Journal Joel 2-3 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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, and
your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” Joel 2:28-29
Observation: It appears that God reveals His toolbox for Believers in this passage—so much so, that He repeats it in Acts.
Analysis: What if I were to take the Scriptures as true as is—no matter what I want to believe; no matter what I have faith for; no matter what my personal inclination was; no matter what I find experientially distasteful; no matter if I know how to implement or not?
What if we were “open” to believe this? Is being courteous to be “open”, faith? Or do I argue that what He says here (and repeats again in Acts) is for a restricted time in history?
“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Does God give instructions through the Scriptures? You bet!! They are referred to and followed, prayed for, meditated upon, etc. every day. Why then, is this “pouring out of the Spirit” not prayed for, longed for, cried out because of its absence in my life? Why did Paul clearly point out to Corinth his desire for that local church: “Pursue love, AND earnestly desire the spiritual gifts—especially that you may prophesy.” 1 Cor 14-1
On a practical bent: What does the exercise of the Gifts look like? I can say what it shouldn’t look like: unrestrained stupidity. This is where “being a fool for Christ” and maturity in Christ collide. It is this “collision” that creates the dogma that “Gifts are not for today” and “the need for the Gifts went away when the Canon (the Bible) was ratified in 397 AD (Council of Carthage).” The second issue is the “decently and in order” observance. Note: The Practice of the Gifts can be messy, sort of like 3–5-year-olds playing soccer. Not real good play and certainly needs coaching for the next 10 years or more—just like the Gifts. It needs practice and coaching, not neglect, denial, or rejection.
Why write about this today? The Gifts of the Spirit is part of the Gospel. They are tools to strengthen the local church and to provide powerful testimony to unbelievers. I remember Peter and John, strolling to the Temple, enjoying the walk with each other, and being interrupted by a lame man begging for a handout (alms). Most of us know what comes next according to the Scriptures: “Silver and gold have I none, but what I do have I give to you…In the Name of Jesus, rise up and walk.”
There is opportunity and challenge in our locale; in the grocery store, at Walmart and Costco, even in our own church…
Prayer: Again, I preach to the face in the mirror, Lord. Sometimes I am brave, many times not. There have been times where I am not brave but attempt to be faithful anyway and lay my hands on strangers in raw faith. I know results are only from You and that is the basis for my actions: A nudge, bravery, and hopefully I am not doing things to pat myself on the back and become famous.
Help me again to serve in secret and have results like the disciples did.