Sunday, September 23, 2007
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Isaiah 35:10 – And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (ESV)

Along my way to work one recent day, I rejoiced in God as my Saviour. I was happy. Maybe it was because I love my wife and family? Maybe it was because I have a long-awaited holiday around the corner at the end of next week? Maybe it was because it was an act of my will, or just maybe it was a blessing from God?

This clever brain of mine, yes, despite appearances, has enough cells left to tie itself up in conundrums, and started to go through the implications of being happy. Being happy is definitely good.

As my mind processed the benefits of being happy, it posed the following question: Maybe it is just a trick of the psyche? Maybe God's influence on me is just illusory or serendipity? Perhaps, if I concentrate on being peaceful hard enough, I can be happy anyway?

Then, in a flash, I was aware that this knowledge and reason was about to rob me of a precious gift that I had just asked for in prayer a few moments earlier!

Nehemiah 8:10b – And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (ESV)

All good things come from God. I had just prayed for the oil of gladness to be poured over us, and to put on a garment of praise. It was, in fact, the act of praising God that was the root cause of my happiness, not my brain! God had blessed me with this asked-for joy and gladness — silly me!

I believe it is God's compassion that enables us to join in with any ransomed of the Lord, to cast off sorrow and to be clothed with gladness and joy. He has paid the price.

It is outrageous, possibly, and definitely unreasonable.

So, ask anyway!

Prayer: Lord, we rejoice that You came to set the ransomed free. We ask for freedom and reconciliation for all those who call upon Jesus. Pour out Your Spirit upon us that, wherever we are in the world, a song of Your praises will fill our hearts, bodies, and minds, to Your praise and glory. Amen.

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About the author:

Rod Marshall <roderickhenrymarshall@gmail.com>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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