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Pastor's Blog
Wednesday, April 24 2024

Thank God I'm Forgiven! Amen and Hallelujah!

Good Morning Forgiven Much, Very Loved, Children of God! What's on your gratitude list? What are you thankful about today? Lift those praises high! God inhabits our praises! Amen! Start everyday with praise and allow God to inhabit your praise and redirect and renew your thinking. Dwell in His presence and go forth today refreshed, renewed and prayed up. He has great plans for your day, custom made for you according to His purposes for you and your circumstances. Rejoice! God is growing your faith and usefulness. Christ has already won the battle! PTL! Spend some time in the valley of praise today. Humble yourself, die to self even and take up your cross as you refocus on God and follow Jesus. Turn off the noise and surround yourself with like minded children of God who you can encourage and pray for and who will do the same for you. Call on the name of Jesus together! Step into your new in Christ nature more fully and go live and love more like Jesus today. Check out our devos below that thread all these together! God REALLY loves you and has great plans for your day! Rejoice and be glad in this day and your identity in Christ. He is our Redeemer, the Victor and our strength and shield! Amen! Shalom! Shalom! Perfect peace to you today as you worship, praise, trust and obey! Amen!

Charles Stanley:

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The Valley of Praise

On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah. 2 Chronicles 20:26

READ 2 Chronicles 20:21-26


Poet William Cowper struggled with depression much of his life. After a suicide attempt, he was committed to an asylum. But it was there through the care of a Christian physician that Cowper came to a warm, vital faith in Jesus. Soon afterwards, Cowper became acquainted with pastor and hymnwriter John Newton, who encouraged him to collaborate on a hymnal for their church. Among the hymns Cowper wrote was “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” which contains these words pressed from the crucible of experience: “You fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds you so much dread, are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.”

Like Cowper, the people of Judah also met God’s kindness unexpectedly. As an alliance of armies invaded their nation, King Jehoshaphat gathered the people for prayer. As Judah’s army marched out, men in the front ranks praised God (2 Chronicles 20:21). The invading armies turned on themselves, and “no one . . . escaped. . . . There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it” (vv. 24-25).

On the fourth day, the very place where a hostile invading force gathered against God’s people was dubbed the Valley of Berakah (v. 26)—literally, “the valley of praise” or “blessing.” What a change! God’s mercy can turn even our most difficult valleys into places of praise as we give them to Him.

By James Banks


How have you seen God bring good out of difficulty in your life? What can you thank Him for today?

I praise You, loving God, that no valley is deeper than Your love.


Militarily threatened by a large enemy coalition (2 Chronicles 20:1-2), Jehoshaphat turned to God for help (vv. 3-13). God assured His people, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v. 15). Soon after God had delivered the Israelites from Egypt—with the Egyptian army in pursuit—Moses encouraged a terrified people, “Do not be afraid. . . . The Lord will fight for you” (Exodus 14:13-14). This promise, however, was contingent on their obedience and faithfulness. They were “to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all [their] heart and . . . soul” (Joshua 22:5; see 23:6-13). Jehoshaphat exhorted the people: “have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld” (2 Chronicles 20:20).

K. T. Sim

UR: Listening to God

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)

I had a good job, a family, and a house in the suburbs. Then I got divorced and everything changed. Living in my car on a noisy city street, sleeping with a blanket over my head to keep out the cold and the city lights, and eating alone on a bench in the park forced me to reflect and listen to God.

I was welcomed by others in the homeless community, and their acceptance helped me see that God is in every person, maybe especially in the homeless one.

Homelessness was humbling, but Jesus humbled himself for us. We are called to walk humbly with God, just as Jesus did on his way to the Cross. God eventually lifted me up, teaching me to cast away my worries, to see God in nature, to value every person, and to leave my life in God’s hands.

God directed me to a church community that has helped me grow in faith, where I work on outreach missions, including with those who are homeless. The support of the people in this community has made it easier to follow God’s way. God calls us to feed the hungry, visit the sick, welcome the stranger, and care for the homeless . . . listen.


Open our eyes and hearts, O God, to the needs of those around us. Open our ears to listen to your promptings. Amen.

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Harvest Prayer Blogs:

April 19 - Calling Out to Jesus

In the Gospels we see that a number of people call out to Jesus. Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, cried out to Jesus, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47), and he was healed. The thief on the cross asked Jesus to remember him in His kingdom, and Jesus responded, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

In Acts, we see indications that the disciples had started praying in Jesus’ name. When Peter and John healed the crippled man at the temple, they explained it by saying, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see” (Acts 3:16).
If we go back to the actual healing, Peter declared, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6).

When he was being martyred, Stephen prayed, “‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59-60).

In Saul’s Damascus Road experience, it was Jesus who talked to him.

[Saul] fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him,

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

 “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:4-6)

Hours later, when Jesus spoke to Ananias, telling him to go to Saul, he replied: “Lord, . . . I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name” (Acts 9:13-14, emphasis added). Jewish leaders were not arresting those who called on God’s name, only those who called on Jesus’ name. Ananias clearly was speaking to Jesus here (but of course, he was speaking to God).

Lord Jesus, thank You for these powerful examples in Your word showing over and over again that those who believed and had faith in You were continually calling upon Your Name – the one that is above every other name. Sometimes those who called upon You were persecuted and even killed! Father, that is still happening today across the earth! I pray that everyone who calls upon Jesus will be saved, and that the evil one will be silenced by Your power wherever he attempts to discourage Your people in the world. May we be bold and proclaim Your Name across every nation of the earth!

--Adapted from The Power of Personal Prayer (Learning to Pray with Faith and Purpose) by Jonathan Graf. This book is available at Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Prayer Points

  • Praise God as the all-knowing one.
  • Thank God for caring enough for you to teach you his ways and warn you when you stray.
  • Confess times of willful ignorance of his ways.
  • Commit to listening and following God’s directions.
  • Ask him to provide faithful teachers and examples for you.
  • Pray that you will be diligent in teaching those under your care.
  • Ask God to help you be an excellent model for your children (or for the children of your friends).
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.
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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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