December 9

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“That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning” (Joel 2:12 NLT).

From: December 9, 2018

THE TIME FOR REPENTANCE
Writing in the 9th century BC, the prophet Joel opened his book with warnings concerning a plague of locusts. He warned that the locusts were only a small thing compared to the coming Day of the Lord. He encouraged God’s people to repent “while there is time.”
 
This is a recurring theme in Scripture. Repent, turning away from sin and turning toward God, before the Day of judgment comes. How much time do we have to repent? Only God knows. But the time is short. Therefore, we must turn to God, while we hear His voice. For there is a time when it will be too late.
 
What does repentance look like? Joel, speaking for the Lord, described both an inward and outward aspect. First, inwardly we are to give God our hearts. This is the Great Commandment. Love God with all your heart. Put God on the throne of your heart. Second, there is an outward aspect. Joel gave three outward signs of inward repentance, namely, “fasting, weeping, and mourning.” Yet, these mean nothing without heart change. But with inward repentance, these three are appropriate expressions.
 
Don’t ask, “How much time do we have?’ Instead, turn to God now. For “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

“Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways” (Psalm 128:1 NKJV).

From: December 9, 2017

“Blessed.” One experiencing a condition of total joy and contentment under God’s umbrella of care.
 
“Fears the Lord.” One who has such awe and reverence for the Lord that they seek His pleasure and approval above all others including themselves.
 
However, by implication, the one who does not fear the Lord, but fears man instead, will not experience the blessing of God. For they will live as people-pleasers, always enslaved by the opinions of others.
 
As Christ-followers, we do not fear the Father’s wrath, for Christ has taken our punishment. But we are motivated by His great love that moves us to desire pleasing Him above all others. Fearing the Lord, we experience His blessing.

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32 ESV)

From: December 9, 2016

The prophet Joel wrote that “everyone” who calls upon the “name” of the Lord would be saved. His prophecy was first written to the Jewish people and he surely didn’t foresee that this ‘everyone” would one day include both Jew and Gentile alike. The apostle Paul quoted Joel to emphasize that this “everyone” made no distinction between race, only between hearts–– that believed (Rom.10:9-13). Yet, this “everyone” must be one “who calls on the name.” What is this “name?” The apostle Peter makes it clear in his first sermon preached at Pentecost when he declared, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12). The “name” is “Jesus!”

o rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm” (Joel 2:13 NKJV)

From: December 9, 2015

The prophecy of Joel opens with a word of warning and judgment, describing the coming “day of the Lord” (“yom Yahweh”). Yet, it also contains a call to repentance, inviting God’s people to “return” to Him. He gives the warning to bring about repentance. But not many will listen.

“It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast” (Revelation 1:10 NLT)

From: December 9, 2014

The apostle John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos for preaching the gospel. There, on a Sunday, the revelation of Jesus Christ came to him while he was in worship. The early church fathers reported that John was in a cave on Patmos when the Lord spoke to him. Was John singing worship songs? He had no hymnbook nor choir. Was he sitting under preaching? There was no preacher. Was he reading Scripture? He probably had no access to his scrolls and parchments. How was he worshiping? “In the Spirit,” he said. You could beat him, boil him in oil or exile him from his fellow believers on a rock in the Mediterranean Sea, but you couldn’t keep him from worshiping Jesus. It was on that day that Jesus called to John in a voice as loud and penetrating as a trumpet. It was on that day that Jesus gave His revelation to John.

“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near” (Revelation 1:3)

From: December 9, 2013

The book of Revelation contains a multifaceted promise: 1) That the one who reads it to the church will be blessed, 2) that the listener will be blessed, 3) that the one who obeys its instruction will be blessed, and 4) that the time of the end is near. I had the privilege of reading chapter one of this book aloud to a group of believers on the island of Patmos. Together, we experienced a taste of this promise.

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave'” (Revelation 1:17-18)

From: December 9, 2012

John had a vision of the Lord Jesus in all His glory on a Sunday morning while exiled on the Isle of Patmos. This happened while John was worshiping on the Lord’s Day. May we encounter Christ in our worship this Sunday morning too!