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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Thanksgiving to Advent
How does one best make the transition from the Thanksgiving season to the Advent season, which is the time we begin to anew stir our minds and hearts of the meaning and significance of God coming to earth in the flesh? The time of Thanksgiving is one of remembering the past and present blessings while the season of Advent speaks of the present and future through promise and fulfillment. Let us nurture the thankful spirit which we have received and allow it to enhance our Advent meditations. As I considered this, I was led to the book of Isaiah, namely the 40th chapter.

Isaiah 40:1-2 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 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.

In this place in the story which is written by Isaiah, God's people are in transition, even though they are still in faraway Babylon, where they were carried away due to their sin and disobedience. (They do not yet know that things will be changing for the better, but God knows) Isaiah is writing to them to give them encouragement in reminding them that they are still God's people and that their God wishes to draw close to them through helping them transition from disappointment in self and fear of the future to dependence on Him and hope for the future. God always begins his transition plans for us in our hearts and He does it through the Word of faith which He speaks to us.. He says, there is a better day ahead and it is a bright day. He calls on us to trust Him in the same way the a young child would trust a father for that which he promises to give them. For example, a father tells his child on Monday that on Saturday you will receive a new bike. All week long the child is thinking about the bike, rejoicing in how wonderful the bike is going to be, riding the bike in their imagination and so on. Why could the child do that? Because the child trusted her dad to follow up on his promise! The promises of God are sure, are being fulfilled today and will be fulfilled for us in the future. With God we can be assured that, even though changes come in our lives, we do not have to be all stressed out about what is going to happen, or what is not going to happen, for He is going ahead of us, making the pathway for us, is leading us and is with us as we enter into the new and exciting chapters of our lives which may be called transitions.

We live by faith. We learn to see things through God's eyes when we live by faith. What God says He will do, He will do. Remember the song, "What He has done for others, He'll do for you!"

Regardless of our situation today, regardless of how challenging things may appear in the future (in our eyes), we are very thankful for His many many blessings of the past, present and, yes, of the future. Therefore, we can be assured that God has everything under control and He has our blessing in mind for the future. He has provided a Redeemer in His Son to make it possible for us to dwell with Him forever in the greatest revelation of Glory, in Heaven with the Lamb, who lights up all of heaven. In addition, He is a Father to us, who has made promises in His Word to us which will be fulfilled in His time. Let us not fret, let us not fear, but may we trust in Him even as the child who, even though the bike is not yet in their possession, has already been riding around and around the block many times. And this they have been doing because they trust the promise of their father. May we see through God's eyes His plan for us, even as a child sees their life through their dad's eyes. They take him at his word, fully expecting him to live up to what he has said will happen. The book of Isaiah is divided into three sections: Real life struggles, how God steps in to deliver those who trust Him, and His promises to those who trust Him for their future. It is your story, it is my story...

God bless you! May your transitions of life be made with the knowledge that God is with you, is going ahead of you, and has already made preparations for whatever it is that He has in mind for you! You are His precious and special child and He sees the blessing that will come to others through His heart which He has given to you. Trust Him.....

Thankful and expectant, entering into the Advent season with you,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 26 Nov 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Thanksgiving and Sharing Pastor Alvin Holmgren
Our national day of thanks provides an opportunity for us to count our blessings. It is a special heritage we have received from our pilgrim fathers. The desire for freedom of worship prompted them to come to this new land. The worship of God was the important priority of their lives. It caused them to embark upon a long and dangerous sea journey and a challenging venture to establish homes in a new and unexplored land. But they set out! Freedom at all costs was their goal!
From those early coloniat days, this good example has been followed in our nation. We believe that the first thanksgiving was not only a feast on the harvest of their crops, but a festival of thanks to the Lord for His providence--for sparing their lives, for religious freedom, for ample food, and for the friends they had made among the natives. Together these two peoples shared a feast of thanksgiving.
Traditionally thanksgiving has been a time of sharing with our extended family and friends. It is a happy occasion when we can sit down together with our loved ones at tables laden with food, enjoying the heritage of freedom which has been obtained and preserved for us throught the blessing of God and the sacrifices of many sons and daughters. We owe a debt of gratitude to our Heavenly Father and to the early fathers of this nation. May our hearts respond with gratitude and praise this thanksgiving.
For us as Christians there should be an additional dimension to our thanksgiving. May it not only be a time of sharing with our own, but a sharing that extends beyond the circle of family and friends.
We have many blessings to share. First of all, we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. OUr gratitude to God for His salvation can best be expressed by sharing the hope we have with others. When we possess something as valuable as eternal life, we want all others to become partakers of it, too. To say that we value this gift of eternal life and be unwilling to share that hope with others is a contradiction. Jesus said: "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God, but he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8-9)
The practical side of our Christianity is the giving of ourselves and of our talents and of our goods. When St. Paul was enroute to Jerusalem for the last time, he spoke touching message to the Ephesian elders. He said: "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city saying that boinds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know ye all, among whom I ahve gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face not more" (Acts 20:22-25) Then he charged them with these words: "I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)

(Reprinted from November 1986)
Posted on 09 Nov 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Thanksgiving to Advent
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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