Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Make Ready A People Prepared

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord.  And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:5-17

Zechariah prays.  God hears his prayer.  He sends an angel, bringing great and yet unbelievable news to Zechariah and Elizabeth.  God’s Truth comes to pass for He said it.

And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember His holy covenant, the oath that He swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
Luke 1:67-80

John was to “…make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

As I prepare for Christmas this year, I am mindful of being drawn closer to Christ Jesus, my LORD, with each day, each passing minute, even seconds.  God gave John a calling to draw people to the LORD Jesus even before He became known.  He was to prepare a people for the coming of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah.  In our own day, we, too, can prepare for His coming as He enters our hearts with newness each year, each Christmas, but also each and every day, each and every moment.  Christ brings cleansing and wholeness to us with each breath.  

May we then be prepared ourselves and turn to prepare others. May we be sensitive to those whose hearts are hardened to Christ, not desiring to know Him, not thinking they need Him. May Your words come out of our mouths to touch those hard hearts and soften those hearts towards Your Son. May the soil be made ready for the seeds to be sown, to sprout, to send down roots, to grow and be fruitful. Prepare us, O LORD.

Father God, I seek You and call upon You to prepare my heart in this Advent season.  I wait.  I wait, Father, for Your Son comes anew although He has been, has gone, rose again, and yet lives in me today through Your Holy Spirit for I am one who had to be prepared for His coming.  I believed.  But I believe today, not in the past tense, for “believing” is ongoing and for always.  Father, breathe in me afresh daily that I would be able to continually be prepared so that I then may prepare others for His coming.  I praise You, Father, for You gave us the Only Gift we would ever need.  Nothing else matters.  Nothing…for until I knew You, nothing meant anything.  I thought ‘things’ meant something to me, but they really did not.  Knowing You, Your Son, Your Holy Spirit, the Trinity, is All that makes a difference in my life.  I know that Your Son is the Redeemer for He redeemed me…yes, even me.  Praise You, LORD.  You are the Holy One of Israel. And He will come again to take believers to His Heavenly Home. Open my mouth, guard my steps, make my life a light to others that I may share the wonderful Truth of Jesus. Make me ready, please. I pray in Your Wonderful Name.  Amen.

Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel!
I am the One Who helps you, declares the LORD;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.  
Isaiah 41:14

Winter Image by Ina Hoekstra from Pixabay

Image with Luke 1:17: https://www.freeimages.com/photo/mountains-1562932 / danieloo fiatod

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Make Ready

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“… and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:17 ESV

Many versions read:

“… so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” NASB

“… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”  NKJV, NIV

… placing “the Lord” at the end.

 

But many other translations read:

“… to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”  CSB, DBY

“… to make ready for the Lord, a people prepared.”  YLT

 

Whichever way the Bible reads, I have been looking closely at the two phrases in this small portion of Luke 1:17.

“…, to make ready …” 

ἑτοιμάζω

hetoimazō

STRONGS NT 2090

to prepare:—prepare, provide, make ready (G2090 refers to internal fitness)

 

“… prepared.”

κατασκευάζω

kataskeuazō

STRONGS NT 2680

to prepare thoroughly (properly, by external equipment; whereas G2090 refers rather to internal fitness); by implication, to construct, create:—build, make, ordain, prepare

 

to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:17 ESV

In reading this verse, my first thought was that both “make ready” and “prepare” meant the same thing and they do in a general sense.  Where the divide comes is when the definitions distinguish between external and internal preparedness.

The external layer of a person is prepared:

John the Baptist was sent by God to turn hearts to see their sins, be grieved over them, come to repentance and be baptized in preparation for the coming of Jesus.  Each one to repent can be prepared through this process of repentance.  We will be convicted and cleansed.  Through this conviction and repentance, we are being prepared.

Then, the internal person must be made ready to meet the Lord:

Because of the initial preparation, our hearts and minds are open and welcoming towards the Lord Jesus.  Our souls will find joy and comfort as we hear the gospel even as we are challenged and confronted by the Truth.  We are being transformed in the process and come to know His grace and are able to receive His mercy.  As we walk in obedience to His Word and His will we are being made ready for His coming.

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I recall so clearly the moment when I repented of my sins.  I grieved over the many times I hurt God by my actions and words.  I was being prepared for I wanted to be right with Jesus.  I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior.  From that very moment, I knew that things changed inside of me.  I received a grace that I had never known.  I was washed clean and then washed clean again… hundreds or thousands of times since.  Each time, I have grown deeper in my walk with Jesus.  I was made ready in my admission of my sinful ways.  I was then able to accept my salvation in Christ by faith.  I am continually made ready as I read God’s Word, as I pray, as I learn to walk closely to my Savior.

M. Henry says in his Commentary, We must be prepared by grace in this world for the glory in the other, by the terrors of the law for the comforts of the gospel, by the spirit of bondage for the Spirit of adoption.

The bud is made ready to become a blossom from the inside-out.  The blossom is prepared to glorify the Lord with its outward beauty.

white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds

Am I ever done being made ready while here on earth?  I have met my Savior by faith.  One day, when I meet Him in the clouds, will I no longer need to made ready?  I believe not!  Christ is so beautiful to me now.  I desire that He would be all I need while here on earth, but I must admit that things of this world do draw me in.  I wish that were not true, but it is.  As I age, I can say that things of this world are less and less important and I do have more peace.  I pray that He will be all I need or want on the other side.  Hallelujah!!!

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Heavenly Father, I thank You again, knowing that when I called out asking for Your forgiveness for the many ways in which I wandered aimlessly, sinfully, and disrespectfully towards You, Your immediate forgiveness of me rained peace upon this woman.  I am so grateful, Father.  I became prepared.  As I began to understand You and Your Son and the Holy Spirit, I was made ready to receive Your Son as my Lord and Savior.  The Holy Spirit has come to dwell in me and continues to grow me in Your Word, in grace, and in love.  I am just overwhelmed by Your love and hope and peace…gifts only You can give me.  Oh my!  I am filled with a welling up inside of me.  You are my All in all.  Your Son is precious to me and I pray in His Holy Name.  Amen. 

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Graphic of Luke 1:16-17https://www.touchbible.net/image-browser/?version=1&book=42&chapter=1&verse=17

Spotty Flowers: https://dryicons.com/vector/spotty-flowers

Photo of apricot blossoms: http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/05/08/white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Prepare the Way

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As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make His paths straight.

Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”  Luke 3:4-6

highway

Preparation for…

The birth of our Lord on Earth

The beauty of the Lord to be magnified

The Breath of Heaven bringing life

The Bread of Life nourishing soul-bones

The Living Water quenching thirst

He is coming!

stepping-stones-at-sunset

Prepare the way for I want to be with Him forever and ever.

Don’t you?

Oh, come with me to adore Him.

Let us bring Him our hearts for we need Him so.

Thank you, John, for preparing the way to the King…

the Shepherd…

the Holy Child…

the Door…

the Glory of the Lord…

the Lamb of God…

the Only Begotten Son.

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Father, may my heart be prepared for the coming of Your Son.  May my life be lived in the light of my Savior Who will come again for me.  I want this time on earth to be well spent as unto Him.  With anticipation I wait.  I thank You for sending Your Son to meet me in the stable, lying in the manger.  Thank You for bringing the Light of the World to meet me in this world that I may walk in His Light, as I leave the darkness that surrounds.  He is the Messiah and has come to save me from satan and the ways of evil.  Oh, thank You.  You blessed me so by watching over me for all those years when I wandered lost, when I fell down, wanting to stay down, when I cried myself to sleep because I knew You not, yet I knew Who or What I was missing in my life.  I needed Him then, and still need Him now…the Savior, the Lord, the Mighty One.  Yes, I need and I want You.  My heart is prepared to receive the Love that You send.  My heart is prepared to accept You wholly as You bring Yourself to me and to the world.  May more and more seek and find You, Jesus.  I want all to know You, Jesus.  You are the Holy One.  I lift up special people in my life that they will knock at the door only to find their One and Only Savior.  Oh, how I pray this for them.  May they be prepared for the coming of their Savior as well as the end of this world.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

beblacksig

“Let Every Heart Prepare” graphic – https://chapcalvert.com/

second graphic: whowillyouserve.blogspot.com/

“Stepping Stones at Sunset”http://publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=154285&picture=stepping-stones-at-sunset