03: A Holy and Just God – Thought Starters
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“…mighty are those who obey His command. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?” Joel 2:11 NIV

Image of locusts from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

[Thought questions for A Holy and Just God April 17, 2013]

1. Tragedy can make us sensitive to God. When two horrible explosions blew up at the finish line for the Boston Marathon this week, did your thoughts turn towards God? What did you say to Him? Ask [...]

Thursday: The Refuge in Times of Trouble
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Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Biblical prophets compare the coming judgment from God to the roaring of a lion,

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

a sound that makes everyone tremble (Joel 3:16, Amos 1:2, 3:8). In the Bible, Zion designates the location of God’s earthly throne in Jerusalem. From this place God will punish the enemy, but at the same time He will vindicate His people who patiently await His victory. They will share in His triumph when He renews creation.

To some people the Scripture’s portrayals of [...]

Wednesday: Proclaiming God’s Name
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“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,

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before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:31-32, NKJV).

The darkening of the sun and the changing [...]

03: A Holy and Just God – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought: God can use crises to make His people sensitive to their dependence on Him and their need for renewal and reformation.

[Teaching Plan for A Holy and Just God April 15,2013]

1. Have a volunteer read Joel 1:14,15.

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. What are the benefits and advantages of corporate repentance and prayer over personal and private repentance and prayer?
C. Personal Application: Have you ever [...]

Tuesday: The Gift of God’s Spirit
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Image © Bill Osborne from GoodSalt.com

Read Joel 2:28-29 along with Acts 2:1-21. How is Peter interpreting the prophecy of Joel here?

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On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter announced that the Lord had fulfilled His promise, as given through Joel, regarding the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Accompanying the outpouring of the Spirit, and as a visible sign of God’s supernatural intervention in the history of humankind, God will cause extraordinary phenomena to be seen in nature, both on earth and in [...]

Monday: Blow the Trumpet!
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Image © Ain Vares from GoodSalt.com

When natural disasters occur, they provoke many questions, such as,

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“Why did God allow this to happen?” “Why have some people lived, while others have died?” “Is there a lesson here that we could learn?” Joel had no doubt that the locust plague could lead to a deeper insight into God’s universal plan. In chapter 1, under divine inspiration, the prophet relates the national crisis to the spiritual situation in the land. The locusts have [...]

Sunday: A National Disaster
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Read Joel 1:1-12. What is happening to the land of Judah?

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The prophet, who lived in an agricultural society, calls upon the farmers to be dismayed at the loss of their grain and fruit harvests. The ecological destruction could cripple the nation’s economy for years. In addition to the loss of food, shade, and wood, there is a threat of topsoil erosion. Some fruit trees in Palestine take 20 years to grow before they become productive. [...]

Sabbath: A Holy and Just God
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Read for This Week’s Study: Joel 1, 2:28-29, Acts 2:1-21, Joel 2:31-32, Rom. 10:13,Matt. 10:28-31.

Memory Text: “The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?” (Joel 2:11, NIV).

Key Thought: God can use crises to make His people sensitive to both their dependence on Him and their need for spiritual renewal and reformation.

On the massive locust plague and severe drought that were [...]

Death and the Resurrection in Light of the Cross
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Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

It’s that time of year when the leaves spring back onto barren trees and flowers bloom back to life. Every spring reminds me of the second coming and resurrection. I believe God lets everything die in the winter and come back in the spring to demonstrate for us His re-creation and resurrection power. Just as sure as the trees that seem to die in the fall have new life in the spring, we can be sure our sleeping loved ones [...]

Further Study: Love and Judgment
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Compare the following two quotations with the messages presented in Hosea 7-14 .

“Through nature, through types and symbols, through patriarchs and prophets, God had spoken to the world. Lessons must be given to humanity in the language of humanity. . . . The principles of God’s government and the plan of redemption must be clearly defined. The lessons of the Old Testament must be fully set before men.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 34.

“Through long, dark years when ruler after [...]

Inside Story: The Second-Hand Church
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Pamela Obero sat beside her mud house in Kenya and listened to the preacher’s sermon over the loudspeaker.

Image © James Work from GoodSalt.com

She was curious about the Seventh-day Adventist meetings being held on a nearby vacant lot, though she belonged to another church.

The messages touched Pamela’s heart, and at times she felt that the speaker talked directly to her. So on Sabbath morning she took her five children to the meetings instead of to her own church. When the [...]

02: Love and Judgment: God’s Dilemma – Thought Starters
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“But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always” (Hosea 12:6, NIV)

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[Thought questions for Love and Judgment: God's Dilemma April 10, 2013]

1. The senseless doves. Does it seem fair for God to compare his wayward Old Testament children to ignorant doves? Is God exaggerating when He uses language like this? Is God’s New Testament church in any way like the people of God in Hosea’s day? [...]