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Surviving vs. Serving: A Biblical View of Preparing

As a young boy growing up in a military family, I learned quickly the value of always being prepared for the unexpected. Without warning or notice, the U.S. military would call upon my father to move to a new city or even a new country as an unfolding crisis would erupt. I remember my father’s famous mantra that he had learned in boot camp and often repeated to me:

“Proper Prior Planning…Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.”

The goal of “Prior Planning” was not just to survive, but to survive so that one might be able to perform their duties well!

As Christians, we also serve as “good soldiers” in a military operation with the King of Kings as our Commander in Chief.(2Tim.2:3) Though we do not wage war like the armies of man for temporal treasures, our battles are just as real, just as painful, and hold eternal victories for those that endure.(2 Cor.10:3 and Rev. 3:21)

America’s present economic, political and social landscape is uncertain at best and perilous at worst. Whether it is a new terrorist alert, the mortgage debacle, rising prices, natural disasters, spiraling debt, spiritual apathy or government gridlock, an individual is forced to admit that we live in dangerous & uncertain times.

With profound wisdom, King Solomon spoke a proverb that echoes true even in our day:

“A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” (Prov.22:3)

Throughout the pages of Scripture, there have been many times where individuals scanned their present horizon and comprehended impending danger. They walked with God, acted in faith and with determination made wise preparations.

In each situation, the goal was not just to prepare and survive while others perished, but a much bigger perspective motivates the follower of God in their prudent preparations; that is to wisely prepare so that one can adequately and skillfully continue to minister and serve to the true needs of others!

1) In Noah’s time, he saw the horrifying cesspool of rebellious humanity sliding down the vortex of evil. Mankind had joined hands with Darkness in a way that guaranteed the judgment of God. As the impending storm clouds of retribution gathered, Noah listened and obeyed God’s warning:

“Prompted by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his family”. (Heb 11:7a)

2) In an age when the government was corrupt and the people followed their own lusts, worshipping false gods, a young man decided to follow the True God. In spite of false accusations and wrongful imprisonment, Joseph knew that the Lord would never abandon him. In time, God raised Joseph up from prison, gave him the wisdom to discern Pharaoh’s prophetic dream and prepare!

“Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. The seven years of abundance ended, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food.” (Gen.41:48, 54)

3) It was the year A.D. 47. During the reign of Claudius, the Roman Empire was expanding into Britain while the “armies” of Jesus were spreading outward because of persecution. The Christians went forth conquering the domain of darkness in Syria and Asia Minor as Barnabas teamed up with Paul ministering in Antioch. When the prophet Agabus arrived, his words moved the Christians to prudently prepare because of an impending disaster.

“During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.” (Act.11:27f)

In each of these crises, the Believers walked by faith while maintaining an acute awareness of the times in which they lived. That “awareness” carried with it a responsibility to wisely make preparations so that they could continue to love and serve others’ eternal as well as temporal needs. The admonition of Scriptures is for every Believer to listen and obey God, as well as to be attentive to current events around them. Even though we are “citizens of heaven”, we still live in the physical world and as such must be aware of dangers and calamities that can and will affect us.

‘And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now…” (Rom 13:11)

“Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do…” (1 Chr.12:32)

“Five of them were wise and five were foolish…the wise ones took extra oil in their jars”


One may believe that to “prepare” for a potential disaster shows lack of faith in God. However, Scriptures would reveal that it takes a true faith to see approaching danger and care enough for one’s family and others to make adequate preparations.

As stated in Acts 11, “The disciples, each according to his ability (resources), decided to provide help for the brothers” because of the impending calamity. Before the famine arrived, the Christians prepared and utilized their assets to be able to minister Christ’s love to others.

This is the Biblical reason that Christian’s, especially in America, need to be alert to approaching disasters. Believers should wisely set aside practical supplies, as each is able, so that one’s family and others can be helped in meaningful ways.

As “spiritual soldiers”, let our “Proper Prior Planning” enable us to serve and demonstrate God’s love to many… no matter what calamities may come!

Author Biography:

As the former Associate Editor of an International Civil Defense magazine, coupled with his military upbringing and world travels, Michael S. Holihan has gained a keen awareness of current affairs, both seen and unseen. He has spoken at lectures, seminars, radio programs and authored various study guides concerning preparedness and Eschatology. His latest novel, The Epiphany Deception, paints a startling portrait of America in the Last Days. (Visit for more info.)

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