In God We Trust 1 Kings 17.1-16

Dear friend in Christ. May the peace of God be with us all through Jesus Christ this day and always! Amen.

When our dear brother Steve Davison was nearing the end of life, he told his family that he could not hear what they were saying because Jesus’ voice was drowning theirs out. Then he told them: “Faith has become sight,” and left this life.


In the beginning of chapter 11 of the letter to the Hebrews,11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

 3 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.


Our message today is about trusting God through His Word and we will see how an Old Testament Prophet applied this to his life. He was a man of faith, for He trusted not in things that he could see, but He trusted in the invisible God who has spoken and who yet speaks today.


Elijah spoke for the Lord into his culture, who had left their God for other gods.

KJV 1 Kings 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.



He was sent into the famine area, was provided for by birds. (the ravens)

We are introduced to Elijah as he is sent to speak the Word of the Lord into the evil culture, praying that it would not rain for 3 .5 years, as a judgment of mercy.  The Word that He spoke was not his own word, but was the Word of the Lord.

Of course, those who were living in idolatry did not see it that way,  as we see from Ahab’s statement to Elijah in the next chapter.

1 Kings 8:17 And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?

 18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.


When it was known that Elijah was the prophet who had prayed for this drought upon the land, he was not popular with the people in that culture. He had spoken the truth, and now the attacks on him came. But he was not left alone by the Lord.


2 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,

3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.

4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.

5 So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.

6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.


The Lord spoke to him again, telling him to go into the midst of the drought area, and even if all around him was dried up, he would be provided for by water from the brook and even by ravens, scavengers of meat.

Wow, that must have amazed him and humbled him, that he would be in safety in the wilderness by himself, water would be plentiful, but the ravens bringing him food morning and night?? What couldn’t the Lord do, as He is the Lord and the Creator and the Provider? Lest we doubt how the ravens knew to bring him food morning and night, we go back to verse 4 where it says that the Lord commanded the ravens to bring food to Elijah.


7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.


But after a year (according to Hebrew tradition) the water flow stopped due to the drought. Now what was going to happen? Eljah must have started wondering as to his future, but trusting in the Word of the Lord, he did not leave there in search of water, until..

8 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,



He was sent to a poor widow who provided for him, for God had prepared her to serve Elijah.

9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

The Lord spoke to him again, first telling him that he had prepared a poor widow woman to serve him and that he was to go there to be sustained through her. What? A widow who had no husband to support her living and she would be the one to sustain him? He went according to the Word of the Lord.

10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.

11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.

When Elijah got to the city gates, behold, take note, the not a widow woman was there gathering sticks. Did Elijah know that this was the one? Possibly but we don’t know for sure. He asked for water and while she was walking away to get it, he asked for a little bread also.


Here we need to take note of how the Lord was working from both sides. What I mean  is that God not only directed Elijah out of the waterless situation, but he was also working ahead in order to prepare provision for him through an unlikely manner, the widow woman. We need to get this into our minds and our hearts, that we are not left to forge out our future by ourselves, for our Lord is going before us to prepare the way for us for His purposes. We must trust in Him  for all things always, regardless of the situation that might be before us.


This is a lesson we must learn over and over again, at least I must. Allow me to give a personal example to illustrate this. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and these things shall be added unto you,” referring to the needs of life that we all have need of.  It is one thing to speak that promise, but quite another to live it out. That has been and hopefully always will be a guiding verse for my wife and I in our life together, but I have had to continually be brought back to its correct order. For we have a tendency to want to see our future played out before we are comfortable going along with that promise. In other words, Lord, how are things going to be worked out, can you give me a sense of how things will be provided for,  and so on. That is not trust, that is living by sight, and not by faith.


When we were called to leave the timber industry and to enter into the ministry, I struggled with wanting to know how things were going to transition to an entirely different and then I would “seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.”  That did not go well as in my mind and heart there was a struggle going on with the Lord, in the trust area. Finally He showed me that it was all or nothing. Either we trusted him in all aspects of this transition or we were not to make the change.  By God’s grace we are here today…..


12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.


Elijah pointed her away from her lack of provision unto the provision of the Lord. It is also demonstrated that she was not the one whom was going to provide for Elijah, but the one through whom God would provide out of his inexhaustible resources. May we remember this, that In God We Trust, and we do not have to see ahead of time how God is going to provide. Let us remember, He is working not only in us but also before us. Let us believe the Word of the Lord.



13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.

15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.

16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.


How could this poor woman trust in Elijah’s word unless she knew that he was a man of God? In verse 12 she says, “As the LORD thy God liveth,” which tells us that she understood that he was speaking for the Lord and with that knowledge obeyed that which Elijah had stated, getting his food before getting it for her and her son. That is trust in the Lord, according to His Word.



So what transitions are occurring in your life? In mine? In this congregation? How does this message apply to them?  In answer to that I recall a day in about 2004 during which I was still in the transition of moving from our involvement in the timber industry and serving this congregation full time. For the first few years after 2001 when we initially moved here, I went back and forth between the west and here in order to help with the transition of our timber business to our son, and during one of the times while I was out there I was listening to a sermon being preached this text. I still remember the hillside on which I was running a machine when the revelation came to me through the minister that God is always working from both sides, even as he was with Elijah by preparing his provision through an unlikely manner. That was a major revelation that came to me and which has not left me, for it has helped me immensely through the years and hopefully has helped others as I have passed it on to them. Our congregation is in the process of calling a successor to myself as pastor as it is our plan to retire from full time ministry sometime in the middle of next year.  In light of our message today, can we not trust the Lord is working for that transition? Yes, He is working and he is working from both sides.


In our congregation’s transition, let us heed the instruction of Jesus.

Matthew 9::35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.


The bringing together of a need and a  provision.

1 Kings 17:9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.

May we hear the Voice of the Lord through His Word so that faith and trust in Him we will seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, knowing that all we have need of will be provided.


All Saints Sunday

Dear friend in Christ, May the knowledge that the King of Creation is also our Redeemer lift our hearts, minds and voices today as we greet a new day of His wonderful grace and mercies, mercies that are new every morning, for great is His faithfulness to all generations!!!

Today is All Saints Sunday and it is a day that has roots that go way back and is a day in this age when we remember and think on those saints who have lived before us. We know that all Christians are saints and that only time and physicality separate us from those who have received their crown of life.  We have received our sainthood through the merits of our Saviour and our King Jesus Christ by grace through faith. The Psalmist burst through with these wonderful words of encouragement and assurance.

KJV Psalm 24:1 <A Psalm of David.> The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

 2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

 3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

 4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

 5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

 6 This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

It is thought that the inclusion of the word Selah at the end of verse 6 (and verse 10) is a purposeful pause placed in the Psalm which invites the hearer (or reader) to think deeply and meditatively upon what has been written so far, and then to respond with faith and praise.  Simply said, the first 6 verses here point to the Holy One who is our righteousness, the only One who is righteous and without sin, as our righteousness which is by faith in Him. Therefore, comprehending, knowing and receiving this by faith, we lift up our heads to our King and Redeemer, rejoicing that in this gift of life from the King of glory!!!!  

 7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

 9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

John the Apostle of love “saw” the new heaven and earth and the state of those who have already been received up into glory.  Let us read and take in these wonderful words of reality that speak to that which has been received by our loved ones and that which awaits us who are eagerly awaiting the appearance of our King, Jesus the Christ. In the second to the last chapter of the sacred Scriptures, he by the Holy Spirit, writes for all…….


Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

These are wonderful words of life, of eternal life, which when by made alive into our hearts by the Holy Spirit lift  our hearts and minds beyond this earth to that which is seen by faith and experienced in the Spirit. As is written in the 5th verse these words are true and faithful. In verse 6 the grace of God is seen in that the invitation is given to all those who wish to drink of the foundation of life freely. Just drink…


As remember our loved ones who have gone before, all the way back to the beginning of the Church to our current day, it is good to be reminded that our King has overcome death, sin and the devil. The portion of scripture chosen for this years All Saints Day is from John’s Gospel and centers around the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Jesus uses this tragedy to show His power over death but also gives a foreshadowing of His resurrection from the dead. We will not go into this text very deeply but will point to the most significant  parts of it, but we will back up a little to include the statement of Jesus to Martha.  Jesus is the resurrection and the life!!!!!

John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.


John 11:32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

 35 Jesus wept.

 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

 37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

There are many things to consider here in this passage. Jesus demonstrated the power of the Word, as in the beginning He had created the world by speaking and here He demonstrated His power over death by speaking and calling Lazarus to life. He told the people to take the stinking grave clothes off of him as he is not dead, but is alive!!  Let us note that it was not the prayers of those around that raised Lazarus and it was not the faith of Lazarus that made him alive, for he was dead dead dead. It was the spoken Word of Christ that made Lazarus come to life, even as it is through the hearing of the Word today that faith is made alive. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We are awakened to the knowledge of the love and grace of God through the hearing of the Word and as a result we are brought to faith in Christ. Thus we no longer live for ourselves but for God, demonstrating this through our love and care for all his people and for his creation.

Today as we remember those who have attained the victory, may we give thanks for their love and devotion to us in teaching us in the ways of Jesus Christ and His saving grace.  And may we by the grace of God continue in the ways of the Lord, teaching those who are influenced by us both by word and example. 

A fellow saint,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

The J.o.y. of Contentment in Christ

Dear friend in Christ,

May the contentment that comes from knowing Jesus Christ be realized and rejoiced in this day and always through the revelation of the mercy and grace of God. Amen.

Last week we heard of the peace of God which comes to us as the result of God making peace with us through Jesus Christ and His redemptive work. We also heard of how through repentance and faith this peace becomes our personal possession and experience. Thus now living in this peace regardless of circumstances, we are able to live our lives in peace with God and with all others as much as is possible.  

Today is the final message in Paul’s letter to the saints in the Philippian congregation, and it is also the final message which has been taken from this letter to our beloved congregation here in Kingston as well as to any Christian congregation. May we hear the Voice of our God as He speaks to us from His Word through the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit.  For it is through the hearing of faith into our hearts that we are strengthened in our relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and with one another.

Before we proceed with this message, I would wish to share a happening that occurred after last Sunday’s message which was experienced by one of the members of our congregation in relation to how God has made peace with humanity. This person told me that as she was hearing of how God has made peace with us through the preaching of the Word, she experienced a revelation of that which was being spoken in relation to peace.


 As she was listening she was looking at the dove with a branch in its mouth which is behind the pulpit on the right side of our church, a indented figure that was put on our wall by a very talented man who uses plaster to create various biblical images on walls for churches. She said that she has looked at that creation for years, but all of a sudden the meaning of that dove with the branch in its mouth came alive with meaning in relation to peace. She knew the story of the aftermath of the flood and how Moses sent the dove out and after it returned the second time, it had a branch in its mouth.


But she wasn’t sure if the bible referred to it as an olive branch, but soon found it that it was an olive branch that was in the mouth of the dove. (Genesis 8:11) She stated that it was an overwhelming experience for her in relation to what it must have meant to Noah and his family, as they considered their future just having experienced the judgment of God on the earth. She also said that it was like the hand of God being extended to Noah and his family. We together rejoiced in this revelation that came from the One who has made peace with all humanity through the cross, which a foreshadowing was given to those in the Ark. That person was my dear wife who experienced this visitation from on high.


As we finish this letter, we recall the prayer that Paul prayed for his beloved people in the beginning of the letter that he wrote to the.  He is praying for their love to increase more and more, that they would affirm and approve those things that are true, as they live in the benefits of the work of  Jesus’s redemption. Not only in the receiving of it as well but also in the living out of it in their live. For they are  being filled with the fruit of righteousness through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. All this, he writes, comes only through knowing Jesus Christ, by which God is praised and glorified in their lives.

Let’s back up a bit before placing his prayer for them/us, in order to get a sense of his love and care for his people…He speaks confidently of the end of their journey in order to encourage them, before praying for them as he does.


Philippians 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:


Philippians 1:9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,

 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,

 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.


We recall that Paul was translated from a persecutor of Christ by persecuting His followers to one who began to be persecuted for preaching that Christ had arisen from the dead and was alive and well. He became of preacher of the gospel, calling upon people to receive the peace that God had established between Him and humankind through Jesus. Paul did not care about himself at all, for he cared only that people would hear and receive the gospel and all its benefits, both in this time and forever in eternity.  One of the verses in this letter really spells out of how Paul now viewed his mission in life. It was not lived for himself, but for Christ and His mission. Receive the gift of forgiveness and of empowerment to live for the sake of others.



Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Now he winds up his letter…..


Paul has all he needs, and he has learned to live life independent of his circumstances, for life is not about earthly things, but about eternity.

Philippians 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; (bloomed again) wherein ye were also careful, (cared, attitude)  but ye lacked opportunity.

Paul rejoiced in the Lord for them, for His work in their hearts and lives, as he received a gift from them again, recognizing that they were “blooming again.” They had a mind to care for him, but they either did not have the means or it was not possible to them to get the gift to Paul.

 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.




He then seems to refer to the prayer that he had prayed for them in the beginning in chapter 1:9-11. He is not pointing to their gifts to him, whatever they might have been, he is pointing to the gift that they are giving him as he speaks of the fruit of the Spirit visibly being lived out in their lives.

 14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate (had fellowship)  with my affliction.

 15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

 18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.




Lastly, he points them to the fountain from which all needs are filled, which is in the pattern of Matthew 6:33. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all others things that you have need of will be provided to you.


 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

 22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.

 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. <To the Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus.>


One of Paul’s defining statements in this letter is: For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. And we can safely conclude that what it meant for him to live is Christ would be consistent with our acronym J.o.y. which is Jesus, others, you.  He lived by faith in peace of God, was content in all circumstances, accepting them as from God, as a result he looked as to how he could bring others to the same relationship and if we interpret the y as you referring to a specific person, it would fit. Paul tells us in another place of how he viewed his mission in life.

22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.


How would you and I honestly complete this statement: For me to live is __________and to die is gain.

Could we put into that space For me to live is J.o.y. and to die is gain?


The essence of Paul’s prayer in chapter 1:9-11 is that we  would show others who God is by passing on that which we have received: Love.  He prays that this would be growing instead of static as he speaks of love abounding out of us towards others. That is the nature of love in that it is an emotion that is enacted through action, which works out of biblical faith grounded in scripture.

A number of years ago I was in Guatemala and while there I was asked to bring a message which I did, of course, and I used a question to set the focus of the message., “Where are we in the school of love?”

A few months later one of the people who had been there that day shared with me that as a result of the message, and of properly evaluating their status concerning that question, they realized that they had been living mostly for themselves, and they began to live in Christ’s love which then naturally flowed towards others.

May you be filled with the love of God which is in Christ Jesus to overflowing, for His love will never run dry as it is according to the riches of His grace in Christ. We have all we need in Him and He will provide us with all our necessary daily living. May His Spirit continue to show us the living Christ who is both in us and well as on His right hand, making intercession for us. And may we pour out this love wherever we have opportunity to do so………

Content and overflowing in Him,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala