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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Blessings from above! 10/6/08
Dear Family,

Yesterday's memory verse:

KJV Psalm 118:22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

KJV Psalm 118:23 This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

KJV Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

In the past I have never realized of the importance of linking the three verses together, but have come to realize that it is because of verses 22 and 23 three that we truly to rejoice and are glad in the day that the Lord has made, for the day that is being referred to has far more meaning that just the natural day!

Our prayers were answered by our God for blessing upon our weekend with Pastor Rodney Johnson and his wife, Dolly. In today's sharing with you, I would like to recap and highlight some of that which was shared by Pastor Rod in the various settings that were enjoyed by many this weekend. Let us continue to pray that the Lord would continue to reveal His truths to us through the Holy Word and that within our hearts and lives would come His blessing through our submission to His Word and will. May we think about, meditate upon and wait upon that which God by His Holy Spirit wants to impart unto us through the hearing of the Word this weekend. We thank Him for the privilege of having Pastor Rodney and his wife with us this weekend and we pray for the Lord's continued blessing upon their lives as they continue to serve our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are a few of the highlights as I received them this weekend. I took notes for most of what will be written here and so most of it will be in summary form from that which Pastor Rod shared.

Friday Night: Text: Romans 12:1-21 The 12th chapter of Romans lists expected behaviors of Christians. Discipline sets boundaries and guidelines for behavior. When discipline is done in love, it will not offend, but it will guide one into better behavior. As members of the body of Christ, we are all part of one another. When the body of Christ functions well, the church is healthy. The body of Christ is for servanthood and service. Our pride causes us to think that we have a greater gift.

As the body of Christ is bonded together by the Holy Spirit it marches forward together in victory, illuminating to the world the greatness of God. For all people will know that we are the disciples of Jesus Christ because we have love one another.

Saturday morningPrayer Breakfast: During this time Pastor Rodney led a discussion during which he kept as a focal point: "Looking to the future." He emphasized that we are thankful for the heritage of the Laestadian movement in which most of us have been reared, but that we must keep in mind that many revival movements after 100 years or so have the tendency to turn inward. He stated that because of past blessing we have a responsibility to carry this blessing among our current generation as well as to the future generations. There was a discussion as to the factors that cause one to live exclusive of others denominations, or to "circle the wagons". It was brought out that it is mainly due to the lack of knowledge of the Bible, and thereby traditions become equal or more important than the truths of the Bible. In order to address this, the instruction given in the Bible is to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pastor Rod explained this to mean: To grow in the knowledge of Christ is done through the knowledge of the Bible. To grow in the grace of Him means to be established in the freedom in Christ. As the knowledge of Who He is grows from the revelation into our hearts of teachings of the Bible, grace becomes more clear and we are able to live without fear of the world and thereby we are not initimidated by the world. When we are not clear in our understanding of the grace of God, we will always have a gnawing within us that we are not good enough. As we grow in grace, we become more free in Christ, and consequently we become more free to share with others of the grace of God in Jesus Christ. When we emphasize sin over grace, we are minimizing the God's gracious work of atonement which He accomplished for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Instead of living in a protective mode "circling the wagons" we are instructed in the book of Ephesians to go forth with the protection of the armor of God, wielding the offensive weapon, the Word of God which is the Sword of the Spirit. By this means we attack the world, the devil and our own flesh.

Saturday afternoon Pastor Rodney shared with us from the "Marriage Manual" of the Bible which is found in the 5th Chapter of Ephesians as he conducted a marriage relationship seminar. It was shared with me by several present that how wonderful of a session it was and of how these types of teaching forums are very beneficial and meaningful. Hmmmmm....

Saturday evening was centered around the topic of truth, using the Bible reference from John as a basis of meditation:

KJV John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
KJV John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Pastor Rod challenged us through the asking of numerous questions, one of the main being to ask of ourselves: Am I a truth seeker? He emphasized again of the importance of knowing the Bible, because therein alone is truth, but also gave warning as to how the enemy is trying to tear down not only the standard of truth, the Bible, but that he is working in our hearts to separate us from trusting in God. He told us all that we must evaluate every aspect of our lives in light of what the Word of God says! One particular things he cautioned us against is being misled by "sound bites." What he was referring to is the practice of taking a part of someone's speech and using it to misrepresent something that is said by someone. (My comments: Even in the notes that I took from this weekend, I must take care that I do not add to or take away from what was shared by Pastor Rod by the use if "print bites." We must answer to the Spirit of truth in all things.)

Sunday morning's service was somewhat of a recap of the other gatherings, as he used the 4th chapter of Ephesians as a basis of meditation, with his sermon being titled: Unity in the body of Christ begins at home. It was wonderful to be reminded that every day through grace God is telling us of how much he loves us. Pastor Rod explained to us that when we look within ourselves and criticize ourselves, we are in need of the love of God more than ever. When we are feeling our sinfulness, we are in need of the love of God more than ever. He remembered of how when he was 14 years old that he had stopped going to communion because he was looking within himself in criticism. As his mother approached him after time had gone by and asked him why he had stopped going, he told her why he was not going and she said to him, "That is why we go to communion....." He also related of a mother over 90 years old who had an alcholic son, who when was told by his mother that she had no more money, threatened to kill her, continued to love her son inspite of his anger and threats. When asked why she continued to do so, she replied, "Because he needs it (love)more." Lastly he reminded us that we are God's children and that we should always look at ourselves in this light and to never look at ourselves as if this were not the case. For living in the knowledge of being God's child, knowing that we are loved by Him so greatly, causes us to live in grace toward others, thereby illuminating the glory of God in this dark world. May the Lord bless each one of in this grace and knowledge, which is ours through Jesus.

What part of your heart did the Lord touch this weekend? Please share with us all so that we may also benefit from your revelation.

In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 06 Oct 2008 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Let Us Pray 10/03/08
Dear Family, on this new day of grace, I invite you to pray. May the lightness of his gentle grace encourage us all as we are given eyes of faith to see the power by which He makes all things new today. The circumstances of the day may remain as yesterday, but inwardly we experience a lightness in our heart and soul as a result of being assured of being in His Presence today.

KJV Lamentations 3:22-25 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

KJV Psalm 27:13-14 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Isaiah 40:28-31 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Lord, we would have not known if we would have not heard that you are the Creator of the ends of the earth and that you never faint or tire as we do. How is it that there is no limit to your understanding and that your ways are past finding out? Lord, you give power to the faint and to those who have no strength and are in fact, weak, such as ourselves, you increase strength! How does that work, Lord? How do we go from having no might to increasing in strength? Not even the strength of the youth will avail anything, but You, Lord, through the power of faith renew, rejuvenate, make us alive again, when we wait upon you. It is truly as it is recorded:

Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

2 Chronicles 20:12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.

Dear Lord God, cause our eyes of faith to be upon you today as well as during all the days of our lives, so that our strength shall be renewed to the extent that we will live and walk above the challenges and difficulties of life. As you are the center of our lives, may it be the our problems would be seen as periphereal rather than central to our vision of faith, a hope which is focused on and in your Son, Jesus Christ. Cause us to remember that as your children we not only go into, but we also pass through difficulties. Dear Father, isn't it true that trials are like the trains that come through town, we know that they come through, some are short, some are long, but they all pass through town. But dear Father, it is so hard when the noise of the train is rumbling through town for a long time as if it will never pass through.....Cause us to trust, Dear Lord.

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Lord, it is always through your Word and your Spirit that we are renewed, comforted, directed and encouraged in the midst of the struggles and storms of life. Dear Father, be with each of your children today; with those who are struggling with fear, with those who are struggling with lack of hope, with those who are disappointed with life, with those who are finding it difficult to forgive themselves as well as others, with those who have lost their way but do not as of yet realize it, with those who are grieving, with those who are suffering with pain, with those who are rejoicing in you, and, Lord, with all people everywhere in the world!!

Dear Holy Father, this weekend we have the privilege of having our dear brother, Pastor Rodney Johnson and his wife, Dolly, with us for a series of services. Lord, how we look to you for your blessing upon this time together. May you bring many of us together into the wonderful fellowship of the body of your Son, Jesus Christ, and may we be fed with your living Word so that we will be comforted, encouraged, strengthened, and directed in your wonderful Kingdom in which we have the privilege to be a part of. Bless Pastor Rod in the preparation and delivery of the joy which you have and will be giving him to share with us this weekend. May it all be to your glory and honor and for the edifiying of the body of your Son, Jesus Christ.

In the matchless name of Jesus, we thank you and praise you, Amen

In the name of Jesus, Amen!

Posted on 03 Oct 2008 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Blessings from above! 10/6/08
- 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.