In this past season, I look back and see all the things that YHVH (God) has been having us prepare. Some of these things have shown many fruits, and other are "a work in progress"that needs much honing; we see some fruits, but are hopeful for a greater harvest with further training. In both cases, it is clear that he is teaching us to live a lifestyle of preparation. He has been doing some of these things for a while now, others are new, but all have been intensified and brought to a higher level of action and accountability in this past season of our lives (6yrs). First and foremost all the things are done for the purpose to prepare for Yeshua's (Jesus') return. We measure everything against the Scriptures and The Spirit for guidance, reproof and correction as needed. When I reflect on this Sabbath, I see all the ways Yah is training us to be prepared:
Of course this leaves little room, for vacations to amusement parks and frivolous entertainment. We used to be a family that was driven by entertainment and convenience. We were always looking for ways to be tickled and pleased. For example:
* We would think about that big screen TV until we got it, than we would have the hi-def cable service for it and sit and watch things that tickled our fancy and stole more of our time. (Now we have no TV and more time).
*We would organize regular game playing nights with our Christian friends. We had this "just add Scripture and a prayer" lifestyle. We would help the church organize their carnivals and other "catchy gimmicks" to bring other thrill seekers into our church in the hopes to help them see the light while at the same time showing them how "relevant" we were. We even helped furnish youth rooms with pool and air hockey tables. (??????)
*I would take those regular trips to the spa or hairdresser and had nice long nails that never got dirty. I had closet full of cloths - most of which were impractical and for the purpose of drawing attention to me in one way or another . (Now, my hair is covered, my nails are short and I TRY to keep them clean. I can't remember the last time I went to a spa! I find my clothes are practical and modest and much fewer than they used to be. Unfortunately they may still draw attention because we are not "trendy" and people want to draw conclusions that I can not help.) :-(
*I had a maid come once a week to clean my (way too big) house. (Now, we clean it..all of us - together - as needed.)
*I loved to shop, it was a regular past time, as were play dates. (Shopping is not very fun any more. I have become content with so much less, that I don't yearn for things like I used too. I have so many other things I would rather be doing. Although - I do enjoy daydreaming at Tractor Supply sometimes! :-) We do visit with friends, but we do not have scheduled dates too to socialize. However, we find we never want for fellowship.)
*We would spend our summer days lounging by a pool or have passes to the local amusement park. We would take the children to Gymboree or other classes so they would be "enriched". (Now, our lifestyle is "rich" we don't need to look for "enrichment" elsewhere anymore. We do enjoy fun outings, but they are further in between than they used to be. They are usually relational or educational in nature.)
*We would go out to eat, a lot. (We like to go out, but the things we have chosen - like living a cash lifestyle with a family of 8 prohibits that. The food quality is also a big compromise when we go out. So we don't as much.)
*We had all sorts of useless gadgets and remote controlled 'this and that' for our conveniences. The list goes on....what clutter that was! (We have and continue to purge useless things.)
What was it's PURPOSE? It was so hedonistic and self indulgent. How did it further Yah's Kingdom? How did it edify Him? How did it prepare my children to live for Him? How did it prepare our hearts for Messiah's return? How did it prepare our ears to hear His direction? How did these things prepare us to live as the King's Sons and Daughters by His ways and standards and guidance -which is so different from the "worlds ways". How did it reflect on him?? Well.... not well! We were so distracted by the desires of our hearts being in the wrong places and the "noise" of them - that it was hard to hear Yah's still small voice consistently and clearly.
I am so thankful for Yah showing us a better way - His ways. Do I mean to say that who ever lives in the city is not following His way? NO! Do I mean to say just because someone lives on a homestead, they are? NO! Do I mean to say that someone who takes their child to gymnastics is not one of God's children. NO! (Please don't assume I am saying any of these things, or anything like it - because I am not.) I am simply sharing my personal experience and reflections on how Yah is using all these tangible acts to prepare us beyond the act itself.
He has changed our hearts and minds and desires and actions to better prepare us for our call. That is, to minister to His people who have not prepared and will come to Him, unprepared. (Just as we once did!) He is calling us to assist Him as He brings in the Harvest. He is teaching us to be over-comers and to endure to the end. (Rev 2:7) He is preparing us to give up all those things we once thought were good and worth our time, and showing us they are not worth our time and that HE has something else in mind for us. He has taught me that, what I used to call "free thinking" was nothing but worldly programing and distractions! He also helped me see (and mourn and repent) the fact that this thinking even existed in my church. (Even though there were many many people there who loves God and were devoted to Him in the ways they were taught to be!) Through all these preparations, He is changing our character to better match and reflect His. He is changing our desires to better fit the job He has for us, so that we may do it with JOY and gladness. There was a time in my life where I would have seen how we live now and thought ill of it. I would have thought I was "better than that" being a "modern women", I would pity others thinking they were "repressed" in some way. I find it amazing how Yah has changed me. I am so thankful!
If we look at the patterns throughout Scripture, we see that Yah always sends someone (people, angels, animals, prophets, Yeshua) ahead to prepare the way. He is a gracious Father! He also teaches us that our lifestyle is one of constant preparation, these acts of preparations are expressions of worship. The Hebrew lifestyle is one of preparing and worship. While we could never "earn our salvation", we are always growing and moving toward Him, allowing ourselves to be molded by the Master. He tells us, if we love Him, we will obey Him. We see this all through the teachings that set us apart, as His people. We prepare our things, our bodies, our hearts and our minds. We see this highlighted in the special events in life too! (Like His Feasts, Shabbats, marriage, births, harvest, deaths, etc.) Hopefully, we recognize our own imperfections and our need for His grace to and gift of mercy and Salvation- even after it has been given... So, as we prepare for what is ahead, we are always being restored BACK to what is right - BACK to Him and His ways. There is a very interesting reality of duality in this process, the further BACK we go the further AHEAD we get. The more humble we get, the wiser we become. The more we consider others, the more others consider us. The more we give, the more we are given.
Shabbat Shalom and May All His People live a Lifestyle of Preparation for Yeshua's return!
1 Peter 1:13-26 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (Quoting Lev 19:2) And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Messiah, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.” (Quoting Isaiah 40)
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
This post was shared at the Preparedness Challenge #24