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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Who is so great a God as our God!!!! 1/12/2013
Two thousand years ago, at the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended upon one born of a virgin, a Voice was heard from heaven which said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." In honor of His father and in obedience to Him, this man went onto to live a perfect and sinless life, preached a message of grace and truth, was rejected and mocked of nearly all the people, was followed by a handful, was forced to carry a wooden cross up a hill to a place called Calvary, and then was crucified as a common criminal. He lay in the grave for three days and on the third day creation moved as this man, Jesus, rose from the dead, was seen of many as being alive, ascended to heaven and on Pentecost Day, 50 days after arising from the dead, sent His Holy Spirit to indwell in the hearts of those who receive His gift of repentance and faith for the forgiveness of their sins. Because of this fact, because of this reality, today I greet you with:

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

We must always begin our time of worship with the Living God by remembering what is true and what is not true, so that we do not get deceived into thinking that our feelings and emotions define who we are. They do not, but yet they are an expression of who we are for it is through our feelings and emotions that we are able to relate with our God, with our Savior and with one another. We are who God says we are in His Word and not by what we feel or think we are. But yet we often times live in our emotions which can easily pull us away from what is true and what is reality.

Because of our fall into sin, there is not one person who has not been touched by disappointment, trouble, tragedy or disillusionment in their lives. For some of us these things occurred many years ago, some more recent, and are current and are ongoing,but all are very difficult to deal with. For events that we went through years ago yet confound and confuse us in our lives today and affect our relationships within our various family networks. For some of us live in situations in which we really do not see a clear way in which things are going to be resolved for the good.

Our deeper struggles in life often times get buried underneath layers of protection which are there so that we do not have to feel the pain all over again. We think, no one will understand, they might think of me as less, they do not have time for me, I do not want to go through the pain again.....

These are common experiences that humans have faced since the beginning. Just as they felt overwhelmed at times, we do too. Just as they felt discouragement, we do also. Just as they had fear of the future, so do we. Just as they were depressed without really understanding why, so are we. Just as they fell hopeless for the future, so do we. Just as they felt alone in their life, so do we. Just as they felt isolated in their life, so do we. And on it goes....we can fill in the blanks.

All this is due to our fall away from our original created state in which we lived in the honeymoon period with God, when temptation and conflict came, we chose ourselves rather than God, God resolved the breach through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and all who come into the knowledge and experience live a life trusting in God and not self. But not without struggles do we do so.

For the same principle applies in our lives as was written above. As Christians we enter into a honeymoon period, eventually conflict comes into our lives in some way, and depending upon how we respond and react to these conflict, individually or collectively, will determine as to whether things are worked out for a more harmonious relationship.

More simply we could say: Honeymoon, Conflict, Resolution, Harmony.

We often think, at least I do, how real can I be with God, How real can I be with other people? What does God say about how real we can be with Him? With one another?

Have you heard of Asaph? Have you ever met him?

He is the reputed author of Psalms 50 and 73 through 83. He was one of David's three chief musicians, The "Sons of Asaph" are mentioned in later times. They formed a group, and played a prominent part at each revival of the national religion.

Today we will consider Psalm 77 and will not go through it, dividing with headings the various sections and then will consider applications for our lives in relation to what has been written above.

The cry for help
KJV Psalm 77:1 I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not (My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; NKJ): my soul refused to be comforted. {sore: Heb. hand}
3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.

Asaph had troubles, he cried out in anguish to his God, and even though God had an open ear to Asaph, we are given to see how Asaph was human like us, for he had to struggle to return to the way of faith and trust in His God. We likewise cry out: Where are you, God? Can't you come down and straighten things out? Asaph continues his struggle.

The Butterfly’s Struggle
Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions in reality hurt the butterfly.

God waits so that the struggles in our lives will work out His purposes in our lives.

Asaph continues....

The sleepless nights wondering.....
4 Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
7 Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?
8 Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? {for evermore: Heb. to generation and generation?}
9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

We know the feeling and the experience. 'I could not sleep last night, I just lay there looking at the ceiling in the dark, not able to say anything. I even thought like this: "Life was so much simpler years ago, when there were not so many responsibilities and expectations for me. Those were the "good old days." As I lay there, I think, "I think of the songs that I know, the words, but they seem empty for me know. I cannot believe them for myself, they do not bring me comfort and hope like they have in the past. Then I even think like this:

Will my Lord cast me off forever? Will He no longer show favor to me?
Is His mercy gone away from me forever? Are His promises no longer true?
Has He forgotten about His grace? Is He so angry with me, that He will no longer extend His tender mercies to me?

This is what communing with our own heart does for us, we ask questions of our selves that are separated from what God says in His Word. In other words, we start to believe that our feelings and emotions define who we are. What happens next with Asaph? What do we do when we find ourselves in that place of struggle?

Faith Remembers, Meditates and Speaks.
10 And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

Asaph said, "This is my infirmity, or weakness, or tendency." We all are sinners, subject to thinking that our emotions and feelings define us and that our answers will come from within. But they never will...for now we come to a critical and pivotal point in the life of Asaph and to which we must also come to. He said, "But I will remember what the Lord has done."

Now we realize that Asaph was living in the pre Christ era, and so his vision of Christ was seen through prophecy which would be fulfilled in time. What we need to see is that in his struggle he moved from looking within himself and his feelings and emotions to that who the Lord was as revealed through His workings among His people. Asaph looked to the deliverance that the Lord had provided in the past, was providing now and will provide in the future. He spoke not of the good old days of his past, but the Lord's wonders of the past, or the old.

There are three key words that are seen here: I will remember, I will meditate, I will talk Let us note that the subject of these verbs is the Lord and not ourselves. Faith remembers, faith meditates and faith speaks. Let us be clear here as this is vitally important to understand what was just stated by putting the whole verse in front of us:

Faith Remembers, Meditates and Speaks.
10 And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

When we do that, do not think it strange if praise comes into our heart so that we say with Asaph as a result of his remembering, meditating upon and speaking of the works and ways of the Lord.

13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

In Asaph's day, the sanctuary would most likely refer to the tabernacle, the place where they met God, the Holy Place, the place of the Presence.. For us in the New Testament time, we would understand it in a more broad way in that in Christ we are safe, we are saved, we are protected and so on. There would be much discuss on this verse, but let us leave it with the simple meaning is seen in this psalm in relation of our focus today. "When we remember, meditate upon and speak of, faith is revived and strengthened to the point that our emotions and feelings are expressed both inwardly and outwardly through praise to the One who has called us, enlightened us, sanctified us and preserves us in our Christian faith.

But the Asaph continues.....

Faith remembers that the God of the past is the God of today and of tomorrow.
14 Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.
15 Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
16 The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.
17 The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.
18 The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.
19 Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.
20 Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

He remembered the past works of the Lord so that it would serve as an encouragement that the Lord will continue to work as He has in the past. He spoke of the Promise in verse 15 through the family of Abraham, our father of faith. He then expresses his wonder in that even the lifeless created sea (not being a living being, but yet a life of its own) acts is if it is alive, saying that the waters "saw' and "were afraid," the depth "were troubled."

After pointing out of the clouds pouring out water, of the noise in the sky, how the arrows went out, the heaven thundered, lightenings lightened the world, and how the earth trembled and shook, he spoke of the mysterious ways of the Lord. What he seems to be saying is that the outward and visible means of nature that the Lord uses for His purposes are amazing in themselves and that all nature/creation exists for the purposes of their Creator.

But then he speaks of the way of the Lord in the sea, of how His path is in the great waters and that His footsteps are not known and how He led His people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Wow...Wow...

Let us try to understand what this is all about, as we remember, meditate upon and speak fo the works of the Lord. What seems to be happening is that we are shown that the Lord uses clear means to lead His people, but the reason that He leads in the way that He does is not always quite so clear, hence:Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.

God Remembers Us
By Elsie Wirkkala
The writers in the Bible had doubts and often felt despondent. We are accustomed to read that they were heroes of the faith and bold confessors of it. The writer of Psalms is not afraid to reveal his doubts; that does God remember me? Thus we may confess our unbelief and thence trust that God is merciful to us sinners. We may pour out our feelings before Him. We may battle in our mind against despair and say, "God remember me, remember me again, do not reject me."

Another point we may notice. We are accustomed to think that God is an almighty majesty and king who rules everything. Everything is in His hands in this life. We think God has foreordained everything. We have no say in His plans. We have no influence on changing them. God knows, decides, dictates all.
When we think thus, God becomes to us cold, distant, and far off, foreign who cares little about our thoughts. We receive a picture of God who is hard and immovable. The gospels and the book of Isaiah give us a picture of a different God. A God who is near and warm, of a God to whom it is important what we feel and think and ask from Him. We have a God who hears our personal matters. He feels our experience in our daily lives. Of this we have an example of the woman of Canaan (Matthew 15:21-28) and also King Hezekiah (Isaiah 38).
May in our struggles we not interpret our struggles as rejection by Him, but see them as avenues to greater dependence and trust in Him. May we with patience receive and endure the teaching and training He wishes to give us through life's often times difficult circumstances.
In Christ alone,
Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 12 Jan 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Epiphany through Crisis 1/05/2013
On January 6th, the church celebrates Ephiphany, which commorates the visit of the Wisemen who followed the star from the east in order to find the One who was born the King of the Jews. This word is defined as meaning "a showing of a supernatural or divine reality," or a great or sudden revelation. This commemoration is applied to the revealing of Christ to the Gentiles throught the visit of the Magi, The Wisemen.

In our text from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, chapter 32, we observe Jacob seeking to be reunited with his brother Esau who had vowed to kill Jacob for taking the first born blessing from him. It had been many years since he had left his home area and now as he sought to meet his brother he was full of fear and worry. But he wished to be reconciled with his twin brother. This meeting was going to turn out to be one of the defining moments of his life as one of God's children.

As we learn from those who have gone before, may we be given the ability to apply these lessons into our lives today so that we may as much as is possible live at peace with all people. May we be able to say with the Psalmist David, "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Do I, do you need an epiphany from God?

May the grace mercy and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you today and forever, Amen.

Nature teaches us many lessons of life and of the workings of God in our lives. We see that when it is the appropriate time that the eagle begins to break up the nest, the eaglets must wonder what is going on. As the next disappears, they are forced to take flight, which at first does not go very well, but the watchful eagle soars below them to catch them each time they fall until they soar on their own.

Jacob had lived 20 years in a strange land, he was becoming comfortable in the strange land he lived in and his family was becoming affected or would be, so it was time to have his nest stirred up.

This stirring can come in various ways: A stirring by the Holy Spirit, a feeling of restlessness, changing of outward circumstances such as economic distress, diminishing support for one and their family, with all these often times being orchestrated by God so that He may bring one into a place of a greater knowledge and experience of His love and care in the forgiveness of our sin.. He often times needs to change our physical location in order to give us the ability to be able to cling to him rather than resist him. We resist Him by continuing to cling to our own abilities and do not cling to Him as He wishes we would do. Often times what is needed is a crisis of some sort in order to make a major change in our attitudes and behaviors.

In the case of Jacob, we see the seeds of this crisis are sown in the 31st chapter of Genesis.

KJV Genesis 31:1 And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.
2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
3 And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.

Here a very brief summary of the life of Jacob would be appropriate to consider.

Jacob and Esau
It was prophesied that the older, Esau, would serve the younger, Jacob.
Esau sold his birthright to Jacob
Jacob and his mom tricked Esau out of the first born blessing.

As a result, Esau looked for the day to get even with Jacob by killing him. Rebekah, their mother told Jacob to go away and she would let him know when Esau's anger would be not longer against him. Genesis 27:45

Rebekah did not want Jacob to marry one from Canaanites, shared this with Isaac and he counseled his son to not marry from the Canaanites, but to go to find a wife in the land where his uncle Laban lived. Jacob listened to this counsel and went accordingly, but Esau watching all this went to find a wife from the tribe of Ishmael as if to spite his father.

Along the way Jacob lay down to sleep and had a dream through which he was encouraged by the Lord of His faithfulness and that all that He had promised in the life of Jacob would come to pass. I place here a portion of that meeting in the dream...

Genesis 28:10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. {Haran: Gr. Charran}
11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. {spread...: Heb. break forth}
15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

He then met Rachel, worked seven years in order marry her, but on the wedding night, her sister was sent into the marriage chamber which Jacob discovered in the morning. He was told that he would have to work another seven years for Rachel, which he did and he married her while Leah remained his handmaiden. For Laban said, "In our country, it is not right to give the younger before the firstborn."

He fathered children through Leah, Bilhah, Zilpah,and Rachel, grew very rich and then came the time to return home and to the land of Esau.

Now Jacob obeys the command of the Lord to return to his homeland, where his brother Esau lives........On the way, he was strengthened by angels...the host of God

KJV Genesis 32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. {Mahanaim: that is, Two hosts, or, camps}

KJV Genesis 27:45 Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?

Was his brother still out to get him? That we do not know, so Jacob acts accordingly, by showing his willingness to reconcile with his brother through the offering of gifts.

3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. {country: Heb. field}
4 And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:
5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.

The messengers returned with the news that Esau was coming to meet him with a whole bunch of men, which caused fear and distress to Jacob. He concocted a plan to make the best out of a potentially poor situatiion.

6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;
8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.

Jacob prayed, remembering the Promise.
9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:

Considered himself as unworthy before God
10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.

Asked the Lord for His deliverance
11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. {with: Heb. upon}
12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

Jacob prayed, then planned....
13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;
14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,
15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.
16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.
17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?
18 Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.
19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.
20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me. {of me: Heb. my face}
21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.
22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.
23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.

Like anyone of us, he had prayed, but what was his motive in making all the plans to go to meet Esau. Was he making himself a backup plan? Maybe he was, like any of us do and will do due to our inability to trust God in all things. But wait, what happens next?

In the Night, Alone
24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

The conflict was initiated by the 'man', and not by Jacob. God came to him in his solitude. He was there alone and the 'man' came to him. Are there yet things that the Lord wants to show us that are idols in our heart and he wants to take them from us? Things that we are clinging to through which we trust in ourselves.

Peter was told by Jesus that he had gone through this experience, that when he was young he did what he wanted to do, but now in his later years, he is carried about by Another.

John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

When God wants to bring us into a greater place of dependence upon Him, He may choose to touch us someplace or in an area that will cause us to quit resisting and to begin to cling to Him.

Jacob would not quit fighting, his thigh was touched, and Jacob begin to cling rather than fight. He yielded to the Lord. Oh, Lord, what sinew is causing me to think that I can stand by myself? Oh, Lord, show me, take it from me, open my eyes.....

25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

The name Jacob means supplanter, heel holder
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. {Israel: that is, A prince of God}

29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. {Peniel: that is, The face of God}
31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.

Jacob was fearful of his brother Esau, he remembered God's promise in a historical sense, but a crisis was necessary to bring him to a place of personal need for the promises of God.

Then what happened? What is the rest of the story?

KJV Genesis 33:1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.
2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.
3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

We cannot miss the reality that initially he was in the background, but now he set all others aside and went forward to meet his brother, Esau. The crisis in the night had its fruit with Jacob. He went forth to meet his brother as a forgiven sinner and therefore had nothing to hide but wanted to restore his relationship with his brother. He no longer needed to hide. Oh, Lord, open up to us the lessons that are needful for us through the life of Jacob and Esau.........Show us, dear Lord, of the awfulness of fear, of pride, of isolation, of scheming, etc, and show us the beauty of love as it is demonstrated through openness, transparency, and honesty in our relationships.

Early this morning, my wife woke me and said that the furnace is not working. As I checked it out, I discovered that it would start and then stop. In this cold, we were quite concerned so I began to check into it and found out that that igniter had become covered by a substance that caused the main burner to flame only a few seconds. and then it would go out. After cleaning the igniter rod, the furnace began to work normally. A crisis was needed to force me to deal with the situation.

God must bring us to a place of crisis to be able to truly reveal Himself to us. This is when faith takes hold of His Promise, that we are forgiven because of Christ's obedience, for His promise never fails. We should never progress beyond our need to hear that God has forgiven us in Christ. Growing in grace is coming to a greater need of our reliance on the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

Life is a long struggle against the love of God, but God is merciful and gracious in his dealings with us. Sometimes only some sort of crisis in our life will He be able to cause us to stop clinging to self and cause us to cling to Him more and more, namely that we are forgiven through Christ being our Saviour. We must resist the tendency to think that we outgrow our need of forgiveness of our sins through faith in Christ.

It is His intention for our lives, that as life goes on, we cling more and more to
Him and His Promise of eternal life through the forgiveness of our sin, so that in view of eternity we can say with the Psalmist, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

May His grace be upon you today and always,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 05 Jan 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Who is so great a God as our God!!!! 1/12/2013
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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12/13 6:00 p.m.:Soup, Sandwic...
12/20 7:00 p.m.:Advent Service
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Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob