JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Connection, today’s Encounter with Jesus examines our restoration to God through His blood.
When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. God was providing a way for us to enter into relationship with Him through the blood of Jesus.
Hebrews 10:19 says, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings….”
The sacrifice of Jesus for us means that we have access to His throne of grace. We can pray to Him with a believing heart and have confidence that He loves us and hears the cries from our heart.
A daily connection with Christ enables us to draw near to God the Father and to live with confidence in Him.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on freedom in Christ.
Jesus said in John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
There are reasons to cherish our political freedoms to vote, to speak out, and to publicly express our worship for God.
However, the greatest form of freedom is the kind that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Here are some of the ways that Jesus sets us free.
In Christ we are set free to love people as He loves us. Galatians 5:13 talks about using our freedom to serve one another in love.
In Christ, we are set free from the penalty of our sin through God’s forgiveness. Romans 8:1 says “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
In Christ, we are set free to know the truth of God’s will and do it. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Following God is our pathway to real and lasting freedom.
Freedom in Christ is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
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.