JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the attractive qualities of love.
Valentine’s Day is often associated with candy, flowers, and romantic dinners. These celebrations of Valentines Day have value in expressing heartfelt love in the marriage relationship. However, for love to thrive for the long haul, we need more than gifts and romance.
The Bible reveals how marriages can thrive for life, churches can thrive in unity, and families and friendships can thrive with joy.
This is the nature of love, according to First Corinthians 13:4 to 7- Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
The attractive qualities of love are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the prize of a champion.
The Apostle Paul occasionally referred to the ancient Olympic games and compared them to the Christian life.
He said in First Corinthians 9:25, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Just as an Olympic athlete competes to the best of their ability for the gold medal, so the Apostle Paul is saying that he wanted to serve Jesus in a way that represented His great name. Such a mission has meaningful purpose, with eternal impact.
The crowning honor of an Olympic athlete is to stand at the platform, with the gold medal, representing their country while their national anthem plays. The crowning honor of Christ’s followers is to hear our Master say “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That is the applause of heaven in response to our faithful service for the glory of our King.
The prize of God’s applause is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the blessing of a new day.
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Each day is a gift of God, and provides an opportunity for us to give thanks to God for the life we have in a particular day. While there are reasons to celebrate the opportunities of this day and every day, this passage is referring to a new thing that God was doing to bring hope to the world. Jesus would appear to the world and offer the gift of eternal life to those who would receive Him.
The surrounding verses are applied to Jesus in the New Testament.
Verse 22 talks about the stone that the builders rejected, which has become the capstone. This refers to Jesus in the New Testament.
Verse 23 says that the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Jesus came on a divine mission to express God’s love.
Verse 25 says, “O LORD, save us, O LORD, grant us success.” Jesus is our answer to this prayer from an earnest heart.
A light has dawned, bringing new life and fresh hope for a bright future. His name is Jesus.
The blessing of a new day is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the beauty of a snowflake.
The design of a single snowflake is unique from all other snowflakes. In a similar way, God has made each of us with unique features. There is only one of you, which reflects God’s creativity in designing you as a distinct personality. In pondering the way God knew him personally, David said in Psalm 139, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well.”
Another dimension of snow in the Bible is how it is compared to purity. The mercy of God toward his people purifies His people from the guilt of sin. In Psalm 51:7, as David was confessing his sin of adultery and murder, referred to snow with this statement, “Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”
The beauty of a snowflake reminds us of the unique way that God has created us, and the refreshing way that God cleanses us. Because of God’s powerful love, our formation and spiritual transformation are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the laughter of Sarah.
Laughter has been called the best medicine, but not all forms of laughter are healthy. Such was the case on one occasion when Sarah laughed. Three visitors came to visit her and her husband Abraham. One of those visitors was the LORD.
By this time, Sarah was well-advanced in years. She overheard a conversation that Abraham was having with the three visitors. The LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year; and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
That is when Sarah laughed the cynic’s laugh. She thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
When the LORD asked Abraham why his wife laughed, she denied it.
The word of the LORD proved true, and Sarah did give birth to Isaac, whose name means “laughter.” This time, Sarah laughed for a different reason. She was celebrating God’s miracle of new life.
The birth of Isaac reveals that God is able to turn human impossibilities into Divine opportunities. God’s people rejoice at the evidence of His mighty Hand.
Each miracle of new life is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the key to God’s Divine pardon.
Many people today are familiar with the term “presidential pardon.” This is what happens when our nation’s leader chooses to forgive someone’s crime and the penalty associated with it. Interestingly, the acceptance of a pardon implies an admission of guilt.
According to the Bible, Jesus is the key that gives us access to God’s pardon for our sins. Facing the truth of our moral failures is essential for finding the release from guilt that we desperately need.
Through faith in Jesus Christ, our forgiveness is complete and our penalty has already been paid through the blood of Jesus shed at the cross.
Romans 8:1 says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
Jesus, as the key to God’s Divine Pardon, is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the power of God to save us and be our source of strength.
In Isaiah 30:15, this is what the Sovereign LORD says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Repentance is a turning point that acknowledges we have been going the wrong way and turn to Jesus for forgiveness and direction to follow His way.
Rest is a reliance on God’s grace to save us. We acknowledge that no amount of good deeds could ever outweigh our bad deeds to make us right with God. We do not have the ability to climb ourselves out of our debt of sin. But because of what Jesus did for us at the cross, we believe that He paid the price of our debt. And so, we depend on Jesus.
Quietness is a place of solitude at God’s throne of grace, convincing us that God is in control.
Trust is a place of confidence in the LORD even in times of trouble.
The power of God to save us and be our source of strength is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – During Wednesday’s Lunch Break, I am making available a window of time to air your favorite 5 Christian songs. From 12 to 12:30, I will pick out a Listener’s List of Five Favorites and play them back to back. To submit your entry, list your favorite 5 Christian songs and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include your name, address, song title, and artist. If there is a short, meaningful story as to why a particular song is meaningful to you, feel free to share it. I look forward to hearing from you.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on God’s good purpose for His people.
Romans 8:28 tells us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This does not mean that everything that happens to us is good. But God has the power to overcome evil with good. This is proven through the power of the cross, where Jesus died for the sins of many people.
So, through the trials of our lives and through the triumphs, God is weaving everything together for a good purpose, and that purpose is identified in the next verse-Romans 8:29.
“For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” That is how we are blessed and God is honored through the circumstances of our lives.
God’s good purpose to transform us to be more like Jesus is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the righteous authority of God.
In Deuteronomy 10:17, Moses told the Israelites, “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.”
There is a familiar saying that makes the claim that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That would be a likely scenario in a kingdom ruled by flawed character. However, absolute power does not corrupt God, because He is holy and righteous. There is no flaw in Him. His judgments are true and just. His law is perfect. His power is supreme. His promises are dependable. His righteousness is a source of blessing for His people and purifies us from all sin through faith in the name of Jesus.
We need this kind of leader, someone who is great in power and good in virtue. Jesus is that kind of leader-without any moral imperfection and at the same time, merciful to all imperfect people who call on His name for forgiveness. Under His leadership, we have the guidance we need to walk in the ways of the Lord.
The righteous authority of God is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.