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John Shirk

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Application

john : May 17, 2011 2:29 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – The definition of application is “the act of putting to a special use or purpose.”  Application of the Gospel acts out the truths of the Gospel in practical ways.

The book of Acts is a place where we see the Gospel lived out among the disciples, and their impact on the world.

Peter, preaching by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Barnabas, encouraging God’s people to remain true to the Lord.

The early church, devoted to truth, fellowship, and prayer.

There was Dorcas, who made clothing for widows in need.

There was Paul, a traveling missionary to testified to the Lord’s grace wherever he went.

There was Stephen who became a martyr for his witness for Jesus.

There were Priscilla and Aquila, who mentored Apollos by teaching him the way of God more adequately.  The church grew as Jesus’ followers took the words of the Savior, and applied them to their lives.

James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Application 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-Energy

john : May 12, 2011 4:11 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Energy can be defined as the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity. If you feel physically tired, there are some basic life patterns that can help.  Getting adequate sleep, eating food with good nutrition, and regular exercise.

There are some parallels here that we can apply to our relationship with God, and how our faith is energized by certain disciplines, like the food of God’s Word, the exercise of our faith in the use of our spiritual gifts, and resting in the Lord’s grace. Reliance on His strength eases our anxiety and replaces the stress with God’s peace.

God is our energy source for the work He has prepared for us.  Isaiah 40:29 says, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  With our hope in the LORD, our faith is energized. We can say with David, who wrote Psalm 29, “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.”

Energy 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-Knowledge

john : May 11, 2011 10:30 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Knowledge can have several meanings.  One meaning is acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles. Another meaning is “familiarity gained by experience.”  In the Christian faith, the emphasis on knowledge extends beyond what we know to who we know.

It is good to know a lot about the Bible, but if love for God is absent or compromised, the facts we retain are likely to lead to spiritual pride. First Corinthians 8:1 reminds us that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

This does not mean we set aside our minds and focus on our heart only.  Jesus wants us to love God with all of our mind.  He wants us to grow in the knowledge of God’s truth, and the knowledge of God’s grace.  He also wants us to know God through the experience of a relationship. Jesus prayed in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Life’s most important relationship with God can grow as we seek Him in prayer with faith and through the application of the Bible in our daily lives.

Knowledge 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-Responsiveness

john : May 9, 2011 5:31 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To be responsive is to react quickly and positively. Being responsive to God means that we are eager to say “Yes, Lord” to His plan for our lives.

In Second Chronicles 34, King Josiah was broken in spirit because of his awareness that his fathers had not kept the word of the LORD. He concluded that the LORD’s anger against His people was great.

Word came back to him through a prophetess: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what was spoken against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you,” declares the LORD.  Josiah was assured that he would not see disaster in his lifetime.  With responsiveness to God’s voice, we are sensitive to His will, humbled in His presence, and eager to obey His words.

Responsiveness 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-Affection

john : May 6, 2011 2:06 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Affection can be defined as a tender feeling and fondness toward another, expressed with care. Many times, we equate affection with physical touch.  It might be expressed that way, but can also be expressed in words.

In Philippians 1:8, the Apostle Paul said, “God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.”

The Greek word for affection in that passage refers to the intestines of a person.  So, the Bible takes affection beyond a superficial emotion to a deep yearning of compassion for someone else.  Jesus has affection for His followers, and motivates His followers to deeper affection for each other.  He is the Good Shepherd, who gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.

Affection 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-Yielding Spirit

john : May 3, 2011 2:06 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Yield signs are commonly found on entrance ramps onto a highway, which means that we are supposed to give the right-of-way to traffic already on the highway.  If no one is coming, we can keep going.  But if a vehicle is on the highway next to us as we try to enter, then we need to slow down and let them go by before we enter.

Yielding to God means that we give Him the right-of-way to direct our lives. We are willing to submit and surrender ourselves to His authority and purposes. It can be a dangerous thing to interpret a yield sign as though it was a green light. Before proceeding with our plans, it is good to commit our plans to God first.

Sometimes, God will stop us from going forward into a place that is not in line with His will for our lives.  At other times, He will say, “Go” into areas that are blessed by His will. God’s guidance will be accompanied by opportunities and gifts of service that bring glory to Jesus Christ.  Joshua said in Joshua 24:23, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” A yielded heart is focused on doing things God’s way in God’s timetable, and for His glory.

A yielding 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-Genuineness

john : May 2, 2011 2:25 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Genuineness can be defined by sincerity and honesty, being real and authentic.

Sometimes, God will bring trials in our lives to refine the genuineness of our faith.  When others see our endurance in the faith through tough times, the witness of our faith is proven to be pure and sincere.  Speaking of trials, First Peter 1:7 says that “these have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold……-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

With a genuine faith, the expression of our words and actions reflects the intent of our heart.  As we follow Jesus, He moves us away from hypocrisy toward a genuine faith that expresses His sincere love for the people He has made. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul described Timothy as a person who took genuine interest in the welfare of the church. Where there is genuine interest in the well-being of others, there is love and a commitment to bring blessing.

Genuineness 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-Praise

john : April 29, 2011 4:16 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – One definition of praise is to joyfully thank and adore God.   When we praise God, we celebrate His goodness and grace.  With a heart of praise, we remember who He is and His accomplishments on our behalf.  The Gospel message includes the cross of Christ and the empty grave.  Our hope rests on the death and resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Each day is an opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus as the name above all names. Music is an instrument of praise used in the church frequently to bring glory to God in worship services.

Our hearts are edified and the name of Jesus is glorified when we praise Him with sincere hearts. Psalm 147:1 says, “Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”

Praise 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-Devotion

john : April 28, 2011 9:59 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Devotion is defined as “profound dedication.”  An attachment to a cause or person is usually what prompts us to be profoundly dedicated to that cause or person.

The grace of Jesus is what draws us to wholehearted devotion to the Gospel. We love because He first loved us.  When His love captures our heart, we are motivated to live for the glory of His name.  We have a cause to live for outside of ourselves, and that cause is the Gospel.

Christians often hear about having devotions, a daily quiet time that includes prayer and Bible study.  Colossians 4:2 urges us to “devote ourselves to prayer.”  In First Timothy 4:13, church leaders are instructed to devote themselves to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching. And Titus 3:14 urges us to be devoted to doing what is good. Devotion to these practices provides an opportunity to know Jesus better, and to grow deeper in our devotion to Him.

Devotion 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-Agility

john : April 25, 2011 4:33 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Agility is a term for the mind and the feet.

It means the ability to think and draw conclusions quickly.

It also means, the power of moving quickly and easily.

First Peter 1:13 is a verse that calls for agility of our minds.

The New International Version urges us to “prepare our minds for action.”  And the King James Version urges us to “gird up the loins of our minds.” In the first century, the reader was challenged to literally gather up his long, flowing garment and be ready to move.

Sometimes, when a request is made of someone, their willingness to help can be understood by how promptly and quickly they respond to that request. With a sober mind, we are ready to respond quickly to the voice of God when He calls us into action.  One of the pieces of armor that God wants us to wear for the spiritual battles of life is ready feet to take the good news of Jesus to the streets.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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