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St. Matthew's EC Church
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Pastor's Blog
Wednesday, February 07 2024

Good Morning Praying Friends of God! I love this thought from Colleen Townsend Evans, "The right way to pray then, is any way that allows us to communicate with God. For prayer in not a ritual; it's the soul's inherent response to a relationship with a loving Father." We don't practice rituals to get close to God or earn His favor, we grow in relationship. Christianity differs from all other religions because they all seek to placate a deity or do things to earn His favor. Christianity is all about a relationship with our loving Father. He created us in love. He wants us to draw near in relationship. He sacrificed His Son so we can draw close and be with Him forever. He sent His Spirit to dwell in us so we can hear Him, understand His Word and learn to follow Him better. "Draw near to God" is a command. Be still and know (another command and promise). Sit at His feet a bit today. Listen. Share your heart. Respond as He leads and grow in that relationship. And then live each day in a constant state of prayer. Pray continually is another command. (Just don't close your eyes while driving!) How's your relationship with your loving Father in heaven--King of the universe? He is right with you with open arms, His heart to share, and He's singing over you, His masterpiece. He wants to talk to you, grow in relationship and lead you to His will, plans and best each step of each day! What love and joy we know and can share! Abide in Him today!

The Become More in '24 Challenge is all about growing your relationship with our loving Father. Seeking Him more. Becoming more like Him--more of You and less of me, Lord! It's all about learning to hear Him and follow better each day and each step of faith we take. It's about doing more of what you are created, gifted, empowered and led to do throughout each day. God has great plans that He created you and gifted you to do well that spring forth as you grow in relationship, grow in staying connected, and grow in obedience. That is the abundant life of joy we can know in Christ and God's best for us. We will continue to focus on that growth, that "more" in '24 and beyond. Maybe a word you might consider working on is "relationship", or "focus", "stillness", or maybe "trust". God has great plans for you awaiting your discovery and growing into. Seek first the Kingdom of God and a growing relationship and all these things will be added to you and you will know shalom and joy beyond measure.

Check out the devotionals below as they will stir some conversation and reasoning with our Abba. Are you listening, believing, and doing more of what He's revealing? Are you growing in relationship? I urge you to pray into and focus on becoming more in '24! That is God best for you and our fellowship! Come taste and see that the Lord is good! The Upper Room especially speaks into our spiritual and relationship growth. What's God saying to you? It only takes a spark to get a fire going. Keep fanning into flame that relationship and may you burn bright and be on fire for the Lord, igniting a wildfire of faith all around you! And may your prayer life be filled with prayers from the heart and in faith as we ignite revival! Amen

Charles Stanley

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UR: Spiritual Growth

The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out. - Leviticus 6:13 (NIV)

In my sister’s garden, spinach blossomed with irresistible green leaves and lush shoots. I wanted to replicate this sight at my house, so I picked some seedlings for my small garden. Weeks passed, but my spinach did not produce the same beauty. I studied my sister’s method, and I realized I had missed an important step. Every morning before going to work, she waters the garden with water from her small fishpond, providing the plants with daily nutrients, and making her garden green and lush.

The Holy Spirit taught me a great lesson from this observation. At that time, I had not applied the principle of daily nurture to my Christianity. I woke early to beat the traffic on my way to work. If I was running late, I would skip my morning devotion or say my prayers in a hurry. Some days got so busy that I had no time to return to my devotions. This inconsistent care for my faith was precarious.

Just like the daily addition of wood kept the fire on the altar burning in Leviticus 6:12-13, the daily care my sister gives her plants keeps her garden green. To get the same result in my spiritual life, I must pray and meditate on God’s word every day. Those who blossom spiritually do not get there by chance; they consistently work at it. This is the recipe for spiritual growth.


Dear Lord, forgive us when we are too busy to give attention to you. Help us to prioritize our spiritual growth by spending time with you each day. Amen.


Angels on the Walls

We prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. Nehemiah 4:9

READ Nehemiah 4:6–9


When Wallace and Mary Brown moved to an impoverished part of Birmingham, England, to pastor a dying church, they didn’t know that a gang had made the grounds of their church and home its headquarters. The Browns had bricks thrown through their windows, their fences set on fire, and their children threatened. The abuse continued for months; the police were unable to stop it.

The book of Nehemiah recounts how the Israelites rebuilt Jerusalem’s broken walls. When locals set out to “stir up trouble,” threatening them with violence (Nehemiah 4:8), the Israelites “prayed to . . . God and posted a guard” (v. 9). Feeling God used this passage to direct them, the Browns, their children, and a few others walked around their church’s walls, praying that He would install angels as guards to protect them. The gang jeered, but the next day, only half of them showed up. The day after that, only five were there, and the day after, no one came. The Browns later heard the gang had given up terrorizing people.

This miraculous answer to prayer isn’t a formula for our own protection, but it’s a reminder that opposition to God’s work will come and must be fought with the weapon of prayer. “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome,” Nehemiah told the Israelites (v. 14). He can even set violent hearts free.

By Sheridan Voysey


What would you have done in the Browns’ situation? Who needs your prayers for deliverance today?

Awesome God, protect Your people by Your powerful angels, and set the hearts of Your enemies free.


Nehemiah, the son of Hakaliah, served the important post of cupbearer for King Artaxerxes. When Nehemiah heard the discouraging news from his brother Hanani that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, he wept. Moreover, his people, the Jewish exiles who’d returned to Judah from Babylon, were in trouble (Nehemiah 1). The king noticed Nehemiah’s sadness, inquired about it (2:1-2), and granted his servant Nehemiah leave of absence to help rebuild Jerusalem. Nehemiah united the returning exiles to rebuild the walls despite heavy opposition from opponents in nearby Samaria, Amnon, and Arabia. While some of the men worked to rebuild the walls, others stood guard (4:1-9, 15). The wall was completed in fifty-two days (6:15). Later, Nehemiah helped Ezra the priest and teacher to restore the morals of the people by obeying the law of the Lord (8:9-10). Nehemiah served as governor of Judah for twelve years.

Alyson Kieda

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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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