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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Heavenly Worship 11/06/2011
Dear friend and neighbor,

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be realized by us again this new day of grace!

How was your week? How did it go? How does next week look? May we be encouraged by Him today who alone is able to give us joy and hope in the midst of trials and challenges.

Our text of meditation for this writing is found in the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible. It is the last book in the Bible, not because it is the end of all things, but because of the controversy which surrounded its being included in the church canon, ie Holy Bible. Neither Martin Luther nor John Calvin believed that it was worthy of being put into the Holy Bible, therefore one does not find much of anything written on this book by these two notable men. It is included in the canon today of the Holy Scriptures.

There are many methods of interpretation of this book and quite possibly most of us have looked at this book as one that is mysterious and is full of images of scary type of things. Is that your view of this book? It was mine for many years until I took the time to read it from the beginning. Now I have come to see that in the context of faith, it is a book of joy, encouragement and hope to believers in Jesus Christ. It was written by John the Apostle, it was written to and for the people of that time, but it is a book that has a timeless message for all people of all time.

So in considering our text today, we will start from the beginning, outline the portion that is before our text of today and then ask the Lord to give us His insight into the portion that we are considering for today.

KJV Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (So be it)
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

These are letters of encouragement, of warning and of direction that are written to the seven churches in Asia (modern day Turkey). Of the seven churches 2 of them are in a good condition, but the other 5 are told where they lack and are called upon to repent, (i.e to change from their condition now to the true worship in Him. In the last part of chapter three, a portion of Scripture that is known by many somewhat summarizes the chapters which contain the letters to the seven churches:

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

In chapter four, a look into the throne room of heaven is seen by John.
In chapter five, there is a continuation of the description of what John saw in heaven, but the Lamb is introduced at this point.
In chapter six, the Lamb opens the seals which describe things that happen on the earth, the voice of the martyrs who are in heaven speaks to the Lord as to how much longer things will continue. (they are they now, for there are more yet to come, it is not final)
In the beginning of chapter seven, the beginning of Christianity in the New Covenant is described through the mention of the 12 tribes of Israel and the sealing of the saved.

At this point we come to our meditation, which describes a great throng that cannot be numbered and which contains representatives of all nations, kindreds, people and languages. What a gathering that will be!! Here we praise in part, but there we will praise in complete joy!! We will be released from all the things that hold us back from truly praising our Lord!! Let us look into this beautiful promise. This is reality, this is what God says is ours.

Revelation 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.

After John describes the beginning of the earthly worship of our God through the twelve tribes of Israel, he says, I saw, and lo!! A great mulititude!! Wow, there were more than he would have ever imagined!! For John has grown up in a Jewish culture that was exclusive in thinking that salvation not only came from the Jews, but was only for the Jews. In this multitude of all people, he saw in a greater way the largeness of God's heart toward the world, and quite possibly to him was opened up in a greater way the verse that we are all familiar with,

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." This vision that John saw is not only our Father's wish for the saving of the world, it is the reality of what He has accomplished, is accomplishing and will accomplish through His church here on earth.

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.

Then a question is asked of John by one of the elders (lesser leaders) to which he replies:
"Sir, you know the anwer to that question." To which the lesser leader replies: These are they who have came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

What would this tribulation/affliction be? It could mean a variety of things, but in this context it would seem to point to the affliction that comes as a result of being united with Jesus Christ in His death and in His resurrection. There is great controversy and affliction in our soul when the Lord calls us to repentance toward God and to faith in Christ. They have passed through that affliction in life for they have had the Gospel applied to their hearts and souls and now are pure and spotless in the sight of God before His throne.

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.

In their joyous state, which has been made possible only through the blood of the Lamb, they hunger no more, neither do they thirst anymore, neither does the sun light on them, nor any heart. Why is this so? Because the Lamb, our Lamb, who reigns on over the universe is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and He shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Dear friend, this message is for us today. It is a message of joy and a message of hope. This is not a novel that we are reading, but it is the Word of God!! He shows us what is the reality of eternity. It is what Louise's brother Arne saw when the Lord called him home. It was reported that as Arne slipped away from this life that he reached his hand to put it into the one that was reaching for his. God showed John these realities to give encouragement to the people who lived in times of severe persecution. John was telling them to hang in there, it is many many time over worth it. As Paul said in another place, KJV 2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; that which is awaiting us is glorious, peaceful, restful, and forever and forever!!

For those of us who are struggling right now, let us rejoice in the victory we live in through the Lamb. If we are not under the covering of the Lamb, may this first part of the book of Revelation be that which causes us to tremble at the thought of spending eternity under the wrath of the Lamb, as is depicted in the last part of chapter six. May also the Lord give us a greater sense of compassion for those who do not believe that there is a day of accounting coming or are not even aware of it. Lord, help us to do this, give us a heart for your world....

Lord, thank you for seeking us out so that we would be covered from all danger and harm by the blood of your Son!! Draw our minds and hearts unto yours this day so that we will by faith see ourselves in this great throng of praise and worship!!!

Under the covering of His blood I leave you,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 06 Nov 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
A Present Help in Time of Need 10/30/2011
Today is Reformation Sunday, which remembers the contributions of Martin Luther towards reforms in the church. The Hymn "A Mighty Fortress is our God" was composed out of the Psalm reading (Psalm 46) and it is said that during the trying times of the Reformation when Martin Luther was struggling with continuing with the reforms, he would say to his co-worker, Philip Melanchthon, "Let us sing the 46th Psalm." Let us be still today, hear His voice, and consequently know that He is God! Please note how many times this psalm refers to our Creator and Redeemer.

KJV Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. {and...: Heb. when the morning appeareth}
6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. {our...: Heb. an high place for us}

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

God provides divine enabling in our troubles, but he also shields us from troubles. We find out our weaknesses when in trouble, but God is only a refuge to those who put their trust in Him in the time of trouble. Just as a person goes into a shelter during a storm, so we also run to God in time of trouble. What kind of trouble have we been in lately. Are we seeking refuge in time of trouble? How do we react in times of trouble and worry? Apostle Paul wrote of his experience:

2 Cor 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: {sentence: or, answer}
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

Help that is not present when we need it is of small value. We forget that our God is present always, for He is not only for us, He is with us and He is in us in our troubles. Jesus told us that He would be in us forever. Let us believe HIm today. We sometimes lack this presence of mind, but He is always present. He has helped us in the past, therefore we have confidence that He is helping us today and we can be sure that He will help us in the days ahead. The best way to prepare for the eventual tragedies of life is to ground our heart in the truth of who God is. He is our refuge, our strength, our very present help in time of need. So when trouble comes knocking, let us run into His house of refuge and to His stronghold of safety."

As Martin Luther did with his coworker Philip Melancthon, so also may turn to our Creator and Redeemer in times of trouble. through singing of the works of God in His Psalms!

In His bountiful grace, mercy and peace, we rest today,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 30 Oct 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Heavenly Worship 11/06/2011
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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2/28 7:00 pm:Lent Service
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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.