A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In

October 25, 2014

Are You Suffering From "Prepper Fatigue"?

    I sense it in myself, and I'm beginning to see it in others.  If you're like me, you've been "in prepper mode" for the last six years.  That's a long time; 2,190 days to be exact.  We began this journey with the threat of an economic collapse, and the fear and implications of that possibility ... we started stocking up on food and essentials, in case our money became useless and inflation skyrocketed.
     We fortified ourselves for a life that lacked the luxuries of 21st century living, and taught ourselves long-forgotten skills, and worked at adopting a new attitude towards "roughing it" without all the modern conveniences.  That involved time and money; both of which were not in abundant supply at our household.  But we took on the burden with an eye towards survival in difficult times.
     Within a year or so, we all started hearing the whisperings of "Electro-Magnetic Pulse" and "Coronal Mass Ejection".  Whether these events were to be caused by a foreign enemy setting off a nuclear missile in our atmosphere, or God sending a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields into space, it didn't matter.  We began to prepare for a world without electricity and all the chaos that it would cause.  More time and money were spent figuring out how to cook our food, run generators, deal with the heat of summer and the freezing temps of winter; how it would affect people with health conditions and how we would deal with the inevitable lawlessness as society degenerated into anarchy -- it was another worry added to our already heavy load.
     And with the possibility of lawlessness, came a responsibility to ourselves and our families to be able to defend our homes and territory.  The firearms industry saw a colossal increase, as Americans traded their shotguns and deer rifles for semi-auto rifles and pistols; and signed up in droves for tactical defense training.  This became a whole new industry in itself.  People realized that if you were going to carry a firearm, you owed it to society to be effectively trained in how to manage that weapon ... but once again, this duty required massive resources and time.  And we all still had to live our "normal" lives, which included 40+ hour work weeks, after-school activities with the kids, and often-times, within the scope of spouses and family members that didn't approve of our "extracurricular activities."
     New concerns about government over-regulation; anxiety over lax border security, and a slow and stealthy erosion of the Constitution has kept us on our toes over the last couple of years, but we have maintained our readiness and commitment to surviving whatever this world throws at us.  And I'm proud of how well we've endured the weight of the extra pressure.
     We shifted our priorities, settled into our new mindsets and lifestyles, and figured out a way to shoulder all the new obligations.  Yes, it has taken a toll on us, but we have managed to keep it all under control, while staying alert and vigilant.  We stayed as ready as we could be, and determined not to let our guard down.
    Then this last year, the weight of it all has increased dramatically.  We have the double threats of pestilence and terrorism in the homeland, and must figure out how to prepare for both these perils.  Added to our burden is the difficulty in seeing them coming; which necessitates a state of constant vigilance and alertness.  We are just about stretched to our limits.  Both our mental and physical faculties are taxed, and we suffer further stress from family and friends who refuse to see the danger we face.
     To be brutally honest, we're tired of carrying the load; we struggle against hostility towards others who will selfishly expect to benefit from our years of spending time, money, and hours of training and educating ourselves.  We're weary of being ridiculed, while knowing full well that we will be expected to share what we have so painstakingly collected against that very day of trouble.
    And I will boldly declare that I believe Christians carry a heavier load and level of fatigue.  We are worn out from trying to apply Romans 13 to our Christian walk, and we feel a greater responsibility and duty to care for those who were not as farsighted as we.  Unlike unbelieving Preppers, it will be difficult for us to turn away a starving child, or to refuse someone shelter or protection if lawlessness is ruling the day.  We know that we are under the scrutiny of God, and we must obey His command to love others as He has loved us.
     So, I wrote this blog post today, because I know if this journey is wearing on me, then there are millions who are sharing my state of mind.  If you are mentally overwhelmed, financially tapped, and physically exhausted ... you're not alone.  But we must not, and cannot give up; defeat is not an option.  We were chosen for this time because our Maker knew He could count on us; He knew our steps would be sturdy and our pace would be constant.  He knows we will be unmovable and unchanged in our purpose, posture, or position.  We can handle the load and tackle the task.  We will survive and overcome because our strength and perseverance lies in the Lord.  And the best part?  He's right beside us, sharing the load.  Yes, we've been given a lot to cope with these last six years ... but too tired to go on?  Not a chance!  We've just been toughened and tempered for what lies ahead ... and we're ready, willing, and able!

Hebrews 12:3    "Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds."

October 24, 2014

"Let The Lion Roar: Complete The Reformation"

     Many of you may have seen a trailer appearing on the web or social media, announcing a docudrama called "Let the Lion Roar."  Why is it significant, and why do I find it worthy of mention today?  It is more than likely going to rock the mainstream Christian Church, as it asks Christians, worldwide, to open their minds to a new reality of what the identity of the Church was meant to be -- and what it will be after our Savior returns.  It asks us to consider perhaps the greatest and darkest deception of our faith -- the conspiracy to cover up the Church's true identity.
     Derek Frank is the author of this documentary and appears as the narrator in the film.  He recounts a "vision" that appeared to him over 20 years ago; a dream that repeatedly showed him images of the Reformation, and in which he discerned God telling him to "complete it".  What exactly did that mean, and how could he dare to scrutinize the revolutionary work of Martin Luther and John Calvin, two of the giants of the Christian faith?
     These two men were largely responsible for extremely profound changes in Europe of the sixteenth century.  They are credited with "rediscovering the Gospel"; God used them to correct abuses within the established Church and to restore it to what God intended it to be.
     Through their bold criticism of the Church of Rome, led by the pope, both mens' contributions led to great strides for the Church, and saw the formation of Protestantism and various denominations.  Luther's breakthrough came when he realized that the "righteousness before God" did not mean that "good works" could break God's system of punishment for man's sinful acts; but that "righteousness" came by faith in Jesus Christ, and was a gift from a merciful and loving God.  Where the "righteousness of God" had once been condemning for Luther, he now found it liberating and all of Scripture took on a new meaning.
     Calvin's work was based on a rightness with God without a priest as a go-between.  He centered his work from the city of Geneva, Switzerland, where he attempted to impose his vision of "a visible city of God", complete with strict adherence to biblical principals and a righteousness achieved completely by grace and totally through faith.
     Both men achieved great things for God.  But Derek Frank's vision uncovered where they stopped short -- and this is the part that will shock today's Christian who is comfortable with his identity -- where they deliberately ignored God's purpose for the Church.
     Now, before you get angry, thinking that I'm desecrating the legacies of these two great theologians, please hear me out.  Like Mr. Frank, I applaud their outstanding leadership and courage in confronting the established Roman Church and their work to reform its corrupt theology.  They brought the light of the Gospel to the ordinary man and woman in the repressive Middle Ages.  I do not question their motives nor their immense study and grasp of the Scriptures.  But I join Derek Frank in believing that they were "insidiously deceived" by the Enemy, who stood to prosper from their misunderstanding of God's true identity for the Church.
     Both men failed to see that God intended His Church to include both Jew and Gentile.  Both men fell for Satan's lie that the Jews had been dispossessed of their favor with God.  Both men saw the advancement of the Church as to come through the Gentiles only.  Both men were anti-Semitic.  Let their own writings prove that last point:  "Burn their synagogues and schools; what will not burn, bury it with earth that neither stone nor rubbish remain.  In like manner, break into and destroy their homes.  Take away their prayer book and Talmuds.  For in them there is nothing but godlessness, lies, cursing, and swearing.  Forbid their Rabbis to teach, on pain of life or limb." (Luther).
    Likewise, John Calvin held a similar view, saying, "[the Jews'] rotten and unbending stiff-neckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end, and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone."  When asked about the meaning of Romans 11:26, in which Paul writes, "and so all Israel will be saved," Calvin dogmatically believed that "Israel" in this sense, meant "the Church."
     Furthermore, his actions speak volumes. As Protestantism became illegal throughout Europe, and citizens either swore allegiance to the Catholic Church, or faced martyrdom, Calvin's model city of Geneva became known as a refuge for persecuted Protestants.  However, Jews, who were also being oppressed, were banned from living in Geneva.
    But Luther and Calvin cannot be held responsible for generating this anti-Semitism in the Church.  Satan has been working his plan from the beginning of the Church.  He had not been able to keep the Jewish Messiah from being born, or to keep the early Church from its Jewish influences and roots; but he was patient.  He waited a couple of hundred years as more and more Gentiles flocked to Jesus's Church, and slowly introduced the seductive thought to the body of believers, "Did God really say that Israel is still significant?"
    Both Luther and Calvin simply inherited the anti-Semitic teachings of deceived Church fathers:  Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers (300-368 AD) refused to eat with the Jews; Jerome (324-420 AD) wrote, "There could never be expiation (atonement) for the Jews; God has always hated them."  Bishop John Chrysostom (347-407AD) stated, "Because God hates the Jews, it is the duty of Christians to hate them."  The revered Augustine, one of the greatest thinkers of all time, said "The Jews were sons of God, but now they are sons of Satan."
    How did Satan accomplish this great deception?  As Derek Frank points out, he was ingenious:  "The hook was that if salvation was personal and exclusively through Jesus, this was then the whole package.  By displacing Israel, the Church was elevated."  What did we need the Jews for? After all, hasn't it been us Gentiles who followed Jesus's command to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth?  Ahhh, but we've forgotten that this command was taught to Jewish disciples, and it was Jews who first took the Gospel message back to the town and cities after Pentecost.  It is us, the Gentiles, who have removed the significance of the Jews from God's plan -- not God!
     And because the Church has perpetuated this deception and not discovered its true identity ... that we are grafted into the Jewish faith, and God does not condone the popular Church doctrine of Replacement Theology -- we are seeing the consequences of our wrong beliefs.  The power of the Church has faded in our country and in Western civilization.  We have lost our grip and understanding of the Gospel message and Scripture; we have not produced good fruit for the Kingdom of God.
     And because we don't know how our true identity is integrated with Israel, we are seeing a wedge being driven between us and Israel.  The nation of Israel is back in its "promised land", yet it is largely unsupported by the Church, which as Mr. Frank rightfully declares, "is blind to the truth that the gospel has always been 'first for the Jew, and then for the Gentile.' "
    As the Church, we have focused on personal salvation, and we have failed to impact the nations of the world or to restore God's righteousness on earth.  But perhaps worst of all, we have not fulfilled God's destiny for us, which is "through the Church, [that] the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus."  We are supposed to be reflecting God's plan for the Church to all of heaven --- and we don't even know who we're supposed to be!
     I have expounded too long on the Great Deception;  Derek Frank does a much better job of shining a light on this misunderstood truth in Church history.  I highly recommend that you purchase this revelatory DVD and watch it yourself ... show it to your friends ... bring it to your Pastor and Church body.  But, now is the time to foil Satan's lies and treachery.  Once we recognize our proper place, we can restore Israel to its deserved position, and we will rightfully pray for Yeshua's salvation to come to the Jews.   This is our destiny as ordained by YVHV!!!

Ephesians 3:6     "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus."

October 23, 2014

Sad Social Commentary: When Christian Values Are The Exception

     This post may seem more "fluff-like" than usual.  But our culture is obsessed with celebrities, and their every move and comment is often the center of our national conversation.  Twitter and Facebook, as well as major news outlets, are full of the sexual escapades, lewd performances, scantily-clothed photos, and the flat-out immorality of people that our younger generations want to emulate.  So, it is worth noting when a young woman sticks to her Christian convictions and refuses to "play to the crowd."
     That young woman is Sadie Robertson, of the Duck Dynasty clan.  Yes, out-spoken Phil Robertson's granddaughter has taken her own stand on her faith.  She is appearing on this season of "Dancing With the Stars", and made it clear from the beginning that she didn't want to compromise her faith on the show; a show that is becoming increasingly more sexual in what is supposed to be a program featuring ballroom dancing.  (The costumes are becoming skimpier, and the moves are becoming so erotic that they would make a strip club dancer blush).
     Not so, Miss Sadie.  She made it very clear that she was uncomfortable with the sexual nature of the Rhumba, the dance she was to perform this week.  You can see why she was nervous, based on this professional description of the dance:  The Rumba is a dance that tells a story of love and passion between a strong, male lover and a coy, teasing woman. Full of sensual movements, the Rumba is considered by many to be the sexiest of the ballroom dances.
    Instead of sexy, Sadie stated that she hoped the choreography would be "sweet."  And how many girls her age do you know that would consult with their mother and grandmother, to make sure they approved of how she would be televised into millions of American homes?  Representing Christ, her values, and her family were obviously more important than seducing the public for votes.
     Too bad her contemporaries don't have the class and maturity she showed.  This age group has seen girls like Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry abandon their Christian values to seek cultural adoration by "twerking", promoting sexual experimentation, and writing songs (Perry's Dark Horse) that she admits is "Witchy and dark".  Have they sold their souls to the devil in exchange for fame and fortune?  And how many others have followed that same path?  They start out in the public eye, seemingly innocent, and the visible personification of "squeaky clean".  Before long, they are tempted into selling a sexual and seductive image, that eventually degenerates into raunchy ... think Britney Spears, Beyonce; even Taylor Swift is moving that direction. (To be honest, I could not find a representative image that was not too offensive).
     Why is Sadie Robertson's approach the exception?  How have we slid so far, so fast?  How did we go from "girl next door" role models like Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore to raunchy examples of females like Nikki Minaj and Rihanna in my lifetime?  Is it this generation's answer to feminism? Does it make them feel empowered? Or is it just an extension of the exploitation and sexualization of our children for money?
     I contend that when a culture abandons God's precepts and prefers to bow down to the false gods of fame, money, and celebrity, we are fertile ground for Satan's temptations.  We no longer fear the Lord, nor respect ourselves.  We simply debase ourselves in pursuit of fleshly desires; thereby cheapening what God designed to be valued, and making what was once beautiful, now ugly and dirty.  There was a time when our feminine sexuality was looked upon with awe and respect; now it is looked upon through the lens of lust.
     So that is why I felt it was important to make note of what Sadie Robertson accomplished on Monday night.  She stuck to her principles, not willing to sacrifice her faith to please the judges or the public.  Earlier in the season of DWTS, the appropriateness of Sadie's dance moves was questioned by a judge, which reduced her to tears backstage.  It wasn't that she was embarrassed by the comments, as much as she worried that she might have let God and her family down.  This last Monday, she was once again reduced to tears when the judges scores reflected that her Christian values were being honored and applauded. In a culture that seems to lionize anything that spits in the face of God, Sadie scored high marks for standing up to the culture, and standing up for her God.

1 Timothy 6:9-10   "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

October 22, 2014

"Implantable Tech": Mankind's Route To Damnation

     Pretty strong title, huh?  But my thoughts on the rapidly advancing state of technology are well-known among my readers.  I view the integration of mankind with computers as not only spiritually unhealthy, but one more degradation of the bodies made in God's image.  And it is all to the devil's advantage.
     Those who spend more time uploading apps to their iPhone than reading Scripture will probably not be able to connect to my philosophy, but I promise you, what we're progressing towards is going to affect us all, so I hope everyone will consider what I have to say.  Let me try to explain ....
     A recent article in Now The End Begins outlined some pretty alarming scenarios that show just how far our society is willing to go to explore the limits of technology. Apparently, it is not enough to experience the so-called "benefits" of modern technology in our immediate environment, but we are set to transition that experience to inside our bodies.  Known as "implantable tech", the industry is predicting some chilling applications.
     But before I describe them to you, I want you to seriously consider the implications.  I would expect unbelievers, in their self-worship, to embrace this technology as just one more step toward the advancement of mankind.  But I fear that far too many Christians will line up to receive the social and medical conveniences; never realizing they may be giving control of their bodies to a Godless agenda.  So, the questions become, are you willing to sacrifice your body to "the new frontier", or will you guard against defiling "the temple of God"?  Here are a couple of proposed inventions; maybe when you think about them, it will become clear to you.
•  Implantable smartphones - The most famous application of this tech belongs to New York artist Anthony Antonellis, whose fans love to refer to him as "their artist-cyborg."  Anthony had an RFID chip planted into his left hand, which stores his unique favicon (icon associated with his website) that can be read by compatible mobile devices.  Techies are referring to it as "a changeable, digital net art tattoo."  I'm sure that sounds so cool to the Millennials.
     But read, in Anthony's own words, about his experience, and tell me that you would be comfortable with employing this device:  "I could sense its presence, sort of like having a pill stuck half way down your throat.  Initially the skin was kind of bruised and red but the cut healed extremely fast thanks to the suture. The most disturbing part was the series of bizarre dreams I had about the implant rejecting. In one, I dreamt the implant bounced around and loosened the skin on my hand until it became baggy like a wet leather glove. Later, I dreamt the implant migrated its way up my index finger and popped out through my fingernail. In reality the chip hasn’t moved a millimeter from where it was inserted. After about a week the swelling went away and it was healed save for a small scab. I thought the chip would feel hard like a Tic Tac, but since its below the skin in the subcutaneous tissue, it’s very padded and feels not unlike a tendon."
     But without even realizing it, Anthony made my argument for me ... he said, "The subconscious is like Fox News: It’s paranoid and makes up its own facts.”  Forget the swipe at Fox News; did you get it?  He admitted to changes in his subconscious and mind; and it sounded suspiciously like "possession", to me.  If you're a Christian, are you willing to open yourself up (literally and figuratively) to foreign, and possibly malevolent forces?
•  Cyber pills and healing chips - Patients are already being monitored by implanted chips that use smartphone apps to communicate with doctors about what's going on in your body.  All you have to do is swallow it, and any medical issue can be observed and supervised.
     But there is a particular project that caught my eye ... it is called Proteus, and involves "cyber-pills with microprocessors in them that can text doctors directly from inside your body."  Proteus, huh?  Anytime the name of a mythical Greek demi-god is used in our culture, I know there is an underlying Satanic agenda. (For more of my opinion on this subject, read this post).
     Ostensibly, the name of this project came from the body-navigating vessel in the film Fantastic Voyage, which was designed to save a scientist's life.  But what made the movie use that name?  When you investigate just who Proteus was in mythology, and his nature and characteristics, it may become easier to understand why the British research team that developed the cyber pill, chose to name it after him.
     Proteus was a unique sea-god and Greek deity.  Throughout various cultures, he was known for being able to change his shape to avoid capture.  Today, the word protean is used to mean "mutable" or "capable of assuming many forms."  Psychologist Carl Jung gave credence to Proteus by describing him as "a personification of the unconscious, who, because of his gift of prophecy and shape-changing" had much in common with the Greek god Mercury, who among other attributes was known as "the guide of souls to the underworld."
     But perhaps the most insidious and subtle application of the nature of Proteus, was its use in the wildly popular Harry Potter series, when the character, Hermione, casts a Protean charm (named after Proteus) on a form of currency, which changes the properties of the original coin.
    Throughout popular culture -- from James Joyce's Ulysses to the X-men series of movies, Proteus is projected as a shape-shifting menace.  And I submit the thought that using the name of Proteus for this latest technological advance in human "healing" is no coincidence.  For after all, "even Satan, himself, is transformed into an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14).  And hasn't he, since the Garden of Eden, been devising a plan to change who we are as "children of God"? (Proof: Genesis 6:4).
• Brain computer interface -  Everyone from scientists to sci-fi writers have long dreamed of being able to program man's brain... just think of Dr. Frankenstein.   Today, there is no bigger proponent of this science, called Singularity, than Ray Kurzweil, who is the director of engineering at Google, a scientist, and a futurist.  Frankly, he scares me, as you can see in this post, and I do not share his advocacy for Artificial Intelligence.
     I join proponents of this technology in applauding the advancements it has afforded in the treatment of disabled patients, and how it has improved the lives of quadriplegics who are able to use their brainwaves to communicate through a computer.  However, when a team of scientists from Brown University call themselves "BrainGate", and the leaders of a "real-world movement to link human brains directly to computers for a host of uses", then my antenna goes up.  Here's why:
    Now the End Begins reports that Chip maker Intel predicts practical computer-brain interfaces by 2020. Intel scientist Dean Pomerleau said in a recent article, “Eventually people may be willing to be more committed to brain implants.”  That's only 6 years away, my friends!  What happens to Jesus's commandment to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind", when godless machines are influencing, controlling, and transforming that heart and mind?  Will your soul still belong to God?
     RFID Chips, brain implants, Cyber pills, and implantable smartphones!!!  Where does it stop?  We know that the military is already experimenting with implanting our troops to better track them, and control their movements.  And did you know that there is such a thing as Smart Dust, which are "arrays of full computers with antennas, each much smaller than a grain of sand, that can organize themselves inside the body into as-needed networks; doctors will be able to act inside your body without opening you up, and information could be stored inside you, deeply encrypted, until you unlock it from your very personal nano network" ... until someone or something else hacks into it, that is.  Think there's possibly some chance of mutations or transformations in that scenario?
     I was astounded to find that there is a DVD available, titled Chemtrails: Invasion of the Smart Dust.  The description of the DVD says it all:  "Geoengineering technology is advancing so rapidly that chemtrails are now being dispensed with smart dust, composed of self-powered nano-sized particles or "motes" that function as sensors and mini computers. They can infiltrate your body and communicate with other motes in your body, setting up their own network - which can, unfortunately, be remotely controlled. This is another step along the transhumanist path of turning man into machine. Get informed about the reality of smart dust and how it forms a massive threat against the sovereignty of every human being alive."  I'm obviously not the only one who sees the threat!
     Seriously, folks; we need to face it -- this technology is already here and it's advancing faster than we realize.  How long before it will be mandatory for every person to swallow a nanobot as part of their regular medical care?  Do you really want to subject your body -- God's temple -- to outside manipulators?  I know there are those who will think that I am allowing my fears and misgivings of technology to cloud my judgment.  But I cannot deny the Spirit's promptings; I sense that the Enemy is about to take the world stage.  And why would Satan change his ways?  Hasn't he always worked within whatever realm obsessed or consumed man?  We cannot deny that technology owns the soul of godless men these days.  So where does it stand in your life? Just try to do without it for a day, and you will get your answer.  Then ask yourself, how long has it been since you gazed upon the Lord and His Word?  Makes you think, doesn't it?

Matthew 16:23    “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

October 21, 2014

Ebola: It Affects More Than The Victim

    We all feel compassion for those who have been stricken with Ebola around the world.  And now that it has touched our homeland, it is apparent -- at least, to me -- that the effects are widespread.  Besides the personal toll, this frightening contagion impacts our lives across so many areas.

     First, let's consider the Economy.  Here are the facts: The stock market took a tumble last week, due in part to the news that the 132 passengers on a Frontier Airlines flight from Dulles International Airport to Dallas, TX may have been infected by Amber Vinson, the second nurse to contract Ebola from Patient Zero, Thomas Duncan.
     Members of Congress are openly considering travel bans; not only from Western African countries, but from within the United States, itself.  Just think how that will affect the airline industry!
     Then, there's this: according to The Hollywood Reporter, "When treating multiple Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the staff couldn’t get pizza delivered, couriers refused to handle vials of blood from those patients, and the county threatened to shut off the hospital’s access to sewer lines over concerns about waste from patients."
     And according to my doctor friend, his fellow physicians in Dallas, who have offices adjacent to Texas Presbyterian Hospital, have empty waiting rooms -- patients are refusing to come anywhere near the facility.  And as he reminded me, "The expenses of running those offices aren't suspended; there is a direct impact on their bottom line."
     That piece of information is supported by a recent article in The Washington Post that reported that the playground at an infant and child day-care center near the Dallas Hospital was vacant -- parents are keeping their children home.  But, wouldn't you?
     All this to say, that despite health officials attempting to calm the rising anxiety of Americans by reminding us that "more people will die from the flu than from Ebola," there are some very real side effects from the few reported cases (so far).  First and foremost, there is the economic cost generated by the fear and anxiety associated with this disease.  We are seeing the initial repercussions in the stories related above.  I'm sure the airline industry hasn't forgotten the economic toll that the SARS epidemic took on Asian airlines in 2003 -- the cost was $6 billion!
     But, even if Ebola is stopped in its tracks today, we are already seeing the reverberation throughout different sectors of our economy.  How many of you have re-thought your travel plans?  What about sending your kids to school?  Two schools closed in Ohio last week, after the disclosure that a Middle School staff member may have traveled on the same plane -- though not the same Frontier Airlines flight -- as Amber Vinson.  A student and another teacher, both at different schools in Ohio, have been ordered to stay at home, due to possible exposure to the virus.
    Three schools have closed in Belton, TX, at the news that two students did travel on that same plane with Vinson.  In Fort Worth, TX, an elementary student is also reported to have flown on that same flight, and his family is being quarantined for 21 days.  I would be willing to bet that this presents a financial and economic hardship on all those concerned.  Parents will have to take off work to care for these children; and in the case of entire schools being closed, or whole families being quarantined, one has to ask how many salaries does that effect?  Does sick leave cover this event? And what if you don't have three weeks accrued?
    Then there is the Hospitality sector of the economy.  Do you feel safe going to restaurants?  What about the movies or the book store?  I want to make myself clear on this subject ... it is not time to panic, and I do not want to spread fear.  But I am appalled at the lack of command and authority exhibited by both our government officials and our top federal medical experts.  It goes without saying, that a unified plan to identify and control this disease would go a long ways towards instilling confidence in the American people.  It doesn't help to promote that trust when the top medical experts at the National Institute of Health and the CDC admit that their initial protocol for handling the disease was "inadequate."  I'm pretty sure that's little consolation to the two nurses that were infected.
     And, speaking of nurses, there is the psychological effect among our health care workers, who must be feeling their top government health agencies have failed them.  I have a very good friend who has been a nurse for the last 30-35 years.  I wanted her personal opinion of how she sees this disease playing out in our health care system.  Her first words were chilling... both from a professional and personal standpoint.  She was amazed at "how little she knows about it."  By that she means, forthcoming information from on high has been very limited.  She went on to explain that nurses, as health care providers are at the mercy of not only the CDC for issuing information, protocol and guidelines, but also their county health departments and their hospital administrators.  Every organization has their own agenda; and nurses, who are on the front lines, often get conflicting direction.
     She remembers past outbreaks of Tuberculosis and Legionnaire's Disease; and how quickly guidelines were administered, because the CDC had treatments in place for that.  She candidly admitted that this time, in Dallas, "The CDC dropped the ball.  With Ebola, there is a huge potential for contamination, and the CDC knows that.  They issued a statement saying 'When there is a known case, we [the CDC] are sending in a team.'  That was a bald-faced lie --- they didn't do it in Dallas!"
     I admit, that I think all these nurses have a servant's heart, and are incredibly brave and giving under these circumstances.  But they also have a very real dilemma.  I asked my friend what she will do if/when Ebola becomes an epidemic in this country.  She admitted that she has given this some serious thought.  In the nursing culture, there is tremendous pressure to show up to work, no matter what, because: 1) your patients need you, and 2) it causes a hardship on your fellow workers if you leave them short.  "At some point, you have to isolate the people who are sick.  There definitely needs to be a balance between protecting your patients and co-workers, and performing your duties as a nurse."  But she admitted that if this disease gets out of control, she will stay home.  Like other health care professionals that I know, if Ebola becomes "a mass killer", they feel a responsibility to try to help take care of their families, friends and neighbors, before the general public.
     But the effects of Ebola don't stop there.  Perhaps the most disturbing consequence is the politicization of this disease, which I find repugnant.  As an American citizen, I don't want to hear whining that the Republicans cut funding to the CDC, or patent blaming of the Obama Administration for their policies regarding this disease -- there's been enough mistakes by everybody who is responsible for safeguarding the public.  Somebody needs to take charge and figure out how this disease is transmitted (why can't they definitively tell us if it is airborne or not?); come up with a conclusive nationwide plan for treating it (leaving it to each state seems mutually incompatible); and develop consistent and binding policy to keep it from being imported into this country (remember the wide-open Southern border?).
     And the politics aren't limited to just this country's statesmen.  I, personally, don't care what the IMF or World Banks think ... and I'm not impressed with their "Isolate Ebola, not countries" slogan.  I'm convinced that the Elite have a very personal agenda.  The facts that 4,000 have died in West Africa and as many as 10,000 new cases a week are expected, tells me that we "little people" better look out for ourselves.
     As you can see, this Ebola outbreak has the potential to dominate many aspects of our existence.  Every American should be prepared to institute their own safety precautions and be cognizant of ways they can help prevent its spread.  The good news is that we seem to have some encouragement this week, as it appears that suspected victims are either Ebola-free, or are beginning to recover.  But I am not so confident that I am ready to let down my guard.  Until we get a consistent plan in place -- for ALL states, health care officials, and private citizens -- this disease is not defeated.  Stay alert!

Psalm 41:3-4    "The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health. As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!"

October 20, 2014

"What If You Gave A War & Nobody Tweeted?"

    That was the opening sentence in an article by writer Jeb Lund, of The Guardian.  He is responding to the rather nebulous name of the ill-defined war that now belongs to President Obama .. "Operation Inherent Resolve".  Doesn't exactly inspire one to seek victory, does it?  What exactly does it mean?  If you simply use dictionary definitions, it insinuates a "fundamental decision".  About what?  And how does it relate to the whole issue of defeating ISIS?  Whatever it is we're doing in the Middle East is about as confusing as the name of the mission!
    If you listen to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, he will tell you that the name means "we need to be able to be credible and sustainable over time in order to accomplish the mission that we've been given."  And that mission is?  "To eliminate the terrorist group ISIL," according to Dempsey.  So why the reluctance to call this a War? The enemy certainly has no problem declaring theirs is a war against us! 
     I will admit that naming wars is a political gimmick to employ support from the American people, who are ultimately funding the military missions.  But it also sends a message to the enemy, as well.  Names like Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom telegraphed to our enemy, not only what we saw as our mission, but just how serious we were in accomplishing it.  But what is Inherent Resolve supposed to convey?  
     It has been interesting to see the lack of attention that the American press have afforded the announcement of this name and our latest engagement.  Is it a ploy to get by the mid-term elections without ostensibly breaking previous campaign promises?  Is it to maintain a vague foreign policy with Muslim nations?  While the current administration may think being vague makes them exempt from specific and undue criticism, foreign press outlets aren't as compliant as our media.
     The Sydney Morning Herald, from Australia, called the name Operation Inherent Resolve "lame" and "blah".  And they're much less politically correct, as observed by this comment: "The Americans have become increasingly politicised with the names they use for their missions," says the Australia Defence Association's Neil James. "Since the Twin Towers came down, they wanted to demonstrate a point, that they weren't fighting Islam, only the extremists. Which is one of the reasons why the word crusade is never used."  They see through our guise ....
    Perhaps we should follow their method of naming wars; they use a computer program that throws out random names.  In their own words, "The Australian military doesn't go in for such frippery [as the Americans]", which is why their code name for their involvement in the war with ISIS is Operation Okra --- makes about as much sense as Inherent Resolve to me.  But the best part of the article was this piece of advice:  "The Herald respectfully suggests that the Australian Defence Force farms out the process to the public; crowd-sourcing the naming rights to the people who will ultimately pay for the war: Us."  Good advice!
     But it was writer Jeb Lund, of the UK's The Guardian (and the author of my blog title), who really got to the heart of what the world may think of our newly named war ... "The Operation’s nom de guerre basically offers synonyms for sounding determined. You could call it Operation Stubborn Intrinsic, Operation Stick-to-Itiveness, Operation Keep Doing It ... Basically, this is Operation More Of The Same But With A Proper Noun For It Now, So We Have To Use It."
     So, what good is "sounding determined", if you don't back it up?  Naming a military mission, or war, doesn't necessarily mean you have any intention of accomplishing anything.  What is the stated objective of Operation Inherent Resolve?  So far, we've heard from different sources, that it is to "degrade" or "to humiliate" or to "destroy" ISIS.  That's a pretty broad spectrum, don't you think?  Shouldn't we define our goal in more precise and cohesive terms?
     But perhaps that is the purpose of this ambiguous name.  By keeping the objectives and the goals speculative, it can become an indeterminate, endless war; in reality, it has been 13 years, and counting, from the beginning of this long series of "operations" and "missions" in the Middle East.  The Military-Industrial Complex is chugging right along ... after all, the War on Poverty is 50 years old, and there's no end in sight, so who's to say that Operation Inherent Resolve can't be just as effective? (Wink, Wink).

James 5:8   "You also must wait patiently, strengthening your resolve, because the coming of the Lord is near."

October 19, 2014

Psalm 119:74

Those who fear You shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in Your Word.

     As we face these frightening times, it is my humble desire to be a source of hope for those who are fearful.  And I mean that word "fearful" in dual terms.  First, for those who "fear" our God in awe of His Sovereignty and His Power and His love for us, I want to bring my testimony of what He has shown me in His Word about these times.  I want to be available as a source of encouragement, and to show less experienced Believers who we are to be in the world.  I want to show them that we can be glad -- that we can rejoice -- even in the midst of our burdens and concerns over world events. 
     And for those who "fear" the Lord out of lack of knowledge of Him, I desperately want to introduce their Savior to them!  I want them to see me bold and confident; to witness my peace and contentment; and to notice that I am able to take control and responsibility --- all because God's Word has given me hope.  I want to make it perfectly clear to them that His Gospel Message is the reason that I do not fear, as they do.  And because of my testimony to this group of "fearful" people, I will take great delight in seeing them "rejoice".
     Like me, I'm sure you have run into both groups during these last few turbulent years.  It is incumbent upon us, as Christians, to minister to both.  Each new encounter affords us the opportunity to either renew the strength of a fellow sojourner, or to introduce expectation and desire for God to someone who doesn't know Him.  Either way, I want both to see the mercy and Truth of God in me.  And it may sound like a simple statement, but "hopeful men bring gladness with them."  
     Our witness of hope in the Word can mean the difference between eternal salvation and everlasting damnation... it is that important for every person we come in contact with!  When I can tell others that my hope is a product of my embracing the Word, and that it has seen me through troubles, temptations and trials -- and that it has never disappointed me -- then I have given them reason to rejoice.  Don't be afraid to tell people of your struggles, as well as your triumphs.  They need to see that God is present in everything!
     I want them to know that I am always careful to please Him, and always mindful of offending Him.  And the way to do both is presented in the Bible.  His Word offers the hope and the knowledge and the grace to follow God's commandments.  It's all there ... my reason to rejoice, as well as theirs. Therefore, I must always be vigilant to present that hope, and guard against the despair and negativity of the Enemy.  I must always put on the whole armor of God -- displaying the Righteousness of Christ, the Truth of the One True God, the Peace of the Gospel Message, the grace of Salvation, the confidence in my Faith, and the Power of His Word.  
     When anyone sees me, I want them to share in my experience; to want what I have.  I am God's representative and I welcome all who "fear" Him to take this journey with me ... let's delight and rejoice in the Lord!

October 18, 2014

America ... Who Have We Become?

     I wake up each morning wondering if I will still recognize my country.  It is sometimes overwhelming to read and hear what has happened overnight.  One day it is that Pastors in Houston, Texas are being threatened with subpoenas to turn over their sermons; auspiciously to probe for political content -- which by the way, is a clear violation of Freedom of Speech.
     The next morning, I read that Jerusalem Online is reporting that during a TV interview in France, our President remarked that since 1.5% of the entire U.S. population is Muslim (and which accounts for only 0.3% of the world's Muslim population), we should now be considered "one of the biggest Muslim nations."  Other than a smattering of alternative media sites, this surprising declaration is all but ignored.
     On other days, I try to wrap my head around why we would quarantine whole families, and shut down schools, because someone took a flight on a plane that an Ebola patient had previously flown on -- yet do nothing to stop flights from Ground Zero in West Africa, where the disease is originating and raging.
     Here in Texas, we hear daily of the mounting kidnappings, deaths, and cartel invasions along our southern border with Mexico; yet, we are excoriated for calling for border closures.  We Americans used to feel safe and secure in this country; that we could trust our elected representatives to put America first.  Now, we are more worried about protecting "fledgling democracies in West Africa"; illegal immigrants who are "only seeking political asylum"; and everything and everybody who opposes Judeo-Christian values.
     I just wonder how heart-broken Billy Graham must have been to say that, "America is just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah."  At 95 years of age, Reverend Graham has seen the ebb and flow of America's fortunes. He knows, better than most, that this nation is being swept along on a flood of immorality, greed, and pride.  He would be justified, at his age, in giving up on us -- we used to be the light of the world; now that beacon is covered in the filth of corruption and depravity.
The right of freedom being a gift
from God, it is not in the power
of man to alienate this gift and 
voluntarily become a slave.

--Samuel Adams
    Yet, Dr. Graham reminds us that this nation was founded by men who believed in prayer, and the Power that established this nation can resurrect it, if we will return to Him and pray for forgiveness.  He firmly believes that this downward tide of history can be "turned by prayer".  Where are the other leaders of this nation, like him?  "Leader" doesn't have to mean powerful men in government, or famous televangelists; it can be anyone who is willing to step up and show the way towards a better future for this country.  Each one of us can play that part!  Have we become a nation so lazy and disconnected that we've lost our way?  We are on the verge of letting our inheritance slip away, and no one is aware of it!
     Will future generations wonder why we were ever called "Sweet Land of Liberty"?  Will your grandchildren and great-grandchildren ever experience the individual freedoms that we were born with?  Lest we forget, no other nation in the history of the world allowed their citizens to make choices independent of a ruler/governing class.  We Americans have enjoyed rights not held by citizens down through the ages.  We have the right to say what we want (as long as it doesn't harm another), to worship as we choose, to assemble in peaceful protest, to live where we want, and to work at whatever craft we desire -- all privileges that we take for granted.  And, because of our complacency, these rights and individual freedoms are eroding.  Our descendants may scarcely recognize them.
     Our Founders believed that our freedom as a Sovereign Nation rested on our Individual Freedoms as citizens.  They are wholly dependent on each other.  The soul purpose of the "fundamental changes" that, we as a nation have accepted, were to revise and revamp who we are as a country and a people.  And that goal has almost been reached.  All of our political posturing and social arguments will not turn this ship; the tide is too strong.
     So, the question becomes ... will we follow Dr. Graham's advice and turn to prayer?  Because, I can promise you that this is the only hope we have.  It is too late to return to our origins by the ballot box, social protest, or democratic overhaul; it is incontrovertible that we have wasted the legacy of our forefathers.  But there is one thing we need to understand ... God established this nation, and through His Sovereignty, He can allow it to be destroyed.  However, that judgment can be stayed -- if we will humble ourselves, seek His Face ... and pray!  

Psalm 33:12   "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!"

October 17, 2014

The New Chimera: Ebola & Genetically Engineered Vaccines

     As I sat yesterday afternoon, watching Congress's House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations grill the top federal health professionals on our Ebola crisis, my Biblical worldview helped me to quickly see through the subterfuge.  Doctors and officials from the foremost government agencies all appeared -- the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Homeland Security; Texas Health Resources; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the National Institute of Health (NIH) -- supposedly to answer the cares and concerns of our elected representatives.  Naturally, we would hope that these politicians truly represented the interests of the American people.
    If you just listened to the hearing through the lens of "how to better protect Americans", you might think that these bureaucratic organizations are centered on limiting the spread of Ebola.  You would have heard lots of talk about travel restrictions, travel bans, and quarantines.  But if you listened closer, as one who "has ears to hear", you would have picked up on the testimony of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the head of the National Institute of Health.
    He referred to the NIH's Phase I early-stage human clinical trials of an Ebola vaccine on healthy volunteers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.  (Does it bother you that the military is always the guinea pig?  But, I digress).  The NIHs own press release revealed that "the investigational vaccine is based on a recombinant type of chimpanzee “cold” virus, called chimp adenovirus type 3 (ChAd3)."  Exactly what does this mean, and how does it relate to "The Days of Noah"?
     First of all, if you have been a reader of my blog, then you know that I have a different slant on Chapter 6, verse 4, of Genesis.  For your enlightenment, here is a quick synopsis: I believe this controversial passage of Scripture happened just as the Bible records, and tells us of Satan's attempt to pollute the human genome into something that no longer resembled "the image of God".  The Scripture reads, "In those days, giants lived on the earth and also afterward, when divine beings and human daughters had sexual relations and gave birth to children (the Nephilim). These were the ancient heroes, famous men."  From this verse, it is my discernment that the ancient heroes were what we consider the mythological demigods, such as the Titans and the Olympians; and included such superstars as Zeus, Apollo, Cronus, Atlas and Prometheus.  They were genetically part Fallen Angel, and part human.
     At the same time, all the mythological creatures that we think of as folk tales or legend -- hybrid creatures, known as Chimeras, appeared as minotaurs, satyrs or centaurs, among others -- and are the result of the same kind of genetic manipulation.  We think of them as myths, but every culture contains ancient stories of them, and their images have been seen on countless archeological findings.  This kind of Fallen Angel-technology has been known since the "days of Noah", and the knowledge is once again  being revived.
    So, how am I making the connection between a disputed Bible verse and today's crisis with Ebola? To see the relationship, one must consider Jesus's warning to us before His death and resurrection.  When asked by His disciples when He would return, He answered, "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah...".  In the days of Noah, God saw how wicked man had become and how the inclination of the thoughts of the human heart had become evil. Obviously, Jesus knew this kind of evil behavior would occur again.
     I contend that this Ebola event, just as "in the days of Noah", could be an example for such wickedness.  Consider this: As stated, the NIH's investigational vaccine is based on a recombinant chimpanzee virus.  It is my understanding that recombinant DNA is "DNA molecules that are extracted from different sources and chemically joined together; for example DNA comprising an animal gene may be recombined with DNA from a bacterium", producing a new genetic combination -- in this case, Ebola.
    Could Satan, through the auspices of modern medicine and a world health crisis, once again be attempting to manipulate our gene pool; to change the genetic material of the world's population so that we no longer resemble the human beings that God made?
    During the Congressional hearings, it was hard not to perceive the excitement with which Dr. Fauci of the NIH talked about the Phase I experiment.  "If we don't contain [Ebola}, we may well need a vaccine."  And when you listened to the fumbling answers from Dr. Thomas Frieden, of the CDC, one has to wonder if they really want to contain Ebola.  He couldn't explain how the CDC could advise Nurse Amber Vinson that it was safe to travel by air, when they knew she had been in direct contact with Thomas Duncan.  And do his previous days' comments about "protecting fledgling democracies" belie the real purpose behind our health professionals' treatment of Ebola in this country?  Doesn't make sense, does it? Unless.....
    Unless you listened to the later testimony by Dr. Fauci, who made reference to Canada's NewLink Genetics Corporation, which is working on the vaccine that both the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense applaud as "one of the most advanced in the world."  NewLink describes the vaccine as containing "a combination of a gene from the Ebola virus and other materials, including the Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which is a non-human pathogen, but does not contain the actual Ebola virus."  Furthermore, officials claim that "there is no reason to quarantine any of the test subjects during the trial."
    So let me ask you this:  health officials have expressed their uncertainty about how this deadly virus is spreading, right?  What could be the possible motive for not quarantining subjects during a trial of this vaccine? Could it be that they are anticipating a pandemic?  And wouldn't that necessitate a mandate that everyone must take the vaccine?  How convenient for moving Satan's plan forward!
     Perhaps a partial answer can be found in Dr. Fauci's subsequent testimony.  He was quick to sing the praises of the possible vaccine.  "Contracts need to move forward as quickly as possible... We need to expand production and get rapid approval from the FDA ... The ultimate goal is to expand into Africa; if successful after Phase I, we will expand into larger trials in West Africa."
     Of course, that all sounds like good humanitarian policy, until you consider that there are other Biblical prophecies that come into play ... the death of 1/4 of the world's population ... pestilence and plague ... and who is to say that Satan can't work on multiple levels?  And one cannot ignore the Apostle Paul's warning against the evil deeds of men and their use of "sorcery".  It is important to understand that, in the Greek, this word is rendered pharmakeia, (where our word, pharmaceuticals comes from) and Strong's Concordance has established that it means, "the use of drugs, whether simple or potent, generally accompanied by incantations and appeals to occult powers."  The word's primary reference was to drugs, and to those who employed them for whatever reason (in this case: for godless purposes).
     I guess I just can't reconcile the contradictory statements by these influential health officials.  On one hand, Dr. Frieden, of the CDC, proclaimed that there is no need to worry; that Ebola has very little likelihood of spreading to the general population; and that they are quite capable of controlling it.  On the other hand, Dr. Fauci, of the NIH, called for government funding to rapidly advance the production of a vaccine, in preparation for the possibility of "a raging epidemic."  Keep us docile and discourage vigilance ... while planning for mass vaccinations ... and with a drug that introduces non-human genes into our bodies.  As a Christian, that just doesn't work for me.
     So, in summarizing, I know that there will be those who do not see this situation as I do.  I respect our differences of opinion, but I would hope that you would pray and ask for guidance when it comes time to make a decision about taking an Ebola vaccine.  You don't have to be a Believer to see that things are just not adding up.
     But I have to ask, Is there a possibility that we actually possess a "God gene", as molecular geneticist Dean Hamer claims?  Indeed, Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:39) that "Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another...".  So when he says just a few verses later, "flesh and blood cannot [become partakers of eternal salvation and] inherit or share in the kingdom of God;", he is telling us that at some point, if we combine our DNA with a different kind of flesh, God will no longer recognize us as worthy of salvation.  And didn't Satan show us "in the days of Noah", that it is his game plan to pollute or corrupt that perfect DNA to claim us as his own?
     Which brings me to my final thought of the day ... and you better put your tin foil hat on for this one!  Why was it determined that Nurse #1 (Nina Pham), who had received plasma from Christian doctor Kent Brantley and was in "good and stable" condition, should be transferred to an isolation chamber at Dr. Fauci's NHI facility?  At the Congressional hearing, Dr. Fauci said that he would personally monitor Ms. Pham, and that she would receive "state of the art" care.  My question is this: She seems to be recovering from Ebola on her own (with the help of Dr. Brantley's plasma); will she now be subjected to the genetically engineered vaccine?  And will her body become the battle ground between God and Satan's DNA?  Sounds crazy, right?  But if Genesis 6:4 can happen, who's to say .....?

Malachi 3:5   "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers..."

October 16, 2014

Rethinking My Prepper Mindset

     The last couple of weeks, my thoughts keep returning to how quickly our world could change if we are confronted with a crisis situation.  The appearance of Ebola and the beheadings within our country have certainly got my attention.  These are two new "threats" that I just didn't think we would ever have to confront.  And it's got me thinking ...
      If you are like me, a few years back you faced "The Monster" and adopted a whole new perspective on the importance of preparing for the worst.  You read One Second After and How To Survive The End Of The World As We Know It.  We set about working out a plan, and making our plans work.
"The Book of Eli"
     We left our normalcy bias and gladly accepted the mantle of "Prepper".  We prided ourselves on being "awake" and "aware".  We have trained our minds and bodies to think differently and perform new tasks that will ensure our survival in adverse circumstances.  We have convinced ourselves that we will not be blind to potential threats; we will see it coming and be ready for anything that threatens our families.  We even take comfort in surrounding ourselves with "like-minded people" who share our mindset and survival skills.
    We might even consider ourselves more spiritually equipped than our Christian friends, who repeatedly reprimand us for "not trusting God to deliver us."  We tell ourselves that God gave us a brain to use while we occupy this planet, and being prepared does not mean you plan on abdicating your service to Him; and we might even personally believe that all our preparation plans and stockpiles might not even be for us, but will benefit someone else -- perhaps an unbeliever who may come to know God through our actions.  In effect, we are pretty satisfied with our Prepper status ... and that is what concerns me.
    This disquiet in my soul has come about because of a conversation my husband and I had with a new acquaintance the other day.  You know how it is ... we all do this "song-and-dance" to discover where a new contact fits within the spectrum of Awareness.  And once they pass the test, then both parties compare and contrast philosophies and beliefs.
     This new friend conceded that he had embraced the need to get prepared physically at the beginning of this nation's financial crisis in 2008.  He had carefully thought out all the possible scenarios we could face and had been financially able to complete an exhaustive and comprehensive plan to secure the safety of his family.  He had combined his resources with others who had similar attitudes and opinions, and they agreed to meet any future challenge together.
     But then I noticed a hesitancy; I could tell there was something that he was struggling with.  He admitted that he and his group of Prepper friends had a major fundamental difference in their thinking.  He is coming to terms with how he should handle hungry or ill strangers who come knocking on their gate for food or medical assistance.  It is important to him, as a Christian, how he responds to those in need.  His friends do not agree.  That will be a serious conflict for any group who have joined  together.
     But this is not a new concern among survivalists.  This conversation has been going on for years.  But something has changed ... or maybe I should say, we have changed.  In my Biblical worldview, events do not happen outside of the control of God.  Everything is in His timing and for His purpose.  I do not have the counsel of God, and ultimately my opinion counts for nothing, but I can't help wondering if perhaps God is taking His time with the events we have all been anticipating so that He could separate those who are His, and grow us towards greater service in bringing in His harvest?  And this question makes me take a look at the bigger picture.
     As time has progressed, we have all retreated somewhat from our initial level of enthusiasm and drive.  Six years of slow deterioration, with no extreme event, has deprived us of our "edge".  I might even be willing to say we have become comfortable in our state of awareness/preparedness ... and that's a contradictory concept!  The very nature of becoming a Prepper is not to be comfortable ... whether in the physical or spiritual aspect.  Our mindset must always be on expanding knowledge to save our lives; it's just that now, in the case of our new friend, his Prepper Mindset (and ours) is centered more on Spiritual lives, rather than Physical.
     When I look back over the last six years, I can see a shift in my thinking and my focus.  I still want to make sure that my larder is full, and I have plenty of medical supplies on hand.  I still want to be physically ready to defend myself, and am less wasteful and more innovative in taking care of our needs... I still fit the "Prepper" description.  There are still things that we have not crossed off of our physical "to-do" list, but I am less concerned with worldly strategies, and more preoccupied with heavenly pursuits.  I'm thinking more about God, and less about myself.
     Those initial fears have been replaced with a calmness; not that I have grown complacent towards the affairs of my country or the world --- it's just that I am viewing the part I am to play differently.  It's not so much about saving my life here on earth, but of saving souls for eternity.  All our stuff, training, and new skills will serve me and my family well while we are here; but I am now preparing for a much greater event -- and I won't even need a bug-out bag!

Proverbs 19:21     "Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand."