Let Us Prepare

For much of my career, the week between CHRISTmas and New Year’s was “shutdown”, a time when only essential tasks were happening around the office. For the most part, maintenance crews painted, repaired, or started construction projects when many employees weren’t around. It was both safer and more efficient that way. As a Capture and Proposal Manager, I was often considered essential and worked through most shutdowns.

Even when I worked, I still spent a fair amount of time preparing for the year-end reviews and reports required, team member performance evaluations, and other administrative tasks. In retirement, I use this week to start organizing my tax receipts, evaluating ranch P&L, and planning for the coming year. Ranch planning often includes things such as what I’m planting when, what repair or improvement projects we’ll undertake, and of course, lots of prayer for God’s direction.

It’s this time of year that I spend more time looking at the year ahead than I do planning for the next day or week. And if you’re anything like me, then chances are you have more questions than answers, which is another good reason to spend more time than usual in prayer. This year, I sense an urgency to pray for God’s direction. Not only praying for our Cross-Dubya ranch, but for my and my family’s faith, endurance, and knowing God’s will for our lives.

When there’s more questions than answers, seek God’s will rather than yours. Click To Tweet

I’m not sure why, but there’s been a stirring in my soul for the past few months. It is an unsettling feeling that I’m on the precipice of something life changing. I asked God what He’s trying to guide me to; and was led to the words I had long hidden away.

In those days John the Baptist came preaching
in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent,
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he
who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the
way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ”
(Matthew 3:1-3, NKJV)

Here, he reminded the Jewish people of the words of the prophet, referencing Isaiah 40:3, as Isaiah was preparing them for the coming of the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ. Looking at the world today, I see famine, disasters, social unrest, great division among people along many lines, and all sorts of debauchery and evil running rampant. It seems the words of Matthew 24 have come alive, and we are living in the midst of them. Perhaps my uneasiness comes from the realization that the end times Christ foretold are closer than ever before. Please don’t take these words as JD’s wearing his sandwich board with bold letters reading, “Repent, the end is near!” Truth is, no man knows the day or hour (Matthew 24:36).

What I do know is that as this world spins further out of control, Christians are going to need to rely on our faith even more to endure in Christ to the end. As strong as I think my faith is, I recognize that unless my life is fully anchored to Christ, the winds of strife and the waves of turmoil will overtake me.

Unless you are anchored firmly in your faith, the storms of this life will overwhelm you. Click To Tweet

I think back to this past February, when a historic ice storm hit Texas. Had I not prepared with extra hay, a generator to keep the house running, etc. things could’ve been much more difficult. There’s a strong storm coming friends, and I want to encourage each of you to start preparing your hearts now. We can prepare ourselves to weather the storms of life by strengthening our faith through more time in God’s word and prayer, and devoting ourselves to one another.

More than any other time in my life, I feel strongly that Christ’s church needs to unite and stand strong with one another upon God’s word. It’s time to put away worldly things that seek to distract and divide us. It’s time to stop thinking about me and start thinking about we. Each one of us who call ourselves Christian needs to prepare ourselves for what tomorrow will bring. It is only then that we can be that shining light on a hill that draws people to God.

As I prepare for the coming new year of our Lord (we don’t hear that much anymore do we), I have already made many plans. The only thing that is certain is that I can’t know what tomorrow will bring. Will I be around at the end of 2022? Only God knows. Will I be faithful to God in whatever the coming days bring, so I may endure to His end? Oh, how I pray. As the words of James 4:14-15 tell us, all of this is the Lord’s will and not our own.

“whereas you do not know what will happen
tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a
vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes
away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we
shall live and do this or that.’ ”

What 2022 brings, I can’t tell you friends. I pray it brings you good health, great peace, and a stronger faith that helps you, and allows you to help others, endure to the end of our race. Remember always that the path we take to get there isn’t nearly as important as arriving at the right destination.

God’s blessings,

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54 thoughts on “Let Us Prepare

  1. Amen, my brother!
    There’s a stirring going on.
    What would we see if God rolled back the clouds so we could view what is happening in the spirit realm? I’m not sure we could stay on our feet.
    May we have ears to hear and eyes to see all that our Creator wants us to see and hear. May we be awake and alert, donned with the armor the King of armies has provided, standing firm in His truth, ready— READY. All this, in Jesus name I pray, for His glory and the building of His kingdom, AMEN.

    1. Indeed there is Ms. Connie. Let our hearts be stirred and awakened to God’s will for us. In whatever time God gives us, let us each endeavor to seek and do His will in our lives. God’s blessings, and Happy New Year precious friend.

  2. J.D., such a good and wise post. I have felt much the same as you. It is imperative that we “prepare ourselves to weather the storms of life by strengthening our faith through more time in God’s word and prayer, and devoting ourselves to one another.” You have beautifully written it well, encouraging us all with wisdom from God’s Word. You are a blessing, J.D., and may you and your family have a blessed 2022 filled with more faith, more peace, and health!

    1. I sense that many of us have started to feel this was in the past year or so Ms. Joanne. Whether Christ returns tomorrow or 20 years from now, our faith tells us that the when is not our concern, but the what we’ve done in the time we’re given. Thank you so very much for your kind encouragement ma’am. May 2022 be filled with blessings upon you and your wonderful family.

  3. I have experienced those types of feelings, too, J. D., that I need to do more to prepare myself and our family for whatever storms may come in this next year. No, we certainly can’t peer into future, knowing it all (I wouldn’t want to!), but we can place our full trust in God and show the love of Jesus to all we meet.
    Blessings!

    1. Yes ma’am; I suspect many of us are ma’am. Whatever tomorrow holds for us, as long we’re with God in spirit and praise, it will all end well. My heart goes out for the many who remain unsaved or unsure. I pray God can somehow use me to help them in the coming hours and days my friend. Pulling together my rocks for your sweet granddaughter my friend. Sometime after first of the year they’ll be on their way. God’s blessings ma’am

  4. Thank you for this motivating post! I definitely need to spend even more time in the Word and in prayer, drawing ever closer to Him.

    1. I’m with you Ms. Edwina. Satan loves to get us so busy and wrapped up with worldly happenings that he distracts us from spending the time with God we need. At least it seems that was with me some days. God’s blessings precious soul.

  5. Such a powerful post, J.D. Indeed the world continues to spin out of control. While we don’t know what lies ahead, we are sure that the Lord’s Word and truth stand forever. May we hold onto Him and His Word.

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. Am working hard to pay less attention to what’s going on around me and more attention to what’s happening within me. The secret, I’m learning, is to find the balance we need to be responsive to God’s guidance so that we are aware of the things in this world that we can shine His light into. God’s blessings sweet friend.

    1. Amen Ms. Nancy. I agree that it’s past time for the church to once again be the church that Christ designed and commissioned; not the watered down, divided, anemic version of it we see so often today. God’s blessings sister!

  6. J. D., your words are sound and timely. Seeking God daily honors Him and prepares us for each day. May we live and walk in a way that’s worthy of the call of Christ this year.

    1. Thank you Ms. Jeannie. I too pray that God prepares me for whatever is waiting in my future, so that I might both withstand the coming storm and bring Him honor and glory in doing so. God’s blessings my friend, and Happy New Year.

  7. Once again, my friend, we share space on the same page. Your words are sobering, but they’re also a stirring reminder that what God said will come, will surely come. Like you, I’m convinced that the stage is set and that nothing else remains to be done before the final act is initiated. Your encouragement to examine our own faith and adjust our outlook beyond the next week or so is a word from God to all of us. I’m grateful, again, for the challenge to keep our faith healthy, especially as I’m in the midst of battling the impact of COVID. The last few days have been pretty tough, but being prepared spiritually for whatever comes is always great advice. God bless you for another timely wake-up call.

    1. To share anything with you is such an honor for me my friend. My apologies for being out of touch and not knowing you were fighting an illness in addition to your recovery my friend. Please know I’m praying; and pray it is both fervent and effective sir. Please you or Ms. Diane let me know if there is anything I can do beyond that sir. God’s blessings.

    1. How very kind. Thank you Ms. Gail; and thank you very much for joining in with our conversation ma’am. The more who share, the more blessed we are as we “sharpen” each others. Such a joy to connect with you this week ma’am. God’s blessings.

  8. Thank you, J.D., for this timely and thought-provoking reminder. May God be gracious to us, and may we be found faithful. Happy New Year!

  9. Thank you, J.D. for your thoughts and insights as we face a new year. May it truly be 2022A.D. ( Anno Domini–in the year of our Lord) for each of us as we seek God’s help to stay rooted in our faith.

    1. Yay! Thank you for even remembering what A.D. stands for Ms. Kathy. I can remember, and am betting you do also, when we wrote “In the year of our Lord” in quite a number of documents. I can’t recall seeing that in recent years, and that is (in itself) a sad commentary indeed. God’s blessings and Happy New Year my gentle and oh so creative friend.

    1. Thank you Ms. Sylvia. I’ll join you in that prayer ma’am. I’ve been sensing a winnowing of the church in the past few years, but pray with you that 2022 is indeed the “year of our Lord” and we can see a great revival in the coming year. God’s blessings ma’am.

  10. Amen and amen JD. I pray for a great revival in the coming year and that I make sure my heart stays prepared. God bless you.

  11. As I read your post, I was reminded of a “Celebrate Life” song I used to sing as a youth: “Prepare the Way.” The words repeated the same phrase over and over “for He cometh.” Yes, He is coming and each day gets closer and closer. I am excited to think it could be in my lifetime but also sad to know how many will be left behind. Today I started a scripture memorization plan that tells me God gives us power, love, and a sound mind. It sounds like you are on the right track using all three.

    1. Thank you ma’am. I can’t honestly say I know this song, but am going to look it up, as it sounds like one I need to know and sing in my heart. God’s blessings; and Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family ma’am.

  12. Poignant and thought provoking. The world seems confusing to me as well — with so much chaos and unrest occurring. Prayer strengthens me, but I have also found that God connects me other Believers (such as yourself) which strengthens me further.

    1. Amen Ms. Tracy. As much as studying God’s word and an active and healthy prayer life matters, I sometimes think that it’s our fellowship with fellow believers that help me to stay on the right path. It’s like when we were in the military ma’am; we were driven by our loyalty to one another. We couldn’t fail because we didn’t want to let our buddies down. Same thing with Christianity. No matter where we are in our walk, there is someone watching us. Let us blaze a straight and true path that leads others to God. God’s blessing sweet friend.

  13. Wonderful message to help us prepare for the New Year, my friend. I think John the Baptist’s message is just as timely now as it was during his lifetime. I pray we can each put our mind on the message Jesus taught and continues to share with us through our worship, Bible study, and prayer–love God, love one another, and in all things seek to do His will. Happy 2022 to all at the Cross-Dubya. Thank you for the blessing you have shared with me today and through all our interactions.

  14. I so appreciate being able to have a glimpse into your conversations with God, Mr. J.D.. The ways and persistence with which you seek Him inspire me. You remind me of what should be on my “To Do” list every day…pray and seek God’s will in all things. May God bless you, Mrs. J.D., and the Cross Dubya in 2022 and beyond!

  15. The Lord has special plans for His children. We don’t know the exact details of His plan, but we can rest in His promises. I pray that you and Ms. Diane will have a blessed 2022. Thank you for your encouragement and support. 🙂

    1. Amen Ms. Melissa. I can’t tell you what God has planned for me next year, but knowing that He has a plan for my life gives me the peace I need to know He’ll help me achieve that plan when I surrender myself to Him. God’s blessings; and a very Happy New Year to you, Mr Alan, and the entire Henderson family. Especially my little pal Rowan. How I love the way this little fella sees life.

  16. I’m so glad the Lord God Almighty knows the future and He is confident, secure, settled, and in control!!!! Truly, that’s our only hope. Thank you, J.D., for another important warning.

    1. Thank you Ms. Kathy. We can’t know what God holds for us, but we know He is holding us. We just have to keep hanging onto Him. Amen?!

      God’s blessings gentle friend. Happy New year to you and Mr. Larry and know that we’re praying for you every day.

  17. What an inspiration you are, my TX rancher friend. One of the things that can easily sink my faith ship is focusing on the evil that’s rampant out there because it invites unrest to settle over my soul where God’s grace has already claimed the territory. I do look forward to new things ahead. That’s called eternity. It is sure and certain!
    Loved this thought: “…the path we take to get there isn’t nearly as important as arriving at the right destination

    1. I’m right there with you many days my young friend. This life will, I believe, remain mired in confusion and distraction. It’s the “human condition” that Satan takes advantage of and preys upon. Many want to believe that Satan wants to snatch us away from God, but if we’re truly God’s he can’t. What he can do, and it seems he’s very effective at it, is to weaken our testimony so that we are ineffective as Christians. If he can succeed in that, then he wagers that even though he knows he’s lost the war, he will succeed in keeping us from winning more souls for Christ. Stay strong sweet friend. We’ve got this, with God’s help. See you at the finish line Ms. Mary.

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