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Archive for February, 2011

Crunchy Meat & Sheets of Yogurt

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Food for Faith

Thought I would write a little about my continuing dehydrator adventure.

Yesterday I dried papaya. I have some trees, but I don’t eat the fruit, because it smells a little bit like dog poop. I wondered if dehydration would change that. I suppose I’m picking the papayas too late, and that’s why they stink, but it seems odd to pick a fruit that isn’t sweet yet.

Anyway, I sliced up a papaya and tossed the chunks in lime juice and simple syrup. After about seven hours in the machine, they were dried up to nothing. I tried one, and sure enough, it doesn’t stink like it did before. So now I have a use for all the papayas that come off the trees.

Funny thing…the product is not like the dried papaya you get in stores. It really shrivels up. I’m wondering if there is a difference between “dried” and “dehydrated.” Guess I’ll have to figure that out.

I have not made jerky yet. I think I’ll get ten boliches (eye round roasts) and dry them. It would probably be best to smoke them, too, but maybe I can fake that with Liquid Smoke and avoid the aggravation.

Mike says he has a yogurt machine. Evidently you can make your own yogurt for a small fraction of the price of store yogurt. How exciting. I guess it’s a big blessing, but I’ve never been a huge yogurt fan. I always identify yogurt with the feminist/greenie/Mac/vegetarian lifestyle.

You can use a dehydrator to make yogurt, and you can even turn the yogurt into dry sheets. Weird.

Yesterday I realized I can make shucky beans in the dehydrator. Man, that would be sweet. I need to find a farmer’s market and load up on green beans. Or I could just chicken out and hit Costco. I don’t know if the beans would brown up the way they do when you dry them on strings.

I just got an idea for food storage: corned beef. I look up a recipe on the Cook’s Illustrated site, and it says corned beef is just cured beef. You stick it in a sealed bag with a salt and seasoning preparation, and you let it sit for 7 days. If that’s all it is, it’s perfect for freezing. Seal everything in a bag, refrigerate for a week, and then freeze. That should work, shouldn’t it?

I Googled flooding and crops again, to see if Perry Stone is right about his vision of upcoming food problems. Things don’t look too good. We have no corn reserves, and the weather is not great. The food situation in China is bad. I guess this year will teach me whether I should pay attention to this man’s visions in the future.

The dehydrator looks like a good investment. I still want to get out of here and put some land around me, but until that happens, I think I’ll be fine with stored eats. And I didn’t lose anything by buying a refurb unit. It looks and works like new.

Mike is jealous. Oh well. Now he has something to put on his shopping list.

Two Patients

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Both Time-Sensitive

Two requests tonight.

1. My cousin has a new baby, and a spot just appeared on its toe. They are waiting for a biopsy and opinion from a pediatric dermatologist. It’s probably nothing, but my aunt has requested prayer.

2. Heather’s mom still needs help: “Please pray for a good result tomorrow, the cancer is contained or even gone, her kidneys healthy, no issues with anesthesia and a quick recovery.”

Keeping the Doctor Away

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Food Hoard Grows

My Excalibur food dehydrator showed up this weekend. Yesterday I fired it up, dehydrating a bunch of Granny Smith apples. I bought four dozen at Costco, and I did two dozen a week or so ago, and the aggravation was what led me to order the dehydrator.

It took seven hours to dehydrate apple slices prepared with a slicing and peeling machine. I’m sure hand-sliced apples would be different, because the thickness would vary. The machines make slices about 1/4″ thick.

The dehydrator expels wet air from the front, and water will condense on anything close to the machine. I guess there is no way to avoid that.

I didn’t dip the apples in lemon juice or sodium bisulfite or anything else that might inhibit oxidation. I wanted them to taste like the apples my grandmother used to dry. Apples that are heavily treated don’t have the same flavor. I figured my apples would come out brown, like the ones I dried in the SUV and oven, but they came out very white.

Here’s the surprising thing: the flavor is amazing. It’s almost like a green apple Jolly Rancher candy. Very strong, and extremely sweet. I can’t figure that out. I don’t know if they’ll make good dried-apple pies, but they’re great to eat as a snack.

The dehydrator has plastic shelves that slide out, and each shelf has a sheet of plastic mesh on it to hold food. You can put the trays in the dishwasher (top rack), but the mesh has to be washed by hand. This is a major pain. But if Perry Stone is right, and food gets expensive, the effort of keeping my dehydrator clean will seem trivial.

I look forward to drying some bananas in it. My trees are producing well.

This dehydrator is a refurb, but I can’t see anything wrong with it. I think I made a good choice. You can get a cheaper Chinese knockoff, but I wanted a warranty and decent customer service.

Open the Floodgates

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Quit Watering Your Crops With a Teaspoon

Too much to write about.

I don’t blog much these days. I consider that a blessing. It was a big time-suck, and it tended to add fuel to the less-productive parts of my nature. I don’t know how many people care. I still write when I feel like it.

By the way, The New York Times has just come out with a story, saying blogs are dead. Hmm…who said that several years ago? Some annoying guy who refused to drink the Kool Aid and wear the pajamas. Pardon me for patting myself on the back. Still working on that “pride” thing.

This weekend was a lot of fun. My church’s pastor is delivering a series called “Carnal Christians,” and this Sunday’s sermon was a home run.

He said he had expected to deliver a series about things like lust and greed, but God wouldn’t let him do it. Instead he talked about the relative worthlessness of works. He wasn’t saying works were unimportant. The message was that what God really wanted was to be with us and know us. When we spend time with God, it’s like a son spending time with a father (in fact, that’s what it is): the father’s nature rubs off on the son.

You may not realize what a big deal this is. My church has a tendency to overemphasize works and effort. The change is pivotal.

He told a story about his sons. When they were kids, their schools had them build little houses of popsicle sticks. It’s one of those projects schools come up with; you build your dad one of these ridiculous houses, and then he has to pretend he likes it.

He said that he bragged on the houses, but that what he really wanted from his sons was their company. He said God is the same way. You can go out and build orphanages and annoy the homeless with sermons, but if you’re not spending time with God, you’re missing the point.

I loved this, because it’s exactly what I believe. I come at it from a different viewpoint, but it amounts to the same thing.

Giving to the poor is not always right; sometimes it’s a terrible sin. Donating money to a ministry can also be wrong. Being nice to people can be wrong. These things are only pleasing to God when he tells us to do them, and that’s why he gave us the baptism of the Spirit. We build ourselves up through speaking in tongues, and the power of the Holy Spirit grows in us, and he starts giving us directions in real time. Those directions are much more useful than the comparatively vague and static directions we get from the Bible. As wonderful as the Bible is, it can’t compare to having Jesus standing next to you, telling you what to do. That’s what Spirit-filled believers are supposed to experience. Jesus is supposed to “know” us as a man knows a wife. He is supposed to mingle with us and become one with us. Obeying the general instructions of the Bible can actually be idolatry, when it contradicts what Jesus is telling us to do in the moment, through the gifts of the Spirit.

This is what the Bible means when it says the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Establishment churches hate this message. They want us to do all our own work, because Satan controls them, and he is terrified of believers who use God’s power instead of their own. He wants us out there using our carnal tools to please God. Building unwanted hospitals. Delivering meals that should never have been prepared. Saying kind words to people who need tough love.

God told the ancient Hebrews to kill babies with the sword. Old ladies. Pets. Puppies and kittens. Seriously. What if they had ignored him, mumbling, “Thou shalt not kill” and so forth? God himself told them what to do. He gave them specific directions, and those directions seem pretty awful compared to the general tenor of the scriptures. Christianity is not about being nice, even though being nice usually comports with God’s will. It’s about faith and obedience and being connected to God’s nervous system so the hand will act when the brain speaks.

Jesus said he would punish some people who did “good” works in his name. He said he would call them “lawless” and “workers of iniquity.” Why is that? It’s because he was referring to people who are carnal. They do what their peanut brains tell them to do, instead of waiting to hear from God. The Lord wants you to go to medical school, but you become a missionary. The Lord wants you to be a musician, but you become a priest and swear off normal relations with women. The Lord wants you to open a supermarket, but you take a vow of poverty and go live in a cave. You do things that SEEM good, but you only make God angry. That’s what Jesus was talking about.

When Jesus called people “lawless,” he was referring to the law the Holy Spirit writes in our hearts, not the law the Jews wrote on the skins (the outside of the flesh) of kosher animals. And “iniquity” refers to the desires that motivate us before speaking in tongues gives us the fruit of the Spirit.

To sum it up, you can devote your life to God and do all sorts of things for other people and end up a carnal Christian. Obviously, living in a godless state and devoting your time to things like fornication and drugs and greed is also carnal (if you do it willfully), but people need to wake up and realize that a carnal person who serves God inappropriately is not much better off.

The Jews tell us that “taking the Lord’s name in vain” does not refer to the blasphemous things you say when you hit your thumb with a hammer. It means doing things God never told you to do, and then claiming you did it for him. A person who gives to the poor when God is telling him to do something else, and who claims God put him up to it, is taking God’s name in vain. The “lawless” at the judgment seat are people who committed this sin. If you have the Holy Spirit’s law in your heart, and you listen to it, you won’t be one of these people.

God wants to “know” us. That means the spiritual equivalent of sex between a man and wife. He wants to inseminate us with the Holy Spirit, and he wants us to grow to be like him, just as a fetus grows to be like its father. The crucifixion was an insemination. The Holy of Holies represents the womb. The veil in the Temple represents the hymen. It tore when Jesus died. Do the math.

As a result of this conception, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit, and by speaking in tongues, we grow to be like God, in his power and his righteousness. That’s how it works. It’s not about suffering and misery and defeat, while struggling with your puny tools, which are only a little better than the ones God gave monkeys. It’s about using God’s power tools.

The New Testament often wishes us grace, mercy, and peace. We all know what mercy means. “Peace” means “shalom,” or a combination of tranquility, prosperity, and success. “Grace” means God’s power within us, which comes by grace, not by effort. It doesn’t mean the mercy granted to us in salvation. If it did, the word “mercy” wouldn’t appear next to it, because it would be superfluous. Would you wish someone “mercy, mercy, and peace”?

The message we heard this weekend was about the fruit and gifts of the Spirit, which come through grace. When God tells us what to do, via the prophecy, tongues and interpretation, the word of wisdom, and the word of knowledge (all spiritual gifts), we present ourselves to him as houses of stone, not houses made from popsicle sticks. We become projects that please him, not projects a father has to pretend to love. The things we do have lasting value, because they are done in obedience to his word; not the word printed in Bibles, but the word delivered directly to our minds.

I have been praying for this kind of thing to be taught in my church, and it’s happening. God only knows who else is praying for it. I’m happy to see it, because we hear too much about effort and self-help. I’ve seen how the Holy Spirit does miraculous things in my church, to people I know. That’s what I want. I’m not interested in secular wisdom painted up with a covering of Christianese. We should not be going to the self-help gurus for wisdom. They should be running to us.

Man the Ramparts

Monday, February 21st, 2011

More Attacks

Heather’s mom is not doing well. This arrived Saturday. I didn’t put it up until today because I’m so busy on weekends. Thank God she reminded me.

Could you please pray for my mom, Penny, she is not doing so great. She is still vomiting. Her urine culture Thursday didn’t grow bacteria, so I am probably going to have to take her Central Baptist to have her kidney stents replaced.
Thank you and God Bless,
Heather Page

The Negative Power of Positive Thinking

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The Road to Hell is Paved With Happy Thoughts

It is an interesting week.

Our President is hostile to Israel. No fair-minded person could deny that. But now his hostility is becoming overt. This week, the United States agreed to join in a Security Council vote rebuking Israel for putting settlements in “occupied” land. The land God gave Abraham and his descendants, FOREVER.

Most Christians don’t understand how much God cares about Israel. Here’s some scriptural stuff to consider. Speaking through one of the prophets, God identified Jesus himself with Israel. And the Bible says the Jews are the apple of God’s eye.

Perry Stone made a somewhat sensational claim in one of his recent messages. He said someone had written a book showing that American betrayals of Israel were closely followed by American disasters. Floods and hurricanes and so on. Naturally, I want to see if this is correct. So I’m going to keep my eyes open for the next ten days or so, to see if anything unfortunate happens.

You have to test people who make claims about God, or else you never learn the truth. Luke commended the Berean Christians for tearing into the Bible to compare teachings with scripture. I’m stocking up on food because Perry Stone says he had a vision of floods, and I don’t want to waste my time if he says things that are just nutty and wrong. If we have a good crop year, I will think less of his predictions in the future. If what he said about the book turns out to be wrong, again, I will have reason to doubt him.

So far, I have never had any reason to break with Perry Stone. He gets carried away every once in a while and says something a little silly, but I can’t think of an example that had any bearing on the central issues of his messages.

It’s frustrating dealing with charlatans. I once saw a traveling “prophet” touch people, claiming God had given him an “anointing” to take 21 years off of people’s lives. People went up and got the touch. If God made them younger, he did it in a clever way that left them looking exactly the same. People will say just about anything to get a dollar; they may even make themselves believe their nonsense first (lawyers do that all the time). Christians are conditioned to believe, and they are conditioned to trust their pastors and leaders to refrain from putting dubious characters before them, so they are easy marks. I believe the only real defense is direct guidance from the Holy Spirit, and I think the Holy Spirit is with me on the 21-year guy. Call me an apostate.

Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe one day all of these people will show up looking like teenagers. I would be a LITTLE surprised.

Christianity is in a bad state. The old churches bar the Holy Spirit at the door, they deny the power of God, they endorse all sorts of sin, they persecute Israel, and they have major problems with idolatry. Many new churches try to turn God into our fairy godmother, are obsessed with wealth and earthly success, and imply that nothing bad should ever happen to us. What can you do? I go where the Holy Spirit is welcome, and I persevere.

And I try not to offend anyone, but I guess I still do.

Speaking of offense, the new churches have an insidious weakness these days. There is a phobia of criticism. We keep hearing the word “positive” all the time, as if Christianity had more to do with Tony Robbins than Jesus. When we criticize, we risk being compared to the ten spies who told Moses going into Israel was a bad idea.

The problem, obviously, is that without criticism, there is no growth. Correction cannot happen without negativity. It’s impossible. Jesus was extremely negative. So was Paul. So were most of the prophets. John the Baptist…don’t get me started. Read the stuff he said. In the Revelation, Jesus started out by criticizing seven churches. Much of what he said was not positive. It was vital and helpful, but it wasn’t positive.

One of the terrible aspects of totalitarianism is the prohibition of criticism. Totalitarian regimes always limit it. The Nazis and Communists made it a crime. So do the Islamists. The British crown made it a crime, and this is the sole reason we have the First Amendment. It was drafted in order to permit criticism.

In Soviet Russia, people used to come forward all the time and point out the horrible, dangerous problems with the state. And they got shipped off to gulags, and things in Russia got worse and worse. This is the direction in which the church is headed, if we don’t wake up and learn to take a punch. One of the distinguishing characteristics of cults is the suppression of honest criticism. Look at what happens to mouthy Scientologists.

When I hear people complain about criticism, I often think of Ahab. He was about to go to war alongside Jehosaphat, and Jehosaphat insisted on hearing from a prophet. So they rounded up a bunch of lying Baal-worshiping goofballs, and the goofballs all prophesied victory. I guarantee you, these guys were very popular, Ahab paid them well, and people thought they would be remembered as saints.

Jehosaphat made an insane suggestion: how about bringing a prophet of Jehovah in? This must be where Ahab called for his Maalox. The only real prophet available was Micaiah. They dragged him in, and he made a sarcastic prophecy of victory. When Ahab threatened him, he admitted God planned to crush Ahab like a bug.

And of course, Micaiah was beaten and put in jail.

This is another fine consequence of the negativity phobia: we punish people who criticize, and we make them less likely to tell us the truth, so we lack vital information, and the result is chastisement and defeat.

I guess Satan is using the positivity craze to set the church up to persecute its prophets. Christians think they’re immune to that kind of thing, and that only the narrow-minded, non-holy Jews are susceptible, and of course, we are wrong. Human nature is universal, and so is Satan’s influence. Christians torment God’s messengers all the time.

At some point in the future, brave souls will start standing up in Spirit-filled churches and saying disturbing things. God doesn’t want every Christian to be a millionaire. God will not let us win every single battle, all the time. God still gives some people diseases. God still kills people. Some of our biggest Christian stars are revolting fakes. And if the positivity fad is still red hot, the people saying these things will be driven out into the street, with God’s inspired words still on their lips.

It’s a balancing act, and it’s easy to screw up. You have to be subject to authority, and you should not spread division without good reason. You should not complain just for the sake of complaining. You should believe God’s promises. You should try to build up the people above you. But you shouldn’t swallow every bit of nonsense every itinerant idiot pours in your congregation’s ear, and you should not be afraid to warn people when there are serious problems.

I’ve seen Tony Robbins and other positivity gurus at work. They are just plain better at it than the Christian imitators. They make many times the money the imitators make. They have polished, proven methods. They won’t tell you the Holy Spirit told them you need to give them your savings. If you want positivity, go to the pros. Buy a set of Tony Robbins CDs. Why settle for an imitation?

God’s punishment is better than Satan’s kindness. The Bible says, “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness, and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil which shall not break my head.” I would rather have healthy criticism than poisonous positivity, any time.

Day and Night

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

It’s too Bad Blessings Can’t be Delivered Using Restraints and an IV

Today I had a couple of experiences. One was encouraging, and the other was discouraging.

I am too tired to write much about the first. Just that I found new fire and enthusiasm for prayer and supernatural warfare, and I unleashed it here and at my sister’s house.

The other thing happened at church. I was there for a prayer meeting and to help a friend with a baby shower.

While helping with the baby shower, I had to do some work in the kitchen, where I used to make pizza. Background: I was driven out out of the kitchen by mismanagement and antagonism from coworkers, as readers may recall. I made the church a lot of money with pizza, but when I tried to increase the professionalism and the spirituality in the kitchen (as instructed by church leaders), I provoked a backlash from people who preferred the status quo, and out I went.

Since I quit cooking, a strong Christian man has taken over the cafe, and the kitchen and the serving area are doing well. But he has limited authority, because of the twisted, amorphous chain of command at the church. He has to share a back room with a bunch of other ministries, and this is the area where I used to make pizza.

Out of curiosity, I took a look at the back room today. The kitchen and serving area looked very good, so I had high hopes. But I was amazed at the chaos and filth.

Flour and sugar I left at the church when I quit were still on the counters, in plain paper bags. Near the bags, I saw a stack of unopened boxes containing glue traps for mice. I opened a couple of drawers. For some reason, the church keeps hundreds of sets of unused stainless flatware, along with unused china, and all this stuff is in cabinets and drawers. It should have been disposed of years ago.

The drawers contained so much mouse and roach poop, I was amazed. But it made sense, given the presence of the unused flour and sugar. Why they thought glue traps were the answer is a mystery, given that they put the traps next to the food supply the vermin were using, leaving the food in place.

The church serves free hot dogs and popcorn on Saturday afternoons. That’s great. But they store the cooking and service equipment in the back room, out in the open. Where the mice and roaches play. I was horrified. This is not a trivial health hazard. It’s extremely serious. Rodent feces kill people in a number of ways.

When I worked in the kitchen, I donated some Japanese cutlery I didn’t use. I didn’t like it much, but it’s very expensive, and most chefs love it. I also donated a diamond hone. I checked today, and all of this stuff was gone. Was it stolen or just put away for safety? I don’t know, but I noticed they left the cheap Chinese cleaver I donated, so whoever moved this stuff knew which pieces were valuable.

The drawer where I left the cutlery was full of poop. I had sterilized it, but the mice had returned.

The obvious conclusion is that the place is still a mess, and I would be losing my mind if I had to work there. So I had to thank my superior in the Armorbearer organization, who strongly advised me to get out of the cafe.

It’s so hard to bless people. They treat good things like trash. They show no gratitude for the good things you do. They fight improvement as though it were a fatal disease. This must be how God feels every day. And it reaffirms my conservatism. Liberals give people what they want, regardless of what they deserve, and it destroys them. Conservatives know that the best way to keep a person poor is to give him money.

I guess I better alert the pastor before someone dies.

Proverbs 31 Man

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Son of Man, Can These Dry Bananas Live?

I have given up. I hate blowing money on things I should be able to make, but drying apples in my dad’s SUV is too slow, so I bought a dehydrator. I got a refurb Excalibur. It ought to do the job.

I put a dozen sliced apples in the SUV on a sliding door screen and gave it two days, but the apples just were not dry enough. Maybe it would work in the summer, but I can’t keep fooling around, trying to get it right.

I was looking at dehydrators online, and I felt stupid, but then I thought about all the stuff I throw out. Most of my peppers and bananas end up rotting because I don’t have any place to put them. I never eat my papayas, because they smell funny, but if they were dried, I think that problem would go away.

Bananas are fantastic. They keep you regular and they taste good. But what do you do when twenty pounds of them get ripe over three days?

Ooooh…pineapples. I wonder how hard those are to grow. Dried pineapples are great, and I have a special culinary use for the fresh stuff.

I guess now I can look into jerky. I don’t even know what cuts to use. It would sure beat paying tons of money for the protein bars I eat when I work at church.

Job Nation

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

The Thing we Greatly Ignored is Come Upon Us

Now that Mike knows I’m storing up grub, he calls me with his “hoarding” questions all the time. Today he was a hippie grocery, and he wanted advice on the right kimchi to buy, in order to use the bacteria for sourdough.

As I have noted before Perry Stone says he had a vision which suggested we will have flood-related food shortages in 2011. I have never known him to make anything up or exaggerate, and he didn’t use his vision as a way to squeeze monetary “seed gifts” out of his viewers, the way about 75% of Spirit-filled TV preachers would have.

Yesterday I saw some interesting news.

1. Russia is cutting off wheat exports because of drought.

2. China now imports wheat because of drought, and they expect the situation to continue through the year.

3. There is a severe corn shortage in the United States, largely due to the idiotic ethanal program, which values politics over human beings. We all knew there was a corn shortage, but it’s getting worse. And of course, animals eat corn, so there go dairy products and meat.

I guess it looks a little funny, talking about floods when crops are failing for lack of rain, but floods have already destroyed much of Australia’s crops, and we are a month or so away from our own planting season, so the opportune time for US flood damage isn’t here yet.

Hey, guess who is the world’s biggest wheat importer. Egypt! Traders expect that country to buy heavily because of the political instability. Uh oh!

I continue to study food storage. It turns out white flour goes funny after 6 months. Even if you freeze it, you only get 8 months. That’s what I’ve read, anyway. Hard to believe. And you can’t freeze it in paper bags. Funny flavors will get inside it.

I guess you can still eat it, however, and beggars can’t be choosers.

I think I’ll vacuum-seal 50 pounds of flour and freeze it. Can’t hurt. It will cost 20 bucks. That’s cheap insurance.

Maybe you can do better if you bake bread and freeze it. Search me.

I have a nice new Kentucky ham in the dining room, along with a big jar of sorghum, some cracklings, and a jar of blackberry jam. I’ll bet I could make excellent biscuits with canned milk. Geez, if there’s a famine, I may put on a ton of weight.

In other end time news, the US suddenly has piles and piles of oil. Sounds crazy, but it appears to be true. A new drilling method has drastically increased production, to the point where it could halve imports by 2015. And North Dakota (home of the Bakken Formation) is producing too much oil to ship.

What? Weren’t we supposed to run out of oil? Someone send Al Gore flowers. He is turning out to be the Salieri of economic and climatic forecasting. And by “Salieri,” I mean the Amadeus version, not the real Salieri, who was supposedly a great guy.

If I recall correctly, we can produce all the Bakken Formation oil we want at a cost of $70 per barrel, which is affordable. So in the United States, oil problems should be self-limiting, regardless of all the hysterical squawking. I wish oil were at $70 now. I could live with $2.75 diesel.

I can’t believe I’m saying that. We used to tremble at the thought of fuel prices that high.

What this all shows me is that God can yank the rug out from under you at any second, without breaking a sweat. We think we know what the future will bring, at least in the short term, but the last decade showed us that sudden changes can be extreme and unexpected, even when they should be obvious.

Consider the Fannie Mae mess. Nobody with any common sense thought real estate values were justified, yet most people were stunned when Barney Frank’s house (or houses) of socialist cards collapsed and threw our economy into turmoil. One month we were all counting our chickens, and the next month, they were on the barbecue.

I think the same thing is happening with our debt situation. We have marched to the edge of the precipice, and there is nothing to prevent us from going over the side in a big hurry.

We’re also seeing strange plagues hitting important crops. The worldwide citrus industry is expected to shrivel because of citrus greening, and that’s just one example. Did you know bananas are in trouble? A fungus is hitting them, and they lack the genetic diversity to develop resistance to it. May not sound like a big deal, but these things add up.

Speaking of God, the Bible says, “Thou Lord, only, makest me dwell in safety.” That’s important to learn and believe. The stuff you have can disappear in a day, regardless of how it looks to you now. Tomorrow you could get a cancer diagnosis. You could be gone in two months. A sinkhole could eat your house. Your spouse could run off with a Craigslist find. Look at Job. Things like that really happen.

I suspect that the problems Perry Stone foresaw will go away for a time. I think we’ll have some problems, and then things will seem to get better. Why? Because I think God is shaking the world. You can’t shake something by pushing it in the same direction all the time. It has to go back and forth. I think he is slapping us with crises and letting us rebound, so that tractable people will wake up and get right with him. Sooner or later, the trend will go much more negative, and by then, the bulk of the people who can be reached will be on solid ground.

Makes sense to me, anyhow.

I think we’ll have food problems this year, but I don’t think it will be necessary to pile up enough food to get us through 2012. I think we are still too early in the birth-pang sequence. I don’t think God is going to leave me here in this godless city with no land around me when the real mess starts raining down. I may deserve that, but I don’t see it happening.

You don’t get what you deserve, according to your deeds. Not if your heart is right. You get what your faith, willingness, and repentance allow. I hope.

If the food predictions turn out to be wrong, at least I’ll be better able to take care of myself, and I’ll know not to pay attention to Perry Stone’s visions. In the end, it’s all good.

Cheap End-Time Eats

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Plus Surprising $17 Brandy

I made a Costco mission. I needed Granny Smiths for drying. I also got some phenomenal Costco mozzarella to freeze in pizza-sized portions.

I still haven’t found another mozzarella that compares, for New York style pizza.

Sadly, the impulse buy bug bit me. I saw a huge jug of Korbel brandy for $17. Korbel champagne is excellent, and it runs $9 per bottle, so I had to see what the brandy was like. I assumed it would be pretty bad, but still useful for cooking.

I know I’m going to get comments about the champagne. If you drank Korbel many years ago, you probably got a bad impression of it, but I swear, it’s good now. I was very surprised when I tasted the improved version. It’s crisp and dry, with enough sweetness to keep it from tasting acrid, and it doesn’t seem to have the green “sappy” taste wines like Cordon Rouge have.

Anyway, the brandy is startling. I like the full flavor of Remy Martin VSOP a little better, but this stuff is very, very smooth, and the flavor, apart from a slight lack of intensity, is exactly what I look for in a brandy.

I checked out the flour while I was there. They beat Gordon Food Service to death. They charge about $17 for 50 pounds of flour. It’s Conagra bread flour. I don’t know how good it is, but fortunately, my pizza comes out great regardless of the flour. Might be problematic in rolls, however. Still, this is survival food, not party food. It will be good enough.

Edit: I checked around, and I found some info posted by a respected pizza guru. He calls Costco Conagra flour “excellent,” so it must be pretty good. Not bromated, but he seems to like the performance anyway.

Depending on the type of pizza, one bag will produce something like 40 pies. The two bags of mozzarella will produce roughly the same number of pies. I have two giant cans of sauce, which is enough for at least 60 pies. A ballpark approximation gives me a price of roughly one dollar per pie, before toppings. Ridiculous. If they were merely good, it would be a stellar bargain. For some of the best pizza in South Florida, it’s so cheap it’s insane.

The strange thing about my survival supplies is that they’ll make such fantastic food. I’m saving stuff like ham hocks, beans, pizza makings, dried apples, country ham, and pasta. That’s good chow, people. I don’t eat that well NOW.

The older I get, the more I convinced I am that you have to be an idiot to think good food is expensive. Some good things, like prime beef, cost money. But think about ham hocks, cornbread, greens, pork butts, ribs, choice rib eyes, whole chickens (for smoking or making dumplings), whole pigs, dried beans, salt pork, and rice. It’s all cheap, and it makes for very special meals.

Vegetables and fruit will take some effort. Maybe I should learn how to grow calabasas. I already have cooking bananas, which are probably high in some nutrient or other. I have some dragonfruit plants, but they haven’t produced yet. I’ve grown beans in the past, but it’s tough to keep the rust from eating them.

I should either start canning greens or look for a good price on a few cases of canned collards.

Fish…I got that covered. I’ll go to the marina where my dad docks his boat. They hate it when you fish there, because they have a bizarre attachment to the huge clouds of snapper that live under the boats, but you can fill a bucket with foot-long mangroves (grey snapper) in an hour. If things really get rough, I can cast a net for mullet. They taste great smoked, although they aren’t much fried.

Anyway, things are looking good. With this good stuff waiting to be eaten, it will almost be sad if the floods don’t come.

Lay up for Yourselves Treasures in the Pantry

Monday, February 7th, 2011

La Niña Knows Who’s the Man

The Holy Spirit is God’s Internet. He arranges us in order and coordinates what we do, even when one of us has no idea what the other is up to. The more Spirit-filled the church gets, the stronger and more obvious the coordination gets.

For a long time, I’ve been hearing about “preparation.” Christians all over the place are looking for rural land. They’re buying guns, tools, and nonperishable food. They’re learning how to take care of themselves. It’s spreading to people, even before they know what’s happening. It has already hit me pretty hard.

I live in a suburb where the fungi and bugs and viruses are so thick, it’s almost impossible to grow things. Citrus is dying (not just here, but worldwide). Tomatoes can’t escape the leaf wilt virus. Nonetheless, I have banana trees now, bearing like crazy. I have one magnificent mango tree and another one which is improving all the time. I have all the hot peppers I could possibly want. I have a strong, healthy lychee tree.

I also have unbelievable tools, plenty of ammunition, a good variety of weapons, and a diesel pickup. Plus two freezers.

Today I got a call from Mike. He has moved back to the DC area, near the remarkable church I wrote about last year. Now he lives in a home that has half an acre of ground. While we were talking about God, I suggested he watch Perry Stone. I mentioned Perry Stone’s vision about future crop failures due to flooding. He cut me off and started telling me how he had been buying bulk food. Mind you, he’s not even tuned into the movement yet. He just felt like it was something he needed to do.

He bought a lot of flour. He’s getting containers. He’s starting seeds for the yard. He just feels like bad times are ahead.

There has to be something to it.

I’m going to be sitting pretty, provided the food shortages aren’t prolonged. I’m stocking up. I ordered a tasty Kentucky ham, plus some sorghum and blackberry jam. I have boxes from Gordon Food Service; I’m putting away pizza sauce, pasta, flour, yeast, and other things. I plan to freeze mozzarella, so while other people are paying out the nose for bad food, I’ll be able to pop out $2 pizzas that beat anything you can buy locally. If there are problems with the power grid, I’m in trouble, but other than that, I’m cool.

I’m Googling “La Niña.” I know we’re having a La Niña year, so I wondered if La Niña causes flooding. Sure enough, it does. At least in some places. Look it up. In October, FEMA warned people in the Pacific Northwest to buy flood insurance.

They ought to quit with “La Niña” and “El Niño” and call the whole business “El Padre.” He’s the one pulling the strings.

I’ve been trying to figure out what to buy. Surely rain won’t hurt every type of food. For example, fish don’t mind rain. On the other hand, when one type of food gets scarce, people move to the others, so they get pressured, too.

God is shaking the world. He’s slapping us awake. Those who will listen will get into gear and start conforming to his principles. They’ll line themselves up with his will and get in the blessing and protection pipeline. Everyone else will have problems. They built their houses on sand, and when things shake, well, look at California. Only things built in accordance with God’s wishes will remain.

What will the result be? Persecution, probably. “My Christian wingnut neighbor bought all the meat and froze it! My Christian wingnut neighbor has a bunch of guns! Look how these hoarding parasites are living while we’re suffering!” It will be like post-Versailles Germany. And Jews are eventually going to get it, too. They are part of God’s plan, so the spirit of Antichrist will keep trying to kill them off, as it did in Germany and Austria (as it does in Gaza). Jewish names like “Madoff” and “Stearns” and “Geithner” and “Bernanke” will be persecution code words. There is a reason Jews are figuring so heavily in our economic disasters.

Some people think the Rapture will be a magical event so sudden and inexplicable, it will essentially force people to believe. They’ll see that millions of Christians are missing, and they’ll have no earthly explanation. Does that make sense to you? I have to wonder. I don’t think God would make it that easy. It would be unlike him. I think we may leave the earth in a wave of executions. I don’t know. I’m not a prophecy expert. Maybe the Bible makes it clear that we’ll just zoom up out of ourselves, instantly, but I don’t recall reading anything like that.

My guess is that the enemy’s people will eventually get the upper hand, and we’ll be murdered in large groups, just like the Jews were. After all, we’ll be “the problem.” This is how the political left will see us. It will be like Cambodia and Cuba. At least I suspect it will.

Christians like to talk about claiming victory and defeating every enemy and so on, but the Bible makes it clear that we do not always win. The spirits that hate us are extremely powerful, and God has not chosen to give us an instant or complete victory over all of them. The battle is still going on. Peter was tortured to death, and Paul was beheaded. I think a solid Christian will live in victory for the majority of his life, but that doesn’t mean you won’t die at the point of a sword somewhere down the line.

The Revelation says that even the two witnesses who are full of God’s power will by martyred. The Antichrist will succeed in murdering them. They’ll be resurrected and assumed into heaven, but no matter how you slice it, they will be killed. If they can’t hold off defeat indefinitely, why should the rest of us expect to do better?

I’ll bet the unsaved start rounding us up and slaughtering us, possibly in the name of their gay, non-judgmental, abortion-loving “god,” and they’ll celebrate over our dead bodies, using our stolen wealth. And then comes the Tribulation, and God’s wrath will make them all want to die.

I don’t know if it will happen in the US. Perry Stone talks of a prophecy about an army of interceders (“intercessors” sounds vulgar to me) who will succeed in getting God to restore America. That would be nice, but my guess is that it would come with a serving of chastisement dwarfing what we’ve seen so far.

People generally don’t turn to God out of gratitude. They don’t get everything they want and then show up in church to pass it out and praise the Lord. We turn back to the Lord after severe beatings caused by our stupidity. That’s my situation, and it’s the most common pattern for Christians. So if suffering is ahead, it will surely bring a good harvest.

I read something interesting in Perry Stone’s magazine this month. He’s a buddy of many of the prominent prosperity preachers, and while he’s not in the same category, he does teach that God will give us “shalom,” which includes having our needs met abundantly. In his magazine, he said something that flies in the face of the over-the-top prosperity gospel. He said that if God didn’t reward our offerings here on earth, it meant we were getting heavenly rewards instead. Not “as well,” mind you. Instead.

I don’t think his friends would be happy to read that. There are still a lot of people out there telling Christians they should all be rich, and that “sowing seed gifts” into the “good soil” of their embarrassing ministries will make it happen. I’m glad to see a popular minister shooting that filth down. The mindless prosperity nuts will be the Christian Madoffs, justifying our persecution in the future.

I’m here to tell you, God will not instantly reward financial gifts with “hundredfold” returns in kind. It has never happened to me. Not once. My needs are met, and I’m fine, but if the TV-evangelist, moneycentric gospel were true, I’d be as rich as…a TV evangelist. God is not an enabler, so I think he resists giving you stuff you will use to destroy yourself, and money can be as bad a poison as arsenic. If you want it so you can have a third helipad in front of your orange mansion, it’s probably not good for you. If you want it so you will have the means and the freedom to complete your mission, there is probably no limit to what will come.

I think money is like food. It’s supposed to serve its purpose and pass through you. If you hold onto too much of it, you just end up full of fat and poop. Constipation and obesity are powerful symbols of the things that go wrong with immature Christians.

Not that I know what it’s like to be one of those. Oh, no. But I have heard about them.

I’m going to run to Costco and get some apples for drying. The Bible says that in the days of famine, I will be satisfied, and I think I will be even more satisfied if I have dried apples for pie.

Call me Joseph

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Hands Off my MREs

Perry Stone says he had some prophetic dreams about the food supply being damaged by excess rain. Since then, floods have caused a food shortage in Australia. He thinks the problem will become global in nature.

Accordingly, I’m refreshing my knowledge of nonperishable foods. After all, Perry Stone hasn’t been wrong yet. He went up to George Bush when he was the governor of Texas and told him the Holy Spirit said Bush would be the next President.

Let’s see what I’ve found (omitting garbage like tofu and rice cakes):

Oatmeal
Canned fish
Canned meat
Rice
Beans (only last about a year)
Dried fruit
White flour (whole wheat flour goes funny)
Corn meal
Pasta
Almonds (24 months in sealed package)
Peanut butter (18 months)
Corn oil
Sugar

I should also freeze more pork, beef, and chicken. But how can you prepare for a shortage of dairy products and eggs? I don’t think much of that stuff freezes well.

More

You can freeze butter for 8 months in the original packaging. You can preserve fresh eggs for months by storing them in a weak salt and lime solution. You can find it on the Internet.