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Friday, June 14 2024
Remember Worship and picnic is at Emmaus Community Park at 10:30 tomorrow! See you there! All is being provided. Bring a friend or two. We hope to be on Zoom as well.
Wed. Donut day at the Bread Ministry. 10-12 All welcome!
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Good Morning Bold and Courageous Followers of Jesus! Is that you? We are commanded to be and promised to be helped to be bold, courageous and followers of Jesus. PTL! However...well, you know, sometimes we don't follow very well, do we? I'm prone to assume on God sometimes and forge ahead thinking I know what He wants or that He wants me to follow now only to run into road blocks as I realize I am on my own agenda or timing. Sometimes I think I am not hearing God clearly and I sit waiting for Him to move or answer prayers for provision and clarity. I even  sometimes get fearful to respond to what I know He is asking of me. And once in awhile I actually hear, process and move well with Him. Do you ever find yourself in any of these circumstances? We are all a work in process and, hopefully, progress. I think almost every time that I am right on track with Him it is because I am processing with Him and others and not leaning on my own understanding. This is why I feel like God is pushing us to start some small groups. Would you participate? Do you have a small group of co-laborers that have permission to speak truth into your life, hold your feet in the fire, wait with you in prayer and go with you? Who are you encouraging and helping? Let us commit to praying into this and starting soon, meeting in homes, dinners or ice cream shops over the next few weeks. I'm thinking of Tue or Wed June 18 or 19  to have an intro meeting. Watch for details. Pray into this.
Sometimes we are asked to step out in faith and put our faith into action. Faith like love is an action word. The what seems impossible to us is always possible for our God. To activate His miraculous, mystifying purposes requires our following with bold faith that says, "I don't see how but You have a plan, Lord. I trust You. I am stepping out in faith." It may take the forgive my unbelief prayer too. Our devotionals today thread through stepping out in bold faith as we cast our anxiety to God, who is able. It can be helpful to remember that perfect love (that's God's love) drives out all fear. Receive His perfect love and remember He dwells in you, goes before you, upholds you in His strong right hand, and has a great custom made plan just for you. Then invite some co-laborers to process, plan and go with you. Keep your eyes on Jesus and wait or move with Him. Process with some friends and make His plans. Then go live, love and change the world like Jesus and with His help! He hears, knows, cares, is our Almighty God and King of the Universe with a perfect plan that involves you. What's He saying to you today? What idols and things of self do you need to toss away. What boldness do you need to put on? What anxiety needs to be given to God? Whose helping you and whom are you helping? Talk to God about these and share what you are hearing/sensing and do something about it.
Jesus has a custom made plan just for you. He's interceding for you. He is with you. And He is able to do way more than we could ever imagine! Invite Him to come cleanse you, prepare you and use you for His glory today! Then go/follow! Amen!
CS:
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UR: Fear Not!

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught [Peter], saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” - Matthew 14:31 (NRSVUE)

On the Goa beach on the western coast of India we sat in a boat preparing to set off for a dolphin observation tour. The sea was a little bit stormy, and our fellow passengers were anxious and frightened. At that moment, my daughter Sheril told me that she was thinking of Peter, who walked across the water toward Jesus but, becoming frightened, began to sink. When Jesus is with us, we need not be afraid of anything else.

In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve hid from God out of fear. Fear is the first negative emotion mentioned in the Bible. Sin and fear take us far away from God.

No matter how much we may try to eliminate fear, it confronts us again and again. First Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on [God], because he cares for you.” Our Lord never leaves us alone. He remains with us through the whole of our journey. Let us release our fears and worries and trust in God’s presence.

TODAY'S PRAYER
Dear Jesus, thank you for your perfect love that casts out fear. Grant us strength that we may live fearlessly because we are with you. We pray the prayer you taught us, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:2-4, KJV). Amen.
TWFYT:
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ODB:

House Gods

Throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord. Joshua 24:23

READ Genesis 35:1-5

The men in the Bible study group were nearly eighty years old, so I was surprised to learn they struggled with lust. A battle that had begun in their youth lingered still. Each day they pledged to follow Jesus in this area and asked forgiveness for the moments they failed.

It may surprise us that godly men still fight against base temptations at a late stage in life, but maybe it shouldn’t. An idol is anything that threatens to take the place of God in our lives, and such things can show up long after we assume they’re gone.

In the Bible, Jacob had been rescued from his uncle Laban and his brother Esau. He was returning to Bethel to worship God and celebrate His many blessings, yet his family still kept foreign gods that Jacob had to bury (Genesis 35:2-4). At the end of the book of Joshua, after Israel had defeated their enemies and settled in Canaan, Joshua still had to urge them to “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord” (Joshua 24:23). And King David’s wife Michal apparently kept idols, for she put one in his bed to deceive the soldiers who came to kill him (1 Samuel 19:11-16).

Idols are more common than we think, and God is more patient than we deserve. Temptations to turn to them will come, but God’s forgiveness is greater. May we be set apart for Jesus—turning from our sins and finding forgiveness in Him.

By Mike Wittmer

REFLECT & PRAY

What sin are you most tempted by? What steps might you take to destroy this idol?

Father, I confess my sin, and I gratefully receive Your forgiveness through Jesus.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

In the Old Testament, idolatry was rampant in Israel. This was one of the primary things God warned the Israelites about before they were brought to their new homeland, for the surrounding nations were deep into idol worship: “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord , whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. . . . Do not make any idols” (Exodus 34:14, 17; see Leviticus 19:4). Included among those idols were Asherim (also known as Astarte), Baal (a weather god), Dagon (half-fish, half-man), and many more. Years after Israel entered the land of promise, Isaiah offered great insight about idols: “[The carpenter] makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, ‘Save me! You are my god!’ They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand” (Isaiah 44:17-18). Such strong words show the folly of idol worship.

Bill Crowder
Harvest Blogs:

June 8 - The Heavenly Court

Simon, Simon,” Jesus said to Peter, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

The stage was set. Jesus was nearing the cross. Lost in the story leading to Calvary lies this valuable prayer lesson. Hidden away in one verse in Luke, Jesus gives us a powerful picture of intercession. Peter, still brave and boasting, was taught a simple truth about the in-workings of the spirit realm.
The picture here is almost of a heavenly court. Satan asked God’s permission to attack Peter; Jesus pleaded Peter’s case before the Father. That’s a portrait of intercession.

Prayer leader Steve Hawthorne tells of a time when he had the opportunity to help a friend in a court case. His friend was a Chinese student studying in America. Though this student could read and write English fairly well, speaking spontaneously was tough for him.

Once, after being taken advantage of by an auto mechanic, the student decided to take the man to small claims court. Because he had trouble speaking, he asked Steve if he would speak for him before the judge. Steve agreed.

The day in court came. Steve got up to speak, but the judge cut him off. “Are you an attorney?” he asked Steve. When Steve revealed that he wasn’t, but was merely speaking on behalf of his Chinese friend, the judge informed him that the man would have to speak for himself. He did—in fluent Mandarin. The judge threw out the case.

Steve related that some time afterward, as he was praying for China, his friend and the court case came to mind. The next thing Steve knew, he envisioned himself and his friend standing in a heavenly court, before God. Steve began passionately pleading his friend’s case—for salvation—before God.
That’s a very real picture of intercession.

Lord Jesus, my Intercessor, thank You for standing before God each and every day on my behalf! When I was lost, because of the prayers of others, You came and found me and saved me. Whenever I fail, Your sacrifice has covered me. Help me to daily follow Your example and stand in the gap for those who have yet to know You.

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

Prayer Points

  • Praise God for the joy and peace he brought to the world through Jesus!
  • Thank him for bringing joy and peace to your own life.
  • Ask God to show you any ways you inhibit the joy or peace of others.
  • Confess those ways, as well as any anxiety.
  • Commit yourself to rejoicing continually, handing anxieties to God, and living in the peace which he then gives (Phil. 4:9).
  • Pray that your local church will be authentically known as a joyful and peaceful people. Ask God to work through world mission efforts to spread true joy and peace to the farthest parts of the earth.
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.
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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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