wishing-everyone-a-blessed-2008.jpg2008 promises to be a supernaturally exciting year for everyone that is willing to let Christ reign in their lives; and exchange their lives for His.  He is looking for those hungry for His presence; hungry to see His glory; and hungry for revival in their lives, families and fellowships.  He is looking for Christian Leaders that will lay down their lives, take up their crosses, and follow after Him.  The faithful, courageous and obedient saints that answer the call will be transformed from glory to glory.

Are you ready for the challenge?

As we begin the New Year, it will serve us well to revisit “The Fasting That Pleases God”.  So, take out your Bible and follow along:

Isaiah 58:1-5 – Seeking the Lord can be a form of worship without meaning, simply because it is self-centered and filled with compromise, hypocrisy and arrogance.  Our motivation is the key.  Are our prayers about ourselves, or the Lord and others?  This requires a serious self examination and invitation for the LORD to search our hearts.  The Lord is not looking for outward display, but a humble and contrite heart that will “be Christ” to those He came to save, heal and set free. 

In response to our surrender, the Lord will give us the desire to be transformed into the fullness of Christ.  Isaiah 58 presents this transformation in three progressive steps; made up of requirements and promises for the transformation result.  We will discuss the first here – found in vv. 6-9a – and the others in a later entry. 

Isaiah 58:6 – The first requirement is to set people free from the bonds and yokes of wickedness and oppression.  In the Lord of the Rings, Sauron has yoked and bound Cave Trolls to pull his engines of war.  Get a picture of this in your mind, substitute a weak and frightened human, and you will have a good view of the situation we face.  Our responsibility is to loose the bonds of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens (of sin and shame), let the oppressed go free (imagine what a blessing that will be) and then break the yokes (so that they will never be useful again).

Of course, this assumes you have been set free yourself.  If you have not, I suggest you find someone that has, share this commentary with them, and ask them to help you get free and break the yokes in your life.  This person will likely be an intercessor/prayer warrior.  If you do not have someone to help you, please let me know.  It would be a blessing to be there for you. 

As we fast and pray, let’s ask the Lord to give us a hunger to speak and work in someone’s life, in a way that will set them free.  I believe He will show you who and how.

Isaiah 58:7 – The meaning of this verse is fairly obvious; but let me point out a couple of important points.  First, ministry that does not set people free from wickedness and oppression is not profitable for God’s kingdom.  Second, our ministry must be done in His power alone, and for His glory alone.  Lastly, we must be sure, as we minister to the lost, that we do not neglect our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Jesus said that whatever we do for the least of these, we are doing for Him.  As we fast and pray, let’s ask the Lord to show us the ministry where His power will be used for His glory.  I believe He will show you who and how.

Isaiah 58:8-9a – These promises are supernatural; and so astounding that many Christians have a hard time believing that they are possible in this life.  But they are exactly what our lives will be like when we “let our light so shine before men that they will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).  These verses describe the evidence of the normal Christian life – and we are headed there!

The Lord is jealous for His Bride; and has called us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow after Him.  In this, fasting becomes an honorable and profitable activity.  Our journey thus far has taught us that He can be trusted with everything. 

As you enter into the fasting that pleases God, please join me in this prayer:

“LORD, as my body claims hunger, let me hunger for the life where you are in control and I can find satisfaction in the discomfort of it.  Use me to set the captives free.  Use me to minister to those that are hungry, cast out and naked.  Protect me from neglecting my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Give me the faith for all that You have promised.  I confess that it all must be done in Your power and for Your glory.  Reign, Lord Jesus Christ, reign!”

Your Brother in Christ,