Surrender

23 Mar

Greetings,

Yesterday classes focused on prayer.  The on going and life changing conversation with the Divine.  We talked about how the strengthen our prayer life.  I don’t think we came up with any incredible revelations, but there is a desire to encourage one another.

This week we will be considering the discipline of fasting.  I think it is the lest popular and most misunderstood of the disciplines that Foster covers in his book.

I think, as with all disciplines, fasting begins with a conversation and openness to God.  Let God lead you into what would be important for you to surrender.  My sons where always willing to given up vegetables for Lent, but never video games.  Sometimes I don’t think we even know what is controlling us and keeping us from yielding to God.

To seek God’s presence and prepare for his public ministry Jesus surrendered everything and went into the wilderness for 40 days.  Without schedules, distractions, excuses, or the demands of others Jesus sees the reality of the things that draw us away from God’s presence and makes us vulnerable to the evil of our world.

Sunday,  The example of Christ                     Luke 4:1-13

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,’

11 and  ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” 12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

The reading for today is enumerates how the people of God have gotten the idea of fasting wrong.  They give the outward appearance of fasting, but do not live as God’s people where it really matters.

Monday,  God’s chosen fast                                          Isaiah 58:1-7

Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.

“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
and oppress all your workers.

Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
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 them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

According to Isaiah, it is living in ways of compassion, generosity and justice that pleases God.

It so easy to lose track of the work of God for the least and lost.

I pray that God will open our hearts today to see the fast that God desires in our lives.

Peace

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