(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)
PREPPING WITH A DOZEN OR MORE PLANS (PLAN A, B, C….. C1, C2, Z1)
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. This precept works in business, in missions, and in prepping. I have at least a dozen plans! I also have at least that many meeting points, encase of emergency events (tornadoes, earthquakes or civil unrest). I have numerous family defense features and I’m adding new ones every month. For example, if your electronic intrusion detection and firearms fail you (and sometimes they can, in extreme weather), you’ll want a loyal dog. Or several dogs. Bear spray is great, and so is Mace. I’m trying to connect to the pragmatic wisdom of God for the times. I don’t care if other Christians (often too theoretical and idealistic) condemn me for trying to “build my ark.” Just about every major leader in the Bible was totally mocked. David’s own brother insulted David, just before he brought down Goliath! (1 Samuel 16-18) You’ll get a number of nasty insults for merely obeying God’s Word for your family. Get used to it.
This year, we are planning record camping trips. First for two-day (overnight) trips. Then 3-5 days. And then a week. Getting out there, target practicing, fishing and starting camp fires. Shooting the .22 and sighting in our deer rifles. Dealing with food prep, human waste and water purification. These simple skills are critical, in the times ahead.
IT’S NOT FEAR TO PREPARE FOR HARDSHIP = IT’S FAITH
Wise families see troubling times, and prepare themselves accordingly. It takes great faith to be like Noah and hear God’s Word…. and act upon it! Imagine the mockery, scorn and contempt from people watching Noah! The Bible records this, and for brevity i’m bypassing it.
I don’t want you to simply take the Scriptures in this essay and take “my word for it.” I want you to seek God and find Him in the ways we’ve found Him. People are finding Christ live in Africa. In the Middle East. In Alaska and North America. I became tired of other people’s “interpretations.” I wanted to know God for myself.
Honestly, much of the Western church has been rendered useless by wandering into idealism. They major on doctrinal theoretics and not practical skills or service. Very similar to socialism where they “talk a lot about good things and social change” but they do… nothing. You’ll notice this in the lives of socialists — many of them have good intentions (even Bernie Sanders supporters). But on average, they tend to be the stingiest and/or laziest persons in the culture. They have a selfish “what’s in it for me?” type mentality. I’m painting a generalization about extreme left wingers, with a broad stroke. There are many exceptional conservative Christians. They usually are the most generous, statistically speaking.
President John F. Kenndey said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask yourself ‘what can I do for my country?’”
Every single hero of Biblical faith faced scorn from friends, family and culture. There is not one who gained the approval of the society. Not one, including Jesus Christ. The fickle culture around you will applaud you when you do what they expect. They love when they hear what they want! The same people will cry “crucify” when you upset their status quo and social norms. Get used to it, and don’t take it personally! If they did this to Jesus Christ, than must accept it when it touches our lives.
NEHEMIAH BUILT THE WALL… AND HAD A SWORD IN HAND!
He was not paranoid, but understood the principle of building in a war zone. People were against re-building Jerusalem’s walls. Jerusalem had extensive damage, accumulated over decades.
But he also knew Sanballot and Tobiah were actively seeking to: 1) penetrate Israel’s morale, and 2) shut down the building/fortification (survival) process. They sent discouragements and deceit. It’s similar to the voice of the moral darkness today. They exhibit the same goal of hampering our spiritual and prepping progress. We must face this head on, courageously.
Here is one of the best principles for prepping. There is no “perfect” blueprint or plan. Having the survival skills, tenacity and willingness to adapt is imperative.
Adaptation is a real skillset. When you read the Bible, ask yourselves “How did this saint or believer adapt themselves and better their attitude?” I guarantee you that Paul learned to see trials as opportunities for God’s Word.
Flexibility is a mother of invention. People have made it through WW1, WW2, concentration camps, refugee dislocations, guerilla warfare, and much, much more. Adaptation is not a “gift from above” its an attitude that’s cultivated, honed, and practiced, daily.
I’ll repeat this for emphasis: Adaptation and flexibility are some of the most important skillsets needed today. They force us to view reality “as is”, not in a controlled environment. It is important to reach beyond our controlled comfort zones. We learn to expect the unexpected. We learn to foresee and forecast “things aren’t working out as good as we hoped.” When we clearly identify the problem, we can begin to seek for the solution. Prayerfulness will become a foundation of our lives as we seek to serve our family and the society around us. If you seek, you will find.
LESSONS FROM CONSTRUCTION
There’s never a door installation, staircase or cabinet job that is easy. It’s extremely rare. Wood shrinks and expands, floors and ceilings move (with heat + humidity). This is what i do almost daily in my service profession.
Usually, we have to get the reciprocating saw and sometimes even fully re-frame wrongly-built openings. We just did this on a $2,200 French Door that had been badly framed. It had to support two doors at approximately 250 pounds each. These are thick, 8’ tall doors that had to align and close with perfection.
I spent two days improving the framing before ever setting the five exterior doors, making sure they were leak-proof and plumb/level and square.
Prepping includes these same foundational issues. Is debt an issue? Get rid of it. Is fear an issue? Spend time with people you admire who seem to have confidence, humility and success. I’m not talking about social acceptance or perfectionism (pretentious), I’m talking about Christians whose lifestyles are in order. They are getting closer to God, daily. They are more effective in their places of influence. Their family respects them because they are working hard to improve their town, village or region. Such people will come out of the woodwork, in the near future!
This isn’t about perfection or reciting the “right doctrines.” Much of Western Christianity has settled for “confessing the right doctrines.” I believe right doctrines are critical! Don’t get me wrong. But I daresay that God wants our hearts and thoughts, not just the ability to “quote the right Scripture” in front of people. It’s one thing to quote the Bible and quite another to live it out.
It’s the contrast of someone saying: “I possess $100,000 in gold, in an online cyber vault” versus someone having the same amount physically in a safe, at home.
It’s the same in Christian faith. Lots of people claim to possess a faith that’s vibrant and effective. I’m not trying to condemn or shame anyone reading this. Our lives are continually under construction, spiritually speaking.
Often times, people claim doctrines that they have yet to ascertain. It’s like meeting a carpentry apprentice, who tries to explain how to build a staircase or roof system. It’s all theoretical, yet they don’t truly have the experience. Like, you wouldn’t trust a doctor or a pilot who claimed to have mastered their profession in a cerebral, or non proven manner. You go to professionals who have mastered their trade or profession. You don’t want to fly on an airplane with someone “hoping to fly the plane” or get a heart surgery with “a doctor who hopes he can do it.” Yet, in sloppy Christianity, idealism goes too far. We should only trust the authentic voices living out their faith, imperfect as we all are.
THE ARMY OF CHRISTIAN IDEALISTS IN THE WEST, WITHOUT FRUIT
There’s too many idealists in Christianity today. They remind me of the cultural Marxists who create simplistic, one sided answers for complex problems. This is bureaucratic Marxism expressed by socialism, such as Cash for Clunkers. The “non-affordable” Care act. These are idealists with far too much power…. And they destroy the businesses (lives) of those who truly are professionally responsible. Marxists remind me of shallow Christians. It’s all cerebral, and nothing’s practical in their lives. I want them to hear the country song “A little less talk, and a lot more action.” That would be good theology for some Christians at this point in history. Christians who relegate their faith to “quoting verses” without following through is a reason why our country is in such a mess. They settled for the easy version of the faith – saying Scriptures without a lifestyle of godliness.
PRAGMATISM AND ACTION TRUMPS IDEALISM
This kind of idealism is okay as children, but it is not okay for mature believers. God expects the same growth trend out of us, as we expect in our own children. I don’t expect my two year old to comprehend physics or history, as I do my teenager. It’ s the same with God. He’s reasonable, not theoretical or arrogant. Some believers expect “everyone to be on their level” but that’s simply unrealistic. We are all different, just like the personalities inside our families differ greatly.
But we only possess that which we practice, daily. That goes for both doctrinal stability and for prepping. Please notice that the spiritual realm and the physical realm are merging. There’s almost no difference anymore. Left wingers attack Christians, because the spirit in them hates and blames Jesus Christ. A larger number in the government hate God now more than ever before. There’s videos of Antifa in Portland giving allegiance to Satan online. Demon and occult worship grew the most in America from 2008-2020. That’s like reading straight out of the Book of Revelation! There’s specific warnings about this in our New Testament pages.
You’ll know how much faith and grace you truly have, when your lifestyle gets interrupted. When the comforts, electricity, sewer, water, and food, are cut off, or other emergency arrives. You’ll know your true level of gold (faith), as it appears during hard times. This is one of the major lessons we learned in Africa and the Mid East. We learned that we didn’t have as much faith as we thought! But it’s okay, we all start somewhere.
Anyone can be a Christian when the money is good, people accept us, and blessings abound. That’s easy faith! It is what people followed Christ for, the loaves and fishes (temporary fulfillment) as He preached the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are the beautiful attitudes of Christ Jesus. God wants our hearts and to fill us with His beautiful attitudes. I admit… I’m a work in process. I am a construction site, spiritually speaking.
During crises and unusual events, your foundations will be exposed, and you will know your level in the faith. However shallow or deep it truly is. The good thing is that we can prepare ourselves, today.
PRACTICUUM = PRACTICAL SKILLS (PRAGMATICS)
Here is our list of top 10 critical skills, merged with spiritual imperatives:
1. Strategic relocation – I drove 250 miles to select and secure our new home. Our preferences include a well, a river or bordering national forest/wilderness areas. If you’ve moved a lot in your life (as we have), you are way ahead of the curve. Working, living and eating in foreign nations will help you understand the skillsets needed to survive and thrive from 2020 to 2030. If you are thinking about relocating, then I urge you to get it done in the next two months, like we are. Do it sooner than later. By the end of the year, it may be nearly impossible, and certainly one year from now will be much more difficult (in case of war, famine or the things mentioned in Revelation 6, Matthew 24, and Luke 21.)
2. Learn how to use a compass and topo map. For almost 5 years, I cleared trails and did tree surveys in a Montana National Forest. I was a Forest Service employee. I learned how to navigate terrain, watch for storms, weather, and danger signs. These skills are absolutely necessary, and very easy to obtain.
3. Keep your hunting and camping gear up to date and ready. That includes target practice and easy to acquire ammo (not obscure calibers). Practice and teach your family the importance of being ready. I”m gearing up for professional training for my entire family! Fishing and hunting are huge blessings! Marksmanship is absolutely essential.
4. Long term and short term foods preparation. Canned food, smoked meats and gardens. We are failing at the latter part (because of our sudden move to a mountainous, rural region). In the last 30 years I’ve butchered many deer and elk. Knowing how to make smoked/brined jerky is a huge blessing and it’s very easy to do. These are easy skills found online. Know how to purify water–use a water filter or have purification tablets.
5. Survey your region (socially). Know people’s ideology, strengths and weaknesses. Build bridges of trust without being naive. Knowing key neighbors and bartering, fellowship, or sales is a great trust builder! No man is an island. None of us are going to make it through the times ahead, alone. Seeking mature Christians and like-minded neighbors is a huge asset. It could be #1, after following God’s will. Identify the cults and fringe groups promoting wrongful, erroneous and non-Biblical beliefs. Christianity is about the basics, not some new or strange interpretation. Scripture is the way that God still leads His people. All Scripture is God breathed, and supersedes ministers, sermons, or man’s interpretation.
6. Don’t fear. People have faced calamity throughout history… and multitudes have bounced back! Some of them didn’t have God! But most of them did. God can open amazing doors of survival, friendship, and community. The Bible’s full of it. How did Joseph leave Israel, and ascend as “father to Pharaoh” in Egypt? (Gen 45:8.) God holds the keys to our precious family survival.
7. Use the times to point to God and urge prayer, repentance and faith. I’ve done this with my own friends and people who’ve wandered from God’s truth. I try to be gentle and polite. But let’s face it: Sometimes Jesus overturned tables. At other times, He embraced children. Some people need a hug. Others need a 2×4. Some need gentleness, others need a whip to straighten up! I’ve needed both in 32 years of knowing Jesus Christ!
8. Peace will be upon God’s people who trust him. Jesus is both a lion and a lamb. Warriors actually talk about this type of thing during war and battles. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson would be shot and then emerge… seemingly unscathed. Certain leaders are guided by God. Those types will emerge during the preparations mentioned in this essay.
9. This life is preparation for eternity. We are all preppers whether we like it or not. Some take it more seriously than others!
10. Have fun with your family! Laughter and goodness can be obtained daily. Men’s hearts will fail for fear, but God’s children have a solid rock. God has a way of guiding and leading us through His Word. Often, He brings people into our lives that we least expect. God used Ebed Melech to lead Jeremiah out of prison! Sometimes the solutions to our quandaries come from those we least expect. (Jeremiah 38:13) Joseph became renown because of assisting the dignitaries in prison. God has peculiar ways of causing our family to experience safety and success. Please note that Joseph navigated famine and crisis, like what we face today.
I hope that you heed what I’m saying, in relating my experience. The foreign mission field is a lot like strategic relocation and homesteading!