JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the fruitful outcome of abiding in Christ.
Jesus said to His disciples in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
We are called to a relationship with Christ. Relationships flourish where there is love, faithfulness, honesty, and open communication. This is how our witness for Christ can thrive today. We know from the Bible that Jesus loves the people in the world; that He is faithful; that He is the truth; and that He speaks openly and freely about the will of God. On trial, Jesus said, “I have spoken openly to the world.” As we respond to His voice, we get to know Jesus more and more. We learn to love Him more and more. We are also transformed into the likeness of His character more and more. A faithful relationship to Jesus leads to a fruitful witness for Jesus in a world that desperately needs Jesus.
In John 15:8, Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
The fruitful outcome of abiding in Christ is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the united voice of God’s family.
In Romans 15:5 and 6, the Apostle Paul said to the church, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is the official verse for the National Day of Prayer observance tomorrow (Thursday, May 1st 2014). The official theme is “One Voice, United In Prayer.” Prayer is a significant and powerful opportunity for God’s people to come together and acknowledge our nation’s need for God’s grace. Prayer brings God’s people closer together.
According to the National Day of Prayer website, millions of people will gather to pray at thousands of events facilitated by volunteer coordinators. As we come together, we will take our concerns for this nation to God’s throne of grace. According to Second Chronicles 7:14, when God’s people get serious about prayer with personal humility and repentance, God responds with His healing hand on that nation.
The united voice of God’s family is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on God’s pleasure in the person who has faith.
There is a theme woven throughout Hebrews 11, when describing the way of life of various Old Testament characters.
That theme is faith.
Hebrews 11:5 says, “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”
One of the ways that the book of Genesis describes Enoch’s relationship with God is that he walked with God. That is a good picture of faith; walking in step with God, and being close enough to hear His voice.
According to Romans 10:17, “faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
When God takes pleasure in our faith, that is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on God’s pleasure when our faith is expressed in love.
Hebrews 13:16 offers this reminder: “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased.”
Doing good may involve a wide range of services including: mowing an elderly couple’s lawn, visiting a friend in the hospital, or taking some food to the new neighbor who just moved in next door. There are various ways to express God’s love with acts of kindness.
The Bible acknowledges that when we do good deeds, and share our resources with others, there will be personal sacrifice. It may involve a sacrifice of time or money, or energy that we decided to spend for the well-being of someone else instead of ourselves. God takes notice of our activities that involve personal sacrifice.
Hebrews 6:10 says, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
When God is pleased by our faith expressed in love, that is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the comeback of Jesus.
Two men were walking along the road to Emmaus wearing somber faces. They had hoped that Jesus would be their redeemer, but after the events of the past few days, their hopes had faded to disappointment. Suddenly, Jesus showed up and started walking and talking with them. After they recognized Jesus later, their spirits were lifted, and they went to tell His disciples, “It is true! The Lord has risen.”
Suppose you were watching a sporting event with a friend who cheered on the same team, and you turned off the TV because your team fell so far behind. Then, imagine finding out the next day that your team scored a stunning come-back victory. You would probably text your friend to share the good news.
Jesus made the greatest comeback of all time when He rose from the dead. It looked bleak on Friday, when Christ was nailed to a cross, and the disciples were scattered and distressed. It looked like the enemies of Christ had prevailed, but Jesus would not stay silent in the tomb. He came back from death, and emerged victorious over death and sin. His triumph renews our hope every day and fills us with so much joy that we want to tell others about the greatest comeback in history.
The comeback of Jesus from the grave is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on Jesus as our source of eternal life.
Romans 10:9 says that “if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
It seems fitting to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus in the spring season, because spring marks a turning point from death to new life. The message of the Gospel celebrates the fact that Jesus cannot be found in the grave, because His body was raised to life. Because of Jesus’ triumph over death, we have a living hope. His resurrection is a joyful celebration of life following death.
His resurrection has special meaning for the person who takes the Gospel to heart. Our celebration of life is not confined just to the here-and-now, but extends beyond the grave into the picture of eternity. Jesus is Lord. He came to save us from our sins. He has risen from the dead. He gives eternal life to those who make this claim their personal confession.
Trusting in Jesus as our source of eternal life is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the power of God’s love.
According to First John 4:9, “this is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
God took the initiative to reach out to us with His love. The fact that He sent His one and only Son into the world reveals that He gave His very best for us. He knew what we were lacking, and provided the gift that we needed. Jesus is the expression of God’s love for us. He laid down his life as a sacrifice for our sins.
The power of God’s love frees us from bondage to sin and enables us to live in the freedom of His will for the purpose of His glory. If we say “yes” to Jesus as God’s plan to save us, then He will become our greatest joy and delight. We will learn to love Him more and more, and we will grow in love for other people, because God is love. His love transforms lives.
The power of God’s love is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the meaning of Hosanna.
It’s called the Triumphal entry. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Matthew 21 records that a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”
Hosanna means “Save, please.” The origin of this word “Hosanna” shows up in Psalm 118:25 in the form of a prayer: “O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.” By the time Jesus stepped onto the scene, the meaning of this word was changed to a shout of hope and exaltation.
So, it changed from a prayer request to an exclamation of praise. Hosanna reminds us that Jesus is the answer to our prayer for salvation. Those who gladly welcome Him as Messiah are filled with expressions of praise, because of what Jesus has done for us and what He means to us.
The meaning of Hosanna is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the evidence of God’s unfailing love.
Thomas saw the evidence in John 20. The disciples had seen Jesus and told Thomas, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas was skeptical. He would not believe it unless he saw the nail marks in his hands.
A week later, Jesus appeared to doubting Thomas and made him a believer by showing him his nail-scarred hands. Thomas responded by saying “My Lord and my God.”
In that moment, Thomas was seeing three significant things. The first thing that he saw was that Jesus was brought back to life. His grief turned into joy after seeing His beloved leader alive again.
A second thing that Thomas saw was the power that Jesus had over the grave. In seeing the resurrection power of Jesus, Thomas’s fears turned into hope.
A third thing that Thomas saw was the expression of love that was evident in the nail scars. His doubts turned into confidence that Jesus is alive, and he could trust that the love of Jesus would never fail him.
The evidence of God’s unfailing love is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the significance of the bread and the cup.
In First Corinthians 11:23, the Apostle Paul wrote, “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’
Communion is a time of remembrance to the defining moment in history when the love of Jesus was poured out for us sacrificially so that we could live for His glory, live through His power, and live with Him in relationship forever.
Whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup of the communion table, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
The significance of the bread and the cup is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life.
In John 11:25, Jesus said to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
Then, He turned to Martha and asked her a question that is relevant for us as well. Jesus said, “Do you believe this?”
There are various beliefs about Jesus today. Some say that He was a good man, who demonstrated wise teachings and who did good things for people, but not more than that. To others, He is a swear word. To others, He was a deceiver. Others echo the response of Martha, who said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
By saying this, Martha was affirming that Jesus was not just another ordinary man, but that He came from heaven as a promise from God, and is the source of eternal life for all who trust Him for salvation.
The eternal life that Jesus offers us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.