A Word From Pastor Kenneth D. Cain
WEEK One: “The True
Text: Isaiah 58:1 – 12
it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my
people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. 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 people to humble themselves? Is
it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in 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 lose 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 them, 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[a
] 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 our light
will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The
Lord will guide you
always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen
your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters
never fail. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise
up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer
of Streets with Dwellings.
past Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent which began the Forty Day period of
fasting by many. We fast as a spiritual
practice with the intent of growing closer to God. We exchange our normal habits
for diligent abstinence from anything that hinders our relationship with God.
There are some however, that use this as an opportunity not to get closer to
God, but as a self-serving way to compete against other believers. Because God knows the intent of the heart, we
may fool one another, but not God.
scripture text for this week, presents a different type of fast that’s been initiated
by God Himself. God’s fast comes as a
result of His unending love for us and is designed to be a way of life. God’s
fast is interested in loosing, undoing, breaking, sharing, covering, exposing,
enlightening, healing, vindication, and glorifying with the intent of yielding
positive fruit. What would happen if we were to adopt God’s method of fasting,
if we stopped racism, class, sexism, and exclusionism? What if we stopped
pointing fingers or blaming or pursuing our self-centered agendas and instead
pursued the will of God? Maybe, just
maybe, this is what God desires of us during this season of Lent, a change of
direction. Let us determine to turn our
eyes from judging each other and seek instead to grow spiritually deeper as
sons and daughters of God.
God, help me to change my heart during this season of Lent. Cause me to change my negative mindset of
others, as I seek to grow closer to You.
Then God, show me where I can serve You by serving others. Amen!