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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Advent 2017
My dear friend,

How are you doing? It is a joy to be with you and to spend some time with you in this conversation, howbeit a one way one‚€¦..May we be blessed by sitting down with our coffee and thinking on what is to follow in this writing.

The first coming of Jesus Christ is called His first advent, so we get the event which we call Advent. The Advent season focuses mainly on the prophecies of His promised coming to the earth, a time in which one looks to be renewed and refreshed in both the knowledge and significance of His first Advent by which He redeemed mankind in time..

By hearing/reading of God's Promise (His promise that His Messiah would come) and by meditating upon the scriptures which spoke and speak of His coming, it is hoped that through this Word, faith would be fanned into flames so that our hearts would burn in love and thankfulness to our God for His coming to us.

Those who lived long ago before His first Advent waited for His mercy to arrive with expectancy, manner (Psalm 123:2), they were encouraged of the promise of His everlasting kingdom by God through Isaiah (Is 9:7), and they were told of what family He would come from. (Is 11:1)

Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

KJV Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

Ever since the promise of the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, (Genesis 3:15) was communicated by God in the Garden of Eden after the fall of mankind into sin, those who have awaited the grace of His first Advent have poured over the Scriptures, searching them for signs of His coming, and waited and waited and waited . . . but God tarried.

Prophets through the years prophesied of His coming, not fully understanding the implication of that which they wrote in the scrolls of the Scriptures. Isaiah spoke 700 years before His first Advent of the certainty of His arrival when he wrote of it by prophecy; Luke described the role of John the Baptist and of the coming of the Messiah on Christmas Eve; and John, the Apostle explained later that God had come in the flesh (in a human body).

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord‚€™s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah 40:1-5
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. Luke 2:9

And the Word (Jesus) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

As we attempt to absorb and experience in our minds and in our hearts of the first coming of our Lord in all His glory, of that Light which was seen by the shepherds, which was sung about with perplexity by the angels, and which was experienced by those who gathered around the humble birthing place of Emmanuel (God with us), may the wonder of it all re-ignite our sometimes weary hearts to renewed hope, to quiet peace, to revived faith, and to exuberant joy in His Advent.

Please consider the experience of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.

(Luke 1:5) The angel of the Lord had appeared to Zechariah as he was performing the duties of a priest in the temple, a duty which was a two week experience and a once in a lifetime one at that. Because he doubted the word of the angel which told him that he and his wife Elizabeth were going to have a son, he was struck dumb until after the circumcision of their son.

Zechariah was told what the name of his son would be and the purpose for which he would be born so combined with his knowledge of the scriptures which spoke of the coming Messiah, he silently thought on these things until the day when he was given to speak again. It is noteworthy of how he spoke now only of the Lord God of Israel and of that which He had accomplished. He did not speak of himself.. Please hear his words.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. (Luke 1:68‚€“71)

Notice two remarkable things from these words of Zechariah, Elizabeth‚€™s husband, in Luke 1.

First, nine months earlier, Zechariah could not believe his wife would have a child. Now, filled with the Holy Spirit, he is so confident of God‚€™s redeeming work in the coming Messiah that he puts it in the past tense: he has visited and redeemed his people. For the mind of faith, a promised act of God is as good as done. Zechariah has learned to take God at his word and so has a remarkable assurance: God ‚€œhas visited and redeemed! (Luke 1:68).

Second, the coming of Jesus the Messiah is a visitation of God to our world: The God of Israel has visited and redeemed. For centuries, the Jewish people had languished under the conviction that God had withdrawn: the spirit of prophecy had ceased; Israel had fallen into the hands of Rome. And all the godly in Israel were awaiting the visitation of God. Luke tells us that another old man, the devout Simeon, was waiting for the consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25). Likewise, the prayerful Anna was waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:38).

These were days of great expectation. Now the long-awaited visitation of God was about to happen ‚€” indeed, he was about to come in a way no one expected.

Let us rejoice, Light has come out of darkness! Christ is here today in our midst! We do not have to stumble around in the dark anymore, but we can come to the light. Staying in the dark always allows the negative things in our lives to develop. Do we remember what happened to film when it got exposed to light? It ruined it, that is why the rooms of film development were called darkrooms.

He has pierced asunder heaven to come down to redeem us from our darkness, He is with us and in us today, and one day will come for us to take us to be with Him for all eternity! May we be watching and waiting, so we may say these words in response to His words of invitation:
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20

Have a blessed Advent season in your preparations to relive the coming of God for us and to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. May you experience His coming to you many times during this Advent and Christmas season! And let us remember, that it is through the telling and the hearing of the Story that we again experience personally and corporately the benefits of that which God has done through Christ.

Dear friend, how I pray that we will find ourselves focusing on the Light during this Advent season as we prepare for Christmas and its celebration of Light. We will truly be blessed and we will be a blessing to others.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 03 Dec 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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