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John Shirk

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Today’s Opportunity To Grow-A Willing Heart

john : January 19, 2011 4:38 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Today is an opportunity to grow toward Christ by being clothed with a willing heart.

A willing heart can be defined as “being ready to act gladly.”  The picture of God’s love toward us is not one that is reluctantly given, but gladly given from a willing heart.

The Bible tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us “the LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, and rejoice over you with singing.”

Just as God delights in loving His people, He wants us to delight in serving others.  Christian leaders are urged to serve as overseers in the church, not because they must, but because they are willing as God wants them to be.  It is also God’s will for us to be generous with a willing heart. Second Corinthians 9:7 tells us that “each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  The difference between a willing heart and a reluctant heart is the difference between joyful enthusiasm and just going through the motions.

A willing 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 for Growth-Humility

john : January 18, 2011 2:14 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Today is an opportunity to grow toward Christ by being clothed with humility.

Humility can be defined as “having a modest estimation of one’s own importance.”  With Biblical humility, we recognize that God considers us valuable, and He also considers the person next to us as valuable.  We are not better than anyone else. Whatever good flows out of our lives is a result of God’s effective grace. With a humble heart, we are grateful to God for His blessings and seek to bring Him glory. We acknowledge the supremacy of Christ over us. His plan for our lives becomes our desire.  Part of His teaching includes the Golden Rule, which implies reaching out in love with humility.  “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”  Philippians 2:3 and 4 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.”

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Todays Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Vigilance

john : January 13, 2011 5:00 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Vigilance can be defined by keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties. After a terror attack in Stockholm, Sweden in December, residents were urged to remain vigilant, to keep their eyes open to possible dangers, so that any future attacks might be thwarted.

Spiritually, we are facing an adversary who seeks to deceive and destroy us.  While it is unhealthy to be preoccupied by thoughts of the devil, it is also unwise to pretend as though he does not exist. A good perspective is to be aware of the devil, but to be impressed by God.  The Apostle Paul said about Satan in Second Corinthians 2:11, “We are not unaware of his schemes.”

The Apostle Peter wrote in First Peter 5:8, “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.”  Vigilance is aware that a battle is taking place, and we keep our eyes open to the dangers of the battle, so that we might not surrender to the control of the enemy.

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Two Stories from Haiti One Year after the Earthquake

john : January 12, 2011 5:03 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK-Compassion International has been on the ground in Haiti, seeking to rebuild this nation devastated by last year’s earthquake.  They provide these two stories for us to gain insight into how God is at work in specific lives one year later.

Story Number One-Pastor Boutin talks about the difference that Compassion made since the quake.  He says, “Life here was a struggle. The people don’t have much and there is a lot of unemployment. We have more hope now with the presence of Compassion. Our kids can go to school. They have tuition and books and uniforms, and all the things that make it easier for kids and families. The earthquake was grave. We were hit hard here. We thought that life was over for us. But Compassion gave us food, water, and shelter. It gave us hope even in the presence of disaster.”

Story Number 2-Eustsache stepped into the courtyard.  The earthquake shook him so hard that his cell phone went flying, lost in the chaos of scrambling people and shuffling feet. He survived. However, fifteen of his classmates did not.

He saw many people dead and injured.  He spent a week in a makeshift shelter with nothing but the clothes on his back.  He was frantic to find out about his family.  He went back to look for his phone to see if his family tried to contact him.  He did find the phone and they did try to contact him. The phone still worked. He called them.  His father, mother, two brothers, and five sisters were all safe.

Today he stands before over 100 children and teaches them how to deal with the stress of the earthquake. The kids are responding. Later he takes one aside, a 12 year old boy named Joseph Wesley, who had both of his legs broken in the catastrophe. The boy is still in pain, has trouble sleeping and lives in a tent. The two talk for nearly half an hour and then pray together.  Eustache is living out Second Corinthians 1:4.  As he has been comforted by God in his trouble, so he is reaching out to others in trouble with God’s compassion.

You can learn more about what is going on in Haiti and how you can help by going to www.IRememberHaiti.com.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Opportunity to Grow Toward Christ-Reverence

john : January 11, 2011 9:10 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Today is an opportunity to grow toward Christ by being clothed with reverence.

Reverence can be defined by awe and respect.  With a reverent heart toward God, we are committed to giving honor where honor is due.

Fruitful results flow out of a reverent heart.  Here are three.

Number One-We become a people of praise to God. In Psalm 5:7, David says, “But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple.”

Number Two-We learn to relate with people as God wants us to relate with them.  First Peter 2:17 says, “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”

And number Three-We grow in pure devotion to God.  Second Corinthians 7:1 talks about “perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

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

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Haiti-One Year After The Earthquake

john : January 7, 2011 12:40 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – We are approaching the one year anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake. The statistics are almost too much to comprehend: Over 230,000 dead, over 300,000 injured, and still over 1 million people living in tents or in the streets.  This Wednesday, join WJTL and Compassion International as we remember Haiti one year later, and hear stories of how God is at work in people’s lives to rebuild a nation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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2011-The Year of Opportunity

john : January 5, 2011 2:39 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – 2011 has been designated as the Year of Opportunity at WJTL.  The meaning of “opportunity” is “a favorable or advantageous circumstance or combination of circumstances.”  Another definition is “A favorable or suitable occasion or time.”

An opportunity is like an open door that allows us to seize the moment by trying something new, displaying a talent, or going somewhere beyond us. In the spiritual realm, opportunities are sometimes used for good and sometimes used for evil purposes.

In Luke 22:6, Judas is found watching for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to the religious leaders when no crowd was present.  On the other hand, Galatians 6:10 says that “as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” 

In 2011, WJTL will be taking the opportunity to encourage each of us to look for opportunities to glorify God and love people with His grace.  We will talk about different character qualities of the Christian faith that have the potential to flow out of us after they are formed in us. We will also highlight specific examples of people who are making a difference or have made a difference in the world by the opportunities they seized.  I hope that the devotionals this year will serve as motivational tools for you to use what God has given you (time, talents, treasures, etc.) for His good purposes.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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A Look Back to The Year Of Missions-2010

john : January 4, 2011 5:40 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Before my blogs move into the theme for this year, I wanted to make a quick comment about 2010-the Year of Missions.  It was the focus of WJTL not just to teach on missions, but to be part of God’s mission outreach to the world, and you stepped up to the plate to join us in extraordinary ways.  Through the 26 Hours of Compassion, at least 177 children were sponsored. Over $21,000 was donated in Bibles, rickshaws, and livestock to help poor and struggling families in Asia through Gospel For Asia. Through Lisa Landis’s trip to Guinea-Bissau through Eastern Mennonite Missions, $3,500 was raised on behalf of Christian education.  You also helped raise money for Food For The Poor to help people in Haiti who were suffering through a devastating earthquake. At the same time, you also helped WJTL to meet budget for 2010.  This is an example of how God is moving in people’s hearts to give generously so that lives might be transformed for the Gospel. 2011 will be the Year of Opportunity at WJTL. I will share more about the year ahead in a future blog.  Concerning the spiritual fruit of 2010, thank you for expressing faith in Christ in these generous ways. May God bless you with His wisdom, peace, and strength to do His will in 2011.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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God’s Surprising Ways to Accomplish His Big Picture Plan

john : December 22, 2010 2:51 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – The promise of the Messiah was recorded in Micah 5:2.  “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

God has a way of working out His redemptive plan in surprising ways.  He uses the cross, an instrument of execution to pardon the sins of those who would believe in Jesus.  During His earthly ministry, Jesus called ordinary, unschooled men to follow Him.  He spent time with them and trained them to become the early church leaders who would leave a lasting impact on this world.  And He picked Bethlehem to be the birthplace of Jesus. In the world’s eyes, these were probably unimpressive ways to accomplish big purposes.  Yet, He uses the painful, the ordinary, and the small and weaves them together to show His love to a world in need of His grace.  Do you ever feel small and insignificant?  Others might treat you that way, but God does not.  He made you.  And just like the little town of Bethlehem, He can raise you for a significant purpose as the love of Jesus transforms your heart to reflect His glory.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The Promise of Peace

john : December 20, 2010 2:35 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – The promise of peace is found in Micah 5 of the Old Testament.  Verse 4 refers to the one who will be ruler over Israel, the one who would be born in Bethlehem.  The LORD says, “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.”

Peace and security.  That is the yearning of Israel today, and not just Israel, but many nations today.  Jesus is described by the prophet Isaiah as the Prince of Peace.  He is also the One who was born in Bethlehem.  He is uniquely qualified to give us a secure peace with God today and put us in a place of heavenly peace forever. A day is coming when the nations will find relief from war. Swords will be turned into plowshares, and Jesus will be the One who puts away the weapons of warfare permanently.  Right now, armed conflict continues among the nations, but we can serve as peacemakers by proclaiming the good news of great joy for all the people: A Savior has been born to us.  He is Christ the Lord.  He is the reason for Christmas.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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