Today you should read: Joel 3
This reminds me so much of one of those really inspiring speeches in a movie right before a big battle. A couple that come to mind are Braveheart and Independents day. Both movies have a moment where it is pretty much all on the line and it is time to really the troops. The big difference here is that God actually tells them what the future is going to be.
Think about this. It is inspiring and spurs people on when they are against the ropes to hear a compelling speech from a person or leader. Well at this point they are hearing from God, through His messenger. It isn’t just someone saying things that sound good. This is God calling to arms His people. He is calling those who are not what you would call a warrior to take up arms. This sounds strange and almost like it won’t work, but God continues to say that He is God and He is faithful.
We have all been in situations where we just feel like the world is just too much and it is not something that we can handle. If we look at history it is those moments when God reminds us that He is on the throne and nothing in this world can change that! When Israel was enslaved, God brought them out, when they were in the wilderness God brought them through. When they were completely disobedient and under the rule of Rome God sent Jesus.
This is a reminder that God is faithful. I don’t know what your life is like or how you may be straying or just feeling far from God or that it is all just too much. But please know that God has a plan, He is faithful and He is present and close.
By: Dakota Gragg — Student Ministry Associate
Today you should read: Joel 2
Calling all Jumpstart readers – Anybody out there? Hello?? There are a couple hundred of you a day (thank you!) – but I’m not seeing many comments. Can you comment today and let us know you’re out there? It would help us so much to know. Thank you for doing this!
In today’s reading in Joel 2, we are reminded about the “day of the LORD”. This is of course a prophecy about Jesus returning for us and to fight the great war against Satan. Most Christians don’t think much about this. Jesus could come at any minute – several passages describe His return like a “thief in the night” (when we don’t expect it). We should be living on the ready. If you knew Jesus was coming at 11pm tonight – what would today look like for you? Any apologies you’d need to make? Want to catch up on your prayer or Bible reading or giving? Someone you’d need to meet with and share the Gospel urgently? Jesus COULD come today – we must live everyday with that anticipation.
If it were true that Jesus was coming tonight – all of us would probably have some areas to deal with and some things to repent of. Repentance is a heart thing. Often, we take outside actions while the great problems are inside issues. That’s what God says to the people through the prophet Joel…
Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” (v.13)
What needs to change in your heart today? Joel goes on…
Return to the LORD your God… (v.13)
In what ways do you need to return to God today?
The good news is…
He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. (v.13)
That’s the kind of God we serve! Stop and thank Him for it right now and repent of your sin. If you have never come into a relationship with God through Jesus – heed the words of verse 32…
Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. (Sound familiar? We read this in Romans 10:13 too).
Take a moment right now and confess to God that you believe that Jesus is His Son and that He died and rose again for you. Ask Him to come into your life and change you.
By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor
Today you should read: Joel 1
As a parent, I often think about the things I want to pass down to my children and my children’s children and their children’s children and so on and so on. Everyone wants to leave a lasting legacy but we’re not always intentional with what we’re leaving. So God willing, I have a plan. I have a flexible scope and sequence and schedule with certain important items I want them to be discipled in and I’m praying, hoping and will be encouraging them to pass it down to their future children. Subjects such as the centrality of the Gospel, Biblical manhood and womanhood, spiritual disciplines concerning prayer and studying the Bible, importance of Gospel community, a deep burden and compassion for those who don’t know Christ, how every Christian is a missionary sent to lost people in their lives and why they should root for the Buckeyes, Cleveland Indians, Cavs & Browns (Browns may be a tough one to pass down to each generation 😉). I also have a list of certain theological, cultural and social topics that I made sure every teenager would hear when passing through middle school and high school when in student ministry and I plan on applying that to my kids lives. Again, I pray and hope they will pass it down to future generations because that’s what the Bible tells us to do (Psalm 145:4, Psalm 78:4, Daniel 4:3).
This idea of passing down these important, eternal truths is also mentioned in the first 3 verses of Joel. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since it’s all through out Scripture BUT what does come as a bit of a surprise in this chapter is WHAT God tells them to pass down to each generation. A plague of locusts that punished God’s people for being disobedient and the other consequences God will give for their ignorance of sin. Like one may ask “why would any parent raise a child up as a Cleveland Browns fan?” one may be confused and wonder why this needs to be communicated and remembered in each passing generation? I, myself found verses 4-20 hard to read after reading the command in the first three verses but I also know how easy it is for us to forget the importance of repentance. As you’ll see, there’s more to this in the next 2 chapters then the warnings and judgment God lays out in the chapter but God doesn’t reveal sin to his people to simply stay in it or confess it. He wants us to turn from it. And I know there’s not not a greater thing that we can pass on to future generations then the Gospel message which includes a repentant heart and forgiveness for such sins. I once knew a dad who was afraid to say he was wrong or that he was sorry to his children for fear of his children questioning his authority and example as a parent. I graciously and lovingly pointed out how important it was for them to not only see and hear that repentance but why those kids will still see that sin anyways and grow up thinking Christianity is hypocritical. We’re still sinners in desperate need for Jesus and those warnings of sin and repentance is a necessity for generations of Christians to come because Christianity is not Christianity without it.
How do you pass on these important truths to your children or the next generation? Comment below.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor
Today you should read: Joel 3
As I read this I see 2 big ideas contrasted to each other. The first is the idea of judgment and vengeance from the Lord against the enemies of His people. The second is blessings and protection for His people in the last days.
God in verses 1 through 16 is not happy. He is preparing judgment against the enemies of Judah and Jerusalem. He lets them know that He will repay them for their evil. They have mistreated His people and his land. Because of this God says that He will do the same to them. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be one who mistreats God’s people or His land.
In verses 17 through 21 God speaks to His people and tells them that He will deliver them and restore them to their land and protect them forever. What a wonderful day that will be, when the Lord returns, reestablishes His kingdom on earth and makes all things new and right and good!
I encourage you to make some extra time today to read a few chapters in Revelation to get a full picture of what these events look like. Revelation 19:11-21 talks about the battle in verses 1-16 in Joel 3 and Revelation 21 talks very vividly about how God will come back and restore all things and make them new.
Take time to thank God today if you are one of His people.
Thank Him that He will one day make everything right.
If you are not one of His I want to encourage you to come to Him and become one of His children because all of us will be a part of this story in the end, either in the valley of decision or taking refuge in our God.
Posted by: Robbie Byrd