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John Shirk

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Childlike Faith

john : November 30, 2011 2:18 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – With a childlike faith, we live with the wonder and awe of what Christ has done for us. We rely completely on His grace. We trust hopefully in His promises. What He tells us, we will believe. Where we lack understanding, we ask questions with the sincere desire to learn what Jesus wants to teach us.

Oftentimes, adults think of ways they can be an example for children, but when it comes to faith, Jesus tells the adults to learn from the example of children.

In Matthew 18:2, Jesus called a little child and had him stand among them. Then, He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

A Childlike faith is a humble character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Fruitfulness

john : November 22, 2011 3:45 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Fruitfulness can be described as “producing good results.”  Jesus talked about fruitfulness in John 15.  He said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”  This happens when we are connected to Jesus just like the branches are connected to the vine. Jesus is the source of our strength, nourishing our souls with His grace and truth, flourishing our witness for Him under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

As we walk with God, He not only saves us from our sins, but also develops our character so that our witness for Jesus has a fruitful impact on other people.

Second Peter, chapter one talks about various character qualities that grow in us as we grow in the Lord. “Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.”

Verse 8 says that “if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Fruitfulness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Cooperation

john : November 17, 2011 3:56 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Cooperation occurs when a group of individuals work together for a common purpose or benefit.

The church is described as a body-one unit with different parts.  It is necessary for the different parts to be working in cooperation with each other so that the head of the body, Jesus Christ, is honored in our efforts.  There are serious warnings in the Scripture about what will happen if the members of a church do not work together.

Galatians 5:15 says, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

However, if we back up a verse or two, we see how the church can be a thriving place of ministry and outreach.  “Serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” Jesus is the reason that the church exists and the purpose of our mission.  Ephesians 4:16 says, “From Him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Cooperation is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Efficiency

john : November 14, 2011 3:45 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Efficiency functions in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.

An efficient worker uses what they have wisely to be as productive as they can, and that includes the use of time.

In our relationship with God, an efficient faith is carried out with wisdom and seizing opportunities along the way to be a witness for Jesus.

Ephesians 5:15 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

With an efficient faith, we are aware that the time we have here on earth is limited. Every day counts. And God has a purpose for us to express faith in love while we have breath.  We don’t want to squander our time.  This is a good day to look for opportunities to be a blessing as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Efficiency is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Graciousness

john : November 10, 2011 2:20 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Graciousness is marked by kindness and courtesy. A gracious person is tactful in the way they use words.  They are not intentionally hurtful, but they are intentionally helpful to build up others according to their needs.  Graciousness overflows with mercy and compassion.

Graciousness is found in the person of Jesus Christ.  When we look to Him, He influences us to become gracious people.

Proverbs 22:11 notes that graciousness is the kind of quality that wins over the affection of noble leaders. “He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.”

Here we find a link between the condition of our heart and the choice of our words.  This is where the grace of the Lord Jesus is influential to set our heart free from bitterness and impurity and to guide our speech into gentle, kind, and pleasing words. Graciousness is like a magnet to draw people to the Gospel.

Graciousness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Perception

john : November 8, 2011 2:41 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To have perception is to understand or recognize something.  A believing heart is essential for recognizing Jesus for who He is.

On one occasion, Jesus referred to the prophet Isaiah to expose the blindness of a hardened heart.  “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”

With a responsive heart to God’s Word, the Holy Spirit helps us to grow in our understanding of the Scriptures.  He gives us greater perception to go beyond what is happening in the physical realm to also understand what is happening in the spiritual realm.

Faith and understanding are seeds that lead to spiritual growth.  In the parable of the soils, Jesus said that the person who receives the message of God’s Kingdom with hearing and understanding is the one who produces a crop. That is the productive place to be.

Perception is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity To Grow Towards Christ-Accountability

john : November 3, 2011 4:47 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – With a sense of accountability, we accept responsibility for our actions, and we seek a support system to help us to stay true to our commitments. The Bible tells us that each person will give an account of ourselves to God someday.

The church is God’s design of a support system to help believers in Jesus follow Him faithfully.

Accountability involves encouragement:  First Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Accountability involves motivation:  Hebrews 10:24 urges us to consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

And accountability involves transparency.  James 5:16 urges us to confess our sins to each other and to pray for each other so that healing may take place.  Grace and truth are essential ingredients in an atmosphere for accountability to thrive as God intended.

Accountability is a quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Sacrifice

john : November 1, 2011 2:31 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – One definition of sacrifice is to offer to God something precious. Another definition is the surrender or destruction of something desirable for the sake of something higher.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, it was customary to offer animal sacrifices to God. The animal became a substitute to suffer the wrath or punishment of the sins of a person. However, their sacrifice was not enough to forgive anyone’s sin.  Animal sacrifices were a sign of things to come, when Jesus would lay down His life for the sake of our sins. Speaking of Jesus, Hebrews 7:27 says, “He sacrificed for their sins, once and for all when he offered himself.”

What is our response to this great outpouring of God’s love for us? Romans 12:1 says, “In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.”  The picture of the Gospel is a view of God’s people, dying to their sinful natures, and coming alive to God’s purposes.  Various Christians will make sacrifices in different degrees, but all Christians will have some type of cross to carry, surrendering selfish ambitions for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Sacrifice is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Calmness

john : October 25, 2011 2:24 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Calmness is a state of being free from storm or disturbance. A calm atmosphere is defined by quietness and tranquility.  Calm weather is a scene where the wind is hardly detected.

Sometimes our lives can be like the weather, in the midst of a fair weather season where our activities follow through according to plan, our vehicles are working, our job performance is productive, and our relationships are growing.

Then, comes a storm where the winds blow and test the foundation of our faith.  An unexpected disappointment, a relational conflict, water in the basement, a financial setback.  These types of things can agitate worry or fear.

The eye of a storm is a place of calmness.  And in the storms of life, that calm place is found in our relationship with God. His grace is our source of trust.  His truth is our solid foundation for troubled times.

In an atmosphere of swirling conflict and trouble, Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”

Calmness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Conscientiousness

john : October 18, 2011 5:41 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To be conscientious is to be careful to do what is right and avoid what is wrong.  Our conscience is that inner sense of right and wrong.  When our trust is in Jesus, our conscience is made tender to the ways of God.  Our palms might get sweaty when we are in the midst of doing something that we know is wrong.

According to the Bible, our conscience can be weak, where we have stricter standards than other believers on disputable matters. Yet, if we participate, our conscience can be defiled because according to Romans 14, “everything that does not come from faith is sin.”

Our conscience can also be seared, where we have become numb to sinful practices.  A person in this situation might have crossed the line so many times, they are no longer troubled by their disobedience.

The Apostle Paul often spoke of a clear conscience. He lived with a clear conscience because he developed his convictions from the Word of God, and then aimed his life in that direction.  He said in Acts 24:16, “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”

Conscientiousness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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