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 Temptation of Jesus 2.14.2016
Dear friend,

KJV Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:
11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.




Today is the first Sunday of Lent in which we in our tradition prepare for the great celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).

The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. One could call it a ritual and in that it could be viewed as some other tradition of man to be followed, but on the other hand one could also allow it to guide one's meditations into those Scriptures which specifically focus on the love of God which was demonstrated on the cross. Tradition and ritual in and of themselves are not a bad thing, but it is only when they become rote and meaningless observances that they lose their power. May we pray that through these times together with one another and in prayer in His Word that we would be drawn to a deeper relationship with our beloved Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The two verses below speak of Christ's victory and believing(faith) in that victory, we have eternal life.


John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?



We heard read the account from Genesis of the temptation of man in the Garden of Eden in which he/we fell into sin. There are two temptations stories in the Bible: There is man's temptation and there is Christ's temptation. All other temptations are connected to these two temptations. When man is tempted, man will fall, when Christ is tempted, Satan will fall.


This temptation occurred right after Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptizer, after the Holy Spirit had descended upon Jesus and after He had heard His Father speak from heaven those wonderful words: "You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Now He is led into the wilderness by the Spirit. Let us note that the devil did not ask for Jesus to be sent into the wilderness, but rather Jesus was sent by the Spirit. This should give us some knowledge as to what this was all about in that it was going to be a demonstration of the power of God in Christ rather than a contest to see who is the stronger.

After forty days without food, the tempter came to Jesus.

First Temptation (Use your powers to alleviate your hunger)
3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Second Temptation (Pride Power Possessions)
5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

The devil does not use the doubt tactic this time, as he offers him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. Would Jesus go for this one? It seems like the devil has given up trying to separate Jesus from His Father and His Word, so now perhaps Jesus will be enticed to go for the honor and glory of man in all his Possessions Pride and Power. The three P's.....Possessions, Pride, Power

What is the devil doing? Does he not know who Jesus is and what he came here for? Pride comes to the forefront here in the devil's attack, and why not. It worked with the first Adam, it has continued to work through the years with the result that people war against each other instead of against the devil who is the real enemy. But as we said earlier, this is no contest, but this is a demonstration of the power of God in Christ Jesus. Where as pride desires to have and to use things for personal gain, humility seeks to serve others and in the case of Jesus, He came to serve and not to be served.

Worship: It is ascribing worth to someone. Jesus here tells the devil that there is only One worthy of worship, the Lord thy God. The evidence of His worship of God by Jesus was that He was staying connected to His Father, His God and His Word.

Third Temptation (Prove God)
Luke 4:9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:
11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Satan now uses scripture to support his call to Jesus to "prove" that He give a sign of His Godness/Divinity by jumping off the high point of the temple. Jesus responds by saying that to do that would be to tempt God. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote concerning this tempatation: "Faith which demands more than the Word of God in precept and in promise, becomes a temptation of God. To tempt God means to lay upon God Himself guilt, unfaithfulness and falsehood, instead upon Satan."

13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

What was it like for Jesus, forty days in alone with no one around, no people to encourage him, no voice from heaven, He was alone with the devil. How long was this going to go on? What more did weapons did the devil have to use to stop Jesus' mission of love. But, wait, the devil left him.....and behold, notice the word behold, the angels came and ministered unto him..........He was alone, He was hungry, He had been attacked, but He did not yield. He was tempted in all ways, but without sin. Behold, the angels came and ministered unto Him. They served Him.



John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

1 John 5 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

We are overcomers by faith in the finished work of Jesus, but what about our temptations? We are all tempted, and we all fall to temptation and we sin, in actions of what we should not do and in actions that we should do. No one is perfect and we know this from what the Bible says and by experience. Satan wants our worship and he will stop at nothing to get it. He does not care how many lives he destroys to gather his flock to himself which will one day be in outer darkness. He comes in disguise and the more power he gains, he becomes more bold in his approach.

He begins by taking one finger (metaphorically speaking) and in the end takes our entire body in order to finally get our heart.

Does the Bible give us any kind of plan of attack to resist his attacks? Yes, it does....


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.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

May I close with Apostle Paul's encouragement to the Romans concerning our state of victory in Christ.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

May we continue to live by His Word alone!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 14 Feb 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Witness of the Spirit 2.7.16
Dear friend,

May the abundant grace of God be received by us today, which He continually pours out from His heavenly throne which is full of grace and truth through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Have you heard the saying that "no man is an island?" Most of us have heard this statement which reflects the truth that we have been created for relationship by our Creator. We know and experience the reality that after the fall of mankind into sin, this harmonious relationship between ourselves and our Creator was changed, so that by nature we try to hide from Him and we experience the difficulties of being open and transparent within our human relationships. Paul has addressed the rupture that occurred between our God and ourselves in the beginning of chapter two, and specifically the separation that has existed between the Jews and the Gentiles. He has gone on to write that through the cross of Christ ALL of mankind has now been reunited into one humanity, (there is no longer a differentiation between Jew and Gentile) which means that God is now friendly towards ALL and is seeking to gather all unto Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.

He is ready to receive all, but only those who come to Him through Jesus will Father the receive, as has been written earlier. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.( Ephesians 2:18) In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. (Ephesians 3:12). We not only have access to this grace, but we have boldness to approach His throne to find the grace to help in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

It is vitally important that we recognize that the first three chapters of this letter to the Ephesians contain the account of the reconciling work of God through Christ, why it had to be done, and how God reconciled all humanity so that He could dwell in all those who receive this gift through His Spirit. This is what the church is, God's dwelling place through the Spirit in the Universal Church.

2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Today's passage is a prayer through which Paul asks that they/we would be strengthened by same Spirit that came to them/us when they/we believed, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith, that we being rooted and grounded in love would together be able to comprehend (in part) the unfathomable love of Christ. Why so? To the end that we would be filled with all the fulness of God!!

God's grace came to us, by faith we have access to it in Christ, God's love for us is shed abroad into our hearts by the Holy Spirit and through the collective and ever growing comprehension of this love, we are being filled with the fulness of God.

There was a Christian man who lived alone in a cold climate and who would experience long periods of time when he would not be able to travel to visit anyone or would anyone be able to come to visit him. He was what we could call an ordinary man who lived with the things that are common to mankind, as he had experienced a lot of joy in life as well as a number of sorrows. The snow would be so deep that automobile travel was impossible, it was so cold that it was dangerous to even travel by the only way possible, which was by ski or snowmobile. He would spend nearly every day communing with His Father and his Saviour in the Word, would spend hours in prayer with them and all in all gave all diligence to spending time with His Father. As He did so, He often experienced the uplifting of the life of God through the Spirit of Christ who lived in him, but he longed to have fellowship with another brother or sister in Christ, with whom he could share life with, the everyday things, the joys and the sorrows.

Over the long winter he began to grow disheartened as he continued to have fellowship in solitude by himself with the Lord, and even though he knew the scriptures that stated very clearly that (Romans 8:16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and he daily experienced the the witness of God's Spirit in his spirit, he began to doubt as to whether the Spirit really lived in him. As doubt began to take a deeper grip in his mind and into his inner soul, he began to have thoughts like: Doe anyone care about me, where is God in my life, and then knowing scripture very well, his mind went to what was written in one the the Psalms as one of the places that he felt free to pour out his heart to heaven.....Psalm 77

Psalm 77:1 I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
4 Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. (can't pray)
5 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.

Essentially he thought that it isn't like it used to be, life was more simple years ago, why can't it be like that again, I want answers, I want relief......

As he read through this Psalm, crying in his loneliness and confusion and not being able even to pray, he poured out his heart in honesty and tranparency before His God, even asking aloud the questions that come out a lonely, dispondent and needy heart:

Have you cast me off for ever,
Will you no longer show favor to me?
Is your mercy gone forever?
Does your promise fail forever?
Have you forgotten to be gracious?
In your anger have you closed your tender mercies?

It was when he was in this state that he wondered to himself, I wonder if I even have the Holy Spirit in me anymore, for why would I ask such questions if God was still living in me? Then he thought, I am going to go visit my brother who lives 60 miles away on the other side of the mountain, and I am going to pour out my heart to him and ask him if he thinks that the Holy Spirit still lives in me.

So he fired up his snowmobile, made sure it had plenty of gas and all that he would need in case of an emergency, and began the trip over the mountain. After a very cold ride he found himself nearing the cabin of his brother. He knocked on the door, the door opened and his brother threw out his arms in a welcome embrace of love. The two began to talk of the cold weather, of the long winter and then the brother began to share with his visitor of that which he had been remembering and meditating upon: The amazing event of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ. He excitedly asked his visitor: May I read about it for the both of us? To which his visitor replied, "Please do."

KJV Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

The visitor listened to the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus in which He appeared with Moses and Elijah as they talked of His exodus from this world via the cross.

He listened to the account of which for a moment God shone through the physical body of Jesus from the inside out.
He considered Peter's response to honor all three equally.
He heard how the bright cloud overshadowed all of them.
He heard how the Voice spoke out of the cloud: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him."
He heard "saw" how the disciples, hearing the voice, fell on their face and were sore afraid.

Then in a manner that the visitor could not explain he found himself with the disciples, awed and humbled by the events on the Mt of Transfiguration, being overcome by holy reverence towards a Holy God who loved him so much that He would humble Himself so as to come to rescue him from his sin and to bring him to life. As he lay on his face with the others in this holy reverence and awe, he felt a hand on his shoulder, and heard a voice speak to him: "Arise, and be not afraid."

When he had opened his eyes, he lifted them up to see his brother who he had come to visit. He was looking into the face of Jesus........
The touch of Jesus came through his brother, who was a part of the body of Christ, the Christian church. He felt encouraged, strengthened and his soul began to revive as faith in the finished work of Christ began to burn again in his heart. As they rejoiced in the goodness of Christ with one another and as they rejoiced in the unity that they had in the Spirit of God in Christ, they thanked and praised God for the fellowship that God had created for them and in them. They parted ways, and he went rejoicing homeward bound as he flew over the snow with a renewed song in his heart.

As he did so, the verse that he had wondered about for so many years now opened up before his as he realized for the first time what it meant that God's way is in the sanctuary: He now understood that God dwelt by His Spirit in hearts individually, yes, but also in the collective hearts of all believers, they were a building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord, In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Eph 2;20-21)

As the traveler sped home on his machine, he now looked at his infirmity through the lens of God's promises, saying together with the Psalmist:
10 And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High
11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?


May I repeat what was said at the beginning of this meditation, for it gives the overall view of what it means that the fullness of God is in Christ and it is through the indwelling Spirit that He has given us the fullness of Himself.

Today's passage is a prayer through which Paul asks that they/we would be strengthened by same Spirit that came to them/us when they/we believed, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith, that we being rooted and grounded in love would together be able to comprehend (in part) the unfathomable love of Christ. Why so? To the end that we would be filled with all the fulness of God!!

God's grace came to us, by faith we have access to it in Christ, God's love for us is shed abroad into our hearts by the Holy Spirit and through the collective and ever growing comprehension of this love, we are being filled with the fulness of God.

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Amen!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 07 Feb 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Temptation of Jesus 2.14.2016
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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