Is our faith expressed with spiritual disciplines like fasting, or with justice in the community? People have different answers. Zechariah’s is revealing.
Read Zechariah 7.
How important is fasting? Is it crucial for refocusing our time and energy from material things to seeking God? Or does God want us focused on goals like seeking justice for those who are missing out? This almost feels like two streams of Christianity: one focused on a personal relationship with God; the other focused on justice for the world.
These were not separate topics for the OT prophets. People asked Zechariah, Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years? (7:3) His response is explosive.
Continue reading “Fasting and justice (Zechariah 7)”
How do you cope with criticism from people who don’t understand where you’re leading them? Could we learn from the Master?
Open Matthew 9:14-17.
What do you do when you’re criticized? It’s easy to get angry and sound off, or to cave in and give up. I’m interested in how Jesus, the king of the kingdom, handled criticism.
He copped it from the scribes (9:3). He copped it from the Pharisees (9:11). Now he cops it from friends: John the Baptist’s disciples:
Mathew 9:14 (my translation) Then John’s students came to him saying, “How come we and the Pharisees fast often, but your students don’t fast?” Continue reading “Managing criticism (Matthew 9:14-17)”
Open Matthew 6:16-18.
There’s a fascinating background to Jesus’ teaching on fasting. After all, Judaism was primarily a religion of feasting. Continue reading “Fasting (Matthew 6:16-18)”