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

When we see Christ 3/9/2014
Dear friend,

KJV Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.


KJV John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

As Jesus spoke to his beloved disciples before He delivered Himself up to be crucified, He spoke some very comforting words to them which are contained in the verse that we are committing to memory. He is bringing to conclusion His long and intimate conversation with them (John 13-17) desiring to point them to the peace that is theirs even in the midst of a fallen and sinful world. And even though they do not understand the deeper meaning of what He is telling them at this time, these words will certainly be remembered and understood after the Holy Spirit comes to them on the day of Pentecost. Then they will understand the meaning of the peace that He was referring to, which is the peace of God that we regularly greet one another with that is ours because He has overcome the world through His defeat of death, sin and the devil.

Today is the first day of Lent in which we in our tradition prepare for the great celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).

The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. One could call it a ritual and in that it could be viewed as some other tradition of man to be followed, but on the other hand one could also allow it to guide one's meditations into those Scriptures which specifically focus on the love of God which was demonstrated on the cross. Tradition and ritual in and of themselves are not a bad thing, but it is only when they become rote and meaningless observances lack of the meaning and purpose behind them that they lose their power. May we pray that through these times together with one another and in prayer in His Word that we would be drawn to a deeper relationship with our beloved Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

We heard read the account from Genesis of the temptation of man in the Garden of Eden in which he/we fell into sin. There are two temptations stories in the Bible: There is man's temptation and there is Christ's temptation. All other temptations are connected to these two temptations. When man is tempted, man will fall, when Christ is tempted, Satan will fall.

In our Psalm reading we heard the testimony of King David concerning his tempation, fall, repentance and restoration. In our sermon text, we will hear of the temptation of Jesus Christ and of His demonstration of His victory.

Let us prayerfully read our text of meditation for today.

KJV Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

This temptation occurred right after Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptizer, after the Holy Spirit had descended upon Jesus and after He had heard His Father speak from heaven those wonderful words: "You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Now He is led into the wilderness by the Spirit. Let us note that the devil did not ask for Jesus to be sent into the wilderness, but rather Jesus was sent by the Spirit. This should give us some knowledge as to what this was all about in that it was going to be a demonstration of the power of God in Christ rather than a contest to see who is the stronger. That is not in question at all here, but rather it will be another "nail in the coffin" of Satan as Jesus proceeds forward with His mission of redemption.

After forty days without food, the tempter came to Jesus.

The question is brought before all men: "Has God really said?"


In tempations 1 and 2,

He directly challenged God's authority:

He sought to sow doubt of Jesus's identity as the Son of God.

He tried to get Jesus to use His powers to do a miracle for Himself.

In each answer, Jesus stayed connected to God and His Word.


In 2:

The devil quoted scripture in his attempt to get Jesus to separate from the Word of God but He misquoted Psalm 91:11-12

Ps 91:11-12 He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Satan left out the bold below)

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (God)



In 3: The devil does not use the doubt tactic this time, but now he like throws the best he has at Jesus, offering him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. Would Jesus go for this one? It seems like the devil has given up trying to separate Jesus from His Father and His Word, so now perhaps Jesus will be enticed to go for the honor and glory of man in all his Possessions Pride and power. The three P's.....Possessions, Pride, Power

What is the devil doing? Does he not know who Jesus is and what he came here for? Pride comes to the forefront here in the devil's attack, and why not. It worked with the first Adam, it has continued to work through the years with the result that people war against each other instead of against the devil who is the real enemy. But as we said earlier, this is no contest, but this is a demonstration of the power of God in Christ Jesus. Where as pride desires to have and to use things for personal gain, humility seeks to serve others and in the case of Jesus, He came to serve and not to be served. From John's gospel we are reminded of who Jesus is.:

23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.


Matt 4: 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Here we see the mind and heart of Jesus. He did not seek his own glory, but he sought the glory of his Father, through humility and service delivering to us forgiveness of sins through His offering of Himself for us. How could all the glory of things that are passing away even begin to compare with the joy that was in the mind and heart of Jesus in the rescue of your soul and my soul?

Worship: It is ascribing worth to someone. Jesus here tells the devil that there is only One worthy of worship, the Lord thy God. The evidence of His worship of God by Jesus was that He was staying connected to His Father, His God and His Word.

In a month and a half, we will again come face to face with the greatest demonstration of worship ever done, for on Good Friday, we will see love crucified on our behalf.

What was it like for Jesus, forty days in alone with no one around, no people to encourage him, no voice from heaven, He was alone with the devil. How long was this going to go on? What more did weapons did the devil have to use to stop Jesus' mission of love. But, wait, the devil left him.....and behold, notice the word behold, the angels came and ministered unto him..........He was alone, He was hungry, He had been attacked, but He did not yield. He was tempted in all ways, but without sin. Behold, the angels came and ministered unto Him. They served Him.

Matthew 4: 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

How is with you, friend? How is your hope meeter reading today? Is it on the low side as you struggle with disappointments in yourself, in others, in God? These are common experiences that we all struggle with, and at times we get very depressed as we look at our past and our present, and then at our future prospects of things getting better. Yes, life is hard.....But dear friend, please consider the kindness of God even in the last verse of our text today towards His Son as for a time He left Him in order that His Son would demonstrate the power of His God in His victory parade over the devil.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Please remember how we began this writing with the verse from John which speaks of peace that He wants us to live in even in the midst of this decaying and self serving world in which we think and speak much more of self than others. He has overcome the world, so it is His desire that we would live in His victory by faith. Consider this verse which John later wrote in his first letter, in chapter five.

1 John 5 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

And then with the encouragement of Apostle Paul to the Romans in chapter 8, which reminds us that the victory is our now with only time separating us from the eventual reality.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Four questions and four straightforward and clear answers. So dear friend, by faith in Christ's service of love for you on the cross, heaven is yours. As you read these words, as they sink deep into your mind, heart and soul, and as you sing along with the words of the following hymn (I encourage you to get in on youtube), may the angels of God come to minister to your needs......

"When we see Christ"

Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We're tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God's eternal day.

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One gliimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light,
We're tossed and driven on , no human help in sight;
But there is one in heav'n who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem - just go to Him in pray'r.

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One gliimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Life's day will soon be o'er, all storms forever past,
We'll cross the great divide, to glory, safe at last;
We'll share the joys of heav'n - a harp, a home, a crown,
The tempter will be banished, we'll lay our burden down.

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One gliimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

In Christ alone we rest, we trust and we hope,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala



Posted on 09 Mar 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Be Hearing Him! 3/2/2014

Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you today and always.

KJV Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.
5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.
7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.


In the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, God to His Son from heaven when He was baptized by John the Baptizer.

Mark 1:9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

In our text today, God spoke about His Son from heaven to the disciples/us.

Mark 9: 7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

As those who are baptized into Jesus Christ, we are called upon to listen to God speak through Jesus and the Word. According to the Jewish practice, Peter along with the other disciples would have been circumcised at the eighth day and so they were those who belonged to the Jewish community of faith which was according to the Promise of the Messiah.

In the 8th chapter of Mark, after giving his testimony that Christ is the Son of God, Peter rebuked Jesus for speaking of his betrayal, suffering, death and resurrection, not understanding what Jesus was referring to. After Jesus rebuked him back, Jesus pointed out that those who disowned themselves and joined themselves unto Him would also suffer great loss of the things of this life and world.

Peter and the disciples must have been suffering whiplash as they struggled with the concept of the passion of their Saviour, not understanding at all at this point of what He meant by 'his rising again from the dead." He then took the three, Peter, James and John up into a high mountain where He was changed before them, revealing the glory of God which shined out through the veil of His flesh.

The disciples then saw Moses and Elijah in their glorified state talking with Jesus, discussiong Jesus' departure out of this world through the cross. Peter, being ready to say something said it is good to be here and let us make three tents, one for Christ, one for Moses and one for Elijah, not knowing what he was saying. A cloud then came over, through which they heard a voice from heaven: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, be hearing him.

Matthew 17: 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
7.And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

Teaching from this text: Christ is the Son of God, He must go to the cross to pay for our sins, and we receive this gift through faith. All prophecy that came before the appearance of Jesus Christ recedes into the background and Christ alone remains. May we be reminded today by our Lord today and always of His wonderful grace and forgiveness.

And may we be as the centurion, who after Jesus died on the cross, said:

Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.


Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 02 Mar 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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When we see Christ 3/9/2014
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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