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John Shirk

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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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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Diligence

john : February 15, 2011 4:38 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Diligence can be defined as a persevering, painstaking effort.  There is a high degree of persistence in what we are doing. With a diligent spirit, we are motivated to finish what we started, through challenges and obstacles.  Dr. David Jeremiah is quoted as saying, “Against the backdrop of people who avoid work, cut corners, and do half-hearted jobs, a diligent man stands out. Practicing diligence is an excellent way to stand out for Christ at home, in the workplace, and even at church.”  His words offer us a thoughtful challenge to complete the tasks that come under our area of responsibility.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Diligence 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-Love

john : February 14, 2011 11:30 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – People who play tennis think of love as a score of zero or nothing.  But in the Biblical view of love, we see that all our efforts amount to nothing without love.

There are different types of love. Today, we are focusing on the type of love known as “Agape” love. It’s the kind of love that God has for us. Agape love is selfless and sacrificial. It’s the kind of love that seeks the well-being of others and is expressed in such a way that it contributes to their well-being. Agape love is not based on feeling, but rather is an act of the will with an attitude that cares.

Agape love is found in the Bible in places like First John 4:10: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  His love for us is what enables us to love each other.  We can love more completely when we are completely receptive to God’s love for us.

Love 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-Consideration

john : February 11, 2011 9:29 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Consideration can be defined by thoughtful concern for others. It can also be described as a sympathetic regard for others.  So, with consideration for others, if we see someone in tears or in trouble, we are motivated to pray for them, to comfort them, and to help them in their distress. 

Consideration is an expression of God’s love.  Jesus is the ultimate example.  He saw the crowds and had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  He saw a world that was in need of forgiveness.  He came to the world, and in consideration of our greatest need, He died on a rugged cross.

James 3 tells us that the wisdom that comes from above is considerate. On a practical level, consideration involves observing the golden rule: doing to others what we would have them do to us.

Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” That is the way of Jesus.

Consideration 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-Teachable Spirit

john : February 8, 2011 5:30 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To be teachable is to be willing to learn.  With a teachable spirit, we recognize that we have room for growth and to become more fully mature. We might not be what we once were, and are thankful to God for how far He has brought us. However, we are also in process to become more like Jesus in His character.

There are some foundational qualities essential to being teachable.  It will take humility, openness to God’s instruction and counsel through His Word, and willingness to accept God’s authority over us as our Teacher.

In Luke 6:40, Jesus said, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”  When Jesus offers lessons of faith, we are very wise to pay attention to His words.

He will sometimes speak through godly leaders to instruct us.  A teachable spirit will involve openness to the input of a pastor or an elder. First Peter 5:5 says, “Young men, in the same way, be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.”

A teachable spirit 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-Fortitude

john : February 7, 2011 2:16 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Fortitude can be defined by having a strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.

There is a mental toughness that is willing to fight through pain for a noble purpose.  There are many examples of fortitude in the Bible.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo were willing to face the blazing furnace rather than bow to a false god. Daniel was willing to be thrown into the lion’s den rather than stop praying to God. The Apostles were willing to face persecution rather than to stop talking about Jesus.  Fortitude is also found in the Apostle Paul’s words in Acts 20:22.  He said this: “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”  With fortitude, we are compelled by the Spirit to choose faithfulness over comfort.

Fortitude 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-Godly Contentment

john : February 4, 2011 2:38 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Contentment can be described as being in a place of satisfaction.  Some kinds of contentment are harmful, such as being content in a comfort zone that refuses to reach out to others in need. However, godly contentment means that our soul is satisfied in Christ. The cravings of material things do not control us.  The Jones’s don’t have what we need to be ultimately fulfilled.  Jesus does.  The righteousness of Christ fills us and satisfies the hunger of our soul.  The result is peace in our heart as the love of God makes our joy complete.

Godly contentment is a quality that we probably learn over time as our relationship with God grows.  The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:12, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  First Timothy 6:6 reminds us where the profitable place for the soul can be found.  “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  There is no greater joy than to be captivated by the love of God.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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