Isaiah 58

Broadcast this so everyone can hear; get it on every radio, TV, billboard, website, and podcast. Get all who call themselves Christian to listen and see their own sin.

They go through the motions of seeking me every day; they enjoy studying my Word, appearing to be a church that has done what I want and obeyed my commands.  They ask me for direction and are happy when they think I’ve answered.

They say to Me, “Why don’t you notice all the good things we do for you?  We’re really humble, so why don’t you seem to notice how good we are?”  But I say, “You don’t recognize as I do that you’re motivated by what you desire, not what I desire.  And as long as your desires are satisfied, you don’t even care if you’re interfering with anyone else’s ability to worship and find Me.”

Just look at yourselves!  You use your Christianity to drive a wedge between you and others.  You inflict guilt on them, but that doesn’t help them – it only makes you feel superior.  Just doing your Christian rituals and having the right outward appearance is not going to get My attention.

Do you really think I’m impressed that you go through the motions, reading your bible, praying, going to church, saying the right words, and generally appearing to be spiritual?

What I really want you to do is this:  Seek out those who need your help and show them My love.  Show compassion to those trapped in sin – not contempt. Set them free from the things that oppress them by caring for them sacrificially.

I want you to give generously from your full cupboards to those whose cupboards are empty.  I want you to bring the poor and homeless into your own home, and give them clothes from your own closet.  Let the person I really made you to be shine out from behind your pride and your fears.

THEN you’ll be amazed at how fast your life will get brighter!  Your health will improve.  Your own right perspective will guide you and the glory of the Lord will guard your back.

Then you’ll have no trouble at all getting the Lord to respond.  He’ll be waiting close by to say “Here I am” when you cry out to Him.  But that can’t happen while you’re ignoring those who need your help, pointing to them with contempt, and bad-mouthing them.

You can turn your whole life around by giving of yourself to the hungry and caring for the needs of those in pain.  Your own gloominess will turn to sunshine and you’ll be like a shining star on the blackest night to those around you.

You will experience the Lord’s continual guidance and your soul will be satisfied even in the places that have been badly burned.  You won’t recognize your own strength or how continually refreshed you’ll be.  You’ll be a never-ending source of refreshment to others.

You can be part of God’s rebuilding program to restore what is crumbling.  Raise up the banner of love to repair the damage that has been done to God’s reputation.  Light the path for those who haven’t found their way.

Here’s what I’m asking you to do:  Never let a week go by without setting aside time when you intentionally turn away from seeking your own enjoyment and take the initiative to do the things that bring Me joy.  Even when that means doing things that make you uncomfortable or resisting your own preferences and giving up your own pleasures for My sake.

Then you will know a new level of joy in your life – one that will have you soaring to new heights as you experience My joy overflowing into you and out of you.

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