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John Shirk

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Temperance

john : April 12, 2011 5:36 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Temperance can be described as using restraint with the expression of our thoughts, actions, or feelings.  This character quality surfaces in the form of either moderation or abstinence of certain activities.

Ned Holmgren said, “Temperance means the abstinence from all that is evil, and the moderate use of all that is good.” Just because we can do something does not mean it is beneficial or constructive.

Even good things can become a hindrance to spiritual growth if it becomes too important or violates someone else’s conscience.  Temperance appears in the list of qualities of the fruit of the Spirit in the King James version of the Bible.  Other translations use the word “self-control” instead.  With temperance, we are careful not to be sidetracked by anything that threatens to derail us from doing God’s will.  The overindulgence of alcohol, food, sports activities, or computer-time can have a negative effect on our well-being and hinder the development of healthy relationships. Temperance challenges us to make time for different activities under the sun, and for those activities to bring glory to God.

Temperance 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-Conviction

john : April 11, 2011 5:38 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – With conviction, we are devoted to following the precepts of Scripture with zeal.  Some time ago, Josh McDowell wrote a book entitled, “Beyond Beliefs to Convictions.” The general aim of the book was to equip followers of Christ to know what they believe and why they believe it. The value of a deep seeded conviction is that we are not easily swayed by deceptive teachings.

Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”  Just because someone dresses the part of a Christian teacher does not make them one.  We need to be ready to evaluate what is being said and compare it with what the Bible says.

Knowledge and acceptance of the Bible as God’s Word is the best way to discern the difference between what is true and what is false.

It helps us to understand who Jesus is and become fully convinced that He is the Son of God who was sent by God the Father to die for the sins of the world. Conviction also gives us confidence to proclaim the Gospel as the truth. First Thessalonians 1:5 says, “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction.”

Conviction 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-Edification

john : April 6, 2011 2:28 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To edify someone is to build their moral values and to strengthen their faith in God. Edification can happen through words of instruction or encouragement. Proverbs 10:21 tells us that the lips of the righteous nourish many.

When God’s people are consistent in building up each other, the results are uplifting.  The church grows in unity with each other and in faith in the Lord Jesus.

What can we do to edify someone today?  If we are committed to this form of ministry, we will be promoting spiritual growth.  We will become a helpful influence, not a hindrance. We will become a motivator to spur love and good deeds that spring from a heart of faith. Romans 14:19 says, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

Edification 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-Empathy

john : April 5, 2011 4:55 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Earlier this year, we talked about the value of sympathy.  There is a significant difference between sympathy and empathy.  With sympathy, we are stirred to feelings of compassion for someone who is mourning.  We are willing to come alongside and mourn with those who mourn.

With empathy, we can FEEL the pain of the mourner. We can identify with their emotions because we have been there.  We understand. We have experienced the same kind of event. Empathy is sympathy taken to a deeper level.

Jesus not only feels sympathy for us in our times of weakness, but He empathizes with us.  He knows what it is like to be a man.  He knows what it is like to feel pain, and to suffer rejection, betrayal, and be falsely accused.  He knows what it’s like to feel the brutal treatment of the cross and pay the price for our sins. He was there. He took our place.  An example of His ability to empathize with us is found in Hebrews 2:18: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Empathy 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-Tactfulness

john : March 31, 2011 4:39 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – With tactfulness in place, we are sensitive to what might be proper or appropriate in dealing with others.  We are careful not to be offensive in the way we approach a delicate matter.  There are various situations where tactfulness can be extremely helpful in resolving outstanding problems: Mediation in conflict, dealing with a customer complaint, or approaching someone who is making unwise choices with their lives.  With tactfulness, we care about the way we deliver the truth so that words of wisdom might fall on receptive hearts.  Tactfulness sends a tough message with a tender touch.

There are several examples of this in the Bible.  Proverbs 15:4 tells us that a tongue that brings healing is a tree of life.  Ephesians 4:15 tells us that spiritual growth happens in relationships when we speak the truth in love.  And our witness for Christ to unbelievers is more likely to be heard when we share the reason for our hope with gentleness and respect.

Tactfulness 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-Alertness

john : March 30, 2011 3:18 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Alertness can be described as being attentive and watchful.  Our senses are heightened to be in tune with what is going on around us.

To be alert is to be aware of potential hidden dangers.  In the spiritual realm, the Bible challenges us to be aware of dangers, which wage war against our soul.

First Peter 5:8 instructs us to “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”

Alertness teaches us to avoid the pitfalls of laziness and complacency. We are in a spiritual battle.  We can prepare for each day’s challenges with a time of worship that includes prayer and Bible study. This will awaken our soul to be in tune with God’s will for our lives.

Alertness 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-Cooperative Spirit

john : March 28, 2011 3:01 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Cooperation can be defined as working together or acting together for a common purpose.  Teamwork is involved.  This does not mean we go along with activity that violates our convictions, but with a cooperative spirit, we demonstrate a servant’s attitude to work with others to get the job done.  We show flexibility to the ideas of others. We show respect for our co-laborers. We show a willingness to help where help is requested.  Cooperation is particularly important in the church.

Jesus said, “A house divided against itself will fall.”  This is the result of members working against each other instead of with each other.  Ephesians 4:16 shows us how a cooperative spirit moves the ministry of a church forward. Speaking of Christ, “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.”

A cooperative 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-Wonder

john : March 25, 2011 3:54 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – To have a sense of wonder is to marvel or have a feeling of awe or admiration. 

It is quite common for young love to be filled with wonder.  Our relationship with God can start out with wonder at His amazing love for us.  We marvel at His creation, and take time to smell the roses. Worship services stir our soul to deep appreciation and admiration for Jesus. 

Then the time might come when we settle into a routine or get distracted by other things, which dulls our sense of wonder.  Our sense of wonder can be reignited when we remember that God is wonderful.  His deeds are wonderful.  His love is wonderful. His guidance is wonderful.  Each day is an opportunity to think about a specific dimension of Jesus and thank Him for who He is and what He has done for us. Seeing Jesus with a believing heart is the key to being filled with wonder. That was the case in Luke 9:15.  “As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.”  Notice how their sense of wonder propelled them toward Jesus.

Wonder 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-Mentorship

john : March 24, 2011 3:06 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – A mentor can be described as a teacher or coach.  A mentor has the type of influence on others that spurs growth and character development. Mentors train tomorrow’s leaders.

We have several examples of mentorship in the Bible.  Paul mentored Titus and Timothy to become leaders in the early church.  Moses groomed Joshua for leadership.  Elijah groomed Elisha to succeed him as a prophet of the Lord. And Jesus instructed His followers, and prepared them for leadership in the early church. Also, parents are instructed to be a type of mentor for their children, training them in the instruction of the Lord.

Psalm 78, verse 4 says, “We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.”

With words of wisdom, a life of Christian integrity, and God’s help, we can be effective mentors that train people to become godly men and women of influence.

Mentorship 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-Honor

john : March 22, 2011 5:43 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – William Arnot once said, “If honor be your clothing, your suit will last a lifetime, but if clothing be your honor, it will soon be worn threadbare.”

To honor someone is to show high respect for them. True worship is impossible without high respect for God.  Revelation 5 describes the Lamb who was slain as being worthy to receive honor. 

As our honor for Jesus is demonstrated in our actions, we have this assurance from Jesus.  He said, “My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

It is also God’s will for honor to extend to various kinds of people that God places in our lives.  One of the Ten Commandments is to “Honor your father and your mother.”  We are also called to honor our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Romans 12:10 says, “Honor one another above yourselves.” And elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, according to First Timothy 5.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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