This was clear when the idea for my Lenten fast came last night. While I'd been oblivious to the fact that the day was approaching, God wasn't. In His sovereign grace, He has been using several things in my life to prepare me anyway. From a sermon Joe preached a couple of weeks ago to my study in Matthew to memorizing the beatitudes, one theme has resounded loud and clear and that is God's heart for people, in particular those who suffer great need. He brings this home in a message to the Israelites on the subject of fasting, where He describes the kind of fast that brings Him pleasure:
"Is not this the fast that I choose:Of course as believers, this is what it means to bring the kingdom to earth, and as such is our privilege as a way of life. But for the next 40 days I am going to seek to be far more intentional about doing this. For example, Joe and I decided we wouldn't eat out or buy anything beyond basic needs so that we will have more to give away. Beyond that, I am asking God to open my eyes every day, no matter where I am or what I am doing, to the needs of people around me -- even those in my own home. And when the Lord answers, I want to act as His Spirit leads -- in prayer, service or simple words of kindness. My mind is already racing with other ideas of things I can do to be pro-active about this.
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
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? Isaiah 58:6-7
So this year, as I focus on Christ's death and resurrection once again, I believe I am going to experience Christ's presence in amazing new ways. This is His promise:
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,I can't wait! So what are you doing this Lent?
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.'