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St. Matthew's EC Church
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Pastor's Blog
Saturday, May 18 2024
Reminder: Marilyn Ritter Birthday card shower for her 90th birthday this week. (Address 7359 G Sauerkraut Lane, Macungie, PA 18062)
Keep praying for Chris and Yvonne Muik. I visited Chris at St. Luke's yesterday as he recovers from foot surgery. He has a long recovery road ahead. Yvonne continues to recover from her accident. They are thankful for our prayers and for the car God provided. Pray for God's provision for them and for a job from home for Chris
Visited Doris Hausman briefly at Lehigh. She is recovering from surgery for her broken hip and in some pain. At 103 and a half she could use some prayer covering for pain relief and healing. She said remind everyone Jesus loves you and is with you always.
Had a nice visit with Glad Ketner and daughter Linda. She had a good mothers day and continues to improve in speech and health. We discussed her purpose for being in Parkland Manor and how God is using her to share His love and encouragement where He placed her and how she is being blessed back. She loves visitors. They would love for us to do some sort of worship/Bible study there. Pray into that and for workers for the harvest.
Pray for all those who are being pursued by God's love. No one is too far gone to be saved and receive His healing love. Ask God to use you to bring His love alive and to help you receive His love. (That was supposed to be the gist of Sunday's message. We all are sinners and at fault, BUT GOD still pursues and blesses us and has assignments for us. He did that for Hager and will for you too! Amen!) You are His child of promise!
Good Morning Hopeful, Strengthened, Very Loved, Protected, and Provided for Children of Promise! You are God's own! And He continues to pursue and love on you. He has great plans for you just as you are. He is strong when you are weak. He is our hope, our shield and our strength. He protects, provides where He guides and is your refuge. Come as you are, be loved, and receive His shalom. Then allow Him to prepare and use you just as you are for His glory. Enjoy life as you love, serve and are blessed for being a blessing. Amen!
Check out our devos below and see how they tie to this today as God speaks to your heart and directs your steps. And just dwell in His presence in praise and worship! What a mighty, loving God we serve and know! God is enough and makes you adequate for His plans for you! He is our refuge and help! He is with us in the waiting and preparing us. He sends us with His wisdom to bring love and joy alive. Thanks Lord! Lead us! Amen!
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UR: A Refuge, A Help

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe. - Proverbs 18:10 (NRSVUE)

On a particularly difficult day of teaching, I left a tense committee meeting and walked quickly down the hallway with clenched fists, looking down at my feet. When I glanced up, I saw a sign with the words “Area of Refuge.”

Refuge. What an extraordinary word, I thought. My heart reminded me of Psalm 46:1 — “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I took a deep breath, grateful for this reminder that God is my refuge, always accessible to provide safety and protection.

The bell rang to mark the end of a class period. But even as the students poured out of classrooms and flooded the hallway, I could feel my heart slowing down, my breathing regulating, and even my fisted hands relaxing. I thanked God for being my refuge. I still had more difficult meetings ahead of me, but the image of the sign stayed in my mind, reminding me that God, my refuge and strength, was always available to me.

Thank you, God, for being available to us in our hour of need. Thank you for being our refuge, our help, our strong tower. Amen.
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Joy and Wisdom

I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Ecclesiastes 8:15

READ Ecclesiastes 8:14-17

Sweetly fragrant cherry tree blossoms flood Japan with exquisite pale and vibrant pinks every spring, delighting the senses of residents and tourists alike. The short-lived nature of the blossoms cultivates a keen awareness in the Japanese to savor the beauty and scent while they linger: the very brevity of the experience heightens the poignancy of it. They call this deliberate enjoyment of something that will change quickly mono-no-aware.”

As humans, it’s understandable that we’d want to seek and prolong feelings of joy. Yet the reality that life is riddled with hardship means we must cultivate the ability to view both pain and pleasure through a lens of faith in a loving God. We needn’t be overly pessimistic, nor should we fashion ourselves an unrealistically sunny outlook on life.

The book of Ecclesiastes offers a helpful model for us. Though this book is sometimes thought to be a catalog of negative statements, the same King Solomon who wrote that “everything is meaningless” (1:2) also encouraged his readers to find joy in the simple things in life saying, “There is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad” (8:15).

Joy comes when we ask God to help us “know wisdom” and learn to observe “all that God has done” (vv. 16-17) in both beautiful seasons and in difficult ones (3:11-14; 7:13-14), knowing that neither is permanent on this side of heaven.

By Kirsten Holmberg


What kind of “season” are you currently in? How can you find joy in it?

Dear Father, thank You for being the source of beauty and joy in my life.


The author of Ecclesiastes, which scholars say is Solomon, identifies himself as “the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1). He shows us what life is like without God and how He must fit into it. The Teacher makes his observations on the unjust realities of life in a fallen world: “Good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good” (8:14 nlt). Instead of being weighed down by such unfairness, however, Solomon encourages us to enjoy life (3:22; 5:19; 9:9) so we “will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives [us] under the sun” (8:15 nlt). At the close of his book, the author reminds us: “When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days” (11:8 nlt).

K. T. Sim
Harvest Blogs:


by Kim Butts

“When you are able to create a lonely place in the middle of your actions and concerns, your successes and failures slowly can lose some of their power over you.” ~ Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude

Jesus would regularly separate Himself from the crowds, and even from the disciples, to go off to a lonely, quiet place to pray. It was in the place of solitude where Jesus met with His Father in deepest intimacy so that the everyday work of the kingdom could unfold as God desired. Whenever I allow myself to follow His example, I often come away recognizing that my worth to God is not the same as my usefulness to Him. This is crucial to my well-being, for I am better able to see myself through my Father’s eyes rather than allowing myself to strive for acceptance and value based on my ministry activity.


In silence, He cares for my soul in a way that I can be attentive to in the moment. When I am in the midst of everyday activity, I can usually only look back reflectively to notice His involvement in my life. Over the past few years, I have been praying, meditating and actively moving towards God’s transformative activity in my life moment by moment. Stopping to pay attention and pray in the midst of busyness as well as in the quiet, reflective moments have allowed me to practice His presence and welcome His nearness and care in everything…from the most mundane task or thought to the moments when I feel the most pleasure or the most accomplished. He is there – always. He has promised to be. I have started to be keenly aware that God’s life in me can only be reflected by how I live out His kingdom life in the world. The health of this activity is directly related to my life of prayer.


So much of my time is a torrent of frenzied activity and urgency. My expectations of myself far exceed the expectations of God. He simply calls me to live like Jesus. I challenge myself to live out Jesus on steroids – an impossibility that is actually counterproductive and paradoxical. Jesus lived simply in a way that demonstrated the intricate dance between activity and holiness – doing and being. Solitude – being still with God alone…is the way I can be more attentive to His presence in the midst of all of life. Yet, if I never stop long enough to have seasons where I can feel the gaze of God upon me, I can’t make course-corrections or learn how to feel His pleasure with me when I am in stressful or busy situations.


One story in Scripture that punctuates all of this for me is when Jesus healed the man sitting by the Pool of Bethesda. Jesus, we must surmise from His own narrative in Scripture, chose, at the direction of the Father, one person to heal. One. Out of the many who were anxiously, hopefully waiting for healing, Jesus asked one man if he wished to get well…and didn’t use the waters of the pool to do so. Then, with dozens more sick and ailing all around Him, Jesus moved on without healing any others. Why? Because He wasn’t interested in garnering points with the population for His amazing healing powers through healing as many people as He possibly could. His focus was upon glorifying God through obediently healing the one He had been instructed to heal.

The challenge for me…and for all of us, is to seek God, as Jesus often did, in the silent moments of solitude so that we may be able to better hear His voice when He instructs us throughout our day. Perhaps, as Nouwen stated, we will then be able to create those “lonely places” even in the midst of busyness and distractions where our “successes and failures” fade away into the obedient kingdom activity of Jesus.


Here are three spiritual goals to challenge you in your relationship with God:

1. To be more aware of God’s continual nearness no matter what activity you may be engaged in or what time of day it is…and to continually recognize that everything is not dependent upon me, but upon Him!

2. To recognize and internalize that simply to be in His presence, without “doing” anything…is enough.

3. To spend more time in silence and solitude listening to the “still small voice” of God and enjoying His company.

Prayer Points

  • Praise the Lamb, Jesus Christ, who with his blood “purchased men for God from 
  • every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).
  • Thank the Lord that he covenanted with Abraham long ago and that you have the blessing
  •  of being part of God’s own people.
  • Confess any tendencies that you have to judge people by color, ethnicity, or background.
  • Commit yourself to showing no favoritism, just as God shows none (Acts 10:34).
  • Ask that you will do your part in the kingdom of priests who serve God (Rev. 5:10).
  • Give thanks for the gifts, abilities, and perspectives of those whom God has given to you, 
  • and ask his blessing upon them.
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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