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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Abiding in the Word May 21. 2017
John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Dear friends,

May God’s Love that has been poured out into all humanity through the cross of Jesus Christ be with you and in you today!

Today it is our privilege to have a guest speaker, Pastor(retired) Ansten Tretten from Lake Worth, Florida along with his wife Roberta and their son Jeff. Today our guest will be speaking from the fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel in which Jesus expands on his opening statement of “I AM the vine and you are the branches. The verse that has been placed above tells us that those words that He spoke to His hearers were done so for the purpose that His joy might remain/abide in them and that their joy might be full. This message was spoken to His disciples in the last part of His life and is part of His longer message in the Upper Room contained in John 13-16 during which He speaks much of the coming Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth and so on.

I have been getting excited as the time of our worship service this morning draws closer, as we await His Presence and His Voice this morning in our gathering together for worship, for fellowship and for Holy Communion with our Lord at His Table.

Our second reading, which is previous to the sermon today, will be from Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. One of the main purposes of this letter written to them was for the reason that they had become fragmented by divisions amongst them which resulted in their going away from following Christ to following certain gifted men. In chapter 12 he shares with them that he doesn’t want them to be ignorant of the gifts that God bestows on His people, he wants them to know that all gifts are given by God, they are given by Him for His purposes and that all gifts are designed to work together and not in competition.

He then tells them in the last part of chapter 12, (12:31) “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” What is that more excellent way? Well, let us read the 13th chapter to find out what that more excellent way is.

In our King James, the word charity is used, which means God’s love, which is a one way never ending unconditional love. Each time the word charity is used, let us think God’s love toward us in Christ Jesus.

KJV 1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity/God’s love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity/God’s love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity/God’s love, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity/God’s Love suffereth long, and is kind; charity/God’s Love envieth not; charity/God’s Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity/ God’s Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity/ God’s Love, these three; but the greatest of these is charity/God’s Love

What is the meaning of all this? Well, giftedness is worthless if God’s love does not dwell in the heart of the gifted one. What would that look like? It would mean that instead of praying for others, we criticize them, instead of helping them discover their giftedness, we tout our giftedness, instead of helping them find places to use their gift, we minimize their gift and tout ours, instead of speaking highly of them, we drag them down.

God’s love is pure and ours is not. How many times have we gone through these verses by reading them three times in this manner? The first time we place God’s love in place of charity, the second time we put our love in the place of charity, after which the Spirit rebukes us and convicts in great grace, and, well, the third time we go through these verses we are hopefully broken and so we are praying that He would forgive us for our lack of love and asking Him to pour His love into our hearts through His Spirit.

It is not difficult to see why this is the most used (chapter 13) reading for wedding messages as it sets the ideal of love that every couple would love to live in, but yet recognizing that their marriage is the union of two imperfect people. Could we say that the success of our marriages and the amount of joy we experience is directly related to how well we abide in Him and in His Word? That certainly has been my experience, for it has been through continually being brought back to the knowledge of what real love is, God’s love, that joy has been restored as well as increased. It has been through the Lord humbling me before Him and before others (especially before my wife) that I continue to be reminded that God’s love can only flourish in a heart that hears and abides in His Word.

In a conversation with our dear brother Ansten, he made a statement that further illustrates what has been written above. “Whenever people are not getting along, all they need to do is to get closer to Christ.” Amen to that….

I am very eager to hear the Voice of the Lord today through my dear brother in Christ. I am very eager to be reminded that it is only in Christ that we have joy and it is His desire that our joy in Him would be full!

How I pray this morning for many to come into this house that is dedicated to the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s love as revealed in Christ Jesus.

How I pray that we all will have concentrated minds, attentive ears and soft and believing hearts so that we might be able to hear His Voice this morning. May the Spirit of God descend mightily from heaven this morning, may our needy hearts that long for the rain of His grace be gently nourished this morning and above all, may the incomparable, unmatchable, and never ending love of God lift us to praise His Name in our sanctuary this day and forever!!!!!! Amen and Amen!

Praising Him with you!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 21 May 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns