Stop Asking and Start Acting

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Isaiah 58:6 (KJV)

Oppressed – When we fast, we often times ask God to perform some sort of action in our lives. We’re afflicting ourselves in attempted humility and beseeching our Creator’s help. But in Isaiah 58, God turns it around on us. Rather than doing what we ask, He asks us to do something else instead.

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Food isn’t the Focus

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

Leviticus 23:2 (KJV)

Feasts – The Lord really loves a good meal, doesn’t he? When reading this, I’m quite impressed by God’s desire for us to partake in meals together. But just after this, He mentions that the 7th day Sabbath is one of these “feasts.” How does that work? There’s no Sabbath instruction about holding a feast.

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Become as Little Children

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3 (KJV)

Converted – It took our study group 1.5 hours to get through 8 verses in Matthew 18. I had read these verses time and again, but never actually dug into them. The results of our conversations last night left me in deep thought about something most of us merely pass by.

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Sabbath Day’s Journey

Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.

Acts 1:12 (KJV)

Sabbath day’s journey – Wow, that sounds like a long distance, doesn’t it? Walking from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem must have taken a very long time. A Sabbath day’s journey appears to be no small effort. Or is it? A “Sabbath day’s journey” is a very Jewish term and probably lost on most Christians today. Let’s dig in.

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Signs of the End

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Matthew 24:3 (KJV)

Sign of the end – In Matthew 24, the disciples of Yeshua approach him asking about the signs of his second coming and the end of the world. Yeshua begins to break it down for them in a way that is vividly familiar to every Jew. He lists several signs that we should watch for. Each of these signs are curses for not keeping the law of God. Interesting!

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Synagogues, Not Churches

For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

James 2:2 (KJV)

Assembly – James is the brother of Yeshua. He was also the most influential leader of Yeshua’s believers in the 1st century after the death and resurrection of Yeshua. As the leader of the “Christian” sect of Jews, he even instructed Apostle Paul to bring a sin offering to the temple under the law of the Nazarite vow (Acts 21:26), and Paul obeyed. Despite all of this, little is mentioned of him.

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Serving God the Wrong Way

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.

Leviticus 10:1 (KJV)

Which he commanded them not – When you serve the Lord, do you serve Him the way you want to serve Him, or the way He wants to be served? This verse from Leviticus about Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, show the importance of serving God the way He desires.

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Written On Their Hearts

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;

Romans 2:14-15 (KJV)

Written on their hearts – According to Paul, the Gentiles have the law written on their hearts. The proof of this is that the Gentiles “do by nature the things contained in the law.” So the logic reveals that if the law is truly written on our hearts, then we should be doing the very things the law says to do.

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Predestination or Free Will

The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.

Exodus 35:29 (KJV)

Willing – My premise is this. If God knows and has seen every choice we will ever make, then we have no choice, no free will. If I am presented with a choice of A or B, and God has already seen that I will choose B, then I cannot possibly choose A, otherwise, I make God a liar.

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Where 2 or 3 are Gathered

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Matthew 18:20 (KJV)

Two or three – When two or more people gather together in the name of Yeshua, He is there among them. I’ve heard this verse used always in reference to two or more people praying together. It carries such a strong, beautiful picture of unity and community. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that accurate.

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