Prepared for the Season
By Lloyd Phillips
In recent months, I have been asked about the times in which we live and how we can prepare for them. Of course, the basic Christian lifestyle prepares for the unseen and unexpected simply by walking in the peace of the Lord. On September 11, 2001 (9-11), I was reminded of Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
Months before the Y2K (Year 2000 computer bug) scare, I asked the Lord for guidance for the days ahead. He gave me five things we can do to prepare for the coming days which are still valid for today. I wrote them in an article, which ended with Thomas Jefferson’s words to his granddaughter, “How much pain have cost us the evils which never happened.” That was prophetic considering that nothing happened during Y2K. It took fortitude to leave that word posted for months amid all the uncertainty and fearmongering leading up to the event. However, unlike many prophetic words that were posted, we did not have to take ours down on January 1, 2000.
I felt led to revisit these five guidelines as I believe they are equally valid and useful today. There have been other warnings given in the past few months concerning preparing for the days ahead, which have confirmed what I wrote then. Like, knowing our “company,” and being intimately involved in a local assembly, so we are able to care and be cared for by those we trust and by whom we are trusted. This will become even more important in the days ahead.
Prophetic voices I trust have encouraged all thinking people to prepare for the times ahead by having a few prepared necessities like food, water, and medications. Some think this is not faith but fear, but it is not faith to ignore those whom the Lord has sent (see Matthew 23:39). It is faith to prepare yourself for the times, so you can help others rather than needing help.
Knowing the times, Jesus told His disciples, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one” (Luke 22:36). Our grandparents would never have thought this to be a lack of faith. Of course, they did not have the unimaginable convenience of store-to-door delivery and were necessarily self-reliant and did not think anything of it.
Those in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi flooding, Covid, or other natural or manmade disasters, who were ready with a few basics, were able to prosper through these difficulties. Homeland Security and the Red Cross both provide basic lists for minimum preparation.
History is full of examples of people who were prepared for uncertain times and events and who could consequently go about their daily lives without undue concern. The Minutemen of the American Revolution had basic items ready to go on a moment’s notice. The pioneers and frontiersmen carried “possibles pouches” which prepared them for all possible events without them being an unnecessary burden. Outdoorsmen also have seasonal necessities ready on short notice. It’s not a bad idea for everyone to have some kind of “grab-and-go” bag.
One friend of mine was not the least bit convinced she needed to take action. But then she had a series of three dreams in which an ant was on her eye that could not be removed. I immediately felt the dreams were of the Lord and that in His grace he was communicating Proverbs 6 to her: “You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?” (Proverbs 6:6-9 MSG)
There is nothing like a little prompting from the Lord to confirm what we should be doing, yet there is no guarantee the Lord will repeat these warnings. As we learn to obey, He will help us prepare. So, let’s pay attention and act accordingly. Obedience brings peace. Here are the five things the Lord gave me to help us prepare for the days ahead:
1) It’s not what you have but Who you know: Know the Lord. When Jesus called His disciples, His first purpose was “that they might be with Him” (see Mark 3:14). Now is the time to build a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord. There has been a recent resurgence and increased hunger among many of God’s people for the presence of the Lord. This is part of God’s plan and timing to prepare us. We must have a renewed understanding of the fear of the Lord, so we will never fear what man can do. “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).
2) It is not what you have but who you know: know the people who labor among you. The apostle Paul had those he called fellow-soldiers, co-laborers, and fellow-laborers in the Lord. Even the best, most highly trained soldier will not be released into battle until he becomes attached to a unit with whom he can fight. He will be assigned to fellow soldiers and will not advance until he knows who they are.
Likewise, as the army of God prepares for events in which we have no experiential understanding, we will find it ever more important to know those with whom God has called us to labor. Each Christian must have those they can trust to lead, follow, cover their backs, and stand with shoulder to shoulder. “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you” (see I Thessalonians 5:12).
3) Equip those who are wanting to be equipped. Each of us should be involved in training laborers for the harvest (see Matthew 9:38). Not all are called to help equip the saints at the same level or in the same way, but all should be involved in some way.
David set a precedence in Israel when he declared: “But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike” (I Samuel 30:24). Again, not all are called to the same ministry, but all should be involved in equipping laborers for the harvest. “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:2).
4) Owe no man. In other words, do everything possible to get out of debt knowing “the borrower is servant to the lender” (see Proverbs 22:7).
Now is a good time to have a Holy Spirit strategy to become free from unnecessary financial obligations. Many will feel this is impossible or improbable to do immediately but put it before the Lord, so He will have an avenue with which to work this out on your behalf. “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).
5) Give and it shall be given. As we enter turbulent times, it will become apparent who the givers are and who are not. Those who have a heart to work to bless others in need will be blessed by the Lord regardless of what the economy or secular world is doing (see Ephesians 4:28).
If we want to have Elijah’s pot of flour and jar of oil, we must likewise be willing to do what the widow did—give first (see I Kings 17:13). Those who will not give in times of abundance, will be challenged to give in times of testing. Better to enter these times ahead confident of God’s blessings. “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
Romans 8 is appropriate for our season: “God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!” (Romans 8:16-17 MSG)
As I already mentioned before when I wrote in 1998 in preparation for the Y2k I ended with the words of Thomas Jefferson not to worry about things which may blow over. That turned out to be good advice then. But I would like to end this article with a poem by Alice P. Moss that has always ministered to me in times of uncertainty and trials and may be appropriate for our current season.
God’s Bank Ain’t Busted Yet!
The bank had closed,’ my earthly store
had vanished from my hand,’
I felt that there was no sadder one
than I in all the land.
My washer woman, too, had lost her
little mite with mine,
And she was singing as she hung the
clothes upon the line.
“How can you be so gay?” I asked;
“Your loss don’t you regret?”
“Yes, ma’m, but what’s the use to
fret? God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”
I felt my burden lighter grow; her
faith I seemed to share;
In prayer I went to God’s great throne
and laid my troubles there.
The sun burst from behind the clouds,
in golden splendor set;
I thanked God for her simple words:
“God’s bank ain ‘t busted yet!”
And now I draw rich dividends, more
than my hands can hold
Of faith and love and hope and trust
and peace of mind untold.
I thank the Giver of it all but
still I can’t forget
My washerwoman’s simple words:
“God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”
Oh, weary ones upon life’s road
when everything seems drear,
And losses loom on every hand and
skies seem not to clear;
Throw back your shoulders, lift your
head, and cease to chafe and fret.
Your dividend will be declared
“God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”
Alice P. Moss
All Scripture references are New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated.