Last monthLive:58 partnered with Compassion International to provide mosquito netting to children. This month, World Relief is the focus. World Relief is working to provide food in Turkana Africa where they are suffering from drought, which brings its evil twin starvation along with it wherever the two travel.
Today is the first time I am looking into this month’s partner, and I must tell you that I am moved by their motto–Stand for the Vulnerable. Their causes–women, children, those suffering devastation like in Turkana–can all be found on their website.
I know it is Lent. You may already be abstaining from meat on Fridays or given up your cup of joe for 40 days. Fasting again may seem like too much to ask. I would push a little though against that notion and say if you are feeling like too much is restricted or taken away, your focus is wrong. It isn’t about you. It isn’t about what is restricted.
Live:58 is about what can be given. Fasting is about what can open inside of you. Fasting asks you to leave room. Leave space for God, for a miracle, for a little hurt or longing.You see, there is a filling that can only come your way through fasting. There is giving and blessing that only comes from sacrifice.
Skip a third of your calories today by reading Isaiah 58 around the dinner table tonight. Sit. Even sit and think about how hungry you think you are right now. God can use it. If you take the steps of Isaiah 58 and take what you would have eaten (figuratively) and give you will bless a nation.
In case you would like to read it now, I have included the NIV translation of Isaiah 58 here:
1 “Shout 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 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 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 your 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.
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.