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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Joseph's weeping for others 9/14/2014
Dear friend,

May the presence of God be realized and experienced in all of the circumstances of your life always.......

As a result of the fall of humanity into sin, deeply ingrained into us is the proclivity to not take responsibility for our actions and to shift blame onto other people or onto certain circumstances for our present lives today. At the end of the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, the scripture records which reveals unto us of the attitude of Joseph who had certainly been the victim of much much unfair treatment beginning with his family and including his father, Jacob. Our text today occurs after Jacob had died, with his now his repentant brothers come to him in fear of what repercussions there was going to be for all of their cruel treatment of him while they were yet in their homeland. Joseph was now the second in command in Egypt, subject only to Pharoah, and he would certainly would have had the right to punish them or get revenge on them for their treatment of him.

How did he respond to them? How do we respond towards circumstances that we are in due to others sinful decisions and/or towards people who have truly unfairly wronged us? We are not talking here about choices that we have made in the flesh and for which we are reaping in the flesh.

Joseph was 17 years old when he begin to have the dreams which showed him what was going to happen in the future concerning the plans of God for the preservation of His people. The Bible gives no indication that Joseph was not told the meaning of the dreams by God. From then on Joseph experienced rejection from his family but through it all the presence of the Lord was with Him and the Lord protected/strengthened/inspired him in all his difficult circumstances.

In the account of the life of Joseph, it reveals that he wept eight times.

His brothers first coming to Egypt, listening to them talk of their guilt.
KJV Genesis 42:24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.

At seeing his younger brother Benjamin
KJV Genesis 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.

When he revealed to them that he was their brother.
KJV Genesis 45:1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
KJV Genesis 45:2 And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
45:3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.

After he promises them that he will take care of them.
KJV Genesis 45:14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.
KJV Genesis 45:15 Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.

Meeting his father who came to Egypt
KJV Genesis 46:29 And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.

After his father died
KJV Genesis 50:1 And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.

Joseph Wept
KJV Genesis 50:17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

It is not recorded as to whether Joseph wept at other times. For he was hated and nearly killed by his brothers, looked on with suspicion by his father, sold as a slave, imprisoned after being falsely accused of rape, forgotten by the butler whose dream he had interpreted and so on. His brothers had staged his death, brought his coat of many colors to their father dripping with blood that they said was Joseph's and would have killed them if not for Rueben stepping in to save his brother.

It is significant to see that when Joseph wept he did so for the sake of others. He may not have understood God's purposes, but he had a heart for others and for their welfare.

Would not Joseph had the right to hate his brothers, his father, his captors, Potiphar's wife, and the butler for all their mistreatment? From the flesh, we would say, yep, they treated me wrongly and they need to get their payback. It is kind of like a couple of children playing, one hits the other and the other hits back. When questioned as to why they hit back, they replied, "He hit me first." Payback, get even, get revenge is our human default mechanism, but that is the not nature of our Christ.

18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

God is always the main character in our lives, He is always working for our spiritual good. and He never makes mistakes in our lives. We are not the key player, but God is. In your life, in my life, whom do we see as the key player? Is it God or is it self? He is working His purposes in our lives through all the difficult circumstances that we may find ourselves in.

We cannot be ruined by other's decisions on our life, but we can be ruined by decisions that we ourselves make. And bitterness which results from an unforgiving heart is the pathway to ruin for ourselves. Joseph realized in the end that through waiting on God that his life was for the purpose of bringing blessing to others, in this case, his very own family, the beginning of the Jewish nation and through whom Jesus would be born. During the tough times, he chose to trust God in all his circumstances.

God's slowness is His perfect timetable, and it is through our very difficult times of waiting that we are transformed so that we are brought closer to His purposes for our lives.

In the King James Bible the word weep is used 100 times in different forms such as weep, weepeth, weepest and weeping. To weep is to express overpowering emotions of the heart which usually comes forth in tears. The scripture records Jesus weeping two times, at the death of His friend Lazarus and as He overlooked Jerusalem as He neared the city where He would be delivered up to be crucified for our sin. Here are the references.

John 11:33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

KJV Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
KJV Luke 19:42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
KJV Luke 19:43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
KJV Luke 19:44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

In the first reference we see humanity weeping at the loss of a loved one, but more importantly we see Jesus weeping at what has come upon humanity due to the fall of humanity into sin in the Garden of Eden. Through His weeping we see not only His humanity but also we see the heart of His Father coming through Him as He weeps in compassion over us in our fallenness. One cannot help but think that Jesus is chomping at the bit to raise Lazarus from the dead so that He will show them that death does not have the final word, but that He does.

In the passages from Luke and from Matthew, Jesus again is weeping, but this time it is a weeping of painful sorrow for those who would not be gathered unto the True and Living God.

As we conclude, let us briefly compare the life of Joseph with the life of Jesus.

Joseph suffered wrong willingly for the life of his family.
Jesus suffered wrong willingly for the life of the world.

Joseph was sent ahead to prepare a place for his family through humiliation and exaltation.
Jesus was sent to prepare a place for us the humiliation of the cross and the exaltation of the resurrection.

Joseph longed to gather his family, just as Jesus longs to gather his family.

Joseph forgave his brothers because he possessed the heart of God
God forgave us through Christ's death because that is His joy and His glory to do so.

Some have said in the past that when we struggle with unforgiveness towards self and/or others, an unforgiveness that eventually turn into bitterness against people, against God and against oneself, we need to return to the cross of Christ and there to behold two things: Firstly, the cost of our redemption in the suffering and death of Jesus. Secondly, there we will be reminded of the grace, mercy and love of God through His offering of His Son/Himself on behalf of our sin.

Those who have emphasized this discipline have done so with the encouragement of reading from the Scriptures the accounts of the Love of God crucified for ourself, speak to God of our heart's cries and weepings to be refreshed and renewed in the knowledge of His forgiveness and to hear the Word of the Lord as it is spoken back to us which always speaks of grace, mercy and forgiveness.

May the heart of Christ as revealed through the life of Joseph be seen by us today and may we be drawn away from our own mind into the mind of Christ.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 14 Sep 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Cross of Christ 8.31.2014
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 forever, Amen.

As we continue in the Gospel of Matthew, we note that Jesus has called on an individual basis the twelve men that he will train and teach while he is yet in his earthly ministry. He has appointed them to their apostolic office and he has given them the initial teachings of what their call entails. Now they are traveling along with him as he teaches them by word and example so that they will be equipped to carry on his ministry after his work on earth is done.

His own people have rejected him, the various divisions of people have rejected him even to the point that they have banded together in their opposition to his teaching and ministry. Up to this time he has not clearly revealed of his upcoming suffering, death and resurrection, but now it is time to do so. We will begin our study at the beginning of chapter 16 of Matthew's gospel, with our text being verses 21-28.

1. The Founding of the church
2. The Authority of the Church
3. The Necessity of the Death and Resurrection of Christ
4. The Call of Christ on our Lives.

KJV Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

Show us by a miracle that you are from God! Well, we might ask, what has He been doing up to this time? He has been doing many miracles, but that which he has done has been rejected even to the point that they accused him of doing the miracles through an evil spirit. They have not accepted the miracles as from God so Jesus points to the sign of Jonah again, (Matthew 12:38-41) which he earlier had referred to. All his miracles are pointing to The Sign. In Mark's gospel, we are given insight into the heart of Jesus......

KJV Mark 8:12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

The disciples had seen Jesus feed two large multitudes with a few fishes and loaves and had seen him walking on the water and had seen him quiet the storm. He demonstrated very clearly to them of his divine provision and protection for them. In this incident, after Jesus explained to them that he was referring to the false teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees, they understood that he was using the word leaven in a metaphorical way. For by doing so he warned them that a little bit of error can grow into a large error.

1. The Founding of the Church

Now it is time to lay the ground work for the church, (Ekklesia) at a town named Caesarea Philippi. Jesus asks his disciples a question:

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

The question was kind of like, what is being said about me in town? It is not as if he did not know, but he was drawing his beloved disciples into a discussion which would lead to his showing them of his upcoming suffering, death and resurrection. Various answers were given, one said John the Baptist, (that is who Herod thought Jesus was), some said Elijah, some said Jeremiah and others said one of the prophets. So then Jesus got more direct with them after first softening the ground for the question he would ask them directly.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: {power: or, the right, or, privilege}
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus lays the groundwork of the church by telling Peter that he gave the right answer, and that no human has taught or revealed that truth to him, but it was opened up to him by God in heaven. After telling Peter that the church would be founded on the revelation of God, Jesus went on to say that nothing would prevail against the church. Furthermore....

2. The Authority of the Church

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Here the power of the Gospel is given to the church, for this is a matter of life and death. The person who believes the message of the Gospel will be released and the person who does not believe is yet bound. Only God is able to release a sinner who is bound up. We are not here to bind people up, but we have been given the key to open the door to freedom for a bound sinner. What needs to be understood is that the door that is opened is opened by God Himself, and the door in this sense means that which hinders a person from seeing that which God has done through Jesus Christ. We have been given the ambassorship by which we declare that based on the finished work of Jesus Christ, we tell people: "Your sins are forgiven!"

So far so good, as what has been said would be well received by the disciples in that they were going to be in authority in the church.

20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

There are different thoughts on why he said this. It is not difficult to see that in light of the rejection by nearly all people of Jesus that if the news got out that He was claiming to be the Messiah, it would only make the public opposition greater yet. Any, it was not time to let that news out yet. Now Jesus begins to speak of the Sign, which is seen in His death and Resurrection.

3. The Necessity of the Death and Resurrection of Christ

21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

His rejection has been evident to the disciples, but now Jesus speaks to them of his ultimate rejection by His own to the extent that they would bruise Him and have Him killed. He softens this bombshell with His message of faith to them, "be raised on the third day." It is like: It is difficult now, but in the end it will be okay.

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Sin occurs when we take God's place and salvation is when God takes our place.
If Christ does not die, Peter does not live.
If Christ does not die, we do not live.

Christ who has his face set like flint does give any slack to Satan who always speaks through the fallen nature of mankind, hates Christ and all that He has done for humankind. At this point Jesus had not gone to the cross, and Satan not knowing that he was already defeated tried to through Peter to thwart the predetermined plan of God to save the world. Satan is not beneath using anyone or any means in order to separate us from God even today. Let us be mindful of his ways and his evil tactics.

4. The Call of Christ on our Lives.

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

What does this mean? We are called to disown ourselves in that we see ourselves as God sees us: Sinners who have been redeemed by Christ, who now are identified with Him and are called to follow Him. Let us look at Apostle Paul's life to get insight into how this lives out in our lives.

KJV Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

KJV Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

He says that he is continually crucified with Christ and as a result he lives, but not he himself but Christ lives in him and through Him. He desires to glory only in the cross of Christ. Through the cross the world has nothing that he desires greater than Christ him and the world has lost its attraction for him.

For many it is giving up their lives to serve in a greater capacity, but it is not for everyone as this story illustrates for us. It concerns the author of our opening Hymn today: Stand up for Jesus.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross; Lift high his royal banner, It must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory His army shall he lead, Till every foe is vanquished, And Christ is Lord indeed.
In 1858, three years before the outbreak of the Civil War, revival swept the city of Philadelphia. People responded particularly to the hard-hitting messages of Dudley Tyng, a young, vivacious, abolitionist Episcopal priest.

In March at a noontime, weekday YMCA gathering of five thousand men, Tyng let it rip, basing his sermon on Exodus 10:ll: "Go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord" (KJV). As he spoke, he acknowledged that his radical call for repentance was potentially offensive. He hoped his audience would not take umbrage at his challenge, but, he continued,'! would rather that this right arm were amputated at the trunk, than that I should come short of my duty to you in delivering God's message."
That afternoon more than a thousand men enlisted in the Lord's army. And Tyng returned home newly challenged to lead the charge, lift high the banner. Little did he know the impending twists of fate.

A week later, studying in his home office, Tyng took a break. He walked out to the barnyard to encourage a mule—whose circular plodding fueled a corn-shelling machine. Alas. Patting the mule, Tyng caught his billowy sleeve in the wheel cogs. Tyng lost his arm. And within days his life.
At his son's deathbed, Tyng's father asked if he had a message for his colleagues. Tyng's last words proved to be his most memorable: "Tell my brethren of the ministry, wherever you meet them, to stand up for Jesus."

That message, relayed at Tyng's funeral, gripped a friend, Rev. George DufEeld. The next Sunday at Philadelphia's Temple Presbyterian Church, DufEeld preached on Ephesians 6:14, a Pauline challenge couched in military language: "Stand firm," wearing the whole armor of God. Duffield ended his sermon with a poem he had penned that week: "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus . . ." (Am I perverse to wonder if there is hidden meaning in the lines: "The arm of flesh will fail you, Ye dare not trust your own"?)

A parishioner printed the poem in leaflet form. It was picked up by a magazine and within a few years sung heartily around Union army campfires. And still is sung today.

Our church organist played its familiar tune. The congregation joined in. A stooped, old man sitting behind me sang lustily. And as the last chord died out, he whispered loudly, spontaneously, as if he'd forgotten he was in church: "That was a good one!"

I smiled.Was he a veteran of a great war? I expect so. After church he slipped out the door before I could ask. The song struck something in his spirit. A call to take courage and stand for his Lord—even as his years and life slipped from him.

A musician tells me this song is a favorite at nursing homes, especially among men and women confined to wheel-chairs—people who can't physically stand. What does the song mean to someone whose options are limited?

In search of an answer I went scrounging for a haunting article I'd clipped some years ago. Richard Mouw writes: ""We are called to be obedient where we are located, with the resources that are available to us, and in the light of our present' understanding of God's will."
Mouw continues, relating an eye-opening exchange between him and sociologist Peter Berger. When a younger, harsher Mouw had suggested "that every Christian is called to engage in radical obedience to God's program of justice, righteousness, and peace," Berger had challenged Mouw's grandiose view of obedience.

Somewhere in a retirement home,. [Berger] said, there is a Christian woman whose greatest fear in life is that she will make a fool of herself because she will not be able to control her bladder in the cafeteria line. For this woman, the greatest act of radical obedience to Jesus Christ is to place herself in the hands of a loving God every time she goes off to dinner.

In summary:

The church was founded in a small town far north of Jerusalem, in Caesarea Philippi. We are brought into the church as individuals so that collectively we form the body of Christ, or the Temple of God. Our primary mission is to announce to the world that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ their sins are forgiven. We have died with Him and now He lives in us. We are called to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

KJV 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

KJV 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 31 Aug 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Joseph's weeping for others 9/14/2014
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob