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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A Leper's Thanksgiving 11/25/2012
Sermon Text: Luke 17:11-19 A Leper's Thanksgiving

As we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving here in our United States of America, and as we approach Advent which is the remembering of, thinking about and rejoicing in the first Advent of Jesus, we have chose a portion of Scripture for meditation concerning the healing that a leper received from Jesus. Our text is found in Luke's Gospel, 17:11-19. Jesus is healing, teaching and preaching as He journeys towards Jerusalem, where He will suffer, die and arise from the grave! While Jesus was here on earth, He was moving towards Jerusalem and the accomplishing of His Father's will in bringing redemption to the world. Previously Luke had written concerning this....

KJV Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

KJV Luke 13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

Continually toward Jerusalem, always coming for us, to us, to draw near.....to draw us to Himself...Let us read the text...

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Even since the beginning in the Garden of Eden after our fall into sin when we moved away from Him, God has desired to draw near us, but we have kept our distance. Here are two references which speak to that...

Genesis 3: 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Mark 14:53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.
54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.

Sin and unbelief have caused and do cause us to slink away from our Creator and Redemmer and consequently He has been drawing near to us so that we would come into His presence freely and without fear. In time past He spoke to us by His prophets but in these last times, (New Testament days) He has spoken unto us by His Son. (Hebrews 1:1) He has come near to us, but due to sin and unbelief, we often will stay on the fringes, will worship Him from afar. I remember some years back that a brother told me that the text that brought Him back to the Lord was the verses that I included from Mark 14:53-54. He said that as the preacher was preaching the voice of the Lord came to Him and revealed to him that he was following the Lord from afar off, even as Peter was at this time in his life. The brother told me that as a result of hearing the Lord speak to him, he was drawn back into a closer fellowship with Jesus.

As we gather in worship and fellowship each Sunday, it is always good to be reminded that the first thing we should think on in a text of Scripture is to consider what it says about God and His heart for humanity. We need to remember that the entire letter that God has written to all mankind is a letter of promise and fulfillment of His saving grace and truth. We have separated ourselves, but He has come after us in order to redeem us unto Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. In our text today, He drew near to ten lepers, but only one seemed to grasp who Jesus was and of His saving grace. As we think today not on the nine who did not return, but on the one that did, perhaps it would be helpful to look at this account through the eyes of the leper.

"For years I have been alone, for no one can touch me, hold me, console, pray with me. I am alone. Not my wife! Not my child! Not my friends! No one has touched me! They see me. They have spoken to me. I even sensed the love in their voices. I saw concern in their faces as they talked. But there was no touch. Not once! No one touched me! They keep their distance, and I am very lonely in my pain and hurt.

What is common to you, I want. Handshakes, a friendly conversation, a warm hug. A tap on the shoulder. A kiss on the lips. Such moments have been taken from my world. No one touched me! When anyone comes near me, they are very careful not to brush up against me. What I would have given to have been bumped into to be caught in the crowd. For my shoulder to brush someone elses. But years it has not happened.

How could it! I am not allowed on the streets. I am not permitted in my own synagogue. Not even welcome in my own house. I was untouchable. A LEPER. And no one touched me........ until today.

Here is the story of my life in the past..
One year during the harvest, my grip on the scythe seemed weak. The tips of my fingers numbed. First one finger, then another. Within a short time I could grip the tool but not feel it. By the end of the season, I felt nothing at all. I said nothing to my wife, but I knew she suspected something! How could she not. I carried this hand against my wounded body like a wounded bird.

One afternoon I put my hands in the wash basin to wash my face. The water turned red. My finger was bleeding. I didn’t know I was wounded. How did I cut myself? On a knife? Did my hand slide across the sharp edge and me not feel it? It must have, but I didn’t feel anything! “It’s on your clothes, too,” my wife said softly. Before looking at her, I looked down and saw my clothes. BLOOD. I knew my life was changed.

“Shall I go with you to tell the priest?” she said. “No, I’ll go alone.”

I turned and looked into her eyes. She had started crying. Standing next to her was our three-year-old daughter. I squatted down and touched her cheek. I stood up and with my good hand I touched my wife. It would be our final touch.

Time has passed and no one has touched me since...... until today. The priest had not touched my bleeding hand when I went to him with my bleeding hand. He looked at my hand wrapped in cloth. He looked in my face. I never faulted him for what he said. He was just doing his job. He extended his hand, palm forward and said, ‘YOU ARE UNCLEAN.” With one sentence he made me know that I had lost everything my family, my farm, my future, and my friends.

My wife met me at the city gates with a sack of clothing and bread and coins. She didn’t speak. My friends had gathered. What I saw in their eyes is what I have seen since pity! As I stepped out, they stepped back.

Oh, how I repulsed those who saw me. Years of leprosy had left my hands gnarled and the tips of my fingers were missing as were portions of my nose and left ear. At the sight of me, people would pick up their kids and head in the other direction. Children pointed and stared. I could not hide my sores with my clothes they were too many. The clothes could not hide the rage in my eyes either.

Many nights I just shook my fist and yelled, “Why me, what did I do?” But never a reply. Some think that I sinned. Some think it was my parents’ sin. I don’t know. All that I know was that I was tired of it all. I grew tired of the bell that I had to wear around my neck to let people know about me. As if I needed it. One look at me and it began ‘UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN.”

Several weeks ago, I walked to my village. I could still see them working in the fields. I hoped I could see her, my wife, but she was not anywhere that I could see. I could see kids playing and... and for a moment... just a moment... I forgot about myself and watched with enjoyment. I was no longer a leper just a farmer, a man, a father.

I was so enjoying their happiness that I stepped out from behind the tree and it happened: “LEPER, LEPER, GOOOO AWAY.” I left as quickly as I could, trying to get away rapidly.

But one day, oh do I remember The Day, when everything changed. I cry in thankfulness yet today when I think about it. ........We were standing together, afar off from the rest of the people, when we saw Him.We saw the big crowd around Him, we saw them listening, so from a distance, we all cried to Him, lifting up our voices, saying, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. There was a great silence, as the crowds waited to see what was going to happen.

Many cried: Unclean, Unclean, but Jesus did not join in with that cry. Instead, looking on us with compassion, He told us to go show ourselves to the priests.....As we walked towards the place where the priests were, we were all healed of our leprosy.......I could not help but turn back to the One who had told us to go to the priests. The other nine kept on going, but how could I not return to this Jesus and fall on my face before this Jesus, with a loud voice giving glory to God???? How could I not be thankful for Jesus? So many have rejected me because I am a foreigner, but this Man Jesus has healed me!!! I thank Him, I praise Him, I love Him....

Then I heard Jesus ask a question about the ten that He had healed and who had been cleansed of leprosy. As I was alone before him on my knees overcome with thankfulness for my white and clean body, I heard him ask as to the whereabouts of the other nine. I heard him say that they have not returned to give the glory to God, and I heard him refer to me at his feet as one who had come back to give thanks.

KJV Luke 17:17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Then he spoke directly to me: "Arise, go your way, because you believe in me you are clean and whole.
I am clean, I am forgiven, I have hope, I have my family back, I have friends who now hug me again, I have those who truly care about me now, they take time for me now........they truly love me.

Are we in the pain of loneliness, isolation, rejection like the leper was before He received the "touch" of Jesus? Do we need a fresh touch of Jesus? Do we need the refreshment of repentance and honesty before Him and with others? Are we bitter because of life's circumstances?

Have we forgotten the love that He has for us, and have been looking for His love in the wrong places? Have we lost the joy of gathering together with His people? Are we longing for His touch of compassion, of tenderness, of love today? Are we struggling with our past? Our present? Our future?

He is near today, He is listening for our cry to Him so that He might show mercy and forgiveness to us. May we come before Him in humility and honesty with a broken and contrite heart, a needy heart, for with such hearts God is well pleased.

May we be encouraged by this following account of another person who called out to the Lord in his time of need.

Mark 10:46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

He is near today......Call out to Him, believing.....He will come to you...to give you life, eternal life.

May His grace be upon us today and forever, amen!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 25 Nov 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Trusting Our Father 11/11/2012

Writers note: This is usallay a lengthy writing which contains much background information which helps me to understand the text that I preach upon. I purposely post this previous to the sermon in order to keep myself grounded to the context of the text, but it is not necessarily that which I preach word for word.

Psalm Reading: Psalm 23
Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 17:1-16
Mark 12: 38-44

May the love of the Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us now and always, Amen.

Our text of meditation today is found in the Gospel of Mark 12:38-44. It comes at the end of a discourse by Jesus during which His authority was challenged by various groups of people that came to Him with questions, most of which were not designed to seek truth but were configured to trip Him up and is so doing, to discredit Him. As we approach this text it is needful and important for us to remember that Jesus came here to do the Father's will, which was to bring us back to Him into fellowship and communion that we (mankind) had enjoyed (Genesis 1,-2) before our fall into sin and death. (Genesis 3)

In our Psalm reading today we heard David share of his relationship with his Lord as His Shepherd, and in our OT reading we heard the account of the widow who provided for the man of God who was used by God to bring judgment upon King Ahab and disobedient Israel. In both cases, the care and provision of the Lord are seen as coming from Him in heaven who sees and knows all that is needed for His work to continue which includes the use of those to whom He has revealed Himself to as Lord God.

As the time drew near in which God came nearer to mankind through His incarnation (The Word becoming flesh John 1:14), a different and better revelation of Himself came to mankind. As stated earlier, Jesus came to reveal the heart of His father for His lost children and in so doing, Jesus introduced us to our Father, Previous to this the relationship between God and humanity had been not of a Father/Son relationship, but for the most part the relationship had been seen as Vineyard Keeper/Tenants,Shepherd/Sheep and King/Subject. But now as Jesus came to show us His God/our God and His Father/our Father, (John 20:17), a new day had arrived for humanity, for now our Lord God was revealing Hiimself through His Son as Our Father.........

Immediately our thoughts turn to our earthly fathers and of the blessing that they brought to us, first of all that they brought us into this world, and secondly to the best of their God given abililty served us as fathers do in providing those things which we needed to be brought to maturity of adulthood. Some of us had good fathers, some of us had fathers that did not understand what father hood was, some of us had fathers only for a short time, some of us had them for a long time and still have them....

In a spiritual sense people of Jesus' day struggled with the concept of fatherhood, I suppose, mainly because it was a new concept for them and so in their confusion, they often asked questions of Jesus. That is always a good thing to do in order to find clarification to our confusion about things. The fundamental issue, though, is always this: Are we asking questions with an openness to learning the truth, or are we asking questions in order to prove and justify our beliefs/convictions? Are we really open to being taught by those from whom we are asking questions? The underlying issue of all our questions is one of authority. By whose authority do we live? God's or our own? This is what was happening in the discussion Jesus was having with the various groups that did not believe/understand who Jesus said He was.

This discussion begins in chapter 11 after Jesus had rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, which began the Holy Week as we know it today, had cleansed the temple, cursed the fig tree and on Tuesday, the first question came, from which all questions originate: Whose authority?

Mark 11:27 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,
28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?
29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. {question: or, thing}
30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.
31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?
32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.
33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

The three, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders believed that they were the ones with authority, so who was this man to infringe upon their authority! Their answer to Jesus' question to them shows that they were not interested in being truthfu/learningl, so Jesus did not even bother responding to their question of by whose authority He was doing these things. We understand today by looking back upon these events that He was symbolically bringing to an end to the false and hypocritical worship that had become the worship of the Jewish nation, and that which had been designed to be a shadow of the True Temple,(Himself) was now passing away. The final destruction of this would not come until 70 AD at which point the entire city of Jerusalem would be destroyed and laid to horrible destruction.

KJV Mark 12:1 And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.
6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.
8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.
10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:
11 This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.

Jesus then spoke a parable concerning those who were in leadership in Jerusalem, using it to bring into their minds of the reality of the unfruitful situation. Here we see the husbandman, who is God, using servants, prophets, to reap fruit from his vineyard, but they were not received, for their message was rejected. Finally, and now we see the Father figure coming onto the scene, the son is sent, but those who saw him as one who would take away the kingdom from them, killed him......Jesus then drove home the clinching nail into their minds by referring them back to the prophecy of the Messiah from Psalm 118:22-24..They sought to lay hands on him, but true to their double minded ness, they did not dare because they feared that the people would revolt against them, But they clearly knew that He was speaking this parable about them.

Mark 12:13 And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
14 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?
15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. {penny: valuing of our money seven pence halfpenny}
16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's.
17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.

Next in line were certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, coming to try to trip Him up in his words. They flattered Him, said that they know He teaches the way of God in truth, and had a question for Him about paying taxes. The Herodians were a small group who were under the larger influence of Caesar and it would have been great for the Herodians if Jesus would have said that they do not have to pay to Caesar and of course the Pharisees would have Jesus right where they want Him if He would have said that one does not have to pay taxes to Caesar. They would have had him for treason and sedition against the government. But Jesus again spoke with one as having authority, for He spoke the truth of God, just as those who came to Him said.

He asked for a coin, asked them whose image and inscription was on the side on which Caesar's image was, and they answered rightly: "Caesar" He then told them to give to Caesar that which is his and to God that which is His. They marveled. Let us think on this for a moment. What did Jesus really say by what He did not say, but which was implied? Remember, the discussion is about authority, for this is what the leaders asked Jesus in the previous chapter: "By whose authority did you cleanse the temple?" What Jesus established here is that there are two spheres of government, an earthly government and a heavenly government, the latter which is called the kingdom of God. These two kingdoms are two distinct kingdoms and they should not be mingled together as one. Please read the three following Scripture references in order to see how they are differentiated as separate, but yet under the same authority. Jesus is saying that they need to render unto God the things that He, Jesus, represents, for He is the image that is on the "coin" of God. They are not hearing or seeing what He is saying to them at this point. They do not see that the He is the Father's image. They understand the fatherhood of Abraham but even then they have not followed even Abraham's example of fatherhood. (John 8:12-59)

John 18:28-37; The heavenly kingdom
Romans 13; The earthly kingdom
1 Timothy 2:1-7 God's desired role of the earthly kingdom in revealing his heart for the salvation of the world.

Mark 12: 18 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,
19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.
21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.
22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.
23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

Next come the Sadducees, but not with a question, but with a challenge, which is the same as a question.
They seem to think that in the light of the example that they give that Jesus will be trapped. But not so, for Jesus tells them that they do not know the Scriptures, speaks the truth into their minds and hearts and draws on the Old Testament happening of Moses and the burning bush experience. By telling them that God had said that He is (not was) the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, He points out to them that those three live in the future resurrection for they are not dead, but are only sleeping. He tells the Sadducees that they are in error in their understandings. He spoke as one having authority.....

28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Next........one of the scribes, one of the teachers of the law, having heard the discussion had his question about which was the greatest of the commandments. He seemed to be open to hearing the truth, as he received Jesus' words as truth and for his answer Jesus told him that he answered wisely/prudently. Jesus then told him that he is getting closer to seeing what the heart of the Father is like. The scribe understood that it was love for God and for one's neighbor were more than all the outward offerings and sacrifices. His eyes were opening to seeing the heart of the Father in His Son.....This scribe seems to understand that the things of God are most important as opposed to the things of Caesar.

35 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?
36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.

Now Jesus had a question for those who were in the temple, a question which would cause them to be challenged as to their ideas and convictions as to who Jesus was. In so doing Jesus reached back to the time of David and the 110th Psalm, which was written about 1000 BC...

KJV Psalm 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

The scribes understood that the Scriptures (2 Samuel 12-16) taught the out of David's loins would eventually come the Messiah and the Messianic age. They understood the physical bloodline, but did not as of yet see the "foreverness" of this covenant. Jesus asked them: "If David called Him Lord and this Lord is also his son, who does that make Me?" Is Jesus not telling them that the same David that they maintain said Christ is my son, also called Him his Lord? Yes, He is, but do they get it?...

38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
40 Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. {money: a piece of brass money}
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. {mites: it is the seventh part of one piece of that brass money}
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

The question and answer time is over and now Jesus brings the conversations to an end...He first speaks of the scribes, saying that they love to be seen of men, for they wear noticeable long clothing, love to be greeted in the public market places, love the high seats in the synogogues and at feasts.

He then watches as those who are under this system come into the temple, into the portion of which women are allowed and watches as people cast money into the treasury. Then He watched as a widow woman cast in two mites. There are various opinions as to how much this would be in today's economy, and so it is unclear as to what that could be. Some say a few pennies where others say up to $2.00. Either way, the amount is small, but the important part is that it represents the widow woman's entire living. That was her next meal.

After watching this happen, Jesus calls His disciples to him so that He can teach them. Jesus then made an amazing statement in saying that the others cast in of their abundance while she cast in all that she had, of all her living, and as Luke records, "out of her need." And in so doing, 'she cast in more than they all."

KJV Luke 21:2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury/poverty hath cast in all the living that she had.

She understood the God was not only her God, but was also her Father in heaven. He would take care of her every need......She understood that being part of God's family she could depend upon her Father for everything in her life. He had served her and now she wanted to serve others.

Simply said, God loves us, sent His Son to show us and through His indwelling Spirit we show others His love. So then we can say, that the true nature of the kingdom of God is seen in the life of this widow woman....

Love longs to serve, and glories in serving.....

Love served us, yet serves us, will always serve us.....

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

In the Old Testament, there are various names for God, which collectively encompass an overall concept of the Care and Keeping of our Lord God. In the New Testament, Jesus came to introduce us to His Father and Our Father. God says: "I want you to know me by my name." What takes place in the NT is hard for us to conceive.

When Jesus was here He taught us to pray, "Our Father, who are in heaven." That, my dear friend, is what He wants us to see through this discourse. Let me give a couple of illustrations which may help us to see things more clearly as to what it means to truly pray, "Our Father, who art in heaven."

We must know that He is our Father and that we are His children.

We call Him father, just like we call/called our earthly father, dad, papa, daddy, whatever we called him. Just like our children called us if we are are father.

A friend of mine shared this story: "When we are young there is a tendency to get out from underneath our parents authority. We do this by muttering things like "I do not need to listen to you," calling them by their actual name and in so doing think that we are smart. My friend said that one time his dad, knowing what was going on, took him aside and told him. "I am your father, I do not want you calling me by my name. You and your sister can do something that for me will make me happier than anything else you can do: You call me dad. I am going to ask that you never call me by anything but dad, for I am your father." In the NT, God says: Call me Father, for you do not need to call me by anything. You are my offspring, you do not need to know me by name, you need to know me by relationship.

If you need anything from me, all you have to do is ask me, and I will do it for you. There is nothing wrong with studying the names of God in the OT, but recognize that to zero in on the individual characteristics of God from the OT remember that God was talking to His people from a distant point. He was trying to tell them that He was their Father, but they did not get it. He told them that He was their Father, He was going to give them His Son, so that they will be restored to Sonship. Jesus is not ashamed to refer to us as brothers. We are now sons of God.

Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

We must know that He has loved us and has given His Son for us, and is well pleased in us in His Son.

This week I had opportunity to go back over 44 years in time as I had a friend request on facebook from one of my classmates whom I had not communicated with since we graduated in 1968 from high school. As I accepted his request, I shared with him of a memory that he is a part of that to this day brings joy to my soul each time I recall the message that God brought to me through my friend. I told him I yet remember when he caught the winning touchdown pass in a game against Raymond who at that time was a powerhouse in a division that was higher than our school. I told him that as he raced into the endzone with the ball for the winning score, his father, Elmer was running up and down the sidelines yelling at the top of his lungs. "That's MY boy!" That's MY boy! That's MY boy!" I told him that I have used this occasionally to illustrate that just as his father rejoiced in his pleasure in him, so likewise, much more so, OUR Father rejoices in us today through His Son. For we are His offspring, and Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers.

Our Father has cared about us, He does care about us more than we can ever know. As we consider His love for us, His care for us and His commitment toward us, may we see those who are in need of His care and ask Him how we could best help the someone He has put on our heart. We have a prayer list with many needs, perhaps pray for them, stop in to visit them, give them a call, send them a card, bring them a meal.. the list of possibilities goes on..

Let us pray...

Matthew 6:9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

May love of Our Father be enjoyed by us now and forever!

Your brother with Christ.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 11 Nov 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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A Leper's Thanksgiving 11/25/2012
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns