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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A letter from heaven to the graduate
There is a lot of excitement in the air as graduation from high school/college is celebrated all across our great land of our United States of America.

Speeches are made through which the accomplishments of the past are celebrated, appreciation for those who have contributed to those accomplishments is given, and the hopes and dreams for future accomplishment and contributions are planned and charted. But suppose, just suppose Our Triune God was giving the speech at the commencement exercises. What would He say? I have considered this and prayerfully have from the Scriptures written what He could say to our dear graduates on their occasion of graduation.

To my dear child,

I am thankful for you and I joy in you. I have great pleasure in your being and I pour out my favor upon you this day through my Son Jesus in the Holy Spirit. I am love and therefore I love you, my dear child.

I has blessed you, my dear child, with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. I made a decision for you for Myself before the foundation of the world, that you should be holy and blameless before Me through Jesus, in love. I chose My path for you by adopting you through Jesus Christ, because that is what I wanted to do, so that My Name would be made great through you in Christ Jesus. For my greatest desire for you, my dear child, is that you would know and experience the blessings of My grace and mercy: The forgiveness of your sins, a blessed and fruitful life here on earth in the midst of the sinful and fallen world and eternity with me and all those who are Mine.

You have reached a big milestone in your life and are looking ahead into your future with hope and excitement. You know and believe that the foundation of your life that you have received through your parents and family, through your church and through your godly friends is built upon my Son, the Solid Rock as revealed in the Bible. And you know that the plans and future I have for you are of hope and of expectation, a future which ultimately will be in heaven with Me.

In your early years of Sunday School you learned the basics about who I am. One of the first things that you learned is that I am for you and not against you. From the First Commandment comes this beautiful affirmation of My love for you: "I am the Lord your God, Thou shalt not have any other gods before me."
What I am saying in this Commandment is the same thought that is included in the second paragraph of this letter to you, that I have made a decision for you through Jesus Christ because that is what I wanted to do for you. You were lost and I found you. I love you and want to have an exclusive relationship of love and truth through my Son Jesus.

My dear child, I love you so much that I do not want anything to come between us in our relationship that would cause us to be separated in our love. I am for you, not against you. Because I love you, I warn you against those things that would cause your devotion to Me to be divided, so that you and I would no longer be one in My love and truth.

My dear child, if you lack wisdom, ask Me for it, and I will give it to you, for I give it generously and I never rebuke anyone who asks Me for My wisdom. But remember to ask in faith, don't doubt Me, for when you doubt Me, you will be like a wave in the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.

I have left you with a wonderful book of wisdom, called Proverbs which will teach you, along with the rest of My Word, how to live your everyday life. Please remember that My wisdom is lived out by applying My knowledge into your everyday life. I have given you a ready made reading plan for reading the book of Proverbs as there are 31 chapters in this book. Once you get into a rhythm of reading the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the day's date, you will find that over time you will look forward to hearing of wisdom from Me daily. This will help you immensely to be able to discern that which is good from that which is evil. Stand on those things that I say, dear Alex, and you will have a blessed life and one that will be a blessing to others around you. I have blessed you so that you may be a blessing to others. Stand firm on those things that I share with you from My love letter to you, the Bible.

Perhaps each morning, My dear child, when you arise from a night's sleep, consider putting on My armor, one piece at a time. Beginning with your heart and mind turned heavenward in a spirit of prayer, first wrap around you the belt of truth onto which all other parts of My armor will be fastened. This is where reading my Word comes in, My dear child, for that is like putting on the belt of truth each day. Vow to walk in truth as you begin each new day in Me.

Then consider putting on the breastplate which means that you are covered by the righteousness of My Son, Jesus Christ. Do not forget, My dear child, that My Son was tempted in all points by sin, but He never sinned. Through your believing in Him, His perfection is your perfection, never never forget that, for your entire existence is based upon this truth. That is why I invite you to first put on the belt of truth, for all of your beliefs and convictions must be connected to My Word of Truth, the Bible.

As you go through life, you may be tempted to believe that your identity as a person is based on your accomplishments, your outward appearance, your popularity and so forth. But that is not how I place value upon you, for you are priceless in my sight because I created you in My image. Even though you fell into sin along with the entire human race, My Son has given you a new identity by dying in your place for your sin, experiencing death for you, and then arising from the dead on Easter morning. You died in Him and were also raised in Him. You now exist in Him and through Him you are a new creation in Christ. Never, never, never forget that!! You do not belong to the world, to the Deceiver or to your own estimation of yourself.

As you slip into the shoes of peace, know that they will be able to keep your feet firmly planted on the promises of God as you began to walk the new day in Him. They will not only keep you from slipping, but they will also give you a sense of peace as you live in the peace that He gave you and a peace that the world cannot ever take away from you. He is your Peace and your Stability..

Then grasp the shield of faith in one of your hands by which you are able to move from position to position to ward off the darts of accusation that you know the devil will throw at you in the new day as he tries to take away the peace that you have, my dear child. The Deceiver does not want to you believe that forgiveness is a gift, but that it is something that you have to earn or something which you deserve. That is not right, for I have given you the greatest gift ever, for My Son took your sin and guilt and gave you forgiveness and life through the Gospel. Always believe that message, always believe it and never doubt it!

As you place the shield over your head so that your mind would be protected from ungodly thoughts that tend to creep into our minds, know that by thinking on the things of God your mind will be protected as well as it will be disciplined to grow to be more like the mind of Christ.

Lastly before you head out the door to face the new day, I ask you to pick up one of the two offensive weapons of your armor, My Word. With this sword of the Spirit you will be able to address any questions that would come before you in your day. You will be able to ward off any attack that might come against you. As you leave your home, do so with the other offensive weapon, prayer, by being in the spirit of prayer as you step into the light of a new day. For having put on My entire armor, you are now prepared to walk in my truth in love and to demonstrate through your attitudes, words and actions of who you are in My Son, Jesus Christ.

May your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge of Me and in all judgment; That you approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of Me.

We love you, We are in you and you one in Us, My dear child.

God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit,
Posted on 01 Jun 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Remembering 5/25/2014
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creation.

2 Peter 1: 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.
13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder,

Tomorrow is Memorial Day and a day which is set aside for the remembering and honoring of those who have passed on before us. Originally called Decoration Day, it is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.
Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

It is now celebrated in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 363). This helped ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays, though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19th in Texas; April 26th in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10th in South Carolina; and June 3rd (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

We honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom by serving in the Armed Forces so that we could continue to live in this freedom on our United States of America. May their examples move us to appreciation for their service, may their examples inspire us to serve sacrificially today in whatever area that we may find opportunity to serve our neighbor.

In our two Scripture texts is revealed source of Spiritual Freedom, the empowerment of Spiritual Fruitfulness and the practice of the True Fruitfulness that is the result of the coming of God in Christ Jesus to this world. He came so that we might be set free from the tyranny and slavery of the Deceiver and from his bondage/slavery. He came that we might be freed from bondage to self and so that we could be empowered to serve others by love.

There are two dimensions of freedom, the physical and the spiritual. We have already referred to the physical freedom and alluded to the spiritual freedom. Jesus addressed the spiritual freedom also:

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’”John 8:31-32

We all value our political and physical freedom, but we realize that the liberty which we have received through the merits of Jesus is superior to all other freedoms, for it is a freedom which is guaranteed. There will never have to be another battle in which to win this freedom.

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 1:13

It is possible for a person to live in the freedom of the political nature, but to be a slave to sin. It is also possible for one to live under a totalitarian type of government, but as a free child of God, in the grace of our Lord Jesus through faith.

Therefore, in order to maintain this spiritual freedom, it is important to remember that in our spiritual relationship with Jesus we must continue to abide in His word, which gives unto us direction.

Even though Memorial Day is founded and grounded in military history, it has evolved to a day when we all remember our departed loved ones, whether they were in the military or not. This week my wife and I are in New Hampshire where we attended the funeral of her sister, Karen Aho of New Ipswich NH. It was an amazing time of reflection on a life that was lived for the benefit of others, which was evidenced by the presence and words of many of those to whom Karen ministered in her life her on this earth. A life that was not her own, but a life that reflected and demonstrated the life of Jesus Christ who gave Himself for her, for us, for you. Perhaps you could get a feel for her life through the words that were written by her sister, my wife, after the funeral and burial were done this past Friday.

"The day is done.....quietness is around me.....pondering on the day. My sweet sister's body has been laid to rest. I had times of weeping, times of laughter in memories, times of praise to our Heavenly Father for His glory( which Gabe reminded us that it isn't just the light of God but His nature of love, grace, mercy etc.), times of seeing how God blesses us through the many gifts He has given His children ( guitar, keyboard, and bagpipe music, singing, speaking, meals, gracious hearts reaching out to the sad hearts, umbrellas being handed out to shield us from the rain drops at the cemetery). I found myself thinking and feeling like we were getting a hint of heaven as we were surrounded by so much love. This has been so hard....but now I want to thank each of you who sent love and prayers our way during this time. God bless you for your caring messages and hugs. It meant more than I can express in words. I will miss my sister....I learned so much from her. Good night." (Beth Wirkkala)

1 Thess 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

May the Lord give us His peace and comfort today as we miss our loved ones who left this life earlier that any of us wanted them to. May the pain of their being absent from the body be soothed with the assurance that being absent from the body means that they are now present with the Lord. We understand that it is somewhat natural that our parents have died before us, and even our spouses, but it is quite unnatural when children pass away before their parents. So, for those of you who have lost your offspring, may the gentle grace of our Lord Jesus Christ minister comfort and peace to you today as you remember your dear loved one.

Remembering with you today,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 25 May 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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A letter from heaven to the graduate
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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