Author Archives: lrbartel

Isaiah 12… My Personal “Song of Salvation!”

isaiah 12 & psalm 126This morning my Bible reading during “coffee with the Lord” included Isaiah 12. It’s a “salvation song!” I’m aware that the broader context for it is Isaiah 6-11. It especially addresses God’s salvation and deliverance from Assyria and other nations that God allowed to be His agent of judgment and discipline for their sin. It also has a future aspect pointing to the One who would fulfill the role of “the Righteous Branch” which was/and will be ultimately fulfilled in Christ! So it is first of all “Israel’s song of salvation” (check out Isaiah 11:16 which is the bridge to Isaiah 12)…

But it is also MY SONG OF SALVATION (and I hope yours)! So what follows in a PERSONAL ADAPTATION of what it says…

“I will say in that day [the day of MY salvation!]: ‘I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger is turned away and you comfort me!’ Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.! With joy I will draw water from the wells of salvation! And I will say in that day: ‘Give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name! Make known His deeds among the peoples! Proclaim that His name is exalted! Sing praises to the LORD, for He has done glorious things! Let this be made known in all the earth! Shout, and sing for joy… for great is the Holy One of Israel!’” (A personal adaptation of Isaiah 12)

One day it will be Israel’s song (as it was when they returned from captivity in Babylon – check out Psalm 126)! BUT NOW IT IS MY SONG (and I made it mine again this morning)! And I hope it is your “Song of Salvation!”

Who… What can help us in our deepest trials and difficulties?

depression

Have you been going through a terrible trial and no one seems to really understand? Everyone seems to have words and plenty of advice… but somehow their words seem empty, and sometimes downright cruel!

Job, the ancient patriarch, would understand!

He told his “comforters” – His so called “friends”: “Worthless physicians are you all! Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom!” (13:4-5) Now, I’m sure they were sincere in their desire to help. They thought they knew the reasons for Job’s problems, and they certainly thought they had the answers for him.

But Job told them, “In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune!” (12:5) Wow! Isn’t that true! It’s easy to criticize when you’re comfortable – answers abound when it appears that we’re the ones that “have it all together” and things are going well!

Job went on, however, He asked, “Will it be well with you when God searches you out? Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay!” (13:9, 12)

Our friends usually mean well, but there are limitations on what they can do. Compassionate comforters understand the value of “presence” and carefully weighed words of encouragement and counsel.

But frankly, where does the best help come from? From Someone who has been through trials like ours and understands us and our situation at the deepest level… Someone with unlimited ability to know our situation and help us! That “Someone” is the Lord Jesus Christ! Here’s what the Bible says about Him, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need!” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Let me be one voice to encourage you to do precisely that! Talk to Him frankly about your situation, your feelings, your struggle! He understands! He can help you!

Devotion or Despotism

Devotion or Despot… One expresses itself in a voluntary, self-giving, deep love relationship – the other is characterized by bondage, victimization, and abuse and even death! Devotion describes the life of a redeemed, deeply committed, disciple of Christ. Servile existence under the cruel despot, Satan, describes those who under the deceitful guise of “freedom” become the slaves of sin!

We see case studies of both around us… Selfless, devoted servants of the Lord – free to serve the Lord and others with love, joy, and peace. On the other hand, our world is filled with unhappy people, living in bondage to Satan and sin, victimized by the deceptive “freedoms” they have chosen.
I read about both today during my time of “coffee with the Lord”…

“Are we to go on sinning because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! … Thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness… Just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness… The end of those things is death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (From Romans 6:15–23 ESV)

Which have you chosen? I’m so glad that I have chosen to serve the Lord and to be the devoted “slave” of all that pleases Him! And as God leads and helps me I want to lead as many as I can out of bondage to sin into the wonderful moral and spiritual freedom of Christ… Hey it leads to REAL freedom, righteousness, and ultimately eternal life!

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