One day "as [Jesus] sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto themů ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake" Matthew 24:2,3, 6-9).
It is believed by many that we are living in the last days and that troubles are coming upon us shortly. Jesus predicted that these troubles would be severe with war, famines, pestilences, and other natural disasters. More than that, there would be violence and hatred where people would be killed by those with murderous intent, especially against Christians for what they believe.
Reading these dire predictions and seeing the way the world is going, it isn't hard to imagine that the days when these things will be happening is not very far away. Even non-religious people in various fields of endeavor are making similar warnings of dire times ahead. There are those who are aware of these warnings who are troubled by them but there are many others who are not aware of them who will be even more troubled when they start happening and are not prepared for them.
Yet Jesus told His disciples that when these things happen, "see that ye be not troubled." How can we not be troubled by such things and what can we do to keep from being troubled? Glenn Beck, a national radio and television personality has suggested that the answer can be found in following a four step program he calls The Four Es - Enlightenment, Education, Empowerment, and Entrepreneurship.
To be enlighten means "to inform" or "to gain understanding." The first thing we have to understand is who we are and why we are here. In the Declaration of Independence it states that "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." We were created by God and He has given us certain rights that are inherent within each of us therefore it is vitally important that we understand who God is, what our relationship is to Him, why He created us, why He has given us unalienable rights, and what He expects of us.
When we understand the answers to these questions we are led to have faith in God and that, in turn, leads to having hope. Without knowing God and understanding His ways, the only faith and hope we have are in things that are perishable. But we cannot come to know God unless He reveals Himself to us. That's called revelation but it is also called being spiritually enlightened.
However, there are many other things we don't know but need to be informed about and have our understanding enlarged. To illustrate this point, when the delegates from the thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia in May of 1787 to discuss the form of government we should have, they argued with each other so much that, after four or five weeks, they had made no progress at all. Then Benjamin Franklin rose to address the assembled men and advised them "to humbly apply to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings."
Since all knowledge and all truth comes from God, the Father of lights, then it becomes obvious that whenever we need to have our understanding illuminated, He is the one we should turn to. Every person experiences problems in their life and many times when those problems come we either don't know or are not sure what to do. At times like that, Christians know they can go to their Father in heaven for guidance and answers.
From all indications, Americans are about to face some serious problems that most of us have never experienced in our lifetime and when those problems come we will need to find answers to deal with them. Since each person is unique and every situation will be different, we will need to have our own, individual answers to the problems that will face us. That's where enlightenment comes in. We will need to have our minds enlightened on how to face and overcome the various difficulties we'll experience.
This is where our faith in God becomes essential because without that faith we cannot have real hope. If our faith is in man (including ourselves) or in material things, then our hope is base on things that will eventually fail us. That is not the kind of hope that can sustain us when things get really tough. But, when we strengthen our relationship with God, His Spirit not only blesses us with hope but we also know that He will illuminate our understanding and guide us through whatever problem comes our way.
Learning history is extremely important because if we don't know the past we are doomed to repeat it. Knowing our country's history shows us what our Constitution is and its importance in our life. It shows us what our Founders gave us, the reason for it, and what happens when we deviate from its principles. As we look at history we see the mistakes others made and the results of those mistakes which, in turn, helps us to keep from making them again. Unfortunately, a large part of the problems that will come upon us as a nation are because we have repeated the mistakes of the past but if we as a people know our history then we can correct those mistakes and shorten the time of our troubles.
But history is not the only thing we can become educated about. We send our children to school for 12 years and many people then go on to college to further their education. In addition to this, there are many different types of vocational schools and each of these centers of learning teach a great number of different subjects. The things we can learn are almost limitless. Then what is it that we should we learn?
If hard times are coming there are some things that are more important to learn than others. Some people know how to do their job very well, but if they lose that job and that field of employment has fallen upon hard times then it becomes very difficult for them to find another job, especially if that is the only skill they have. Therefore, learning other employable skills will help make it easier for people to find employment.
There are many businesses who specialize in fixing things, especially around the home. But, when hard times come, people don't have the money to pay someone to fix things for them, so being educated on how to fix things on our own is useful knowledge.
Today many people only know how to cook using the microwave. If they can no longer get or afford prepackaged, microwaveable food, they might starve to death. Learning how to raise and can food is not only useful but may become necessary. Learning how to make homemade foods such as bread, pasta, and other items that we now buy pre-made at the store is also a useful skill to learn. Wheat has been called the staff of life but not many people today know what to do with wheat yet it has a great storage life and is one of the healthiest foods we can eat.
If there was a loss of electricity for a long period of time most people today wouldn't know how to cook their food, heat their home, or provide light at night. Yet, not too long ago Americans lived without electricity and they survived very well, therefore, learning various survival skills is important.
Since skills such as sewing, first aid, finances, cooking, gardening, food storage, and many other areas of learning can help us survive when times get tough, it only seems wise that these are the kinds of things we need to concentrate on when educating ourselves. But, with so many things to study, what should we learn first? Since each person's situation is different, then each person must make that decision for themselves and that's where Enlightenment becomes important.
The opposite of empowerment is slavery and slavery is when someone has to depend on someone else for their support. When people feel they can't make it through life unless the government or some other charity agency provides for their needs, then they are no longer free but are at the mercy of others.
Empowerment means being self-reliant. It means knowing how to care for one self. It means having confidence in yourself and your abilities to do whatever you have to. It unlocks the creative portion of the brain and gives people the power to accomplish the impossible. It's what gives someone the power to keep going under the worst of conditions and never give up.
As an example, in the year 1162 a young, newly married girl named Hoelun living in the steeps of Mongolia, just south of Siberia, was captured by a neighboring tribe and was made the wife of another man. After she had became the mother of seven children her husband was killed by another tribe.
At this time the weather was harsh and food was scarce so the tribe decided that since this woman was not one of them, she and her children should be abandoned. In the frozen area where they lived this amounted to a sentence of death but she knew she had to live in order to save her children. Her son, Temujin, who was only ten years old at the time, took one of his mother's sewing needles, bent it and used it as a fishing hook. Life for them was extremely hard but she never gave up and survived. Her son, Temujin, grew to manhood and went on to unite the numerous warring tribes to become their ruler or, as they called him, their khan. Later, as his empire grew, he was given the title of Genghis Khan, which means, supreme leader.
God has not made us weak, helpless beings but has created us with His capacity to accomplish anything we want and has given us the desire and drive to do so. What sets man apart from the animals is his superior ability to adapt, invent, think, reason and dream, and it was that "can do" spirit of knowing that we are capable of doing anything, coupled with freedom, that has made America the most prosperous and advanced civilization in the history of the world.
However, that doesn't mean people never need help. In fact, everyone needs help from time to time because no man lives unto himself. Society is nothing more than a group of people working together to build a better life for everyone in the community. Businessmen need investors to help them get started, doctors need college professors to teach them the skills of medicine, athletes and actors need trainers. Whether in good times or bad, we all need help from others.
But needing a hand up is not the same as seeking a handout. Occasionally we may need a helping hand to get up on our feet, but when people seek a helping hand to lay down onto a comfortable bed then they lose their power and their freedom.
It's been said that knowledge is power, so the more knowledge we have the more we are empowered to do more things. That's why Education is important, but sometimes knowledge alone isn't enough. Sometimes it takes innovation and creative thinking and that comes from Enlightenment. It's when a person combines Enlightenment and Education that they are then able to become Empowered.
When people hear the word "entrepreneur" they unusually think of someone starting a business, and that is the most common definition of that word but there are both commercial and non-commercial businesses. A commercial business is one that seeks to make a financial profit while a non-commercial business is not concerned about making money.
An entrepreneur is someone who sees a need and figures out a way to fill it, whether they make money from it or not. It's seeing a problem and finding a solution for it. It means creating something of value for others.
For example, in Wilmington, Ohio, where more than half the population of this small town is out of work, one minister saw a need to provide food to the needy and started a food bank. Since he didn't have any money, he asked for volunteers to man the store and solicited donations to stock it. His efforts to establish a food bank makes him an entrepreneur.
The Tea Party is another example. In the beginning, a few people who were concerned about the way this country was headed, began to organize likeminded people into a movement to do something about it. They were being entrepreneurs.
There are mothers who are concerned about various women's issues and have started websites to share information on a variety of topics from home schooling, to child rearing, to pregnancy issues, to budgeting tips, to recipes, to offering counsel and support. Even though these websites are free, the women who operate them are entrepreneurs.
As life gets tougher more and more people will have greater and more serious needs. That means it will be necessary for people to step up and provide a way for those needs to be met. That doesn't necessarily mean these entrepreneurs will make money from their efforts. In fact, some may lose money as they act out of compassion rather than for profit. This is what the scriptures refer to as charity, or a Christ-like love.
Since everyone is unique, not everyone has the same skills, talents, drive, or abilities. Some people have great organizational skills and can manage a multi-national company while some have trouble managing their home budget. Some are very creative and have wonderful artistic skills while others have very little or no original ideas. Yet, everyone has things they are good at doing. It may include being mechanically adept, or having speaking, writing, or musical talents. It may be just having wisdom that comes from experience but whatever it is everyone has something they are good at. More than that, everyone has been born with the ability to think and reason, to see, ponder, draw conclusions, and have ideas. All these talents can be used in helping people with certain needs.
Being an entrepreneur doesn't mean being extremely talented or possessing some special quality. It means seeing a need and then taking the initiative to fill it rather than waiting for someone else to do it. But that requires having the courage to step out in faith, take a gamble, with hope that it will work. Hence, it takes Faith and Hope, to provide Charity.
To have the courage to be an entrepreneur a person must have the power to do what they want to accomplish (Empowerment), and they often need special knowledge (Education), but to know what, when, where, and how something needs to be done takes vision (Enlightenment).
When Americans practice Enlightenment, Education, Empowerment, and Entrepreneurship, which leads to having Faith and Hope in God, and Charity towards others, they can survive anything that happens to them. This is why it's important to follow the Four Es.
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