(This is the message that I shared today at my Prayer Meeting...)
Several weeks ago, I was asking the Lord for direction in what to read in the Word that morning... I didn't have 'time' to really dig into a devotion & I didn't want to rush through my morning time with Him all together - but knew I was running behind schedule... Aaah the last days of Summer! I will need to get back to a regular routine and that will mean more consistent Quiet Time in the mornings I know! Another one of the things I LOVE about Fall! I am a Routine Girl - I love a schedule and color coding and that whole organization deal!!! Anyway - the Lord led me to 2 Chron ch. 20! It seems the Lord often speaks to me with this
portion of Scripture! And often, it is when I feel too rushed or too busy... which can also mean the enemy is trying to pour on guilt & condemnation as well! However, I know that when I am rushed & overwhelmed - it is Praise & Worship that my spirit is in need of!I encourage you to read 2 Chronicles 20 if you are not familiar with it... I love King Jehoshaphat! This chapter reminds us of the importance and power of prayer & worship... we are called to cry out to the Lord, and to do battle with praise and worship... so often that alone will bring an end to the battle! I love that when King Jehoshaphat was told of the army coming for him, he
"resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast..." (vs 3) and then verse 4 goes on to say that the people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD... I pray you are familiar with this story... we know that God showed up and fought the battle... setting ambush on the enemy and causing them to turn on one another. The Lords' people were simply told to "not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' " (2 Chron 20:15-17) I love that they were called to take ACTION - and yet - once in motion - to STAND FIRM and see the deliverance (or Salvation) of the Lord...
another translation says it this way: "You won't have to lift a hand in this battle; just stand firm, Judah and Jerusalem, and watch God's saving work for you take shape. Don't be afraid, don't
waver. March out boldly tomorrow—God is with you." (The Message) I love that! ... stay with me, and you’ll see why!
In the midst of worship that day here at Prayer, I had a vision of the LORD walking around that Prayer Room - mingling in the midst of the women there... I saw Him reaching into our hearts, one at a time... I could feel His Presence and when I asked Him, "Lord, what are you doing?!" He said, "Well, aren't you all praying to make your heart like Mine?" He said, "I Am Shaping you... molding you in the shape of things to come!" ..."The Shape of Things to Come..." ..."The Shape of Things to Come..." I kept hearing that repeat in my spirit over and over...
"What is the Shape of Things to Come, Lord?" I asked.
"It's something new... it's not like anything you've ever seen before"
Then, with a smile hinted on His lips, and some far away dream becoming His focus, He said, "Aaaaahhh - she's Beautiful, ...Glorious, ...a Wonder to Behold!!! She is almost ready to be revealed. She is fast approaching her time!" (That was the end of the vision!)
I knew then that She is His Bride... she IS the Shape of Things to Come...
He is at work in each of us... He is calling us to walk much like Jehoshaphat did. Towards the end of chapter 20, the Bible says that Jehoshaphat "...walked in the ways of his father Asa and did
not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD." However, that is not the end of his story. Verse 33 goes on to say that "the high places, however, were not removed, and
the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their fathers."
I believe that the Lord is at work in our midst... calling attention to some of our own 'high places' that need to be removed... Some of our Crooked places made straight... and we are now feeling the effects of a mighty shaking. But it does us good to remember that He is aware of what is going on... what is shaking down... and what will remain when the shaking is over! When our foundation is secure in Him... and we allow Him to reach into our hearts and begin to remold and reshape us... we find that the Potters Hand is gently shaping us into the Shape of Things to
Come!!! If you have ever watched a skilled artist using a Pottery wheel - you know that it simply takes a small shifting of their hands to change the entire look and feel of the clay... So - as we
dig into the Word today - I pray that He will ever so gently reach in to our hearts and shift what needs to be shifted to make something beautiful!
Now - I don’t want you all to think that I have visions every day - or every week - but it is in this room here - in this atmosphere of praise and worship and intercession that I often do meet with Him and every once in awhile He opens something up before me to see in the Spirit! A few weeks ago... During prayer, I had a different vision. In the Vision, I was standing before Jesus, face to face, nose to nose, eye to eye, & then He seemed to be moving - or sliding almost - slowly away from me. I could then see a smooth road that He was on & then in my peripheral vision I could see buildings, homes, temples, & mountains. As He moved backwards away from me, I saw written on the pathway “King’s Highway” & as He traveled the road, it seemed as though many of the buildings, homes, mountains, & other things on the sides of the pathway were crumbling and were parting to make room as He seemingly glided by them - all the while we were maintaining eye contact and He was smiling at me. He seemed so calm, so undistracted, so
sure of His safety and mine! At the end of the vision, I heard in my spirit, “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord!” I then realized that the vision was as if I was watching a video rewinding it was
shown to me in reverse! well - I rarely 'hear' Him in the King James version... but I knew that reference... so I was thinking maybe we would be digging into John the Baptist. As the vision
was happening, I realized that I was hearing music in the background - and I found myself sort of humming along with it in my spirit. What did I hear, you may ask? "Moon River"... yes -
that's right People - Moon River!?!? Now - I laughed out loud during our meeting when I realized what song I was hearing in the Spirit. It made me think of my precious friend Arleen... there are so many reasons why I adore her... and one of them is because she just does stuff... I mean - God will tell her to do a dance or sing a song... and she just does it... sure - she battles against all the same stuff everyone else does... but she presses through and she has come to learn that there is purpose beyond what she can see... she will break out in song in the midst of worship and sing the theme song to the Love Boat, or she'll sing about Lays Potato Chips, or whatever... but she does it... and then God moves and the rest of us see Him more clearly.
So - Moon River?! OK... that is what I heard... So I thought that when I went home I would Google the Lyrics and find some deep revelation to share with you. Maybe you are insightful enough to find meaning in it - so just in case - here are the Lyrics:
"Moon River, wider than a mile,
I'm crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you're going I'm going your way.
Two drifters off to see the world.
There's such a lot of world to see.
We're after the same rainbow's end-- waiting 'round the bend,
my huckleberry friend, Moon River and me."
Any thoughts, any deep truths uncovered?! Not so much for me - I thought it was awfully funny!? Sure - there are some things in there, but when I told my husband about it - he also referenced me to Arleen and he began to ponder out loud: “There is a River of God - Jesus said that He is the living water, and well - a Moon - it is simply a Reflection of the Sun!” Not bad - but not exactly what I was looking for! So, I think Moon River was just for my own enjoyment!
A few weeks ago, I took a trip with my daughter. We went on a Mother/Daughter trip just the two of us! "Our" Plan was to get out of town... listen to Dr. Dobson's "Preparing for Adolescence"
CD's... stay in a hotel and go swimming, hot tubbing, (cable TV)... and - of course - School Clothes Shopping in a bigger city!!! ...MY Plan... Was to be able to have some serious conversations about what I went through as a teenager... values I was - and WASN'T - raised with... honestly talk with Kaye about how I was raised and what things I want to do differently with her... pray together, not to mention laugh A LOT, have fun, oh yes - and SHOP!!!) In the end - all of our goals were met! God gave me a portion of Scripture for Kaye and she came away from the weekend not only wiser and more mature, but equipped with a Word from the Lord - not to mention a kickin’ new wardrobe! We had SO MUCH fun!!!
We are aware of how to go about Preparing the way for our kids - we teach them what we know and we hope that they can learn from our mistakes - but how do we prepare the way for our
Lord?! I believe it is - as everything is with Him - a Heart Issue! Some days we clear away a lot of debris and yet it doesn’t look like we have accomplished much, and other days we seem to be
making ground and blazing ahead for miles and miles! It’s not a Works thing - it’s a Heart thing! So often we get our identity from the title we carry and the roles we play - those are a part of us - but they are not Who we ARE!
I do know that as we prepare the way of the Lord, and keep our focus and connection to Him secure, if we keep our eyes on Jesus, all else will grow dim, if we will learn to see the world IN HIM & not in all the distractions, He will surely see us through - in fact, He will PULL us through, He moves closer to us & even as things all around us may shift & shake - our foundation in Him is not moved and our security is not shaken! Let me tell you - in that vision, in the midst of all the chaos and crumbling, He was not one bit worried or concerned - for Himself or for me! He knows what is going on and He is well able to handle it - as long as we keep our eyes on Him.
So - back to John the Baptist! Sheri asked me to lead today, on the day I had that vision, so I figured I would go with that and see what else God would say - so, I show up last week... and I have my mental outline ready to expand on for this week - I have my Scriptures and all... a basic idea of Preparing the Way... And I am wanting to hear more from the Lord about what He would have me share - and then Sheri opens up to Matthew 3 and Isaiah 40! Same Scriptures and everything?! I thought, “Oh no you didn’t!” and God said, “OH yes I did!” I loved it... God is so funny to me! So - as our God is so often doing - as we try to prepare the way for Him - He is at work, busy, preparing the way for US!
Last week, on the Elijah List, Rick Joyner posted a word and I wanted to just read you a piece of it. He said:
“The Kingdom is much bigger, grander, and diverse than we have been able to see because even the most gifted, see only in part and know in part, just as the different tribes of Israel each had their own inheritance, different callings, and different prophecies, but they all fit together to make them one nation. We need to see how the different parts of the body of Christ fit together to form the one holy nation. It is also understandable, that many would believe a Kingdom and a democracy would be in opposition to one another, but this is not necessarily the case. Though the foundational authority of the Kingdom will obviously be the King's ultimate authority over everything, and His delegated authority through those who have overcome in this life to rule and reign with Him, there are ways in which some democratic principles will also have a part in His rule. These are important to see if we are going to build a highway that goes to the right place. A highway goes both ways--it is a way for the King to come to His people, and it is a way for the people to go to Him. In prophetic symbolism, a highway often represents a "higher way."
I believe that the Lord is calling us all to a Higher Way in Him - a Higher Way in how we approach Him, and in how we relate to Him and to others. We have heard the prophecies of the Shaking that is coming - and I believe it is just now beginning to happen. I believe it will get worse - or more intense - before it gets better. But when we keep Him at our center - and remember Who it is that we serve - we will have nothing to fear!
Let’s open up our Bibles to Isaiah Chapter 39. (Read Isa 39:1-8)
I think it is important to look back a little bit and remember the history of what is going on in Isaiah before he proclaims to God’s People to Prepare the Way! God’s people had been thrashed
about by foreign kings. The deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrian King, in Isaiah Chapter 37 happened in 701 BC. In Chapters 40-48 we deal with events that occurred some 150 years later! So - in between that time lapse, we find King Hezekiah is faced with a choice - whose ‘way’ is he going to prepare for, which ‘king‘ will he choose!?
In chapter 39, we find that King Hezekiah’s life has been spared, but word had spread that he had not been feeling so hot. The King of Babylon sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, after hearing that he had been sick and had recovered. Now remember - they just went through some STUFF with some foreign kings who seemed to be against them and their God! This King of Babylon -
there is meaning to his name and Hezekiah should have suspected something in that alone! “Merodach” means “Rebel” and “Baladan” means “Not the Lord” - and yet, Hezekiah was pleased with these gifts and letters of concern, he was flattered and he showed Merodach-Baladan everything in his kingdom. I mean EVERY THING!!!
Pride in his own wealth and military might caused Hezekiah to want to maybe show off a little! When Isaiah heard this - he prophesied to the King regarding the Israelites’ captivity in Babylon that happened 100 years later. But, instead of repenting, the King breathed out a sigh of relief and, as The Amplified Bible puts it, he said, “For there will be peace and faithfulness [to His
promises to us] in my days.” He was simply glad to find out that he had once again been spared and did not seem to be concerned about what would happen to his children or his children‘s children. Can someone say Selfish and Short-Sighted?!
So - let’s move on to Chapter 40...
In Verses 1 & 2, we find the Lord speaking Comfort to His people - and promising forgiveness and a clean slate! This must have been such a welcome message - a message of salvation to a lost & rebellious people - don’t we all know what that feels like!?
(Read Isa 40:3-5) “A voice of one who cries: Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord [clear away the obstacles]; make straight & smooth in the desert a highway for our God! Every valley shall be lifted & filled up, & every mountain & hill shall be made low; & the crooked & uneven shall be made straight & level, & the rough places a plain & the glory (majesty & splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, & all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it."
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness” - we know this to be John the Baptist. In Matthew 3:3, it says of John: “This is he who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, The voice of one crying in the wilderness (shouting in the desert), Prepare the road for the Lord,
make His highways straight (level, direct).”
John was called a Voice, We are all called to be a Voice - I think it is interesting to note that John would call no attention to himself as a person, but he only pointed people to the Savior, whose way he had come to prepare. While the people came out to the Desert place - he did not find comfort or pride in his following - but pointed them all to the Lamb of God who takes away the
sin of the world! So - in Isaiah - he is not referred to as someone anointed and mighty in the plans of the Lord - although obviously he was - but he is referred to as a Voice. It’s not about us - it’s all about Him! Like Chuck shared on Sunday, ‘I AM because He Is!’
“Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” Matthew Henry writes: “When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and hindrances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hindrance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom.”
The messengers sent before the eastern kings prepared the way for the chariots and armies of their monarchs. A "king's highway" had to be carried through the open land of the wilderness, valleys filled up, and hills leveled - all in advance for when the King would come to visit a city!
“Make his paths straight.” Roads that had not been properly directed in the beginning needed to be straightened out and re-routed, much like the ways of men when no preparation has been
made for the GREAT KING. (BW Johnson from The People’s New Testament 1891)
Let’s not forget that there was a time when Isaiah was all about preparing the way for a king - he was all about setting up man on a pedestal and bowing down - clearing a path in hopes
that others would see and love the king as much as he. When that King (King Uzziah - Isa. Chapter 6) died, Isaiah was beside himself with grief. And then - He came face to face with the
Lord of Lords and King of Kings! In those days, when a king would overtake another region or kingdom, he would have the defeated kings’ robe sewn onto his own - so the longer the train
- the more victorious the king and the more to be feared and respected! So - enter our Lord - High and Lifted up - and His train FILLS the temple. Isaiah knows then and there that this is
the High King - the Only One who is worthy to receive worship and praise and glory! And it is here where Isaiah first gets the Call - when he first is instructed to prepare the way!
So - this People - these Chosen ones of God - when Isaiah cries out this plea to prepare the way - they know! They KNOW - they understand what he is saying and it is unbelievable to them!
This is 150 years later - and they had lost everything - they were torn away from homes, from
their faith, from their very way of life and now - Isaiah is saying prepare the way of the Lord - make Him a King’s Highway! He is saying - the King - the Messiah is coming!!!
And - he is! He is coming!!! We have been preparing the way for Him in all that we do - whether we are aware of it or not - we prepare for Him.
Matthew 24:45-47 in The Message reads: “Who here qualifies for the job of overseeing the kitchen? A person the Master can depend on to feed the workers on time each day. Someone the Master can drop in on unannounced and always find him doing his job. A God-blessed man or woman, I tell you. It won't be long before the Master will put this person in charge of the whole
We prepare Him room - He has been at work within each of us to bring us into this Season - He has been shifting and shaking us - molding and shaping us into the Shape of things to come!
He’s been allowing things to come at us to help guide and grow us into the one whom He can depend upon - the one whom He can “drop in on unannounced” and find us doing the job He has given us to do. We pray and we do the work of the Lord; we build relationships; we mother and we mentor and we minister - we build up the valleys and tear down the mountains in intercession, all in preparation so that “every heart will prepare Him room” We take Action and we Stand Firm, we work on His behalf, so that others will get a clear glimpse of the King as He passes by - we work whether we feel Him near or not. We prepare Him room so that He can move and flow and draw us closer and so that He can come near to us! We want to see Him face to face and He promises that if we prepare the way of the Lord - we WILL - we will see His glory, His majesty, and His Splendor!
Now -the enemy of your soul may be whispering to you right now that you don’t do any of that! You aren’t being reshaped and refined - you aren’t preparing the way - you are not building or
tearing down - but you are! You are here - you are intercessors & worshipers & mighty women of God, & you ARE preparing the way!
I believe that we are being released to do the work of preparation - because He IS coming - He is coming to You - and He is coming to me!!! And when we are able to keep our eyes focused on Him - it won’t matter what is going on around us - it will matter what is going on within us! And I believe that the deep internal work will be contagious to those around us. As we prepare the way for Him - He will prepare the way for us! Our hearts cry, Lord is to see Your face! We
want to see it clearly and find comfort in it - we know in Your eyes there is mercy, and grace - there is forgiveness and love, and we know that in Your eyes we have all that we will ever need!
In Isaiah 54:10 it says: “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” Isn’t that good?! Don’t you just LOVE that promise?! NO matter WHAT is going on around us - our foundation in Him is secure, our covenant sure, and when we look into His eyes of Love - we find every Yes and every Amen - we find every answer and reassurance we will ever need. When we turn our eyes upon Jesus - and look full into His wonderful face, the things of earth will grow strangely dim - in the Light of His glory and grace!
May He mold you and shape you, and remind you of His unfailing love this week!
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