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February 28, 2024

Dear Church of the Open Bible,

We can sometimes confuse joy with happiness or pleasure. But joy does not tire or fade with overexposure. I can take pleasure in eating a piece of ice cream cake but if I had two or three pieces, that pleasure would turn into misery. Joy, instead, is not so frail.

I think this is an aspect of Jesus’ earthly ministry that is difficult for us to imagine, the joy of being in His presence. The disciples felt unhappiness and even despair at times on account of their sin, but being with Jesus day-in and day-out brought them incredible joy. Jesus was without sin and loved them perfectly. He was stable, secure, and always had their best interests at heart. What a feast to be with Him!

We live in a broken world seeking to dull the pain with fleeting pleasure and happiness. Instead, the joy of abundant life is offered to us in the presence of Jesus Christ. Joy for the moment. Joy for today. Joy for you. 

Do you live with that joy? We receive that joy when we respond with faith in Jesus and receive His presence. Let us thank Him for this great gift that will never fade!

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  - 1 Peter 1:8-9