Worship Service – December 12, 2021

3rd Sunday of Advent we light the candle of Joy.

Our Advent Theme is “Faith over Fear”.

Our scriptures this week are; Zephaniah  3:14-20,  Isaiah 12:1-6.

Sermon scripture; Philippians 4:1-9.

Message this week; “Do it and be Happy about it!”

“Joy” is a Attitude of Gratitude.”



(14) Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem!
(15) The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.
(16) On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.
(17) The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
(18) “The sorrows for the appointed feasts I will remove from you; they are a burden and a reproach to you.
(19) At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame.
(20) At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the LORD.

Isaiah 12:1-6

Songs of Praise

(1) In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O Lord . Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.
(2) Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord , the Lord , is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
(3) With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
(4) In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the Lord , call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.
(5) Sing to the Lord , for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.
(6) Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Philippians 4:1-9

(1) Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
(2) I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. (3) Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
(4) Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (5) Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (6) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (7) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(8) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (9) Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

We read this morning from Zephaniah where he reminds us that the Lord himself will remove his hand of judgment, disperse Israel’s enemies, and come to live among his people. He will give them gladness. Zephaniah points out that “Joy” – that gladness results when you allow God to be with you. We do that by faithfully following him and obeying his commands. Then God rejoices over us with singing. So, if you want to be happy to have “Joy” we need to draw close to the source of happiness to the source of “Joy” by obeying God.
In our reading from Isaiah, which was is actually written as a hymn of praise. It’s a graphic description of the peoples “Joy” when Jesus comes to reign over the earth. Telling us that still today we need to express our gratitude to God. Thanking him, praising him, and telling others about him. From the depths of our gratitude we must praise him. And we should share the good news with others.
Paul in our reading from Philippians, starts out reminding the Philippians of their heavenly citizenship and their glorious destiny. Then, Paul returns to the pastoral concerns of the present. The Philippian church needs to have the mind of Christ and stand firm in the unity of the gospel as they face those who are the “enemies of the cross of Christ.” Then they can truly live in “Joy” and contentment and experience the fullness of the grace of God in their community.
So as I meditated on these readings today, especially this fourth chapter of Philippians, I couldn’t help thinking about what my mother used to say to my brothers and myself anytime we didn’t want do something that she wanted us to do or what we needed to do. She would say; “Do It and Be Happy about It!” Her words were not as eloquent as Paul’s, Zechariah’s or Isaiah‘s but the love of her children was just as caring.
An example that comes to mind is, I remember that on to many Sunday morning when five or six of us boys, depending on the year, we’re all getting ready to go to church, there would be moaning and complaining and resistance to attending church.  Ignoring all of our complaining she would again reminded us to get dressed and ready to go. I can still hear her saying; “Do It and BE Happy about It!”.
Her goal for us was the same goal Paul had for the Philippians. To,”truly live in “Joy” and contentment and experience the fullness of the grace of God in their community.”
Definitely, my mothers concern for her children were like that of the Philippians, whom Paul loves. He wanted them to remain faithful to the Lord. Paul emphatically states that he not only loves the Philippians but also longs to be with them. Paul longs for them because they are his “Joy” and his crown because of their partnership with Paul in the mission of the gospel. They are his “Joy” because they have accepted the gospel that Paul preaches.
This 3rd Sunday of Advent as we light the candle of “Joy”, we need to ask ourselves. Do I have “Joy” in my heart? If not. How can I have a “Joy” filled life? How do we define “Joy”?
According to the dictionary “Joy” is defined in these terms:
Joy : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. 
: the expression or exhibition of such emotion.
: a state of happiness or eloquence.
: a source or cause of delight.
I believe my mom and Paul would define “Joy” in ones life as being contented. Grateful for what they all ready have and a promised filled future.  I remember one Sunday after being forced to go to church our Pastor told this story.
It was about a young man who enthusiastically joined the monastery. Wanting the highest and the best, the young monk immediately took the vow of silence. The solemn vow meant the monk could only speak two words a year and those were reserved for his annual evaluation with the Abbott. The first year passed and the Abbot asked the monk how he was doing. Without hesitation the monk replied, “Food Bad.” Another year passed and the Abbott again asked the monk how he was doing. The monk replied, “Bed hard.” When asked for an evaluation the third year, the young monk said, “I quit.” “Well”, said the Abbott, “I’m not surprised.   All you have done since you came here is complain, complain, complain.”
I want to talk to you today about an attitude of gratitude. A wise man once wrote, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, it is the parent of all others.”
Today in our self-seeking, materialistic, look-out-for-number-one kind of world, gratitude is seldom mentioned in studies of psychology and largely ignored in the teachings of religion. How about it? Are you a grateful person? Are you contented with your life? Do you have “Joy” in your heart as you look forward to Christmas, the celebration of Christ birth?
Let’s take a few moments today and consider how “Joy” is known to us when we have an attitude of gratitude.
To begin with we need to know that, Gratitude is a way of thinking.  It’s a matter of the mind. Paul put it this way: Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, and commendable, if there is any excellence, and if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things(Philippians 4:8).  Gratitude is a learned behavior. We are not born grateful. Think about it. From the moment were born we enter this world complaining. that’s what the doctor expects as he slaps our bottoms and listens for a cry. But that cry brings “Joy” to the mother who is Grateful, for the delivery of her child.
Gratitude is a way of being.  It’s a matter of the heart. “When it comes to worry and anxiety, Paul teaches us to take it to the Lord in prayer and let the peace of God “guard your hearts”(Phil. 4:7). If you lose your heart, you have lost your reason to live.  What is the peace of God that passes all understanding? I am not sure I understand all of that but I want to tell you, the times I have tasted it, the times I have known it down in my soul, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in all the world.
As an illustration of the peace of God that passes all understanding, let me tell you a quick story.
A neighborhood library offered a community competition for the best painting symbolizing peace. The award-winning art work would be prominently displayed in the library. When all the entries were in, the judges narrowed the competition down to two. One painting featured a majestic lake, so tranquil and still that the lush hills behind it were perfectly mirrored in its reflection. Above was a blue sky, around it were blooming wild flowers. Behind it were deer grazing in the meadows. It was a piece to behold. It was a picture of peace.
The other finalist portrayed a terrible storm, winds blowing, trees bending, and debris flying through the air. The sky was dark, the sight was stark, and there was not a person in sight. There was, however, a bird perched on a limb on one of those bended trees. Observers got the impression that the bird was singing.
To which painting would you award the prize of peace? The judges chose the bird. Peace is not the absence of conflict. Peace is having “Joy” and contentment of the heart.
Remember, Paul was writing this from a Roman prison where he was sentenced to die. When he wrote: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving,”. In other words with the “attitude of gratitude”, “present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6). For true gratitude is a way of being.
My final thought on having an “attitude of gratitude” is that, Gratitude is a way of living. Paul writes in 4:9: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Zephaniah pointed out that “Joy”, that gladness, results when we allow God to be with us. We do that by faithfully following him and obeying his commands. He writes,(vs.16) “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.”
As my mom would say:”Do It and be Happy about It!” Gratitude is a way of life.
Jesus was our earthly model of gratitude. Like every good Jew, Jesus thanked God before and after each meal. He was raised to be thankful for the food he received. We see the evidence of this each time we take communion together. We read from the gospel of Luke 22:19-20. He took bread gave thanks, (He had the “attitude of gratitude”) and broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is my body given to you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
This Sunday as we light the candle of “Joy” can you hear the angels cry as they rejoice in their singing to the shepherds. The angels knew what was to come, the reason God sent His Son. It filled their hearts with “Joy”. They knew of His destiny and it brought tears of love and “Joy” to their eyes.
As we close today, listen one more time to the words of the hymn, “Give Thanks”, written by Henry Smith.
Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because he’s given
Jesus Christ his Son.
And now let the weak say, “I am strong”.
Let the poor say, “I am rich.”
Because of what the Lord has done for us.
“Live a life of Gratitude!”
To have “Joy” is a “Attitude of Gratitude.”

“Do It and Be Happy about It!”

In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20211212
Listen To Audio: Service 12122021
Prayer of Confession:   We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.  We have failed to fulfill your desire for us to love one another.  We have rebelled against your love.  We have not loved our neighbors.   Free us for JOYFUL  obedience, through the Advent of Christ, Our Lord, Our Messiah, Our Hope.  Amen.



Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday afternoon from 2 to 4.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to General Fund

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Choir practice will be on Thursday at 1:00!   Please come a join us in singing praises to Jesus! 

Our mission for “Noel” starts today through the end of the year.

Men’s Breakfast Wednesday December 15th at 8:00 A.M.

Session Meeting Tuesday, December 21, at 9am

Christmas Eve Service will be at 7:00 P.M.

Newsletter Deadline – Tuesday December 28th, 2021.

The PW is selling Franklin Hill Presbyterian Cookbooks called  “Recipes From The Hill” at $10.00 each.  We still have a few left.  They make great gifts.  All proceeds go to missions.

Please sign up to host one of the social hours on the Sunday after Communion Service on the first Sunday of the month. 

Listen to WPEL 96.5 for church cancellation if your internet is down during a storm this winter.


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