Saturday, January 15, 2011

Preparedness Apologetics

A reader sent this comment in on my "When is enough enough" post:

My pastor and most other Christians I know don't believe in prepping because they say the Lord is our provider. They think it's fear-based to prepare, and you can never prepare enough, and your preparations are not secure from determined thieves, etc. I just can't talk any sense into them. They think I don't have faith that God will provide and that's why I'm doing it myself. It drives me nuts! He even preaches about it, and you hear amens all over the place. I showed him a blog I wrote about how it's only reasonable to prep, nothing wrong with it, and he thought I was "trying to justify myself." How do you respond to this type of idiocy? 

I, too, have encountered many Christians of this same mindset.  I believe that the God addresses this very thing in His word.  This is a previous post I wrote on this very subject.

Preparedness Apologetics

I have had a lot of people ask me if Preparedness/Survival was a "Christian Tenet", or rather, if Christians weren't supposed to be relying on God to take care of them in all situations, even emergencies.  After much conversation with my husband I have come up with what I consider "Preparedness Apologetics".  We do believe that being prepared is a biblical principle.  Here are our reasons.

We absolutely believe that God is the author of life and sustains us from even before our very first breath.  It is His providence that sees us through each day and provides hope for the future.  However, He did give us biblical principles to live by and preparedness is one of many.

When God spoke to Noah, he told him to prepare for judgment.  He gave him very specific instructions about building an ark, loading it with life sustaining food and preparing his family for the trials of the days ahead.  Now, if anybody had a reason to doubt, it was Noah.  For over 100 years, Noah worked on the ark.  I have no doubt there were many naysayers and hecklers, but Noah persevered.  Noah built a boat in a world that had never seen rain, never seen a flood, never even seen an "act of God".  What faith!  God could have saved Noah and his family by "Divine Intervention", but instead, he chose to have Noah "prepare".

The story of Joseph may be an overused example of preparedness, but it is without a doubt a perfect picture of God's faithfulness through preparedness.  Once more, God could have chosen not to allow the famine, but instead, he readied His servant Joseph to care for his people.  What would have happened to the people of Egypt and the surrounding areas had Joseph not headed God's voice?  The face of God's people would be entirely different.

The example of the ten virgins in Mathew, although directly relating to the returning of the bridegroom, is instructive in discerning the wise from the foolish.  The wise virgins brought with them their lamps and their oil, conversely, the foolish virgins brought their lamps, but lacked the foresight to bring oil.  My desire is to be known as wise rather than foolish.

Another thought is that God always starts with something.  When He made man, he started with dirt.  When He made woman, he started with man.  God instructed Elijah to have the widow feed him.  She explained that she had only enough flour and oil for one loaf for she and her son, and then they would die. He instructed her to feed him first and their supplies would last.  THEY DID!  She had something, and God multiplied it.  Even Jesus, with His very first miracle, started with something.  He didn't just conjure up wine for the wedding, he started with water.  Later, at the Sermon on the Mount, he started with a few loaves and fishes, and fed 5000 men, not counting women and children.  He used what was available and multiplied it.  Those examples, at the very least, should spur us to have SOMETHING.  God, in His sovereignty, will use what we have - but we need to start with something.  We don't have to panic about not having everything we think we need, but we do need to make an effort to acquire SOMETHING.

And then we get into the Proverbs.  They are a goldmine of preparedness advice:

Proverbs 6:6-8
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

Proverbs 21:20
In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.

Proverbs 22:3
A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

Proverbs 27:12  (this one is even mentioned twice!)
The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

Proverbs 30:25
Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.

Proverbs 31 is one of my favorite chapters.  It is like a job description for a Godly wife.  A couple of verses really speak to me when it comes to preparedness.  31:15 "She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls".  31:21 "When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet".  31:25 "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come".  The Proverbs 31 woman provided food for her household.  She did not wait for someone else to provide for her.  She was not afraid of the cold, because she had already made sure that her household was well clothed.  She laughed at the days to come.  I think this is my favorite verse.   For a woman, the only way that you can laugh at the days to come is if you feel that you have taken care what needs to be taken care of.  When you have laid in supplies, a part of you says "bring it on!".  Then you truly can laugh at the days to come.

As Christians, it is our responsibility to be wise stewards.    How can we be a beacon of hope in a dark world, if we, ourselves are dependent on the charity of others?  How can we bring glory to God if we are stealing to survive?    We must be like the prudent man who sees danger and takes refuge rather than the simple man who keeps going and suffers for it.


  1. Thanks for responding! I've used most of those but two of them, I haven't: the one about the godly woman in Proverbs, and the one about God starting with something. I hadn't thought of those - maybe they'll come in handy.

    It's easy for a preacher to say "God will provide" because he's accustomed to his flock stepping up to the plate to help with whatever they need. The average churchgoer isn't going to receive the same generosity. Recently, they went on a trip and didn't have enough money to get their luggage back, had to call and borrow some from us. When they got back, he said "The Lord provided! He always does." Which is true. But if I had to rely on others all the time when there was something I could do about it (being prepared) I just wouldn't feel right.
    I'm sure God WILL provide for them, because they have faith. It might not be in a way that they would prefer though, since they were warned and did nothing.

  2. I have often wondered about being Christian and dealing with the faith part of life. I have always been on the negative side of life. But as my dear mother said,"I am trying to avoid trouble."
    I do not understand their thought that God doesn't want them to deal with protecting yourself from problems. That would be like going to the bathromm without toilet paper. God is not going to shoot it down from heaven because you forgot to get it.
    I also believe that even if they have not thought of it or spoke the words prepping for Christians has the "Mormon" handle attached to it. So What. And on top of everything else it wasn't so long back in history that most all families put up food stuffs to get by on. Try 1930's up into the 50's.
    But now I say to you be prepared, if something awful does happen, now that they know you have plenty, yours will be the place they hit when they are hungry. You will truly be tested and tried to the point of, well I don't know what.
    You are not Joseph. You will not be able to take care of all that come to your door. And you will have to protect you and yours from the onslaught. So pray,prepare,protect.
    Remember, Christian's are in this world, and they don't realize sometimes they are of it. And worse yet they have no (as most of the world) no inborn common sense.
    Like did you notice the women had flour for 1 loaf of bread, God had something to work with.

  3. I believe God will give me enough common sense and wisdom that I will know what to lay in for stores. And if I do not act on that, then I believe God will put me in situations where the lack of stores is immediately apparent and causes a hardship in life that I would not have had I acted on that knowledge.

    Case in point: I'm a single mom, there is no other income. So, I lost two jobs in one year. Would it have been easier to pay my bills if I had stores of food laid in? You bet! On the other hand, that situation also taught me that I do not want bills to pay. Vehicles will be purchased with cash is a biggie, no credit cards, no mortgage, even. (Yes, I bought into that....) Eventually I'll have no mortgage, though.

    We should pay attention to the situations God gives to us, and learn what He would have us learn, or we might find ourselves in those situations again and again.

    I like this post - and LOVE the Proverbs. Thank you!

  4. This is the first time in my 61 years that I have made a comment in regard to a post that I have read.
    I'm a Christian that believes God directs my actions every moment of everyday. That includes using my common sense and reasoning ability that he has best-ode upon me. What about the adage "God helps those that helps themselves"(comment from my husband)?

    I'm a registered nurse and every day before I got out of my car to go into the hospital I would pray-"Dear God please don't let my actions kill or hurt anyone today. Please let me feel the a "thump" on my head when I am about to make a mistake. My pray was answered many times in my career. I felt it was my calling to continue my studies everyday so that I could not only give better patient care; but also teach my patients how to manage their illness or disease.

    I've always been a "Prepper". I now only have seven goats. Earlier this year I had 44-for charity in case of an unforeseen event. My husband told me I was way overboard; so we sold all but seven. And planted five of our pastures in grain. Common sense and the Bible is telling me be prepared to give aid to my fellow man. If God calls me home- our pastures will provide. Maybe to the above Minister.

    Amen and Bless you and yours.
    Nurse Claudia

  5. Over a year ago, I lost my job. We had to use our preps for almost 2 months. I asked at first why I lost my job in the first place, but then had to turn around and say "thank you" that we had all this to use when we needed it. Even now, when I go work on the preps, I have to look up and say "thank You for blessing us like this".

    BTW, Paul also said that he who will not work shall not eat.

  6. I believe God expects us to use common sense. Part of His way of providing for us is to let us know ahead of time that hyperinflation is coming, there's been a lot of crop damage all over the world this year, and that type of thing so we can do something about it.

    I often hear the verse that says "take no thought for tomorrow, what ye shall eat or drink". I think that's referring to not worrying - because if you don't think about what you're going to eat the next day, you'd have to go to the grocery store every morning. God doesn't expect us to sit out in the yard like baby birds with our mouths open for God to drop manna in there. Even if he did provide manna (which He hasn't in thousands of years, even through multiple famines) we would have to put forth some effort to go out and get it.

    The one about he who will not work shall not eat is a good one, and I thought of something. That gives us permission to put anyone to work if they come asking for charity - especially if they were warned ahead of time. After working in our garden and fixing our supper, they can have some. Maybe they can plow up the rest of the yard tomorrow.

  7. Since others have already said what I would have said had they not beat me to it, I will take a different appoach to Lisa's predicament. As I said on her original comment on the other topic ("When is Enough Enough?"), I said there and I say again here - find a new pastor.

    There are many churches today that do not meet the standards God set for them. If your church doesn't practice the same tenets as the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia, perhaps it is time to seek a new church. Or at least a new pastor. I think many pastors have been beguiled by Satan and have lost their way.

    By leading some of us to prepare, God is working His wisdom for us and for our neighbors. I will not stop prepping because of what a man tells me, I will only stop prepping when God tells me. Listen to God, He is always right.

    NoCal Gal

  8. What great information for those who are religious! There are times when you can show people, and tell them till you are blue in the face and they still will disagree with you. At that time you have to say to yourself "I have tried the best I can, and it is now in their hands", don't worry yourself anymore. I also would at this point re think of those who I hang around with or worship with. You should feel welcome to talk and be understood by what you believe, and not having to feel as though you need to explain over and over again!

  9. One of the things I notice in the Bible is that God used his followers to provide for eachother at least twice during times of famine. If they were not already prepared and did not have a surplus stored up, then they would not have been able to help others.

    The obvious example is Joseph helping his family during the Egyptian famine in Genesis 47. One that a lot of people overlook is that Acts 11:28-30 tell of a prophet predicting a famine, and the disciples sending food and relief to help the churches in Judea to live through it. That tells me they were prepared to the point of people able to help others, and that by sending aid and warning, they would encourage them to prepare also.

  10. Oh heavens, if you think God will provide for everything just because you 'believe', then why not go find a pretty meadow to lay down, and just wait for it. Trust that The Lord won't let it rain on you. Believe He won't let it get cold. Surely God wouldn't let you get hungry or thirsty or sunburned. Nobody will bother you because you trust in God.

    If God doesn't intend for us to earn our bread by the sweat of our brow why do we do anything at all but sit in the sunshine?

    Millennia of earnest and humble people have died in calamities, droughts,floods, wars, plagues, etc. Honestly true believers die every single day! What makes any self-important person so haughty to believe they need do nothing at all when danger arrives, and God will save THEM? The failure to do what is necessary to save your life is no different than suicide.
    I say let them refuse to prepare for the winter ahead, and when they die, God is the judge of their self absorbtion.

  11. Enola,
    How wonderful to see the words of God's people discussing His word. I agree with your references from our greatest weapon - the Bible. How true - as with Noah and Joseph, they followed the direction given by God - Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven AND have ears to hear and DO my sayings as He speaks through His Word. Your quotes from Proverbs are the voice of God. This post coupled with your post "When is Enough Enough" sets a balance that allows us to put God first yet be prudent and wise in His ways. I'll just throw out one more example from His word: Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches(spelt), and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of days that thous shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. Ezekiel 4:9
    Grace Tome

  12. Maybe I should tell him: If you buy anything in the larger size because it will last longer and is more economical than buying a smaller size, then you are doing the same thing I'm doing, on a smaller scale.

    If you go to the grocery store before a snowstorm, you are doing the same thing I'm doing in principle.

    If you grow a garden, you are giving thought to what you will eat or drink tomorrow, so that theory doesn't wash.

    Just because the Israelites had to learn faith by eating nothing but manna doesn't mean everyone else will have to go through the same thing.

    So God didn't tell you individually to store any food for anything more than "today." Did he tell you individually to go to the grocery store before the last snow? Did he tell you to play that video game recently? Did he tell you to plant that garden? Did he tell you to buy enough chicken to eat on Monday or Tuesday? Sometimes we do things that God didn't tell us individually to do, because it's common sense and because there are scriptures that give us the wisdom to do so.

  13. I'm surprised nobody else posted this little gem, originally told to me by my grandmother who raised seven children through the Great Depression on her husband's minister's salary.

    A flash flood was coming, and the townspeople sent out the local Boy Scouts to go door-to-door telling everyone to evacuate. But one man said, "God will save me." And he refused to go.

    Water was soon running in the streets, but trucks could still get through and the National Guard was sent out to collect any stragglers. But the man still refused, saying, "God will save me."

    The flood waters rose even more, and the man was forced to climb onto his roof to escape. A Coast Guard helicopter came to the man's house, and a rescue diver lowered down with a basket. But the man refused to go, saying again, "God will save me."

    Naturally, the man drowned. But he was a believer, and when he got to Heaven he asked God, "My Lord, why did you not save me from the flood?" And the Lord replied, "What are you talking about? I sent the Boy Scouts, the National Guard, and a Coast Guard helicopter! What were you waiting for?"

  14. Thank you for this post, Enola. A prepper couple and I were talking about this very same topic the other day, as well as Proverbs 6:6-8. Part of the conversation included that by prepping, we will be in a better position to share God's love with people who may desperately need food and shelter. The glory and thanks will always be to Him, not to us or our efforts.

    The Lord gives each of us different gifts. What if one of our gifts is preparing? If we refused to help others, then maybe one could make the argument that we aren't doing what He would have us do. For me personally, He has put it on my heart for the last year to "get ready." If I'm wrong, then I will have hurt no one. In the meantime, I'm learning a lot of new skills to take better care of my family, and I'm sharing that knowledge with as many people as I can. He told Noah to get ready. Even if the flood never came, Noah was faithful. And his efforts hurt no one.
    Blessings to you.

  15. "God helps those who help themselves" is an old saw that is not to be found in scripture. But while perhaps misstated I believe there is something to it. A Christian prepper friend and I frequently raise the question: "Is the drive we feel to prepare born from a lack of faith that God will provide, or a response to the urging of the Holy Spirit to BE prepared?" "Good question," we say, and then we go back to writing dates on canned food.

    Many folks like to quote Matthew 6:26 - Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

    To which I respond...have you ever watched a bird? The daily life of a bird? They work their feathered butts off from sunrise to sunset just to provide food and shelter. Yes, God makes sure that the opportunities, the raw materials of life are available. The rest is up to the birds...and up to us.

    The Word tells us we are not to WORRY, not to be ANXIOUS. Which is understandable (if sometimes difficult). That, we are supposed to turn over to the Lord. But I don't think we are not to lift a finger to help ourselves, to be prepared for tomorrow, whatever it may bring.

  16. I would want to turn the question around and respond to the pastor;

    "Are you saying that since I prepare, then you don't have to? That the Lord will take food out of my and my childrens' mouths and give it to you so that YOU don't starve? That what is rightfully mine is now yours? How is that the Christian thing to do?"

    I agree with NoCalGal...find a new pastor.

    Andrea S

  17. In the end, if you leave your heart open to hear the still small voice of Gods directions, you will feel good about what you do. You will know what you do is right by the feeling of peace it gives you. You will recognize when the council others give is wrong by your outrage.

    If what you do is wrong, you will feel furtive and uncomfortable. You will feel the want to hide and cover from other good people. You will feel no peace for your actions when you pray for guidance.

    We, who follow this blog, have been whispered to put up in storage all the good things of the earth and be prepared for hard times. If the pastor hasn't been told, or hasn't listened, doesn't mean you haven't been told. You do what your heart tells you is right.

  18. Sorry had to come back and say that God has told us to prepare. That is why we are doing it. Although we are not Joseph in being able to prep for all. He has told the one's that will listen to do so, to prep for themselves and theirs.
    "He that hath an ear, let him hear"
    If they choose to be blind, so be it. You have told, asked, and warned now it is up to them.
    From now on keep it hush hush as to what you are doing and what you have. From now on say you are going to the store because you ran out of something, not stocking up.
    I have one reflection here that no one seems to take into account. When time's get ruff the first thing on the budget to get cut is groceries. I have tried for years to figure out why.
    When fuel goes up, deliver costs go up, prices go up. Now they have cut their grocery budget and here comes inflation. Their grocery budget is almost nill.
    What kind of thinking is that?

  19. The part of your post that many will miss is that your best examples, Noah and Joseph, were given specific direction by God. This is both an argument for preparedness and an affirmation of your original post.
    As an example, I'd love to prep more than I do, and I can afford it. However, the living situation I'm in right now (military, stationed overseas, 2br apartment) doesn't permit doing much. We have several days worth of food and water on hand, but nothing to deal with a TEOTWAWKI situation. I've spent time praying about this, and the answer has always been, "Trust Me."
    The bottom line is that prudence is appropriate, but trying to prepare for every contingency is an impossible task that quickly consumes us and takes our focus off of faith in God. We have to both make reasonable efforts to work and provide for our families and trust God to take care of us in our inadequacies.
    Does this mean that we shouldn't prep extensively? No. It means that if you aren't hearing God's voice on how to do it, you are probably doing it wrong. Focusing on hearing His voice and obeying is far more important than any measures we can take to care for ourselves.

  20. Ellen - Groceries probably get cut first because in recent times of plenty, we can always eat less but we can't reduce the bills once we've received them. It's a flexible expense.

    I appreciate the advice given on here and am saving it to use as needed. We'll just have to agree to disagree with our pastor, as he's the only good Messianic pastor for miles around. We've grown a lot since being in this congregation and there are more important things than agreeing on preparing. It's just a source of frustration!

  21. Great post! My husband and I encounter Christian people/family who say those same things as a reason why they don't prepare. I wonder how many of those same people don't have life insurance, health insurance, car insurance, home insurance....because with that same logic, then why have any insurance or extra stores at all? I have also pointed out that Christians around the world live in terrible conditions so why wouldn't God allow that in the US too? Just because it hasn't been that way doesn't mean it won't be later.

  22. Love this thread! It is pretty sad/bad when fellow Christians mock you for preparing, but worse when local government leaders do the same. When I asked our county officials if they had a CERT training program, one said sarcastically, 'we don't need civilians getting in our way'; another said 'You won't find any training anywhere for that' (after I had to explain what CERT was). Never mind; I will find a way for this is what God has placed on my heart - to be prepared to help in a disaster, whatever it is. I also have been 'putting food/supplies by' as Grandma used to say. My oldest son is the one who got me started - I am proud of him. God speaks to each of us as we need Him to. Some learn certain skills such as bee keeping, some learn gardening on a major scale and then share and teach the poor to do the same. I believe it will all work together when it is needed. Keep on keeping on - we all need each other, and all need our Father most of all.

  23. Some people can't be make to see the way. My sibling normally don't have enough food to last a month in their homes. I have tried through special Christmas gifts to help- a family GOOD bag once year, water pump and filter another. They loving laugh about their survival sister and showing up at our door if the SHTF. I have tried numerous tactics, now have worked. I did finally get one of my sisters to start purchasing extra canned foods each week she shops. The bad economy and so many people losing jobs was the clincher for her. Pray for the people in your lives that are blind to preparing. But continue to talk, you might make a difference. I never thought either of my older sisters would listen to the baby of the family, but the economic is opening the door a little more with each conversation.