Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 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 him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
One of the reasons we have seasons of rain is to enjoy the sunshine - this is usually expected, here in Texas.
One of the reasons to volunteer service to God is to see - that what we call routine lives - are actually blessed lives. To find our gratitude again. Today - was one of the few days in my life - I witnessed actual hunger. And had occasion to pray to Father God for real need.
We live in a throw away culture.
Our grandparents and parents threw out housing that people paid cash for. Because you could get a better neighborhood - for ? A way to experience less trouble. Apartments have been around since Julius Caesar - his mother was a landlord to tenants in their family investment of their apartment home in Rome. People have moved away from apartments for years - millenniums - why? To divorce themselves from trouble.
We divorce for cause these days.
I know a personal and real story of 3 marriages I'd like to share.
Asunder - God says this is when a Vow is over.
The first two wives in these marriages were in a Bible Study together.
For six years and one wife plucked up her courage and told these very close friends that her husband was leaving on Friday's for work and would not come home until 1 p.m on Monday morning. Her husband was not talking to her and she decided she would divorce him after 25 years of marriage. She considered her husband to be ill with alcohol and grave troubles as well.
The next wife in the Bible Study said that she tremendously, tremendously appreciated someone would share that with the small, loving group and she began to sob and sob. She said that her marriage of 25 years had seen a vast change in her husband. He had begun Yelling and Screaming at small things. Hitting them in the arm over and over. It had gotten so bad the kids and the wife had made one of the bedrooms that had a door lock the get out the window room with all four of them. They would all get in a car parked in the front where a key was hidden under a mat. And then the father had taken up similarly with a woman and would leave most of Saturday and most of Sunday. The three sons and the wife at any-breakfast-late-place they could find had said the father being gone was the best part of the week.
The wife continued to say the odd part of the hit-you-escapes was that the husband never blocked the bedroom or questioned them when they returned very late. The wife and the three sons remembered the father from years past and said this was an alteration. The three sons said get a divorce. The wife said she hated to see them weep. But she would sit and recall with them the husband in years and years past.
The two wives sat and contemplated divorce. The first wife mentioned - did - her husband had quit speaking to her as he lived there and left for weekends. For Just Cause. It wasn't good - The Dallas Morning News reported in the 1990s that 60% of fathers who leave voluntarily - never come back to visit their children. This happened. The family decided they weren't worth much as a unit. Their ties of loyalty disintegrated.
The second wife said she felt the Lord had called her to stay. And said she fully supported the other woman's decision to leave her husband. Which was true for about 6 months, then the Bible Study changed the time so the divorcing wife could never go. And phone calls were not really returned. Because the group was for married women.
It wasn't easy for the woman who decided to stay. She and her sons were still jumping out of the window. And then they started staying on the patio quietly for the lights to go out as their father went to bed. And in about a year they could all just huddle in the locked bedroom. For about 20 minutes. And they prayed for him. And a couple of years later they found the father was quite ill. No one was quite sure what he had something about heart or brain was mentioned. The wife just didn't say; she said it wasn't something her sons liked to talk about. And about 5 or 7 years later the man died. The family left was reported to be amazingly close and loving. Devoted to each other.
The next marriage is the true story of one of my neighbor's Hindu marriage. Sadly this is not Christian. But it surely could be. They met at age 25 at the arranged wedding alter. Neither looked pleased. After the festivities were over the groom asked the bride if she loved another. She said she did. He said I did as well. The groom said I have an idea that will either fix this or fix us. He said taking of virginity is unpleasant. And he had no desire to take something like that unless willingly given. He said I will be your brother and your best, best friend for the next two years. I will listen and fix what ever problem life brings you with complete loyalty and care for two years. By then I will be 27 years old. At that time I will be educated very well and can earn enough money to divorce you and you can tell your parents later I beat you. She agreed. And for two months the groom had to remind his bride not to tell her troubles to her mother-in-law, but her groom. Eventually she told him and she said she was so surprised - he cared. And fixed. And helped. He had to remind his bride a few times that she was not so caring of his troubles. Eventually they worked out how to help her support him correctly. And they had a second anniversary. The bride was taken to dinner and the groom was nervous. She asked him why. He said today we agree what will happen to us. She said she had forgotten. He wasn't especially pleased to hear that. And he said are we divorcing or we going to be married? And SHE SAID ARE YOU NUTS WE ARE MARRIED. And he said we are not really. And she said well I wondered when you'd get around to that. And on their 50th Anniversary, where a very large party gathered - the participants agreed - this was one of the Happiest Marriages they had ever seen. And the Groom spoke and he said, "This has been the happiest 48 years of my life!" And the wife said, "I've been happy for 50 Years!" The groom glared. The wife laughed. And their son said if only the world could experience that kind of marriage!
What is asunder?
When we take a vow of marriage we are told - no man can put a vow to God asunder?
We are pretty blithe about that.
Asunder is - when you are separated from God.
1 Corinthians 7 tells us this is Peace.
When a spouse tears you away from God - God Will Put That Marriage Asunder.
We are quick to take trouble and place that far from us.
God is not thrilled with a dab will do you religion.
“Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?
A wife told me yesterday of loosing her husband, he coded in the hospital and was without air for 13 minutes. Now he is unable to talk or walk. The nursing home was reported - he was found covered in feces and bed sores. He came home and his step-daughter and daughter-in-law changed there lives - going home on weekends. His wife said for the first few months she was unhinged. And with the love of her own daughter and the daughter-in-law she and her husband are changed people. After six months, she is thinking of having a small water view for her husband to see. Being able to fish at night. She works full time. His wife says he is a changed man, but he is hers.
His step-daughter has M.S. I told her mother we will pray that her kindness to her step-father will have Father God's favor for her illness. Her illness has made her much more aware of what illness does in people - using her circumstances to want to bless others.
We adjust pretty fast to our own lives - I take my blessings for granted.
Last week I caught myself with tears in my eyes for my troubles. I have a few.
Yet, we are forget - others are in far different circumstances than our usual circumstances.
The lady I met today with Hunger in her life - was wondered over about the truth of her need. Shame covers real need. I saw shame.
When I encounter judgment - sometimes what we really encounter is an unwillingness to see life would be
different - one life to another.
After spending years as the Older Prodigal Brother and Simon giving Jesus Dinner - I see that Jesus sees much farther. When I have been astonished to find that I Need Jesus as My Savior
Amazing Grace rushes in. When we Cry out - in immediate need. When we fast.
God does not ask us to have shame. He asks us to repent. God never sent the disciples out alone - He sent them two by two. God equips us to do His Work.
What is the work of God - David said that goodness and mercy are the prints we leave behind.
Father God, Isaiah went to Heaven and found You Will arrive in our Scorched Places - You are Living Water.
Your Glory Lord Will fortify us to do Your Plan . We call to You, Father God - You willingly Answer.
Father, You pour Yourself out where You are needed. Father God, please guide us continually. Your Light rises in the darkness - You shall be called the repairer of the breach.
We pray for the health of Jackson and for Jim - who brought his family closer together.
Father we seek You daily, Jesus did, and we delight to know Your ways. In this Love, let us rejoice and have Your salvation cover us and those we Love. We ask in the Highest Name of Jesus. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †