Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011-“Year of Preparation” (and hope!)



Traditionally, as the old year winds down I find myself asking God for a scripture or something He wants to be the theme and focus for the coming year.  When I did this a couple of weeks ago I heard Him drop into my heart the words, “Year of Preparation”.  It came with no explanation.  Preparation for what?  I asked Him to confirm in some way if this was really His voice and His direction for 2011.

Sunday my son-in-law preached at our church.  This was his last message to our church after 12 years as our assistant pastor.  Next Sunday we honor him and our daughter and celebrate as we send them and a launch team from our church to plant their own church in  southeast Portland.  The thread woven throughout his message was preparation.

This was the confirmation to me that I really had heard from God.  Since then I have been looking up scriptures having to do with preparation and praying for insight into what God is saying.  I really want to understand what a year of preparation looks like to me personally.  I keep returning to a passage of scripture that has “bothered” me ever since I read it some months ago. 

Ezekiel 43:8 NLT
”They put their idol altars right next to mine with only a wall between them and me.”

God is lamenting that in the temple of that day there is worship for Him taking place, and separated only by a thin wall, a room where idol worship is taking place.  As I read the words, I sense the heartache of God…the heartache of a Lover having to hear His beloved with another man in the room next door.

Ezekiel 6:9 NLT

”… how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols.”

I realize that I am that wayward lover all too often.  I worship God, but Self is worshipped in the room right next door.  So, for me, this “Year of Preparation” has to begin with the first commandment that I have no other God’s before or besides Him.  It has to begin with me, with the temple of my heart being a place prepared for Him and Him alone.  My inner sanctuary has some walls that need to come down, some idols that need kicked out once and for all. 

The words of an old chorus and the cry of my heart:

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary

Pure and holy, tried and true

With thanksgiving

I’ll be a living sanctuary

for You

Lastly, the Lord has also been dropping into my mind and heart the word Hope.  I see it everywhere lately.  Without the hope of His help, if I had to tackle the task of facing my own waywardness, my lack of ability to keep even this first and most basic commandment to have no other God’s but Him, I would faint, lose heart, give up. 

2 Corinthians 5:5-6 (Amplified Bible)

“Now He Who has fashioned us [preparing and making us fit] for this very thing is God, Who also has given us the [Holy] Spirit as a guarantee [of the fulfillment of His promise].

So then, we are always full of good and hopeful and confident courage…”

God has given me the hope of His help.  He who made me will help to prepare me and make me fit to be His sanctuary…His alone.


Still following,



  1. Dear Friend,
    I love this post so much and it really spoke to me and touched my heart. What a revelation He gave you and I am guilty too.

    But I also have the same HOPE--thank God that He is not through with us yet. We are continually being "prepared" for the day we will feast at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

    Loving you,

  2. Your words speak deeply to me today. I have been aware that my sweetheart and I are in preparation for something God wants to do. There has been one confirmation after another - and we wait patiently to hear His voice. I have begun to list goals for the new year. Goals that are all in preparation for possibilities ahead. Amazing how the word Hope has been on my heart for the coming year. Do you suppose God is saying something to more than us, my friend?

  3. i love this... preparation and hope... two things i can grasp onto. two things i need to grasp onto. your words mean so much to me, and i must be honest, so does looking at your church website and that of your son-in-law's church plant. my husband was an assistant pastor and we moved to plant a church, and it was a very difficult time for us. we have recently moved home, and are just laying low. it's refreshing to look at your sites and have some passion rekindled. thank you.

  4. A very good thought provoking post, Elizabeth, especially the verse...mmmmmm.

  5. This is great, Elizabeth. You're making me think. thanks for sharing your theme. I'll look forward to how it will work its way out.

  6. I like this post. I looked up Ezekiel 43:8 and noticed the very next sentence: "They defiled my holy name by such detestable sin, so I consumed them in my anger." So by mixing false worship and true worship with are defiling his name. How important it is that we are worshiping him in the way he has determined we should worship. (1 John 5:3) Nice thought for a new year. :)

  7. Hi Elizabeth,
    What inspiring words! I remember the chorus well, Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary...
    It's an oldie, but still my prayer. Mornings, I sing it to my teenage daughter, that she may know what it means to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. I give thanks for your meaningful post on being prepared, and holding hope within.
    May this new year ahead bring us ever closer to Him.

  8. I want to let you know first, that I found you from Ann’s.

    Amen to the “right in the next room” worship. We (read I) CAN’T do that!

    And your words “year of preparation and hope” they are cousins to each other, and dovetail, and I heart this idea.

    I have prayed for your year of “hope and prep” for Our Lord to keep you on target, for your son and his ministry, and your own, that he help you hope only in him, no other rooms.

    My word is “connection” – your words connected with me, and I’m grateful for that.

    God Bless and Keep you and yours.


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