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Monday, September 29, 2014
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"He Has Made Me Glad!"
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name" (Psalm 100:4). "For you make me glad by Your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done" (Psalm 92:4). "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 119:24).
Yesterday our church service began with the singing of a joyful chorus based on today's Scripture verses. Perhaps it will stir some memories for those who've not sung it for quite some time.
I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart,
I will enter His courts with praise,
I will say this is the day that the Lord has made,
I will rejoice for He has made me glad.
He has made me glad x2
I will rejoice for He has made me glad.
He has made me glad x2
I will rejoice for He has made me glad.
(* Link to video of this song posted below)
This was often the opening chorus for our church many years ago, Scripturally "rallying" our people to open up their hearts for a time of joyful and thankful worship. The Psalmist penned these verses with a firm resolve "I will", based upon God's faithfulness, "He has".
I recall one Sunday morning, some 30 years ago, when Mike Matangelo put into practice the meaning of this verse in a memorable way. He was teaching an adult Sunday School class with about 25 students. With no warning, he asked everyone to get up from their seats and to exit the church building. Before they walked back into the building they were to purposefully enter the “gates” of our church with thanksgiving in their hearts and praise on their lips.
At that time, our church in its infancy stage, still met in a rented building in downtown St. Marys, PA so it was quite public when the group went outside and began singing and clapping before marching back into the building! (So the students' first test was singing right out on the streets for all to see and the second was that of marching up the steep, long stairway, enough to stir up murmuring in the thoughts from anyone out of shape.) I doubt that those present in that class have ever forgotten that spiritual exercise. Mike and his wife Kathy remain close friends and continue to be involved in ministry.
The mention of "gates" and "courts" is referring to the approach to the temple. However one commentator, states the reference may be metaphorical rather than literal, and may extend to all the faithful and to all places of worship. A reasonable application in our day may be our attitude when we enter our church for public worship. Don't you just love it when you enter the church building, after going through the usual Sunday morning rush to get to church on time, and people greet you who are joyful and excited to be in the house of the Lord on any given Sunday!
In addition to having the right attitude when entering the house of the Lord we feel it should be taken in our overall approach toward God, and about life in general. Today much may be heavy on your heart. This morning Brooksyne and I discussed recent news of terrorism, murders and home invasions, including the spiraling increase of evil in our world. Get the wrong focus and despair can easily follow.
Our inclination is to experience joy on the basis of how things are going in our life, those of positive nature, of course. Today we consider those who are in the midst of a hard trial.
But our thanksgiving and praise is not based on our own personal circumstances or world conditions. It is based on our faithful God. The foundation of a joy-filled life is about who our God is.
So today let us resolve.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we enter Your gates with thanksgiving in our heart and Your courts with praise, for You have made this day. You satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Therefore, we will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, for You have seen our affliction. You have known the distress within our soul, and You have made a way of escape through Your powerful presence, Your mighty intervention and through the companionship of Your Holy Spirit. We rejoice gratefully for who You are and all that You do on our behalf. Amen.
Based upon Psalms 100, 90 & 31
On Friday two couples, Jim and Dorothy Schmidt along with Ed and Gladys Berkey, were in our area from Ocean City New Jersey visiting several of our Lancaster County local tourist sights. I had hoped to visit with them while they were in the area but it did not appear the timing would work. Then I got word Friday morning that Jim had stroke like symptoms and was admitted to a local hospital. Ester and I drove over to visit Jim and Dorothy at the hospital and then over to a hotel to visit with Ed and Gladys. It turns out that Jim was dehydrated so they were all able to return home to Ocean City on Saturday.
We first met Jim and Dorothy at a convention in Boston in early 2000 when we were sharing about our new Daily Encouragement ministry at the Congress New England event. Jim was a representative with SEND International (a mission agency) and shared a display near ours. We became friends from that meeting. Here's a photo of Jim and Dorothy taken this summer on the Ocean City boardwalk.
Ed Berkey was my district superintendent when I moved to New England in 1993 and conducted the installation service at the church I pastored in Taunton Massachusetts. He retired several years later in 1997 but we're still connected through Daily Encouragement. He and Gladys celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary recently. Ed was an early encourager of our ministry writing Daily Encouragement having been a recipient of one of the very first messages in 1996.
Now here is a heartening lesson: The Berkey's and Schmidt's only became friends several years ago reminding all of us to still make new friends all through life!
Here's a photo you won't see in many churches these days. Our church projects the song lyrics to the screen pointing to the front walls yet it still includes the hymn number for any who may choose to sing from the hymnal. We were standing behind a small child and couldn't resist taking a photo of this earnest 8 year old worshipper who was joyfully singing the hymn classic, "And Can It Be That I Should Gain"!
Brooksyne's Note: When I was younger I could hardly wait to read because then I could hold my own hymnal at church and sing right along with the adults. Trouble is, even after I learned to read, I couldn't keep up with the grown-ups, always losing my place. Too proud to say anything since I didn't want anyone to think me an inferior reader, every church service I'd try again with a firm resolve to catch on but always got lost. I finally came to understand the reason I couldn't stay up with others; I was reading the first three lines of three verses instead of skipping down to the second line of the first verse of the hymn and so forth. Perhaps some of our readers can identify with what I'm trying to say in print. Anyway, I always loved to thumb through the hymnal (in my moments of not paying attention to the preacher), and there I'd find my favorite hymns and seek to memorize or sing them in my head. (I was probably memorizing the page number as well anticipating a Sunday when we might get to request a song for a hymn sing, and you had to be quick on your toes to beat out other requests.)
Church Hay Ride
Saturday evening our church had a hay ride which may bring back some happy memories for many of our readers regardless of where you may live.
Galen, a local farmer, arriving with the wagon after a long day of harvest work.
The wagon is loaded and everyone is ready to roll.
But wait, the wagon has a flat tire!
Ken and Galen to the rescue.
And off they go!
Ester went on the hay ride but Brooksyne was up to her elbows in canning applesauce so she was finishing up her work. Here's a family photo from a hay ride 8 years ago.
In the midst of her busyness she did manage to surprise us with an apple pie she made while we were gone. And it was delicious!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"He Has Made Me Glad" Video Maranatha Music This is a great version of the song we referred to in our message. It does include some embellishments we don't normally sing.
"Happiness Is To Know The Savior" Video (Singer not identified) Yesterday in the course of our nursing home service Brooksyne recalled this old song from her childhood.
"I Will Rejoice/Good Good Lord" Video Bob Fitts
"And Can It Be That I Should Gain" Video Samuel Wilson (an outstanding version)
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Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
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