I am up in Cleveland helping visiting parents Posts may be a little sporadic the next few days. 18 degrees and snow! Brrrr!
I will continue my reflections on our IRCO 111.1 covenant. To be disciples of Christ who are encouraged to exhibit Immediate Radical Costly Obedience 1: Committing to fast one day a week in prayer over your indwelling of the Holy Spirit, your ministry, and that of the church. 1: Committing to spend at least one solid hour a week in un-interrupted prayer. 1: Meet one time a week in a Band with 1 or two other same gendered people for true accountability. .1: Tithe at least 10% to the ministry of Christ and The Church.
I am going to look at the first "!" in 111.1, fasting one day a week.. When I reflect on fasting, I always start with Isaiah 58.
"Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.
3 'Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?' Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?
6 "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
(Isa 58:1-11 ESV)
God, when I read your inspired words through Isaiah, I understand the fast that You choose for me is a fast from my flesh, a fast from selfishness and self-centeredness. It's a fast that frees me from the tyranny of my self and turns my heart to the things on Your heart.
Give me Your heart, Lord. Open my eyes to see the needs of those around me and fill my spirit with the power to do something about it. Give me time and passion for people in the ways that I can make a difference. Let me be part of the move of Your Spirit in my city and spheres of influence to rebuild the "ancient ruins," to "raise up the foundations of many generations" and "be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets" (v. 58:12).
Fasting is not about ancient rituals or even faithfully executing spiritual disciplines. Fasting is about putting You first, as Your Spirit overcomes my flesh so You can change the world around me through my life. This is the fast You choose. So by the power of the grace of God at work within me, let this be the fast I choose. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
My ODC family, and those reading this, I pray that you will be faithful to our 111.1 covenant and begin fasting one day a week. I pray we will not be a church with a prayer ministry, but a church that fasts and prays. I pray the Holy Spirit gives you eyes to see the needs of the world around you and the power to do something about it in your spheres of influence today.
P:lease share your thoughts and experiences on fasting in the comment box below.