Skip to main content
#
St. Matthew's EC Church
home
GIVE
email usour facebook page
members
contact us
Pastor's Blog
Friday, May 24 2024
Thank God I'm Forgiven! PTL! What are you thankful about for your salvation and growth to Christlikeness? Praise the Lord! Worship and choose to live your life as a thank offering--a sacrifice of praise poured out in gratitude. Amen! Help me/us to live like that Lord and always be filled with much gratitude, thanksgiving, praise and joy in our salvation! Amen!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gatherings:
Sun 10 am Worship with Children's Church (last one for the summer) 10am and on Zoom too.
Wed. 10-12 Bread Ministry
Sun. June 2nd 10 am Worship (there will be some activities for the kiddos in the upstairs nursery. Pray for our Children's Church workers to recharge during our summer break and for God to raise up some new teachers and helpers for the fall.) This service will also include new member installation and a vote on the Fellowship Hall air conditioning motion.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Happy Friday Friends! May the joy of the Lord fill you to overflowing today!
I had no intention of blogging today, BUT GOD! It's been a great week of work, rest, renewal, deliverance from sickness and weariness, and worship! PTL! God has really been speaking to my heart this week and affirming much of what He has been leading me to as I pray to lead you with His heart and mind to His perfect plans for you and us (and me too)! God does really have great plans for you and us! Do you know what they are? Are you being pinched to respond? Is there someone you are, not only processing with, but planning and beginning to do what God is reveling? I can testify of the soul satisfaction and excitement that comes as we are being used by God, just as He planned for us long ago! Do you have any stories to share about that?
God threaded our devos through all He has been revealing to me, even for the past few years, as I try to lead you and our church to revival and to becoming a dynamic movement of God. Check out the devos below. What's God saying to you? Are you hearing echoes of what God has been saying to us and leading us to? (TWFYT) Where may you be resisting and how can we help each other to overcome obstacles to God's plans and best? Don't be afraid or shrink back in fear! God is with you and has plans just for you! PTL! Are you feeling like He's punishing you? (UR) Some feel like that every time something goes wrong and some never think about it. God will correct but ALWAYS in love! Seek Him and His Kingdom first and all things will fall into place as He leads and even redeems the years the locust has stolen. Amen! Romans 12:12 (ODB) is one of my life verses, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer." We can choose joy, patiently endure and remain faithful in prayer. Work at that and it will grow to be part of your nature and natural response to difficulties, corrections, and God's leading. PTL!
All of this ties to our Bishop's challenge to us to keep working at becoming a dynamic movement of God that God created us, our churches and denomination to be. I've been following the National Conference (Kathy will update us in a couple pf weeks). God is moving and He is leading us to His new things for us and towards growing as that dynamic movement. PTL! They had video issues so I included a link to his episcopal address below in print. It is awesome and filled with much affirmation for how God has been leading, or wanting to lead us, and for His plans for us over the next few months and years! It reminds how far we have to go yet in that process too. Please prayerfully read it over this weekend and next week. We will be discussing it June 2nd. (No quizzes but you will be asked to share your thoughts and assess our progress and hindrances). The Bishop reminds us that we have two choices before us: Surrender to God and allow Him to lead us to His plans for us and His Kingdom, or say "No thanks! I am okay with just finishing out my days." We are challenged to seek God, process together, make His plans that are custom made for us, go make disciples as we pioneer into His future. It's sowing lavishly and continuing to water and fertilize each step of the way. It's moving from stagnation, through addition to multiplying disciple making disciples. It will take trying all kinds of new things and investing in reaching others and making disciples. That is really what Jesus began and it has continued through the apostles, early church and so many others through the years. God has a custom part for each of us. PTL! What joy as we step into our anointing and celebrate all that God is and will do. Let us commit to pray earnestly into this and for God's heart and mind to be all about Him and His business! Amen!
When I return from vacation we will be gathering some small groups to pray, process, plan and to begin pioneering into the future God has planned for us. Pray about your involvement. Ask God to give us dreams and visions of His plans and the heart and willingness to follow Him well as we die to self, take up cross daily and follow Jesus. We can change the world. That usually happens one soul at a time. Who is God preparing for you? Let us agree and commit to earnestly working at becoming the dynamic movement of God that He created us to be! May we earnestly work at living, loving, teaching, leading and making disciples more like Jesus! As we do, His will will be done and His Kingdom will come alive all around us! Amen! I am so excited! I know we are moving towards our potential and God is sending in the harvest and provision, including harvest working pioneers (Y-O-U!). Amen!
TWFYT:
Inline image
 
UR: Patience and Perseverance

Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; persevere in prayer. - Romans 12:12 (NRSVUE)

After completing my secondary-level education, I was unable to meet the requirement for college courses. After being at home for a year, a distant cousin told me I could find work in the city where many companies offered good pay; some would even pay for further study or professional training. My cousin said he could provide food and housing. With high hopes I went to the city with what little money I had.

After two months, however, I was still searching for a job. The house where we stayed had no proper light or water. It was crowded, and sometimes we had no food to eat.

Some days I felt bitter, angry, or filled with self-pity. Other days, I would tell myself to be patient and keep looking for opportunities. I prayed that God would make a way. Eventually I accepted my struggles and determined to be patient, though it was not easy.

Finally, after one year and six months I joined a construction company as a day worker, then as a driver, and then as a section supervisor with some study privileges. This experience taught me how to live out today’s scripture: “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; persevere in prayer.”

TODAY'S PRAYER
Lord Jesus, grant us patience in our struggles, and help us to remember your faithfulness to us. Amen.
ODB:

Correction with a Kiss

God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. Hebrews 12:10

READ Hebrews 12:4-11

In his parable The Wise Woman, George MacDonald tells the story of two girls, whose selfishness brings misery to all, including themselves, until a wise woman puts them through a series of tests to help them become “lovely” again.

After the girls fail each test and suffer shame and isolation, one of them, Rosamond, finally realizes she can’t change herself. “Couldn’t you help me?” she asks the wise woman. “Perhaps I could,” the woman replied, “now that you ask me.” And with the divine help symbolized by the wise woman, Rosamond begins to change. She then asks if the woman would forgive all the trouble she’s caused. “If I had not forgiven you,” the woman says, “I would never have taken the trouble to punish you.”

There are times when God disciplines us. It’s important to understand why. His correction isn’t driven by retribution but by a fatherly concern for our welfare (Hebrews 12:6). He also desires that we may “share in his holiness,” enjoying a harvest of “righteousness and peace” (vv. 10-11). Selfishness brings misery, but holiness makes us whole, joyful, and “lovely” like Him.

Rosamond asks the wise woman how she can love a selfish girl like her. Stooping to kiss her, the woman replies, “I saw what you were going to be.” God’s correction too comes with love and a desire to make us who we’re meant to be.

By Sheridan Voysey

REFLECT & PRAY

How have you understood God’s discipline in the past? How might He have disciplined you recently in order to make you more lovely?

Father God, thank You for Your correction, as painful as it can be. You bring it for my good.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

The writer of Hebrews quotes Proverbs 3:11-12 in the explanation of God’s loving discipline (Hebrews 12:5-6). Proverbs 3 is well known for verses 5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

When we’re going through difficult experiences, it can be easy to think that we don’t deserve them, and that God has stepped into our lives just to discipline us. But the context of Proverbs 3 paints a picture of walking alongside our heavenly Father. Sometimes, like wandering children, we stray from God’s side, especially when we trust in our own understanding. His discipline brings us back—not just to correct behavior but to a close relationship with Him. Our kind Father loves us and wants us on the right path. After all, that’s where He is too.

Jed Ostoich
Harvest Blogs:

May 24 - Solomon’s Peace

“You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:8-10)

Of all the things he could have asked for, Solomon chose something that pleased God. And God said to Solomon,

“Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” (verses 11-12)

Solomon became the richest, most powerful, most successful king in Israel’s history. He was world renowned for his wisdom. An interesting side note to this prayer: though God didn’t mention this, Solomon was also the only king in Israel’s history who enjoyed peace throughout his reign. How’s that for blessing!

Lord, may every prayer I pray be one that pleases You and brings You glory! Help me to seek after the things You desire to bless me with and to grow me in. I want to always pray “Your will be done” rather than my own, even though this is so difficult sometimes. Help me to hear clearly from Your Holy Spirit so that I am able to pray what You want to accomplish in and through my life.

--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 as the Rock, your stronghold and fortress (Ps. 144:1-2).
  • Thank him for being a solid foundation on which to stand spiritually, so that nothing can shake you (Mt. 7:24-25).
  • Confess those times in your life when you have stepped off the rock solid foundation of God’s Word and relied on your own understanding.
  • Commit yourself to building your life on Christ’s teachings. Ask God to help you plant your feet firmly in his Word each day.
  • Pray for the devotional times of the families that you know, that regular times of prayer and Bible reading will help bond family members to each other and to God.
  • Pray that your single friends may find a group of spiritual brothers and sisters to do this with as well.
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.
Bishop's Episcopal Address: Click link and prayerfully engage with this. It is God's plans for us!
Don  
Posted by: AT 02:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 24 2024

Thanks for praying for Karen and me! We had a healthy, fun day celebrating her birthday! Pray for us as we transition back to work today. Thanks! We appreciate and feel your prayers! He leads us beside streams of Living Water! Amen!

Inline image
 

Good Morning Attached to and Rooted in Christ Prayer Warriors! "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends." (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer) Yes I'm on vacation; BUT GOD! He awoke me early, speaking to my heart about the words we say and the importance of agreeing with Him and pronouncing His truth and blessings over ourselves, others, situations and in powerful praying. So pronounce the truth of this salutation over yourself and our church and even your role in God's Good News Delivery Company: I am always attached to and sinking my roots deep into Christ, the True Vine, My Source of Life, Who is producing good fruit in me and through my powerful prayers and actions. Amen! Now believe it and live as if it's true! You are His masterpiece! You matter! You have great potential! You are a fruit producer in the way of Jesus! You are His, living for His glory! PTL! and AMEN!

Too often we get bound up in our, or our perceived, faults and inabilities. Stop it and turn off that noise! You are a very loved, known, forgiven, connected, masterpiece with many purposes to discover and accomplish. Pronounce and receive that today! Are you a sinner and unworthy? Sure; BUT GOD! What amazing love and grace we know! As we come to God with right hearts and sink our roots deep into Him through time in His Word and prayer, we grow in relationship, strength, ability and His power to do all He has for us. PTL! Abide! And prepare to flourish! Do we make mistakes? Every day! (well at least that's me) BUT GOD! He redeems. I had a boss tell me once, "There's no such thing as a stupid mistake, unless you make it a second time. Mistakes prove you are trying things." We are not God nor even close to perfect. We will mess up. That's ok. Get back at it. You are not disqualified.

Maybe you find yourself, caught by the bait of Satan, overflowing with bitterness directed to God, at others and maybe even your choices. Satan seeks to get you all bound up in bitterness. Can you remember the times you shook your fist at God in anger? It is often one of the stages of deep grief. Check out the Psalms, and their truthful assessments that turn to trust and praise and worship through all kinds of difficulties. Invite God into your pain. He knows, cares and promises to comfort and bring you strength to carry on. Eventually you start to crawl out of the dark pit and into your loving Saviors arms. He knows and is with you--always. Try to have that stored up in your brain and remember, no matter what, He is at work and will restore.

Yes God is speaking to me this morning and maybe to you as well. What are you hearing, learning, applying as you abide in Him? Process that with someone. And keep moving forward in Christ and towards your fullest potential and His greater things. Choose joy too! And His shalom will overwhelm and overflow from you. Amen! (I will probably not be blogging through the weekend. But don't be surprised if God has other plans or speaks to you in my time off. I am staying attached and praying for you and pronouncing God's favor and for will to be done through our Body. He's always busy. Are you always working from rest as you move from abiding to good and lasting fruit production? OK, time for a nap! Shalom!

Upper Room: Staying Rooted

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:5 (NIV)

One summer, I planted a young tomato plant and placed a cage around it for protection. But the following morning, I found that deer had eaten all its leaves. It stood like a skeleton in the cage.

I decided to continue watering and caring for the plant since its roots were still intact in the soil. After many weeks, new leaves began to sprout. Eventually, the plant produced many delicious tomatoes.

That plant’s transformation from stark and skeletal to lush and fruitful reminded me of the power of staying rooted in God’s word. Having strong roots and being nurtured helped the plant to grow and produce bountifully.

This is just what Jesus taught about in today’s scripture reading. When we remain connected to Jesus, we will bear much fruit. We can choose to nourish our roots in the soil of God’s word and stay connected to the branch of Christ. Doing so enables us to endure and flourish through devastating experiences.

Daily time spent reading scripture, praying, and in devotion and meditation helps us to maintain and nourish our roots. Even when life breaks us down, our ties to the Lord continue to nurture our growth.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Gracious God, help us to stay grounded in you even when the distractions of this world threaten to uproot us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Harvest Prayer Blogs:

May 23 - Abiding in Jesus

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. (Hebrews 5:7)

Does God hear everyone's prayer? Surely, as an all-knowing God, He is capable of hearing everyone. But, apparently there are some prayers to which He gives lesser attention. Jesus, our ultimate example, was always heard by His Father, and the writer of Hebrews tells us why.

There are some conditions to prayer. One is desperation with the humility that is borne out of our recognition of need. But further, God hears and answers the prayers of those who are willing to humbly obey as He instructs. Why would He answer our prayers if He knows we have no intention of obeying Him?

Jesus was heard “because of his piety.” We do not, and cannot, be sinless like Christ. But there should be in us a heart’s disposition to follow Him as faithfully as we can by His grace.

For instance, let's say your son not only wants a car, but he needs a car for transportation and he asks you for this provision. But, he has repeatedly violated the use of your car each time it has been entrusted to him. And he openly tells you that if he gets a car, he will use it to speed, go places where he should not go, and do things you know are harmful to him. Would you answer his pleas for a car? To do so would be less than loving. Further, to wisely withhold the provision would potentially create a desire for the car that is so great it might lead him to humbly submit to your directives about its use.

Andrew Murray, in “The Ministry of Intercession: A Plea for More Prayer” said, “Why are there such numberless unanswered prayers? … Christ taught us that the answer depended upon certain conditions. He spoke of faith, of perseverance, of praying in His Name, of praying the will of God. But all of these conditions were summed up in the one central one: ‘If you abide in Me, ask whatsoever you will and it shall be done unto you.’  It became clear that the power to pray the effectual prayer of faith depended upon the life. It is only to a person given up living as entirely in Christ and for Christ as the branch in the vine and for the vine, that these promises can come true.” 

Father, how I long to come to You as one who is filled with humility, who longs to be obedient in all things, and who always intends to stay attached to the Vine! Yet, I am not always this person. Would You give me a deeper longing to be someone whose effectual prayer of faith is always marked by the deepest longing of my heart? I want to live in and for Jesus and to pray with a depth of persistence that can only come with the greatest desire for all that You are!

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

Prayer Points

  • Praise God as the provider and sustainer of all things (Ps. 145:15-16).
  • Give thanks for the tenderness and the care that the Lord gives to the creatures that he has made (145:8-9).
  • Confess those times this past week when you have forgotten to look on other people or other parts of God’s world with the same love that is in God’s heart.
  • Commit yourself to treating others with the same compassion as God does.
  • Ask God to fill your heart with his care, concern, and tenderness.
  • Pray for families in which the parents are too busy to really listen and respond to their children’s needs. Ask God to help them set their priorities in line with his will for their families.
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.

The Word for You Today:

Inline image
 

Charles Stanley: Two days of causes for unanswered prayers and wrong thinking

Inline image
 

Our Daily Bread: Reminder that we can see and find God in His creation and through His Word. Redirect! Reconnect! Abide! Thrive! God is speaking and longing to connect to you--always!

Look to the Skies

The heavens declare the glory of God. Psalm 19:1

READ Psalm 19:1-9

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

Alex Smalley wants everyone to wake up earlier—or perhaps pause more at day’s end. Why? To gaze at sunrises and sunsets. Those fleeting moments are the most beautiful, awe-inspiring times of the day, according to Smalley, the lead researcher of a British study on awe-inducing weather effects. Even more than blue skies or glittering nightscapes, a stunning sunrise or sunset can improve mood, increase positive emotions, and decrease stress. Smalley says, “When you see something vast and overwhelming or something that produces this feeling of awe, your own problems can feel diminished and so you don’t worry so much about them.”

His findings on wonder echo those of the prophet Jeremiah: “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).

King David also beheld God’s creation, declaring, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). As for the sun, “It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth” (v. 6). God’s glorious creation reflects the all-powerful Creator. Why not take time today to look to the skies and marvel in Him!

By Patricia Raybon

REFLECT & PRAY

Where is your favorite place to view a sunrise or sunset? When you behold the heavens, what do you discover about God?

In Your glorious heavens, Father, You show me the wonder of Your power.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Psalm 19:1-6 is David’s ode to God as Creator. In the verses that follow, however, his focus shifts to how he views the Scriptures (vv. 7-13). This abrupt shift has caused some scholars to question if these are two separate psalms. But God revealed Himself both in creation and in the Scriptures and both are powerful expressions of who He is. Theologians refer to these two ideas as general revelation (creation) and special revelation (Scripture). They describe how God makes Himself known—but the ultimate revelation of Himself is in Christ, the living Word. As Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” The author of Hebrews describes Jesus as “the exact representation of [God’s] being” (v. 3).

Bill Crowder
Posted by: AT 02:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 24 2024

Good Morning Filled with the Holy Spirit and Potential, Servants--Masterpieces of God! Now there's a great place to begin your worship this morning! You are filled with the Holy Spirit as a seal or guarantee that you belong to God because of your faith in Jesus. You are God's masterpiece, created with potential that is now activated because you have been made new in Christ. And that Holy Spirit has come to seal, and help you and He came with gifts custom tweaked for you to help you reach your potential. WOW! Right? The Word for You Today triggered this all with their Eph. 2:10 teaching and prayers. Do you realize how much you matter to God? Oh how He loves us! Amen! And as we dwell in His loving presence, He speaks to our souls and we can hear Him singing blessings over us. He affirms us and reminds us of our purposes He created, has enabled and will empower us to complete. As we do, we grow into our fuller potential in Christ and glorify God! Hallowed be His holy name! Amen! Be Me in '23 and Become More in '24 are all about being the people God created you to be and earnestly seeking Him for more this year and beyond. He has some amazing plans for you to discover and do! Amen!

I am so blessed and honored to be part of what God is doing in and through our Body! We are populated with prayer warriors, servants growing into potentials, and worshipers that are fulfilling their purposes and glorify God! You guys are doing what you are created to do for such a time as this! You are God's Hands and Feet doing what you can with what you've been blessed with and to do as The Upper Room discusses today. You allow God to stretch you and love through you as you seek to live and love more like Jesus. Our church is bucking the trends and a lighthouse to those being drawn by God and a beacon for struggling churches too. Thank you all for stepping into your roles as part of God's Good News Delivery Company and your created potential! You matter and have purpose and God is with you and using you! Thank you! And thank God for leading and using us! Your Kingdom Come and will be done! Amen

Charles Stanley reminds us of hindrances we can place upon ourselves as we often view ourselves unworthy of God's presence and His speaking to and leading us. We sometimes ask, "Why would He use a sinner like me?" Well, fact is that we are unworthy and deserving punishment and Hell. We all are sinners doomed to Hell. BUT GOD! He created you, knows, and still loves you enough to run to you with His forgiving, restoring, transforming love. PTL! He accepts you just as you are and longs to lead you to your fullest created potential with patient love! Now that should just lead to some worship and affirmation! You matter--ALWAYS! And are always loved! There are so many people around you that need to hear and come to believe this Good News! Talk to God about your part and process and plan with some friends. Then go, just as you are and love like Jesus--like you are loved. Amen

Our Daily Bread carries on this theme about forgiving yourself and forgetting the past. They remind us that God is the God of the present and your and our future too. Sure build on your past and don't allow Satan or your old nature to drag you back to living, if that's what you can even call it, in your past. God's always up to doing something new! Get your eyes out of the rearview mirror and look with anticipation out the windshield of the future God has for you and us. The Bible ask if we can see the new things that God is doing. Are you looking ahead with anticipation, expectation and thanksgiving in prayer and choices? Let's face it, times are hard and very hard for some of us. Things look bleak. BUT GOD! He is with you always and wanting to transform you and situations. Will you receive His loving help and redirection? Read and meditate on the Jeremiah passage today. He has great plans for you, just like for the Israelites. Yet they chose to keep sinning and distancing themselves from Him and they paid the price of captivity. But, when the time was right, He rescued and restored them. Is He stretching you? Are you obeying and choosing well? He does have great plans for you and for good! Choose well, my friends. He really loves you and longs for you to choose His best. You can know true joy in Christ and the satisfaction of living for Christ well.

Yesterday we discussed the folly and sin of many churches and denominations today that are like the Israelites that were sent to captivity. God's judgment is promised and on its way. Will He find you faithful and being about His business and continuing to work at becoming more like Jesus? That is my prayer! That me, you and our Body stand firm, live for Christ, found faithful and become world changers. May it be so Lord! Thank You for creating us for such a time as this and preparing and using your faithful servants. May that be us! Come! Fill us! Mold us! Use us! Change the world and bring revival! Glorify Your holy name! Amen! I included yesterday's Harvest prayer blog that ties all this together! Always remember that God loves you, is with you, for you, providing and protecting and cheering you on! Amen! You have a future and a hope and you matter! Rejoice! You are created for such a time as this and for completing the race God has for you well. Amen! Worship and choose to live and love more and more like Jesus! God is enlarging our territory in response to our prayers and choices. He's using unlikely people like us because of our good choices. Salvation, revival and God honoring great fruit are budding! PTL!

Inline image
 

TWFYT:

Inline image
 

UR: Hands and Feet

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. - Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

Scripture tells us that we are to be the hands and feet of Christ. In the parable of the good Samaritan, who cared for a stranger alongside the road, Jesus shows us what it means to serve others. The Samaritan helped the man in several ways by tending to him physically as well as paying for the cost of his care. The Samaritan could have walked right by the man, just as others before him had done. But the Samaritan stopped and cared for the man.

How are we being called to help others today? Perhaps a neighbor needs help mowing their lawn or shoveling snow. Maybe a stranger alongside the road needs a meal. We can befriend someone who is lonely or volunteer when no one else is able or willing. We can give financially to meet a need. Each of us may be inspired to help serve in different ways. Let us all be alert for opportunities to serve as Christ’s hands and feet.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear Jesus, thank you for showing us how to be your presence to others. Bless those we serve in your name. Amen.CS:

Inline image
 

ODB:

God in the Past and Present

I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. Jeremiah 29:10

READ Jeremiah 29:8-14

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

It had been years since we left the Oregon town where we raised our family. We’d made great memories there, and the recent visit reminded me of moments I’d forgotten: our girls’ soccer games, our old home, church gatherings, and our friends’ Mexican restaurant. The town had changed, but there was enough of the familiar to spark my desire to return for a visit. 

When the Israelites went into exile in Babylon, they missed the familiarity of people, landmarks, and culture. They forgot they’d been exiled for rebelling against God. When false prophets told the exiles they’d return home within two years (Jeremiah 28:2-4; 29:8-9), they found a receptive audience. It was easy to listen to the slick words of false prophets who promised a return home soon.

God didn’t take kindly to these peddlers of the past and their false promises. “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you,” He said (29:8). He had plans for His people, “plans to give [them] hope and a future” (v. 11). The situation was challenging, difficult, and new, but God was with them. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,” He told them (v. 13). God would bring them “back to the place from which I carried you into exile” (v. 14), but in His timing.

Nostalgia plays tricks on the mind, making it easy to long for what once was. Don’t miss what God is doing right now. He will fulfill His promises. 

By Matt Lucas

REFLECT & PRAY

What difficulty are you facing today? How is God showing Himself faithful?

Father, may I continue to look for You in the present and not long for the past.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

The prophet Jeremiah ministered during the reign of Judah’s last five kings: Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoichin, and Zedekiah (about 640–586 bc). This was a time when false prophets abounded. Jeremiah foretold doom to the unrepentant nation, while his contemporaries assured the people of peace. These false prophets prophesied lies in God’s name. Yet God had “not sent them or appointed them” (Jeremiah 14:14). They spoke “visions from their own minds” (23:16), saying what the people longed to hear (see 2 Timothy 4:3). Jeremiah passionately delivered God’s message despite suffering greatly for it. He was thrown into prison (ch. 37) and a cistern or well (ch. 38). He was rejected by his family, friends, neighbors, false priests and prophets, and kings. Because the people didn’t listen to God’s words to turn back to Him, spoken through Jeremiah, they were captured by the Babylonians in 586  bc and were exiled for seventy years.

Alyson Kieda

   

Harvest Blog (Sun)

May 19 - Is God Enlarging Your Territory?

One of the keys to prayers of petition is learning what to ask God. Petition can move into the realm of selfishness very quickly if all we ask for are material things beyond our basic needs. It’s one thing to pray for the necessary money to cover the repairs on your only car; it’s quite another to ask that you win the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.

One of the most interesting individuals in Scripture was a man named Jabez. We know absolutely nothing about him other than what is told in two verses in 1 Chronicles. What makes this intriguing is that these two verses stand out in nine chapters of solid genealogy—“The descendants of Judah: Perez, Hezron, Carmi” and so on (1 Chronicles 4:1). Tucked in between are these words:
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. (verses 9-10)

Why on earth would God interrupt these genealogies with a brief picture of this obscure man? That’s a good question. The Navigators prayer coordinator Lee Brase always insists on asking that question. He believes we need to look closely at the praying people in the Bible “because the prayers in the Bible represent a wide variety of prayers and fit most any situation. God has chosen to record them for us. When we look at them we need to consider what was intended when they were originally written, and why did God keep them for us today?”

God was obviously pleased with Jabez’s prayer. Pleased enough to make him stand out, to include him as an example for the centuries to come. “Bless me and enlarge my territory,” was Jabez’s request. Seems selfish. “I want more money, more power; I want to be someone.” But that wasn’t it. Jabez simply wanted to count for God. He wanted everything God had for him.

In his best-selling book on Jabez (that’s right, an entire book on these two verses!), Dr. Bruce Wilkinson says, “To bless in the biblical sense means to ask for or to impart supernatural favor. When we ask for God’s blessing, we’re not asking for more of what we could get for ourselves. We’re crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or give to us.”

There’s nothing wrong with praying for that kind of blessing in our lives. God loves that kind of faith and trust. “When we seek God’s blessing as the ultimate value in life,” writes Wilkinson, “we are throwing ourselves entirely into the river of His will and power and purposes for us. All our other needs become secondary to what we really want—which is to become wholly immersed in what God is trying to do in us, through us, and around us for His glory.”

So God takes pleasure in our asking for that kind of blessing. Enough pleasure that He put Jabez’s short prayer in Scripture for us to model. “We have God’s permission to pray this way,” writes Todd Gaddis. “In fact, we have His invitation. The imprisoned prophet Jeremiah received a challenge to do so from the Lord: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ . . . It’s worth considering: What blessings might be eluding you simply because you haven’t asked?”

So when you petition God, ask for spiritual blessing. Ask for God’s best for you. Ask to have your territory enlarged.

Lord God Almighty, may I never be guilty of not asking! I ask You for spiritual blessing! Enlarge my territory Father! Deepen my faith and trust so that I am able to ask with a fresh depth of believing You are able to do beyond all I could ever think or imagine!   

--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 the Lord, “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6).
  • Thank God that you have been forgiven of all your sins because of Jesus’ work for you.
  • Confess in detail your sins, asking for a greater awareness of sin in your life.
  • Commit yourself to putting on “the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
  • Ask “to be made new in the attitude of your [mind]” (Eph. 4:23).
  • Pray that no animosities or rivalries will be at home in your congregation, and that your congregation will experience peace and wholeness. Ask that you and your fellow Christians will prize the healthy relationships which you have with each other.
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 02:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 24 2024

Wagner's News below. (They visit us Sunday)

Pastor Don will be on vacation the next few days and a few days next week. Pray for Sarah as she covers for him. Blogs will be hit and miss next two weeks.

Good Morning Abiding, Choosing Well, Fruit Producers! Amen! Are you choosing well? Are you resting, abiding, dwelling in God's loving, restoring, informing presence? Are you working from rest or having no choice but to rest from work? God desires health for us-physical, emotional, financial and spiritual. He has healthy rhythms that lead to that and begin as we still ourselves and abide in His presence. Are you choosing well? I'm including today's and tomorrow's Charles Stanley devotions that speak into good choices and what God desires and enables in us. Be still and know and go live as an act of worship and obedience. Even when on vacation, Karen and I never neglect our quiet time with God. Sometimes in our busyness we need a reminder to slow down and abide. Please pray for us to realize that before God has to step in. Karen and have been sick the past two days. I don't think it's a result of over-busyness, just a stomach bug. However, we have chosen well to slow down and abide instead of pushing through busyness to get our agendas accomplished before vacation tomorrow. Appreciate prayers for good health and a fun day off for Karen's birthday tomorrow. Please pray I endure the heat well and bless her during our trip to Longwood. Thanks!

The Upper Room (below) reminds us that God will take care of us and promises to meet our needs. The question is, do we believe that and live as if it's true? Sometimes we have to catch ourselves when in the storms of life and turn to God by praising and worshiping. Are you humbling yourself and bowing before God as you recount all your many blessings? Keep building and using those gratitude list. Keep asking to be able to redirect your thinking and renewing your mind quicker by praising when storms begin. God will answer that prayer as you take every thought captive before Him and still yourself at His feet. Amen

The Word for You Today continues our teaching from Sunday and ties to today, Do you see the tie? Keep a clear conscience by listening to and obeying God and all those little Holy Spirit promptings along the way. Make sure your conscience is connected to God's heart by spending time with Him daily and make sure you are not chasing your own foolish ways. Turn off the noise and tune into God as you open His Word prayerfully and allow Him to inform your choices. Amen! Redirect. Abide. Reload. Then go.

I end with Dave Butts blog on the Lord's prayer. I noticed God drawing Sarah to use that Sunday and He's been leading me to it the past few weeks. It's a great model for how to pray and as we activate God's plans and bring His will alive in prayer and through our obedience. Come Jesus Come! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UViC6DllCeA

Abide as you prepare and follow, restore and regroup before the next move of God. See you soon! Shalom! God is with you and has great plans to discover that begin as you spend time at His feet. Amen! Come Jesus Come! Lead us to Your best ways and use us for Your glory. Amen!

CS: (2 days)

Inline image
 

UR: Like A Bird

I know every mountain bird; even the insects in the fields are mine. - Psalm 50:11 (CEB)

When I suddenly became unemployed, I had no source of income and no immediate prospects. I watched my savings shrink and my dreams disappear. I sank into overwhelming debt. I would lie awake at night while visions of bills paraded through my mind.

One morning, I glanced bleary-eyed out the window where a tiny bird sang its cheery song then flitted on its way into the wind and rain. I marveled that such a delicate creature could sing and keep busy in spite of the perilous weather. “Let me be like that little bird, Lord,” I whispered, “who praises you in the midst of trouble.” Slowly my blessings filled my mind. I bowed my head to thank God for all I had. I realized worrying wasn’t improving my situation. Like the birds, I needed to keep moving, keep busy, and praise God for watching over me and working in my life.

Inspired by the bird, I kept my focus on praising God rather than allowing worry to keep me from worship. I didn’t want to waste my life worrying about my financial state when I could be living my life for God. I took action to change my outlook. I talked to my pastor about doing volunteer work instead of giving money. Financial help slowly came, but those days gave me wealth in new friends, new skills, and a stronger faith in God.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear Father, show us how to praise you with our hearts and actions each day. Amen.TWFYT

Inline image
 

Dave's Blog

BRINGING HEAVEN TO EARTH

by Dave Butts

No matter how long I teach on prayer, I don’t think I’ll ever plumb the depths of the teaching of Jesus on prayer through what we call The Lord’s Prayer. In its simplicity it is packed with practical guidance for effective prayer. I believe that the focus of this prayer is the heart of Jesus’ other teaching as well…the Kingdom. Jesus’ lifestyle and teaching focused on the Kingdom of God. So it shouldn’t surprise us that when he teaches on prayer, he points us to pray about the Kingdom.

“Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Those simple, familiar words should both motivate and populate our prayers. As I hear those words I am motivated to pray for the advance and eventual triumph of the Kingdom of God over all other pretenders. I know I will someday see Jesus crowned as King of kings and Lord of lords, and I want to see Him acknowledged as such in the here and now of everyday life. I long to see all of creation begin to understand what it means for Jesus to be Lord.

As Kingdom praying begins to dominate my daily prayer life, I find that I have shifted from the “gimme” prayers that used to be pervasive, to a deeper desire for what pleases the Lord. The prayers seem to be “bigger” and less selfish. Even if the prayers deal with my own needs, they are now couched in yearnings that deal with Kingdom values.

Perhaps a good place to begin is to ask the Lord what is happening in heaven that He wants to see occur on earth. That is, after all, the way he phrased this prayer for us. From Scripture it appears that heaven is most of all, a place that is overwhelmed by an awareness of the Presence of God. The continual worship seen in heaven is the natural response to the Presence of God. Praying for an increased awareness of His Presence brings heaven to earth and can result in an amazing revival for the Church!

Harvest Prayer Starter:

Prayer Points

  • Praise God as the one from whom all things have come; praise him as the one to whom you are going when you are called home.
  • Thank God that your relationship with him extends beyond this life.
  • Confess the times when your focus has been only on physical needs, not God’s eternal purpose for you (Mt. 6:33).
  • Commit yourself to seeking God’s will for you and to hearing the voice of his Spirit through the preaching of the Word.
  • Ask God to reveal himself to you in his splendor and glory.
  • Pray for those preachers in other countries who must serve eight or ten churches at a time. Ask God to give them strength and to provide lay leaders who can minister in their absence.
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.

Wagner's news:

Greetings Friends,

 As we started writing, we realized that we had a lot to share…too much for a single email or blog. So, this update will be focused on ministry related news and the next one (in just a few days) will focus on personal news. Here’s what you will find in this message:

  • RVA Update – flooding and staffing needs
  • Prayer Cards and Missions Resources – help you and your church expand visions for missions
  • Travel Schedule – where we will be and when over the next couple of months
RVA Update
Our staffing needs are being filled as God continues to faithfully provide. He always seems to provide exactly who is needed, often exactly when they are needed. There are still a few holes to fill…primarily high school girls’ dorm parents…some for the entire school year and one couple for just first term…late August through late November. PRAY that who God wants as dorm parents will become clear to everyone.
 
Thank you to those who contributed to relief for the flood victims. The rains have slowed in Kenya but it is still the normal rainy season. With the ground already over-saturated, even the normal rains can cause severe problems. Continue to PRAY for those whose lives have been devastated by the rains and for the rains to continue to subside.
Prayer Cards and Missions Resources
We did have new prayer cards printed in February. If would like a prayer card or several, please message us with your address and we will mail them to you. We will also be at the EC National Conference this week and will bring lots of prayer cards for churches.
 
We also have a blog site that has links for lots of great missions’ resources. There are videos, books and even a 5-session course on missions. We periodically update these links as we find high quality resources that can be used for building vision for missions in your churches. This is also a location where we post current prayer requests along with past updates.
Travel Schedule
Our time in the States for home assignment is rapidly coming to a close. We have a few more churches we will be visiting and places we will be. We would love to see you!
Thursday, May 23 – EC National Conference, Messiah University
Sunday, May 26 – St. Matthew’s EC Church in Emmaus, PA
Saturday, June 1 – Twin Pines Camp in the Poconos
Sunday, June 2 – Bethany EC Church in Tamaqua, PA
Mid-June          Brian will be in Kansas City, MO for AP Reading
                              Missy will be in Myrtle Beach, SC and Minneapolis, MN
June 24-27 – Brian will be facilitating an AP Calculus APSI in Columbus, OH
Sunday, June 30 – Rexmont EC Church in Cornwall, PA
Mid-July            Coastal North Carolina
Thursday, August 8 – Returning to Kenya!!
Thank you so much for your prayers! You are appreciated.
 
In His Service,
 
Brian & Missy
Posted by: AT 02:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 24 2024

Worship at 10 with Children's Church. Live in person and in living color on Zoom!

We received word that Hal Scanlin stepped into Jesus' arms last evening. His race has been run well. Let us keep Joan, Lenore and the whole family in our prayers.

Chris Muik has returned home to heal. Keep he and Yvonne in your prayers for healing, patience in the process, Provision and shalom.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good Morning Worshipers! Everything we do can be an act of worship, if done as for the Lord! May it be so Lord! Amen! Prepare your hearts to enter His court with thanksgiving and praise and continue to prepare yourself and all you do as an act of worship. Remember as Romans 12:1 reminds us, these bodies are God's temple--His dwelling place. May He find them worthy of His presence and thank God for His forgiving, cleansing love!

Many churches and denominations have strayed from God and His Word and Way. They have become more like the world and being about scratching "itchy ears" than living to truly bless and honor God. Forgive us Lord for anything we do that leads us or others from You, Your Truth and Your true Way! May we always be about You, Your business and doing what we are created to do as an act of true worship. May we honor You always and live and love more like Jesus everyday. May we become an act of worship in all we think, say and do individually and as your Body. Bless the EC denomination as they gather this week for National Conference and always as a denomination that stands firm in You, Your Word and Way. Thank You. Bless Kathy as she represents us. Bless our leaders. May they be men and women after Your own heart and led by the Holy Spirit to Your best. Revive us and may we become a true dynamic movement of Yours. Thanks! Amen!

Check out our devos below and sit at Jesus' feet and listen, receive and prepare your heart to follow Jesus well. What's He saying to you? Who are you processing with? What are you doing about what He's led you to? He has some great custom made plans for you and us as His gathered body! Amen! May we worship and follow well and go make Christ known and make disciples of Jesus! May we become His House of Prayer for the Nations! May the Holy Spirit always guide us and may we allow Him to use and speak through us, even when we don't know what to do or say. May nothing hinder us from becoming all God created us to be and doing what we are created to do. May we always be a sweet aroma to God as we stand firm and persevere in faith. Amen

TWFYT

Inline image
 

ODB:

Making God Known

Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. Revelation 7:10

READ Revelation 7:9-12

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

A love for God and for people undergirds Kathryn’s Bible translating work. She rejoices when women in India come to a deeper understanding of Scripture, reading it in their mother tongue. She remarks that when they do, “They often start cheering or clapping. They read about Jesus, and they say, ‘Oh, wonderful!’ ”

Kathryn longs for more people to read the Scriptures in their own language. In this desire, she holds close to her heart the vision of the aging disciple John on the island of Patmos. Through the Spirit, God ushered him into the throne room of heaven, where he saw “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). All together they worshiped God, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God” (v. 10).

God continues to add to the great number of people praising Him. He uses not only the work of Bible translators and those praying for them, but also those who reach out to their neighbors in love with the good news of Jesus. We can rejoice in this joyful mission, marveling at how God will spark more people to join with the angels in saying, “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever” (v. 12).

By Amy Boucher Pye

REFLECT & PRAY

How do you see God spurring on people to praise and honor Him? How might He invite you to join in His mission of spreading the good news of Jesus?

Saving God, thank You for the gift of Jesus. Please help me to share Your wonderful love with others.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

The book of Revelation (in Greek apokalypsis) is considered apocalyptic literature—a term which today is often used to describe literature that portrays the end of the world. This is due to the graphic imagery of the prophecies contained in Revelation. However, apokalypsis means “to reveal, to unveil something that has been hidden.” Primarily, the book of Revelation isn’t about the end of the world; it’s about Jesus, who’s referred to as “the Lamb” (see 5:6-13; 7:9-17). This description also appears in John’s gospel: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (1:29); “Look, the Lamb of God!” (v. 36).

Bill Crowder

UR: Our Advocate

The Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words. - Romans 8:26 (NRSVUE)

As I was reading about this verse in a Bible commentary, the word advocate jumped off the page. My mind went to the definition of a special education advocate. This type of advocate assists parents and teachers with developing a child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to help them succeed in their schoolwork.

I recalled the time when my husband and I asked a friend, who is a special education teacher, to be our child’s advocate in an IEP meeting we attended several years ago. I felt an overwhelming peace knowing someone was there to support us when we weren’t sure what to say.

Looking back at this experience, I think about how God has given us the Holy Spirit as an advocate. We can come to God in prayer even with a burden that feels so big to us that we don’t know what to say, and our heavenly advocate will present our requests to God. The more I learn about God, the more I realize how amazing God is.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear God, thank you for providing the Holy Spirit as an advocate to support us when we don’t have the words to say. Amen.

CS:

Inline image

Posted by: AT 02:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, May 18 2024

I'm baaaack! My cardioversion was a success. PTL! Thank you all for your prayers and encouragements! I must be back to normal as I am so rested and God awoke me at 3 to come chat and write. At least yesterday and so far today, I feel great and ready to get back at it! PTL!

Today is the last day for the Clothing Closet until Aug 17. Pray for them to serve well today and to refresh in the weeks ahead. Pray for leaders and workers for this ministry to be raised up by God.

Tomorrow is worship with Children's Church at 10. Next Sunday is our last Children's Church until Sept. Pray for Children's Church volunteers to be raised up by God. In the fall CC will be for 12 and under only. If you are interested, let us know so you can get clearances and training.

June 2nd is our next new member installation day and our vote on AC for fellowship Hall.

June 9th at 10:30 at Community Park is our church picnic with worship

Pastor Don will be on vacation off and on the next two weeks, if he can't be reached please reach out to Sarah who will be overseeing things while he is off. Thanks Sarah!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good Morning Praying Friends Who Know Christ and Make Him Known! AMEN! Our EC motto is to know Christ and make Him known. How's that going for you? How are we doing as Christ's Body with that? Our vision statement is to become a dynamic movement of God led by us who have a burning passion for God and missionary zeal to reach the lost. We are on our way to this! PTL! Everything we do of importance and value, including getting to know Christ and making Him known, is birthed and sustained through prayer. Revival begins when one person prays earnestly. Check out our devotionals and blogs below tying this all together. Keep praying and getting to know God more so that will overflow to revival and others getting to know Him. That's how making disciples in the way of Jesus works too. Pray, receive, listen, process, plan and follow well today. Amen!

The Word for You Today begins with teaching us about how to know God. That is the beginning of true life and finding our purposes in life. We can know all about God but until we really get to know Him life is meaningless. We are His created masterpieces, made new in Christ, to do all the things He created us to do. (Eph. 2:10) It only makes sense to have a relationship with the One who made us. He teaches, gifts, empowers and directs our steps. When we stop relying on self and focus on Him and our relationship and through prayer too all that falls into place. Charles Stanley then reminds us about the importance of knowing His ways, as well as, knowing Him in all his faceted existence. He is--well--Everything! Creator, Sustainer, Shepherd, Helper, Leader, Source, Protector, Provider, Friend and so much more. Dwell in some of these today and worship as you prepare to follow His ways. One of my continual prayers is for me and us to come to know and follow THE Way. Jesus is the Way! His ways are best and He has a way just for you to follow! How cool is that! Get to really know Him and His ways and you will be well on your way to bringing Him to life to others and fulfilling your purposes too. And then check our Our Daily Bread. You are called and equipped and as you get to know Him and His ways, He will lead, teach, empower and use you and your abilities and talents to fulfill your purposes. PTL! Right? He has great plans for you! And the Upper Room reminds us that He always wants to lead in the right paths. As we persevere in surrendering and following Him well in faith He will lead us and perfect us as He uses us well, just as we are created. 

Man, can life in Christ get any better? The world has no idea what joy and life satisfaction they are missing out on! Who do you see God drawing and what will you do to make Him and His ways known? 

I am so thankful that God redeemed me and made me new and keeps growing me to fulfill why He created me! There is much joy in that and in helping others to get to know Him, their purposes and to step into His ways. Let us commit to keep working at this together as we go, make disciple and teach them all about Him and His ways and what a real relationship with God is all about. We are gathered as His Good News Delivery Co and will become His disciple making center as we get to know and make Jesus and His ways known. Amen! So be it Lord! Come! Fill us, transform us and use us as we birth and sustain all this in prayer and follow You. Amen. Only you can do what you are created to do and that grows and changes as you mature and persevere in your faith and your race throughout life. You were made for such a time as this! Rejoice and keep at it! Day Light is burning! God is with you! Enjoy the ride!

TWFYT:

Inline image
 

CS:

Inline image
 

ODB:

Called and Equipped by God

I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom . . . and with all kinds of skills. Exodus 31:3

READ Exodus 31:1-11

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

“Your job for the international book expo,” my boss informed me, “is to organize an onsite radio broadcast.” I felt fear because this was new territory for me. God, I’ve never done anything like this, I prayed. Please help me.

God provided resources and people to guide me: experienced technicians and broadcasters, plus reminders during the expo of details I’d overlooked. In retrospect, I know that the broadcast went well because He knew what was needed and prompted me to use the skills He’d already given me.

When God calls us to a task, He also equips us for it. When He assigned Bezalel to work on the tabernacle, Bezalel was already a skilled craftsman. God further equipped him by filling him with His Spirit and with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and all kinds of skills (Exodus 31:3). God also gave him an assistant in Oholiab, as well as a skilled workforce (v. 6). With His enablement, the team designed and made the tent, its furnishings, and the priests’ garments. These were instrumental in the Israelites’ proper worship of God (vv. 7-11).

Bezalel means “in the shadow [protection] of God.” The craftsman worked on the project of a lifetime under God’s protection, power, and provision. Let’s courageously obey His prompting as we carry out a task to completion. He knows what we need, and how and when to give it.

By Karen Huang

REFLECT & PRAY

What task is God calling you to carry out? In what areas can you pray for His guidance?

Father, thank You for equipping me with all that I need.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Exodus 35–38 gives specific instructions for the construction of the tabernacle and all its furnishings. In today’s passage (31:1-11), we read that God equipped specific people to carry out this important and detailed work. God filled Bezalel with “the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills” (v. 3). He also equipped Oholiab to assist him (v. 6). In addition to being given technical skills, Bezalel and Oholiab were to teach others how to do the work (35:30-35). God equipped all with what was needed to accomplish the task (36:1).

J.R. Hudberg

UR:

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. - Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

“Don’t take your eyes off the path; that’s the best way to ensure you’ll be safe,” our guide told us as we walked 45 minutes toward our destination. The path was indeed quite uneven. At the end of the excursion, I was one of the few who did not suffer any incident along the way. I accomplished the feat because I followed the instructions closely.

The guide’s simple directions reminded me of today’s scripture in Hebrews about “fixing our eyes on Jesus.” This brief instruction invites us to keep our eyes on the right path — the path God laid out for us in Jesus Christ.

The journey of life is full of difficulties, distractions, and “easy outs” that promise to lighten our burdens. But there is only one true path — the way of Jesus. He can guide our footsteps, fill us with purpose, and offer us eternal life.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Merciful God, thank you for being our source of hope, peace, and eternal love. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, we join in the prayer he taught us: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:2-4, NIV). Amen.

Harvest Prayer Blog:

May 18 - Walking in the Presence of God

Prayer is the key to God’s presence and power resting on our lives and the lives of others. Prayer is always the precursor to revival. Can you imagine God bringing revival to a prayerless people? Spiritual awakening can always be traced back to the mercy of God in response to some praying individual or group.

Prayerlessness is the worst sin because it is the highest indication of pride. A day without prayer is a day we’ve told God we can live without Him. It speaks of a lack of trust and the vain work of human ability alone. How can we hope to know God’s agenda? Lead people where they need to go? Give them what God is saying? See God’s power resting on those we are called to lead? See real life change in us and others?

Paul says we must “pray without ceasing.” I long for that continuity. It is my great prayer that those three words would someday be said of me. That people would remark, “Well, he is not this nor that, but he prays all the time. Our pastor walks in the presence of the Lord. He constantly breathes the oxygen of heaven … and he leads us there. And when he says something or leads us somewhere, we know it is initiated by God.”

If you are not good at prayer, cry out. Pray until you are a better intercessor. Get around people who pray. Find a regular, weekly prayer partner and learn together. Call together a dozen people and work diligently at your most important task. Read books on prayer. Study and memorize the prayers of the Scripture, which will dramatically help you in your praying.

If you are desperate for prayer, God will exponentially help you in your pursuit. He knows that prayerlessness is the one weakness you cannot afford as you love and lead people for whom He died.

Father, I want to breathe in the oxygen of heaven every moment of my life! Teach me how to intercede continually and strengthen my life of prayer in ways that bring You glory! Keep me from prayerlessness and help me to encourage and teach others how to pray so that You will be pleased to pour out revival in the midst of Your people!

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

Prayer Points

  • Praise God as your faithful Creator and Re-creator in Christ.
  • Give thanks that you can “participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Pet. 4:13).
  • Confess the times in which you have shirked responsibility by failing to speak or act for Christ.
  • Commit yourself to living up to the weighty name “Christian.”
  • Ask that you will never “repay evil with evil or insult with insult” (1 Pet. 3:9).
  • Pray for people who are experiencing the effects of natural disasters. Pray that they will feel the closeness of God even in the turmoil, and that relief will be offered to them in Jesus’ name.
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 03:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, May 18 2024

Just a quick Thank God I'm Forgiven blog before I leave for procedure.

God loves and pursues you and you are forgiven and will be with Him forever. Meditate on the below devos and blogs today and thanks God for all His many blessing! I have great pace and God is in control! Thanks for all the prayers and encouragements! See you soon! Shalom!

Harvest Prayer Blogs:

May 17 - Life and Peace

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (Romans 8:6, NLT)

When you read the above passage from Romans, it seems like a very clear and easy choice. Death . . . or life and peace. But when it comes to practical choices, in the middle of the stressful seasons of life, it isn’t that clear. Christians who don’t want to let the sinful nature control their minds can find that happening, often without realizing it. When peace seems to be elusive, it’s a good bet that the Spirit is not in control of our minds.

Trusting the Holy Spirit to deal with circumstances beyond our control can be very freeing and can bring rest and peace into our souls.

There is a key word in Romans 8:6 that appears twice: “letting.” It is used in the context of allowing either your sinful nature or the Spirit to control your mind. The clear implication of Scripture is that you get to choose who will control your mind. The result of your choice will be either death or life and peace. This isn’t a small choice but something that can forever change the direction of your life.

Sometimes, when life is out of control, we can so easily forget to relinquish our desire to seize control rather than trust God to bring his “rightness” to our circumstances. We feel compelled and overwhelmed and as a result, we forget to choose that which brings life and peace. When we decide instead to let the Spirit control our minds, we are able to lay aside the anxieties of life and choose God’s peace. On a very practical level, perhaps the easiest way to do this is simply to ask the Lord for his help.

Lord, help me today to let your Spirit control my mind. It is so easy for me to step in and try to fix or control things that are beyond me. My trust is in you. I choose to let you control my thoughts and desires today and each day of my life.

--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 God as the master even of the grave.
  • Thank the Father that “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20).
  • Confess your failure to place your life and death fully in the hands of the risen Christ.
  • Commit yourself to standing firm in the victory which Christ has achieved over sin and death and hell.
  • Ask that you will “know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (15:58), and so work with extra fervor.
  • Pray that the people of your congregation will become well-grounded in the basics of the Scriptures, and that they will faithfully live their beliefs.
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:

A Change of Venue

We . . .  would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8

READ 2 Corinthians 5:1-10

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

My friend Joann passed away from a stroke just as the coronavirus began to spread in 2020. At first her family published that her memorial service would be at her church, but then it was determined it was best to hold it at a funeral home to control the size of the group attending. The new notice online read: Joann Warners—Changed Venue.

Yes, her venue had changed! She’d gone from the venue of earth to the venue of heaven. God changed her life years before, and she lovingly served Him for nearly fifty years. Even while she lay near death in the hospital, she asked about others she loved who were struggling. Now she’s present with Him; she has changed venues.

The apostle Paul had the desire to be with Christ in another venue (2 Corinthians 5:8), but he also felt it would be better for the people he served for him to remain on earth. He wrote to the Philippians, “It is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Philippians 1:24). When we grieve for someone like Joann, we may cry out to God something similar: They’re needed here by me and many others they loved and served. But God knows the best timing for their change of venue and our own.

In the Spirit’s strength, we now “make it our goal to please [God]” (2 Corinthians 5:9) until we see Him face-to-face—which will be far better.

By Anne Cetas

REFLECT & PRAY

In what ways are you revealing your love for God and others where you are right now? How might you serve Him today?

I give myself anew to You, God. Please fill me with Your Spirit of love and make my life count for You.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1) is the destination of “those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27), those who by faith have received Jesus as their Savior. In that wonderful place, there will be no more tears, death, mourning, crying, or pain (v. 4). Heaven is where God dwells (1 Kings 8:39, 43, 49; Psalm 33:13-14). When He was on earth, Jesus confirmed this to be true. He stated He came from heaven (John 3:13; 6:33, 51) and would return there (14:2), where He would be seated at the right hand of God (Luke 22:69; Hebrews 12:2). After He ascended, two angels reminded His disciples that Christ would one day return to earth from heaven (Acts 1:6-11). When believers die, they’re eternally in the presence of God!

Alyson Kieda

UR:

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 (NIV)

On a recent family trip to Florida, we had a week of beautiful weather. But then the governor declared a statewide emergency because Hurricane Ian was on its way. I could feel my anxiety level rising. People who lived in the area began to talk of evacuation before the storm’s predicted arrival in three days. I was thankful we were leaving that day and would be long gone before the storm arrived. But I wondered, What must it be like for people who live here permanently to be in a constant state of anxiety during the hurricane season?

I live far from tornado and hurricane zones. But at the same time, life has many “storms” waiting in the wings most of the time. We get news of the latest calamity. Famines, floods, and fires fill the television screen. Will we have enough water, food, or even money in the future? But Jesus reminds us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We too can be overcomers when we give our worry and fear to God (see 1 Pet. 5:7). Doing so, we can live in peace, trusting that whatever happens God will guide, comfort, and strengthen us hour by hour, day by day.

TODAY'S PRAYER

O Lord, help us to live without fear, knowing that though storms will come, you are with us. Amen.

Posted by: AT 03:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, May 18 2024

Next new member installation Sun June 2nd during worship. See pastor Don or Sarah for more info. June 2nd is also congregational meeting and vote after worship about AC in fellowship hall

FYI: No Blog tomorrow as I will be leaving early for outpatient heart surgery (cardioversion=shocking AFBIB back into rhythm). I covet your prayers! Thanks Gail for leading prayer with bread gals over me yesterday! That means a lot! For some reason I have these thoughts that tomorrow may be the end for me. I know I'm overmedicated and not thinking clearly lately. But many of you know from experience how easy it is to get all twisted up in your own thinking sometimes. I trust God and the docs and staff. This is a common and easy procedure. And if by some strange chance something happens, you know where I'll be and I'll be waiting for you, so rejoice! Joy comes in the morning! Turn off that noise and step into God's shalom, Donald! Amen!

OKAY! Enough of that foolishness, but these are my journal entries and I document my heart in many of them. I will be splitting my last week of vacation, before the July 1st reloading, over the next two weeks so blogs will be hit and miss the next two weeks. Know I am spending time with God and praying for you and I'll share when I am home and not on vacation. Plus we are celebrating Karen's birthday too! (How blessed I am that God brought us together and that she gave herself to me! What was she thinking? It had to be from God! Thanks Lord! I am soooo blessed!)

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Good Morning Friends! One of my most frequent prayer requests is for our church to become a House of Prayer (HOP) for the Nations. We are moving towards that! PTL! One of our focuses needs to be on loving all people that God loves well. Living and loving like Jesus is our goal. Check out Harvest Prayer blog about that below and pray to love and make disciples like Jesus. He was a friend of sinners and some very unreligious church outsiders. We are welcoming all kinds of people to our giving ministries (bread and clothing) and our fellowship meals on Wednesdays. Some are feeling comfortable enough with us and getting to know we are not judgmental, legalistic Pharisee-types that they are joining worship and the church too. Keep at it and keep praying into our growing as a HOP for the Nations and many to be drawn to God's accepting love. Thank God for what He's been doing, is doing and will do! PTL!

One of my daily prayer requests is that we start and develop small group ministry all over the place--houses, dinners, neighborhoods, maybe even in the building. How is God stirring you to that? I keep getting all kinds of ideas and people keep coming to mind to invite to a small group. Who are your people of peace that God is drawing together? Will you do something about it? Is this the summer God fires us up to do this? Talk to Him about it and share what you are hearing and feeling. Ask for His heart and mind and willing hands and feet.

One of my prayer requests for the past several years is that we learn to turn off the noise and chaos all around us and even in our heads and spend more time with God and in His Living Word filling our minds with His love, wisdom and truth. How's that going? I sometimes struggle but as  I pray to and ask to be made aware quicker when I am failing, God helps me catch myself much sooner and I am able to redirect my thinking and focus on Him better. PTL! It helps to be saturated in His Word and familiar with His voice to catch yourself quicker. It also conditions us to knowing when He is at work and inviting us to join Him. Just like Gail did yesterday when she stepped out of comfort zone and led prayer over me. Keep focused on God and tune out the noise. And we all have experienced that noise. How are you doing at redirecting your thinking and renewing your mind? Check out Charles Stanley's reminder about who you allow to speak into your life and The Word for You Today's reminder to be like Bereans and check all things I say and others say against Biblical truth. God is speaking to you all the time and has great plans for you. Stay focused on Him and working with like-minded believers to achieve all He has planned for you and us. Amen!

One last thought...will God carry on this work without me? If something would happen to me, would you guys continue the good works He has started? We all need to be developing our replacement and that comes through disciple making small groups. Jesus had 12 in His small group and since we aren't Jesus, our groups will probably be much smaller but He promises they can be as effective as He fills us and leads us and uses us. Pastor All paved the way at St. Matts, trained and released me to carry on and God keeps expanding that work that started at least ten years ago. Will it continue through me and you? We all have a role to play in His Good News Delivery and Disciple Making Co. What's yours? What are you doing about it? What can you share that we can celebrate as God uses you and works through you and all around you? We need to celebrate! That encourages us as we see that this is all really working and it motivates us to carry on. Amen!

That's all from the heart today. It is also what I am discerning from God that He has for us. What's God saying to you? Let's talk, pray and process together as we make plans to move from adding disciples to multiply them....from Emmaus to the Lehigh Valley, to the world! Amen! God is on the move!

CS:

Inline image
 

TWFYT:

Inline image
 

Harvest Prayer:

May 16 - Refuse to Judge by Appearances

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. (John 7:24) 

We Christians quickly dispute any notion that we are as judgmental as the world claims, but if we take an honest look at our lives, what do we see? Are we only comfortable with those who share our culture? Are we quick to look down our noses at anyone who holds a different political view than ours? Do whole groups of Christians whose worship looks unlike ours make us squirm? It seems that we have taken our preferences and our assumptions based on outward appearance to a level that would mirror idolatry. We desire our comfort and our opinions more than we want to see Jesus worshiped and his love shared with the entire world. The book of John tells us that Jesus died because God so loved the world. What prejudices and preferences can we put aside to share the gospel? If Jesus truly died for everyone and his love is available to anyone, how can we possibly see that one we judge through any eyes but his? We must ask Jesus to give us his eyes to see and his heart to love all for whom he died. 

Precious Jesus, we love you. Because we love you, we want you to teach us to love all whom you love. Thank you for dying on the cross for us, and also for those we judge. We repent of selfishness, fear, and prejudice of every kind. Please forgive us for the pride that convinces us that we know the deepest part and ultimate destiny of every individual. Only you know the plans you have for those you have created. Only you know how to bring us all to the purpose for which we were made. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we may live with a hope not only for ourselves but for those around us. Help us to trust your power to bring about the work you have for all of your people. Show us how to help those who are weak, encourage the strong and love everyone. There is no way we can do any of this on our own. Fill us with your Spirit today so we may believe you for your work of unity in our community. Strengthen us so we may fight for the oppressed and forgive the oppressor. Give us patience and endurance to believe when the change we all need is slow in coming. Give us love to cover the sins that so easily entangle us all; give us hope to believe that you are working a mighty plan of restoration in our lives. We love you, Jesus. Show us how to love our brothers and sisters, in your name. 

--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 Lord, your Savior and your God.
  • Thank God for the hope that he gives to you and for the fact that he never forgets you.
  • Confess all the desires which you have that crowd out your desire for God himself.
  • Commit your soul to panting after God “as the deer pants for streams of water” (Ps. 42:1).
  • Ask that you will “delight yourself in the LORD and [that he will give] you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4).
  • Ask God to cause your friends and family to have a deep thirst for him, and to allow nothing else to quench that thirst.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. 
Posted by: AT 03:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, May 18 2024
*** Bread Ministry today 10-12  NO Huddle tonight***
Pray for Sarah for health and legs as her an Neen prepare to head to the woman's retreat at twin Pines shortly. Pray for all the woman to be drawn close to God and dwell in His pursuing love.
Pray for Christ Muik as he needs more foot surgery today. Pray for Surgeon and staff to get everything right and for shalom and provision for he and Yvonne.
Pray for Karen's mom, Kay, for her biopsy Fri and for peace in the waiting and for good results
Pray for me for health and for cardioversion to work on Fri. and for my a fib to stop and me to be able to get off meds. They are really messing with me physically and mentally.
Pray for all of us to see and follow God well and to allow Jesus to be our Lord and Shepherd. Ask for help to purge the bad, good and better things and to focus on God's best for you and others.
Pray for our National Conference next week and for Kathy as she represents us as our Lay Delegate.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Good Morning Surrendered, Faithful, Praying, Communing, Growing in Relationship, Followers of the Way! Amen! How are those things going with you? Who do you have in your life that has permission to speak truth into you, pray for you, help you? Pray for some close co-laborers to travel this journey to Christ and Christlikeness with. Commit to seeking God's best and helping and encouraging each other to it. Start pronouncing these good things over yourself, your friends and our church.
I really am earnestly praying for and seeking a few men to be prayer partners, encouragers, processors, and accountability partners. I need that. We all do. Men with men and women with women. Iron sharpens iron. Are you sensing God's call to that too? Talk to some close trusted friends. Talk to Sarah or me and let us earnestly seek to do this as it is part of God's best and healthy way for us. Maybe start lite by just getting a few friends together to try some out activity this summer like hanging at Rita's or with neighbors. Keep asking God to grow this. Watch what he's doing and join in.
Check out our devos below beginning with the Upper Room's Faith of a Farmer. Do you have that kind of faith? Who is helping you grow into it? How about The Word for You Today's reminder of the blessing of unanswered prayers? Ask God to grow us in paying attention to His perfect will, not ours, and to have His heart and mind for prayer and ministry daily. Then there's Our Daily Bread's reminder about the lies we believe as Satan sows into our hearts. Man, turn off that noise and tune into God. He's speaking truth in love over you and has great plans for you. Focus! And the Charles Stanley reminds us of the hindrances of self-will. Not my will Father, but Yours! Help me Lord to die to self, take up cross and agape love like Jesus as I follow Him. Amen! Finally spend some time meditating on and praying though the Harvest Prayer stuff. God is speaking to you--right now! Yes you! What's He saying? What will you do about it? Who are your partners on this journey? Keep seeking, knocking, asking, receiving and following well! God is with you always and working all things together (including you and your helpers) for His best. Amen! Go and grow in Christ as you live and love more like Him today! And lift those praises for all He's doing and about to do. PTL! Hallelujah and Amen! Keep sowing and fertilizing in prayer and actions!
UR: Faith of a Farmer

Therefore, brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the coming of the Lord. Consider the farmer who waits patiently for the coming of rain in the fall and spring, looking forward to the precious fruit of the earth. - James 5:7 (CEB)

A few white clouds drifted in a blue sky over the Smoky Mountains. In the distance I could see a farmer on a tractor, tilling the field for planting. The farmer could not know what the weather would bring or whether the seeds would produce a bountiful crop. Yet, undaunted, the farmer has faith that the seeds will produce an abundant crop and prepares the land.

The words from James quoted above came to mind. As followers of Christ, our witness is like the seeds a farmer plants. We don’t know how well our seeds will grow or whether they will bear fruit. But like a farmer who returns each spring to plant once again, we must have faith that some of our seeds will land on good ground and produce a harvest that will bear much fruit for the kingdom of God.

I pray my faith remains as strong as that of a farmer and that my witness will bring an abundant harvest.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Dear Lord, guide us through the day so that we hear your word and through our actions become witnesses of your goodness to others. Amen.
TWFYT:
Inline image
 
ODB:

Lies and Truth

[Satan] is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

READ John 8:31-32, 36, 42-47

Adolf Hitler believed big lies were more powerful than small ones, and, tragically, he tested his theory successfully. Early in his political career, he claimed he was content to support others’ aspirations. When he came to power, he said his party didn’t intend to persecute anyone. Later, he used the media to portray himself as a father figure and moral leader.

Satan uses lies to gain power in our lives. Whenever possible, he provokes fear, anger, and despair because he’s “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Satan can’t tell the truth because, as Jesus said, he doesn’t have any truth inside of him.

Here are a few of the enemy’s lies. First, our prayers don’t matter. Not true. The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Second, when we’re in trouble, there’s no way out. Wrong again. “All things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27), and “he will also provide a way out” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Third, God doesn’t love us. That's false. Nothing can “separate us” from God’s love through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).

God’s truth is more powerful than lies. If we obey Jesus’ teaching in His strength, then we “will know the truth,” reject what’s false, and “the truth will set [us] free” (John 8:31-32).

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

REFLECT & PRAY

What are some lies you’re likely to believe? How might God want you to refresh your mind with His truth?

Dear Jesus, You’re the way, the truth, and the life. Please show me lies I’ve believed and help me to cling to the truth I read in the Bible.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

In today’s passage, Jesus unequivocally declares that Satan is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Satan (also known as the devil, the enemy, the thief, the evil one, the tempter) is in direct opposition to Jesus, “the truth” who sets us free (v. 32). Satan has “no truth in him” (v. 44), but Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” (14:6). In the last hours before His crucifixion, as Jesus stood before Pilate, He stated: “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth” (18:37). Jesus came to earth to declare the truth about Himself, to explain the Father to us, and to expose the truth about ourselves, as He did with the Samaritan woman at the well (ch. 4). While Satan “[came] only to steal and kill and destroy” (10:10) and was “a murderer from the beginning” (8:44), Jesus brings life eternal (3:16).

Alyson Kieda
CS:
Inline image
 
Harvest Prayer:

May 15 - Clearing Our Conscience

In prayer we will not only see how we have sinned against God, but also to see any unforgiveness we are carrying towards others. God wants us to forgive them, just as we have been forgiven to show the world what it means when a believer walks with God. He wants us to represent Him well.
 
If someone hurt one of your children, you would have a hard time having a casual conversation with them until they have acknowledged and sought forgiveness for what they’d done. When we hurt God’s children, He wants us to acknowledge, confess, and make restitution with those we’ve hurt. His great desire is unity in His family, which is one of the most profound witnesses the church has before a watching world. In fact, Jesus instructs us to stop our worship before Him until we have cleared our conscience.
 
Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (Matthew 5:23-24)
 
God deeply transformed my life when I was 17. I was a believer, but had wandered from the Lord for several years. God brought me to the end of myself and I finally surrendered my life completely back to Him. During that season, my father wisely advised me to take a legal pad, ask God to show me any sins I had committed against Him or others, and then write it down. It filled seven pages, front and back! I then went to those I had wronged and sought their forgiveness. I didn’t have to be elaborate. My simple confession to them was this: “I’m trying to get my life right with God. He has shown me that what I did was wrong. Would you forgive me?” There wasn’t a single person who denied that request. 
 
I can remember the last phone call I made to clear my conscience. Finally I knew that there was nothing between me and God or anyone else. The roof was off and the walls were down … and I was free! That was 50 years ago. I still make “sin lists” regularly. Thankfully they’re not as long, but it is in this Spirit-evaluation that God continues to uncover needed areas of growth. And, I will need to do this until I die.
 
Forgiving Father, help me to quickly recognize and confess my sin before You! Show me how to keep short accounts with You every day of my life! Give me great courage to ask for and extend forgiveness whenever it is needed so that You will hear and answer when I cry out to You!
 
---Adapted from Simply Prayer by Bill Elliff. This book is available at prayershop.org.

Prayer Points

  • Praise the Lord God Almighty, whose deeds are great and marvelous.
  • Thank God for the opportunity to become godly, and that “godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:8).
  • Confess your lack of the devotion to God which results in a life pleasing to him.
  • Commit yourself to a life of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Col. 3:12).
  • Ask that the grace of God will teach you “to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live [a] self-controlled, upright and godly [life] in this present age” (Titus 2:12).
  • Pray that your church leaders will be uncompromising examples of godliness for your congregation. Ask that they will receive consistent support from the congregation.
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 03:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, May 18 2024
Reminder: Marilyn Ritter Birthday card shower for her 90th birthday this week. (Address 7359 G Sauerkraut Lane, Macungie, PA 18062)
Keep praying for Chris and Yvonne Muik. I visited Chris at St. Luke's yesterday as he recovers from foot surgery. He has a long recovery road ahead. Yvonne continues to recover from her accident. They are thankful for our prayers and for the car God provided. Pray for God's provision for them and for a job from home for Chris
Visited Doris Hausman briefly at Lehigh. She is recovering from surgery for her broken hip and in some pain. At 103 and a half she could use some prayer covering for pain relief and healing. She said remind everyone Jesus loves you and is with you always.
Had a nice visit with Glad Ketner and daughter Linda. She had a good mothers day and continues to improve in speech and health. We discussed her purpose for being in Parkland Manor and how God is using her to share His love and encouragement where He placed her and how she is being blessed back. She loves visitors. They would love for us to do some sort of worship/Bible study there. Pray into that and for workers for the harvest.
Pray for all those who are being pursued by God's love. No one is too far gone to be saved and receive His healing love. Ask God to use you to bring His love alive and to help you receive His love. (That was supposed to be the gist of Sunday's message. We all are sinners and at fault, BUT GOD still pursues and blesses us and has assignments for us. He did that for Hager and will for you too! Amen!) You are His child of promise!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Good Morning Hopeful, Strengthened, Very Loved, Protected, and Provided for Children of Promise! You are God's own! And He continues to pursue and love on you. He has great plans for you just as you are. He is strong when you are weak. He is our hope, our shield and our strength. He protects, provides where He guides and is your refuge. Come as you are, be loved, and receive His shalom. Then allow Him to prepare and use you just as you are for His glory. Enjoy life as you love, serve and are blessed for being a blessing. Amen!
Check out our devos below and see how they tie to this today as God speaks to your heart and directs your steps. And just dwell in His presence in praise and worship! What a mighty, loving God we serve and know! God is enough and makes you adequate for His plans for you! He is our refuge and help! He is with us in the waiting and preparing us. He sends us with His wisdom to bring love and joy alive. Thanks Lord! Lead us! Amen!
TWFYT
Inline image
 
UR: A Refuge, A Help

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe. - Proverbs 18:10 (NRSVUE)

On a particularly difficult day of teaching, I left a tense committee meeting and walked quickly down the hallway with clenched fists, looking down at my feet. When I glanced up, I saw a sign with the words “Area of Refuge.”

Refuge. What an extraordinary word, I thought. My heart reminded me of Psalm 46:1 — “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I took a deep breath, grateful for this reminder that God is my refuge, always accessible to provide safety and protection.

The bell rang to mark the end of a class period. But even as the students poured out of classrooms and flooded the hallway, I could feel my heart slowing down, my breathing regulating, and even my fisted hands relaxing. I thanked God for being my refuge. I still had more difficult meetings ahead of me, but the image of the sign stayed in my mind, reminding me that God, my refuge and strength, was always available to me.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Thank you, God, for being available to us in our hour of need. Thank you for being our refuge, our help, our strong tower. Amen.
CS:
Inline image
 
ODB:

Joy and Wisdom

I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Ecclesiastes 8:15

READ Ecclesiastes 8:14-17

Sweetly fragrant cherry tree blossoms flood Japan with exquisite pale and vibrant pinks every spring, delighting the senses of residents and tourists alike. The short-lived nature of the blossoms cultivates a keen awareness in the Japanese to savor the beauty and scent while they linger: the very brevity of the experience heightens the poignancy of it. They call this deliberate enjoyment of something that will change quickly mono-no-aware.”

As humans, it’s understandable that we’d want to seek and prolong feelings of joy. Yet the reality that life is riddled with hardship means we must cultivate the ability to view both pain and pleasure through a lens of faith in a loving God. We needn’t be overly pessimistic, nor should we fashion ourselves an unrealistically sunny outlook on life.

The book of Ecclesiastes offers a helpful model for us. Though this book is sometimes thought to be a catalog of negative statements, the same King Solomon who wrote that “everything is meaningless” (1:2) also encouraged his readers to find joy in the simple things in life saying, “There is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad” (8:15).

Joy comes when we ask God to help us “know wisdom” and learn to observe “all that God has done” (vv. 16-17) in both beautiful seasons and in difficult ones (3:11-14; 7:13-14), knowing that neither is permanent on this side of heaven.

By Kirsten Holmberg

REFLECT & PRAY

What kind of “season” are you currently in? How can you find joy in it?

Dear Father, thank You for being the source of beauty and joy in my life.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

The author of Ecclesiastes, which scholars say is Solomon, identifies himself as “the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1). He shows us what life is like without God and how He must fit into it. The Teacher makes his observations on the unjust realities of life in a fallen world: “Good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good” (8:14 nlt). Instead of being weighed down by such unfairness, however, Solomon encourages us to enjoy life (3:22; 5:19; 9:9) so we “will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives [us] under the sun” (8:15 nlt). At the close of his book, the author reminds us: “When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days” (11:8 nlt).

K. T. Sim
Harvest Blogs:

HIS PRESENCE IS ENOUGH

by Kim Butts

“When you are able to create a lonely place in the middle of your actions and concerns, your successes and failures slowly can lose some of their power over you.” ~ Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude

Jesus would regularly separate Himself from the crowds, and even from the disciples, to go off to a lonely, quiet place to pray. It was in the place of solitude where Jesus met with His Father in deepest intimacy so that the everyday work of the kingdom could unfold as God desired. Whenever I allow myself to follow His example, I often come away recognizing that my worth to God is not the same as my usefulness to Him. This is crucial to my well-being, for I am better able to see myself through my Father’s eyes rather than allowing myself to strive for acceptance and value based on my ministry activity.

 

In silence, He cares for my soul in a way that I can be attentive to in the moment. When I am in the midst of everyday activity, I can usually only look back reflectively to notice His involvement in my life. Over the past few years, I have been praying, meditating and actively moving towards God’s transformative activity in my life moment by moment. Stopping to pay attention and pray in the midst of busyness as well as in the quiet, reflective moments have allowed me to practice His presence and welcome His nearness and care in everything…from the most mundane task or thought to the moments when I feel the most pleasure or the most accomplished. He is there – always. He has promised to be. I have started to be keenly aware that God’s life in me can only be reflected by how I live out His kingdom life in the world. The health of this activity is directly related to my life of prayer.

 

So much of my time is a torrent of frenzied activity and urgency. My expectations of myself far exceed the expectations of God. He simply calls me to live like Jesus. I challenge myself to live out Jesus on steroids – an impossibility that is actually counterproductive and paradoxical. Jesus lived simply in a way that demonstrated the intricate dance between activity and holiness – doing and being. Solitude – being still with God alone…is the way I can be more attentive to His presence in the midst of all of life. Yet, if I never stop long enough to have seasons where I can feel the gaze of God upon me, I can’t make course-corrections or learn how to feel His pleasure with me when I am in stressful or busy situations.

 

One story in Scripture that punctuates all of this for me is when Jesus healed the man sitting by the Pool of Bethesda. Jesus, we must surmise from His own narrative in Scripture, chose, at the direction of the Father, one person to heal. One. Out of the many who were anxiously, hopefully waiting for healing, Jesus asked one man if he wished to get well…and didn’t use the waters of the pool to do so. Then, with dozens more sick and ailing all around Him, Jesus moved on without healing any others. Why? Because He wasn’t interested in garnering points with the population for His amazing healing powers through healing as many people as He possibly could. His focus was upon glorifying God through obediently healing the one He had been instructed to heal.

The challenge for me…and for all of us, is to seek God, as Jesus often did, in the silent moments of solitude so that we may be able to better hear His voice when He instructs us throughout our day. Perhaps, as Nouwen stated, we will then be able to create those “lonely places” even in the midst of busyness and distractions where our “successes and failures” fade away into the obedient kingdom activity of Jesus.

 

Here are three spiritual goals to challenge you in your relationship with God:

1. To be more aware of God’s continual nearness no matter what activity you may be engaged in or what time of day it is…and to continually recognize that everything is not dependent upon me, but upon Him!

2. To recognize and internalize that simply to be in His presence, without “doing” anything…is enough.

3. To spend more time in silence and solitude listening to the “still small voice” of God and enjoying His company.

Prayer Points

  • Praise the Lamb, Jesus Christ, who with his blood “purchased men for God from 
  • every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).
  • Thank the Lord that he covenanted with Abraham long ago and that you have the blessing
  •  of being part of God’s own people.
  • Confess any tendencies that you have to judge people by color, ethnicity, or background.
  • Commit yourself to showing no favoritism, just as God shows none (Acts 10:34).
  • Ask that you will do your part in the kingdom of priests who serve God (Rev. 5:10).
  • Give thanks for the gifts, abilities, and perspectives of those whom God has given to you, 
  • and ask his blessing upon them.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. 
Posted by: AT 03:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, May 18 2024

NEWS:

Tomorrow is our last zoom huddle for the summer at 10. All welcome!

Wed Bread ministry at 10-12

***Note: Wed night huddles are done for the summer (at least for now) Family Ministry will be doing monthly activities beginning in June. The adults may do an activity monthly outside the building or begin regathering of we air condition? Interested in helping to plan or lead something? Contact Pastor Don.

Sat 10-1 Clothing Closet (only a few left before summer break) Needed leaders and volunteers for Clothing and Bread Ministries. Contact Sarah, Don or Gina

Mark you calendars:

We have received a very generous offer of $10,000. to be used to air condition the fellowship hall. That leaves $5500.-6,000. for us to fund. We will have a congregational discussion and vote Sun June 2nd after worship. (You must be a member in good standing to vote)

Sun June 9th, 1030 am: Church Picnic with Worship at Community Park

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good Morning Unique, Custom Made, Healthy, Sufficient-in-Christ, Servants of Our Creator! I just can't ever thank God enough for making me, who I am and for saving, redeeming, healing, gifting, filling, empowering, helping and sending me to go live and love like Jesus for such a time as this! Just meditate on that awhile. And God places us right where He wants us and even sends others to us for our help and encouragement  and for us to help and encourage. How cool. He placed us in His Body. We all matter and have a part to play and He's using us as we submit and allow Him to mold, shape and use us. What an awesome God! And how cool is it that we get to do these things just as we are! As we do, we grow to be more like Jesus, into our fuller potential and experience God's greater things for us! Man! I could just stop right here and have a boatload to ponder and praise for today! How about you? What's God doing in, through and around you? (or wanting to?) How about others He has for us to partner with? Are you getting any dreams, visions or ideas of things God may want us to plan and do? (Please share those with us!). God has some amazing things for you and us to discover and plan and then do. PTL!

Check out our devos below that thread through all of this. Be still and know. Meditate as you go. Keep your eyes and ears open for what God is doing that He wants you to join in with Him. Keep sharing those stories and ideas! May all we think, say, plan and do bring great glory to our Father in heaven! May His Kingdom come and will be done in the heavenlies and in, through and around us. May we incarnate Jesus and His love, just as we are, as we go live and love like Jesus. And may we grow to be more like Jesus and do more of the things He planned for us from long ago! I can't wait to see all the new things He is readying for us as we learn to die to self, take up cross daily and follow Jesus! Amen! 

God is calling you by name, even singing over you and He has given us His Word, His Living Word, the Bible to inform, refresh and guide us to His best plans! He makes us sufficient and use the unexpected to impact the world. He is redeeming and restoring all the enemy has stolen and work with us to lead us to great spiritual, physical, emotional, financial health and stewardship. We are the Light of the world as we follow God's Light and Love. Our God ROCKS! Amen!

UR: Unique Composition

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105 (KJV)

Several weeks ago, my wife and I went to a piano concert held at a local music hall. The pianist was a young professional who had received the second award at the International Chopin Piano Competition held a few years ago. We were deeply impressed and listened to the beauty of the melodies of Chopin and Beethoven.

When I looked closely at the pianist following his musical score carefully, I likened it to the relationship between God and humankind. God created a special, unique composition for each of us, and we are expected to play the music carefully. The sheet music can be found in the Bible. If we neglect the written notes, we may fumble through life without attaining the joy God has created for us all. Encouraged and guided by God’s words in scripture, our lives will play the songs of love and grace God wrote for us.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Thank you, Lord, that you have composed special music for each of us. As we study your word in scripture, help us to learn and play our songs to glorify your name. Amen.ODB:

A Solitary Voice

As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says. 2 Chronicles 18:13

READ 2 Chronicles 18:9-16

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

After the Paris Peace Conference that concluded World War I, French Marshall Ferdinand Foch bitterly observed, “This is not peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.” Foch’s view contradicted the popular opinion that the horrifying conflict would be the “war to end all wars.” Twenty years and two months later, World War II erupted. Foch was right.

Long ago, Micaiah, the lone true prophet of God present at the time, consistently prophesied dire military results for Israel (2 Chronicles 18:7). In contrast, four hundred of King Ahab’s false prophets foretold victory: “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king,” a court official told Micaiah. “Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably” (v. 12).

Micaiah responded, “I can tell him only what my God says” (v. 13). He prophesied how Israel would be “scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd” (v. 16). Micaiah was right. The Arameans killed Ahab and his army fled (vv. 33-34; 1 Kings 22:35-36).

Like Micaiah, we who follow Jesus share a message that contradicts popular opinion. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Many don’t like that message because it seems harshly narrow. Too exclusive, people say. Yet Christ brings a comforting message that’s inclusive. He welcomes everyone who turns to Him. 

By Tim Gustafson

REFLECT & PRAY

When the Spirit leads you to say or do something, how will you do so in love? When have your own assumptions needed to be challenged by God?

Father, please give me the wisdom to discern Your truth. 

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

A similar battle between true and false prophets that’s recorded in 2 Chronicles 18 is also seen in Jeremiah 27-28. The prophet Jeremiah is the solitary voice for truth amid a chorus of false hope (27:9-15) and confronts the lies of the false prophet Hananiah (ch. 28).

In the New Testament, Paul also warned against false prophets and of the day when people “will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). Every believer in Jesus needs to be discerning and boldly speak truth, even where there are those who itch for something else.

Arthur Jackson

TWFYT:

Inline image
 

CS:

Inline image

Posted by: AT 03:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, May 18 2024
Happy Mother's Day!
(See Joe Toy new at bottom)
Good Morning Very Loved, Adopted Heirs of the Kingdom of God! You are so loved and cared for! God is with you always and working all things together for good and according to His will and plans. He is Father and Mother to us! PTL! Meditate on all that means to you and us. God is Love! Love lives in you. Love wants to love through you. Love drives out all fear. Receive His shalom and love today and share it with all those He puts in your paths today and this week. LOVE! Amen!
For some this day is a joy. For some a burden. For some fun and for some very hard. One thing for sure, motherhood and raising kids is not for the weak and can be very wearying. Let us lift up and encourage all moms and those who are filling the role of mother and encourage, pray and bless them! Check out TWFYT about single parenthood. It should give you some prayer starters and maybe a nudge for how to bless one or two single parents today.
As I considered mothers for today's message, Timothy's mom and grand mom never came to mind. Yet, they are two examples for us on raising godly children. We all want to leave a spiritual legacy. Pray and sow into those who are trying their best and put children and parents into God's loving, guiding, providing hands. Pray for our family ministries as well that we would bless and nurture children and parents in faith. Check out ODB devo below about this.
The UR (below) speaks into faith like a child and dependence on God. I pray for me, you and us to have this kind of faith and for God to nurture it in us. I can't answer for you, but He answers with His refining love and faithfulness that grows me as His child. He has great plans for you and us that are activated with childlike faith and obedience. let us be all about that!
Charles Stanley's devo (below) really spoke to my heart and informed my prayers today. God's will is what I want to do. I try to make that a priority and starting point for all I do. Praying and living for His Kingdom to come and will to be done are the starting point for all we do if we are to do it well. Die to self. Depend on Him. Connect to and receive form Him and keep working at living and loving more like Him and all will fall into place. He is cheering us on and wanting to help us to His best. Thanks Lord! Your Kingdom come and will be done! May I have childlike faith, live well as your child and nurture like a mother other in my care. lead us Lord and love well through us. All for your glory! Thanks! Amen!
Shalom! See you at 10!
TWFYT:
Inline image
 
ODB:

Leaving a Spiritual Legacy

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice. 2 Timothy 1:5

READ 2 Timothy 1:3-5

As teens, my sister and I didn’t understand my mom’s decision to receive Jesus as her Savior, but we couldn’t deny the changes we saw in her. She had more peace and joy and began faithfully serving at church. She had such a hunger for studying the Bible that she attended and graduated from seminary. A few years after my mom’s decision, my sister accepted Christ and started serving Him. And a few years after that, I also placed my trust in Jesus and started serving Him. Many years later, my father joined us in believing in Him as well. My mom’s decision for Christ created a life-changing ripple effect among our immediate and extended family.

When the apostle Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy and encouraged him to persevere in his faith in Jesus, he noted Timothy’s spiritual heritage. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).

Moms and grandmoms, your decisions can affect generations.

How beautiful that Timothy’s mom and grandmom helped nurture his faith so he could become the man God was calling him to be. 

On this Mother’s Day and beyond, let’s honor mothers who’ve made a decision to follow Jesus.

Let’s also leave a spiritual legacy for our loved ones.

By Nancy Gavilanes

REFLECT & PRAY

Which godly women can you honor today? What kind of spiritual legacy would you like to leave for others?

Father God, thank You for godly mothers. Please help me to also leave a spiritual legacy for others.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Though Paul affectionately called Timothy “my true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2; see 2 Timothy 1:2), he wasn’t the one who taught him about Jesus. It was his own mother Eunice and grandmother Lois (2 Timothy 1:5) who “taught [him] the holy Scriptures from childhood, and . . . [gave him] the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus” (3:15 nlt ). Timothy was of mixed parentage—a gentile father and Jewish mother. When Paul first met him, Timothy was already a leader and “the believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him” (Acts 16:2). He became Paul’s intern, traveling companion, and trusted protégé (vv. 3-4; Philippians 2:19-22). That the apostle sent Timothy to deal with the troublesome Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 4:17) and to confront false teachers in the Ephesian church (1 Timothy 1:3) testify to this young man’s spiritual maturity and ministry leadership.

Learn more about the lesser-known women of the Bible.

K. T. Sim
UR: Depending on God

[Jesus] said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

When I was placed on strict bed rest during pregnancy, I was shocked. I have worked for most of my life and have always liked to stay busy — my five children are evidence of that! But I was in danger of losing my baby, so I asked people to pray for me and focused on the work of resting.

Since I could get out of bed only to go to the bathroom and shower, I depended on others to do all my usual daily tasks. I was tempted to feel helpless and lonely. But then God brought the above verse to my mind, and it changed my perspective and humbled me. I believe Jesus is telling his disciples to recognize their dependence on God — to be like children who trust that their loving parent will provide what they need.

I wondered, How much of my life is actually within my control? How often do I take credit for things that only God can orchestrate? I realized that God provides everything I need — even my next breath. Instead of feeling helpless, I felt free to rest in God’s care and to praise God for being such a wonderful Parent.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Loving God, thank you for being our capable and loving Parent. We recognize that our lives are in your hands. Amen.
CS:
Inline image
 
Harvest Blogs:

May 12 - Speak Peace

I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly. (Psalm 85:8)

While still in college, I began to be passionate about revival. I so wanted to experience the Lord’s presence, not just in my life, but to see it in the Church. I didn’t really know much about it then and I certainly didn’t know how to pray for revival. I had one verse I retuned to over and over: “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (Psalm 85:6). It is fascinating to me, and a little sad, that in those early years, I never studied the rest of Psalm 85. It is really all about revival.

As I looked again at Psalm 85, I found this outline of revival teaching in the text of this psalm:

1. God was angry in the past but restored his people.

2. God is currently angry and his people need revival.

3. It is time to pray and seek the Lord.

4. It is time to listen to the Lord.

5. God’s answer is the peace of his presence.

The psalmist rightly moves from making his requests regarding revival to a time of silence in which he listens for the Lord’s response. God’s response, summed up in verse 8 is that he will speak peace to his people. When God receives our pleas for revival, he answers by speaking to us of peace. For most of us, that is not what we expect. However, we need to trust that the Father knows best and that if we are to see revival, we must listen to the Lord speak peace to his people.

Though the rest of Psalm 85 refers to peace, the clearest place is to jump to the life of Jesus and listen to his words of peace. In three powerful teachings, Jesus fulfilled the promise of Psalm 85:8 that he would speak peace to his saints:

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

The Apostle Paul takes this teaching of Jesus about peace and helps us understand why it must be understood as a basis for revival. “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near” (Ephesians 2:17). The preaching of Jesus about peace was the heart of the gospel.

Lord, I thank you for your message of peace to us. That on the cross, you, in your flesh, broke down the dividing wall between us and the Father and between us as humans. You are our peace! I embrace your peace today and ask you to help me live that out in every aspect of my life.

--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 the Father who has compassion on his children.
  • Thank him for forgiving all your sins, healing all your diseases, redeeming your life from the pit, crowning you with love and compassion, and satisfying your desires with good things (Psalm 103).
  • Confess those periods in your day when you are unaware of God’s faithful, watching, loving presence beside you and within you.
  • Commit yourself to watching for signs of his love and tenderness toward you.
  • Ask him to draw you closer to himself.
  • Pray for “those who are least in the kingdom of heaven”—the poor, sick, lonely, outcast, struggling, grieving—that they may find the Father’s love in a warm church fellowship.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. 
Joe Toy:

“Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look to the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”

Dear Friends,

           The Kentucky Derby is known as “The run for the Roses”, as the winning horse is draped in a blanket of roses. Lasting approximately two minutes, the race has been called “The most exciting two minutes in sports” or “The fastest two minutes in sports. There were about 263,000 people in attendance over the two days of racing and over $400 million gambled on the various horse races.  It was a big time event this year as was the 150th year anniversary celebration. 


On Thursday May 2, thirty-five men began to arrive Cornerstone Church in Louisville with one intention in mind to get gospel of Jesus Christ to as many race fans as possible.  Our first night was spent enjoying a good meal, Bible teaching, prayer and organizing our teams.  I was blessed to lead a squad of eleven men on both days. This is a very exhausting outreach as we spend about twelve hours a day proclaiming the gospel, passing out gospel tracts, holding gospel signs and engaging people in conversation.

On Friday, it was a cloudy and drizzly day. I think that I put on and took off my rain coat about eight times. The last time that I put it on was for good as the heavens opened up to a good old downpour as the races ended and the fans fled the track.  The fans were not the only ones who got soaking wet even though we had umbrellas and rain coats. I was chosen  to lead our team to a location where the police had pushed us off the past two years.  This year through much prayer and contacting our lawyers, who conversed with the city attorney, we stood our ground.

  We had an encounter with the police, but they backed off and let us alone for both days.  This gave us a prime spot near one of the major gates.  It is an interesting thought to consider that we are any kind of threat to the public.  Yet, many people leave the races seriously drunk and become a hazard on the road. The real battle in all of this is a spiritual one as sports has turned into a major idol that fills the money coffers of the city. 

The Apostle Paul faced a similar battle, when he brought the gospel to the folks in Ephesus.  The idol makers felt that their business was threatened and sought to shut down the ministry.  The Lord is always in control and whether the police moved us on or the rain came down, the gospel still would have been preached.  We were able to pass out thousands of gospel tracts and have numerous gospel conversations. One man on his way to the race encountered one of our team members and made a profession of faith. Another memorable encounter was when a Jewish man stated, “My people killed Jesus Christ. He could never forgive us.”  One of our men responded, “My sins put Jesus on the cross,” which led to a great conversation. As Derby day ended, the crowds streamed down the streets to hear the gospel again.  For the most part the people were tame with a few mockers and screamers.  And like the Derby, our outreach had begun and ended really fast as we gave it our all for Christ.

Before we left for the Derby, we concluded our outreaches at UNC and NCS.  It was an amazing semester as twenty-six students made professions of faith.  The Lord is at work on these campuses using his people to sow the gospel through students, faculty, campus ministry and various churches.
     One young lady approached us and said, “Can you explain salvation to me?”  Another young man stated, “I think it is time that I give my life to Christ.”
     Another student told us,  “I read that tract
  that you gave me three weeks ago.     

I am saved now.”  This is definitely a God thing. Jesus is at work seeking and saving the lost. 
     A few weeks back a woman at the bus station asked us to pray for his son in prison.  We got his name and passed it on to our friend Stephen.  He visited him yesterday at the prison and the man gave his life to Jesus.  He told Stephen, “I had just been thinking about this and you show up.” 
Keep us in Prayer. 
Thanks for all your support.
God Bless.
Our mailing address is:
57 N Chaucer Way
Kittrell, NC  27544
 
Contact: 
Facebook:  OAMPhilly
                    JoeToy
Website:    OAMPhilly
Posted by: AT 03:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, May 18 2024

Please pray for Chris and Yvonne Muik! Chris is having surgery this morning on his infected foot. Yvonne is still recovering from her accident and trying to push through to keep the house running. PTL they were able to replace their car. Pray for the surgeon and staff, healing an shalom for both.

Pray for moms and those grieving, as well, this Mother's Day weekend. This weekend can be a joy and a deep dark place for many. Let us celebrate and come beside and love like Christ.

Prepare your hearts and pray for our worship service tomorrow.

-----------------------------------------------------

Good Morning Patient, Praying, Seeking, Listening and Loving Servants of the Lord! God is in control and we are not God nor in control. His ways are not our ways. PTL! Right? I have a sign above my desk that says "All things are possible for God." (and the are!) Below it is a cross to remind me to die to self, take up cross daily and follow Jesus as I grow in trust and obedience to be more like Him and to allow Him to lead. (Help me Lord!) Too often I forget that and ignore my prayer to take every thought, type, choice and action captive before the Lord. As an out loud thinker I often have to say, type, write and reread and rethink things to know what I'm thinking and to process. That can be difficult for others. (Ask Karen!) These blogs are my journal notes for the day and often are unedited and pastor Don raw and processing. I share them as a reminder and example of how to journal and listen and process with God. Sometimes, I should edit and process with a few close friends before sharing! Maybe the last few days could be a good example as I wear my heart on my sleeve and share passionately with God and you what I am hearing and thinking.

 Sometimes I do something I pray I never will do and that is use this platform (and my sermons) as a  bully pulpit. I may have offended some of you and if so, please forgive me! Sometimes I presume on you and/or God and think I know best and need to remind of that. Forgive me! You all know how passionate I am about following God, growing His Kingdom and making disciples. Sometimes I can run ahead of God when I need to be still, listen, process and know that He is God. I've been on a lifelong journey towards trusting Him and often have to ask Him to forgive my unbelief and help me to stop and trust. As I do, He is faithful to help and affirm or redirect my choices. PTL! Case in point is the $10,000. donation offer for AC. To me that is affirmation that God is hearing our prayers, answering, and we are on the right track. But then here comes that wacky pastor wanting to coerce everyone to jump on board instead of trusting God to direct and lead to His best. Forgive me for allowing that to happen and flow through these blogs as a bullying of sorts. I have been repenting of that politically and need to do so more with allowing God to be the Lord of all and bring His plans to life His way and in His timing. So, help me and us Lord to be still, know you and grow in faith as we listen and process with others and make your plans. Lead us to be a disciple making hub and to grow your Kingdom as we learn to live sacrificially and love lavishly like Jesus. Amen! OK, enough of that. God has a plan for you and us. Let us seek and follow Him together!

Now there's one other issue (well probably many!) that I need you to pray for and cover for me. I always pray that I will not become a crotchety old man yet find myself being one a lot lately. Forgive me! I think it really started to kick in during my heart issue and hospital stay. It could be heart or med related? Something is off in me right now. Part of why I had stopped my meds was because of that. I am back on them all before my cardioversion next Friday. I really do believe much of it is drug induced depression and, well, crotchetiness.   I am finding myself fixated on things, grumpy, selfish and unable to redirect myself. Hopefully next week will correct the heart issue and I can get off all the meds. Please pray for me and for me to remember to die to self, take up cross daily (hourly) and follow Jesus and to catch myself quicker and redirect sooner. Pray for me to be more like Jesus and doing more of His will, His way. Thanks! All things are possible for God! Amen!

So here are the rest of my journal notes for today. Pretty cool how God spoke to my heart! Thanks Lord! Is He speaking to yours? Is there some correcting or something you need to take before Him? Is there someone or a group of close trusted friends that have permission to speak truth over you, pray and hold accountable? That is crucial in our walk towards Christlikeness! Pray for us to get some small groups up and running and to find some for you to partner and flourish with. That is part of God's best plans. Thank you to my accountability partners who have permission t speak truth in love and help me to get back on track!

Check out Charles Stanley's devo! This just spoke to my heart today and helped me to redirect, listen and pray better. Now to put it into action! Am I, are we, allowing God control? He will lead us if we allow. Come! Lead me Lord! Be my Lord! I release all to you! Forgive my unbelief and running ahead or lagging behind. Come! Have all of me! Amen. Our Daily Bread reminds us to stay the course. Let us not grow weary and let us seek and follow well! The Upper Room reminds us to be grounded in God's Word and to allow it to direct our steps and choices. Help me Lord to be in Your Word and follow what You are teaching better and more quickly! Thank You for Your Living Word that speaks to our hearts, informs our choices and is a light to our path! Amen. The Word for You Today, at least for me, is a reminder of the importance of small groups and encouraging and blessings those who help and bless us. Thank you to all of you who pray for and encourage me! Thank you for all of you who are seeking and following God and stepping into your roles that He created you for!. Thank God for the small groups He is raising up! Amen!

So there you have it! Love God! Love people! Go make disciples! As we follow and grow to be more like Jesus! May we always have patience with each other, encourage and pray for each other, and commit to co-labor together as we yoke to Jesus and grow at following Him and His best ways better. More of Him and less of me! One of my constant prayers is to become and lead us to be followers of the Way. Jesus is the Way! May we follow well! Amen! Shalom shalom! Perfect peace to you and yours and our fellowship. Amen

CS:

Inline image
 

ODB:

Staying the Course in Christ

All you need to say is simply “Yes” or “No”; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

READ 1 Samuel 28:3-10

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

As Gandalf the Grey confronted Saruman the White, it became clear that the latter had turned from what he was supposed to be doing—helping to protect Middle-earth from the power of the evil being Sauron. What’s more, Saruman had allied with Sauron! In this scene from the film The Fellowship of the Ring, based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s classic work, the two former friends then engage in an epic good-versus-evil battle. If only Saruman had stayed the course and done what he knew was right!

King Saul also had trouble staying the course. In one account, he rightly “expelled the mediums and spiritists from [Israel]” (1 Samuel 28:3). Good move, for God had declared that dabbling in the occult was “detestable” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). But when God didn’t answer the king’s plea—due to his prior failures—for how to deal with a massive Philistine army, Saul caved: “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her” (1 Samuel 28:7). Talk about a complete reversal! Saul failed once more as he went against his own decree—what he knew was right.

A millennium later, Jesus said to His disciples, “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37). In other words, if we’ve committed ourselves to obeying Christ, it’s vital that we keep our oaths and be truthful. Let’s stay the course in doing those things as God helps us.

By Tom Felten

REFLECT & PRAY

What helps you keep your oaths? Why is it vital that you stay the course in being truthful?

Dear Jesus, please help me stay the course in following Your ways.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

First Samuel 28:6 says, “[Saul] inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him.” The reason for God’s silence, as the prophet Samuel told him, is that “the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy” (v. 16). This was “because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites” (v. 18). The Amalekites were descendants of Esau (though they were distinct from his descendants the Edomites). They had a history of attacking Israel, including those who lagged behind during the exodus—in other words, Israel’s weakest citizens. God instructed Israel to annihilate Amalek (Deuteronomy 25:17-19), but Israel didn’t complete the task. Later, Haman, a descendant of Agag (probably King Agag the Amalekite, see 1 Samuel 15), would seek to commit genocide against God’s people, the Jews (Esther 3:5-14).

Tim Gustafson

UR: Following Instructions:

We’re praying this so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. - Colossians 1:10 (CEB)

When we removed a 20-foot cedar tree from our yard, it left a cracked and discolored concrete retaining wall exposed.

Fresh paint and two trellises for climbing plants helped cover part of it. At first the vines we planted were spindly and weak, but we followed the planting instructions and with proper care and watering the vines started to grow. Over time, as we continued to follow the instructions, the foliage became full and lush with brilliant flowers.

When we first give our lives to the Lord, we may start out much like spindly vines — needing tending and cultivation to grow toward God. We begin to grow by spending time in scripture, then a number of changes begin to unfold. In time our lives become fuller, and the changes become evident for all to see. But as I learned by tending the flowering vines, we need to continue watering and cultivating our faith to keep growing in the knowledge of God and to become more like Jesus. We will never outgrow the wisdom found in scripture that leads us to abundant life with God.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Father God, thank you for providing us with everything we need to live an abundant life. Help us to remain rooted in your word and to grow in faith. Amen.TWFYT:

Inline image
 

hARVEST PRAYER BLOGS:

May 11 - Living with No Partiality 

And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.” . . . So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:28, 34, 35) 

No partiality? Is that even possible for a human in these opinionated and self-focused days? It seems that everywhere we go and everything we read is beckoning us to choose sides and make judgments. The dangerous pride that lurks in the hidden places of each heart tells us that our rights, our thoughts and our culture are king. Jesus has given us a better way. He has opened doors, through his death on the cross, that will free us from the prisons of isolation we have made for ourselves. When he fills our hearts, he also enables us to see his beautiful and varied creation with new lenses of love and acceptance. What a witness we, believers in Jesus, would be to the world if we allowed him to overtake our hearts and minds with his love! Prejudice of every kind is not only sin, it is a poison that will wreck our lives and cause devastation to our communities. The impartial and welcoming love of Jesus is a healing ointment that soothes pain and corrects generational wrongs. Let’s repent. Let’s turn from our wicked ways. Let’s allow Jesus to heal and unite in the way that only he can. 

Loving Father, we love you, and because we love you we want to love the people you love. Forgive us for every way we have shown partiality and harbored prejudice. We know that our sinful pride has separated us and for that, we repent. We ask you to give us your eyes to see those around us. Free us from our dangerously sinful pride. Release us from bitterness toward those who have judged and mistreated us. We want to love as you love. We desire to love without preference and with your generous heart. Help us to take up the cause of those who have no one to defend them. Teach us to fight oppression and seek justice with integrity and humility. Use us to bring reconciliation and healing in our communities. Would you give us fresh ideas as to how we can love? We know the work of restoration is hard and long. Would you empower us to stand for freedom and justice for all and to not grow weary when the battle takes longer than we’d hoped? We know you have called us to live in unity with our brothers and sisters. We believe that you have made us to bring many into your family. Teach us the way of love, Lord Jesus. We honor you and thank you for loving through us. It is in your loving and transformative name we pray and live. 

--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 Lamb of God, who was beaten and crucified for the sins of the world.
  • Thank him for taking your place, your punishment, your sins on himself.
  • Confess the sins that have been on your conscience this past week, knowing that God will deal gently with you (Heb. 4:14-16).
  • Commit yourself to living for Christ, not for the empty way of life that his blood redeemed you from (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
  • Ask Jesus to help you understand the depth of the love that sent him to the cross for you.
  • Intercede for specific missionaries that you know, asking God to protect them from evil, provide for all their financial needs, and encourage them by giving a good response to their message.
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 03:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024
Thank God I'm Forgiven Friday! PTL and amen! Check out Our Daily Bread The Word for you Today devotionals and Harvest Prayer Blogs below that speak into this great, lavish, sacrificial love of God and our responsibilities as much forgiven, made right in Christ Children of God.
Reminder: Marilyn Ritter 90th birthday card shower. Her birthday is May 16th and address is: 7359G Sauerkraut Lane Macungie, PA 18062
Mark your calendar: 
Congregational vote for air conditioning Fellowship Hall Sun June 2nd after worship. (see notes below but we've had a very generous offering from a church outsider for $10,000. to be used to install AC)
Church Picnic with worship Sun. June 9th at 10:30
This Sun. Mother's Day Worship with Children's Church live and on Zoom Sun from 10-11:15.
Help needed for Bread Ministry and Clothing Closet (talk to Sarah, me, Gail or Gina.) Children's Church helpers needed too. We will be taking the summer off and restarting in Sept. Activities will be available for young ones in our upstairs nursery beginning after memorial Day.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Good Morning Masterpieces of God, Made New in Christ, to Do All that God Created You to Do, Trusting, Followers of Jesus! Now that's a mouthful but flows from Eph. 4 into our devotionals for today as God speaks truth into our hearts and directs our steps. PTL!
I've really been a bit baffled, confused and in a kinda funk recently and pretty hard on myself for feeling like I failed God and in leading you. I've been frustrated that we all don't embrace the need to air condition the fellowship hall to continue to grow our ministry. I've been anxious that we are failing to follow God and I am failing to lead well to that. Some of that has been very obvious in my blogs lately. Am I not hearing God or aren't some of you? Are we willing to sow lavishly into the future and provision God has given us? Are we willing to forget what lies behind and press on toward the goal God has for us and step out in faith to His best plans? Are we even seeking Him or leaning on our own understanding? 
I had to exhale all the junk and cast my anxiety to the Lord. That's very hard when you feel like you are failing Him or your hands are tied to lead to his plans. I was second guessing the tone of yesterday's blog about the AC stuff and was about to amend the blog with a "kinder and gentler" edit when my phone rang. It was a family friend who has never attended our church but reads my blogs. They were stirred by what God is doing and wants to do at St. Matts. and felt led to offer $10,000. towards our air conditioning. PTL!!!! Hallelujah! I was floored! What a miracle and answer to prayer! This friend has rallied beside us at my old church to help, pray and stir us to steps of faith. They are challenging us to seek God, step out in faith and do this by adding our part to the pot, trusting God and sowing into the future He has begun for us.
I couldn't wait to bring this to the Support Team meeting last evening! WOW! Look at God's provision, answer to prayer and response to yesterday's blog's call to follow God's provision. However, I was reminded that we promised you that the congregation would have a say and vote in this since we are a congregation led denomination and church. That vote will be Sun. June 2nd after worship. Before that pray hard for direction and for God's will to be clear and followed. Don't lean on your own understanding. Trust God. Check out Charles Stanley and the Upper Room below as starting points to seek and listen.
I signed off from the support team meeting deflated and anxious. Some are all on board and some responded that we didn't need AC to do ministry in the past and we don't need it now. WHAT? Yes that is true but we live in a whole different age. We are 3-6 generations away from when everyone went to church. In fact. today most under 40 have been influenced by schools, society, parents and a government that are against things of God and the church. Many are involved in sports that play during church. Our local school district schedules pictures and graduation against the normal worship times. (That's why some are only able to attend church Wed nights or weeknights that we meet) Plus many now work Sundays. We have become irrelevant and not even considered an option for Sundays for the family. Most everyone under 50 have been raised in an era where AC is everywhere and are not willing to be uncomfortable to do something they aren't really sure about like come to a church activity. God has been blessing St. Matts since the new year with new members and nonchurch people coming to Wednesday and Family Ministry activities. Nationally since COVID church attendance is down 30-40% or more and no new people are coming through the doors. Many churches are barely hanging on and some will be closing doors soon. BUT GOD! He has blessed us to stay steady during COVID and we are actually growing! PTL! We are one of the few healthy churches in our denomination. And God keeps sending new people on Wed and some to our Sun worship. PTL!
I just can't understand the apprehension to AC and continue our active and very alive ministries through the summer? God is on the move and is providing! PTL! Are we willing to sow lavishly into His provision or bury our talents in fear? (Look up and meditate on the parable of the talents). 
Here are the facts: We continue to run behind in giving and as members continue to step into heaven that trend will increase unless God turns things around and we connect to new people. We may have 7-8 years left unless that changes. We've had to borrow from investments the past few years to met budget. However God has provided funds. PTL! And He has provided seed to sow from those funds. Now is the time to sow! Our Building Fund (to be used to maintain the building) has a balance over $19,000. with no foreseeable expenses needed for the building. So we could use $5500 (or there about) from that fund with the $10,000. donation to meet the cost of AC install ($15,500 estimate). We could also take special offerings. 
We have been growing due to our ministry in the Fellowship Hall. All new members have come from invites to people that attend activities in the FH. Unless we AC we will not meet in the building this summer. Family Ministry will be doing something outside once a month but if it's too hot (over 90) or extreme weather we cancel because it is too hot to be in the building. That is the reality for families today despite what we did in the past. If we AC, plans would be to continue our Wed. night adult gatherings through the summer with just a few weeks off and possibly some extra Fam Min gatherings. We would also entertain having brunches after worship through the summer. We need to connect to new people and connect them to God as they experience our love for Him and them. With no one willing to lead or host any activities outside the building (or inside for that matter) at this time, we can only assume God is not leading us out or some are not stepping into their calling. We need to continue to seek His will, listen with open hearts and receive His direction and then process this, plan and act together. Pray for wisdom, direction and courage.
Please try to forget what was and ask God to give you His vision for what's now and next. We have to sow to reap. God has stirred someone to kickstart that who sees what He is doing, wants to do, and what we are created to do for such a time as this. We can have $10,000. if we discern this is God's will and step out and sow in faith. Are we seeking, seeing and responding well? Let us process that together June 2nd and commit to following God as He leads together. I also believe God may be calling us out of the building to meet and connect to new people. Pray for boldness and a sense of God's call for some to try something different (like we all meet at Rita's) then as we connect to people, we may be able to invite them to join us another day besides Sun morning. God really does have some awesome plans for us to discover for such a time as this and for tomorrow. I can't wait to seek and process with you and god! I'm praying for all of us to see, hear and follow well, even out of comfort zones!
Think about this as you seek: We have been reaching people through our giving bread, food and cloths. (Thanks to Gina and our volunteers for starting these or continuing them). How have those receiving help  finally begun to connect to us? When we started using bread donations to buy donuts and give them away as we fellowship and pray and connect with these people. Some have accepted our invites to try Wed night or Sun and both are growing with new members and attendees. Yes God has blessed our lavish sowing and keeps providing for more. Test Him in this is His challenge to us and watch what He will do! We do have a future and hope as we trust, obey and continue to bless. Amen!
ODB:

Trying to Save Ourselves

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

READ Ephesians 2:1-10

Many years ago, New York City launched a “Stay Safe. Stay Put” ad campaign to educate people on how to stay calm and be safe when trapped in an elevator. Experts reported that some trapped passengers had died when they tried to pry open the elevator doors or attempted exiting by some other means. The best plan of action is to simply use the alarm button to call for help and wait for emergency responders to arrive.

The apostle Paul spelled out a very different type of rescue plan—one to help those trapped in the downward pull of sin. He reminded the Ephesians of their utter spiritual helplessness—being truly “dead in [their] . . . sins” (Ephesians 2:1). They were trapped, obeying the devil (v. 2), and refusing to submit to God. This resulted in them being the subject of God’s wrath. But He didn’t leave them trapped in spiritual darkness. And those who believe in Jesus, the apostle wrote, “by grace . . . have been saved” (vv. 5, 8). A response to God’s rescue initiative results in faith. And faith means we’ll give up on trying to save ourselves and call on Jesus to rescue us. 

By God’s grace, being rescued from sin’s trap doesn’t originate with us. It’s “the gift of God” through Jesus alone (v. 8).

By Marvin Williams

REFLECT & PRAY

Why can’t you save yourself from sin’s trap? How has God provided what you need to be saved?

Dear God, I’m so grateful that when I was trapped in sin and tried to save myself, You initiated my rescue and sent a Savior to free me. 

Learn more about having a personal relationship with God.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

A helpful acronym to describe the grace of God is GRACE—God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. This phrase summarizes and magnifies the reality that salvation—rescue from our sin (forgiveness, being made right with God)—is the work of God to be received by faith, not something that we achieve. Another acronym that succinctly captures this truth is GFFG—God’s Favor Freely Given. The Greek word cháris, translated “grace,” is used broadly in the New Testament (twelve times in Ephesians) with a range of meanings, including “goodwill,” “lovingkindness,” and “favor.” Ephesians 2:7 describes “the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” It’s also used in this sense in Luke 1:30: “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.’ ” God’s kindnesses are manifold for “the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people” (Titus 2:11).

Arthur Jackson
TWFYT:
Inline image
 
Harvest Prayer Blogs:

May 10 - Daily Cleansing

“Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).
 
The only way we can enter into God’s presence and pray is through the forgiveness purchased for us at the cross. Once we have believed in Christ and been truly converted, all the work of Calvary has been applied to our lives. Our past, present, and future sins have been forgiven. Although these sins have been forgiven eternally, there is a need for us to address our sins before God as we commit them daily. This humbles us, reminding us of our frailty and keeps us in a right posture before God, continually maturing spiritually. The process for this daily cleansing is confession and repentance.
 
To confess means to “say the same thing as.” If a robber has stolen something and been arrested and taken to court, he can lie about his crime. He can blame others or make excuses. Or, he can confess. His confession means he has come to honest transparency as he speaks truth about his deeds, agreeing with others who are saying he is guilty.
 
Proverbs says that “He who conceals his sin will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28:13). The Apostle John also addresses this continual practice: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:5-7).
 
God hates sin because He knows what it does to His creation. He knows we will not attain perfection in this life, but he convicts us when we sin. He wants His children to walk in the light and be effective for His kingdom and experience the best in life. His desire is to purge these sins from us so we can be conformed more and more to the image of His Son.
 
As we become conscious of His presence when we enter into His Throne Room, our sins will come front and center in our minds. We will be like Isaiah saying, “Woe is me … I am a man of unclean lips.” At that moment, we should instantly respond with transparency and repentance. No covering. No blaming others. No excuses. No lying. Maturing in godliness is not a matter of sinless perfection, but immediate confession. God wants us to practice such confession as often as we sin. This transparency is designed to help us, not hurt us. God’s intent is not for us to wallow in our sins, but to be released from sin’s grip and trained in righteousness.
 
Perfect Son of God, I come to the foot of Your cross, seeking to keep short accounts with You. Bring to my mind those things I have done that have brought sorrow to Your heart so that I might quickly confess them and ask for Your loving forgiveness. If there are things I have neglected to do for Your sake, please bring them to mind so that I can quickly obey! I want to grow in godly maturity and not be held back because I am too proud to admit when I have engaged in wrong thinking or actions. Train me up into Your image so that everything I do and say brings honor and glory to Your name alone!

---Adapted from Simply Prayer by Bill Elliff. This book is available at prayershop.org.

Prayer Points

  • Give praise to the one who said, “I am . . . the truth” (Jn. 14:6).
  • Thank God for rescuing you from the darkness of Satan’s deceit and placing you in the kingdom of his marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9).
  • Repent of those times that you have been uncomfortable with the light of God’s truth and have preferred twisting the truth to suit your purposes.
  • Commit yourself to walking in the light of God’s truth with your whole heart.
  • Ask God to make you willing to do that, no matter the cost to your pride or reputation.
  • Ask God to use your example of honesty and truthfulness this week to move someone’s heart to see the reality of God.
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:
Inline image
 
UR: Strength and Guidance

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. - Psalm 139:9-10 (NIV)

I will always remember summer 2021 as the time my asthma became severe. My condition had been stable for years, but suddenly I started having a lot of trouble breathing. At times it felt like I was breathing through a straw. Sometimes I was up all night coughing, only getting a little sleep while sitting in a recliner. My lung specialist did tests and tried various treatments, but days turned into weeks, which turned into months. I became greatly discouraged.

I didn’t know how to pray about this — what to say or how to feel. Then on a day when I was especially fearful, I felt God leading me to Psalm 139. As I read verses 7-10, these words stood out to me: “Your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Even if we run out of strength, the Holy Spirit has enough strength and guidance for us all. Whatever we are going through, let’s remember to pause, ask God for whatever we need, and believe that God will help us.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Holy Father, thank you for guiding and strengthening us for the journey. Amen.
Posted by: AT 01:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024

Today:

10-12 Donut Day at Bread Ministry

6-7:30 Last Dinner Huddle of season

Good Morning Powerful, Patient, Praying, Purposeful, Peace-Following, Creations of God with Potential! Yes you can be! You're created to be. You are working on growing into your fullest potential. You have been empowered and have the potential to be all about God's purposes for you. That always takes prayer and usually patience as we fill up with Him and follow His peace. Amen!

Check out our devos below. What's God saying to you? What will you do about it? Who are the people of peace you are partnering with or He is sending to you? Dwell in His peaceful, reviving presence and follow Jesus to His best for you and others as you go live and love like Jesus today!. Amen! See you soon! Shalom!

CS:

Inline image
 

ODB:

Eyes to See

Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” 2 Kings 6:17

READ 2 Kings 6:15-23

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

Joy was concerned for her relative Sandy, who for years had struggled with alcoholism and mental-health issues. When she went to Sandy’s apartment, the doors were locked, and it appeared vacant. As she and others planned their search for Sandy, Joy prayed, “God, help me to see what I’m not seeing.” As they were leaving, Joy looked back at Sandy’s apartment and saw the tiniest movement of a curtain. In that moment, she knew that Sandy was alive. Although it took emergency assistance to reach her, Joy rejoiced in this answered prayer.

The prophet Elisha knew the power of asking God to reveal to him His reality. When the Syrian army surrounded their city, Elisha’s servant shivered in fear. Not the man of God, however, for with God’s help he glimpsed the unseen. Elisha prayed that the servant too would see, and “the Lord opened the servant’s eyes” to see “the hills full of horses and chariots of fire” (2 Kings 6:17).

God lifted the veil between the spiritual and physical worlds for Elisha and his servant. Joy believes God helped her see the tiny flicker of the curtain, giving her hope. We too can ask Him to give us the spiritual vision to understand what’s happening around us, whether with our loved ones or in our communities. And we too can be agents of His love, truth, and compassion.

By Amy Boucher Pye

REFLECT & PRAY

How could you ask God to open your eyes to His truth concerning situations that weigh you down? How has He revealed His reality to you previously?

Father of all mercies, please open my eyes to see Your love and grace that I might share it with others.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

In 2 Kings 5, Elisha’s servant Gehazi attempted to acquire clothing and silver from the Aramean commander Naaman by lying (vv. 19-24). Because of this, Gehazi was stricken with leprosy (v. 27). Because Mosaic law required those with contagious skin diseases to live apart from others to prevent the spread of illness (Leviticus 13:45-46), Gehazi would’ve had to leave. Therefore, unless God healed Gehazi, the servant in 2 Kings 6:15 was likely new and his alarm was understandable. He hadn’t yet had much opportunity to observe God’s power demonstrated through Elisha, whose prayers here had both spiritual and physical impact (vv. 17-20).

Tim Gustafson

UR: One Day at a Time

Give us today our daily bread. - Matthew 6:11 (NIV)

I woke up one morning filled with anxiety about my finances. But I found great hope when I started reading The Upper Room. That day’s meditation was about how God’s promises shine in contrast to the clouds that overshadow us. When I finished my prayer and closed The Upper Room, I looked at the cover art — three women of different ages were collecting something white from above. I read the cover art interpretation and learned the women were gathering manna.

When the Israelites left Egypt, they faced many challenges, including what they would eat. God made food called manna rain down from the sky for them, but they could only collect the amount they needed for each day.

The same God who met the needs of the Israelites will provide for us too, one day at a time. Perhaps this is why Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread,” in Matthew 6:11 and why Paul wrote in Philippians 4:19, “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Praise be to God!

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear God, thank you for faithfully meeting our needs one day at a time. Amen.

TWFYT:

Inline image
 

    

Harvest Blogs:

May 8 - The Habit of Jesus 

There are many things that have become habitual to us. If you think about your morning routine, you will discover that you usually do the exact same thing in the same way each day. Such habits are always developed by a devotion to something we consider valuable—something important to our day.

It would be important, then, to understand what the Perfect Man's habits were. It would make sense that His routines were exactly as ours should be. And, as you study the life of Jesus, one habit stands out above all the rest.

 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation." And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and began to pray, saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done."

Now an angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation." (Luke 22:39-46)

Jesus' habit was to retire to His place of prayer and pray. When the disciples were sorrowful, they slept. When Jesus was sorrowful, He prayed. To Him, prayer was the foundation and the pathway of life and ministry. It was not secondary. How else could He find and do His Father's will if He was not in communion with heaven?

Lord Jesus, as I seek to be more like You, I want my prayer habits to look like Yours! Teach me to meet with You in sorrow and pain, as well as in joy. Show me how to keep myself from temptation by being alert and awake in prayer! May Your desire to seek the Father in all things become my desire also and may I align myself with the desires of Your heart so that prayer becomes the foundation of everything in my life.  

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

Prayer Points

  • Praise God for his great love and mercy shown to you (Eph. 2:4).
  • Give thanks that nothing can separate you from the love of Jesus (Rom. 8:35).
  • Confess any lack of love which you have shown to God or to another person.
  • Commit yourself to loving God with your whole being (Deut. 6:5).
  • Ask God to prune your life so that the spiritual fruit of love will grow large and appetizing to others.
  • It was Jesus’ love for sinners that sent him to the cross. Pray for an opportunity to share that kind of sacrificial love with another person (Jn. 15:9).
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 01:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024

gOOD mORNING Very Loved, Perfected by Love, Created with Purpose and Filled with Peace, Followers of Jesus! Yes the salutation comes right from our devotionals for today and is filled with truth about you that you should pronounce out loud and release in powerful prayer over you and our fellowship. Check out the devos below and sit at Jesus' feet and maybe with some friends to process what God's saying and what His plans and purposes are for you today that will flow from living and loving more like Jesus. Amen!

What a day in the presence of God yesterday in our fellowship hall! PTL! God sure is on the move and using us! He's speaking to our hearts and to others through us as we meet needs, pray, share a meal, encourage, answer questions, teach, and even make plans. We served 60-70 with bread and gave all bread away yesterday. We shared donuts, conversations, encouragements,  and prayer with many. The next donut day at the Bread Ministry will be Wed June 12th, 10-12. Mark your calendars and plan to join us.

Last evening we had another amazing night of fellowship, food and ministry as our adult and Family Ministry huddles gathered for dinner for the last time. I am very saddened that we cannot see the value of air conditioning the Fellowship Hall to continue this ministry through the summer! BUT GOD! He must have a plan but apparently has not revealed it to any of those who attend or they are not sharing their ideas because they don't feel qualified, capable or courageous enough to lead. We had 4 families (2 new ones) join us and Family Ministry and they are really connecting and wanting more. We had about 12-15 adults participate in the adult part with only 4 of us being members and 3 not yet members that attend Sunday regularly. So that is 8 outsiders that have been joining us. PTL! We are reaching our neighbors and having amazing ministry where they are getting to know us and God and being drawn to Him and our fellowship. PTL! Keep praying into this and for us to sustain a summer away and to reconnect in mid Sept. again. 

I will be proposing at tonight's Support Team meeting the motion again to air condition the Fellowship Hall before the pricing goes up 25% after the new year. Pray for wisdom and direction for us. We already have over $19,000. in our building fund with no foreseeable building expenses in the near future and the proposal to AC the downstairs was around $15,000. We already have the funds to sow into this future ministry and growth of our church. Pray for wisdom and God's will to be done.

The Vision team (which is all of our leadership teams) was tasked to pray about the air conditioning earlier in the year. Apparently God said no to them or not at this time. However maybe now is the time? Because of the heat that is coming we cannot/will not have ministry in the Fellowship Hall again until the fall. That means God has another plan for us. One to get together out of the building. However, He is apparently not leading anyone to host or plan any gatherings. So at this time the adult huddle will take a break for the summer until someone gets the nudge to host something for us. Some say they liked things we've done in the past like gather at a park to cookout and fellowship but are not sensing a call to plan or host anything at this time. The Vision team had all kinds of great ideas for things to try but no one felt called to lead any. I feel like God has called us out of the building to connect to neighbors and friends this summer but that I am supposed to step back from leading and doing it all to allow some of you to step into your purposes. I will be doing something once a month to try to reconnect to Family Ministries. This fall FM and adults will meet on separate evenings again as I am unable to minister well to both groups at the same time. My thinking is that if God is not raising up leaders for activities out of the building this summer, maybe He IS leading us to air condition the downstairs. maybe we were voting out of our preferences and not His? I can't say for sure, but where He guides, He provides. Where is he providing? let's do that as we follow Him and His peace to his best for us and others. he is working all things together for the good of those who believe or will believe. he has called us to go, make disciples. Where is provision for that? What will we do about it? And maybe he's saying just take the summer off? I highly doubt that but we need to be sure of His plans before we make ours!

Yes God has been on the move and using us and even bucking the worldwide trend and growing our fellowship. PTL! He has great plans and purposes for you and us to discover, plan and do. Seek Him and offer yourself to Him and join with some others to pray, discern and plan some fun outreaches this summer. Or pray for us to find a way to make the fellowship hall usable and comfortable for guests and visitors year round. I sure hate to stop this valuable and growing ministry for the summer unless that is God's plan. God does have a plan and purposes and we are not to lean on our own understanding but trust Him as we sow lavishly and He will direct our steps. What's He saying to you? What will you do about it? Who are you partnering with to plan and do some things? Seek first the kingdom of God! Then share what you are hearing with Sarah or me or some close friends and let us go and live and love more like Jesus this summer! Amen! Really meditate and pray through and receive from God as you spend some time with Him through our devos and then ask Him to lead you and us with His heart and mind to His provision and plans as we follow peace to His purposes for us. Thanks! I'm praying for you! God is waiting on us to discover and begin to step out in faith! Amen! Day light's burning!

CS:

Inline image
 

UR: An Important Purpose

From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will. - Ephesians 1:1 (CEB)

In many of the apostle Paul’s greetings to the early churches, he stated that he was an apostle of Christ by the will of God. While Paul recognized his life’s purpose, often as believers we feel less assured of our purpose and wonder if God is using us in our present circumstances. Sure, God called great theologians like Paul to serve God. But we who work in factories, drive trucks, care for children, do clerical work, teach, farm, and live in all kinds of circumstances can also be used by God.

God has a purpose for each of us just as God had a purpose for the young servant girl we read about in 2 Kings 5. She served the wife of Naaman, army commander for the king of Aram. Her faith changed the course of Naaman’s life and helped alter his hostile view of Israel.

Many of us can’t fathom how God could use us, but God is continually working in and through our lives. We don’t have to be great theologians to be used mightily by God. We just need to trust that we have been called to follow God, whatever our circumstances. We can trust that God has a purpose for our lives.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Faithful God, thank you for the ways you work in and through our lives. Help us to focus on how you might use us this very day. Amen.TWFYT:

Inline image

Posted by: AT 01:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024

Sarah Prayer update below

Good Morning Living Sacrifices! You know sometimes I so hate that Romans 12:1-2 passage. But often I need the reminder to die to self, take up cross daily and follow Jesus as a living sacrifice and sacrifice of praise. I often want to crawl off the altar and live for me. Forgive me Lord! Help me to be a living sacrifice and my life to be a sweet aroma as a sacrifice of praise! Thanks! Amen! Maybe you find yourself in that same position sometimes. Meditate on Romans 12. It contains one of my life verses and a how to do this. Rom 12:12, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." (That's a command!) Now there's a great starting point of things to work on that could keep you busy all year as we work on growing more into the person you are created to be and doing more of what you are created to do. More in '24! Help us Lord!

Thinking of the Become More in '24 Challenge that flowed from our Become Me in '23 one, I wonder if you guys are embracing and trying to keep at it? I haven't heard of any words any of you are working on for this year as we work at dying to self and becoming all we can be in Christ. Is that something any of you are doing? It is God's will and best for us. You are a custom made masterpiece made new, empowered and gifted in Christ to go do the things God planned for you long ago for such a time as this. (Eph. 2:10). How's that going? Start with worship, praise and prayer that flows into the doing part. More of Him and less of you in '24. Earnestness as a living sacrifice is what God desires and what will lead us to our fuller potential, His greater things for us, and a great future in heaven. Amen!

Check out the devos below that flow through this thinking and led me to it as I invited God to write the blog today. Charles Stanley uses a word one of you chose for last year, "Useful". That person has been very useful to God and our fellowship! What are you working on and making headway at achieving? is there a new word to work on? Our Daily Bread speaks about the gifts God has given us. Why? To build His Church, encourage each other, and bless others. The gifts you've been given line up with how you are made and the plans God has for you. How cool! Ask Him to help you use them well as we plan to step out of the building this summer and go connect to others, lead them to Him and grow His Church. The Upper Room reminds us to keep trusting as we go. God is for us, with us and working all things together for those who love Him or will love Him. Trust and obey today! The Word for You Today reminds us about releasing our guilt, repenting and receiving God's pardon and peace. Don't sweat what you could of and should've done. Start fresh. receive and follow His peace as you get back on track at growing more like Christ and doing what He made you to do. He loves you and has great plans for you and us! Know and follow His peace and bring it to those He is sending your way. That's all He asks! trust, obey and go live and love like Jesus. Now that is true worship and being a living sacrifice! Amen! He has great plans for you, us and others out of the building this summer! What's he leading you to lead or be a part of as we go love and make disciples like Jesus. Shalom!

CS:

Inline image
 

ODB:

God-Given Gifts

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Romans 12:6

READ Romans 12:4-8

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

Decades ago, I went to a college retreat where everyone was talking about a personality test. “I’m an ISTJ!” one said. “I’m an ENFP,” another chirped. I was mystified. “I’m an ABCXYZ,” I joked.  

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about that test (the Myers-Briggs) and others such as the DiSC assessment. I find them fascinating because they can help us understand ourselves and others in helpful, revealing ways—shedding light on our preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. Provided we don’t overuse them, they can be a useful tool God uses to help us grow.

Scripture doesn’t offer us personality tests. But it does affirm each person’s uniqueness in God’s eyes (see Psalm 139:14-16; Jeremiah 1:5), and it shows us how God equips all of us with a unique personality and unique gifts to serve others in His kingdom. In Romans 12:6, Paul begins to unpack this idea, when he says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

Those gifts, Paul explains, are not for us alone but for the purpose of serving God’s people, Christ’s body (v. 5). They’re an expression of His grace and goodness, working in and through all of us. They invite each of us to be a unique vessel in God’s service.

By Adam R. Holz

REFLECT & PRAY

What gifts has God given you to serve others? If you’re not sure what your gifts are, who might help you get a better sense of those God-given gifts?

Father, thank You for the gifts You’ve given me. Please help me to embrace the ways You’ve equipped me to love and serve others in Your kingdom.

Find out how you can understand yourself and others.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Romans 12 marks a turning point in Paul’s letter. Previously, the apostle had been explaining the work of God in salvation, describing Jesus as the second Adam who came to redeem what had been lost through our first parents’ disobedience in Eden (5:12-20). Now he turns his attention to the way this salvation is to be lived out by those bought by Christ’s sacrifice. It starts with the redeemed becoming a “living sacrifice” (12:1), whose focus is on being useful to God in the lives of others. This is followed by a list of spiritual gifts to equip God’s children in service to others (vv. 3-8). Another list of spiritual gifts appears in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, and a list of leadership roles (gifts to the church) is found in Ephesians 4:11. Through these provisions, the Spirit enables us to fulfill our function in our spiritual service.

Bill Crowder

UR: Father Knows Best

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. - Psalm 40:4 (NIV)

One winter in Texas we experienced a huge ice storm that no one was prepared for. During the storm my family stayed home with no electricity or water. We were getting restless at home, so I asked my dad if I could go to a friend’s house because they had power and water. But my dad said no because of the ice on the roads. I looked outside and didn’t see any ice. I was sure I would be fine. It turns out that ice was indeed covering the roads, and when I went outside to check, I slipped and fell on my rear end.

I should have trusted my dad because he obviously knew better than I did. The same is true with our relationship with God. God knows what’s best for us in every situation. Even when we think we know what’s best, we need to trust that God knows better and will take care of us.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear God, thank you for your faithfulness and for being with us in every moment of our lives. Help us to keep our focus on your will for us and to trust in you alone. Amen.

TWFYT:

Inline image
 

Harvest prayer Blogs:

May 7 - Be at Peace with Him
 

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2 Peter 3:14)

There is much confusion regarding the Second Coming of Jesus. Some have never heard good teaching about this important topic. Many have never seriously considered the Second Coming of Jesus and have collected in their minds a wild assortment of beliefs and ideas that may or may not match the teachings of Scripture. What will help us all are these simple instructions from Peter on how we should live in anticipation of Jesus’ return.

First of all, Peter makes the assumption that Christians are looking forward to the coming of Jesus. For many, I’m afraid, this is an incorrect assumption. We too often find ourselves firmly at home in this world, and not at all looking forward to Christ’s return. I’m convinced that one of the most important yet ignored biblical doctrines is that of the imminent return of Jesus. The early Christians modeled for us the power of living a life that looks eagerly for the return of Jesus, while at the same time passionately living out the life of Jesus in everyday acts of love and service. Are you looking forward to the return of Jesus?

With the Second Coming as a desire of our lives, Peter then tells us that we should be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him when he returns. I love that Peter doesn’t get caught up in controversies regarding timing and events but focuses on the lifestyle that ushers in Christ’s return.

Being spotless, blameless and at peace does not speak of perfection but of relationship. An intimate, right relationship with Jesus now will lead to looking forward to the face-to-face relationship of the Second Coming in the future.

The finished work of Christ upon the cross allows us to be without spot, without blame, and at peace with God. We cannot have these things apart from Jesus. But we must note that Peter commands us to make every effort to be found with these characteristics in our lives. We accept Christ and all that he is and offers, and then through his Spirit, we bring these attributes to fullness in our lives. Looking forward to his coming causes us to make every effort to be found practicing in our lives what it means to be spotless, blameless, and at peace with God.

To train yourself to look forward to the Second Coming, each morning as you wake ask the Lord, “Is it today that you return?” Put the last prayer in Scripture on your lips each day: “Come Lord Jesus.”

Lord Jesus, I long for your return. Forgive me for getting too comfortable here in this world and forgetting the truth of your soon return. Show me how to live in a way that not only prepares me for your return, but also points others to you. I want to be spotless, blameless, and at peace with you when you appear in Glory.

--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

  • Glorify God as the beginning and end of all things, the Alpha and the Omega.
  • Give thanks for his love for you—a love that has kept you in mind since the beginning of the world and will continue to hold you when this world has passed away.
  • Confess those times when you have seen yourself and your needs as the beginning and end of your existence.
  • Commit yourself to giving God the highest place in your life and heart.
  • Ask God to reveal his glory to you so that you cannot help but praise him with your whole heart.
  • Pray that worship services all over the world will glorify the name and power of Jesus rather than promote lesser things.
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.

Sarah Update:

Good afternoon, everyone,

As promised, here are those that were mentioned in worship, yesterday that are in need of our prayer support:

Hal Scanlin - he is dealing with some health issues. He is at home, and taking it one day at a time. Also keep Lenore and their family in your prayers as their children make time after work to pop in and check on their parents.

Karen's mom (Pastor Don's wife Karen) is waiting test results. Prayers that the results will help her medical team now how to proceed with her care.

Darlene Skinner - is home and progressing. Continue to pray for her safety and strength building through therapy. Also keep her family in your prayers as they juggle their schedules to help with her care.

Harry Waterman - has gout and arthritis in his right foot. The doctor has given him some medication to help with the pain

Linda, Gary Bastan's relative had eye surgery today. Let's continue to pray for her recovery and vision restored.

The Canfield family is dealing with bronchitis.  Praying all will get through and over it soon and be back to a healthy bunch.

We prayed for the missing hiker yesterday during worship, and later last evening we received the news they had found the hiker's body. May we continue to pray for the hiker's family during this difficult time.

Josie is asking for prayer for her friend Helen (from Florida) who has been recently diagnosed with cancer.

Josie is also asking for prayer for another friend Darla, who has been living with chronic pain for the past 17 years.

Lisa Wenner has asked for prayer for a friend of hers, Shannon, who tried to take her own life. She is married and has two small children. Yesterday she was in a coma, but as of the update Lisa received this morning, Shannon has come out of the coma, and is currently being taken care of by therapists. Let's pray for this young family and for Shannon during this difficult time. May God put Christians in her pathway of healing.

Chris and Yvonne Muik and family - may God's peace surround them and may they sense His amazing arms of love around them.

Thank you everyone for praying for these folks.....and for continuing to pray for one another. 

if you are not doing anything on Wednesday, 10 - 12pm why not stop in at the church for a donut and a beverage......

Okay everyone, have a great evening....talk later!

Blessings,

  Sarah

Posted by: AT 01:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024
Brain and Missy Wagner update at bottom.
This week we begin to wrap up our indoor activities (except bread and clothing) for the summer. 
Tues Blog will continue until end of month. 
Wed evening is our last indoor dinner huddle until fall. We are looking to do some things at least once a month out of the building this summer. What's God leading you to host or plan with some friends to connect to neighbors? Family Ministries will be doing their own once a month activities.
This Wed is donut day at the Bread Ministry. Come and join us! Ask God to use you and us!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Good Morning Love, Grace, Wisdom, And Peace Receivers and Bringers! Fill up to pour out! There is so much meat in our devotionals for today and they thread together too! Do you see the thread and feel the love, grace, wisdom and peace you can load up on to share? Check them out below and reload and pray ahead for how to share.
I began with the Scripture from Our Daily Bread. There are all kinds of promises to cling to in John 14:15-21. Check it out as you meditate on and internalize these truths. John 14:15-21, 15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. (here's a command. Do you love Him? Show it by your obedience--Donald! And with obedience comes blessings and these following promises can come to life! Amen!)) 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
What's God saying to you? What will you do about it? Who are you processing with and accountable to? We are loved, pursued, have the Holy Spirit in us, are accepted and we matter! Take that to heart!
The Upper Room reminds us we can have eyes to see God at work and dwell and grow in His grace and even learn to share it like Jesus. Amen! Jesus is our example and leader. We are recipients of much grace. Pray for eyes to see, minds to know how, and Jesus' heart to respond to those He has placed around you. Grace. Grace. God's grace! How amazing it is! And how He wants to bring it alive to and through you! PTL!
The Word for You Today discusses the gift of God's peace. It's truly not like the peace we find in the world. AMEN! There are some commands and promises in the verses they use as well. (see below) Remember peace is a gift you need to receive. Turn off the noise and chaos and dwell in love, grace and peace today. Load up on them to share with others too. Take heart! Christ has overcome the world and He lives in you bringing alive His love, grace, wisdom, Word and peace. Dwell in them, receive them. Then ask how to share them. He loves those prayers. As you do these things, you will not only know His best for you but follow His peace to bring it all alive to others. That's His plan and our mission: living and loving more like Jesus! He has great plans for you today and this week that begin as you dwell in His love, grace, wisdom, Word and peace. Amen and shalom shalom--perfect peace to you today! Allow Him to fill you and use you this week! Amen! 
And finally check our Harvest prayer's blog and prayer starters. We are one in Christ and we have a mission to do--love like Jesus. We are also to pour out and give back from all the blessings God has given us. Pray into that and allow God to use you well to be His love, grace, wisdom, Living Word, and peace. Go light up the world. Amen!
ODB:

Loving Obedience

Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. John 14:21 nlt

READ John 14:15-21

During our wedding ceremony, our minister said to me, “Do you promise to love, honor, and obey your husband, until death do you part?” Glancing at my fiancé, I whispered, “Obey?” We’d built our relationship on love and respect—not blind obedience, as the vows seemed to suggest. My husband’s father captured on film that wide-eyed moment when I processed the word obey and said, “I do.”

Over the years, God has shown me that my resistance to the word obey had nothing to do with the incredibly complex relationship between a husband and wife. I’d understood obey to mean “subjugated” or “forced submission,” which Scripture doesn’t support. Rather, the word obey in the Bible expresses the many ways we can love God. As my husband and I celebrate thirty years of marriage, through the power of the Holy Spirit we’re still learning to love Jesus and each other.

When Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15 nlt), He showed us that obedience to the Scriptures would be the result of an ongoing loving and intimate relationship with Him (vv. 16-21).

Jesus’ love is selfless, unconditional, and never forceful or abusive. As we follow and honor Him in all our relationships, the Holy Spirit can help us see obedience to Him as a wise and loving act of trust and worship.

By Xochitl Dixon

REFLECT & PRAY

How does seeing obedience to God as an act of love and trust change your view of His desire for obedience? How has God proven that you can trust Him?

Dear Jesus, please help me love You and others through obedience to the Scriptures.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

John 13-17, known as the Upper Room Discourse, is theologically rich, contributing to our understanding of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. An example of this is seen in John 14:16-17 where Jesus, the Son, says, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.” Of note in this discourse is the teaching about the Holy Spirit (pneumatology). In verse 16, He’s referred to as “another advocate” (paraklētos). Other versions translate this word as “comforter.” What’s in view is someone who’s called to aid, assist, or help another. During Christ’s ministry on earth, He was the helper from heaven. In His absence, one just like Him, the Spirit, would function in that capacity. Because of this, Jesus could tell His followers, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (vv. 1, 27).

Arthur Jackson
UR: Eyes to See

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. - 2 Peter 3:18 (NIV)

Our Bible study was going to be about the word grace. We were asked to share a verse about it, and I chose 2 Peter 3:18.

The morning of the Bible study I looked out my apartment window. A large gray sack was lying in the parking spot next to my car. Was it a person? I didn’t see any movement. I looked out a while later and saw a dingy, disheveled man standing by his sleeping bag. He was one of the many people who are homeless in our city.

I was outraged. Much money and effort has been spent on addressing homelessness in our city, yet many people remain on the streets. I took a photo of him and sent it with an email to my landlord.

Then I felt an inner twinge. Whatever his situation, he was a human being, sleeping on the pavement.

I thought of 2 Peter 3:18 and

began to pray, asking for guidance. I felt my heart soften. How would Jesus respond? I thought about Jesus’ actions in scripture and knew that Jesus would want me to pray.

Two weeks later I met a young woman holding a sign asking for help. I prayed for her and felt encouraged to talk with her. Her story surprised me, and she welcomed prayer. As we prayed together, I felt God’s peace and joy.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, open the eyes of our hearts to see others as you do. Help us to grow in the grace and knowledge of you. Amen.
TWFYT:
Inline image
 
Harvest prayer blogs:

May 6 - Recognizing Our Oneness in Christ 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:28–29) 

I remember the day when I heard Pastor Jim Cymbala correct the pastors in the room, me included, for making distinctions in the body of Christ by highlighting our denominational differences. He said that God doesn’t relate to us as Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, or any other name. He sees us “in Christ.”

Denominations are something we’ve made up, according to Cymbala. It made sense. It also makes sense to apply this same rationale to racial divisions. God doesn’t relate to us, nor does he make any distinction between us based upon our skin color or country of origin. He relates to us in Christ. Why do we let race—something that God refuses to divide us over—divide us in the family of God? Let’s dive into this prayerfully:

Father, you are the Creator of every tribe and nation, and every skin color known to man. You created us to uniquely display your beauty through a diverse body. Yet we have failed to celebrate our diversity, and have sinfully divided over the color of our skin. We are wicked and need the healing power of Jesus Christ to forgive and restore us. Many have been wounded by racial divisions. And we have been party to some of these wounds. I repent today. I ask that you would so unify your people, of every race and tribe, in Christ Jesus, that the color of our skin and the country of our origin would never be what unites nor divides us. May we reach higher in faith, in keeping with your unchangeable Word, to stop making distinctions and to celebrate our true oneness that you purchased in Christ Jesus. 

In you, Jesus, there is no black, white, brown, red or yellow. We are simply your people, called by your name. May our relationships simplify around Christ and may divisions fade. In Christ, we are now family. We are eternal family who will live together in the joy of our Master in a new heaven and new earth forever and ever. Nothing will hinder our complete unity. Do this same work now. O Holy Father, I pray for a racial oneness on earth as it is in heaven. I know there are no divisions in heaven. Your people are completely one with you and with one another. Do this sovereign and essential work here, now, in our community. May your church brightly lead the way in humble unity, building relationships across racial and denominational lines. May you glorify your name as your people come together in this challenging hour of human history. May your people lead the way to true and lasting unity through Jesus.

--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 God, who is the source of all wealth and prosperity on earth (1 Chron. 29:12).
  • Give thanks for all the material blessings God has given to you.
  • Confess any occasions when you have tried to “store up for yourself treasures on earth” (Mt. 6:19).
  • Commit yourself to remembering that wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, are a gift from God (Eccl. 5:19).
  • Ask him to open your eyes to new opportunities to use your possessions for the benefit of others.
  • Pray Eph. 1:18 for any unsaved person you know, asking especially that his or her spiritual eyes will be opened to see the eternal treasure of life in Christ.
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.
Rift Valley update:

Greetings Friends,
 
We’re so grateful for the prayers going out all over the world for Kenya, RVA, and the surrounding community. Heavy rains continue. Last night, another mudslide took out part of the fence surrounding our school. Cyclone Hidaya is predicted to bring even more rain starting tomorrow. God is at work in the hard.

This was posted on RVA’s social media sites today:

“Wow, and thank you! So many of you have been volunteering your time, donating goods and money, and praying for our community. Your generosity has covered hospital bills and supplied drinking water, clothes, shoes, and linens for our friends and community members impacted by Monday’s landslide. Meanwhile, our students keep showing up in the best way. They’re sorting clothes, prepping food, and shoveling mud to clear roads, and as soon as they finish one task they ask again, “How can we help?” We’ve always known they’re a compassionate bunch, and this week that has clearly shone through. While we’ll keep meeting immediate needs, the bulk of recovery work lies ahead as people try to rebuild their homes and lives.”
If you’d like to give, you can still do so through RVA’s benevolence fund: https://usgiving.aimint.org/donate/rva-general-program. Please check the box to leave a note and type “Flood Relief” in the notes section.
 
As the rain continues to fall, please keep on praying. PRAY that the rain will ease. PRAY that God will spare our community from further loss. PRAY that He will be near to those who are grieving. PRAY for wisdom and discernment.
 
Thanks for remaining faithful in prayer with us,
Brian & Missy
Posted by: AT 01:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024

It's Friday--Thank God I'm Forgiven! TGIF! And thank God that Resurrection Sunday came and death and the grave have been overcome and our sins can now be forgiven! Thank God that we don't need a priest to offer sacrifices for us or to lift our prayer because the curtain has been torn and God's presence is available always! Thank God for pursuing and saving us! Thank God for pursuing others through us and gifting and empowering us to be His hands and feet! Thank God for hearing and answering our prayers! Thank God we are known, loved and created for such a time as this! TGIF! What are you thankful about today? Tell our Abba Daddy!

Good Morning Praying Imitator's of Jesus--Children of Our All-Sufficient God! There's a mouthful of truth that ties directly to our devotionals today. As we flow from the National Day of Prayer to TGIF time with God, let us lift many praises and thanksgivings! Let us be still and know as we dwell in His peaceful, loving presence. Let us open our hearts and minds to receive all He has for us today. And let us commit to following Him all day to His best for us and others! Amen! Let us bathe this day, our situations and others, including this nation in prayer. Let us release all our anxious thoughts to the Prince of Peace. Let us always remember that God is with us and He is enough! Amen! He has great custom made plans just for you, His masterpiece, to discover, process and enact! PTL! What's He saying to you and who are you partnering with to bring that all to life?

Remember, the battle is the Lord's and He is sufficient, able, willing and partners with us to bring His perfect will and plans to life! Amen! Stand firm in faith and follow Jesus to His best for you today. What joy awaits us on the other side of our persevering in prayer and walking through in faith! PTL!

Here are our devotionals for today. Spend some time in them, God's presence in praise and prayer, and preparing to go live and love more like Jesus! Father, Abba, Daddy COME! Fill us to the fullest and overflow from us. Speak to our hearts. Help us persevere always in You and follow well to Your perfect plans. Not our will Lord, but Yours! Come! Inform and empower our prayers and us for this day! Amen.

Charles Stanley (God is all we need! Is He enough for you? Who needs to see that and be introduced to our Provision and Sufficiency?)

Inline image
 

UR: Imitators (We have an example in Jesus and as we spend time with Him we become more like Him and He empowers our prayers and choices! Amen!)

Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. - Ephesians 5:1-2 (NRSVUE)

A few weeks ago my daughter returned to work after the birth of her baby, and I started my new job: caring for my grandson. It’s only one day a week and leaves me physically exhausted, but I’m loving it. My grandson is not yet verbal or mobile, but he is alert and always learning. He watches, listens, and imitates. He smiles when I smile, and he tries to clap when I clap.

Children learn so much by imitation. Even as adults, we can easily begin speaking, behaving, and thinking like the people we associate with most. Spending time with people who speak and act in encouraging and edifying ways will help us to speak and act in similar ways.

Likewise, if we want to imitate Christ in our speech, actions, and attitudes, we need to spend time with him. We can do this by learning about his life through the Gospels, by sitting quietly in his presence, or by talking to him in prayer. Doing so is good for us and the people who spend time with us. The more we imitate Christ, the better examples we will be for others.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Thank you, Jesus, for living out an example of how to glorify God. Help us to imitate you in all things as we spend time with you and better learn your ways. Amen.ODB: (You and your prayers matter! Prayer warrior is a critical role in our Good News Delivery Co. Cover us and release God's sufficient power and perfect plans today. Thanks!)

Prayer Matters

I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. 2 Kings 20:5

READ 2 Kings 20:1-6

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

“Prayers for an upcoming brain scan.” “That my kids would come back to church.” “Comfort for Dave, who lost his wife.” Our card ministry team receives a weekly list of prayer requests like these so we can pray and send each person a handwritten note. The requests are overwhelming, and our efforts can feel small and unnoticed. That changed after I received a heartfelt thank-you card from Dave, the recently bereaved husband, with a copy of his beloved wife’s obituary. I realized anew that prayer matters.

Jesus modeled that we should pray earnestly, often, and with hopeful faith. His time on earth was limited, but He prioritized getting away by Himself to pray (Mark 1:35; 6:46; 14:32).

Hundreds of years earlier, the Israelite king Hezekiah learned this lesson too. He was told that an illness would soon take his life (2 Kings 20:1). In distress and weeping bitterly, Hezekiah “turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord” (v. 2). In this instance, God’s response was immediate. He healed Hezekiah’s sickness, added fifteen years to his life, and promised to rescue the kingdom from an adversary (vv. 5-6). God answered his prayer not because Hezekiah was living a good life, but “for [his] own honor and for the sake of [his] servant David” (v. 6 nlt). We may not always receive what we ask for, but we can be sure that God is working in and through every prayer.

By Karen Pimpo

REFLECT & PRAY

Who in your life needs prayer today? How can you remind yourself to pause and pray more frequently?

Heavenly Father, thank You for listening to my prayers. 

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Hezekiah witnessed the power of prayer when he cried out to God and He answered him (2 Kings 20:5-6). Prayer is also a prominent theme in the New Testament. Jesus encouraged it, and His life modeled it. The one who taught us to address God as “Father” in prayer (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2) did so Himself when He prayed: “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth” (Matthew 11:25). Christ’s blueprint for prayer included prayer regarding temptation and protection from evil: “He fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’ ” (26:39). Jesus modeled praying for our enemies (Luke 6:28) and said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (23:34).

Witness the power of prayer in James Banks’ class.

Prayer Basics - Our Daily Bread University

The goal of this course is to help students discover the adventure God desires prayer to be, and to deepen their...

Arthur Jackson

TWFYT: (The Battle is the Lord's! Who are you partnering with in prayer and action to withstand the fierce attacks?)

Inline image
 

Harvest Prayer Blogs: (really good stuff here to inform your prayers! Are you desperate for God and for His moving? Get in that prayer closet and release His power as you abide in Him and He informs your prayers and marching orders for the day))

May 3 - Desperate Faith

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. (Luke 18:35-43).

Here we find the account of a desperate pray-er—a blind beggar. When he heard that Jesus was passing by, he cried out for mercy. When other people tried to silence him, he "cried out all the more.”

His desperation made him shameless. He must have thought Jesus was his only hope. He must have believed that Jesus could actually change his life. And, he must have known that his opportunity was fleeting.

Jesus hears cries like this, and he described the blind man’s desperate cry with one word: faith. When faced with external pressure to quit praying, this man’s belief in Jesus caused him to increase his cry.

An African pastor once said to one of my friends, “In our country, we did not cry out to God until there came destruction. I wonder when the American church will turn and cry out to God?  Will it be at the point of desperation or destruction?”

God is looking for people of persistent, desperate faith. Faith is the key that unlocks the door and makes room for God. And faith expresses itself in desperate cries.

Prayer that will never give up. Prayer that cries out all the more.

God who hears and answers prayer, You are the only One with the power to heal and to change the lives of desperate and damaged people! Please grow my faith so that I will come to You consistently and persistently in prayer! I also lift up my nation, Lord! May Your people cry out to You day and night and never give up! Please don’t allow us to become discouraged or deterred! Help us to get past our focus on self and make space for Your power to be demonstrated in our midst!

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

Prayer Points

  • God sends his teaching like rain and his words like the dew (Deut. 32:2). 
  • Praise God for being your teacher (Ps. 71:17).
  • Thank God for the privilege of receiving his instruction through his Word.
  • Confess any lack of attention you’ve paid to God’s teaching.
  • Commit yourself to listening closely to what God has to say to you.
  • Ask God to reveal himself more clearly through his Word each day.
  • Ask that God will shower the blessings of salvation on unsaved people in your community as they learn of Christ.
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.
Posted by: AT 01:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024

Good Morning Righteous in Christ, Filled with the Holy Spirit, Saturated in the Word, Pray-ers and Vessels of God! Just think about that salutation as you engage with our devos below. We have put on Christ's righteousness because we are saved. Because we are saved we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and He guides us and our prayers and empowers us to go build the Kingdom. As we sit at Jesus' feet and meditate on His Word we are saturated in God's wisdom, direction and heart. As we pray and go we are His ambassadors that not only release His power and will in prayer but also action. We are His and He has great plans for us each day that come to life as we still ourselves, reload with His power and authority, pray and go. What are His plans for you today? What's He saying to your heart? What will you do about it? Who are you partnering with?

Please continue to pray into our summer outreach. How does God want to use you and us? Share what you are hearing and let us make plans together to connect to more neighbors. Pray for Children's Church workers and kids. Pray for us to partner with Revival Church to reach families in our neighborhoods. Pray for families to be drawn to Christ as we connect to them better. Thank God for using you and us. Pray for His will to be done and revival to come. Amen! Think about this, 40 year old's may be the last of those that were forced to go to church and remember when most people went to church. But they walked away and their families have no connection to God, church or Christians. Ask God how to connect to these families and to draw them and give us ideas. Pray for those over 40 that we seem to be connecting to. Ask God to continue that work and grow that ministry. Thank Him for the new servants He is sending. Pray that we would become a disciple making hub for the Lehigh Valley and a House of Prayer for the Nations. Thank God for custom making and gifting you to do your part for such a time as this! Thank Him for helping us to be and grow as a healthy church and ask for that to continue as we move from adding to multiplying disciples. Amen! See you all tomorrow! Shalom! Renew your thinking and follow His peace today!

Charles Stanley:

Inline image

Harvest Blogs:

May 4 - Representing Christ

Praying in the name of Jesus means three things, according to prayer leader Alvin VanderGriend:

First, we are authorized to be Christ’s representatives. . . we represent him. When we stand before the throne, the Father recognizes us as persons who stand in the place of his Son. That makes us acceptable.

Second, we come to God on the basis of Christ’s merit. You and I have no claim on God, but Christ does. He merited the Father’s favor by his perfect life and sacrifice. When we come in Jesus’ name, we are identified with him.

Third, we come asking according to Christ’s will. We have the mind of Christ in us, so what we ask is what he would ask. He is asking us to ask for him. We are able to ask what he would ask because our wills are in sync with his will.

This means that we have an awesome responsibility. We are representing Christ—His will and wishes. That means we need to be constantly growing in His Word in order to know what His will and wishes are. We need to be always praying for God to conform us into the image of Jesus so that we will be worthy of this awesome responsibility.

“To pray in the Name of Christ,” wrote Samuel Chadwick, “is to pray as one who is at one with Christ, whose mind is the mind of Christ, whose desires are the desires of Christ, and whose purpose is one with that of Christ. . . . Prayers offered in the Name of Christ are scrutinized and sanctified by His nature, His purpose, and His will. Prayer is endorsed by the Name, when it is in harmony with the character, mind, desire, and purpose of the Name.”

Lord Jesus Christ, my heart is humbled by the knowledge that when I come before the throne of grace, I do so in Your name and through Your authority! I have been given the astonishing privilege of aligning my prayer with the plans and purposes of God the Father through the prompting and power of the Holy Spirit. May I always seek to pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Help me to lay aside any selfish desires and in humility be diligent about reading, soaking in and obeying Your perfect and holy word so that I will look like the One in whose image I have been created! 

--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, whose name is great among the nations (Mal. 1:11).
  • Give thanks that the gospel has reached around the world and into your heart.
  • Confess any sin that has hindered you from gaining a clear vision of God’s work in the world.
  • Commit yourself to God’s plan for the gospel to be preached in the whole world (Mt. 24:14).
  • Ask God to use you in that plan.
  • Boldly intercede for the work of gospel missions worldwide. Pray by name for world missionaries whom your church supports. Ask God to protect them and prosper their work
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.

ODB:

The Triumph of Faith

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3

READ Psalm 56:1-4

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

A routine wellness check for little four-year-old Calvin revealed a few unexpected spots on his body. During the visit, he was given some shots, and the injection site was covered with a bandage. At home, when the time came to remove the small adhesive covering, Calvin whimpered with fear. Seeking to console his son, his father said, “Calvin, you know I’d never do anything to hurt you.” His father wanted his son to trust him more than fearing the removal of the bandage.

Four-year-olds aren’t the only ones who grow faint in the face of discomfort. Surgeries, separation from loved ones, mental or psychological challenges—and more—prompt our fears, sighs, cries, and groans.

One of David’s fear-filled moments was when he found himself in Philistine territory while fleeing a jealous King Saul. When he was recognized, he was anxious about what might happen to him (see 1 Samuel 21:10-11): “David . . . was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath” (v. 12). Reflecting on this uncomfortable situation, David wrote, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. . . . In God I trust and am not afraid” (Psalm 56:3-4).

What shall we do when life’s discomforts stir up our fears? We can put our trust in our heavenly Father.

By Arthur Jackson

REFLECT & PRAY

What situation is presently making you fearful? How can you rest in His care as you bring your fears before your loving heavenly Father in prayer?

Dear God, in my humanity and frailty, I’m fearful. Help me to see and experience Your love and care even in the midst of my trials and discomfort.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

The psalmist David’s name appears on 73 of the 150 psalms. And New Testament references indicate he also wrote Psalms 2 and 95 (see Acts 4:25; Hebrews 4:7). Most of his psalms lack background information, but 13, including Psalm 56, give details on their setting. The superscription ascribes Psalm 56 to David and states: “When the Philistines had seized [David] in Gath.” He so feared King Saul that he entered enemy territory. There the servants of Achish, the king of Gath, recognized him and informed the king. Terrified, David “pretended to be insane in their presence; and . . . acted like a madman” (1 Samuel 21:13). It worked. He was released (vv. 14-15) and escaped to the cave of Adullam (22:1). Though fearful, he put his trust in God (Psalm 56:3). 

Alyson Kieda

UR: God Cares

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? - Matthew 6:26 (NRSVUE)

My wife and I recently spent an afternoon relaxing on the porch swing just outside our front door. At one point we noticed a nest of baby birds near an upper corner of the porch. Every few minutes the mother bird returned to the nest to deliver morsels of food to the chicks. We wondered how such a delicate nest in such a precarious location could keep all those hatchlings from falling to the ground. That seemed like a miracle to us and still remains a mystery.

As we marveled at the sight of those birds and their nest, we recalled instances in our own lives when we too felt as if we were in a vulnerable nest, suspended high off the ground. We had no idea what was keeping us from falling, but we trusted that the nest God placed us in would be secure. It may not have happened right away, but like a mother bird, God always provided what we needed.

TODAY'S PRAYER

O God, thank you for tending to our needs day after day and year after year. We can surrender our fears and insecurities because we know you are watching over us. Amen.

TWFYT:

Inline image

Posted by: AT 01:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024

Good Morning Broken, Cared-for, Restored, Peace-filled, Worshipers! We are all broken and/or have been. We sow in tears, yet God collects our tears in bottles. He wastes nothing and is with us always. Life is hard! At times it really stinks! Sometimes all we can mutter is "Help!" to God. Even when it doesn't feel like it, He is always there pursuing us, loving us, wanting to help and comfort like a mother comforts her distressed baby. He's knocking at the door of your heart. Will you open the door? God knows and cares even when it doesn't feel like it. Still yourself and receive His love, comfort and peace.

You all know how I loathe Hallmark holidays. With Mother's Day coming, I've been praying about what to preach. Part of my issue is my empathy for those mourning, longing and struggling during any holiday. Many long to be mothers and can't. Some are mourning the loss of moms, and worse, a child. Some have terrible relationships with bad mothers. My tendency is to turn off the noise by preaching about something totally different during any holiday. Christmas, Valentines, Mother's Day and Father's Day can be very hard times for many. Let us keep our eyes open and be God's vessels of love, comfort, hope, help and peace. There are so many broken around us looking for some love, comfort and peace that we have in Christ. Check out our devos below and ask God how He wants to use you or how to receive His comfort and peace. He promises to turn our mourning to dancing, our sorrow to joy, and to redeem all the enemy has stolen. COME! Help! Amen

Prepare your hearts to worship! See you at 10 on Zoom or live with Children's Church. We are fast approaching our summer breaks. Ask God where He is leading you this summer and who to partner with as we go live, love. comfort and help those He is drawing. Pray for new connection points and opportunities. Thank God for the harvest and for raising up harvest workers (you!). Thank God for His provision as we follow that and His peace to new things He has planned for you and us. He is on the move and so are we as we continue to grow towards becoming a healthy, dynamic movement of God. Amen! May God lead and use you and us as he created you/us to do what we are created, gifted and empowered to do. Please Lord! Come! Use us! Amen!

ODB:

Tears of Joy

Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. Jeremiah 31:9 nlt

READ Jeremiah 31:3-9

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

Leaving home one morning, Dean found some friends waiting with balloons. His friend Josh stepped forward. “We entered your poems in a competition,” he said, before handing Dean an envelope. Inside was a card that read “First Prize,” and soon everyone was crying tears of joy. Dean’s friends had done a beautiful thing, confirming his writing talent.

Weeping for joy is a paradoxical experience. Tears are normally a response to pain, not joy; and joy is normally expressed with laughter, not tears. Italian psychologists have noted that tears of joy come at times of deep personal meaning—like when we feel deeply loved or achieve a major goal. This led them to conclude that tears of joy are pointers to the meaning of our lives.

I imagine tears of joy erupting everywhere Jesus went. How could the parents of the man born blind not weep for joy when Jesus healed him (John 9:1-9), or Mary and Martha after He raised their brother from death (11:38-44)? When God’s people are brought into a restored world, “Tears of joy will stream down their faces,” God says, “and I will lead them home with great care” (Jeremiah 31:9 nlt).

If tears of joy show us the meaning of our lives, imagine that great day to come. As tears stream down our faces, we’ll know without doubt that the meaning of life has always been to live intimately with Him.

By Sheridan Voysey

REFLECT & PRAY

When was the last time you wept for joy? What do you think the meaning of life is?

Father God, thank You for the joy ahead for those who love You.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Two themes dominate the Prophetic Books of the Bible—discipline and restoration. After the prophet Jeremiah warned the Israelites of God’s judgment and discipline due to their wickedness and sin (Jeremiah 1–29), he assured them that later God would also restore them (chs. 30–33). He would be their God and they would be His chosen nation once again (31:1). He would also bring them back to the promised land after the Babylonian exile (30:1-3; 31:8-9). Israel would be restored to enjoy the privileges and blessings as God’s “firstborn son” (31:9).

K. T. Sim

UR: God Cares

I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. - Joel 2:25 (KJV)

Many years ago I was going through a very rough time, just coping day by day clinging to faith and trusting that God would help me soon. Then one day out of the blue when I was alone, this verse came into my mind: “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.” I received it as a promise from God that whatever I was going through would pass, and that God would restore what I had lost and bless me.

Years later, this verse is still vividly clear in my mind. As I look back now, I realize the Lord has indeed restored my life and blessed me in many ways. Through this verse, I’ve learned that God’s promise of restoration means that God can take what is broken and put it together again, making it better than it was before.

God has enabled me to use my past to help others today. As a life coach and youth mentor, I’m now able to empathize and understand better the challenges and helplessness others are going through without judgment or prejudice. God has indeed turned the ashes of my past to beauty — the beauty of helping those who are in the wilderness now. That in itself is a blessing.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Lord God, thank you for your promise that you will never leave nor forsake us when we are in the wilderness. Help us to trust in your promise of restoration. Amen.TWFYT:
Inline image
 

Harvest Blogs:

May 5 - Inviting God into Our Daily Needs

“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

It is a mark of our independence that we never invite God into the simple, daily needs of our life. We think we can handle things, which is our most deadly deception. Often people will say, “God is not interested in the details of my life.” Apparently, they have not read their Bibles or studied the words of Christ:
 
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! (Matthew 6:26)
 
God cares about every part of His creation and has the capabilities to meet our every need. But we must give Him access. We must let Him in.
 
Ole Hallesby in his classic book on prayer cites Revelation 3:20 as one of the most important verses on prayer in the Bible. Christ is speaking to the church and says …
 
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
 
Hallesby writes …
“It is not our prayer which draws Jesus into our hearts. Nor is it our prayer which moves Jesus to come in to us … All He needs is access. He enters in of His own accord because He desires to come in. And He enters in wherever He is not denied admittance … To pray is nothing more involved than to let Jesus into our needs. To pray is to give Jesus permission to employ His powers in the alleviation of our distress. To pray is to let Jesus glorify His name in the midst of our needs.”
 
Christ wants us to let Him in wherever there is a need. So, Christ tells us to pray for our “daily bread.” It is beautiful in prayer to realize that He cares about our needs—both big and small—and wants us to come to Him every day with every need.
       
As we let Him in, He supplies. And, since He is the sole supplier, He gets more and more glory and the world around us gains a right opinion about God.
 
Father, I want to declare my complete dependence upon You! Forgive me for the times when I attempt to meet my own needs rather than ask You for help. Keep my heart in a posture of thanksgiving recognizing that everything I have or ever will have is from You alone.

---Adapted from Simply Prayer by Bill Elliff. This book is available at prayershop.org.

Prayer Points

  • Praise your Father as the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries (Dan. 2:47). 
  • Give thanks for the mystery of salvation through Christ, which has been revealed to you through God's Word and Spirit (Eph. 3:3-6).
  • Confess that there are times when you do not rely on his wisdom and insight in your daily struggles.
  • Commit yourself to spending more time in God’s Word and prayer, seeking to understand the mystery of your life in Christ.
  • Ask God to fill you with a spirit of wisdom and revelation (Eph. 1:17).
  • Pray for those you know whose minds have been blinded by the gods of this age, unable to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4).
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.
Posted by: AT 01:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024

Good Morning Faithful Good News Bringers! Please may that be me and us Lord! Persevering and faithful servants no matter what. Your vessels of love, healing, hope and good news as we go connect to the lost and weary and connect them to You and make disciples in the way of Jesus. Thank You! May we seek, see, hear, process, plan and follow You well. May we partner with others to pray, process, plan, go and be accountable. Bring dreams and visions of your plans for us this summer as we step out of the building, follow You and connect to new people. Bring in the harvest and raise up the harvest workers for the harvest is ripe and ready. Use us to comfort those who mourn, help the helpless, bring hope to the hopeless and joy to the joyless. Use us to connect others to you and make disciples. Help us to build on the strengths of the past, let go of the hindrances to the present and follow you to the new things you have for us as we run and finish our races well. Unite us in love and mission and may we yoke to Jesus and each other as we go. Thank You for creating us for such a time as this and for the great plans You have for us. Bring them alive and bring revival. Protect us. Teach us. Lead us. Use us well! Thank You! Thank You for calling us to Your love and sending us to live and love like Jesus! May we be all about Your business, just as we are, with what You've given, as we travel through each day. Come! Fill us! Use us well! May we grow to be more like you each day. Come! Have Your way with me today and be the Lord of me and this day. Amen!

Now that's a great starting prayer for today! Check out how the threads our devos together and be ready for God to move and answer these prayers! He has great plans custom made for you today! Rejoice! Go! Love! Amen!

UR: From Loss to Abundance

[The Lord has sent me to] provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. - Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

Following a fierce summer storm, my husband and I went outside to see an uprooted tree stretched across our yard. As we cleaned up the broken branches littering our lawn, I mourned the loss of the tree. On summer days we had rested under its shade, listening to the rustle of leaves in the breeze and the singing of birds in its branches. Now all that remained was an ugly stump. However, my husband took a more pragmatic view, realizing the tree’s absence allowed more sunlight to reach his vegetable garden. The plants would flourish with more sunlight to strengthen them.

Losing a tree cannot compare to losing someone or something precious, but it provides a picture of how God can turn loss into abundance. Amid the pain of significant losses in my life, God filled up the emptiness with an abundance of love. God gave me beauty and joy in spite of my loss and mourning, and praising God lightened the heaviness.

Where a tree once stood, now light floods our garden. Likewise, our scars of loss do not need to remain places of pain and darkness. Rather, they can be markers of where God met us and brought new light to our lives.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear Lord, thank you for comforting us when we are brokenhearted. When we mourn, you offer beauty, joy, and praise to fill us up. Amen.

CS:

Inline image
 

TWFYT:

Inline image
 

ODB:

The Authority of Jesus

All authority . . . has been given to me. Matthew 28:18

READ Matthew 28:16-20

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

Even after Jesus had set my son Geoff free from years of substance abuse, I still had worries. We’d been through much together and my focus sometimes remained on his difficult past instead of the future God had for him. Parents of addicts often worry about relapse, and one day at a family gathering, I pulled Geoff aside. “Remember,” I told him, “we have an adversary, and he’s powerful.” “I know, Dad,” he responded. “He has power, but he has no authority.”

In that moment, I was reminded of Jesus’ incomparable authority to rescue us from our sins and transform our lives as we look to Him. Immediately I thought of His words to the disciples shortly before He returned to His Father in heaven: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go . . .” (Matthew 28:18-19).

The crucified and risen Jesus has made a way for us to come to Him no matter what our past may be. He holds both our past and our future. Because He’s promised to be with us always (v. 20), we can be assured that He’ll accomplish His purposes and that our lives are in His unfailing hands. Jesus gives us unparalleled hope, a hope so good we can’t keep it to ourselves. The devil and the world may have some power for a little while, but “all authority” belongs to Jesus forever.

By James Banks

REFLECT & PRAY

How does Jesus’ authority give you hope? What has He done for you that you can share with someone today?

Thank You, dear God, for calling me to You in love. Please lead me to someone I can share Your love with today.

For further study, read Hope: Discovering the One True Source.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

In the Gospels, Jesus is described as a man who “taught as one who had authority” (Matthew 7:29) and “has authority on earth to forgive sins” (9:6). The Greek word exousia carries the meaning of “authority, power, the right to control or govern; dominion, the area or sphere of jurisdiction.” Christ called twelve men, discipled them, and then “sent them out to preach” (Mark 3:14). He “gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases” and instructed them “to proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:1-2). As the Son of God and Son of Man, Jesus has been given “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18), for God granted “him authority over all people” (John 17:2). We’re also armed with His authority—although ours is limited—to go into the world and tell others about Him and disciple them (Matthew 28:19-20).

K. T. Sim
Posted by: AT 01:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024

Today is the National Day of Pray. A day set apart to pray for our nation. Here is a link to the broadcast: https://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/events/2024_broadcast

Seeking, Trusting, Accepted, Strong in Christ, Faithful Followers of Jesus! We are at war and although it may feel like it's physical battles we face, we are also reminded that we are battling against principalities and powers in the spiritual realm as well. We battle on our knees, ask for help to stand firm and to walk through whatever God has allowed in His strength and with His peace. We persevere in faith no matter what. And seek to choose joy as we grow in trust. Being a faithful Christian can be one of the hardest things we face. BUT GOD! He is pursuing us and with us always! Amen! And He has great plans for you, us and the world. Love and Light are eventually victorious. Jesus has overcome the world, death and the grave. Amen. We know the Victor and He is in us. He is our Source and Strength, our Shield and Rock! Put on His armor today and battle for our nation, loved ones and all who will come. Stand firm and push through. It will be worth it. Seek God for who He wants to pursue through you and for who He has for you to invite along on your journey! We are warriors and overcomers in Christ! Amen! Seek first the Kingdom of God. Don't lean on your own understanding but acknowledge Him in all your ways. Run your race well and bring some along on the journey. God pursues all who will come with love and acceptance. He has great plans for you to be part of that. Turn off the noise and focus on Him! I'm praying for you and us. Check out our devos below and the thread through this.

Yesterday we had another great day of ministry at the Bread Ministry. Next week is donut day. Plan to join us and allow God to use you to minister to others and to be ministered to as well. Last evening two grand moms accepted our invites and joined us for our dinner huddle. Family Ministries connected to three grandkids who want to return. One of the grand moms is a bit out there and going through all kinds of family and health issues. I prayed with her during bread min and she brought her grand daughter. She heard all about God and His love and her grand daughter felt very much loved and accepted. Pretty cool! Pray for this family and for a future of hope and love for the grand kids. The other grand mom was really connecting with our discussions and her grand kids felt very loved and accepted and can't wait to return next week. I shouldn't have to say this because we are brothers and sisters but one of our conversation starting questions was about race. When asked, she told us how hard it can be to be black in America. Her young grandsons were bulled at school because of their race. She has experienced all sorts of discrimination. They all felt the love and acceptance last night of people who are loved and accepted just as we are by Jesus. Pray they continue to feel love, grow in relationship with us and God and that we get really good at loving and accepting well as God answers our prayers to become a house of prayer for the nations and sends in the harvest.

Here's something we will encounter more and more as we reach generations of confused and even former Christians and the lost generations: This grand mom opened the door to Jehovah Witnesses who explained things from the cult thinking and gave them false Bibles (which the grand sons are reading). Many are hungry for love, acceptance and Truth that we have. We gave her a new Bible for each kid and asked her to dispose of those false ones. I should have given her a Bible and will next time. Pray they return and are open to Truth and God's love with us. As we looked around the room there were only four of us from St Matts and at least eight adults not from our church. How cool is that as God brings in the harvest and we minister in Truth and Love. Questions are being answered. Love and Truth distributed. Acceptance is being felt without finger pointing. People are coming just as they are to this expression of church on Wed evenings. Unfortunately, next Wed. will be our last one for the summer. (It was almost too hot to even be there last evening and very uncomfortable but we pushed through and God moved! PTL!) We are praying for how God wants us to gather and continue ministry through the summer as we reach out to neighbors and in small and large group gatherings. How does God want to use you this summer? What are you planning? Who is helping you? Family Ministries plans to try to meet once a month this summer beginning in June and we are looking for different ways for the adult huddle to continue as well. Pray for dreams, visions, workers and God's plans to come to life. He is moving! PTL! God has great plans for us as we step out of the building in faith and follow Jesus and join Him in the new things he is doing. And He is doing some amazing new things with plans for more for us to discover. Seek Him with a heart willing to follow! We had church last night in a whole new way. Ten years ago none of us members could even have imagined that we would experience what we did last evening. Let us praise, worship, seek, plan and follow well! Amen! God is so good and faithful to answer these earnest, expectant prayers! We are seeing that already! PTL! What's your part? Who are your partners? Turn off the noise and follow God's shalom!

CS:

Inline image
 

ODB:

A Creator We Can Trust

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. John 3:16

READ John 3:10-17

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

The “monster” in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the most widely known literary characters, captivating our cultural imagination. But close readers of the beloved novel know that a strong case can be made that Shelley actually portrays Victor Frankenstein, the delusional scientist who created the creature, as the real monster. After creating an intelligent creature, Victor denies him any guidance, companionship, or hope of happiness—seemingly guaranteeing the creature’s descent into desperation and rage. Confronting Victor, the creature laments, “You, my creator, would tear me to pieces and triumph.”

Scripture reveals how different the true Creator of all things is—with unchanging, tireless love for His creation. God didn’t create on a whim, but out of love created a beautiful, “very good” world (Genesis 1:31). And even when humanity turned from Him to choose monstrous evil instead, God’s commitment to and love for humanity didn’t change.

As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, God’s love for His creation was so great He was willing to give even what was most dear to Him—“his one and only Son” (John 3:16)—that the world might be saved. Jesus sacrificed Himself, bearing the consequences of our sin, so “that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (v. 15).

We have a Creator we can trust with our hearts and lives.

By Monica La Rose

REFLECT & PRAY

How does God’s commitment to His creation impact you? How can you respond to His love for you?

Dear God, thank You for being a good Creator who I can trust.  

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

In John 3:10, we sense Jesus’ frustration with Nicodemus, who, as a well-educated Pharisee (“Israel’s teacher,” as Christ put it), should’ve understood the Scriptures better than he did. Nicodemus was also a member of the ruling council, the Sanhedrin (v. 1), which plotted to have Jesus arrested and executed. But we must give Nicodemus credit for several key points. First, he came to Christ with his questions (vv. 4, 9). Second, his dialogue with Jesus must have taken root in his heart, for later he spoke in defense of Christ when his colleagues were clamoring for His arrest (7:50-51). And third, he courageously identified with the Savior—at a time when the disciples had fled in fear—by joining Joseph of Arimathea to take Jesus’ body from the cross and give Him a respectful Jewish burial (19:38-42).

Tim Gustafson

UR: Source of Strength

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. - 2 Chronicles 15:7 (NIV)

As I was growing up, my parents didn’t have much money, and we were always on a tight budget. Both my parents would wake up at 5:00 every morning and head to work. There were times when my dad wouldn’t come home for months. At an incredibly early age I was left with the responsibility of taking care of both my younger siblings.

I had to help my brothers pack their lunch for school, wait for them to board the bus, and then get ready for school myself. Arriving home after school, I would immediately rush to the kitchen and prepare food for my brothers because there were times when my parents would get home late. Some days I felt too tired to complete all these tasks, but I still managed not to complain and to help my parents all I could.

After one very hectic day, I was simply overwhelmed. My parents would always read the Bible to us, and that day I specifically remembered, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” I prayed and asked God for strength to continue.

Sometimes our responsibilities can overwhelm us and make us want to give up. It’s important to remind ourselves that God is here with us to give us strength and courage to persevere.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Heavenly Father, we ask for strength on the days when we want to give up. Keep us always aware of the hope and future you have for our lives. Amen.Harvest Prayer blogs:

May 2 - Peace in Strange Places



Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said, “We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you.” (1 Chronicles 12:18, ESV)

It was a tough time in Israel. In effect, it was civil war between those loyal to King Saul battling the young, but anointed David and his small band.

One day, a group of warriors from Benjamin and Judah came to David’s stronghold to join him. David confronted them, wondering if they were for him or against him. It was at this tense point that the Spirit of God stepped in and spoke through Amasai. In that context of warriors signing up to do battle, the Spirit spoke a message of peace.

The peace that Amasai spoke to David was not talking about war stopping in Israel. It was more about the peace that David had because of God’s presence with him, which then brought peace to those who allied themselves with David. It is peace in the midst of turmoil, not peace that comes from the absence of hostilities. It’s a peace we all need to discover.

We so often feel that turmoil, conflict, or disorder is a sign that we have done something wrong. But we need to realize that these things are a part of what it means to live in this fallen world. Jesus, who modeled perfect peace for us, was so often surrounded by turmoil and attacks. He warned us that in this world, we would face tribulation. And yet, the peace of Christ comes to us regardless of the hectic, crazy world that surrounds us.

For us, as with David and Amasai, we must pay careful attention to the Spirit who speaks peace in the middle of war. The peace of God is not a matter of withdrawal from life or the avoidance of conflict. It is watching to see where God is moving and going where God is going. Amasai saw through the Spirit that God was with David and his helpers and that this was where peace was to be found. Yes, there still was hard fighting ahead and a throne to be won for David, but the presence of God with him ensured that God’s peace would ultimately prevail.

Lord, help me to want to run after you, seeking your face always. That’s where peace is to be found. Give me the strength to endure difficult times and to accept your peace while I am walking through those times. Help me to pay attention to the leading of your Spirit and to move always in your direction, being confident that your peace accompanies me on that path.

--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 God for communicating with you in his inspired Word.
  • Thank him for providing a “lamp to [your] feet and a light to [your] path” (Ps. 119:105).
  • Confess any doubts you’ve harbored concerning the authority of God’s Word in your life.
  • Commit yourself to treasuring the words of God more than daily bread (Job 23:12).
  • Ask God to feed you spiritually as you look to his Word for guidance throughout this week.
  • Think of one specific family. Pray that this family would set aside time every day for family devotions and prayer. Ask God to make this practice a blessing in their family life.
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.
Posted by: AT 01:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024
Zoom Huddle 10 AM today. All welcome!
WED: 10-12 Bread Min. 6PM dinner Huddle All welcome!
Sat 10-1 Clothing Closet
Sun 10 am worship live and on Zoom with Children's Church
PRAYER Need! Children Church workers. There will be no children's church from June -Sept. We could use a few workers if we want to keep it open. In the Fall Children's Church will be for 12 and under only. If we have more than 6 kids we will need a second adult to assist. We could use some teachers/leaders for teen class too or they will remain in worship. All children's workers are in the process of renewing clearances. They are free if you are interested in helping. See Lori for info. There will be a training for all children's workers in Sept.
PRAYER Need: For God to give us dreams and visions for His plans this summer and for willing servants to lead some outreach gatherings.
Check out Kim's Blog at the bottom for how to pray blessings over our body and each other. Good Stuff!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Good Morning Pursued, Love-Filled, Love Bringers! The Theme continues of God's awesome pursuing love with our devotionals this morning. God is pursuing us and wanting to speak to our hearts as He prepares us to be part of His team of pursuers. He is preparing and sending us to go love like Jesus as we join Him in what He is doing all around us daily. Who do you see Him pursuing and who is the Holy Spirit pinching you to engage with? What will you do about it?
Man just meditate on 1John 4:15-21 from Our Daily bread today. I spent a long tome processing this with God. Maybe you won't even get past that but our other devos do thread through it.
1John 4:15-21, 

15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
Wow! What's God saying to you this morning? What's He leading you to do in response? Who might you be processing this with and planning to put in to action? Talk to God about all of that. That will help you to turn off the noise and focus in on God! It will help to inform your prayers and choices too.
ODB is all about how we can't out love God. They ask, "How has knowing God loves you helped you to love others? How can you show love to others this week?So???? God is love. His love pursues us and others and pursue through us as we live and love more like Jesus. How cool is that! Charles Stanley reminds us of the importance of giving love today with the reminder that as we give and sow, we will receive back. We love because God first loved us and we can give love because we are loved so much and it's what we are created to do. I just love how things all work together in God's Kingdom and how He invites and empowers us to join Him as He pursues in love! The Upper Room reminds us how we are called to serve with gladness. There's a wanting to, I can't help but, serve the Lord attitude and motivation because of His overpowering love for us. And as we serve and love we are blessed back and encouraged to keep at it. You know, that's stuff to focus on today instead of all the hate, lies, noise and chaos. That's enough to keep us busy! Amen! What's on your Christian bucket list and how can we help each other achieve some of those? (Maybe start a list and share it with some others! I have a pretty extensive list going even before I read this and God keeps leading me to new ones!)
TWFYT speaks about vision and planning and overcoming distractions from following God to His best. We often need to deal with conflict, issues and differing ideas in a good and loving way. God is not a God of chaos but of peace and wisdom and joy. We do our best to nip in the bud any conflict and dissension and resolve all conflicts biblically and ASAP. If you have any concerns remember our PRC is here to help and so is your support team and pastors. We are all wanting to seek and follow God well and to His best. It will take all of us dying to self, taking up cross and following Jesus together to do that well and biblically. Eph. 4:15 reminds us that all we do needs to be done in love and not for our own needs or ways or agendas but to honor God and love each other well. God pursues us in love and wants to love through us. Are we pursuing Him, His ways, and His plans or our own? Ask for His heart and mind and for us to stay unified and doing His plans His way--in love! I struggle with sometimes trying to get people on board with my plans and visions without consulting God and seeking His plans fully and His timing. (Karen calls me a smooze! Like a used car salesman) It's great to have a team of co-laborers to help me process and redirect and doing so in love. I am getting better at that and that's all God asks, but I have to keep after it or I can be all about my business my ways instead of God's and His ways. We are called to become more like Jesus. We are created for that actually and to love like Him. He has great plans for us! Let us stay yoked to Him and each others as we all do our parts to go live and love more like Him! Amen? AMEN! Let's pursue Him and His best together and allow Him to pursue through us as we go about His business daily, His ways, in His timing! Follow peace and share the love! Amen! Let us determine to live out Eph. 4:15 as part of our mission.
Ephesians 4:15 , Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
ODB:

Can’t Out-Love God

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

READ 1 John 4:15-21

When my now-grown son, Xavier, was in kindergarten, he stretched his arms wide and said, “I love you this much.”  I stretched my longer arms wide and said, “I love you this much.” Planting his fists on his hips, he said, “I loved you first.” I shook my head. “I loved you when God first put you in my womb.” Xavier’s eyes widened. “You win.” “We both win,” I said, “because Jesus loved both of us first.”

As Xavier prepares for the birth of his first child, I’m praying he’ll enjoy trying to out-love his son as they make sweet memories. But as I prepare to be a grandmother, I’m amazed at how much I loved my grandson from the moment Xavier and his wife told us they were expecting a baby.

The apostle John affirmed that Jesus’ love for us gives us the ability to love Him and others (1 John 4:19). Knowing He loves us gives us a sense of security that deepens our personal relationship with Him (vv. 15-17). As we realize the depth of His love for us (v. 19), we can grow in our love for Him and express love in other relationships (v. 20). Not only does Jesus empower us to love, but He also commands us to love: “And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” (v. 21). When it comes to loving well, God always wins. No matter how hard we try, we can’t out-love God!

By Xochitl Dixon

REFLECT & PRAY

How has knowing God loves you helped you to love others? How can you show love to others this week?

Loving Savior, thank You for loving me first so I can love others.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

The books of John; 1, 2, and 3 John; and Revelation were all written by the apostle John (one of the “sons of thunder”; Mark 3:17), who refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 19:26). But rather than boasting, John seems to point with assurance and perhaps amazement to the knowledge that Christ loved him despite his failings. In our text today, John declares: “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Because of His perfect love, we need not fear our future or eternal destiny (vv. 17-18). By dying on the cross, Jesus made a way for us to be with Him (vv. 9-10; John 3:16). Nothing can separate believers in Christ from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). In response, we’re called to love others (1 John 4:11, 20-21). Through the Spirit, we have assurance of His love and are empowered to love others (v. 13; Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22).

Alyson Kieda
CS:
Inline image
 
UR: Bucket List

Serve the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing. - Psalm 100:2 (NRSVUE)

In recent years, it has become popular for people to make a “bucket list.” In other words, a list of things they want to do before they die or “kick the bucket.” What if we were to make a “Christian bucket list” — a list of ways we can use our gifts to provide meaningful service for the Lord’s work?

I once heard a Christian leader pose the question, “What makes your heart sing?” I have a number of things on my Christian bucket list that do exactly that. For example, in memory of my late son, I serve on short-term mission teams with an international Christian disability ministry. We deliver and customize wheelchairs for people in need around the world. It brings me much joy to see people experience mobility, many for the first time. It is also a joy to work and worship with other Christians around the world. Writing meditations for Christian resources in hopes that something I share might be helpful to others is another activity that makes my heart sing.

God blesses each of us with skills, interests, and experiences that uniquely equip us to serve. When we find ways to serve that draw on those gifts, it can truly make the heart sing.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Dear Lord, thank you for the gifts and talents you give to each person. Help us find ways to serve you joyfully and effectively. Amen.
TWFYT:
Inline image
 
Kim's Blog:

BLESSING THE BODY

by Kim Butts

2 Thessalonians has become one of my favorite books of the Bible. It is filled with blessings to pray for and over others! What I love about these verses is how simple it is to adapt each prayer for believers wherever they may be and whatever circumstance in which they find themselves. It is easy to change pronouns or put in the names of the person/persons you wish to pray for as you bring them to the throne of God with His kingdom purposes for them in your heart and upon your lips:

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12: “…we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Example: “Bill, I pray that our God may count you worthy of your calling…etc.”

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14: “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Example: Tina, I always give thanks to God for you, as a sister beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you…etc.”

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”  Example: “Joe, may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us…etc.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5: “And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ”  Example: “Sarah, may the Lord direct your heart into the love of God…etc.”

2 Thessalonians 3:16: “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”  Example: “Don, may the Lord of peace Himself…etc.”

I can’t think of one of these prayers I would not want someone to pray over my life. Blessing people in prayer is a powerful way to reassure, inspire or support other believers. These prayers can also become part of your personal prayer time, praying over individuals, couples, families, your church, the churches in your community, government officials…well, you likely get the idea! Example: “Father, I lift my pastor, Tom, up to You! May You count him worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in and through his life…etc.”

Perhaps you could look over these Scriptures and ask God to assign each one to someone you know: family members, pastors, missionaries, people you work with, friends, etc. If you can’t personally seek them out to pray over them, call or email these prayers of blessing to them. Who knows how much encouragement each one of us could give to the body of Christ today if we all take this challenge! If just ten of us do this, fifty people will receive power, peace and/or purpose from God’s Spirit. I’ll go first!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kim's Blog:

BLESSING THE BODY

by Kim Butts

2 Thessalonians has become one of my favorite books of the Bible. It is filled with blessings to pray for and over others! What I love about these verses is how simple it is to adapt each prayer for believers wherever they may be and whatever circumstance in which they find themselves. It is easy to change pronouns or put in the names of the person/persons you wish to pray for as you bring them to the throne of God with His kingdom purposes for them in your heart and upon your lips:

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12: “…we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Example: “Bill, I pray that our God may count you worthy of your calling…etc.”

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14: “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Example: Tina, I always give thanks to God for you, as a sister beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you…etc.”

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”  Example: “Joe, may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us…etc.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5: “And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ”  Example: “Sarah, may the Lord direct your heart into the love of God…etc.”

2 Thessalonians 3:16: “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”  Example: “Don, may the Lord of peace Himself…etc.”

I can’t think of one of these prayers I would not want someone to pray over my life. Blessing people in prayer is a powerful way to reassure, inspire or support other believers. These prayers can also become part of your personal prayer time, praying over individuals, couples, families, your church, the churches in your community, government officials…well, you likely get the idea! Example: “Father, I lift my pastor, Tom, up to You! May You count him worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in and through his life…etc.”

Perhaps you could look over these Scriptures and ask God to assign each one to someone you know: family members, pastors, missionaries, people you work with, friends, etc. If you can’t personally seek them out to pray over them, call or email these prayers of blessing to them. Who knows how much encouragement each one of us could give to the body of Christ today if we all take this challenge! If just ten of us do this, fifty people will receive power, peace and/or purpose from God’s Spirit. I’ll go first!

Don  
Posted by: AT 01:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024
Surprise!!! I have a follow up cardiologist appointment tomorrow (mon) and need to leave by 6:45 so I thought I would do tomorrow's blog this afternoon. Well it's really Sun Blog part two. You will need to read your own devotionals and spend some time with God yourself tomorrow. Unless God gets me up at 3 or 4. (Hope not, but He often does)
Good Afternoon Very Loved, Pursued by God, Fellowship of Believers! What a great message we heard today from Sarah about God's pursuing love! And what a great time of feasting and fellowship we had at the brunch celebration after worship! Thank you Sarah! And thank you Lori and the whole two peas in a pod Family Ministries team! And thanks to all who helped to clean up! Lori estimated that 84 meals were served altogether with take out. I wish I could hang out at all the tables! What a great fellowship and family!!! This will be our last brunch until Fall but we will have a church picnic June 9th where we get to hang out and feast and fellowship. Watch for details!
Kathy shared during praise time about the love and encouragement she feels and the love that flows from our family of believers. We are love! (Pronounce and believe that! It's true!) Thank you all for being so loving, kind thoughtful and responsive to co-laborers that need prayer, encouragement and help! You ROCK! I have never experienced such love and care from a church family before! We are love, joy, encouragement, hope and help bringers! AMEN! Keep it up! We need each other!
Sarah reminded us about how much we are pursued by God always. We may run and/or try to hide from Him, but He loves us too much to let us escape His love! God's love will always pursue us. We have three choices: run, hide or surrender. He's always right there wanting us to turn to Him and receive His love. Too often we try to run and hide as we pursue our own selfish ways and pleasure and try to block God out or try to ignore Him. But He is relentless. I think about how I tried to do that for over 20 year, BUT GOD! He was there pursuing me, waiting for me to stop running and stop trying to hide and to turn to Him in surrender. He received me with open arms and led me into my new nature and His much better ways! Sarah reminded us that when we realize that we are trying to avoid God, run or hide, we need to stop and turn to His pursuing love and be restored, healed and set free. Yes and He loves us so much that His love is a purifying, just love and there may be some consequences to walk through with Him as we repent and begin to trust Him. He will lead us to His best and we will overflow with His love if we let that happen!
Sarah asked two questions to ponder: What does God want us to pursue? (even this summer as we step out of the building). What is He pursuing in you? I might add, Who do you see Him pursuing that He wants you to be a part of His rescue team? He has great plans for you! He is always pursuing you to lead you to His best. Are you pursuing His best? It's such a joy when you do and when you allow Him to have His way with you and as you walk with Him and in His best ways. God pursues you with a forgiving restoring love. He pursues you with everlasting love. He pursues you with perfecting love. He pursues you with sacrificial love. He pursues you with healing, accepting love. God is love and love pursues you always. Stop trying to run and hide and turn to Him and abide in His love today--everyday! We are made for His love! Pursue it! Receive His love and then go share it! What a joy that is! Remember, nothing can separate us from His love unless we choose to allow it to. DON"T! He's pursuing you and wants to pursue others through you. Allow His love to transform you and your situations and then to flow from you to others as you learn to live and love more like Jesus! Amen!
Yes what love we experienced today! God definitely pursued us and united us in His love! PTL! Thank you all for your love and willingness to allow God to love through you! Love you all!!!
I decided to copy tomorrow's devos below. maybe they thread through this or will speak to your heart about where you might be trying to run or hide from God. Or maybe they are the thread for a new day for how to live and love more like Jesus? I didn't engage with them yet so I don't know. But I do know this, God is pursuing you and wanting to speak to your heart and inform your prayers and choices. Will you let Him? Pray about it and invite Him in. Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart right now! Shalom!
CS:
Inline image
 
ODB:
Inline image
 
UR
Inline image
 
TWFYT:
Inline image
 
Don  
Posted by: AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024

Thank God I'm Forgiven Friday! PTL! What are you thankful about today?

It was Friday, but Sunday is coming! Rejoice! Things aren't always as they appear in God's Kingdom. Be still and know that He is God. Seek and keep knocking for the door will be open to you is a promise. If you hear the knocking, open the door and let Jesus in. He wants to come in to you and refresh you, hang with you and even feed you! PTL! Turn off the noise and tune into shalom! You are God's creation. He's calling you by name and has great plans for you to discover and grow into. That all began when you realized Jesus died for you and you invited Him into your heart. Spend some time worshiping and resting in your Savior and King today! Begin with those gratitude lists. I started with about 30 thank you's as I praised God for all that He is and does and His many, many blessings upon me/us and that just flowed into an awesome time of worship, dwelling, listening and receiving. Below are some journal notes from my time with God. Do you journal? You should try it sometime, even if it's just writing down your gratitude's for the day to carry with you and build your day upon.

I'm thankful that God created me in His image. I'm thankful for His created variety and that He made me unique for His unique purpose for me for such a time as this! I'm thankful that He is with me always working together all things for good and according to His will. I'm thankful for forgiveness and new life in Christ and for God growing me to be more like Him. I'm thankful that Jesus leads me beside still waters, refreshes and restores as I dwell in His presence. I'm thankful for His healthy rhythm of leading me from rest to fruit production. I'm thankful for pruning and renewing of my mind that allows me to grow and be transformed more into His image. I'm thankful for all of you and for God bringing us together to worship, learn, grow and go make disciples of Jesus. I'm thankful that He wants me to come just as I am and uses me just as I am but also wants to grow and change me. I'm thankful for His patient love! I'm thankful for the harvest He is sending and new workers He is raising up. I'm thankful for answered prayers, even the no, or not yet answers. I' thankful that He is a God that is always doing something new and that we can discover and follow Him to it. I'm thankful for all the dreams and visions of His plans that He is bringing to you and me and that we can know them and work with others to process, plan and do them well. I'm thankful He is leading us out of the building this summer and that He has some great plans and new things for us to try. I'm thankful that I can't do it all and that He has led me to stop trying as I allow others to step into their anointing and gifts and begin using them. I'm thankful for our leadership team and the wisdom God has given us to seek and follow Him and plan to bring His plans alive as we steward well and wisely all His blessings. I'm thankful for Karen and our growing love for God and each other. I'm thankful that God has ministry for us together and apart and that He uses us. I'm thankful for His provision and protection for us. I'm thankful we are able to get away and recharge more often. I'm thankful for friends and ministries outside the church including the race track. I'm thankful for all God is doing as He teaches me and us to live, love, teach, lead and make disciples more like Jesus. I'm thankful that He is leading us to that more in '24! And the list continues! He is our Healer, Helper, Sustainer, Provision, Protection, Wisdom, Creator, Savior and Lord! Hallelujah! What are you thankful about? There is so much! Amen!

Check out the thread through our devotionals below! Wow! God speaks as we still ourselves at His feet and listen! PTL! How does He want you to apply what He's saying today? Who does He have for you to process, plana nd partner with? What are you going to do about it? Start with praise and then begin to follow step by step as you yoke to Jesus with some friends! He has great plans for you in this life but is preparing you for what He has in the next. PTL! He has some co-laborers for you. PTL! We are better together. PTL! He receives you just as you are and has plans for you just as you are for such a time as this. These plans include receiving and helping newbies to come to Jesus and be changed. God's in the business of helping us and others to shed the old nature, step more fully into the new and grow all to His eternal purposes! PTL that we were one way and now another and growing into our fuller potential! PTL that He is sending some raw material to us to help to become like Jesus. PTL that we are accepting and loving of all and patient like Jesus with His confused, lost, rebellious and wayward children. PTL that He has great plans He will carry out to completion and that they include you and all who will come! Just PTL and worship and may you offer yourself as an offering--a sacrifice of praise today! Amen! 

What can you add to these lists as you spend some time at Jesus' feet and meditate on the devos? Come! Let us worship the Lord! And may our lives be a sacrifice of praise as we learn to live and love more like Jesus everyday! Amen!

Here's a great tune: Sacrifice of Praise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAGqSzwMU7g

CS:

Inline image
 

ODB:

Serving Together in Jesus

You sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Philippians 4:16

READ Philippians 4:14-20

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

Rescue workers cooperated to help three men stranded on an island in Micronesia. Teamwork was necessary because a widespread health crisis required them to limit their exposure to each other. The pilot who first spotted the castaways radioed a nearby Australian Navy ship. The ship sent two helicopters which provided food, water, and medical care. Later, the US Coast Guard arrived to check on the men and deliver a radio. Finally, a Micronesian patrol boat taxied them to their destination.

We can accomplish a lot when we work together. The Philippian believers pooled their efforts to support the apostle Paul. Lydia and her family welcomed him into their home (Acts 16:13-15). Clement and even Euodia and Syntyche (who didn’t get along) all worked directly with the apostle to spread the good news (Philippians 4:2-3). Later, when Paul was imprisoned in Rome, the church gathered essentials for a care package and delivered it via Epaphroditus (vv. 14-18). Perhaps most importantly, the Philippians prayed for him throughout his ministry (1:19).

The examples of believers serving together in this ancient church can inspire us today. Cooperating with fellow believers to pray and serve others as God leads and empowers us accomplishes much more than we could ever do on our own. It has been said, “Individually, we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.”

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

REFLECT & PRAY

When have you served well with other believers in Jesus? What’s the basis for the spiritual bond you share with them?

Dear God, please show me how to join with others who are serving You.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Named for Philip II (father of Alexander the Great), the city of Philippi lay in Macedonia. The church in Macedonia received high praise from Paul. Not only were the Macedonians quick to respond to his needs, in this case they were the only church to do so (Philippians 4:15). Additionally, he notes, “You sent me aid more than once when I was in need” (v. 16). Indeed, in 2 Corinthians 8, Paul pointed to the economically poor Macedonian church as an example for the wealthy church in Corinth: “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (v. 2). This is the context in which the apostle writes the oft-quoted verse, “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Tim Gustafson

UR: No Questions Asked

Jesus said to [the disciples], “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.” - Matthew 14:16 (CEB)

My church operates two food pantries. One is for USDA food and requires income verification. The other provides food donated by local grocery stores. I especially enjoy serving in this pantry because we feed anyone who comes seeking food. We do not ask their income, why they need the food, or any other such questions. We ask how they are doing and try to brighten their day with loving smiles and words of encouragement along with the food.

In the Gospel stories of Jesus feeding the multitudes, there is no record of Jesus asking the people if they needed food or if they were believers. He simply asked his disciples to feed the people.

As I serve in the food pantry, I know that I am quietly preaching a sermon on the love of Jesus. Some of the people we have fed now help us with this ministry, even though they are not members of our church. Standing with them to feed others is one of my great joys. I am grateful to be able to minister in this way, no questions asked.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear Lord, as you have poured out your grace on us, so may we freely share your love and grace with others at every opportunity. To God be the glory. Amen.

TWFYT:

Inline image
Harvest Prayer blogs:

April 26 - Contend for Godly Children

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3–5) 

Psalm 127:3–5 tells us that our children are like arrows in a warrior’s hand, taking down our enemy, waging war against injustice and shining boldly for the glory of his name. These verses, while powerful, prove to be heartbreaking for many as we see the children of most Christians living as less than conquerors. Our God has designed the family to be one of his greatest weapons to wage war against sin and destruction. He has called our children to be mighty in and for him. Let’s fight for them in prayer. Let’s believe that Jesus can apprehend their hearts and make them revivalists who live with power and love in a weak and hate-filled world. 

Our Father, thank you for our children. We know that it was your providence and your grace that created them and placed them in our families. We are grateful for the honor of raising them, guiding them and loving them. We repent of every way we have failed to honor you in our homes. We ask forgiveness for exalting material gain, social status and even education as more important than knowing you. Today, would you begin a work of deep and lasting change in our children? Would you turn their hearts to you and make them bold witnesses of your love, power and truth? Make them agents of change, weapons of grace in a dark and depraved world. Use them to bring many to salvation. Protect them from every assault of the enemy and embolden them with the power of your word to fight the good fight of faith. Open the eyes of their hearts to know the hope to which you have called them and to live in the inheritance that has been purchased for them through your blood. 

Give us hearts for adult children who may not have godly parents to pray for them. Open wide our hearts to welcome them into our circles of prayer and to cover them daily. Empower and equip this next generation to wage war against all injustice and to stand strong in the power of your might. Use them to bring revival and to spread the loving message of your gospel throughout the earth. We thank you for sharing this next generation with us; we are grateful to join with them so that all the earth may rejoice in you.

--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 God as the God of truth.
  • Thank him for replacing the facades of your life with the substantive realities of his truth.
  • Confess any time you’ve rejected difficult aspects of that truth for the appealing glitter of Satan’s lies.
  • Commit yourself to honesty with God, other people, and yourself.
  • Ask God to lead you into fuller and fuller application of his truth to your lifestyle.
  • Pray that such truth-oriented living will break through the lies the Deceiver has used with unsaved neighbors. Ask God to speak his truth in love to one of them through you today.
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.
Posted by: AT 12:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024
Mark your calendar: Sun. June 9th Church Picnic. Details to follow? Are you part of the picnic team? Check with Sarah if interested!
Don't Forget! Last Brunch of the season this Sunday after worship (It's an everyones birthday celebration with picnic food) Who ya bringin'?
Good Morning Abiding, Empowered, Followers of Jesus! What does it actually mean to be a follower of Jesus? Well, you follow Him! Following well starts when we die to self and surrender to Him and receive Jesus as both our Lord and Savior. We are forgiven and our names are written in the Book of Life. We are given the Holy Spirit as a seal for this guarantee and He gives us gifts and help to understand and follow Jesus to His plans for us and His best. Our steps are informed, as are our prayers, as we abide in Christ. That's sitting at His feet talking and receiving, listening and planning, resting and dwelling in His presence. And then we are empowered and sent to follow Jesus for whatever He has for us that day. We are His prepared and sent ones to go live and love like Jesus, make disciples and grow into our created and new nature and to do what we are created to do. How cool is all that! Meditate on that, listen and follow well today. God has perfect plans just for you! Rejoice! Praise! Abide! Pray! And go!  And that going is best done with others. We are made to encourage, be encouraged and serve with others. Talk to God about all of that today and follow from your abiding well! Amen! You know the power source and He lives in you. You are yoked to Him. He is with you and leading you and always working all things together for good. Amen!
Spend some time with our devos below and be determined to process and follow well with each step of faith today. I'm praying for you! What's God saying to you? What will you do about it? Who are you partnering with?
Shalom!
Harvest Prayer:

April 25 - Living in Two Worlds

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
 
Every follower of Christ lives in two worlds, whether they realize it or not. Once we were aligned only to the material world (what we could see, feel, taste, touch, and hear). Now, we can see both material and spiritual. Before Christ, we were “dead in our trespasses and sin” and walked “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air.” But now, we have been transferred from the “kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son!”
 
Because of this real-time, dual citizenship, we have the ability to see and hear from God through His Word and prayer unlike those without Christ. We can see what God is doing in heaven and align ourselves with His will. Paul tells us what this advantage brings and where we should fix our gaze in prayer.
 
Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
 
Do you understand what this means? You have two residences—one on earth and one in heaven—and you can move from one to the other. As we pray, we are listening to God, seeing what He desires and then praying His kingdom and will down to earth.
 
Jesus showed us how this works when He chose to operate as a man on earth for 33 years. He listened to the Father in prayer and then did only what God-initiated. This is why His earthly life was so powerfully effective. If we will follow His example, our lives can be too.
 
Creator and King, I’m in awe that You have allowed me to participate in the work of heaven through prayer while I am living on earth! Help me to always keep my eyes and my heart fixed on things above and not on circumstances and issues here on earth so that I might give myself to prayer that aligns only with Your desires, purposes and plans. Give me ears to hear what You want to say to me, and may I always be obedient to everything You call me to do!
 
---Adapted from Simply Prayer by Bill Elliff. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Prayer Points

  • Praise God for his great mercy.
  • Thank God for forgiving you and bringing you back after failure and rebellion (Zech. 8:7-8).
  • Confess times of presuming on his patience and mercy.
  • Commit yourself to consistent obedience from a heart of gratitude for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask him to forgive your debts as you have forgiven your debtors, and to lead you not into temptation but to deliver you from evil.
  • Pray that the unsaved in your network of relationships will be won to the Prince of Peace by seeing fallen Christians restored. Ask God to show them his healing through the mending of your own life.
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.
CS:
Inline image
 
ODB:

God Is My Helper

The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. Hebrews 13:6

READ Joshua 14:6-12

My friend Raleigh is sprinting toward his eighty-fifth birthday! Since my first conversation with him more than thirty-five years ago, he’s been a source of inspiration. When he recently mentioned that since retiring he’d completed a book manuscript and started another ministry initiative—I was intrigued but not surprised.  

At eighty-five, Caleb in the Bible wasn’t ready to stop either. His faith and devotion to God had sustained him through decades of wilderness living and wars to secure the inheritance God had promised Israel. He said, “I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then” (Joshua 14:11). By what means would he conquer? Caleb declared that by “the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said” (v. 12).

Regardless of age, stage in life, or circumstances, God will help all who wholeheartedly trust Him. In Jesus, our Savior who helps us, God was made visible. The Gospel books inspire faith in God through what we see in Christ. He demonstrated God’s care and compassion for all who looked to Him for help. As the writer of Hebrews acknowledged, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid” (Hebrews 13:6). Young or old, weak or strong, bound or free, sprinting or limping—what’s keeping us from asking for His help today?

By Arthur Jackson

REFLECT & PRAY

Who has inspired your faith in God? How do you see God as your source of help in all things?

Almighty God, please help me to see You as my source of help in all circumstances.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Caleb was one of the twelve spies Moses sent to explore Canaan. Based on the report of ten of the spies, the Israelites concluded that they couldn’t conquer the land (Numbers 13-14). Caleb challenged their lack of faith (13:30), and God took note of his faithfulness (Deuteronomy 1:34-36). Caleb is consistently described as one who “followed the Lord wholeheartedly” (v. 36; see Numbers 14:24; 32:12; Joshua 14:8, 9, 14). Caleb and Joshua were the only two living octogenarians who entered the promised land. Because of their unbelief, the rest of their generation aged twenty and above had all died in the desert (Numbers 14:29-30). Even Moses wasn’t permitted to enter Canaan (Deuteronomy 3:23-27).

K. T. Sim
UR: Guiding Light

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. - John 16:33 (NIV)

Watching the sunrise from my balcony is something I always await with enthusiasm. One day I was disappointed because there were many dark, thick clouds in the sky. I thought it would certainly begin to rain soon, but slowly the dark clouds turned red. As time passed, the clouds began to dissipate until finally the sun shone brightly. Hardly believing what I had just seen, I realized that like the light of the sun overcoming the dark clouds that morning, God is greater than all my problems.

Sometimes life feels gloomy and we just live day by day without a clear sense of purpose. However, when we trust in Jesus, he is the light that guides our way; with his strength we do not carry our burdens alone. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to direct our steps so that we can always move forward with hope.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Triune God, life is full of uncertainty, yet we know we can rely on you. Comfort us during hard times, and help us to look forward in hope to the promise of salvation. Amen.
TWFYT:
Inline image
Posted by: AT 12:57 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 10 2024
Larry Paul news letter below. They're coming to visit!
Brunch tomorrow after worship. All welcome as we celebrate everyone's birthday. Who ya bringin'?
Jumping in the ocean of God's grace for today! 
Inline image
 
Good Morning Encouraged Encouragers, Peace Bingers, Joy Incarnating, Overcomers! We are blessed to be a blessing and get blessed back when we are one. PTL! We are encouraged and sent to encourage and build up believers. Amen! We are sent peacemakers as we bring shalom to the chaos and dwell in peace. We are filled with joy and can choose to impart that joy to all those around us. We are overcomers who team up with the co-laborers God has united us with to bring Christ and His ways alive to all around us and as such are world changers. PTL! Use us well, Lord! Check out how our devos below thread through this and commit to living and loving more like Jesus as we partner together to be salt, light and world changers! We are His Body sent to bring Christ alive, make disciples of Jesus, encourage each other and change the world! WOW! We get to do this and can chose to do so just as we are! PTL! Go! be the Light! Turn off the noise and dwell in shalom that overflows all around you! God is ALWAYS with you and ALWAYS working all things together according to His will. Choose joy and persevere! Amen! See you tomorrow!
Charles Stanley: 
Inline image
 
ODB:

Pull the Weeds of Worry

[They hear] the word, but the worries of this life . . . choke the word. Matthew 13:22

READ Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23

After burying a few seeds in a planter in my backyard, I waited to see the results. Reading that the seeds would sprout within ten to fourteen days, I checked often as I watered the soil. Soon I saw a few green leaves pushing their way out of the soil. But my bubble burst quickly when my husband told me those were weeds. He encouraged me to pull them quickly so that they wouldn’t choke the plants I was trying to grow.

Jesus also told of the importance of dealing with intruders that can impede our spiritual growth. He explained a portion of His parable this way: when a sower cast his seeds, some “fell among thorns . . . and choked the plants” (Matthew 13:7). Thorns, or weeds, will do just that to plants—stop their growth (v. 22). And worry will surely stunt our spiritual growth. Reading Scripture and praying are great ways to grow our faith, but I’ve found I need to watch out for the thorns of worry. They’ll “choke” the good word that has been planted in me, making me focus on what could go wrong. 

The fruit of the Spirit, found in Scripture, includes such things as love, joy, peace (Galatians 5:22). But in order for us to bear that fruit, in God’s strength we need to pull any weeds of doubt or worry that may distract us and cause us to focus on anything other than Him.

By Katara Patton

REFLECT & PRAY

How is God helping you grow the seeds He’s planted within you? How can you pull the weeds of worry?

Dear heavenly Father, please remind me to pull weeds often, discarding worry and deceitful thoughts so I may grow and bear fruit in You.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Matthew 13 contains eight parables: the parables of the sower (vv. 1-23), the seeds (vv. 24-30, 36-43), the mustard seed (vv. 31-32), the yeast (vv. 33-35), the hidden treasure (v. 44), the pearls (vv. 45-46), the net (vv. 47-50), and the house owner (vv. 51-52). They’re known as “kingdom” parables because they usually begin with the characteristic phrase, “The kingdom of heaven is like . . . ” (vv. 24, 31, 33, 44, 45, 47, 52). Though the first parable is called the parable of the sower, its focus isn’t on the sower but on the soil upon which the seed falls.

Unlock more wisdom from the parables of Jesus.

K. T. Sim
TWFYT:
Inline image

 
UR: Persevering Love

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent. - Psalm 71:9 (NRSVUE)

“The elevator is broken again,” my 93-year-old mother stated for the fourth time during our phone conversation. I contacted her assisted-living facility and learned that the elevator was not broken. The sad truth is that, due to the onset of dementia, she sometimes forgets how to use it.

Over the past two years, I’ve learned firsthand that having a family member whose memory, perception, and reasoning are failing is extremely challenging. Several months ago, after working all day and helping my mother for a few hours in the evening, I felt completely exhausted and tearfully cried out to God, “I can’t keep doing this!” God answered by offering vivid memories of how brilliant, creative, funny, independent, and loving my mother had been. This softened my attitude about caring for her. Instead of seeing it only as an exhausting responsibility, I saw the blessing in being able to provide my mother with the same love and support she had selflessly given to me throughout my life.

As her dementia progresses, there continue to be times when caring for my mother is demanding, discouraging, and depressing. With God’s support, though, I can pause to take a deep breath, whisper a prayer of thanks for having grown up with her as my mother, and persevere in love.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Thank you, God, for the love and support we too often take for granted. Help us to persevere in loving those who need our care. Amen.
Harvest Prayer Blogs:

April 27 - Live at Peace with Everyone

If it is possible, as far as depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)

Christians are the followers, the disciples, of the Prince of Peace. The peace of Christ has been offered to us and should mark our lives. So, it is not surprising that we hear the Apostle Paul challenge us to live at peace with everyone. That should be the standard operating procedure for every follower of Jesus.

Those who are contentious and continually at strife with others are not following our God of all peace. I love how practical this command is. The clear instruction that cannot and should not be avoided is that we, as followers of Jesus, should live at peace with everyone. But Paul realizes that it takes two to make that happen. One person by himself or herself can long for peace and work toward peace, but it takes the second person to agree to peace. So we are told, “as far as depends on you,” live at peace.

We cannot force someone to be at peace with us. There will be those who have decided to be our enemy, regardless of our desire for peace. We are not responsible for their determination to withhold peace from our relationship. We just live with the firm commitment to be at peace with everyone who will accept that peace.

God of Peace, help me to live out this command in intentional, kind ways. I desire to be a person of peace, and to seek the best possible outcomes with all relationships in my life. Give me strength to do everything I can to live as a peace-filled person even when others don’t reciprocate. Please pour out Your reassurance when others disagree or won’t make any attempt to live at peace with me. Let me shine Your light into dark places and refuse to take responsibility for things I can’t do anything about. Give me the grace to pray for those who hate me or refuse to reconcile with me. Create space in my heart for Your peace that passes understanding.

--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 the Lord Almighty, who allows city dwellers around the world to seek him (Zech. 8:20ff).
  • Thank God for letting you find him.
  • Confess times you have become indifferent and inattentive to his presence.
  • Commit yourself to ongoing communion with him throughout the day.
  • Ask God to regularly fill you with the joy of his salvation (Ps. 51:7-12).
  • Pray that God will move the hearts of national leaders throughout the world to provide open doors for the spread of God’s salvation.
  • Ask that the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ (Rev. 11:15) very soon!
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.
Larry Paul News:

April 2024

Hello to all of our family, friends, and partners,

It's hard to believe it's already April, this year is just racing by.   It will soon be the end of the school year and we have a surprise to share: We'll be coming to the USA for June and July!  We'll be visiting different colleges and universities in PA and VA to help Richard decide where to enroll next year.  It's hard to believe we'll soon be the parents of a college student!  We'll be staying with Larry's Mom in PA but making a trip to VA Beach while visiting potential VA colleges and Universities.  We look forward to seeing everyone at St Matthew's EC Church, Riegles Bible Fellowship, and VBCC during our quick trip to the USA.

The boys continue to do well at Faith Academy.  They are active in sports and are also keeping up with their schoolwork.  The Faith Academy boys basketball team won their local conference championship as well as the ACSC basketball tournament in Indonesia. They both did well and contributed to the teams' success. Brayden, a freshman, was voted most improved player by the captains and coaches!  A bit ironic since Richard won the same award last year during his first year on the team.  Richard was also on Faith Academy's Track and Field team. He did really well, setting a school record in the 400m hurdles and was part of the team that set a school record in the 4X100m relay.  The boys track team won the 2024 ACSC Track and Field meet in the Philippines.  It was the first time Faith Academy hosted the meet (held at Brent International School, a school we compete against in all sports since Faith Academy does not have a track) and the first time a Faith Academy team won the ACSC track meet!.  Richard won medals in every event he entered: 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles, High Jump, 4x100m relay, and 4X400m relay, and he was also voted to the 2024 all ACSC track and field team!  So this school year, Richard was part of the Faith Academy teams that won the championship in ACSC boys Volleyball, Basketball, and Track and Field!  In the middle of their sports seasons, they also both performed in Faith Academy's March choir and orchestra concert. 

Larry and his team completed the concrete deck replacement around the swimming pool, roofing and gutter work on multiple campus buildings, and a handicap ramp near the high school office. They're now organizing the upcoming summer work (Over 120 separate jobs!) to prepare the campus for the start of the new school year in August.  Due to Philippine environmental law, Faith Academy shut down their deep wells which provided untreated water to irrigate the soccer fields, fill the fire water system, and to fill the swimming pool as needed (water loss due to evaporation and flushing the pool filters).  Since the wells were turned off, the campus water bill from the city almost doubled!  The facilities department is looking into more ways to save water, including possibly building an on campus treatment system to turn waste water into water suitable for the well water's previous use.  Since Larry won't be on campus during the summer, he's trying to address the details of each job. 

Enol is enjoying her time volunteering a few days a week at Faith Academy's Elementary division.  She's reconnecting with old friends and making new friends while helping the teachers with their classes.  

Praises

  • Richard and Brayden doing well at Faith Academy, both with schoolwork and athletics.
  • Enol can volunteer at Faith Academy
  • God's provision for our needs and our good health
Prayer Requests
  • Larry to continue to handle the additional responsibilities at Faith Academy
  • Enol's sister Zeny, complete recovery from stroke, and her financial needs
Thank you again for your continued prayers and support of our ministry at Faith Academy in the Philippines.

Larry, Enol, Richard, and Brayden
Some of Larry's completed projects.
Richard and Brayden performed at different concerts in March.