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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Our Eyes are on You, Lord 1/3/2016
KJV Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

As we look into the New Year, we do so with assurance and confidence because of the reality that God never changes, for He is the same God from last year, He is the same God this year and He will be the same God for all tomorrows. Through faith, we know that He loves us, He joys in us, and His peace abides in us, a peace that passes all human understanding, a peace that the world cannot give, but one of which Jesus says, "My peace I give unto you and I leave it with you." As we heard duriing our Advent Series, God is for us, He came to be with us and now He lives in us.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:6-8)

The opposite of peace is unrest, a state of being which is usually accompanied by fear and uncertainty. In our minds and hearts, we wonder what the 2016 will bring, as leaders at all levels struggle with their roles in protecting and serving their people; formulas and plans are brought forth, debated, rejected, adopted and so forth. And on it goes, and as it does, there is less and less heard about getting to the root of the problem and to the One to whom we must look for the relief from our fears and worries. As one noted apologist spoke during a message a few years ago, "when righteousness leaves the human heart, when the desire to serve ourselves rises above serving our neighbor, lawlessness and sin will abound, violence against humanity will increase and as a result it will become necessary to look for ways to try to restrain the outward actions of societies in order to protect people. Our questions concerning our deliverance must be centered on Who will deliver us, and not on methods or means.

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. Psalm 118:8-9

Will we be faithless as we go into the New Year or will we go forth in faith? When we succumb to faithlessness it causes us to fear the future, by making assumptions about the future. Here are examples of our forefathers who looked to the future, one was faithless and succumbed to fear and the other possessed faith. David thought he knew the future, but did he? He knew that Samuel had anointed him to be king of Israel, but fear caused him to lose sight of God's promise.

KJV 1 Samuel 27:1 And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.

Under Jehosphaphat's reign, the children of God feared also, but through the fear, through the faith and by the actions of their king, they were brought to the right place where, even though they did not know what to do, their eyes were upon the Lord.

Many of the encouragements given in the Holy Bible are timeless, meaning that the examples recorded are for people of all eras to learn from. And many of these happenings show us the blessing that comes from recognizing and acknowledging our weakness and helplessness, so that we may be made strong in the Lord through the experience of his deliverance. Let us consider the following historical account of His children who lived many years ago in the land of Judah.

Fear
ESV 2 Chronicles 20:1 After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle.
2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar" (that is, Engedi)

Fear's Response/Reaction
3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
4 And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,

Faith's Response/Assurance
6 and said, "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.
7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?
8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying,
9 'If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you- for your name is in this house- and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.'
10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy-
11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit.

Waiting on the Lord in Faith
12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."
13 Meanwhile all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
14 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly.

The Lord Comforts, Assures and Acts.
15 And he said, "Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's.
16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel.
17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you."
18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD.


King Jehoshaphat, when he heard that his people were going to be attacked by enemies; he feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah and his congregation also gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. (2 Chronicles 20:3,4)

At a prayer meeting led by their leader in which he gave glory to God for his sovereign rule in the affairs of men, for His past deliverances and for promise of future deliverance, they stood before the Lord in helplessness and therefore, in total dependence as Jehoshaphat continued in prayer....

. 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.
And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's. (2 Chronicles 20:12,13,15)

They recognized and acknowledged their inability to deal with the great threat even to the point that they admitted that they did not know what to do. How good it is that we admit to the Lord that we do not know what to do, but that our eyes are upon Him who is able to work everything to the good for us who love Him and have been called according to his purpose. After all, the battle is not ours, but it is His battle!. Therefore, we need not be afraid or dismayed by reason of the magnitude of the problem or challenge before us, for in committing all to the Lord we are casting all our cares upon Him, trusting that He will provide the deliverance that is needed

Faith means to place our trust in God through Christ, believing God for our future. We are trusting our life in the hands of God, for the future that He has in store for us through Christ.

How do we know that the future promises of God will come to pass? Because we trust God, for people of faith are those who trust God. It is because of the faithfulness of God that we have assurance for the future. Because we have faith, there is hope. With faithlessness, there is no hope. People have hope today, but not all are putting their hope in the Promise of God, which means they have a hope that is not biblical and it is a hope that will leave them disappointed.

All these people lived their lives in trust of God. They were sinners just like we are which means that they yet struggled with doubt and disappointment which caused them to forget the Promise at times. But through it all they took God as His Word.

Is tomorrow seen by us? No, we are finite humans and cannot see tomorrow. We don't know about tomorrow, but we know He holds the future. Many things about tomorrow, we don't understand, but we know He holds our hand. We are His and He is ours......


Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:


New Sermon Series: Who we are in Christ.
Next Sunday we will begin a short sermon series entitled: "Who we are in Christ" We will pursue this truth by using Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesian and will bring four sermons in a row, dividing them up in these four headings/parts: We are His Building, We are His Body, We are His Bride, and We are Under His armor. Please read through the letter each day if possible so as to become more familiar with the letter as it has been given through the Holy Spirirt by the pen of Apostle Paul.

Chapters 1-3 speak of our being the Building of God, chapter 4 speaks of our bring the Body of Christ, chapters 5-6:9 speaks of our being the Bride of Christ and chapter 6:10-6:20 speaks of the protection that we are under: Christ's Armor. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal to us these realities so that we will with confidence and trust live courageouslly and intentionally as we go throught this coming year.

I would suggest that if possible read through the letter in different translations, keep a paper and pen handy so as to jot down any thoughts, questions, revelations or inspiration that you are receiving while you are in your reading. Also it is a good idea to note any verse or verses that you are not able to understand as by doing so you will be able to bring your question to someone for their help.

May it be our prayer that through these messages that we would come to better and better what it means that our identity is in Jesus Christ.

In Christ,

Pastor Orval

Posted on 03 Jan 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Messiah for all people 12.27.2015
"Now the reception of Jesus Christ was on this wise."


"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise," begins the account of the birth of Jesus the Messiah, and at the beginning of the 2nd chapter of Matthew, it could just as well begin the words that I have placed at the heading of this message.

The arrival of the magi in Jerusalem must also be viewed in the context of all that had transpired in Jerusalem during the previous year. The miraculous pregnancy of Elizabeth and the miracles accompanying the birth of John were well known to those in Jerusalem (cf. Luk. 1:10, 21-22; 2:57-66). So, too, the birth of Jesus was announced to the shepherds, who came to see the babe, and who proclaimed what they saw to others:

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them (Luke 2:17-18, NIV).

The presentation of Jesus in the temple was the occasion for the Spirit-filled proclamations of Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:21-38) could hardly have occurred in secret.

There are three responses to the coming of the Messiah into the world in our text today.

1. The magi diligently search for the infant king to present gifts and to worship Him.

2. Herod the great also seeks eagerly to find the child, so that he may put him to death.

3. But the vast majority of those who live in Jerusalem are seemingly unwilling to travel five short miles to the south of the city of Jerusalem to Bethlehem where they could have found their promised Messiah.

1. Jesus is the Messiah, the King of the Jews, and Should be Honored as Such.

2. Jesus is to be Worshiped not just by Jews, but by all the Nations of the World, as Represented by the Wise Men from the East.

3. God Uses His Universe to Make his Son Known and Worshiped. This is His Great Goal in all Things - that His Son be Known and Worshiped. He uses stars and dreams to bring people to their object of worship: Christ the King, the Messiah

4. Those who come to know the saving grace and truth that is in Jesus Christ enter into continual worship of their Lord and Saviour, the King of all Creation.

KJV Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

We don't know how the wise men got their information that there was such a king coming. But it is clear that Herod got the message: these fellows are not searching for a mere, ordinary, human successor to me. They are searching for the final King, to end all kings. And, of course, unlike Anna and Simeon in Luke 2, that is the last thing Herod was looking for. He didn't even know the simple Scriptures about where the Messiah was to be born.

So he asks the scribes, and the one text that they focus on is Micah 5:2, "And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd my people Israel." Now that doesn't sound very extraordinary either. The reason is that the only purpose for which the scribes quoted the text was to answer Herod's question: Where? And the answer is Bethlehem.

But what if Herod had asked them, "Who?" They might have read on in Micah 5: "(2) His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. . . . (4) And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth." So this king is not just coming into being in the womb of his mother Mary. "His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." Or, as John's Gospel says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). And this king would not be limited in his realm to Israel. "He will be great to the ends of the earth."

Jesus is threatening to those who do not want to worship Him.

3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Micah 5: 2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.


7 Then Herod, when he had privily/secretly called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

In conclusion, let us read from Isaiah's writings, using his personal experience to help us get a grasp on what worship is.

KJV Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Worship places us face to face with the greatness of the Creator.

Worship is the inward act of the soul which recognizes it nothingness before the magnificence of God, its sin before His purity, its ignorance before His Omniscience, its feebleness before His power.

Worship has no heart for self, it lies silent there at the foot of the throne, conscious of only two things, the insignificance of self and the greatness of God.

Worship flows out of an heart that receives the acceptance of the Almighty God through His offering of Himself for us through the Messiah.

Worship only begins when faith acknowledges the Almighty Creater and Redeemer.

Worship is a stimulus to sincere action.
Posted on 27 Dec 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Our Eyes are on You, Lord 1/3/2016
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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