Friday, June 29, 2018

5 Keys To a Self-Reliant Mindset

In this first of a series of follow-ups to my article "Stuff" You Need To Build Self-Reliance, I discuss the first of the "stuff" you need - the right mindset. 

The core of prepping and survivalism is the building self-reliance - as individuals, as families, and as communities.  More than just knowledge and skills, self-reliance is first and foremost a mindset. It is a willingness "to do as much as we can without outside assistance" (definition of John McCann in his book Practical Self-Reliance, page 14).

People have long-identified four or five keys to a self-reliant life. Those keys are in how we think. They are:

1- Assume responsibility for your own life. Don't wait around for the government, society, your parents, union leaders, community organizers, or anyone else to take care of you. Don't sit around whining that life is unfair, or that someone else has it so much better than you. Learn to take care of yourself. You are in charge of your life, so act like it. The single most important thing you can do to survive any future chaos is to start taking responsibility for your own life now.
2- Take the blame for your own life. We all make mistakes. Own up to yours. Don't scapegoat others. Don't "pass the buck." If you are blaming someone else, you are not being self-reliant. Even when things happen beyond your control - such as being robbed, being laid-off, or even your house burning down - you are still in control of how you react to those things.

3- Be informed. It is your responsibility to find out the facts and information you need to make informed decisions. Pay attention to the world around you. Keep up with current events. Keep up with the trends in your industry. Know where and how to get information. Ask questions. Be a lifelong learner. Remember the acronym ASK - Always Seek Knowledge.

4- Know where your going. Know yourself. What are your beliefs and values? What are your goals? What is your purpose? What do you hope to accomplish? What is, and isn't, important to you? Don't just drift through life, being aimless. Think. Plan ahead. And take careful aim, and action, at what you want in life.

5- Make your own decisions. Don't let others run your life for you - and that especially includes the government. Don't wait around for others to make the decision for you. Don't worry about what others think of you. Don't worry about being politically correct or socially acceptable. Don't give in to peer pressure. Don't just "go along to get along." Be informed of the issues, and decide for yourself. Make you own choices. 

Above all, don't be indecisive. Failing to make a decision, for whatever reason (fear, uncertainty, lack of confidence...) is a decision, and a bad one.  Take responsibility for your life, know what you want, gather what information you can, decide as best you can, act on that decision, and let the chips fall where they may. If it happens not to work out, at least you can accept the blame knowing you did your best under the circumstances.  

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Building Community? Warning Signs of People to Avoid

There is a fair amount of talk within the prepper/survivalist community about building community.  Much of this talk revolves around how to find folks to build community with, or what skills you need to look for. In this article I want to come at the idea of building community from a different direction - who you need to exclude from your community and why. Almost nothing will doom a group faster than a toxic or disruptive individual. Avoid the following problem folks (even if they are your wife's cousin). 

Warning Signs of People to Avoid

1- Addictions.   Addictions of any kind – drugs, alcohol, gambling, TV, etc – are a MAJOR warning sign.  These people are not in control of their lives - their addiction is in control. They will create chaos and ultimately be a danger to other group members. Avoid anyone with any form of addiction. Pray for them. Offer to help them find assistance in overcoming their addiction. But do not make them a part of your group until they have successfully and completely overcome their addiction.   
2- Mental Illness.  I'm not referring to people who are a little unusual, or that "march to a different drummer." Rather, I'm referring to those individuals who have actual long-term mental health issues. Avoid them. Remember, at some point during the crisis, their meds will run out. Besides, the stress and chaos of a crisis will likely make their illness even more serious. This might seem heartless, but including them in the group will put everyone else in the group at risk. You can help people without making them part of your group. Pray for them. Help them find assistance and treatment for their illness before a crisis hits.  But, don't bring them into the group until their mental health issue is brought under control without the need for drugs.

 But what about my 8-year-old son who has epilepsy? What about my 77-year-old Mother who has Alzheimer's? I am not telling you to abandon close family members who need help. You will need to make special accommodations to your plans for them, but don't abandon them. This advice is about bringing in strangers and other outsiders into your group. Your first responsibility is your household, family & true friends, not strangers or even distant relations.

3- Bizarre or Unusual Requests Early On.   If you are just getting to know someone and they suddenly hit you with a bizarre or very unusual request, tread carefully. These people don't understand boundaries, and probably have additional underlying problems. 

Examples of bizarre requests might be to borrow a significant sum of money, or to keep a major secret they inexplicably told you about, or to quickly make a serious commitment, or to do something illegal or unethical. Those are the type of requests you might make of a life-long best friend, not of someone you have only recently met. Beware.

4- Dishonesty.  Its one thing (and probably a good thing) to be guarded with personal information, and concerned with maintaining privacy.  We should all be that way. However, it is something else entirely to outright lie. Don't expect someone to completely open up to you and tell you everything about their life, especially early on. But you should expect them to be honest in what they do tell you. 

5- Chaos in Their Personal Life.  A lack of stability in their life may be a major warning sign.  If they bounce in and out of work often or spend large stretches of time unemployed  - it is probably a bad sign. Same goes for other areas of their lives – friendships, relationships, living arrangements, and so on. Do they bounce in and out of relationships often? Does their life seem full of drama where things seem to constantly go wrong and they always seem to have problems of one sort or another? A chaotic life now will certainly carry over to a chaotic life after SHTF,  Of course context matters, so use common sense. Anyone can be laid off from work, or go through a rough patch in their relationships.  However, constant chaos is not normal.  Look for trends within their life, not one time events.

6- Don't Share Your Values and Worldview.  If they don't share your same worldview, values, and religious & political beliefs, then they won't be a good fit for your group or community. Minor differences of opinion are okay, but major differences on important topics will hinder group dynamics. In fact, a major crisis or SHTF event will only exacerbate these differences. 

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Spiritual Preparedness / Prepping for Persecution

Ironically, I had already written the rough draft of this article a few days ago before this headline came out: Muslim Disrupts Pennsylvania Church Service, Tells Congregation They’re Going to Hell. Thankfully, he only interrupted the service with insults and verbal abuse, and not weapons. 

Modern society is growing increasingly hostile to traditional, Bible-believing Christianity. I could give example after example of traditional Christianity being disparaged in the media (both news and entertainment), banned from our schools and public squares, being kicked off of social media, etc. Individuals daring to expose their faith publicly increasingly face ridicule and even open hostility. Even our churches have literally become targets, as seen with the mass shootings at churches in Charleston, SC and Sutherland Springs, Texas. It is past time that Christians and Churches to prepare, spiritually and physically, for serious persecution.

I.)  Spiritual Preparedness

1- Figure out your relationship with God... Not Sure About God? Talk to a Bible-believing pastor or priest about your doubts. Make sure they don't compromise on the Bible being the inerrant Word of God. Too many modern (read: liberal) "pastors" and other "Christians" try to compromise with Worldly Ways by deciding that certain passages (the ones that make them uncomfortable) are irrelevant today. Run far from these fake believers.

2-  Pray daily. "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." -- Colossians 4:2

3- Read/study the Bible daily. "It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’" – Matthew 4:4 (Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 8:3) 

4- Keep the Sabbath. Join with others in worship on a regular basis. Christianity isn't meant to be a "do-it-yourself" religion. Christians are meant to be a part of The Church.

5- Men, be the spiritual leader of your family. Set the example of regular Church attendance,  daily prayer and Bible reading. and living by God's Ways instead of Worldly Ways. Institute daily family devotionals. Pray for your family. Pray with your family. Read the Bible to your family. Better yet, read the Bible with your family. Take responsibility for raising your children to be godly men and women.

5- Commit to live God's way, rather than by the world's standards. Learn and obey His commandments and teachings.  Don't compromise with modern world.  It won't be easy, but will be worth it!

Quick, can you name all Ten Commandments without looking them up? Do you know how Jesus' answer regarding the most important commandment fits in with the Ten Commandments? Hint: the first five tell us how to love God, the second five tell us how to love others.  

II.)  Prepping for Persecution 
1- Future crackdowns on Bible-believing churches by the government and other activists are likely in the coming years. The excuse will be stopping "hate" speech, which is whatever government decides is "hate" speech. Consider forming or joining a home church, even as you continue to participate in your larger church.  Alternately, having a small group Bible study that meets in private homes could become a worship group (home church) may be very useful should the Church in America ever be forced underground. Your church could & should work on such a "break up into smaller private house churches" plan that would be implemented under certain circumstances. 

2- Activists and others may infiltrate our churches to both spy on the "hate speech" and other disapproved activities within the church, as well as to sow discord among members. I suggest your church plan now for how to spot and deal with such individuals. "Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person is perverted and sins, being self-condemned." -- Titus 3:10-11

3- A local gay-rights activist comes to your church and demands that your pastor/priest performs his gay marriage at your church. How do you deal with his demand without violating his "civil rights?"  A suggestion (not original with me): Before this happens, put in your church's official charter or by-laws that marriages are only performed for church members. In order to qualify, he must first join your church. Also in the by-laws, define how one becomes a church member. 

Example: he must get baptized after first attending a series of classes, he must make an honest confession of faith, he must be a regular church attendee for an established period of time, he must attend a series of confirmation classes, then make another public profession of faith to actually join the church, then must agree to a series of marriage counseling sessions before you can marry him...  The whole process could be designed to drag on for a year or more, and be very inconvenient for the gay couple. No way they'll go through all that, and if they do, maybe all that exposure to Biblical teachings will change them. God works miracles. Talk to a Bible-believing attorney about the wording, and do it now. You won't get away with doing it after-the-fact.

If your church is finally forced to perform a gay marriage, then dissolve the church before it performing the ceremony. You can then privately implement your house church plan. Figure out the details of how to dissolve the church now. Again, talk to a bible-believing lawyer.

4- Be diligent about church security. Direct attacks are already starting to happen (SC, TX) and likely will increase in the future. Self-defense is absolutely a Biblical concept. Persecution is coming. Jesus has told us it is coming and has warned us to prepare for it both spiritually and physically. (See my article Jesus, Self-Defense, and the Pajama Boy for a study on Luke 22:35-38. Also my article Self-Defense and the Use of Force.)

Got more suggestions? Great. Please leave them in the comments section!

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