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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Children on the lap of Jesus
Mark 10:13-16 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Just before I got up to preach on Sunday, I was captivated by the little child being held in her grandmother's lap in the middle part of our church and how the child appeared very content and happy in the lap of the one who loved her and cared for her, and as a result of this in my mind and heart, something leaped inside of me which related to the need for children to know that they are loved by Jesus. This knowledge is received from their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, pastors, brothers and sisters and so on... and they receive it or do not receive it depending upon how the adult has received it or has not received it from Jesus. That is why the main influence on children and their continuing and growing knowledge of the heart of Jesus toward them is mainly communicated to children by them being loved and appreciated by those who have the care and nurturing of them. As Jesus through demonstated love responded to the young children being brought to him, he used them as a model for those who seek to enter into His kingdom, as he took the children into his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. What reminder for us of the need children have to be held in loving embraces by those who do love them as they teach them about the love of Jesus toward them.

The fruit of success of our Sunday School is directly related to how we transmit that which we have received, not so much the words, but out the sense of the heart of Jesus toward children. As important as Bible Stories are, and as important as it is for children to memorize Bible verses and Catechism lessons, the most important concepts that need to be transmitted at their age is that Jesus loves them, for the Bible tells them so.

Having said all that, I am very thankful for the heart that our congregation has for the children, for it is a reflection of the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. It has been said that a nation will go according to the way they view their children (that is not a good picture for our country). In the same way, a congregation will go according to how we live before our young, both in loving them as well as guiding them. The older they get, the more they need biblical teaching of truth, as they grow in the knowledge of both their acceptance with God by grace as well as their responsibility to walk in the light of the truth, so as to be a light in this dark world.

"Jesus took them up into his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." This is my continued prayer for our Sunday School, that through all the actions and lessons that our children receive from us, that they could grow in their awareness of the love of Jesus for them. All of you as parents are doing a great job of demonstrating this love, and thereby, transmitting this knowledge to your children. Thank you, each of you."

A fellow child of God in the lap of Jesus,

Pastor Orval
Posted on 09 Sep 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
His Story
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

Just recently I listened to the testimony of a man who with his wife are living in Honduras serving in the mssion field. He shared of how their lives have changed and of how they have gone from pursuing and quite sucessfully achieving and living the American dream to living a life of total trust in the provision of the Lord in their new life. I was greatly encouraged as I perceived that the Lord was speaking to me and my wife through this man. It is amazing of the ways that the Lord is able to minister unto us through the stories (experiences) of others, whether they stories that are being lived and written today or have been lived and written in the past. For we are all a story in progress, which is being written because of His Story being understood, received and lived out in our lives. Yes, initially in our lives we live as individuals and it is what we may call "my story". But as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him, we experience "His Story", and our individual stories become "our story". It was interesting to me and very thought provoking of the transition that this individual shared concerning his awareness of this growth process by the two Scripture verses that he shared with us.

For some time his favorite/life verse had been:
KJV Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

but now has been changed to this one:
KJV Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

I did not get it clear as to when this transition of verses happened, but from listening to him speak and from observing the change in their life's focus, it seems as if everything worked together to bring their focus from serving self to the serving of others.

Abraham left his familiar surroundings of his own culture and his family in obedience to the call of the Lord. He did this because he saw a bigger story of his life than just himself. Even though he did not know where he was going, he went anyway. Initially Abraham's story was about himself, but in time, together with his wife, it became the His Story, the story of Jesus Christ and the blessing that He brought and continues to bring to all mankind through the cross and the resurrection.

How about our lives today? Are we living "my story" or "His Story" which becomes "our story?"

What verse/s in the Bible are special verses at this point in my life? Why is it so?

May the Lord guide our meditations in His Word today and always!

KJV Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 02 Sep 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Children on the lap of Jesus
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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