READ: Joel 1-3
THINK: "I'm livin' the dream!" You've probably heard that expression from someone who attained a great goal, fulfilled a fantasy, or experienced something beyond their expectations. But are you living the dream? If you're a follower of Jesus, you have the opportunity to experience a power and purpose that Old Testament prophets and people of God only dreamed about. Ever since the New Testament Day of Pentecost, God has generously sent the Holy Spirit to fill, empower and work through Jesus' followers without regard to age, gender, nationality or status. As you exercise the gifts of God's Spirit in your life, He will work through you to reveal His presence in powerful ways.
RESPOND: What is the catastrophe in chapter 1, and why did it come? (See 1:2 and 1:4 notes.) What sin is mentioned in 1:5, and how had such behavior dulled people's senses physically and spiritually? Why were leaders to "declare a holy fast" (1:14), and what did people need to do? (See 1:14 note.) Why does it often take extreme circumstances to get people's attention off themselves and on God? In what way was "the day of the LORD" (1:15) a present reality as well as a reminder of things to come (2:1,11)? (See 1:15 note.) What does "the day of the LORD" mean for God's enemies, and what does it mean for His followers? (See 1:15 note.) What was the primary purpose of God's warning, and what was He calling the people to do (2:12-13)? (See 2:13 note.) How will God respond when people humble themselves, turn from sin, and pray intensely (2:18-19)? (See 2:18 note.) What does God promise to do regarding His Spirit in 2:28-29, and whom would this affect? (See 2:28-29 note.) What marked the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy? (See 2:28-29 note.) What are some of the results of this spiritual outpouring? (See 2:28 note.) What kind of "harvest" does Joel imply in 3:13, and when will it take place? (See 3:13-14 note.)
PRAY: If you're going through a tough time, ask God to show you what you can learn from it. If there's something you need to repent for, do so. Give thanks for the power, passion and purpose the Holy Spirit brings to your life. Pray for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit in your life, church, community and nation.
ACT: Prepare for a fresh outpouring of God's Spirit by ridding your life of any moral and spiritual impurity. Exercise the power of the Spirit already in your life by talking to others about your relationship with Jesus. If you haven't been baptized in the Holy Spirit since receiving Christ, spend time worshiping God and waiting for His power to fill you. Read the article on Baptism in the Holy Spirit, p. 1508 in the FBSE, for practical insight in receiving this gift.
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