Making JOY A Part Of Life Derl G. Keefer September 1, 2003 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. I 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?” Today 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. Ron 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) Though 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! The 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. We 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. Sanna 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. Sanna 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.” “O 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 Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.