Thursday, April 26, 2007

[Isaiah 58] The fast that pleases God

[There are much benefits in physical fasting, let alone one done in the spiritual context. Fasting cleanses our body, and there are many areas in our lives that God can cleanse as we approach fasting with a sober heart and right attitude. Fasting is also not just about ourselves. We are reminded to remember the needs of others, especially the poor - the people very much on God's heart. Most of all, as we seek God, He promises to bless us! That's just Him! We can trust Him, and He is always good...]

A) Four areas in our lives to ask God to CLEANSE
so that we may draw near to God with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 2:3-4)
Isa 58:6

1) To loose the bonds of wickedness

  • Ways in us that are not right before God ~ Ask God to surface them and deal with them radically!
  • Pray the prayer of King David in Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

2) To undo the heavy burdens

  • Past sins/issues that we are still holding on to that added weight/baggage in our lives, so that we cannot run swiftly or are choked in our growth in the Lord ~ Ask God to surface them and deal with them speedily!

3) To let the oppressed go free

  • External or internal opposition, either voluntary - eg due to wilful sins in our lives that open doors to oppression or involuntary - eg. generational iniquity ~ Pray with someone and be set free!

4) And that you break every yoke

  • Extra load that you have taken upon yourself unnecessarily that strips you of the joy in knowing, loving and serving God ~ Cast them aside, Learn to carry the yoke of the Lord, which is easy and light.
  • Matt1 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

(B) Four types of people to CONSIDER
Isa 58:7

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

Consider the needs of those around you and reach out to them. This pleases God.
Matt 25:40 "And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ "

(C) Five promises of God to CLAIM
Isa 58:8-9

1) Then your light shall break forth like the morning

  • Your ministry/life will be fruitful. God is light. His light will shine through your life/ministry.
2) Your healing shall spring forth speedily

  • You will receive God's divine healing, upon your heart, mind, soul and body.
3) And your righteousness shall go before you

  • You shall be right before God and men.

4) The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard

  • He will watch over you. You will have no fear of darkness or opposition.
5) Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

  • He will hear your prayers and answer them!

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