Third Sunday of Advent (C), December 14, 2003
Making JOY a Part of Life
Philippians 4:4-7

Many people misunderstand
the significance of joy. They think it frivolous and unnecessary to
life . . . at least that is how they act and look.

heard about a little girl who asked her grandmother how she was
feeling. Grandma replied she was feeling just fine. Her granddaughter
then asked, “Well, why don’t you tell your face?”

our goal should be to let the joy of God permeate our hearts and our
faces. The apostle Paul grasped that meaning when he wrote,
“Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!”
(Phil.4:4-5, The Message).

We may ask, “Ok, Paul, how is that done successfully?” I think he would answer:

We need to know the Source of Joy.

Hembree once observed, “Joy is like a well containing sweet water. It
is not enough to know the water is there or even to drill the well.
If the well is to be useful, the water must be brought to the
surface. Those who know Christ have found the source of joy.” (God’s Little Treasury of Virtues)

adversity has hit my home and extracted its toll on me, joy has not
left my heart. Through the tears and heartache joy has been my
companion. Why? Because through all the setbacks in life, the source
of joy has not left me and that source is the very presence of God!

Old Testament records Moses speaking to the people, “(God) will never
leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6 NIV). Paul, writing to the
Hebrews, echoes Moses, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”
(Heb. 13:5 KJV). Pause to reflect that the God of the universe loves
you and me so much that he refuses to get out of our lives. It is no
wonder that in spite of all the difficulties, we can still have joy
because God is with us to work with us, to carry us, to love us!

We should have a Goal of Joy.

can identify our joy because it is included in our God-given self
worth and self-dignity. Our self-image is not based on the externals
of life, but the internal of life the ultimate goal. We must accept
ourselves as God sees us. If we are not happy with ourselves we
cannot be happy with life.

Richard Lee says
that Paul’s theme is joy.”Abundant, victorious joy. Joy that
supersedes suffering and overcomes obstacles. Joy that endures. More
than 70 times in this brief epistle, Paul uses the word joy or its
cognates to express his truest feelings and deepest desires.” (fromWindows of Hope)

Set your goal on joy and spell it J-E-S-U-S.

We should Live our Joy.

Ellyn Sanna writes in her book, A Beacon of Hope – Reflecting the Light of Christ
that most lighthouse keepers were men, but many women keepers also
worked this lonely job. The U.S. government in the nineteenth century
made provision for widows of recently deceased lighthouse keepers to
have first preference to fill their husband’s positions.

writes that one widow, Kate Walker, became the light keeper at
Robbins Reef Lighthouse in New York Harbor after her husband’s
untimely death. Kate Walker was credited with rescuing more than 50
fishermen in peril. This brave woman raised her two sons alone and
tended the lighthouse until she was seventy-three years old.

writes, “Our world is full of men and women who, in their own quiet
ways, are as heroic as Kate Walker. These individuals shine the light
of Christ over the world. They are beacons of hope that spread the
gospel message: We no longer have to live in darkness, for the light
of God has come to us in Christ.”

We no longer
have to live in a dark world, for the joy of God has come in Christ
and He brings the rainbow of joy to all lives.”

God, in mercy bless us; let your face beam with joy as you look down
at us. Send us around the world with the news of your saving power
and your eternal plan for all mankind. How everyone throughout the
earth will praise the Lord! How glad the nations will be, singing for
joy because you are their King and will give true justice to their
people! Praise God, O world! May all the peoples of the earth give
thanks to you. For the earth has yielded abundant harvests. God, even
our own God, will bless us. And peoples from remotes lands will worship
him.” (Psalm 67 TLB).


Sermon brief provided Derl G. Keefer, Adult Ministries Coordinator,
Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, MO

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