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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Pastor's Blog

The Apple of His Eye 9.17.2017
Good morning, dear friends!

It is apple season and the harvest is plenteous! You better lock your car, or it might be filled with apples today! But did you know that you are the apple of Gods eye? Really! And when we get it, that we are the apple of His eye, He is the apple of our eye! Let us talk about that today for a bit, so grab your coffee, get comfortable and we will chat about our being the apple of Gods eye and what that means for us in our lives. ( I am giving credit to Pastor Steve Craig, of Los Angeles, CA, for much of the content of this message)

The human eye is an amazingly complex organ. The eye, the optic nerve and the visual cortex are separate and distinct subsystems, yet together they capture, deliver and interpret up to 1.5 million pulse messages a millisecond! The eye allows us to see the fiery colors of a sunset or the pinpoints of light in the night sky.

We use the word eye to talk about perception of many kinds. When our attention is attracted to something, we call it eye-catching, or an eye-opener. If you‚€™re watching something carefully, you're keeping your eye on the ball, or your eyes are peeled. If you excel at something you have an eye for it and when you and I agree about something we see things eye to eye.

You are the apple of my eye. It‚€™s a familiar line‚€¦a clich√© even; but how many of us knew it was more than three thousand years old, a phrase that comes from the pages of the Bible; a phrase that speaks not just of human love, but of a love that can heal our deepest hurts and fulfill our deepest longings? What does the phrase really mean?

The apple of my eye refers to the pupil of my eye. Why? Well, probably because an apple was one of the most common sphere-shaped objects around, the central aperture or opening of the eye, the dark center, was referred to as the apple. The apple or pupil of the eye, is the gateway through which visible light passes and is converted by the brain into three dimensional images

I want you to look deep into someones eyes right now. Can you see your reflection? When we stand very close to someone, we can actually see a tiny reflection of ourselves, in the center of the other persons eye.

The Latin word pupil actually means little doll which is why a pupil often refers to a school child. Once again, it refers to the fact that you can see a tiny version of yourself in the eye of the beholder. When you are in the apple or even just the pupil of my eye you are close to me, in more ways than one, because‚€¦

To be the apple of someones eye is to be cherished by that person above all others. From the day of our birth, we have a deep need to be seen, to be noticed, valued, and ultimately cherished. Eye to eye and face to face contact with our mothers is second only to touch when it comes to the bonding process. In the hospital, babies receive all kinds of medical attention after birth; but never anything that might hinder their ability to clearly see the mother for an extended period of time (like silver nitrate drops that cause a film to form over the eyes, dimming vision).

At infancy, the optimal distance for eye to eye contact is about 10 inches, which just happens to be the distance between a baby and its nursing mother. This simple interaction encourages brain development, release of critical hormones, and reinforces a sense of emotional and spiritual well being. You are the apple of my eye. It is a phrase that a mother could easily use to describe how she cherishes her nursing baby. But the root meaning of this phrase is found not in the expression of human love but a love that is not of this world, the love of God.

In Deuteronomy 32: 9-11 Moses describes how God sustained and cared for his people. He sustained him in a desert land, in a howling wilderness was he shielded him as the apple of his eye. Therefore, to be the apple of Gods eye is to experience God‚€™s love and protection.

Also, knowing that God loves his people, David asks the LORD in Psalm 17:7-8 to Wondrously show your steadfast love, Guard me as the apple of your eye. A moment ago we were talking about the importance of eye contact between mother and baby during a childs first weeks of life. But what if a child did not receive such reassuring love? What of those who were not seen or touched in a loving way by their mother or father?

David knew something profound and it gave him great peace. In Psalm 139:13-16 we read, It was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother‚€™s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made....My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth, Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. Before any human eye beheld you, before any ultrasound peered into your mother‚€™s womb, it was Gods privilege to be the first to see you, the very first to love you, the very first to welcome you into this world; and it is Gods promise to guard you like the apple of his eye!

Perhaps you have wondered, Does God in fact truly love, guard, and protect me? I have come to rest in that great promise, believing and trusting that he guards me as we would guard and protect our eyesight. This does not mean that I can walk off a tall building and expect God to magically catch me before I fall.

It means that my life is lived within the bounds of His sovereign grace, that nothing can happen to me apart from his sovereign will; that when all is finished and I face the power of death, I will fall into the hands of God and the greater power of the Risen Christ; knowing that nothing that happens to me will ever separate God from me or his love.

1. to be the apple of Gods eye is to experience God‚€™s love and protection.

Secondly, as the apple of Gods eye, we are ones who abide in God‚€™s Word.. One very important way that I experience God‚€™s protection and loving care is through his word. To be guarded like the apple of his eye does not mean that we sit around passively waiting for him to reach down and save us whenever we mess up.

In Proverbs 7: 1-3 God says, Keep my teachings as the apple of your eye. Read my word, study it, know it, cherish it, obey it. Your word is a lamp says David. Our eyes are fantastically complex, but for all their complexity, they are useless to us without light. What a tragedy to go through this life without knowing God, or the illuminating truth of his word.

1. to be the apple of Gods eye is to experience Gods love and protection.

2. Secondly, as the apple of Gods eye, we are ones who abide in Gods Word..

And thirdly, to be the apple of Gods eye, is to value others as he does you. Through the prophet Zechariah the LORD says these words: ‚€œThe one who touches you touches the apple of my eye‚€Ě (Zechariah. 2:8).

That when I touch another child of God, whether gently or harshly, I am daring to touch a person whom he loves, the apple of his eye. Perhaps you know that you are the apple of God‚€™s eye, but do you know that you are not the only one; and that God wants you to value others as he values you? You know, it is possible to live our lives intentionally blind to other people. Weve all heard the expression, I only have eyes for you. That can be true in a positive sense when it means fidelity‚€¦

but it can be true in a negative sense when it means that we shut out the people around us; when we have eyes for ourselves, when we have eyes for our children, but not for anyone elses; when we have eyes for our own comfort and success, but not for those who suffer or who do not know the love of Christ.

But this is also a love song that God sings to us.

YOU are the apple of his eye. God wants to open the eyes of your heart, he wants

1) to surround you like the strength of a mother‚€™s love;

2) he wants to guide you with his Word and Spirit;

3) he wants you to value others as he values you.

You are the apple of my eye, says the LORD, but I will not, I can not, rest until I am the apple of yours.

So, dear friend, open your heart to His love today, bask in it and shout for joy at being loved by Him.

Here is a song that has been one of my favorites over the past few years, and just recently our congregational musicians, the Kingston Wingers, have learned and have been singing it for our joy and thanksgiving‚€¦..

APPLE OF HIS EYE

HE'S THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU MORE
THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW
HE'S THE ONE WHO DRIES THE TEARS YOU CRY
HE HAS FORMED YOUR VERY SOUL AND
KNOWS YOUR EVERY NEED
HE WILL GUIDE YOU THROUGH
YOUR DARKEST NIGHT

FOR YOU STILL CARRY INSIDE YOU HIS LIGHT
THAT NEVER DIES
AND YOU ARE ALWAYS BEFORE HIM
THE APPLE OF HIS EYE
HE'S THE ONE WHO HOLDS YOU CLOSE
WHEN NO ONE WILL COME NEAR
THE ONE WHO SEES WHAT NO ONE ELSE CAN SEE

HE'S THE ONE WHO KEEPS YOUR BURDEN
LIGHT ENOUGH TO BEAR
HE WILL BE YOUR STRENGTH
WHEN YOU ARE WEAK
FOR YOU STILL CARRY INSIDE YOU HIS LIGHT
THAT NEVER DIES
AND YOU ARE ALWAYS BEFORE HIM
THE APPLE OF HIS EYE

NOTHING IN THIS WORLD
COULD EVER KEEP HIS LOVE FROM YOU
AND HE GAVE HIS LIFE
TO SEE THIS PROMISE THROUGH
HE'S THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU MORE
THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW
AND HE HAS COUNTED EVERY
TEAR YOU CRIED
HE WILL TAKE YOUR TEAR STAINED HEART
AND MAKE IT LIGHT AS SNOW
AND HE'LL BECOME YOUR WINGS
SO YOU CAN FLY
FOR YOU STILL CARRY INSIDE YOU HIS LIGHT
THAT NEVER DIES
AND YOU ARE ALWAYS BEFORE HIM
THE APPLE OF HIS EYE
YES, YOU'RE THE APPLE OF HIS EYE

One of the many many apples of God‚€™s eye,
Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 17 Sep 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Glorifying God in Prayer
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be unto you now and always, Amen!

Years ago Art Linkletter made a trip to an elders home and as he visited with people there he came upon an elderly woman who didn't seem to know who he was, mainly due to her advancing dementia. So Art leaned in towards her, placing his face next to her and asked her, "Lady, don't you know who I am?" She giggled and replied, "Mister, if you don't know who you are, go to the front desk and they will tell you who you are!" That is funny, but yet it illustrates a problem that we as humans struggle with: Who am I? Where did I come from, Why am I here? Where am I going?

As we have been reminded recently from our studies in the book of Romans, we are children of the God by grace through faith. There is therefore no condemnation to us who are in Christ (8:1), we live not in fear, but as adopted children of God in whom His Spirit dwells (8:15), we know that even though we suffer here on our way to heaven, the sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us (8:18) and lastly we know that NOTHING is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (8:39)

Recently a handout was given with the title to it being, "Who I am in Christ." It contains verses which are placed in alphabetical order which describes who we are in Christ. It is a mixture of verses which speak of our being as well as our doing. We must always point out that it is because we are children of God that we do, and not the other way around, that we do in order to be. I will enclose this list of verses for your use and benefit.

Well, today we are going to hear from God from a letter that was written to a church in Ephesus nearly 2000 years ago. It is a general letter that was written to them at that time, but a letter that is applicable for Christians of all time. Watchman Nee, a past missionary loved this book and he created a very brief outline of this letter with three words: Sit, Walk, Stand. What he meant by this was that as redeemed children of God by grace through faith, we are seated (our being) in heavenly places with Christ (Eph 2:6), we walk in our callings (our doing) (4:1) and we stand (our doing) against all the opposition that would resist our being and doing in Christ.

Today we will look at the first chapter which is split in two segments: The first part contains praise for what God has done which was needful in order to make us His own (1:1-14), and the second part (1:15-23) is the prayer that Apostle Paul by the Holy Spirit gave to the end that we would grow in wisdom and knowledge of God's heart towards us, mainly in Who He has made us to be. We are in Christ!!!

Let us prayerfully hear the Word of the Lord. I am placing the New Living Translation here for the purpose of helping the reader understand the immensity of what is being said here. In my studies I use as many as 10 different bible versions in order to examine the scriptures through many different lenses, so to speak, but always keeping in mind to point out places in other version in which a notable difference is seen.

Introduction
NLT Ephesians 1:1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. It is written to God's holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.
2 May grace and peace be yours, sent to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.


Praise
3 How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ.
4 Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.
6 So we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son.
7 He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven.
8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
9 God's secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure.
10 And this is his plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ-- everything in heaven and on earth.
11 Furthermore, because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago.
12 God's purpose was that we who were the first to trust in Christ should praise our glorious God.
13 And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.
14 The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.

Prayer
15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for Christians everywhere,
16 I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly,
17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.
18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people.
19 I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power
20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms.
21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in this world or in the world to come.
22 And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and he gave him this authority for the benefit of the church.
23 And the church is his body; it is filled by Christ, who fills everything everywhere with his presence.

As one can see, this chapter is outlined in three sections: Introduction, Praise and Prayer. Or we could say that after Paul introduces himself and gives his credentials, he launches off into praise for that which God has done for all mankind through His Son Jesus Christ, and after that, beginning with verse 15, he moves into prayer for them to the end that they would be able to ‚€œsee‚€Ě that which God has done for them, has given them and of how their future is settled in Christ.

He has done all this through His Son Jesus Christ, who is the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person (Hebrews 1:3). In other words, God who is invisible has revealed Himself visibly in and through His Son Jesus Christ.

The glory of God is the sum of His attributes, or any one of them, which shine forth to men, the most prominent in this text is grace. We see numerous references to the pleasure of God in ransoming and redeeming us through His Son. That is who He is‚€¦.

Paul prays that we all would have our eyes opened to this in all wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God and prayed that our eyes would be opened to three things

18a I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called.

18b I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people.

19a I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him.

He then states four truths that anchor our faith hope and love:


19b-20 (1) This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and

20b (2)seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms.

21 (3) Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in this world or in the world to come.

22 (4) And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and he gave him this authority for the benefit of the church.
23 And the church is his body; it is filled by Christ, who fills everything
everywhere with his presence.

The God of Glory

The glory of God is the sum of His attributes, or any one of them, which shine forth to men, the most prominent in this text is grace. We see numerous references to the pleasure of God in ransoming and redeeming us through His Son. That is who He is‚€¦.

The following is taken from a booklet that Doris Dorman gave me, which is called ‚€œLord, Teach us to pray,‚€Ě and is written by Michael Youseff, Ph. D.

‚€œWhat have we been asking of God lately? What do our prayers center around? Jesus said to His disciples, ‚€œAnd I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified.‚€Ě

That is the purpose of prayer, ‚€œthat the Father may be glorified.‚€Ě When we pray, glorifying God should be our underlying motive and sole pursuit, what a privilege it is.

What does it mean to give God glory? At its root, to glorify is to reveal what is hidden, as if shining a light on something worthy of exaltation. The most powerful and fundamental of this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ‚€”His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead for our salvation. Through Christ‚€™s work, all the hidden riches of the radiance of God‚€”the depths of his love and Truth became visible to the world.

In John 17:10b Jesus prayed: ‚€œAnd all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.‚€Ě

Jesus is saying that through the disciples receiving salvation through Him, He glorifies Himself in them. When they/we trusted Christ for our salvation, we revealed God and Jesus to the world, in other words they were put on display. Each time we come before Him in faith, praise His name, call upon His power, obey His Word, testify to the Good News, we are revealing Him to the world once again.

One of the essential ways we reveal Christ to the world is through our lives of prayer. God has made all the resources of heaven available to us in prayer. Why would He give us such power? To grant us our every wish? By no means! Though we receive an inheritance more glorious than we can possibly imagine, He has given us a greater purpose: to reveal Him until He call us home to heaven.

What does it look like to glorify God through prayer?

When in prayer we align ourselves with God‚€™s will and work, that brings Him glory.

When in prayer we call upon God with bold faith, trusting Him to do the impossible, that brings Him glory.

When in prayer we spend time in fellowship with our Father and delight ourselves in the Lord‚€”that brings Him glory.

When in prayer we allow God to transform our lives, that bring Him glory.‚€Ě Michael Youseff, PH.D.

Glorifying God in Prayer

Lord, may our hearts be so flooded with light so that we will know and understand the wonderful future you have promised to us.

Help us to know and understand what a rich and glorious inheritance you have given to us, your people.

Reveal to us of that incredible greatness of your power for us who believe in You.


We pray that ________________heart will be flooded with light so that _________ may know the wonderful future You promise to those You are calling.

Help ____________________ to know what a rich and glorious inheritance You have given to Your people.

Reveal to ____________________so that ___________would know the incredible greatness of Your power for those who believe in You.

Answered Prayers

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Posted on 03 Sep 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Apple of His Eye 9.17.2017
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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