God not only inserts people into our lives in order to bless us, but he also causes them to remain with us, for our joy. Paul thought about Epaphroditus in such terms.

In fact he became so ill that he nearly died. But God showed mercy to him—and not to him only, but also to me—so that I would not have grief on top of grief.
Php 2.27

Instead of questioning why God takes people from us — a question that we have no way of finding an answer to — let us give thanks to God for his mercy which keeps beloved people in our lives who help us and cooperate with us in the gospel.

The sundial marks only hours that shine,
The clouds make no shadow upon its face,
The night can never draw a single line,
Nor can the raging storm leave a trace.

Though trials and strains afflict a happy soul,
And make it stronger, as the work of God,
The worst can’t bend or bow the illumined goal
To live the heavenly joy by sorrow unflawed.

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How to reignite our joy and hope, when we have lost them?

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord” Jn 20.20.

Jesus’ resurrection is the proof of all that God proposed to accomplish for humanity. The risen Christ restores the joy of receiving God’s gift and the hope of a future within his purpose. Continue reading

READ: ““Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” Lk 6.21b.

THINK: We ought to cry for our own sin, Lk 22.62, and for the condemnation of the rebellious world, Lk 19.41. Jesus cried in the presence of death, Jn 11.35, an act of solidarity, Rm 12.15. He who refuses to cry now, will later lament, Lk 6.25; Jn 16.20. Let us change worldly laughter into crying, Jas 4.9. Because the time is short, “those with tears” should live “like those not weeping” 1 Cor 7.29ff. In heaven no one cries, Rev 21.4.
Continue reading

READ: “Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names stand written in heaven” Lk 10.20.

THINK: The saint rejoices in eternal salvation and in his participation in the sufferings of Christ, Mt 5.10-12; Acts 5.41; Heb 10.34; 1 Pet 4.13. Joy overrides circumstances. Trials are reason for joy, Jas 1.2-4. It is contagious, Rom 12.15. With so many reminders in the Bible, it seems that we easily forget our joy. Heavenly joy over repentance ought to be our joy also, Lk 15. Continue reading

Joy to the world in Jesus Christ! In him are peace and love, hope and certainty of faith. God be praised for placing in his Son every good thing and all spiritual blessings. God be exalted for allowing us access to enter into Christ through immersion, so that we might not ever have doubts about salvation! Truly, God is good!

Have you ever witnessed people having strange reactions in situations where you expected a very different behavior? Normally, people cry when they lose a loved one. But not the disciples:

So they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
Luke 24:52 NET

Jesus had just risen into the heavens, leaving the disciples on earth. But they felt great joy because Jesus had risen from the dead. Continue reading