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

Another Year is Dawning 1/01/2011

During the Advent season before Christmas we considered some of the Christmas Carols that have been sung through the years and for many of us the messages which flowed out of these hymns were refreshing and revitalizing. As much as we enjoy and appreciate fresh air and fresh water in a natural sense, how much more we drank up of the freshness of the life giving Spirit of Christ that flowed out of the hymns that we sang together in a heavenward and united manner. Yes, we could say that the glory of the Lord shone around us and in us as we worshipped our Great God and King.

A fellow believer in Christ, Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879), enjoyed New Year's Day, for she considered it a day of promise, as she looked forward in faith to God's blessings in the coming year. She had such a positive spirit that it was said that she brought a "burst of sunshine." The following hymn that she wrote was inspired by the thought of the new year before her. May we slowly and in a thoughtful and reflective manner read the words of this hymn that she penned.

Another year is dawning:
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning
Upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting,
Of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of mercies,
Dear Father, let it be,
In working or in waiting,
Another year with Thee;
Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy Presence all the days.

Another year of service,
Of witness for Thy love;
Another year of training
For holier work above.
Another year is dawning:
Dear Father, let it be,
On earth or else in heaven,
Another year for Thee.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:11-14

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you in this New Year and always!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 01 Jan 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Glory of God 12/16/10
Dear friends in Christ,
Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
The other night we heard a couple of men in our congregation share of the meaning of two of the age old Christmas Carols: Hark the Herald Angels Sing and It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. As they shared of the origin of them, of the Scriptural foundation of them and of the application for our lives today, I was left with a sense of wonder at the deep and rich meaning that is hidden in these two Hymns. Although there were many wonderful truths that were shared, two of them here will suffice to bring the point across of the blessing that was realized from hearing the Word spoken, which centered around these two Hymns.
It was mentioned in relation to this hymn that most of us have experienced the birth of our own flesh and blood, an experience which is incredible and difficult to describe with words. The speaker went on to apply this natural experience to the event which announced that God was born on earth on Christmas Eve and of how such glory shone from heaven in celebration of this indescribable event! As we think on that, the words of Charles Wesley's hymn quite possibly gain immense meaning to us.
Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

The second hymn we heard spoken of was It Came Upon the Midnight Clear. There are different versions than the one that we are familiar with, and below is one of them, with the below version being different, especially in the 3rd verse. As you think about Christmas and rejoice in God coming to be with us, think of the meaning of the following Hymn as you go through the words. What a night it must have been, when the angels came to tell of the heart of God toward the world and of how the light shone all around them! What a melody it must have been when all of heaven broke forth in praise of Almighty God who was pleased to come to redeem all of mankind through being born in the flesh in a stable. The speaker mentioned that he recalled his childhood days in which he learned how to best cross the street: Stop, Look and Listen. He applied this to our quiet times at night, as times when we especially think on the grace of God toward us. He encouraged us to take occasions in which we would stop in our busy lives, look (read/listen to what God is saying to us, and above all, listen (hear) to what God is saying to us in His Word. May we stop for a moment, look up and "hear" the words of this hymn, which is from the heart of God. Jesus often said these words in His ministry on earth: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold!
"Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven's all gracious King!
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing.
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world hath suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When, with the ever-circling years,
Shall come the Age of Gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And all the world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

May the grace of Christmas be with you today and always!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 16 Dec 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Another Year is Dawning 1/01/2011
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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