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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The Powerless Death 5/18/2014
John 11:20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Dear friend,

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you now and always, Amen.
Recently at one of the many funerals that I have been at lately, I sat by a man who in his life has lost to death his first wife, his second wife, his closest in relationship sister and his only two children. He shared with me as to how within the last two years he has "gotten tired" and no longer has much zest for life. As I listened to him share his thoughts with me, thinking about how he said that many of those deaths occurred in one year and that it took five years before he stopped crying, I could only cry inside to the One who knows all things and understands all the pain that we as humans go through in this life. It was not difficult for me to understand why he could say what he said about losing his "zest" for life.

The friends of Jesus, Mary and Martha, experienced the pain of separation in their life with the death of their brother Lazarus, not yet understanding that the resurrection from the dead was standing before them in Jesus the Christ. They understood that they would see their brother in the final resurrection from the dead, but they were not able to understand that Jesus was telling them that their brother is only sleeping and that he is not separated from them forever. He wanted them to know that they are united forever with their brother in the present through Himself and that it is only for a little while before they will be able to say "Good Morning" after they say this good night at his grave side. They need not sorrow as those without hope....

In order to encourage them as well as to point them to Himself, Jesus then raised Lazarus from the dead which was demonstrating to all of what would occur on Easter morning: After being in a grave as Lazarus was, Jesus would arise also from the dead, demonstrating the truth of what He told Mary and Martha that He was the Resurrection and the Life!

How is it with us? Do we live in the victory and the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? How old do we have to be before we are able to understand what this means? How old were we when we began to understand these things as God revealed them to us through our parents, our friends, our Sunday School teachers and so on? How old were we before we began to understand that God was good, that He loved us and that He has received us through His Son Jesus? How has that gone for you, for me? Thinking about these questions, let us consider recent happenings which occurred, yes, at recent funerals.

First of all, I go back to my dear brother Phil Johnson who died about a month ago and of how he told me that when children hear about Jesus dying for their sins, they believe it. They hear it, they believe it and they know that they are on the way to heaven. The example below testifies to what he stated....

A five year old cousin, Skyler Impola, was killed while trying to climb into a piece of equipment when the bucket which was up in the air came down and crushed his little body. The minister began his funeral sermon with these words: "After Skyler's father called me to tell me what had happened, I hurried over to his farm. When I came to the site where the accident had happened, I was met by two little boys, Skyler's cousins, who came running up to me and shouted to me: "Skyler's in heaven!"

And then just last week I attended the funeral of 90 year old Lauri Lappi in Negaunee, MI since his son and I are good friends and since Lauri used to visit my job sites in the west while I was still logging. A story was told of Lauri and of his first memory at the funeral. It went like this:

"I had a knife that I had found when I was five years old and when my sister saw me playing with it, she tried to take it away from me, I did not let her. Finally she got so persistent that she grabbed ahold of the sharp blade of the knife with her hand and I pulled it away from her, cutting her hand deeply in the process. As a result of seeing what I had done, I ran and hid in the woods and did not want to go into my home and face my dad. I struggled for a long time outside, it began to get dark and finally figured that I must go to my father and face up to him. I remember climbing up on to the porch, I remember opening the door, I remember seeing my dad's big boots and as I raised my eyes to his face expecting to see an angry father glaring at me. But.... instead I saw a merciful and kind face looking down at me, felt his big arms wrap around me and heard him telling me, "It's okay, son. It's okay................... "

It was 85 years later that my brother in Christ entered onto the porch of heaven, the door was opened and he looked up to see the same kind and merciful face that He had seen 85 years before.

May our thoughts be blessed as we reminiesce of the revelation of Jesus Christ into our lives as we allow our thoughts to center on the goodness of God that came from those who loved us and nourished us in our youth. May those experiences which did not reveal the loving heart of a merciful and kind Father be lost in the sea of forgetfulness so that they would not crowd out all the revelations of goodness and kindness that He has poured out into our lives in our past.

It is so easy and it seems so natural to live today as a result of the past experiences which have caused us not to see the goodness of God, but rather to reject Him or to accuse Him of bringing bad. May through all the confusion and hurt that we may have experienced we be able to see the goodness of God being extended to us through those who love us and care for us.

He is the Resurrection and the Life and believing in Him, our bodies will die, but our souls lives on, for we are in Him forever........

May His grace be upon us today.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 18 May 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Our Mothers 5.11.2014
May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you now and always, Amen.

2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned (sincere) faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;

Within the two verses from the Holy Scriptures placed above, we see the faithfulness of God toward Timothy, that had extended from his grandmother Lois, to his mother Eunice, and to himself, as well as that the promise of the mercy of the Lord is forever, to them that fear him. God not only promises us this continued mercy, but he also promises it to our childrenfs children. In other words, our grandchildren.......great grandchildren....great great grandchildren...

We are thankful for our mothers who carried us unto birth and who have been the first preachers of the gospel toward us as they modeled the grace of God toward us through their selfless and patient service towards our selfish needs as a baby. They have also spoken to us of Jesus from our youth, for they have learned from their (our grandmothers) mothers that the Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation.

They have also showed us what it means to trust God in the midst of life's circumstances. My mother, who was called out of this life to the glory of heaven nearly a year, preached to me what was probably the shortest sermon that I ever heard anyone speak, but what she said perhaps had the greatest impact on me as far as understanding how she looked at life. She had lost her husband (my father) when she was 44 years old and was left with 11 children from ages 3 to 20. In addition to losing her husband, she lost her daughter, my sister, who died at 20 years of age five years later. A number of years ago I had asked her how she had been able to cope with all the challenges that came with raising us without her husband. She told me, "The more I trusted, the less I worried." Her strength was not in herself, but it was in the power of the Lord's might.

When the foundation of our life is Jesus, not even the tornadoes and severe thunder storms of life are able to succeed in toppling our "house of faith." Knowing that time together strengthens our relationship with God, let us draw near to Him, knowing that when we do so, He will draw near to us. We draw near to Him through the prayerful hearing, reading and meditation of the Holy Scriptures, through prayer, through fellowship, as well as through partaking of the Sacrament of Holy Communion, knowing that through these means of grace, we are strengthened, established and settled in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.

May mothers of all ages be thanked today for your love, patience, and steadfastness in the nurturing of your children. May you continue in the strength and wisdom of our Lord to sow the good seed of the gospel into the hearts and lives of those you love.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 11 May 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Powerless Death 5/18/2014
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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