Joseph Herrin (11-05-2012)
Yesterday I came across an article I had posted 44 months ago. It is dated February 27, 2009. The post is titled How to Prepare for a Day of Disorder.
The article speaks of the surety of a day of great civil unrest precipitated by economic collapse. It describes some of the difficulty that Americans will face in that day. Following is an excerpt from the article:
A sister in Christ shared recently that the Lord had told her that even the electricity supply would become unreliable. At times it would be available, and other times it will be unavailable. I shared a similar revelation some months back as the Spirit of Christ brought me to understand the character of coming days.
Along with economic collapse there will be great interruptions to transportation. Stores will run out of food and supplies. Gas stations will run dry and find that re-supply is sporadic at best. Civil unrest will be a natural consequence, and multitudes will find it expedient to flee from the cities, many of which will be ablaze with fires and unruly gangs and rioters.
All of these things, and much more, have been prophesied for the days which are near at hand. How then should a Christian prepare for such days?
As I read these words I considered how they could well be describing the conditions in New Jersey and New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The news has been full of reports of millions of people having to cope with an absence of electrical service. A week after landfall there are still nearly two million people without power, down from a peak of eight million. The temperatures in this region are typically in the 40s during the daytime, dropping down to the 30s, and even falling below freezing, at night. Without electric heat, a great many people have been struggling to stay warm. The city of New York has been distributing free blankets to people without power.
Distributing Blankets in Wake of Hurricane Sandy
The absence of electricity has led to other problems as well. There has been an acute shortage of gasoline in the region following the storm. This is due to a mix of factors. Panic buying has led to runs on gasoline. Pipelines delivering petroleum products were shut down for a time. Tanker trucks have had a difficult time getting to flooded areas. Yet, part of the problem has been that gas stations rely upon electricity for their pumps to work. Without electricity there is no way to pump the gas.
Situations have become chaotic at the few gas stations that have had fuel. Fights have erupted and police and National Guard troops have had to be assigned to keep order. Patience has been taxed as people have waited for hours in lines that stretch for blocks, worrying if there would be any fuel left when they reached the pumps.
Gas Line Following Hurricane Sandy
There have been numerous reports of looting and civil unrest following the storm. Residents are fearful of answering their doors as gangs have been masquerading as utility workers to gain access to people’s homes to rob them. Yesterday’s news reported that as many as 40,000 people in the boroughs of New York city may need to be supplied with temporary, or long term, housing due to destroyed homes, flood damage, or absence of utility services. Many are currently staying in shelters. The mayor of New York described what a challenge this was in a city that is notorious for its lack of available housing.
Transportation has been hit especially hard in the region. Many of the subways were flooded and sustained significant damage. The NYC fleet of more than 13,000 cabs has had to idle more than half of them due to the unavailability of gas, or the difficulty and time involved in getting fuel. City bus service was made freely available, yet people are having to wait at bus stops for hours as buses bypass them due to their being filled to capacity. People have begun walking to their destinations, and if they are fortunate they have a bicycle to get them around.
Bikes Out in Force Following Sandy
One thing that is evident is that the normal, affluent, American life is impossible to maintain in such circumstances. Those who try to carry on as normal, driving their gas guzzling SUV’s, expecting to find easy access to food and other necessities, will be greatly disappointed, leading to conflict.
Police Controlling Crowds After Sandy
The majority of Christians today have embraced the lie that God wants them to be wealthy and to pursue the American dream of being materially affluent. Many are in debt. They are living paycheck to paycheck because they gave themselves to a surfeit of consumerism. In Biblical terms, they were guided by covetousness.
For many years I too was caught up in this consumer mentality. It was all I knew. Having been raised in American Christian culture I considered it normal to pursue a comfortable, and materially abundant, life. Had a storm such as Sandy descended upon my life prior to 1999 when I was entangled with this world, and the love of the things in it, I would have been woefully unprepared to survive. I lived a soft life. I would hop in the car just to drive to the corner store, or to a fast food restaurant a short distance away. I was overweight and out of shape. My life was dependent upon a Just In Time, uninterrupted flow of provision.
Since 1999, the Father has been speaking to me about being a forerunner. He has guided me down paths, and through experiences that a much larger remnant of His people must face in days that are close at hand. I will relate to you some of the things the Father has accomplished in transforming my lifestyle, and how these changes have placed me in good stead for weathering the coming storm.
One of the first things the Father did when I surrendered to be led of His Spirit was to strip me of the majority of possessions I had accumulated during many years of covetous living. The best way to survive calamitous days is to be unencumbered from an excess of material possessions. Lighten your load and surviving is much easier. The fewer things you possess, the less will be the demands upon you in coming days.
I Corinthians 7:29-32
But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. I want you to be free from concern.
The Father took my family and I through a stripping process. We began with a 2,000 square foot house and a detached garage, both of which were filled with the accumulation of years of material consumerism. Numerous yard sales later, having given up one of our two vehicles, and having had our home foreclosed on, we were led to purchase a 28 foot motorhome and to pull a small car behind it. My family, which included my wife and two children, were able to carry all of our possessions in an RV with space approximately 1/10th that of which we formerly utilized.
I continue to live in this manner at the leading of the Father to this day. Some people have on occasion criticized me for “choosing” to live this way. Let me be very plain in stating before God and man that I did not “choose” this lifestyle. It is what the Father has chosen for me. He has guided me down a very certain path for reasons He has determined by His own counsel. Part of that divine purpose is that I might show forth by my example how it is possible to live in an affluent country like America that is driven by a consumer spirit, and yet live according to entirely different principles than the majority.
In the Bible, Christians are described as aliens and strangers passing through this world. They should stand out as peculiar, as distinct and different, in a world that is ruled by the spirit of Satan. It is the Christian’s other-worldliness that gives them their distinctive flavor, that causes them to be as salt and light in a moldering and dark generation. Prior to 1999 my life blended in with that of society around me. It was difficult to see anything substantially different from my activities, lifestyle, possessions, and priorities than that of my neighbors, whether Christian or non-Christian.
Things are very different today. It is noteworthy that it is those in the church whose lives stand out in contrast the most to that life Yahweh has led me to. It has been those in the church who have resisted, criticized, or reproached me the most for adopting the mode of living the Spirit of Christ has directed me to. This antagonism toward living a humble life does not bode well for the people of God when the storm falls upon this land.
The Dreamer and Trailer
Pictured above is the forty year old school bus the Father provided for me, and which He directed me to convert into a motorhome. I paid $1,200 for the bus four years ago. It was bare inside, having had most of the bench seats removed, and no improvements done to it. When the Father directs us to some activity or work, He will provide the wherewithal to perform it. Having returned from a four month cross-country speaking trip in 2010, I announced that the Father had directed me to move from my 1986 camper/van to this bus, but that I would need to convert it to a motorhome first.
My immediate thought was that I could take the appliances and various RV components out of my van and adapt them for use in the bus. However, the Father had a far more generous provision in mind. A brother in Tennessee contacted me. He had a wrecked, three-year-old, Coachmen motorhome in his salvage yard. He told me I could come strip all of the parts off of it that I needed, and use them to outfit my bus. What a tremendous blessing this was. I drove my van to Tennessee, rented the largest U-haul trailer available (12 feet long) and filled it from front to back with parts stripped off of the Coachmen RV. This included the waste water holding tanks, the potable water system, shower, toilet, plumbing, kitchen sink, roof air conditioner, dinette that makes into a bed, propane tank, stove, refrigerator, light fixtures, roof vent, electrical distribution box, and more. It took me three months steady labor to convert the bus to a motorhome.
Bus Before Conversion
Bus After Conversion
The whole interior of the bus is not in view in the above photo. Adjacent to me, and just out of sight, is a cast iron wood stove that I installed. I picked it up used for $40. Should the power go out, as it has in New York and New Jersey, I would be able to stay warm.
Additionally, the Father has led me to not purchase a tow vehicle. I sold my van and do not own a car. I have been riding a bicycle for years. I have baskets on the rear of my bike for carrying groceries. Last week I rode my bike to the grocery store from my current location. It is 4.2 miles each way, mostly down dirt roads. The trip was pleasant, and it is good exercise. I am in this way enabled to be free of dependency upon gas stations for my local running around.
My Bike and Baskets
Since my recent move to a secluded, rural location, I have been looking for ways to be independent in my daily living. A couple days ago I read a story relating to Hurricane Sandy that focused on people’s inability to wash their clothes. With the power out, and transportation spotty, many people did not have any clean clothes left to wear. Mobile laundries have been set-up in places. Residents are able to drop off their dirty clothes and have them washed for free, but due to demand they may have to wait days before they can come back and get their clean clothes.
Washing Clothes After Hurricane Sandy
It is fifteen miles to the nearest Laundromat from my current location. That is too far to ride my bike while carrying loads of clothes and detergent. I have therefore been putting together my mobile clothes washing system so I can take care of this need without going anywhere. My clothes washing system includes a plunger type mobile washer that can be purchased online at numerous sites for approximately $15, a 7 gallon bucket with a twist on lid, a mop bucket with an industrial wringer to squeeze the water out of my clothes before hanging them on the line to dry, a clothes line and clothes pins. (I have not acquired the mop bucket and wringer yet, but anticipate doing so soon.)
Mobile Clothes Washing System
I also did some research into making my own laundry detergent. You don’t want a sudsy detergent when washing by hand, and you use far less detergent than you would in an electric washing machine. I settled on a mixture of equal parts 20 Mule Team Borax, Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not normal Baking Soda), and Oxi Clean.
My clothes washing solution may appear pretty humble when compared to the new appliances sold in stores today. Yet, the system I have adopted has distinct advantages. It is far less expensive. It does not require expensive maintenance or repairs. It is not dependent upon electricity to use. It is cheaper to operate, and I can carry it with me anywhere I go. It is a storm-ready system.
As I have pondered the many changes Yahweh has brought to my life since 1999,weighing these things in light of the dislocations caused by Hurricane Sandy, I have come to realize that my lifestyle today is far less likely to be disrupted by the events typical of national disasters than the life I was living prior to 1999. Gasoline shortages - no problem. Electricity goes out - I still have heat and lights. Washing clothes - no disruption. Transportation system failures - I still have my bike, and I am healthy enough to ride it. Yahweh has directed me to stock up on grains and legumes and various other staples, so food is also supplied.
People of God, let me stress that I did not make all of these life changes due to having some doomsday mentality, nor am I a rabid prepper. I have simply followed the leading of the Spirit of Christ. The result is that I am now far better situated to weather the storm that is coming to this nation than most Christians.
To arrive at this place I had to repent of the covetous spirit that I had formerly walked in. I had to be willing to let go of the world’s goods that I had accumulated over the course of many years. I had to be willing to be misunderstood, to stand out as different, to bear reproaches and criticism from family, Christians, and others. When the storm hits, as it surely will, I will not despise any of the challenges I had to face to be ready for that hour. I will be immensely thankful that the Father was faithful to guide me and to prepare me for what is coming.
As beneficial as it is to be prepared to weather a time of national unrest, there are many more reasons that the Father is leading His sons and daughters to alter their consumer lifestyles. He wants them to walk in a pure and undistracted devotion to Christ. No man can serve both God and mammon (materialism). Most Christians are attempting to do that which is impossible. As a result their relationship with Christ is suffering.
People of God, Yahweh is calling forth to His sons and daughters to come out of Babylon, to lay aside the love of the world. The church must abandon the mindset that tells them they need to pursue the American dream, to have all the modern conveniences, to keep up with the Joneses.
It may strike you as a radical thought today to ride a bike to the grocery store, rather than jumping in your car. It may seem impractical to wash your clothes by hand rather than using the latest modern appliances. It may seem undesirable to reduce your living space to a small fraction of what you previously have been accustomed to. Yet, in that hour when the storm hits and it is no longer possible to maintain the life of convenience and comfort that you have known, you will find that those who have embraced a humbler life will be the least affected. It is the most affluent, those with the most possessions and conveniences, who will suffer the most.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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