JOHN SHIRK – In faithfulness, we fulfill our commitments. At work, we take responsibility for our assignments. At home, we fulfill our vows to our spouse, and responsibilities to our children to raise them up in the ways of the LORD.
As we look to the LORD and His strength, we see His faithfulness expressed in love. The cross is an example of His faithful love. That is where Jesus laid down His life so that we might be brought back to life and brought back to a relationship with God.
Deuteronomy 32:4 says about God, “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just; a faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he”
Faithfulness is a dependable quality. We can fully rely on the love that God has for us because of His faithfulness. His influence on our lives motivates us to express our love for others with honesty and faithfulness. First Corinthians 13:6 says, “Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.”
Faithfulness is a quality of love and is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things to do and one of the most powerful things we can do.
God sent His Son to die a cruel death on the cross, and as He was dying, Jesus prayed for those who were putting Him to death. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Someone nearby was noticing that Jesus was different, not like the others who were crucified. The centurion, who was a commander of 100 men in the Roman army, was near Jesus. When he heard Jesus cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely, this man was the Son of God.” He probably would have heard that prayer for forgiveness that Jesus uttered on his behalf.
Forgiveness does not excuse sin as okay. Forgiveness does not give someone license to hurt us with the same actions again. Forgiveness does give someone a second chance, and forgiveness does release us from the attempt to seek revenge. Because we are sinners, we have a great need to be forgiven, and we have a need to forgive others.
In Luke 17:3 and 4, Jesus taught, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent’, forgive him.”
Forgiveness is a quality of love and is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – According to First Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient.” By looking to the Lord, we see the ultimate example of patience and what it produces in the person who is responsive to His love. Second Peter 3:9 tells us why Jesus has not yet returned to take His followers to be with Him. “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” He is giving people time to respond favorably to His grace and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
He works with His people who are in process. Like the potter working with clay, His hand is at work in our lives producing a masterpiece that reflects His glory. It takes time for us to become mature in the faith and develop the character qualities that God desires for us.
We can express our gratitude to God for His patience by passing along the gift of patience with others in process, especially our loved ones. The closer we are to someone, the easier it is to see character flaws and weaknesses. That is when patience is necessary and effective.
Colossians 3:12 says, “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Patience is a quality of love and is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – I Peter 1:23 and 24 says, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’”
Generations have come and gone, but God’s Word is still with us and is still the best-seller. As surely as God exists, His word will endure with Him.
Some people might try to dismiss the Bible as an ancient book that is outdated and old-fashioned. However, through the prophet Jeremiah, we learn of the value of God’s word to our soul.
In Jeremiah 6:16, this is what the LORD says, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
The endurance of God’s Word means that the Bible is still relevant for our lives today, and it will be tomorrow, and into eternity. It will never wear out.
The endurance of God’s Word is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
Through the expression and reception of God’s Word, faith is formed in our hearts. Not everyone who hears with their ears will believe with their hearts. However, if our hearts are thirsty for the truth, and craving for righteousness, the words of Jesus are sure to be a satisfying drink for spiritual nourishment.
Isaiah chapter 55 compared the acceptance of God’s Word to the rain cycle, which comes from heaven and does not return without watering the earth. The LORD says in verse 11, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Faith is born and thrives with the influence of God’s Word shaping our heart.
The life-changing impact of God’s Word is a lesson of faith to remember.
JOHN SHIRK – We have seen some amazing accomplishments in our lifetime through technological breakthroughs. However, there are limits to what we can do and the capability of our inventions. We cannot save ourselves from death, and we cannot live perfect lives as Jesus did.
Isaiah 2:22 urges us to “stop trusting in man, who has but breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he.”
There are limits to the capability of weapons of war to protect us. Psalm 44:6 says to the LORD, “I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory, but you give us victory over our enemies.”
There are limits to the security that human leaders can provide for us. Psalm 118:8 and 9 says, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”
There are limits to the durability of money. Psalm 49:16 tells us that the rich man takes nothing with him when he dies. Money will not benefit him then. But God’s grace is trustworthy beyond the grave.
Psalm 13:5 says, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”
The limitation of man is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – Hebrews 12 gives us insight into God’s purpose for discipline.
Verse 5 says, “You have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.
So, when the Lord disciplines His people, He is doing this in the context of a family relationship, from Father to a son or daughter.
What we learn here is that the process of experiencing discipline is painful. The intention of God’s discipline is for our good. The purpose for discipline is so that we might share in His holiness. The fruit of discipline is a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
God’s discipline is not to be taken lightly as “no big deal” or to weigh us down to feel condemned. His discipline is a sign of His love for us, and His desire for us is to heed His discipline and learn from it.
God’s discipline is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – To know whether or not we can trust something or someone, we need to have confidence in whether or not they are true. The words ‘true’ and ‘trustworthy’ go together.
On one occasion, Jesus prayed for His followers, saying, “Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth.”
When does the Bible make a difference in our lives? When we accept it as truth. That is where we find Jesus crucified for our sins, then risen from the dead, and exalted as Lord.
In First Thessalonians 2:13, Paul wrote a letter to the church saying, “We also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”
This is how the Bible can have a life-changing impact on our lives that transforms us into the likeness of Christ-when we humbly accept the words of Scripture as the words of truth. Then, we will have a trustworthy resource for knowing God and knowing what He wants us to do.
The reliability of God’s Word is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – Psalm 104 is a chapter that talks about God’s creation of the world and how He provides for His creation. The writer marveled at God’s handiwork, saying, “How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”
He recognized our dependence on God’s favor for the blessings that sustain us. In reflecting on the wisdom of God and His many works, the writer responded with this expression of praise in verse 33.
“I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.”
There are many reasons for us to praise God. His creation, formed from His wisdom, is one of those reasons. Take a look around, and express gratitude to God for the world He has made. You can also look at the mirror and thank Him for creating you uniquely and loving you completely.
Expression of praise to God is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – There are several ways we might be tempted to sin-Either through the external forces of the world’s value system and the influence of Satan or through the internal force of the sinful nature.
The source of Jesus’ temptation was not internal, but rather external, because He had no sinful nature. But He was tempted externally by the devil.
It happened in Luke 4. The devil tempted Jesus three times, and each time, Jesus responded with the words, It is written. He resisted the devil by using the Word of God.
That resource is available to us today, and will help us in moments of temptation. The writer of Psalm 119 said to the LORD, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Hiding God’s Word in our heart is effective for overcoming temptation and is a lesson of faith worth remembering.