Well, did you happen to look up any of the September 2015 stuff? There’s some really crazy stuff out there, but also some things that make you think…
The night I started looking into all the stuff being said about September I stayed up reading and watching videos until 4:30am (oh my!)… I was floored by what I was finding and finished my time with a prayer of distress, “Oh, Father! What can I do to prepare??!” Instantly I heard the whispered thought of God say, “Prepare your heart!” I’ll confess that’s not what I wanted to hear. I had in mind, “Get a year’s worth of food,” “Buy land,” Go to the mountains…” But, “Prepare your heart.” That was hard to wrap my mind around.
Since then I can’t say that I’ve been good at heeding that advice… True confessions here: Instead of preparing my heart, I’ve spent time thinking, “Ooh, if something’s coming I need to buy extra food and supplies.” Not a bad idea to be prepared for times of need, might I add. Other times I’ve spent way too much time surfing the internet for “insight” into what lies ahead in September… Wondering why we need to “be in Texas”?? And, on top of it all, I spent the first month and a half of summer trying to find a camper and get our travel plans in order for a modified trip from our original Civil War/East Coast one planned for the fall – to no avail, by the way. (For some reason every door we pushed on wouldn’t budge… it became almost comical that we would find a camper we liked, call on it, and the answer would almost always be, “someone is here buying it right now…”)
Finally, we gave up on our dream of a long road trip with our family and decided to jump to “our” next plan…
a. sell home and 16′ camper
b. move to townhome near school to have as a “base” for travel
c. buy a larger camper
d. travel the east coast and French-speaking-Canada for a year!!! (road schooling along the way)
e. get that bug out of our system and buy a large plot of land (that you don’t have to mow) with animals and ATVs
f. settle down in the country (near a big city) and enjoy nature together for the last few years we have with our kids at home (can you believe my older one turns 13 this Saturday?).
So… it made sense to us that we were just to skip on to the land we had wanted…
But, as has been in fashion for our lives this past year, the doors haven’t budged in that area yet either. Then, just a few days ago, I started finding things online that over and over again said, “Prepare your heart.” “Prepare your heart.” “Prepare your heart.”
I started to get the message… but, “How?”
“Lord, please show me how to prepare my heart,” has become my prayer and prayer request these past few days… and, Thanks be to God, He has shown me so much! (Why did I wait so long to ask?)
With a newfound commitment to be more obedient to those nudges of the Holy Spirit (you know the ones where you sense deep inside that God wants you to do something… offer to pray for someone, share the Gospel with that lady you just sat down next to, turn on a different road than normal, or as in this morning, wake up now and read your Bible), I woke up at His urging and went downstairs with my Bible to read.
1 Thessalonians came straight to my mind as where to start. So, I opened my Bible and began devouring each word in a new way, as an answer to my prayers, “Lord, please show me how to prepare my heart.”
Filled with the word of God, I wanted to go get my journal and make my list for myself of all that I learned and gleaned from chapters 1-5 of 1 Thessalonians on how to prepare my heart.
Then I sensed that nudge again…
“write it on your blog.”
I wrestled a moment with the fact that I had a family to attend to, and one of the admonitions was to “lead a quiet life,” and I don’t think hardly anyone reads the blog anymore since I’ve been absent for so long, but decided it was something I needed to follow. (I also prayed for quiet time to be able to write and can you believe no one is up and moving around in my household yet? – although I’m just starting to hear some stirring upstairs)
So, for whoever God chooses to send these words out to, here is what I gleaned this morning from 1 Thessalonians on How to Prepare Your Heart:
- Have the courage in our God to declare the gospel of God in spite of opposition
- We are approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so declare it, not to please people but God, who examines our hearts.
- Live in a way worthy of God who calls you to his own kingdom and his glory
- Accept God’s message, which is at work among you who believe
- Pray the Lord will cause you to increase and abound in love for one another and for all, so that your hearts are strengthened in holiness to be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
- Love one another
- Aspire to lead a quiet life, attend to your own business, work with your hands – in this way you will live a decent life before outsiders and not be in need
- Encourage one another with these words: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.”
- When they are saying, “There is peace and security,” sudden destruction will come on them like a thief in the night, but you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would.
- Stay alert and sober.
- We must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation.
- God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation.
- He died for us so that whether we are alert or asleep we will come to life together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as you are in fact doing.
- acknowledge those who labor among you and preside over you in the Lord and admonish you – esteem them most highly in love because of their work.
- Be at peace among yourselves.
- Admonish the undisciplined
- comfort the discouraged
- help the weak
- be patient toward all.
- See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.
- Always rejoice
- constantly pray
- in everything give thanks.
- For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
- Do not extinguish the Spirit.
- Do not treat prophecies with contempt.
- But examine all things; hold fast to what is good.
- Stay away from every form of evil.
- Pray that the God of peace himself will make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. – He who calls you is trustworthy, and he will in fact do this.
- Pray for others, too.
- Have this letter (1 Thessalonians) read to all the brothers and sisters.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
(Perfect timing, my family just came down a couple of minutes ago.) :)
May God be glorified in the sharing of His words from chapters 1 – 5 of 1 Thessalonians (NET bible translation).