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

The Witness of the Spirit 2.7.16
Dear friend,

May the abundant grace of God be received by us today, which He continually pours out from His heavenly throne which is full of grace and truth through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Have you heard the saying that "no man is an island?" Most of us have heard this statement which reflects the truth that we have been created for relationship by our Creator. We know and experience the reality that after the fall of mankind into sin, this harmonious relationship between ourselves and our Creator was changed, so that by nature we try to hide from Him and we experience the difficulties of being open and transparent within our human relationships. Paul has addressed the rupture that occurred between our God and ourselves in the beginning of chapter two, and specifically the separation that has existed between the Jews and the Gentiles. He has gone on to write that through the cross of Christ ALL of mankind has now been reunited into one humanity, (there is no longer a differentiation between Jew and Gentile) which means that God is now friendly towards ALL and is seeking to gather all unto Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.

He is ready to receive all, but only those who come to Him through Jesus will Father the receive, as has been written earlier. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.( Ephesians 2:18) In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. (Ephesians 3:12). We not only have access to this grace, but we have boldness to approach His throne to find the grace to help in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

It is vitally important that we recognize that the first three chapters of this letter to the Ephesians contain the account of the reconciling work of God through Christ, why it had to be done, and how God reconciled all humanity so that He could dwell in all those who receive this gift through His Spirit. This is what the church is, God's dwelling place through the Spirit in the Universal Church.

2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Today's passage is a prayer through which Paul asks that they/we would be strengthened by same Spirit that came to them/us when they/we believed, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith, that we being rooted and grounded in love would together be able to comprehend (in part) the unfathomable love of Christ. Why so? To the end that we would be filled with all the fulness of God!!

God's grace came to us, by faith we have access to it in Christ, God's love for us is shed abroad into our hearts by the Holy Spirit and through the collective and ever growing comprehension of this love, we are being filled with the fulness of God.

There was a Christian man who lived alone in a cold climate and who would experience long periods of time when he would not be able to travel to visit anyone or would anyone be able to come to visit him. He was what we could call an ordinary man who lived with the things that are common to mankind, as he had experienced a lot of joy in life as well as a number of sorrows. The snow would be so deep that automobile travel was impossible, it was so cold that it was dangerous to even travel by the only way possible, which was by ski or snowmobile. He would spend nearly every day communing with His Father and his Saviour in the Word, would spend hours in prayer with them and all in all gave all diligence to spending time with His Father. As He did so, He often experienced the uplifting of the life of God through the Spirit of Christ who lived in him, but he longed to have fellowship with another brother or sister in Christ, with whom he could share life with, the everyday things, the joys and the sorrows.

Over the long winter he began to grow disheartened as he continued to have fellowship in solitude by himself with the Lord, and even though he knew the scriptures that stated very clearly that (Romans 8:16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and he daily experienced the the witness of God's Spirit in his spirit, he began to doubt as to whether the Spirit really lived in him. As doubt began to take a deeper grip in his mind and into his inner soul, he began to have thoughts like: Doe anyone care about me, where is God in my life, and then knowing scripture very well, his mind went to what was written in one the the Psalms as one of the places that he felt free to pour out his heart to heaven.....Psalm 77

Psalm 77:1 I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
4 Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. (can't pray)
5 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.

Essentially he thought that it isn't like it used to be, life was more simple years ago, why can't it be like that again, I want answers, I want relief......

As he read through this Psalm, crying in his loneliness and confusion and not being able even to pray, he poured out his heart in honesty and tranparency before His God, even asking aloud the questions that come out a lonely, dispondent and needy heart:

Have you cast me off for ever,
Will you no longer show favor to me?
Is your mercy gone forever?
Does your promise fail forever?
Have you forgotten to be gracious?
In your anger have you closed your tender mercies?

It was when he was in this state that he wondered to himself, I wonder if I even have the Holy Spirit in me anymore, for why would I ask such questions if God was still living in me? Then he thought, I am going to go visit my brother who lives 60 miles away on the other side of the mountain, and I am going to pour out my heart to him and ask him if he thinks that the Holy Spirit still lives in me.

So he fired up his snowmobile, made sure it had plenty of gas and all that he would need in case of an emergency, and began the trip over the mountain. After a very cold ride he found himself nearing the cabin of his brother. He knocked on the door, the door opened and his brother threw out his arms in a welcome embrace of love. The two began to talk of the cold weather, of the long winter and then the brother began to share with his visitor of that which he had been remembering and meditating upon: The amazing event of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ. He excitedly asked his visitor: May I read about it for the both of us? To which his visitor replied, "Please do."

KJV Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

The visitor listened to the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus in which He appeared with Moses and Elijah as they talked of His exodus from this world via the cross.

He listened to the account of which for a moment God shone through the physical body of Jesus from the inside out.
He considered Peter's response to honor all three equally.
He heard how the bright cloud overshadowed all of them.
He heard how the Voice spoke out of the cloud: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him."
He heard "saw" how the disciples, hearing the voice, fell on their face and were sore afraid.

Then in a manner that the visitor could not explain he found himself with the disciples, awed and humbled by the events on the Mt of Transfiguration, being overcome by holy reverence towards a Holy God who loved him so much that He would humble Himself so as to come to rescue him from his sin and to bring him to life. As he lay on his face with the others in this holy reverence and awe, he felt a hand on his shoulder, and heard a voice speak to him: "Arise, and be not afraid."

When he had opened his eyes, he lifted them up to see his brother who he had come to visit. He was looking into the face of Jesus........
The touch of Jesus came through his brother, who was a part of the body of Christ, the Christian church. He felt encouraged, strengthened and his soul began to revive as faith in the finished work of Christ began to burn again in his heart. As they rejoiced in the goodness of Christ with one another and as they rejoiced in the unity that they had in the Spirit of God in Christ, they thanked and praised God for the fellowship that God had created for them and in them. They parted ways, and he went rejoicing homeward bound as he flew over the snow with a renewed song in his heart.

As he did so, the verse that he had wondered about for so many years now opened up before his as he realized for the first time what it meant that God's way is in the sanctuary: He now understood that God dwelt by His Spirit in hearts individually, yes, but also in the collective hearts of all believers, they were a building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord, In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Eph 2;20-21)

As the traveler sped home on his machine, he now looked at his infirmity through the lens of God's promises, saying together with the Psalmist:
10 And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High
11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?


May I repeat what was said at the beginning of this meditation, for it gives the overall view of what it means that the fullness of God is in Christ and it is through the indwelling Spirit that He has given us the fullness of Himself.

Today's passage is a prayer through which Paul asks that they/we would be strengthened by same Spirit that came to them/us when they/we believed, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith, that we being rooted and grounded in love would together be able to comprehend (in part) the unfathomable love of Christ. Why so? To the end that we would be filled with all the fulness of God!!

God's grace came to us, by faith we have access to it in Christ, God's love for us is shed abroad into our hearts by the Holy Spirit and through the collective and ever growing comprehension of this love, we are being filled with the fulness of God.

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Amen!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 07 Feb 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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