25 June 2013

Life in Christ: So, so good.

The Lord is teaching me, very methodically, through the pattern of my journal entries.  I'm learning to watch for lessons and patterns on a larger scale than before--not just gems in individual verses, but the flow of my entries over the last few days has been very instructive to me.  1) The wages of sin are death & destruction, but in Christ we are saved. 2) The Lord warns His people before destruction comes. 3) How seriously am I taking my spirituality? 4) Destructions are coming, but the Lord will warn me.  5) The Lord is faithful, and He will restore all that ever seems lost as a result of the destructions He sends.

Pretty cool, eh?

And now, onto my LJ entry (which is part of that pattern previously mentioned.)

Scripture: Joel 1:2-5, Joel 2:25-27 NLT

"Hear this, you leaders of the people.
Listen, all who live in the land.
In all your history,
has anything like this happened before?
Tell your children about it in the years to come,
and let your children tell their children.
ass the story down from generation to generation.'After the cutting locusts finished eating the crops,
the swarming locusts took what was let!
After them came the hopping locusts,
and then the stripping locusts, too!
Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!
Wail, all you wine-drinkers?
All the grapes are ruined,
and all your sweet wine is gone."

The LORD says, "I will give you back what you lost
to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.
It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.
Once again you will have all the food you want,
and you will praise the LORD your God,
who does these miracles for you.
Never again will my people be disgraced.
Then you will know that I am among my people Israel,
that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other.
Never again will my people be disgraced.

Observation: The sharp contrast between these sets of verses reinforces what I last posted about--that life in Christ is so preferable to life in sin!

Application: This feels like a benediction straight from the Lord to me.  When I fired up my Bible app this morning, I was a little apprehensive, expecting more death and dismemberment.  But instead, I read this beautiful song in Joel 1-3, and finished with words of comfort and prophecy . . . and an even more awesome bonus: that women are specifically mentioned alongside men as recipients of the spiritual gifts to be poured out upon Yahweh's people:

"Then, after doing all those things,
I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your old men will dream dreams,
and your young men will see visions.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on servants--men and women alike."  --Joel 2:28-29

(You know, I haven't yet found a place where the Lord himself ever says women are not to be treated exactly as men are--He doesn't seem to make a distinction.  The only verses I've found that proscribe women's behavior have been Paul's own opinion & practice; not "thus saith the Lord". Yes, the Lord has nearly always called men to lead & be the front-line people for His work . . . but I have a personal belief that has more to do with violent times and the fact that in most of the past, women have been overwhelmed with childbearing and childcare.  That's not always true anymore. We have the blessing of being able to spiritually & prayerfully determine our family size, and our times aren't as violent or physically dangerous for spiritual leaders.)

Prayer: Yahweh, I thank you so, so much for the promise of the rich comfort of Your Spirit in generous abundance.  I praise You that You not only extend these prophecies and blessings to nations and groups of people, but on an individual scale . . . that I can lay hold of these promises at any time in my life as I yield to Your Spirit and Your Will.  I glorify Your Name and feel Your Love through the miracle of Your Grace, and do so in Jesus' name! Amen.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!