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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)

     Dear Lord Jesus, I'd do well to read this Scripture every day. You’ve given us so many reasons to be a people of gratitude and joy--even in those seasons of life when brokenness seems more apparent than beauty. Here are a few things for which I give thanks as this day begins.

     You’ve blessed us with many creature comforts--things we either take for granted, or assume we have them because we deserve them or earned them. Things like our jobs and homes, clothing and food, 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--no small thing, indeed. Thank you for the privilege of sharing the gospel, serving in your church, laboring in your kingdom. Thank you for the honor of loving our neighbors, working for justice, and caring for the poor. Every one of us has been given a place in your story of redemption and restoration.

     But as this Scripture reminds us, so we gladly obey your admonition today. Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you for writing our names in heaven--for securing our place in your heart and eternity. Our names are written with the indelible ink of God’s grace, and there's no eraser that can remove our name from the only book, roll, or record that really matters. Hallelujah, many times over!

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

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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