faith – Off The Grid News Better Ideas For Off The Grid Living Fri, 20 Apr 2018 19:48:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Better Ideas For Off The Grid Living faith – Off The Grid News Better Ideas For Off The Grid Living faith – Off The Grid News 3 Ways Your Children Are Already Wards Of The State Fri, 13 Feb 2015 11:00:56 +0000 Image source: NorthCoastNow

Image source: NorthCoastNow

The country we now live in is no more than a shadow of what our Founders designed and intended to leave as their legacy. The United States was meant to be a bastion of liberty and personal freedom, yet we live today in something much different, with the government being the end-all, be-all when it comes to deciding what is best for us and how we should live.

The “greater good” has become the backdrop against which almost all public policy is made, and the federal government supersedes the individual states when it comes to what is not only allowed, but what is required. The Roman Empire is alive and well here, although in many ways the ways of Communist China have infiltrated our system just as much.

As with all progressive and leftist agendas, the most prized possession is control of the youngest generation.

Here are three ways that your children — meaning the children of this country in general — are essentially wards of the state.

1. Their education. This is the first in the list because it is the foundation of everything else. Once the state controls the vehicle for education, it controls the future of the country. Unfortunately, the public education system — one of the primary planks in the Communist Manifesto — has been in place long enough now that it is considered a right by the people, and one that they not only don’t want abolished, but one that they will even fight to keep.

Public education, supported and supplemented by the un-constitutional Department of Education and leftist unions like the National Education Association, is the most ideal way to control and indoctrinate the population. The state gets to decide where our children will attend school, what subjects they will be taught, how those subjects will be taught, and what are considered proper behaviors from children. Even in private schools, there are government-mandated rules and regulations that must be followed to be compliant with state expectations.

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Just as important, it teaches that the school system (and by extension the “system” in general) is the final arbiter of what is right, wrong and important – and that “old-fashioned” thinking should be discarded as “un-enlightened.”

Unless you seriously supplement (and sometimes correct) your childrens’ school experience, you may be having less of an impact on their future than the state is.

2. Their faith

It’s no secret that faith is under constant attack in modern America, particularly the Christian faith. While tolerance is preached from the rooftops, it seems to apply to everything except Christianity. This denouncement of faith begins in the most likely of places for any form of indoctrination: the public school system.

There are countless instances of children being corrected for mentioning Christ or faith in their answers, and prayers are at best discouraged and at worst punishable. Even saying “God bless America” can gets students in trouble.

Once a child moves on to institutions of “higher education,” any remaining vestiges of their faith are attacked much more directly and brutally. College professors routinely teach that faith is a weakness grounded in stone-age superstitions, and professors in subjects such as philosophy and psychology have been known to encourage their students to denounce their faith.

The mythical “separation of church and state” is accepted as fact in most government institutions. Our president even attacks Christianity in a twisted defense of the religious war being waged against us by radical Islam, referencing mistakes made centuries ago in the Crusades and the Inquisition.

3. Their medical care

Justin Pelletier

Justin Pelletier

The case of Justina Pelletier being held against her will by a Boston hospital for over a year shocked the nation, but apparently not enough. Now there is the recent case of the 17-year-old girl from the same area who is being held by a hospital — under court order — and forced to accept chemotherapy, something she actually ran away from home to avoid.

Then there is the case of the Washington state couple who are fostering an infant. The family doesn’t approve of vaccinations, and the state authorities have threatened to remove the child from their home unless the entire family is vaccinated. And there are many, many other cases, including some in which parents were threatened for letting their children play outside.

The argument about forced vaccinations has been pushed back into the public awareness recently, and even many on the “conservative” side of things are now saying vaccines should be mandatory for all children. I won’t delve into the science or the purported link to autism, but the matter is indicative of the “greater good” argument that continues to gain ground.

The fact is, if we as individuals don’t have a choice in controlling our own medical conditions and those of our children, then we are slaves to the people who do make those decisions — the state. Authorities use children as the first line of attack in this debate, because pulling at the heart strings is the easiest way to win the greater good argument.

The solution? There are many. But getting yourself and your family out of the “system,” off the grid, and becoming as self-reliant as possible sure seems to be a good starting point.

Do you believe our children are wards of the state? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Hebrews Hall of Faith: Who was Barak? Sun, 22 Sep 2013 08:00:52 +0000 barak jael death of sisera

Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter, highlights great acts of faith by many Old Testament characters. The first three verses say, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” The author then goes on to describe in detail some of the great acts of faith that were performed in Old Testament times.

When we come to verse 32-34 we read, “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” We immediately recognize David, Samuel and Samson, but who is this Barak? And what did he do that was worth mentioning in the likes of these great pillars of faith?

If we look to the book of Judges, we will find the story he took part in chronicled in chapter four and then put to song by Deborah the prophetess in chapter five.

Prophecy Concerning Barak

Many attempts have been made to somehow tie the biblical Barak to the regime in Washington led by a modern-day Barack. There is much speculation on his political relationships with women. A lot of sensationalism has gone into most of these looks at prophecy, but if one will look closely, they will see it is more than likely motivated by profit rather than an inspired prophet.

Barak, The History

Chapter four of Judges unfortunately starts as far too many chapters in the Old Testament start, with the statement, “And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Not to condemn Israel for their actions, since we follow the same pattern in our own lives. Nevertheless, they did evil and God sold them into captivity to Jabin King of Canaan. He was a strong king with 900 chariots (not counting support troops), and the Lord left them under his oppression for 20 years.

After the 20 years had passed, God lifted up Deborah the prophetess and had her send a message to Barak (whose name means lightning) the son of Abinoam. Deborah told Barak the Lord said to gather 10,000 men of the tribes Naphtali and Zebulun. He was to take them to mount Tabor where God would draw the Canaanite general Sisera and his 900 chariots to the river Kishon, where God would then deliver them into Barak’s hand.

At this point, Barak makes a mistake. He tells Deborah that he would go if she went with him, but if she would not go with him he wouldn’t go either. Deborah agrees to go with the army, but as a result she tells Barak that none of the glory of victory would fall to him; instead it would fall on a woman.

When the battle was joined below mount Tabor at the river Kishon, God went before the Israelites and routed Sisera and his army. The chariots fled with Barak and his soldiers in hot pursuit. God went before Barak, and chapter five tells us even the stars in heaven fought the Canaanites, and their bodies were washed away in the river.

There are several views of what this really means. The stars could literally represent stars falling to earth on Sisera’s army. Or stars could refer to the heavenly host of angels taking a personal hand in the fighting. Or it could refer to God sending a thunderstorm with heavy rain and lightning to turn the battlefield into a muddy mess where the powerful chariot army would be a useless milling mass, easily taken by 10,000 motivated troops. Whatever the actual agent God used, He routed the army and allowed Barak to defeat them.

When Sisera saw he was defeated, he fled on foot in a different direction than the chariots that Barak was chasing. He went to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite. He asked her for a drink and was so tired he immediately fell asleep after drinking the milk (curds, probably yogurt) she brought him. While he was sound asleep she took a tent stake and drove it through his temple, pinning him to the ground. Thus Jael received the glory for the death of Sisera.

Barak, The Timid, Weak Or Meek?

Looking at how Barak handled himself leading up to the battle we may be tempted to look on him as a timid and weak man who needed to hide behind the skirts of Deborah. Afraid to go to battle against such a powerful enemy on her word alone, he asked her to take part in the action she passed on from God.

Yes, it was a mistake to not trust in the word alone, but was it a fatal mistake? No. Look to Gideon, also mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11. Gideon questioned God not once by putting out his fleece, but twice, just to be sure and no one calls him timid or weak. In fact, he is held up as a strong heroic figure.

Barak was a war leader, not a position for a timid man. When the fighting started, he was right in it leading his men. He pursued the fleeing host and wiped them out to a man, hardly the sign of a timid and weak man.

The proof of Barak’s humble meekness, I think, is shown in the song of Deborah in chapter five. Deborah and Barak sang this song. Verse 3 says “Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I, even I, will sing to the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.” They start off praising God, giving Him glory. All the opening verses point right to the Lord.

When we get to the battle itself we read, “The kings came and fought, Then the kings of Canaan fought In Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo; They took no spoils of silver. They fought from the heavens; The stars from their courses fought against Sisera. The torrent of Kishon swept them away, That ancient torrent, the torrent of Kishon. O my soul, march on in strength!”  Not one mention of Barak in the battle (there is a mention earlier in vs 15) Glory is given directly to God, sung by the prophetess and the general who presided over the battle.

This, I submit, is why Barak was remembered in the great hall of faith. He was meek and gave glory to God when it would have been natural to want to seek his own fame as a result of a great military victory. Not only did he give the glory to God, but he stood meekly in front of Israel and sang a song with the prophetess assigning that glory where it belonged.

What We Can Learn From Barak

Like Barak, we will all make mistakes on a continuing basis. Like Barak, we must learn from our mistakes, accept the consequences and move on in our service to the Lord.

Like Barak, we must be prepared for God to do great works in our lives, and if we must, enlist the help of other believers to help us find the right path to fulfilling God’s will.

Like Barak, when God does a mighty work to us or through us we must not be afraid to point to the source of the great work.

And like Barak, we must not be afraid to glorify God in front of others. In Matthew 10 Jesus said, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” We must not be ashamed of whom we serve.

Gideon, Samson and King David received acclaims for the deeds they did in their own time along with their eternal rewards. Barak waited patiently for his glory at the foot of the Father in heaven. Do we want our treasures now before men, or are we willing to store them up for eternity?

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Has America Sold Its Soul? Sun, 08 Sep 2013 08:00:19 +0000

This is your preacceptance to the law school of your choice.

—Judge Litten Mandrake, The Skulls (2000)

Immediately on entering Bones the neophyte’s name is changed.

—Anthony Sutton, America’s Secret Establishment (1986)

daniel old testament

The Skulls

Luke McNamara is a working class kid in an Ivy League university. He dreams of Harvard Law School, but it’s far beyond his means. His only ticket there might be his skill with a varsity oar — if only that skill can draw the interest of a mysterious university society called the Skulls.

The Skulls are a secret fraternity more than 200 years old. They enroll nine seniors a year. These they promote and advance in the outside world: their membership is a who’s who of the Eastern Establishment. But their membership, procedures and rules are a complete secret to outsiders. And with good reason.

When Luke wins the Ivy Championship for his school for the fourth year in a row, the Skulls are sufficiently impressed. They extend the invitation.

Luke finds the society to be all he hoped for: Beautiful call girls. A fully restored ’63 T-Bird convertible. An acceptance letter to the university of his choice with tuition paid in full. Wealthy and influential patrons. A sense of belonging. The Skulls appeal to all of Luke’s lusts and dreams. But he finds, perhaps too late, that the price tag includes his friends, his identity and his very soul.

This is the premise and opening of The Skulls (2000). The film’s storyline centers on an imaginative version of Yale’s 180-year-old secret society, Skull and Bones — or as insiders know it, The Order. Like its fictional counterpart, the Yale society is extremely secretive. Its members won’t speak of it or acknowledge their own connection to it. But judging from its membership lists alone, we can say it enjoys a staggering influence in America’s political and financial life.

What the Order promises or gives its young members we have no way of knowing. But certainly prominence, position and power wait for them beyond the ivy-covered walls of Yale. Of course, nothing here is new.

Daniel before the Lion’s Den

When Jerusalem surrendered to the Chaldeans, Nebuchadnezzar exported to Babylon a large number of young men, the sons of nobles and princes. Most were still in their teens. They were Jerusalem’s best and brightest.

These young men weren’t tortured or treated as slaves. They were welcomed and embraced. No religious demands were placed upon them. They weren’t asked to violate their consciences. In fact, they were encouraged, cared for, even pampered. They were given the best food, the best clothes, and the best education available. True, their course of study included magic and divination as well as mathematics and statecraft. But if they excelled in their studies, they would become rising stars in the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Power, wealth, and influence would be theirs. They could have it all. The pressure and temptations would have been enormous.

One of these young men was Daniel, the Daniel of the lion’s den. Daniel had three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. We usually remember them as Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego. These were the new names their Chaldean overseer gave them, names that reflected the culture and religion of Babylon. Daniel was given a new name, too: Belteshazzar. It was all part of the assimilation process.

Daniel and his three friends approached their new lives with meekness and submission. They attended their assigned classes, wore their new clothes, and even used their new names, at least publicly. They accepted their situation as the judgment of God upon their people. But one thing they refused. Daniel and his friends refused to eat the food that came from the king’s table. They asked instead for pulse — a concoction of seeds — and water.

Dinner with Hitler?

Why did Daniel and his friends draw the line here? Some have suggested that the king’s food was ceremonially unclean. Some of it no doubt was, but it’s hard to believe they were offered no beef or venison, let alone fruit and vegetables. Others have said that the food would have been offered to idols. Probably. But foods offered to idols — to demons — aren’t forbidden to a strong believer unless those foods are actually being served in a communion feast (see 1 Corinthians 10:19-33). The only thing the text actually says about the food is that it was the king’s. Daniel and his friends did not want to share a meal with the king.

This may seem odd to us. “Where’s the harm?” we wonder. But throughout Scripture — and for that matter, throughout the ancient world — sharing a meal was understood as an act of communion and fellowship. And Daniel and his friends were not ready for communion with Nebuchadnezzar, the man who had subjugated their city and torn them from their families, the man who was Babylon incarnate. Think dinner with Adolf Hitler or lunch with the Antichrist.

But these four godly young men approached the problem humbly. They didn’t begin a food strike. They made a humble appeal. They believed they should not eat, but what was God’s sentence in the matter? Had He wholly abandoned them already? Or would He honor their faith and intervene with an unusual providence, even a miracle? Their overseer agreed to a short test: 10 days of pulse and water.


God not only blessed the young men’s health and comeliness: He also blessed their studies. They graduated at the top of their class. When they finally stood before king Nebuchadnezzar, he found them 10 times better than all the magicians and astrologers in his realm (Daniel 1:20). Their Scripture-based rationality made more sense out of the world than the ramblings of demon-worshipping magicians and sorcerers who believed in the ultimacy of chaos and flux.

We hear nothing more of the other young nobles from Judah. Apparently, they accepted everything Babylon had to offer. They may have chided Daniel as a pietist and snubbed him as a legalist. There was nothing in Scripture against eating with unbelievers; there was nothing that condemned accepting status and gifts. And how could Daniel hope to influence and reform Babylonian culture if he isolated himself from the king and his court right at the beginning?

Of course, in the end it was Daniel whom God used to shape the course of Babylon’s history. It was Daniel who would become the king’s right hand man when Jerusalem finally fell. It was Daniel who predicted in broad panorama and stunning detail the course of Western history for the next 500 years.

Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus of Persia (Daniel 1:21). In other words, Daniel outlasted the Babylonian Empire. But he had to wait 70 years.


Jesus asked the penetrating question, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37).  Daniel served his God in exile, captivity, deprivation, and, finally, in the lion’s den. He gained heaven and changed the world. Except for his three closest friends, his fellow students sold their souls for a mess of pottage, for the king’s meat. Their names are lost to history; their souls were presumably lost as well. Christ and the world both have their suppers. Which one we attend is of incalculable importance.

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Faith and Despair In America Sun, 25 Aug 2013 08:00:28 +0000

But I have never known a Communist who was not acutely aware of the crisis of history whose solution he found in Communism’s practical program, its vision and faith.

—Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952)

God’s answer thus is addressed to the problem of hopelessness and despair.

—Rousas J. Rushdoony, Law and Society (1982)

faith and despair in america

Why Doesn’t God Do Something?

Moral corruption.  Social injustice.  Judicial paralysis.  Violence on every hand.

So why doesn’t God do something?

This was Habakkuk’s question.  Habakkuk prophesied in the last days of the kingdom of Judah.  Popular religion had become a matter of superstitious formality, political corruption was rampant, and sexual perversion was a matter of course.  To the north and east, the terrible power of the Chaldeans, the neo-Babylonian empire, was growing.

When would God act?  Where were His promises?  What had become of His plan of redemption?  Where was the Messiah?  Was there nothing left for the world but a downslide into greater and greater violence?

Habakkuk turned to God and asked Him exactly this.  It was a bold question.  And God answered it.  That answer was startling.

God’s Answer

This is what God said:

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs (Hab. 1:5-6).

Judah had broken God’s law and profaned His covenant.  She had provoked His wrath, and her time was up.  God would shortly surrender Judah to the armies of the Chaldeans.  The land would be devastated; the nation would die.  Her people would go into captivity.

Habakkuk was stunned and perplexed.  Yes, Judah deserved judgment, but the Chaldeans were far more wicked and violent than the people of Judah.  The Jews at least had a form of godliness and a veneer of morality.  The Chaldeans were “terrible and dreadful.”  How could a holy God use such a horrible instrument?  And wouldn’t this wicked nation boast in its own power and in the superiority of their own god?  Didn’t God value His own glory?  What was God doing?

Waiting for an Answer

“I will stand upon my watch” Habakkuk wrote, “and . . . watch to see what He will say to me” (2:1).  The answer, when it came, required serious meditation.  First, Yahweh told the prophet to write down the vision plainly on wooden tablets.  God’s answer was for the whole covenant people, then and on into the future.  There would be no short-term fixes.

Second, the fulfillment of the vision would come in God’s time.  The prophet must wait patiently.  “Though it tarry, wait for it!”  God’s people must live in patience with a view to the larger scope of history.

Third, God scorns all pride, whether Jewish or pagan.  Those possessed by pride aren’t upright, but “the just shall live by his faith” (v. 4).  The righteous man is the one who lives in terms of God’s promises rather than his own reckoning.

In other words, God knew what He was doing.  He hadn’t abandoned His people or His promise.  He hadn’t given up control of history.  The Babylonian invasion was one more step toward Messiah and His kingdom.  But the timetable was God’s.  What God required of the prophet, of all His servants, was to live by faith; that is, to trust the promise and power of God and to live in terms of that trust.  Those who did so were the just, the righteous.

Habakkuk’s error was to define God’s holiness and glory from his own limited point of view.  He couldn’t see past his own generation or his own people.  We often succumb to the same error.  As Rushdoony points out, men tend to “read events in relation to themselves rather than to God.  Men feel their grief and hurt, and they easily give it priority.  God, however, cites as basic to any understanding of history ‘the vision,’ or prophecy” (283).  And the heart or spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:10).

The Nature of Prophecy

Most Americans, even most evangelicals, think of biblical prophecy as fragmented and frantic glimpses of Earth’s end.  The words “apocalypse” and “Armageddon” have become synonyms for the end of the world, whether that end is tied to the judgment of God or not.  Books on biblical prophecy often appear on the same bookstore shelf as the oracles of Nostradamus or Jeane Dixon.

But biblical prophecy is rooted in God’s covenant law.  God’s law promised blessing to the faithful, and wrath and destruction to the wicked (Lev. 26; Deut. 28).  The prophets appeared as lawyers of the covenant to indict Israel for her sins and to point out the proper consequences already designated in God’s law.  But the prophets also pointed beyond the negative sanctions to the coming of the Messiah, who would merit all of God’s blessings and pour out His Spirit in abundance to bless the whole world.  The negative sanctions cleared the ground and paved the way for the ultimate positive sanction:  the coming of Jesus Christ.

Habakkuk needed to understand that God had greater considerations than the immediate comfort and happiness of His covenant people.  But this required a supernatural faith.  That faith is more than intellectual awareness or consent; it is, in Warfield’s words, “all that enters into an entire self-commitment of the soul to Jesus as the Son of God, the Savior of the world” (444).  Only those who commit themselves wholly to God in Christ can wait patiently and realistically through destruction and devastation for a hope they may never live to see.

The Goal of History

History moves from creation and Fall to redemption and consummation.  Because God is wholly sovereign over history, every fact, every moment, every detail, advances God’s plan of redemption.  While the apparent fortunes of the Church within history may seem to ebb and flow, God’s decree never fails.  Do the Chaldeans come?  This is God planning for victory.  Does Jerusalem fall?  Do her people go into captivity?  This is God preparing the world for the coming of His Son.

In contrast to the pagan world that saw history as endless cycles rising out of chaos and returning to chaos, Yahweh’s prophets spoke in terms of a linear history that moved forward in terms of His covenant and culminated in the victory of Messiah’s kingdom, both in history and beyond history.  In his commentary on Habakkuk, David Baker writes:

History is not cyclical, a constant recurrence of events in futile repetition, but rather it is linear.  It is moving towards the goal of the Day of The Lord and the establishment of God’s kingdom.  Specific historical events or appointed moments such as this are especially significant in the progression towards this final objective (59).

History moves toward victory and culminates in the Resurrection.  God wins.  So do His people.

Living by the Wrong Faith

In his classic autobiography, Witness (1952), Whittaker Chambers discusses his own motives for joining the Communist Party.  He says, “It seemed to me that the world had reached a crisis on a scale and of a depth such as had been known only once or twice before in history” (194).  “When an intellectual joins the Communist Party, he does so primarily because he sees no other way of ending the crisis of history.  In effect, his act is an act of despair. . . “ (191).  By “crisis” Chambers means “the problem of war or the problem of economic crises.”  In other words, at least in Chamber’s day, the intellectual who embraced Communism saw a very real and terrible problem looming on the horizon of history and—believing that all other answers have failed—turned to a vicious left-wing political movement simply because it claimed to have answers.  So Chambers embraced Communism, not merely as a point of view, but as a passion and way of life.

Chambers’s conversion to Communism came when he read a little pamphlet by Lenin.  It was called A Soviet at Work.  Chambers says, “In a simple and strong prose, it described a day in the life of a local soviet.  The reek of life was on it.  This was not theory or statistics.  This was socialism in practice (194).”  Chamber had found a faith to be lived out.

But there is more to the story.  Chambers later came to faith in Jesus Christ and turned on the Communist Party:  his witness dealt Communism in the United States a serious blow.  Chambers moved in terms of this new faith, but he continued to struggle with his vision of a bleak and terrible future.  Despite his new faith, he still didn’t fully grasp the promises of God.  He ends his Witness on a note of deep despair.  His poor theology left him no hope for history.

“Often Sad, but Not, at Bottom, Worried”

The just live in the light of the future Resurrection.  The godly man knows that he is not only on the winning side within history, but that everything he does has temporal and eternal consequences.  His labor is never in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58).  Even a cup of cold water given in Jesus name has its reward (Matt. 10:42).

Again, Rushdoony writes:

The just are the justified.  They are the redeemed of God in Christ.  They live by faith:  theirs is the vision of Christ’s triumph and Kingdom.  They know by faith that history is not a farce, nor man’s hopes destined to be confounded.  Their hope is from God, as is their faith.  They are covenant-keepers.  They move in the power of Christ’s first coming and His resurrection as the first-fruits of the new creation.  They themselves are, by their regeneration, members of that new creation.  They look therefore in the confidence of faith to the spread of Christ’s Kingdom and its world-triumph, and to His coming again in power (284).

In terms of such a faith and vision, sorrow and pain have their place, but hopelessness and despair aren’t part of the solution. Even more: The fat lady doesn’t sing until God gives her a nudge. Until then, we have Kingdom work to do… here and now. Jesus said, “Occupy till I come.”

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Find The Courage To Change Mon, 06 May 2013 08:00:14 +0000 courageEight months ago, I took a huge risk, completely stepping out of my comfort zone, and decided to try something completely new. I was terrified because in the process, I would be giving up a large income that had offered us a comfortable living cushion. I would also be leaving behind everything I had worked for since graduating college. But I had the support of my immediate family and the conviction that what I was about to try was right for me.

So far, that risk has paid off. Sure, we aren’t necessarily as financial comfortable as we were before, we don’t eat out as often, and I rarely go shopping anymore. But, we are happier than ever before, my stress level has dramatically decreased, and my health is significantly better.

Why did this work for us?

Did I unlock some new secret to happiness? Not at all. I simply had the courage to step out in faith and make a change. The decision was not made lightly. I did not wake up one morning and randomly decide to make this drastic life change. Instead, I planned, I talked, and I investigated almost every possible path to making this change. Then, I made baby steps until we were ready to go all the way.

This may not be the path that everyone follows to make a change. Everyone has to find what works for them. But, no matter what, we always have to remember that more than anything we must have the courage to be willing to step out and seize something new.

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Sarah’s Faith Mon, 18 Mar 2013 08:00:16 +0000

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”- Genesis 12:1

Abraham and Sarah’s story absolutely fascinates me. Here is a couple quietly making their way in the world. Sarah, filled with grief over her inability to have a child, continues to trust in a God she cannot see and does not understand. Every morning, she and Abraham wake and spend their time working to build a future. And in one day, with one statement, it all changes.

God tells Abraham to move his family, saying He will guide Abraham to a land set apart just for them. Imagine having to leave all you know – your friends, your home, and your church— with no clear direction of where you are going. But Abraham does not throw those things back at God. He simply finds his wife and his nephew, tells them God has asked them to leave, and begins making preparations.

Through it all, Sarah is a stalwart by his side. We do not know if she questioned him, or if she went quietly, but the point is that she went. She too left the life she knew to follow a husband she loved and a God she believed in.

Sarah’s faith is remarkable. She never heard God’s command. Instead, she trusted in her husband, knowing that his relationship with God was solid enough to guide them both. That is the kind of faith we should have, and that is the kind of people we should surround ourselves with.

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Amazing Thanksgiving History Nobody Knows Thu, 22 Nov 2012 12:57:19 +0000

…devout thanksgiving…penitent confession of our sins, and humble supplication for pardon, through the merits of our Savior.

Thanksgiving Proclamation (1778)

…to cause virtue and true religion to flourish, to give to all nations amity, peace and concord, and to fill the world with his glory.

Thanksgiving Proclamation (1784)

These United States

The Declaration of Independence (1776) announced the birth of a new confederation, the United States of America. But its first constitution, The Articles of Confederation, wasn’t ratified until March 1, 1781, five years into the seven-year War for Independence. The confederation had neither a chief executive officer nor a court system. The Articles only allowed for a Congress. And the Articles never described the United States as a nation or even a government. They said rather that, “The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other…binding themselves to assist each other…” (Article III). That “union” was supposed to be “perpetual.”

Given this history, it is technically incorrect to speak of anything Congress did under the Articles, let alone before, as having a “national” character. The United States weren’t (note the plural verb) really a nation. Still, Congress spoke for the confederation to the rest of the world, and it spoke with legitimate authority to its member states. It was the forerunner of the Congress we have today.

Thanksgiving in 1777

In the fall of 1777, Congress was working from York, Pennsylvania, while British troops occupied Philadelphia. There had been some recent upturns in America’s fortunes. Benedict Arnold had defeated the British at Saratoga—the first significant American victory—and France was ready to pledge her support to the American cause. With such blessings in mind, Sam Adams and others called on Congress to recommend a confederacy-wide day of thanksgiving. Adams himself wrote the first draft of the proclamation. The Second Continental Congress chose Thursday December 18, 1777 as America’s first thanksgiving day. The Proclamation begins like this:

FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:

The Proclamation takes for granted the doctrine of divine providence. The God acknowledged by Congress governs the world; He ought to be worshipped; He answers prayers; He is abundant in mercy; He honors the prosecution of just wars and gives victory in battle. This isn’t the god of deism or Enlightenment pantheism.

The Proclamation continues:

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE:

Congress had no power to order a day of thanksgiving. But Congress believed it could properly recommend such a day to the States. Congress believed it had legal authority to call America to give thanks to the God who ruled the world.

That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance;

The Proclamation here draws upon the judicial theology of Scripture. The American people have sinned; that is, they have broken God’s laws. These sins have cost America any claim upon God’s favor and  blessing. Now the American people need to confess and repent of their sins; and with humble hearts they need to beseech God for forgiveness. Such forgiveness is only possible through the merits of Jesus Christ. These “merits” are the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ to God’s moral law, His atoning substitutionary death on the cross, and His resurrection victory over sin and death. Belief in these merits presupposes belief in His deity. Congress wasn’t ashamed to confess their belief in this judicial theology or to name the name of Christ. They clearly assumed that most Americans shared their faith.

That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE: That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase:

God’s providence, as Congress understood it, encompasses the whole of human life:  civil government, military command and service, commerce, manufacturing, agriculture, and the productivity of the earth itself. But Congress recognized as the greatest “human blessings” independence and peace. That is, Congress recognized that these, too, are within God’s providential rule over history and that He bestows them in mercy. Men don’t earn them.

But Congress looked beyond the merely human:

To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Virtue and piety are vague words, appropriate to Roman philosophy as well as Christian theology. The same may be said of “religion.”  But the kingdom that consists in “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17) is very specific. It’s the kingdom of Jesus Christ described in the Gospels and the New Testament epistles. And it is this kingdom’s growth and advancement for which Congress would have the American people pray.

And it is further recommended, That servile Labor, and such Recreation, as, though at other Times innocent, may be unbecoming the Purpose of this Appointment, be omitted on so solemn an Occasion.

This final note may seem strange to most Americans, even to most American Christians. The Proclamation is suggesting that this day of thanksgiving ought to have a Sabbath-like quality. The American people ought to get serious about their thanks and supplications, and to that end they ought to lay aside their normal work and recreations so they can focus properly on their approach to God in Christ. Congress actually believed that all religious forms weren’t equally valid or equally appropriate at all times. They even thought that entertainment and leisure ought to give way to serious religion.

In Later Years

This proclamation of a day of thanksgiving wasn’t a one-time affair. Over the years that followed, through the years of the War and beyond, the Congress of the Confederation continued to call the American people to thanksgiving in very similar language.

The Proclamation of 1778 speaks of God’s “great and manifold mercies on the people of these United States.”  It makes explicit reference to the French alliance and God’s “disposing the heart of a powerful monarch to enter into alliance with us.”  It again recommends “devout thanksgiving…penitent confession of our sins, and humble supplication for pardon, through the merits of our Savior.”  That Savior is Christ.

The Proclamation of 1779, with reference to the settlement of America as well as the recent War, calls Americans to thanksgiving for the “wonders which his goodness has wrought.”  But it places “above all” that He has “diffused the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory.”  With this in mind, the American people should pray that God “would grant to his church the plentiful effusions of divine grace, and pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel; that he would bless and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth….”

“And finally, that he would establish the independence of these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue, and support and protect them in the enjoyment of peace, liberty and safety as long as the sun and moon shall endure, until time shall be no more.”  The language here intertwines the American vision with the language of messianic prophecy (cf. Ps. 72).

The Proclamation of 1780 is similar in its estimation of the “gospel of peace” and in its hope that God would “build up his churches in their most holy faith and to cause the knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the earth.”  The Proclamation of 1781 borrows a phrase from Isaiah and looks forward to the day when the knowledge of God will “cover the earth, as the waters cover the seas” (Isa. 11:7). And the Proclamation of 1782 speaks of “the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.”  The allusion is to James 1:27.

The Proclamations of 1783 and 1784 contain much the same language, though by those years the War was over and emphasis was shifting from repentance and the need for divine aid in war toward thanksgiving for victory and prayer for the success of God’s kingdom among all nations. The American sense of mission was already taking deep root.


Much has been said and done in the last fifty years to downplay the role of the Christian faith in our nation’s history and civil government. The disparagement of Thanksgiving is one small part of that secular campaign. We call the holiday (holy day?)  “Turkey Day.” We use it mainly to kick off a materialistic binge of Yuletide consumption.

But there was a time when the American Congress called for serious, heartfelt thanksgiving to the Christian God and devout prayers for His merciful intervention. Of course, America was then in the middle of a devastating war for her God-given rights and liberties. War does strange things to people. Maybe when we are at war and our lives and rights are in danger… we’ll turn to God for help. Maybe.

Our forefathers certainly did.


©2012 Off the Grid News

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Keeping The Faith In A Faithless World Sun, 30 Sep 2012 08:00:33 +0000 We live in a world that struggles with faith. It is a world of false gods, constantly shifting values, and self-centered decisions. Choosing to stay true to your beliefs can be difficult even for the most faithful; it can be even more complicated when your choices pull you even further away from mainstream values. Living the life of a faithful servant of God can be tough; living that life of faith while choosing to be as off-the-grid as possible can be downright lonely at times. Understanding the beauty and strength of the faith we have through grace can keep you grounded through that loneliness.

The Power Of Faith

We are not the first people to struggle with living in a faithless world; Peter and other disciples lived there as well. They traveled through inhospitable terrain to share the good news of Jesus’ life with people that did not want to hear it. He and many others were viciously attacked, both physically and emotionally. When others struggled with how to handle the negativity of the world around them, Peter encouraged them to, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). This is the same call and encouragement we need today. Without a doubt, we will be ridiculed for our decisions in life. We do not have to defend those choices to anyone. We simply have to be prepared to respond that we have chosen this life because it is the path we walk with God.

Faith provides us with the strength to face anything. It is an absolute trust and confidence in God and His ability to guide, protect, and love us. When we live a life of faith, we live in obedience to God’s word, no matter what the world around us says. In fact, being faithful means we are able to stand taller when the world closes in around us. Living a life away from the commercialism of our mainstream culture seems like it may be an easier place to live a faithful life. But it can be in those moments we struggle to remain the most true to our calling from God. Ridicule can be lonely. The world may not understand our choices, just as people in Peter’s world did not understand his dedication to his mission. But just as it did for him, our faith can produce powerful results. When we stay grounded in the truth, in the absolute belief that God is the light for our path, we are reminded the power to do anything.

Breaking The Misconceptions of Faith

To live a life of faith it is imperative to understand the world’s false assumptions of faith so they can be dismissed.

  • Faith is not simply a positive attitude. Yes, faith comes from the mind. You have to make a choice to believe. But faith is not just a mental acknowledgment of truth. It is completely abandoning your own understanding to rely on the power and strength of Jesus Christ.
  • Faith has room for fear. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to live a life of faith and still face fear. God does not promise a perfect life for His followers. We do still live in a world that is separated from God, and there are times we may be afraid. Faith simply assures us we will not be alone as we face those fears.
  • Faith can be small. God’s blessings come in all shapes and sizes, and He will use the faithful no matter what. We do not have to show miraculous signs of a grand scale; it can be quiet and small and just as powerful.
  • Faith has room for doubt. Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, doubted Jesus even as He was standing right in front of him. It gave Jesus a wonderful opportunity to reach out to one of His followers. It is the same for us. Doubt allows for questions that will in actuality deepen our faith.
  • Faith requires personal responsibility. It is true that only faith in Jesus Christ will provide our redemption; however, we are not called to simply believe in Christ. We are called to go forth and make other disciples, to share the good news of God’s love, and to minister to the world around us. This requires actions to go along with our faith.

God Uses The Faithful

Throughout the Bible, God is clear that He is constantly looking for and using faithful people to accomplish His will. Countless examples from the Old Testament through the New Testament offer examples of times God chose the ordinary man who exhibited only a deep and abiding faith to accomplish great things. Is it so far-fetched to think He would not do the same with us? He can and will use or faith as a testament to others in the world. When we make a stand in our faith, a stand to live a simple life that is dedicated to God’s will, people are going to watch us. They are going to see if we can remain faithful even when they may be the one tempting us to turn from our choices. And they will. People ridicule what they do not understand, and it makes no sense to many that there are people who are willing to live without the “comforts” of the modern lifestyle. But, God can accomplish anything with the faithful; He can even lead those that are blind to a new way of thinking.

God can, and will, use your faithful lifestyle to reach others. You simply have to remain grounded in your faith in Him. Be assured He is with you; you are not alone, even when you feel abandoned by the world around you.

©2012 Off the Grid News

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A Risky Business Sat, 22 Sep 2012 09:46:16 +0000

“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.”

            — General George Patton

I am not generally known as being a risk taker. I like control, like the ability to know what is coming and to prepare for every potential obstacle. I do not participate in extreme sports, hesitate even when it comes to speeding, and absolutely detest heights. So, my life was thrown into a whirlwind when my husband’s company offered him a transfer. After living in my hometown for the first decade and a half of our marriage, I had to pick up and move away from everything I had ever known. But, I was still okay with this because I could plan it out. Our house would be on the market for several months while we sorted out details. Once we had a contract, I would be able to have at least thirty days notice before we finalized anything.

I was wrong on both counts.

Our house officially stayed on the market two weeks. In reality, it was sold in six hours. Our realtor was contacted by another realtor whose client lived out of state. It was exactly what they were looking for and they were willing to make an offer on it without seeing it in person. We signed the contract that night and they came to town two days later to see the house and formalize everything else. This was when they threw the other wrench into my planning. Their move was a job transfer as well and they needed to start in two weeks. I panicked! I was totally overwhelmed with the idea of moving my entire family away from our support system, schools, church, and family in less than two weeks.

But together, my husband and I stepped out in faith. We had already found a new place we loved and his office would be five minutes from our house. The school district would be perfect and our one visit to the new town left us with a few neighbors and church family established before we had even moved in. Stepping back from the franticness of our situation at home made me realize this was not being rash and going too fast. We were taking a calculated risk and looking back, I know it paid off ten-fold for our family.

We do not know what the future has in store for each of us. We simply know we have to take things in, weigh them carefully, and cannot be afraid to step out to take calculated risks. The disciples did it when they followed Jesus; we can do it in our lives as well.

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Keeping Promises Thu, 06 Sep 2012 11:24:35 +0000

“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.”     — Genesis 12:4

Can you fathom holding onto a promise for twenty-four years? Surely, you would catch yourself wondering if the promise would ever come true or if it had simply become forgotten. This was the exact situation Abraham found himself in. God told Abraham to pack up everything he had ever known and leave immediately. There was little time for questioning or worrying, just a sense of urgency built upon a promise. Abraham built his life relying on a promise God offered him. He lived God’s promise starting at the age of 75 and it was not until he was 99 that the promise came true.

This is the assurance we have as Christians today. We should not have time for worries or questions. We build our life on the promise of Jesus Christ, the promise God offers through His son. God’s promise has never been broken to us and is offered through the life, breath, blood, and death of Christ.

God’s promise is the blessing of our life. It is the one thing we know we can count on when everything else seems so unsure. In a world where we struggle to rely on any ounce of truth, we can stand firm in the knowledge that at least one promise in our life is rock solid. Take the time to revel in His promises and to share His love.

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