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Category Archives: Spiritual

ALONE TV SHOW – You think: I’ll turn to God when the going gets tough… don’t count on it.

Last week, my household just finished watching season two of Alone (from the History channel).  We enjoyed the series and I think it is an eye opener of how people react when things really start getting tough.  If you have never seen the series, I will try not to spoil it for you.  Just imagine… you are alone in the woods… you have nothing but a few survival tools… you have to hunt, fish, scavenge and fight to stay alive.

So many people are self-deluded about how they will survive in such a situation.  People tend to think that they are resilient enough to make it.  Many think, “I can just rely on my skills.”  Christians tend to think, “God will take care of me, I just need faith.”  Yes, though I believe God will take care of me, it is impossibly difficult to imagine how bad things could be.

I must say, I have the utmost respect for all those that stick it out past the first couple weeks.  Then, you get into a much deeper respect for contestants as they show willpower and muster past the 30 and 45 days benchmarks.  Think about it, 45 days with no human contact.  Ever day, having to provide everything for yourself.  Boil water.  Find and prepare food.  Do everything “Alone” and without any outside help.

One of the participants, Larry Roberts, has an incredible breakthrough on day 58.  As Larry leans over a bucket on his knees, he sobs and sobs and cries out to God, “God, please help me.  I can’t do this by myself.  I need your help.” (not verbatim, but you get the idea).  He cries out repeatedly on the footage.

Catch this, don’t miss it.  It took 58 days for Larry to get to that point in his life.  It took nearly two months worth of grueling days, looking for food, creating fires day after day, eating the squander of what the wilderness left him for sustenance, and hanging by his very last thread, and finally he called out to God.

People don’t tend to want God’s help.  Alone brings us proof of it.  People will continue to try everything in their own power.  Then, when they fail, they will find another thing to try.  Then another.  Then another.  Then wallow in self-pity.  Then try something else.  God tends to come in dead last.  Only when there is no other option does one want to finally call on God.  I definitely respect Larry.  But if I could ask Larry one question, I would ask, “Larry, why did it take you so long?”  I wonder if God asks that question Himself.

Thankfully, we serve a God that doesn’t have to take us to the woods and drop us off alone to get our attention.  He can do that through our daily circumstances.  Those that think they can wait to ask God for help will most likely be severely disappointed in themselves when they discover they have let life completely slip through their hands like sand and stand before Almighty God with no Savior.  God won’t be saying, “What took you so long?”  He will be saying, “Depart from me, you that work iniquity.”

Here is one last observation about the show.  Your relationship with God does not change depending on physical proximity to other people.  Yes, I believe God designed us to be social beings.  The fact that He created male and female are example of that.  However, the one relationship that matters is the one we tend to overlook.  It is that one important relationship, that when it isn’t going well, we tend to hide and mask over and cover with the faulty relationships of this world.  The truth is, without the one important relationship with God, no other relationships can truly be held by us.  You are the same person both in the woods and out.

If you don’t learn to trust God in the midst of earthly relationships, you will probably never trust God in their absence.

ePrepper is going offline this month and will likely be offline before the end of January 2017, unless I can find someone to either take over the site or migrate its content to. Properly maintaining the site has been taking up too much time and cutting into my family. I would like to see the content of ePrepper get absorbed into a larger site. If you run a blog and are interested using content from ePrepper, please email dan [dot] michaels [at] eprepper [dot] net.

Here’s a Message from a Passionate Preacher

I found this message online and thought it was spoken from the heart.  May it bless you that you may bless God.

ePrepper is going offline this month and will likely be offline before the end of January 2017, unless I can find someone to either take over the site or migrate its content to. Properly maintaining the site has been taking up too much time and cutting into my family. I would like to see the content of ePrepper get absorbed into a larger site. If you run a blog and are interested using content from ePrepper, please email dan [dot] michaels [at] eprepper [dot] net.

Should we be asking God for persecution? (Philippians 1)

Philippians is one of my favorite books of the New Testament.  It is a ‘thank you’ letter to a group of believers that Paul holds dear to his heart.  Even those that don’t make scripture memorization a priority will recognize some of Philippians many keystone verses like 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me,” 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,” and 1:6, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

These scriptures could easily apply to persecution, but the point is not to cherry-pick some verses and see if they apply, but rather to focus on what Paul actually says about the subject of persecution.  We find that Paul’s message is quite clear.

Immediately following the opening of the letter (found in verses 1-11) Paul continues (v.12) by saying “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”  Paul appears to desire to remove doubt about his present condition.  In doing so, he also sends an underlying message in this verse.  That message is that persecution works to advance the gospel.

1:12-14 – Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

Our fear of persecution isn’t without merit.  I’m sure that most of what we fear is highly unknown to US-based, prosperity-driven, churches.  Paul gives an example as it is obvious that his persecution has made it clear to the whole “palace guard” that his bonds are for Christ.  Further, he points out that, for the most part, this has brought confidence to Paul and fellow believers.  I say “for the most part” since “most of the brothers and sisters have become confident” which may mean that some are fearful of Paul’s state or maybe worse.  Regardless, the persecuted life, as presented by Paul, is superior.

The last few verses of chapter one continue to reinforce Paul’s proposition.

1:27-30 – Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Verse 30 sticks out to me, “… not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him…”  In a nation that is currently divided by election results, we see protestors taking to the streets.  Apparently, they are very passionate.  How passionate would someone say that I am about my stand with Christ?  How quickly am I to say something when I observe something I know is wrong?  Many of my actions are squelched because I have fear.  I fear what people will think of me.  I fear how it may affect my relationships or my own personal prosperity.  What I really want to do is to be able to proclaim the gospel without fear.  I think that it will take persecution for me to be pushed hard enough to really take the stand that Christ requires of me.

ePrepper is going offline this month and will likely be offline before the end of January 2017, unless I can find someone to either take over the site or migrate its content to. Properly maintaining the site has been taking up too much time and cutting into my family. I would like to see the content of ePrepper get absorbed into a larger site. If you run a blog and are interested using content from ePrepper, please email dan [dot] michaels [at] eprepper [dot] net.

Digital Data Security… It Can’t Be Done.

My writing has been sparse over the past few months.  For those that enjoy reading my ramblings, I apologize for not rambling more often.  I’ve been mentally occupied over recent weeks and months.

As far as data security goes, I know I fall short of Krebs, Schneier, and so many others.  However, I believe I have an inside track on them as my perspective on data and security is born from a biblical worldview.  Solid believers forging new ground seems to be a rare thing.

I’m going to take a short, but necessary, rabbit trail, then get to the point of this post.  My worldview begins with a loving God that built mankind for the purpose of worship and relationship.  Since God has an attribute of love, there must must be the ability for God to extend His love, even through eternity’s past.  Unlike Islam, the God of the Bible was and is able to love something… God the Son. Allah didn’t have a Son to bless with love, so apparently, he just loves himself (selfishness, and this attribute can be seen all throughout the Koran).  I’m just making distinctions here, the distinction of love is critical, and I’ll get back to it later.

Relationship is the centerpiece of this worldview.  A relationship with mankind is broken by sin.  God gives the ability to renew that relationship through the blood of His Son.  Then He even gives us the Holy Spirit so that Christ never leaves us.

What makes up a relationship?  Interaction, right?  Communication.  Trust.  Love.  Commitment.  Obedience.  Etc, etc.  God invented relationship.  Relationship is such a cool invention, that man tried to recreate it.

Man created digital data.  Man wanted a recording medium and started with stone tablets.  That medium started in analog, like a vinyl record.  But due to spacial limitations, man was driven to record more and more on less and less.  The first recording device could just hold a few seconds.  Then vinyl albums could hold a few songs, then 10 songs, and now iPods, phones, and computers, can hold thousands of songs.  Though we could hold so much, it wasn’t enough, so man invented music streaming where one could select from millions on songs.

Music is such a cool thing and a positive example of how man overcame a challenge, let’s now look at phones.  The early phones called into a switchboard.  The switchboard operator would connect a call.  This process was cumbersome, so eventually man created automatic switching when dialing a number.  This was awesome, but you still had to have a physical line.  Radio communications eventually made it possible so that almost everyone has a phone in their pocket.

And mail?  It used to be carried by horses, then by cars.  You had to wait for a letter.  So, man made it more efficient by using electrical impulses representing ones and zeros to take a letter from point A to point B at near the speed of light.  Man also augmented that ability by putting it in a smartphone in your pocket.

Ok, let’s get to the point.  The point is that man’s inventions have moved into a pivotal part of the relationship stream.  There are two problems now.  One has to do with security.  The other has to do with relationship.

1 – Security:  How can broken man create security?  He can’t.  He can theorize how it should be done, but corrupt man is incapable of pulling it off.  Time + Secure System = Broken System.  You can apply this to the systems you trust on a daily basis.  Man continually filters his vision with a lens of deceit, thinking that he can fix the problem when he can’t.

2 – Relationship:  The purpose of these inventions is to augment relationship.  The augmentation of relationship using a digital medium only cheapens the relationship over time.  Conversations become shallower.  Selfishness abounds (just look at the selfie phenomena).  Worse than just the relationship breakdown is the perceived dependence on the device (whether phone, computer, or whatever).

This doesn’t mean I can’t use technology.  It does mean that I cannot trust it.  It also means that I must keep the device in perspective with God design man for interaction.  Digital interaction can only take a relationship so far.  Seeing a smile from my wife in a facetime chat does not equal seeing it in person.  Digital data falls short of providing any meaningful relationship.  Data is only a cheap interface.  When I use a phone, I need to remain focused on who I am connected with on the other end, the device is just a gateway for communications.

One might argue that the Bible must also be a cheap interface from God to man.  This is simply not true.  First, the Bible is Divinely inspired, making it a collection of books that spans time.  Second, the Bible is one piece of God’s relationship.  We also have the Holy Spirit to guide and direct.  There is a relationship that is within instead of just reading a book.  There is conviction when we read the errors of our ways.  There is encouragement when we discover God’s promises.  All these things point us back to God.

Back to the issue at hand.  Seeing the nature of man and his desire to become dependent on his own invention is very discouraging.  Sinful man sits at the center.  Sinful man acts like the switchboard operator.  Even in automatic switching, someone can still look at the logs.  Man cannot be trusted.

We all know there are bleak times coming.  Christians will continually be on the radar.  Data is making it easier and easier to compromise people.  So, my question is this.  Will you be able to let go of the data?  Could you let go of your cell phone?  How about email?  Could you rely on the relationships you have with those that you can see face to face?

I have a love-hate relationship with my phone… and technology in general I guess.  I think the first step for me is to again step away from using a smartphone (or leave it at work) and go back to dumb phone and practice leaving it behind.  There are many that have prepared all sorts of things, like preparing and storing food, working on defense skills, and practicing a bug-out drill.  But, who of us has really practiced walking away from data?

ePrepper is going offline this month and will likely be offline before the end of January 2017, unless I can find someone to either take over the site or migrate its content to. Properly maintaining the site has been taking up too much time and cutting into my family. I would like to see the content of ePrepper get absorbed into a larger site. If you run a blog and are interested using content from ePrepper, please email dan [dot] michaels [at] eprepper [dot] net.

Does God owe you something?

Those that know me well, know that I have personally been affected by the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  After being challenged to read Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer, I was immediately driven by curiosity.  I couldn’t help but wonder what the driving forces were in Bonhoeffer’s life to allow him to have peace in his heart when we was faced with the gallows.

Even though I was a believer when I first read Bonhoeffer, I needed more.  My curiosity ended up steering me toward Bonhoeffer’s well known study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  That book, The Cost of Discipleship, put most of my curiosity to rest and allowed Jesus to work in my life through a better understanding of what it could really mean for me to be a follower of Christ.

Though I knew Bonhoeffer had other writings that I hadn’t ventured into, my curiosity didn’t drive me to read any of them, until now.  Currently, I’m reading Life Together.  What struck me initially in this work is the thought that God doesn’t owe me anything.

This premise, carefully laid out in the beginning of the book, threw me off track a bit.  I have to admit, and maybe you do too, that I often seek God for an answer to the riddle of my own life.  What am I to do?  Where am I to live?  What will my budget be?  These are just a few questions that address the self-seeking nature of my own personal makeup.

The truth is that God doesn’t owe me anything.  He doesn’t owe me any answers.  He doesn’t owe me comfort in this world.  He doesn’t owe me a grandiose plan of how He will use me.  He doesn’t owe me one blessed thing.  He has supplied a sacrifice for me and that is enough.

Not only did He provide the sacrifice that allows me to commune with Almighty God, He published it for all to read and provides it through the testimony of His changed people.  If I live until I’m 80, I will live about 29,200 days (plus some leap days).  Even if I were to live in pain for my entire life, what is that in the face of eternity with the Christ my Savior?

What is eternity?  I wouldn’t even dare say.  Even man’s largest number is the most minuscule in the shadow of eternity.

God owes me nothing.  Furthermore, what He has given me is free to me, yet cost Him the blood of His only Son.  So maybe the question should be: What do I owe God?

ePrepper is going offline this month and will likely be offline before the end of January 2017, unless I can find someone to either take over the site or migrate its content to. Properly maintaining the site has been taking up too much time and cutting into my family. I would like to see the content of ePrepper get absorbed into a larger site. If you run a blog and are interested using content from ePrepper, please email dan [dot] michaels [at] eprepper [dot] net.

Huge Snitch System Already Here in USA

The direction of the USA continues to baffle me.  We continue to mirror Nazi Germany and a pace isn’t slowing one bit.  While perusing the web the other day, I came across Dirk Rijmenants weblog (found at http://rijmenants.blogspot.com).  He has a quote on his site.  I’m not sure if the quote is unique to Rijmenants, but the statement is similar to history repeating itself.  Rijmenants quote reads:

It is easy to predict the future as humans excel in repeating their errors from the past.

I was thinking about how persecution can easily hit the average user and how easy it will be for the government to institute stasi-style controls.  Then I realized that we have a huge snitch system already in place.  We don’t really have freedom of speech on the web.  We have freedom of speech only until someone complains.

Take a look at the screen shots below.  What if the government released a mechanism for “reporting” to go directly to them themselves?  The snitch system is already in place, just one simple connection to the government and viola, stasi-style controls are in place.  Perhaps this mechanism already exists.

Here are some screen shots from various mainstream social networks and search engines:

YOUTUBE:

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 8.27.26 AM

FACEBOOK:

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 8.28.27 AM

GOOGLE:

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 8.28.58 AM

LINKEDIN:

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 8.29.55 AM

YAHOO:

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 8.31.11 AM

TWITTER:

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 8.33.06 AM

ePrepper is going offline this month and will likely be offline before the end of January 2017, unless I can find someone to either take over the site or migrate its content to. Properly maintaining the site has been taking up too much time and cutting into my family. I would like to see the content of ePrepper get absorbed into a larger site. If you run a blog and are interested using content from ePrepper, please email dan [dot] michaels [at] eprepper [dot] net.

A Devotional on Faith and Obedience

I will not dare to compete with the reasoning of Dietrich Bonhoeffer when he wrote the Cost of Discipleship.  Bonhoeffer recognizes two main ingredients that led to Peter stepping out of the boat onto the water.  1. Peter needed belief (faith) and 2. Peter needed obedience.  When these were cooked up together, Peter stepped forth.  Bonhoeffer notices that Peter cannot truly perform belief or obedience independently.  They must be bound together.  In other words, Peter could not stay on the boat claiming to believe, nor could he step out in obedience without faith.

Last week at school, a teacher challenged us during a devotional time with the idea that belief (faith) and reasoning also belong together.  In our modern US society, we are taught that these are independent of each other.  Science tries to reason away faith.  In the church, reasoning can be treated as a taboo.

Yet… doesn’t it make sense that belief (faith), obedience, and reasoning belong together?  To me, it seems that as we uncover the truth of God’s Word, we desire to test it against life’s experiences (whether those experiences are spiritual, physical, or natural).  The more we test and reason, the greater our faith in what we are learning, which can only lead to obedience.

This idea has much Biblical support… 2 Timothy 2:15, for example.  Hebrews 11, for another example.  The book of James.  The sermon on the mount (where Christ is delivering the cold hard facts of the righteous walk to his disciples).

It does seem as though Abraham would have had to perform some sort of reasoning in the process of being obedient.  David performed some reasoning before being used of God to take down the giant.  In fact, David reasoned that one small giant could not stand against a big God.

Some Christians may say, “you think too much.”  But, maybe that is God’s way of reinforcing His own truth in our hearts… through logic.  1 Corinthians 4:7 – For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

I tend to think that God both gave us reason, expects us to use it, and expects it to lead us to a closer walk with Himself.

ePrepper is going offline this month and will likely be offline before the end of January 2017, unless I can find someone to either take over the site or migrate its content to. Properly maintaining the site has been taking up too much time and cutting into my family. I would like to see the content of ePrepper get absorbed into a larger site. If you run a blog and are interested using content from ePrepper, please email dan [dot] michaels [at] eprepper [dot] net.