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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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
Dear friend,

May the quietness of the Advent season be with you in these days which are leading us to the celebration of Christmas, the time when God came down to us, when He came for us and Who now lives in us! Oh the wonder of it all and the mystery of it all!

I know just where you are, help is on the way! Those were the words that a family heard the 911 operator say when they put out a call on their cell phone as they lay upside down in a car that had slid off of the icy road and into a water filled ditch. It would be difficult to imagine how wonderful those words sounded to them in their fearful circumstances. Yes, expectant hope must have arose in their hearts as they watched the waters slowly seep into their prison. The four minutes that it took a deputy to get there and to rescue them must have been a very long four minutes.

I know just where you are. Help is on the way!!

Similar words of comfort and of promise were heard by the people of God of years past who were living in exile where they had been sent in judgment for their disobedience and sin. We who live around 2700 years later certainly cannot relate to their experience on a national basis, but we can relate on a more personal basis as there are parallels between that which they experienced then and that which we experience in our personal lives today.

How their hearts must have rung with joy and gladness upon hearing the Voice speak kindly unto them the words of comfort. (Isaiah 40:1-2) After many years of being away from their homeland, they heard the gospel message of comfort and joy as they returned home.

Help was on the way!!

Isaiah by the Spirit was able to see into the future and prophecy of the coming of John the Baptist who would smooth the way for all to come unto the Promised One, the Messiah. (40:3-8) The message was so impactful that those who were bringing these glad tidings were told to get up into the high mountain, to lift up their voice with strength, to lift it up, to not be afraid, and to say unto the cities of Judah:

Behold your God! (40:9)

John the Baptist would later cry Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! To those living yet in bondage to unbelief and sin, the Voice cries today: Help is on the way! In fact, help has already come! He is ready to receive any and all for their souls salvation.

40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

In these two verses we are brought face to face with the strength of the Lord, in that He demonstrated His greatest strength by humbling Himself before all mankind, through the death of the cross. This is how the Apostle Paul described the strength of God in his letter to the Philippian church.

Philippians 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And one of our songs of praise that we will sing together today puts this strength of God in to music.

Joy Has Dawned

Joy has dawned upon the world Promised from creation
God‚€™s salvation now unfurled Hope for every nation
Not with fanfares from above Not with scenes of glory
But a humble gift of love Jesus born of Mary

Sounds of wonder fill the sky With the songs of angels
As the mighty Prince of Life Shelters in a stable
Hands that set each star in place Shaped the earth in darkness
Cling now to a mother‚€™s breast Vulnerable and helpless.

Shepherds bow before the Lamb Gazing at the glory
Gifts of men from distant lands Prophesy the story
Gold a King is born today Incense God is with us
Myrrh His death will make a way And by His blood He‚€™ll win for us.

Son of Adam Son of heaven Gives as a ransom
Reconciling God and man Christ our mighty Champion!
What a Saviour What a Friend What a glorious mystery
Once a babe in Bethlehem Now the Lord of history.

How I pray that in the quietness of our souls that we will hear the Voice of our God speaking comfortably into our hearts from His heart of love and grace. He speaks comfort and kindness into our often troubled minds and hearts, so that we would shout to all around us. Behold your God!!! Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!!

Blessed Advent preparations!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 10 Dec 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Advent 2017
My dear friend,

How are you doing? It is a joy to be with you and to spend some time with you in this conversation, howbeit a one way one‚€¦..May we be blessed by sitting down with our coffee and thinking on what is to follow in this writing.

The first coming of Jesus Christ is called His first advent, so we get the event which we call Advent. The Advent season focuses mainly on the prophecies of His promised coming to the earth, a time in which one looks to be renewed and refreshed in both the knowledge and significance of His first Advent by which He redeemed mankind in time..

By hearing/reading of God's Promise (His promise that His Messiah would come) and by meditating upon the scriptures which spoke and speak of His coming, it is hoped that through this Word, faith would be fanned into flames so that our hearts would burn in love and thankfulness to our God for His coming to us.

Those who lived long ago before His first Advent waited for His mercy to arrive with expectancy, manner (Psalm 123:2), they were encouraged of the promise of His everlasting kingdom by God through Isaiah (Is 9:7), and they were told of what family He would come from. (Is 11:1)

Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

KJV Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

Ever since the promise of the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, (Genesis 3:15) was communicated by God in the Garden of Eden after the fall of mankind into sin, those who have awaited the grace of His first Advent have poured over the Scriptures, searching them for signs of His coming, and waited and waited and waited . . . but God tarried.

Prophets through the years prophesied of His coming, not fully understanding the implication of that which they wrote in the scrolls of the Scriptures. Isaiah spoke 700 years before His first Advent of the certainty of His arrival when he wrote of it by prophecy; Luke described the role of John the Baptist and of the coming of the Messiah on Christmas Eve; and John, the Apostle explained later that God had come in the flesh (in a human body).

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord‚€™s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah 40:1-5
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. Luke 2:9

And the Word (Jesus) 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. John 1:14

As we attempt to absorb and experience in our minds and in our hearts of the first coming of our Lord in all His glory, of that Light which was seen by the shepherds, which was sung about with perplexity by the angels, and which was experienced by those who gathered around the humble birthing place of Emmanuel (God with us), may the wonder of it all re-ignite our sometimes weary hearts to renewed hope, to quiet peace, to revived faith, and to exuberant joy in His Advent.

Please consider the experience of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.

(Luke 1:5) The angel of the Lord had appeared to Zechariah as he was performing the duties of a priest in the temple, a duty which was a two week experience and a once in a lifetime one at that. Because he doubted the word of the angel which told him that he and his wife Elizabeth were going to have a son, he was struck dumb until after the circumcision of their son.

Zechariah was told what the name of his son would be and the purpose for which he would be born so combined with his knowledge of the scriptures which spoke of the coming Messiah, he silently thought on these things until the day when he was given to speak again. It is noteworthy of how he spoke now only of the Lord God of Israel and of that which He had accomplished. He did not speak of himself.. Please hear his words.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. (Luke 1:68‚€“71)

Notice two remarkable things from these words of Zechariah, Elizabeth‚€™s husband, in Luke 1.

First, nine months earlier, Zechariah could not believe his wife would have a child. Now, filled with the Holy Spirit, he is so confident of God‚€™s redeeming work in the coming Messiah that he puts it in the past tense: he has visited and redeemed his people. For the mind of faith, a promised act of God is as good as done. Zechariah has learned to take God at his word and so has a remarkable assurance: God ‚€œhas visited and redeemed! (Luke 1:68).

Second, the coming of Jesus the Messiah is a visitation of God to our world: The God of Israel has visited and redeemed. For centuries, the Jewish people had languished under the conviction that God had withdrawn: the spirit of prophecy had ceased; Israel had fallen into the hands of Rome. And all the godly in Israel were awaiting the visitation of God. Luke tells us that another old man, the devout Simeon, was waiting for the consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25). Likewise, the prayerful Anna was waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:38).

These were days of great expectation. Now the long-awaited visitation of God was about to happen ‚€” indeed, he was about to come in a way no one expected.

Let us rejoice, Light has come out of darkness! Christ is here today in our midst! We do not have to stumble around in the dark anymore, but we can come to the light. Staying in the dark always allows the negative things in our lives to develop. Do we remember what happened to film when it got exposed to light? It ruined it, that is why the rooms of film development were called darkrooms.

He has pierced asunder heaven to come down to redeem us from our darkness, He is with us and in us today, and one day will come for us to take us to be with Him for all eternity! May we be watching and waiting, so we may say these words in response to His words of invitation:
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20

Have a blessed Advent season in your preparations to relive the coming of God for us and to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. May you experience His coming to you many times during this Advent and Christmas season! And let us remember, that it is through the telling and the hearing of the Story that we again experience personally and corporately the benefits of that which God has done through Christ.

Dear friend, how I pray that we will find ourselves focusing on the Light during this Advent season as we prepare for Christmas and its celebration of Light. We will truly be blessed and we will be a blessing to others.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 03 Dec 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns