As I was preparing for the Obedient Preparation Precedes Blessings, I came to a point where I felt like I needed to do a little more praying, reading, and research. Upon doing the research I found an article by Peter Bregman dated April 21, 2010 that I want to re-post a portion of, and then elaborate and add to it.
Wait a minute, I thought, as I looked up from the trail we had been hiking for several hours. Where are we?
I knew I was lost. Unfortunately, I wasn't alone. I was leading a thirty-day wilderness expedition for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Which, in this case, meant there were eight 16- to 24-year-old students following me.
For most of an expedition, NOLS groups travel off trail. We use topographic maps that reflect the physical features of an area — mountains, streams, valleys, ridges — and we navigate through the wilderness by comparing what we see around us with what's on the map.
Each morning we agree on our goal — where we plan to camp at the end of the day — and then choose a rough path through the wilderness. We know the general direction we're moving and maintain our course by paying attention to the environment — keep that mountain to the left, that small river to the right, and that craggy peak in front.
Every once in a while there happens to be a trail that travels in the same direction we're traveling so we follow it. It makes for easy walking.
But a dangerous thing happens when we follow a trail: we stop paying attention to the environment. Since the trail is so easy to follow, we allow our minds to wander and neglect to observe where we are.
Then we forge ahead, moving with speed and purpose, right to the point where we look up and realize, like I did that day that the environment around us is no longer recognizable. Our focus blinded us.
This is not just a hiking thing.
In business and in life we set all kinds of goals — build a company, meet sales objectives, be a supportive manager — and then we define a strategy for achieving that goal. The goal is the destination; the strategy is our trail to get there.
Only sometimes we get so absorbed in the trail — in how we're going to achieve the goal, in our method or process — that we lose sight of the destination, of where we were going in the first place. And we walk right by the opportunities that would have propelled us forward toward our planned destination.
Which is what happened to Sammy, a religious man, who was caught in his house during a flood. He climbed up to his roof and prayed, asking God to save him.
Sammy saw a wood plank in the water and let it float by. "God will rescue me," he said to himself. After some time, a man came by in a boat and offered him a lift but Sammy declined. "God will rescue me," he told the man. The water continued to rise; it was up to his neck when a helicopter flew overhead. Sammy waved it off saying "God will rescue me." Finally, Sammy drowned.
Next thing he knew, Sammy was in heaven, where he was greeted by God. "Why didn't you rescue me?" Sammy asked. "I tried!" God answered, "I sent a wood plank, I sent a boat, I sent a helicopter..."
OK, so it's not a true story, but the point is still useful. Sammy was so committed to his strategy of God saving him that he missed the rescue.
End of re-post.
What are we as Christians missing? Are we too missing the boat or the ark? Are we on the easy path? Are we thinking that God will rapture us or will save us and therefore we will not have to do anything in preparation? When it happens it happens right… Who cares God is in control.
I think we are following the beaten path, and it’s the wrong path. The pre-conceived notions we had about the 7 year tribulation period are wrong. But men of old taught that we would be raptured and gone from the Earth and we would not be here… We wouldn’t see the 7 years… Cool… that’s easy. Now back to not paying attention to the environment and since the trail is so easy to follow we can allow our minds to wander and neglect to observe where we are and where we are heading. Let’s forge ahead in our materialism. Move ahead, “I must attain the American Dream”. Happiness and Bliss… I don’t want to know about the bad things that are going on all over the world. Why is everything so negative?
Our focus is on stuff, and we are not paying attention to the circumstances, the opportunities, wise counsel or God’s word.
Here are a couple of truths we should consider:
(1) It is Satan who wants us to be confused, directionless, and ineffective.
(2) It is God who has a preordained plan for us, who has given us specific steps, and who wants to see our lives matter.
So how can we know? What does God want us to do? First let’s look at how God speaks to us:
1. God speaks through circumstances
Its funny, Christians routinely blast atheists and atheism, but we often act as if there is no God or that our God is not big enough. We complain about the uncontrollable events in our lives as if we’re just here by chance, left to sort live life out on our own. We don’t really include God except when something bad happens or is about to happen.
But life isn’t dog-eat-dog. God is in charge of this world. God is in charge of our little world. And the events that He allows—getting fired from a job, meeting a future mate, the family we were born into, the town in which we live, the skill sets, talents, and gifts we possess—are all part of God’s divine blueprint for our success. 1 Corinthians 1:7 Therefore, you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
Also, stop and look around you. Back to the path example above. Look at your surroundings!!! What do you see? How is the Economy doing? How is your Government doing? What are people with money doing? Why is the Government printing money and creating inflation? Why is our debt so high? Oh I see the government is printing money to pay for the high debt. What is happening in the Middle East? Why are they fighting? How about Europe? Wow they sure are coming together… I wonder why? There have been a few earth quakes, tornados, and tsunamis lately, but they didn’t take out too many people only farm land… Gee I wonder what kind of an effect this will have on me? And the final road map sign to keep your eye on is Israel… What is happening in Israel? Why are the Palestinians wanting state hood? Why doesn’t Israel just let them have the land at pre 1967 borders? You get my point? There are a ton of things going on in your surroundings…
None of this happens by chance. God is not up in Heaven pounding his fist against his head saying, “Whoops, I really messed up this time.” No, God didn’t mess up. God didn’t’ make a mistake. God isn’t ever caught by surprise. Read God’s word.
You can do one of two things. You can continue to live as the world lives. You can stick to the motto, “Life is random, you get out of it what you make of it, I can’t help the way I am.” Stick your head in the sand and say spiritual things like, “God will provide”. Or you can embrace your life—your life right now—as God’s will. Romans 12 says, to not be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of you mind.
Things happen to you that are out of your control, and it is God’s will for your life.
2. God speaks through opportunities
Remember Sammy in the example above? God presented to him opportunities and he refused them. I have friends who constantly agonized over every decision or every opportunity and wonder, “Is this God’s will?” “What should I do”?
God provides us with opportunity after opportunity. Say an opportunity comes available, but we’re unsure whether it is good enough and or even the right time. We go back and forth and say really good spiritual things like, “It’s not God’s will, or I don’t feel lead, or I see the signs but is this really want God wants me to do? Do you talk to anybody about it? Do you pray about it? Are you reading your bible on a daily basis? Do you ever consider that this could be an opportunity to explore?
And on and on we go. A dozen opportunities can be presented, but we never pursue any of them. We hem, haw, and quote a lot of scripture verses, but we never make a move.
I fear that at the end of our life we’ll be like Sammy and God will say, “I brought along this opportunity and that opportunity and you refused to take any one of them.”
God works through open doors and opportunities. It’s that simple. These are not just “lucky” occurrences. If you want to do God’s will, do as one wise man used to say, “Go. Do something and God will direct you.”
Right now there are opportunities for you to respond to how God is speaking through circumstances and opportunities… “LOOK AT YOUR SURROUNDINGS”.
3. God Speaks Through Wise Counselors
Most Christians live a lone-ranger Christianity and refuse to listen to wise counselors.
The Bible talks over and over about the value of wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to make good decisions, spiritual decisions, and God-honoring decisions.
Every major decision I have ever made in my life I have done with the approval and consent of someone I find to be wiser than I. Why? Because over and over in God’s word he says to seek out wise counsel.
the heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
Wisdom Better Than Folly
13 I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: 14 there was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siege works against it. 15 Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. 16 So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.
17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but one sinner destroys much good.
There have been many moments when I have had what I thought was a really good idea. But people I trust, who have wisdom raised questions. They said, “Hmm, I’m not sure this is a good idea and here is why...”
You too have wise counselors in your life—if you don’t, find some in your church. Seek their wisdom. Seek their accountability. Seek their unbiased opinion. But also you should check their wise counsel against what God’s word says.
A wise person will take such advice as God speaking to them. That is God’s will.
4. God's Will is revealed in God's Word. (The Map to Eternal Life)
In Psalm 119:105 – God’s word is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path.
How basic: but how true. The fact of the matter is this: 99 percent of what God wants to you to do in your life is spelled out in His Word. Also God is not going to mysteriously lead you to do something that contradicts His Word.
Ask yourself these questions. How much of God’s revealed Word are you following now?
Are you faithfully seeking Him on a daily basis through Bible study and prayer?
Are you sharing your faith?
Are you doing your best to live apart from sin?
Are you faithful to your spouse?
Are you seeking satisfaction in Christ instead of the world?
These are just a few of many areas where the Bible touches our lives, where God’s Word is revealed to us in simple, concrete, direct language. And you and I can’t escape it.
Quite often, Christians try to blend their own sinful lifestyles with the teachings of scripture and then they wonder why they can’t ever seem to discover “God’s will for their lives.”
Let me ask you this: If you knew there was going to be some sort of natural disaster heading your way or that was going to occur in your area; that would knock out power, shut down grocery stores, banks and all commerce would you prepare or would you be like Sammy?
It is dangerous to stop paying attention to the environment. In fact I would venture to say that now the environment around you is no longer recognizable and your current focus on materialism, and following the dream has blinded you.
So how do you get back on track? Look at the Eternal Map and take a hard look at your surroundings. Then, “Go do something and God will direct you”.
God wants us to be instruments that can be used by him, however if we are merely sitting around doing nothing to prepare either spiritually or physically then what use are we? Most are not sharing their faith about Christ right now… Don’t you think if you prepare not only physically but spiritually that when a hard time comes God can use you? I’m not saying that God will not perform miracles during that time. But what if you are apart of that miracle that God wants to perform? Will you stand and raise your hand and say here I am Lord? I can help!!! God has a plan and you are apart of that plan… Be obedient to God’s plan and his word.
Last point: I think it is wise to prepare. My reasons are:
1. You will be in a better mind set than most. You can be spiritually prepared.
2. You will not have to rush around and scramble to get necessary things putting yourself and your family in danger.
3. You can be at home with your family praying, reading God’s word and comforting those you love.
4. After the disaster you are more likely to be available to help others, obviously unless the disaster hit you directly, then it really doesn’t matter…
5. (As an example) - Joseph prepared Egypt and Israel for the disaster of famine…
6. The Bible tells us that troubles will be coming, so we have no excuse to not prepare… We should not be like Sammy… That is putting God to the test in my opinion.
7. God will use what you have prepared. If that means you can use the supply, then great, if that means someone else that stumbles across you place can use them, then so be it… Either way God will direct.
There is not really a strong answer to why you should not prepare. I’m not saying prepare for end times through being selfish… I’m saying be prepared in the event there is a disaster, even if no disaster has never hit your area. But a disaster can also include an economic disaster, and I believe that is on its way.
Stop pretending to be ignorant, you are without excuse. Instead be wise…