The Coming Bust - Are You Ready?
Joseph Herrin (05-20-08)
The Spirit of Christ has many ways to impart understanding, and He has been imparting much of late. Without a doubt, this is in order to prepare the saints for those things which are to come.
Two days ago the Lord ordered my steps in such a way that I took notice. He began to indicate that I was to move out from where I was staying. I had graciously been invited to stay in the home of Randy Simmons’ grandfather, and I had been there for about two weeks. The place was beautiful, situated on 28 acres with a small lake, and I had my own room to stay in. However, it was a bit outside of Macon where I was having to travel to a couple times a day to get on the Internet, go to the gym, etc.. My gas bill was pretty high, and other factors led me to consider a change of location.
I did not want to step out of the Father’s will, and I did not trust the judgment of my own heart, for I knew there were soulish reasons that would make me want to be in town. I therefore laid the matter before the Father and asked Him to confirm His will. That evening I was led to pick up a book I had been reading on the early life of Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission. As I read, the Spirit brought much confirmation of his direction.
In a particularly relevant passage, it was related how young Hudson Taylor had been residing in a very comfortable situation. He was working for a Doctor in England, whose house was in a very affluent section of town. This lasted for a while, until the Doctor had need of the room Hudson was in for a family member. Hudson was given a stipend to rent a room, and he considered deeply where he was to go.
Having received direction from the Lord he settled on a room for rent in one of the poorest sections of town, an area called Drainside. He leased a room from a Christian woman whose husband was a sailor, and she needed the money to support herself and her children, which Hudson was glad to be able to assist in. His furnishings were the most rudimentary, and his entire situation was one of considerable privation. His mother was very concerned that his situation was too much of a hardship, but Hudson was assured of the Lord’s leading.
He understood later that the Lord had led him to this place to acclimate him to the rigors of future missionary service in China. In China there would be none of the pleasant comforts of England, and as a missionary on a very limited income frugality would be essential. Much detail was provided in the book on the diet of Hudson Taylor at the time, and it was indeed very basic, having all of the unnecessary luxuries removed, and only that which would support life at the barest expense chosen.
As I read this, and as circumstances played out around me, I knew the Lord was indicating that I was to move the next day. I began considering where I should go, and I thought too of renting a small room somewhere in town for my own “prophet’s chamber.” My mind cast upon many options, but I had no peace about any of them. At last my mind came to consider simply staying in my van/camper. I didn’t truly need a room, as I had been getting up early and after having my devotion time I would head to town, usually before Randy and his grandfather were up. Some days I would not return until late. I also did not need shower, or bath facilities, as I was going to the gym daily and I was using their very adequate facilities to cut down on washing towels, and simply because of the great convenience of washing right after working out.
In the end, the Spirit confirmed my way, and I moved out the next day and spent the night parked at America’s favorite campground, the Wal-Mart parking lot, of which there are several to choose from in Macon. I also considered streamlining my food intake. I had found some of the cups of noodle soup to be quite good, and I had eaten a number of them while spending a month camping. These are the kind that come in a styrofoam cup and you simply add water and heat them up. I went into Wal-Mart and purchased a single burner element that attaches to the top of a Coleman propane cylinder. I figured I could simply dump the soup into my do everything pyrex bowl and heat it over the flame. These soups are available for about 35 cents each, and one of them makes a sufficient meal for me, along with some crackers.
I considered that the Lord was preparing me both for a traveling ministry, as well as for the coming economic collapse of America that the Spirit has signified in many ways is coming. I slept wonderfully in my van last night, and I remembered how the Father had led to a similar circumstance some four years earlier, with the difference being that I had only a Ford Tempo as a vehicle and two dogs with me. Having a 19' camper/van with a bed in the rear was the lap of luxury compared to my former circumstance, and I cannot tell you how happy and full of thanksgiving I was for this provision. I was truly filled with much joy over the freedom I had to go wherever the Lord directed me, and to find myself provided for in such an adequate fashion.
This morning, after checking my e-mail, I noticed a news headline that read “Mom forced to live in car with dogs.” This grabbed my attention, and I immediately thought, “I have been there before.” I clicked on the link which took me to the CNN website. The article spoke volumes to me.
The location of the story was Santa Barbara, California where the average house price is a million dollars. The economy has taken such a tumble, the many middle class Californians have found themselves having their homes foreclosed on, rendering many of them homeless. These are not your typical homeless people who are satisfied with such a life. These are people whose lives have been turned upside down, and they have found themselves in such a situation as they never imagined.
The article focused on one 67 year old woman whose job in the loan industry was lost. She lost her home and spent her savings and then found herself homeless. She now works at a job paying $8.00 and hour, and she is sleeping in her SUV with her two golden retrievers. This woman had a remarkable attitude. Absent was the bitterness that is manifest by many people who start blaming others and spewing vitriole. Some further amazing things were revealed in the article.
This problem is so widespread in Santa Barbara, that the city made an arrangement with a local charity to open up twelve parking lots in the city for people to park at to sleep. These parking lots are overseen by New Beginnings Counseling Center, an organization aimed at helping the homeless. They screen people who apply to park to keep out trouble makers, and they have one parking lot that is designated for women only and it is gated.
The previous day I had read a financial article that declared that if you wanted to see what was coming to America to look and see what is happening in California, for California leads the nation. The Spirit bears witness that this trend of homelessness is merely the tip of the iceberg, and it will reach much greater proportions in coming days. The CNN article is very insightful, and I encourage all to read it. I will provide a link. There is also a video that goes along with it.
People, I feel very safe (knowing my advice is in harmony with the witness of the Spirit) to say that it is a time for all Christians to begin streamlining their living. If you will consider how little the Lord has led me to live on, and how few material possessions I have, you can imagine how bloated the lifestyles of most Americans are. In a day when people lose their homes, they will have no place to put their furniture, their televisions, their stereos, their various games and entertainments and many decorative items. Much of this will be cast away as worthless. There will be no one to buy them in that day, and if they are sold they will go for a fraction of what they could be sold for today.
I would counsel all Christians to begin to inquire of the Spirit of Christ today, asking Him what they should give up, what they can do without, and how they should VASTLY simplify their lives. In this hour I believe many saints could yet sell their luxury items and have money to be placed on paying off debt (this should be a real priority) and to use to help the poor and needy in this hour.
If you knew that a day was coming sometime in the next year when multitudes would be cast into poverty and would lose their homes and forfeit most of their possessions, would it not be prudent to cut your losses now while things could be disposed of in an orderly fashion?
I would also advise people to consider what they should do with their money if they are out of debt and find themselves with a surplus. Rather than laying aside a stockpile for troublesome days, ask the Lord what He would have you to do. I would recommend listening to the audio message “Compassion’s Silver Lining.” This message, delivered at the Macon Rescue Mission, speaks of the many promises of God to those who open their hearts to the cry of the poor. Yahweh promises that He will repay all that they give, for He will not be a debtor to any man. Yet those who close their ears to the cry of the poor, Yahweh declares to them that He will not hear them in the day of their calamity.
One of the best investments a person can make to be prepared for days of trouble, is to be generous in giving to the poor and needy. This is a preparation of faith, rather than one directed by fear and worldly wisdom. The wisdom of God says to give what you have away to those in need, and God will certainly repay you in your time of need. What would you rather have your trust in; some earthly stockpile or emergency store of goods, or the omnipotent God of all creation? I know where I have chosen to cast my lot.
In concluding this, I would like to state the following. A man’s life does not consist of an abundance of goods. True life, joy, and peace are attributes of God. These things are found as we are in fellowship with the source of all life, joy and peace. A man who has found God to be his treasure can be happier living in a car, experiencing true contentment and joy and peace, than a man living in a mansion who does not walk with God. There is a richness of life to be found in poverty.
And turning His gaze on His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh... But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.”
The following verse is one you will not hear proclaimed in the houses of prosperity today. Even many outside of these churches have not received this command as a literal and practical word. They think it was hyperbole, or something that is a relic of days gone by. I assure you that these words of Christ will have the most profound bearing upon days ahead.
"Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys.”
In days ahead men and women everywhere will find that their purses have worn out, their treasures have failed them. But one group will find that their purses have no end to what is coming out of them. It is those who have opened their hearts and their purses to those in need. May you be numbered among them.