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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God's Glory/Legacy
Dear friend,
Grace, Mercy and Peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all now and forever, Amen.

Today on our journey with Jesus on the way to Good Friday and to His death and then to His resurrection unto life on Easter Sunday, we consider a portion of Scripture found in the Gospel of John. In chapter 13 begins the final days of His ministry, which includes his upper room visit with His disciples (13-17), his suffering and death (18-19), his resurrection (20) and events after his resurrection (20--21). We are going to hear of the commitment of joy that existed in the mind and heart of God the Father and God the Son in bringing salvation to fallen mankind.

We often hear of how people want to leave a legacy behind that will mark their life, which in essence would be that which they wanted to be known for as having the greatest effect upon the world that they lived in. It makes very good sense to say that the legacy of a world leader would be much more impactful than the legacy of common folk like us since many more people are affected by the decisions of a world leader than by the life we live in our particular calling/vocation in life.

What is meant by legacy? It is defined as something handed down or left with the succeeding generation, whether it is material or moral.

As we continue towards Jerusalem with Jesus on His way to glorify His Father, perhaps we could use the word legacy to help us understand a bit more of the joy of purpose in the heart of the Father and His Son as they approached the day of their collective Glory: To reconnect the world with Themselves through the death of Jesus the Christ on the cross.
This was to be the highest point/defining point/climactic point in the history of the world. It seems like we could say, it was the legacy that They wanted to leave behind for all to benefit from, for no one would be left outside of the redeeming work our Father and His Son. They want all to become partakers of Their legacy, for the inclusion of all is the greatest desire and joy of Their heart: To provide the riches of grace in giving the forgiveness of sins through Christ becoming sin for the world, One who was sinless but yet took upon Himself the entire sin debt of the world on our behalf.

Now that is a legacy, for through it we have peace and joy today and we have an expectant hope of that which is to come in heaven above!!!!!!
May we grow in our knowledge of this inheritance that is given to us through the legacy of God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! For God is glorified when we become a partaker of His legacy: The forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus!

20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:
21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

In response to the question of wanting to see Jesus, the reply was given by Jesus which first spoke of His glorification which he then revealed of necessary death and resurrection by comparing it to a seed. He speaks to them of his death which He did as a result of not loving his life, but kept it unto life eternal through which all believers become partakers of the living hope of life eternal. He keeps this connection intact through verses 23-25 as the one who goes to prepare a place for those who come after Him. In verse 26 he connects the fruit of his resurrection with his initiating work by saying that serving him means following him, being a servant means that we are where he is and in serving him, his Father honors those who serve him. There would be much to say about this, but for brevity's sake, let us allow the Spirit to enlarge upon this section.

We heard in Psalm 22 of the thoughts of Jesus as prophesied by David 1000 years before, and now again we are given insight into His mind and heart.

27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

He is troubled, agitated, as he has a foretaste of that which He will experience in the Garder of Gethsemane, which is recorded in Matthew 26:35-50 We are given insight into the humanity of Jesus as He struggles with that which He has been sent to do for His Father on our behalf. How can we understand this kind of love, of sacrifice, of devotion, of commitment? But somehow, Lord, sink it into our souls, into our heart, into our minds, into our lives of both His struggle within, but more so of His unwavering commitment to save our souls and to glorify His Father as He told His Father: "Glorify your name." In other words, allow it to be so that You would save the world through me.......

Here His Father tenderly told His Son: "I have both brought honor to my name and will do it again." His Son told His Father to glorify His name, fully knowing what it was going to require of Him.......As the Hebrew writer says in chapter 12, joy was contained in his motivation to bring glory to His Father. Those standing by heard sounds, but did not make sense out of the sound, but then Jesus explained what was going on in the entire conversation..

29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

The devil had his plans to stop God from receiving glory in saving the world from sin and death and he actually thought by stirring up men to kill Jesus that he, the devil, would keep his position as ruler of the world, but was he mistaken!! He actually thought that he would thwart the Legacy of God through killing Him. What he thought was to his benefit, actually caused him to be dethroned for ever.

And furthermore, by the devil, whom Martin Luther called God's servant, causing Jesus to die, he was carrying out God's plan to save us. He was cast out, and Christ through being lifted up to the cross would continually draw all men unto Him. He would through His grace cause people to come to Him, not by their own will, but at the insistence of the Spirit who alone is able to draw, or to compel souls to come to Him.

Application: On Thursday, Lawry Kilpela turned 93 years old and we honor him today as one who the Lord compelled to come to Him during his confirmation years. In his testimony that he shared with us recently he wrote these words:

What can I say today as I look back on my life: I have been purchased with a precious price, the blood of Christ shed on Calvary's Cross which atoned for my sins and the sins of the world, and I have the sure hope of being in heaven forever. May we all continue to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith until that day when we are called to be with Him forever!

I will also share the testimony of Rachel Niskanen as shared with me by her father, Dale, who is a pastor in our ALCA Federation. Rachel is nine years old, has been blessed to be part of a wonderful Christian home, is happy and loves her family. Recently while they were at a restaurant her father noticed that she was looking sad, so he went to ask her what was wrong. She burst out crying saying that she was going to hell. Her dad reacted with, "Why do you say that?" She said, "I am a sinner." So her father, hugging her reminded her of how this is what Good Friday and Easter are all about and that through what Jesus has done, she is forgiven. After more explanations, he encouraged her that she could believe all her sins forgiven in the Name and Blood of Jesus. She then said that she believed that wonderful news and as you can imagine the moments between father and daughter when then followed would be too special to even try to describe.

Her father then told me that from that time she has begun to read the bible more than ever and it was during one of these times of being with the Lord in His Word that a photo as randomly taken which I will show now. It is not possible to post the photo in this writing, but in the service this morning, I hope to have it for all to view. What is significant about it is that the Light appears to be coming from the Bible onto a face that is sublime in appearance. She is getting much enjoyment from Christ as she receives His Life, His Light and His Love from Him through His Word. Oh, Lord, help us to receive that which you desire to pour into our hearts, into our souls and into our lives.

As you meditate upon Him today, may you be blessed even as He wishes you to be.

In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 22 Mar 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
In Christ we walk in the light 3.15.2015
Dear friend,

Psalm 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Because God is good and because His mercy endures forever, this morning I am able to greet you today with grace, mercy and peace from Him and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Please receive these fresh greetings from His heart this morning as we gather here to thank and to praise Him for his goodness and His everlasting mercy and to hear His assurance, His encouragement and His guidance.

Please read text: John 3:14-21

Our text today is from John 3 and it is part of a conversation between Jesus and a high official in the Jewish leadership. Nicodemus came to see Jesus by night, for he wanted to investigate as to whether this prophet who had to be from God because He was performing miracles was the long promised Messiah. Through the conversation, Jesus pointed Nicodemus to the necessity of a new birth, of being born again. He spoke of the necessity of coming into a new existence before pointing out to him that this would come through the Holy Spirit and that it would come through the Messiah, Himself. I would like to what it means to come into a new existence.

Nearly two years ago while my wife and I were out west by my mother's bedside, I received a phone call from my son Jay who was here in Cokato. He shared with me that there was water in our basement. After a number of phone calls, we had a business lined up to bring the basement back to its former state, which would include fixing the leaking faucet which had caused the problem. A few weeks later, the foreman of the restoration project called me and said that they had everything all put back together and that they had just a few more things to do. Then he mentioned that he should go turn the faucet on that had caused the water damage in order to make sure. So he did and to my surprise he came back on the phone with quite a lot of excitement: "There is water coming through the ceiling, in the same place it came before."

Needless to say, there was quite in interesting conversation between him and I, but the greater lesson that was learned is what is seen in our text today:

If there is not an inward change of heart, the outside behavior will continue to be in the old identity, which will be according to our desires, the desires of the world and the desires of the devil.

After speaking of the necessity of an inward change, that it would be by water and the Spirit, Jesus begin to point to the OT in order to reveal to Nicodemus that Moses always pointed to Christ Himself, the One that was speaking to Nicodemus. Numbers 21:4-9

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

God has acted in love and mercy, has restored our given away identity, and wants us to live in that Identity in Jesus Christ.. We must understand that He has given us the new identity through Christ and it is only by not believing in what He has done that we condemn ourselves. God is not condemning us.

If we are refusing to trust in Christ for our new identity, we are like a man on death row whose crime has been pardoned but he refuses to accept the Governor's pardon and so eventually he will pay for his crime with his own death. Why would he do that?

Because he refused God's invitation to believe.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.(exposed)

2 Cor 4:3 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.

The judgment that is upon one who refuses to believe what God has done for them is seen in the continuation to stay out of the light of Christ. Paul very well writes of this in 2 Cor 4. It is not our evil deeds themselves that condemn us, but rather it is our refusal to believe that God has taken away our guilt through the cross. It is unbelief in God's provision that brings judgment upon ourselves, and not the sinful acts and desires themselves. Living in rebellion towards God with an unrepentant heart is a result of our refusal to believe the Gospel. Both John and Jesus said: Repent and believe the Gospel!!

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Those who come to repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ bring sin before God, so that they may be released from the bondage of pride and shame. It is only in coming to the light that we are able to be freed from the slavery to self and this is through sorrow for sin, confession of sin and by receiving absolution from God, either directly from Him through prayer or through the pronouncement of God's forgiveness from another person.

As a Christian, we desire to walk in the light of God and when we fail to do so our consciences are convicted, and we recognize that we are yet living in this world in which sin is in us and all around us. When we come into this conviction of sin, it is not condemnation, but it is conviction by the Holy Spirit Who reminds us that we are going away from our true identity in Christ.

We come to repentance again and again, which brings us back to our right mind of who we are according to what God has done for us in Christ. It is very important to be able to separate condemnation for sin vs conviction of sin. Because we believe in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are accounted as righteous before God and the only thing that will take that away from us is that we do not believe that it is so.

The Holy Spirit continually ministers grace to us as He always points us to Christ and what He has provided and does provide for us: God is at peace with us and through repentance and faith we live in peace with Him and with all people. The Spirit leads and guides us into all truth, so therefore when we are slipping into our old identity, He comes to us to help us take corrective action. It is a grave mistake to not listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit when He speaks to us of sin in our lives. Let me illustrate with an example from years ago when I was a logger.

A machine operator got irritated with a blinking red light on the dash of his machine which would come on in the dark hours of morning just after he started up his machine, but which would go off after the machine got warm. He knew that the blinking light indicated that the water pressure was dangerously low and if it continued in that manner, the water pump would break due to not enough water going through. In spite of knowing this, he put a piece of black tape over the red light so that in the darkness of the morning the light would not be blinding him. A few months later, he noticed that the water pump was not working and much to his embarrassment and the boss' disappointment, he had to admit that he had covered up the warning light.

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

KJV 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

We come to His table today in our true identity in Christ,as blood washed saints, because He has loved us and given Himself for us. This we possess by faith.

We come also with hearts that desire to walk in truth according to his Word as enlightened by His Spirit.

We want to listen to His Voice which would lead us to reconcile with a brother or sister whom we may have sinned against.

We want to be strengthened in faith that binds us to our Saviour, who ministers His grace and forgiveness to us today as we remember His great sacrifice that He made on our behalf through His body and blood.

In His Holy name, Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 15 Mar 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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God's Glory/Legacy
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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