Teachings...

 

PREPARE
By Kathie Fetveit

Isaiah 57:14: And it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
Jeremiah 31:21: “Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of (set your HEART toward) the highway, the road that you take…”
“The way from the bondage of sin to the liberty of God’s children, is a high-way. It is plain, it is safe; yet none are likely to walk in it, unless they set their hearts towards it.” –Matthew Henry’s commentary
How does one prepare the way for the Lord?
Last month most of us invested a lot of time and money to prepare for the most costly holiday of the year for Americans – Christmas. “Ask Yahoo” reports that “The U.S. Department of Commerce predicted retail sales of $287 billion in the fourth quarter of 2002. According to this article from Money magazine, the National Retail Federation, “the largest group of the nation’s store chains,” said sales in November and December of 2004 were $216.3 billion.”
What did we do to get ready for “the big day”? Decorated with lights, greens and ribbons. Bought and wrapped gifts for our friends and family. Listened to timeless tunes of Christmas. Baked goodies that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers made. Attended parties. Sent Christmas cards and holiday greetings. Relived Christmases past. Reveled in Christmas present. Wondered about Christmas future. Stores advertised their wares for weeks before Dec. 25. Groups of musicians played and sang, ballerinas danced, actors performed messages of Christmas miracles. People opened their hearts, hands and pocketbooks to help the less fortunate in our community. Every day, in some way, we thought about Christmas.
In short, most people spent countless time, money and energy to “prepare the way” for Christmas Day.
Isaiah 40:3 says: “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.’”
The Ministry of John the Baptist was just for that purpose: Matthew 11:10: “This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’”
His job was to call people to prepare the way for Jesus:
Matthew 3:1-2: “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea [2] and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’”
Two thousand years ago Jesus promised He would come a second time. Every one who believes and is baptized will be saved. Those who have been born again are looking forward to eternal life. So heaven is coming closer to earth! How will you prepare for heaven?
This year would be a perfect time (7 is the number of perfection) to prepare our hearts for the Kingdom of God to come with the same enthusiasm that we prepared for Christmas – no – with much MORE enthusiasm! Are you ready to meet Jesus? What if He comes today? Or, what if today is the last day of your life on earth? Is your heart prepared?
I believe that the world starving for a demonstration of ideals such as virtue, truth, purity, honesty, honor, loyalty and integrity; ideals that are rare indeed. Our hearts need to be purged from all that pollutes so that we will be ready to receive the Lord and to be a reflection of the beauty of the Lord. Some believe that Jesus will return in our lifetime. But, whether the end of the world is near or not, one thing we know is that death is certain. So, sooner or later, we will all stand before God and give an account for how we chose to live our lives.
Here is a suggested way to prepare:
Get honest with yourself and with God about the present condition of your heart. Make things right with God. Make things right with your family and friends. Reconcile any unresolved conflicts from your past. Get your family relationships in order. Get your finances in order. Ask God where He wants you to be and what He wants you to do. Make knowing and loving God the top priority in your life!
A song from the 70’s resounds in my head as I conclude this article. Some of you might remember it! Based on Psalm 84, this will be my theme song for 2007:

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Oh Lord my God,