JOHN SHIRK-Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said this was to be our primary focus. Earthly kingdoms rise and fall, and material possessions come and go, but the Kingdom of God is coming and will remain forever.
When 9/11 happened in 2001, our sense of security was shaken. 13 years later, the threat remains. We do not know what tomorrow may hold. Jesus never said we would find ultimate security in a strong military force, or in our money, or in the plans we make tomorrow. But we can find security in the strong arms of a loving God.
The kingdom of God is a present reality through followers of Jesus who represent Him. Romans 14:17 says, “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
And the kingdom of God is a future reality that will reveal the glory of Jesus to the whole earth at His coming. Hebrews 12:28 says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so, worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” Those who seek His Kingdom will find true security for the soul. Jesus will be the central focus of our faith.
Receiving the kingdom of God is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the salvation that is drawing nearer.
When someone comes to faith in Christ, there are changes that occur within us. We become a new creation in Christ. He becomes our source of trust and confidence. We are blessed with peace in knowing that our sins are forgiven, and are brought into God’s family of believers. These are welcome changes to the new believer.
However, this world is not all there is. The best is yet to come. This anticipation keeps hope alive and purifies our faith as we draw closer to our ultimate destiny with Christ.
Romans 13:11 says, “And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness, and put on the armor of light.”
With each step of faith, we are honoring God’s name and moving toward the goal for which Christ Jesus has called us heavenward.
The salvation of the Lord is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the praise that flows from a redeemed life
Here is one person’s testimony. The Apostle Paul wrote in First Timothy 1:15: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason, I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Paul is saying in essence, that if Jesus can save him, he can save anybody no matter how deep their depravity has taken them. When Jesus saves us from our sins, He fills our heart with thanksgiving and praise. We realize the dark destiny He rescued us from and the hopeful future He is leading us to experience. His mercy is marvelous in our eyes, and it has changed us from the inside out. Now we have been set free to bring glory to God with the activity of our lives.
The praise that flows from a redeemed life is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the joy of working together for a sacred purpose.
The church is compared to a body, which consists of many connected members who have different functions. Yet as their different functions work compatibly with each other, the body works according to its design.
Each part is significant enough to be a vital part of the team. No part is so important that it does not need the contribution of the other parts. God calls us to appreciate the contributions of others and to do our part in building the strength of the church for God’s glory.
Romans 12:6 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
The joy of working together for a sacred purpose is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the holiness of God.
The angels make this declaration in Isaiah 6, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory.” It was the kind of statement that caused Isaiah to feel doomed as a sinner. Yet, God’s holiness was accompanied by His compassion, and that makes all the difference for anyone who has sinned against God. Instead of being condemned as a sinner, he would be called into service as a saint. The holiness of God had a purifying impact on Isaiah, and it has a purifying impact on those who belong to Jesus.
The holiness of God refers to His absolute moral purity. There is no sin in Him. His glory shines with brilliance. God’s holiness also refers to His greatness. He is a cut above the rest. No persons or idols match the worth of God to the human soul.
One of God’s purposes for our lives is to make us holy, not in the sense that we are able to attain to His level of greatness, but in the sense of purifying our faith by the Word of God. His holiness becomes an incentive for us to grow in holiness. First Peter 1:15 and 16 says, “Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written, “be holy, because I am holy.” Heaven celebrates the supreme holiness of God constantly.
The holiness of God is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the graciousness of God.
Grace is that quality of God’s character that ultimately saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life. It is not an item we can purchase or a wage that we can earn. Ephesians 2:8 describes God’s grace as a gift to be received. In His grace, God shines His favor on His people.
The graciousness of God can be seen in the blessings that He pours out on the inhabitants of the earth. He sends rain from heaven to provide us with food from the crops.
His graciousness is often connected with His patience and kindness.
Instead of wiping out the civilization of Nineveh, as He had threatened through Jonah the prophet, the LORD saw how they had turned from their evil ways and had compassion on them. Likewise, God’s graciousness relents from the judgment that we deserve when we repent from our sins and trust in Jesus for forgiveness
God’s graciousness also equips the believer with spiritual gifts. He blesses us to be a blessing to others through acts of service. First Peter 4:10 tells us to use whatever gift we have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
The graciousness of God is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the work of the Potter’s Hand.
Isaiah 64:8 says, “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
As the potter, God has a plan for our lives to make us useful instruments in His Kingdom. We are made to glorify Him.
He chips away at the parts of our lives that are not honorable to Him so that our vessel might be fashioned into a design that reflects His glory. Ephesians 2:10 says that “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
How can we become God’s masterpieces? It happens when we approach Him and say, “Have your way in my life,” and then, follow that prayer with a teachable spirit.
Lyrics from the song, “The Potter’s Hand” reflects the prayer of a tender heart to God. “Take me, mold me, use me, fill me, I give my life to the Potter’s hand. Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me. I give my life to the Potter’s hand.”
The work of the Potter’s Hand is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
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.