Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Fast Way to God's Heart

By Brenda Black

“'Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.'” (Isaiah 58:6—9a)

Welcome to this week in America: Injustice, oppression, hunger, loss of home and clothing and life! And out of the mouth of Isaiah, a prophet who preached in the 740's BCE, we hear God speak directly to us today. He tells us if we do what is right, the Lord Himself will have our back!

The word “prophet” literally means “to boil up like a fountain.” So here are a couple of fiercely frothy topics that need some God perspective to put us on the fast track to His blessings.

Boiling up first is the need to “Loose the chains of injustice.” I'm not one to go political in this column, but for crying out loud, there needs to be a house cleaning of magnanimous proportions in our government! So much corruption and injustice cannot continue if we want to draw near to God's heart. 
The truth is rapidly and finally becoming unveiled. Those whom we have entrusted, have lied, manipulated and murdered. Trust has been decimated along with privacy. Lives have been lost along with liberty.

May the chains of injustice be loosed and the cords of this deceitful yoke be broken so that freedom and security will once again be available to Americans. There's a reason God blessed this nation for generations. Generations before blessed God!

Boiling up next is the need to “Share your food with the hungry and provide the poor wanderer with shelter.” Oddly enough in a world where social media keeps us instantly and constantly connected, the human element is all to often absent. Instead of reaching out to meet the needs of someone else, we're standing in front of mirrors taking self portraits with cell phones and so absorbed with our own trivial day-to-day happenings, that we forget none of us is the center of the universe! Good grief – we need to use our fingers less for texting the latest gossip and more for holding the hand of someone in crisis! So often, God uses the people-to-people formula to convey His love and grace. With all the pain in our country this week, don't miss being the Lord's emissary of mercy.

May we feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the naked and love one another as Christ loved us. “'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.'” (Matthew 5:7-8)

There's an overflow effect after boiling up like a fountain and taking God to the masses.“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”

The rear guard is that part of a military force that protects it from attack from the rear, either during an advance or withdrawal. Be aware, that as you speak up for truth, as you demand justice, as you sacrifice to meet the needs of another, the enemy will be on your heels in hot pursuit. I pray that the church of God does not withdraw, but advances, declaring the love of Christ and standing up for His justice.

May the timeless words of Isaiah appropriately overflow at a time when we need to hear them and follow them closely. May our fasting be honorable in the sight of God so that when we call, the Lord answers. When we cry for help, we here Him say, “Here am I.”

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