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Preparing Instead of Planning

What does it really mean to “prepare the way of the Lord?”

Have we been seeking revival and are presently discouraged at our lack of breakthrough? 

Sadly in the church, and particularly where there is energetic leadership, we can give in to the tendency to do programmes.  Perhaps some churches tell themselves that because they have a programme in place, they are doing ministry.  Often what they are really doing is programming!

The Prophet Isaiah (50:11) calls us to rely on God and not to be “lighting our own torches”.  Let us not get trapped into just “doing something” or, being impatient for change we try to make it happen… like Abraham sleeping with Hagar.  Our programmes can offer immediate satisfaction, but our earnest activity cannot take the place of genuine change.

Victory however can often be achieved through our weakness.  God reduces our assets so there can be no confusion over who produced the breakthrough.  Gideon’s army is the obvious example where the Lord made Gideon send home the vast bulk of the initial draft, and a great victory was won with only 300 (Judges 7).  Paul reminds us of the same thing in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29:

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

And Jeremiah (17:5) puts it very simply:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.”

We cannot plan for revival, but we can prepare for it, and this is possible at an individual level.

Psalm 37:5-6

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Hosea 10:12

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

Joel 2:12-13

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”

We can see that the path to true and lasting change is internal before it is manifest externally.  Let us not be discouraged over any lack of visible progress, rather let us faithfully seek to be personally positioned before the Lord and prepared for his revival call.  Equally, let us not despise what seem to be small things.  As George Otis wrote….

“One of the things wilderness pioneers needed more than anything was fire.  But they soon learned that trying to start a fire with logs was fruitless.  They just didn’t ignite.  What was needed was tinder – a wad of dry grass and some small twigs.  Lighting the fire of community revival works in much the same way”.  In the words of Isaiah (1:31)

“The mighty man will become tinder and his works a spark; both will burn together, with no one to quench the fire”.

Heavenly Father, today please forgive me where I have been frustrated and critical over others and disappointed over not seeing revival yet.  Help me instead to offer You unreservedly all of myself, and to allow You to refine and position me for a day when You will pour out a powerful move of your Spirit in my community.  May You be glorified, and bring many to salvation.  Amen

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