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Friday, June 14 2024

Good Morning House of Prayer for the Nations, God's Custom Gathered Body! TGIF!

Thank God I'm Forgiven! PTL and amen! What are you thankful for today? How is our great gratitude flowing  through us into loving service and disciple making as our worshipful response. God is so good, kind and loving and He has custom made plans for you and for us that are motivated by our love, thanksgiving and worship. Just meditate on that a bit today and then check out the Harvest Prayer blogs speaking into the fact that God designed us to be a House of Prayer for the Nations as we respond with childlike faith to those responding with childlike faith to His love and call. We always need to be assessing if there is some house cleaning to be done in us and our Body and to be faithful to do so. One of my constant prayers is for St. Matts to become a House of Payer and God is beginning to send in the nations to pray and for childlike faith. PTL!

Our bird feeder attracts all kinds of different birds as God takes care of them through our provision. But our feeders have become a House of Feeding for the Species, just like we are becoming a HOP for the Nations. We have many squirrels and chipmunks, racoons. opossum, deer and now ducks! (yes Mr. and Mrs. Mallard have been ground feeding some grain and God provides through us). We, as God's Body, are connecting to all kinds of new people as God uses us to feed, serve, help, pray and encourage. PTL and keep praying into our growth as His vessels and for connections to new people He is sending and even some new connection points. And pray to be His vessel, encourager, for childlike faith and to teach and use you to pray. He is on the move!

Our devotionals (below) really spoke to my heart this morning. prayerfully meditate on them, journal what God is saying and process with some friends. A friend from races (non-believer drug addict) is going through all kind of health issues and reaching out for advice. Is God using this hard thing to open his heart? I have asked God to use me and guide me. Maybe God is using something from your past, or wanting to, to encourage another, pray with them and help them find our Peace, Joy and Hope? Our Daily Bread and Upper Room speak into this and God's sufficiency to help us and carry us through when we are in those very hard dark valleys. Charles Stanley speaks into this and our obedience and surrender no matter what we are facing. And The Word for You Today is teaching some more on prayer as we continue to work on becoming the people we are created to be, doing what we are created to do and becoming a House of Prayer. How can I pray for or help you? How might God want to use you? Keep praying, processing, dying to self and following Jesus and His examples. He is worthy of all praise, glory, honor and our faithful obedience. Amen!

Have a great weekend and live and love more like Jesus!

   Harvest Blogs:

June 14 - Heavenly Inspection

Jesus did such an inspection as He came into the holy city, Jerusalem.

Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late. (Mark 11:11)

Don’t miss the seemingly random bit of travelogue: "after looking around." The Wuest Expanded translation says it like this: "After giving everything a comprehensive inspection.”

Jesus never did anything randomly. What was He inspecting? The answer becomes clear the next day:

Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ But you have made it a robber’s den." (Mark 11:15-18) 

It was His house! Jesus was making an inspection to see what was happening in the very home He had designed. When He reported to His Father what was happening, and received instructions from the Architect and Builder of the temple, He came back the next day and cleaned house.

He still inspects His house. Look at Revelation, Chapters 3-4, and you will see Jesus, after his ascension, returning to the seven churches and telling them what to do to clean up the church. He has the authority to do so and we should be grateful for His intense interest.

We should be aware that He is looking at our churches all the time. It is His body. Just as we examine our body if there is a problem, so does He.

What does He find as He "looks around at everything" in our churches? Vain worship? Holy, sacred things being used for selfish, secular purposes? His mission being ignored? His presence not sought?

And, most importantly, is our church missing its essential task—to be a house of prayer for all nations? Is prayer foundational to all we do, or relegated to a small closet for the few who are interested? Does He find us doing, with what is His, what He desires?

It’s time to ruthlessly and relentlessly clean house. It is past time to make His house a house of prayer.

Creator God, You made Your church to be a house of prayer for all nations, but we have largely made it a den of thieves. We have been robbing You of Your glory and making church about us instead of about You. Make us more aware of Your heart for our purpose – to be the Bride of Jesus Christ, Your Only Son! Help us to clean up our act and make ourselves ready so that when You return for us, we are clean and pure and spotless!

---Adapted from Prayer with No Intermission by Bill Elliff. This book is available at prayershop.org.

Prayer Points

  • Praise God for his love for children who often are full of insight (Mk.10:14-16).
  • Thank God that he teaches you to have a childlike faith (Mt.11:25).
  • Confess how often you make things so complicated and act so independently of him.
  • Commit yourself to giving out the simple gospel message, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
  • Ask God to help you recognize every opportunity to have a childlike faith, and not to be childish (Mt. 18:4).
  • Pray that Christians all over the world may “tell the good news” in a childlike way and be ready to welcome all who respond as little children, eager to know more.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2024 is a free devotional published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries. Subscribe here.

ODB:

Dilemmas and Deeper Faith

Daughter, your faith has healed you. Mark 5:34

READ Mark 5:21-34

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

During a Saturday morning Bible study, a father was perplexed because his beloved, wayward daughter had returned to the city, but he was uncomfortable with her in his home because of her behavior. Another attendee was not well in her body because the physical effects of long-term disease and aging had taken their toll. Numerous visits to numerous doctors had yielded minimal progress. She was discouraged. By divine design, Mark chapter 5 was the Bible passage they studied that day. And when the study was over, hope and joy were palpable.

In Mark 5:23, Jairus, a father with a sick child, exclaimed, “My little daughter is dying.” On His way to visit the girl, Jesus healed an unnamed woman of her long-term health issue, saying, “Daughter, your faith has healed you” (v. 34). Jairus and the woman, compelled by faith in Jesus, sought Him out and they weren’t disappointed. But in both cases, prior to meeting Jesus, things had progressed from “bad to worse” before getting better.

Life’s dilemmas don’t discriminate. Regardless of gender or age, race or class, we all face situations that perplex us and send us searching for answers. Rather than allowing challenges to keep us from Jesus, let’s strive to have them stir us to deeper faith in the One who feels it when we touch Him (v. 30) and who can make us well.

By Arthur Jackson

REFLECT & PRAY

What current situation compels you to seek Jesus? What’s your heartfelt prayer today?

Dear Jesus, You know each painful situation in my life. Please make me strong in faith even when things go from bad to worse.

Uncover how we can work through life’s pain.

Lecture - Our Daily Bread University

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

The four gospels include multiple miracles Jesus performed during His earthly ministry. Mark is often called the “action gospel” because of its focus on Christ’s deeds. Mark contains more miracles proportionately than the other gospel accounts. Mark 5 shows Jesus’ authority over demons (vv. 1-20), death (vv. 21-24, 35-43), and disease (vv. 25-34). His miracles also revealed His authority over nature and disabilities. John wrote, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

Alyson Kieda

UR: Sufficient

[The Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

After my sister’s surgery for a brain tumor, I stayed with her in the intensive care unit (ICU). She was suffering greatly, and I prayed for God to grant her relief and to provide me with strength to console and support her. I began to read from a copy of The Upper Room. The selected scripture for one meditation was 2 Corinthians 12:9. From then on, that verse became my refrain, my strength.

I looked up when I heard my sister speak, though incoherently; it seemed obvious she was not improving. When the ICU visiting hours were over, my husband picked me up so we could take care of an errand while my other sister and my mother remained in the waiting area. Before long, I received a call from my sister, who told me to return to the hospital because our mother had become distraught; my sister and I then took over the vigil. A bit later, the doctors operated again, but this time my sister did not survive.

Throughout this ordeal God remained steadfast. God’s strength became mine. It allowed me, in turn, to console, support, and encourage my family in this ultimate moment of grief. Thanks be to God!

TODAY'S PRAYER

Your power is made perfect in our weakness, O God. In our weakness we are made strong by your grace. To you, eternal God, be all glory. Amen.CS:

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TWFYT

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Posted by: AT 02:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 14 2024

Good Morning Expectant, Earnest, Enterprising, Excited, Espousers of Everything Emanuel Is and Is Doing! What's that all about? Love the E's! God is leading and molding us to be all about these and answering our many prayers and we have some great stories to share and plans to make. Amen! Rejoice and PTL!

WOW! God is on the move! What a mighty God we serve! He is our Savior, Healer, Deliverer, Helper, Provider, Protector and Friend among many more characteristics of Who He is and what He does. PTL! Do you realize what God is doing among us and how He is answering our prayers, providing and guiding and encouraging us? So what started as what I thought was a leading of God to air condition the Fellowship Hall to feeling deflated to being overjoyed as He is providing in big ways and through some faithful outsiders too! AMAZING! Yesterday we received another $100 from an outsider that wants to sow into what God is doing. So far four outsiders have been faithful to trust God and follow His nudge with gifts of $10,000, $3000, $300 and $100. God stirred some of us to give this past week almost another $1000 and yesterday I received a pledge of another $1000. So if I am figuring correctly that leaves just $1000. to fund. I'm floored as God reveals and affirms His plans through His provision! Just stop and worship right now! Then ask Him to reveal to you and us some of His plans for the rest of the summer in the building and out. The equipment is ordered and will be available in a few weeks and then we will schedule installation. Thank you to all who have given (or will give) and trusted and followed God! You are  true followers, servants and a blessing!

What's our lesson in all of this? Trust and follow God when He gives dreams and vision or speaks to your heart. Keep praying and trusting and then follow His provision and/or be His provision. Don't get like me and all bound up when the answers to prayers or God's provision doesn't come right away. Just trust and place matters in his hands and do what He says to do. God is able and will lead to His best to earnest, faithful servants and through them too.

Family Ministries has begun some out of the building celebrations and gatherings as we separate from the adult huddle for at least the summer. Next Wed. the 19th at 6 the adult huddle will gather at the Superior for dinner and discussions for God's plans for us this summer. Pray into that for some great ideas and then things we will be able to do back in the building by Aug. God has some great plans for us to reach out and gather in, connect to Him and make disciples. Ask God to raise up His provision for this meal and our summer activities. Pray we continue to follow His provision and plans. Family Ministries will gather for mini golf the following Wed the 26th. Pray for God to lead us to connections to families and new people that He is drawing and sending our way and that we connect them to Him and make disciples of Jesus as we trust and follow Him together. Amen!

PTL! Yesterday's donut day was amazing and packed with people. God was present and moving. We could use more of you to connect to some of these new people at the next one on July 10th. Pray for us to be a blessing to many more needy neighbors and to shine bright. These donut days are becoming an event as we sow and bless and love on people that God is sending through our doors. PTL! Plan to join us next time or as able and keep praying for connecting these people to the saving love of God through the blood of Jesus. Thank God for all our volunteers! We have a crew that serve faithfully! Pray for our Support and Vision teams to keep seeking, listening, discerning well and making God's plans. The Support team meets Tonight.

Okay, so I'm gushing and so excited! I've been in a bit of a funk lately, probably heart and med related or maybe it's just old age? Anyway some have been praying for God to deliver me and He is! PTL! News like this fires me up and we see God at work and moving in big and little ways all around our Body as we work on living sacrificially and loving extravagantly more and more like Jesus. God is helping us as we work on Become More in '24 and leading the way. Keep praising, seeking and following. He has really good plans to discover as we continue to move towards becoming a dynamic movement of God. AMEN! Talk to Him about your part and ask for some friends to co-labor with too. Rejoice!

So this went longer than I thought. I'll just attach our devotionals below for you to engage with and pray through. God is speaking to us through these today as we keep living expectantly, enthusiastically, earnestly and empowered by God and His Spirit as we follow Jesus! He's coming back soon. Until then we have work to do. Yes day light is burning but He is at work and preparing us for our part in eternity and wanting to use us for such a time as this too. He's a miracle working God and  we can expect many more miracles as we die to self and follow Him. He has plans for us as part of His Good News Delivery Co. We are a team on the move! And remember that we all are a work in process and progress as we allow God to have His way with us and serve as we are. We are His masterpieces with custom made purposes to move towards and God's greater things will come as we do!

Love you all and love serving with you! God is truly blessing us! May we continue to bless Him and others as we allow Him to lead us to his best. Yes, rejoice! I say again, rejoice! Amen and hallelujah! he's calling you by name to come and experience His loving best for you and us! Amen!

ODB:

Expecting Jesus

You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:44

READ Matthew 24:36-44

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

My friend Paul was awaiting the arrival of a technician to repair his refrigerator when he saw a text on his phone from the appliance company. It read: “Jesus is on his way and is expected to arrive at approximately 11:35 a.m.” Paul soon discovered the technician’s name was indeed Jesús (hay-SOOS).

But when can we expect Jesus the Son of God to arrive? When He came as a man two thousand years ago and suffered the penalty of our sin, He said that He’d be back—but only the Father knew the precise “day or hour” of His return (Matthew 24:36). What difference might it make in our day-to-day priorities if we did know the moment our Savior is coming back to earth? (John 14:1-3).

Jesus cautioned us to be ready for His return: “the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:44). He reminded us to “keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (v. 42).

On the day of Christ’s return, we won’t get an alert on our phone to give us a heads-up. So, through the power of the Spirit working through us, let’s live each day with a perspective of eternity, serving God and taking advantage of every opportunity to share His message of love and hope with others.

By Cindy Hess Kasper

REFLECT & PRAY

How are you motivated by Jesus’ imminent return? What can you expect when He comes again?

Father, as I patiently wait, please help me to obey You, pursue holiness, and to live in expectation of Christ’s return.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Jesus addressed the topic of His return in Matthew 24, where He makes two points. First, it will be unexpected. It will be “as it was in the days of Noah. . . . They knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (vv. 37, 39). People will be “eating and drinking [and] marrying” (v. 38) and engaged in the mundane activities of life—working in a field or grinding at a mill (vv. 40-41). Second, because Jesus’ return will be unexpected, we’re to “keep watch” (v. 42). This isn’t a watchfulness that expects something to happen in the immediate future; rather, it’s being prepared for whatever may come. It’s the same watchfulness—being awake and alert—that Jesus asked of His disciples in the garden of Gethsemane: “Keep watch with me” (26:38, 40; see 43-46).

J.R. Hudberg

TWFYT:

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UR: Spiritual Awakening

Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? - Luke 15:4 (NRSVUE)

I’ve always felt closest to God when I’m enjoying nature. I often hike along the Appalachian Trail, a 2,180-mile trail that runs through the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. Markings along the trail, known as “white blazes,” are white rectangles painted on the trees to let you know you’re going in the right direction.

I have often wished for such clear markers in other parts of my life. I had many missteps as a young man that led me away from Jesus. I struggled with substance abuse and ended up lost, without any recollection of how I got there. For a time, I was stuck in a repetitive cycle of misery and addiction. Filled with guilt and shame, I carried this burden alone.

But at the age of 33, I had a powerful spiritual awakening and rededicated my life to Jesus Christ. At a time when I desperately needed to hear God’s voice, God called to me, and by God’s grace I was able to get my life back on track.

I know what it is to be lost and without hope. I understand feeling unworthy of God’s love because of past mistakes. Now I want to reach out to others like me with that same forgiving grace.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear heavenly Father, guide our way, and may all we do be to your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.CS:

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Posted by: AT 02:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 14 2024

Update: We received another $950. Towards the AC. That leaves a balance of $2150. WOW! God is providing where He is guiding! Thank you for sowing into His plans!  If you would like to donate for this either mark a note on your offering envelope with your gift amount besides your normal tithe or place in a separate envelope.

Now keep praying for discernment of the plans God has for us as we restart ministry after the AC is installed. Lead us Lord with dreams and visions of Your plans! Thank You for Your guidance and provision! Raise up some small group gatherings too. Amen

Note: probably no blog tomorrow as I have a huddle at 6, doc appt at 8, and pick up donuts for donut day at 9 and then get everything ready for 10 bread Min.

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Good Morning Praying, Encouraging, Sowing, Co-Laboring Teammates!

I am just really excited about how God is moving, guiding, providing and using us! GO TEAM!  Yay God! We know that anything of value in the Kingdom is birthed through prayer and comes to life as we step out in faith and follow Jesus. We are seeing the fruit of that today. PTL! I firmly believe that we are on our way to become a dynamic movement of God! Check out the Upper Room teaching about praying in faith. We often can become discouraged and Satan loves to get us grumbling and off track. Pray to catch yourself quickly when that happens, get out those gratitude lists and redirect yourself with praise. Pray for productive mustard seed sized and growing faith. We all also need to keep sharing the stories and praises of what God is doing! Often we need to hear these to be reminded that God is actively working among us, answering prayers and bringing His will to life through us! God is on the move and using us! PTL! And we are better together! We have so much to be thankful for and many praises to lift and stories to share! Charles Stanley reminds us to keep voicing our gratitude. Check His teaching below and lift some praise with all your heart. God is good, all we need, enough, our provider, shepherd, helper and friend! PTL!

Our devotionals shift gears yet ties to this as our lives reflect what we believe. Check out Our Daily Bread. They remind us that it does matter who we serve--self or God. They ask "What does your life say about who you're serving?" If we really evaluate ourselves as we should, we will often find ourselves living for self. The world is always cramming that down our throat too. Be true to yourself and all that matters is your happiness. They are very good at twisting God's ways. Last year we spent our time working on becoming who God created us to be and dying to self and following Jesus as we serve and live for Him. What will be your legacy? Many of those who ignore God and live for self have great regret on their death bed as they realize the folly of their choices and wasted lives. Who is the master of your life? Jesus or you or some worldly leader? Paul said for me to live is Christ! In this life, Christ is all that matters (Col. 3:11) Keep praying and choosing to deny self, take up cross daily and follow Jesus. That is where true joy and satisfaction is found! And you will be building treasure in heaven for when your life continues on glorifying God.

Then The Word for You Today reminds us to say no sometimes. Yes we are to live for Christ and work on growing into His image and doing more of what He created us to do. However, we are not to be burned out doing that. His yoke is easy and He models working from rest. I love how they share what I have been teaching for a few years now. (maybe they are reading my blog! haha) God has an assignment custom made for you and it will never exceed His grace and provision for you at this stage in life. He knows you, loves you and calls you by name. He has great plans for you that should not burn you out if you keep following Him. Sometimes we may need the help of others to point out our over-striving and to shed some of the good and better things we are doing but are not God's best for us. Love God and others and enjoy life in Christ is the easy yoke. Be who God created you to be and do what you are created to do for such a time as this.

Father, thank You for Your amazing love, grace, provision and protection. Thank You for being with us and leading us to Your best and growing us into the servants You created us to be for such a time as this! Your Kingdom come and will be done in, through, around me and in heaven and on earth. Help me to deny self, take up my cross and follow Jesus today and always. May my life be lived earnestly for You and Your glory. Continue Your good work and through us! You are able! You are enough. You are my God! Come! Amen!

UR: Praying in Faith

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” - Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

Our church holds evening services twice a week on an open field. One Sunday as we were setting up for a service, thick, dark clouds began to gather. My pastor husband said, “Let’s pray for fair weather,” and we began to pray fervently. Soon we heard heavy rain hitting roofs in the distance as the powerful storm approached. Everyone ran for shelter. Miraculously, no rain fell on our meeting grounds despite the heavy downpour around us.

Sometimes we pray but inwardly doubt that God will answer us. We may not always feel like we have the “mountain-moving faith” Jesus talked about, and we’re not alone. When Peter was in prison, “constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” But when Peter was miraculously released and went to Mary’s house, the people praying there didn’t believe it was Peter knocking on the door.

God understands how quickly we get discouraged when things don’t go as we expect. But that’s one reason God gave us the Holy Spirit — to remind us that even when we are discouraged, God still works for our good.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Heavenly Father, encourage us when we doubt, and give us grace to trust in your promises. Amen.CS:

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ODB:

Shebna’s Grave

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Revelation 14:13

READ Isaiah 22:15–24

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

Irish poet W. B. Yeats wanted to be buried “Under Ben Bulben,” a stately flat-topped mountain after which he titled one of his last poems. The poem’s final line is etched onto his gravestone: “Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman, pass by!”

Much speculation has taken place over what this means. Perhaps it’s the poet’s acknowledgment of the reality of both life and death. Regardless, Yeats got his wish about where he was buried and what his gravestone would say. But the cold truth is that life goes on without us, indifferent to our departure.

During a dire time in Judah’s history, Shebna, a “palace administrator,” made a tomb for himself to ensure his legacy after death. But God, through His prophet Isaiah, told him, “Who gave you permission to cut out a grave for yourself here, hewing your grave on the height and chiseling your resting place in the rock?” (Isaiah 22:16). The prophet told him, “[God] will roll you up tightly like a ball and throw you into a large country. There you will die” (v. 18).

Shebna had missed the point. What matters isn’t where we’re buried; what matters is who we serve. Those who serve Jesus have this immeasurable comfort: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13). We serve a God who’s never indifferent to our “departure.” He anticipates our arrival and welcomes us home!

By Tim Gustafson

REFLECT & PRAY

What does your life say about who you're serving? How do you want to be remembered?

Father in heaven, please help me live my life anticipating the time I’ll be with You in eternity.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Isaiah 22 contains a warning against Shebna, the palace administrator, because he believed he was self-sufficient (vv. 17-19). God said He’d replace him with someone who would rely on Him instead: “I will depose you from your office, and you will be ousted from your position. . . . I will summon my servant, Eliakim . . . . I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him” (vv. 19-21). When we meet these two individuals again, Eliakim is identified as the palace administrator and Shebna is called the secretary (36:3, 22; 37:2).

J.R. Hudberg

TWFYT:

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Posted by: AT 02:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 14 2024

This Week:

Wed. 10-12, Donut and conversation day at the Bread Ministry. All welcome!

Thurs. 6:30 PM Support Team Zoom 

Sun. Worship 10 AM (Happy Father's Day!)

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Good Morning Followers of the Way! Jesus is not only THE Way, He is the only way. He is the Truth and the Life as well and reminds us that no one can come to the Father except through Him. He is our Savior, Intercessor, Mediator, Lord, Shepherd, Helper and Friend! PTL! And He is so much more too! Is He your Lord and Shepherd? Are His ways, your ways? The early church were called the Followers of the Way before they were called Christ's Ones/Christians. Following Jesus and His ways are still our mission today. He created us for such a time as this. He has custom made plans for each of us and us as His Body to discover and accomplish. One of my prayers is that many people would see us as Followers of the Way and we would be excited to follow His ways. Amen! Ask God what He has for you today. Ask Jesus to intercede for you and relay God's direction through His Spirit. Pray for willing hearts and moving hands and feet that follow His way with joy and thanksgiving. PTL for what He is doing in and through you and us and ask Him to continue to be your and our Lord and Shepherd as he continues His good works through you and us. Thanks Lord! Amen!

One of God's plans for us is to continue to work at becoming like the Acts 2:42 church. Studying His Word together, praying together, fellowshipping together, eating and communing together. And as we do He will continue to add to our numbers as we reach out in love, bless outsiders and invite them in. Yesterday we had a great day of worship, fellowship and food around the picnic tables in Community Park. (Thanks to our picnic team for a great day!) As I recalled who gathered with us yesterday, God brought to mind how He has been adding to our numbers those who are being saved and drawn to His ways through us. Maybe half or more of the adults and children that were there are new comers to our fellowship and some are still dipping their toes in the water to see if God is leading them to Him through us. Pray for God to continue connecting us to outsiders He is drawing--His harvest. Thank Him for our harvest workers, even the new ones He has grafted into our vine. Thank Him for leading us to His new things and for providing for us. Ask Him to continue His good work in and through you and that many would see you as a Follower of the Way and be drawn to Him. And just thank God for the new life He is breathing into our fellowship! He does have great plans that are coming to life as we learn to deny self, take up cross daily and follow Him! I am so blessed to be serving with you and following God together! Thanks for being part of His Body and Good News Delivery Co. and allowing Him to use you as He created you to be used. What a joy to be part of this group of Followers of the Way! I can't wait to see where He leads us and meet those He is sending!

Man! God sure has been speaking to me the past 2 and a half hours through time in our devotionals and prayer. I think He gave me a couple of sermons today and what could be a very long blog. But God! He said let them spend time with me and hear my voice and prepare to follow my Way today. So, I will just attach our devotionals below in the order He ordered them and allow you to spend time with Him in prayer, listening, pondering, journaling, discussing with some friends and preparing to follow the Way today. He has great plans for you and is informing your prayers and speaking to your heart. Be still and know and then get up and follow. Amen! Yesterday we discussed the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus telling the disciples to feed the people. He is not only inviting you to join Him, He has commanded you to go and make disciples as you feed His sheep. You have two choices: saying yes or no. Ask for willing hearts that honor Him and His way, courage and wisdom to follow well and good fruit to come. Ask for some teammates too. And then deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus and His ways. Amen!

TWFYT: Do you believe in the vision God has given you and are you working on doing it? Who is helping you? Are you able to articulate the vision God has goiven you? Try writting it down!

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ODB: Read and meditate on 2 Tim.4:1-8 What's God saying to you? He really spoke to my heart as I meditated on this passage, "But you..." What of these might you need to work on?

Every Moment Counts

Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist. 2 Timothy 4:5

READ 2 Timothy 4:1-8

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

When the Titanic hit an iceberg in April 1912, Pastor John Harper secured a spot for his six-year-old daughter in one of the limited number of lifeboats. He gave his life-vest to a fellow passenger and shared the gospel with anyone who would listen. As the vessel sank and hundreds of people awaited an unlikely rescue, Harper swam from one person to another and said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31 kjv).

During a meeting for survivors of the Titanic in Ontario, Canada, one man referred to himself as “the last convert of John Harper.” Having rejected Harper’s first invitation, the man received Christ when the preacher asked him again. He watched as Harper devoted the last moments of his life to sharing Jesus before succumbing to hypothermia and sinking below the surface of the icy water.

In his charge to Timothy, the apostle Paul encourages a similar urgency and dedication to selfless evangelism. Affirming God’s constant presence and the inevitable return of Jesus, Paul charges Timothy to preach with patience and precision (2 Timothy 4:1-2). The apostle reminds the young preacher to remain focused, though some people will reject Jesus (vv. 3-5).

Our days are limited, so every moment counts. We can be confident that our Father secured our spot in heaven as we proclaim, “Jesus saves!”

By Xochitl Dixon

REFLECT & PRAY

How does knowing your days are limited increase your urgency to share the good news of Jesus’ love? How will you reach out to others today?

Jesus, please give me opportunities to share Your love with others.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Paul’s counsel to Timothy in the final chapter of his second letter is a remarkable essay on finishing strong. It begins with a weighty charge for Timothy to fulfill the ministry that had been entrusted to him (2 Timothy 4:1-2). He continues by warning him of the dangerous—even antibiblical—perspectives of the culture around him, calling him to stand firm in the midst of that culture (vv. 3-5). The aged and no doubt weary apostle then expresses the drive and commitment that pushed him to faithful service since he came to faith in Christ (vv. 6-7). The church planter, missionary, and Scripture writer then closes this section by stating the hope he has of what would happen when his inevitable execution took place and he entered the presence of his Savior (v. 8). What an inspirational essay! May God likewise enable us to be faithful to the end in service for Him.

Bill Crowder

CS: What's hindering you from hearing and following Jesus? Pray the prayer at the end of this earnestly!

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UR: A Grace-Filled Question. God will restore you and send you on a mission that helps you refocus and get back at it. How is He inviting you to step out in faith, change your thinking and follow Him to feed His sheep?

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” - John 21:17 (NRSVUE)

In the early days of dating my wife, I messed up — badly. I owned up to my mistake, but she was hurt and rightfully so. I remember wanting to skip over the next part, the awkwardness that comes when a relationship is in healing mode. But I pushed through, and our relationship grew as a result.

There are no shortcuts to mending fractured relationships. Maybe that’s why Jesus handles his reunion with Peter by asking him, “Do you love me?” not once, not twice, but three times. Each repetition is a step toward healing, and an opportunity for Peter to be honest. Through that honesty, Peter can move past the pain of betraying his friend and accept the grace of forgiveness that Jesus offers.

No matter how stark our betrayal, no matter how strong our belief that we aren’t worthy of grace, Christ’s love for us is steady and eternal. Jesus is always waiting, ready to respond with grace, ready to empower us to follow wherever he leads.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear Jesus, give us the strength to work through the healing process in our relationships, even when we are the ones in need of grace. Amen.

Posted by: AT 02:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 14 2024
***Reminder!!! Worship and Picnic 10:30 at Emmaus Community Park and on Zoom (Lord willing)*** Bring your favorite table cloth
Good Morning Fruitful Cheerful Givers, Faithful Followers of Jesus! AMEN! May that be so for me and us Lord! I usually find it interesting how God works and have to smile. We've been discussing giving and funding in our past few blogs. (Remember if you'd like to help fund our AC installation, please make your separate gift above and beyond your tithe and normal giving). So we open Our Daily Bread to find God leading us to Paul's teaching on giving from 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. God is always speaking and responding to our prayers! Thanks Lord! So what's He saying to you? ODB is below but I feel like God wants us to meditate on this passage today and hear His still small voice on giving. So here it is...2 Corinthians 9:6-11 Father, open our ears, minds and hearts to hear You and apply what You are teaching us well. Thanks! Come Holy Spirit! Speak! Your servant is listening.

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”[a] And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,

“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.
We are a fellowship of givers and we seek to bless those in need well. God is responding with many blessings and not only financial ones. The truths found in this passage are coming to life through you and us! Thank you for being such a blessing to God, each other and those in need! Keep up the good work and keep seeking God for how He desires you to give of your time, talent and treasure and keep doing so with a cheerful heart! God's custom plans for us include giving and honestly out of deep gratitude we want to give back from His many blessings and continue to join Him as part of His provision. Jesus gave His all as an example for us.
God continues to bless us and lead us to the new things He has and will prepare for us. PTL! As we follow His provision and peace and sow lavishly into what He is doing, He continues to move us forward to His greater things and our created potentials. PTL! What new thing is He leading you to? Where are you sensing He wants you to use your many blessings to sow into His plans, provision and new things. He has great plans for you and us that are coming alive as we seek, process, plan, sow and follow well. Much good and lasting fruit is budding! Rejoice! Check out the Upper Room and their reminder that it's time to bloom. Whatever season we are in or stage of life, God has a perfect plan, is with you and is wanting you to join Him. Let us continue to trust, follow and seek to produce good fruit for His glory. He is worthy! Amen! Let us continue to sow lavishly and sacrificially like Jesus and find ways to spur each other onto the good works God has planned for us! We are gifted and empowered and very blessed to do so! PTL!
See you soon worshippers, picnickers, fruitful followers, good fruit producers!
ODB:

Big-Hearted Giving

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give. 2 Corinthians 9:7

READ 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

At the after-school Bible club where my wife Sue serves once a week, the kids were asked to donate money to help children in the war-torn country of Ukraine. About a week after Sue told our eleven-year-old granddaughter Maggie about the project, we got an envelope in the mail from her. It contained $3.45, along with a note: “This is all I have for the kids in Ukraine. I’ll send more later.”

Sue hadn’t suggested to Maggie that she should help, but perhaps the Spirit prompted her. And Maggie, who loves Jesus and seeks to live for Him, responded.

We can learn a lot as we think of this small gift from a big heart. It mirrors some instructions about giving provided by Paul in 2 Corinthians 9. First, the apostle suggested that we should sow “generously” (v. 6). A gift of “all I have” is certainly a generous one. Paul also wrote that our gifts should be given cheerfully as God leads and as we’re able, not because we’re “under compulsion” (v. 7). And he mentioned the value of “gifts to the poor” (v. 9) by quoting Psalm 112:9.

When an opportunity to give presents itself, let’s ask how God wants us to respond. When we’re generous and cheerful in directing our gifts to those in need as He leads us, we give in a way that “will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11). That’s big-hearted giving.

By Dave Branon

REFLECT & PRAY

What motivates you to generously give to others? How do you strive to meet their true needs?

Dear God, please guide me to be the kind of generous giver that You want me to be—reflecting Your generous heart.  

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

The context for Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9 is fascinating. More than a year earlier, the apostle had begun the process of taking up a collection to support the struggling church in Jerusalem. The Corinthians at the time had been exceptionally eager (8:10), and Paul had leveraged that enthusiasm to encourage the Macedonian churches to also give eagerly and generously (9:1-2).

But despite their enthusiasm, the people had lagged in their preparation for the gift, and the apostle was increasingly concerned that they wouldn’t follow through on their commitment. As a result, he encouraged them with the promise of Psalm 112:9 that God is more than capable of increasing their resources and enabling generous giving (2 Corinthians 9:8-11). For Paul, it was important that believers in Jesus carry out their promises with the same enthusiasm they started with. And they could trust that God would equip them to do so.

Jed Ostoich
UR: Time to Bloom

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. - Isaiah 43:19 (KJV)

The Christmas cactus that sits in my kitchen window hasn’t bloomed well for the last several years. Whenever I looked at it I would think that I needed to transplant it into a larger pot so it might bloom. One day I noticed the ends of the long, green leaves had turned brown, and I was afraid it was starting to die. But my heart leaped a few days later when I saw that the ends of stems had split open, allowing buds to form and burst forth in glorious blossoms.

In the season of my life when I was busy raising my daughter and volunteering at a nonprofit, I felt fulfilled. As I’ve aged, I sometimes become discouraged when I think about the activities I’m no longer involved with. For a season, I felt discontented and as cramped as my poor little plant. But as I’ve let go of the way life used to be, it’s easier to embrace new opportunities that come my way.

My little plant is a symbol of life to me. If we feel hemmed in, it can be discouraging. Yet when we wait, we can often see how God encourages us by leading us into our next season.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Dear Father, thank you for being with us and giving us purpose in every season of life. Amen.
Posted by: AT 02:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 14 2024
Remember Worship and picnic is at Emmaus Community Park at 10:30 tomorrow! See you there! All is being provided. Bring a friend or two. We hope to be on Zoom as well.
Wed. Donut day at the Bread Ministry. 10-12 All welcome!
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Good Morning Bold and Courageous Followers of Jesus! Is that you? We are commanded to be and promised to be helped to be bold, courageous and followers of Jesus. PTL! However...well, you know, sometimes we don't follow very well, do we? I'm prone to assume on God sometimes and forge ahead thinking I know what He wants or that He wants me to follow now only to run into road blocks as I realize I am on my own agenda or timing. Sometimes I think I am not hearing God clearly and I sit waiting for Him to move or answer prayers for provision and clarity. I even  sometimes get fearful to respond to what I know He is asking of me. And once in awhile I actually hear, process and move well with Him. Do you ever find yourself in any of these circumstances? We are all a work in process and, hopefully, progress. I think almost every time that I am right on track with Him it is because I am processing with Him and others and not leaning on my own understanding. This is why I feel like God is pushing us to start some small groups. Would you participate? Do you have a small group of co-laborers that have permission to speak truth into your life, hold your feet in the fire, wait with you in prayer and go with you? Who are you encouraging and helping? Let us commit to praying into this and starting soon, meeting in homes, dinners or ice cream shops over the next few weeks. I'm thinking of Tue or Wed June 18 or 19  to have an intro meeting. Watch for details. Pray into this.
Sometimes we are asked to step out in faith and put our faith into action. Faith like love is an action word. The what seems impossible to us is always possible for our God. To activate His miraculous, mystifying purposes requires our following with bold faith that says, "I don't see how but You have a plan, Lord. I trust You. I am stepping out in faith." It may take the forgive my unbelief prayer too. Our devotionals today thread through stepping out in bold faith as we cast our anxiety to God, who is able. It can be helpful to remember that perfect love (that's God's love) drives out all fear. Receive His perfect love and remember He dwells in you, goes before you, upholds you in His strong right hand, and has a great custom made plan just for you. Then invite some co-laborers to process, plan and go with you. Keep your eyes on Jesus and wait or move with Him. Process with some friends and make His plans. Then go live, love and change the world like Jesus and with His help! He hears, knows, cares, is our Almighty God and King of the Universe with a perfect plan that involves you. What's He saying to you today? What idols and things of self do you need to toss away. What boldness do you need to put on? What anxiety needs to be given to God? Whose helping you and whom are you helping? Talk to God about these and share what you are hearing/sensing and do something about it.
Jesus has a custom made plan just for you. He's interceding for you. He is with you. And He is able to do way more than we could ever imagine! Invite Him to come cleanse you, prepare you and use you for His glory today! Then go/follow! Amen!
CS:
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UR: Fear Not!

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught [Peter], saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” - Matthew 14:31 (NRSVUE)

On the Goa beach on the western coast of India we sat in a boat preparing to set off for a dolphin observation tour. The sea was a little bit stormy, and our fellow passengers were anxious and frightened. At that moment, my daughter Sheril told me that she was thinking of Peter, who walked across the water toward Jesus but, becoming frightened, began to sink. When Jesus is with us, we need not be afraid of anything else.

In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve hid from God out of fear. Fear is the first negative emotion mentioned in the Bible. Sin and fear take us far away from God.

No matter how much we may try to eliminate fear, it confronts us again and again. First Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on [God], because he cares for you.” Our Lord never leaves us alone. He remains with us through the whole of our journey. Let us release our fears and worries and trust in God’s presence.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, thank you for your perfect love that casts out fear. Grant us strength that we may live fearlessly because we are with you. We pray the prayer you taught us, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:2-4, KJV). Amen.
TWFYT:
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ODB:

House Gods

Throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord. Joshua 24:23

READ Genesis 35:1-5

The men in the Bible study group were nearly eighty years old, so I was surprised to learn they struggled with lust. A battle that had begun in their youth lingered still. Each day they pledged to follow Jesus in this area and asked forgiveness for the moments they failed.

It may surprise us that godly men still fight against base temptations at a late stage in life, but maybe it shouldn’t. An idol is anything that threatens to take the place of God in our lives, and such things can show up long after we assume they’re gone.

In the Bible, Jacob had been rescued from his uncle Laban and his brother Esau. He was returning to Bethel to worship God and celebrate His many blessings, yet his family still kept foreign gods that Jacob had to bury (Genesis 35:2-4). At the end of the book of Joshua, after Israel had defeated their enemies and settled in Canaan, Joshua still had to urge them to “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord” (Joshua 24:23). And King David’s wife Michal apparently kept idols, for she put one in his bed to deceive the soldiers who came to kill him (1 Samuel 19:11-16).

Idols are more common than we think, and God is more patient than we deserve. Temptations to turn to them will come, but God’s forgiveness is greater. May we be set apart for Jesus—turning from our sins and finding forgiveness in Him.

By Mike Wittmer

REFLECT & PRAY

What sin are you most tempted by? What steps might you take to destroy this idol?

Father, I confess my sin, and I gratefully receive Your forgiveness through Jesus.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

In the Old Testament, idolatry was rampant in Israel. This was one of the primary things God warned the Israelites about before they were brought to their new homeland, for the surrounding nations were deep into idol worship: “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord , whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. . . . Do not make any idols” (Exodus 34:14, 17; see Leviticus 19:4). Included among those idols were Asherim (also known as Astarte), Baal (a weather god), Dagon (half-fish, half-man), and many more. Years after Israel entered the land of promise, Isaiah offered great insight about idols: “[The carpenter] makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, ‘Save me! You are my god!’ They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand” (Isaiah 44:17-18). Such strong words show the folly of idol worship.

Bill Crowder
Harvest Blogs:

June 8 - The Heavenly Court

Simon, Simon,” Jesus said to Peter, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

The stage was set. Jesus was nearing the cross. Lost in the story leading to Calvary lies this valuable prayer lesson. Hidden away in one verse in Luke, Jesus gives us a powerful picture of intercession. Peter, still brave and boasting, was taught a simple truth about the in-workings of the spirit realm.
The picture here is almost of a heavenly court. Satan asked God’s permission to attack Peter; Jesus pleaded Peter’s case before the Father. That’s a portrait of intercession.

Prayer leader Steve Hawthorne tells of a time when he had the opportunity to help a friend in a court case. His friend was a Chinese student studying in America. Though this student could read and write English fairly well, speaking spontaneously was tough for him.

Once, after being taken advantage of by an auto mechanic, the student decided to take the man to small claims court. Because he had trouble speaking, he asked Steve if he would speak for him before the judge. Steve agreed.

The day in court came. Steve got up to speak, but the judge cut him off. “Are you an attorney?” he asked Steve. When Steve revealed that he wasn’t, but was merely speaking on behalf of his Chinese friend, the judge informed him that the man would have to speak for himself. He did—in fluent Mandarin. The judge threw out the case.

Steve related that some time afterward, as he was praying for China, his friend and the court case came to mind. The next thing Steve knew, he envisioned himself and his friend standing in a heavenly court, before God. Steve began passionately pleading his friend’s case—for salvation—before God.
That’s a very real picture of intercession.

Lord Jesus, my Intercessor, thank You for standing before God each and every day on my behalf! When I was lost, because of the prayers of others, You came and found me and saved me. Whenever I fail, Your sacrifice has covered me. Help me to daily follow Your example and stand in the gap for those who have yet to know You.

--Adapted from The Power of Personal Prayer (Learning to Pray with Faith and Purpose) by Jonathan Graf. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Prayer Points

  • Praise God for the joy and peace he brought to the world through Jesus!
  • Thank him for bringing joy and peace to your own life.
  • Ask God to show you any ways you inhibit the joy or peace of others.
  • Confess those ways, as well as any anxiety.
  • Commit yourself to rejoicing continually, handing anxieties to God, and living in the peace which he then gives (Phil. 4:9).
  • Pray that your local church will be authentically known as a joyful and peaceful people. Ask God to work through world mission efforts to spread true joy and peace to the farthest parts of the earth.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2024 is a free devotional published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries. Subscribe here.
Posted by: AT 02:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 14 2024

Yes, Thank God I'm Forgiven! Isn't that really all that matters and the guarantee of eternal life with God that comes with that? Yes, PTL! What about your salvation story are you thankful about? Shout to the Lord! Glorify His amazing grace to others. He created you to be part of sharing His Good News. And gives you opportunities all the time to be part of His Good News Delivery Co. What's your part? We respond out of deep gratitude as an act of thanksgiving and worship and allow God to use us, mold us, prepare us and send us. Amen! There are all kinds of aspects of this to build your gratitude list with. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Hallelujah!

Good Morning Powerful, Disciplined Servants, and Joyful Givers! Pronounce, believe and live these. Maybe there is one here to work on in our Become More in '24 Challenge? We are weak, but God is strong. He is all-powerful and His power is accessible to us and mystifies the world as it comes alive through us weaklings by their standards. God is always wanting to use us unexpected, marginalized, non-conformists for His glory. Do you have any stories to share about how He's used you? Share it with us! We need to stop looking with physical eyes and use our spiritual eyes more often too. I pray for that all the time and to see with God's eyes and respond with His heart and mind. Practice and disciple are required to become accustomed to and good at bringing His power, His will, His plans to life. It helps to have some to help us with this as well. Who are your partners? I am committed to helping us form some small groups of 3-5 people and even maybe a few larger ones of 8-12. Pray about this and let us plan to gather in the next few weeks to talk about it, pray and plan. Watch for a meeting opportunity coming your way. Check out TWFYT and UR about these things below and walk in power as a disciplined disciple of Jesus.

I don't talk about giving much. You guys are givers. I think cheerful givers too just like we are called to be. But it is biblical to remind about giving, tithing and such from time to time. With the approval to install AC in the Fellowship Hall comes the call to give to cover the difference from donations. We need to raise around $3100 yet. That is to be giving above and beyond your normal tithe and offerings, just like when you give to Everlasting Life, a missionary, etc. But giving can also be time, talent, and of ourselves too. We are blessed to be a blessing. Then we get blessed back for being one. It's so cool how things work in God's economy! And the cool thing is that we can never out give God plus all we have is a gift from Him. PTL! Check out ODB below about the Joy in Giving. We show our gratitude and worship when we give. The standard is a tithe (1/10th) as the starting point and then even above and beyond as you are able. God tells us to test Him in this and watch the blessings (not necessarily money) come back overflowing. Determine to be a joyful giver and ask God how He wants you to give. He may stretch you but He promises to provide and He does--even overflowing! PTL! I also believe the church should tithe on its income. Our church has begun stepping into that the past few years and we are reaping abundant blessings for it. I would love to see us start tithing on our yearly income as an act of faith and worship. All we have is a gift from God. God does and will bless that trusting giving with overflowing blessings too. Pray for us as a people and church to be joyful givers as we seek God for what He wants us to sow into. He's affirmed through major donations to trust Him with installing air conditioning which will allow more ministry and opportunities in our building year round. He's stretching our finance and support team and you to see how we will respond in faith. Are we trusting God to provide and sustain and are we willing to be joyful givers and sowers?

Karen sent me a Joyce Meyers blog that I think will be a great wrap up and prayer for today. Check it out below and pronounce it over you and us and release it in powerful prayer today! God has custom made great plans for you and us! Let's roll! Day light's burning!

TWFYT:

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UR: Something for Everyone

While physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything. It has promise for this life now and the life to come. - 1 Timothy 4:8 (CEB)

I enjoy watching the birds outside my home-office window. From this vantage point, I have learned about the feeding styles and food preferences of various birds. Slate-colored juncos hop backward on the garden floor to reveal food. Mourning doves poke around on the ground to find millet seeds that have fallen from the feeders. Downy woodpeckers take a seed from the feeder and hammer it against a tree branch to crack it open. Goldfinches can’t get enough thistle seeds. Nuthatches peck away at suet. Black-capped chickadees like everything!

Watching the birds reminds me of the many spiritual disciplines we use to stay close to God and grow in faith. Fasting, prayer, daily Bible reading, meditation, walking a labyrinth, worship, and Bible study are some ways we can feed our faith. Personally, I keep a prayer journal and use The Upper Room as part of my daily spiritual practice.

Anytime is a perfect time to try a new spiritual practice. Whether it’s walking a labyrinth for the first time or joining a Bible study, whatever we learn from these new practices will stay with us and serve us in the future.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Gracious God, thank you for the many ways we can learn about you and grow in our faith. Bless us and keep us close to you. Amen.

ODB:

Joy in Giving

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

READ Acts 20:17-24, 34-35

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

When Keri’s young son was going through yet another surgery related to muscular dystrophy, she wanted to take her mind off her family’s situation by doing something for someone else. So she rounded up her son’s outgrown but gently used shoes and donated them to a ministry. Her giving prompted friends and family members and even neighbors to join in, and soon more than two hundred pairs of shoes were donated!

Although the shoe drive was meant to bless others, Keri feels her family was blessed more. “The whole experience really lifted our spirits and helped us to focus outward.”

Paul understood how important it was for followers of Jesus to give generously. On his way to Jerusalem, the apostle Paul stopped in Ephesus. He knew it would likely be his last visit with the people of the church he’d founded there. In his farewell address to the church elders, he reminded them how he’d worked diligently in service to God (Acts 20:17-20) and encouraged them to do the same. Then he concluded with Jesus’ words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (v. 35).

Jesus wants us to freely and humbly give of ourselves (Luke 6:38). When we trust Him to guide us, He’ll provide opportunities for us to do so. Like Keri’s family, we may be surprised by the joy we experience as a result.

By Alyson Kieda

REFLECT & PRAY

In what way might God be calling you to give of yourself to another? When have you been the beneficiary of someone’s generosity?

Dear Father, please help me to freely give of my time and resources to others.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Joyful giving for believers in Jesus should be wholehearted and wholistic. Paul’s ministry in Ephesus demonstrates this. His ministry included passionate, bold preaching and teaching that touched the souls of his hearers: “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20). Paul’s ministry didn’t stop with speaking, however. He also labored physically for himself and others (v. 34). Through such self-giving, Paul mimicked the model of Christ who taught that, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (v. 35).

Arthur Jackson

Joyce Meyers:

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Posted by: AT 02:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 14 2024

Brian and Missy Wagner update below

Today at 4:30 meet with HVAC tech to answer any technical questions. We did approve installing AC. Now just to get all the technical questions answered before moving forward.

Sunday Worship and Church picnic at Emmaus Community Park at 10:30 start time

Mom and Terry have been sick but made it back to FL. safely and are healing. Thanks for prayers.

Last evening Family Ministries had their annual end of year feast. We began making summer plans for at least once a month.

Adult Huddle will be brain storming shortly what we are to do for the summer until the Fellowship Hall is air conditioned. Ask God for the plans He has for us moving forward and let's plan some things!

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Good Morning Victorious Overcomers! Is that you? Does your life reflect the gratitude for deliverance from death, Hell, sickness, addiction, grief, or whatever else God has delivered you from? We were one way and now another and the reason is Jesus! PTL! Who needs to hear those stories? How does your delivered, victorious life glorify God? Have you ever prayed any of these? Forgive me! Change me! Deliver me! Mold me! Help me repent! Prepare me! Send me! Heal me! Then what happened? As you reflect back on your life and then your life in Christ what has changed? What are you thankful about? How is God being glorified? Sometimes we have to choose to live victoriously as an overcomer and take some steps of faith before we see deliverance, provision, and God at work. And then sometimes we don't even realize how far we've come until we look back. Fact is, God is always with us, always hears us, and is always working things together for the good of those who believe. AMEN! By God's love and grace we are victorious overcomers! PTL!

I felt like God just wanted to remind us of these truths today. we are and can be victorious overcomers and know God's peace. Amen! Today's devotionals are kinda all over the place, yet there is a thread. Check them out below. What's God saying to you and leading you to do about it today? Living in victory, being thankful, being anchored in God and filled with His Word and being a blessing to others is part of our life in Christ. May He continue to mold, shape, lead and use us for His glory! Amen! Let us always celebrate all God has, is and will do and keep sharing those stories with others! Allow Jesus to be the Lord of and speak calm to your storms. He is our deliverer! Amen!

CS:

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ODB:

Give Thanks to God

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Luke 24:30

READ Luke 24:28–35

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

My friend hurried from her stressful job at the hospital, wondering what she would prepare for dinner before her husband returned from his equally demanding job. She had made chicken on Sunday and served leftovers on Monday. Then, they had yet another round of chicken—this time baked—on Tuesday. She found two pieces of fish in the freezer, but she knew the fillets weren’t her husband’s favorite. Not finding anything else she could prepare in just a few minutes, she decided the fish would have to do.

As she placed the dish on the table, she said somewhat apologetically to her husband who had just arrived home: “I know this isn’t your favorite.” Her husband looked up and said, “Honey, I’m just happy we have food on the table.”

His attitude reminds me of the importance of being grateful and thankful for our daily provisions from God—whatever they are. Giving thanks for our daily bread, or meals, models Jesus’ example. When He ate with two disciples after His resurrection, Christ “took bread, gave thanks, [and] broke it” (Luke 24:30). He thanked His Father as He had earlier when He’d fed the five thousand with five “loaves and two small fish” (John 6:9). When we give thanks for our daily meals and for other provisions, our gratitude reflects Jesus’ ways and honors our heavenly Father. Let’s give thanks to God today.

By Katara Patton

REFLECT & PRAY

How often do you show your thanks to Jesus? How does it honor Him to do so?

God of all, thank You for my daily bread and all the other needs You meet for me.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Luke 24:31 says, “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Why didn’t these believers in Jesus know who He was when He first joined them on their journey (vv. 15-16)? The situation calls to mind Mary Magdalene’s visit to the empty tomb earlier that same day (John 20:15). Similarly, when the disciples went fishing all night, they didn’t initially recognize Christ (21:1-4). In those two cases, we might readily explain their inability. Mary’s vision may have been clouded by tears, and the distance and early-morning light might have kept the disciples from recognizing Jesus at Galilee. But on the road to Emmaus, those explanations aren’t plausible. The key may be in Luke 24:16, which says, “They were kept from recognizing him.” Jesus may have purposely prevented them from recognizing Him so that the process of instructing them (vv. 17-27) would yield a more powerful effect.

Tim Gustafson

UR: My Anchor

Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. - Psalm 68:5 (NRSVUE)

After the death of my husband, I struggled to adjust to my new title of “widow.” Who am I? Where will I go from here? How long will my grief last? Though my grief still comes on unexpectedly sometimes, I’ve found that Jesus is helping me through these dark times as I cling to God’s word every day.

Daily scripture reading before and after my husband’s illness and passing has been my anchor; Jesus has not let me down. The morning after my husband died, I tried to keep a semblance of my old routine; so I sat down to read my Bible. I read Psalm 31:24: “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” I knew that God would give me courage for the day. Then two days later, I read Isaiah 26:7: “The way of the righteous is level; you [Lord] clear a path for the righteous” (CEB). This promise was just what I needed.

I didn’t know the road ahead of me, but God did. I pray that others who are experiencing grief will turn toward Jesus, our Comforter and Shepherd in every season of life.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear God, thank you for comforting us when we grieve. Help us to seek you through scripture and prayer each day. Amen.TWFYT:

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Harvest Blogs:

June 6 - Let Jesus Speak to Your Storm

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)

I certainly understand the fear of the disciples. At the heart of it is the fear of dying. These were experienced fishermen who knew they were in danger of losing their lives in this storm. That caused them to wake Jesus and ask the man they knew cared more than anyone they’d ever met, if he cared whether they were perishing. Fear often pushes us into irrational words and actions.
What storm are you facing today? Is it a serious illness for you or someone you love? Are you facing serious debt or financial crisis? Maybe the storm has to do with your children or grandchildren and issues that seem to have no easy answers. The list could go on, couldn’t it? Unfortunately, like the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, these storms often cause us to react in ways that don’t solve the problem, but often make it even worse. What we really want is for Jesus to speak to the storm and calm it.

The trouble is, that doesn’t always remove the fear. At least it didn’t for the disciples. That’s why Jesus asked the second question: Have you still no faith? They had, with their own eyes, watched Jesus stop the wind and calm the waves. It was an astonishing miracle. But still they had fear. I think that we need to pay close attention to this incident, but often, we have so allowed fear to take root in our lives, that even a miracle from the Lord will not cause the fear to subside. It’s at times like this we must allow God to remind us that He is Lord over the wind and the waves.

God of the wind and the waves, You are able to calm any storm that might come into my life. You are able to keep me from falling, to bring peace to my heart, and to still my fear. And yet, still I doubt You. Forgive me for my unbelief. Stir up great faith in my heart to believe that You are all that You say You are! You are the Great I Am! You are the Almighty! You are the Creator of the Universe who is able to overcome all things that stir up anxiety, doubt, fear, uncertainty or anything else that might creep into my heart. Please Lord Jesus, help me to daily embrace Your shalom, Your peace.

--Adapted from Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God (A 30-Day Journey to Experience the Shalom of Jesus) by David Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
 

Prayer Points

  • Praise your faithful God! Give thanks for God’s faithfulness to you even when you are unfaithful to him (2 Tim. 2:11-13).
  • Spend a few minutes asking God to help you think through your life and confessing any unfaithfulness he brings to your attention.
  • Commit yourself as God’s image-bearer to reflecting his faithfulness in your own.
  • Pray that Christians will be faithful to use individual and corporate outreach opportunities. Ask for the vision to see opportunities and the loving determination to follow through.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.

Wagner's:

Greetings Friends,

As a follow-up to our last email…our ministry update, here is a quick personal update. Here’s what you will find in this message:

  • Home assignment – Rest, Reconnect and Recharge
  • One more R - Regroup
  • The heart of the matter – health update
Home Assignment
You may remember from our January update that we shared three key objectives during home assignment – Rest, Reconnect and Recharge. We have traveled a LOT! That has given us lots of opportunities to reconnect…with our big kids & grandson, supporters, friends, extended family and RVA alumni. We have also had several great chances to recharge, renewing our call for ministry at RVA and with AIM. As our date to return to Kenya is rapidly approaching, we are planning to take time to rest…to take a vacation in July so we can return to RVA with energy and excitement. PRAY that will be able to fully disconnect and rest.
One more “R” – Regroup
It seems that every home assignment we have a large task that really needs to be addressed and can only be done so while in the States...something that had to sit for several years and now we must plow through over the course of several months. This time that task has been cleaning through things stored here in the States…specifically, things that have come our way while we were overseas. This is mostly sorting through Missy’s parents’ belongings that we received when they downsized from their house to an apartment and then to a memory care room. While it has been a time-consuming process, it has led to many great conversations and opportunities to bless others. We just have a few more things to sort out…an old cedar chest from the early 1950s and quite a few homemade textiles (quilts, small blankets, embroidery and more). If you have any expertise or interest in these things, we would love to know. PRAY for the time needed to finish a few major projects.
The Heart of the Matter
Please continue to PRAY for full healing for Brian after his heart procedure. As we previously shared, the repair went well. We can also confirm that the primary concern was fully alleviated by the procedure. There is still a secondary concern (that started the whole search for the source of heart issues) that will hopefully be addressed as the heart resets and adjusts to its new structure. PRAY for one final follow-up appointment early July and a clear way forward for continued care and follow-up once we return to Kenya. 
What’s Next – Discipleship

In our next update, we will tell some of what we have been sharing with churches about the importance of discipleship along with some specific resources that may help you and your church grow vision for missions.
Thank you so much for your prayers! You are appreciated.
 
In His Service,
 
Brian & Missy
Posted by: AT 02:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 14 2024

Reminder: Meeting with HVAC guy to discuss question on units and installation, tomorrow, Thurs at 430 in Fellowship hall. All with questions and concerns invited

Good Morning Set Apart, Stretched, Growing in Trust Sowers! I was going to greet you as Gumby's and Pokey's. Remember those childhood toys. Like us, created with purpose and to be stretched. Think about staying true to your true identity and purpose while being stretched and contorted and bouncing back. Do we continue to trust God as He has His way with us, His creation, His masterpiece being formed into His image and stretched to achieve our created purposes. We are God's and created for His purposes. God seems to be speaking to us through the same Scripture today from Jeremiah in ODB and Harvest blogs even though they have two takes on the Scripture passage. Why would that be? Because the Holy Spirit is highlighting different things as we spend time in His Word. What's He saying to you? God created us to do great things for His glory. We need to remember that happens when we have faith, even the size of a mustard seed, and keep trusting Him as we allow Him to lead and do things His way and in His tinning. That can feel like we are Gumby or Pokey--BUT GOD! TWFYT reminds us to pursue godliness as we receive forgiveness and forgive as we have been forgiven. Love God and others like Jesus and follow Him. He does have great, attainable, plans for you. Custom made for custom made you plans and purposes. PTL! Pursue Him, His righteousness and ways. Amen!

UR: The God Who Stretches

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. - Isaiah 54:2 (NIV)

After an important event, people in the Bible often called the Lord or locations by a new name. That name usually reminded them of a time when they felt God’s presence, protection, or deliverance. Some examples are: The Lord will provide; The Lord who heals; The Lord is my banner.

When I moved to Japan, I came to know God as “the God who stretches.” When I first arrived in Japan, I didn’t speak Japanese, and the culture was decidedly different from my own. I was lonely. But God helped me to stretch beyond my comfort zone to learn and grow.

God wants us to stretch beyond what we know to open our hearts to others. When we think we can’t do anything else, God might say, “Stretch your heart a bit more and talk to that person who looks lonely.” If we are frustrated while working with someone whose personality irritates us, God might tell us, “Stretch yourself and be nice to them.” When we stretch ourselves and open our hearts to others, God can take away our fear and help us to grow. I pray that all believers will come to know the God who stretches.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear God, help us to grow, opening our hearts to you and others more each day. Amen.

ODB:

Liked and Loved by God

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5

READ Jeremiah 1:1-10

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

It feels like “likes”—you know, that little thumbs-up on Facebook—have always been with us. But it turns out that this virtual symbol of affirmation has only been around since 2009.    

The “like” designer, Justin Rosenstein, said he wanted to help create “a world in which people uplift each other rather than tear each other down.” But Rosenstein came to lament how his invention might have enabled users’ unhealthy addiction to social media.  

I think Rosenstein’s creation speaks to our hardwired need for affirmation and connection. We want to know that others know us, notice us—and, yes, like us. The “like” is fairly new. But our hunger to know and be known is as old as God's creation of man.

Still, the like button doesn’t quite get the job done, does it? Thankfully, we serve a God whose love goes so much deeper than a digital nod. In Jeremiah 1:5, we witness His profoundly purposeful connection with a prophet whom He called to Himself. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

God knew the prophet even before conception and designed him for a life of meaning and mission (vv. 8-10). And He invites us too into a purposeful life as we come to know this Father who so intimately knows, loves, and likes us.

By Adam R. Holz

REFLECT & PRAY

How does knowing God intimately affect how you relate to others? How can living with purpose bring peace?

Father, help me to rest in Your love and calling on my life, to know that You care for me intimately as You shape me for each of the days You’ve planned for me.

Discover how to live out your purpose.

Lecture - Our Daily Bread University

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

In Jeremiah 1:4-5, we see God’s call on Jeremiah. His reply, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young” (v. 6) is reminiscent of Moses’ response to God’s call in Exodus 4:10: “I have never been eloquent . . . . I am slow of speech and tongue.” Gideon’s response to the angel is similar: “Pardon me, my lord, . . . but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judges 6:15). God’s answer to all is the loving reassurance that He’s with us and will give us the words to speak. We need not fear (Jeremiah 1:8-9).

Alyson Kieda

Harvest blogs:

June 5 - Set Apart Before Birth 

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4–5) 

God, our infinite Creator, does not react or get surprised. All that he does is done with absolute and perfect purpose. The knitting together of a baby in a mother’s womb follows this same purposeful and wise pattern. No child is a mistake, regardless of the time or circumstances surrounding his or her conception. Humans can have sexual relations, but only God makes babies. Our God is intimately involved in all he creates and sustains all things by his mighty power. Today we continue our prayers for the unborn. Nothing could be more vitally important in this season. Pray. Forgive. Be forgiven. Our God is the giver of life—life forevermore. 

Father, just as you knew Jeremiah before he was formed, you consecrated and appointed him as a prophet to the nations. Forgive me and forgive my nation for the lack of prophetic insight by which we characterize the unborn. Forgive us for the passive ways we defend the most defenseless in our society. Forgive me for not speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8–9). Before I was born you knew me. Before I took a breath, you consecrated and appointed me for good works that you planned before the world was even created (Ephesians 2:10). I intercede today for unborn children whose lives are in the balance. I pray that moms would be dissuaded from abortion today across our community, state, and nation. Empower those who are even now fighting to save unborn children from the throes of death. Rescue, O Father, children yet to be born for which you have destined purposes unknown. We trust you. You do not create anything that is without purpose. Forgive us for our human wisdom that considers some lives, old or young, useless and expendable. Breathe life into our land. Convict humans that each and every life has infinite value and worth. Heal our land of the atrocity of abortion and the tragedy of euthanasia. Restore life as valuable in each and every phase of life. As we honor life, we honor you. We cry out for great mercy on our broken land today. Heal our land.

--Adapted from Praying God’s Word Over Your City: 40 Days of Prayer for A Transformed Community by Trey and Mary Anne Kent. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
 

Prayer Points

  • Praise the one whose control covers even the details of your life (Mt. 6:25-34).
  • Thank God for knowing about your daily needs.
  • Confess any worry.
  • Commit to taking hold of areas where you are to be in charge in your life with the clear knowledge of being “second in command” under God.
  • Ask him for the Spirit’s fruit of self-control.
  • Pray that God will work self-control into your private life. Ask him to help you be self-controlled with family members and with private disciplines such as eating habits, TV watching, reading materials, time usage, and exercise patterns.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2024 is a free devotional published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries. Subscribe here.

TWFYT:

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Posted by: AT 02:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 14 2024

 Update: As expected the cost for the AC units has gone up about $900. since the bid last Sept. The Support Team will evaluate this and consider how to fund this minor increase. Our extra part after donations will now be $3150. Pray for donors and for great stewardship as we sow into God's provision.

    * anyone with questions or concerns about our plans and the units to be installed, we are meeting at 4:30 Thursday with our HVAC provider in the Fellowship Hall.

A few of our homebound members are longing for rides to and from worship. If that is something God is calling you to do, talk to Sarah or me. Most are within 20 minutes or so from church. They would be blessed even if that is something you can only do once or twice a month. Or maybe we can set up schedules where someone brings and someone takes home. Is God calling you to be a leader or part of a transportation ministry? Pray about it and follow God's lead.

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Good Morning Trusting God's Faithfulness, Servants of the Lord! God just loves to stretch us and grow our faith. He has so much more for us than we can imagine! To get there and grow into His greater things takes growing faith in Him and His faithfulness and goodness. What stories do you have of God stretching you and growing you that has led you to where you are in your faith journey today? What is your "I was one way, but now another because of God" story that someone needs to hear? Talk to God about that and ask Him to send you to that person with boldness, wisdom and His heart and mind.

God loves us beyond measure and continues to hear and answer our prayers to become more like Jesus and grow into the things we are created to do. Just meditate on that today. Then prayerfully encounter the Harvest Prayer blogs below. We were all one way and now another. Are we still allowing God to transform us into His image and to help us step more fully into our new nature? Oh that is my longing and constant prayer. And constant confession as I selfishly or pridefully choose my own way or timing too often. How about you? Father, help me/us to humble ourselves and bow at Your loving, patient, correcting and perfecting feet. Complete your transformation and plans for me and us. Here I am Lord. Here we are. Have at it! Be our Lord and Shepherd today--every day. Help us to continue to seek you more and work on becoming more and doing more for You and Your glory in '24 and beyond. Come! Thank You for leading us from being one way to another to another to another. Please continue Your good work in and through me/us. Thank You! Your Kingdom come and will be done in, through and around me, even today. Amen!

God has really been speaking to me this morning as I asked Him to write this blog and prepare our Sun message. He is always hearing, speaking, present and wanting to guide us to His best. Be still, know, receive with the intent to follow. He IS faithful and will! Amen! Did you notice how Our Daily Bread and Upper Room devotionals (below) are talking about longing, thirsting, hungering after God when we are in those deserts of life that God is allowing us to experience as part of His stretching and correcting? Check out the INSIGHT section of ODB about the sons of Korah who grew out of God's correcting of their families to allowing God to correct and lead them to lead God's people to trust and worship when in those hard places. Meditate on Psalm 42 as you thirst for God and remember the promise of His Living Water that eternally satisfies and is worth pursuing. Keep thirsting after Him in prayer and faith. Keep trusting and worshiping! he is faithful and trustworthy! PTL!

Psalm 42:1-5

Psalm 42

For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

1 As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God.
2 I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?
3 Day and night I have only tears for food,
    while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
    “Where is this God of yours?”

4 My heart is breaking
    as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
    leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
    amid the sound of a great celebration!

5 Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and 6 my God!

Harvest Blogs:

June 4 - Trusting His Faithfulness

Jacob was fearful and had reason to be. He had deceived his brother and run away from his wrath. He now returns after many years and his scouts tell him that Esau is coming with a great army. "Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed” (Genesis 32:7). Jacob's response? He prayed!

Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies.

“Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’” (Genesis 32:9-12)

Dissect the prayer and you will find it incredibly instructive. Jacob reminded God that He had led him to return to his own country. Jacob is on this particular path because of God’s initiation, and Jacob knew that where God initiates He protects and provides.

Jacob humbly admits his unworthiness and cries out for deliverance. He realizes that only God can protect him. He takes his fear right to the throne of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

But the clincher is found in verse 12 as Jacob reminds God of His promises. “For you said …” Jacob prays. “You made a promise, Lord, and I am trusting in Your faithfulness.” Obviously, Jacob remembered God's Word. He overcomes his fear by rehearsing and resting on the promises of God through prayer.

Lion of Judah, sometimes, like Jacob, my fear overwhelms my faithfulness! I confess that I don’t always trust You as I should and ask that You will replace my uncertainty with certainty in Your promises. I ask that You will continue to protect me and move me forward even in my weakness and unworthiness, for I am made strong and worthy in You. Help me to remember that wherever You initiate something in or around me, You will always protect and provide!

---Adapted from Prayer with No Intermission by Bill Elliff. This book is available at prayershop.org.
 

Prayer Points

  • Praise God as the one who loves you like no one else can.
  • Thank him for loving you “with an everlasting love,” drawing you to himself “with loving kindness” (Jer. 31:3).
  • Confess times of presuming upon his love.
  • Commit yourself to reflecting God’s love as his image-bearer.
  • Ask him to love others through you, knowing that you can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13).
  • Pray that love for God’s ways will prompt you to love mercy (Mic. 6:8) in your societal involvements. Ask God to overcome hatred, violence, and prejudice in your area.
 
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2024 is a free devotional published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries. Subscribe here.

ODB:

Thirsty and Thankful

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Psalm 42:1

READ Psalm 42:1-5

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

Two friends and I were checking off a bucket list item—hiking the Grand Canyon. We wondered if we had enough water as we started out our hike, and it ran out fast. We were completely out of water with still a ways to go to reach the rim. Panting, mixed with praying, set in. Then we rounded a corner and what we maintain as a miracle happened. We spotted three water bottles tucked in a cleft in the rock with a note: “Knew you’d need this. Enjoy!” We looked at each other in disbelief, whispered a thank-you to God, took a couple of much-needed sips, and then set out on the last stretch. I’ve never been so thirsty—and thankful—in my life.

The psalmist didn’t have a Grand Canyon experience, but it’s clear he knew how a deer acts when thirsty and possibly scared. The deer “pants” (Psalm 42:1), a word that brings to mind thirst and hunger, to the point where if something doesn’t change, you’re afraid you might die. The psalmist equates the deer’s degree of thirst to his desire for God: “so my soul pants for you, my God” (v. 1).

Like much-needed water, God is our ever-present help. We pant for Him because He brings renewed strength and refreshment to our weary lives, equipping us for whatever the day’s journey holds.

By John Blase

REFLECT & PRAY

When have you been intensely thirsty or hungry, and scared? Why should you be longing for God’s presence?

Loving God, thank You for the renewed strength I experience as You fill my life. Forgive me for looking to any other source but You.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Psalm 42 is the first of eleven psalms attributed to the sons of Korah (also Psalms 44-49; 84-85; 87-88). But who were they? The word sons here means descendants—not direct sons—of a man named Korah, who was part of a conspiracy to overthrow Moses’ leadership in the wilderness wanderings of the Exodus. Korah (of the tribe of Levi), Dathan, Abiram, and On—along with 250 respected community leaders—joined together in this conspiracy (Numbers 16:1-3). How ironic that years later, Korah’s descendants would follow the intended path of the Levites (see ch. 18) to be among the worship leaders of the nation. For a voice of dissension to pave the way for voices of worship is a beautifully redemptive story.

Bill Crowder

UR: Provision in the Desert

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. - Psalm 23:4 (NRSVUE)

We were stranded in a small town in the middle of the desert. Our bus had broken down after our second day of travel to Mexico, and we had no idea what to do or where to spend the night. Everyone kept telling me that I shouldn’t worry and that God would provide, but I couldn’t help but feel scared and helpless. But then God did respond in amazing ways.

We befriended an employee at a fast-food restaurant who had recently turned to Christ. He connected us with his congregation, and they decided to allow us to sleep in their church and provided a free breakfast and lunch. One family even let us swim in their pool. We then went on our way, thankful and blessed.

God provided us with people who were willing to sacrifice their time, energy, and money to support us when we could not support ourselves. This story makes me thankful that God is near and hears our prayers. Now, whenever I begin to doubt God, I think about my adventure when God answered our prayers for help in miraculous ways.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear God, help us to have faith and confidence in you whenever we are scared and helpless. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Posted by: AT 02:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 14 2024
Reminder: Sunday is our church worship and picnic at Emmaus Community Park at 10:30. All is being provided. Just join us for worship, fellowship, food and fun! And bring a friend! Thank you to our picnic committee for planning a fun day for us!
Attached below is our simple financial statement for May. Please note that giving is increasing as we add members but we also know that everything costs more this year and there is still a deficit. Thank you for giving and supporting the work of God! May we always give back a tithe of what God has given us, and even sow more lavishly as a thank offering. He promises to bless our faithfulness and provide all we need as we trust and obey!
Four new members were installed yesterday! PTL! That has us at 10 new members so far this year! PTL! Remember when we prayed in early December for God to send at least one new member a month? (That would be 12 new members this year) He is answering and I am believing for at least a total of double that request! Keep praying and reaching out and inviting in! All new members were invited by someone to come and see and check out what God is doing and they have decided to join! PTL! for all He is doing and for the harvest! Continue to pray for harvest workers! (Is that you?)
Yesterday we discussed and voted to add air conditioning to the Fellowship Hall. The vote was 30-3 in favor. We will be addressing a few concerns raised before moving forward. We received another donation towards the AC of $300. yesterday. That means we have donations of $13,300. The estimate in Sept. was $15,500. God is providing! He is showing us His plan and provision and we have chosen to continue to trust Him. May we always seek, discern well, allow everyone a voice, and trust God as we sow into His plans and follow well. 
    Note: I was mistaken about the type of units to be installed. According to our HVAC tech, they will be two mini-split units that combined with our all-floor dehumidifier will provide adequate cooling and humidity removal. Marshall and our HVAC guy did find the proper source of power for these units. Our HVAC guy, Leo, is pricing out the costs of units today and will be getting back to me with current estimate in the next few days. He expects that units could be installed before the end of summer. 
    Our Support team meets next Thursday but could convene earlier, if necessary, to approve moving forward. There was a suggestion that we raise money to offset the difference. We will keep you posted about what the Support Team decides. We do have over $19,500. in the building fund and double what is needed in our Memorial Fund that could be used for this as well. God IS providing and testing our faithfulness and stewardship as we pray to sow lavishly into His plans. Thanks Lord! May we be faithful!! 
    The Support Team approved using the Spring Rally Day envelope offerings toward AC installation at our last meeting if we voted yes to move forward. Remember, this would be giving above your normal tithe and offering. You can also mark your extra giving towards this in your envelopes or just give an extra offering if God is stirring you. 
    Thank you all for seeking, listening, discerning and trusting God with this! I believe God has some great plans for our fellowship hall year round as we continue to connect to, minister to and invite outsiders to God and our fellowship! Keep praying into that! Have you heard God suggest some type of ministry to try this summer? Share that with us as we seek to connect to God's harvest and make His plans to reach out and love like Jesus.
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Good Morning Forgiven, Repentant, Cleansed, Very Loved Children of God! He knows your heart and your child-like faith. He redeems and restores what the enemy has stolen. This is the year of the Lord's favor! Rejoice! Confess, repent, trust and follow our Abba to His loving best. Allow His Spirit to have His way with you as He leads you to God's best. I am so overwhelmed and awed by God's amazing grace, loving and patient forgiveness and His wanting to always help us move towards His best. He knows us and still loves us and calls us by name to come to Him. He's preparing us for that promised day when we will all be in heaven. What a glorious day that will be! Check out the thread through our devotionals below. God really does love you! And He loves you too much to leave you as you are! He is working all things together for God and towards our eternity with Him. Worship! Trust! And choose joy as you follow Him to his best! Amen! May we be producers of good and lasting fruit as we glorify God in all we think, say and do. Or at least realize sooner when we don't, receive His forgiveness and help and repent as we turn around, renew our thinking and follow Jesus better! Amen! Become like children! They are sinners at heart, yet Jesus says let them come to me! He loves you and is calling you by name, little child-like!
Harvest prayer blogs:

June 3 - God has Good Things to Give

When asking for God’s blessing, perhaps start by asking for things that you know are God’s will for you to have. Things like the fruit of the Spirit, Christlikeness. “How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11). Ask for those good gifts, says Al VanderGriend: “The ‘good things’ Jesus had in mind are the spiritual blessings of grace, wisdom, joy, peace, power, holiness, and so on. These are things in accord with God’s will. We can ask the Father for them with absolute assurance that he will give them to us. It’s what he has promised.”

Are there areas of your life that you know are sin or out of God’s will? Pray for God to move in those areas. Are there weaknesses in your character? Pray for God’s transformation. Do you want your life to amount to something for God? Then, if you are willing to take the exciting ride, ask for God’s blessing. Ask and ask and ask.

You, Lord, are a good Father! I worship You in Your holiness. Your word says I do not have because I do not ask, but I never want to ask You for anything that is not in alignment with what You want to give me. Help me to seek You for those things that You have promised to all of Your children. Lord Jesus, I ask You for the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I ask You to pour out wisdom and to transform me more and more each day into Your image! I want to be holy as You are holy. Keep me focused on what You want to pour into my life. Thank You, Father, for loving me this much and for training me up in holiness and righteousness so that I might bring honor and glory to Your name alone!

--Adapted from The Power of Personal Prayer (Learning to Pray with Faith and Purpose) by Jonathan Graf. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
 

Prayer Points

  • Praise God, who is your rock, your fortress, and your deliverer (2 Sam. 22:2).
  • Thank God for delivering you from your sins and for promising to keep you safe from harm even into old age (Isa. 46:4).
  • Confess times when you’ve played with temptation and not sought God’s way out.
  • Commit yourself to living a holy and godly life.
  • Ask God to deliver you from the evil one day by day (Mt. 6:13).
  • God is a God who rescues and saves (Dan. 6:27). Pray that God will rescue and save persons you know who do not yet believe. Ask that they will find God to be the rock, fortress, and deliverer they’ve been looking for all along.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2024 is a free devotional published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries. Subscribe here.
CS:
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ODB:

Cleansed by Christ

He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us. 1 John 1:9

READ 1 John 1:5-10

My first short-term missions trip was to the Amazon jungle in Brazil to help build a church by the river. One afternoon, we visited one of the few homes in the area that had a water filter. When our host poured murky well water into the top of the contraption, within minutes all the impurities were removed, and clean, clear drinking water appeared. Right there in the man’s living room, I saw a reflection of what it means to be cleansed by Christ.

When we first come to Jesus with our guilt and shame and ask Him to forgive us and we receive Him as our Savior, He cleanses us from our sins and makes us new. We’re purified just like the murky water was transformed into clean drinking water. What a joy it is to know we are in right standing with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21) and to know God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).

But the apostle John reminds us that this doesn’t mean we’ll never sin again. When we do sin, we can be assured by the image of a water filter and be comforted by knowing that as “we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Let’s live confidently knowing that we’re continually being cleansed by Christ.

By Nancy Gavilanes

REFLECT & PRAY

Why is it vital to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins? How does it feel to know you don’t have to be a prisoner of sin?

Dear God, thank You that You’re faithful and just to forgive me if I confess my sins to You.

Learn more about having a personal relationship with God.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Verses 6-10 of 1 John 1 all begin with a conditional statement: “If we . . . .” In verse 6, John uses a phrase unique to him: “[we] do not live out the truth.” It could literally be translated as “we do not do the truth.” This phrase is also found in John 3:21: “Whoever lives by the truth [literally, does the truth] comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” In both instances, “doing the truth” is connected to one’s relationship with God. Since God can’t lie (see 1 Samuel 15:29; Titus 1:2), those who do not “do the truth,” are, by implication, liars and can have no “fellowship with Him” (1 John 1:6). In contrast, if we “do the truth”—“walk in the light”—Jesus’ blood “purifies us from all sin” and “we have fellowship with one another” (v. 7).

J.R. Hudberg
UR: Become Like Children

“Allow the children to come to me,” Jesus said. “Don’t forbid them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.” - Matthew 19:14 (CEB)

My daughter works at a nursery school as the specialized nurse for a young boy whose brain has been impaired since birth. He is nourished via a tube in his nose and cannot walk or talk with the other school children. My daughter helps to maintain his medical equipment to ensure his health and comfort.

During afternoons when the weather is good, my daughter takes the boy out to the playground. One time she noticed what appeared to be two children struggling over a toy, but the boy who “won” gave it to the young boy my daughter helps care for. Another time a girl came over with a picture book she liked and appeared to be reading it to him, even though the boy was not able to understand the book. Many of the children came over, saying sweetly, “Let’s play.”

I always remember my daughter’s stories of these children when I think about today’s scripture verse, which tells us we must “become like little children.” They are the ones who set themselves aside, who aren’t concerned about how people see them, and who give to others and offer their assistance without seeking anything in return.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, as you have taught us to love one another, help us to be persons who, like humble children, put it into practice. Amen.
TWFYT:
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May Simple Financial Statement:

St Matthew’s Financial Update

 

May

2024

Monthly

Revenue

Monthly

Expenses

YTD

Revenue

YTD

Expenses

General Fund  

$10,595

$11,549

$58,664

$74,556

 

The figures for the “General Fund” include all revenue and all expenses for the month.  This includes all revenue from offerings, rent, and other income.  The expenses reported above are actual expenses for the month.  The totals reported for Missions and the Rebuilding Fund are also included in the “General Fund” figures.

 

Missions

$816

$1,030

$4,901

$5,150

Rebuilding Fund

$170

$0

$940

$0

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St. Matthew's EC Church

5th & Ridge Streets
P.O. Box 433
Emmaus, PA 18049
Telephone 610.965.5570
Email: stmattsecemmaus@gmail.com

ABOUT US

We are learning to live and love like Jesus. 

We are working on becoming who we were created to be and doing our custom made purposes well. 

We are part of the Evangelical Congregational Church http://www.eccenter.com/

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