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

Looking for Heaven 4/28/2103
Dearly beloved,

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.


Introduction

As life continues amidst the troubles that are in the world, we continue to live lives that are in the world, but not of the world. We are citizens of heaven who look for the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ who has promised that He will return to receive His bride, the church, to be with Him in glory forever and forever.

In that place, "God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" Rev 21:5

"And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son". Rev 21:6-7

May the Holy Spirit bring this into our minds and hearts today so that through faith we will recognize that we are more than conquerors through Him who has loved us and washed us from our sin and given us the promise of heaven through this same Holy Spirit.

If you were asked to explain with words to a person who had been blind from birth, where would you begin? The beauty of a flower, of a tree, of a freshly plowed field, the beauty of the animal kingdom, etc.

Well, this can be compared to our trying to understand heaven without really seeing its beauty. But yet there are some things that the Bible gives us that are foundational and when understood and believed, bring hope, joy and expectation into our minds and hearts. We shall look at those things which are easily understood and known from this text today. Please note the words new and all as we consider this Word today.

The Word of Truth that we will base our meditation on is from the last book of the Bible, the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation is a book of encouragement, for it was first spoken to the people in the first century. It pointed them to the end of all things, and in light of their suffering, they were encouraged by this book. This book was written by John the Apostle, who also wrote the Gospel of John, and the 3 Epistles of John. It is a book of encouragement for believers as well as a warning for those who do not yet to believe to believe For us today who may be struggling with life's challenges and struggles, with all the troubles that are here today and which we see coming in the future, what kind of encouragement would help us to see "past" those things? What will enable us to see past the things of this life? Let us read the the text.

Text
KJV Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Context of Text

We note that previously in this book of encouragement, John has "seen" the worship in heaven in chapters 5 and 7, of which Doug has already read to us from chapter 7. For the sake of our readers, we again place both readings here.

5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.


Rev 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.


Explanation of Text: New creation:

KJV Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Immediately we might as the question: Why do we need a new heaven and a new earth when we have one that is just fine now. Well, the Apostle Peter gives us the reason....

KJV 2 Peter 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: {standing: Gr. consisting}
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? {hasting...: or, hasting the coming}
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Our answer is given to us, the creation is going to be destroyed by God, but there will be a new creation....

Let us be mindful that when the word heaven and earth is used it is speaking of the created order which includes the solar system as well as every thing on and in the earth. Also, the word new has the meaning of a new car that has never been produced yet, it is like a new model as opposed to a new car to oneself that may have thousands of other replicas. The new creation will be all new.


Explanation of text: New Jerusalem:

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

In the book of Thessalonians we see how this happens, as the believers in that time were very concerned about when the return of Jesus would be, what would happen with those who had died before and how things were going to transpire when Jesus did return. Let us read this portion...

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

Mr Kretzman catches the sense of the meaning of this in his Commentary:

"And the holy city, New Jerusalem, I saw coming down from heaven from God, all ready like a bride arrayed for her husband". All was ready for the marriage of the Lamb, and so the New Jerusalem, the holy city of God, the Church of Jesus Christ, consisting of the sum total of all those that were faithful to the end, came down from heaven, where the great majority of its members had gone, according to the soul, arrayed in all the gifts of her Husband's grace and mercy.. (From Kretzmen's Popular Commentary)

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

This great reunion in which those who are alive will see the entirety of the body of Christ descending to meet those who are yet alive. Those who have died previously will be with Him already, they will meet and never again will there be a departing. This properly understood should give us great hope, great joy and great anticipation. For us today, if a loved one has been received into glory, we are able to look to that day that we will be with them again. If a loved one is on their death bed, we do not sorrow as one without hope, but we know that we will again be reunited.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

What an encouragement for us today, as we all experience the disappointments of life both in ourselves and at times in others. This helps us to see that there will be a day when we will be united entirely in the Spirit of love and the weakness of our flesh will not be present any longer to get in the way of our relationships. No longer will our sinful self serving nature hinder any of our relationships, but we will be totally one in the Spirit of God. All the tears of this life will be wiped away, we will never face death, we will never have sorrow, we will never cry, we will never have pain, because all those things are passed away, they are done, gone, gone gone!



Explanation of text: All Things New: It is Done! The gracious offer to all.....

5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

When Jesus cried on the cross, "It is finished," it was so. The atonement for sin was completed in Him. Here we see another completion with the words, "It is done." The full benefits of the new creation are given to all who thirst after the one who is the fountain of the water of life, Jesus Christ. All who place their trust in Him shall inherit all things and God will be their God and they will be a son of God. Wow.....



Application of Text

As I consider this, I ask myself, and perhaps you ask yourself, Am I looking for heaven? Have I drunk of the living water of grace that is spoken of so much in the Bible? Am I drinking of that water today? Am I living in the assurance of heaven, the joy of that expectation and in the anticipation of heaven?

Some time back we were visiting with a young man who had lost his mother at six years of age. He shared that he struggled with the pain and agony of that loss for many years, often asking God why.. Then one day he moved from the why question to the place that he was able to use the longing to see his mother again to strengthen his faith in Jesus Christ. He told us, "I want to see my mother again so much that I will never let go of my faith.".........


My mother has lived 93 years on this earth, has had many trials in this life, has fought the good fight, has now finished her course, has kept the faith and is awaiting the angels of heaven to take her from earth to heaven.
The faith that has been given to her has been a strong encouragement to my siblings and myself as we have gathered around her bedside in fellowship with the Lord, with her and with one another. It has amazed me as to how matter of factly she has spoken of heaven and of her soon going there. In all my 60+ years I have never quite experienced "realness" of my life as a Christian. What I mean by this is that the many things that here on this earth take up so much of one's mind have been at this time properly filed away in their position of importance.

She so matter of factly has been telling all of us that we are to "hold onto our faith, for she wants to see us in heaven." How does one forget those words, which as a result of hearing them from one's dear mother are imprinted in one's mind and on one's heart? No, one does not forget such loving and parting words....

One of the most beautiful sentences I have ever heard in my life were from her one afternoon as I sat by her bed. She told me: "I love you so very much, but I love Jesus more.".....for she is looking for heaven.

My mother has always known the love of Jesus Christ for her soul, and as a result she has loves Him and loves us as her children.

Are we looking for heaven?

Today the "Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

May the Lord be glorified in all things, for He alone is worthy of praise and honor now and forever, Amen!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 28 Apr 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Our Godly Mothers 4/9/2013



2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;

As I, along with my brothers and sisters, sit near our mother at her bedside in Washington State awaiting the call from the Lord which will move her to her eternal life in Him, I am reminded of that which Apostle Paul wrote to his young coworker Timothy concerning Paul's departure from this life. The 2nd letter to Timothy was the last letter that the Apostle wrote and it was written from his prison cell shortly before he was "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.

Within the initial two verses from the Holy Scriptures placed above, we see the faithfulness of God toward Timothy, that had extended from his grandmother Lois, to his mother Eunice, and to himself, as well as that the promise of the mercy of the Lord is forever, to them that fear him. God not only promises us this continued mercy, but he also promises it to our children’s children. In other words, our grandchildren.......great grandchildren....great great grandchildren...

We are thankful for our godly mothers, who have been the first preachers of the gospel toward us as they modeled the grace of God toward us through their selfless and patient service towards our selfish needs as a baby. They have also spoken to us of Jesus from our youth, for they have learned from their (our grandmothers) mothers that the Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation. My mother preached to me what was probably the shortest sermon that I ever heard anyone speak, but what she said perhaps had the greatest impact on me as far as understanding how she looked at life. She had lost her husband (my father) when she was 44 years old and was left with 11 children from ages 3 to 20. In addition to losing her husband, her daughter died at 20 years of age five years later. A number of years ago I asked her how she had been able to cope with all the challenges that came with raising us without her husband. She told me, "The more I trusted, the less I worried." Her strength was not in herself, but it was in the power of the Lord's might.

When the foundation of our life is Jesus, not even the tornadoes and tsunamis of life are able to succeed in toppling our “house of faith.” Knowing that time together strengthens our relationship with God, let us draw near to Him, knowing that when we do so, He will draw near to us. We draw near to Him through the prayerful hearing, reading and meditation of the Holy Scriptures, through prayer, through fellowship, as well as through partaking of the Sacrament of Holy Communion, knowing that through these means of grace, we are strengthened, established and settled in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One of my mother's doctors shared that she had told him "I am ready to meet Jesus and don't you get in my way".............That sounds a lot like the mother that I and my siblings have been blessed with....

May mothers of all ages be thanked today for your love, patience, and steadfastness in the nurturing of your children. May you continue in the strength and wisdom of our Lord to sow the good seed of the gospel into the hearts and lives of those you love.


Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 09 Apr 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Looking for Heaven 4/28/2103
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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