Monday, November 21, 2016

We Are Commanded to be Thankful

The Commandment to be Thankful
By Barbara Henderson

Who should receive a ‘second helping’? The one who gave heartfelt thanks for the first helping - or the one who gave no thanks at all?

Thanking someone for a gift is considered to be good manners. If we are willing to thank our friends and peers for gifts, why would we neglect the God of our salvation? Thanksgiving with God is more than good manners. It is the beginning of blessings as well as an acknowledgement of the blessings already received. Actually, being thankful to God is probably THE smartest thing you will ever do in your entire life. Thanksgiving is the proper way for a believer to approach God.

Psalms 95:2 tells us, ‘Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.’

That clearly states that we are to come into His presence with thanksgiving. The second part of that verse says we are to approach Him with Psalms - or joyful singing. For that reason, we should consider seriously the songs with which we approach God. Do not fall into the trap of approaching God with inane repetitions of the same line. Follow the guidelines for songs in the Psalms. Anyway - back to the subject of this article - Thanksgiving.

Psalms 50 really gives us a picture of how important thanksgiving is to God. In this Psalm God tells us of His glory and power. Then He goes on to say that the people have given Him sacrifices a’ plenty. Then God says He doesn’t want their bulls, or their goats, because He owns all that anyway. Verse 14 tells us, ‘Offer unto God thanksgiving’ and pay thy vows unto the most High”! God wants what only we can give Him - a thankful heart. The next thing God wants from us is that we take our commitment to God seriously. When you became a Christian, you chose the path of God as your own path. Take this commitment seriously. The path that follows Christ is the path of the greatest success and the least sorrow possible.

But wait - there’s more. Verse 15 tells us the reward of those who follow the instructions in verse 14. It says, ‘And call upon me in the day of trouble” I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ OK!!! Anyone with a heart truly seeking God can do this. Thanksgiving is the preferred offering to God. That doesn’t cost you anything. (Well - it does cost a little pride if you think you have provided the blessings in your life for yourself.)

Don’t forget to follow the instructions at the end of that verse - after God has delivered you from whatever problem you were facing - be certain to give the glory for your deliverance to God. Thank God. In everything give thanks.

One of the greatest success stories of all time is that of Nehemiah. He set out to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 11:17 we are told that thanksgiving was so important a group of men were appointed to begin the thanksgiving part of the service in prayer - with Mattaniah as the leader. Mattaniah is mentioned again in chapter 12: 8 as being over ‘the thanksgiving’. The way the verse refers to ‘the thanksgiving’ sounds like it was a normal part of the service. I actually have a friend who is a native of India - and a great Christian leader. He said that in their service the first hour is dedicated to thanksgiving alone. That sounds good to me. Maybe we should try that here. Oh wait - that would be hard to get done and still get out by noon wouldn’t it?

Thanksgiving is not always easy. I am not talking about thanksgiving during sorrow, but thanksgiving in the midst of pride. True thankfulness requires that we sacrifice our pride in our accomplishments. It requires that we sacrifice our fear in the midst of turmoil. It requires that we sacrifice our desires and our ways for the way God has for us, and the purpose for which He created us. It even requires that we sacrifice our grief and disappointment to His hands and His ways. Psalms 116:17 says, ‘I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.’ Are you able to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord? Is the church of today able to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord?’ Is it not arrogance to forego thanksgiving as the first order of the day? If we want a second helping of God’s blessings - let us give heartfelt thanks for the first blessings of God.

Through thanksgiving, our faith grows stronger. The Psalms give list after list of the great things God did for His children. In listing these things, the people were reminded of the ways God had delivered them in the past. This gave them courage for the moment and faith that God would not abandon them to the perils which they faced right then. How many times has God delivered you from a problem? How many times has He delivered your family from a problem? How many times has He delivered America from disaster? God has power to save us. Don’t let it be our sins that cause us to miss the blessings God has for us. We don’t have to say our thanks to God in a manner as fancy as the Psalmist does. We just have to be sincere. God reads our heart like we read the funny paper. He knows true thanksgiving versus empty words.

The United States has proclaimed a specific day for Thanksgiving. While this is not a holiday ordained by the Bible, it is a way of life that is ordained by the teachings of God. We are to thank God in everything. We are to thank him everyday.

I don’t know about you - but I am so ‘busted’. I consider myself a thankful person. But when I consider the blessings God has given to me personally, to my family, and to this country, I realize that I haven’t even scratched the surface of thankfulness. I am making a New Year’s resolution right now to become someone who is more deeply thankful than I have been in the past. I know it will be good for me, my family, my country, and the world. I hope you will take the time to consider your own attitude of thankfulness - and if you find it needs ‘adjusting’ - now is the time to start.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Truly give thanks to the One who has made every good thing in your life and in the world possible.

'Come Ye Thankful People Come'

Come, ye that fear the Lord, and hear
What He has done for me;
My cry for help is turned to praise,
For He has set me free.
Through pain and trouble Thou hast led,
And humbled all our pride,
But, in the end, to liberty
And wealth Thy hand did guide.

If in my heart I sin regard,
My prayer He will not hear;
But truly God has heard my voice,
My prayer has reached His ear.
O let the Lord, our gracious God,
Forever bless├Ęd be,
Who has not turned my prayer from Him,
Nor yet His grace from me.

Here in Thy house I give to Thee
The life that Thou dost bless,
And pay the solemn vows I made
When I was in distress.
O all ye peoples, bless our God,
Aloud proclaim His praise,
Who safely holds our soul in life,
And steadfast makes our ways.

God bless you. Thank you for reading my article.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Focusing on What's Important - Can You Do It?

Focusing – Can you do it?
Barbara Henderson

November 11, is Veteran’s Day.  It is a day that we should spend being thankful to God and for those He used to raise up and preserve this nation.  To those who served I would like to say thank you.  If you have been reading my articles long you know that I have written several articles about my husband’s uncle Gerald who was killed while carrying wounded to safety on D-Day. He has a box full of medals that he was awarded for what he did that day as well as for other things he did during the war.  He was with the Big Red One from the start of the war, so he had plenty of time to earn medals, but lots of other people didn’t earn medals.  I’m sure they did their jobs well, and I am thankful for their service.  But I still wonder what makes some people different?  I actually thought, ‘Are they crazy or what?  Don’t they know they could get shot if they run out in front of everyone for some reason or another?’ I knew that wasn’t the reason they behaved heroically.  There had to be something more to it than just an impulse.

I spent some time looking up some of Gerald’s fellow soldiers.  I personally talked to and corresponded with two of them for some time.  Another relative talked to at least one more. My father in law talked to many of them, but he is living in heaven now, so I can’t ask him. I wanted to know what made Gerald and others like him do the heroic things they did.  What made him different?

This is what I came up with.  He focused on the immediate task at hand.  He ignored everything around him and just did what needed to be done in that moment.  I guess you could say he was ‘in the zone’.  One soldier who saw him that day said he didn’t even appear concerned.  He was just doing whatever needed to be done at that moment.  He was focused on getting the big job done one little job at a time.

Then I began to consider how this applies to the everyday lives of Christians.  We are truly living in a world of distractions.  Important things are set aside in order to do what is next on the list. 

Hebrews 12:1 says,
     ‘Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,’.

A lot of what we do is just tending to a weight or a heavy and unnecessary burden.  We need to set these weights aside.  We have more important things to do.  We need to get a mental picture of the big picture.  In Gerald’s case the big picture would have been to win the war.  On D-Day the big picture would have been to take out guns on the cliffs and launch the liberation of Europe.  The smaller picture would have been to focus on getting his men and equipment on to the beach.  Next focus would have been to help other trucks and equipment stuck in the water to get to the beach.  Next small task was to get the wounded to safety.  And that last task was what cost him his life. 

Christians need to get a clear mental picture of the big picture.  That should be to live like the Christian you claim to be.  But, just like Gerald, you should have other mental pictures that are very important.  For me a lot of my ‘big picture’, other than being a faithful Christian, was a little blurry until I got married.  I was just 18, but I knew that my goal was to stay married.  With that in mind, I married a man who was raised Baptist just like me.  He went to church with me from the second week that I knew him.  We had common interests, and he liked my family immediately.  Besides, he had a ski boat and a motor cycle.  What more could I ask for?

Then we had kids – two of them.  My goal then became to raise them up to love God and keep the commandments.  That was my focus.  Because of that Jerry and I joined an Independent Baptist church.  I was the one pushing that because I knew it was right.  Jerry got on board pretty quickly because he is the Christian man he claims to be, but it did cause some problems with some family who called the church ‘off the wall Baptist’.  My goal was raising two kids to love God and keep the commandments.  I know the choice to become Christians was ultimately theirs, but I was going to do my part to give them the knowledge and understanding to make the right choice.

I put my kids in Christian school because I knew what was best for them.  Once again there was some family discord about that.  I cared, but not enough to change my focus from doing what was best for my kids.  When I switched them to homeschool there were some really bad moments with family, but once again my focus was on doing what was right for my kids.  My big picture had not changed.  I was going to raise Christian kids or die trying.

You definitely need some long term goals.  You need to be focused on those goals continually.  But, to accomplish the long term goals, you need to take the tasks of each day and focus on getting them done one task at a time.  That is where the heroes are made.  They are people who get a big job done by focusing on getting the little jobs done. 

In the day to day routine of homeschooling two kids there was a lot of little things that had to be done.  Focusing on one thing was difficult because there were two kids wanting help at the same time, there was a family business, and there were all the chores that go with keeping a house and raising a family.  If I could go back and do it again I would set better rules about not interrupting and waiting your turn.  But I don’t regret doing it.  By the wonderful grace of God my kids are practicing Christians married to practicing Christians and raising grandkids as Christians.

Now I have the same big picture, but daily focus has obviously changed.  I have some things that I do everyday, but a lot depends on what I am physically able to do and what is happening on a particular day.  The main focus is on my thoughts.  In my battle with cancer there are some terrible thoughts that try to plague me daily. I do my best to keep my focus on the promises and blessings of God. 

In truth, there are always terrible battles raging around us.  There is always a spiritual battle going on for the souls of the lost and for the thoughts of the saved.  I think there is more than one book titled, ‘The Battle for the Mind’ or some similar title.  I think that is where the start of every battle lies – in the mind.  To focus what you actually do you have to be able to focus what your mind thinks.  Once your mind focuses on an immediate task your hands will follow along and do what needs to be done.  Fill your mind with the teachings and songs of Jesus Christ.  This is where your strength will be found.  When the devil attacks you, or your own personal sin nature attacks you, you can answer them with truths from the Bible or hymns that tell Bible truths.  Is this easy?  No.  Is it possible?  Yes.  Focusing on thinking right thoughts is possibly the most important thing you can do.  By the way, don’t confuse this with ‘thinking good thoughts’.  Some of the Bible truths are difficult to accept.  For instance, it is true that those who reject Jesus Christ will spend eternity in hell.  That can hardly be considered a ‘good thought’, but it is true. 

From your vantage point of focusing on Christ set aside all the distractions of the day and the moment and focus on getting the next task done. This very often requires setting aside your emotions.  I am sure Gerald had to set aside his natural instinct to be afraid on D-Day.  You will probably never face a battle like the one fought on the beaches of Normandy, but you will face a lot of spiritual battles.  The big picture should always be focusing on pleasing God in all that you do.  The little picture is just to get the next job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Please keep in mind that there are many many heroes who haven’t done anything that is really noteworthy to the world or to those around them.  The Lord knows what you do every day.  He knows your thoughts.  He knows your fears.  He knows how often you cast all your cares of Him.  Really, worldly medals and trophies are not going to heaven with you.  If your heart is right with God then you are doing right.  That is where true treasure lies.

By the way, I saw a TV special about D-Day many years ago.  They interviewed soldiers who had landed on the beach at Normandy and lived to tell the tale of what happened that day.  One soldier had a terrible confession to make.  He made it to the beach.  He was terrified, so he crawled under dead bodies and stayed there until dark.  Then he rejoined his unit.  He had lived with the guilt of what he had done all his life.  I have no real criticism for that man because none of us knows what we would have done on that day.  But there is a spiritual battle raging in real life every day.  Our options are to join in the battle to do the will of God, of hide among the bodies of the spiritually dead until the battle is over. 

The real question is, ‘What are you doing?  Are you hiding among the spiritually dead, or are you living in obedience to God’s instructions?’ 

Have you heard the C. T. Studd quote that says,
‘Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell;
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.’

He was a man born to a wealthy family. He could have spent his life within the sound of church or chapel bells.  In truth he might have lived a moral life and truly loved the Lord while living a peaceful life near those church and chapel bells. Instead he answered the call to tell the world that Jesus saves.  He worked to carry the gospel to a lot of the world, including Africa, India, and China.

I am sure this missionary was focused on the great commission – preaching the gospel to all the world.  I am sure he focused on daily tasks to help in accomplishing his main goal.  He sacrificed a great deal, including time with his wife who preceded him in death, and his family fortune given to missionary support.  

I don’t know what God has called you to do, but if you are truly a born again Christian then it is highly doubtful that God has called you to spend your life hiding among the spiritually dead. 

There is another story of someone who didn’t go to the mission field, but her story has a wonderful outcome.  Ina D. Ogden had plans to be a missionary, but she abandoned those plans to care for her aging father.  She wrote several songs, but probably the best known is ‘Brighten the Corner Where You are’. 

Both C. T. Studd and Ina D. Ogden gave their lives to the Lord.  A guess would be that Ina’s life had more time that would have allowed for depression or regrets, as caring for a sick person can be a heavy task.  C. T.’s Life was probably more fast paced allowing less time for regrets or ‘what if’s’ to plague him.  But they both had to stay focused to be successful as they worked to live a life obedient to the Lord.

Staying focused is the key to getting any job done, whether you are on a literal battle field, a literal mission field, or a mission field in your own home.  Get the big picture in your mind.  Focus on the daily tasks that need to be done.  While most of us will never have to run through gun fire to get a job done, we will have to face times when we are overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of getting everything done; and we will face other times when we are focused on remaining cheerful while tending to repetitive tasks.  In all these situations staying focused is the key to success.

In closing I want to encourage each reader to focus more on thankfulness and prayer.  Political and social battles are going on all around us.  Do your part to lead those in your sphere of influence to do what is right.  And, stay focused on doing your personal duty one job at a time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Getting to know Yourself

Is Getting to Know Yourself Important?
Barbara Henderson

An opera tells a story.
An oratorio means 'oratory or teaching by music'.
In a time when Bibles were expensive and scarce George Fredric Handel wrote 'The Messiah' to teach Bible truths.
Today, in a time of approaching apocalypse, churches sing silly little 'feel good ditties' instead of teaching songs that teach Bible truths.  When Paul and Silas were beaten and chained in a dark dungeon they sang songs. 
Do you think they sang seven words eleven times? 
Imagine a day when you are locked up and beaten because you are a Christian.  You have no Bible.  All you have is the scripture you have memorized and the teaching songs you have learned.  Exactly what will you have? 
The Friends of Israel magazine 'Israel My Glory' has an excellent article on Handel's composition of the 'The Messiah'.

Everybody loves somebody sometime….. Oh wait, I meant to say, ‘Everybody needs to get to know herself/himself right now.  But, most people are way too busy to get to know themselves.  They are doing important things that simply must be done or the world will end in an apocalypse.  Oh wait, the world is going to end in an apocalypse according to the Bible, so there must be another reason people are too busy to get to know themselves.  It could be that most people have had a glimpse or two of the importance of their professed core values, and they may have seen a few things that just don’t add up.  So, it is just much easier to stay busy and not spend time getting to know themselves better.  This may work until a crisis comes, but it won’t do you much good when a crisis does actually come.  It is much more fun to spend time purchasing and trying out all the gadgets that are being made and sold to help you get through a crisis than to prepare mentally and emotionally to face that crisis.

For instance, I don’t want to talk about that big black think that Jerry bought recently, or the scope that goes on it, or the time spent sighting it in, or the fact that I approved the purchase. Currently I can tell you that it wouldn’t do me any good because I can barely lift it, much less actually aim it.  But, it looks really cool.  The mere sight of it should scare a criminal burglar half way to death.  So, this was definitely a must in our bags and boxes of must have things in case the apocalypse starts before Jesus calls us all home. 

Even better than having most of the things my family has, we have been blessed with men in the family with common sense and the ability to use these things safely and efficiently.  If I had to go into a living off the grid scenario there is no one I would rather have with me than my immediate family.  The women in the family are also very knowledgeable as well as agreeable, but the men are stronger and more able to do what needs to be done.  Personally, I have lived without electricity and running water for several weeks at a time.  Years ago Jerry and I actually put our two small children in a homemade sleeper camper and spent a summer in Alaska.  I grew up there and I wanted Jerry and the kids to see it.  We had a dry place to sleep every night, a propane stove to cook on, and warm clothing.  So, we obviously had it much better than many people in a refugee situation have it.  I remember my brother flew up to spend a week with us while we were there, and I had mom send some scissors so I could give the guys a haircut.  It was a fun time, but it had a known beginning and a known end.  That took away a lot of stress and allowed us to just enjoy it.  What we gained was experience in living in a wild environment, building fires in the rain, digging clams, chasing down that illusive photograph, and the sure knowledge that you can never have a big enough zoom on your camera.  I entertained the kids and Jerry by reading full length books.  Even though the kids were small they had no problem listening to a long story.

During this time there was little danger from anything except the weather and wild animals.  I would like to take a minute out her and remind you all that wild animals are very dangerous.  It doesn’t matter how friendly they seem to be, they will bite you or eat you if they have the chance.  Please never believe that old saying that ‘they will leave you alone if you leave them alone’.  Than may be true most of the time, but it definitely is not true all the time.  Be careful. 

We also learned some other important things about living close together, enjoying the company of family, and enjoying things that happen every day.  I would suggest that anyone who has a chance to live primitively for a few weeks go ahead and do it. 

Unless you are a soldier in a combat situation or something similar you can’t really be tested in how well you would do in a situation where your life is in danger.  A situation where your family is in danger is not likely something you will face until there is an actual dire situation, so you can’t really test how you will handle it.

If the social structure of our nation is compromised, then virtually everyone will be thrown into a situation for which they are not mentally or emotionally equipped.  Everyone will be thrown completely out of their comfort zone.  Let’s say you are blessed and able to locate a relatively safe place where you are inside a structure that is safe from wild animals, sheltered from rain and wind, and with a way to sleep warm and cook.  That assumes you also have something to cook.  You don’t know when any of it will end.  You don’t know if things will ever return to anything that even resembles normal.  What are you going to do then?  Unless there is a clear way to keep providing food, shelter, and warm clothing you are going to start worrying.  If it goes on long enough you are going to panic…… UNLESS…… you have taken the time to get to know yourself and have a plan on how to proceed. 

The time to prepare for what you need to get you through a time of anarchy or persecution is now.  You need to get your self-definition straight in your own head.  Are you someone who can go with ‘survival of the fittest’?  Would you do anything to survive?  Or are you someone who claims to be a Christian?  Each of these possibilities automatically sets boundaries in how you will behave, or takes away boundaries and allows you to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. 

These are things you need to settle now before you face a situation where your core beliefs require action to prove who you really are.  Then you need to start living by the set of rules or boundaries that your core values require of you.   Honestly, if you are an anarchist at heart you will break every rule that you can get away with breaking right now.  If you are a survival of the fittest person you are probably the person who pushes their way to the front of the checkout line in the store.  You personally need to be honest with yourself.  It will determine how you face a future that is suddenly very unstable.  You don’t want to be the one who claims to be a Christian now, but when a time of great crisis comes you are the one climbing over the bodies of the helpless to get to the front of the FEMA food line.

I know someone who worked with a couple of guys who thought they were very well equipped for the melt down of civilization because they had a 4X4 vehicle, a gun or two, and they spent weekends camping in the woods drinking beer.  I am pretty sure they would be crying like little girls before a week was out if they ever face a real survival situation.

The truth is we don’t know what will happen.  It could be an entire social meltdown.  It could be a food supply meltdown.  It could be a natural disaster that throws everyone out of their comfort zone for an unknown time.  So, yes, do prepare as much as your budget will allow for the unknown.  Clothing, portable shelter, food, defense, water purifier, and at least one cooking pot for boiling water and cooking are all pretty necessary.  Just do the best you can in putting it together.  Don’t discount easy things like using your vehicle for shelter at least temporarily.  I didn’t say it would be comfortable, but it would be a place you could lock yourself and your family inside.  It should be dry although condensation would be a problem in most places.  I could go on and on about all the possible scenarios and how to deal with each one in the safest manner possible.  But a lot has already been written, and lot of what has been written is good advice.  The real question is how do you prepare emotionally and mentally for an unknown disaster?

I think you prepare by paying attention to the core values you have, and putting them into practice every day.  As a Christian you are supposed to obey the commandments.  Set a habit of doing that now.  Take it very seriously.

Something really important is to memorize scripture, or at least become very familiar with it.  And use your time playing music to memorize music that teaches Bible truths.  I really don’t think Paul and Silas were singing ‘I Will Survive’ while they were locked up in a dungeon.  My guess is they were singing songs that told the story of salvation.   When they were miraculously set free people around them were ready to get saved right then.  Their guards would have been amazed to look at these two men who had been beaten and put in chains and then hear them singing glory to God.  I mean really, does anyone actually think that seven words sung softly as a prayer repeated until the listener hopes he goes deaf is going to convert anyone?  Or does anyone think that sort of song is going to comfort the one beaten black and blue and put in chains?  The best song to memorize is Amazing Grace – all the verses, not just the 3 usually sung in church.  Here is a link to a very nice version of the song, but not all the verses are sung.  

Read Acts chapter 16 for the story of Paul and Silas and their jail episode.  For many years the idea of a Christian in the USA being locked up for telling others about Jesus was ridiculous.  Today, there are many in power in the USA that would love to find a way to get rid of all Christians.  Until they can do that they would love to lock up Christians and beat them.  So the question of what would you do in such a situation has merit as a question worth answering.  I don’t think any of us can answer the question without actually facing something like that.  I know God doesn’t give grace for something that hasn’t happened yet.  The best way to prepare yourself for the possibility of persecution is to memorize Bible scriptures and songs that teach Bible truths.   In the midst of a trial you will be able to comfort yourself.  You may be able to comfort those around you by your knowledge.

Nehemiah chapter 5 tells of a very turbulent time in Israel.  Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls.  He found the people practically in bondage because of taxes.  I am sure he was frustrated to say the least.  So, what did he do?  He consulted with himself!  By that I am sure he went over in his mind the things he knew were right according to God’s word, and what would be the right way to proceed.  He couldn’t have done that unless he was very familiar with scripture.  Personally, I do tend to blend one Bible passage with another one.  Thankfully I am able to go directly to the Bible at this point in time and straighten out my errant thinking.  A day may come when such easy scripture study is not available to me or to you.  I would rather know as much as I do know than to know nothing at all. When I am awake at night I remind myself of Bible stories.  I love Paul’s adventure when he was shipwrecked on his way to Rome.  Miracle after miracle happened under the direst circumstances.  Yet, Paul was preserved alive because God had more work for him to do.  And that is the way the lives of all Christians go.  The Lord will preserve us alive as long as He has something as yet unfinished for us to do.  Then when our work is done He will take us home to heaven.  There we will meet family and friends who have gone on before us, and we will wait for the rest of our saved family and loved ones. 

Amos 8:11 says, ‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:’.
Some would think that day is here when we listen to some of the television preachers.  If anyone is listening to such drivel in their church it is time to find another church.  There are still preachers who tell the truth.  An aside here is when you are looking for a church look for a preacher dedicated to the truth who uses the King James Bible.  Second, look for a song service that uses a traditional hymnal.  The hymnal is second in importance to the Bible because of its capacity to teach Bible truths.  If you find these two things you have been blessed.  If you find friends there then you have been doubly blessed.

In a possible future scenario let’s say your life isn’t in danger.  You and your family are safe in a primitive living situation.  The work that goes with that kind of life is overwhelming.  My granmma said that sometimes during growing crops gramps plowed 16 miles a day.  I expect he was thinking about a little more than keeping the furrows straight while he was doing that.  Gramma canned enough food to last until the next harvest.  They also cut enough wood for heating and cooking to take them through the winter.  There was no end in sight.  That was their life for years.  Eventually they moved to town when a job was offered, but it was also extremely long hours without holidays.  I believe that weariness is possibly more difficult that immediate trauma that has an end in sight.  The truth is none of us know what we are getting in the future.  I can promise you that the best way to prepare for the unknown future is to know more about Almighty God.  Psalm 46:1 says, ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’  That is a verse to know for sure.  I use it every day for something. 

I am not making light of the necessity to at least try to be prepared for an uncertain future.  If I was going to pick one skill that would be absolutely necessary in most out of home experiences it would be to know how to build a fire!  Something else very important would be to know how to bank a fire in order to save coals for the morning.  It sure makes starting the fire the next day easier.

I would suggest that family activities change from most of whatever is going on in your family to excursions to the outdoors.  No, I am not suggesting you become a nature lover.  I am suggesting you get a reality check on the harshness of nature and how to survive in spite of that harshness.  Learn to build a fire.  Learn to put up a tent or use a tarp for shelter.  Learn to cook outdoors.  If you have any space at all learn to grow a garden.  Even the smallest garden teaches lessons that could be applied to bigger gardening space.  But through it all stay focuses on doing things in a way that pleases the Lord.  You can’t be successful at anything unless you are pleasing God Almighty in how you do it.  Living up to the standard automatically set by your core values is the best way to prepare for an unknown future. 

Here are some links to articles by my good friend Ray Gano that will be useful in setting up physical helps for an unknown future disaster.

One more thing, some of the best hymns may not be available on your usual channels.  I suggest you read the hymnal and look for hymns that teach Bible truths.  If you have any knowledge of music learn to play something simple and portable so you can take your music with you.  If you aren’t able to play songs yourself to get an idea of how the tune goes then look the songs up on youtube.  I find most of the hymns are there although maybe not a good version.  Your goal is just to learn the tunes well enough to memorize the words. Everyone has songs they play in their head whether they actually sing or not.  Here is a link to some good hymns put together by Bible teacher John McArthur.

You can also get hymnals in the book section at places like Good Will stores. 

Seriously, it is time to prepare for a very uncertain and dangerous future like it is going to happen in less than a week.  Put some good things in your mind that will give you comfort in times of trials.  Familiarize yourself with the Bible.  Memorize as much as you can.  Then Memorize songs of the faith that teach Bible truths.  Remember, there may be times ahead when you can’t comfort yourself with scripture and hymns unless you know them by heart!  Redeem the time now.