Posts Tagged ‘Independence Day’


LAND OF THE FREE HOME OF THE BRAVE_2532The fourth of July is our national holiday, a day set aside to celebrate our independence from British rule over 230 years ago. Our nation has come a long way. We have surpassed Great Britain in every way. Our founding Fathers prayed before a God whom they referred to as “Sovereign.” Their allegiance was to this Sovereign God, not to the sovereign King of Great Britain. They refused his laws and the Revolutionary War began. America became a great and mighty Nation, yet this morning as I think about celebrating the 4th, I am troubled at what my America has become.

We have always been known as the land of the Free, home of the Brave! We have those words in our National Anthem. Are we really free? Are we really brave? All the revelations of spying and malfeasance by government organizations sends shivers down my back. How can we be free when the level of spying by our government touches the very keyboards we type on, the very cell phones we text on? Anyone brave enough to decry such indecencies is branded a traitor and pursued as an enemy of the state. A few congressmen show outrage but then quiet down as soon as they discover that the vast majority of Americans simply don’t care. So what is the reply I hear the most. Ho Him! Now who won the game? Tell me something really important.

police-state-USA-2

I understand how the Anti-Christ will be able to take control. I understand how he will be able to control purchasing and travel. We will all have been conditioned into letting the government do whatever it needs to do to “protect our safety.” Every ounce of bravery that could possibly lead to a Revolution will have been sucked out of every American man, woman, boy and girl. Our government has become so obtrusive into our daily lives that we have sacrificed our bravery and our freedom for the comforts of ‘security’ and ‘provision.’

The truth is that this Sovereign God whom our founding Fathers worshipped is no longer important to the ideals and purposes of our National leaders. In fact, in the secret chambers, I believe Psalm 83:5 is coming true: “For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant…” The America I knew as a little boy is no more. The America Abraham Lincoln knew is no more. The America George Washington envisioned has vanished into the vapor of expediency, comfort and control. We have exchanged our bravery for comfort, and surrendered our freedom for security. We have sacrificed our Sovereign God to the control of godless leaders.

Is there any wonder that Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” I fear the only faith He will find will be the mis-placed faith we place in our godless leaders. Faith that has slowly, but willingly, given up our freedom.

Mel Gibson as William Wallace wearing woad.

Mel Gibson as William Wallace wearing woad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As William Wallace said in Braveheart:  “Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade all of that from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freeeedoooomm.”

Sorry Bill, but they have taken our freedom, our lives, our courage and most of all, our spirit. That fierce Revolutionary spirit that would rather die than surrender its freedom to tyranny has been slowly sucked from the soul of Americans. We may feel more secure, but it is a security that leaves us empty, devoid of character, resolve and courage. We have become a soulless nation. Happy (in)dependence day…dependence on government.

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The Declaration of Independence

Abraham Lincoln boldly explained the importance of the Declaration of Independence to American history in his Gettysburg Address of 1863:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

On July 2, 1776, Congress voted to approve a complete separation from Great Britain. Two days afterwards – July 4th – the early draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed, although by only two individuals at that time: John Hancock, President of Congress, and Charles Thompson, Secretary of Congress. For those of you unfamiliar, here are some poignant passages:

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among

these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…

(Follows a long list of the offenses of England and their King)

…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives,

our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Four days later, on July 8, members of Congress took that document and read it aloud from the steps of Independence Hall, proclaiming it to the city of Philadelphia, after which the Liberty Bell was rung.The inscription around the top of that bell, Leviticus 25:10, was most appropriate for the occasion: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof.”

It was a reference to the year of Jubilee prescribed by God for His People.

This weekend we celebrated Independence Day, the Day that our founding fathers declared our Independence from the tyranny and oppression of England. Most of us did it by watching Fireworks, like this display at Brian & Heather’s Home, or by eating grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, or by doing too much physical activity. But for the signers of the Declaration of Independence ,it was the beginning of a long fight to secure our independence, and become the great nation “The United States of America”.

America has survived many attacks upon that freedom, and still we remain America the Beautiful, the land of the free and the home of the brave?

This weekend we celebrated Independence Day, the Day that our founding fathers declared our Independence from the tyranny and oppression of England. Most of us did it by watching Fireworks, like this display at Brian & Heather’s Home, or by eating grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, or by doing too much physical activity. But for the signers of the Declaration of Independence ,it was the beginning of a long fight to secure our independence, and become the great nation “The United States of America”.

However, I believe that we are living in very perilous times. I believe God is trying to get our attention.

History is littered with the echoes of failed nations. Nineveh, the Egyptian Dynasty, Greece, the Roman Empire….

Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, attributed the fall of the Empire to (among other things):

1. The rapid increase of divorce; the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home.

2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses for the populace.

3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.

4. The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within, the decadence of the people.

5. The decay of religion—faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.

(Quotes from the tape “Our Godly Heritage” by Wallbuilders, Inc., PO Box 397, Aledo, TX 76008 817-441-6044)

Righteousness Exalts a Nation

I believe God is calling out to America.

I believe God is calling out to Churches.

I believe God is calling out to Christians.

I believe that God is Crying out Proverbs 14:34:

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. (Pro 14:34).

Is America Righteous?

The Hebrew Word tsedâqâh (tsed-aw-kaw’). Describes justice, right actions, and right attitudes, as expected from both God and people when they judge.

Righteousness requires a Standard, a Measuring Stick that can be applied to actions and attitudes.

This Nation began with a foundation of Righteous Justice for All, of Righteousness as the basis for government. The Bible was the Foundation of our Constitution. Let me read some words from our founding fathers and mothers.


When asked the question, “What is the greatest thought that ever passed through your mind?” Daniel Webster responded:
“My accountability to God.”

Abigail Adams“A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox as an honest Man without the fear of God. Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Men? Can he be a patriot who, by an openly vicious conduct, is undermining the very bonds of Society?….The Scriptures tell us “righteousness exalteth a Nation.”

John Hancock April 15, 1775 “In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent Measure should be taken to ward off the impending Judgments….All confidence must be withheld from the Means we use; and

reposed only on that GOD who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose Blessing the best human Counsels are but Foolishness–and all created Power Vanity;

Francis Scott Key February 22, 1812 (He wrote our National Anthem) “The patriot who feels himself in the service of God, who acknowledges Him in all his ways, has the promise of Almighty direction, and will find His Word in his greatest darkness, a lantern to his feet and a lamp unto his paths.’ He will therefore seek to establish for his country in the eyes of the world, such a character as shall make her not unworthy of the name of a Christian nation….”

Patrick Henry March 23, 1775 “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

“It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.”

William Penn (Founder of Pennsylvania) “If thou wouldst rule well, thou must rule for

God, and to do that, thou must be ruled by him….Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”

James Madison “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

George Washington In his Inaugural Speech, April 30, 1789,“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States.”

We have come a long way since 1776.

Today we no longer Cry out to God for righteousness. We no longer practice Justice.

We are more concerned about being “fair” to all people. We don’t want to “offend” others. We run our government by “poll numbers” and “political correctness”.

After all who can say what “Righteousness” is? Behavior and Lifestyles are all subjective anyway. The only standard we have in society is “Thou shall not hurt anyone or the environment” (Picture is of Jennifer Kozumplik (left) and her partner of 17 years Nicole Webber celebrating their recent marriage in California with 18 month old daughter Sophie.)

TRUE Righteousness demands a standard of behavior. It demands a standard or Right and

Wrong.

Our society has become so open minded that we are afraid to confront evil, we are afraid to offend those who do wrong. Science and Medicine have done their best to explain away sins and wrong behavior. They excuse immorality, debauchery, drug abuse, alcoholism, perversion, and most of societies ill’s as a sickness or a disease. There is no right or wrong any more.

To cry out for Righteousness in our nation would be to cry out for God to Reign, for God’s Word to be Obeyed, for only God is Righteous.

Deut. 4:5-9:
5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a

wise and understanding people.
7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

Psalm 119:142:

Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

America Has Turned Away from God’s Righteousness

For many years God’s Word was read in the classroom, read in the legislatures, read in our homes. It was the standard for our behavior, our laws our relationships with one another. Prayer was allowed in school just as it is in our nation’s capitol.

Our nation and our judges and legislators have moved away from the Righteousness of God’s Word. Much of it has been the result of Supreme Court Decisions.

· The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach. Everson v. Board of Education, 1947

· “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our teachers and our Country” – the prayer that was the contention of Engel v Vitale.

· It is unconstitutional to offer verbal prayers in a school, regardless of denominational neutrality and voluntary participation. Engel v. Vitale, 1962; Abington v. Schempp, 1963; Commissioner of Education v. School Committee of Leyden, 1971.

· It is unconstitutional for a student to pray aloud over his lunch. Reed v. van Hoven.

· Students have guaranteed freedom of speech and press, except when it becomes religious, at which point it becomes unconstitutional. Stein v. Oshinsky, 1965; Collins v. Chandler Unified School District, 1981.

· It is unconstitutional for a voluntary gathering of students before school to hear the prayers of Congressional Chaplains read from the Congressional Record by a student volunteer, even though the prayers are printed in a public manuscript published by the U.S. government. State Board v. Board of Education of Netcong, 1970.

· It is unconstitutional for the walls of a classroom to have the Ten Commandments on them, because it may lead the students to read them, meditate on them, respect them, or obey them. Stone v. Gramm; 1980; Ring v. Grand Forks Public School District, 1980; Lanner v. Wimmer, 1981.

If our Founding Fathers saw what our Courts were doing, they would be in arms, with a New Declaration of Independence.

Abraham Lincoln, when he was asked if he thought God was on the Union’s side :

Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side. My great concern is to be on God’s side.

French Historian Alexis de Tocqueville (wrote Democracy in America), upon visiting America in 1831:

“I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests–and it was not there.

I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning–and it was not there.

I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution–and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!” Alexis de Tocqueville.

John the Baptist Preaching Righteousness

John the Baptist Preaching Righteousness

Our Churches and Pulpits Must Flame with Cries for Righteousness Once Again if we are to Right the Course of America.

We Must Embrace the Declaration of Christ

Clearly America needs to return to righteousness as our standard of government, judgment

and relationships? But how will we do that?

We must embrace a New Declaration, the Declaration of Jesus Christ for America. In so doing, we will arrive at a New Declaration of Dependence for America.

Luke 4:16-19 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me.
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

Jesus Declared that only in Him do we have Life, Liberty and Happiness

In the American Declaration of Independence, we declared that we had certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. While we hold these rights dear, we must acknowledge that Life Liberty and Happiness can only come to us through Jesus Christ. It is not up to government. This World is subject to King Satan, and as our Declaration states: whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.

Jesus Christ came into this World to throw off the Government of Satan. Whenever a person, a church, and even a nation yields to the Kingship of Jesus Christ, we RATTLE the gates of Hell.

Jesus Promises Healing (Life), Liberty, Sight so that we can Find His True Happiness.

  • The Gospel brought healing to the broken hearted.
  • Brought liberty to those held captive.
  • Brought Sight to the Blind
  • Brought Liberty to the oppressed or broken. (Happiness)

Jesus Christ has set us free from the dominion of Satan. He is still alive and well, but He is powerless when we submit to Jesus Christ. The end times are upon us and ole Satan is rearing his ugly head. He is working double time to destroy our great Nation and throw Chaos into the world.

The eyes of many Americans have become darkened because of Sin. They don’t know what Real Happiness is. So we have become a nation dependent upon drugs whether prescribed or illegal for our happiness. Or we have become mind numbed by Television and Movies that openly glamorize ungodly behavior. Behavior that as recently as 30 years ago was unspoken and unseen of on Television.

Churches are weak, the Bible isn’t taught, Righteousness isn’t preached, Accountability isn’t practiced, and many Christian’s follow a watered down gospel that produces lives so much like the world that you can’t tell the difference. We are no longer effective in bringing Righteousness into the world.

We Must Declare Our Dependence upon King Jesus & Live His Righteousness

Our forefather’s declared Independence from an oppressive government, and formed a Government Dependent upon a Sovereign God.

Our Nation has turned away from God’s Righteousness and dependence upon His Word, so it is time that the Church return to God and His Word and Declare our Dependence upon Jesus Christ. His final declaration, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, references the Year of Jubilee spoken of in Lev 25:.

On the first day of the year of Jubilee the priests with sound of trumpet proclaimed the blessings of that year (Lev_25:8-17). This great passage justly pictures Christ’s conception of his mission and message.

Just like the first Congress ringing the Liberty Bell of Freedom, We need to ring the Gospel Bell of Freedom from the tyranny of the Devil. We need to proclaim the Declaration of Jesus Christ throughout the land. We need to Declare our Dependence upon King Jesus

We Must Live the Righteousness of Jesus Christ

When Jesus read from Isaiah, it is also similar to some wording from Isaiah 58:5-6

Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 “ Is this not the fast

that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?

The Key to returning our Great Nation to Righteousness is found in Isaiah 58.

In the first three verses God brings an indictment against his people. He tells Isaiah to cry loudly and declare to the house of Jacob their sins. But their sin is cloaked with an amazing veneer of religious fervor. This is what is so stunning and sobering. Verse 2:

Yet they seek Me day by day, and delight to know My ways, as [i.e., as if they were] a nation that has done righteousness, and has not forsaken the ordinance of their God.

In other words they worship as if they are a righteous and obedient nation. And they have themselves persuaded that they really want God and his ways. This is a terrible kind of delusion to live in.

He goes on near the end of verse 2:

“They ask Me for just decisions, they delight in the nearness of God.”

So they want God to intervene for them with righteous judgments. Things are not going well — as we will see in a moment. But they do not see the real problem. They love to come to worship. They talk the language of the nearness of God. They may even have moving religious and esthetic experiences in their efforts to draw near to God. But something is wrong. They express the frustration in verse three, but they don’t know what it is.In verse 3 they say to God,

‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice

So something is wrong and they are fasting to make it right and it isn’t working, so something is terribly wrong.

There are FIVE things the people are doing in verses 2-3 to try to get God’s favor— all in vain.

In verse 2&3:

  1. they are “seeking God;” and
  2. they delight to know God’s ways; and
  3. “they ask God for just decisions;” and
  4. “they delight in the nearness of God;” and in
  5. they are fasting and humbling or afflicting themselves.

All of that and God tells Isaiah, Cry loudly, not softly, not quietly, but loudly, and declare to my people their sins.

So here is a Fasting that is not pleasing the Lord. Here is worship that is not pleasing the Lord.

And yet what is wrong with seeking God, and delighting to know his ways, and asking him for just decisions, and delighting in his nearness, and fasting and humbling our selves before him? What is wrong with that? Why, that sounds like the very way we talk about worship!

Doesn’t that make you tremble? Doesn’t that make you want to get so real with God, you could never be surprised by the Lord in this way — with your most zealous religious practices and even desires exposed as sham.

What’s wrong with their worship?

God answers in the middle of verse 3:

Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, and drive hard all your workers. 4 Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. 5 Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble [or: afflict] himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed, and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the Lord?

The problem was they were worshiping and fasting on Sunday, and living in Sin on Monday. With God, Monday is the Proof of Sunday.

Monday is the Proof of Sunday.

God lists the religious forms of their fasting: humbling or afflicting oneself (no food), bowing the head like a reed, spreading out our sackcloth and ashes (cf. Psalm 35:13).

Then God lists the real accompaniments of this fasting: you go after your own pleasure (in some other way besides eating), you drive hard all your workers and become irritable or contentious and stir up strife and even go so far as to get into fights.

  • And God asks, “Is this the fast that I choose?” The answer is No.

  • So with God the authenticity of your Worship is how you live Monday through Saturday.
  • God warns us against the danger of substituting religion for righteousness.

In Isaiah’s Day, the people had much RELIGION but very little RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Today in America, there is much religiosity, but there is a SERIOUS decline in Monday-Saturday Righteousness.

How you treat people on Monday is the test of the authenticity of your Worship on Sunday.

1 Peter 4:17 (NKJV) For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

  • Why was their fasting and worship unacceptable to God? – It left the sin in their lives untouched.
  • The only authentic fasting is fasting that includes a spiritual attack against our own sin. Whatever else we fast for we must fast for our own holiness. The only authentic worship is worship that includes at least an attack against our own sin.
  • If there’s an unresolved pocket of sin in your life and you are fasting about something else — some blessing, some healing — God’s going to come to you and say, “The fast that I choose is for THAT sin to be dealt with.”

But God says that this is not the fast that he chooses.

  • “The fast that I choose is One that Gives you Power for Daily Righteous Living that Benefits Others.

  • It is not for You Benefit, but for the Welfare of Others.

  • Verse 10: “And if you give yourself to the hungry, And satisfy the desire of the afflicted . . .[instead of oppressing them]”

God’s Prescription For Our Nation:

  • There is no earning going on here. The God of Isaiah cannot be negotiated with. He is sovereign and free and gives graciously to those who trust him.
  • What God calls our Nation to do is not a job description, but a Doctor’s prescription.
  • You can see that in verse 8 where it says that if you follow God’s prescription of fasting — “Your recovery — your healing — will speedily spring forth.”

God People Living God’s Righteousness will See God’s Recovery & God’s Healing. We will be called the Repairer of the Breach.

1. In God’s Fast, we are called to lift the burden of bondage.

Five of these components call for freedom.

Verse 6:

  • To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
  • To undo the bands of the yoke,
  • And to let the oppressed go free,
  • And break every yoke?

Verse 9:

  • “If you remove the yoke from your midst . . .”

Bonds, bands, yoke, oppression, yoke, yoke. . . The point here is: live to free people not burden them. Jesus said in Luke 11:46, “Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” We are called to free people from burdens, not oppress them with burdens.

2 In God’s Fast we are called to feed the hungry.

  • Verse 7: “Is [this fast] not to divide your bread with the hungry?”

3. In God’s Fast we are called to house the homeless.

  • Verse 7: “And bring the homeless poor into the house.”

4. In God’s Fast we are called to clothe the naked.

  • Verse 7: “When you see the naked, to cover him.”

5. In God’s Fast we are called to be sympathetic; to feel what others feel because we have the same flesh they do.

  • Verse 7: “And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” The thought may be the same as Hebrews 13:3, “Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” You have the same flesh they do. So put yourself in their place and feel what they feel.

6. In God’s Fast we are called to put away gestures and words that show raw contempt for other people.

  • Verse 9: “Remove . . . the pointing of the finger (literally, the “sending” of the finger, which may be a lot closer to our crude “giving someone the finger” than it is to merely pointing at someone); and [remove] speaking wickedness.” So don’t speak and don’t gesture in ways that show callous contempt for others.

7. Finally, in God’s Fast we are called not just to give food, but to give ourselves — our souls — and not just to satisfy the stomach of the poor, but the soul of the afflicted.

  • Verse 10: “And if you give yourself (= soul) to the hungry, and satisfy the desire (literally: soul) of the afflicted . . .” Ministry to the poor is not merely giving things. It is giving self. It’s not just relief. It’s relationship.
  • That is why I believe mission trips to people who are less fortunate to us are so important.
  • Isn’t this what Jesus taught us to do when He said in Matthew 25:

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Mat 25:34-40)

  • And then He taught that the second Greatest Commandment was:
  • ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

The Promised Results of Following Christ’s Declaration

  • Now, if we trust God enough to follow him in this prescribed seven point fast, what will happen in our lives and in our church?

1. If we fast like this the darkness in our life will become light:

Verse 8

  • Then your light will break out like the dawn (verse 8).

Verse 10 (at the end):

  • Then your light will rise in darkness,
  • And your gloom will become like midday.
  • Do you want light in your life instead of gloom? Look to the gracious resources of God — listen to your Doctor — and pour your self out for another person in need.

2. If we follow this fasting there will be physical strengthening.

  • Verse 8: “And your recovery will speedily spring forth . . .” Verse 11: “And [he will] give strength to your bones.” Who knows how much weakness is in us because we may not be pouring our energy into the weakness of others?

3. If we follow this fasting God will be in front of us and behind us and in the midst of us with righteousness and glory.

  • Verse 8, at the end: “And your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” So God will be in front of you with righteousness and behind you with his glory. Verse 9: “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’” Whenever the role is called, he always says, “Here!” When we are doing what his Son did — in the power that the Son gives — “becoming poor that others might become rich,” (2 Cor. 8:9) then God moves in on us and behind us and in front of us and surrounds us with omnipotent love and protection and care.

4. If we follow this fasting, God promises to guide us continually.

  • Verse 11: “And the Lord will continually guide you.” O what a precious promise that is for us now as a church and a Master Planning Team. I wonder how much confusion and uncertainty there may be in some of our lives that comes from the neglect of ministry to the poor? It seems the Lord gives his most intimate guidance to those bent on giving themselves to the needs of others — especially the poor.

5. If we follow this fasting, He will satisfy your soul.

  • Verse 11: “And [he will] satisfy your desire [literally: your soul] in scorched places.” Our souls are meant to be satisfied in God. But we have learned again and again that this satisfaction in God comes to consummation when we extend our satisfaction in him to others. Pouring ourselves out for the poor is the path of deepest satisfaction.

6. If we follow this fasting, God will make you a watered garden with springs that do not fail.

  • Verse 11, at the end: “And you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” It is a paradoxical spiritual principle in Scripture: as you pour yourself out you become full. As you give away you get more. When you are watered with God’s grace you do not merely become a wet, moist, living garden; you also become a spring.
  • This promise comes to its fulfillment in the New Testament when Jesus used this verse in John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’ [a spring of waters that does not fail] 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.” So you can see that trusting Jesus is the issue: “He who believes in me. . . ‘ The Spirit bestirs himself most fully when we by faith give ourselves with Jesus in the path of love and mercy toward the destitute.

7. Finally, if we follow this fasting, that is, if we give ourselves to the poor, God will restore the ruins of his city — and his people.

  • Verse 12: “And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”

RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTS A NATION. RIGHTEOUSNESS IS NOT WHAT WE DON’T DO. IT IS WHAT WE DO DO-TO HELP AND SHOW CONCERN FOR THOSE LESS

FORTUNATE THAN WE.

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Emma Lazarus – 1883

America used to be a place where Christians opened up their arms to the wretched refuse, the tired, the poor, the homeless. Perhaps it is time we Call for God’s Chosen Fast to call us Back to Righteousness, True Righteousness that will Make our Nation Great Once Again.

Bill Leslie was Pastor of LaSalle Street Church in Chicago who died not too long ago after a long and remarkable ministry — like the one described in Isaiah 58. He had a near breakdown once and a spiritual Mentor directed him to Isaiah 58. He said it was verses 10-11 that saved him from a dead end street of exhaustion and burn-out.

And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday. And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places [like urban Chicago], and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

What struck Pastor Leslie so powerfully was the fact that if we pour ourselves out for others, God promises to make us like a watered garden — that is, we will receive the water we need for refreshment. But even more: we will thus be a spring of water that does not fail — for others, for the demanding, exhausting, draining ministry of urban self-giving. This gave him a pattern of divine life that got him through his crisis and kept him going for years more.

Perhaps it is time for our Church to Fast and Mourn for Righteousness to come into our lives, Righteousness that will bring Recovery, that will make us Repairers of the Breach, a Watered Garden, a spring whose waters never fail.

We Must Declare our Dependence on Jesus Christ. We must Carry Forth His Declaration and seek His Life, His Liberty and His Happiness for those around us that are in Need.