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Summary: We are not a victim of the circumstance. We have a choice to rejoice.

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For Those not familiar with an Anglican Service there are three Scriptures readings prior to the Message. Today's assigned readings are: Zephaniah 3:14-20; Philippians 4:4-9; and Luke 3:7-18.

What a powerful message ....in the Gospel of Luke and ....in Paul's letter ...to the believers' gathered .....in Philippi.

How do we live this life ....that we are being called ....to live?

How do we daily live this joyous Christian life?

Paul gives us .....three principles:

(1 Finger) First..... He informs us:....that we have a choice to rejoice. Yes,..... Joy ....is.... a choice.

We are not a victim...... of the circumstance.

If we believe in God... and in his Word.... then He is our Guide, ....not fate, .....not some kind of ...... un-controllable force.

In other words, .....the source of true joy .....eternal joy....comes ....from God.

And we have a choice to accept it... or deny it... we have a choice to rejoice.

Beloved....There is a tremendous difference .....between happiness .....and joy.

Happiness depends on ......happenings ....on circumstances.

When we watch a comedy ....or attend a party,..... the circumstance.... may bring about..... happiness.

Yet Joy,..... the Scriptures inform us .....is part of .....the fruit ...of the ....Holy Spirit.

True joy ....is a gift, .....a gift .....from God.

If we accept Jesus .....not only as our Savior ....but also ....as the Lord of our life.....then, ....we can expect this joy ....to permeate ....every aspect of our life..

The Holy Spirit ....dwells within us ......and His DNA .....encompasses ......this eternal Joy.

Joy comes from God ....who lives ... within us.

Joy does not flow.... from what is happening outside of us..... It flows from the DNA .....of God himself.

Beloved.... Paul is in prison ....when he writes his letter .....to the Philippians.

In his predicament, .... In his circumstance .... he is obviously ....and understandably..... not happy.

Paul's future is uncertain. .....Yet he proclaims, ......rejoice.....and allow Joy .....to encompass you!

Joy is not .....just an emotion.

It is a choice..... it is an attitude .....an attitude that effects ....how .....we look at life.

What you give, ....you will Receive.

If you are seeking joy..... then Beloved....give joy.

Allow joy to flow from your very being. (Pause)

When I have a lack of joy in my life ....I make a decision ....and chose to pass joy on.... to others.... and it becomes ....contagious.

Early in my banking career .....I worked the teller line.

There was a gentleman.... who would always enter the Bank.... with a frown ....or scowl ....on his face.

Without fail ... never a smile.

One of my co-workers ....An elderly teller on the line when waiting on someone like him.... would almost always say:..... "That man ....must have been baptized .....in Lemon juice." (Pause)

All of us ....I am sure.... can recall a person ....much like him.

Someone...that was baptized...in lemon juice.

Well I made it a goal.... To one day ....see him smile.

And I would be gracious,.... maybe even overly joyous ....every time ...he would come into ....the bank.

I also found ....that sharing this joy with him ...and with others ....changed the remainder ....of my own day.

Well ....it was not very many weeks later, .... He shared with me ....that he always felt good ...after he came into the Bank.

And was disappointed ...when I was not on the line .....and then..... (Slow) Yes.... and he smiled.

Throughout my banking career .....I would regularly ask my staff.

Have you exceeded anyone's expectations?

Have you treated everyone fairly?

Have you brought joy to someone?

You can look at a half-filled cup .....and thank God ....that you have some water... to drink.

Or you can lament ....that you only have .... half a cup ....and not a full one.

It is a choice....A choice... to rejoice.

It is your attitude....and you own it.

Beloved do not look for the thorns..... among the roses.

Rather be thankful ....that among the thorns ....there are roses.....glorious roses.

It is your choice....Your choice..to rejoice.

Hear these words ....from the prophet Habakkuk: BIBLE "Though the fig tree does not bud ....and there are no grapes on the vines, ....though the olive crop fails ...and the fields produce no food, ....though there are no sheep in the pen ....and no cattle in the stalls, ....yet I will rejoice in the LORD,..... I will be joyful ....in God my Savior. END

Habakkuk 3:17-19

The words.... "I will" .... I will....revealed Habakkuk's belief ...that he could choose his response.... either to sink into despair ....or to rejoice... in God's presence ....in his life.

His decision ....to rejoice.... Was not a denial ....of the hardship ....or the sorrow ..... that laid at his doorstep.

We will have times of sorrow .... We will have times of grief. .....Beloved... "Jesus wept". (John 11:35)

Our attitude ....towards life ...is important.

We can trust God, ....even in hardships.

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Talk about it...

Elizabeth Smith

commented on Sep 12, 2012

This sermon was a real blessing to me as I sat contemplating the losses in my life. I was challenged to look at the positive side of those losses and boy, did I discover how blessed I am. Thank you Pastor Smead.

J Jeffrey Smead

commented on Sep 12, 2012

Elizabeth Thank-you for your kind words. I always pray that the message will be of help to others. Blessings Jeff

Rosethe Rimande-Joel

commented on Oct 31, 2013

Thank you sir this sermon is a blessing to my life this morning believing it ll be a blessing. To many I ll share with .god bless you real good

Russell Lyon

commented on Jan 2, 2016

A great message, Pastor Smead! I read it on line in preparation for a message I'm preaching from Philippians 4:4-7. You helped me a great deal and thank you. Pastor Rusty Lyon, Fort Atkinson, WI.

J Jeffrey Smead

commented on Jan 2, 2016

Russell Thank-you for taking time to comment and thank-you for your kind words. We are blessed to be a blessing. Yours in Christ Jeff

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