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Wednesday, February 07 2024
Good Morning Seeking, Becoming, Doing, Loving more Earnestly, like Jesus, Followers of the Way! Contemplate that as we have been jumping into the becoming more like Jesus challenge for over a month. Are you part of this? Have you prayed about and shared the word(s) God has given you to work on? Are you committed to living more earnestly as if Christ is all that matters in this life? Try it! You'll like it! Come and see and experience that true life in Christ is all that really matters in this life. Turn off that noise in your head and all around you and start choosing the abundant life!
Since discipleship is defined as the process of becoming who Jesus would be if He were you and we are working on becoming more like Jesus, what are you experiencing? How is the Holy Spirit directing your steps? What is God saying to you? Who are you processing that with? He loves you, custom made you to become more like Jesus and love like Him and then gave you His Spirit to help you make all that happen. PTL, right? Can you honestly say, "I am who I am because I am allowing I AM to be who He is in and through me."? Seriously, that is what this life is all about. Who cares who is president, what some media personality is doing or wants you to do, or what is the latest must have thing or what chaos stirring news is being spewed about? In this life Christ IS all that matters along with our becoming more like Him. We are working on that. I'd really like to hear the word(s) God has you working on so I can pray and encourage and walk with you towards it. Please share your words with Sarah or me. How about right now!
God was speaking to my heart through our devotionals for today (below). I'll let you to sit at His feet, listen and process as you engage Him through your time with them. Rom 12:12, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." and the corresponding 1 Thes. 5 verses are threaded throughout today's readings. Think God is saying something to us? As I was ready to work on this, the Harvest Prayer blog popped up in my email. Below is Kim Butts Blog. She sums up much of what I've been hearing from God and trying to share with you so much better than me. Check this out and allow it to inform your prayers and choices today. We are created, gifted and led to be Jesus to others just as we are. And as we do, God will grow us into our fuller potential and His greater things. We are on an awesome journey that requires dying to self and earnestly seeking Him more. Come! Let us do this together for God's glory and truly enjoy the abundant life together. Amen! Living for Jesus, a life that is true! (maybe we should sing that hymn?) I know no other master than Jesus Christ my that you prayerful song today? Sing it loud to our Father as your commitment to live for Jesus today and become more like Him in '24!:
Becoming a Living Reminder

“To walk in the presence of the Lord means to move forward in life in such a way that all our desires, thoughts, and actions are constantly guided by him. When we walk in the Lord’s presence, everything we see, hear, touch, or taste reminds us of him. This is what is meant by a prayerful life. It is not a life in which we say many prayers, but a life in which nothing, absolutely nothing, is done, said or understood independently of him who is the origin and purpose of our existence… When we no longer walk in the presence of the Lord, we cannot be living reminders of his divine presence in our lives.” – Henri Nouwen, The Living Reminder

These powerful words describe what the journey of prayer as every day life should be like. Everything is created by, informed by and shaped by the presence of God as “in Him we live, move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). As we walk through each day, He is present in every activity, every thought, and every moment of rest. God’s heart beats within our own and His kingdom purposes are yearning for our attention during the moments when we are forgetful of His continual companionship.

My deepest desire is to integrate the presence of Christ in me throughout my day. I desire that my first and last thoughts each day as well as everything in between would turn to the very present God…our Jehovah Shammah (The Lord is There). I was grateful to my pastor this week for preaching on this amazing Name of God. He reminded us that God knows our actions: “you know when I sit and when I rise” (Psalm 139:2), He knows our thoughts: “…you perceive my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:2), and He knows our ways: “You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (Psalm 139:3). He knew all of these things before we were even born: “For you created my inmost being and you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). How is it that this amazing God slips our minds – ever?

Yet, even though God’s word says that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), we spend much of our lives doing and thinking and making decisions and plans completely independently of our Father, the One who knows us perfectly – inside and out.

Perhaps all it will take is to develop some godly strategies for remembering and recognizing His presence in our world and in the continual going about our day living. Is it even possible to cultivate never ending prayerfulness? Yes! God created us for this possibility to become reality. His word declares that we are to “pray continually” no matter where we are or what we are experiencing. If we are to be “living reminders” to everyone we connect with day to day, Jesus must ooze from our pores simply because we live, move and have our being in His presence. Here are a few simple strategies to help us live prayerfully in God’s presence:

Cultivate thankfulness for all things created, and for your daily experiences simply by becoming more aware. Develop a heart of gratitude even for things you normally take for granted. If you see loveliness around you, express your thanks to the Father. If you think of a good idea, give God praise for shaping your mind. Perhaps you have an opportunity to speak life or peace or hope into another person. Give the Lord thanks for opening the way for the conversation to take place.

If you or someone you connect with has a need, or if you simply see a need around you, take time to pray in that moment for God to intervene in a life or situation. Remember to be willing for the Holy Spirit to prompt you to meet the very need you just prayed about.

Take time each day to sit in silence. If you could spend ten minutes a day in silence, simply telling God that you want to spend time with Him, enjoying Him, you will begin to experience the truth of Matthew 6:33: “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

You will likely be able to think of many other ways to cultivate a prayerful “knowing” that God is continually present with you. As we foster our awareness of Jehovah Shammah through all of our senses and experiences, over time we will begin to encounter a deeper sense of joy and security no matter what comes our way. And, we will become living reminders of the presence of Jesus to all who come into contact with us. May living prayerfully in His presence become a continual reality for our every day lives!

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Surrendering to God

So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. Genesis 22:14

READ Genesis 22:1–3, 6–12

Born on a farm, Judson Van DeVenter learned to paint, studied art, and became an art teacher. God, however, had a different plan for him. Friends valued his work in church and urged him to go into evangelism. Judson felt God calling him too, but it was hard for him to give up his love for teaching art. He wrestled with God, but “at last,” he wrote, “the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all.”

We can’t imagine Abraham’s heartbreak when God called him to surrender his son Isaac. In the wake of God’s command to “sacrifice him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2), we ask ourselves what precious thing God is calling us to sacrifice. We know that He ultimately spared Isaac (v. 12), and yet the point is made: Abraham was willing to surrender what was most precious to him. He trusted God to provide in the midst of a most difficult calling.

We say we love God, but are we willing to sacrifice what’s dearest to us? Judson Van DeVenter followed God’s call into evangelism and later penned the beloved hymn “I Surrender All.” In time, God called Judson back into teaching. One of his students was a young man named Billy Graham.

God’s plan for our lives has purposes we can’t imagine. He longs for us to be willing to surrender what is dearest. It seems that’s the least we can do. After all, He sacrificed for us His only begotten Son.

By Kenneth Petersen


What’s God’s calling for you? What might you need to sacrifice for Him?

Dear God, I struggle to fully surrender parts of my life to You. Please help me to trust You.


The “gospel echoes” in Genesis 22 are noteworthy. Abraham took his beloved and only son to sacrifice him on a mountain (v. 2). While Isaac was spared (vv. 8, 13-14), God’s own Son was the Lamb slain for the sins of the world (John 1:29; 3:16). Paul wrote in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” God the Father gave; Jesus the Son gave; believers in Jesus follow their example of surrender.

Arthur Jackson
UR: Sticky Note Prayers

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. - Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)

After my husband and I married, we had conflicting schedules. I was working on my bachelor’s degree, and he often worked evening shifts as a meteorologist. I came home one afternoon to find a note taped to the fireplace. We began communicating via these short notes when our schedules didn’t line up. We stuck them on the bathroom mirror, the door to the garage, in the kitchen, and in other places where they were sure to attract attention. My son didn’t understand our history with the notes and disliked them, but my husband and I knew they were love notes with the intent of maintaining communication.

Like those notes, our prayers don’t have to be long-winded. Short prayers throughout the day strengthen our relationship with God. The apostle Paul tells us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, [and] give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:16-18, NRSVUE). This means not just praising God for the things we are happy about, but also for things that might not give us joy. Rejoicing, praising, praying, and thanking God are all ways we can include God in our day, and I believe it is a wonderful way to honor God.

Dear Lord, thank you for hearing even our shortest prayers. Help us remember that nothing is too trivial to pray about. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Posted by: AT 06:50 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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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