And it will be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.” Isaiah 57:14, NASB
During the last decade of my career, I always spent the latter part of the last full month of school preparing for the next school year. With state testing over and district benchmark evaluations behind me, I no longer had expectations for what must be taught during the remaining days of school. So I gave myself permission to try new things. For example, I would teach some new lessons that I wanted to incorporate into next year’s curriculum.
I’ve been retired for almost two years now, but old habits die hard. Now, as I enter the month of May, my mind still turns toward next Fall. But instead of creating new lessons, I have decided to use this time for my own personal revival.
The Bible tells us that to prepare our hearts for revival, we can practice the following three activities: gathering, mending, and building.
Gathering: In 2 Kings, a desperate widow asks Elisha to provide for her and her son.
Elisha asks her what she has. She tells him that she has a little bit of oil. He first tells
her to gather as many jars as she can and then to fill them with the oil. The oil
continues to flow until she fills all of the jars. When the last jar that was gathered
is filled, the oil stops flowing (2 Kings 4:1-6). The Lord invites us to prepare for revival in the same way by gathering resources that He can anoint with His Spirit. These “jars” might be the promises, insights, or prophetic words that you have received over the years. They might include other resources as well. Embracing the process of gathering means making space for God’s provision. As part of this process, we can also ask ourselves how thoroughly we have pursued the direction He has given us.
Mending: We can take the time to step back and evaluate how effective we are in what we do. Jesus would add, “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matthew 5:23-24, NASB). Embracing the process of mending involves asking ourselves which relationships need attention and then stepping out in faith to address those needs. I encourage you to ask yourself these challenging questions: What are the issues that stand between me and my colleagues? How can I address these issues as I prepare for a new year of teaching?
God gave Noah an impossible task— to build a boat by himself that was big enough to carry the world’s animals in a country that had never seen rain before (Genesis 6:8-14). Noah is commended for his faith to act on what God spoke to him even though he could see no other reason for putting his efforts to the task (Hebrews 11:6-7). Embracing the building process means stepping out in faith to give shape to a specific Word we have received from the Lord. What is the Lord asking you to build? Maybe He has given you an idea, or a vision, or a dream. Have you taken steps toward fulfilling that dream, writing down that vision, or acting upon that idea?
As you look ahead to next year, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:
What do I need to gather?
What do I need to mend?
What do I need to build?
Lord, help me prepare my heart to receive all that You have for me. Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.
Copyright David Bedell.
David is a retired member who lives in California.