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

Live here or in heaven? 1/18/2015
Dear friend,

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with us always. Amen.

The scripture teaches that life is from the Lord (Psalm 139) and for the Lord (Jeremiah 1). In contrast, the culture of the world, of the devil and of our sinful nature asserts that life is subject to human convenience and desire, making it plausible to extinguish life, even in the womb. The first springs from the knowledge of and the trust in God, while the second is from a kingdom of self.


As those who believe in Jesus Christ and as participants in the community of believers, we often struggle with being in the world, but not of the world. But yet because we know that we are passing through this life on our way to life with Christ forever, we have a joy that transcends our human understanding.

It is a joy that enables us to trust in the faithfulness of God to His promises toward us

It is a joy that enables us to endure as we journey together and it is also a joy that keeps our eyes fastened on the One who has given us all things. As it is written by Paul in his letter to the Roman congregation:

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?

In today's lesson we will see how Paul struggled with his present circumstances, wanting to be with the Lord in heaven, but yet realized that it was not his place to make that decision. He recognized that his work on earth was not done until the Lord decided that it was done, so therefore he wrote to his beloved brothers and sisters that it was more beneficial that he would remain for it would be to their benefit.

Philippians 1: 25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

The Apostle Paul, burning with love for their souls, wants to give them more joy in their relationship with Jesus Christ through his coming to them in person. He highly valued the revelation of Jesus Christ in himself and as a result wanted them to have more joy themselves in Christ.

May we continue to live in the joy of that which is promised us, may we continue to live in union with Christ in His Body (Community) and may we stand steadfastly together for the cause of the Gospel of Christ, knowing that it is and will be worth it all.

The big question: Do I remain in life or go to be with the Lord?

1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

As we get to know the Apostle Paul from his attitudes, actions and letters, we become more aware that his ministry was not about himself, but it was about the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.. He did not minimize the treasure of the Gospel that had been entrusted to him by Christ. May we follow his example...

His confidence and expectation of the effect of the Gospel in the hearts of his hearers was not due to his abilities or his charisma, but it was because of his confidence in the power of the Word to bring people to the knowledge of Christ.

He looked on what they could become, for he sees Christ working in the Philippian believers; he sees in their Christian profession and service a fire of love caught from the love of Christ and because of his confidence in the Gospel of Christ, he sees their progress and advancement in their Christian life.

Elders often wonder why they continue here, as they struggle with aging and all that comes with it. But be assured, dear elder brother and sister in Christ, that your remaining her until it is the Lord's time is a great encouragement and inspiration to the rest of us who need examples of trust and faithfulness in God. We need to learn from your experiences, we need your prayers, and we need your steadfast example of trusting in Christ for your salvation. Here is an excerpt from one of elders, Lawry Kilpela who is 92 years old.

"In 1938 at 16 years of age, I thought I knew all there was to know about church and the bible. What a mistake that was, for that was just the beginning of my learning. I am near 92 years old, still learning and still know very little.
I had attended years of Sunday School and I had memorized nearly all the lessons of the Catechism. I not only had learned a lot about the things of God, but I had also learned much about the history that was in the Bible. But even in knowing all of that, I did not get what it was all about. So up to the time I entered into confirmation class I had little desire to go to church. And just prior to beginning the confirmation of my faith, I had been thinking to myself that after I am done, I am not coming back to the church. I am done.
After going through confirmation class, as we were leaving the pastor, Paul Heideman, who taught us told us as we were leaving the last class: "As you come by me, when I greet you with God's Peace, either you are saying goodbye to me or you are saying God's Peace to me." There were some there whose parents did not attend church for various reasons, so I understood why they would not be coming back, but it came to me that Pastor Heideman was encouraging us and inviting us to continue growing in our knowledge of Jesus by continuing to attend church.
I do not really know when or how, but something happened in my heart as a result of attending confirmation and after I left instead of not going back to church, I not only did that but sometimes I would attend 2 bible studies in one week.
As a result of God's grace to me, I have come to understand more and more of this gift of salvation which is in Jesus Christ through faith. As I have heard the Word preached, attended Bible studies, discussed with other brothers and sister in faith, and read, meditated and prayed over the scriptures, He has given me more understanding and knowledge of His love for me by the means of the Holy Spirit opening up the Bible to me. The following verses are some examples of how God used His Word to open up to me of the things of faith in Christ.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been, saved through faith, and not of yourselves. It is a gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast. 2 Timothy 1:9 God who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
Romans 4:4-5 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace, but as debt. But to him who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.
John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His Name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. "


27-30
Up to this point in this letter, the Apostle has been taking the Philippians into his confidence, in order that they may share his point of view and see things as he sees them. Now he begins more directly to call them to the attitude and work which become them as Christians.

27 Only let your conversation/life be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

He tells them: You must stick together in the one spiirt, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel: Christ's death, burial and resurrection means life to all who want it. Do not get sidetracked by other less important causes!

To this end, We spend time together in sharing lives in Christ and we work together in one spirit of harmony and purpose

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Illustration: Man went to visit a family that had been distance from others for some tiime, he went into their home and when he got there he took a red hot coal and put it away from the rest of the fire. He visited with the family, had coffee with them and then just before he left he placed the now black coal near the red hot ones, gave his thanks for the visit and left. What do you think was the message that the man was leaving with the family?


We do not fear anything or anyone who opposes the Gospel of Christ:

ESV Philippians 1:28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

All peoples from all ages are tried by their own particular circumstances, such as we are today. We live in society of human independence from God, which has yielded a culture of death.

The scripture teaches that life is from the Lord (Psalm 139) and for the Lord (Jeremiah 1). In contrast, the culture of the world, of the devil and of our sinful nature asserts that life is as the result of evolution, and that life is subject to human convenience and desire, making it plausible to extinguish life, in the womb or out of the womb in cases of disability and/or pain. The first springs from the knowledge of and the trust in God, while the second is from a kingdom of self.

How are we to respond?


Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:


29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Jesus speaks words of comfort and of peace to us today, as does the one whom the Lord loved, His beloved Apostle John


KJV John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

KJV 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 1:4 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?


For the tranquillity of spirit into which faith rises under persecution is an evidence of the
source from which it comes: Trust in the faithfulness of God who always does what He says He will do.

May His peace reign supreme in our hearts today as we celebrate His victory in His Holy Supper today.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 18 Jan 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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