Preparing for His Appearing

when they appear in spring …

This time of year I am preparing the places in our native plants area for the spring.

To prepare these places, I remove any debris that has fallen from trees and heavy leaf matter. I clean up all around, and then put a light, protective layer of leaves covering the soil where the trillium, trout lily, mayapple, bloodroot, lady slipper, and Solomon’s seal will appear come spring. As those leaves rot, they feed the soil which benefits the plant growth.

Doing this preparation work will allow these wildflowers to flourish, and it also allows the new growth to appear without the old dead stems and leaves diminishing the beauty of the new growth. Heavy leaf matter and large pieces of tree branches could prevent the new, tender shoots from pushing through when it warms up. This work does not show immediate effect like weeding and pruning do, yet over time its results show the value of the work.

Technically, it isn’t even winter yet, December 21 is that day, but it sure feels like winter. It was 21 degrees this morning and the frost on our deck table was white and thick. In years past, I waited too long before preparing for the emergence of our wildflowers. The flowers came up and when I began to clean up the leaf matter and sticks so the plants had room, I inadvertently damaged the young, tender shoots. There is no set date for trout lilies or bloodroot to emerge. They are usually the first wildflower to pop up along the edge of our yard and are the sign that the mayapples, trillium, and lady slippers will soon follow. Their appearance is determined by the weather, when it gets warm enough, the plants emerge – then bloom.

So, to allow the native plants their full growth potential, I must do the preparation work long before there is any sign of the future blooms.

Our Community Women’s Bible Study is studying the book of Revelation. I have been reminded that in Revelation John urges us as followers of Jesus to “be prepared” for His second appearing. This week, like many of us, I have been preparing our home for the arrival of Christmas. I have put up a tree, strung some lights outside, and gotten my mother’s Christmas china out. All these preparations celebrate Jesus’ first appearance on earth.

What have I done to prepare for His second coming?

Revelation 16:15 in the Amplified Version says –

15 “Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is he who stays awake and who keeps his clothes [that is, stays spiritually ready for the Lord’s return], so that he will not be naked—spiritually unprepared—and men will not see his shame.”

So, I don’t need to decorate my house or clean away leaf debris to prepare for Jesus second coming. As my friend Patti Harper said when we were reading this verse – “We need to be awake – aware – and attired.

Awake – realize that Jesus is coming AGAIN

Aware – that no matter what is happening around me – God is faithful

Attired – clothed in His righteousness, Jesus paid the price for my salvation

During these days of cold weather and darkness all around us, may we share the light of Jesus. His Light shines brightest in darkness. May our “hearts prepare Him room” as the beautiful carol “Joy to the World” reminds us.

Then we will be prepared for Jesus appearing.

He’s Coming, Again!

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The last of our children and grandchildren left yesterday.

We had a wonderful time with family – coming and going at various times with a brief overlap of everyone. It can be wild and crazy at times, yet the joy of having our children and grandchildren in our home supersedes all other factors. We know we are truly blessed.

As I mentioned in my post on December 13th, I spent a lot of time preparing rooms – making beds, putting pictures of the anticipated occupants in the rooms, (learned from a dear friend Donna), a small dish of special candy in the adult rooms, and fresh towels. As much as possible, I wanted each family member to feel welcome and loved.

I also put away any breakable or valuable non-essentials so that we did not have to say “no” any more than necessary.

The preparation paid off – I enjoyed the seven days we had family here and we only broke two dishes, but I wouldn’t change a thing!

So, yesterday we started cleaning up. Phil vacuumed, I put things away. One load of sheets is in the dryer and the second load is in the washer as I type this.

Yet, something my older brother texted me with his holiday greeting keeps resonating in my mind.

“Jesus is coming again!”

We made so many preparations to celebrate the first appearing of Jesus. All were special and held meaning for us and our family as we celebrated Jesus’s birth.

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But what preparations am I making to prepare for His second coming?

In I Thessalonians 5: 19-24 (MSG) Paul addresses this very issue –

19-22 Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.

23-24 May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!

The preparations are quite clear –

  • allow the Holy Spirit to empower us
  • listen to those who speak God’s truth
  • don’t be deceived – test everything by the standard of God’s Word
  • throw away the bad, avoid everything that is evil
  • God will make us holy and whole
  • God is completely dependable – HE WILL DO IT!

God will make us prepared for the second coming of Jesus. We can begin the process by following the first four steps – but ONLY God can complete it.

The joy of preparing for our family’s arrival was the anticipation of them actually coming. Our granddaughter Adella said to me, “Nana, you are so happy when I come to your house.” Yes, I am, and I am so pleased she knows it.

If we had not prepared, I dread thinking of the consequences. No food, no beds ready, no clean bathrooms….There would be no joy on Macktown Gap!

No one knows when Jesus will come again. We DO know He is returning.

I want to commit to intentionally preparing myself – spirit, soul, and body – for the return of Jesus, my Saviour and Lord.

Jesus is coming, again!