Category Archives: Life Verses

My Life Verses: Isaiah 58

Day 31: “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?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”  (Isaiah 58:6-9)

This was a passage from the Bible that I was trying to find in the middle of my recent mission trip to Costa Rica.  I didn’t find it at that time but I did find Isaiah 61 about “The Year of the Lord’s Favor.” (Also another great passage but just not the one I was thinking about right then).  However, during a trip to my hometown once I got back, I heard my parent’s pastor reference Isaiah 58 in a sermon.  Bingo!  I knew right away that this passage called “The True Fast” was the one I couldn’t find earlier.

While I hadn’t exactly remembered all of what Isaiah 58 talks about, as I read and re-read it I realized that the entire chapter really spoke to me.  And it doesn’t happen all too often that I can relate to the entirety of such a large portion of Scripture.  Read the whole chapter here.

After finding the Isaiah 58 passage, I was then able to use some verses from it in my follow-up letter to supporters of my Costa Rica mission trip: And if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:10)  I felt that verse embodied much of what I had learned about Roblealto, my church’s global partner in Costa Rica.

More recently, I had the opportunity to really dig into Isaiah 58 during a Silent Retreat led by the women’s director of my church.  During the last section of the retreat we were invited to respond to Jesus asking us, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Luke 18:35-41).  And my response in my journal was this: “I want you to show me how to have a “True Fast” before you (to do and be all those things from Isaiah 58)!  I then wrote out the following prayer:

“I know this is a tall order, a big request, something seemingly impossible.  But help me to do so – to have a true fast before You in my life!!  How can I live my life in such as way that it happens?  Show me, O Lord.  Jesus, I want You to come into my life and transform it is such a way (Is it too much to ask?  Is it too big, too grand, too sweeping of a request?)  I feel like it is specific in some ways (very specific) but not in other ways.

So open my eyes to how You will and are going to bring this about in my life.  Let me see how You will bring about opportunities and open doors for me such that I can tell You are working in and through me in an Isaiah 58 way (in my “Jerusalem,” in my “Judea and Samaria,” in my “ends of the earth” – Acts 1:8).  I bring this request, this want, this true desire before You.  Transform my life in such as way from the inside out!!”

There is so much more I could say here about the emotions and thoughts and desires that Isaiah 58 stirs up within me right now.  See some from a earlier post here.  But I think that prayer says quite a bit.

Thank you for coming along with me on this 31 day journey through the Life Verses that God has given me so far.  And I do know this – He’s not done with me yet which means there will be even more to come! So stay tuned.  (You just might need to keep coming back).

“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?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”  (Isaiah 58:6-9)

My Life Verses: Romans 12:1

Day 30: ” Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom 12:1)

This verse came to my attention just this summer and helped me see that my writing can be an act of worship to God.  Wow – talk about me starting to think outside the box in regards to what worship looks like!  I realized that it is a sacrifice for me to devote time and energy to my writing.  And that it is also a sacrifice of my privacy and my personal thoughts to put them up on the altar of public opinion.  But also to understand that God has given me a gift and I need to offer it back up to Him to use how He wishes.  This was truly an “Ah-ha” moment for me and I began to see that my writing could become a fulfillment of God’s calling in my life.

For many years I was only journaling my thoughts down for my own benefit – often too scared to share these with anyone else.  When I did share something I was always so worried about what that person thought or how they took it.  And sometimes it wasn’t received or appreciated in the way I wanted or expected.  This would usually set me back and cause me to curl up protectively around my writing even more, being less likely to put myself out there the next time.

It was just a few months ago, through a rather interesting series of circumstances, that I stumbled upon a blog from the website called (In)courage: Home for the Hearts of Women.  This blog has over 40 contributors and therefore has at least one new post each day.  “Every day they take turns pulling up a chair to share their stories of what Jesus looks like in their every day, gloriously ordinary, and often messy lives.”  I can’t begin to tell you the world that started to open up to me as I was encouraged by the daily posts that appeared in my inbox each morning.

Not too long after I subscribed to this blog, I was struck with the thought; “I could do that.  I have similar things I write in my personal journal that I could share with others.”  This thought scared me quite a bit as I realized what following through with it would actually entail.  And then, with God tugging at my heart, I slowly came around to the idea that the next step (or was it the first step?!) for me as a writer was to start a blog of my own.

I got both excited and nervous at the same time.  Excited to be finally starting a journey that had literally been years in the making.  And nervous to think that I would have to open up and share parts of me with the world that I usually kept locked away.  Excited to take this next step into God’s story for my life, even though I didn’t know where it all might lead.  And nervous that through it all I might fall back into the trap of letting other’s opinions and expectations shape my life.

Recently, I was reminded of a list called My Basic Human Rights from the book Speaking the Truth in Love: How to be an Assertive Christian by Ruth N. Koch and Kenneth Haugk.  A couple of rights that really apply to this situation are these:

  • Each person has the right to own and express his or her feelings.
  • Each person has the right to maintain a separate self that is accountable to God and independent of the expectations, the approval or the influence of others.

So good to hear such truth again.  And as I continue to worship God through my writing, in whatever form that may take, may I remember that this is my sacrifice to Him and Him alone.

” Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom 12:1)