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

God's Mysterious Ways
Good Morning, Dear family,

God's Peace to you all!

KJV Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Many good things have happened recently, for on Friday night we had a wonderful time as we gathered together for the benefit of the Natalie Matson family. Thank you for your donations of items, thank you for purchasing those items which you did so that financial donations could be given to the Matsons, and above all, thank you for sharing your heart with us all on Friday night.

Also, we had a wonderful time with Jennie Johansson, Michael Rahkola, Jay Wirkkala, Sven Johansson and the many which were gathered last evening at our church. The youth presented an interesting, informing, captivating and challenging recap of their recent mission trip to Guatemala. Let us thank God for these young people and continue to support our young missionaries as well as our upcoming missionaries within our congregation. We praise God for the work that He is doing in our hearts, do we not?

I will place this morning some of the main thoughts from yesterday's message and will also place the poem that I read as well as the words to the song sang by Dorothy Aho at Cole Ruotsala's celebration of life. The title of the sermon was "God's Mysterious Ways." This message was motivated by a question placed before me as to why did Cole die and not Natalie. It was with great prayer and supplication before the Lord that I approached and continue to approach this question......May the Lord continue give us understanding in this struggle to grapple with these questions.

Quote: Benjamin Disraeli, "To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge."

KJV Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
KJV Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
KJV Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

KJV Job 9:1-12 Then Job answered and said,
2 I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?
3 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.
4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?
5 Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger.
6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.
7 Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
8 Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
9 Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
10 Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.
11 Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
12 Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?

What do we say when a child is taken and another left? What do we say when a parent is taken when the children are young and another parent lives past 100 years old? What do we say when cancer suddenly hits our loved ones, one is healed to life here on earth, but another is taken to heavens shores. How do we cope with these perplexing and difficult questions of life?
But not only do we struggle with finality of life, but we also struggle with the ongoing difficulties of life that may not necessarily end in death, but are ongoing struggles with sickness, troubled and broken marriages, disappointment in our extended families, financial difficulties, living in past regret and unforgiveness, broken dreams….the list goes on.

ESV Psalm 139:1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

ESV Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.

ESV Job 14:1 "Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.
2 He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.
3 And do you open your eyes on such a one and bring me into judgment with you?
4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.
5 Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,

From Cole’s dad, Aaron
“I am simply amazed how one boy can take thousands of people and help us to forget about our denominations and certain churches. How we can all look past each other and look to the very one who created us. The one who is the ultimate author and maker of all plans. His plans for Cole were obviously to put that little boy on a mission, and that he did. The mission to stop for a moment to realize the true meaning of life and what is truly worth living for.”

Quotes/paraphrase from Pastor Bruce Estola at Cole’s funeral.
"Cole had no idea that he was ministering to the whole world via the internet and the caring bridge site (over 500,000 log ins) not even realizing what he was doing so. Why was there such a strong impact on so many people? We know that older people die and we can accept that. But why does a child have to die? It makes us force our mortality, that we are going to die. Can we trust God when something like this happens? How do we know that our children will not be gone tomorrow? The Bible tells us that God is working everything for good to His people.
We have heard how that Cole wiped the tears away from the faces of his father and mother. God showed us a lifetime of love through a three year old boy and this was over a 2 month period.”

A poem which was on the Cole's caring bridge site.

"I'll lend you, for a little while,
a child of mine,"He said
"For you to love while he lives
and mourn when he is dead.
It may be six or seven
years, or twenty-two or three, but will you
till I call him back,
take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you
and shall his stay be brief,
you'll have his lovely memories
as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
as all from earth return
but there are lessons taught down there
that I want this child to learn.
I've looked the wide world over
in my search for teachers true,
and from the throngs that crown life's lanes,
I have selected YOU.
Now will you give him all your love
-not think the labor vain
nor hate me when I come to call
to take him back again."
I fancied that I heard them say
"Dear Lord, Thy will be done.
For all the joys thy child will bring
The risk of grief we'll run.
We will shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may---
And for the happiness we've known
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him
Much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes
And try to understand."
Written By: Edgar A. Guest
(from "All In a Lifetime"--Copyright, 1938)

A few observations as I spoke with Pastor Bruce a few days before the funeral and we discussed as to why such an impact was made by Cole’s short life.

1. The love that Cole possessed was the love of Jesus Christ.

2. Cole’s parents were transparent in that they shared their emotions during the last two months:
Joy, sorrow, pain, anger, frustration, hope, They were being real with all of us.

3. The body of Christ all across the world laid aside petty differences and came together to seek the will of God in the life of Cole.

God's will vs our will

Prayer is God's ordained means to a God ordained end. Through prayer for and with one another we are brought into the will of God for our lives, even though many times we do not understand his ways or even accept his plan. But only as we are brought into his will we are able to come to a place of acceptance and trust in His goodness, knowing ultimately that our will must bow and submit to His will. The will of the Father is to give us eternal life through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We must come to this place.
KJV Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Cole has gained heaven and heaven is our goal
NLT 2 Corinthians 4:17 For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!
NLT 2 Corinthians 4:18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.

The following song was sung at Cole’s funeral for the benefit of the widespread family of Cole.
by Dorothy Aho.

Have you prayed for a loved one, struggling hard with pain,
You asked the Lord for healing, yet the healing never came,
And in spite of all your efforts, the Good Lord called him home,
And it's hard to let go when you're trying to hold on.

And now you're down in the valley, looking up to the sky,
You pray, Lord, you know best, but I don't understand why.
But if you could hear your loved one, speaking now to you,
They say you won't be grieving, if you only knew.

If you only knew, I'm just going home, God answered your prayers.
My sickness is gone, things look so much better, from heaven's view.
Here the sun always shines, were having a time, if you only knew.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,
I'm in the arms of Jesus and I'm not suffering anymore.
Hand in hand we will stroll together down heaven's avenue.

O what a celebration if you only knew, if you only knew, I'm just going home.
God answered your prayers and my sickness is gone, things look so much better,
from heaven's view, here the sun always shines, we're having a time, if you only knew.
Here the sun always shines, we're having a time, if you only knew.

In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 29 Sep 2008 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Power of Grace
Good Morning, Dear Family.

God's Peace to you this fine day of grace, which is again extended unto us through Jesus Christ, The Gracious One.

A little continuation on the essence of our mediations yesterday....

Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

How does this work in real life? How does grace "teach us?" Let us look at some of the principles in which the Apostle Paul lived in the grace of God.

KJV 1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (His personal walk of holiness would be affected by what he allowed himself to do.)

KJV 1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. (How did his actions affect less mature believers around him?)

KJV 1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. (Would his actions build up the body of Christ in his area of influence?)

KJV Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

The heart of the gospel of grace, a gospel which received by us extends this same grace of life and encouragement to those around us, especially those who are closest to us. And it is with lightness rather than heaviness that we do this, for the gospel frees us from serving ourselves and causes us/motivates us to serve the other. Think of it in this way: Everyone has a need for fellowship and as long as this is extended between people in the attitude or extension of grace, there will be a flourishing and growing of the love between people. But if a demand is placed upon the service, or in other words, it is a conditional grace, there will be a nagging feeling of heaviness, or a sense that I must perform in an expected way or grace will not be returned to me. That is the spirit of heaviness, of obligation, or, you must think like I want you to think, you must be as I expect you to be, you must give the right answers..... There is a big difference in the two spirits, but it is not always easy to discern between the two, for the teaching of life's principles is very attractive to us. There is nothing wrong with teaching life applications, but if it is done in a spirit of demanding, it sows the spirit of "performance based Christianity." The gospel is what Christ has done for us, not what we do for Him. But the gospel of grace received changes and molds our attitude from what can you do for me to what can I do for you/how can I serve my fellow Christian/what can I do to help my beloved congregation grow? And this is only done through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit,which is the Spirit of Christ.

We must remember that grace teaches us to bloom where we are planted and grace teaches us to water the flowers with the Word of God so that not only we ourselves bloom, but those around us as well. The choice is ours whether we will choose to be a blessing to those around us or not. It may be only a short time or a long time that we are on this earth, but that is not the issue. The issue is how we use the time that we are here, for again, grace does not ever put burden of demands on us, but rather it places privilege and responsiblity in front of us: How may we best edify one another. But this heart is only found among them which have understood and received the gospel in its true nature: Receiving and Giving, even as Christ gave unto us all that He received from His Father.

In our desire to learn, we sometimes put knowledge over love, even as Paul mentioned in the first part of 1 Cor. 8. when he said, Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies. May we have the wisdom to keep the proper balance.

KJV 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever.

In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 22 Sep 2008 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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God's Mysterious Ways
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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