JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the eyes of the Lord.
According to Second Chronicles 16:9, “the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
Let’s suppose for a moment that we are all children. The eyes of our parents or guardians on us may encourage us or disturb us, depending on the situation.
If they come to see us in a sports or musical performance, we might give our best effort because of their support. We are greatly encouraged by their attendance, which brings out the best in us.
On the other hand, we might not be inclined to welcome their focus on us if we are putting our hands into the forbidden cookie jar. The lawless one tries to hide their activity from the police officer.
Likewise, there are different reactions among people regarding God’s watchfulness over our activity. David, a man after God’s own heart, was in awe that God’s eyes would notice him. He said, “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with all my ways.” Then he said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.” That’s because David was fully committed to the Lord.
The eyes of the Lord on us are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the value of mentoring relationships.
While friendships are relationships often among peers, mentoring relationships tend to have wider age differences. It might be the case where an elderly Christian is grooming a younger Christian to a place of leadership, such as Paul’s relationship with Timothy in the Bible.
Or it may be a situation where one believer is preparing another believer to succeed their role, such as Elijah preparing Elisha to become a prophet.
Another excellent example of mentorship is the parent-child relationship, where the parent brings them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
The value of mentoring relationships can be found in the opportunity to pass the faith along from generation to generation.
Psalm 78:4 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.” Verse 7 says, “Then they would put their trust in God.”
The value of mentoring relationships is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the purpose of accountable relationships.
In seeking accountable relationships, we are enlisting the support of another to help us stay true to our commitments. In the context of faith, this relates to our commitment to following Christ.
Chip Ingram says there are a number of reasons why we need accountable relationships. We have the tendency to underestimate the power of our sinful passions. We have the tendency to overestimate our ability to handle temptation. And we have the tendency to believe that our struggles and temptations are unique.
One of God’s resources for helping us in temptation is the body of Christ. Discernment is important when establishing accountable relationships. It should be with a trusted friend who loves the Lord, and who is genuinely interested in seeing us grow in God’s grace.
Hebrews 3:12 supports accountable relationships with these words: “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
An Accountable relationship is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on God’s guidance.
In Exodus 13:21, we learn how God guided and provided for the Israelites after they were released from slavery in Egypt.
“By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”
The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire at night was an indication that God was present with the Israelites. God was making a way for them to move forward in His plan. Without the pillar of cloud in the day, the people would have baked in the desert sun. Without the fire by night, the people would have stumbled in the darkness. God has not left His people without tools to go forward in His plan. God’s Word is described as a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. God’s Presence serves as our shade to refresh us in the midst of circumstances that drain the soul. Psalm 121, verse 5 says, “The LORD watches over you-the LORD is your shade at your right hand.” With a teachable spirit, we can enjoy the journey of moving forward in God’s plan, under His presence, in light of His Word.
God’s guidance is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on worship from the heart
In Psalm 69:30, David, a man after God’s own heart, said, “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.”
It was common for animal sacrifices to be used under Old Testament law to reveal our need for forgiveness and cleansing from sin. In reality, they were not the real cleansing agent, but they did foreshadow the complete cleansing from sin that we can experience through faith in Jesus Christ, who was the perfect sacrifice to take away our sins.
David was saying that sincere worship from a thankful heart would mean more to God than the offering of an ox or a bull on the altar.
Hebrews 10:22 invites us to draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. God has given us music as an instrument to lift up the name of Jesus with words that overflow from our heart.
Worshipping God with a sincere heart is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the encouragement of a friend.
It happened in the book of Third John, when the Apostle John wrote to a follower of Jesus named Gaius
He said to his dear friend in verse 3, “It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
We all benefit by this kind of encouragement. If we see someone who is demonstrating their love for God in the way they live, that is a good opportunity to express how we see God at work in them. John noted the good report he was hearing of the faithful witness of Gaius. This report was giving John matchless joy. His words of encouragement in Third John are examples for us to build others up in the faith, so that they will continue to walk in the truth of the Gospel
The encouragement of a friend is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the value of wisdom.
If the LORD approached you and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you”, how would you respond?
He said this to King Solomon as he began his reign as Israel’s king.
Solomon asked for wisdom. He said, “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” Solomon recognized that he was inadequate to be an effective leader in his own strength, and he also recognized what he needed in order to be an effective leader.
The Bible says that the Lord was pleased that Solomon asked for this, and promised to give him a wise and discerning heart.
The Lord invites us to ask Him for wisdom too. James 1:5 says that “if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
According to Proverbs 3, wisdom is worth more than gold or silver. Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. Those who lay hold of wisdom will be blessed.
Having the treasure of God’s wisdom is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the peace of a faith-focused thought life.
In Philippians 4, the Apostle Paul listed a number of healthy habits that lead to peace with God.
One healthy habit was to rejoice in the Lord always.
Another healthy habit was to present our prayer requests to God with thanksgiving.
Another thing we can do is learn from those in places of spiritual authority-to listen to their teachings, to watch how they live, and follow their example as they follow Christ.
Verse 8 talks about yet another healthy habit that brings peace to our soul. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
When we think about Jesus, we are thinking of these qualities, because He defines them. When our minds are focused on Christ, we remember that our lives are in the hands of Someone who loves us very much and has proved it at the cross and empty grave.
The peace of a faith-focused thought life is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on a life transformed by God’s grace.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Second Corinthians 3:18, “We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
The power of the Holy Spirit works in the believer’s life to reflect the character of Christ. These character qualities include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the qualities that were fully demonstrated by Christ and they have a growing influence on our lives as we follow Jesus step by step. These are the qualities of the Fruit of the Spirit, and they become the ingredients that invite others to taste and see that the Lord is good.
A life transformed by God’s grace is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the words of the prophets.
Second Peter 1:19 says, “We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
The main purpose of prophecy is to draw our attention to the testimony of Jesus. Even before Jesus came into the world, the words of the prophets were indicating that when He came, He would be born of a virgin and born in Bethlehem. He would come in peace, riding on a donkey. He would be rejected by His people, betrayed by a friend, and abandoned by His disciples. He would be pierced for our transgressions, but His body would not see decay. He would once again see the light of life and be satisfied.
These predicted events tell us that God knows the future, and keeps His promises. We can trust Him to do what He says He will do.
The words of the prophets are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.