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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Peace be unto you! 12.6.2015
Dear friend,

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus be not only with you, but may it be multiplied into our hearts and minds during this Advent season which precedes the celebration of Christmas.

The peace that Jesus brought the world through His first advent is the focal point of our message today and we will use Zecharias "Benedictus" as the basis of our meditation.

We will consider the praise song and the prophetic words that Zechariah, the father of John the Baptizer, spoke after many months of not being able to speak. When he told the people at the circumcision of his son: "His name is John" his mouth was opened, his tongue loosed and he spoke, praising God, being filled with the Holy Spirit. He first recounted the faithfulness of God in bringing salvation (even though it has not happened yet,) then he spoke directly in a prophetical manner to his son.

68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

When the mouth of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptizer was opened, it was filled with words that were inspired by the Holy Spirit which always speaks of the Father and the Son. He spoke of those things that were yet to come since he understood that the Promise of God is not only prophecy, but it is also fulfillment. He blessed (praised) the Lord God of Israel for that which was to come through the ministry of the One whom his son John would point to as the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world. He referenced the Old Testament Scriptures through which the prophets had spoken, who pointed to the Light that was coming in the midst of darkness. He spoke of the covenant which was promised to Abraham in Genesis 12:1 "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

He went onto point out that through this New Testament (Covenant) which would be made efficacious (put into effect) and which would be sealed by the blood of His Son would be theirs. The response to the this deliverance would be that they would serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of their lives. They would live in peace with God and towards men.

He then looked on his son John and made reference to the role he would play in bringing this deliverance to pass. He said that he would go before the face of the Lord to prepare hearts to receive this mercy and grace.

1. To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

2. To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

3. to guide our feet into the way of peace."

John came with a baptism of repentance, which means that he spoke of their need to receive the mercy and forgiveness of God that would come through the Lamb of God. He pointed to their need to change their mind and their hearts towards God, coming to Him in their great need for forgiveness and restoration. The Apostle Paul very clearly outlines this "double" restoration process when he writes thus:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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.

It is important to understand that we separated ourselves from God and had no way of returning to Him. He initiated our restoration/reconciliation by reconnecting ourselves to Himself through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus the Christ. He has taken away our sin and placed it upon Him, and calls upon us to receive the Gospel of Peace, which says, "Your sins are forgiven!" Of course, we realize the all important fact that one must come to knowledge of their need for forgiveness before it will be appreciated and received. There is no greater word to hear for one who is under the conviction of their sinful and lost condition than to hear these beautiful words of grace and truth: "Your sins are forgiven through the merits of Jesus the Christ!"

May I ask some questions which are asked in great love and concern for anyone who reads this article"

1. Do you know that God wants you to live in peace?

2. Do you know that He has made peace with all humanity through the cross of Christ?

3. Do you know that in order to have true peace, you must first acknowledge your sinful and lost condition?

4. Do you know that if you are truly aware of your need for forgiveness from God, it is yours today through the spoken Word of the Gospel?

5. May the Word of the Gospel bring peace and joy to your heart and soul today through the hearing of those precious words: "Believe your sins forgiven through the merits of Jesus the Christ!"

In His grace,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 06 Dec 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Don't be anxious! 11.22.2015
Dear friend,

Are you ever anxious about anything? Worried about the future? Well, most of us are at times and it seems like we need to be taught over and over again about the futility in worrying and stressing over circumstances that we find ourselves in. We are anxious about many things.

Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian congregation while in prison. He could have given in to frustration, felt sorry for himself, but he did not, for he lived in joy, peace and contentment in the midst of his difficult circumstances. In our message today, we are going to see how he combatted the common thing that faces us all: Anxiety.

Let us read from the letter that he wrote to the Philippians, from chapter 4, verses 4-13. He gives us some instruction of how to not be overcome by anxiety as we will note as we go through these verses.

1. Rejoice in who we are in Him, Who He is to us.
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
5 Let your moderation (gentleness) be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.(near)

2. Pray
6 Be careful (don't be anxious) for nothing; but in every thing b y prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

3. Think on godly things.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

4. Not only think, but also do that which the Apostle models as we read from his writings.
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

5. Learn Contentment in the Midst of Difficult Circumstances
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I apologize for the short writing today without much explanation, and illustration, but due to my health struggles I am not able to function very well today, but I at least wanted to write a little. There is much to digest, think about and act upon in these few verses and I want to apply these verses to my life also. May you be blessed by what the Apostle has written to us in these verses.

God bless you!

Pastor Orval

Posted on 22 Nov 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Peace be unto you! 12.6.2015
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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