I dedicate this blog to my Brother Jim, whose quiet influence has led me to a more profound revelation of how powerful a simple faith can be. Thank you, brother, for your steadfast faith.
I moved from Pueblo to Littleton a few years ago for a job. Although the job paid more per hour, the cost-of-living increase meant I lost 14% of my usable income (You cannot use what the governments in all their greed take from you). However, since I was paid by the hour and put in many hours, I did well.
My work circumstances changed, and I was moved from hourly to salary. This is a company’s clever way of making you believe you have been promoted while keeping from having to pay you what you were making. I lost my overtime earnings. The “raise” I got put me in a higher tax bracket and was not enough to offset my other losses. I lost even more usable income.
Things got tight. I managed, even if managing meant living on a razor’s edge and minding every penny. I managed. It meant cutting out things that we often take for granted. Those lovely weekend excursions into all the beauty of Colorado became fond memories.
The recent changes in our economy and the disastrous losses brought on by stupid decisions on managing covid meant an even more significant loss of usable income. Life became a matter of paying bills or buying groceries. I began a very aggressive campaign to reduce my expenditures.
I discontinued all subscriptions; I canceled cable TV. I drastically reduced what I bought at the grocery store. Fortunately, my 4Runner is broken down, so I am not gallivanting about on weekends and spending money and buying gas (Which is even less affordable).
Before coming down with covid, I wanted to visit family in Missouri. The only way I could afford to get my 4Runner running was to take out a “payday loan” so I could spend the $2000 to get the repairs needed to travel that far.
I swallowed all common sense and pride and got the loan. I just added to my financial burdens a condition that broke my already strained budget. But I needed to go see my family.
On my way home, I discovered the “repair” shop had damaged my braking system. The entire hydraulic system failed, and I could not use my brakes. This happened roughly 75 miles outside of Denver, on I70 West.
I got home using clever tricks with my transmission as a braking device (I do NOT recommend doing this).
The resulting damage to my 4Runner is such that the cost of repairing it now exceeds the value of three 2004 4Runners. I simply cannot afford to have it repaired.
In the meantime, the economy continues to tank, and people flooding into Littleton from California means the cost of living has climbed even higher, proving that greed outweighs common sense every day.
Pre-California residents have discovered their incomes no longer have the impact they once had. Within one year, greed and selfishness drove the cost of living even higher. An apartment of 900 square feet, already being overpriced at $1600 a month, is now $2200 a month. You get the picture.
What this means is, now, all I do is pay bills. I am lucky to buy the basics at the grocery store, whose financial troubles are reflected in the cost of goods and services.
I have not bought groceries in 9 weeks. I am living off my stash of emergency rations, and eating one meal a day, sometimes not even that.
When I had covid last July, one of the many unexpected surprises I encountered was that I didn’t want food at all. I went for two weeks without eating. I did this because any time I ate anything, I couldn’t keep it down, and the desire for food completely vanished after the first couple of days.
I discovered fasting.
I will not lie and say I fasted for godly or even spiritual reasons. I simply began thinking food was my enemy. So, I fasted. The results I discovered included a loss of weight, better sleep, more energy, a clearer mind, and a significantly improved prayer life and Bible Study time.
All of this was a happy accident. A byproduct of being so sick, the idea of getting out of bed seemed like an Olympian effort. Gatorade became my best friend.
The good news is that having gotten good at fasting through my bout with covid, I am mentally equipped to continue this practice by eating as little as possible.
The other good news is my belt has already come in by 3 notches in the last 9 weeks. I do not feel threatened by my loss of groceries either. My clarity of mind is improving, even if my budget is not.
Please understand this: I am not telling you this to complain, nor am I telling you this to elicit an emotional response from you or to garner sympathy or pity. I am not alone in these circumstances. I know several people near me who are going through this very thing. And this is only the beginning.
All of what I have shared with you is to set the stage for making the point I need to make.
I have gone so long without buying groceries and have consumed most of my emergency food that I have had to satisfy myself with eating even less than I was eating. I didn’t mind, even if it was not comfortable. In view of world history, we Americans do not know how well we have things. Doing without them has made me more sensitive to those who have nothing at all.
I needed this lesson.
I CAN manage with less, even if I don’t want to. It is not my preferred choice, but circumstances being what they are, I discovered I really have 10% more in me than I believed I did.
The richest blessing from all this is that it has driven me closer to the Lord. I pray more. My prayers are more impactful. My prayers have become less about me than about others. My desire to help others has increased. I have become less of myself and more of the Spirit from God who sustains me.
I have greater joy and less fear.
But here is an unexpected lesson I learned a few days ago.
The office had a special event. That event meant hiring a caterer to bring in food to feed everyone who came to the event.
I had read Simon Sinek’s book, “Leaders Eat Last,” and was inspired enough by it that I took ownership of those principles in that book. I made sure all my guests and all the hourly employees had had their fill of food before I would allow myself to think about feeding myself.
By the time everyone had eaten, though, the meeting started, and it was too late for me to get a plate of food. Having become used to doing without, I honestly didn’t mind and even forgot about it as the meeting went on.
After the meeting, I was part of the clean-up crew. There were so many pans of leftovers that those of us on the clean-up crew could each take a pan home with us.
I was excited because this was the most food I had had in my home in weeks.
Having had survival training, I knew I needed to not gorge on food and to take on the food in increments.
I got home, and while the food was reheating in the oven, I took my shower, got the bed ready for the night (By this time it was very late), and put on my pajamas.
The aroma of the food filled my apartment.
The sensation of eating actual food was so rich and powerful that I got tears in my eyes.
This is when I realized I forgot to stop and thank our Lord for what He provided.
I stopped to pray. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude to have something to eat that I cried even more. These were tears of joy. There was no self-pity involved at all. I experienced a level of gratitude I had never experienced before. It was sweet; it was full; it was transcendent.
All I could do was praise God, through Jesus Christ, that I had something to eat.
I had gotten so used to not eating that I forgot how sweet and joyful it is to have a meal of good food.
I had become inured to my circumstances. I had grown used to not having. The pain of not eating had passed me by so long ago that I had forgotten that having regular meals was a thing.
So, that first bite of aromatic deliciousness brought sweet tears to my eyes, and all I could do was praise God for being my provision.
Would you like to know what else I learned from all this?
The world has removed God from all arenas of life. Sometimes, when we reject God enough, he gives us what we think we want. Here, the Earth has rejected God, so He has stepped back and is letting us have what we want.
The result is that we have become numb to sin in our lives. We have become so used to the depravity brought on by sinfulness that we accept it as normal. We vaguely remember what the presence of the Spirit of God meant to us, but having stepped back, we are growing colder in our hearts; we forget how sweet fellowship with Him is; we have lost our passion for His Word. We are making do in a world of loss we brought ourselves.
When I was thanking God for good food, He reminded me of what it was like when I abandoned Him and how sweet the joy was when He brought me back to His loving arms.
His Word became an essential part of my life. Worship returned to my soul. I cannot imagine returning to being the monster I was because of the many wonderful ways he has changed my heart and life.
I now know that “If anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation, LOOK, Old things have passed away! All things have become new.” II Corinthians 5:17.
God reminded me that this is where the world is. Earthlings have forgotten even the memory of God. We have become numb to the idea that sin exists and wallow in it because we prefer that to His way.
We have gotten used to privation brought on by willful indifference to Him. In our drive to fast of the things of God, we have become used to the way things are now.
We have received what we have asked for. We have brought on our own poverty, our own lawlessness, our own perversions, and our own deaths because we would rather die in our sin, the sin we refuse to even admit, than surrender to the ways of a righteous God, who sacrificed Jesus in our place so we can live.
We would rather wallow in our own filth than be subjected to the will of God.
He has given us what we have asked for.
In God’s economy, there is never a lack of His love or guidance or presence or gifts or joy or grace or mercy.
We are experiencing this present state of affairs because we have told God to go away, that we don’t need Him, and sin is not a condition; it’s just lousy psychology, and we all need is to look inward, not to Him, for relief from being a fallen and sinful race.
We have elevated ourselves to take the place of GOd. ANd this is the very distraction Satan has waited for.
This condition has blinded us to the fact that He has stepped back to let us have our way.
We have forgotten that the enemy cannot stand in the presence of praise. We have forgotten that prayer is our most potent weapon. Surrendering to God through Jesus Christ is victory over evil and sin.
The only reason evil has gotten as far as it has is because we have grown accustomed to a placebo religion that mimics faith but is the very road to hell.
We have forgotten Him and His ways.
Just as sweet as it was when I ate a real meal the other day, imagine how sweet it will be when God’s children abandon their sin and return to the truth of God’s word and genuine faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior.
Imagine the tears of joy when we again feel His Holy Spirit, the joy of salvation, and the sweet sustenance of His word.
We are a slave race, whether serving Satan or Jesus. There is no in-between. Liberty is an illusion that Satan uses to foster rebellion against our true Lord, Jesus Christ.
We can join King David in confessing the sin of adultery against God.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Today is when you need to repent, and then you will find a sweet and savory meal of His grace, mercy, and love.
“Let’s Be About It”
I love you in Jesus’s name
David G. Perkins