Proper, Transcendent, Palpable Joy

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     The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20 (ESV)

Lord Jesus, we’d do well to read this story every day. You’ve given us so many reasons to be grateful and joyful. We’ll start with the many creature comforts with which you’ve blessed us. Things like our jobs and homes, clothing and food, cars and “toys,” the wonders of creation and the privilege of vacations, Thank you for your persistent and pervasive generosity.

And like your first disciples, you give us the joy of being used in your service. Thank you for the honor of loving our neighbors, working for justice, and caring for the poor. Thank you for the privilege of sharing the gospel and serving in your church, going on mission trips and laboring in your kingdom. Each of us has been given a place in your story of redemption and restoration—a joy-fueling reality, indeed.

But as this Scripture reminds us, there’s a joy that trumps all joys, surpasses all gladness, and redefines happiness itself.  Jesus, thank you for writing our names in heaven—for securing our place in your “book,” heart, and eternity. Our names are written with the indelible ink of God’s grace.

No eraser can remove our names from the only roll and record that really matters. We are wanted, delighted in, and secure in your grasp and love. We will never be un-born again or be given “the left foot of fellowship” out of your kingdom. This makes even we non-dancers want to dance!

Jesus, may the joy of our irrevocable, free, and all-glorious salvation shut down our whine-fests and pity-parties, our vain regrets and our silly lusts. So very Amen we pray, in your generous and grace-full name.

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