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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The Ascension of Jesus 5.8.2016
Dear friend,

Thursday, May 5, was Ascension Day, and today is Mother's Day. Thursday is the remembrance of the day on which Jesus ascended to heaven after being on earth for 40 days after His resurrection. It is an important part of His ministry, an event of which we confess our belief, in the second article of the Apostle's Creed.

I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

Jesus is now enthroned in heaven, at the right hand of the Father (a place of power and authority) and it was after His ascension that He began His kingly rule. He accomplished the redemption of all humanity, and now through His ascension He is reigning as King over all. Below is a brief outline of His continuing work.

1. When Jesus ascended and sat down at the Father's right hand, the Father verified the accomplishment of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and confirmed that the final payment for sin had been made.

(Heb. 10: 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

2. When Jesus ascended, the intercessory work of Jesus on behalf of His people began. In this ministry, we are assured that we will always have access to the Father forever (1 John 2:1) (Hebrews 7:25)

KJV 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

KJV Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

3. When Jesus ascended, His eternal reign over all enemies began. As Peter wrote, "Now that He has gone into heaven, He is at God's right hand with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him" (1 Pet. 3:22).

4. Finally, when Jesus ascended, the church was gifted and commissioned to preach the Gospel. Ephesians 4:8-12
Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Today as we reflect on the truth of the Ascension of Jesus, we are reminded that Jesus reigns over all creation, without exception and it is His longing that He would reign in our hearts and the hearts all our descendants. He established His kingdom of grace through entering into the human race, took our sin guilt and debt upon Himself, took our death, and was raised from the dead on Easter morning. He left us his church with call to shout out the Good News that God has forgiven them through Jesus and that they must come to the awareness of their sin and to know and to receive His gracious and merciful forgiveness of their sin.

Today is Mother's Day, and a day in which to reflect on motherhood. Every person has one thing in common: We all had mothers. Yesterday a woman's luncheon was held during which a devotion was shared from Proverbs 31, a passage in scripture which commonly is said to describe the ideal woman. I was inspired for today's message (through eavesdropping on the presentation) to include a list of some of the mothers that are included in the bible.

Before I present the list, I would like to point out that motherhood is not only related to giving physical birth, but more importantly it is described by Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. Let us listen to this conversation.

Mark 3:31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Eve: Life
"Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living."
Gen. 3:20
Eve knew the heartache of losing a child after her son Cain killed his brother Abel. She had another son Seth. It was through Seth that the ancestry of Jesus Christ was established.

Rachel: Ewe
“And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son: and said, God hath taken away my reproach.”
Gen. 30:22-23
Rachel was the wife of Jacob and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob worked for Rachel’s father for 14 years. By the time they united, Rachel couldn’t conceive, but she pressed on, and God blessed her with a child.

Jochebed: Jehovah is Glory
"And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water."
Exodus 1:22-2:10
Jochebed was the mother of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. She gave up Moses and trusted him to God by creating a boat and setting him into the Nile after

Sarah: Noblewoman
“By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. “Therefore from one man and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”
Hebrews 11:11-12
Sarah was the wife of Abraham and struggled to have a child until Isaac was born when she was in her 90s. Sarah went on to become the first Matriarch of the Jewish people.

Rebekah: Ensnarer
"And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is thus, why do I live?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples, born of you, shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger."
Gen. 25: 19-34
Rebekah was the mother of Jacob and Esau, the wife of Isaac. As her children grew up, she watched the rivalry. This conflict would become a divide for generations. Rebekah was known for her hard work and hospitality to strangers as she believed that they were sent by God.

Deborah: Bee
“Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?” Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”
Judges 4:4-10
Deborah was a mother, prophetess, judge and lived for God despite the sin that influenced her land of Israel!

Ruth: Friendship
“But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

Ruth 1:16
When her husband died, Ruth cared for her widow mother-in-law, Naomi without complaint. God honored her faithfulness and blessed her with a husband and new family. She would become the mother of Obed and great-grandmother of Israel's king David.

Hannah: Grace
"And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, 'O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head."

Samuel 1:10-11
God answered Hannah's prayer and she conceived Samuel. She filled her vow to the Lord and Samuel was taken to the temple and was entrusted to the priest. Because of her obedience, Samuel became the most famous prophet in Israel's history.

Mary: Rebellion
"When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you.”

John 2:3-5
Mary was the mother of the Savior of the world. How much pressure is that? It must have been hard to have the Son of God school you “[That He] is about doing his Father’s business.” She understood why Jesus was sent to earth, and watched Him tortured and killed. She put aside her wants for Gods.

Anna: Grace
"There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. There is nothing mentioned in the Bible about Anna being a mother However, this Prophetess worshipped day and night in the temple even after losing her husband and dealing with grief. She is important because she was an example to other mothers and women that time with God can heal brokenness."

Luke 2:36-38
There is nothing mentioned in the Bible about Anna being a mother However, this Prophetess worshipped day and night in the temple even after losing her husband and dealing with grief. She is important because she was an example to other mothers and women that time with God can heal brokenness.

Application: There were ten mothers that were mentioned, it may be that you connected one of these due to similar circumstances. They all struggled, but yet through it all trusted in God.

As we think of our mothers today, what would be one word that would describe her?
Secondly, what would be one word that those coming after you would use to describe us as a mother, remembering that Jesus ascribed motherhhood to those who are doing the will of His Father?

Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

The disciples were very despondent after the events of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday. They had huddled with fear behind closed doors in the afternoon, Jesus came to them there speaking peace and assurance to them. He then spent 40 days with them teaching them about their future work in His kingdom, telling them that the Comforter/Teacher was coming not many days in the future. Now as He left them to return to heaven, they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem to wait for the Promise of the Spirit, their hearts filled with great joy!

May we all continue to do the will of our Father, and in so doing fulfill our calling to our children.

In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 08 May 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
He has overcome the world 5.1.2016
Today we are privileged to have a guest speaker, Pastor Nathan Juntunen from Esko, MN who will speak to us from John's Gospel 16:23-33. He has chosen the 67th Psalm and Revelation 12:9-27 as readings to go along with his sermon text. His message will be available in audio form this afternoon and so we invite you to listen to the Word as spoken through one of the Lord's appointed and chosen vessels. Below is a brief overview of the two readings that he has selected for today.

Our brothers and sisters in faith in the pre New Testament era praised their Creator and Redeemer, both in creation and in redemption. Having come to know and experience His saving grace, they, like us saw/see Him working in creation, not only in things seen with the natural eye, but more in those things that are only seen with the eye of faith. As a result of experiencing Him in this revelation, out of their hearts flowed praise to Him, a praise which they yearned that all would have for their Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.

ESV Psalm 67:1 TO THE CHOIRMASTER: WITH STRINGED INSTRUMENTS. A PSALM. A SONG. May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2 that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

In our second reading, from the last book of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we are given to see that which is yet before us, a new heaven and a new earth, wherein only righteousness dwells. The new Jerusalem of which we are an eternal resident is seen coming down, which is described as the wife of the Lamb. We are the bride of Christ, we are seen as united in oneness with the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb, and collectively we are the glorious temple which shines forever in the radiance of God. May the Spirit illuminate this eventual reality to us today.

ESV Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,
11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed-
22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 01 May 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Ascension of Jesus 5.8.2016
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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