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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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
Blessed are the peacemakers 8.27.2017
Good morning, dear friend in Christ!

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ today and forever! And may we remember that this greeting is one that is a reality, for God has made peace with us through propititiating (appeasing) His wrath against sin by pouring it out on His Son, which means that He has been and is merciful towards us (not giving us what we deserve) and now He is at peace with us and through repentance and faith we are at peace with Him and with one another (all people everywhere)

As we live in a world that is experiencing increasing violence, increasing living for self and increasing hatred for Christ and His Church, it is good for us to take stock of ourselves and our attitudes towards others. In the 5th chapter of Matthew, it is written that ‚€œBlessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.‚€Ě

So as we listen to the many voices speak and as we listen to ourselves speak, it is good for us to consider this question: ‚€œAs a child of the Most High God, am I a peacemaker?‚€Ě

Last week we finished a four sermon series from the 8th chapter of Romans in which the Apostle Paul, speaking by the Holy Spirit, brought home to us in a resounding conclusion the reality that as children of God nothing can ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus!!! And then I mentioned briefly of how he makes the statements in the next chapter:

KJV Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Paul‚€™s heart burned in love towards his fellow Jews who were yet living in blindness to the salvation brought through Jesus, and he demonstrated the magnitude of his burning love for them saying that he would be accursed for their salvation‚€™s sake. Wow, wow, wow!

So then, as a child of God, filled with His love, are we peacemakers? And to make it clear, the peace we are referring to is bringing people to peace with God, with themselves and with others. Today let us take a look at an Old Testament prophet, Elisha, to see how he brought peace in his time.

2 Kings 6:8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.
9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.
10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.
11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?
12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.
13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
19 And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
20 And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?
22 And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.
23 And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.

Elisha demonstrated the heart of Christ towards his enemies, acting quite different than he had earlier in his ministry on a different occasion. We must understand that Elisha had special revelations from God and very well could have done what he did below from a direct communication from God, but yet his actions give us something to think about in the light of the coming New Testament revelation of Jesus the Christ.

Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Let us turn back to an earlier time in Elisha‚€™s life‚€¦‚€¦

2 Kings 2:23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.

John, the Apostle of love, had to come to see the truth of what Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew and which He demonstrated for us with His attitudes, words and actions.. Let us read the following scriptures‚€¦

Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

With God having peace with us, with us living in peace with Him and with all others, may we ask a few questions of ourselves in conclusion:

Do I know and live in the peace of God?

In my heart, am I at peace with others?

If I am not living in peace with someone, how may I bring peace to that relationship?

How might I assist someone who is not living in peace to come to live in
peace?

May our hearts be softened today through the knowledge that we have been granted grace and mercy, and as a result, God is at peace with us. Therefore, we are peacemakers, and are called the children of God.

God‚€™s Peace!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala



Posted on 27 Aug 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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