Sarah prayer email and Kathy Canfield's awesome testimony from yesterday below. Thank you Kathy! What an awesome testimony and example for us all. You stirred many to rethink their word they are working on and what God is doing! Thank you for the transparency and for sharing! (When do you want to preach again?)
Good Morning Maturing Followers of Jesus! May we always be maturing in faith, growing in Christ and doing more of His plans for us! Amen! Some of us are seasoned saints. Some of us are relatively infants in faith and many fall somewhere between these. Yet, we are one in Christ--His family--His Body. He is the head and we all fall in somewhere as a Body part. What part are you? We all need each other and are only as strong as our weakest member. How are we helping each other to mature and reach our fullest potential? Who needs to come be a part of this body? How receptive are we to newcomers and moving to God's new things? Pray for us to hear God and clarity of His answers as we prepare to meet as a vision team tomorrow. What's now and what's next that we can build on from who and where we are in Christ? How do we make disciples better and more of them? Is Christ the cornerstone of all we do? Where's His provision? Are we following the provision? Many things rattle through my head most mornings as I seek God for what's now and what's next. What is His plans for you and us and are we sowing into them? My Charles Stanley devo (below) started me deeper into this thinking and prayer as I prepare for our vision meeting tomorrow and the year ahead. What's God saying to you about the state of the Good News Delivery Co. called St. Matts? What might your part be? I'd love to hear!
As I read the Upper Room prayerfully today, Kathy's testimony and many of your stories came to mind. Life is hard and then we die--right? BUT GOD! He is with us, has great plans for us, gives us the opportunity to chose joy despite our circumstances and is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called to Him. PTL! What helps you get through? How has God carried you? Who needs to hear your story or experience God's love, care and encouragement through you? Are you able to refocus by counting your many blessings, looking for the blessing and choosing joy as you continue to persevere in faith and trust God? Check out TWFYT below about persevering. How can we help each other through the hard times to persevering faith? God is LOVE and has great plans for you and knows what you need to endure to get where He wants you. He is with you always. He wants to restore what the enemy has stolen and restore your soul! Will you let Him?
We will be working on Seeking More in '24, Becoming More in '24, Doing More in '24. Blessing More and being Blessed More in '24! How does God want to mature you in faith and grow you into the person He created you to be, doing more of the things you were created to do? That will be revealed as you seek Him more and listen more, receive more and go live and love more like Jesus in the year ahead. And that will involve friends on the journey with you and maybe even all of us working together. We are God's Good News Delivery Co.--His Body! He has great plans for you, His very loved child and He is at work. Will you allow Him to mature you and use you more in '24? Let's work on that together! Maybe God has some friends and accountability partners for you? Let us commit to working together to bless God, each other and others more in '24. Pray about the words God would like you to work on this year and share them with us and a few close friends. And then commit to working on them--working out your faith with fear and trembling is how the Bible challenges us. Become More in '24! That's God's plan custom made for you and us! Let's roll! Daylight's burning! One step at a time in faith daily leads to our destination in Christ! PTL!
UR: Blessings with Burdens
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. - Romans 8:28 (NIV)
At age 22, our son, John, who had Duchenne muscular dystrophy, had surgery to insert feeding tubes. Loss of muscles, including those that control swallowing, created a condition that contributed to frequent pneumonia. John had also lost weight.
Two months after the surgery, with Thanksgiving approaching, I felt despondent because John could no longer join in family meals with us. The scripture reading at church about Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead took on new meaning, however. Instead of lamenting that John couldn’t eat, I thanked God that he was alive. How wonderful that God gave people the knowledge and skill to put all nutrients needed to sustain human life in a can!
John could not enjoy family meals as he once had, but he could laugh, talk, play games, defend his views, give advice, tell jokes, and watch his favorite football team. Although the ingenuity underlying tube-feeding that restored his life differed markedly from Christ’s miraculous raising of Lazarus, it allowed John to be with us for 11 more years and live to see his younger sisters become adults.
Dear God, thank you for helping us see how you can use even heavy burdens to restore life. Help us live one day at a time, trusting you to provide for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sarah prayer email:
Good evening, church family,
Hope you are all doing well tonight and resting...especially those of you that helped with snow shoveling and/or
removal of snow from vehicles.
We had a nice day of Zoom worship, with 38 of you. It was great to have Kathy Canfield share with us how God has been
working in her life through 2023.
Here are some prayer requests that were shared today during worship:
Gary Bastan has asked for prayer for some of his relatives:
Barbara Shade - she is going through cancer testing and treatment.
Howie Barley - is experiencing vision loss and memory loss.
** ** **
Harry Waterman will be having aorta valve replacement surgery on Wednesday. Please pray for his medical team, and
for Harry and his family. May God's peace surround them.
** ** **
Gladys Ketner - she is at Lehigh Center.....let's have a card shower for Gladys, to remind her that her church family
is praying for her and thinking of her. The address is: Lehigh Center, Gladys Ketner - resident, 1718 Spring Creek Road,
Macungie PA 18062.
** ** **
Praises from Darlene Geiger - She is praising God for all your prayers and God answering them regarding her AFIB. She is also
amazed how God always provides for our needs, at just the right time.
I think we could all agree with Darlene and praise God for this too.
** ** **
Barb Schware has asked for prayer for her son Tim, as he leaves tonight/tomorrow (Monday) depending when you are reading this....he will be driving to Maryland to see Eric, and then leaves Tuesday to drive to Virgina, where he is attending college, and then attend class on Wednesday. May God put a hedge of protection around him....Safe travels Tim!
** ** **
Chris and Yvonne Muik are asking for prayer for their family. Several members of their family are going through some difficult
times. Chris and Yvonne have cared for foster children, and within the last week, the children they were caring for have been moved
out of their care. The children's biological mother has recently passed away, and for the children, it's a lot to process and deal with. May God be with them and those that will be making decisions.as to the future of their care. Praise God for the love of Jesus, that Chris and Yvonne has shown to the children.
Also Chris and Yvonne's daughter in law's uncle recently passed away and the family is dealing with a difficult and rough situation.
We have been asked to pray for this family, asking for God's wisdom to help and aid them as they have some decisions to make.
May we also continue to keep Chris and Yvonne in our prayers as they come along side of these family members, praying for them and offering their love to them. Chris and Yvonne both know that God is with them and He is in control.
** ** **
Tara Walters - friend of Sarah's is currently in ICU, very sick. She is tired and ready to go 'home to be with Jesus'. Please pray for God's mercy on her and lift up her family, for God's peace to surround them during this difficult and stressful time.
** *** **
Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your testimony and journey that you experienced through 2023. For those of you that missed her
sharing, Kathy will be writing it down so we can share her journey with you in the very near future.
** ** **
Please pray for our Vision Team as they will be meeting on Tuesday at 6:30pm
Also don't forget Coffee, Donuts and conversation on Wednesday from 10 - 12pm, in the Fellowship Hall of the church.
Hope you all have a great week!
Kathy Canfield testimony: Restored
In December of 2022, when Don & Sarah started talking about goals for 2023. They asked us to think about a word that we could work on in 2023. The idea was to become more Me in '23. Focus on how Christ would want me to live. I sat in the pew and processed. I prayed about it. And then I really prayed about it. I prayed that no one, especially Don and Sarah, would notice my eyes roll, because the last thing I needed was another thing on my plate! I certainly didn't need to work on a "word" for 2023.
The first week in January of 2023 seemed to unfold quietly. Caleb, our grandson, was home from the hospital. Danielle, Caleb and Alex were growing into a cute little family. Caleb was born at 24 weeks gestation and spent about 3 1/2 months in the hospital. Mike and I were enjoying our retired life together.
So, I thought about a word for 2023.
Restore seemed like a good word to work on. That's a word that might bring life back to normal. I like normalcy. And since I prayed about it, RESTORE was the word. But, truly, I didn't even know what that meant in respect to God. I thought about those shows on TV that take an old home, rip it apart room by room and put it back with an updated modern look. You know, restore it. OK, Lord, You know what You are doing, whatever You think. But I should have known better than to think that RESTORE would mean going back to normal. Going back to the way things were. God doesn't ever "go back". He's always moving us forward, teaching us, growing us.
I knew that Caleb still had a lot of work to do developmentally and Danielle would need some help taking him to doctors and therapists. But that would be doable for me. I loved being a Grammie. I was ok helping her.
On the 10th day of January, our lives began to unfold, unravel. That terrible phone call basically told us that Danielle was moving back home. With Caleb. God gave them 6 weeks in their little home, together, as a little family. Six short weeks. Alex passed away. Twenty-four year old, soon-to-be son-in-law. Dead. How could this possibly be true?! But it was.
THIS is how we are starting 2023?! This is how You are going to work on RESTORE?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME, LORD??!!
Well, life just became more confusing, more complex. I became more isolated, yet busy. I focused on helping Dani. Helping Caleb. THEY needed me more than EVER! Forget this ridiculous word thing. Just put my life back to normal, Lord. I went into survival mode. I'm really good at tasking. I attended church, sometimes, came to Donut Day. Did my women's bible study at another church. I read Don's morning blogs.I would text Don & Sarah when we needed prayer for Caleb. Or Dani. But never me. I didn't need prayer. This lady, Kathy Canfield, never doubting God, strong, faithful, grew-up in the church, life-long, baptized believer in Christ Kathy! I didn't need prayer. Or anything for that matter.
BUT, I was confused. I didn't understand what was going on. I was depressed and my life was spiralling out of control! Chaos!! I wanted my house RESTORED! You and I agreed on this word, Lord!! You said this would happen! This was the 2023 focus word. Why is it not happening?? Restoration seemed so far away. I didn't want to go through any more pain. More so, I didn't want Dani to go through more pain. I just wanted NORMAL!!
My family started to notice. They were concerned. They would talk to me. So, I started to look at my life. I feel like Don and Sarah started to notice, too. Don started asking, "How is Kathy?" I would give the usual response, "I'm fine." However, I did start to change my attitude a bit. I started looking at things a little more positively.
Then in December, Pastor Don asked me, "How's Kathy? How's that word doing?" I seriously remember rolling my eyes. But then, at that moment, God opened my eyes. I said to Don, I didn't even know what RESTORE meant before! I was looking at it all wrong. Restore didn't mean going back to normal. It didn't mean getting "my house" in order. I should have been focusing my word on THE WORD. Christ's Word! The source of truth and The Living Word!!
I was so wrong!! I spent a whole year focusing on the wrong thing! Always get IN the Word, Kathy, get IN the Word!
So I did. A passage I memorized as a kid in Sunday School.:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
HE RESTORES my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
Ugh! Lord, forgive me for not trusting You and that You would take care of me through it ALL! You wanted me to give my soul to YOU to RESTORE!
And then, in Psalm 51:10-12
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me. Don't cast me away from your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. RESTORE TO ME THE JOY of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.
I was thinking RESTORE meant something completely different. But when I started looking at things through God's eyes (and stopped rolling mine!), I realized I didn't need to be strong anymore. I don't need to have all the answers. I don't even need to know what's coming next in my life because God knows. God's strength is my strength. And God hears my cries! He wants to restore my soul, make it new, and then restore it to JOY. Inner JOY. Oh, Lord, yes, please!
Maybe that should be my word for 2024, JOY.
I'll pray about it.