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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Our Father who is in Heaven 6/16/2013
Sunday, June 16, 2013: Our Father, Who Art in Heaven

Front Cover: Luke 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven,

Preparation for Worship: Dear Father, thank you for giving us your Spirit which bears witness with our spirit, that we are your children.

Opening Hymn:Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
Call to Worship:

1.Great is the Lord
2.Teach me to Pray, Lord
Psalm Reading: 145:1-13
3.Cares Chorus

Scripture Reading: John 17 (ESV)
Prayer and the Lord's Prayer/Offertory Prayer
Offertory Hymn: #218 This is My Father's World
Sermon Text: Luke 11:1-13
Sermon Title: Our Father, Who Art in Heaven
Sermon Title:Pastor/Speaker- Orval Wirkkala
Holy Communion
Holy Communion Songs:
Closing Hymn: #654 Thank You, Father

Dear friend in Christ,

Today is Father's Day across our nation, a day in which father's are remembered and honored. All have had a father in a physical sense for it takes both the seed of the father and of the woman to create life. For many, their fathers have already died, for others their fathers are yet living and some are father's themselves. Some had fathers for a short time, others for a long time. Some had very good fathers, but others had fathers that were not the best of fathers.

In general, the role of a father is to create life and to nurture it in love. This pattern is drawn from the perfect Father, Our Heavenly Father, who has given us life through Jesus Christ and desires that we would grow in the understanding and knowledge of His love for us. Today as we honor fathers, it is our desire to be refreshed in our knowledge of what true Fatherhood is as demonstrated by our Heavenly Father, to compare that with His design for an earthly father and in doing that be given some tools to help us to live out our biblical calling of fatherhood in our families.

God is the one who has given all of humanity life through creation and He has given eternal life to all those who have responded to the call of the Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ. So He has given physical life and well as spiritual life. He has created life and He desires to nurture this life through His love. If we were to be asked the question, what makes a good father, there would be many responses, but in general most would say that a good father provides for his children's upbringing unto the maturity of becoming an adult. It is a long term commitment of being a father, one which requires continual nurture and admonition of the Lord into their lives. It requires that a relationship be established between the father and the offspring of the father that is founded and grounded in the love of God, in both grace and truth.

Our Scripture reading was from John's Gospel, chapter 17, and in that we noted of the close relationship between Jesus and His Father, one which was cherished and nurtured through much time together in fellowship, in communion, in prayer. It has been noted that there are 27 recorded prayers of Jesus in the Bible, most of them very short, but instructive. In John chapter 17 we note that we are given the words of the conversation that God and Jesus had just prior to Jesus being betrayed by Judas in order to be crucified. Here is that prayer with a brief description before each section.

Fulfiling the Father's Will in Giving of Himself.
ESV John 17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Verbalizing and Remembering the call of the disciples to Himself, Praying for Them
6 "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you.
8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

Transitioning the ministry from Himself to the Disciples
11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.1
16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them1 in the truth; your word is truth.
18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,1 that they also may be sanctified2 in truth.

Praying for future believers and their unity in the Father and the Son through love including us.
20 "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

Jesus spent a lot of time with His Father alone, listening to Him and sharing with Him in prayer.

Of the four Gospel writers, Luke has the most references to Jesus praying. Here are a few of the times...

At His Baptism
KJV Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

After calling two of His disciples and after healing a leper.
KJV Luke 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Before choosing His disciples
KJV Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

After feeding the multitude
KJV Luke 9:18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

On the Mount of Transfiguration
KJV Luke 9:28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
KJV Luke 9:29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

In Luke's account, we see that Jesus was praying in the midst of others at His Baptism, in the wilderness, on a mountain alone for the entire night, and together with Disciples on the Mt. of Transfiguration.

In our text we are told that Jesus was praying in a certain place, but the specific place is not made known. We do know that when it came time for Jesus to be delivered up for His crucifixion, Judas His betrayer, knew to find Him in one of their favorits spots as John 18:1-2 indicate.

KJV John 18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
KJV John 18:2 And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.

It seems that the disciples were able to recognize that the life of their teacher/master was a life of prayer, one which was connected to His Father. They recognized that He often spent time alone with His Father. We know that they did not ask Jesus to teach them "how to pray" but they asked Him to "teach them to pray."

Jesus gave them a pattern of prayer first of all, what we call the Lord's Prayer, not because He prayed it, but because He taught it. This prayer here is a little different than the Lord's Prayer which is recorded in Matthew 6 but so we will add the conclusion from Matthew to complete it.

ESV Luke 11:1 Now Jesus1 was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."
2 And he said to them, "When you pray, say: "Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,1
4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation."

How is it with us when we see and hear about the Lord's Prayer? Is it so familiar that we do not even think about it? Is it like the "white noise" that we hear around us, like a train that has gone through town for many years so that we do not hear it anymore? Can this happen to us in Scripture, in the Lord's Prayer?

Yes, it can, but it does not have to. Many things in our life in Christ are ritualistic, but there is nothing wrong with that, for rituals (customs we do intentionally, purposeful and regularly) serve a good purpose in our lives. Rituals serve to keep us grounded in our Christian life, for if we did not have rituals we would often times not do things that have deep meaning and signficance for our Christian lives. We would too often say, "I do not feel like doing it today."

It is needful on occasion to ask ourselves the question as to why do we do certain things in the church. Why do we pray? Why do we Baptize? Why do we participate in the Lord's Supper? We see one example of this in the Old Testament which concerns the yearly observation which commemorated the Passover.

Exodus 12: 25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped

Each one of these segments of this prayer are powerful in meaning for us. For example, when we begin, we say, Our Father. We do not say, My Father, but our Father. The disciples at this point in their lives understood that they were a collective group and that it was not about each of them as an individual. By the very nature of their request, it seems as if they understood this much. Lord, Teach US to pray. It is a good discipline to slowly pray this prayer, pausing between each segment and speaking back to God of other parts of Scripture that would add to what we are praying, as well as placing our own specific intercessions and cries into the iprayer.

Jesus then points to the importance of being persistent in our prayers, to keep praying....

Pattern, Persistence
5 And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves,
6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him';
7 and he will answer from within, 'Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything'?
8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will rise and give him whatever he ne

What is being said here is that if one had sudden company over and there was nothing in the cupboard for them, one would go to a friend's house with a hope of getting something for the guest. But on the basis of the friendship, no food was given, but due to the asker's persistence, the one in bed would get up and give that which was being asked for.

Pattern, Persistence, Perserverance,
9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Pattern, Persistence, Perserverance, Particulars
11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;
12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Lastly, Jesus uses the example of an earthly father, who wants to give good gifts to his children, but being evil an earthly father is limited in his ability to give. But even an earthly father knows not to give his offspring a serpent when a son asks for a fish; or a scorpion when he asks for an egg. He points here to the importance of asking in particular for the gift of the Holy Spirit, the highest gift that one could receive. For it is through the Holy Spirit all other graces and abiliities proceed from.

Why does Jesus point in particular to pray for the Holy Spirit?

Jesus spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the purpose of His coming in John's Gospel.

He comes to us and will never leave us.
John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

He will teach us the things of Christ
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

He is the Spirit of Truth from our Father and will speak of Christ.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

He is the Spirit of Truth who shows us our sin, shows us our forgiveness in Christ, shows us that Satan is defeated and continually points us to Christ's redemptive work.
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: {reprove: or, convince}
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control;

Now, what is my/your role as a father?

Create life, cherish it and nurture it in love and truth for the purpose that faith would continue on into the next generation.

We see that the purpose of God bringing His Son into the world is for the forgiveness of our sins. He became sin for us, who knew no sin so that we would be made righteous before God. He did not come for love to this world, but He came for sin. It was love that motivated God, but it was for sin that He sent His Son into this world.

The main role of an earthly father is to bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is to teach his children from the Word about Christ and to train them in this knowledge by example. The most important thing is that one's children know Christ and His saving love through His grace.

One may say, I do not have a good father figure. Well, you would not be the first one.

Psalm 27:7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, "Seek1 my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek."2
9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.

God is faithful and He will provide the fatherless with surrogate fathers and mothers. Sometimes due to circumstances the mother has to take a larger role in the family, but that is not God's design for the family, but even then as long as the desire is to follow God's way, He will provide all that is needed.

Our current culture has been debased by the devil who knows that the breakup of the family can work towards his ends of having people worship him instead of God. He knows that to con people into not taking God at His Word will cause people to worship the creation rather than the Creator. He wants to deceive people and keep them from knowing that in Christ they are a new creation.

A father shows his children about love by loving his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.

A man who marries a woman and becomes a father to his children is a reflection the nature of God, both in creation as well as in salvation. Just as God created us and saved us, a father gives them life and then raises them with the salvation of their soul in mind.

In the Ten Commandments, there are 2 tables. The first table, the first 3, concerns our love to God, the second table, our love to our neighbor. The 4th Commandment states: Honor your father and mother and it may be well with you and you may live long on earth. Remember God has given you life and then protects that life through giving you fathers to teach you and to train you. How so?

The 4th Commandment is as an introduction to the rest of the Ten Commandments. For example just after the 4th Commandment, we are given the provision for the protection of the life that is procreated through the marriage relationship of husband and wife, man and woman.

Life and the nurturing and protection of life. The 5th Commandment counsels us: Do not kill, The 6th Commandment, Do not commit adultery;The 7th Commandment: Do not steal; The 8th Commandment: Do not be a liar: The 9th and 10th Commandments: the guarding of the heart against those inner desires that want those things that God forbids. It is called coveting, envying, lusting and so forth. When we live in direct disobedience to these ideals of God, we serve ourselves and not our family, who is our closest neighbor.

The other day I heard of a man who was in the counseling office, telling the counselor that he wanted to divorce his wife because he did not feel love towards her anymore. So the counselor asked what the man thought about what God said concerning the command "to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it." He replied, but I do not like her as my wife anymore, I feel no love for her. The counselor then said, "well, then how about if you move next door to her and perhaps you could love her as your neighbor, for God also commands that we love our neighbor as ourselves." The man replied loudly, " I could never live next door to her for I want to be a way from her as far as possible for she is my enemy!" Again the counselor replied, "Does not Jesus command us to love our enemies?"

Herein lies the problem with our fallen and sinful human nature.....We are sinners and we want what we want for ourselves...........


The rejection of the fear, love and trust in God above all things will is a rejection of God.

The rejection of God's pattern and design of fatherhood will bring about destruction into our homes, into our country, into our world.

The devil calls good all that is given for life and the protection of life.

Fathers: Let us love our children as God has and does love us.

1. God is the perfect Father, all other fathers are imperfect, but are to fulfill their role as earthly fathers biblically.

2. Jesus cherished and nurtured His relationship with His Father in prayer and communion with just the two of them.

3. Jesus gave us a pattern of prayer, calls us to be persistent in it, to perservere and to ask in particular for the Holy Spirit.

4. Fathers give life to their children and are to protect this life through teaching and training to salvation.

5, Eternity is of the utmost importance, for what does our child benefit if they gain the whole world but lose their soul?

As fathers, may we

1. Recognize the a father's work is never done, it is long term and apparent short term success should not be celebrated too quickly. May we pray with them and for them contually.......

2. Acqaint them with the Bible, through example and teaching for the Word will both restrain and constrain their behaviour during their developing years. .

3. Show them the importance and benefit of worshipping together within the framework of the church/the body of Christ.

4. Remember that we must be a father to our children before we are their friend.

5. Remember that we are for our children as God is for us: by our attitudes, actions and our words demonstrate this to our children.

6. Seek to maintain the proper balance between grace and truth. May we have the wisdom to allow them the freedom to experiment with godly boundaries, but to not be afraid to teach them the godly boundaries and the need of them

7. Remember that our children are like wet cement, they are easily molded early on, but as they grow in age they become set in their ways even as concrete sets up with time.

8. May we remember when a child becomes the product of parental ignorance, and confusion reigns in culture, then parental authority loses out to the power of the rebellious heart.

Well, lot of information, but needful information.........

As we approach the Lord's Table today, perhaps we are feeling discouraged with the counsel of the Lord as we reflect on our lives concerning fatherhood.

Perhaps we are revisiting some of the pain of the past of our childhood concerning our fathers, perhaps we are remembering or thinking on our lack of being a good father, perhaps as a wife we wish our husband would understand and live out better his role as a father, perhaps we are experiencing today the a hole in our heart for the father that is not there today for us.

Or perhaps we buying into the cultures idea that fathers are not important and we at least in our hearts and minds are not living in submission to our father, and so there is tension and unhappiness in our heart as well as in our home.....................

For those who are have children and grandchildren living in ignorance of the grace of God, or in rebellion and disobedience to God, may your prayers of the past bear fruit in His time and may you continue to storm the throne of heaven with your prayers for your children and grandchildren. Do not give up on God, for He is faithful and He will provide. Do not be a quitter in the blessing of prayer..........

What has been written above are all common experiences of life that at sometime or another we experience as a result of the fall of mankind into sin. We have a God who created us for life, Satan tried and tries to destroy life, but we have a Saviour who came to restore us into fellowship and communion with our God, who we call Father.

We are His children, for God is our Father and we not Satan's children.

We have been given the Holy Spirit who will be with us forever, who first of all points us to the One who made us acceptable before God through the cross. He wants us to be reminded of this today as we partake of His Body and Blood that He gave for the life of the world.

May we remember how He poured out His life unto death for us, may we rejoice in the knowledge that in Him today we have the forgiveness of all our sin through Him.

May we rejoice in the knowledge that the oneness in His love that we experience in Him and with one another today is just a foretaste of that which is to come in the future.

May we go from here today in the assurance of His forgiveness, in the joy of His love and in the reenergized power of prayer for those whom we love so dearly. In Jesus name, Amen.

May the Love of our Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us now and always, Amen.
Posted on 16 Jun 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Faithfulness of God 6/9/2013

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

In our congregation today there are few who have not been touched by death in their immediate family. For some it occurred many years ago, some more recent, and some very recent. No one escapes the pain of separation from a loved one if they live very long.

As I share of the faithfulness of God in our family's life today, it is done for no other reason than to give glory to God for His faithfulness and when doing so, if I say things that may be insensitive to others who have gone through a death in their family, I apologize and ask your patience with me as I share of my recent time in the west with my mother and my family.

I do not wish to confuse or sadden anyone, but only wish to point to the faithfulness of God towards our family and, therefore give hope and consolation to those who may today be grieving the loss of a loved one.

I also bring this message as an encouragement to those whose loved ones may be nearing the time when there will be a physical separation from one another. May we make wise use of the time that we have left with one another.

So let us begin.....with the following..

"In this hour of sorrow, may you find solace and consolation in the knowledge that God never errs, but that, if not now, sometime you'll understand the meaning of your tears and there, sometime you'll understand."

"The wonderful and eternal consolation which you are so fortunate to have is the perfect assurance that your loved one departed with his house of faith founded on the one and only sure foundation, Christ Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone. Your sorrow need not be as that of those which have no hope. Instead you may wait for the hour of awakening with joy, knowing that it will be a glad reunion in the mansions of glory."

Those are excerpts from a letter written by Pastor Alvin Holmgren to our mother and to us as her children after the death of her husband and of my/our father in 1962.

And then a few years later........from a letter written to mom in 1967 by Pastor Alvin Holmgren after the death of our sister Nancy at 20 years......

"Dear sister, our thoughts and prayers have been with you daily as we have remembered with sadness through which you have traveled this last month. How good it is to know that we have a Father in heaven whose strength is made perfect in us even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. His comfortable presence and His willingness to bear the burdens with us serve to ease the trial even though it be the loss of a loved one.

Pastor Holmgren became one of the men who "watched over" our family in the following years as our mother and we as her children sought to live our lives in his absence. But God is faithful and will always provide........

Mother shared with one of us that one of her prayers to God was that she would not be taken away suddenly since our father had been taken in a moment from us....That prayer was answered, for she lived to be just short of 94 and the last two months of her life was lived with her family near her and around her..........

She was a very quiet woman, who said that "the more she trusted, the less she worried."

Our mother loved to read Scripture, she loved to listen to tapes of sermons on her tape player which always was by her side. In particular she loved two readings, one from the Old Testament and the other from the New Testament. I place them here in honor and memory of her, realizing that in them is a richness that continually can be mined over and over again. As a brother told me a number of years ago, the Scriptures are the Word of God and they lie quietly before us waiting to be mined by those who hunger and thirst after righteousness..... And God is faithful and will always provide........

KJV Psalm 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
22 Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

She also loved this portion from one of the Gospels, which in her last weeks often asked to be read to her. As we took turns reading this account of events after the death and resurrection of Jesus, there were times when Christ was revealed anew to us and our hearts burned in love towards Christ and towards one another as by her bedside the Lord opened up the Scriptures to us. God is faithful and will always provide.....;

Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

Mother experienced a lot of adversity in her life, but she did not walk away from our Lord as these men were doing. . But God is faithful and will always provide........
But it was not easy for her, as it is not always easy to persevere, as the following writing that she wrote somewhere along her journey illustrates......It is named:

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).

Mother struggled with life, just like you and I have done and yet do. But she did not give up, as she told one of our sisters in Christ during her last weeks. "Never give up your faith," speaking those words in a whisper having lost her voice.....She never gave up, for she trusted God to the end.

As I reflect on my/our mother's love and commitment to our family, may I retrace briefly a sketch of her life for us all.......I think that....

Mother heard the voice of Jesus from her youth

She came to know Him as her Creator and her Saviour

As she journeyed she came to know Him as her Friend, her Consoler and her Counselor.

She drew near Him when He drew near her in the difficulties and sorrows of life. (What would have happened to us if she had walked away from God in all the trials that she went through)?

She continually prayed for us, she cared for us, visited us when we had need, for she never stopped being our mother.

She longed for the city whose builder and maker is God.

She now dwells in that city which is lit by the glory of God and of the Lamb

She now praises Him in the fulness of love, joy and peace!

On a personal note, our mother gave us life, she taught us about Jesus at home and by taking us to Sunday School and to church, she showed us who Jesus was through her example as she cared for our family without a husband, she prayed for us, she encouraged us and counseled us right to the end and lastly, she showed us how to wait for God's time to be called to heaven to see Jesus.

As often is the case in many families, the tears of a mother are of sorrow as she watches, agonizes and prays for her children. As time goes on, as God works in unseen ways, as she prays, and as she counsels, it is also often the case that her tears are turned to tears of joy over seeing her children find the way for which she had been praying for them. As she prayed for us, as God worked in His own ways, and now coming together as a family near our mother for an extended period of time, a reawakening of love was experienced in the hearts of many of us toward Him and toward one another.............a recommitment of continuing our relationships into the future was gained which will continue in mother's absence.....The fruit she planted and watered is growing.......Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not His benefits..........

God is faithful and will always provide........

As we spent time going though her personal effects, I ended up with a devotional of hers. As I looked through it I came across one which she clearly could identify with in her life and which seems fitting to close this message with.

ESV Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

"There was a young man who was to get married to a beautiful young lady, whom he had never seen with his physical eyes, but had only been able to feel with his fingers of her beauty. Some time before the wedding, he underwent surgery to give him sight, and at the wedding the bandages would be taken off with the hope that for the first time he would look upon his bride with his eyes.

Suspense was in the air, expectation was great and all eyes were on the groom as the physician took off the bandages from his eyes. All watched as the groom took a step forward, his head jerked as his eyes reacted to seeing for the first time. They all wondered...Did he see? What did he see?

He straightened up, then turned and looked for the face of his beloved, and then with a dignity and a joy never seen on his face before, he looked into her eyes and she into his. As the onlookers quietly gazed upon this sacred moment, it seemed as if the eyes of the couple would never go away from each other's eyes. They only looked into the face and into the eyes of each other.................

"At last!", she said. "At last!" he said. "

What a beautiful moment, a moment which is a foreshadowing of that which is to come, the moment that came for mother and the moment that will come for all who love Him and wait for His appearing.

God is faithful, He has provided, and will provide and in doing so will provide abundantly......

We sang at my mother's funeral this beautiful hymn at her request.

Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ Who died for me?

Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!

Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkened veil between,
But a blessèd day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.

What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened,
And the dark things shall be plain.

Face to face—oh, blissful moment!
Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ Who loves me so.

For my mother, it was "At last" and she heard from Him, "yes, at last" Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world......

May our eyes be heavenward today as we travel through the challenges of this life, awaiting the call from Him to be with Him forever and forever. Know that God has provided everything for you for salvation through Christ Jesus, He will provide everything that is needed bless and sustain you through this life and has provided you an eternal place of rest in joy and gladness with Him and His Son forever and forever.......

In His love and grace,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 09 Jun 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Our Father who is in Heaven 6/16/2013
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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