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

Life, Light, Love 1/22/2012
Dear friends, May the grace, mercy and peace from God our heavenly Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you always. Amen!

Have you ever had an opinion or a conviction that later when you found out the facts, you changed your mind of what you had earlier believed about something? That is a common experience for many of us as we grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. And this is because we form our convictions and make our judgments based upon our knowledge base. The more we understand as to who God is from His Word the less we will be inclined to form our convictions and make our decisions from the basis of:

What is in it for me? What is the best for me? What benefits me?

Hosea spoke to this truth in his day when he wrote:

KJV Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

To form our convictions and to make our decisions in life based upon what is good for me independent of the decision and action that God has made for us in His Son Jesus Christ is the height of foolishness. Let us expand on this opening statement as we spend time in with Him in His Word today.

Our Gospel reading for this Sunday finds Jesus beginning his ministry in the following manner as described in Mark's Gospel:

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.
20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

We have recently celebrated the incarnation of Jesus Christ (born in the flesh) and now are in the Epiphany (showing, revealing) season of the church year during which the texts are centered around His ministry. Today's Gospel concentrates on the beginning of His ministry. Let us note as to how he makes two statements as He begins to "reveal" Himself to the world that He came to save and not to condemn.

We might say that the first statement speaks of His work which He desires that we become a partaker in salvation by grace through faith.

In second statement He invites our participation in His continued saving work here on this earth, by calling upon us to follow Him so that He may make us His messengers in this world.

Now we go back to our opening statement, if we might call it such. Here it is: " To form our convictions and to make our decisions in life based upon what is good for me independent of the decision and action that God has made for us in His Son Jesus Christ is the height of foolishness."

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and on this day there will be many sermons preached which in some manner focus on the truth that there have been approximately 53 million preborn babies who have not been allowed to continue to live. This is probably the most divisive issue that our nation has experienced since the Civil War and the issue of slavery of the colored people who were brought from Africa. Not only in America have we experienced and witnessed these horrible consequences and evidences of the effects of mankind's fall into sin, but all over the world from the beginning of time we have made decisions and done actions which have been based upon what is good for me/us. In the issues of the sacredness of life at whatever stage, we in our fallen nature will always choose to think and act according to what is in our selfish and self serving interests.

I began this writing by saying that we form convictions and form judgments from what we hear and see. As we hear of ,and therefore, comprehend and live in more of God's mind towards us in Christ as revealed through His Word, those earlier understandings and convictions are put away in favor of those things that are consistent with what God says and who He is.

Therefore, let us today in this SOHLS, take at look at the theme of life as it is brought forth through the revelation of God through the Scriptures. Our text of meditation today is from the book of Genesis, but let us first go back in further into before time by beginning with the Gospel of John. In my studies of this Gospel, I have seen the overall outline of this book in this manner in three words: Life, Light and Love. How do I come up with that you might ask? Please consider:

KJV John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

The Word, which is Christ,(John 1:14 And the Word 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.) has always existed, it was by Him that all things were created. The beginning of all things is life, this Life (capitalized) came into this world to give us Light, and through Love we come to know and live in this LIght of Life. The Life that is in Jesus Christ.

Understanding the John's Gospel refers to things that predate the creation account in Genesis, let us look at the first chapter of the Bible in order see how God views life. Life has always existed, now the Triune God brings time into existence. Let us also not miss the first four words of the Bible and of their immense significance in understanding issues of human life and of its sacredness: In the beginning God

Please read the first three chapters of Genesis, for this must be the basis on which we look at all issues in life today. Creation, Fall, and the Promise of Redemption are contained in the first three books of the Bible. The entire rest of the Bible reveals God's progressive revelation of Himself, humanity's struggle to live in a fallen world with a fallen nature both in the Old Testament time (Old Covenant) and the New Testament time. (New Covenant)

We in our lives struggle to do the right thing according to God. It is relatively easy to see that when people did things God's way in the Bible, there was blessing in their lives and they brought blessings to their families and to others.. When they did it their own way, it did not go so well. We have seen this in our lives also, in our families lives, in the lives of those whom we have observed. The struggle with our selfish nature will always exist to some degree, but as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, we experience maturity in God's school of love. As we grow in this awareness and experience, we find ourselves looking more towards how our attitudes and actions are going to be in accordance with the desires of God rather than making choices that are for the most part entirely self directed and self centered.

There are many things to consider as to how we can participate in the life of Christ in this world. We in our congregation have baby bottles in our homes which have been given to us by the PRC in St Cloud and which are meant to increase our awareness of opportunities to help those struggling with their choices in life. Can we help someone? Even one person? Would that make a difference?

A man was walking along a seashore and he observed that many clams had washed up on the shore and were dying due to not being in the water. The man began to cast them back in the ocean, one by one, and as he did a bystander, looking at the thousands of clams dying said, "You are wasting your time, there are far too many and you will not make a difference." The man paused from casting the clams in, held one up to the bystander and said, "That may be so, but (holding one up in front of him) said, "To this one it makes all the difference in the world." This one will live" and threw it into the waters of life.

This week I spoke with a family friend who lives in a southern state concerning her work that she did in a clinic in the state that she lived in. It had been a few years back that we had visited with her and she had shared some things that were yet stuck in my mind which related to the story that I just told.

She worked for a clinic in a state that required ultra sounds as something that needed to be done before deciding and going through with an abortion. A young girl came in, was in the process of having an ultra sound when the child in the womb moved and raised its hand. OOur friend at that point said something like: "God is showing you your child." The girl got very agitated, jumped off the table and left hurriedly. Our acquaintance thought, well that is the end of that, I won't see her again and I know where she is going.

A few months later, while she was working in the office, she got a call from her supervisor. She went to another part of the building and to her surprise, there was that same girl standing pregnant. Our friend shouted, "You did not do it!" The girl replied, "You changed my mind'" but our friend said that "No, I did not do it, God changed your heart to see things His way."

Then a few months later, the mother came into the clinic with her new born baby boy.....

Our friend made a difference in the life of that mother and child.

I was visiting with a very close friend a couple of days ago and he shared with me of a person that he knew that was visiting his wife who due to dementia was not even aware of her loved one's presence. They were asked as to why he keeps going to visit her when they are not aware of them. The response was:

"She may not know who I am, but I know who she is."

Another man shared with me concerning this same thing a few years ago. He said that he was struggling with visiting his mother who had alzheimers and was not aware of his being there. He told me that he remembered when his dad and mom used to wavy goodbye from the window of their house when he left their home to return to his home, he remembered seeing his mom only waving, (his father had died), he remembered his mom waving from the nursing home bed where she was living, then he remembered her not waving at all for she was not any longer aware.

While he struggled with his thoughts as to the benefit of him visiting her, the Lord came to him and shared with him that His coming to Him is not dependent on Him knowing that He is there. In fact, the Lord told him that many times He was there to visit him and there was no awareness. At that point he was reminded by God that the joy of His love is in the giving of it and it does not depend upon response. My friend had received a blessed lesson in the Lord's school of love. From then on until the day his mother was called home to be with the Lord of love, my friend went to visit his mother with joy.

We are often lacking in knowing as well as remembering as to who God is, but He knows who we are. We are created in His Image, He loves us, has saved us and does He ever desire that we grow in knowledge!!

God is life, He is Light and He is Love. Where are we in comprehending who God is?

May the grace and truth that our Lord Jesus Christ has bestowed upon us through His Gospel ever increase in us.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 22 Jan 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
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