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Joel 2:28-29 - Dreams

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Dreams

And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29)

The Book of Joel is so interesting, as is the whole of Scripture. You can read in Joel 2 that the "menservants andmaidservants" of God "run like mighty menthey do not push one another… (and) the earth quakes before them…” These are a people drawn by the Lord to: “Trust in (Him) with all your heartfor He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and He relents from doing harm" (Joel 2:7-13). We are given abilities we did not previously have, we find God’s love and His power; we are enabled to trust deeply in the Lord, and we discover His mercy, an eternal kindness shared with even those who do not deserve it. Actually none of us do, but that’s another sermon for another time.

Do you sometimes dream? Have you awakened from a dream, were haunted by it, wondered about it, and then it gradually faded away, replaced by the cares of this world and then another night, another dream? Where do these dreams come from? Half of our brains solve or at least approach problems logically in a dream, thinking with something like mathematical precision, whereas the other half is more artistic in nature, utilizing symbolism instead of logic. Our dreams can be from the physical, like bad food or a substance that leads to hallucinations. We also know from places in Scripture such as the experience of Joseph in Genesis 40 and 41, that some dreams are purposefully sent from God to enlighten ordinary people like you and me.

In Acts 1:13-14, the interesting men and women who been with Jesus for the past three years are identified, and in Acts 2, this mixed group of individuals we might call faithful misfits were suddenly filled with God’s Holy Spirit. It was the day of the Feast of "Pentecost," a holy event ordained centuries before by God Himself. Every person involved was amazed at what now happened, including and perhaps especially the many onlookers in Jerusalem who did not live there but came for the feast. Some were just curious, wondering what it was all about, whereas "others mocking said, 'They are full of new wine'"—scoffers sneered—they’re drunk—disgusting (Acts 2:12-13)!

Then bold Peter, who blessedly made so many mistakes that we can see our own mistakes with amusement instead of only shame... Peter the fisherman, told by Jesus three years before: "From now on you will catch men" (Luke 5:10)... Peter gave what was probably his first sermon, and in the power of God he quoted today’s verses in Joel 2:28-29, written 800 years before, relating them to the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit in Acts Chapter 2:16-21. God is calling out to us from 3,000 years ago and from eternity, as He did in Joel 2:12-13—"'Now therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.' So rend your heart, and not just 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.'" Trust in the Lord. Place your faith in Him. He will forgive you, fill you with God’s Holy Spirit, heal your life and save you for all eternity.

A few mornings ago, I awoke from a dream. It was about a little group of birds of differing colors, red, green, yellow and more, standing around, not really doing very much, and that was the problem presented in the dream. They were supposed to do something but were not doing it. One of them, blue in color, was concerned about their inactivity and began to urge the others to do something… to do what birds are supposed to do. Initially the blue-colored bird wasn’t sure exactly what that was, but he began urging the others to find their destiny. As he considered it, he decided they were intended to fly (whatever that was), build nests of safety, procreate, find and bring back food for themselves and their offspring, protecting the little ones in every possible way. The blue bird became increasingly animated as he shared his concern with the other variously colored birds who now listened to his call. They began to respond and in turn THEY increasingly had contributions about what should be done as well. They now flew, found food which was brought back for the benefit of all, and in general, did what birds are supposed to do.

Salvation is both a wakeup call and a rescue leading to eternal life. As Joel and Peter both observed, God’s Holy Spirit is given to those who place their faith in the Lord, and His Gift, the Spirit, will enter us, manifesting Himself in varying but related ways. Some of those ways, called "gifts" in Scripture, are glimpsed in 1 Corinthians 12. A person among us has the sudden onset of a "wisdom" not previously held. Somebody else knows something he or she did not know before; about something we all need. Another has faith in a deeper more profound manner than other believers. Some can heal an illness by a word or a touch. There are those with miracles, others with prophecy, some can tell whether a situation is of the Lord or not, and some can even speak languages they previously did not know. There’s more, and like the little birds of varying colors, the gifts we have will differ, but we each have much to share with one another.

And like Peter sometimes misunderstood things and made mistakes, we will, too. Paul the Apostle, a slightly later contemporary of Peter, thought of himself as a religious man who kept the Law of God. But he learned to his shock that he was actually a cold, hard man, who used God’s Holy Law like an icy club that would bludgeon others. He, like Peter, was awakened by the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, and he too was given God’s Holy Spirit. These were two very different men who found God through the Lord and received His Spirit. Paul would later shout out, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:1).

Joel, Peter and Paul were just ordinary men who said "Yes" to God and placed their faith in the Lord. They weren’t perfect and we aren’t either, but there is "no condemnation" when we place our faith in the Lord. Even our mistakes will be made to work for good because, as Paul would later say, "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Trust in the Lord, dream of Him, and He will direct you—forever.

Lord, please forgive my sins and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I trust in You. I am Yours. In Jesus Name. Amen.

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