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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Abiding in the Word May 21. 2017
John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Dear friends,

May God’s Love that has been poured out into all humanity through the cross of Jesus Christ be with you and in you today!

Today it is our privilege to have a guest speaker, Pastor(retired) Ansten Tretten from Lake Worth, Florida along with his wife Roberta and their son Jeff. Today our guest will be speaking from the fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel in which Jesus expands on his opening statement of “I AM the vine and you are the branches. The verse that has been placed above tells us that those words that He spoke to His hearers were done so for the purpose that His joy might remain/abide in them and that their joy might be full. This message was spoken to His disciples in the last part of His life and is part of His longer message in the Upper Room contained in John 13-16 during which He speaks much of the coming Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth and so on.

I have been getting excited as the time of our worship service this morning draws closer, as we await His Presence and His Voice this morning in our gathering together for worship, for fellowship and for Holy Communion with our Lord at His Table.

Our second reading, which is previous to the sermon today, will be from Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. One of the main purposes of this letter written to them was for the reason that they had become fragmented by divisions amongst them which resulted in their going away from following Christ to following certain gifted men. In chapter 12 he shares with them that he doesn’t want them to be ignorant of the gifts that God bestows on His people, he wants them to know that all gifts are given by God, they are given by Him for His purposes and that all gifts are designed to work together and not in competition.

He then tells them in the last part of chapter 12, (12:31) “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” What is that more excellent way? Well, let us read the 13th chapter to find out what that more excellent way is.

In our King James, the word charity is used, which means God’s love, which is a one way never ending unconditional love. Each time the word charity is used, let us think God’s love toward us in Christ Jesus.

KJV 1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity/God’s love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity/God’s love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity/God’s love, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity/God’s Love suffereth long, and is kind; charity/God’s Love envieth not; charity/God’s Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity/ God’s Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity/ God’s Love, these three; but the greatest of these is charity/God’s Love

What is the meaning of all this? Well, giftedness is worthless if God’s love does not dwell in the heart of the gifted one. What would that look like? It would mean that instead of praying for others, we criticize them, instead of helping them discover their giftedness, we tout our giftedness, instead of helping them find places to use their gift, we minimize their gift and tout ours, instead of speaking highly of them, we drag them down.

God’s love is pure and ours is not. How many times have we gone through these verses by reading them three times in this manner? The first time we place God’s love in place of charity, the second time we put our love in the place of charity, after which the Spirit rebukes us and convicts in great grace, and, well, the third time we go through these verses we are hopefully broken and so we are praying that He would forgive us for our lack of love and asking Him to pour His love into our hearts through His Spirit.

It is not difficult to see why this is the most used (chapter 13) reading for wedding messages as it sets the ideal of love that every couple would love to live in, but yet recognizing that their marriage is the union of two imperfect people. Could we say that the success of our marriages and the amount of joy we experience is directly related to how well we abide in Him and in His Word? That certainly has been my experience, for it has been through continually being brought back to the knowledge of what real love is, God’s love, that joy has been restored as well as increased. It has been through the Lord humbling me before Him and before others (especially before my wife) that I continue to be reminded that God’s love can only flourish in a heart that hears and abides in His Word.

In a conversation with our dear brother Ansten, he made a statement that further illustrates what has been written above. “Whenever people are not getting along, all they need to do is to get closer to Christ.” Amen to that….

I am very eager to hear the Voice of the Lord today through my dear brother in Christ. I am very eager to be reminded that it is only in Christ that we have joy and it is His desire that our joy in Him would be full!

How I pray this morning for many to come into this house that is dedicated to the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s love as revealed in Christ Jesus.

How I pray that we all will have concentrated minds, attentive ears and soft and believing hearts so that we might be able to hear His Voice this morning. May the Spirit of God descend mightily from heaven this morning, may our needy hearts that long for the rain of His grace be gently nourished this morning and above all, may the incomparable, unmatchable, and never ending love of God lift us to praise His Name in our sanctuary this day and forever!!!!!! Amen and Amen!

Praising Him with you!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 21 May 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
A Mother's Prayer
KJV 3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

On this Mother's Day, we all acknowledge that the one thing that all people have in common is that we had a mother who carried us for up to nine months inside of her, who gave birth to us, who loved us, nurtured us, trained us and taught us. Our mothers, through their intentional, sacrificial and one-way love, demonstrated to us without words of the Giving Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a blessing to have had a Christian mother who then taught us how to follow Jesus by her example and by her melodies and songs as she went about her many many duties of caring for the family and the household.

While it is true that there are many things that our mothers have taught us, do we not agree that her patient sowing of the seed of Christ through His Word is what we are most thankful for as we reflect upon her love and care for us. May we give praise unto our God, to His Son and to His Holy Spirit who collectively and purposefully have blessed us through our mothers and Who desire that we would pass this on to our families unto all generations. The prayers that our mothers prayed or are yet praying are not forgotten prayers before our Father, for they they are stored in golden vials and come up before Him as a sweet smelling aroma.

In the heart of a Christian mother, there is no greater joy than to hear that her children walk in truth. Likewise there is no greater sorrow in the heart of the mother whose child has not yet been grasped by the gathering grace of God, and how her heart longs to have that child know the Lord. Sometimes the simplest words in kindness will cause one's child to come to know the love of God in Jesus.

Deceased Pastor Ralph Davidson, who grew up in this area, shared of how his mother's words of care and love were instrumental in causing him to receive the grace of God for the forgiveness of his sins. This is his testimony, which I heard many years ago from himself as he was speaking in the small congregation that I grew up in in Washington State. "My brothers and I were heading out the door to "sow our wild oats" and as we walked by mother, who was on her hands and knees washing the floor with her tears dripping in the mop bucket, she said these few words which never left me. "Boys, there is a better way." A number of years later, the "better way" was opened and revealed to me in Jesus Christ."

Dear mothers, Keep on loving your children and sowing into them the love of God in Jesus.

Our message today is entitled A Mothers Prayer and is taken from our Scripture reading from 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Those verses contain the prayer of Hannah after she had been given a child from the Lord, and which child she promised to give to Him for His purposes.

Our first Scripture reading was one of Solomons Psalms, 127 which I will place here below.

Psalm 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Solomon, who also wrote the book of Ecclesiastes in which he came to
the conclusion that all of life is really vanity and empty, writes of the importance of the Lord building and watching that which we are building.

Since this is one of the Ascent Psalms, which were sung during the Israelites annual pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem, one can be fairly certain that he was referring to the continuation of the Lords presence in the lives of people in the future. To the Israelite, Jerusalem was where God was and that is where they went to be in His Presence. Solomon writes here (vs 1 and 2) that all the building and even burning the candle at both ends will not avail anything towards building for the future if it is without the Lord.

Then in verse three he speaks of two very important truths concerning the building of the future. He writes that children are an inheritance from the Lord and that the fruit (children) of the womb are the Lords reward. What does this have to do with the first two verses? Well, a lot..
Children are Gods, they are made in His image and they are given to us in order that they might play a role in His continuing building of His kingdom here on earth. So, here let us ask a question, Why do we receive children? Do we receive them so that our name might continue into the future, or do we receive them so that the Lords name might continue into the future?

Let us turn to Hannah so see how she looked at this question. She lived in a home in which her husband had two wives, she was barren while her cowife had children, and her husband tried to console her but to no avail. She wanted a child, for in those days it was a disgrace to be childless. In her barrenness she prayed to the Lord to be given a man child and she would dedicate him to the Lords work all the days of his life. The Lord heard answered her prayer by granting her prayer and Samuel was born to her and her husband.

Hannahs prayer of praise reflects that she did not look upon her child as something that was given to her for her own posterity, but by her words she testified that the gift of her son was for the purposes of God. She spoke by the illumination of the Holy Spirit which can only speak of the Father and the Son and their essence and of their purposes. Her heart rejoiced in the Lord, her strength was exalted in the Lord and her mouth praised her Lord even in the midst of her enemies. How could she do that? Because she rejoiced in her salvation.

Hannah received her son by faith, which means that she in some manner understood that the Lord was working out the Promise of the coming Messiah. Look at verse 10:

KJV 1 Samuel 2:10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

She sums it all up in verse 10: He will exalt the horn/strength of His anointed, of the Messiah. Hannah understood that life was not about her and her fulfillment, but it was lived trusting in the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob. The God of the Promise of the Coming One, Jesus the Christ.

So, our children our created in Gods image, we receive them by faith as gifts and we receive them recognizing that He has a purpose for each of them in His continuing and expanding kingdom.

I do not like to take one verse such as the one below as it is easy to get it out of context of the rest of the chapter or book, but in this case this verse can stand alone. This is written by John the Apostle in the last of three of his letters.

KJV 3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

What would be a greater joy of a mother but to have her child walk in the ways of the Lord? As I have written on numerous occasions, our mothers were the first deliverers of the Gospel to us in that they did everything for us when we could do nothing in return. They continued to train us, teach us, rebuke us, forgive us and to instruct us in His ways, both by example as well as by words.

I would like to share a couple of personal experiences which would relate to what I just wrote. There are two experiences which stand out in my mind today on this Mothers Day, one was early in my life and the other was nearly four years ago. In the first she taught me what is meant by grace and truth, even tho I did not realize it at the time. I recall that I had been behaving very badly in church, and so after church she told me that I needed to be disciplined for misbehaving. She did so and after ward as I was crying she took me into her arms and told me that Jesus is always ready to forgive anyone who is sorry over doing wrong, she assured me of His forgiveness and then she hugged me very tightly. She later told me that Jesus wants me to behave in church and left it at that.

The second occasion occurred by her bedside four years ago where she lay dying. She motioned me to come to her side and told me this: The doctor told me that after I had your older sister that I should not have anymore children, then she hesitated a little and looked into my eyes, and said, But I am glad I had you.

How I pray for each of you that on this Mothers day that you will remember that you are a gift of God created in His image for His purposes. Our mothers did all they could do to bring us to that knowledge through telling us about and by modeling the life of Jesus for us as they loved us and served us. May we honor their memory by continuing on those things that we learned that are to God's glory!

Have a blessed Mother Day!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 14 May 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Abiding in the Word May 21. 2017
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.