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Look For The Blessing!
Psalm 118: 24
A spiritual exercise practiced by many Christians is to begin each new day with a repetition of the Psalmist's words:
"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Regardless of the weather, circumstances or any other condition, the discipline of repeating that refrain gives
energy and optimism to those who say it.
Here is an answer to discouragement, to anxiety, and to negative feelings and fears.
Someone has said that having nothing to carry is life's heaviest burden.
To all that emptiness, the psalmist offers a fulfilling response.
- Having nothing to do is life's hardest work.
- Having nothing to look forward to his life's darkest picture.
Finding ourselves able to say, "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,"
lifts us out of bleakness and futility.
What this wonderful verse says to us, as we recite it: "Look for the blessing!"
- It gives us a reason for looking upward and beyond.
- It will also limit our troubling concerns.
Each day, look for the particular blessing that God is waiting to bestow... that God wants to give you.
Reciting the simple words about the day God has made should suggest to us that unique blessings are in store for us,
if we are alert to them.
If we rejoice and delight in the hours at hand, we will discover at least one blessing, and probably, many more
than that, as the day goes by.
Look for the blessing!
- God is in the midst of the minutes before us, when God's presence is acknowledged by us,
good things cannot help but lie ahead.
- Problems, even crises may arise as well, but our affirmation through this verse is that God is there,
and God's blessings ultimately will prevail.
Look for the blessing!
- That is the message behind the saying that "God is the maker of our days."
- "What immense joy for us," one translation explains.
- "This is the day that the Lord has made."
I love the story of that child whose eyes were intently focused upon the sidewalk as she and her mother were walking.
- Jesus spoke about seeking and finding.
His lesson is recorded in these words: "Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find;
knock, and the door will be opened for you."
- Perseverance in looking for the blessings of each new day will be honored, according to this promise of Jesus.
"Whatever are you looking for?" Asked the mother.
"For something to find," answered the child.
"Something to find" for the Christian is the blessing which God stands ready to reveal.
As the Scriptures remind us, such blessings are "new every morning."
The exact reference from the Old Testament reads like this: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is God's faithfulness."
We are to look for the blessing whatever it may be.
That may sound unrealistic with all the burdens and trials of our lives, but the experience of Molly Picon
may give us some insight.
In the Jewish community, Molly Picon, was known as one of the stars of the Yiddish stage.
As an actress, she traveled a lot.
She spent many nights in cramped hotel rooms with others in her acting company.
One night, after many nights of such inconvenience, Molly overheard some of the performers griping
about their living conditions.
She listened for a while, then interrupted them:
"I never complain about such things," Molly told them.
"My grandmother brought up 11 children in four rooms."
"How did she manage that?" They asked.
Molly smiled and replied, "She took in boarders!"
She turned a burden into a blessing!
This grandmother looked beyond the complication immediately at hand, and found something else to celebrate.
That may be our necessity also, when a day dawns that seems filled with more problems than possibilities.
When we begin to look for the blessing, we might say something like the words of a spiritual,
"I don't want to move a mountain, Lord, just give me grace to climb"
"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
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.
Starting today with this verse, enables us to look for the blessing, which abides beneath the rush
- We create order out of the jumble of experiences which come our way.
- We reverse the question that sometimes confronts us: "why did this have to happen" to
"what am I going to do about this, so that it will become a creative experience instead of
a disabling experience?"
and turmoil of outward circumstances.
We cannot repeat this verse without being aware of its inclusive emphasis.
Notice, that the psalmist says, "Let us rejoice and be glad in the day that God has given us."
Using the plural pronoun, saying "us" instead of "me," suggests two things:
- First, God bestows freely and widely, not exclusively or privately.
- 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 unrighteous." (Matthew 5: 45)
- Blessings are to be found in abundance, and in actuality, we are to help each other find them.
"Let us rejoice," the psalmist said.
- The Psalmist enlarges the arena of perception, in not limiting it, to just my vision or just yours.
We have the privilege of helping others to rejoice and be glad, when we share these important feelings with them.
- 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;
we can offer ourselves to others around us, giving gifts of friendship, caring, encouragement, and help.
- Remember the hymn, "Make me a blessing, to someone today."
We should begin each day with this verse in our memory, and as our guide for the day.
One translation of this verse says, "This is the day of the Lord's victory; let us be happy, let us celebrate."
Again, we see that emphasis upon God's jurisdiction over each day, followed by each believer's enthusiastic response.
Finally, at the end of the day it behooves us to review those blessings.
- We must look for the blessings that God will give.
- We receive them, and then share them with others.
Reflecting upon the hours God has granted us and all of the good things which have been part of those hours
becomes our way to conclude the day which the Lord has made.
Then, it becomes evident to us that God's grace is more than sufficient for us.
God's provision for our needs is greater than we can ask or think.
God answers prayer: "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God:
- Look for the blessing!
- Look for the wonderful surprises!
he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears." (Psalm 18: 6)
Here is a intermediate, surprise answer to prayer:
A California woman in a Glendale restaurant almost choked while eating lunch.
She could not exhale.
This condition lasted a minute and a half.
A man rushed from across the room, and gave her a sharp blow across the back.
She said, "It was like a miracle. Almost instantly, I was okay."
She said that she had been praying for help, and he was the answer to her prayer.
She simply said, "Thank you, sir, you saved my life."
The man left the restaurant.
A waitress came over to the woman, and said, "That man has had lunch here every Wednesday for the last 11 years.
Today is Thursday!"
Was that blind luck or God's miraculous, immediate answer to prayer?
Who knows how different every day of our lives would be, if we began everyday looking for the blessings!
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at hleewhite@AOL.com