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Saturday, July 06 2024

Thank God I'm Forgiven! PTL! Hallelujah! AMEN! How often do you question this? STOP! If you belong to Christ (You have asked Him to come live in you, forgive you, change you--You belong to God. PERIOD!) You were one way, came to Him, are forgiven, and now working on becoming more like Him, and now a new way and growing into your new nature as you shed the old more and more. PTL! TGIF! All of this ties to our devotionals below. Check them out prayerfully and prepare for the day God has planned for you. Rejoice!

Good Morning Transformed, Bold, Disciples and Apostles! Well this is probably part of the becoming process as you work on becoming more like Jesus and grow in these things. That's the perfect place to be as you humble yourself, die to self, take up cross and follow Jesus daily. Have you earnestly asked God to examine your life, ways and choices and thin out the junk and hindrances? We are a work in process, and prayerfully, progress. Tis the season to be weeding our gardens and harvesting some fruit, veggies and flowers. I've been doing tons of weeding lately physically and spiritually. How about you? I'm anxiously awaiting the promised good fruit from my efforts. What needs some weeding in your life? What are you doing about it? Yesterday a dear friend and I pondered this as we are both looking at what the last working years of our lives should look like and how to shed the good and better things for God's best. There's some weeding that needs to happen for the best fruit God has planned for us as we trust and follow Him. Jesus' modeled healthy rhythm of pruning, abiding, preparing and then good fruit production (the semi-circle) came to mind and the reminder of working from rest and pruning, abiding then fruit came to mind. What might God be stirring you to work on? God has some really good plans for you or He would have called you home. They are custom made for you for whatever season you are in. Focus in on those, shed the peripheral things that are ok but not His best. I think as we age we get better at this out of necessity and the new reality that we really cannot do it all or do all the things we used to. We learn to travel light and focus on the most important things. I wish I had learned and applied this earlier in life! BUT GOD is gracious and as we focus on Him, He helps us to shed the old and step into the new more earnestly. PTL! What are you focused on as you enter the last leg of the race set before you? What will you do about that? As I am learning this, God keeps stirring me to disciple and help others learn all this sooner in life and to choose God's best over self. I often think about how different my life would be had I learned and embraced and chose to live this way earlier in life. Who might God be bringing to your mind to mentor in this? Start praying for them and opportunities and boldness to go share in love and disciple well. Soon our building will be ready to accommodate small groups of disciple makers year round to gather in small discipleship groups. Pray into that and how may want to use you and who is drawing to join Him and us in this. Hone in on His best and pursue the very best and lasting fruit like Jesus, disciples and apostles. Amen! It only take mustard seed size faith to produce amazing fruit! PTL!

Check out our devotionals below and how they all tie to this. There is a thread. Do you see it? What's God saying to you today? Who are you processing and planning with? Who is God calling you to invite in? What will you focus in on and do? Daylights burning! Pray, Receive, Focus, Process, plan, GO! You are custom made for such a time as this! Great fruit is ripening! Can you taste it? Check out the Harvest Blog at the bottom because some of you will need to work on this and at turning off the noise, releasing anxiety to God and to obey by praying for our leaders, putting the country and world in His hands in prayer and refocusing on the things that He has for you to change the world one soul at a time. help us Lord! Amen!

ODB:

Grappling with God

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. Genesis 32:24

READ Genesis 32:22-32

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A longtime friend sent me a note after my husband’s death: “[Alan] was . . . a grappler with God. He was a real Jacob and a strong reason why I am a Christian today.” I’d never thought to compare Alan’s struggles with the patriarch Jacob’s, but it fit. Throughout his life, Alan struggled with himself and wrestled with God for answers. He loved God but couldn’t always grasp the truths that He loved him, forgave him, and heard his prayers. Yet his life had its blessings, and he positively influenced many.

Jacob’s life was characterized by struggle. He connived to get his brother Esau’s birthright. He fled home and struggled for years with his kinsman and father-in-law, Laban. Then he fled Laban. He was alone and afraid to meet Esau. Yet he’d just had a heavenly encounter: “The angels of God met him” (Genesis 32:1), perhaps a reminder of his earlier dream from God (28:10-22). Now Jacob had another encounter: all night he wrestled with a “man,” God in human form, who renamed him Israel, because he “struggled with God and with humans and [overcame]” (32:28). God was with and loved Jacob despite and through it all.

All of us have struggles. But we’re not alone; God is with us in each trial. Those who believe in Him are loved, forgiven, and promised eternal life (John 3:16). We can hold fast to Him.

By Alyson Kieda

REFLECT & PRAY

When have you wrestled with God? How is it comforting to know He’s with you in your struggles?

Dear God, please help me to bring my questions and troubles to You knowing You hear them. One day my questions will be no more.

For further study, read Making Decisions God’s Way.

Making Decisions God’s Way

Are you afraid you’ll step out of the will of God? Are you making decisions fearful He’ll be disappointed in you...

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Jacob’s wrestling match with a stranger, who turns out to be God in human form (Genesis 32:24-30), marks a turning point in his life and is the event that explains the origin of the name of the nation of Israel. The name Israel can be translated “the one who strives with God” or “God strives.” Israel is a combination of the Hebrew words sarah (“to rule,” “contend with,” or “strive”) and El, the Hebrew name for God. Jacob names the place of his life-changing encounter with God Peniel, which means “the face of God.”

Monica La Rose

Upper Room: Prayer Changes Us

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. - Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

Years ago, an assistant pastor of the church to which I belonged at that time spoke to me in such angry tones that I wanted to change churches. However, since I was in charge of a special ministry in that church with people depending on me, I stayed.

The last thing I wanted to do was pray for that pastor, but I did. At first, my prayers were not charitable. However, as time went on, I began to pray certain Bible verses for him. Over time, our interactions became more friendly. Six years after the initial incident, at the farewell reception that the church held for him and his wife before they moved to another state, that pastor hugged me and said he appreciated my devotion to ministry.

From that situation I learned not to take it so seriously when someone offends me; the circumstances can, and probably will, change. And I discovered that it is difficult to continue to feel angry toward someone for whom I am praying. Our criticism of others often will not change anything, but our prayers certainly will.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Gracious Lord, thank you for the way prayer changes us and changes others. Give us the courage to keep praying in difficult times. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

CS:

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TWFYT:

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Harvest Blogs:

July 5 - Honor Those Who Govern 

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:17) 

These four commands of Scripture will revolutionize our lives if both understood and obeyed. Honor everyone. Honor means to esteem, value at a price, or reverence. Biblically it is considering others as more important than ourselves. Love your brothers and sisters. This is seeking the highest good of others through Christ. Fear God. Stand in holy awe of our God. Honor the emperor. This is the greatest challenge of them all and seems counterintuitive to our normal way of thinking. Reverence your leaders, your president, mayor, or governor as someone appointed by God and pray for their success in governing wisely. 

Father, today we have lost our sense of honor. At this moment I begin to honor you, reverence you, and esteem you above all. I esteem and submit to your perfect Word, even when I do not fully understand it. Enable me and your people to honor everyone. Forgive me now for the specific ways I have dishonored others in word and deed. Empower me to love my brothers and sisters in Christ. Give me specific ways to both treasure them and practical ways to serve them in this season. I cry out today for holy fear of God to be brought back to your church. Teach us to trust you with all our hearts and to lean not on our own understanding. May the awe of you and your name take root in your people so we once again will be known as those who fear you. You know that we live in a season when dishonor is far more common than honor. To honor those who lead us as president, mayor, and governor seems insincere and tainted with evil. Forgive me and forgive us for vilifying those you’ve placed in office and those who are running for office. Give us the gift of honor, so we can learn to esteem even those with whom we disagree by displaying your love and grace towards them in word and deed. Right that which is wrong in me, in my family, community, and city. Display honor and grace through my life and choices today.

--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 God for the depth of the riches of his wisdom and knowledge (Rom.11:33).
  • Give thanks that “from him and through him and to him are all things” (11:36).
  • Confess times of thinking that God owes you favors or explanations (11:35).
  • Commit yourself to thinking deeply about God until you come to the end of your ability to understand.
  • Ask God to help you reach that point with wonder and amazement rather than doubt or cynicism (11:33-36).
  • Pray that God will help all believers to be students of his ways with eyes to see and minds to understand more of his caring control. Ask that God’s kingdom will soon come in fullness.
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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