“The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins, he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her thanksgiving and the sound of singing. The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (Isaiah51:3, 11)
Beloved, Israel’s joy over her restoration from Exile was but a foretaste of the joy experienced by those whom God delivers from the bondage of sin. God’s freedom often extends to those who are in the depths of despair. He can and often chooses to extend His grace to those who are suffering, even though they may be reaping the result of their own sinful ways.
God acts in the ways that seem strange to us. He does so to call His erring creation back to Himself. Salvation history moves from Eden to Eden. These verses foreshadow the new heaven and new earth of Revelation 21:1. God’s compassionate acts of salvation create joy in His people.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, it is the joy that only You create, that gives us the feeling of Your being near to us. We feel the unforgettable Presence when You fill us with joy at times when we feel nothing at all. It is in these times, that we are reassured of the salvation that You offer to all and we remember when we first accepted You through Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. The joy that we felt at that moment was like that of a cup overflowing with love, grace, mercy, and yest even forgiveness. You are a God of love and compassion for Your creation. Help us each day, to remember all of this, so we can confidently walk through our day in that joy that comes from you. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“You heart is happiest when it is beating for others.”
“Again the word of the Lord Almighty came to me. This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’” (Zechariah8:18–19)
In verse 7-8 God says: “I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west.” I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.” He then says: “I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God. Finally in verse 13 God says: “As you have been an object of cursing among the nations, O Judah, and Israel, so will I save you and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.” God clearly has plans to blessing His people, but His plan of salvation is not limited to one particular people. He plans to use His people to reach all the nations. Even in troubled times, He was calling us to be strong in the evangelistic work. The events on the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenths months would change to become joy-filled festivals, which would make evangelism efforts even easier.
“But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.” (Philippians2:17-18)
Joy keynotes Philippians. Christians can rejoice even when they are being poured out like a drink offering. In Matthew 5:12 it reminds us that Jesus taught His disciples to rejoice and be glad when they were persecuted for following Him. Their reward, and out, will be great in the afterlife.
Second Thought of the Day:
“And when he finds it, he joyfully puts in on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin. In the same way, I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’” (Luke15:5-6, 9–10)
The verses from 5-6 represent the shepherd that leaves the 99 sheep to find the one last is lost, from the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Upon finding the sheep he picks it up places on his shoulders and carries it home. He then calls his neighbors and friends to share in his joy, for the one who was lost had been found. So true is then in heaven!
The verses from 9-10 represent the coin that the woman loses, but searches her whole house, but again when finding the coin, she gathers friends and neighbors, to celebrate her finding the lost coin. Beloved, rejoicing breaks out in heaven when one sinner is saved. In the same way, God’s people on earth rejoice when one lost person turns to Christ. Have you accepted Christ into your life? I pray that if not, you will consider doing so, not for my sake, but for your own.