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

At the Right Time 3/03/2013
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. {provided: or, foreseen}
KJV Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Today is the 3rd Sunday in Lent, a time of the year in which we focus on that which God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ in that He sent Him to take away our sin so that we could live in true liberty and freedom because of the forgiveness of our sins through Him. " For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Cor 5:21 Because we live in this freedom from guilt as well as in the freedom from the power of sin, we are freed from self to live in love, in peace and in joy through the indwelling Holy Spirit, given to us by our Father. By this Spirit our spirits witness with Him that we are His children, and therefore we live our lives in view of our eternal home in heaven above with Him and His Son forever and forever. But not only with Him, with those who have gone on before.

We are able to live with heaven in view because we live by faith, which is described in the beginnning of the chapter from which our text is taken today, as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." 1:1-3.

This book of Hebrews was written to those who had been converted to Christianity, but who were yet living in a time when the religion of the Jews had not yet come to accept the reality that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies which pointed to Jesus Christ as the Promised Messiah. As Christians they were struggling to stay firm in their faith and not to go back to their old ways that they had grown up in and been taught and instructed in. The writer of the Hebrews is explaining to them of the truth of who Jesus is by pointing out to them various Old Testament prophecies and showing them how they have now been fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament. In other words, the Old Testament is now being explained by the New Testament revelation of Jesus Christ. But they were having a hard time, but nevertheless, they walked by faith,
"not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:".....11;35b....And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. 11:39-40



As the 12 chapter begins, application is made to those to whom the letter was being read as well as to all those throughout the ages who have heard it read/read it including us today. As we consider that which God have done for us in Christ, which has been called the Great Exchange, we marvel at the lopsidedness of the offering of Love which purchased forgiveness for our sin. He has pointed out in this chapter that Christ has come in the flesh as the God Man, has paid the ransom for the sins of the world, and is now set at the right hand of His Father, our God. He has told them about many who lived in this reality before the fact, believing in the Promise, and concludes the first eleven chapters of this wonderful letter of assurance and encouragement by telling them that the number those ordained unto eternal life is not complete without them. In other words, God wants them/us in heaven with Him....


"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God 12:1-2"

He now points them/us to this reality in practical terms, that heaven is not complete without us being there, and he calls us to consider the great multitude of people who have trusted to the end in Christ as their Savior. He uses the analogy of a race, emphasizing that what is important is that one finishes the race. The meaning of the word race is not as we look at it today, but it means more that we are in a conflict or in a battle to get to the finish. We are called to run the race unemcumbered as much as possible, leaving aside any burden that is weighing us down, which includes sin and to run with endurance through the difficulties that come along the way to our eternal finish line. But....we struggle at times, we stumble, we get weary, we get afraid that we might drop out, but God.........but God is mindful of our struggles, He.knows....waits.....and comes..........just when we need Him to come......

Yesterday my wife and I had the privilege to watch our daughter Karen and one of her dear friends run a marathon (26.2 miles) in Mesa, Arizona, which was the first marathon race that we ever watched. When I asked the board if it would be okay to take a week of vacation after our duties to the Mesa congregation were done so that we could attend this marathon run, I thought that how great it would be to watch our daughter participate in something that she enjoys. I also thought how great it will be to be able to spend time with her and her family, but I was not prepared and I do not think my wife was either, for the impact that being at this marathon run would have on us. Let me explain....

Karen and her friend Tonya had gone early to catch a bus to ride to the start line from which the runners at 6:00 am all began to run the race, As we began to drive to the first point at which we would await the runners to pass us by, my son in law told me that one of Karen's friends (Carolyn) who has been a running partner with her and Tonya and who has run in previous marathon with them, has secretly flown to surprise Karen and Tonya. At hearing that I began to think of the race that is referred to here in our text and I began to get excited with anticipation as I thought of how this was all going to come to pass.

When would Carolyn step into "surprise" her friends? Carolyn told me that she had wanted to come to run in race, but due to circumstances she was not able and besides that she had not trained for this run. Neither Karen or Tonya had any inkling that Carolyn would be joining them in the run.

Carolyn kept out of sight when we were at the 4 mile marker and at the 11 mile marker as we awaited the runners and cheered them on as they passed by us. At the 4 mile marker all was well as they were just beginning, but at the 11 mile marker the Karen and Tonya were having a hard time, as is usual for that race. It is at this stage in the race that the mental and psychological forces begin to become a big hurdle and it can be easy to think of dropping out during this stage. So we went towards the 17 mile marker, knowing that it was time for Carolyn to make her "surprise" in order to boost the runner's spirits as well as to finish the last 9 miles together. We stood, watching and waiting, wondering if they were still running, knowing that if they made it to the 17 mile marker, their friend Carolyn would help carry them the rest of the way.


Soon we saw them, and to say the least, the look on Karen's face was indescribable as well as on Tanya's as they recognized their friend, Carolyn, who was holding up a sign, "Surprise." .Both runners burst out into tears at seeing their dear friend, who had come to help them in their journey to the finish line . It was quite a sight to see the three continue the run, happily crying and chatting as they continued their journey together together

Later we shared of the impact that Carolyn brought unto her friends through her showing up just at the right time, at 17 miles when things were getting pretty difficult mentally and psychologically for the runners. What was interesting for me is that Carolyn told me that she originally did not plan to spring the surprise, but out of her own desire to join her friends she wanted come to be with them. She was not registered for the run and was not prepared for the physical and mental difficulty that comes with running in such a run. From her desire to be with her friends, the rest of the plan developed accordingly. .

God works in the everyday things of life to bring help and encouragement just at the right time. For Karen and Tonya, to see Carolyn at the 11 mile marker might have been too soon, and to enter any later than the 17 mile marker, might have been too late........

Our God knows just when to send someone to minister to us and He also knows just when to send us to help another who is in need of our encouragement! Can we not say with the Psalmist of old? "Who is so great as our God?????" Psalm 77:13


Jesus is mindful of our struggles, will come to us when it is the right time, and often this is through a friend that comes to us in some manner. May we recognize Him when He comes to help us in our time of need.

Mark 6:45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

Let us remember that we are not alone, there are many who care for us and that we can be assured that He will move us to bring help to another and He will also bring someone to help us in our time of need. Let us keep our eyes on Him, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is now on the right hand of God making intercession for us. Let us trust Him...........

May this meditation in His Word be a blessing to us today, so that our trust in Christ would be bolstered and inspired so that we would keep on keeping on.......

In His Grace,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala


Posted on 03 Mar 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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