Think of hymns with the word joy in them. Sing or pray one joyfully to the Lord now.
Read ISAIAH 35:1-10
 The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus,  it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.  Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way;  say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”  Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.  Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.  The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.  And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.  No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there,  and 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. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat is the dominant theme of this passage?
I opened my calendar this morning and found a picture of colorful crocuses! It is right on cue for reading this wonderful passage where we are told the wilderness is going to bloom like a crocus (1,2). What a joyful passage this is. Again, we are promised that life is going to be turned upside down (4-7). We might have feeble hands and weak knees now (3), but just look at what is coming (10) and rejoice!
Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return. This paraphrase of Scripture put to music is one I sang often as a young Christian. Even now, reading these words (9,10) makes me want to burst into song! The chorus continues: they shall obtain gladness and joy
and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. These words overflow with the hope that is ours as Christians and ideas we have become very familiar with as we have seen Jesus at work. Remember the centurion and the widow of Nain, and the overwhelming joy they must have felt.
A friend once encouraged me to record things that brought me joy, a tonic for days when the world seems bleak.
Why don’t you start a joy journal today? And think of things to be thankful for today. Thank God for them.
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