Thursday, May 11, 2017

EmmDev 2017-05-11 Thus far...

Please forgive me for being slow to get the EmmDevs going again after the break.
Here's a special one for today and then tomorrow we'll start a special series on Samuel.

Thus far...

Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer saying, "Up to here the Lord has helped us."      (1Samuel7:12)
Our text passage is part of the saga of the Ark of the Covenant being captured by the Philistines when it had been taken into battle by the Israelites. After the presence of the ark caused pandemonium in the cities of the Philistines, it was eventually restored to Israel. But the conflict with the Philistines continued and, after long desperation, the people gathered together to humble themselves before the Lord. But as they did this, the Philistines attacked!

BUT while Samuel makes the offerings before the people, God thunders out against the Philistines throwing them into disarray and confusion leaving the Israelites to do the "mopping up" of their fleeing enemy.

Along the way Samuel erects a stone, "Ebenezer: Thus far has the Lord delivered us."

It is worth celebrating milestones, victories and anniversaries - especially if it allows us the opportunity to acknowledge and praise the God who has brought us "thus far."

Twenty years ago today I preached my first sermon at Emmanuel Presbytery Church in Glenstantia Primary School as Brenda and I started our journey with this amazing congregation!

We blinked and 20 years later so much has happened! There is much to give thanks for and many amazing highlights in our journey thus far. But this has not only been Brenda and my journey, it has been our journey as a congregation and, most importantly, this journey would not have taken place if God had not been with us. So I don't want to draw too much attention to us or any person, but rather to the true Emmanuel - "God with us!"

Please join us today in a prayer of thanks and praise to a God who has brought us, Emmanuel and then Grace through so much in the last 20 years! It has been an awesome journey with amazing memories, wonderful friendships, but most of all we've been held, guided, accompanied, provided for, inspired, delivered and loved by our Glorious Father, Son and Holy Spirit to Whom belongs all glory, honour and power.


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