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Friday, March 6, 2015
The view down the farm trail across from our home during yesterday's snow storm.
"This Is The Day"
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"This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm (118:24). "But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them" (Acts 16:25).
Many believers, since Psalm 118:24 was written, have lived with the Psalmist's perspective. In fact many of us have sung the words of this Psalm set to music. In the church we served in northern Pennsylvania every time we asked for favorites during a song service Jane Gausman would always request this song. I expect she continues to sing it in heaven these days.
It's a good perspective to live by; to recognize that each day is created by God and making it our resolve to rejoice and be glad for whatever God has in store for us. It's also a great verse to memorize and quote to yourself and others. It's fresh and applicable each morning.
The truth of the verse is the same regardless of whatever circumstances we may be in. Yesterday we had a heavy snowstorm and could enjoy it from the warmth of our home. However we read reports of people stuck for 12 hours in traffic in Kentucky and then the near tragic plane accident in New York.
But we recently read a story from church history that made us pause to consider the depths of this verse with a fresh perspective, especially in light of the horrific conditions many of our fellow Christians endure.
James Guthrie, was a preacher of the gospel in the Scottish town of Stirling. He was accused of disloyalty, for he had preached that Christ, not the Scottish king, should rule the church. Given the opportunity to recant he refused, thus he was sentenced to be hanged.
On the morning of June 1, 1661, the day of his execution, he rose about 4:00 A.M. for worship. When asked how he was, Guthrie replied, "Very well. This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."*
In Philippi Paul and Silas had their robes torn off and were beaten with rods with many blows, before being thrown into prison (see Acts 16:22-24). We can probably agree they did not have a good day! "But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them" (Acts 16:25).
We don't know what hymns of praise Paul and Silas were singing in Acts 16 when they were imprisoned. We know it wasn't most all of the hymns we sing since at that point they wouldn't have been written though they surely would have enjoyed songs like "Blessed Assurance", "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" and "It Is Well With My Soul". An even more recently written song we think they might have enjoyed is the song "Blessed Be Your Name" based on Job's life's experience.
However the Psalms were considered the hymnbook for the ancient Israelites and people during the Bible times. Who knows, it is certainly possible that Paul and Silas found comfort and assurance in what we know as Psalm 118:24, "This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for this day, the day which You have made. Like the Psalmist, we look to You to "bring us word of Your unfailing love, for we have put our trust in You." We expect good and not harm from Your unfailing love, so we struggle when the circumstances of our lives would appear otherwise. As we mature in our faith help us to weigh the experiences of our life here on earth with the eternal outcome of all the blessings You have waiting for us in heaven. Help us to recognize that there is much we endure on this side that serves as an example to others such as the jailers and other prisoners who looked on when Paul and Silas sang in prison. The fruit of the spirit can be exemplified in believers who rise each morning with the joyful proclamation, "This is the day which the lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Amen.
See Psalms 118:25, 143:8
* More on the story of Guthrie's execution: "James Guthrie's five year old son was brought to him. Taking the boy on his knee, he said, 'William, the day will come when they will cast up to you that your father was hanged. But be not thou ashamed, Lad. It is in a good cause.'
Guthrie soon mounted the scaffold and preached for an hour to the assembled multitude. Then he was hanged, after which his head was hacked off and affixed on Netherbow Port. In coming months little William, sneaking away to steal glances at his father's decaying head, would run home crying, 'I've seen my father's head! I've seen my father's head!' Its impact wasn't lost, for William learned to lean on Christ, to spend time alone in prayer, and to excel in school. He might have become a powerful minister but for an early death from illness.
Meanwhile Guthrie's bleached skull looked down on the throngs of Netherbow Port for 27 years until a brave student climbed up, removed it, and buried it with reverence."
Story taken from Feb. 19th entry "On This Day" - a book written by Robert J. Morgan.
Some more photos from yesterday's snow storm.
View of our home from Kraybill Church Road
(Mollie is in the photo at the far right and sure enjoyed playing in the snow!)
The view up Kraybill Church Road.
We had regular plow service and the road remained open
View from barn door during snow storm 3/5/15
And what a blessing!
The snow was so deep we were homebound until late last night when our neighbor Leon cleared us out with his big John Deere snowblower.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made" Video Sung as many of us recall!
"This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made" Video A more formal choral version
"This Is The Day" (A Wedding Song) Video written by Scott Wesley Brown
"Today I Choose" Video Brian Doerksen
Here are some songs we think Paul and Silas would have enjoyed singing:
"Blessed Be Your Name" Video Matt Redman
"Blessed Assurance" Video
"What A Friend We Have In Jesus" Video Voice Of Praise
"It Is Well With My Soul" Video Gaither homecoming singers
Contemporary music: Virtually all the music the church sings, including "old" hymns, was written in the last 200 years, a period comprising some 10% of the church's history! From Paul and Silas's perspective about all our music is contemporary.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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