JOHN SHIRK – God’s people are called to live in community. The evidence of that can be found in the “One another” statements of the Bible. This week’s relationship-building principles have been taking a look at some of these “one another” statements to better understand how God wants us to relate with other members of God’s family.
First John 3:11 says, “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”
Love is at the heart of the “one another” commands in the Bible. These specific commands scattered throughout the New Testament include: “Encourage one another, serve one another, forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another, accept one another as Christ accepted you, spur one another on toward love and good deeds, honor one another above yourselves, live in harmony with one another, offer hospitality to one another without grumbling, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, instruct one another. Be kind and compassionate to one another.
These specific “one another” statements are useful to help us examine whether or not we are walking in love as God calls us to love.
Loving God’s family with a godly attitude is a vital relationship-building principles to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
God’s people are called to live in community. The evidence of that can be found in the “One another” statements of the Bible. This week’s relationship-building principles take a look at some of these “one another” statements to better understand how God wants us to relate with other members of God’s family.
Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Hebrews 13:1.
“Keep on loving one other as brothers and sisters.”
The command to love one another is given at least 12 times in the New International Version of the Bible. Here, the emphasis on love is to be consistent in expressing love for God’s people as family members. Sometimes, family members have conflict, but when the love of God is our guiding influence, these conflicts are opportunities to grow more mature personally, and grow closer in community.
Every new day is an opportunity to connect with a person in our church community and show them the love of Jesus. It could be through a phone conversation, a visit to the hospital, or a service opportunity. As long as we are serving the Lord, we will hear the Holy Spirit whisper in our conscience that there is more love to share with others. Romans 13:8 says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
Persistent love for others is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Ephesians 4:15.
“Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, 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.”
The pathway to a thriving and growing church comes through the pattern of speaking the truth in love. We spur believers toward a stronger relationship with Jesus and with each other. We also give unbelievers hope that they can be set free from the guilt of their sins, by coming to faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus serves as the supreme example of upholding the truth while expressing love.
He told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” This is a statement that extends grace while expressing the truth of God’s will.
Speaking the truth in love is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK -2015 is the Year of Connection at WJTL. We will examine God’s insights into healthy relationships. Listen for Relationship-Building Principles throughout the upcoming year.
Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Proverbs 17:17.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Real friends are not just fair-weather friends who love you when you are healthy, wealthy, and wise. Real friends are also supportive in your times of need, when you are in the hospital, when you have lost your job, or when you have lost a loved one. That is when the value of real friendships is felt. That is the kind of friend that God wants us to be for others. That is the kind of friend Jesus is for us. He talked about real friendship this way in John 15:12 and 13:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Less than 24 hours later, Jesus was hanging on the cross, reaching out with love, dying for our sins, offering forgiveness and eternal life to those who will receive His gift of grace.
Real friendship is a vital-relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – 2015 will be designated as the Year of Connection at WJTL. The Junction Center is the home of WJTL, and that word Junction is more than just the name of the road that we are on. The meaning of that word is closely associated with the vision of WJTL. Junction means “a point of connection.” And we really do sense that the Lord has brought us to this place to be a place of connection for people-A place where people can connect with the Lord in a meaningful relationship; a place where people can connect with each other, with the staff, and sometimes to connect with the artists through our Live From the Junction Center events.
The focus of making connections implies the building of relationships, and that is what the focus of 2015 is going to be about-focusing on cultivating life’s most important relationship with God, and developing thriving relationships with the people that God has placed in our lives. So, we invite you to join us in that journey throughout 2015, in our devotional thoughts and in the events that are held at the Junction Center.
Here is a good focus point for all of us in 2015, from Second Corinthians 5:9, echoing the words of Paul the Apostle, when he said, “So we make it our goal to please the Lord.” Let’s pursue that noble purpose together in 2015.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the chorus of praises surrounding the birth of Christ.
Christmas reminds us that Jesus is God’s ultimate gift to the world.
The birth of Christ was a cause for celebration for Mary, the mother of Jesus, who said, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
The birth of Christ was a cause for celebration for the shepherds. After their encounter with the baby Jesus, they returned to their fields, glorifying and praising God for what they had heard and seen.
The birth of Christ was a cause of celebration for the wise men, who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus. They also bowed down and worshiped him.
The birth of Christ was a cause of celebration for the heavenly angels, who said on the night of His birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
We can join the chorus of praises in response to a loving God who remembered us and came to meet us at our point of need.
The birth of Christ is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the gift of God’s love.
John 3:16 is one of the most quoted verses of the Bible. It’s a fitting verse for the Christmas season and the Easter season. It’s a fitting verse to describe how someone can be born again into the family of God.
“For 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.”
Here we see God’s love freely given to us as a gift through Jesus Christ. For a gift to be a gift, there needs to be a giver and a receiver. God clearly gave. That gift is ours to receive. This is why the Christmas season is so special among those who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. We recognize that without the treasure of God’s grace, we would be lost in our sin and without God because sin separates us from God. But when Jesus enters our world, His light invades the darkness of our soul. Despair is replaced with hope. Doubt and fear are replaced with faith. Selfishness is replaced by love. In Jesus, we find the freedom to experience abundant and eternal life with Him. God invites us to say “Yes” to His invitation to live with Him forever.
The gift of God’s love through Jesus Christ is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on Gabriel’s prophecy of Jesus.
Gabriel was an angel who was given the task of telling Mary that she would give birth to Jesus.
He says in Luke 1:32, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
This is a reference to Jesus as the king of Israel. Many kings had reigned over Israel in the past, but each of them had their blemishes. Even David, who was well-respected and regarded as a man after God’s own heart, had his faults. Nations today continue to have leaders with their faults and limitations. They make mistakes, and they do not stick around forever.
Jesus is different. His character is unblemished, and His kingdom will be without end. He is a capable king, not just for Israel, but also for our souls. His fame will never fade. It will only grow in the course of time. We can trust Him to save us from our sins, and lead us with grace and wisdom.
Gabriel’s prophecy of Jesus to be a great king is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on good and perfect gifts.
James 1:17 tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Here we see that God is the giver of all good gifts. Some of those gifts might be tangible things. First Timothy 6 tells us that God is the One who provides us with everything for our enjoyment. But this blessing comes with a caution for us not to put our hope in wealth, but rather to put our hope in God. Love the Giver more than the gift.
Some of the good gifts provided by God might be resources that we need to survive. Acts 14:17 says, “He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” This, too is a blessing from God and a reason to give thanks.
Some of His gifts are perfect. Jesus is the perfect remedy for our sin. God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son. The Holy Spirit is the perfect power source for living the Christian life. Jesus said in Luke 11, “how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
Every good and perfect gift from God is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the joys of heaven.
The Apostle John was given the view of a new heaven and a new earth in Revelation chapter 21.
In verses 3 and 4, he says, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
This is a description of heaven. This is where followers of Jesus have our ultimate citizenship. What is striking in these two verses is what is present and what is absent in heaven. What is missing is death. There will be no more funerals and no more good-byes among loved ones. Our tears will be dried as sadness is overtaken by gladness of heart. Hospital beds will be missing. Wheelchairs will not be needed. Heaven is a place of life and healing and pure happiness. What makes heaven so special is that Jesus will be present among His followers, who will have the opportunity to adore Him and praise Him for eternity.
The joys of heaven are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.