I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.
This is a special time here at Christian Life Center. We are looking back to God’s blessing and faithfulness while looking forward to our future in Christ. This past weekend we were blessed to hear the witness of our first years as a church and blessed with the promise of God’s Word that our future with Him is secure. The testimony of God’s faithfulness through the words of our founding pastor caused us to celebrate with tremendous joy. And it is proper to celebrate when God has brought you to a place of achievement in Him.
One of the primary elements of true celebration is the expression of joy and our halls were and are filled with joy. But as I look at the world, it is amazing to me how many Christians never appear to be joyful. They are always gloomy and grim. Pastor and Bible teacher, Ray Steadman tells the story of a little girl, who said upon seeing a mule for the first time: “I don't know what you are, but you must be a Christian because you look just like Grandpa!” There are a lot of long-faced Christians around and this should not be.
There are times of sorrow and sadness, of course, but Christians ought frequently to exude a sense of joy because they have something to be joyful about. Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is liking the present moment because it pleases us. But joy is much deeper and more long-range. Joy appreciates the past, the present, and the future, not because the circumstances are pleasing, but because the heart is right with God.
At Christian Life Center, we are happy because we have a warm and comfortable place to meet, but we are joyful because God has begun a great work and will be faithful to continue and complete this work.
Joyful in our past, joyful in our present and joyful in our future.