Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 3/25/08

Isaiah 58:2-10
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?
6 "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?
7 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?
8 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.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

I know this is a long one, but hang with me here. I was listening to a sermon by another pastor tonight and this thought struck me. Why is there such a disconnect in our culture between our professed love for God and our obedience of His ways? Or to put it another way, how can we say we love God when we don't keep His commandments? I spent several days witnessing to people at the Sturgis Bike Rally one year. After I shared the gospel with them, many would say, "Oh, yeah I already know that" or "Yeah I have done that"(referring to praying to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord). But the observable lifestyle of the people I was talking to led me to ask one more question. Jesus said, "If you love me you will keep my commandments"; do you keep His commandments? This usually started a great list of excuses on the part of most individuals and a list of unrealized intentions from others. But it gets to the heart of our relationship with God. I heard it said once that people will always find time to do exactly what they want to do, and I have found the same to be true in my life. What about you?

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