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Saturday, December 09 2023

Good Morning Baptized by the Spirit, Anointed, Worshiping Servants of the Lord, Jesus! Ok! There's our blog for today! See at church or on zoom soon! Emoji

That is an apt description of Christians. It's part of our true identity in Christ. We were custom created by God for His purposes. We were baptized by His Spirit when we were born again. We are anointed to complete our purposes. As we live and love like Jesus and fulfill our purposes we are worshiping. Worship is more than sitting in a pew or behind a computer screen and attending a worship service. Worship flows from our gratitude and love for God as we fulfill our purposes and celebrate all God has, is and will do. Without Jesus as your Lord and Savior and the seal of the Holy Spirit in you, you really can't worship, trust, and obey God or fulfill your created purposes well. BUT GOD! He calls us His masterpieces and made a way for sinful us to come to Him for forgiveness, eternal life, and His gifts and help to achieve all we were created to do and become all we were created to be. Now that should lead to some true worship!

As we approach the celebration of God putting on flesh and coming to live among us with the purpose of making that way to Him, we may encounter some that ask why we celebrate or what Christmas is really all about. Would you be able to answer like Linus to Charlie Brown? Would you be able to explain who that man Jesus is to you and how He has impacted your life?  We all do have stories to share of how we were one way, met Jesus, and how He led us to be another way. Come and see! Even in our journey through life in Christ and as we work on reaching our fullest created potential, maybe even daily, we can share how we were one way but by the grace of God and love of Jesus, He has transformed and refined us to a better way. That's the real story of Christmas and our lives as Christ's ones. God incarnate (God in the flesh) came to us, changed history, destiny, and us, and opened the door for all who will come. What love!

As we incarnate Jesus (bring Jesus to life) to the world around us, may many see Him and be drawn to Him and changed to new ways too. Pray into that and ask God to show you someone to invite along Christmas Eve and on the journey to Christlikeness with you. Christmas is coming, but the door of hope has been opened and as we walk in faith with Jesus may we bring His light, love and hope alive with great joy this year and beyond. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father, except through me." Who do you know that needs to understand how that works and how Jesus has changed and impacted your life? Check out Our Daily Bread below talking about Surrendering to Jesus. That's what it really is all about Charlie Brown!

Check out our other devos as well speaking into ministering to those grieving this holiday season and how to have wisdom to minister to all who are struggling with love and how to keep seeking God for wisdom, learning, understanding and growing. We were one way, but now another. And if we keep at this faith journey we will be another way soon as we follow Jesus to His best into eternity. May God grant you the faith, courage and wisdom to follow Jesus well, reach your fuller potential and disciple some others! He has some very good plans for you and is steering you to some who need some Good News today! Rejoice! Celebrate! And worship in Spirit and Truth! Amen!


Surrendering to Jesus

Obey the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then . . . your life will be spared. Jeremiah 38:20

READ Jeremiah 38:17–23


In 1951, Joseph Stalin’s doctor advised him to reduce his workload in order to preserve his health. The ruler of the Soviet Union accused the physician of spying and had him arrested. The tyrant who had oppressed so many with lies couldn’t abide the truth, and—as he had done so many times—he removed the one who told him the facts. Truth won anyway. Stalin died in 1953.

The prophet Jeremiah, arrested for his dire prophecies and kept in chains (Jeremiah 38:1–6; 40:1), told the king of Judah exactly what would happen to Jerusalem. “Obey the Lord by doing what I tell you,” he said to King Zedekiah (38:20). Failure to surrender to the army surrounding the city would only make matters worse. “All your wives and children will be brought out to the Babylonians,” Jeremiah warned. “You yourself will not escape from their hands” (v. 23).

Zedekiah failed to act on that truth. Eventually the Babylonians caught the king, killed all his sons, and burned the city (ch. 39).

In a sense, every human being faces Zedekiah’s dilemma. We’re trapped inside the walls of our own lives of sin and poor choices. Often, we make things worse by avoiding those who tell us the truth about ourselves. All we need to do is surrender to the will of the One who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

By Tim Gustafson


How do your life choices line up with the claims of Jesus? What’s keeping you from surrendering to Him?

Compassionate God, please forgive me of the pride that keeps me from You.


Zedekiah (formerly Mattaniah, 2 Kings 24:17), King Josiah’s son, was the last king of Judah. He was placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, after he sacked the temple and took captive Judah’s fighting men and “skilled workers and artisans” (2 Kings 24:14) along with King Jehoiachin and his family (vv. 13-17). In 586 bc, because Zedekiah failed to listen to Jeremiah’s warning (see Jeremiah 38:17-23) and instead foolishly rebelled against Babylon, his family was killed, he was blinded, the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed, and most of the remaining people were carried into exile (39:6-10).

Alyson Kieda

UR: (Note: today is technically the first Sunday in Advent, but we started a week early and are lighting the second candle today--the faith candle)

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. - Isaiah 53:4 (KJV)

In July 2014, my stepson Ryan was killed in an accident. For three days he was a missing person before we found him and learned what had happened to him. Grief overshadowed my joy that Christmas.

One December day I was home alone. It was late afternoon and had gotten dark outside as I sat on the couch. Holiday music played in the background, but I paid it no attention until “O Holy Night” began. The words “and the soul felt its worth” broke through my thoughts and reconnected me with hope.

Isaiah 53:4 says, “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” The word used for griefs in that verse means sickness, disease, anxiety, affliction. It refers to suffering. Reading that verse as we began the journey to Advent after Ryan’s death reminded me that Jesus came not just to take away the sins of the world but also to walk with us through our darkest times because he loves us.

Seven years later “O Holy Night” is one of the first carols I listen to as I prepare for Christmas because it reminds me to turn my pain and my empty seat at the table over to Christ. It also serves as a reminder of all Jesus has carried me through.

Each of us has faced loss, and holidays can magnify the missing faces at the table. I understand. More important, Jesus understands.


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St. Matthew's EC Church

5th & Ridge Streets
P.O. Box 433
Emmaus, PA 18049
Telephone 610.965.5570


We are learning to live and love like Jesus. 

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

We are part of the Evangelical Congregational Church

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