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Pastor's Blog
Friday, March 08 2024

Zoom Huddle today at 10. All welcome! And/ or join us for our dinner huddle with Family Ministries and Adults tomorrow evening at 6. (I was told E.C. stands for eating constantly! Come and join us for food, fellowship, study and prayer as found in Acts 2:42.) Pray for more "around the table" ministry opportunities for our Church and new ways to do that outside the church this summer.

Visited The Sosa's yesterday and Amber and Arianna are mending and in good spirits. Pray for continued healing and for provision and guidance for another car today. They appreciate our prayers!

Visited Glad Ketner yesterday. She continues to improve from her stroke and is happy and doing well. She still sometimes struggles with words but is filled with joy. Pray for continued healing and send a card or stop by and visit.

Stopped to pray with Houstin and Gail Lichtenwalner. Houstin injured his leg getting off some farm equipment and will be out of commission for awhile and may need surgery for a possible ham string tear. Pray for God's presence, provision, favor to see docs soon, and patience in the process. Pray for Gail as she has to cover the things Houstin did on the farm. Pray for health and strength and wisdom for the family.

Please continue to pray for the Henley family as they continue the fresh and challenging journey through grief at the lose before Christmas of their two year old son and grandson. Karen and I were able to spend some time with them the other day. This is a very difficult journey. May they know God's shalom, presence and strength and draw close to Him.

PTL my sister Connie is still at home and recovering from her breathing issues.

PTL Sarah should be getting her van back from the shop soon and be able to get out and about again.

PTL that I continue to heal and have good numbers. Pray for my A-Fib to correct on its' own and for docs to be amazed at what God is doing. Thanks.

PTL for all those He is sending to our fellowship and for all the caring ministries that are touching our neighbors and friends and drawing them to Jesus. Pray for His love to continue to come alive through us, His provision to bless and for some new connection points to those He is drawing. Pray for boldness to share some help and Good News and to invite others to join us. (Remember in Dec. when we prayed for us to see those to invite and the thought that if we added one person a month to our gatherings, in a year we would have 12 new members. PTL that we are already well on our way to doubling that! Keep at it! Each of those new faces have come from an invite through our ministry connections.)


Good Morning Cradled in the Arms of Jesus, Comforted, Strengthened, Standing on the Rock, Faithful Followers of Jesus! Oh may that be us, be me, Lord! Come! Comfort! Strengthen! Redirect! Help! Be our Fortress! Hold us and shelter us under Your wings! Empower us to carry on through the storms, trials, testing, and attacks! Cover and protect us! Deliver us! Keep our minds fixed on You! Use us, even in our weakness, to be strong and for others and to bring Your comfort and joy--Your shalom! Come! Fill us! Use us! Give us Your heart and mind and help to go love like Jesus. Or to choose to dwell in Your love for a few minutes, as we are able, and grow that time with you. Come! We love You! We need You--every hour! Come! Amen!

Our experiences the past week have ranged from highs to lows, mountain tops, to deep canyons and every where in between. Sometimes up and down drastically within in minutes even. BUT GOD! He IS always there and available even when we don't sense it or push Him away or ignore Him. He is singing over you and whispering His love to you. Stop. Be still and know that He is Love and He is wanting to love on you right now. He inhabits our praise. That's a truth! Sometimes we have to choose to praise. Keep building those gratitude lists for the hard times to have as starting point to redirect us as we choose to praise in the storm. Sometimes we need the reminder and help of others to start looking for the silver linings and things to be thankful about even though we feel far from thankful or like praising. Start by asking God for help and direction for who He is bringing to mind today for you to reach out and love on. Or maybe you need to stop and cry out for help. Ask for boldness and courage and humility to seek some help. Where is God wanting and needing to show His love, comfort and peace today? Who is He sending to you or you to? Do you need help to receive it? Courage and wisdom to share it? Ask and receive. Keep knocking and keep redirecting from the highs and lows with praise. Sometimes we even need to force ourselves to half-heartedly start to praise. That's OK. Starting leads you further along in the journey out of the pit and helps your mind to become accustomed to choosing joy in the hardest places. Jesus is our Rock. We need to prepare for the promised harder and harder times to come. Start preparing and practicing today. God will always be with His faithful servants. Holding us tight. Keep your hands open and reaching for Him! Ask Him for help to take that next step of faith with Him. Consider joining our Zoom huddle today at 10 as we discuss this further.

Check out our devos for today below. They really led to this and thread through what God wants us to understand and put into practice today. We are more than hearers. Right? What might He be leading you to today? What will you do about it? Who will you come alongside to journey with? God's got some custom things for you to receive and build upon today! Thank Him and come to Him you weary ones and find rest and shalom as you go about this day. Pronounce that this is the day and year of the Lord's favor and pray for that in confidence. May His favor lead you as His love and shalom overpower you today! He's right beside you whispering His love over you. Be still and know! Then go and love more like Jesus today--one step of faith at a time. Amen! The world around you may be falling apart or in shambles and even this nation is sinking deeper in the pit...BUT GOD! He knows already and has prepared you for such a time as this! He's even preparing you for the greater things to come. PTL! Be bold and courageous and stand firm as we follow Him into the Promised Land. Amen!


God’s Greater Power

The Lord said, . . . I have given you victory over them! Judges 7:9 nlt

READ Judges 7:7–8, 16–22


In March 1945, the “Ghost Army” helped US forces achieve the Rhine River crossing—giving the allies a vital base to operate from on World War II’s Western Front. The soldiers were most definitely human, not apparitions, all part of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. On this occasion, the 1,100-man team imitated 30,000 men by using inflatable decoy tanks, blasting troop and vehicle sound effects over speakers, and more. The relatively small number of Ghost Army members led the enemy to fear what appeared to be a far greater force.

The Midianites and their allies also trembled before a tiny army that loomed large in the night (Judges 7:8–22). Gideon, a judge and military leader of Israel, was used by God to make his puny army a source of terror for the enemy. They also used sound effects (blown trumpets, smashed clay jars, human voices) and visible objects (blazing torches) to make the vast enemy—as “thick as locusts” (v. 12)—believe they were facing a colossal foe. Israel defeated their enemy that night with an army whittled down from 32,000 men to just 300 by God’s command (vv. 2–8). Why? Because that made it clear who truly won the battle. As God told Gideon, “I have given you victory over them!” (v. 9 nlt).

When we feel weak and inferior, let’s seek God and rest in His strength alone. For His “power is made perfect in [our] weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

By Tom Felten


What big foes or challenges are you facing? How can you rest in God’s power as you confront them?

Dear Jesus, let me find Your strength in my weakness.


The historical setting for the book of Judges lies in the period between the books of Joshua and Samuel. During the time of the judges, God’s great power was manifested through unlikely people who found themselves in difficult situations because of their covenant unfaithfulness. Several judges are listed among the faith exemplars in Hebrews 11: “What more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah . . . who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised” (vv. 32-33).

Arthur Jackson

UR:  My Rock and My Fortress

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. - Psalm 18:2 (NIV)

After graduation, I was looking forward to my dream job of joining the Defense Force to serve my nation. Unfortunately, I did not get a good enough score to be eligible. So I pursued my master’s degree and became eligible to take the entrance exam — it felt like my last chance to make or break my dream career.

My family and I prayed for my interview and other tests, asking that I would be selected for a job. With God’s grace, I was selected.

During training, I started to lose hope that I would make it through. But God comforted me with confidence and strength to overcome my situation. Against the odds, I made it through, bringing joy to me, my family, and my community.

God never leaves us in our struggles. When we depend on God, our rock and strong fortress, we find the hope and perseverance to wait patiently on God’s deliverance.


Faithful God, thank you for the ways you comfort and guide us through our struggles. Give us hope and patience as we trust in your will for our lives. Amen.

Dave Butts Harvest Prayer Blog:


by Dave Butts

James gives us some very important teaching on prayer in James 5:13-18: 

“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

We are told that whatever we are facing…good or bad, we should pray. Good advice. The problem in the text is that the example given of a man of prayer is that of Elijah. However, Elijah, in our eyes, seems to be this amazing man of prayer.  How can we be like him?

 James, inspired by God, says Elijah was a human being, just like us. He was simply a normal person with no special dispensation from God.

So let’s look at a summary of the obedience of Elijah’s prayer life:

·         I Kings 17:1: Rain did not fall in Israel for several years – “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.’”

·        I Kings 17:7-16: A widow and her son did not starve – “For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah” (v. 16).

·        I Kings 17:17-24: The widow’s son was raised from the dead – “The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived” (v. 22).

·        I Kings 18:16-40: Elijah called on the Lord and was victorious over the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel – “Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire – he is God” (v. 24).

·        I Kings 18:41-46: Rain falls from heaven – “And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain’” (v. 41).

Elijah, because of his obedience, had an amazing response to his prayers. And Scripture says that Elijah was a person just like us? How can this be?

We can see the answer to this question when suddenly everything changes for Elijah in I Kings 19:

·        He became fearful: “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life” (v. 3).

·        He was depressed and discouraged: “…he came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die” (v. 4)

·        Elijah, mistaken about what was going on, was filled with self-pity: “I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too” (v. 14).

We can all tend to be like this side of Elijah from time to time – fearful, wanting suffering to end, mistaken about what is happening, and filled with self-pity. We can do that!

Here’s my point. Elijah was a flawed man. He had great successes and some failures too. In spite of some amazing answers to prayer, his life was not easy. The purpose of prayer is not to make life easy.

 As Elijah learned, when we commit to obeying God and serving Him in prayer, we become an integral part of the purposes of God on planet earth.  Elijah got in on some really good stuff, because he prayed.  And we can too!  As a matter of fact, I will tell you bluntly that God has made us for this.

 To pray like Elijah means:

1.    Praying prayers that are focused on God’s purposes.

2.    Praying prayers that are filled with faith.

3.    Praying prayers that involve acts of obedience.

 Our job is to pray as Elijah did…with focus, faith, and obedience so that God will receive glory. The final result always rests in God’s capable hands.

Harvest Prayer starters:

Prayer Points

  • Praise God for his comfort.
  • Thank God that he holds you close and calls you his child.
  • Confess those times when you have rejected God’s love.
  • Commit yourself to seeking God’s comfort through the people in the church and his Word.
  • Ask him to deliver you from your desire to handle your pain alone.
  • Pray that the members of your congregation will reach out in ways which comfort those who are disheartened, discouraged, and depressed. 
    Prayer Pointer
    “Far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.” —1 Samuel 12:23
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. 
Posted by: AT 12:24 pm   |  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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