We were back in Ft. Jones last weekend and had the privilege of listening to Terry Munn again, this time preaching on Joel Chapter 2. He's a thought-provoking man of God, and we got a lot out of what he had to say. Read on, and tell me what you think. - Anne
It's difficult to know when the Book of Joel was written, but scholars place it sometime between 800 and 500 BC, at the time Judah began to get into idolatry.
The people of Joel's day had a decided lack of awareness of the times they were living in. Sound familiar? God wanted them to wake up from their slumber. They were spiritually asleep.
There is a camp on the Zipline tour through wine country in Northern California, a Christian camp that serves and ministers to large groups who are principally non-Christian. Some of the people there are excited to be there, happy to be on the front lines, and noticing all that God's doing through this ministry. Some, unfortunately, don't think it's so great and can't tell that God is doing anything. Do they need to wake up?
Joel 1:8 tells people to mourn. They were not where they needed to be. They were in the Valley of Decision, but didn't know what to decide, which way to go. Many were on the edge of their commitment to God, halfhearted, not really sold on the Lord. Remember, this was a nation that was outwardly religious, but inwardly, they were away from God, lukewarm or indifferent.
In Africa, there is a certain "tin shed village" where a group of missionaries would gather up several young people and take them for a weekend retreat. A portion of these kids now are really on fire for Jesus and leading others in their village. Although they are educated and they could leave for a better life, they choose to stay here where the average lifetime is 20 years, food is scarce, and crime and AIDS is rampant. They choose to stay because they believe this is where the Lord wants them.
Jesus wants to come first. First before anything. He know if He has your heart, He has everything you have. He doesn't want you to be lukewarm about your commitment to Him.
If we put this in today's context, we might be talking about the greeters in the church who are happy to shake the hands of the clean, wealthy, looks-like-me bunch. They are quick to criticize the ones who aren't there, the ones who sing too soft or too loud, the ones who don't smell so good.
Do you love Jesus as much today as when you gave your life to him? Oh, that's just for young excitable folks. Not for mature folks like us. Satan's lie. Tell me, where in the Bible does it say you should be quiet? Do you want others to know about Jesus enough to speak up? The biggest sin in the church today is indifference. We don't share Jesus.
When you die, what matters? Judgment will begin with the house of God, not with those on the outside. It's our responsibility to let folks know about Jesus. It's the pastors' job to teach the congregation to minister. This is a training ground.
Turn back and God pours out love and compassion and forgives and fulfills your needs. And then we use us.
Don't have a semblance of godliness. The devil wants complacency. Does anyone know you are Christian? Whether you are just starting out in life or finished with your career--what have you done with what He gave you?