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-by Andrew Strom.

Since I believe (like others) that 2009 is going to be a year that "All hell breaks loose" (-Yes - you can quote me on that), I believe it is very important that God's people come to grips with the key things that will help us survive - and even thrive - through this dark period of great Shaking. The following keys are taken from my book, "SURVIVE the DEPRESSION"-

(1) SPIRITUAL PREPARATION. As has been intimated all the way through the book, the most important keys to surviving and thriving in this present crisis are 'SPIRITUAL' in nature. The root causes of this mess are things like greed, apathy and the "Love of money" - which are all SPIRITUAL diseases. And thus the answers are mostly spiritual also. Those who merely prepare in physical or practical ways will find this out to their great cost. If you want to survive and thrive, prepare yourself "spiritually" above all else. Spend time seeking God, get rid of all sin, obey Him implicitly, help the poor, leave behind the shallow "junk" of our culture and become a radical disciple of Jesus. If you have a family to care for, put the same principles into practice. Become a RADICAL FAMILY for Christ! Don't delay. We are out of time. Such "spiritual" preparations are by far the most important answer to surviving and thriving in these dark times. But don't just selfishly seek God so you can "survive". Seek Him for His own sake. Become a true disciple who lives for Christ - not for what you can "get out of it" - but because your deepest desire is to utterly glorify Him.

(2) POSITION YOURSELF. Sometimes Christians can get away with being in the wrong place for quite some time. But not in a crisis like this. Every Christian needs to ask themselves right now, "Am I exactly where I am meant to be? Am I am with the people that God wants me with? Am I in the right group, the right city?" If you know that God has been whispering to you for quite some time that you are meant to be in a different place, then do not delay. Get yourself and your family into the place that you know is in the very center of His will - even if it means losing money, or leaving behind friends, a well-paid job, or whatever. This is no time to be caught anywhere but in the exact center of God's will for your life. Pray about it and take action. Don't put it off!

(3) FOOD STORAGE. This can be a difficult thing to talk about today because there have been so many "false alarms" such as Y2K, etc. However, there have been a number of prophecies about food shortages and famine in the days ahead - even in developed nations like America. I certainly believe this is possible. In fact, we are already beginning to see disruptions of international shipping and trade caused by the Credit Crunch. Even basic grains and foodstuffs may be affected - which could have terrible consequences for the Food Supply in the months and years ahead. So if God has been whispering to you to start a garden or to collect canned goods, then you need to heed that "still small voice" and begin to prepare in this way. Again, if this is something you feel God has been warning you about, PLEASE DO NOT DELAY - but act quickly to get yourself positioned for what lies ahead. It is relatively painless to gather canned goods - and they can always be used whether there is a crisis or not. And gardens likewise.

(4) SMALL GROUPS HELPING THE POOR. So far the pointers we have been discussing fall into the category of "Surviving". But this one comes under the category of "Thriving". If you want to thrive in this crisis, get involved in ministering to the poor and needy. (Sadly there will be a lot more of them as time goes on).

When I was down in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina there was one Spirit-filled Fellowship that was "thriving" in the midst of the chaos. They had filled their sanctuary with food, clothes, and emergency supplies of all kinds - and they were ministering to hundreds. They also prayed with many of those they helped. In the midst of that crisis, when many churches had closed down and many pastors had left town, this Fellowship was thriving and becoming a Help and Ministry center for the entire community. They were a light in the darkness - a "city set upon a hill" - ministering to many who ordinarily never go near a church. And if you look in Scripture you will see that this is exactly what the early Christians were like. Helping the poor was a big priority with them also.

In the first chapter of the book I mentioned how important it is to band together with perhaps 2 - 3 other families that we can link arms with when times get really tough. (We may even end up LIVING with some of these people. Do you have friends who are that close?) And in conjunction with this I urged people to use these small groups to begin to minister to the poor. I cannot tell you how important this is, if we want to "thrive" - not just 'survive' - through this current crisis. This is one of the absolute keys. In fact it is very doubtful if we can even have real New Testament Christianity without a strong emphasis on the poor and needy. It is that crucial. So will you be a "light shining in the darkness" during this present crisis, my friends?

(5) LISTEN FOR THE "STILL SMALL VOICE". We already put "Spiritual Preparation" at the top of our List of priorities, but I just need to re-emphasize this aspect. To survive this crisis, we simply MUST be walking close to God and listening to His voice. We have to hear from Him. And we have to be ready to respond even if it means "leaving all". This is utterly crucial, and for many people may literally be the difference between life and death. Learn to listen to God's voice and obey Him. Wherever he wants to send you, whatever He wants you to do - do it. And I pray that not only will you be one who "survives" this crisis, but one who 'thrives' - to the glory of God the Father. May the Lord be with every one of you in these dark days, my friends.

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God bless you all,

Andrew Strom.