Blog

Prayer

22
Mar

Life is hard… but God is good

By Sarah Shuey

I am mildly OCD when it comes to my schedule, planning, and organizing my life in to nice, neat categories (key word being mild…). When Doug’s dad had a stroke a few weeks ago, we were left with uncertainty, unanswered questions, and the inability to plan for the near future. Not only was I struggling with emotions of grief and sadness over his health and suffering, I was thrust into this land of limbo and waiting, which is not something I handled very gracefully. Needless to say, we as a family, were all in this place of longing for answers. These weeks were brutal and just downright hard. There is no better way to put it. It was hard. One of the hardest things I have ever been through. One of the hardest things we have ever been through.

I struggled. I struggled living one day at a time. I had students ask me what we were doing the next day, people asking if I could come to a rehearsal, and meetings I needed to schedule. To each request I had to leave a giant question mark since I had no idea if I would be here or if I would need to be in Ohio that day. I struggled with what to pray. What do I say? What do we need? What is best for Carl? How do I help my husband through this? What is God’s plan? As I was sitting in the Columbus airport waiting for a flight home leaving Doug behind with his family, I was reminded of this song by Casting Crowns from several years ago. The chorus proclaims:

I’ll praise You in this stormBeautiful sunset
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Despite our grief, our questions, our uncertainties, our unknowns, here is what I came to realize: Life is hard but God is good. He is still worthy of all our praise. He still loves us and cares for us. He hears all our prayers. Even those prayers that we cannot put into words. There were so many times in the past few weeks that all I said was “God…” and just sat in silence knowing that he was holding me. Holding us and guiding us through all the trials and tears. Despite Carl’s prognosis, we rested in the comfort that soon he would be healed, restored, and perfect again. His faith was strong as evidenced by the faith of his children. He would be with Jesus and in a much better place than we could ever hope to provide for him here on this earth. A friend reminded me of that fact this past week, which brought me such comfort and strength. Through this, I learned just how many people are in our corner, how many people care, and just how powerful prayer can be even when the outcome is not quite what we originally hoped.

On the morning of March 20th, 15 days after Carl’s stroke, our prayers of healing were answered. While his family was in church for the first time since this journey started, worshiping and being encouraged by our brothers and sisters in Christ, Carl was received in to the open arms of Jesus. As Dr. Carriker said in his sermon that morning, God does not make all new things. He makes all things new. Carl is healed, restored, and brand new in his body, praising Jesus. And while we grieve and mourn his loss here, we know that he is in a much better place and we know, without a doubt, that God is good. He will give us His peace, love, and strength as we go through this time. Praise God we have the promise of forever!

19
Jan

Endless Hallelujah

By Sarah Shuey, Praise Team

There are many things I am passionate about: Jesus, music, my family, my marriage, my students, my dog, reading. I could go on and on but worship ministry is by far, one of the greatest God-given passions that I have. Music is my outlet for worshipping God and learning more about him. A worship song can speak volumes to me and can help me connect with God in a way that nothing else can. I can list songs for you that make me excited and extremely joyful about God’s gifts and blessings, songs that leave me in awe of God’s glory and holiness, and songs that make me weep with anticipation of the eternal hope we have in our salvation.

Endless HallelujaA few years ago, Matt Redman, a well-known and respected songwriter within the Christian community, wrote and recorded a song titled “Endless Hallelujah”. The first time I heard this song, I knew it was something special. I am pretty sure I cried through the entire song. Growing up, I had a number of medical issues (none of them life threatening, praise God!) and still suffer from chronic daily headaches. Somewhere between doctors’ appointments and surgeries, a friend of my family pointed me to Revelation 21:4. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or morning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” No more pain. No more crying. What an amazing promise that is! Maybe that is why this song hit me so hard the first time I heard it. The bridge says: “No more tears, no more shame. No more sin and sorrow ever known again. No more fears, no more pain. We will see You face to face, see You face to face!” Those words hold such beautiful hope and promise! An even greater promise is this: “And we will worship, worship; forever in Your presence we will sing! We will worship, worship You; an ENDLESS HALLELUJAH to the King!” An endless hallelujah. Forever we get to sing praises to our God and King who heals our hurt and our pain. Who brings us joy and salvation. Who loves us in spite of who we are and what we have done. Forever!

My friends, I pray this brings you hope in this seemingly hopeless world. On that day, everything will be as it was meant to be, all pain and fear will be wiped away, and we will see Jesus face to face. Cling to that promise of salvation!

In Christ,
Sarah Shuey

06
Jan

Kingdom Life

By Pam Bush, Director of Congregational Life

I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ instruction to pray, “Your kingdom come”, that is, ‘may the reign of God be established’. (Matthew 6:10) This makes clear that the goal for the Church is the establishment of the Kingdom, and the foundation for that goal is asking in prayer. As Rev. Charles Spurgeon said, “Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the kingdom”.

PrayJesus spent his last forty days on earth with the apostles ”speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3) . In addition, “He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4,5)

Jesus tied the establishment of the Kingdom to the Holy Spirit. Why? Because we need the power of God for Kingdom living. Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, the work of any church is a mere shadow of what God planned. There is a point that each believer or group of believers must reach that will accept nothing less than God’s divine intervention. What follows will be what is sought, whether it is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the power of God in their midst, the salvation of the lost or the coming of the Kingdom of God.

If it is the intention of God to pour out His Spirit, what is our response to knowing this is His will? Prayer. Prayer Gatherings – the same type of response the apostles had when the Lord told them to wait in Jerusalem for the power of the Holy Spirit. As a church we can resolve to accept nothing less than God’s divine leadership when we intercede. Like the disciples, He plans for us to be given power for Kingdom living.

‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.’ Acts 2:17, 18

May it be so in your life, and in the life of this community of faith. Amen.

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First Presbyterian Church
A Member of ECO – A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians

37 S. Fifth Street
Reading, PA 19602

610-375-3389
info@fpcreading.org

SUNDAY WORSHIP & PRAISE
9:30AM                      Worship Service                                                                    /Children’s Church
10:45AM                    Coffee/Fellowship
11:00AM                    Education for All Ages

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