Posts Tagged ‘destiny’

The Godhead as Ultimate Preppers and Our Model

March 30, 2014

Jesus said in essence, “I do ONLY what I see My Father doing.” (John 5:19; see also 14:-10) He is our role model. (Philippians 2:5-12 and several others) What if we could see the entire Godhead, Three-in-One, as working individually and together as “preppers”? What if we could see ourselves as the applied outworking of His prepper heart in this world? Let’s consider the Scripture record in that light.

I. God the Father: The Initiating Prepper

“In the beginning God created…” Is there any way He could NOT have prepared? Stored up His thoughts and heart toward making a created universe and all the ramifications of what that meant? It had to include the Fall of Man and the resulting need for the Plan of Salvation! Jesus told the Pharisees, “You diligently search and study the Scriptures for you think that in them you have life [and indeed we do!] but it’s ME they’re pointing to, and you miss that entirely!” (John 5:39, paraphrased) God the Father HAD to have had that in mind prior to creation.

We could list multiple instances of men God prepared for the role He intended them to play:

  • Adam: God prepared a garden for him, then the perfect partner in Eve, etc.
  • Noah: God had a very clear plan for building the ark, and it came after He had carefully weighed out all the rest of the earth and found it going down the tube (Genesis 6)
  • Moses: God prepared the midwives Shiprah and Puah to spare male babies (probably resulting in Aaron’s life being spared, Exodus 1:15), his parents to be ready to risk death to save him in the tarred basket, his sister Miriam to watch him, Pharaoh’s daughter to receive him, Pharaoh’s court to train him in all the arts of Egypt (leadership and perhaps survival skills, at least by their standards), his awareness of his calling to save his people (the man’s response “Who made you ruler and judge over us?” [Exodus 2:14] could almost be interpreted, “Who made you our rescuer?”], the 40 years in the desert leading up to the burning bush, his father-in-law Jethro—the list goes on and on, and we haven’t even gotten to the actual exodus narrative portion!
  • Joseph: His dreams foretold his destiny, and paved the way in a most unexpected way, for him to be able to say at the end of Genesis, “God sent me here ahead of you to prepare
  • David: Called by God “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22), he specifically stated, “When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

As Hebrews 11:32 says, “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets…” The list could go on and on: Joshua, Rahab, Ruth and Boaz, Samuel, even Saul; Jonah and the whole list of prophets prepared to speak to Israel’s need to prepare for God’s wrath by changing course; even those who did evil: Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Sennacherib, and the evil kings of Judah and Israel.

Indeed, it would be difficult to NOT see the hand of God the Father prepping each and every person uniquely and individually. Jesus reassured the crowds, “Nothing takes God by surprise—even to the death of a small, seemingly insignificant sparrow. He has the very hairs of your head numbered, so don’t worry! He cares a lot more about you!” (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7, paraphrased, emphasis added)

II. Jesus as Instituting Prepper

As we saw in the introductory line above, Jesus saw Himself as the Father’s hands and heart in action. He is pictured by the writer of Hebrews (10:5) this way: “…when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.” (NKJV) [This is a reference to David’s prophetic statement in Psalm 40:6-8, using the Septuagint version for the last phrase; most of our translations have this rendering in the footnote, with the main translation being “my ears you have pierced/opened,” which may be a reference Exodus 21:6, where piercing the ear of a servant has reached the end of his indentured time, but voluntarily chooses to stay with his master—in that way pointing to Jesus’s voluntary willingness to do His Father’s will to the nth degree.]

John in Revelation (13:8) saw Jesus as “the Lamb who was killed before the world was made.” (NLT} [Alternate readings place the prepositional phrase together with people whose names were not {and, by inference, those whose names are} written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Either way, for our purposes, the emphasis is on the preparing hand of God in partnership with Jesus, the Lamb.] Jesus clearly stated over and over in the Gospels that He had come to seek, to save, to die, and to be resurrected to life. He was prepared to go the distance, in ways that make Him “the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NKJV) He is our model for prepping in practice.

III. The Holy Spirit as Imparting Prepper

We are the extension of Jesus in this world: “as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17) We are called His Body, and we are the instruments God uses to accomplish His purposes in the world. Thus, seeing God the Father as initiating and Jesus as instituting, we are commissioned by the empowering of the Holy Spirit to carry on the work to completion. Paul asserted, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him [or, what has been committed to me] until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) The Holy Spirit is seen in Scripture as:

  • Equipping us uniquely and individually with our particular gifts and callings (1 Corinthians 12:3-11; Exodus 3:3, 31; Romans 11:29; Hebrews 2:4) for a heart of service (Romans 7:6)
  • Uniting and unifying us in and through that diversity (1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Acts 15:8; Romans 15:5; Ephesians 4:3-4; Philippians 1:27; 2:2; Jude 20)
  • Empowering us for clear communication (1 Corinthians 14:2-33; Matthew 10:20; Ephesians 2:18; 2 Peter 1:21)
  • Teaching us all we need to know exactly when we need it (John 14:26), bringing us into the truth/truths we need to know (1 John 2:20,27; 3:24; 4:1-6; Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; Galatians 5:18, 25)
  • Creating and authorizing leadership (Exodus 11:16-17, 24-30; Acts 13:1-2; 15:28; Galatians 4:29; 2 Timothy 1:7)
  • The instrument of conception (Matthew 1:18, 20), power (3:16; 12:28), guidance (4:1), authority (12:18; 22:43; 28:19)—and this is just in one gospel!

IV. The Church as Incarnating Prepper

We are called to BE the “ikon,” the representational likeness, the imprinting, the coinage, as it were, of God in this world. Paul said, “I want you to know that God has been made rich because you who belong to Christ have been given to him.” (Ephesians 1:18, Living Bible paraphrase by Kenneth Taylor) God counts us as the wealth He has chosen, the investment of all investments, His specially chosen people called to bring light into an increasingly dark world (1 Peter 2:9; Matthew 5:13-16; Philippians 2:12-16). Many of the Scriptures in the section above speak of the Holy Spirit operating in and through us—it follows that if He is the Imparting Prepper, there has to be someone to impart to!

The preaching of the gospel includes our becoming “living letters” (2 Corinthians 3:1-3), able to be read clearly by people who need and, perhaps even unknowingly long for, Good News (see Romans 8:22-23). This is manifest primarily in our actions—as St. Francis of Assisi is reputed to have said, “Wherever you go, preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.” We are the embodiment of who God wants to be and what He wants to do in this world. We are called, as Noah was, to build an ark for the salvation of many, to create storehouses, as Joseph did, for the sustenance of many.

God has a “prepper heart,” and He has planted that heart in His people for purposes beyond anything we may be able to comprehend (see Ephesians 1:19-21; 3:16, 20). Let’s go and do it!                             KCSJr 29 March 2014

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Attitude Determines Destiny

January 30, 2013

Attitude determines direction. Direction determines destiny. Therefore, attitude determines destiny.

More and more, I am coming to realize that our attitude (a term commonly used by motivational speakers to describe our predisposition, the underlying and seldom-questioned presuppositions, and general focus of our being) determines the direction we take. If we expect positive results, and act in accord with that presupposition, we more often get positive results; if we expect negative, we get negative. And the process is self-replicating: More positivity breeds more of the same; more negativity leads to a downward spiral.

I just finished reading a book that brought that to the fore in my realizations more clearly than I had ever verbalized it. The book is titled The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & His Family by Herschel Shanks & Ben Witherington III (2003). It is a well-written book (each writer writes half), based on the discovery around the year 2000 of an ossuary [a limestone burial box] inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” The authors do an excellent job of making their case, Herschel considering the archaeological authenticity and Ben focusing on the theological and historical authenticity and the ramifications they imply.

At the end of the book, Ben makes the point that historically there have been three primary stances on the relation of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and James that have been associated with major religions [it would take too long to explain these adequately, and is not relevant to my point here], and that, if indeed this box is authentic, only one can be true. In addition, he asserts that early on, the correct view got preempted with the incorrect ones over several centuries by biased agenda that church leaders came to the table with and consequently skewed the data and even falsified it in some cases.

This was a huge insight for me—not theologically, but internally. We have been dealing with issues in trying to take our business to the next level, and a few days ago, I had come to the realization that one of the key points in how we were differing was based on our prior assumptions. If we assume that a particular employee is self-serving, cutting corners, and scamming the company, then we look for data to back that up. If, to the contrary, we assume that he has the company’s best interests at heart, we look for data to back that presupposition up.

And we do that in all of life. John Eldredge, in his book Waking the Dead, indicts the present-day manifestations of most forms of Christianity for assuming that our hearts are evil, based on a few scriptures like Jeremiah 17:9. The result is a negative, self-flagellating form of Christianity that discourages almost everyone, including the one practicing it. However, to take the opposite position, if we assume that, when we are “born again” our hearts are renewed (having had the old, dead “heart of stone” taken out and replaced with a renewed “heart of flesh” per scriptures like Ezekiel 11:19 & 36:26), then we believe we can actually do good works without being duplicitous or hypocritical, that we can live a life of joy and expectancy, that life is worth living, and passion is worth having.

In a word, where you start determines where you finish. And how.

Motivational speakers sometimes ask, “What would you do if you believed you could do anything?” Definitely food for thought. What we more often ask ourselves is, “Why can’t I get through the day?” And the answer is that we see a metaphorical Great Wall of China, a Mount Everest, before us.

I heard tell of this recently from a guy well-on in years who moved into our area a few years back, took on the chairmanship of a newly-created visionary organization focused on where our county could be in 2025 (www.PickensVision2025.org), and was promptly told by locals that there was no way he could raise large sums of money. He (and others who believed) raised over $100K, some of which is still being used to operate on today—and it is time to take that too to a new level.

Maybe it’s not always true, but if I believe the worst, most of the time that’s exactly what I get. Conversely, if I believe the best is possible and worth pursuing, at least I’m far more likely to make it happen. I’m reminded of a small-town service-station attendant (in the days when there was no self-service) being asked by two different couples at different times what the new town they were moving to was like. In each instance, he asked them what the town they came from was like. The first couple described it negatively, the second positively. He told each, “That’s what you’ll find here, I’m sure.”

We carry our own baggage with us for the journey we’re on.

Jesus, in His image of separating the sheep from the goats, bases the judgment of their response to His attempts to move them on their attitudes toward those who unknowingly represented Him. Each side either saw or didn’t see Him in the poor, naked, needy people who came their way, and were judged accordingly. Interestingly, neither had at the time recognized Him in them—but their predisposition to be looking for Him (even in “the least”) was telling.

Attitude determines destiny. We go toward what we focus on.

Where are YOU pointed? What are YOU focused on? It matters.