SERMON SERIES:

STANDING STRONG IN A SHAKEN WORLD: SPIRITUAL REHAB

9/26/2021



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We continue our sermon series, Standing Strong in a Shaken World with the sermon, Spiritual Rehab. Rehab is a shortened form of the word, rehabilitation. We forget at times that our spiritual selves can be compared to our physical bodies. When we do not use muscles for a long period of time, they become weaker and weaker. In some circumstances, people have to be sent to rehabilitation in order to rebuild their muscle strength and regain basic physical function. The general rule for physical rehabilitation is “use it or lose it!” What about spiritual rehabilitation? Over the course of the last two years, we have strengthened our capacity for fear, anger, uncertainty, isolation, and judgmental attitudes. We have exercised these spiritual muscles, but this can be detrimental to our spirits and our lives. When we are more fearful, we are less encouraging. When we have greater anger, we are less loving and compassionate. When we are more isolated, we are less confident and hopeful. When we are more judgmental, we are less merciful and forgiving. We need spiritual rehab in order to strengthen the best things in our spirits to overcome the worst in our lives. We turn to Isaiah 58:4-11. These people are in desperate need of spiritual rehabilitation. They were using the spiritual exercise of fasting (doing without meals in order to honor God) in the worst possible way and it was hurting their relationship with God and each other. They were using it as a tool of selfishness and manipulation, rather than a God-honoring sacrifice.  God tells them through the prophet Isaiah, “This is not the fast I have chosen!”  God then points them to a path to strengthen the right things, in order to be able to stand strong for what was good and just.  These words will help us gain the best strength for the worst of times.  As you read, Isaiah 58:4-11 it is our prayer that you will sense the spring of living water welling in your heart and soul!  4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? 6 “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? 7 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? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in 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. 11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (NIV)