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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Heart Worship and Perseverance of Faith 8.17.14
Dear friend,

Today we consider two thoughts from Matthew 15:1-28.
1) Worship is not in ritual or tradition alone, but it is a worship of the heart.
2) Faith in Christ empowers us to persevere through the waiting times of life.

The people are loving the healing that Jesus is doing, they are bringing their sick to him to be healed, seeing that even by just touching the hem of Jesus' garment, healing takes place. Meanwhile the leaders of the Jewish church, who have their authority solidly anchored in the fact that their ancestors are Abraham, Moses and David, are not happy with the increasing popularity of Jesus and so rather than joining in the celebration at the blessing that people are receiving from the healing ministry of Jesus, they come to him with an accusation that He is not keeping His disciples in line, for they are eating without washing their hands.

KJV Matthew 15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

Those who came with the question had it right, that it was the tradition of the elders that was being violated, as there was not any Scripture that taught that which they called "the tradition of the elders," but it was the interpretation of the Scriptures by the elders.

Jesus countered with a question of his own and gave them some instruction:

3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

In His counterquestion and reply, He gave Old Testament references by which they were bound to obey, but through their interpretation of it they had made a loophole by which they got around that which the Scripture commanded. Below is an explanation of what this was all about, taken from a Bible dictionary.

00897 897 897 Corban, a Hebrew word adopted into the Greek of the New Testament and left untranslated. It occurs only once Mr 7:11 It means a gift or offering consecrated to God. Anything over which this word was once pronounced was irrevocably dedicated to the temple. Land, however, so dedicated might be redeemed before the year of jubilee Le 27:16-24 Our Lord condemns the Pharisees for their false doctrine, inasmuch as by their traditions they had destroyed the commandment which requires children to honour their father and mother, teaching them to find excuse from helping their parents by the device of pronouncing "Corban" over their goods, thus reserving them to their own selfish use.

7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Speaking directly to them, Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah, written 700 years earlier and pointed out that outwardly they appear to be worshipping God but that their heart is far from the Lord. He calls it vain, or futile or worthless worship, for they teach as truth their own commandments. In so doing, they reject the commandments of God.

10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:
11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Jesus then says: "Hear and understand: What you eat has nothing to do with your righteousness, it has no bearing on it, but that which is spoken out of your mouth is an indicator of that which is in your heart, that area of a human being that no one can see but God. That is what defiles you!"

12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

The disciples evidently were worried that Jesus had spoken too directly, for they came to Him and asked Him if He know that He had offended the Pharisees with His direct approach? He replied by saying that plants that are not planted by His heavenly Father will be rooted up. Don't worry about them, for such plants are blind leaders of the blind, for if the blind lead the blind, both the leader and the follower will fall into the ditch.

15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Peter, seemingly not quite getting it, asked for clarification from Jesus. He was mildly rebuked by Jesus, but then Jesus clearly brings out the difference between natural eating and of that which comes out of the mouth. He lists those things that our fallen nature loves, thoughts which proceed from a heart that is self oriented and which wants to be served rather than to serve. He is illustrating the practice of Corban, whereby one by saying the word Corban over some property that belongs to the Lord, one is excused from obeying the commandment which calls upon children to honor the father and mother. All sin is against God, which is rebellion of the heart and then which reveals itself outwardly through speech and actions.

The three P's come into play here as they do in all temptation: Pride, Power, Possessions. Our flesh by nature is self sufficient with no need of God, our flesh by nature desires to control or use others and our flesh by nature wants more and more of material things. The Spirit in us is needy for his mercy, the Spirit in us desires to serve others for their blessing and the Spirit in us is content with that which we have been given by God.

Jesus then leaves that area, heads north to the coastal towns of Tyre and Sidon, where a non Jewish woman meets him with a big need.

21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

She testifies of her knowledge of Jesus as the Messiah by using the words, O Lord, thou Son of David. The testimony of the Scriptures that the Messiah would be born of the line of David, so that when one made the statement "thou Son of David" witness was given of that knowledge. Please note that she cried for mercy for herself and not for her daughter. That cry demonstrates to us of her deep identification with the needs of her daughter making her cry as if it was herself who had the sickness. Now let us not miss the fact that she was an outsider as far as people were concerned, as the disciples were concerned, and at first glance, as far as Jesus was concerned. For by Jesus was silent at her first cry........

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

As the disciples listened and watched her cry to Him, they instructed their Master to send her away, for she is crying after us. At this point, they did not understand what it meant to love their neighbor. Jesus seemingly rebuffed her by saying that He was here only for the Jewish people. That did not stop her, for she came and kneeled for Him............. she did not give up at His silence, she did not give up at His statement that He was not here for her. She cried the more, "Lord, help me....."

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

There are various thoughts as to what the term dog means. Some it refers to all who are not Jews, some say that it is like a house pet and so on. It seems okay to see here that in His final test to the woman Jesus bringing her faith to its final test: Faith clings to the object of its worship, it will not settle for anything less than that which comes from Him. So be it if it is the crumbs that are left for the dogs, the leftovers so to speak. All the mattered to her at this point is that her only hope was that which came from the hand of the Messiah. Whatever He wanted to give, she would gladly receive.

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

May we in our circumstances of life be instructed and encouraged by this teaching. Our worship is a worship of the heart and not merely the following of some rituals or traditions which do not illustrate or magnify the heart of God through Christ for the world. We all know and understand that our fallen hearts are continually trying to delude us into making idols of something or someone. We are to guard our hearts for out of it flow the issues of life.

May we also be encouraged by the example of the faith of the woman from Canaan, who believed in the Messiah, and did not faint at His "hiding" of Himself. He rewarded her faith, for her faith did not let go of the Promise who was standing before her and who by all outward appearances, did not care about her and her needs. Instead of giving up, she persisted in her request that He grant unto her her request on behalf of her daughter.

The encouragement to persevering prayer, especially to parents anxious for their children, is so obvious that it need only be named. That silence first, and then these apparent refusals, are trials of faith, to which many earnest hearts have not been strangers. To all such the example of this woman of Canaan is of great value. Her earnestness in making the case of her daughter her own (she does not say, "Have mercy on my daughter"; but, "Have mercy on me"; and again, "Lord, help me"), and her unconquerable perseverance till the answer came, have been an inspiration ever since, and will be to the end of the world.

May the Holy Spirit give unto you/me application into our lives today so that we may not only be assured and empowered, but that we might perserve through trust in the One from whom all blessings flow, Jesus the Christ!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 17 Aug 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Do not Fear 8/10/2014
Dear friend,

After feeding a huge multitude of people, Jesus sent His disciples away in a boat and He went up on a mountain to pray/commune with His Father. While He was there, He was mindful of the storm that His disciples had encountered, with the roaring waves of the sea and the wind blowing against them. It was not until the early hours of the morning (3 am) that He came to them, walking on the water, and would have passed by them......But when they saw Him walking upon they sea, they, thinking He was a spirit, all cried out to Him, being troubled.

Immediately Jesus talked with them and said to them: Be of good cheer, It is I, be not afraid.

Has it been our experience that as we are in the storms of life that we wonder where the Lord is? Do we wonder if He is aware of the difficulties in our life? Do we fear our circumstances so much that we forget that He is the Master of the wind and the Maker of the rain? Have we forgotten that He has promised to take care of our every need?

Let us be reminded through this message that He sees us in our circumstances, He will come to us precisely when He chooses to and when He does come to us, He will immediately answer our call for help with the beautiful words: Be of good cheer, It is I, be not afraid.

Around thirty years ago, a brother in the Lord, myself and my two oldest sons who were around 10 and 12 years old started out on a 20' boat from Houghton MI to go to Isle Royale, an island about 50 miles north of the Keweenaw Peninsula. My brother had checked the Lake Superior weather, all looked good so we started out. We got into the middle of Lake Superior and soon we were in a bad storm, with waves a lot higher than our boat. At times all we could see around us was water as our boat was tossed up and down in the water. It was very fearful until we got out of the storm and arrived at the Isle Royale boat landing.

Are we in a storm of life today? When we left the shore, mighty Lake Superior was calm, but that soon changed. In life as the waves increase, as the wind increases, we say, we will get through this, we are experienced in life, we have friends, we will stick together and so on, but we at times forget to call upon Him.

A crisis is something that there is no solution to. If we owe money, and have money to pay it, it is not a crisis.. If we are sick, and there is a cure, it is not a crisis. All things that come into our lives for which there is no forseeable solution, we could say that it is an invitation from God to trust Him.

Problems build slowly, but often times the solution comes quickly. Life's problems sneak up on us, the waves and the wind build up slowly and before we know it we are in a raging storm. We are in the middle of it, we do not know when He will come to calm it, but He sees, He knows and He will come when it is time.

He fed the five thousand, He stilled the storm and now when they are in the middle of the sea struggling, He sees them in their struggles, He comes to them, would have passed them by, but then they heard the beautiful words: Be of good cheer, It is I, Do not fear.

Are you in a storm? Are you fearful? Has He come to you yet? For many, a point has come in which He has come and said, I am here, Do not fear, I have your back. Some are battling against the waves, wondering if they are going to sink..........

I have asked and received the okay to share the followings testimonies of their struggles in the time of their storm and I now will share them with you.

"Early mornings is a time for me to read God's Word before all the "demands" and "noises" of the day find their way into our minds. One particular quiet morning, I was stopped by a clear voice saying, "Do not be afraid." Puzzled, I sat wondering, then put it in the back of my mind. Sometime later, a week, maybe, I discovered a foreign mass in my body. After all the tests, it was revealed to be cancer. The words resurfaced, "Do not be afraid."......Lord, I am afraid! Fear came in waves over me, but above it was the Voice: "Do not be afraid."
How often in God's Word are we reminded of this. God always goes before us and holds us in the palm of His hand. Sickness, diseases, and trials are no surprise to Him. They all work to bring us closer to work out His will in our lives.
Come to Me, you are are weary and afraid, I will give you strength and courage to face this, too. He lifts the gloom and sends rays of hope and peace to our hearts. One day we will exchange these earthly bodies to glorified ones where no aches or diseases will touch us. We will praise Him with new tongues and sing with all the saints in glory: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. Praise be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost".
Louise Kilpela

It was in Sept. 2001 when I suffered a grand mal siezure that changed my life as I knew it. One minute putting my shoes on about to head off to work, the next minute waking up in an ambulance and being asked by the attendant: Do you know what happened to you? I did not. Another minute later I woke up in a room at the hospital and Sue and Ike were there with me. Then I think an E.R. Doc came in to tell about the different tests they had done. I remember none of what they did. Anyway, that was the beginning of many changes in my life.

As I followed up with a neurologist after that siezure He noticed a tremor in my right hand. Eventually I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease which effects me in many different ways. People who see me walking in public might think me to be intoxicated the way I stumble around. As most of you know I am no longer able to work or to drive a car.[Ireally miss driving] Any way that is about where I am today. I don't know what tomorrow holds. None of us do, but if we look to Him who does know it sure helps to remove fear.

I want to share with you what may have been my mom's favorite verses found in proverbs 3 verses 5 and 6. I can still picture her sitting at the kitchen table reading her bible in the early mornings. As Thanksgiving Day aproaches let's give thanks for christian mom's and dad's and other christian witnesses around us for the examples they live out before us. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the lord with all thine heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. Verse 5 tells us to trust in the Lord. We live in uncertain times. On the political scene a lot of grand promises are being made. Who are we to trust? What does it say on our currency? IN GOD WE TRUST. proverbs 3:5 tells us to TRUST IN THE LORD with all our heart.
Doug Saukkola....

(From a mother whose son was born with serious medical problems)

We've never really shared this story before with many others but I got to thinking about it again today after speaking to the surgeon. When Gregory was 2 1/2 weeks old, he was sleeping in his little NICU isolation room at Children's and scheduled to have his closing surgery the next morning. Andrew and I were spending the night in a parent's room down the hall that was reserved for situations like a very ill child or surgery. I remember this enormous sense of helplessness and Andrew and I were both quietly lost in our thoughts for much of the evening. Gregory wasn't eating yet and so I said goodnight to our baby, held his hand and kissed his little head, and went to bed.

I shut off the light in the room and sat in a chair, a single wall separating Gregory's room from the room I was in. I heard the beeps of the hospital machines and could picture him lying in his bassinette with all the tubes and the ventilator helping him breathe and I tried to pray through the fear of not knowing what tomorrow would hold. In the darkness, I turned on the radio and a Christian station tuned in. I sat and listened while I waited, feeling absolutely gutted and insignificant in the scheme of things. The next song came on the radio, one I'd never heard before. The lyrics were these:

I'm down on my knees again tonight,
I'm hoping this prayer will turn out right.
See, there is a boy that needs Your help.
I've done all that I can do myself
His mother is tired,
I'm sure You can understand.
Each night as he sleeps
She goes in to hold his hand,
And she tries
Not to cry
As the tears fill her eyes.

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place some how.
See, he's not just anyone, he's my son.

Sometimes late at night I watch him sleep,
I dream of the boy he'd like to be.
I try to be strong and see him through,
But God, who he needs right now is You.
Let him grow old,
Live life without this fear.
What would I be
Living without him here?
He's so tired,
And he's scared
Let him know that You're there.

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place some how.
See, he's not just anyone, he's my son.

Can You hear me?
Can You see him?
Please don't leave him,
He's my son.

-Mark Schultz

God reached me in that moment of utter despair- I felt Him with me there and also felt the depth of His love and it was unlike anything I'd ever known before. I was unconditionally loved and worthy at my rock bottom... just because. When I left that room, my heart was rejoicing with gratitude and joy.

Julie Manninen

Mark 6: 45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch (3 am) of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

In the three testimonies of faith, we hear the common theme of a change in circumstances, their struggle to deal with the changed circumstances, and the way in which the Lord broke through in order to increase their faith for deliverance through the circumstance. They were all somewhat different, but they all came to a place of acceptance through faith and trust in God. The way in which He has increased our faith during these troubled times has been different, I am sure. All that have been given the grace to recognize that trials are a call to trust in God and to see them as God's call to them to trust Him have been and will be blessed.

The love and compassion of Christ for His disciples is seen in these miracles: The feeding of the multitude and His coming to them walking on the water and His calming of the sea. He showed His "Godness" in both of them and wanted them to see that He was more than a man like them. He was God, He is God and He will take care of their/our every need.

I pray that you will be encouraged today by the fact that even as He was on the mountain praying and watching His disciples in their troubles, in the same manner today He is on the right hand of God making intercession for you. He first of all always prays for your soul's salvation so that you would know and experience the forgiveness of your sins that He accomplished on the cross of Calvary. That is always our Father's first desire for us, that we would receive the Gift that He has purchased for us with the blood of His Son. Be of good cheer today and believe that your sin has been blotted out through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

In my travels as a pastor I come accross many who are yet in the blindness of their own sin and continually blame others for the predicament that they are in, not recognizing that they have need of forgiveness themselves. Have we come to Him in our need for forgiveness?

As believers in Christ, sometimes the storms of life have come into our lives because we have through our attitudes and actions brought onto ourselves broken relationships. When this happens it is important to be open the teaching and counsel of the Word and Spirit so that we may clearly see what is our responsibility towards the restoration of the relationship. Storms, changed circumstances, in that way are like a friend to us in as a friend a changed circumstance causes us to reevaluate as to what or Who we are trusting in for our future.

One of my daughters, who is in the midst a big storm, shared with us that through it she has learned that the Lord is always near and is awaiting her cries for help in her time of need.

Lastly, my dear friend, the one who is in the midst of the storm, which may be raging and has been for a long time, know that He is mindful of your circumstance, know that He may be coming toward you now in a way that you cannot even imagine, and know that when you cry out to Him in your need, He will say to you: "Be of good cheer, It is I, Don't be afraid." But know this.....He will come to you!

Let us pray for one another,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 10 Aug 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Heart Worship and Perseverance of Faith 8.17.14
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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2/28 7:00 pm:Lent Service
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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.