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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The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving 2/2/1014
Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you today and always.

"This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it."

Those words bless me every time I read them, speak them or hear them, I I know that they are word which were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as contained in Psalm 118. For us living in the New Testament time, we know that the stone which is referred to here is Christ, as it is written in 1 Peter 2:7.

Psalm 118: 22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
23 This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

KJV 1 Peter 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Those words from the 23 verse of Psalm 118 also bring back a blessed memory of our late brother Howard Prouty who usually begin his sermon with those same words: "This is the day that the Lord has made, we will be glad in it." Through the revelation of His Word, I have come to see that those words set the foundation for our understanding of God and ourselves, as they ground the forthcoming message in the coming of Jesus Christ to this world to demonstrate the gracious, merciful and forgiving heart of our Father in heaven. Previously I had considered that opening greeting to apply merely to our circumstances in a shallow manner as I thought that God is good to us as He has given us/me another day of life here on earth. But I/we have come to see that there is much more to that greeting than previously understood.

Today our intern Ryan Kandoll is bringing the message (which you will be able to hear on our archives as soon as it is posted) so I will write a short meditation on the readings that we will be doing today and which complement the sermon message which will be from 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

The first reading is from what is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount. It is the most famous of Jesus sermons, and has been the subject of much discussion as people seek to understand its meaning for today. In a culture of that day, which is a lot like today's culture, it was a sign of the blessing of God to be rich and healthy. So when Jesus began this sermon with words that seemed to be saying the opposite of what current teaching and understanding was, it must have been difficult for those listening to hear it. We could call it counter cultural, some have referred to it as the Great Reversal.

Perhaps it is helpful to move to Luke's Gospel in order to see how Jesus contrasted the two ways. This sermon is a different one and is commonly called The Sermon on the Plain:

Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Blessed are the poor, but woe to the rich. Blessed are the hungry, woe to the full. Blessed are the hated, but woe to those who are spoken well of. Even though there is some application to the first two in a material sense, the intended focus by Jesus is in the spiritual sense. The contrast is easy to see, but very difficult to live up to. By nature as a result of our fall into sin, we are rich in ourselves, we are full of ourselves and we love to be well spoken of.

We have a dilemma before us. For all spiritually minded people want to be blessed by Jesus, to be blessed in Him and so on, but we all want to live for ourselves also. So how does this work? How do we live counter cultural lives when we live in a culture that continually feeds our egos and sense of self importance? How do we live in the Great Reversal when we are told to "look out for number one, for no one else will?" Is it not true that the devil, the world and our sinful flesh are continually preaching to us the message of self reliance, self promotion and self dependence?

Is this a new question for us today? Or has it always been the question of the human heart through the years? Yes, it has been as is seen in the scripture readings, from the Psalm dated 1000 BC and the reading from the prophet Micah in around 700 BC. Micah was a little younger than the more known Prophet Isaiah.

Let us consider our dilemma as fallen sinners, who have no ability to love and serve as we should of our own power. For our flesh will always seek what is best for itself so that it may continue its domination and rule over our lives and it will always resist any thing that threatens to undermine or dethrone its place of power. Please note that there are three scripture readings in our service today. Psalm 15, Micah 6:6-8 and Matthew 5:1-12. These scripture readings have been carefully reviewed and selected by theologians many years ago and are designed to give an overall context of the entirety of the Bible of the main point of the message that is to be preached on this Sunday, the message which is from the letter to Corinthians in 1 Cor 1:18-31.

KJV Psalm 15:1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

The question: How do we worship God? Who is qualified to walk in fellowship with God, in communion with Him? Let us check out the requirements and see how many checks we can put in the column of "done or doing."

Walk uprightly, work righteousness, speak truth in the heart. How many checks have we put in the yes column? I do not know about you, but I have none so far. Do not backbite, do not do evil to our neighbor, nor slander our neighbor, despise a vile sinner, stand with those who are Christians, do not go back on our promises, do not charge interest on loans, do not accept bribes...

Have I peformed that list? Have you? Have we done some of them? Most of them? All of them? Certainly no one would say yes to the last one, for there is only One who has the list checked off as having done all, and He is Jesus the Sinless One. Yes, and thank you, Lord, for being that One.
Only by looking to Him in faith is anyone able to be righteous. Let us move to the next text from Micah.

As we said earlier, he was a prophet called by God to speak to His people about who He was and about who they had become through their rejection of Him. Through visions Micah was given the message motivated by the love of God to call them to repentance and trust in their Deliverer. In chapter one, Micah spoke very clearly about their sin and what the consequences were going to be if they continued in it. He spoke against those who used people as things for their own purposes, he spoke against false prophets who did not speak for God, but for themselves and so on. In the midst of these charges, Micah revealed the coming Messiah and of deliverance and of His rule. 2:12, 4-5

He then comes to chapter 6, in which one could say that it is like a trial being held. They are assembled before the Lord in His courtroom, The Lord is now standing in the place of the Prosecutor, just after speaking of the Deliverer, the Messiah in the last part of chapter 5.
After offering the remedy to their rejection of Him through the Messiah, He includes the consequence of not availing themselves of the disbedient ones.

15 And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that did not obey.

We might say that it was like closing arguments that are held at a jury trials in our land today. Let us listen in to the proceedings of "their" and essentially the trial of humanity. Let us listen carefully.

ESV Micah 6:1 Hear what the LORD says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.
2 Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel.

Micah sets the background, calling upon the accused to be aware that these proceedings are not done in a corner or secretly, but they are open before the entire creation for all to see. The charges are going to be brought forth.

3 "O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me!

The Lord says, and can we not hear His voice of compassion and entreaty: O my people, what have I done to you? Have I wearied you? Answer me! He calls them His people, asks them of what has been His part in their going away from Him? Has He somehow wore them out? And because of His love for them, He calls for them to answer. He does not wish to leave them to the pathway that they have chosen. What happens next?

4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
5 O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the LORD."

He points them back to the deliverance that He has given them, to how He brought/bought them out of Egypt and its slavery, through the leadership of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. After reminding them of what He has done for them, He calls upon them to "remember" of the particular tight spots that they had been in but that He, the Lord, had delivered them out of those difficulties also. He is telling them: "Do not forget how I have delivered you not only out of Egypt, but I have and will continually deliver you today and tomorrow." Wow, what a strong closing argument..

6 "With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased withthousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I

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The Temptation of Jesus 2.18.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.