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Moment of Celebration-Faith Expressed In Love

April 23rd, 2014 No comments

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

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-The Comeback

April 22nd, 2014 No comments

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

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-Eternal Life

April 17th, 2014 No comments

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.

Moment Of Celebration-God’s Love

April 14th, 2014 No comments

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

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-Hosanna

April 11th, 2014 No comments

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

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-Evidence Of God’s Love

April 10th, 2014 No comments

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

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-Communion

April 3rd, 2014 No comments

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

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-Resurrection and Life

March 26th, 2014 No comments

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.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-Bread Of Life

March 25th, 2014 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on Jesus as the Bread Of Life.

After feeding 5,000 people, starting with five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus taught a lesson of faith about spiritual bread.

He said in John 6:35: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Jesus was inviting us to come to Him for a type of nourishment that physical food could not provide. Blaise Pascal has said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus.

There are many different things that people seek to fill this vacuum. Some people seek satisfaction in money, fame, or pleasure. These are shallow substitutes for the long haul. Seeking Christ opens the way for us to live in relationship with God, and to experience His love and righteousness.  In this way, we can have a fulfilling and thriving relationship with God that lasts forever.

The Bread of Life that Jesus offers us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-Living Water

March 24th, 2014 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the living water that Jesus offers us.

Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Water is essential for us to live. Physical water refreshes us for a period of time, but then we need to have more to sustain us.  Going three days without water puts a person’s life at risk. The water that Jesus offers is enough to satisfy our soul forever.

Today, Jesus gives us the opportunity to drink from the fountain of His grace. This grace is a gift from God. It’s not something that we earn or buy with money. His grace is a gift that we receive by trusting in Jesus for salvation.

Psalm 34:8 invites us to taste and see that the LORD is good. This becomes a reality when we embrace God’s grace.

The Living Water that Jesus offers us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-Healing and Freedom

March 20th, 2014 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the freedom and healing of the righteous.

In Malachi, chapter 4, we find a description of a day that is coming when the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. In Verse 2, the LORD says, “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.”

The reference to healing in this passage indicates that God’s people will experience wounds in this life. Some of those wounds surface in the form of physical pain. Others may take the form of emotional scars. Other wounds may result from persecution because of our faith in the Lord. On the day of the LORD, there will be healing for those who live with reverence for His name. The scars will be removed. There will be nothing fearful to give us nightmares. Painful memories will no longer make us sad.

The reference to freedom in this passage indicates that the righteous will experience liberty to worship God without interference. No one will be able to censor our testimony, or our expressions of love for God. Our faith will be unchained. It will be like a refreshing day of spring after a paralyzing, snow-covered winter.

The freedom and healing for the righteous on the day of the LORD is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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