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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Christ our King
This Sunday is celebrated as Christ the King Sunday. On this day we celebrate His Kingship and of our belonging to His Kingdom. It is a kingdom unlike any other kingdom that the world has ever known or ever will know. Our King sacrificed Himself to bring His kingdom to pass, as we read in Luke‚€™s Gospel, Chapter 23: 32-43

32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

This kingdom is described quite well by the songwriter::

A Crown of Thorns (Ira Stamphill)

There was no crown for Him of silver or of gold
There was no diadem for Him to hold.
But blood adorned His brow,
And proud its stain He bore,
And sinners gave to Him the crown He wore.

A rugged cross became His throne
His kingdom was in hearts alone
He wrote His love in crimson red
And wore the thorns upon His head.

He did not reign upon a throne of ivory
But died upon the cross of Calvary.
For sinners there He counted all He owned but loss
And He surveyed His kingdom from a cross.

No purple robe He wore,
His bleeding wounds to hide
But stripes upon His back He wore with pride.
And from the wounds there flowed a crimson,
cleansing stream
That was a cover for the soul unclean.

There was a teenage girl who had a hard time understanding the meaning of the cross and thought that it was shameful that someone had to die such a cruel death for the sins of other people. She had a mother who was very beautiful--she was very beautiful excepting her hands, and her hands were shrunken and shriveled and unsightly. For a long time, during her girlhood, she said nothing on the matter; but at last her curiosity overpowered her. "Mother," she said, "I love your beautiful face, and I love your beautiful eyes and brow and neck; but I cannot love your hands, they are so ugly." Then her mother told her the story of her hands. She said, "When you were an infant sleeping in your cradle, one night the cry of fire rang through the house. I rushed upstairs--the nursery was ablaze--but God led me right to the cradle and I saved you; but ever since then my hands have been like this." The little girl was silent for a moment. Then she said "O mother, I still love your face: but I love your hands now. best of all.

Now she understood the meaning of the cross and why Jesus had to suffer such degrading treatment. It was for her sin that He came, He was her Saviour and her King. She now realized that she was a child of the King! Now instead of being repulsed by His appearance, she looked upon Him in His suffering with sorrow yes, but also with thankfulness to Him and love for Him.

How about you and I? Do we get it? Do we get it that God has reconnected Himself to all humanity through the cross of Christ, that He is not counting anyone‚€™s sins against them, including ourselves and that He longs for us to live in the continual awareness and knowledge through faith?

Which thief on the cross alongside Jesus do we find ourselves relating to? The one who did not know his sin or the one who recognized and acknowledged his sin? The one who remained blind to his Redeemer or the one who realized that he was guilty and deserved his punishment?

Are we the one who remains silent before our Redeemer or are we the one who acknowledges our need for the redemption/forgiveness that comes from the One on the middle cross who knew no sin, but became sin for us that we might become righteous through Him? 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Are we the one who remained ignorant or blind to our need of forgiveness and therefore remained silent before our Saviour? Or are we the one who has cried out the words that have rung through out history from the hearts of those who had nowhere to turn for forgiveness but through Christ. Have we in some shape or form cried out: ‚€œLord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.‚€Ě

Jesus heard the dying and repentant thief on that day, He has heard millions throughout the ages when they cried to Him in their need, and He will hear all those who cry unto Him in their need of forgiveness today. Dear friend, He wants all to know this amazing gift of grace and forgiveness, for that is His greatest desire as our King: To gather as many as will into His kingdom that lasts forever and forever‚€¦..

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 22 Nov 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Godly Thinking and Behavior 11.13.2016
Dear friend in Christ.

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you, now and always. Amen!
On this day of celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, we gather together to worship the One who has created us, who has redeemed us and who has downloaded His Spirit into us. Therefore, we love Him, serve Him and wait for His final appearing. More than ever in our lives, we need to understand and to know that we are in Christ in that because He lives, we live. As it is shown in Romans 8, we are no longer condemned, we have no fear, suffering and persecution that we might suffer here is not worthy to be compared with what awaits us and nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus! Let us stand in that truth by trusting our great God!

In the meantime, we are living in a world that is growing more and more violent, violence which used to be far from us, but is now coming near us. It is the conflict that began when we chose to believe a lie in the Garden of Eden at the tempting of Satan and it is the violence that has continued throughout through the ages. We recognize that this violence is not between human beings per se, but it is as is written in the letter that Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians,

6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

In light of all this, we are the children of light and we are called to bring the Light to those who are yet living in darkness of unbelief and sin. As Apostle Paul instructed and equipped the Ephesian Christians concerning the armor that they need to put on, he ended his message to them by asking them to pray for him, to the end that he also would be one that would bring the Light of the Gospel to all.

Ephesians 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

We live in two worlds as Christians, here on this earth under the protection of our government and in the kingdom of God where we are under the protection of our Heavenly Father. We are given instruction as to how to live in both of them. We have been blessed in our country in that our freedom to worship as we choose is yet protected by our government. We see the biblical teaching which reveals to us that God is the author and establisher of governments and of the purposes for which He instituted them in Romans 13:1-4.

KJV Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

We are living in a time in which the line between the government‚€™s authority and the authority of God are being blurred to the point that the freedom of worship publicly is being threatened. We in our country have been blessed to have had the protection of the government to worship freely without fear of reprisal. But let us be mindful that this freedom that we have had is very unusual throughout the history of the Christian Church, for most of the world is living and has lived in direct conflict with the governments of the nations. Let us face the facts, we are not used to having so much opposition to truth that God has revealed and continually reveals through His Word.

How then do we live? I would like to paste an article that gives a good overview of how God desires that we would respond to our current circumstances here in our great country.

"We have just witnessed an unprecedented (and unpresidential) presidential election. How are our kids ‚€” five-year-olds, ten-year-olds, fifteen-year-olds ‚€” processing what has just happened? What are they seeing, thinking, and hearing as they watch the news and talk with their friends?

I am a father of six, with ages ranging from seven to seventeen (three boys and three girls, three black and three white). I am also a husband and a believer in King Jesus. I went to the polls yesterday in grief. Yet my hope is in God (Psalm 42:5, 11).

As dads and moms, we have the responsibility to help our children process this transition in United States history, and to do so with our Bibles open. How should Christians move ahead? I encourage you to take this opportunity to turn your kids‚€™ eyes to the one reigning in heaven on our behalf. Here are five truths that we must remember and apply with our children.

1. Remember that God ultimately appoints every president.
God appoints every member of government office and no purpose of his can be thwarted. ‚€œOur God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases‚€Ě (Psalm 115:3). He alone is the one who ‚€œchanges times and seasons‚€Ě and ‚€œremoves kings and sets up kings‚€Ě (Daniel 2:21).

We rest today knowing that ‚€œhis dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation‚€Ě (Daniel 4:34).

2. Remember that God calls us to honor and submit.
God calls us to honor and subject ourselves to the human authorities when they do good. Paul is clear that, because ‚€œthere is no authority except from God‚€Ě (Romans 13:1), we must not resist what God has appointed (Romans 13:2), but must ‚€œpay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed‚€Ě (Romans 13:7).

Peter stressed that we must ‚€œbe subject for the Lord‚€™s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. . . . Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor‚€Ě (1 Peter 2:13‚€“14, 17; compare with Titus 3:1‚€“2).

3. Remember that we must obey God rather than men.
Remember that if any governing authority asks us to sin, we must resist, choosing instead to ‚€œobey God rather than men‚€Ě (Acts 5:29). We do so in order that we may never ‚€œdeny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ‚€Ě (Jude 4).

4. Remember that God tells us to pray for our leaders.
God calls us to thank God for our leaders and to pray for them, even when they abuse us. In Paul‚€™s words, ‚€œI urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way‚€Ě (1 Timothy 2:1‚€“2).

To this Jesus would add, ‚€œLove your enemies. . . . Pray for those who abuse you‚€Ě (Luke 6:27‚€“28). Because God holds every human heart and controls every outcome, we must pray for him to act, for him to grant wisdom, for him to overcome, for him to mercifully save.

5. Remember where to find true freedom, identity, and hope.
Remember that our freedom is in Christ, our citizenship is in heaven, and our hope is in God, who reigns forever.

In Christ, we are truly free, and no earthly state or government power can take this freedom away (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16).

Similarly, ‚€œour citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ‚€Ě (Philippians 3:20; compare with Ephesians 2:19). May we help our children ‚€œset their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments‚€Ě (Psalm 78:7).

‚€œPut not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. . . . Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God. . . . The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!‚€Ě (Psalm 146:3, 5, 10).

I urge you, parents, to be intentional in guiding your children to see, think, and hear with a big God in view. He is ever on the throne, and he alone is our hope.

Jason DeRouchie Nov 9, 2016
Professor, Bethlehem College & Seminary

In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 13 Nov 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Christ our King
- 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.