Joel 3: 10-17 AMP
“Proclaim this among the nations: prepare war! Stir up the mighty men! Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong (a warrior)! Put in the sickle for the (vintage) harvest is ripe; come, get down and tread the grapes, for the winepress is full; the vats overflow, for the wickedness (of the peoples) is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened and the stars withdraw their shining. The Lord will thunder and roar from Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the children of Israel. So shall you know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain.
Mathew 3 gives an account of John the Baptist; clothed in camel hair with a leather girdle around his waist (sounds painful). A man that consumed a diet of locusts and wild honey, he was passionate about God, baptizing multitudes of people, and awaiting the Messiah. He noticed that many in the crowd were Pharisees and Sadduccees – “So he said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, ‘You offspring of vipers! (Luke 3 AMP) Who secretly warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Bear fruits that are deserving and consistent with (your) repentance (that is conduct worthy of a heart changed, a heart abhorring sin). And do not begin to say to yourselves, “we have Abraham as our father”; for I tell you that God is able from these stones to raise up descendants for Abraham. Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees, so that every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.” John was lacking in a few fruits himself namely gentleness and kindness but his bold approach got the job done. John the Baptist was a Gospel warrior and Jesus loved him stating” that no one greater had ever been born of a woman!” When the “viper-people” asked John what fruits “deserving and consistent with repentance” looked like – he gave the following answer (not an all encompassing list but helpful):
Luke 3: 7 – 14
He who has two tunics, let him share with him who has none – Clothe the Poor
He who has food, let him do it the same way – Feed the Poor
Exact and collect no more than the fixed amount appointed to you – Take no more than what is owed
Never demand or enforce by terrifying or wrongfully accusing – Do not intimidate or falsely accuse
Be satisfied with your rations (supplies) and your allowance (wages) – Be content with what you have
After that, the Bible records that John gave The Good News to them (taught the Gospel message).
A New Covenant Believer is a person that truly identifies, accepts, understands and acts by faith and with faith to claim benefits and authority purchased at the Exchange at the Cross by the blood of Jesus and one that exemplifies a changed life. (not a perfect life but one that is yielded to God). The belief in Jesus’ sacrifice serves as personal ratification of an eternal, unbreakable covenant, setting into motion a release of all of the redemptive covenant benefits that we now own. God is waiting for His people to believe in everything that His Son purchased for them at the cross, applying His blood by faith so that He can grant the redemptive benefits for which He paid with His life . (Why Blood? read: Crimson Flow of Freedom and Canceling the Code. ) Jesus said, “It is finished”. This is The Good News. This is what A BELIEVER should believe.
Although the Good News is in fact good – the Good News continues to be delivered in a negative, condemning manner by some internationally recognized, well meaning preachers (Special Note: Not mine). Repent means simply to ” change your mind or experience a change of heart” – change your mind, accept what Jesus did for you – because if you do not want to, you simply have never heard an accurate account of what He has done. Jesus is fabulous and among many other important benefits He provided, you would have a one-way eternal ticket to the hottest place on the planet without Him. It is interesting to note in Mark 1:4 that when J the B preached repentance it was defined as a change of one’s mind for the better, heartily amending one’s ways, with abhorrence of past sins AND in order to obtain forgiveness of and release from sins. After John was arrested in vs 14 Jesus began preaching this same Gospel Good News of the kingdom saying, “The (appointed period of ) time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (have a change of mind which issues in regret of past sins and in change of conduct for the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to ) the good news (the Gospel)”. There is no mention of forgiveness and release here because He was to be their release . When He mentioned the Good News, you have to wonder if He really wanted to say – And that’s Me!
Our responsibility and opportunity is to embrace Jesus for what He has already paid on our behalf and to walk out the remarkable benefits and blessings that we now own. The news about Jesus is extraordinarily good, in fact it is great: we have already been forgiven by God. Jesus has completed that process which is why He proclaimed, “It is Finished.” He could have said any number of things; “Goodbye Mama! “, “Here I come Father”, “I love you all”, but He chose these very specific words to be recorded when He released (gave up) His spirit and laid His head down to finally rest. Our sin has already been remitted (forgiven) by God – Jesus was the eternal sacrifice for each of us. God now views those that BELIEVE in what His Son accomplished for them (people that have repented by changing their mind, andbelieving in Jesus) and embracing the truth in its fullness, seeing them clothed in the white robes of righteousness that have all been washed by the holy blood of the perfect sacrifice of His Son.
There are multitudes of people in the Valley of Decision. We need gospel warriors; John the Baptist wannabe BELIEVERS that will prepare the way of the Lord in great numbers. This is time sensitive. I listen for the trumpet to sound.
Tracy the Non-Denominational
When I prepare to write, I pray for Holy Spirit to reveal what He wants me to communicate. The process is often the same: consistent word themes and experiences begin occurring repeatedly in a compressed timeframe leaving little guesswork. (He knows I need all the help I can get). As I am sure it does with you as you read your bible, the Holy Spirit will highlight something that He wants to reveal and you alone know what He is pointing out.
This past weekend, a song that I had listened to multiple times suddenly showed up in quadraphonic almost technicolor sound with more deeply enhanced clarity than ever before; “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord, Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord” a clock ticks in the background of the lyrics. 7 minutes later, sitting in my car, I haphazardly opened the bible lying in my lap as I was about to walk into a prayer session. I looked down, my eyes landed squarely on Matthew 11:10 NIV
this is the one about whom it is written:
” I will send the messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.”
That same Saturday evening, I returned home around 9:30 pm, sat down on the sofa and turned on the television which remains set on a christian channel. Before the picture even came on the screen, I began hearing through the black box, “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord; make His paths straight, Every valley shall be filled, And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight, And the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God“ (Luke 3:4-6) and there was Charlton Heston as John the Baptist in the river baptizing people. I just started shaking my head and broke into a cold sweat. This was the third “prepare” message in a 10 hour timeframe. The following day, the first message I listened to focused on a description of what a church preparing for the return of Jesus looks like – then later that afternoon I witnessed massive numbers of people (hundreds) participating in spontaneous water baptisms. You can draw your own conclusion, but I believe Holy Spirit is quite serious about communicating preparation.
What does preparing the way of the Lord look like for you? How will you make His beaten paths straight?