August 9, 2016 · 5:00 AM
When I was 28, my first wife left me for someone else. My life felt like it was over. After a long bout of depression, I realized I had to start all over. In the wake of our divorce, I had to file for bankruptcy, and nearly had my house foreclosed on, as well as lost my business, a vehicle, and most of my friends. Everything I had built my life on was gone. The foundation for a successful life was gone. I didn’t know where to begin or how to start over, but God did.
He spoke to me multiple times through multiple people. One of those messages was, “What seems like an end is really just a beginning.” I have held onto those words for the past 13 years. While it was no fun to begin again, at least it wasn’t the end of my life. God gave me hope in that message in a time when I couldn’t see how I could survive more than a few minutes at a time. When there was no hope, there was no reason to live. God changed that with those powerful words.
In Joel 1 and 2, God speaks to Joel about a time when everything would be gone from the land. Joel 1:4 describes it like this: “What the crawling locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; and what the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten; and what the hopping locust left, the stripping locust has eaten” (AMP). It was a wave attack like we face in our lives. It’s one hardship after another that seems to have no end. In those times we wonder where rock bottom is. Sooner or later you’d think we’d run out of things to lose.
But God doesn’t leave us in that barren land of devastation. He restores us and takes what seems like an end and turns it into a beginning. Joel 2:25 gives us the promise of restoration after devastation. God says, “And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten–the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you.” Just like God has restored my life, He will restore yours. He will replace the years the locust have stolen with greater things than you can dream of.
I can attest it took time. It didn’t happen over night. Rock bottom for me was a deep hole that took nearly a decade to crawl out of. I held onto the promise of restoration throughout the hard climb up. God was faithful to His promise and will be for you as well. The restoration He has brought in my life has far exceeded any dream I ever had before the locust stole my early adult life. God has a greater dream and plan for your life than you can imagine. If you’re in the time of locust, hold on to His promise. Restoration is coming.
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Tagged as bankrupt, bible, broke, broken, Christian, daily devotional, depressed, depression, drvotion, hope, hopeless, joel 2, life restoration, restoration, restore, restore the years the locust have stolen, rock bottom
June 9, 2014 · 7:16 AM
Joel 2 is known for verses 28-29 which Peter used when he preached from the balcony of the Upper Room in Acts 2. While those verses are well known, there are a couple of other ones in there that stand out to me as well. One of which is verse 13 where he is quoting God and He says, “Rend your heart, not your clothes and return to The Lord your God.” When I read that, it jumped out at me. So I began to read it in other translations and interpretations to see what else I could get from it.
The Message Bible says, “Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God.” It made me think of a show my wife and I used to watch called “What Not To Wear”. A person could nominate a friend who was a walking wardrobe disaster and the hosts of the program would secretly tape them in every day life wearing ridiculous outfits. The person would be invited to a party which would turn out to be an intervention. They had to agree to go to New York with all of their clothes for a makeover.
Once there, they tried on several of their favorite outfits and were picked apart by the expert hosts. They would be required to throw away their entire wardrobe in most cases. After throwing them away, they were taught how to shop for clothes that fit them and their style. After a day of shopping, many wouldn’t know what to purchase and would return to their former style. At the least they would lament throwing out their favorite clothes. The hosts would join them, encourage them and have a break through with them. They could then change their buying and clothes wearing habits.
That’s what God wants to do with each of us. He wants us to throw out our old wardrobe. He wants to change not just how we look on the outside to other people. He wants to change us from the inside out. We can change our clothes and how we appear to others, but that’s not what God is looking for. God looks at our hearts, not our outward appearance. That why the NLT translates verse 13 as, “Don’t tear your clothing in grief, but tear your hearts instead.” God is more concerned with us changing, tearing or rending our hearts because He knows that when we do, our outside will change as well.
Maybe you’ve tried to change how you appear to others, but haven’t changed on the inside and it’s not very fulfilling. You’ve fooled others, but you haven’t fooled yourself or God. The rest of verse 13 says, “Return to The Lord, your God, for He is merciful and compassionate… and filled with unfailing love.” God is not out to get you when you mess up. He’s merciful and compassionate. He wants to help you change your heart so that you won’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. If you do, He’s right there to help you make better choices. All you have to do is call out to Him.
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Tagged as bible, change your heart not your clothes, God, god forgives, god helps me make better choices, god is compassionate, Jesus, joel 2, make better choices, pentecost, rend your heart, what not to wear