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

Blessed are You! 11/2/2014
Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

KJV Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. {falsely: Gr. lying}
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

When I was still at home as a young boy sitting at the dinner table and was being very picky about what I would eat, my mom would remind me that there are starving children in India who would love eat off of my plate. I remember not being able to understand her and would silently cry out, "But I am not in India, I am in the United States." In other words, her reasoning made no sense to me at all. I could not relate...

In a similar way a statements made by Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of the VOM missionary organization are not very easily understood by most of us here in our country. He spent 14 years in a prison in Communist occupied Romania and afterward reflected on that experience with three statements.

It was in prison that I learned that the Gospel was for the Communists.
It was in prison that I learned that I was to bring them the Gospel.
It was through being beaten and tortured by them that I learned to love them.

Those three statements have been burned in my mind and heart since I heard them even since I read his most famous book, Tortured for Christ. It has been six years since I read that book but I am still somewhat mistified as to how he could ever learn to love his persecutors through being beat by them. It is clear that he knew and lived in true blessedness, for he loved not his own life but had laid it down for his captors. For he knew that he had already received his inheritance of heaven and if hia physical life was taken, he would see God forever in heaven. He knew what it meant when Jesus said "blessed are you when men revile you, persecute you, speak all manner of evil against you, for my sake,"

On this day in which is called All Saints Day and also a day that the Church is called to remember those who are being persecuted, may God by His grace open our understanding so that we may be able to grasp what it means live in a state of blessedness. For Jesus, the King of Heaven has come to bless. Truly the blessing that He came to give is not according to our human way of thinking. It was opposite of that, and which has commonly been referred to as the Great Reversal, or today it is referred to as Counter Cultural.

This blessedness is a state of being, not something we work for in order to attain it. It is our state of assurance that God is faithful to His promises to deliver us through all our trials here on this earth, and that through these trials His purposes are being worked out through our lives.
These verses before us today are characteristics of one who has come to know and experience what true blessedness is, men like Richard Wurmbrandt, whom we have referred to, to women like Margaret Clarkson, the writer of our offertory hymn today, and the woman whom we will quote later on in this message.

This blessedness is a state of being, not something we work for in order to attain it.

Perhaps an illustration would help us to see what is being said here.
If you knew you were going to inherit a fortune, you know that would be happy for eventually you would be the owner of great riches. You and everyone around you would know that you will one day have the inheritance. Therefore you are happy in this knowledge in the present and certainly will be in the future when the inheritance beomes reality.
It is similar to what is being said in these verses of this text, for we are blessed, happy because of our knowledge of our future inheritance in which we will share in along with all the saints. We are not working to get this inheritance, for it has already been given to us now as the kingdom is now present. The more we trust in the faithfulness of God to deliver His promises, the more eager we lean forward in expectation of that which will eventually come to pass.

Jesus hungered to bring this Good News to mankind:

John 4:31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

Being a member of the family of God, we seek to live out that which we have been created for: Community, which is marked by love for God and for one another and for all the world. Apostle Paul reveals his love for community and for all of humanity, and his purpose in life was to bring the Good News to them.

Acts 20: 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

His kingdom is here, suffering for being identified with Him is part of being in His kingdom, but there is a joy that lasts forever that is our inheritance. As Christians, we have the promise of the inheritance now, and so knowing that why would not one be happy in this present age, why would one not want to convince others to come along, and why would not one be looking eagerly ahead to the coming of His eternal kingdom?

Last year I received this email from a woman who shared her thoughts on a similar teaching in the Gospel of Luke. Her husband of many years passed away within the last year.

"I will try to write thoughts about Luke 6 17 to 31. I'm having a tired day. so it may apply to the text. he may mean we are blessed when we are tired because we turn to Him and His word seems to mean more when we are empty. When we are hungry for Him.

In Jeremiah 31 God says He will put the fear of Him in our hearts. Eldie Niskanen's version said, "I will put a desire for Me in their hearts's.
When this desire kicks in and we long for Him we are blessed. When we are hungry for Him and His Word we are blessed. it draws us together, draws us to His Word like we can't get enough of it. We are like the ground longing for water and The Word waters us and plants seeds and fruit grows.

Some people have been given the gift of poverty even though they have money. They give out of that poverty and they are given joy. The poverty is true humility. They "get it" that it has nothing to do with money.

The deepest longings of our hearts are blessings."

All humanity has been given by God the longings for intimacy with Him. When these longings lead us to a place of our need for Him, they bring blessing to us, and we are "blessed." But if those longings, result in us not seeking the true God in Christ, and we look for satisfaction in created things, well.....

So the deepest longings of our hearts are indeed from God, are given by Him in order to cause us to seek Him, but due to our fallen nature's susceptibility to settle for created things as means by which to find satisfaction and meaning, we often struggle greatly in this area.

King David struggled also. When he was in the wilderness, he cried out to God.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

May these closing words feed our hungry souls today, by giving us that assurance that we are loved, that He will carry us all the way through and that the love that He has shed abroad in our hearts will sustain us in the valleys of life until we are translated from this place to the City in heaven.

Pastor Orval

Posted on 02 Nov 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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