Nov. 17, 13 Isaiah 12 PRAISING GOD I was thinking the other day how often we use the word thanks. In fact in Ann Landers column the other day, and I

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1 Nov. 17, 13 Isaiah 12 PRAISING GOD I was thinking the other day how often we use the word thanks. In fact in Ann Landers column the other day, and I know you all check her out to see her advice each day, someone mentioned how they had not received a thank you for a gift that was sent and thought how rude that was. That person said in her youth her parents taught when a gift is received a note should be sent quickly thanking the person for their gift, not letting lots of time go by. That s what Carole taught our kids. And while I looked at my daily Scripture I found these words Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rain in spring. Praise the Lord! Or when Curt, Harry or I hit a good shot or maybe a bad bounce turns out okay, we often shout, yes shout, Thank you Jesus. Today we thank people for lots of things. I received an with about a guy who was driving home and had car trouble so he pulled off the road into a gas station and his car quit. He tried to start it but it wouldn t start. He was thinking on what to do when a woman came out of the convenient store crying, slipped, dropped something and fell to the ground. He went to pick her up. He saw a nickel on the ground and got her to her feet as she told him she didn t want her kids to see her crying. He asked her problem and she told him she was heading home with her kids because her boy friend left her and with no place to go she called her parents whom she hadn t talked to in 5 years and they said come home and they could work it out with her. But she had no money. Gas at that station was $5 a gallon and besides she and kids were very hungry. The man heard her story, took out his credit card and filled her car. He went next door to the McDonalds and got two big bags of food and she gave them to the kids to eat

2 while she and this stranger ate some fries. God must have answered your prayers he said to a startled woman. She just looked bewilded and said, Why are you an angel? to which the man laughed and said, No. Since it s the Christmas season the angels are busy so God uses just ordinary people from time to time. When the tank was full, and the tummies of her kids too, the lady thanked the stranger for his good deeds and headed to a new life in California with the blessings and prayer for a safe trip. The man then turned to his own troubles and got back in his car and wouldn t you know it, his car started on the first turn. What s that country song, There are angels amongst us. We thank those who wait on us by tipping them, thanking them for their service. We thank people for opening a door or for picking something one has dropped to the ground. Then there are thanks for the note or card sent and lots more. That is being courteous. We all do it. A good cashier will often say thanks for shopping with us today. Enjoy the rest of your day. And each time we play golf at Petersburg I get an thanking us for coming out that day. So, yes, there are times we are gracious and say thanks for things done. A few weeks ago I asked how many times have we thanked God for things he has done in our lives. We shouted them out counting the many blessings seeing what God has done. We sing songs, we raise our hands in praise, we thank God for being our God and for the things he has done in our lives. It could be gigantic things, or it could be a simple thing but we just know it was the work of our awesome God. In this season of thanksgiving last week throughout this land veteran s were honored by parades, dinner for free, or just a handshake or a few words like, thank you for your service. Far cry from a few years ago when some vets were spit upon. Pictures could be seen in the paper of those who served or serve in the military. We

3 may not like wars, but we don t want to forget what they did so that we could worship as we please and enjoy the many freedoms that our country has today. This morning we turn to the prophet Isaiah to see in these 6 verse s the thought of giving thanks to our God for what he had done for the Hebrew people. Why is that important for us to know? Because he is the same God of today as he will be for future generations. Times have change. Circumstances might change. But the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the God of we people today. Isaiah 12:1-6 in the Message translations reads And you will say in that day, "I thank you, God. You were angry but your anger wasn't forever. You withdrew your anger and moved in and comforted me. [2] "Yes indeed God is my salvation. I trust, I won't be afraid. God yes God! is my strength and song, best of all, my salvation!" [3] Joyfully you'll pull up buckets of water from the wells of salvation. [4] And as you do it, you'll say, "Give thanks to God. Call out his name. Ask him anything! Shout to the nations, tell them what he's done, spread the news of his great reputation! [5] "Sing praise-songs to God. He's done it all! Let the whole earth know what he's done! [6] Raise the roof! Sing your hearts out, O Zion! The Greatest lives among you: The Holy of Israel." Good advice then. Good advice still today. The prophet Isaiah was struggling with how to keep the hope of his people alive when things were going from bad to worse. The struggles of many kings, the priests not so faithful to God, sin rampart in the land. God seemed so far away. In fact when God called Isaiah he didn t feel qualified to go for he too, was a sinner. But it was then that he had his transformation as a seraph flew to him and touched his mouth and Scripture records, See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. And then he heard the voice of the Lord say, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? An amazed Isaiah blurted out, Here am I. Send me. And

4 thus, the ministry of Isaiah began. A ministry to God s people who would listen and not believe. Who would hear but turn away. As a street evangelist Isaiah could stand on street corner after street corner calling the people to repent, but they just laughed at him. It would be like some years past when a dooms day preacher said the end of the world was at hand so you better repent. Not many took that person serious. Not many took Isaiah seriously either. In a time when God s people struggled and their world was falling apart many would not change their ways. Even so, God called this prophet to bring messages that God was still there for those who repented and changed their ways. They could trust in him. Don t give up, just look up could have been his theme. Don t be afraid, look at their history. God cares. God provides for his people. Like it says in the book of Chronicles, If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will forgive their sin and heal their land. How great a promise is that! Pray, seek God s face, turn from sins, and the benefit is that God will forgive and heal. No wonder we are called upon by Isaiah to give thanks to our awesome God. Give thanks to the Lord, for he has done glorious things. But not all would listen, and the world hasn t changed much over these years, has it. Messenger after messenger God has sent and a revival comes, but then the fires seem to burn out and the coals of revival turn to ashes that only flicker occasionally. Then there is a turning away again. In this chapter Isaiah lays it out for his people. When you look deep into this Scripture and think in terms of today and my life and yours this message is still as relevant today as it was over 2,000 plus years ago. The year might be different but the people haven t changed. They might have been dealing with their own demons, but our world has its own. So out of that, to the remnant, those who did listen to the

5 message, who did make that change in their lives He reminds that God is their salvation. Let me read that verse again. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. Don t you think those are powerful words? When the world seems to be trusting in everything else we are reminded that our salvation comes only from the Lord. And get this, my friends. God didn t mean just a place in heaven, but salvation means he is looking after his people providing, caring, healing, leading, comforting NOW! With Christmas just about around the corner we are reminded that God sent us the most precious gift anyone could give, salvation, God with us. Why did he do it? Because he loves us and wanted to build a bridge from this sinful life to the holy life we know as eternal life where those who believe will live forever. But there is more to it than that. Sure there will always be struggles in this life. God never promised it would be easy. Jesus never promised those who followed him would never have problems or struggles. Quite the contrary. He told them to pick up their crosses. In other words their struggles, their difficult moments and continue to believe, to trust in the true God. What he said was those who believed and trusted in he and his Father would find peace in and through the storm by trusting in the one who gave us life. Think of it. When Jesus was in the boat with the disciples a terrible storm arose and the disciples thought the boat would capsize and all would be lost. While the disciples feared for their lives Jesus was doing what? Was he down in a nice warm cabin? No! he was SLEEPING right there in the storm covered with just a few things to keep the rain off. So though Jesus was with them it did not stop the storm, did it. No! The storm came, but because he was with them the disciples they got through the storm and found peace because when they woke him he calmed the seas and the wind stopped. They needed not be afraid for Jesus was with them IN the storm and he RODE out the storm with them and

6 CALMED the seas and brought peace. With Jesus with them, they did not need to fear. Do we get the point? Do we have storms? Do we sometimes think we will not make it? Let me remind you, Jesus is with us. Isaiah reminded them to take a look around and know this one thing, that God was still God. There was hope for those who trusted their God. And so it is with those in this world today. People like those in the Philippians who look around and see no home, no food, no water, looking for family wondering if help will ever come. It might be slow, but God will provide through his people throughout this world. Already food and help have arrived. The Navy has arrived and the Marines have landed! They will struggle now, but hope is on the way. They will rebuild. God got them through the storm. Now he will take care of their needs. That is why we should never give up when we struggle. We all can use words of hope, a reminder from time to time that our God has done some glorious things. Be reminded God is our salvation. He calls us to do what? He calls us to trust and not be afraid. How many times have we heard that from Jesus? Many times. Fear not or Do not be afraid is often said to the crowds, to the disciples. The angel said to Mary when he came to announce she would be the mother of God s Son, Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God. And how about when Jesus was born and the angels came to the shepherd s saying, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. The psalmist wrote, When I am afraid I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? Isn t that what Isaiah is reminding them? Fear not. Trust in our God who brought us salvation. FDR said in his first presidential speech when the country

7 was in economic disarray, perhaps on the brink of a war these famous words. The only thing we need to fear is fear itself. Or how about the short speech Winston Churchill was said to give during the time England was being attacked by Germany, Never give up! Never give up! Mighty words for us today when we look at our world and our own country. Let me turn our hearts to these words. Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name.sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things.shout and sing for joy We sing that wonderful hymn Victory in Jesus with gusto because it reminds us that Through Jesus we have the victory over sin and death. We sing that because we know what, that when we all get to heaven there will be rejoicing. And why stop there? How about one of my favorites, Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control, that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and had shed his own blood for my soul... it is well, It is well, it is well with my soul. Hallelujah! When strife, struggles, difficulties come no matter, because of God s wonderful Holy, Blessed Son, it is well, it is well with my soul. No wonder thanks is in order. Think of the glorious things God has done. Think of the power he has and the strength he gives to all people. Think of his promises that if we are in need, ask him. If we are grieving seek his face for comfort. If we worry cast those worries on him. Trust. That s what he calls us to do. trust him. Do we need more to thank our God? Think of those daily blessings. Think of what he already has done in your lives. Think of what he has done in this church, what he has done in this community, in the lives of your neighbors. And he isn t done yet! His mercies are forever. His goodness is offered to all who will receive.

8 No wonder Isaiah was reminding the people to sing the praise of their God. No wonder he told them to shout it from the highest mountains so all the world could hear of the glorious things God has done and continues to do. Forgive me for thinking of another Christmas hymn that says, Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born. Add to that an Easter hymn that says, Christ is alive! Let Christians sing. I don t know about you but I get goose bumps thinking about his birth, his rising, his living today. He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart. You ask me how I know he lives. He lives within my heart. Those old hymns of the faith tell us lots. They stir my heart and soul and help me know that because he lives we can face our tomorrows. That s what Isaiah was saying in his troubled times. Don t fret. Don t lose hope. Trust in the one who brought this world into being for our creator God still reigns. So may it be during this thanksgiving season as we prepare for Advent and the remembrance of the coming of our Savior, the one who is always with us. Let us never lose hope. Let s shout it to those who don t know, that Jesus Christ lives today. Amen!!!

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