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Wednesday: Fast Fight — 10 Comments

  1. Their worship, while generous, wasn’t genuine. They were worshiping God for personal gain (“what’s in it for me?”), instead of public transformation. And the greatest of all deceptions, and the hardest to overcome, is self-deception steeped in religion!

    Isaiah continues, “‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’”(Isaiah 58:3). Have you ever heard people say, “If you do your part, God will do His part?”Well, that’s just not true! Especially if the only reason you are doing your part is so God will do His part. God is under no obligation to do anything for you. If the only reason you do anything for God is so He will answer your prayers and bless your mess, you will be sorely disappointed. The people to which Isaiah was prophesying were worshiping God but their hearts were far from God. They were doing something for God SO THAT God would do something for them. They thought God was a transactional God—“If I do this, God will do that”—when God is a relational, reconciling, transformational God...!

  2. There is a true blessing in helping the less fortunate. God is wonderful and rewards us according to what we need the most. Sharing what we have with those in need strenghtens our faith.

  3. True religion is to demonstrate a practical love for God and our fellow man. To visit and uplift those in afflictions, to preach the gospel to all who will listen, to bring healing remedies to the sick, this is how Jesus, our Example, lived among men.

    Just being alive is a “supernatural intervention” isn't it? Yet, a life of selfless living has a healing benefit and is a source of joy and peace as we become laborers together with God. This way of life will lead our minds to be stayed upon the Lord as we will feel inadequate for the needs around us, and will plead for the promised Spirit of God. A life of service is vital if we would be prepared to dwell in the presence of a Holy God. Notice that only servants of God are sealed(Rev 7:3).

  4. If we know what Agapa Love, then we will love our Neighbor as ourselves. Not giving to get, God knoweth the heart and the genium, unselfish ways of all of us, let us let others know this by helping where it is needed. Let us love one another as God has loved us.

  5. For Jesus who abhorred sin but yet loved the sinner, is a mystery I have to challenge myself to comprehend every day.

  6. Is fasting for making friends or for fighting?
    Is fasting a solitary activity of denying yourself food or is it sharing your goods and food with those who are needy?
    Why did the Jews fast other than the one day that the LORD told them to fast?
    Read the following: 2Sam 12:21-23; 2Chr 20:3; Ezra 8:21; Est 4:16; Jer 36:9; Joel 1:14, 2:15; Dan 9:3-4; Dan 10:2-3
    The Jews were asking - why doesn't the LORD pay attention to our fasting? It appears that they fasted quite often, not only on the Day of Atonement. But via Isa 58 the LORD asked them what kind of fast do you think I want and told them what they were doing and what He wanted them to do.

    Isa 58:4 ISV  "Look! You fast only for quarreling, and for fighting, and for hitting with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and have your voice heard on high.
    Isa 58:6-7 ISV  Isn't this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, and to untie the cords of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?  (7)  Isn't it to share your bread with the hungry, and to bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him with clothing, and not ignore your own flesh and blood?"

  7. Who was "waging LOVE"? A large religious group was holding a 4 day revival and training ticketed training in an American city. The training ended in a culmination day of events with special speakers on God's chosen day for worship. At the end of the morning events with special speakers calling for revival and reformation and a special appeal for commitment, it was time for lunch. Special meal tickets were provided for special dietary meals but some groups went off together to commune together and digest the morning's spiritual meal. One attendee went off to mediate by walking around the downtown city streets. Upon leaving the facility this lone individual was met by a homeless hungry individual requesting a hot meal. The homeless had been present most every day during this seminar. What should the individual do? The individual took the homeless man to a local restaurant of the homeless man's choice, which was immediately across the street from the seminar location. He bought the homeless man a meal with his own credit card. He sat with the man as he ate the meal and prayer with and for the homeless man before they departed their own ways. Who as fast fighting? Isa 58:6-7

    • I met a homeless man in the library (a warm place to stay during a cold day) and we started chatting. When I found out that he had only had a couple of meals (fast food) in the last three days, I invited him to choose a restaurant. He chose one close by — the staff knew him. He ordered a large meal and I wondered if he would be able to eat it all (he was kind of thin looking), but he did.

      Before the meal, he asked me if I minded if he prayed, and I said, "No." He began his prayer by thanking his ancestors for providing his meal and thanking the spirits for guiding him that day. I prayed too, silently, but to a different God. After he finished the meal, he thanked me too. We had an interesting conversation while he worked on his food. His family were animists and ancestor worshipers, and he was trying to resolve some inheritance issues.

  8. At the heart of todays lesson I see the question: “What *language* is used between God and man , what is the ‘language’ of Heaven which should also be spoken in earth?” Is it the language of God’s loving righteousness and our language of humble self-denial to release Gods righteousness through us? The changed heart needs to motivate the act of service, having been changed from self-centeredness to other-centeredness, to express God's unselfish, altruistic love.

    Isa.58:3-5KJV is explicit: – “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge(do not notice it)?
    God answers himself: “Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours (or griefs, or, things wherewith ye grieve others)".
    “Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day(at this time), to(in order to) make your voices heard on high."
    (5) “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul (or, to afflict your soul for (just) a day)? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

    The LORD understands His people, but they do not understand Him; He knows and understands the language of their heart, but they do not know and understand the language of His heart; He is aware of their motives, but they are not sure of His motives.
    God shows us the need for self-denial, what it is that we should fast from: - Acts caused by our iniquity/wickedness - a self-serving, cavalier, callous attitude toward others. At the same time we are informed about the right way to interact with each other – Isa.58:6-7 to demonstrate that we understood Him, our hearts act in loving consideration toward each other.
    This is the Red Thread embedded throughout Scripture, highlighting for us the need of the Father’s righteous Love to be replicated in the behavior of man.

    It is so very important to fully understand that the mystery of the power of God’s righteous Love placed into the heart of man is that which draws man toward Him; acts of God’s Love can only come from the Spirit of the selfless, compassionate heart of God in man. Man can put on an *act of selflessness*, but it is only the genuine Spirit of God’s Love which will cause man to be drawn to His Maker when acted upon and received by man.

    Our Salvation is bound up in the blessings of God’s selfless Love expressed toward us and from us to each other. This should prompt us to carefully examine our motives and our relationship with Him. Why not sincerely ask Him to examine our heart to reveal to us the motives which underly our acts of service to others?
    Every day can become a Sabbath for a clean heart which fasts from acts generated by self-serving motives and instead delights itself in the LORD, “for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it” – Isa.58:14!


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