God's Pathway of Brokenness
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:6-10
I. Introduction: Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness (Life Principle #15).The Father uses adversity to breaks our self-will and transform us into useful vessels for His kingdom. Usually when people think about facing hardship, they focus on the suffering and pain involved. But what exactly is brokenness? What is its purpose? And is there any way to avoid it and still be useful to God?
II. The Principle of Brokenness
A. Brokenness is the Lord’s method of dealing with our self-reliance—that desire within us to act independently from Him.
B. God wants us to bring every area of our lives into submission to His will, and He uses our trials to lead us to a point of total surrender.
III. What Brokenness Is Not
God desires to break our self-will so that we can be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. This means three things:
A. Brokenness is not chastisement or punishment. When the Father chastens someone, He addresses a present, immediate sin.For the believer, brokenness isn’t a penalty, but an act of mercy intended to bring him to repentance.The Lord does not punish Christians. Only those who reject Him are subject to His wrath.
B. Brokenness is about the future. The Father deals with our attitude for the purpose of conforming us to His will and making us effective ministers to others (Eph. 2:8-10).
IV. The Process of Brokenness
A. Through adversity, God targets the areas of self-will in our lives. He wants to break the attitudes that do not honor Him—such as self-righteousness, self-reliance, and self-centeredness. The result is that He fills ours lives with spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).
1. Moses was broken in the desert. He spent 40 years learning to obey the Lord, before God used him to free Israel from Egyptian bondage.
2. The apostle Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” kept him from exalting himself, despite his impressive credentials (2 Cor. 12:7).
3. Jesus corrected Peter’s pride many times (Matt. 14:24-31; Matt. 16:21-23; Matt. 26:33-35; Luke 22:54-62; John 13:5-10; John 18:1-11) so that the apostle could lead the church (Acts 2:14-47).
C. We are only as useful to God as we are obedient to Him. Whether He allows difficulties to arise in our family, finances, or health, He does so out of love. His ultimate purpose is that we become spiritually mature and effective for His kingdom.
V. Why We Resist Brokenness
D. Worldly entanglements
E. Unhealthy relationships
G. Strongholds of Satan
VI. Consequences of Resisting Brokenness
A. We hinder our relationship with the Lord.
B. We delay the fulfillment of God’s will in our lives.
C. We hurt those who are closest to us.
D. We limit what the Father can do through our gifts and talents.
E. We are “put on the shelf”—unused by the Lord and prevented from experiencing His blessings and future rewards.
VII. Conclusion: What does God keep targeting in your life? Is it your self-reliance? If so, submit to the process of brokenness, and allow Him to control every area of your life. Let Him determine what remains and what must go. Yes, there is suffering in surrendering to the Lord, which may include physical, emotional, spiritual, and even relational pain. But the blessings on the other side of brokenness are most certainly worth it
2) The 30-Day Reading List That Will Lead You to Becoming a Knowledgeable Libertarian by Robert Wenzel
Vices Are Not Crimes
This article is taken from Murray Rothbard's introduction to Vices Are Not Crimes: A Vindication of Moral Liberty by Lysander Spooner. It is also available in PDF along with the full Spooner essay.
We are all indebted to Carl Watner for uncovering an unknown work by the great Lysander Spooner, one that managed to escape the editor of Spooner's Collected Works.
Both the title and the substance of "Vices are not Crimes" highlight the unique role that morality and moral principle had for Spooner among the anarchists and libertarians of his day. For Spooner was the last of the great natural rights theorists among anarchists, classical liberals, or moral theorists generally; the doughty old heir of the natural law–natural rights tradition of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was fighting a rearguard battle against the collapse of the idea of a scientific or rational morality, or of the science of justice or of individual right.
Not only had natural law and natural rights given way throughout society to the arbitrary rule of utilitarian calculation or nihilistic whim, but the same degenerative process had occurred among libertarians and anarchists as well. Spooner knew that the foundation for individual rights and liberty was tinsel if all values and ethics were arbitrary and subjective.
Yet, even in his own anarchist movement Spooner was the last of the Old Guard believers in natural rights; his successors in the individualist-anarchist movement, led by Benjamin R. Tucker, all proclaimed arbitrary whim and might-makes-right as the foundation of libertarian moral theory. And yet, Spooner knew that this was no foundation at all; for the State is far mightier than any individual, and if the individual cannot use a theory of justice as his armor against State oppression, then he has no solid base from which to roll back and defeat it.
With his emphasis on cognitive moral principles and natural rights, Spooner must have looked hopelessly old-fashioned to Tucker and the young anarchists of the 1870s and 1880s. And yet now, a century later, it is the latters' once fashionable nihilism and tough amoralism that strike us as being empty and destructive of the very liberty they all tried hard to bring about. We are now beginning to recapture the once-great tradition of an objectively grounded rights of the individual. In philosophy, in economics, in social analysis, we are beginning to see that the tossing aside of moral rights was not the brave new world it once seemed – but rather a long and disastrous detour in political philosophy that is now fortunately drawing to a close.
Opponents of the idea of an objective morality commonly charge that moral theory functions as a tyranny over the individual. This, of course, happens with many theories of morality, but it cannot happen when the moral theory makes a sharp and clear distinction between the "immoral" and the "illegal," or, in Spooner's words, between "vices" and "crimes." The immoral or the "vicious" may consist of a myriad of human actions, from matters of vital importance down to being nasty to one's neighbor or to willful failure to take one's vitamins. But none of them should be confused with an action that should be "illegal," that is, an action to be prohibited by the violence of law. The latter, in Spooner's libertarian view, should be confined strictly to the initiation of violence against the rights of person and property.
Other moral theories attempt to apply the law – the engine of socially legitimated violence – to compelling obedience to various norms of behavior; in contrast, libertarian moral theory asserts the immorality and injustice of interfering with any man's (or rather, any non-criminal man's) right to run his own life and property without interference. For the natural rights libertarian, then, his cognitive theory of justice is a great bulwark against the State's eternal invasion of rights – in contrast to other moral theories which attempt to employ the State to combat immorality.
It is instructive to consider Spooner and his essay in the light of the fascinating insights into nineteenth-century American politics provided in recent years by the "new political history." While this new history has been applied for most of the nineteenth century, the best work has been done for the Midwest after the Civil War, in particular the brilliant study by Paul Kleppner, The Cross of Culture.1
What Kleppner and others have shown is that the political ideas of Americans can be reduced, with almost remarkable precision, back to their religious attitudes and beliefs. In particular, their political and economic views depend on the degree to which they conform to the two basic poles of Christian belief: pietistic, or liturgical (although the latter might be amended to liturgical plus doctrinal). Pietistic, by the 19th century, meant all groups of Protestants except Episcopalian, High Church Lutheran, and orthodox Calvinist; liturgical meant the latter plus Roman Catholic. (And "pietistic" attitudes often included deist and atheist.)
Briefly, the pietist tends to hold that to be truly religious, a person must experience an emotional conversion; the convert, in what has been called "the baptism of the Holy Spirit," has a direct relationship to God or to Jesus. The liturgical, on the other hand, is interested in either doctrinal belief or the following of prescribed church ritual as the key to salvation.
Now, it might seem as if the pietistic emphasis on the individual might lead to a political individualism, to the belief that the State may not interfere in each individual's moral choices and actions. In 17th-century pietism, it often meant just that. But by the 19th century, unfortunately, such was not the case. Most pietists took the following view: Since we can't gauge an individual's morality by his following rituals or even by his professed adherence to creed, we must watch his actions and see if he is really moral.
From there the pietists concluded that it was everyone's moral duty to his own salvation to see to it that his fellow men as well as himself are kept out of temptation's path. That is, it was supposed to be the State's business to enforce compulsory morality, to create the proper moral climate for maximizing salvation. In short, instead of an individualist, the pietist now tended to become a pest, a busybody, a moral watchdog for his fellow man, and a compulsory moralist using the State to outlaw "vice" as well as crime.
The liturgicals, on the other hand, took the view that morality and salvation were to be achieved by following the creed and the rituals of their church. The experts on those church beliefs and practices were, of course, not the State but the priests or bishops of the church (or, in the case of the few orthodox Calvinists, the ministers). The liturgicals, secure in their church teachings and practices, simply wanted to be left alone to follow the counsel of their priests; they were not interested in pestering or forcing their fellow human beings into being saved. And they believed profoundly that morality was not the business of the State, but only of their own church mentors.
From the 1850s to the 1890s the Republican party was almost exclusively the pietist party, known commonly as the "party of great moral ideas"; the Democratic party, on the other hand, was almost exclusively the liturgical party, and was known widely as the "party of personal liberty."
Specifically, after the Civil War there were three interconnected local struggles that kept reappearing throughout America; in each case, the Republicans and Democrats played out this contrasting role. These were: the attempt by pietist groups (almost always Republican) to enforce prohibition; the attempt by the same groups to enforce Sunday blue laws; and the attempt by the selfsame pietists to enforce compulsory attendance in the public schools, in order to use these schools to "Christianize" the Catholics.
What of the political and economic struggles that historians have, until recently, focused on almost exclusively: sound money vs. fiat money or silver inflation; free trade vs. a protective tariff; free markets vs. government regulation; small vs. large government spending? It is true that these were fought out repeatedly, but these were on the national level, and generally remote from the concerns of the average person. I have long wondered how it was that the nineteenth century saw the mass of the public get highly excited about such recondite matters as the tariff, bank credits, or the currency. How could that happen when it is almost impossible to interest the mass of the public in these matters today?
Kleppner and the others have provided the missing link, the middle term between these abstract economic issues and the gut social issues close to the hearts and lives of the public. Specifically, the Democrats, who (at least until 1896) favored the free-market libertarian position on all these economic issues, linked them (and properly so) in the minds of their liturgical supporters, with their opposition to prohibition, blue laws, etc. The Democrats pointed out that all these statist economic measures – including inflation – were "paternalistic" in the same way as the hated pietistic invasions of their personal liberty. In that way, the Democrat leaders were able to "raise the consciousness" of their followers from their local and personal concerns to wider and more abstract economic issues, and to take the libertarian position on all of them.
The pietist Republicans did similarly for their mass base, pointing out that big government should regulate and control economic matters as it should control morality. In this stance, the Republicans followed in the footsteps of their predecessors, the Whigs, who for example were generally the Fathers of the Public School System in their local areas.
Generally, the "mind your own business" liturgicals almost instinctively took the libertarian position on every question. But there was of course one area – before the Civil War – where pestering and hectoring were needed to right a monstrous injustice: slavery. Here the typical pietistic concern with universal moral principles and seeing them put into action brought us the abolitionist and anti-slavery movements. Slavery was the great flaw in the American system in more senses than one: for it was also the flaw in the instinctive liturgical resentment against great moral crusades.
To return now to Lysander Spooner. Spooner, born in the New England pietist tradition, began his distinguished ideological career as an all-out abolitionist. Despite differences over interpretation of the US Constitution, Spooner was basically in the anarchistic, "no-government" Garrisonian wing of the abolitionist movement – the wing that sought the abolition of slavery not through the use of the central government (which was in any case dominated by the South), but by a combination of moral fervor and slave rebellion. Far from being fervent supporters of the Union, the Garrisonians held that the northern states should secede from a pro-slaveholding United States of America.
So far, Spooner and the Garrisonians took the proper libertarian approach toward slavery. But the tragic betrayal came when the Union went to war with the Southern states over the issue of their declared independence. Garrison and his former "no-government" movement forgot their anarchistic principles in their enthusiasm for militarism, mass murder, and centralized statism on behalf of what they correctly figured would be a war against slavery.
Only Lysander Spooner and a very few others stood foursquare against this betrayal; only Spooner realized that it would be compounding crime and error to try to use government to right the wrongs committed by another government. And so, among his pietistic and moralizing anti-slavery colleagues, only Spooner was able to see with shining clarity, despite all temptations, the stark difference between vice and crime. He saw that it was correct to denounce the crimes of governments, but that it was only compounding those crimes to maximize government power as an attempted remedy. Spooner never followed other pietists in endorsing crime or in trying to outlaw vice.
Spooner's anarchism was, like his abolitionism, another valuable part of his pietist legacy. For, here again, his pietistic concern for universal principles – in this case, as in the case of slavery, for the complete triumph of justice and the elimination of injustice – brought him to a consistent and courageous application of libertarian principles where it was not socially convenient (to put it mildly) to have the question raised.
While the liturgicals proved to be far more libertarian that the pietists during the second half of the nineteenth century, a pietistic spirit is always important in libertarianism to emphasize a tireless determination to eradicate crime and injustice. Surely it is no accident that Spooner's greatest and most fervent anarchistic tracts were directed in dialogue against the Democrats Cleveland and Bayard; he did not bother with the openly statist Republicans. A pietistic leaven in the quasi-libertarian liturgical lump?
But it takes firmness in libertarian principle to make sure to confine one's pietistic moral crusade to crime (e.g., slavery, statism), and not have it spill over to what anyone might designate as "vice." Fortunately, we have the immortal Lysander Spooner, in his life and in his works, to guide us along the correct path.
- Paul Kleppner, The Cross of Culture: A Social Analysis of Midwestern Politics, 1850–1900 (New York: Free Press, 1970). Also see Richard Jensen, The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflicts, 1888–1896 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971).
3) Roger’s Rangers Rules or Plan of Discipline by Major Robert Rogers
At the first dawn of day, awake your whole detachment; that being the time when the savages choose to fall upon their enemies, you should by all means be in readiness to receive them.
4) 52 Weeks to Preparedness by Tess Pennington
Week 21 of 52: Emergency Fuel Supply
When a disaster threatens a given area, fuel is one of the first emergency prep items people begin stocking up on. Fuel helps power you through an emergency by providing means to keep warm, cook, and supply emergency power for generators, appliances and electrical tools. When choosing which types of emergency fuel to store, consider the following issues:
- Any dangers the fuel may pose by being stored.
- How much fuel needs to be stored for the given emergency.
- What appliances or tools the fuel needs to provide power for.
- How long the fuel will stay viable for.
- How it needs to be stored for safety reasons.
Because storing fuel for short or long-term use presents its own set of unique challenges, ensure that you safely store your fuel supply by following these safety regulations.
When storing certain fuels, you will need to use a stabilizer to prevent the fuel from separating. Some of the most popular fuel stabilizers are Sta-bil and Pri-G or Pri-D. Both are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased online or at most super centers. Most preppers like to have enough fuel on hand for at least a 72-hour period. To be on the safe side, plan on storing enough fuel to last under your predicted worst case scenario. Put some thought into which type of fuel you can store for this minimum period of time.
If fuels are to be stored for emergencies, then it will need to be stored in containers that prevent evaporation and prevent the signs of fuel phase separation. If the storage container is made of plastic, ensure that the container is made of durable HDPE with barrier materials to eliminate hydrocarbon emissions, has an airtight seal to reduce spills when not in use and has a pour spout that controls variable flow, has automatic venting and automatic locking when lever is released. Plastic is permeable and the fuel can seep through, however; some preppers have found that metal fuel cans are best. Some preppers suggest using auto grade silicone to coat their metal cans in order to preserve them longer.
The six most popular fuel sources to store are listed below. To learn more about these popular fuel types, how long they last and how to appropriately store them, click here.
- Diesel fuel
- Solar power
You are probably wondering how much fuel you should store for a disaster. The answer is largely dependent on what you plan to use the fuel on during an emergency and how long the disaster will last. If you wanted to only run a generator with gasoline to power your home and appliances during the day, plan on using 1-2 gallons of fuel per hour. In a 72-hour emergency where you are reliant on yourself to provide power, plan on needing at a minimum 48-gallons of fuel.
Those who live in apartments or duplexes will probably not be allowed to store any types of fuel in or around the buildings due to the close proximity of living. Fuel dealers in your local area can tell you about the EPA and regulatory issues associated with storing fuel in a tank on your property. Contact them for this information as well as a host of other useful information about fuel storage.
Preps To Buy:
- Multiple amounts of plastic or metal fuel storage containers
- Seasoned fire wood (ample supply)
- Fuel of choice to run generators, appliances, provide electricity for 1-3 month duration (if legally allowed to do so)
- Fuel for cooking (ample supply)
- Alternative cooking source (a solar oven, Korean cook stove, Volcano Stove, reflector oven, Dutch Oven, Rocket Stove, propane grill or stove)
- Propane (one weeks worth)
- Long burning jarred candles (unlimited amount)
- Extra wicks for candles (can be purchased at Amazon or Ebay)
1. Read about the different types of fuel and decide which fuel choice(s) is best for your family.
2. Find an appropriate area outside of the home where the fuel can be stored.
3. Ensure that you rotate your fuel regularly and check to make sure there are no signs on leaking.
Week 22 of 52: Hardware Tools (List 2)
Keeping essential tools in your preparedness supplies will help you operate in a non-technological environment. As we are moving into preparing for longer-term disasters, we have to think about what our life will be like during an extended disaster. Generally speaking, those that go through disasters typically are without power for a given amount of time. So the cooking, laundry, sanitation and a host of other daily activities will have to be done without the convenience of electricity. We will also need tools to build, repair and maintain our homes and gardens in the face of damage or breakdown. Keeping traditional tools on hand can help in this department.
Tools would make great bartering items and are one of the top ten items needed to create a survival homestead. During times of grid-down disasters, tools can be used to help chop firewood, build a shelter and provide a host of other important duties. The tools you invest in should be of the “traditional sense”, and of good quality. A word of advice is that if you buy cheap tools, you will get what you paid for. In the end, you will end up paying more for another tool because the cheap tool was not well constructed. If you have a good eye for quality tools, look at yard sales in your area, or you can find good tools at your hardware stores or local home and garden centers. Some preppers who are looking for Amish crafted tools can look at websites such as Lehman’s, or Cottage Craftworks to find what they need.
There are a lot of tools that will be needed for a survival retreat and we will continue to add to our existing tool supply. Right now, we are focusing on starting simple and building our skills, and confidence. Click here to view the basic tool kit one would need for their retreat. Many of you will already have some of these tools in your tool kit, so take this time to purchase some extra blades or parts for your tool set. Keep the prepper’s rule of multiples in mind when making these tool investments: “Two is one, and one is none.” Instead of purchasing two tools, consider investing in spare parts for the tools such as extra blades, sharpening tools and lubricants such as WD-40 or Vaseline to keep these solid investment items up to par.
We will all have to make certain sacrifices during a grid-down scenario. The best way to understand what those sacrifices will be is to give them up periodically. Take a weekend or even one day and practice a grid-down situation to experience what your life would be like during those times. This exercise will help you understand how dependent you may be to certain conveniences and being without them can help you find ways around them. Further, get acquainted with your tool investment and practice using, cleaning and sharpening these tools.
The following tools can add convenience to your life, but are not the only tools you should have on hand. In the coming weeks, we will revisit this topic and add to our already existing tool supplies. Click here to learn more about the basic retreat tool set.
Preps To Buy:
- Work gloves for all members of the family
- Protective eye wear for all members of the family
- Paracord Rope
- Hammers (a claw hammer for hitting nails, and a ball peen hammer used for striking metal)
- Saws (Hand saws and hack saws with extra blades)
- Screwdrivers (4-in-1 screwdrivers, Phillips, Robertsen)
- Wrench sets (Allen wrenches, pipe wrenches, combination wrenches)
- Adjustable wrench set
- Ax with a sharpening device
- Wedge to help in cutting firewood
- Pliers (an assortment of sizes)
- Socket set
- Vise grips
- Squares (roofing squares and framing squares)
- Levels (short square and a 4-foot level)
- Bit and brace
- Measuring tape
1. If you are not handy with tools, purchase a how-to guide and begin practicing this essential skill. Remember, you only have to be 10% smarter than the tool to get it to work.
2. Simulate a grid-down scenario in your home and practice what life will be like without the modern conveniences we are dependent on today.
5) 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation by George Washington
#43 – Do not express Joy before one sick or in pain for that contrary Passion will aggravate his Misery.
#44 – When a man does all he can though it Succeeds not well blame not him that did it.
#45 – Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in public or in Private; presently, or at Some other time in what terms to do it & in reproving Show no Sign of Cholar but do it with all Sweetness and Mildness.