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

Thanksgiving 11/24/2008
Good Morning, dear family. Much of this blog article is borrowed from Pastor Alvin Holmgren, Seattle, Washington, and was written in 1984. I have added a few Bible verses, a few comments, and even though the article is not in its original form, it yet keeps the accuracy of his message.

KJV Philippians 3:20 For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

KJV 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. ~H.U. Westermayer

(by Pastor Alvin Holmgren)

"The ravages of winter took a heavy toll on the newly-formed pilgrim colony in New England. The first winter was severe and they were ill-prepared for it. The long ocean voyage of more than two months had been taxing. Some of their number died enroute, and the lack of proper diet had weakened many others. It had been the middle of November 1620 when land was sighted at the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. After exploring the coast along Massachusetts bay, the Pilgrims chose Plymouth as their site for their colony. By the time the Mayflower dropped anchor in the harbor at Plymouth, it was December. By the end of March their number of 102 had been reduced to only 51, and almost half of them were children.

Only 20 men and 8 women had lived through that dreadful winter. In spite of the rigors of this first winter in the new land, not one of the remaining pilgrims chose to return to England when the Mayflower sailed again for England in early April. Before long, their leader Governor John Carver also died. The pilgrims elected William Bradford as governor. Although he was only 31 years old, Governor Bradford proved to be a good leader and was elected governor 30 times.

Even though some of the natives were as inhospitable as the first winter, in time the pilgrims developed a friendship with them. When the harvest was over that year, for the first time since they came to America, the pilgrims had all the food they needed. They had ample wood cut for their fires, and their house were readied for winter.

Governor Bradford declared it was time for "thanksgiving," A feast was prepared and the Indian friends were invited to join the pilgrims for this festive occasion. God was to be thanked for sparing their lives, for their freedom in this new land, for the abundance of the harvest, and for their Indian friends. As so began our day of national thanksgiving.

We, today, can learn anew from the pilgrim forefathers. They knew that their very lives depended upon the blessing of the Almighty God, and they were not forgetful in acknowledging this. Our nation and its people have traveled far from this first "Thanksgiving Day" in 1621.

But have we traveled in the right direction? Have we, as a people, been mindful of this early example?

It is important that we as Christians walk the pathway of thankfulness. God is good and sends countless blessings upon the earth. Jesus explained the goodness of God by that our Father in heaven makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust

KJV Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

May we not be forgetful to return thanks to God, who is the source of our many blessings. We need to be grateful for this good land in which we live, and also to share in the responsibility to pray for kings and for all that are in authority.

KJV 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; KJV 1 Timothy 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Our national heritage is a great blessing, but it is second in importance in comparison with our Christian heritage. Harvest was the time of the pilgrims' thanksgiving. We join in thanking God for his promise that while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest will not cease.

KJV Genesis 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

(Genesis 8:22) But we also look to a greater harvest--the harvest of souls. This harvest is the primary purpose for living and should be the goal of our lives.

KJV Matthew 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
KJV Matthew 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Today we are still surrounded by a cloud of witnesses of which we read in the book of Hebrews, chapters 11 and 12:

29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.
31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets-
33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.
36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.
37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,1 they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated-
38 of whom the world was not worthy- wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

ESV Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

They have passed this way before us. We are urged to remember them, for they have spoken to us, the Word of God, and we are encouraged to follow their faith, mindful of the end of their lives.

KJV Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Original: Remember those who have led you, who have taught you the Word of God, observe, reflect upon the results of their lives and imitate their example of faith."

"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today and forever. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise unto God continually, that it, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:8, 15)

Pastor Alvin C. Holmgren
Reprinted from 1984
Posted on 25 Nov 2008 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
"Paying It Forward" 11/20/2008
Good Morning, Dear Family.

Nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord."2 Samuel 23:16

The other day I received this email from a person who wished to remain anonymous and I place the essence of this email for your encouragement.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

What has been like water from the well of Bethlehem to you recently - love,friendship, spiritual blessing? Then at the peril of your soul, you take it to satisfy yourself. If you do, you cannot pour it out before the Lord. Youcan never sanctify to God that with which you long to satisfy yourself. If you satisfy yourself with a blessing from God, it will corrupt you; you must sacrifice it, pour it out, do with it what common sense says is an absurd waste. How am I to pour out unto the Lord natural love or spiritual blessing? In one way only - in the determination of my mind. There are certain acts of other people which one could never accept if one did not know God, because it is not within human power to repay them. But immediately I say - This is too great and worthy for me, it is not meant for a human being at all, I must pour it out unto the Lord, then these things pour out in rivers of living water all around. Until I do pour these things out before the Lord, they endanger those I love as well as myself because they will turn to lust.We can be lustful in things which are not sordid and vile. Love has to get to its transfiguration point of being poured out unto the Lord. If you have become bitter and sour, it is because when God gave you a blessing you clutched it for yourself; whereas if you had poured it out unto the Lord, you would have been the sweetest person out of heaven. If you are always taking blessings to yourself and never learn to pour out anything unto the Lord, other people do not get their horizon enlarged through you.

This part of the devotion really moved that person.

"If you are always taking blessings to yourself and never learn to pour out anything unto the Lord, other people do not get their horizon enlarged through you."

The person's comments:

"I'm not sure how that will play out exactly... I will let you know how things develop. I reached out to a few people today, who I believe are unsaved or struggling in their faith. I was thinking of texting them once a week, just with a bible verse or encouragement of some kind. Today I asked if there was anything I could pray for them specifically, and 3 out of the 4r esponded to that with requests. So, I don't know what will happen. I will pray about it, and see where God leads".

What do you think?In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 20 Nov 2008 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Thanksgiving 11/24/2008
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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