HAPPY NEW YEAR! I pray 2020 will be your greatest year yet! In this chapter, Yahweh focuses on the fasts that are a normal part of Jewish tradition and lifestyle. The people do not understand why they fast as God tells them to but never see positive results from it. In other words, they fast and pray expecting God to do something specific, and He does not do it. Why? The answer is convicting because they fast and pray and still work their employees to the point of exhaustion or steal from them to make a few extra bucks. They are doing their religious due diligence, but it is having no real impact upon their lives. They continue to walk in sin and make other people's lives harder than they need to be. This is a prescription for failure, because God has no need for religion or religious fervor if our walk is not pleasing to Him. At Faith, we plan to spend the weekend praying and fasting for 2020. Saturday will be a day filled with fasting and praying for specific ministries in our church and Sunday will start a year of corporate prayer in our Morning Worship Service. That all sounds great, but it is of no real value if our lives are not being lived in a way that honors God. We might feel good about ourselves because we sacrificed some time to fast and/or pray, but God is more interested in how we treated those that work for us or how we loved our neighbors in crisis. He is looking at how we spent the money He gave us or how consistent we were in reading His Word. These are what matter to Him. When they are right, then we enjoy the incredible blessings that fasting and praying add to our lives. Israel had to learn this lesson the hard way; may we learn from them and not make the same mistake.

Help me, Lord, to leave religion behind and focus my attention upon a daily relationship with You in 2020. Help me to diligently fast and pray throughout the New Year knowing You will do something incredible in my life and in the lives of those I am praying for as I stay consistent in my walk with You.