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

Love Came Down To Us


"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them." Luke 2:1-20

The reading of the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve has been a part of many of our lives for as long as we can remember, for when we were children, it was read in our homes and the tradition has continued in our homes. It is a blessed and rich tradition, one that relates a historical happening through which Love reached down and touched the whole world. When we read this account, or when we hear it read from the Holy Bible, we receive it as being proclaimed from the heart of our God, who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish, but have eternal life. This testimony of truth comes from a heart of love, for God is love and He sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. When we hear of this most amazing reality, we are not getting "sound bites", but we are getting the whole story. This is like a shining ray of hope that has come from heaven, which has shined into the darkness of this world. He has not come to give us some kind of a system of beliefs, or some kind of an outward structure, but He has come to give us Himself through relationship. We have need of a Saviour, for we all have fallen short of His glory as a result of the fall into sin in the Garden of Eden. He reached down.....

Down from His glory, Ever living story, My God and My Savior came,
And Jesus was His name, Born in a manger, To His own a stranger,
A Man of sorrows, tears and agony.

Chorus
Oh how I love Him! How I adore Him! My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!
The great Creator Became my savior, And all God's fullness dwelleth in Him.

What condescension, Bringing us redemption; That in the dead of night,
Not one faint hope in sight, God, gracious, tender, Laid aside His splendor,
Stooping to woo, to win, to save my soul. Chorus

Without reluctance, Flesh and blood His substance, He took the form of man,
Revealed the hidden plan. O glorious mystery, Sacrifice of Calvary,
And now I know Thou wert the great "I Am." Chorus

Dear friend, do you believe in, rejoice over, and live in the grace which God has given you in Christ? Too often our eyes, our ears and our hearts are dull in their ability to comprehend the greatness of the what God has done through His Son, The Gift that already began to be wrapped before the foundation of the world. He has presented us with The Gift of eternal life which He grants unto us through our believing of His proclamation of it. The following is something which may open this to us in a greater way.

A young girl was sharing her testimony of her life and of how the Lord had been speaking to her of the importance of using words to preach the Gospel message. She related that she understood that it is possible to share the gospel through her life, but that the Lord had been prompting her to share from the Scriptures with her co-workers. So she related her testimony in this way: "I came up with two statements and one question. The first statement was that, I think that my co-workers know where I stand in my life, as to what is important to me vs what is important to them. By my actions and words, they sense and know that I love the Lord and worship Him. The second statement that she made was, I think that I know where they are, which was evident by their actions and words, in that they focused on themselves and seemed to be caught up in pleasing themselves rather than the Lord. This led me to the question: Do they know where they are in light of God's sending of His Son as their substitute for their sin? Do they understand that God was in Christ reconciling them unto Himself and that He is no longer imputing/crediting their sins against them? (2 Corinthians 5:19) This changed my whole outlook toward my co-workers and instead of being fearful to talk with them, now I look upon them with greater grace and compassion that I ever thought possible, and I can freely share with them of The Gift that is theirs."

And The Gift is received by one's believing of it, as it is written, And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Romans 4:22-25

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. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Believe the message of the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ for yourself today, that through His Name and in the power of His shed blood, your sins are forgiven!!!! Believe it to your peace and joy, for in that personal faith and knowledge lies the true meaning of Christmas! Isn't that Good News?

Do you know where you are in God's sight?


Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 09 Dec 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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

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Love Came Down To Us
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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