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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Gratitude 11/17/08 Pastor Rodney Johnson
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Annually as a nation we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. The importance of this holiday cannot be overestimated. We as humans, because of our sin nature, seem to spend more time and energy dealing with the negative aspects of life. Complaining about the government, the 'next-door-neighbor", the lack of money, too many bills, our ill health we have, our spouse's shortcomings, and on and on it goes.....

We somehow think that everything should always 'come-up-roses' for us and that troubles shoulld always flee away. However, the reality of life is that which Job experienced, "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. Job 14:1 When we have this in mind, we will be joyful when we have good days and thank God for them. People who have been in bondage, either spiritual or physical, rejoice in their freedom. Those who do not have enough to eat rejoice in having food to eat regardless of the quality of it. Those who are seriously ill rejoice when they feel well again.

Above all if we are burdened with the guilt of sin, we rejoice in the blessed assurance of the forgiveness of sins, thanking God for our Saviour Jesus Christ our Redeemer. It is a simple thing to say "Thank You' for a blessing of some sort, whether a gift from man or a gift from God. However, a true sense of gratitude is more than a momentary giving thanks. Giving thanks is mre than a quick prayer or word of grace before meals. It is an overall continual_expression in life of praising God for His mercy, love and grace. When we so live, our attitude in life is a blessing to others, thereby serving them and God.

Gratitude is: A moment-by-moment heartfelt gratitude to God for life and all that it contains. It is an appreciation of life in body and soul, the gift of God in Christ Jesus of the forgiveness of sins, the gift of faith to believe it, and the promise of eternal life. Therefore it is written: "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." The emphasis here is "In every thing" and "in Christ Jesus", whether we consider it good or bad. Knowing the Hand of God is upon us and that His promise is that "All things work together for good to those who love God!" How could that be wrong? This is what FAITH accomplishes in us an dwhy the Lord teaches us to be grateful and GIVE HIM THANKS!

This was written by Pastor Rodney Johnson, Laurium, MI reprinted here with his permission.
Posted on 17 Nov 2008 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Rock that is higher than ourselves. 11/10/08

Good Monday Morning, Dear Family,

KJV Deuteronomy 33:27a The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms...

How is it going today? It is going fine here because we know that the foundations of life are not based on feelings or emotions but rather upon that which is what God has said and done. From this reality flow our emotions, feelings, and desires, from believing absolute truth that the eternal God is our refuge, and we are held by his everlasting arms. The other day a brother mentioned the following verses from the book of Habbakuk:

KJV Habakkuk 3:17-19 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.

Habbakuk trusted in the Lord even when outward circumstances were not in his favor, and rather than allowing his circumstances to get him down, determined to rejoice in the Lord which then yielded the emotion of joy in the Lord of his salvation!! He recognized that His strength was the Lord who is able to lift his mind and heart to look at life in the eternal perspective. Perhaps previous to "getting to this place" Habbakuk had been in desperation such as the Psalmist was when he cried unto the Lord:

KJV Psalm 61:2-3 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

Recently while in Guatemala I was speaking to a farmer about the difficulty that he must have in planting corn by hand on the steep mountain, explaining to him that corn is planted on flat ground and through mechanical means here in Minnesota. As he listened for awhile, he then gave me an illustration of what it means not be affected by circumstances, but to use your circumstances to your advantage: "When I plant corn on the hillside, I do not have to bend over to plant it." Enough said................

KJV Romans 5:1-5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 10 Nov 2008 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Gratitude 11/17/08 Pastor Rodney Johnson
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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