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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Father's Day 6/20/10
We learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ from an early age by the example and teachings of our parents. We are taught by their example and by their words, and this lays the foundation for our understanding of the love of God in Christ Jesus toward us.

Through our parents we learn that we are loved by them which means that they accept us for who we are, (not what we do) and they also give us direction for our life. We begin to learn through experience that love is not simply words, feelings, or emotions, but it is an action. (1 Corinthians 13). When we are disobedient, dishonest or disrespectul, we experience discipline and correction from our parents, but within the relationship of grace and acceptance. In order to teach us of the ways of God, we remember that our parents would not discipline us without telling us of the reason for the correction, even as the Scripture teaches us. (Also Hebrews 12:9-11)-

KJV 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
KJV 2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

In this way, parents raise up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. To a large degree, we become what our parents are (with exceptions) in that how they have come to understand and experience who God is through their own teaching and experiences form our views of God.

When we look at our family relationships, we must always remember that God has acted in our behalf to restore/reconcile us to Himself through the cross and therefore, we are again in relationship with Him. We are brought back into His family through the cross, but it is a relationship of both grace and truth.

When we do not live in this relationship of grace and truth as parents, it is very difficult to not have an adverse affect on our children/grandchildren.

KJV John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

KJV John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
KJV John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Grace is the unconditional love and acceptance of God, for that is His essence. It is relational aspect of God's character.

Truth is the structural aspect of God's nature, but without grace there is only judgment. Grace allows us to approach God freely into a relationship of truth. Real intimacy always comes in the company of truth.

These verses outline of how God has reconciled us to Himself..

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

That which God has done has been gifted to us through faith.

KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

KJV 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

This inner experience, which is really seen only by God, is lived out openly in our earthly relationships, such as are outlined in Colossians and in Ephesians, beginning with marriage.

Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Colossians 3:8 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

KJV Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

It has been said that the best thing that we as husbands can to for nurture and admonition in the Lord is to love their mother as Christ has loved the church. That type of love is a serving type love and not self serving.
A quote by John Stott, a theologian from England might help us understand this.

"Not that such self-giving is ever easy. I fear I may have painted a picture of married life which is more romantic than realistic. The truth is that all self-sacrifice, although the way of service and the means of self-realisation, is also painful. Indeed love and pain appear to be inseparable, especially in sinners like us, since our fallenness has not been obliterated by our re-creation through Christ. In marriage there is the pain of adjustment, as the old independent ‘I’ gives way to the new interdependent ‘we’. There is also the pain of vulnerability as closeness to one another leads to self-exposure, self-exposure to mutual knowledge, and knowledge to the risk of rejection. So husbands and wives should not expect to discover harmony without conflict; they have to work at building a relationship of love, respect and truth."

When we seek to establish and strengthen relationships with our spouses, we realize that our obedience to the Word of God is all important, for we know that only upon following the progression below will we be able to grow our relationships.

1) What God says, 2) Seeing, acknowledging where we are in relation to His Word, 3) Our obedience to His Word.

This brings us back to the first part of our article, in which we wrote about the reality that God has come to us in grace and truth; in relationship and direction, in spirit and in truth. But there is another aspect concerning of how our relationships grow: They need Time.

After Jesus had spoken to the people who were listening to Him of the necessity of repentance, He spoke a parable which illustrates of His patience and longsuffering toward us...

Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

As we close this meditation, let us consider a practical application before the partake of the Lord's Supper/Holy Communion.

Whenever there is someone that we are struggling to be gracious toward, the Lord continues to be gracious toward us, but He wants us to be reminded that we are not thinking biblically, but we are thinking/battling our own thoughts. He wants us to remember that He has reconnected Himself to the world through the cross and that He is not ungracious toward the world. So why should we be ungracious and judgmental? How could we be ungracious toward anyone in light of His grace and forgiveness toward us?

When we have experienced, and when we think and reflect upon the grace of God toward us in Christ Jesus, we will be changed from focusing on self to the serving of others. This is the nature of the body of Jesus Christ.

He saw us/sees us in our brokenness and need, is gracious and truthful toward us. Our family relationships are the training and developmental grounds for living out in practical ways of that which He has given us by the Holy Spirit. He has loved us, therefore we love one another.

KJV 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
KJV 1 John 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

He comes to us in His Word, He also comes to us in this Sacrament, through which we experience His Presence. He receives us in grace, gives direction to our lives through His Word, and patiently waits for the Spirit to address those things in our lives that need changing. Let us enjoy His Presence at His Table as we partake of His Body and His Blood.

In Jesus Name,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 20 Jun 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Provider and Provision 6/12/10
Grace, Mercy and Peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today and always! That is the way to start off a letter is it not, to be reminded that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ as the result of being gifted with faith from God, which then gives us access unto His throne of grace where we are able to find help in every time of need.
We then live in hope of the future, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in His Son Jesus. Perhaps a happening of many years ago will bring us some encouragement and direction in our lives today.

ESV 1 Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word."
2 And the word of the LORD came to him,
3 "Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.
4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."
5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan.
6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
7 And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

Elijah went in obedience to the Word of the Lord into the very country into which he had pronounced the coming of the drought. He did not go to some place where he would have simply watched the effects of the drought on people, but he identified with them in the coming famine. He was provided for by God's feeding program, which was through the coming of the raven twice a day and the water from the bubbling brook. Putting ourselves in the place of Elijah, we can imagine that he must have regularly watched the water level in the brook and as it dropped, perhaps he felt the pressure of worry even as we do when outwardly things do not look so good. But we note that he did not leave the brook until God spoke to him, telling him to go to Zarephath, in verses 8-9. I love this story because Our Father brought this so close to me during the time that He was exercising us in the matter of faith and trust as he pointed us more directly to the work here in Kingston, in 2004 or so. I preached on this text during the heat of it all, and after I got done a man told me, "You must really like that story!" I told him how it applied to me so well, in that when we were still logging full bore while yet living in the west, there was a period of time in the late 90's that a raven would regularly come to look for sandwiches and food scraps. It happened for a period of time that was noticeable, so I have always looked upon it as a word from the Lord of His promise to provide all that we need. I do not remember if I shared of the current struggles with what I was dealing with with him, but those who knew what was going on, understood the application of the sermon. I remember specifically while preaching of mentioning of how Elijah trusted in the Lord in the difficult circumstances and did not leave the dried up brook until after the Word of the Lord came to him. That has been a benchmark in my life! Regardless of what our outward circumstances may look like, no matter how bleak it may look, no matter how inviting it may be to just leave it all behind, it will not be good to move on before we hear the Word of the Lord pointing us to a different place or a new direction! It is like I heard his voice when I was preaching, "I am taking care of things ahead of you, don't worry, but don't do anything different until I tell you to."

8 Then the word of the LORD came to him,
9 "Arise, go to which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you."
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks.

Elijah, after hearing the Word of the Lord, went to Zarephath to live there, being told that he would be fed by a widow women there. Basically, he was told to leave and that God would be ahead of him taking care of his needs. Elijah took God as His Word, "I will take care of you. The way I do it is not up to you, but it is up to me. You are my chosen vessel, I own everything in heaven and on earth, therefore there is no lack of my capacity to provide for you. Leave this dried up brook now, go to this town and look for a little old lady who is going around gathering up sticks. She is the one who is going to take care of you." Elijah, "Well, okay, Lord....a little old lady is going to feed me????.....But...Elijah trusted and obeyed!! When he got to the town and approached the gate, there she was gathering sticks, to make the last meal for herself and her son. (verse 12)

10 And he called to her and said, "Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink."
11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, "Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."
12 And she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die."
13 And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son.
14 For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, 'The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'"
15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days.
16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah.

Elijah's heart must have praised the Lord for his faithfulness to His Word when he saw the women, and he immediately acted by calling for her to bring water and some bread. Her response did not dissuade Elijah, for the answer of the promise of God in his seeing of the women waiting there for him far outweighed what his natural eyes saw before him. For he saw God as the Provider and the woman as the vessel. He perhaps said in his heart and mind, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He makes me to lie down beside the green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters." He remembered that God is able to provide abundantly more than anything that we are able to think or even ask, by the power that works in us: The power of faith, of trust, of total reliance in the One who sees all our need and Who is taking care of our future. Elijah saw that there was a treasure in the earthen vessel of the woman, that the power was of God and not of her. She was a vessel through whom God was going to provide all that is needed. Upon the Word of the Lord being spoken in assurance and trust, the widow trusted and obeyed, and therefore she enjoyed the blessing of the provision of the Lord until the day that rain was sent upon the earth again.

As we think upon this in conclusion to this, we can see that God is able to provide all that we need and then some. He calls us to trust in him in all our most difficult circumstances, waiting it out until such a time that He shows us a different pathway. When we see and go the new way, we can be assured that when it is according to His will and way, there will be affirmations of it even as there was for Elijah when he met the woman at the gate of the city. When God directs our lives, it seems that He is always working from two points, He works in us as well as in those He has prepared and directed to assist us in our lives. It is as if He sends them out to meet us as an affirmation of His faithfulness to provide all that is needed. When we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, He will give us those things that are needed which will sustain us in this life. It will be even as it was in the day of Elijah, that the provision will never run out until such a time as it is not needed anymore.

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

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 12 Jun 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Father's Day 6/20/10
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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