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

Living to bless others 8/18/2013
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today we read from the end of Joseph's life, one whose life takes up 13 chapters in the book of Genesis. We pick up the story after the death of his father, Jacob upon their return to Egypt....

Genesis 50:14 And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.
15 And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
22 And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.
23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph's knees.
24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

We also read of what is written later of the life of Joseph, in the Old Testament Psalms.

Psalm 105:16 Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.
17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
18 Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:
19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.
20 The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.
21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: {substance: Heb. possession}
22 To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

And we read of the beginning of Joseph's story, of the prophecy of his future, how he was imprisoned after being falsely accused, how he was forgotten by the chief butler and of when he revealed himself to his brothers.

Joseph's beginning
KJV Genesis 37:1 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.
2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. {colours: or, pieces}
4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.

False Accusation
17 And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:
18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.
20 And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.
21 But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

Forgotten by the chief butler
18 And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days:
19 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.
20 And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.
21 And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand:
22 But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.
23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.

He reveals himself to his brothers
KJV Genesis 45:1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
2 And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.
4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

And now the original text that we placed at the beginning of this writing:

Joseph was sent to save "much people alive."
Genesis 60:14 And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.
15 And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

22 And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.
23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph's knees.
24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.


Now, what does the Hebrew writer have to say about the life of Joseph? How much detail does he go into? The writer does not refer to any of the specific details/trials/troubles of his life, but focuses on the fact the Joseph believed in the Promise of the Messiah, Christ, a life which was evidenced by what is written in Genesis 50 verses 24-25.


KJV Hebrews 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

Genesis 50;24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

None of his trials are mentioned and none of his accomplishments are mentioned. He only records the important element of life: faith... for only faith sees and takes us into the future. Joseph, when it is all said and done, tells his dear brothers, I am going to die, God will surely visit you and bring you out of this land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as He promised us. He called upon them to swear that they would take his bones with them to that promised land. My contribution is done, God has saved His people alive and your journey to the Promised land continues. As Apostle Paul would say later,

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

We might ask why did Joseph have them take his bones with them. Was it to be a reminder to them of God's faithfulness and deliverance with Joseph being a tool in God's hands for that deliverance? Could be, but I am not sure. Is it a visible sign that they needed to be reminded of God's deliverance in the past for a continued encouragement for the present and for the future? Could there be shadows of the remembrance that we partake of in the Lord's Supper, when we partake of His body and blood?

May this meditation be an encouragement to all to continue trusting in that which the Lord has promised. May we recognize that in the life of faith there have been, are and will be many trials of testing for the purpose of one's strength being increased, so that we may do our part in God's bigger plan. Just as Joseph was encouraged in his trials, so we also have and will continue to receive assurance and encouragement from the Word and the Spirit as we continue trusting in the Promise of God in Christ Jesus.

We are not alone, for all believers who have died before us are not complete without us as written. Let us continue to run the race that is set before us, looking up into the face of Jesus where all our hopes are fulfilled in Him.....

Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
KJV Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

May His grace be upon us all today!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 18 Aug 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Faith and Hope 8/11/2013
Grace mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our meditation is in the book of Hebrews, 11:1-16 and I present the text in outline form.

What is Faith?
KJV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Abel lived by faith
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Enoch lived by faith
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Noah lived by faith
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Abraham lived by faith
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Sara lived by faith
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.



Dear friend,

Have you met Abraham, whom the Bible calls the father of faith? He is well known in the Bible and if one is somewhat familiar with the Bible, it is difficult to miss his role in the history of the church. He is first mentioned in Genesis 11:26 by the name Abram (exalted father) and later his name was changed to Abraham (father of a great multitude) in Genesis 17:5. He was the ancestor of Jesus Christ and it was through his descendants that Christ was born into this world. (Matthew 1:17) God called him and gave him this promise of the blessing that would come through his family, sayiing that ALL the families of the earth would be blessed. My friend, that includes you and I.

KJV Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

He like all of us at times struggled with taking God as His Word, and therefore had conversations with Him about the future. Here is one of those conversations....

KJV Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Abram had heard the voice of the LORD speak to him (Genesis 12:1-3) and in time the LORD brought him more information/details about the future. He told him not to fear the future, for "I am your shield (defender/protector) and your exceeding great reward." In other words, what I have promised through you and for you is very very great!

Abram, like any interested person, asked for clarification of that vision that came to him from the Lord. He was told that it would not be someone else's seed through whom the Promise (Christ) but it would be through his seed. To encourage Abram, the LORD then took him outside, pointed him to the heavens and all the stars, and told him that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars of the heavens.

Abram took God as His Word, and it was chalked up as rightness with God for Abram. This is why Abraham is called the father of faith in the Bible.

Faith means to place our trust in God through Christ, believing God for our future. We are trusting our life in the hands of God, for the future that He has in store for us through Christ.

Hope we think of as our desire, something we would like to see happen, but in biblical language hope refers to the future promises of God, which have not yet taken place, but will most certainly happen. Our hope is like the anchor of the soul, for we believe God for our future.

Even though faith and hope may be distinguished from each other, yet they are very closely related. Faith is what gives substance to our hope.

How do we know that the future promises of God will come to pass? Because we trust God, for people of faith are those who trust God. It is because of the faithfulness of God that we have assurance for the future. Because we have faith, there is hope. Without faith, there is no hope. People have hope today, but not all are putting their hope in the Promise of God, which means they have a hope that is not biblical and it is a hope that will leave them disappointed.

All these people lived their lives in trust of God. They were sinners just like we are which means that they yet struggled with doubt and disappointment which caused them to forget the Promise at times. But through it all they took God as His Word. May we do the same in our lives.

When we succumb to unbelief, it causes us to fear the future, by making assumptions about the future. Here are two more examples of our forefathers who looked to the future, one lacked faith and the other possessed faith. David thought he knew the future, but did he? He knew that Samuel had anointed him to be king of Israel, but fear caused him to lose sight of God's promise.

David´s fear
KJV 1 Samuel 27:1 And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.

And Apostle Paul's faith
KJV 2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Is tomorrow seen by us? No, we are finite humans and cannot see tomorrow. We don't know about tomorrow, but we know He holds the future. Many things about tomorrow, we don't understand, but we know He holds our hand.

Recently when I asked a brother as to how I could pray for him, this is what he said: "Pray that I would trust in God who is unseen and that I would not fear the seen circumstances!"

May that be our prayer for one another.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 11 Aug 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Living to bless others 8/18/2013
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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