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John Shirk

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Contriteness

john : March 8, 2011 4:58 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To be contrite is to feel or show sorrow and remorse for a sin.  This is a humble disposition before God. The Bible tells us that God gives grace to the humble. He is willing to forgive on the basis of what Jesus did for us at the cross.

Through a contrite heart, we are ready for change.  Contriteness keeps the heart tender before God so that we are willing to adjust our desires and motivations to the way God wants them to be.

The display of a contrite heart was a turning point for David in Psalm 51.  He prayed:  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”  David also sought God’s help to make changes in his life so that he would live in obedience to God.

He said, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  He acknowledged that God will not despise a broken and contrite heart. This same opportunity for change is possible for us. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Contriteness 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-Undivided Heart

john : March 7, 2011 2:07 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – One meaning of the word, “Undivided” is to be concentrated on one object.  To have an undivided heart toward God is to have our thoughts and affections fixed on Jesus.  He becomes the most important treasure to us. We become united with Him.

David was a man in the Bible described as a man after God’s own heart.  He prayed in Psalm 86:11, “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O LORD my God, with all my heart.”

An undivided heart will guide our footsteps in the path of God’s ways.  We will go in the same direction that God wants us to go. It is interesting to note that after God said that David was a man after His own heart, He made the statement, “He will do everything I want him to do.”  Obedience to God is the outcome of an undivided heart.

An undivided heart 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-Sympathy

john : March 4, 2011 2:37 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – One definition of sympathy is to have feelings or impulses of compassion.  Sympathy reaches out to a hurting or grieving person with a tender heart.  We don’t try to stop their tears.  Instead, we are willing to cry with them. 

The shortest verse in the Bible is, “Jesus wept.”  He did this at the gravesite of a dear friend.  He sympathizes with us in our weaknesses.  He does not do this from a distance. He comes to us in the midst of our pain.  He also wants His followers to get close enough to bear one another’s burdens.

First Peter 3:8 says, “Be sympathetic.” And Romans 12:15 encourages us to “mourn with those who mourn.”

Sympathy 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-Trust

john : March 2, 2011 5:02 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Trust can be described as relying on integrity, strength, ability, or certainty of a person or thing.  When we cross a bridge in our vehicle, we are exercising a certain amount of trust that the bridge will hold us up.  Another form of trust is that ropes course exercise, where a person falls back from a platform into the waiting arms of their friends.  That person who falls back is counting on his friends to catch him.  The truth of the matter is that friends will sometimes let us down when we fall in other areas of our lives, but Jesus has proven Himself to be a trustworthy Savior for our needs. His grace is able to catch our fall and lift us to a higher place of refuge.

In John 14:1, Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”  And then He told the disciples about a place in heaven that He would prepare for His followers.  Trust is a key dimension to faith.  We do not have Biblical faith without trusting in Jesus to save us from our sins.  First John 4:16 gives us this picture of trust: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.”

Trust 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-Availability

john : February 28, 2011 2:47 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To be available is to be ready for immediate use.  In our relationship with God, there are times when He is going to call us to do a specific assignment to advance the Gospel message.  Being available to God means that we offer ourselves to God as His servants.  We are willing to go on His terms rather than set our own terms for Kingdom service.

Isaiah made himself available to God with the words, “Here am I! Send me!”.  And Samuel, Israel’s trusted prophet said this when he was a boy, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening. And when Jesus came, He said, “Here I am-it is written about me in the scroll-I have come to do your will, O God.” We can make ourselves available to Him by surrendering to His plan for us. 

Romans 12:1 urges us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. It is through the process of surrender to God that the fog is removed and the light comes on for us to be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Availability 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-Chastity

john : February 25, 2011 4:31 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Chastity is defined as moral purity.  This virtue is often put into the context of abstaining from sex outside of marriage.

First Thessalonians 4:3 tells us that “it is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body.”

Chastity certainly does involve sexual purity, but it also has wider implications for our thought life and secret ambitions, not just in the area of behavior.  It involves having a renewed mind that is focused on Jesus.  It also involves a pure heart that desires to be near God.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

When that describes our relationship with God, our choices are influenced by His plan for our lives, in the way we conduct business, the way we treat people, and the way we look at the world. Chastity is a quality that says ‘yes’ to purity and ‘no’ to anything that would pollute our mind or heart.

Chastity 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-Goodness

john : February 24, 2011 2:46 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Goodness is defined by moral excellence or virtue. Goodness is listed in the Bible as one of the ingredients of the fruit of the Spirit. Goodness is one indication that we are walking with God. Our lives reflect good deeds, spread good news, and bear good fruit.

There is sometimes a misunderstanding of the role of goodness in the Christian life. Being a good person is not our passport to heaven.  A sobering view of the human race is found in Romans 3:12, which says, “There is no one who does good, not even one.” If our salvation is measured on performance, we fall short.  Thankfully, God provided a way for us to be saved through Jesus Christ.  He was the Only One who truly measured up to moral excellence and virtue in every way. 

Reliance on Christ alone is the key to salvation.  He is the source of all that is good. At Creation, God saw all that He made and, it was very good.  Even though our heart has been corrupted by sin, the message of the cross reminds us that our hearts can be made good if we are touched by the grace of the Lord Jesus. When He becomes our Savior and Lord, He becomes our source of goodness.

Goodness 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-Faith

john : February 23, 2011 10:04 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Hebrews 11 offers some simple definitions of faith for us to consider.

Verse 1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” 

Verse 6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Faith includes an acknowledgement of God’s existence, but there is more to it than that.  Martin Luther once said, “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. It is so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” Faith involves being persuaded that Jesus is sent by God to save us from our sins.  By faith, we are trusting in Christ for salvation.  By faith, we receive His grace. By faith, we believe God’s promises.  By faith, we are able to please God.  Without faith, we are lost. With faith, God will glorify His name through our testimony for Him.

Faith 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-Righteousness

john : February 18, 2011 5:01 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To be righteous is to be morally upright.  The human race, however, has a significant problem.  Romans 3:10 tells us “there is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

The Bible goes on to explain that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  If righteousness were strictly defined by moral perfection, there is no way we could wear this garment.  Thankfully, there is another way to be considered righteous, and that is to be declared “not guilty” through faith in Jesus Christ, who was morally perfect and died on a cross . He bore our guilt so that we might be forgiven. The Gospel is the message of how we can receive the righteousness of Christ through faith in His name to save us from our sins. Romans 1:17 says, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.”  Because of Jesus, we can be made right with God again with a heart that is devoted to trust and obey Him. 

Righteousness 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-Friendliness

john : February 17, 2011 9:14 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Friendliness can be described as showing kindly interest and goodwill.  Being warm and comforting.  A genuine friendly person is the kind of person we like to be with.  They enter our world and ask good questions that make us want to be transparent with them. They use words to encourage us and build us up, not tear us down.  Their tone is gentle, not harsh. Their responses are helpful for our needs, not harmful to our health.

In times of adversity, genuine friendliness surfaces, while counterfeit friendliness is exposed.  Think of Jesus, who described Himself as gentle and humble.  He comes to us in peace and invites us to follow Him as a disciple and friend.  Jesus faced the cross on our behalf.  He did not walk away from His mission in His painful moments, but was willing to die for us so that we might be restored to God through His sacrifice. He said, “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for His friends.”  His genuine friendship toward us inspires us to be consistent friends for others through thick and thin.  Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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