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Look for the Blessing

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Call to Worship

1     O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!

2     Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

3     Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

4     Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” [1]

*Praise                                   #11           A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

*Invocation        (Lord’s Prayer)           O Lord, our God, we pray that in worship today those who have grown weary of life will find hope, those confused will find clarity, those bitter will discover happiness, those who live in peril will find safety, those who are lonely will find friendship, and those who have lost life’s meaning will find holiness again. All for the cause of Jesus Christ.

*Gloria Patri       # 575

Special Music

Presentation of 80 years Certificates  Alice Bullock and Ruth Frazel

Our Offering to God               “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Cor. 9:10 RSV).

*Doxology          #572

*Prayer of Dedication          Heavenly Father, may your Kingdom be uppermost in our heart, minds, and lives. Accept our gifts, given in love and devotion, and with them our renewed dedication of all that we are and have to your eternal glory.

*Hymn                                    #398         In The Garden

Scripture Reading                 Psalm 118:  5-9

5     Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.

6     With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can mortals do to me?

7     The Lord is on my side to help me; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

8     It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in mortals.

9     It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. [2]

*Hymn of Prayer                   #392 Take Time to Be Holy

Pastoral Prayer 

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God.     Luke 6:12   


Praise God for... the birth of new churches thanks to church planters across the country.


Ask God for... safety as Kit Ripley (IM missionary) returns to her mission field in Thailand where God will use her to meet the needs of his children.


Thank God for... the desire for Bibles in Russia.


Healing for... Barb’s granddaughter who was born prematurely.

Creator God, on windswept beaches your saints of old held their hands up to you in wonder and amazement, felt your power through the roar of wind and surf, and exposed to the elements felt a unity with the One who had created all things. This world does not often allow us such intimacy, Father. We are crowded out by circumstances of our own choosing, seeking fellowship with each other rather than with you. Forgive our unwillingness to follow in the footsteps of your saints to meet you in the solitude of your creation. Forgive our unwillingness to get our feet wet.—John Birch

*Hymn of Praise                   #417 Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Scripture Reading                 Psalm 118:14-29

14The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.  15There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:  “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly; 16the right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”  17I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.  18The Lord has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death. 19Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.  20This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.  22The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.   23This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.  24This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.c  25Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!  O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!   26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.d We bless you from the house of the Lord.  27The Lord is God, and he has given us light.  Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.e  28You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you.  29O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.[3]


Message                                Look for the Blessing   

A tried and tested spiritual exercise practiced by many Christians is to begin each new day with a repetition of the psalmist’s words, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Regardless of the weather or the circumstances of the world or any other condition, the discipline of repeating that refrain gives energy and optimism to those who say it.

I. If we speak those words as our first waking thought, we give ourselves a framework in which to place all of the day’s activities and events. We create order out of the jumble of experiences that come our way. We reverse the question that sometimes confronts us—the question about “What am I going to do about this so that it will become a creative instead of a disabling experience?” Repeating that verse enables us to look for the blessing that abides beneath the rush and tumble of outward circumstance.

Notice that the psalmist says, “Let us rejoice and be glad” in the day that God has given. Saying “us” instead of “me” suggests two things. First, God bestows blessings freely and widely. Jesus made this point by his comment that God makes the sun rise “on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteousness.”

“Let us rejoice,” said the psalmist, not limiting it to just my vision or just yours.

The second implication of this plural pronoun is that we can be a blessing ourselves. Not only are we to assist one another in recognizing the gifts of God in each new day, but we can offer ourselves to the people around us, giving gifts of friendship and caring, encouragement and help. We have the privilege of helping others to rejoice and be glad, sharing these important feelings beyond ourselves.

II. At day’s beginning, this Bible verse becomes our guide. One translation of it says, “This is the day of the Lord’s victory; let us be happy, let us celebrate!” Once more there is that emphasis on God’s authority over each day, followed by each believer’s enthusiastic response. We are to claim God’s gifts; as well as point others to them, and we are to share them widely. Finally, at day’s end, it suits us to review those blessings. Having looked for blessings and found them, we then can appreciate their power to displace hurt and negativity and any other demoralizing thing. It becomes evident to us that God’s grace is more than sufficient. God’s provision for our need is more than we can ask or think.

Look for the blessings. Such blessing will be discovered when each and every day is received from God as a product of divine handiwork—a gift worthy of glad acceptance. Look for the blessings. Look for the wonderful surprises.—John H. Townsend

We must appreciate each day as a gift from God
Notice the only day that is mentioned in this verse is this day. He does not talk about yesterday or tomorrow, only this day. Every minute that you have, every breath you take, is a gift from God.
Have you ever heard the statement, “I wish I had as much time as you do.” Now think about how silly that sounds. We all have the same amount of time.
And if you are here this morning and you think, “I don’t have the time to do everything that I want to do.” Guess what, join the crowd. There was a study done by USA today that showed that the average time needed to do everything we want to do would require 42 hour days. Almost double the time that we have in a day. That means it is practically impossible for us to get everything we want done in a days time.
But there is good news. We all will die not having done everything we want to do. How often to you hear, “I’ve always wanted to do that”. But the good news is that you will have time to do everything you NEED to do. And what you need to do is what God would have you to do and God will provide that time.
Think about what Jesus was able to accomplish in his short period of time on this earth. Jesus was 33 years old when He was crucified, but 99.9% of His ministry was accomplished in three years. He had to convince the people that He was the promised Messiah. Then He had to convert them from the Laws of the Old Testament, from works to grace. Then He had to be killed by hanging on the cross. Buried, only to rise again and then remain here on earth for His final instructions.
Listen to the words of Jesus… I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which you have given Me to do. John 17:4
Maybe He didn’t finish here what He wanted to do, but He did get finish what He needed to do. And we are not here to get done what we want to do, but we all have been given all the time we need to do what He would have us to do.
Then we need to…
Dedicate each day to the glory of God
There are two verbs in our text that describes the present and the past tense. Those are the words “is” and “has”. The only day you have to enjoy is today. You hear about people talk about saving time. You cannot save time. You are allotted a certain amount and you cannot add to it or you cannot take away from it.
You can spend your time, either foolishly or wisely, but you can’t save it.
That is why time is so valuable. The clock never stops ticking. That is why you should never procrastinate by not doing what you should today and waiting till latter.
You can’t store time. You can’t stretch time. That is why Paul gave this warning See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are over. Ephesians 5:15
The phrase of “redeeming the time” is an accounting term. It means to cash in every moment you can to get the most of your time.
Think about it like this. Imagine that your banker calls you and tells you that an anonymous donor will give you 864,000 penny’s a day into your account. That is $ 864.00 for those of you trying to figure out the math. And the only stipulation is that you have to spend it all that day. You can’t save it. You can’t store it. Whatever you don’t spend is gone at the end of the day. How would you treat it? My kids would be singing, “We’re in the money”. We would do our best to spend every penny the best we can.
God gives each one of us 864,000 seconds of the day in our life account. And we need to make sure that we spend it in the best way we can.
One tip from Zig Ziglar is this. Each day write down what you NEED to do and then prioritize it. And at the top of that list should be your relationship with God. Start each day by asking God what He needs you to do.
So many times Christians make the mistake of not making time for God. I would read my bible but I don’t have the time. I would come to church but I have too much to do.
 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6: 33
When you do what you need to do, you will be surprised how much time you have to do what you WANT to do. //
Then Celebrate each day in the goodness of God
The last thing that I want you to think is that I want you to cram a bunch of stuff in your day. Take time to smell the roses. We have to take time to do that because we are so busy in life.
But whether you enjoy the day has nothing to do with your circumstances. Our text says, “I will Rejoice”. No matter what happens, no matter how bad your day may appear, you ALWAYS have something to rejoice about.
When you make yourself stop and think, I can always thank Him that I am alive. I can thank Him for the breath I take. I can thank Him for His provisions; The roof over your head, the cloths on your back, or the food on your table. We all have things we can rejoice in. And every time that we think we have it bad, we don’t have to look far to see someone else who is in worse shape than you are.
Much like the man who was feeling sorry for himself because he had holes in his shoes, only to look and see a man in a wheel chair who had no feet at all.
No matter what you are going through in your life, God has a purpose. It does not matter is you are 9 months old or 90 years old. All time belongs to God. You see, there was no such thing as time until God made it. / "This is the day which the Lord hath made." / This is God’s day. Everyday is God’s day. We are told to "redeem the time." This word refers to someone who goes to the store and buys the very best bargains. Many of you are great bargain hunters, become a blessing hunter. Look for the blessings. Our blessings will be discovered when each and every day is received from God as a product of divine handiwork—a gift worthy of glad acceptance. Look for the blessings. Look for the wonderful surprises of what God has in store for you.

*Hymn of Response             #366 My Faith Looks Up to Thee

*Sending forth  


Verses 15–20, The proselyte arrives at the Temple gates. Hark! Listen!—cheers of victory in the tents (the people’s homes in the city, the word used to remind them that life is still a pilgrimage as it used to be in the days of the Wilderness in the time of Moses). These were the cheers of the righteous. To us, that sounds rather like the “self-righteous”. But in the Bible it means the believing community, whom God had long since “put right” with himself. Note that we find the same language used “above” as is here used “below” when, in Our Lord’s words, the angels cheered for “one sinner that repents” (Luke 15:7). So the “battle” goes on above and below at the same time. Thus when a group of priests repeats very loudly, so that all can hear in the assembled crowd:

The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,

The right hand of the Lord is exalted,

The right hand of the Lord does valiantly!

they are using the same language as that which described what God did when he overcame Pharaoh and brought Israel out of slavery into freedom. And here it is used of just one poor heathen enquirer!

But he has been saved out of death and destruction. He knows this, for in his excitement he now exclaims: “I am not to die!” (I believe that, ki) “I am going to live, so that I can tell others about the mighty deeds of the Lord. The Lord has ‘educated’ me (through suffering) very drastically, but what is so wonderful, he has not given me over to death.”

Verses 19–20. A priest has evidently coached him on what to say next. He turns and looks at the huge outer gates of the Temple, and shouts aloud: Open to me the gates of righteousness (the realm of salvation, of the new life) that I may enter through them, and give thanks to Yahweh. Whereupon the priest opens the gates and, pointing, invites him in with the words: This gate belongs to Yahweh; the “saved” (those whom Yahweh has already “put right”) enter by it (the emphasis being “and by it alone”). What this psalm is giving us, then, is a theology of God’s saving love in an acted parable, one that later on was turned into a poem that was intended to be sung.

Verse 21, He is in! He is now one with all God’s redeemed people. In entering the Temple he has entered into life. There have been no questions asked of him, whether he has lived a good life or anything else. He enters the Holy Place merely by responding to grace alone.

His heart is full. He simply must show his gratitude. So he thanks God for the experience of the journey he has travelled before reaching the Temple gates, when God had “disciplined” him, had “humbled” him, and had “made him get rid of his self-righteousness” (this rather than RSV’s answered). And then, surprisingly, he adds, “Thou hast become the victory for me.” He seems to have been witnessing to the fact that he has not saved himself from his own self-righteousness: it is God who has done it for him—and he a mere pagan foreigner! But now, wonder of wonders, he is a new creation!

Verses 22–25. Various voices now back up our new “member”. Perhaps the issue of the corner-stone, which took the great weight of the Temple, was much debated when the Second Temple was being planned. A massive block had at first been rejected, but finally had been used to hold up the south-west corner of the outer wall to keep the whole edifice from sliding down into the Valley of Hinnom. This latter name becomes Gehenna in the LXX and so too in the Greek of the NT. It was used as a rubbish dump and was always burning, so it gradually became an alternative word for what we call hell-fire. The corner stone, then, was to keep God’s people from sliding down to hell!

This use of the stone that the builders had rejected was God-inspired, it was not a sign of man’s ingenuity. At Isa. 28:16 Isaiah had earlier used a similar metaphor when he spoke of the tested, precious, cornerstone, a sure foundation that God had set in Zion. No doubt that metaphor was in the psalmist’s mind when he composed these verses, which are quoted no less than three times in the Gospels and Acts, as well as in Ephesians and 1 Peter, as a marvellously apt prophecy of what happened in the Cross of Jesus. It may even be that the keystone of the old Solomon’s Temple had at first been lost in the rubble of the destruction in 587 b.c. but had been found and produced in Zerubbabel’s day with great excitement (see Haggai 1:12–15). Be that as it may, the precious nature of this cornerstone was to reveal the continuity of God’s marvellous doings. Each day as the people passed the Temple walls a new revelation was offered them within the whole long series of miracles of revelation since the days of Moses.

The congregation next acclaim, with the thought of their new convert in mind, This is the day in which the Lord has acted (this rather then made). Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Each day that a heathen comes home to God is a miracle of God’s grace, as Paul put it succinctly: “Now (today) is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). See also Luke 19:9. They have all just beheld a miracle of grace when one sinner was brought home to God. So they add: Save us too, O Lord! Keep us always right with you. Make our lives successful in the battles still ahead of us. A century after the building of the Second Temple Nehemiah took this verse and applied it to himself (Neh. 1:11). Let us do so this very day in our turn.




[1] The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989, S. Ps 118:1

[2] The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989, S. Ps 118:5

c Or in him

d Or Blessed in the name of the Lord is the one who comes

e Meaning of Heb uncertain

[3] The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989, S. Ps 118:14

RSV Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

LXX The Septuagint or Greek Version of the OT.

NT New Testament.

[4]Knight, George Angus Fulton: Psalms : Volume 2. Louisville : Westminster John Knox Press, 2001, c1982 (The Daily Study Bible Series), S. 208

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