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Pastor's Blog
Wednesday, February 07 2024

Joy Toy News and Harvest Prayer blog below

Good Morning Praising and Praying Priests of the Lord! We are all priests unto the Lord. We don't need a mediator to carry our praises and prayers to God. We don't have to sacrifice animals to be heard although we are to offer a sacrifice of praise. God is always near and knows our hearts and our prayers before we ask. But He wants us to ask and wants us to spend time with Him. So much so that He made a way through His Son. PTL! And we are never too sinful to be forgiven and redeemed! (Think of the thief on the cross who joined Jesus in Paradise that evening). Check out our devos below and spend some time with our Loving Abba and Savior as you prepare for worship and our congregational meeting today. (pray for your pastor as he has been up since 1 with stomach issues. Thanks). Count your many blessings and go share the love of God with others. That's true worship!

Harvest Prayer blog:

February 4 - Your Values Determine Your Praying

Everything you do is based on value. If you think exercise or reading or entertainment will bring meaning to your life, you will spend huge amounts of time there. If you think those things are worthless, you’ll give your attention to something else.
The Bible speaks of prayer over 650 times with 450 recorded answers to prayer. It is one of the most repeated commands—by directive and example—in the Scripture. It is not peripheral, but foundational in our walk with Christ. And yet, most people would be honest to admit that their prayer life is weak at best. Most say they pray, but their prayers are often only in times of crisis or a fleeting prayer during the day. They nod with their heads at its value but are seldom on their knees.

Why do we have such a struggle with prayer? Sadly, many of God’s own people don’t really believe it’s valuable.

Worthy Father, You have created us for Yourself and You have created prayer as Your way of accomplishing Your will on this earth through Your people! Thank You for this amazing privilege to connect with Your heart. I am in awe that You desire to use me for Your purposes. Help me to seek after Your will as I pray by listening well and by searching Your word. Forgive me for my prayerlessness and strengthen my desire to grow into a deeper intimacy with You.

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

Prayer Points

  • Give glory to God as the Lord of peace.
  • Thank Jesus that he himself is our peace, breaking down the barriers and the dividing walls of hostility (Eph. 2:14).
  • Confess any areas where you are not at peace with another believer or group of Christians.
  • Commit yourself to making every effort to live in peace with all people (Heb. 12:14).
  • Ask God to help you bear with others and forgive whatever grievance you have against them, forgiving them as the Lord forgave you (Col. 3:13).
  • Pray that the church may “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3), realizing that as members of one body we are called to peace.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.


Rewired by Gratitude

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:2

READ Psalm 103:1–8, 17


After being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Christina Costa noticed how much of the talk around facing cancer is dominated by the language of fighting. She found that this metaphor quickly started to feel exhausting. She “didn’t want to spend over a year at war with [her] own body.” Instead, what she found most helpful were daily practices of gratitude—for the team of professionals caring for her and for the ways her brain and body were showing healing. She experienced firsthand that no matter how difficult the struggle, practices of gratitude can help us resist depression and “wire our brains to help us build resilience.”

Costa’s powerful story reminded me that practicing gratitude isn’t just something believers do out of duty. Although it’s true that God deserves our gratitude, it’s also profoundly good for us. When we lift up our hearts to say, “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2), we’re reminded of the countless ways God’s at work—assuring us of forgiveness, working healing in our bodies and hearts, letting us experience “love and compassion” and countless “good things” in His creation (vv. 3–5).

While not all suffering will find complete healing in this lifetime, our hearts can always be renewed by gratitude, for God’s love is with us “from everlasting to everlasting” (v. 17). 

By Monica La Rose


How have you experienced healing through gratitude? What are you grateful for today?

Dear God, thank You for always giving me reasons for gratitude and hope.


The Psalms, perhaps more than any other book of the Bible, are filled with praise and gratitude to God. The psalmists David, Asaph, the sons of Korah, Solomon, and other unnamed writers all praise Him for His attributes and wondrous deeds. Psalm 103 is such a psalm. David had many reasons to praise God who’d “been good to [him]” (13:6): God chose David, a lowly shepherd, to be king. He forgave his grievous sins (see 2 Samuel 11-12; Psalms 32, 51) and gave him victory over his enemies (18:3). The psalmist sang God’s praises because of His righteousness and love (7:17; 31:21), counsel and instruction (16:7). God, his strength and fortress (59:17), lifted him “out of the slimy pit” and “put a new song in [his] mouth” (40:2-3). God, the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” deserves our praise (2 Corinthians 1:3).

Alyson Kieda

UR: Pass It On

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.” - Mark 12:43 (NIV)

Several years ago, while we were acclimating to a new church, a kind member began the habit of passing a copy of The Upper Room to our family. At the time, our children were in elementary and junior high school, and our lives seemed very full. We wondered how we would find the time each day to gather the family together to accomplish yet one more task. We began to set aside a few minutes each morning after breakfast before our day got too busy and our children headed off to school. Before long, we had gotten into a wonderful routine! Occasionally, something would interfere with it, and the morning devotional would be overlooked. It didn’t take us long to make a connection that the days begun with devotionals went more smoothly than the ones without.

Decades later we are still beginning our days with The Upper Room at breakfast, and we have started the tradition of “passing on” the devotional to friends and family members, just as our friend had done for us. Over the years, our lives have been enriched by the messages of spirit-filled Christians from all over the globe. It all began with a humble act of sharing Christ’s love.


Help us, Lord, to pass on to others the generous gifts of love you have given to us. Amen.

Joe Toy:

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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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