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

God Our Comforter 9.18.2016
Dear friend,

We all have need of encouragement and comfort as in life there are times when we experience a "pressed down" feeling which sometimes we are able to identify as to why we are experiencing such feelings while at other times there does not seem to be any obvious reason for our "valley experience." We are subject to changing circumstances, changing emotions and changing feelings. But, Our God is a God of comfort and One who continually lifts us up. The Psalmist testifies of this when he writes

Psalm 113:5 Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high,
6 Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
7 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;
8 That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.

The Gaithers write and sing of the difficulty we have when we go into these valleys of life.

Life is easy when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind like you’ve never known.
But then things change and you’re down in the valley.
Don’t lose faith for you’re never alone.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

One of the fruits of our coming through struggles is that we are able to lift up those who are going through struggles currently. We are able to do that offering them the comfort that the Lord gave us during our time of trouble and struggle. May we learn from the experiences recorded of David (1 Samuel 30:1-8) from Psalm 113 and from our text today in 2 Corinthians 1:1-11.

Be encouraged in the Lord today! (1 Samuel 30:6)

As we welcome another day of the Lord with a beautiful sunrise, and as we await with expectation to see how He is going to reveal and to demonstrate his goodness in our lives and into the lives of those who live in this world, we are thankful for His mercy. In the days of Jeremiah the people of God were under captivity due to their sin and there was a lot of heaviness and discouragement in their lives. Jeremiah, the prophet of God, brought encouragement to them by tellling them that
It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 May we have the same mindset today as we arise and greet another day of the Lord.

Our lives are lived in three spheres. What I mean by this is that we live in a global or national society, we live within our local community's society and we live in our personal/family lives. While the events that occur in our world affect us to some degree, and the events in our local community affect us even more, it is our own lives and our world view that takes up most of our time and energy and which largely affects how we relate to the events outside of our personal/family/church life. As Christians we know that our God is overall and even though we don't understand many of the things that happen in the world, in our communities, and in our own lives, nevertheless we stay grounded on the revelation of Truth through the Holy Scriptures. The Psalmist encourages us to praise the Lord and gives the reasons as to why we should do so. He not only has the world's situation under control, but He also is taking care of those of need lifting up.

KJV Psalm 113:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
2 Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.
3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised.
4 The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high,
6 Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
7 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;
8 That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.


David who was now King of Judah found himself in dire straits as the result of the violence in those days. The people were ready to kill him for failing to protect them and their families, and so what did David do. He encouraged/strengthened himself in the Lord. He did not shrink back, but he remembered that God was in control and he turned to Him in prayer for further directions. What a good reminder!


KJV 1 Samuel 30:1 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;
2 And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.
3 So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.
4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
5 And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.
6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
7 And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David.
8 And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.

In our text today we hear of mercy and comfort that is of our Father and of our God. He is the Father of mercy and the God of comfort.

KJV 2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

When we remember and are living in the reality of who God is, we have much reason to bless/praise/give thanks to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. Even today thinking of the family who lost their son to suicide in our community and of the violence that occurred in St Cloud last night, we pray for God's mercy and comfort to all who have been affected by this events. This must be our foundation, to know and live in this knowledge and experience that He is the Father of mercy and the God of comfort!!! Let us not forget that He had/has mercy on us in that He spared our lives in favor of the life of His Son so that we would live eternally.


4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation

He then writes that one of the byproducts of our suffering is that we are able to comfort others with the same comfort that we received.

Some of our here today are in the midst of trials, some have gone through them some time back, some are coming through trials, and some, and I would say, not many, are living in peace at the moment. For those in the midst of trials, we pray for strength and endurance for you that you, like David, would be able to strenthen yourself in the Lord by resting in and trusting in His promises.

Sometimes it is year later that we are able to bring comfort and help to someone who has suffered a great loss in their family. Most of us have heard that a young man in our local area took his life this week. As Steve Jarl left the senior luncheon on Friday he shared with me of how he was able to show compassion and give empathy to the father of Dane Anderson at the wake on Thursday evening. He was able to look Mr Anderson in the eye and tell him "I know how you feel," because he had gone through a number of years ago of that which was now being experienced by the Anderson family.

Yesterday as I was praying and preparing for this sermon, I sent out a question to a couple of people who I know have been and are in extreme difficulty at this time in their lives. I would like to share their responses, for which they gave me the okay to do so.

My question was: The main points of the message that we have a Father of mercies and a God of all comfort, and that in suffering we not only receive comfort but we are then equipped to help others in their suffering. What would you be willing to share with us concerning your experience in the valley?

From a young man of 40 years of age, with a wife and family of three who was a very athletic person. A couple of years ago he suffered a back injury and was also struck by lightning, the combination which has affected his ability to work as well as has affected his emotional well being. Here is what he had to say....

"Well the only thing that comes to mind right now deals with compassion. It seems clear to me that it's pretty tough to have much compassion for others if you haven't been through some serious trials. Going thru stuff that I don't understand will help me take people right where they are and be able to show understanding and compassion beyond what I could before. If I'm bitter and angry won't be of much use to others. I saw a football commentary about an NFL hall of fame running back Curtis Martin. He came from a horrific home life and he believes God preserved him and gave him a life in football and a way to help others. He's a good man. He made an interesting point that we sometimes have to go backward to go forward. It's pretty common to become stagnant in our compassion and unconditional love. but once we deal with some pain and adversity our eyes get opened.

"One thing I don't think my wife will mind sharing is that before I got hurt, in some way God let her know that difficulty was coming. When she got the call that I got hurt she knew that this was the difficulty.

And not only that, Paul writes that our suffering actually will work for the benefit of others.

The second response was from a 70+ year old man whose wife rather quickly came down with dementia and is now resting in a nursing home in his local town. He visits her as often as is possible, but he said he has a lot of time on his hands. He shared with me that he has found that it is in helping others in their suffering that he has found a lot of relief in dealing with the sudden loss of companionship of his dear wife of around 50 years. He also said that it is a struggle not to feel like a victim and that it was through a Reader's Digest article that he was empowered to, as he said, "get off his cross" and go help others. I know that a lot of people are being helped because of his willingness to "get off his cross."

8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

In the last part of our message, we see two important things that Paul learned and experienced. He himself had sufferings to the point that he feared the worst, death. But he recognized that this experience was intended to work for his good in that he would move away from self dependence to God dependence. He trusted in the God who raises the dead, who delivers us from so great a death and does deliver. He lived by faith in the promises of God.

Secondly and lastly, he saw that people who were compassionate and caring prayed for his general welfafe, not only as a fellow believer but as a preacher of the gospel!! He recognized that he needed the prayers of others in his life. Don't we thank God for those who lift us up and carry us in their prayers? We sure do!!!

May our Father of mercies and the God of all comfort lift us up today in Christ!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 18 Sep 2016 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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