deepening the soul for justice {week 4}

Whew. We made it through the week of stopping and resting and being. Now onward and upward! (kidding. kind of.)

I really liked this section (“See,” pages 17-20). You? (And just so you know, this post will be short. I just took two Benadryl to try to bring down the swelling in my foot/ankle–wasp sting–and I’m probably going to get drowsy soon.)

I loved this: “In sitting with God’s Word, God gives us himself. And in giving us himself, God enables us to see more of what God sees, and in the ways that God sees. We don’t need to come with anything other than a willingness to let the Holy Spirit teach us and open our eyes as we read.” (p. 18)

I really want to see what God sees, in the way he sees it. Just like that song, Hosanna–“Break my heart for what breaks yours.”

And I love how she talks about her first encounter with Isaiah 58. That chapter kind of changed my life too. (Have you read it?) It opened my eyes to the reality that the Bible is not just all about me, me, me and what God can do for me, me, me.

And I love this: “When we understand the reality that God sees injustice and calls his people to act, we will grow to see that our own personal freedom and reconciliation in Christ is not the end of the story. We are free so that we can be part of God’s work of seeing others free.” (p. 19)

Amen, amen, amen, amen, and amen.

“I started to read the Scriptures with new eyes, and as a result, I began to read the whole world differently.”

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

“When you don’t know what to do about injustice, when you don’t know how to press on, when you’d rather shrink back or even–perhaps especially–when you’re ready to charge forward, open God’s Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and teach you.” (p. 20)

This is some good stuff, friends. Yes?

Things to Ponder/Discuss: (pick any, all, or go your own way)

1. I would love for all of us to take a minute (or 3) and read Isaiah 58. If you have a verse or chunk of verses you’d like us to read, please share them. I promise to read them this week.

2. What quote stood out to you most from this section (can be one I shared or one I didn’t)?

3. What is God teaching/showing you as you read this book?

For next week: Read “Open,” pages 20-25.

4 thoughts on “deepening the soul for justice {week 4}

  1. Kristin

    Catching up on reflections here….and trying to decide exactly what to comment on…I think I could say a little something about each “prompt” :), or even go off on my own.

    I guess I will choose a couple quotes from the book that tie in to re-occurring themes in my life lately, ones that have also been brought about through this book. This section is largely about developing a love and desire for God’s Word, and that THAT, His Word, should be the starting point in pursuing injustices. Daily reading of the Word is something that has been ingrained in me since the days of my childhood. And it is something that often becomes more of a duty for me rather than a desire. I don’t always do it. Especially when my schedule gets full. And I feel guilty when I don’t. Anyway, here, the daily practice of reading God’s Word is tied in to the pursuit of justice:

    “Above all, cultivating a love for God’s Word is one of the most important daily practices we can engage as we pursue justice. It is also a way that we can engage with others, growing through a community committed to deepening the spiritual roots of DESIRE to DO justice. The pursuit of justice is never meant to be done alone, nor is the pursuit of God.”

    I feel there are many different ways I can take this. I need to cultivate a LOVE for God’s Word. I need to deepen my spiritual roots from mere (stagnant) DESIRE, to DOING, acting- toward justice or any other part of my faith. The pursuit of justice, or God, isn’t meant to be done ALONE. That is encouraging.

    Back to the book, “As the prophet Isaiah has told us, God’s Word will never be silent, nor will it ever return void (Isaiah 55:8-13). There will be times when we will not understand God’s Word, and times when we feel that God is impossibly silent. But when we return to the Scriptures over and over, day in and day out, we will be met by God in ways we may have never anticipated. God’s Word is living. It is active. It will sustain us in ALL circumstances, transforming us and our world as we live its truth.”

    Lately I have been practicing trusting that ALL of Scripture is God-breathed, suitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, and that no matter where I read, He is able to show me something through it. I am also praying for a living and active faith, one that is able to be transformed from the old and be consistently put in to practice.

    Ugh….have gone back and re-read what I’ve written and edited several times here in this post, trying to make sense of my thoughts and flow of ideas….was originally going to comment on the theme of having a selfish faith. And now I realize that all I wrote is about MYSELF……uh….! :/

  2. Teresa

    My favorite quote from this section is: “Our lives are meant to proclaim that Jesus has broken our spiritual chains, and in this proclamation we join Jesus in simultaneous proclamation of good news to the oppressed, breaking literal chains as we do.” It reminds me of Psalm 40 where David proclaims: “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” (v 2-3) When we live the redeemed life that God has created for us, then we are able to share that redemption with others. We allow God to be the light in us. We may not even think we are doing anything “exceptional” but because we choose to live in the light of God (even when things are hard), we are shouting to the world who God is in our lives. Just in Isaiah 58:1 says “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast”. Our daily lifes and the way we reflect our faith is the same a a trumpet blast!

    Just so it doesn’t look like my first reaction is always to proclaim my faith through my wonderful actions…I spend half of my day asking God for forgiveness for not trusting him with the situations that are happening in my life. But here is the thing…I believe that God is my only hope through all things and the more and more I spend in the Word and prayer, the more and more my first reaction is going to God and not my flesh. I have been through enough in my life and been restored from the pit of despair (literally) I know that there is no other way on this earth that I could be where I am today without God who saved me.

    The other day a person of a different faith came to my door and asked me if I wanted to read their book. I just told them I had all I need in my bible. Then they asked me what faith I was and I replied that I loved and believed in Jesus. And really…that is what I want my life to proclaim…that I love and believe in Jesus.

    I know this is already long but I just have to share a quick story of proclaiming my faith: I am a single mom and I work at a job that pays $10 an hour and I usually only get scheduled about 34 hours a week. Last week I was sick with a fever and cough. I had to call in sick and miss a 5 hour shift and the following day they sent me home early so I lost another 3 hours of work. I do not have sick pay yet. So I was going to lose $80 for the week. When the schedule for the next week came out I only was scheduled for 23 hours. I got a little teary eyed when I saw the schedule. One of my fellow workers was standing beside me and she asked me if I was okay. I said I just don’t know how I am going to make it on this amount of hours. After a few minutes of despair…I said Well I guess I get to put my faith in action and trust God. She didn’t say anything. I got home from work still very sick and got a phone call from a friend who knew nothing about this….She said she felt let to give me $100. Two days later I went to work and 6 hours were added to my week. And also on a scheduled day off I got called in to work a shift of someone who was sick which made up my lost 8 hours for the week. When we proclaim our faith…God moves in ways we would never expect. I shared what happened with that girl…and she was amazed.

    God is good.

  3. Andrea

    “β€œIs not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
    to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?…”

    and

    “And the LORD will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
    and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters do not fail.”

    I have thought and talked a lot about what real fasting is and how it turns us to God in strong reliance on Him. I am constantly challenged in my hope and dependence on Him. I think what I am currently learning is that poverty, people dealing with loneliness and depression, severe hurts and aches, etc are not really problems to solve as much as they are opportunities to serve others and rely on God to work on making all things right and beautiful. I would much rather put my energy and time into getting everyone on board to eliminate the ugliness of the world because that seems rational. But it hardly requires true faith. So I am repenting of my “check poverty off the list!” nature and trying to see the world through God’s view, and more importantly, hold onto His promises of restoration and overcoming. In other words, I’m trying to trust Him instead of myself, others, and rationality.

  4. Jen Hanson

    Reading the chapter for this week got my heart in the right place to read some stuff in the Bible that I really needed to hear. There are some things that I was feeling really stressed/worried/frustrated about and the scripture I ended up reading was crucial to changing my heart/attitude about those things. (vague enough for you πŸ˜‰ ) Some cool stuff that affects not just me, but many others as well (like what Bethany says about God’s promises not being just for us.)

    It’s amazing to realize that the promises are not just for me, me, me and that God can use US to help fulfill His promises for someone else. (Breaking the chains, providing for the “lilies and the sparrows”, protecting the vulnerable.) Those with the greatest needs might be wondering, “Where are God’s promises in this situation?” And God might be waiting for OUR obedience in order to fulfill – through us – that person’s longed-for promise.

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