“God’s Great Army” ( Joel 2: 25, ESV ) by Carley Evans


God promises, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, My great army, which I sent among you.” God tells us that He sends His great army against us, to swarm, eat, and destroy. As God comes against us, we cry aloud in despair,”Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us: look, and see our disgrace!” (Lamentations 5:1) “Our pursuers are at our necks, we are weary; we are given no rest.” (Lamentations 5:5) “The joy of our hearts has ceased; our dancing has been turned to mourning. The crown has fallen from our head; woe to us, for we have sinned!” (Lamentations 5:15-16)

After our near total destruction because of our unrecognized sins, the Lord restores to us all He has taken — “what the swarming locust has eaten.” With this restoration, God pours out His Spirit. His great promise comes true: “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 see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out My Spirit.” (Joel 2:28-29) “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Joel 2:32)

“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong, fear not!'” (Isaiah 35:3-4) “‘He will come and save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.” (Isaiah 35:5-7)

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

” ‘I Am About To’ ” ( Joel 2: 23, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


God becomes “jealous for His land and spares His people.” (Joel 2: 18) He promises “grain, new wine, and olive oil.” (Joel 2: 19) He says that His people are “no longer a disgrace among the nations.” (Joel 2: 19) God calls His people to no longer “be afraid.” Instead, He calls us to “rejoice and be glad.” (Joel 2: 21)

We are able to rejoice “because the Lord has done great things.” (Joel 2: 21)

He “gives [us] the autumn rain for [our] vindication. He sends showers for [us], both autumn and spring rain as before.” Whether the growing or the harvest season, God provides the refreshment and the sustenance of rain.

God promises to “repay [us] for the years that the swarming locust ate.” (Joel 2: 25) Whatever He has taken from us in His disciplining wrath, He returns. “[We] have plenty to eat and are satisfied.” (Joel 2: 26)

God says to us, “You know that I Am present… and that I Am the Lord your God, and there is no other. My people are never again to be put to shame.” (Joel 2: 27)

“Go Privately” (Matthew 18: 15, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Go and tell his fault, between you and him alone.”

Jesus is not saying that we should be fault-finding of one another. Instead He is telling us to take our brother aside if he sins against us. We are to discuss his sin privately, not publicly.

If our brother listens, our relationship is restored. Here is God’s objective — restoration.

If he does not listen, only then do we bring together witnesses. Here, it becomes a charge. This step is serious, and is not to be taken lightly. We are making his sin public. And, this is not God’s objective. God prefers that sin remain private, between the two persons it has affected.

If your brother does not listen to your witnesses, only then do you take it “to the church.” Before moving to this step, you should spend time in prayer for your brother, asking the Holy Spirit to do His great work in the heart of your fellow Christian. Once public, sin can never be forgotten by the body of Christ. Of course, the sin and sinner can be forgiven but human beings have great difficulty forgetting a sin.

If your brother does not listen to the church, Jesus says “let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Of course, this is definitely not God’s objective. God does not want your brother outside the church. Rather, God wants him restored. Therefore, always go to your fellow Christian in private, behind a closed door to confront and rebuke gently. Give plenty of time for repentance; do not rush to witnesses and a charge. Allow the Holy Spirit to work as He has great power. Pray, fast, wait. Your brother is likely to apologize and come back to you whole.

“Evil Lies Close At Hand” (Galatians 6: 1, ESV) by Carley Evans


Paul calls those “who are spiritual” to “restore” “anyone caught in any transgression” “in a spirit of gentleness.” Some are caught in transgression as one caught in a trap. Others who are free of that trap should assist in that person’s rescue from sin. Yet, Paul warns that the one who is “spiritual” must “keep watch on [himself], lest [he] too be tempted.”

Everyone is subject to temptation; and temptation is not temptation if there is no chance of failure. If the Christian life is as easy as saying, “I am free of sin;” then why is there so much sin in our churches, in our homes, in our children, in our marriages, in our work places? Why do we struggle against the flesh if it has been totally crucified?

Paul writes of this, “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7: 21 – 25)

Paul writes, “For whatever does not proceed form faith is sin.” (Romans 14: 22)

And, “do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14: 16 – 17)

The struggle is to maintain faith, to keep trust in God’s ultimate goodness, to believe that everything works together toward His perfection.