Today, I have a heavy heart and I just need to share and get it off my chest.
The Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe V. Wade is being celebrated by the Pro-Lifers, Church, and people of Faith. Groups all over the Country are gathering in public places to celebrate this ruling. No doubt, Churches will be rejoicing at the good news that the life of a fetus is being given an opportunity to survive.
While I am happy that we have laws to protect life, I’m not sure I can really rejoice in the Supreme Court decision. I don’t see a great victory for the Church in this ruling. In fact, I see it as more of a defeat. If the courts legislate moral decision, will the courts also stand before God at judgement day to advocate our individual choices? Absolutely, I believe in the protection of life of the unborn. That’s not why my heart is so burdened.
I am also certainly NOT standing on the side of anyone’s right to take a life, whether it is a fetus, adult, or elderly person. But, I believe we have so politicized the issue and placed so much energy into protecting the voiceless, we have missed so many opportunities to witness and share the Gospel with those who perhaps need someone to give them love. I fear we often have chosen to stand in our hubris self-righteousness and proclaim the goodness of God to advocate for the unborn, while we ignore the hurts of the wounded adult facing a scary life decision.
Has the Church really won with the Supreme Court decision? Have we been doing all we can to show love, grace and mercy as our Messiah showed us? Are we welcoming to others into our congregations without judgement and per-conceived opinions based on how someone looks or dresses? If I am not showing true love and concern for others that might show them a desire and reason to get to know my Messiah, how can I gloat in a victory that I’ve somehow saved a life of a child? Perhaps if I had been more loving and caring, the mother of that child would have seen hope in giving birth.
Believers need to carefully examine their hearts. Taking a victory lap now is disgusting – when we as a body have miserably failed with sharing the good news of salvation with those who need our Messiah. We want people to come “pre-cleaned” into our sanctuaries and congregations. We are uncomfortable with the flaws that we see in others, while we often ignore our own filth and refuse to believe we are flawed ourselves.
A day of reckoning is coming and we need to be prepared. There are billions of unborn people who are walking by us every day that we can actually save from eternal death – and it won’t come through legislation or Supreme Court rulings. It comes with a personal decision each of us has to surrender. There will be no Republican, or Democrat, or Supreme Court justice standing for me when our Messiah returns. It will be me standing and answering for my own actions and decisions.
Beyond the personal heart-challenge I’m wrestling with, I believe this new court decision has altered our opportunities as a body. We will see new oppression and violence. Those who are content to gather in the mega-comfort of a congregation and feel they have done their true service to God by sitting in a pew for an hour, may find the birth pangs a little more difficult going forward.
I have always been fascinated by the subject of preparedness and really have been impressed with a preparation call. I have never been one to panic, or go into a survival mode. I am not afraid to face my fears and I am certainly not afraid to die. Of course, like most people, I am concerned for my family and friends. And I am concerned about the Country we live in.
I remember thinking how I wanted to be prepared, but I also felt like I did not know what to do. My dad had already started preparing for the worst case scenario. He had already purchased a small amount of food and supplies. But I did not feel comfortable with the idea of being forced to stay in a shelter underground. I was not comfortable with the idea of being separated from my wife and kids.
So I decided to take some classes on survival skills. I learned how to build a fire, how to find water, how to survive off the land. I even learned how to start a small farm. I felt much more prepared than I did when I was just learning the Bible.
My wife and I started to get ready for a possible emergency. We started to think about what we would need in case of an emergency. We bought a small generator so we could power up the radio. We purchased some camping gear so we could spend time together as a family. We purchased a few books on survival so we could learn how to be self sufficient.
But it was only after 9/11 that I really started to get serious about being prepared. It is funny how things happen. We were watching TV one day and saw a report on how people were being evacuated from New York City. They said that the terrorists were going to fly airplanes into buildings.
We immediately got scared. We decided that we needed to get prepared. So we went out and bought a couple of flashlights. We stocked up on food and water. We started to look for ways to be self sufficient.
And then it happened. The next day we watched the news and heard that the World Trade Center towers had collapsed.
That was the moment when we realized that this was no longer just a possibility. This was something that was happening. We were now in the middle of a war. And we were going to be involved in it.
I was not prepared for that. I did not know what to expect. But I knew that I had to be prepared. I had to be ready to defend myself. I had to be ready for anything.
Today I am very thankful that I took the time to prepare for the worst case scenario. Today I am very thankful that I was able to prepare my family and my home for whatever may come.
It is hard to find a topic that has more questions than “preparedness”. It is not only a matter of “what can I do”, but it is also a matter of “when will it happen”. There are those who believe that we are in the end times and there are others who think that it is all bunk. So, what do you believe? Do you have any idea what is going on with the world around you? Have you ever thought about how your family might be affected by what is happening around you? Are you prepared for the things that could happen? What are you going to do if there is a natural disaster? Will you be able to handle it? How will you survive without food, water, electricity, etc.?
What do I need to do?
First, you need to know what you need to do. This is not as easy as it sounds. You need to know what you need and then you need to get it. If you are like most people, you probably don’t even know where to begin. Where do you start? Where do you buy your supplies? What type of supplies should you buy? Do you need to get a generator? What about fuel? Should you get a solar panel? How do you protect yourself from the elements? How much money should you spend on supplies? How much should you spend on food? How much should you spend for your home?
The first thing that you should do is talk to someone who knows about this stuff. Find out what you need to do. Don’t rely on the Internet for answers. There are a lot of people who want to sell you stuff that you don’t need. They may tell you that they have the answer for you. They may even be able to help you get the supplies that you need. But, you have to ask the right questions. Don’t just go off of what you hear. Ask them if they have heard of a specific product or company that they would recommend. Don’t just rely on their opinion. Take their advice and then make an informed decision.
Are we in the end times?
Some people believe that the end times are upon us now. Others think that it will take place at some point in the future. If you are one of the people who thinks that the end times are coming soon, then you need to make sure that you are prepared. You need to be able to take care of yourself and your family. You need to know how to survive in case something happens.
If you are one of the people that believes that the end times are coming, then you need to do your research. You need to find out what the signs are that we are in the end time. You need to find out when these events will occur. You need to know what to expect. Then, you need to plan accordingly.
Is this Bible Prophesy?
Many people believe that the Bible prophecies are being fulfilled right now. Some people believe that they are already in the middle of the fulfillment. Others believe that they are still in the beginning stages of the fulfillment. Whatever you believe, you need to understand what the Bible says about these things. You need to understand what the signs are. Then, you need to decide if the Bible prophecies are being realized or not.
The Bible speaks of many different things. It talks about wars, famines, earthquakes, floods, plagues, and many other things. These things are happening today. The question is, are they happening because of the end times? Is it possible that they are happening because of natural disasters? The Bible does say that there are signs that are being seen today. These signs include wars, earthquakes, and famines. These things are happening today, but are they happening because of the Bible prophesies?
Is it possible that these things are happening because of natural disasters and not because of the end times?
There are some who believe that the Bible prophecies have already been fulfilled. There are some who believe that the end times are already here. There are others who think that the end times are yet to come. What do you believe?
Are there difficult days ahead? Will there be food shortages, drought, and famine across the land? What can I do to be prepared?
These are some of the questions I hear regularly from people as I am out-and-about.
Understandably, people all over are very concerned about what is going on in the world and are looking for ways to be prepare their families for the future. Even the very wealthy are preparing for an uncertain future, as they are constructing elaborate “bug-out” facilities to provide safety for themselves and their families.
Obviously, I believe Preparedness is important. In fact, throughout scripture we see how God offers preparedness planning. Whether it was a flood or famine, God gave instruction to prepare. Those who heeded the Call and instruction, were saved.
Regardless of what is ahead, I have great hope for the future. That hope if firmly planted in our Returning Messiah.
20 We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. 22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.
PSALM 33: 20-22
As we consider what may be coming in our future, there are prudent things we can (and should) do to prepare. One of those things is to consider food storage. Here are some seven suggestions for storing fresh food longer:
Experts say the average family throws out nearly 15 percent of all fresh foods they purchase each year. Depending upon where you live and the time of year, which could add up to quite a bit of money. It is important to find ways to store fresh food for longer. Here are seven ways to accomplish this.
Homemakers of years past had a root cellar to place root vegetables like potatoes, onions and carrots. They may have also used the root cellar to store home canned goods. Perhaps you do not have a root cellar, but you can use the same basic idea. The goal is to keep these vegetables in a cool, dry place that is out of direct sunlight. Storing them in the refrigerator will actually make them spoil quicker. An alternative is to store root vegetables in paper bags stored in the cabinet. Be sure to keep onions and potatoes separate or they will spoil.
Cheese is another food that spoils if not used quickly. Wrap cheese in wax paper before storing it in the refrigerator. This will allow the cheese to breathe but will not allow excess moisture to reach it. Be sure to keep each type of cheese separate from the others to stop flavors from mixing.
Fresh herbs are similar to cut flowers; they need water to stay fresh. Keep herbs like basil, cilantro and parsley on the cabinet in a glass with about an inch of water. On the other hand, non-leafy herbs like thyme, sage and rosemary keep best if stored in a moistened paper towel and then put in a reusable bag. Put the bag in the refrigerator.
Canning fruits and vegetables is another way to store them for a longer period. Home canning really is not difficult and you know what you have added to the foods. Store-bought canned goods, however, may contain chemical preservatives to maintain freshness. Jelly, jam, sauces, fruit halves or vegetables can be stored for a year or longer if they are processed correctly.
A vacuum sealer is also a good investment for storing food. This option may cost more than others, but vacuum-sealed foods can last for months past the normal storage time. When you vacuum seal the food and then place it in the freezer, your storage time increases even further. A quality vacuum sealer will cost between $100 and $300, but they are definitely worth the price when you consider how much food you can save.
If you have stored as much of your food as you can and you still have fresh fruits or vegetables that are starting to look too ripe, find recipes that will use the food rather than letting it go to waste. Your family will enjoy a great meal and you will have saved money by keeping the food out of the trashcan.
Finally, if you do find some of the food is too far gone to eat, do not simply throw it away. Start a compost pile for all non-protein leftovers or foods that have gone bad. Composting the food will at least provide nutrition for the soil in a flower or vegetable garden.
By using these seven ideas for storing fresh food longer, you can save money, keep food out of your trashcan and in the stomachs of those you love.
Think about the emotional stability that would be lost be facing economic collapse. Think about our emotional stability during all-out war. Can we even imagine the emotional structure of a nation or of any people during famine or a breakout of disease?
Preparing the necessities for life is only part of true preparation. You can have everything you need for survival but if we haven’t prepared our heart then we will radically be changed in our personality and begin to respond to adversity in ways we had not previously known was in us. One of the things I have learned concerning walking out my own salvation through Jesus Christ is that I was not only introduced to Him as my Redeemer and Lord, but He started me on a journey to introduce me to me. The more I know about me the less impressed I am. I’ve learned my vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and what I see lets me know that I need Jesus more today than ever.
The scriptures teach us a truth concerning the way we function as people. We do the things we do because we think the way we think, and we think the way we think because we feel the way we feel. The only way to change what we do is to change the way we think, and the only way to change the way we think is to change the way we feel. Now add the adversity that is sure to come in our lives and we have fed our emotions chaos and confusion which in turn will affect our thought life and will change our behavior. (more…)
Regardless of where we are in our lives everyone has something in their past that they often struggle with. The past always rears its head when we are pressing toward a consistent walk in the Spirit of God. Most are robbed of their present because they are still living under the bondage of their past. As well we cannot look with hope toward our future if we are constantly going back to factor in our past to make decisions. The past seems to affect every aspect of our life. The sequence with which we look at things seems to be through the eyes of our past, then the present, then the future. Somehow we need to be able to look at our future as a Child of God and factor our future into our present and this will release us of our past.
There is a problem as to why we cannot let go of our past. The hurt our past has caused us and others should be enough of a motivator to let it go, but we seem to hold on to our past with a passion. This perplexing problem has caused many in the body to lose control of their lives. Paul teaches us in Phil 3:13 “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” By these words we understand the things before can play a significant role in forgetting the things behind.
We live in a society that is constantly asking the question why we do the things we do. Often instead of dealing with what we do we just want to find out why we do them. Now we have a place to put our past. I have learned through the years of pastoring and dealing with people that the past seems to take the blame for just about all of our present. While there may be some truth from a psychological standpoint concerning our past dictating action in our present we must learn to get past our past.
One of the reasons that we cannot let go of our past is that it becomes an excuse for our behavior in our present.
If the hurts of our past are gone then we are left without excuse to act the way we do or to hold on to an attitude that we are afraid we cannot break. What would we do if we have nothing to blame for our behavior. Then we are left to face the reality of our own selfish motives and sinful imperfections. This would mean we would have to change our lives in order to live with ourselves and let go of the pain and hurt that brings about other behavior that is not consistent with our belief structure.
Another reason we cannot let go of our past is it often is the only victory we can remember in our lives.
How many are still trapped living in the past victories we have experienced. We should always remember the victories of our past but never let them to cause us to stop pursuing more. Again Paul reminds us that we are more than conquerors. A conqueror is one who doesn’t stop at one victory but presses on to new battles and new victories. Some are looking for what God done in the past because they are hung on past victories and not living as a conqueror.
May God give us the strength to appropriate our future into our present thus destroying our past and go on to new battles and new victories fulfilling the soldier calling of being more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus our Lord.