JOHN SHIRK – Philippians 2:14 gives us a direct word of instruction that will affect our relationships and our witness for God if we heed the message.
“Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Persistent complaining or an argumentative spirit saps the energy from relationships. The Israelites in Moses’ day were known for complaining about their plight on the way to the Promised Land, and they got nowhere fast. Complaints focus on the problem, without seeking a solution or without turning to prayer. A thankful person will recognize problems, but can also see opportunities through life’s challenges.
Paul, the writer of Philippians, knew that complaining or arguing undermined the strength of the church’s witness for Jesus. And so, he proceeds to explain why we should do everything without complaining or arguing-“So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe, as you hold out the word of life.”
With gratitude to God, we can chase away a complaining or arguing spirit, and shine the light of the Gospel to this generation.
The credible witness of a thankful person is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – While physical death is the result of our sin, eternal life is the promise of God for those who receive His grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Revelation 21 pictures a new heaven and a new earth. Life’s harsh realities in our world today will not be present in God’s new world order.
Verse 3 says, “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
No more funerals, no more brokenness, no more hospitals, no more bad news. This is the picture of God’s restoration when He makes everything new.
The restoration that God has promised for His people is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – The redemption of Jesus as a Presidential Pardon.
Most presidents in our nation’s history have granted pardons. When this happens, a person who committed a crime is forgiven and restored to the innocence they had before they committed the crime. Their crime is not held against them.
That is the way it works with God’s forgiveness. For the person who looks to Jesus as Savior and Lord, He grants the pardon that releases them from the guilt of their sins.
Isaiah 55 explains how we can experience this life-saving pardon:
Verse 6 says, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
The redemption of Jesus as a Presidential Pardon is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – A defense attorney represents someone facing a lawsuit or criminal prosecution.
In the courtroom of heaven, God is the judge, and Satan is the prosecuting attorney. He is our accuser. He makes a compelling case for our guilt, as he recites the list of sins that we have committed in our lifetime. But then another voice comes forward to defend us. Jesus makes the case for our innocence, not by denying we did those things, but by acknowledging the shedding of His blood to cover our sins. This is what it’s like for the person who confesses their need for Jesus to save them from their sin.
First John 2:1 says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
The redemption of Jesus as a defense attorney in a courtroom is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK-One of the foundational teachings of the Christian faith is the moral depravity of humanity. Apart from Christ’s influence, we are lost in sinful and selfish ways. Sin is at the heart of our problem.
Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
The heart is so deceptive that it is possible for us to deceive ourselves into thinking we are in a better condition than we really are.
The good news about Jesus is that He is our remedy of hope. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. We can be set free from guilt and experience forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus for us on the cross. What is incurable for man is possible with God.
Jesus says in Luke 5:31, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” For the sickness of our sin, there is a cure, and his name is Jesus.
The heart of our problem and our remedy of hope is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – The fall of Adam and Eve.
After God created man in His own image, something terrible happened, which helps to explain why there is evil in this world to this very day. Adam and Eve ate fruit from the one forbidden tree that God commanded them to avoid.
Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
From this account, we can learn a lot about the forbidden fruit of our own lives, whether it’s the temptation to steal from the cookie jar or take someone else’s possessions.
Before eating the forbidden fruit, the woman saw the fruit of the tree. It was pleasing to look at. It captured the affections of her heart. Then, after eating it, she exported the fruit to her husband, who also ate it. Forbidden fruit can be like that today. Our heart is drawn to disobedience when our focus is in the wrong place. Our own moral failures can have a contagious effect on others, just as Eve persuaded Adam to eat the forbidden fruit too.
Their failure teaches us to focus our vision on the good things that God has provided for us, rather than forbidden things.
The Fall of Adam and Eve is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – the message of God’s creation.
In Psalm 19:1, David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world.”
The universe is God’s billboard sign to the world, telling us that He is real, He is wise, and He is strong. This world is not the product of chance but the result of God’s choice.
Romans 1:20 says, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
Those who follow Jesus are compared to the stars in the universe. Our lives can display the glory of God by reflecting the light of Jesus through wholesome words, sincere love, humble attitudes, and pure motives.
The message of God’s creation is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – The importance of sharing with others.
This was a common practice of the early church when it formed. Acts 2 talks about the believers selling their possessions and goods, and giving to anyone as he had need. The generosity of these early believers was effective, because Acts 4:34 says that “there were no needy persons among them.”
Hebrews 13:16 encourages us to continue looking for opportunities to share our resources with others. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
While we do not have the resources to take care of everybody’s needs, we can do something for someone. Meeting the practical needs through the sharing of our resources is one significant way of expressing God’s love to someone else.
The importance of sharing with others is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – The importance of remembering God.
In Deuteronomy 8:10, Moses highlights the importance of remembering God in the midst of our blessings.
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you today.”
In remembering God as the source of our blessings, we become thankful for the generous hand of God to provide for our needs. We praise Him for His goodness toward us. We have reverence for His name and have regard for His commands.
The result of forgetting God in the midst of our blessings is identified in verse 14: “Then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
So, today, we can think of some of the ways that God has blessed our lives and freed us by His grace and truth. In response, we can give Him credit for every good and perfect gift that He has graciously poured out on us.
The importance of remembering God is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – Today, WJTL remembers the thread that we all have in common.
Romans 3:23 reminds us that “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”
No one has lived up to God’s perfect moral standard, except for Jesus Christ. He is the only One who got it right 100% of the time.
We might consider ourselves to be good people with the choices we make and the way we live our lives. Yet, all it takes for us to be considered guilty in God’s eyes is to disobey His law one time. James 2:10 says, “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” The wages of sin is death. This is what we deserve because of our sin. Without understanding the bad news about ourselves, we will not fully appreciate the good news of what Jesus has done for us.
Our sinful condition points to the fact that we all are in the same boat. We have all sinned against God. We all need a Savior. His name is Jesus.
The common thread of our sinful condition is a lesson of faith worth remembering.