Posts Tagged ‘sacrifice’

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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Balloonist or Skydiver? Which Would You Rather Be?

April 6, 2012

I found this obituary quite by accident. Great way to go out–and to be remembered by those you saved!

Question: Would you rather be the balloonist or one of the skydivers?

The story really needs no comment from me. It’s quite well-told:

Edward Ristaino

As the wind blew harder in suddenly stormy skies, Edward Ristaino told the five skydivers in his hot-air balloon he was going to buy them a few more seconds.

He pulled the chain, the flames ignited, and the balloon went higher into the sky over east Georgia on Friday.

The skydivers landed safely less than a minute later, but Ristaino’s body was found Monday after a helicopter pilot saw what was left of the Cornelius man’s balloon.

Brian Wesnofske, one of the skydivers, said if they had remained in the gondola for another minute, they all would have died.

“He went up that extra thousand feet to get us some more time,” he said Monday.

Peering over the side of the basket Friday, they spotted a 10-acre field the skydivers could use as an impromptu landing zone.

As they floated to the ground, Ristaino and the balloon were sucked into the storm. The balloon rose more than 17,000 feet before it collapsed over a wooded area, authorities say.

Ristaino, 63, who’d been flying hot air balloons for 15 years, was taking skydivers up as part of the Wild Chicken Festival in Fitzgerald, Ga., about 175 miles southeast of Atlanta. The festival is attended by skydivers across the world, who get the chance to jump from a variety of platforms – a helicopter, a biplane, a hot air balloon.

Wesnofske and his family had jumped from Ristaino’s hot air balloons for the past three years. Brian and daughter Jessica went up with him on Friday.

Wesnofske said his family trusted Ristaino, who owned several balloons, including the dragon-shaped “Loch Norman Sea Serpent.”

He always mandated a safety meeting in the morning, even for experienced skydivers. He was a skydiver himself, and knew what kind of conditions jumpers preferred. And he was cautious around bad weather.

When the balloon took off, there weren’t any signs of a storm.

“It started off as just a red dot on the radar, and then it mushroomed very quickly into a big storm. This one just popped up out of the blue,” Ben Hill County Sheriff Bobby McLemore told The Associated Press.

The wind grew stronger and the people in the gondola could feel raindrops as the balloon climbed to 3,000 feet.

That wasn’t enough altitude for the skydivers to land safely, Wesnofske said.

Skydivers jumping from hot-air balloons need more time to build up wind resistance to angle their bodies to safely deploy a parachute, Wesnofske said. More altitude would give them critical seconds if something went wrong and they had to “cut away” their first parachute and use a backup.

So Ristaino, who didn’t have a parachute in the crowded gondola, took the balloon higher, and told the skydivers they needed to get out.

The skydivers made a rough landing a few seconds later, their parachutes buffeted by the wind as they neared the ground. When they looked up, they couldn’t see Ristaino’s balloon.

Authorities say it was carried to the northeast and, minutes later, got caught in the storm.

“It started spinning and twisted his ropes up,” McLemore said.

After the balloon rose and collapsed, it began falling at about 23 miles per hour, according to TV station WALB.

Ristaino had radio contact with ground crews during the fall. The last thing he radioed: “I’m at 2,000 feet and I see trees.”

Afterward, a group of 50 to 75 searchers used images of the storm from the National Weather Service to focus on a 12- to 15-square mile area.

A helicopter pilot spotted the balloon late Monday morning, and search crews on the ground reached the site a short time later.

Ristaino’s family couldn’t be reached for comment. On Monday, his neighbors mourned the man with the balloon mobile on his front porch who used to delight them by taking off from his front yard.

“Everyone’s sending their prayers,” Holly Beckham, a neighbor, told WCNC-TV, the Observer’s news partner.

Wesnofske, who lives in east Georgia, said he plans to drive to Cornelius to pay his respects for the man who saved him and his daughter.

“He went up, he got us out,” Wesnofske said, “and the way I look at it, I call him a hero.”

– Cleve Wootson Jr., The Charlotte Observer

Published in Charlotte Observer on March 20, 2012