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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Trusting God 8/01/10
(We are doing followup on the VBS week with this sermon. We will return to the book of Colossians next Sunday)

KJV Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

We have no reason to fear when we are united to Jesus Christ through the cross and the resurrection but yet, fear is part of the consequence of our fall into sin. It has been said the the two biggest fears are public speaking and death. The Bible speaks much of fear, both from the point of calling us to fear as well as not to fear. Let us look at few verses to get started towards understanding of our text verse today.

KJV Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

KJV Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

KJV 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

KJV 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

KJV Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

KJV Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

These verses clearly point out that there is nothing to fear in the circumstances of life once we have come to understand what it means to fear God. The fear of God has been compared to the fear of water by a child who is in the water but does not know how to swim. Once the child who does not know how to swim comes to know that if he/she slips under the water, he/she will drown, there will be a definite fear of the water. But once the child learns how to swim, it then is able to enjoy the water, but yet knows that the water has the last word. Even so with the fear of God, God holds the last word in everything! We could call it respect for the water, or respect for God.

Fear thou not; for I am with thee:

be not dismayed; for I am thy God:

I will strengthen thee;

yea, I will help thee;

yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

In our text today, there are five promises which are given to those who have come to understand what it is to fear God. Our text is found in the book of Isaiah, in the 41st chapter, verse 10. This often quoted verse is given to those who were living around 700 years before the time of Jesus here on earth and through these verses is given to us assurance, comfort and direction from the Lord. Let us briefly consider the events leading up to this verse that is before us today.

Isaiah was one of the major prophets of the Lord who spoke the Word of the Lord to the people during that time. His book has been called the fifth gospel as he points to the Messianic kingdom of Jesus Christ, especially in the latter part of his writing. (chapters 40-66) It is interesting to note that the first 39 chapters of the book of Isaiah contain much history (but including prophecy) and the last 26 chapters contain the fulfilment of the promise, howbeit prophetically.. The Holy Bible has a similar makeup, for the 39 books of the Old Testament contain largely books of history (including prophecy) and the last 26 contain the fulfilment of the promise. It is a rich book in which one can spend countless hours of prayerful reading and meditation in seeking the heart and the ways of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

At the time that this was written, God's people were living in Babylon in exile, which was due to their disobedience to God and His commands. Beginning in chapter 40, the book shifts from a historical narrative to a tone of speaking from the heart of God to the hearts of the people, speaking of restoration. The introduction to the rest of the book of Isaiah is contained in the first 11 verses of chapter 40 and contains clear references to the kingdom of God which Jesus brought into the New Testament time and which will continue forever.

The Restoration
KJV Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. {comfortably: Heb. to the heart} {warfare: or, appointed time}
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: {straight: or, a straight place} {plain: or, a plain place}
5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. {with strong...: or, against the strong} {his work: or, recompense for his work}
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. {that...: or, that give suck}

Isaiah then asks a series of questions which are designed to show God's preeminence over all
12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? {a measure: Heb. a tierce}
13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? {his...: Heb. man of his counsel}
14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? {instructed...: Heb. made him understand} {understanding: Heb. understandings?}

The answers are provided for us.
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

How do idols compare with God?
18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. {is so...: Heb. is poor of oblation}

Don't you know who I am?
21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: {It is...: or, Him that}
23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.

Who can you compare me with, or what can I be compared with?
(We are dwarfed by the creation, but the creation is dwarfed by God)

25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
ESV Isaiah 40:27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"?

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

KJV Isaiah 41:1 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.

Who is in charge anyway?
2 Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.
3 He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet.

Who is in charge of the events of the world? God answers through Isaiah
4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

People responded, by drawing together, but not to Christ.
5 The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.
6 They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.

Those who have their hope in idols encourage one another, they strengthen their idols.
7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.

God now speaks to those who are in the Promise, including us.
8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

During VBS we focused on three happenings in history. Here are the three biblical references in brief:

They had respect toward God rather than toward man.
KJV Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
KJV Daniel 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

He had respect toward God rather than toward man.
KJV Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

He had respect toward the ways of God rather than the ways of man.
KJV 1 Samuel 17:32 And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
KJV 1 Samuel 17:33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
KJV 1 Samuel 17:34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
KJV 1 Samuel 17:35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
KJV 1 Samuel 17:36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.

These may seem like they are in the distant past, for most of us in our culture today have not experienced such situations. But those in foreign lands experience these miracles, as those who have been there can relate to as well as information we receive from those areas of the world. When we read of the accounts from the pages of history of the Bible, we are educated and we gain knowledge. But when we hear first hand testimonies of those who have experienced miracles of God, we are inspired.

This is one of the reasons why we invite people such as John Ruotsala, the FM administrator, to be with us. People such as Dr. K, from India. Let us take advantage of the opportunities to hear of God's work today in the lives of those who are persecuted for Christ.

A recent article in the VOM gives the testimony of one who witnessed a miracle similar to the first one we highlighted today. Here it the account.

"Noora and her two daughters became believers through the witness of Noora's younger sister. After Noora became a Christian, she wondered. "What am I supposed to do with my life now? How can I tell my husband?" Noora's husband, a sheik and leader in his mosque, was a dedicated Muslim. Noora could imagine what would happen if he found her Bible.

"When I usedd to see him beside me, I used to get cold and sweaty, and, you know, scared." Noora says. For a while she hid the Bible in a drawer under her daughter's clothes. But later she moved the Bible to a place her husband never went near--the oven.

One Sunday afternoon, Noora's husband did something very out of character for him. He brought home a fish, prepared it and slid it into the oven. Unaware that Noora's Bible was on the rack below, he turned on the oven ot cook the fish.

"As we sat there, I was sure that the Bible was burning, but I could'nt think about it." Noora says. She and her daughter looked at each other mutely across the table, afraid to say anything. "When it was done, he took out the fish and ate it. Then he left to go back to the mosque to pray. I asked my daughter to take out the Bible. But to our surprise, we didn't find ashes..We found the book was not burned. The color of the cover had changed, but the inside pages were the same. Even the Bible ribbon didn't burn. It was hot. And it had some dots of oil from the fish on it."

When Noora's husband finally learned that she had become a Christian, he beat her so hard her gallbladder ruptured. "I carried my cross and I left my house only with my clothes," she says. "Jesus is worth it, you know? I love him so much." Her husband, the sheik, divorced her.

"Jesus never promised that we would have a rose filled life, a good one," Noora explains. "As I go along with Christ, I share his suffering and I know the trouble I face is because I walk with him. When I converted, my family called me "infidel.' If they want a drink and I give them a cup of water, they don't take it from my hand. I am an infidel and I am not clean enoughlllto even give them a cup of water."

KJV Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Through the pen of Isaiah, God has pointed to the restoration, which is through Jesus Christ. When Jesus was here he told us then and he tells us today, that the secret of having no fear is to seek first His kingdom and its righteousness and all things needed will be added unto us.

These four illustrations show us that we live by faith, which means that trust in the God who we cannot see to provide us that which we are able to see, that which we need for life and to protect us from danger. The key in all these stories is that they trusted and do trust in God above all others and all other things.

Regardless of the cost, they feared God more than man, even to the separation of the family...Even though the Bible illustrations do not specifically refer to Jesus and his coming, we must acknowledge that God's working in history is to bring about redemption and restoration to his fallen creation. Isaiah points to this when he relays the message from God that "I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness."

In our last session of VBS, we tied all of this together as we demonstrated through role acting of what Isaiah was referring to when he wrote of God upholding them with the right hand of his righteousness.

ESV 2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

We invited the children to take turns playing the roles. It went this way. Sitting behind the desk, acting us Judge with a placard hanging around their neck which said, innocent and sinless was one role, which depicted Jesus. As the other role player, handcuffed, approached the desk with a guilty and sinner placard on their neck, the hammer of the judge affirmed their guilt, but then as the one stood there helpless and hopeless, the former Judge now got up from the chair, came around to the front of the desk, took off the guilty and sinner placard off of the child and put it on himself. He then took a placard which said, "forgiven by the blood of Jesus" and hung it over the neck of the child, taking off the handcuffs as he did so. The child walked away.....

KJV Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Thank you, Lord, for becoming sin for us, so that we might be made right with you through repentance and faith. Help us to remember to first seek your kingdom and your righteousness, knowing that the additional things that we need will be given to us. Help us to draw encouragement and inspiration from the example of Daniel, of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, from David, from Noora, but above all, from your Son Jesus Christ, who came to serve us so that we might live. We thank you that he took our place in what looks to the world like weakness,, and is now on your right hand in a place of power and authority, interceding there for us. May we rest upon your promises today and always! In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today and forever!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 01 Aug 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Being reconciled we become reconcilers. 7/25/10
Colossians 1:15-23

Introduction and Transition from last week:

As we continue our way through Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossian congregation, today we come to verses 15-23 of chapter one. Last week we spent some time considering Paul's prayer which is contained in verses 9-14 and in which he prayed four specific things for them, which we will recount here.
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you,

A. 9b and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

B. 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

C. 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

D. 12 Giving thanks unto the Father,

Paul now lists four reasons for being thankful, now including himself in the prayer.

A. He has qualified us!
12b which hath made us/you meet (qualified, made us fit) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

B. He has rescued us
13a Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness,

C. He has moved us from dark to light
13b and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

D. He has purchased us
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood,

E. He has given us the forgiveness of sins.
14b even the forgiveness of sins:

As he finishes this part of his letter to them, it is as if he says: “You have received salvation and I will tell you who saved you. I will tell you where He was when the earth was created. I will tell you who He is with regard to God. I will tell you
who He is with regard to the world. I will tell you who He is with regard to the church—He is supreme.
He is above all things.” He is the One through whom God reconciled us to Himself and with one another.

We see this outlined in the following manner:

Jesus' Relationship to the Father
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

KJV John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

KJV Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

KJV Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Jesus' Relationship to Creation (Creation Mediator and Sustainer)
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

His Relationship to the Church (Redemption Mediator and Sustainer)
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (First born” here means that He is the first to have come from death to eternal life—to continuous immortality in the body)
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

God made the first move, to reconcile us to Himself. He does not hold our sins against us.
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Paul addresses the church telling them God is no longer their enemy, but their friend. It is God's initiated action.
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Faith is a condition of entering into the experience of as well as in the continuing in this reconciled state.
23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Now that Paul has outlined the coming of the God Man Jesus Christ into the flesh in order to reconcile us unto Himself by the cross and that we receive this by faith, let us spend the rest of the time looking at the implications of this into our lives as Christians. In order to do this, we will here present four words which will guide our meditations. They are: Honeymoon, Conflict, Resolution, and Intimacy

In life we experience conflict in relationships. Left unresolved, we end up in broken relationships, broken families, broken churches, broken businesses and so forth.
The most basic thing that one can say of any relationship is that it is made up of two sinners and that there will be confict. For when two sinners get together, there is bound to be some/a lot selfishness in the forefront.

For any relationship to reach any level of intimacy, it pass through three stages in order to approach that place in which the relationship can grow in closeness and harmony. These stages could be called honeymoon, conflict, resolution and intimacy Whether it is a marital relationship, a relationship with any person, a church relationship, or a business relationship, they must all leave the idealistic honeymoon stage (1) and enter into the reality of everyday life, which often results in conflict.(2) The sooner these conflicts come in, the better, for then stage (3) can be enacted, resolution and then some level of intimacy.

The Bible always looks on differences not as reason to separate, but as an opportunity to work together to grow in the maturity of Christ. When differences which result in conflict are viewed as opportunity for growth, a marriage, a church relationship, a business relationship can and will grow into maturity, which means to view the relationship as one and not as two separate people. We know that we are understanding this maturity when we find ourselves thinking and saying ours, we, us as opposed to mine, me, or I.

Intimacy will happen when we move from the honeymoon period, to conflict and then work to resolve the conflicts. Intimacy does not depend upon the resolution of all differences, but it depends upon our willingness to work to resolve conflicts in a biblical manner.

1. Why are we like this? Why is it so hard to have close relationships?

Genesis 2: 18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

The nakedness here means that there is nothing hidden between the two and there is openness, honesty and trust between them. The Honeymoon


Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons

They tried to hide themselves from each other.
1. The sewed fig leaves together. They covered themselves from each other.

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.

2. They tried to hide from God
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

3. They tried not to take responsibility
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

In the Garden of Eden we lived in the honeymoon, upon falling into sin we entered into the conflict stage. God worked to resolve this huge conflict through his initiative:

NLT Genesis 3:15 From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. {in...: or, among all}
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. {having...: or, making}
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled {in...: or, by your mind in}
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

God acted to reverse the effects of the fall,through His Son and He is now at peace with his new creation in Christ.. All who receive this reality enter into true intimacy with the Father and the Son. From God's perspective we are perfect in Christ, we are His beloved sons and daughters, but from the human perpective we struggle in the actual living out of what it means to enter into communion or intimacy with another person.

1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation1 under heaven,

2. We do not need to remain in conflict with anyone: our spouse, someone in our church, someone in our family, someone in our business. God is friendly and gracious toward all, why shouldn't we be also? He receives all who will come to Him. Why should we not do the same? They may be unfriendly toward us, but do we have to be unfriendly and unloving toward them?

Honeymoon, Conflict, Resolution, Intimacy

God acted to remove the enmity between Him and us that came as the result of our fall into sin. When we obey the Gospel, it (believe and experience it) Christ enters into us and His will and His desires become ours, yet understanding that our selfishness is still present. He did not enter into relationship with us in order to control us or to dominate us, but to call to a relationship of love and service toward Him and His created people. He understands that many have not and will not receive His love. Will it be any different for us as His children?

We have many relationships in life. Some are close, some are more distant. Not all relationships are meant to be close, while some are. For example, marriage is an exclusive relationship between two people and no one else. Some relationships are simply working relationships or business relationships. Some relationships have more pressure because of proximity or because they are family oriented. When these conditions exist, things can be very difficult.

These type have entered into the conflict stage and often times get stuck there, for it is too painful and too hurtful to even deal with the conflict. Sometimes we think that nothing will ever change. When that happens, one of the best things to do may be to follow Paul's example of his prayer in verses 9-14 of this same chapter. We cannot force a relationship to grow closer, but we can allow the Lord through His Word to give us the grace to love that person as Christ has loved us. Let us do that, but also remain open to the Holy Spirit in our own hearts, so that our desires and expectations will reviewed in an open and honest manner before God.

Let us ask ourselves some questions.

Do we have desires and wishes for a relationship which we are in, our marital relationship, a special friend, a family member, a church relationship, a business relationship?

Have these desires and wishes become expectations without communicating openly and honestly about them in an attempt to resolve the differences?

Have these desires and wishes become demands, which always results from desires and expectations that are selfishly oriented? If so, we are not on the road to true intimacy with our loved one, but a path of loneliness, anger, frustration and distance.

Lord, thank you for your grace toward us today. We have so many challenges and problems in our relationships. Help us to understand and experience in a greater manner of your heart towards us, in that you not only wanted to fix our relationship toward you, but you did something about it. You sent Your Son at a cost that we cannot comprehend, but it was a cost that required the blood of your Son to be shed to the point of death because of sin. Father, how do we understand this kind of love? Help us to do so. Lord, open our eyes and hearts wider to the reality of what You has done for us through Your Son. Yes, In Adam we lived in the honeymoon, but conflict came, You worked to resolve the conflict so that we may live in intimacy with you in oneness in the Body of Jesus Christ. May your grace be upon us today, for sake of the kingdom of your dear Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 25 Jul 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Trusting God 8/01/10
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob