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

Blessed are You! 11/2/2014
Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

KJV Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. {falsely: Gr. lying}
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

When I was still at home as a young boy sitting at the dinner table and was being very picky about what I would eat, my mom would remind me that there are starving children in India who would love eat off of my plate. I remember not being able to understand her and would silently cry out, "But I am not in India, I am in the United States." In other words, her reasoning made no sense to me at all. I could not relate...

In a similar way a statements made by Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of the VOM missionary organization are not very easily understood by most of us here in our country. He spent 14 years in a prison in Communist occupied Romania and afterward reflected on that experience with three statements.

It was in prison that I learned that the Gospel was for the Communists.
It was in prison that I learned that I was to bring them the Gospel.
It was through being beaten and tortured by them that I learned to love them.

Those three statements have been burned in my mind and heart since I heard them even since I read his most famous book, Tortured for Christ. It has been six years since I read that book but I am still somewhat mistified as to how he could ever learn to love his persecutors through being beat by them. It is clear that he knew and lived in true blessedness, for he loved not his own life but had laid it down for his captors. For he knew that he had already received his inheritance of heaven and if hia physical life was taken, he would see God forever in heaven. He knew what it meant when Jesus said "blessed are you when men revile you, persecute you, speak all manner of evil against you, for my sake,"

On this day in which is called All Saints Day and also a day that the Church is called to remember those who are being persecuted, may God by His grace open our understanding so that we may be able to grasp what it means live in a state of blessedness. For Jesus, the King of Heaven has come to bless. Truly the blessing that He came to give is not according to our human way of thinking. It was opposite of that, and which has commonly been referred to as the Great Reversal, or today it is referred to as Counter Cultural.

This blessedness is a state of being, not something we work for in order to attain it. It is our state of assurance that God is faithful to His promises to deliver us through all our trials here on this earth, and that through these trials His purposes are being worked out through our lives.
These verses before us today are characteristics of one who has come to know and experience what true blessedness is, men like Richard Wurmbrandt, whom we have referred to, to women like Margaret Clarkson, the writer of our offertory hymn today, and the woman whom we will quote later on in this message.

This blessedness is a state of being, not something we work for in order to attain it.

Perhaps an illustration would help us to see what is being said here.
If you knew you were going to inherit a fortune, you know that would be happy for eventually you would be the owner of great riches. You and everyone around you would know that you will one day have the inheritance. Therefore you are happy in this knowledge in the present and certainly will be in the future when the inheritance beomes reality.
It is similar to what is being said in these verses of this text, for we are blessed, happy because of our knowledge of our future inheritance in which we will share in along with all the saints. We are not working to get this inheritance, for it has already been given to us now as the kingdom is now present. The more we trust in the faithfulness of God to deliver His promises, the more eager we lean forward in expectation of that which will eventually come to pass.

Jesus hungered to bring this Good News to mankind:

John 4:31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

Being a member of the family of God, we seek to live out that which we have been created for: Community, which is marked by love for God and for one another and for all the world. Apostle Paul reveals his love for community and for all of humanity, and his purpose in life was to bring the Good News to them.

Acts 20: 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

His kingdom is here, suffering for being identified with Him is part of being in His kingdom, but there is a joy that lasts forever that is our inheritance. As Christians, we have the promise of the inheritance now, and so knowing that why would not one be happy in this present age, why would one not want to convince others to come along, and why would not one be looking eagerly ahead to the coming of His eternal kingdom?

Last year I received this email from a woman who shared her thoughts on a similar teaching in the Gospel of Luke. Her husband of many years passed away within the last year.

"I will try to write thoughts about Luke 6 17 to 31. I'm having a tired day. so it may apply to the text. he may mean we are blessed when we are tired because we turn to Him and His word seems to mean more when we are empty. When we are hungry for Him.

In Jeremiah 31 God says He will put the fear of Him in our hearts. Eldie Niskanen's version said, "I will put a desire for Me in their hearts's.
When this desire kicks in and we long for Him we are blessed. When we are hungry for Him and His Word we are blessed. it draws us together, draws us to His Word like we can't get enough of it. We are like the ground longing for water and The Word waters us and plants seeds and fruit grows.

Some people have been given the gift of poverty even though they have money. They give out of that poverty and they are given joy. The poverty is true humility. They "get it" that it has nothing to do with money.

The deepest longings of our hearts are blessings."

All humanity has been given by God the longings for intimacy with Him. When these longings lead us to a place of our need for Him, they bring blessing to us, and we are "blessed." But if those longings, result in us not seeking the true God in Christ, and we look for satisfaction in created things, well.....

So the deepest longings of our hearts are indeed from God, are given by Him in order to cause us to seek Him, but due to our fallen nature's susceptibility to settle for created things as means by which to find satisfaction and meaning, we often struggle greatly in this area.

King David struggled also. When he was in the wilderness, he cried out to God.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

May these closing words feed our hungry souls today, by giving us that assurance that we are loved, that He will carry us all the way through and that the love that He has shed abroad in our hearts will sustain us in the valleys of life until we are translated from this place to the City in heaven.

Pastor Orval

Posted on 02 Nov 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
God's Peace!

Dear friend,

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you now and always, Amen.

We have heard from the letter to the Roman congregation that we are all guilty sinners before God, but that He has acted according to His grace on our behalf and has made us just (righteous or right with Him) according to faith. It is His faithfulness in His keeping of His promise that is ours, which means that because He provided the payment and gave the proceeds of the payment to us, we are just before Him by believing God. We turn to chapter five of this letter to consider the implications in our lives of that which God has done for us through His Son. For we are not only accounted to be righteous by faith, but we also live by faith, a life of peace and joy. (By the faithfulness of God)


When we meet one another as Christians, we greet one another with the words: God's Peace. Like any other thing that we do as a custom, a greeting can lose its sense of meaning and therefore it is important that we are reminded what it means when we say to one another: God's Peace! We could change the opening words of our text to read: Therefore, bring justified by faith, we have God's Peace through our Lord Jesus Christ, By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.


Through the cross God has made a peace treaty with mankind, and He wants that all would come to know, to experience and to live in God's Peace. Even though at times it may seem awkward to practice the custom, we should remember that when we greet one another with God's Peace, we are being reminded that God is at peace with us, by faith we have peace in our heart and soul and therefore we wish that all would come to know of, to experience for themselves and to live in God's Peace! So may we freely greet all with God's Peace!

May God's Peace be unto all everywhere this day through Christ Jesus!


Today we remember the Protestant Reformation of 1517. The Reformation was not about Martin Luther, but it was about Jesus Christ, for what is written in this book was always been, for it is by the finished work of Jesus that is our Rock, our Hope. We have no merit of our own, for that would fail, for we wholly lean and trust on the Name of Jesus Christ. This is the essence of the message that has been proclaimed for 2000 years, the Church has declared that message and any other message that does not preach Jesus Christ and Him cruicfied is false. Only Jesus could have done what was necessary for our hope of salvation.

KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.


FAITH BRINGS JOY
When we experience the fruit of faith, we experience joy because we know that God's Peace that is ours as a result of knowing the forgiveness of God in Christ Jesus.

We are justified by faith. This is in the past tense. It is hard for us to live in God's Peace, because all of the things going on in our lives, those things outside of us and the general state of the world around us. Sickness, relationship problems, financial problems, wars, persecution, suffering of all kinds, worries about our future.


Death came upon us all but Jesus came to give us God's Peace by taking on Himself the wrath of His own Father and satisifed that wrath. We greet one another with God's Peace, and in so doing, we greet one another with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God's Peace is with you, for God is not counting your sins against you, He has washed you with the blood of His Son, and you are righteous in His sight, therefore you have God's Peace. When we are beset with all our problems, we need to look at Jesus, remembering that God is not angry with us.. If God has wanted to be angry with us, He would have never sent Jesus to the cross.

When we have placed our trust in Christ, God sees as as His own purchased possession in His Son. We have an access into this grace, an entryway into this grace. We have a hard time with grace, because we are so often graceless towards ourselves. When we fail, we do not remember the grace of God, turning Him into a vindictive God who is out to get us because we have failed.
Do you think your sin is greater than the grace of God for you?

Do we go out to get our children when they fail? Do we seek their harm when they fail? We come to them and take them in love, in mercy to restore them for we still love them very much. We discipline them but we never stop loving them. God is always seeking to RESTORE, to give God's Peace. When we fail as children, do we not come to our parents, who will always forgive us when we ask, just as we run to God and hear from a beloved Christian that believe our sins forgiven, so that we might be reminded that He is not counting our sins against us.

KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory/boast in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

We have hope, so therefore suffering does not set us back, but it brings us forward, for we know that our God has taken up our part. He has not separated himself from us, for His Son bears our suffering. He is for us and not against us. We understand that we can trust Him, when we are tried, for the trial works patience and patience works character. Through all of this, we have hope because God has given us His Spirit to indwell us.

2000 years ago God sent His Son to die for the ungodly people, not for the righteous. Long before we did anything, He died for the sins that were yet to come in us. While we were still sinning, God was gracious to us, He came to give us His Peace, God's Peace. We always speak and relate to one another on the basis of grace, He loved us and gave Himself for us. Grace is the power of God's love, and His desire is for our redemption. When we stand before Him, we stand before Him as a child of grace washed in the blood of the Lamb of Christ.

6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Thie above paragraph causes me to struggle in order to properly illustrate as to what is being said here. Let me give it a shot. In verses 6-8 it is written about how Christ died for us, the ungodly people who were still sinning, which is how God demonstrated His love for us. But then in the next verses, we see the words much more used twice, which is designed to show that we not only have received a stay of execution so to speak, in being saved from the wrath of God, but we have been given life!!! In verse 11, it goes on, saying that we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have NOW received the atonement. We have NOW been declared just.

Parenthesis 13-17
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

The penalty of sin was evident, even though the law was not yet present. Death was reigning even if the law was not there. Death no longer reigns, but life reigns through the life of Jesus Christ through grace. Judgment came upon all, for in the flesh we are all dead. The law continually tells us that we are deserving of judgment, for the law continually confirms our death. For when we try to live after the law, we will only covet more and lust more after the things that is prohibits. Our flesh will die, in fact, it must die, and if we try to make it live, we are going to be very disappointed. Sin reigns over us to put us to death, and it cannot bring us to salvation. Only grace can bring us to life.

18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

We stand only on Jesus Christ and what He has done for us, has done in us through grace. We stand only on that and therefore we greet one another with God's Peace. Let us renew that greeting as an encouragement to ourselves, to one another and let there be in us a renewed desire to speak God's Peace to the world and in so doing, speak the Gospel to a world that needs to hear it!

God's Peace be unto you today and always!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 26 Oct 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Blessed are You! 11/2/2014
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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