Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Easy Road of Deception

I've recently started canning.  This is not simply a foodie pastime, although I do enjoy cooking.  It is about living a more intentional lifestyle.  Modern conveniences come at a price.  Our own great-grandparents would be ashamed at how little we can do!  

I'm not talking about surviving in the wild or building a log cabin with your bare hands; I'm talking about simple things like baking bread, sewing a shirt, or knowing an herbal remedy for headache.  We've allowed ourselves to become so entitled that most of us wouldn't know what to do if we had to live a week without electricity - myself included!

Beyond this, much of the processed food available in stores today is full of GMOs, harmful pesticides, loads of added sugar (to which we have become addicted), and lacks full flavor.  We are robbing ourselves and our children, and we're blind to the consequences.

Our current lifestyle is not sustainable.  It is very likely that these simple life skills will become necessary within the next several years.  I am learning them now, rather than waiting until the situation becomes more desperate.  I encourage you to do the same!  We will all be able to bless each other if we each learn a few key skills.  

We have become so isolated in our culture of modern convenience, but the time is coming when community will be necessary for survival.  No one can do everything.  If you can grow and preserve food, and your neighbor can sew and do woodworking, you can depend on each other.  I have already found that if I share my home-baked wheat bread or fresh strawberry jam, my neighbors and friends can't wait to share their garden produce or homemade re-fried beans with me!

The key is this: it is so much easier to deny the need, to stick your head back in the sand and pretend that everything is just going to continue the way it has "always" been.  This is foolishness; the easy way is a deception!  Our current lifestyle is NOT the way it has always been!  We are living on the edge, and if you take an honest look, you will see that it is crumbling under our feet.  

Here are some skills you may want to consider learning:

Please share any other skills you may think are important. Happy Learning!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How to Handle Money Biblically

Guest Post today from Michael over at The Economic Collapse Blog! Thanks again Michael!

As Christians, how should we be handling our money today?  Does the Bible give us any financial advice for the 21st century?

Fortunately, it does!

For example, the Scriptures tell us that we are not to love money.  In fact, we are told that the love is money is the source of much evil....

1 Timothy 6:1: "For the LOVE of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have turned from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

So how should we approach money?

Well, we all need money, but we should never let is consume us.  It should be part of our life, but it should never be our master.  God alone is our master....

Matthew 6:24: "No man can serve two masters....or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

God says that if we put Him first and work on advancing His kingdom that He will give us everything that we need....

Matthew 6:33: "Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His way of doing things, and all these things shall be added to you."

But it is also important to point out that the Bible has a requirement that we all must work.  None of us are to sit around and be lazy and be dependent on others to provide for us....

2 Thessalonians 3:10: "if any would not work, neither should he eat."

The Bible also warns us not to go into debt.  Unfortunately, most Americans have not taken this advice....

Proverbs 22:7: "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave."

And the Scriptures also instruct us to tithe.  A tithe is 10 percent, and the Lord says it belongs to Him.  The Lord also promises that He will greatly bless us if we do tithe....

Malachi 3:9-11: "bring all the tithes into My storehouse...and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing , that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy your substance."

In the Scriptures, there is a principle that if we give that it will be given to us....

Luke 6:38: "Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over to overflowing shall men give into your bosom."

But if we are stingy, then we shall receive in like manner as the Apostle Paul wrote about....

2 Corinthians 9:6 "He which sows sparingly shall reap sparingly; and he which sows generously shall reap generously."

Our main focus always needs to be on the eternal.  Jesus instructed us to focus on laying up treasures in heaven instead of laying up treasures on earth....

Matthew 6:20 : "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...where thieves do not break through nor steal : For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

While we are on this earth, however, we do need to make sure that our families are taken care of.  As the economy crumbles, it will be important to focus more on the basics....

1) Food
2) Water
3) Shelter
4) Energy
5) Security

But in any situation, the key is to trust in God.  He will pull you through anything if you will trust in Him.

Michael Snyder is the author of The Economic Collapse Blog and he also runs a site called How To Get Out Of Debt which helps people tackle their debt problems.