more lasting changes Jesus brings into our life. Maybe we stopped cussing or smoking or gossiping. Perhaps we are kinder, more patient or giving. Whatever the change is the flavor of our life is changing and will continue every day until our life on earth is over.
Jesus and His Word (Bible) is our tea bag. The more we hear, read, mediate upon and study the Word, the more changes come into our life. If we stop reading, stop listening, or stop seeking the Word, it’s like removing the tea bag and over time the tea becomes weak. If we put the bag (Bible) back into our life, the flavor becomes strong again. If we water down our life with cares, worry, busyness of life, or vain human philosophies, we’re again in danger of becoming spiritually weak. Yet again the problem can be reversed by simply getting back into the Bible by hearing, reading, study, and prayer.

There is one more variable I want to throw in. What happens when you add another tea bag, a different kind or type to your cup? Does it change the flavor? The color? For good or for bad? What about cream or sugar? We have to take care to guard our heart and not allow another message to change our walk with Jesus. He and He alone is our way to God. If we try to add to the truth of Jesus Christ or listen to voices that don’t come from our source the Bible, we are in danger of changing the final brew. We can listen to and consider the different interpretations of the Bible, but we must take care to discard anything that doesn’t ring true or does not line up with the core of the message the Bible presents.

All this brings us to your choice. Do you want a deep faith rich in flavor? Or will you settle for a weak watered down flavor? The closer you walk with Jesus, the richer fuller flavor (faith) you will have.

The point is, you must allow Jesus to seep into your heart and mind. Anything less will only bring a weak flavor to your life instead of a strong vibrant flavor.

On the lighter side, consider my husband’s idea that a hamburger tells a better story. Jesus is the meat. We are the bun. When you add hearing (pickles), reading (lettuce), study (mayo/ketchup), and study (onion), your sandwich is full of flavor. When you bite in and juices run down your arm, you can really savor the richness of meat. More importantly, you can eat all the spiritual hamburgers you want because becoming fat in the spirit (full of faith) is a good thing. LOL