Oct 162014
 

Are you afraid of ebola? I’m not. And I don’t think that you should be, either.

Concerned about ebola? I am. You should be too.

You should also be concerned about enterovirus, hurricanes, ice storms, influenza, wildfires, tornadoes, stock market crashes, and the totalitarian regime in Washington.

Here’s what Ken and I are doing to prepare for all of that and anything else that comes along:

#1 – We seek first the Kingdom, and we spend time in God’s presence. There’s nothing like time in the throne room and Heaven’s perspective to alleviate fear from one’s soul.

#2 – We have a supply of water that will last us two weeks. This is more important for us than most people, because I have a more severe reaction than most people to the poisoned water that comes from the tap. We also have a small water filter in case of a DIRE emergency (I got it for travel, though, not for armageddon… :) For me, being in an airport with only Dasani water available for purchase IS like armageddon)

#3 – We have a supply of food that will last us a couple of weeks, this includes a variety of highly nutritious things that can be eaten raw, grilled, cooked over an open fire, or even cooked in the comfort of our own kitchen. While we might not eat gourmet, we certainly wouldn’t starve if we found ourselves locked in our own home the way the Texas patient’s family did! We have also identified a couple of alternative food sources in case of a wide-spread or prolonged disaster.

#4 – We have a supply of essential oils and natural medicines that we believe will help our bodies to thrive no matter what happens, whether it’s threat of infection, injury, emotion, or attack. We do not rob our bodies of their God-given immune systems through vaccinations and drugs. We exercise judicious nutrition and supplementation so that we have the best defense available against any disease.

#5 – We have the means to protect ourselves from most anything.

#6 – We have a variety of cash and non-cash methods of payment (and for anyone reading this post and thinking, “Wow, I could go rob those people” – none of it is stashed at home, and read #5. There are no warning shots here.)

#7 – We help others be prepared … personally, we help people with numbers 1, 2 and 4 above, and we refer people to our friend Carol at Prepper Life for the rest (and she can help with 1, 2 and 4 as well!).

There’s no need to live in fear. Fear is straight from the pit of hell. There is great wisdom in preparedness. If you don’t believe so, think back to the last time the power was out for more than a few hours – did you have food to eat? Was it a hardship? Think back to the last time you or a family member was sick or injured. What was in your toolbox to help with that?

Want to know more? Contact us at https://www.facebook.com/livingtheessentiallife.

 Posted by at 7:21 am
Mar 182014
 

This is an old article I wrote seven or eight years ago on the subject of ladies’ dress and modesty. Some of it seems really funny now, because I have really changed my style – when I wrote this, my hair was very long and I was very plain. These days, I’m rockin’ a short highlighted hairstyle and wear makeup and much nicer clothes (and I love it).

Although I’ve grown and changed a lot, the article still has a lot of merit and hopefully will spur you to ask yourself some questions:By what standards do you live? Is salvation internal, external, or both. Who determines what is “modest” and what is not?

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Sometimes I look at the blogs and websites of homemakers (and homesteaders) – Over the years I’ve picked up many helpful, time-saving, and frugal tips this way.

One thing I’ve noticed is that nearly all of the Christian ladies also express a conviction to “dress modestly” or “be feminine” – in other words, to wear dresses all of the time. A few also wear headcoverings.

I’ve given this a lot of thought. Read up on the passages they frequently list as an apologetic for dressing a certain way. While I certainly can’t fault a woman for wanting to wear dresses all of the time, I don’t think that’s a requirement God has for us. (Modesty, on the other hand, IS). I’m not posting this to demean dress-wearing women – not at all! I simply wish to offer a counterpoint that other women can investigate when making a decision on this matter.

A frequently-heard verse is this:

A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this. (Deut. 22:5)

Speaking logically about this – men did not wear pants at the time this was written. The verse is not talking about pants. Today, men wear kilts and in some cultures, robes – and no one thinks they are “wearing women’s clothing”.  Methinks there’s a bit more to a concept of “intent” behind this verse than is often considered. The entire chapter is “do unto your neighbor” and “go through life without hurting anybody intentionally” – if this verse was simply about mode of dress, it would be rather out of context. If, instead, you consider intent/motive for wearing clothing, it suddenly makes sense in context: “A woman must not [pretend to be a man], nor a man [pretend to be a woman]…” My wearing jeans doesn’t hurt anybody, but if I was to bind my chest, wear a coat and tie, and affix a fake mustache… that’s deception, and it’s wrong. (not to mention that I’d look pretty ridiculous!) Likewise, if a man shaves his hair, dons dress, falsies, and makeup so he can pass himself off as a woman, this is wrong.

Another verse frequently mentioned is this one:

I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. (1 Tim. 2:8-10)

Generally people who quote this passage start with “In like manner also…” – as I was preparing to copy same out of the online Bible, those four words stopped me. In like manner to what? In like manner to the men – praying everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting. Paul moves on to say, (paraphrasing) – Women, do likewise; don’t wear clothing, hair or makeup that will distract you or others from your Godly purpose.” I don’t see this passage addressing “Women must wear a dress”.

Have you ever been amongst a group of women and felt – well, rather like a sparrow amidst tropical birds? It happens to me quite often, as I tend to dress rather plainly, don’t wear much makeup, and if I do anything to my hair I’ll pull it back in a ponytail. I look at other women – wearing $300-$600 between dress, shoes, and purse, makeup that looks professional, and hair styled ever-so-perfectly… and they most always do it to be seen by others. So that women will envy and men’s heads will turn. I think that’s the sort of thing that Paul was getting at. (Is it wrong to dress nicely, to do your hair and makeup? Not at all. In fact, as we’ll see in a moment, it’s probably wrong to be a total slob). So ladies … for what purpose are you dressing up? (and as a side-thought… if you’re wearing a $500 dress, how much “good work” are you going to want to do? Goodness, might get it dirty!)

I also see this passage addressing the concept of “modesty” – a difficult word in our culture.  The word Paul uses for “modest” in this passage is kosmios – which Strong’s defines as “well arranged, seemly, modest”. He uses the same word in 1 Timothy 3 to describe the behavior of church leaders: (A bishop must then be… of [kosmios] good behavior)

Well arranged, seemly, modest, of good behavior. Begs the question: what is well-arranged, seemly, good behavior… and how does that relate to our dress? First of all, the obvious: if a woman’s body is for her husband, then a) the private parts of the body should be kept private – period, and b) a married woman should not dress in such a way that she commands the attention of men other than her husband, and c) an unmarried woman should dress in a way that reflects good behavior, and (if she’s trying to attract a husband) in a way that will attract the right kind of attention. Sorry, girls… dressing like a whore means that you’ll get someone who wants to treat you as such. Dress like a lady (whether that means a dress to your ankles or blue jeans and a t-shirt) and men will treat you like a lady. Likewise, men should be modest. Guys, if you want to wear a thong in your fenced-in backyard so you get a nice tan… go for it. Keep it off the beach.

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Another oft-quoted passage is 1 Peter 3:3,4:

Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel — rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

However, if you pull the entire passage (1-5) things come into context:

1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,   

This is an if-then statement – If a woman is in true partnership with her husband (in a situation where she’s become a Christian and he

remains an unbeliever), her Godly actions speak louder to him than her dress. Key words in this passage are “own husbands” (as opposed to any other man), and “merely” – Do not let your adornment be MERELY outward. In other words, don’t neglect your appearance so as to be a bum, but know that what you do is far more important than how you look.


For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7 sums it up:

Again… I’m not trying at all to say that women who choose to wear dresses are “wrong”. I’ve nothing against doing so! Sometimes I like to wear them. I also like to wear jeans and shorts and t-shirts and such. Some women argue that jeans are not “feminine” – I’ve never felt that way. I feel just as feminine in cut-off jeans as I do in a dress – perhaps feminine in a different way, but definitely not the opposite (masculine)!

So – that’s my thoughts on the matter. If you feel that you should wear dresses, then by all means do so! If you feel that you don’t need to, then by all means, don’t! And if you’re not sure… Ask the Lord for wisdom, consult the Word, read what I have to say, read what others have to say, and follow what God says to do! :)

 Posted by at 7:38 am
Mar 132014
 

Here’s a warning to all my health-minded friends – there is a supplement called DHEA which is marketed to both men and women who are past a certain age. It is a naturally occurring hormone precursor in the body, made by the adrenals. Given that I am a) of a certain age and b) recovering from adrenal fatigue, I decided to try it. We got 25mg pills, which I cut in half (I always try to go slowly with new things, and thank God I did).

Within 2 days, I was having tachycardia and high blood pressure (And I’m not prone to either), along with dizzy spells, feeling like my arms were going numb, and roaring in my ears. Yesterday morning (after the 3rd dose) when I got up I felt particularly bad, and actually considered seeking advice from an urgent care or even the ER at one point later in the day.

After some study, I discovered this is a side effect, and some people go to tachycardia after a very small dose (even smaller than what I was taking). I didn’t take it last night and this AM my BP is back to normal and my heart rate, though still a little high, is within the “didn’t just go jogging” range again. Hopefully another day and it will be done.

Be cautious, my friends … while this supplement may be good for some, it’s sure not for many!

 Posted by at 5:23 am
Mar 122014
 

It’s become fairly well known that I do not believe in a “future rapture” of the Church in any way, shape, or form. I believe that we’ve been raptured already, that nearly all so-called “end-time” events happened already on the cross (and, like a Jenga puzzle, in 70AD). I’m not overly fond of labels, but I think most folks would call me a postmillennial not-quite-full preterist (I seem to have gone a bit further toward the full mark than most partial preterists I know, but certainly not in the realm of what might be called a “full preterist”). I believe I’ll call it Kingdom Preterism, with the understanding that there are many variations among people who believe this way, and that’s a good thing indeed.

I get asked all the time, usually by fear-filled people, “What if you’re wrong? What if there really is a rapture?” and my reply is, invariably, “I’m really okay with that. What if you’re wrong?”

Let’s contrast the two views:

MissTheRapture

Rapture theorists propose that we should work to be “ready” because Christ could come at any moment to whisk us away. One must be very, very careful, because the Church is supposed to fall away, and we don’t want to be one of those people. If we’re not “ready” we could be left behind to face the torture that God will pour out during the Great Tribulation. Our job is to convince others to work to “be ready” and to share that fear with others. We must be very, very careful to not make a mistake, because we might be judged unworthy to be raptured. Work for the sake of future generations is undermined because there is a belief that it is all going to be destroyed imminently. God’s plan is to utterly destroy the earth and all that’s in it, and make a new one, because man has corrupted it so badly it can’t be redeemed. Granted, in many rapturists, these tendencies are masked (not all are fear-stricken people) … but when one examines the roots of their belief system, it’s in the fear that they might be one of the virgins who failed to keep her lamp full … the one left behind in the field … the one left standing, rejected by God.

create3Preterists (of all sorts) believe that in Christ, we are ready for any challenge, and that we have been given a commission by Jesus to disciple nations and dispel darkness from the earth. He did not set us up to fail, but we will grow and expand the Kingdom of God until that day when the knowledge of the glory of the Lord covers the earth like the waters of the sea. We believe that there is no need to escape the world because the power to transform it (the fullness of the Godhead) resides bodily within us. We believe that, rather than teaching fear, we should be teaching people love and empowered relationship with Father, with Jesus, and with Holy Spirit….and rather than teaching that one must work, we must lead people to an encounter with the Risen Lord and the finished work of the cross; we co-labor with God from a place of absolute rest. We don’t fear mistakes, sin, or death. We believe that creation longs to be freed from its bondage, and the manifestation/revelation of the sons of God (us) is what does that. God’s plan that we are walking out and bringing to pass right now is the restoration, not the destruction, of all things. Therefore, we plan and build sustainably, so that future generations can enjoy the fruits of our labors and can make our ceiling their floor.

So – if a rapturist is wrong, they have lived a life of fear, failed to build a legacy, waited for Heaven and the benefits of salvation, and failed to redeem the earth. They’ve not made the world a better place. They’ve made the salvation of individuals their goal. They’ve created dichotomy that separates. The fear of rejection and the identity of sinner has kept them at a distance from Father. If the rapture doesn’t happen, death is the only thing that frees them from this world.

If a Kingdom preterist is wrong, they’ve lived a fear-free life, built a legacy, lived in Heaven now, and worked to disciple nations and redeem the earth, making it as it is in Heaven. We’ve created a unity that draws people from the outside to come in, be saved, healed, and delivered, raised up and released to the same purpose. Acceptance in the Beloved makes us one with Father. We’ve lived lives free of the bondage of sin and death. If something were to happen that caused us to cease in those endeavors, like getting whisked out of here, we would continue resting in Him.

So again … what if I’m wrong? No problem. But I believe what I believe because Scripture bears out the truth that there is no rapture, and that the theory of a rapture runs completely contrary to the truth of the Kingdom of God, and that we have been commissioned with purpose to transform the world. We will not fail in His purposes and plan!

 Posted by at 6:44 am
Mar 102014
 

little-girl-in-dress-running-in-leaves-1111628-mThe call of a 5-fold minister is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. In order for the Body to “do the stuff” – heal the sick, raise the dead, set the captive free, bring heaven to earth – the Body must walk  in authority.

Where the Church has erred in the past has been for leaders to retain all of the authority. Their role had not been to equip and release the saints, it was to micromanage us. People were taught what to believe, how to believe it, what to do with that knowledge, and how to perform tasks and works within the context of that knowledge. Authority, then, became corrupt and, ironically, weak. The fivefold folded in on itself and “the stuff” became all about what the lead man said from the pulpit.

True 5-fold ministers give authority away. In order to empower someone, you must give them power and release them to use that power. You cannot micromanage – and you have to trust that they and Holy Spirit will work out how to do it. That’s not to say we can’t teach principles and encourage growth and maturity … it’s just saying that we cannot control the outcome. If we try, we’re usurping authority and circumventing Ephesians 4:11-13.

It sounds so very simple, but it’s  a complete cultural shift that’s happening right now all across the Body of Christ. People are being empowered to walk in the fullness of their authority, and it’s a beautiful thing!

There is a converse to the irony that retaining authority makes us weak – it’s that giving it away makes us stronger. As 5-fold ministers, the more people we empower, the more empowered to empower we become!

 Posted by at 7:17 pm