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Pastor's Blog
Saturday, April 13 2024

Good Morning very loved, much forgiven, joy choosing, shalom revivers and bringers!

I could have been very stressed today as I slept almost 10 hours and am way behind my scheduled plans for today. BUT GOD! He is Lord of me and my day. Plus Fridays are my day off. I am choosing joy and to dwell in His shalom and just praising Him for so many things that I can't help but to have a right attitude, renewed thinking, shalom and can even joyfully dance through the rest of the day. PTL!

It's Thank God I'm Forgiven Friday! What are you thankful about today? Keep building and using those gratitude lists. God is the God who brings His shalom to the chaos. PTL! We have and dwell in His shalom because of the work of Jesus on the cross. PTL! Shalom is more than peace. It's completeness, wholeness resting in God. We can know this shalom, even in all the chaos around us, the chaos of our sins and all that leads to guilt and estrangement from God. We can even know His shalom in the darkest valleys of grief. But like joy we have to choose it. Being able to begins with renewing our thinking, mindsets, and minds by praising, even in the storms. If you can't think about praising God right now, how about listing some things you enjoy doing and start there with thanking God for allowing you to do those things. There's a song link below for a song that sometimes doesn't make sense to us, "There's Always A Reason to Always Choose Joy". It may not always feel like that, but healing, restoration and shalom begin with choosing to praise in the storms and choosing joy always and to even smile some when we don't feel like it or aren't able to. And maybe God is sending you to help someone redirect and renew their minds by choosing joy despite the circumstances. Practicing that yourself is key to being ready to be used by God. He redeems and doesn't waste anything that He has allowed us to endure and grow through. Thank God for that!


Sometimes darkness endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning is the only promise we can cling to as we endure the darkness. The song above has a line that says to choose to's another song to help us redirect and even choose to dance in the storms and the deep waters. Joy Comes in the Morning:

So pause today. Exhale all the junk, hurt, darkness. Breathe in a fresh breath of the Spirit and ask God to help you to praise Him in the storms and to choose joy. Maybe you will find yourself smiling a little, tapping a toe or maybe even dancing some as you renew your thinking and praise God. Thank God I'm Forgiven! Start there. Thank God He is with me always! Thank God for His help to choose joy and praise in the storms. Thank God for His promised shalom for the weary and downtrodden. Smile! Dance! Joy does come in the morning and even eventually through the mourning. Amen!

Below are our devos about this. If you are struggling right now, please reach out to one of us or a close friend to walk with you and God through the valley to His promised joy and shalom. And try to begin with some praise that renews the heart and mind. Shalom! We are praying for you and we are here. So is God! PTL!

Harvest Prayer Blog:

April 12 - Come in Peace

“So that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.” (Genesis 28:21, ESV)

The sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau often created situations that led to turmoil, both in their family and in their own lives. Deception, selfishness, lack of spiritual growth, and spiritual laziness often set brother against brother and drew their parents into places of conflict and confusion. Peace was not a big part of this family!

After Jacob’s amazing encounter with God at Bethel, his heart began to change. He sought peace with his family and his God. Even though it was going to be a long-term process, peace in Jacob’s life was now a priority for him.

That’s one of the key results of coming face-to-face with God. Walking in God’s presence daily is the essence of what we call revival. Revival that revolves around the presence of God produces peace!

Has peace been elusive for you? Whether in your family, your workplace, or in your own emotional life, is peace a missing element? So many struggle to find peace and yet find that it escapes them. Look at what happened with Jacob. He was far from a man of peace until he encountered God. The God of peace brings peace with him. When you seek him and encounter him, his peace begins to flood into your life. A life of continual seeking after the Lord brings a life of peace.

Peace is found in the Father’s lap. A funny story from my childhood illustrates that. I was just a little boy at a family reunion. I was walking along the edge of the house of the family we were visiting. At the corner, I walked right into the big, old family dog. He was bigger than I was and startled me. I began to run. Now I’m sure the dog was thinking that this boy was ready to play, so it came running after me.

This terrified me all the more. The only safe place I could think of was where my father was sitting in the front yard, full of relatives sitting in the shade. I hit the front yard running as fast as I could run with the dog at my heels. I saw my dad in his chair and launched myself in the air, landing right on his lap. The length of the leap might have grown with the telling through the years, but all I knew was that the only place of safety and peace was my father’s lap.

That’s true for our heavenly Father’s lap as well. We draw near to him and he draws near to us (see James 4:8). In his presence is peace. It is a peace that not only transforms our own lives, but also impacts those around us. We say with Jacob, “I come again to my father’s house in peace.”

Since peace is found in the Father’s house, it is essential for you to draw near daily and confess your need to dwell in God’s house.

Father, I come to you, the source of all peace. Your house is a place of peace and I come at your invitation to dwell in your house all the days of my life. Teach me to draw near each day, that your peace would pervade every aspect of my life.

--Adapted from Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God (A 30-Day Journey to Experience the Shalom of Jesus) by David Butts. 


God’s Agents of Peace

The Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” Acts 23:11

READ Acts 21:27--22:2


Nora went to the peaceful protest because she felt strongly about the issue of justice. As planned, the demonstration was silent. The protestors walked in powerful quietness through the downtown area.

Then two buses pulled up. Agitators had arrived from out of town. A riot soon broke out. Heartbroken, Nora left. It seemed their good intentions were fruitless.

When the apostle Paul visited the temple at Jerusalem, people who opposed Paul saw him there. They were “from the province of Asia” (Acts 21:27) and viewed Jesus as a threat to their way of life. Shouting lies and rumors about Paul, they quickly stirred up trouble (vv. 28-29). A mob dragged Paul from the temple and beat him. Soldiers came running.

As he was being arrested, Paul asked the Roman commander if he could address the crowd (vv. 37-38). When permission was granted, he spoke to the crowd in their own language, surprising them and seizing their attention (v. 40). And just like that, Paul had turned a riot into an opportunity to share his story of rescue from dead religion (22:2-21).

Some people love violence and division. Don’t lose heart. They will not win. God is looking for courageous believers to share His light and peace with our desperate world. What seems like a crisis might be your opportunity to show someone God’s love.

By Tim Gustafson


When have you been in a crisis that you couldn’t make sense of? How do you think the Holy Spirit might help you find the wisdom for what to do in that moment?

Father, my heart aches for our broken world. Help me realize Your Spirit’s presence is far more powerful than any attack the world can throw at me.


When he had the opportunity, the apostle Paul told how he’d met Christ on the Damascus Road (see Acts 9). In today’s passage, he’d been wrongfully arrested and charged with crimes he didn’t commit. As a result, he tells his story yet again (22:3-21)—this time to a hostile crowd (v. 22). He’d repeat his story again in chapter 26 when standing before King Agrippa.

Bill Crowder

UR: Hands and Feet

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” - Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Today’s scripture reading means the world to me. This passage helped me to realize that Jesus wants us to be his hands and feet.

I have found different ways to honor Christ through acts of service. Some years back, I began visiting a 94-year-old woman in a local nursing home every Wednesday. I found joy in hearing her talk about cooking on a wood-burning stove and other memories from her younger days. She went to be with Jesus at age 96. Now I help with our church’s food ministry. We give food to those in need and also make coffee at the church on Sunday mornings. I enjoy smiling, hugging people, and simply saying, “Good morning!”

There is always a need that can be met. You might volunteer at the hospital, drive someone to a doctor’s appointment, or send a birthday card to a church member. Even holding a door open for someone can be a way to serve Christ. We bless others with each act of service, and we are blessed as well when we honor Jesus with our hands and feet.


Dear God, thank you for allowing us to be your hands and feet. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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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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