JOHN SHIRK – Goliath was the bully of the Old Testament, ridiculing the army of Israel, challenging someone to step forward to fight him man to man. He was an imposing figure, a champion fighter, who was over 9 feet tall. Every one was intimidated by him, except David.
When David approached Goliath, he said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” David was making the point that it is the LORD who saves, not someone’s physical weapons. This battle was the LORD’s and the LORD enabled David to strike the giant down.
The Bible says that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. God has provided us with help to fight the good fight of faith, such as the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and others. You can find the complete list in Ephesians 6. Using God’s weapons of righteousness, we can overcome the giants that threaten and intimidate us.
David and Goliath 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 – from Matthew 14:27.
In the midst of stormy waters, the disciples had seen Jesus walking on water. Jesus immediately said to them, “Take courage! It is I. don’t be afraid.” Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.
Jesus said, “Come.”
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me.” Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.
As long as Peter was walking toward Jesus, he was able to do something extraordinary. He was walking on water. He did not begin to sink until he took notice of the storm, and became gripped with fear. This has application for our lives. Fear keeps us from accomplishing the extraordinary things that God is calling us to do. Fear of the future, fear of public speaking, and fear of failure can paralyze us from drawing closer to Jesus. Faith in Jesus keeps us moving forward and rising above adversity. In the midst of our failures, we can call on Jesus for the strength to save us. His arm is long enough and His grip is strong enough to rescue us.
Faith focused on Jesus is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.
JOHN SHIRK – From Luke 9:20.
Jesus was having a conversation with His disciples. He asked them what other people were saying about His identity. Different names were brought up in response to His question. Some were saying that Jesus is John the Baptist. Others were saying Elijah. And still others were saying that Jesus was one of the prophets of long ago come back to life.
Then Jesus asked, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
Peter was acknowledging Jesus as being sent by God to be the Savior of the world. What we believe about Jesus will affect the vital areas of our lives, including our eternal salvation, our influence in the world, and our sense of purpose for living life. What we believe about Jesus will affect how we treat other people. We will heed carefully the “one another” commands of the Bible. Love one another. Encourage one another. Be kind and compassionate to one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Peter was blessed for recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. So will we. First John 4:15 says “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him, and he in God.”
Acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.
JOHN SHIRK – From John 8:24-
Jesus had some tough words for the Pharisees. He said, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”
Jesus is giving both a warning to the Pharisees and an opportunity to change their mind about Him. In John 5:18, we learn that in calling God His own Father, He was making Himself equal with God. Denying the claims of Jesus as the Son of God to the very end leads us to a bitter end. But it does not have to end that way. The coming of Jesus to the world means that through faith in His name, we don’t have to die in our sins, but rather in His grace.
There is a Savior. His name is Jesus. And His death on the cross means forgiveness to all who call on Him to save us from our sins.
His resurrection means victory and eternal life. Our hope remains firm because Jesus is alive and well.
Faith in the name of Jesus is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.