Summary: Message about how we prepare our heart and as we prepare for Christmas season.
Notes: some notes from Jerry Shirey’s message on Preparing for Revival
Title: Season of Advent-ure – Preparation
Series: Season of Advent-ure
Theme: To show the next step of Advent – Preparation for the Messiah. What changes in us as we prepare.
Text: Isaiah 40:1 - 5
Last week we began our Christmas season – Seasons of Advent-ure talking about hope. Hope is something that has been instilled in the world from the beginning. When Adam and Even fell and it seemed that all was lost God prophesied in:
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
For each generation preceding they were looking for hope. Hope that the Messiah would come and deliver them from the sin of the world. This was what Eve thought when Seth was born.
The true king of Israel, everlasting.
The true high priest,
The sacrificial lamb.
This next part of the Season of Advent-ure is about Preparation. If we have hope we must now prepare for the Messiah coming. Isaiah 40:1-5 gives us the elements of preparation.
If you will allow the Lord He will prepare your heart for His coming.
1 "Comfort, yes, comfort My people!" Says your God. (2) "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord's hand Double for all her sins."
There is hope. Don’t worry. Even though you have sinned. Even though you have fallen in to the bondage and trap of sin. Even though you have fallen in to the control and taken by force from your freedom. There is good news. You have been pardoned.
Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Your warfare is ended, your battle is over.
So let us now listen to what the cry, the voice is saying.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.
We’ve been sub-normal for so long that if ever we experienced what is truly normal, we’d think it was abnormal!
Isaiah 35:8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.
Make straight in the desert “wilderness” a highway for our God. A way out, a route to take.. This is hope.
Def = Hebrew = Make Straight = yashar = “to be straight, right, upright, pleasing good” This is often translated to the English word “direct”
The word “highway” = “raised up”. It’s a “higher” elevation of living…to be spiritually raised up and to live above the status quo
Crooked = bent, dishonest, fraudulent, deceitful, polluted, criminal.
Straight = Free from curves, bends, angles, Unmixed, having the elements in order.
4 Every valley shall be exalted – Low places in our lives, that which bring us down, introspection
What Is Your Valley?
1. Is it some area of failure?
2. Is it some hardship you are experiencing?
3. Is it financial?
4. Is it marital?
5. Is it your past?
Is it laziness? Holding on to a habit? Pride? Indifference? Self-will? Wrong priorities? Spirituality stale? Unmotivated? Selfishness? Greed? Depression?
*Some of these are low points/valleys/deserts. A low point can be an obstacle too. Some places need filling, some need drilling, leveling, etc. The Israelites took 40 years to make an eleven day journey. That’s a mountain, an obstacle in their path.
Is it lust? Jealousy? Bitterness? Worldly friends? Addiction to a substance, a TV, a video game? Bad thought life? A wounded spirit…can’t get over the past? Way of life become tradition? Doubtful about something yet future? Worried? Disobedience w/ the tithe? Angry w/ God over something? Resisting the Lord in some area? Bad attitude…looking for problems? Prayerlessness? Rage? Mid-life crisis? Debt? Hypocrisy? Disobedience to parents/authority? Marital problems? Dysfunctional family? Poor communication? Job stress? Low self-esteem? Ego? Busyness? Too many irons in the fire?
And every mountain and hill brought low; - Obstacles, that which hinders us, look around
Matthew 17:19-20 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" (20) So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief;  for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.