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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Pastor's Blog

Do not Fear 8/10/2014
Dear friend,

After feeding a huge multitude of people, Jesus sent His disciples away in a boat and He went up on a mountain to pray/commune with His Father. While He was there, He was mindful of the storm that His disciples had encountered, with the roaring waves of the sea and the wind blowing against them. It was not until the early hours of the morning (3 am) that He came to them, walking on the water, and would have passed by them......But when they saw Him walking upon they sea, they, thinking He was a spirit, all cried out to Him, being troubled.

Immediately Jesus talked with them and said to them: Be of good cheer, It is I, be not afraid.

Has it been our experience that as we are in the storms of life that we wonder where the Lord is? Do we wonder if He is aware of the difficulties in our life? Do we fear our circumstances so much that we forget that He is the Master of the wind and the Maker of the rain? Have we forgotten that He has promised to take care of our every need?

Let us be reminded through this message that He sees us in our circumstances, He will come to us precisely when He chooses to and when He does come to us, He will immediately answer our call for help with the beautiful words: Be of good cheer, It is I, be not afraid.

Around thirty years ago, a brother in the Lord, myself and my two oldest sons who were around 10 and 12 years old started out on a 20' boat from Houghton MI to go to Isle Royale, an island about 50 miles north of the Keweenaw Peninsula. My brother had checked the Lake Superior weather, all looked good so we started out. We got into the middle of Lake Superior and soon we were in a bad storm, with waves a lot higher than our boat. At times all we could see around us was water as our boat was tossed up and down in the water. It was very fearful until we got out of the storm and arrived at the Isle Royale boat landing.

Are we in a storm of life today? When we left the shore, mighty Lake Superior was calm, but that soon changed. In life as the waves increase, as the wind increases, we say, we will get through this, we are experienced in life, we have friends, we will stick together and so on, but we at times forget to call upon Him.

A crisis is something that there is no solution to. If we owe money, and have money to pay it, it is not a crisis.. If we are sick, and there is a cure, it is not a crisis. All things that come into our lives for which there is no forseeable solution, we could say that it is an invitation from God to trust Him.

Problems build slowly, but often times the solution comes quickly. Life's problems sneak up on us, the waves and the wind build up slowly and before we know it we are in a raging storm. We are in the middle of it, we do not know when He will come to calm it, but He sees, He knows and He will come when it is time.

He fed the five thousand, He stilled the storm and now when they are in the middle of the sea struggling, He sees them in their struggles, He comes to them, would have passed them by, but then they heard the beautiful words: Be of good cheer, It is I, Do not fear.

Are you in a storm? Are you fearful? Has He come to you yet? For many, a point has come in which He has come and said, I am here, Do not fear, I have your back. Some are battling against the waves, wondering if they are going to sink..........

I have asked and received the okay to share the followings testimonies of their struggles in the time of their storm and I now will share them with you.

"Early mornings is a time for me to read God's Word before all the "demands" and "noises" of the day find their way into our minds. One particular quiet morning, I was stopped by a clear voice saying, "Do not be afraid." Puzzled, I sat wondering, then put it in the back of my mind. Sometime later, a week, maybe, I discovered a foreign mass in my body. After all the tests, it was revealed to be cancer. The words resurfaced, "Do not be afraid."......Lord, I am afraid! Fear came in waves over me, but above it was the Voice: "Do not be afraid."
How often in God's Word are we reminded of this. God always goes before us and holds us in the palm of His hand. Sickness, diseases, and trials are no surprise to Him. They all work to bring us closer to work out His will in our lives.
Come to Me, you are are weary and afraid, I will give you strength and courage to face this, too. He lifts the gloom and sends rays of hope and peace to our hearts. One day we will exchange these earthly bodies to glorified ones where no aches or diseases will touch us. We will praise Him with new tongues and sing with all the saints in glory: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. Praise be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost".
Louise Kilpela

It was in Sept. 2001 when I suffered a grand mal siezure that changed my life as I knew it. One minute putting my shoes on about to head off to work, the next minute waking up in an ambulance and being asked by the attendant: Do you know what happened to you? I did not. Another minute later I woke up in a room at the hospital and Sue and Ike were there with me. Then I think an E.R. Doc came in to tell about the different tests they had done. I remember none of what they did. Anyway, that was the beginning of many changes in my life.

As I followed up with a neurologist after that siezure He noticed a tremor in my right hand. Eventually I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease which effects me in many different ways. People who see me walking in public might think me to be intoxicated the way I stumble around. As most of you know I am no longer able to work or to drive a car.[Ireally miss driving] Any way that is about where I am today. I don't know what tomorrow holds. None of us do, but if we look to Him who does know it sure helps to remove fear.

I want to share with you what may have been my mom's favorite verses found in proverbs 3 verses 5 and 6. I can still picture her sitting at the kitchen table reading her bible in the early mornings. As Thanksgiving Day aproaches let's give thanks for christian mom's and dad's and other christian witnesses around us for the examples they live out before us. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the lord with all thine heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. Verse 5 tells us to trust in the Lord. We live in uncertain times. On the political scene a lot of grand promises are being made. Who are we to trust? What does it say on our currency? IN GOD WE TRUST. proverbs 3:5 tells us to TRUST IN THE LORD with all our heart.
Doug Saukkola....

(From a mother whose son was born with serious medical problems)

We've never really shared this story before with many others but I got to thinking about it again today after speaking to the surgeon. When Gregory was 2 1/2 weeks old, he was sleeping in his little NICU isolation room at Children's and scheduled to have his closing surgery the next morning. Andrew and I were spending the night in a parent's room down the hall that was reserved for situations like a very ill child or surgery. I remember this enormous sense of helplessness and Andrew and I were both quietly lost in our thoughts for much of the evening. Gregory wasn't eating yet and so I said goodnight to our baby, held his hand and kissed his little head, and went to bed.

I shut off the light in the room and sat in a chair, a single wall separating Gregory's room from the room I was in. I heard the beeps of the hospital machines and could picture him lying in his bassinette with all the tubes and the ventilator helping him breathe and I tried to pray through the fear of not knowing what tomorrow would hold. In the darkness, I turned on the radio and a Christian station tuned in. I sat and listened while I waited, feeling absolutely gutted and insignificant in the scheme of things. The next song came on the radio, one I'd never heard before. The lyrics were these:

I'm down on my knees again tonight,
I'm hoping this prayer will turn out right.
See, there is a boy that needs Your help.
I've done all that I can do myself
His mother is tired,
I'm sure You can understand.
Each night as he sleeps
She goes in to hold his hand,
And she tries
Not to cry
As the tears fill her eyes.

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place some how.
See, he's not just anyone, he's my son.

Sometimes late at night I watch him sleep,
I dream of the boy he'd like to be.
I try to be strong and see him through,
But God, who he needs right now is You.
Let him grow old,
Live life without this fear.
What would I be
Living without him here?
He's so tired,
And he's scared
Let him know that You're there.

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place some how.
See, he's not just anyone, he's my son.

Can You hear me?
Can You see him?
Please don't leave him,
He's my son.

-Mark Schultz

God reached me in that moment of utter despair- I felt Him with me there and also felt the depth of His love and it was unlike anything I'd ever known before. I was unconditionally loved and worthy at my rock bottom... just because. When I left that room, my heart was rejoicing with gratitude and joy.

Julie Manninen

Mark 6: 45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch (3 am) of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

In the three testimonies of faith, we hear the common theme of a change in circumstances, their struggle to deal with the changed circumstances, and the way in which the Lord broke through in order to increase their faith for deliverance through the circumstance. They were all somewhat different, but they all came to a place of acceptance through faith and trust in God. The way in which He has increased our faith during these troubled times has been different, I am sure. All that have been given the grace to recognize that trials are a call to trust in God and to see them as God's call to them to trust Him have been and will be blessed.

The love and compassion of Christ for His disciples is seen in these miracles: The feeding of the multitude and His coming to them walking on the water and His calming of the sea. He showed His "Godness" in both of them and wanted them to see that He was more than a man like them. He was God, He is God and He will take care of their/our every need.

I pray that you will be encouraged today by the fact that even as He was on the mountain praying and watching His disciples in their troubles, in the same manner today He is on the right hand of God making intercession for you. He first of all always prays for your soul's salvation so that you would know and experience the forgiveness of your sins that He accomplished on the cross of Calvary. That is always our Father's first desire for us, that we would receive the Gift that He has purchased for us with the blood of His Son. Be of good cheer today and believe that your sin has been blotted out through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

In my travels as a pastor I come accross many who are yet in the blindness of their own sin and continually blame others for the predicament that they are in, not recognizing that they have need of forgiveness themselves. Have we come to Him in our need for forgiveness?

As believers in Christ, sometimes the storms of life have come into our lives because we have through our attitudes and actions brought onto ourselves broken relationships. When this happens it is important to be open the teaching and counsel of the Word and Spirit so that we may clearly see what is our responsibility towards the restoration of the relationship. Storms, changed circumstances, in that way are like a friend to us in as a friend a changed circumstance causes us to reevaluate as to what or Who we are trusting in for our future.

One of my daughters, who is in the midst a big storm, shared with us that through it she has learned that the Lord is always near and is awaiting her cries for help in her time of need.

Lastly, my dear friend, the one who is in the midst of the storm, which may be raging and has been for a long time, know that He is mindful of your circumstance, know that He may be coming toward you now in a way that you cannot even imagine, and know that when you cry out to Him in your need, He will say to you: "Be of good cheer, It is I, Don't be afraid." But know this.....He will come to you!

Let us pray for one another,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 10 Aug 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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