Like many of you, I grow a huge garden, preserve my harvest to enjoy over the winter, and go shooting at every opportunity. I read voraciously about old-fashioned skills and apocalyptic scenarios. I have stashes of food in every room of the house and know multiple ways to purify water or start a fire. But the what-if mentality of a prepper is at the root of it all. I’ve been asking “what if” since I was a little kid (and probably driving my parents nuts with it) and I believe our ability to ask and answer that question is the key to everything. What more accurate way to learn “what if” could there be than to study real-life examples? They say that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I believe that the same can be said about the events happening all around us right now. (READ MORE)
Over the next two weeks SkyWatch TV will feature preparedness broadcasts with experts from around the world covering a broad base of issues from finance to surviving off-grid. A major reason for these special programs involves what looks like the fulfillment of prophecy everywhere; the threat of nuclear war, unrest in the Middle East, instability within the global economic system, threats to the national grid, terrorism and even gateways through biotechnology that could unleash upon earth pestilence of biblical proportions. People from all three of the world’s great religions see these developments as potential omens of an ‘End Times’ scenario leading to the Apocalypse. Yet many believers in God, especially in America, remain indifferent to the need to prepare for the unexpected. What can they be thinking!?
An article by Mimi Hall in USA TODAY recently pointed out this phenomenon, saying, “Most Americans haven’t taken steps to prepare for a natural disaster, terrorist attack or other emergency, according to a new study on preparedness, and only about a third have made plans with family members about how they would communicate with each other during a crisis.”
Part of the reason for this may be that we are by comparison well off in the United States, and we trust in our bank accounts to sustain us. Unfortunately, money sitting in savings and investments are useless if you become stuck in a storm or other crisis.
Another disarming reason I witnessed during my 25 years of pastoring for why people of faith neglect preparedness has to do with an odd defeatism that says, “If current events are prophesied to happen, then there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.”
The notion that calamity is unavoidable if it is divinely predicted is even sanctioned by some expositors who miss the pattern for preparedness in the Bible. While it is true that famine was prophesied for Egypt, it is also a fact that God led Joseph to prepare for it, and, as a result, he saved his family and the nations around about.
Proverbs 22:3 tells us that a prudent person will foresee such difficulties and prepare for them, while a simpleton will go blindly on and suffer the consequences. This is good advice not only for religious folks, but also people of any persuasion.
A third and perhaps the greatest reason why some people, including religious people never plan for disaster, is that they view the need to prepare for the unexpected as too complicated and costly. They imagine the back yard being dug up for construction of a massive bomb shelter and the basement crammed with row after row of dry grains and large containers filled with backup water.
The truth is, survival preparation is modestly affordable. Under most circumstances, the ability for individuals to remain mobile for a few days to a week or so by simply grabbing an inexpensive “survival bag” and heading out is more important than silos filled with long term storage foods.
Even when we envision a worse case scenario – such as a terrorist nuke or ICBM exchange – low-cost shelters, that can be built at home and combined with a minimal amount of Potassium Iodide, would help keep as much as 99 percent of the population alive according to one synopsis by the Department of Homeland Security.
While having to try to endure radioactive fallout is a growing possibility, the fact is that most people are more likely to face disaster as a result of things like nature.
Not long ago a journalist became lost in a snowstorm in Oregon and died from the exposure to freezing temperatures. If his car had been equipped with a survival kit, he would have had an excellent chance of survival.
During Hurricane Katrina, one woman had an emergency supplies kit in her attic that kept her and her two cats alive for days until help arrived. Another man, a doctor who had read a preparedness book and followed its instructions, was prepared with equipment and supplies. His house became a gathering place for people displaced by the storm.
For reasons such as these, my wife and I recently provided each of our children with a “walk out” kit for the trunks of their cars. These emergency bags contain enough food, water, shelter, first aid, lighting and communication supplies to keep them alive for days in the case of a vehicle malfunction or other situation where they would need to abandon their car.
Pre-made emergency kits containing items such as those above can be acquired online at costs from $30.00 and up, depending on the number of people and the number of days they are designed to sustain.
Why then, given how affordable disaster preparedness is, are so many people unprepared for an emergency?
Within “faith communities,” part of the problem goes back to western dispensational fatalism that fails to see God’s instructions about the future and the responsibility He gives concerning preparation. Church authorities may speak of the hidden shelter that God provides His followers during a storm, yet often fail to see the believer’s responsibility cast throughout the Bible where we are to care for our families and communities by readying for the unknown.
Some teachers also erroneously believe that emergency preparedness reflects a lack of faith in God.
The opposite is true. The Book of James measures faith by personal action, and Hebrews 11:7 describes true faith this way: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear and prepared an ark to the saving of his house.”
God told Noah that He would destroy the earth by a flood. He gave Noah instructions on how to be prepared so that he and his family could survive. Noah didn’t know when the flood would come, only that it was prophesied, and he prepared for it. When the Flood arrived, he was ready. His faith in and obedience to God’s word, his survival instincts, and ultimately his preparedness actions saved his family and preserved the human race.
The parallel between Noah and today is astounding. “As it was in the days of Noah,” says Luke 17:26-27 concerning the last days. Noah’s actions should define the modern believer’s responsibility, including the need for spiritual and physical preparedness.
Of course there are other places in the Bible that provide lessons about preparedness, including principles in the Books of Psalms and Proverbs, the parable of the faithful and evil servants (Matthew 24:45-51) and the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). But 1 Timothy 5:8 goes even further, saying that a person who does not provide for the survival of their relatives has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Given these instructions and the belief held by many today that we are living in “the last days” or at a minimum a time of unusual earth changes, leaders of religious institutions urgently need to educate their followers about taking personal responsibility for preparedness in an age of growing uncertainty. Dramatic lessons over the last few years have proven that we cannot depend on government agencies such as FEMA to save us if we need them. In fact, a report last month found that five years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the government still isn’t fully prepared to respond to a major public health emergency such as bioterrorism or a pandemic flu outbreak.
So what can one do to help people with disaster preparedness?
This is the good news. Hundreds of pages from reports and booklets on how to perform first aid, prepare temporary shelters, build bomb shelters, defend against terrorism and chemical contamination, shield against nuclear fallout, survive earthquakes, storms, floods, and dozens of other emergency situations are available at places like SkyWatchTVStore.com.
Spiritual leaders can obtain such works and place them on a table in a church foyer, hand them to neighbors, give them out during classes, or better yet teach a class on preparedness and tie it in with the mandates of Scripture. If nothing else, everybody can forward this article to the people they know with a recommendation that they do what is right to protect themselves as well as those God has placed under their care.
As a veteran of more than 40 years of church ministry, I call on pastors and other religious leaders to stand at the forefront of this issue and to make disaster preparedness some part of their ministry. This doesn’t need to define what you or your fellowship is about, but this can and must be part of the wise counsel you offer those you have responsibility for. You could literally save a believer’s life!
Together as people of faith, we should face the future with confidence and take the lead in disaster preparedness. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!
Consumers should consider going organic because pesticides on foods are far more dangerous than was thought, causing damage to the human brain, a major study suggests. The research, published by the European Parliament, warns of the “very high costs” of current levels of exposure to pesticides – especially for children and pregnant women. It could result in new limits on pesticide levels or changes to labelling of foodstuffs, under EU laws which require the UK to review its policies by next year. The landmark study suggests that the damage caused by pesticides across the EU amounts to at least £125bn a year, based on the loss of lifetime income from such damage. The report warns of increasing evidence that residues from insecticides are damaging the brain, and reducing the IQ of the population. And it raises concerns that the chemicals could also cause cancer and damage to the reproductive system. (READ MORE)
Biotech giant Monsanto is being accused of hiring, through third parties, an army of Internet trolls to counter negative comments, while citing positive “ghost-written” pseudo-scientific reports which downplay the potential risks of their products. The documents emerged during pre-trials on 50 lawsuits against Monsanto which were pending in the US District Court in San Francisco. The plaintiffs allege that exposure to the biotech giant’s flagship product, the herbicide Roundup, caused them or their relatives to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, while Monsanto concealed the potential risks. In March, a judge ruled, despite Monsanto’s objections, that the documents obtained by the plaintiffs could be released. The court papers are being gathered at the website of food-safety whistleblower organization US Right to Know. The plaintiffs alleged that Monsanto targeted all online materials and even social media comments that indicate potential dangers of its products, according to one document released late in April. “Monsanto even started the aptly-named ‘Let Nothing Go’ program to leave nothing, not even Facebook comments, unanswered; through a series of third parties, it employs individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry, who in turn post positive comments on news articles and Facebook posts, defending Monsanto, its chemicals, and GMOs,” the document reads. (READ MORE)
Corn isn’t the sexiest crop but it’s one of the most important. It’s the most abundant grain on Earth, used as food and biofuel around the globe. In ancient times, Mesoamericans thrived on it, waged wars over it. Their myths claimed corn was the matter from which gods created mankind itself. But, just as corn helped create these civilizations, these civilizations helped create corn through meticulous selective breeding. Today’s grain hardly resembles its ancestors. Compared to the wild plant first cultivated by ancient Mexicans some ten thousand years ago, modern corn is a super mutant. And yet, after all those thousands of years of cultivation, just two main genes are thought to be responsible for the evolution of the corn we eat today. Selective breeding is painstakingly slow and imprecise. But that’s all about to change. New gene editing tools like CRISPR/Cas9 now let scientists hack into genomes, make precise incisions, and insert desired traits into plants and animals. We’ll soon have corn with higher crop yields, mushrooms that don’t brown, pigs with more meat on the bone, disease resistant cattle (and CLOUDEATERS reborn). (READ MORE)
The next generation of genetically modified organisms may not involve produce at all. It appears that the next phase of GMOs will involve living things: insects. Genetically altered bugs could indeed be coming to an environment near you. Experimental releases of GM insects were already approved in 2014, but now there are growing concerns over what such bugs mean for the food supply — especially organic foods. Can organic food grown with or near GM bugs still be considered “organic,” or is that one bridge too far? Will organic produce grown in the United States still be able to be exported to countries like Europe if these GM bugs have developed on them — or will organic produce growers be forced to forfeit their organic label? These are the questions that Guy Reeves from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Germany and Martin Phillipson Dean of Law at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada are asking. Their goal is to shine a light on the potential perils that GM insects could bring to the food industry — and to hopefully prompt US officials into regulatory action, and so organic food growers don’t have to fear losing their reputations. (READ MORE)