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Friday, June 14 2024

Reminder: Meeting with HVAC guy to discuss question on units and installation, tomorrow, Thurs at 430 in Fellowship hall. All with questions and concerns invited

Good Morning Set Apart, Stretched, Growing in Trust Sowers! I was going to greet you as Gumby's and Pokey's. Remember those childhood toys. Like us, created with purpose and to be stretched. Think about staying true to your true identity and purpose while being stretched and contorted and bouncing back. Do we continue to trust God as He has His way with us, His creation, His masterpiece being formed into His image and stretched to achieve our created purposes. We are God's and created for His purposes. God seems to be speaking to us through the same Scripture today from Jeremiah in ODB and Harvest blogs even though they have two takes on the Scripture passage. Why would that be? Because the Holy Spirit is highlighting different things as we spend time in His Word. What's He saying to you? God created us to do great things for His glory. We need to remember that happens when we have faith, even the size of a mustard seed, and keep trusting Him as we allow Him to lead and do things His way and in His tinning. That can feel like we are Gumby or Pokey--BUT GOD! TWFYT reminds us to pursue godliness as we receive forgiveness and forgive as we have been forgiven. Love God and others like Jesus and follow Him. He does have great, attainable, plans for you. Custom made for custom made you plans and purposes. PTL! Pursue Him, His righteousness and ways. Amen!

UR: The God Who Stretches

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. - Isaiah 54:2 (NIV)

After an important event, people in the Bible often called the Lord or locations by a new name. That name usually reminded them of a time when they felt God’s presence, protection, or deliverance. Some examples are: The Lord will provide; The Lord who heals; The Lord is my banner.

When I moved to Japan, I came to know God as “the God who stretches.” When I first arrived in Japan, I didn’t speak Japanese, and the culture was decidedly different from my own. I was lonely. But God helped me to stretch beyond my comfort zone to learn and grow.

God wants us to stretch beyond what we know to open our hearts to others. When we think we can’t do anything else, God might say, “Stretch your heart a bit more and talk to that person who looks lonely.” If we are frustrated while working with someone whose personality irritates us, God might tell us, “Stretch yourself and be nice to them.” When we stretch ourselves and open our hearts to others, God can take away our fear and help us to grow. I pray that all believers will come to know the God who stretches.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear God, help us to grow, opening our hearts to you and others more each day. Amen.

ODB:

Liked and Loved by God

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5

READ Jeremiah 1:1-10

audio playLISTEN ONLINE

It feels like “likes”—you know, that little thumbs-up on Facebook—have always been with us. But it turns out that this virtual symbol of affirmation has only been around since 2009.    

The “like” designer, Justin Rosenstein, said he wanted to help create “a world in which people uplift each other rather than tear each other down.” But Rosenstein came to lament how his invention might have enabled users’ unhealthy addiction to social media.  

I think Rosenstein’s creation speaks to our hardwired need for affirmation and connection. We want to know that others know us, notice us—and, yes, like us. The “like” is fairly new. But our hunger to know and be known is as old as God's creation of man.

Still, the like button doesn’t quite get the job done, does it? Thankfully, we serve a God whose love goes so much deeper than a digital nod. In Jeremiah 1:5, we witness His profoundly purposeful connection with a prophet whom He called to Himself. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

God knew the prophet even before conception and designed him for a life of meaning and mission (vv. 8-10). And He invites us too into a purposeful life as we come to know this Father who so intimately knows, loves, and likes us.

By Adam R. Holz

REFLECT & PRAY

How does knowing God intimately affect how you relate to others? How can living with purpose bring peace?

Father, help me to rest in Your love and calling on my life, to know that You care for me intimately as You shape me for each of the days You’ve planned for me.

Discover how to live out your purpose.

Lecture - Our Daily Bread University

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

In Jeremiah 1:4-5, we see God’s call on Jeremiah. His reply, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young” (v. 6) is reminiscent of Moses’ response to God’s call in Exodus 4:10: “I have never been eloquent . . . . I am slow of speech and tongue.” Gideon’s response to the angel is similar: “Pardon me, my lord, . . . but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judges 6:15). God’s answer to all is the loving reassurance that He’s with us and will give us the words to speak. We need not fear (Jeremiah 1:8-9).

Alyson Kieda

Harvest blogs:

June 5 - Set Apart Before Birth 

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4–5) 

God, our infinite Creator, does not react or get surprised. All that he does is done with absolute and perfect purpose. The knitting together of a baby in a mother’s womb follows this same purposeful and wise pattern. No child is a mistake, regardless of the time or circumstances surrounding his or her conception. Humans can have sexual relations, but only God makes babies. Our God is intimately involved in all he creates and sustains all things by his mighty power. Today we continue our prayers for the unborn. Nothing could be more vitally important in this season. Pray. Forgive. Be forgiven. Our God is the giver of life—life forevermore. 

Father, just as you knew Jeremiah before he was formed, you consecrated and appointed him as a prophet to the nations. Forgive me and forgive my nation for the lack of prophetic insight by which we characterize the unborn. Forgive us for the passive ways we defend the most defenseless in our society. Forgive me for not speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8–9). Before I was born you knew me. Before I took a breath, you consecrated and appointed me for good works that you planned before the world was even created (Ephesians 2:10). I intercede today for unborn children whose lives are in the balance. I pray that moms would be dissuaded from abortion today across our community, state, and nation. Empower those who are even now fighting to save unborn children from the throes of death. Rescue, O Father, children yet to be born for which you have destined purposes unknown. We trust you. You do not create anything that is without purpose. Forgive us for our human wisdom that considers some lives, old or young, useless and expendable. Breathe life into our land. Convict humans that each and every life has infinite value and worth. Heal our land of the atrocity of abortion and the tragedy of euthanasia. Restore life as valuable in each and every phase of life. As we honor life, we honor you. We cry out for great mercy on our broken land today. Heal our land.

--Adapted from Praying God’s Word Over Your City: 40 Days of Prayer for A Transformed Community by Trey and Mary Anne Kent. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
 

Prayer Points

  • Praise the one whose control covers even the details of your life (Mt. 6:25-34).
  • Thank God for knowing about your daily needs.
  • Confess any worry.
  • Commit to taking hold of areas where you are to be in charge in your life with the clear knowledge of being “second in command” under God.
  • Ask him for the Spirit’s fruit of self-control.
  • Pray that God will work self-control into your private life. Ask him to help you be self-controlled with family members and with private disciplines such as eating habits, TV watching, reading materials, time usage, and exercise patterns.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2024 is a free devotional published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries. Subscribe here.

TWFYT:

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St. Matthew's EC Church

5th & Ridge Streets
P.O. Box 433
Emmaus, PA 18049
Telephone 610.965.5570
Email: stmattsecemmaus@gmail.com

ABOUT US

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 http://www.eccenter.com/

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