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“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?  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?”  (Isaiah 58:6-7, NIV) 

We often think of fasting as something from which we refrain or abstain — and that is a true definition.  However, according to our reading from Isaiah, God’s chosen fast can be as much a time of engagement as it is a time of denial or retreat.

In the observance of Lent, disciples will often give-up something.  This is a good thing if only as a reminder that “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  (Matthew 4:4)

Yet, we also need to remember that God is as interested in what we have chosen to take-up as He is in what we’ve chosen to give-up.  There is as much for us in the “taking up our cross” as in the “denying one’s self.” (Please see Matthew 16:24.)

Let us strive to maintain balance in our discipleship!  – Luther

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Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

There is a kind of work that fails to satisfy.  This is not to say that such work isn’t helpful, or even necessary, on some level.

If we are to engage in the kind of work that endures beyond our years, and that satisfies us at the core of our being; it must be work that is motivated by our desire to give glory to God.  Any work — no matter how menial — that is undertaken in obedience to God; or that is rendered as a service to God is never in vain.

If your work seems pointless, ask yourself: “What is the point?”  – Luther

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“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”  (Matthew 7:21, NLT)

When valued against actions, talk is cheap.

Jesus says that it is not just our confession, but it is through our obedience to God’s law that we realize the rule of God.  Furthermore, as we see in the two verses that follow (verses 23 and 24), it is not our successes that impress our heavenly Father; it is our faithfulness.

How different is that from what we see daily: Where good words are often divorced from good deeds?  Give God the lead today — and faithfully follow!  – Luther

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