Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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The Faithfulness of God
Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, {remembrance: or, mention}
4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

We read of the faithfulness of God in the past, we witness His faithfulness in the lives of those around us today and therefore, we are convinced that His faithfulness is a future reality. We know that He loves us and as a result of His love toward us, we are now an extension of God's love for the world. Therefore, life's experiences offer us opportunity to demonstrate God's love to the world. It is by believing who God has made us to be that we are enabled to live our lives this present world. This is called living faith.

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

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

In our lives today, we are surrounded by people who trust in the same God that Abraham and Sara trusted. Here is the testimony of our dear sister Louise Kilpela.

"Early mornings is a time for me to read God's Word before all the "demands" and "noises" of the day find their way into our minds. One particular quiet morning, I was stopped by a clear voice saying, "Do not be afraid." Puzzled, I sat wondering, then put it in the back of my mind. Sometime later, a week, maybe, I discovered a foreign mass in my body. After all the tests, it was revealed to be cancer. The words resurfaced, "Do not be afraid."......Lord, I am afraid! Fear came in waves over me, but above it was the Voice: "Do not be afraid."

How often in God's Word are we reminded of this. God always goes before us and holds us in the palm of His hand. Sickness, diseases, and trials are no surprise to Him. They all work to bring us closer to work out His will in our lives.

Come to Me, you are are weary and afraid, I will give you strength and courage to face this, too. He lifts the gloom and sends rays of hope and peace to our hearts. One day we will exchange these earthly bodies to glorified ones where no aches or diseases will touch us. We will praise Him with new tongues and sing with all the saints in glory: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. Praise be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost".

And she leaves us with this encouragement from the psalms....

Psalm 5:11 "But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defends them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass or crown him as with a shield."

We thank Louise for blessing us through the sharing her life with us, which is the life of Christ in her.

Through testimonies of God's people from the past as well as from today of the faithfulness of God toward them, we are encouraged to press forward to the prize of the high calling for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14) Let us press on, looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, and to the One who has promised to complete that which He has begun in us, even the salvation of our souls. Together, let us press onward..................

God's Peace!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 23 Sep 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Joy of Jesus 9/16/2012

Mark 8:27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?
28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.
29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

The disciples have been with Jesus for some time now, they have been called and commissioned and they have seen the miracles that He did which showed the powers He possessed over diseases, over death, over the weather, over nature, over the demons and will, well, over everything. The Jewish church leaders were continually working to accuse Him so that they could bring Him into disfavor with the people so that their power base would remain intact. They had their interpretations of God and this young Rabbi was about to upset their hierarchy and therefore their positions of authority, power and influence. As Jesus journeyed into the towns of Caesarea-Phillipi, and as they were walking along, He dropped a question on them which basically asked them what they were hearing the people say about Him. There were three answers, John the Baptist, Elijah and one of the prophets. Then Jesus asked: "Whom do you say that I am?"

The Gospel of Matthew gives a broader answer by Peter to the question that Jesus asked him.

KJV Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
KJV Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

No man had revealed this to Peter, but it had come through his Father in heaven...

30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

Jesus told most that he healed not to say anything, but some He trusted to tell others. For example, the man in whom the legion of devils lived was told to go home and tell his familly....

KJV Mark 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

To this time most of the healing has been physical by Jesus, but not all, for He forgave the sins of the man who was carried to the house in which Jesus was on a cot and let down through the roof. But now He brings forth a much more troubling prophecy concerning Himself.

31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

And in Matthew's Gospel it is written.

KJV Matthew 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

After Jesus had told them of his mission to bring salvation through his death, Peter took him and began to reprimand him. Peter tries to take Jesus aside, but Jesus brings it out into the open.

33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

He is not calling Peter a devil or as Satan, but he is letting Peter know that with that type of thinking he is following the mind and plan of Satan. What is Peter thinking here? It is clear that he does not understand the necessity of Jesus going the way of the cross and of His resurrection, but what is he thinking?

Regardless of what his motive is, we know that Jesus was steadfastly journeying toward Jerusalem for an appointed deliverance by God to evil and conniving men to be tried falsely, to be tortured and to be put to death by crucifixion. We see through a couple of Bible references of the reality that God delivered His Son to be killed and that the death came as a result of Jesus giving Himself over to death. He purposefully and intentionally went to the cross, He went on obedience to His Father's will, He layed down His life Himself and took it up again, and all this was done for the joy that was set before Him. That joy was that He would through His suffering, death and resurrection make and certify the payment for the sin debt of the world.

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,

ESV Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know-
ESV Acts 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

KJV John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

KJV Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Let us not be too hard on Peter, for we were not living in the time that he lived. In this era, it was criminals that were crucified, not religous leaders. Why would Peter not be opposed to that which Jesus said was going to happen to Him? To boot, the criminals that were led away to be crucified had to take their cross to the place where they would be put to death.....How could the Messiah, the Promised One die? How could God die?

First Jesus spoke concerning Himself, but now He went even further, pointing to those who would be His followers, His disciples. He not only spoke to his disciples, but to the crowd that had gathered around..

34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Here Jesus says that His followers will be those who disown themselves, through repentance and faith, and who are filled with the Spirit of Christ. His followers will live a life that is in union with Jesus the Christ and which will cause one to be rejected of men even as Jesus the Christ was rejected.

Let us look to two Bible references which could bring application to that which Jesus is saying concerning the life of those who are His disciples.

James 3:9-18

Galatians 5:13-26

Jesus then contrasts eternal life with the life of this world.

35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

There is no value in gaining the whole world and losing our soul, and the last verse of our text gives solemn warning for those who would disown Christ and His saving work. The words speak for themselves.

38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Application: Jesus has asks the question of you and I today: Who do you say that I am? It is hard for us to put ourselves in the place of the disciples since we have the rest of the Bible to draw from. But nevertheless, in our reply to the question of Jesus, the same principles apply in that it is through the revealing of the glory of God to save us as sinners that we are encouraged today. Jesus came not only because He was obedient to the will of His Father, but He came with purpose and joy as we read in our reference verses above. God is love and He demonstrated it by sending His Son to take our place of death and separation so that we would be saved, but much much more than that is intended for us to come into an awareness of.

As we reply to Jesus' question with our own question of "who am I?" we acknowledge that according to His Word and through our experience, we have fallen far short of the mark of what God requires. But that is okay, for our righteousness before God is not found in our obedience, but in the obedience of Christ. He is our righteousness and our perfection which is imputed to us by faith. God has forgiven us in Christ before the foundation of the world, and now in time we have come to experience this gift of grace which is through faith.

Two trains heading toward one another in the night, the switchman has to throw the switch and the trains will miss each other. But one night the switch does not work, the switchman is wondering what to do cuz it is too late. The trains approach, suddenly the trains switch as normal, no one knows anything different and the train goes as usual. The next day the paper has a small article about a dead switchman who was found laying across the track. He had layed his body across the track so that the electricity would cause the switch to open. No one on the train had anything to do with it, but they were saved by the action of the switchman.

May we be strengthened in the grace and knowledge of our Creator and Redeemer Jesus Christ through Holy Communion with Him today as we remember his death for the forgiveness of our sins, as we celebrate His resurrection, as we with renewed hope and joy anticipate His return and with this expectant hope in our hearts go from here today into the world to serve Him.

In the hope and joy of Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 16 Sep 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Faithfulness of God
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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