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 Good News! 10/27/2013
Dear friend,

May we realize today that God's grace is upon us today through Jesus Christ His Son, who came to give us the Good News.

Today we are remembering one of the most significant events in the history of the Christian Church: The Protestant Reformation and the life and contributions of Martin Luther. (1483-1546) toward this reformation that came into the God's Church during that era. The word Protestant comes from the word protest and the term Reformation from the word reform. God's Church at that time had strayed away from the Scriptures and the time came in God's oversight of His kingdom for much needed reforms.

All Christian congregations hold to the truth that their church exists because they are followers of Jesus Christ and they desire to continue the church that He promised to build (and has built) as it is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. The impetus of contining the church of Jesus Christ is that we as believers have received the Good News from God through Jesus Christ and desire to tell others of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Our understanding of the church and its role cannot be understood outside of the biblical knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and of the meaning of His Life, Death and Resurrection. We must start there and remain there.....

When did the Christian Church begin? How did it begin?

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Peter, one of Jesus' 12 original 12 disciples, was given revelation from above to believe/know that Jesus was the Son of the living God. As a result of Peter receiving this knowledge by revelation from God, Jesus spoke of His future Church on the basis of this revelation of truth from God. Initially Jesus had asked the group as to what others were saying about Himself, but then He got more direct with His question: "But whom say ye that I am?"

Jesus stated that through the revelation from God that His Church was going to be built and hell would not ever destroy His Church. He then went on to say that in the future, He will give unto the Church the keys of loosing and binding, which He did as recorded in John's Gospel. John 20:19-21 So far so good...but then.....

Immediately after this Jesus began to show His disciples that of the Event that would begin the Church....He began to let them in on the Good News!!! But for Peter and the disciples, it is Bad News.....

Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Peter responded vehemently to Jesus when He told them of His eventual death, but was sharply rebuked by Jesus as speaking foolishly as well as ignorantly....In time Peter would understand more of what Jesus is about.....He would eventually come to understand the Good News!

Now let us fast forward to the 16th century and to the time of the Reformation. The Church had been in existence for 1500 or so years now and the Good News of Jesus Christ was being preached, but it had become hidden behind all kinds of extra requirements as layed out by the Church. We need to be reminded that very few could in those days so they were left with only being able to listen to others tell them the Good News. They had no ability to read the actual Bible for themselves....They did not hear the Good News......

Good News turned to Bad News
Martin Luther was a monk who was tortured by this question: How does one please God? He had tried to live a good life, had confessed his sins as much as he could, but was left in a condition that was without peace. He would go to confession so much that the priests hated to see him come to them since he would take up so much of their time. This is how it went for Martin Luther. He just could not live up to the demands of the Church and therefore of God. The Good News of the Gospel was Bad News!

Then one day he was reading in the book of Romans and he came to these two verses that were written by Apostle Paul under the direction of the Holy Spirit, or to say it another way, were written by God.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Luther's struggle with God came to a head as he was wrestling with this Romans 1:17. He tells us that he was extremely zealous to understand Romans but that this phrase about God's righteousness stood in the way. This phrase, which to us is so clearly good news, was for Luther bad news.

Whenever he came across the phrase "the righteousness of God" in Scripture, it terrified him ("struck my conscience like lightning," "was like a thunderbolt in my heart") because he knew that he was an unrighteous sinner who fell far short of God's righteous (perfect) demands. It was Bad News.....

Even worse, Rom. 1:17, filled Luther with anger and hatred toward God. "I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners." Is it not enough, Luther tells us he murmured, that God crushes us miserable sinners with His law, that He has to threaten us with punishment through the Gospel, too?

After meditating day and night, finally the breakthrough came when Luther gave heed to the words at the end of 1:17, "He who through faith is righteous shall live." Then he realized that the verse was not talking about the active righteousness that God demands, but the passive righteousness that He freely gives to those who believe the Gospel. The sinner is justified (declared righteous) by God through faith in the work and death of Jesus, not by our work or keeping of the Law. Put another way, the sinner is justified by receiving (faith) rather than achieving (works). Later Luther would say that we are saved by the alien righteousness of Christ, not by a righteousness of our own doing.

When he had discovered that God gives His righteousness as a gift in Christ, he felt that he "was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates . . . that place in Paul was for me truly the gate to paradise." Now his conscience was at rest, now he was certain of his salvation. Before there had been only unrest and uncertainty.

Faith now connected him to the Gospel, faith united him with the forgiveness of his sins through Christ.

KJV Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Todd, a three year old boy from Rhode Island went down to the seacoast to fly a kite. Never having flown a kite before, Todd had obvious doubts. His father assured him that all was well, and the kite would go up as planned. As Todd unravelled the string, and watched the kite go up, he was heard to say, "I knew it would fly, daddy. You said it would." Simple statement, profound implications

One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, “Jump! I’ll catch you.” He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: “Jump! I will catch you.” But the boy protested, “Daddy, I can’t see you.” The father replied, “But I can see you and that’s all that matters.”

Now let us return to our text and point out something that is very important. In order to understand the Good News of the two words at the beginning of Romans 3:21 we must remember that from Romans 1:18 through Romans 3:20 it is all bad news for anyone who thinks that it is possible to please God through our own efforts.......

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Bad News
James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

I remember hearing that our assistant pastor one time took a mirror, wrote the Ten Commandments on the mirror, gave a hammer to a child and asked them to hit only one of the Commandments without breaking the mirror. The child hit one of the Commandments, the mirror broke up entirely and the lesson was well illustrated as taught in James 2:10-11.

Bad News
Matthew 5: 21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Romans 3: 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

NLT Romans 3:25 For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. 26 And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus.

Through coming to the knowledge all our efforts are meaningless, that God has made a way of escape from our sins, that He has made a way for us to be forgiven, we fall to our knees in despair and hopelessness, and then we hear the words, BUT NOW!!!!!

That is the place that our Father, our God wants to bring us to, so that we could receive the Gift that He has prepared for us for the saving of our souls. He came to earth, He provided the sacrifice which satisfied His wrath against sin, and now desires to give all the gift of repentance and faith.....

My dear friend, know today that God has washed away all your sin through the cross of Christ, He is waiting to receive you to Himself with open and loving arms of love and grace. He is not at all interested in condemning anyone to hell, but desires that all would come to Him to receive His gracious gift of forgiveness..........

Because of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I encourage you to believe that which God has done for you, that your sins are all forgiven, past, present and future through the Name and in the blood of the Christ that was shed on Calvary 2000 years ago...Believe that Good News today, dear friend.

Lastly, being grateful recipients of the mercy of God through Christ, we hear some of the last words of Jesus concerning the mission of the church.....

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Luke 24: 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And ye are witnesses of these things.

He calls upon us to preach and teach both the bad news and the good news. The Good News is that Christ has atoned for all, for the one to desire that Good News it is necessary to believe that Bad News about oneself, that I need a Saviour to wash me and cleans me, and upon that realization into our mind and heart, there will be no greater news than the Good News that my sins are forgiven never to be remembered again by God.......

May the Lord open up our understanding to be able to grasp more and more the largeness of the gift of forgiveness which is our through His Gift of grace, the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 27 Oct 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Having been forgiven, we forgive others. 10/06/2013

Dear friend,

As we journey toward the cross with Jesus through the Gospel of Luke, we come to the 17th chapter and the first 10 verses. The setting and context for our meditation today is understood in the backdrop of the continuing Gathering ministry of Jesus in contrast to the Sorting ministry of the Pharisees and the scribes as is seen through the reading of the following verses. The Feast of salvation has been prepared, the invitations have gone out, and many have excuses as to why they cannot make the feast. To the multitudes, Jesus tells them that nothing can come in front of their following and serving of Him. He tells them that they must consider the cost of following Him.

As the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him, the Pharisees and scribes attempted to discredit Jesus by pointing out that He was associating with those who they, the Pharisees and scribes, had placed no value on and were not worthy of receiving mercy. At this point Jesus speaks a number of parables which center around the value of a soul and places these valuables in contrast to earthly riches and earthly valuables.

He points out that money is to be utilized in His Gathering ministry teaches of the proper use of earthly riches and warns of the danger of one being consumed and used by earthly riches by relating the parables of the Wise Steward and of the rich man and Lazarus. In other words, we are to use earthly blessings for His glory vs using them for our glory. Here are a few verses that guide what we have written. (It would be better to go back and to read the gospel from the beginning of chapter 12 to get the whole picture of what is going on here)

Luke 14;16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

As we listen and watch the interactions between the various groups of people, we are able to see how Luke arranges his material under the leading of the Holy Spirit to illustrate the words and actions of Jesus to bring light to the contrasts in the lives of the people that Jesus is teaching. It appears that the Pharisees and the scribes did not know of the value of a lost soul, they were not heeding the law of God, and they were covetous. (Luke 15 and 16)

Now as we come to the 17th chapter, Jesus turns to His disciples with counsel concerning their ministry, using the examples of the Pharisees and scribes as to how not to do ministry. We will have occasion to cause others to stumble and others may cause us to stumble in our walk with Jesus on our way to heaven. He now desires to teach them of the importance of watching one's attitudes and actions in our relationships with those whom we are partnering in the living in the Gospel and in the spreading of the Gospel. He speaks of being careful of those things we do as well as those things we do not do. They are referred to as sins of commission and sins of omission.

First He points to sins of commission, or things we do that we should not.

KJV Luke 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

If we take a look at the Pharisees and scribes, we see that they were offending the tax collectors and the sinners by their lack of mercy toward them, by making their traditions as commandments of God and they were coveting earthly possessions. Is Jesus referring to the little ones as those who the Pharisees and scribes consider to be of no value, the tax collectors and the sinners? It could be, most likely is, but we can broaden this out to include children as well as those who are new in faith or are very immature in their understanding of the things of faith.

How am I doing in the calling into which I have been called? Am I being a stumbling block? Am I doing things and teaching things that are causing people to stumble? Who am I accountable to? Do I listen to them? Will I listen to them?

He then moves to the area of omission, we should act but we do not.

3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

He now moves to the other side of the coin, moving from oneself being the offender to the one who is offended. If this is the case, we are to approach that one ourselves and bring the concern before that person. If there is acknowledgement of the offence and that person repents, we forgive them.

The relationship is restored and preserved through this action of love. Jesus goes on to say that even if there are repeated offenses against us and there is an attitude of repentance by the offender, we are to forgive that person. There is no limit to the grace of God, and we must remember that we never have the right to withhold forgiveness from those who ask.

When Jesus says, "if" it does not mean that we do not have a forgiving heart towards one who has sinned against us.

In order to there to be reconciliation there must be repentance by the offender, but that does not mean that we do not have forgiveness towards our offender. Jesus goes onto say that if a person sins against us seven times in one day, and they repent, we are to forgive them. Seven is not the limit, but it needs to be a habitual forgiveness.

If we cannot overlook another's sin and it is a clearly a sin against one, it is one's responsibility to go in a spirit of humility to them to talk to them about their sin. This is an important point to consider.

ESV Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

NLT Galatians 6:1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

The apostles listening to this, say, wow, how are we going to live up to those standards, and so that say: "Lord, increase our faith." Here is the request and Jesus' answer to it.

5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Jesus is saying that we do not need more faith to forgive someone, but what we do need is the genuine faith which means that we receive that which God gives to us in order to be able to forgive.

He points to the quality of their faith and says nothing about the quantity. He is showing them that the seed of faith must be of the right substance, for only out of living faith will forgiveness flow.

Let us look at the Root of forgiveness, the Source of forgiveness....

Forgiveness is the action of informing a guilty person that they have been freed of the future punishment they should have incurred. Forgiveness can only be freely initiated and offered by the victim, else it becomes a perversion of justice.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

In the following examples, we see the expansion of the heart of God through Christ, through Stephen the first martyr and through a holocaust victim.

KJV John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

KJV Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

"O Lord, remember not only the men and woman of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us:

Instead remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering—our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble.

When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness."

(Found in the clothing of a dead child at Ravensbruck concentration camp.)

How do we get to a place where we are able to have a heart of forgiveness? Where do we start?

And a simple illustration reveals the point at which we must start in order to understand our need for forgiveness...

A Sunday School teacher had just concluded her lesson and wanted to make sure she had made her point. She said, “Can anyone tell me what you must do before you can obtain forgiveness of sin?”

There was a short pause and then, from the back of the room, a small boy spoke up. “Sin,” he said.

The desire to be forgiven is universal as is illustrated by the following story.

There’s a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in Madrid newspaper. The ad read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.”

On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.

God has come looking for us, in order to save us while we were running away from Him...
It is hard to forgive people for most of us. Most people believe that forgiveness is conditional, saying that there must be repentance and a promise to change, but that makes the bar higher than God put it. God forgave us while we were yet sinning.

Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

We trample the blood of the Son of God if we think we are forgiven because we are sorry for our sins. The only explanation for the forgiveness of God and for the unfathomable depth of His forgetting is the death of Jesus Christ.

Our repentance is merely the outcome of our personal realization of the atonement which He has worked out for us. It does not matter who or what we are; there is absolute reinstatement into God by the death of Jesus Christ and by no other way, not because Jesus Christ pleads, but because He died.

It is not earned, but accepted. All the pleading which deliberately refuses to recognize the Cross is of no avail; it is battering at a door other than the one that Jesus has opened. Our Lord does not pretend we are all right when we are all wrong. The atonement is a propitiation whereby God, through the death of Jesus, makes an unholy man holy.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

There is one eternal principal which will be valid as long as the world lasts. The principle is -- Forgiveness is a costly thing. Human forgiveness is costly. A son or a daughter may go wrong; a father or a mother may forgive; but that forgiveness has brought tears ...

There was a price of a broken heart to pay. Divine forgiveness is costly. God is love, but God is holiness. God, least of all, can break the great moral laws on which the universe is built. Sin must have its punishment or the very structure of life disintegrates. And God alone can pay the terrible price that is necessary before men can be forgiven. Forgiveness is never a case of saying: "It's all right; it doesn't matter." Forgiveness is the most costly thing in the world.

It is impossible to forgive others without having come to realize that we have been forgiven by Him through Christ.

ESV Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Lord, Increase our faith. And Lord if our faith is being built on a foundation of self, please do what you need to do to destroy it so that we can have the proper biblical faith. Help us in our struggles to withhold forgiveness from others even when we know that we have been forgiven a debt that we can never pay............

IT WAS IN A CHURCH in Munich where I was speaking in 1947 that I saw him-a balding heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat, the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones.

Memories of the concentration camp came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister's frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment of skin.

Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland. This man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent.

Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: "A fine message, fraulein! How good it is to know that, as you say,, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!"

It was the first time since my release that I had been face to face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

"You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk, " he was saying. "I was a guard therre. But since that time, " he went on, "I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein-" again the hand came out-"will you forgive me?"

And I stood there-and could not. Betsie had died in that place- could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it-I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. "If you do not forgive men their trespasses," Jesus says, "neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses."

Still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgive- ness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. "Jesus, help me!" I prayed silently. "I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling."

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thriust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this amazing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. "I forgive you, brother!" I cried. "With all my heart!"

For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then.

And forgiveness is not only forgiving the past, but it is living in and with an attitude of forgiveness toward others...

A couple married for 15 years began having more than usual disagreements. They wanted to make their marriage work and agreed on an idea the wife had. For one month they planned to drop a slip in a "Fault" box. The boxes would provide a place to let the other know about daily irritations. The husband was diligent in his efforts and approach, noting the various things that he thought needed improvement and correction in his wife's attitude and behaviou. One evening at dinner, a the end of the month, they exchanged boxes. The wife reflected on what she had done wrong. Then he opened his box and began reading. They were all the same, the message on each slip was, "I love you!"

We thank you, Father, that you have enabled us to share in the inheritance of eternal life which is your gift of grace to all who live in the light, for You have rescued us from the one who rules the darkness and you have brought us into the kingdom of your dear Son. You have purchased our freedom with His blood and given unto us the forgiveness of all our sin. On that basis, Dear Father, we ask you to help us to see the smallness of other's sin in light of the greatness of our sin. Help us to understand that since you have forgiven other's sins as well as ours, we would willingly live in an attitude of forgiveness towards others. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Hebrews 13: 20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 06 Oct 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Good News! 10/27/2013
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.