“Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly.” – Isaiah 38:3 NLT
Isaiah told King Hezekiah that he was going to die. Upon hearing this, Hezekiah went before the Lord and prayed the prayer in the above verse. Hezekiah knew he had a basis to petition God to review the decision regarding his imminent death. He knew the word of the Lord was final; but he also knew that the Lord was merciful and fair. Of course, God does not need to be reminded of what He knows already. However, I believe that what God knows already can be a proper basis or grounds for a petition for God to exercise His discretion in one’s favour.
That is exactly what Hezekiah did. He reminded God that he (Hezekiah) had lived a faithful life. He had been loyal to God and lived in truth. He served God solely and did everything that pleased God. These are everyday things that we are required to do as Christians. We are to served God and only God, faithfully and do what pleases Him. Doing what pleases God is doing the will of God and fulfilling your purpose on this earth. What pleases God is spelt our clearly in His word – the Bible.
Doing what pleases God in modern times may be challenging especially with all the distractions around us. But that is no excuse to go contrary to the word of God. That is why we have the sweet Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent to us as a Helper in these times. You may look at it this way: if you want to have valid grounds to petition God to exercise His discretion in your favour, then you have to do what pleases God and be faithful to Him. So before you break down and cry to God, ponder over this question: what can I remind God of? May God grant us grace always. Amen.
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.” – Isaiah 58:6-7
The above verses are self-explanatory and so I need not say much. Fasting is good and draws us closer to our Father in heaven. Fasting is not about just turning away food and staying hungry; we have to pray during the period of fasting. And for our prayers to be heard and answered during the fasting period or subsequently, we have to do the things that God wants. From the above verses, God wants the following:
1. Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
2. Lighten the burden of those who work for you;
3. Let the oppressed go free;
4. Remove the chains that bind people;
5. Share your food with the hungry;
6. Give shelter to the homeless;
7. Give clothes to those who need them; and
8. Do not hide from your relatives who need help.
In summary, God wants us to demonstrate His love during a period of fasting, and indeed, at all times. We must show mercy to everyone that we can show mercy to or deserves mercy. The first four requirements (1-4) are about forgiving those who offend us just as our Father in heaven forgives us and does not hold our sins and offences against us. We must not be wicked in our ways and how we treat other people especially those over whom we have some influence or authority. The second four requirements (5-8) encourage us to show mercy in our giving. We must be generous to everyone who is hungry, homeless, poorly clothed or unclothed and to our relatives who need help.
When we do what our Father in heaven wants, He will do what we want and ask of Him. And remember He is able to do far more than we ask or even think of. Have a blessed day!
The Lenten period is here with us again, and I am happy, proud and excited to participate in this year’s Lenten period. The Lenten period has become something I look forward to every year because of my Lent Testimony from three years ago (read it here: https://kaessuman.com/2016/04/02/my-lent-testimony/). However, as believers, we should treat every passing day as the Lenten period and not wait for the period to draw close to God. We should seek to draw closer to God everyday and in everything we do.
For those reading and thinking, “what is Lent,” allow me to try and explain what it is. Lent is a 40-day period in the Christian calendar, just before Easter, where Christians are expected to fast and pray and be charitable before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. During the Lenten period Christians wait on God; they seek God and draw closer to God.
There are many Biblical references for lent but the most pertinent of them all is that which Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before beginning His ministry on earth. In Matthew 4, we are told that Jesus was led into the wilderness where He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights; after which He was tempted by the tempter (Satan) and when He overcame Satan’s temptation, angels came and ministered to Him and He begun His ministry thereafter. So during the 40 days Lenten period, we fast and wait on God to give us the strength and grace to overcome temptation. We must also be charitable and give to those who are less privileged or who are in need.
This year’s Ash Wednesday falls on Independence Day. May I encourage you to consider it as independence from sin and all its consequences as we enter the 2019 Lenten period. God bless us all!
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32 NLT
People who tell lies live in bondage because they are subject to the lie they told. They always have to remember the lie and make it consistent with subsequent events. When they are caught, they tell another lie to cover up the first lie and on and on until they are unable to tell anymore lies and the truth is revealed. The guilt they carry when they tell a lie keeps them in a mental and emotional prison – bondage.
There are also people who have no guilt when they tell lies because they tell lies so effortlessly. Those people don’t even know that they are in bondage. The ignorance of bondage in itself is bondage.
But then there is something about the truth. When you tell the truth you carry no burden of guilt. You walk around with a free and clear conscience. You don’t have to think about consistency with subsequent event because the truth is one. No one can change the truth. The truth indeed sets you free.
The truth in this verse, however, goes beyond that. It is the truth about salvation – that Jesus Christ came to die for ALL sinners and reconcile us to the Father. Jesus Christ is the truth (not Paul Pierce lol). In John 14:6, He said that He is the way, the TRUTH, and the light. When we know Jesus, He sets us free from bondage.
I pray that you will know the truth today, so that you shall be set free. Have a blessed day!
“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” – 1 John 4:10
This Lenten season is full of LOVE. God wants to reminds us of His love for us. That is the real love. The kind of love where sent God sent His ONLY Son to come and die for us so that we could be reconciled to Him. Do you get it? I mean, imagine using your last 5 Cedis to buy medicine that saves a child, at the expense of your lunch. That sacrifice is what God appreciates and sees as real love. As we pray and fast during this Lenten season, let us show real love to all those who need it.