Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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The Power of the Word 7.16.2017
Dear friend in Christ,

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with us all now and forever, Amen.

KJV Matthew 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

When we hear the term word of God, most of us think of the written word, but as we research further we find out that the Word is a Person, the Person Jesus Christ. Let us briefly look at some of the references which teach us of the essence of the Word.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, (Jesus Christ) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The Incarnate Word was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of a virgin, and lived here on this earth for 33+years. He was God and He was human! The Word reconnected us to God.

2 Corinthians 4:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
KJV 2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

Apostle Paul writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that this Word has reconnected us with God through His death and resurrection and that we who have been reconnected to God are called to bring others into this kingdom of forgiveness and of grace. Paul writes that we have this word of reconciliation, which means that we preach Christ and His atoning work to them. Paul write of this ministry and how it works.

KJV 2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

And we bring this word of reconciliation faithfully, bringing the Word to them so that they would see the love of God as demonstrated on the cross, that they would see their sin and that they would cry out for the mercy from the Word in order to receive the assurance of the forgiveness of their sin. For faith comes through the hearing of the Word of God.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

We hide nothing from God, and that is good, for what would be our state if we could succeed in hiding from Him? It is because God through His Word wants to bring us to know our need for forgiveness which He freely and joyfully gives to anyone who wants it. When we read of the penetrating Word in verses 12 and 13, does not fear seep into our being? Yes, it does and by nature we want to hide from God, but we are told then that it is a blessing that God sees inside of us so that we would not be deceived into thinking that we are indeed able to hide from Him. But, we have a great high priest who made atonement once and for all, and continually intercedes for us. We are told in verse 16 to come boldly unto the throne of grace with our sin so that we might obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The Word of God is amazing is it not, for He wants so much that we would walk in the light of truth and not fall into the trap of walking in a lie, all the while trying to convince ourselves that we are walking in truth. When the Word penetrates into our being, may we come to the light with our evil deeds, readily admitting that we are sinners, sinners yes, but saved by grace through faith. Let us lay hold of his continual forgiveness, laying aside those sins that have caused our hearts to begin to pull away from the Word. Now let us hear Jesus‚€™s explanation of this parable, praying that He the Word would give us honest, humble and pliable hearts that would readily admit to our weakness, be moved to change what needs to be changed and to live as His children.

Matthew 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

There are four types of ground that He illustrates, and of the four, the last one is the only one that is called good ground. It is a heart that hears the Word, understands what He is saying and then moves in the direction that the Spirit leads them. There would be many many applications to this parable, but I am going to leave it to the Holy Spirit to make application for each of us, for He knows exactly what is going on in our hearts and He will move us in the right direction. May we have ears to hear as we take the Word and hear what He is saying to us this day.

In Christ, the Word, I leave you,

Pastor Orval
Posted on 16 Jul 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Rest of Jesus 7.9.2017
Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ now and always, Amen!

Grace is greater than all humanity's sin, which the Holy Spirit refers to in 5:20, "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
In Romans chapter 6, the question comes forth out of verses 20-21. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" In other words, if God is glorified through being gracious, why don't we continue sinning so that God can be glorified more in extending grace to us!

What does the Word answer: "God forbid!, How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Sin and death no longer have power over us, we who by grace through faith are united in Jesus Christ, for the penalty of sin which is death, has been removed by Christ. In addition, the power of sin has been broken by our being in union with Jesus Christ. Henceforth we no longer live as slaves of sin, but rather as slaves of righteousness. The law no longer has power over us, either to condemn us or to provoke us to sin. (Romans 7:8)

KJV Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Jesus calls to us to "come unto Him, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. "For heavy burdens are borne by us when we are either trying to earn God's favor by trying to live up to the demands of the law or are by being loaded with guilt at the realization that we have broken His perfect law. The law is like a mirror, and when we look into the mirror of God‚€™s perfection, we see and acknowledge our sin. But when we receive by faith the grace that has been extended to us, all our burdens are laid aside, and we now live in the power of His Spirit which continually ministers unto us the grace of forgiveness as well as provokes and empowers us to walk in His Spirit.

KJV Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
KJV Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

We now live as servants/slaves unto God, wanting to please Him, resisting the callings of our flesh and desiring to follow Jesus in His Word.
He says unto us today: ‚€œMy yoke is easy and my burden is light.‚€Ě

Have you received an invitation to a wedding this summer? Was there a RSVP request in that invitation? If there was, the host was requesting a response to the invitation for their planning purposes and it is considered inconsiderate to not respond to the RSVP.

When I was yet a teenager, Reverend George Wilson, who grew up in this area, became a preacher and a leader in our Apostolic Lutheran Church Federation, preached a sermon in the small congregation that I was privileged to be a part of in Rosburg, Washington. That is a small town near where I grew up, located in Southwest Washington State, close to where the Columbia River empties in the Pacific Ocean.

I recall what he said on the statement that Jesus made concerning the Greatest Invitation ever given and which still stands today. ‚€œCome unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.‚€Ě
He divided the verse into two parts, saying that those who labor are those who are in the delusion that they must earn God‚€™s favor by living a righteous life and those who are heavy laden are those who live under such a burden of guilt that they think that God will not forgive them. In the years that have passed since, I have more and more appreciated the simplicity with which he opened up and explained this particular scripture.

Can we be thankful enough for those who have preached and taught Jesus to us through the years? I am not sure that I appreciate them as much as I should, but yet I do recognize the blessing that has been brought to me through the love and care of many many people who loved me enough to teach me who Jesus is. I could get way off track here and begin to list them, but I will not do so. But you get my point.

I don‚€™t remember much more about what he said on that day, but I do remember very well of how he pointed to the two sides of the road where we tend to stray: We somehow think that we must live a good enough life so that God would be pleased with us according to our own efforts, or we are convinced to believe that our sin is too grievous for God to have to deal with. We somehow thing that this is too much for Him to even stomach, that what we have done or that which we are are in our flesh is beyond His reach of grace.

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus is addressing the crowd that was gathered around Him as He began to become more visible and impactful upon people‚€™s lives. He was rising to the forefront and the responses and reactions to His preaching and teaching began to divide people: Those who followed Him and those who rejected Him.

Even John the Baptist while in prison (Matthew 11:1-6) needed some reassurance from Jesus in order to not lose heart as he languished in a bad bad prison for preaching the truth to a king. Jesus pointed out the crowd that John was no wimp, for he was God‚€™s messenger to announce the coming of Jesus. He told the crowd, He tells us ‚€œHe that has ears , let him hear!‚€Ě

When we do not have ears to hear Jesus talking to us out of His Word, we see Him as meaningless, we will be seeking to find truth in meaninglessness in all sorts of ways, and we look at Him in disdainful ways. Jesus addresses those to whom He has spoken of Himself as the Light of the world and of how they will be held responsible for not repenting even after seeing and hearing the mighty works of God through Jesus. (Matthew 12:20-24)

To the Jewish mind, God was the ultimate and because the relationship between the Father and the Son was hidden from them, they rejected Jesus totally. So when Jesus invited them to come to God through Him, they could not do so, for that would have been blasphemy against God. They were trapped in their religion of God and God alone, and there was not room for Jesus in their theology.

‚€œI will give you rest.‚€Ě What is He talking about? What is this rest? Well, going back to the words labor and heavy laden, one can see that firstly it is a ceasing from the impossible requirement to live good enough to inherit eternal life. Secondly it is coming to a place of peace when we know that all our guilt has been taken away through Christ‚€™s sacrifice which is received through believing that God has taken it away from us. When we have peace, we have rest. No more working to get saved, for we have already been saved through Christ and His perfection.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Okay, we have peace and we now rest in Him. But what about this yoke that binds us to Christ? Remember how we have been discussing of the union that we have with Christ, by which we are brought into His body and are the temple of God? Romans 6 and Ephesians 2:21-22? We are so joined to Him that we are in Him and He is in us. (John 17:21) We are joined to Him through the knowledge of our sin and through the hearing of faith whereby our desires and goals are the same as His. He wants us to learn of Him from Him via His Word and Spirit as we live life. May we avail ourselves of all the tools of technology to learn of Him from Him.
It is in the learning of Him that we will come to see more and more that He is indeed meek and lowly in heart, and that coming to this awareness, we will find peace and rest into our souls. For surely His yoke is easy to bear and His burden is not heavy.

Cannot we not say that His yoke is one of His love for us, of His forgiveness toward us and of His joy in us? Yes, I think so, but it is only when we are humbled before God to admit not only that we are sinners completely before Him and that we need His forgiveness that His yoke becomes one that we want to have unite us with Christ. From then on, everything changes completely for us.

May this Word be blessed into our hearts and souls today and always!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 09 Jul 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Power of the Word 7.16.2017
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Doug and Sue Saukkola: Their ongoing health concerns