Monday, December 13, 2010

Words of Wisdom from the Prophet Joel

I love studying the prophets of the Bible. I am not completely sure why I have been so drawn to them. Maybe it is their close relationship with God...hearing His voice daily. Maybe it is the concept of continuously proclaiming God’s Word in the wilderness and wondering if anyone is listening (that hits a little close to home at times!). Maybe it is the urgency of their message. I am not really sure.

The prophet Joel is probably my favorite. I find myself drawn back to this little three chapter book time and time again. God has taught me so much from the book of Joel! The biggest challenge and encouragement God has given me is from Joel 3:14-16. It reads,
“Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. It is there that the day of the Lord will soon arrive. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine. The Lord’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the earth and heavens will begin to shake. But to his people of Israel, the Lord will be a welcoming refuge and a strong fortress.” (NLT)
That first phrase motivates me and haunts me all at the same time. There are thousands upon thousands in this world who are lost, dying and going to hell. They are waiting in the valley of decision. The suicide rate in San Carlos is seven times the national average. During our first trip here in 2001, Kara was teaching the first day of the Vacation Bible School on “sin.” She asked the kids to give her an example of a sin. A 5 year old boy in the front row raised his hand and with the first answer to the discussion said, “Suicide.” I am haunted by the tragic deaths of teenagers we know. Death on reservations is not limited to the elderly. I look around and I see so many who are separated from God. Can a relationship with a welcoming refuge and a strong fortress make a difference in peoples’ lives? Most definitely! How many more are in the valley of decision? And then I begin to wonder...Has the church become too complacent? Is the church more concerned about being comfortable or about reaching out to those in the valley of decision? I pray our eyes will be open to the lost around us, both on the reservations in our country and those who live right across the street from us.


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