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 – 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 – 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 – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on power of the Gospel to change us.
In reality, the good news of Jesus Christ changes lives in many ways. Four changes are found in Romans 1:16 and 17. The Apostle Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last; just as it is written, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’
One of the ways the gospel changes us is by saving our soul. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
A second way that the gospel changes us is by making us right with God. Christians are not perfect, but we are forgiven and restored.
A third way the gospel changes us is by giving us a valuable advocate. Jesus has proven through the cross and empty grave that He is our worthy Savior, mighty God, and a faithful friend to the end.
A fourth way that the gospel changes us is by giving us enthusiasm to live the Christian life and publicly proclaim Jesus as Lord.
The power of the Gospel to change us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the blessing of a new day.
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Each day is a gift of God, and provides an opportunity for us to give thanks to God for the life we have in a particular day. While there are reasons to celebrate the opportunities of this day and every day, this passage is referring to a new thing that God was doing to bring hope to the world. Jesus would appear to the world and offer the gift of eternal life to those who would receive Him.
The surrounding verses are applied to Jesus in the New Testament.
Verse 22 talks about the stone that the builders rejected, which has become the capstone. This refers to Jesus in the New Testament.
Verse 23 says that the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Jesus came on a divine mission to express God’s love.
Verse 25 says, “O LORD, save us, O LORD, grant us success.” Jesus is our answer to this prayer from an earnest heart.
A light has dawned, bringing new life and fresh hope for a bright future. His name is Jesus.
The blessing of a new day is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on God’s good purpose for His people.
Romans 8:28 tells us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This does not mean that everything that happens to us is good. But God has the power to overcome evil with good. This is proven through the power of the cross, where Jesus died for the sins of many people.
So, through the trials of our lives and through the triumphs, God is weaving everything together for a good purpose, and that purpose is identified in the next verse-Romans 8:29.
“For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” That is how we are blessed and God is honored through the circumstances of our lives.
God’s good purpose to transform us to be more like Jesus is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Jesus would be born as God’s gift to us.
This promise appears in Isaiah 9:6-“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince Of Peace.”
Jesus is the expression of God’s grace. He is not a trophy to earn, but a gift to receive. Over and over in the Bible, we are told that God’s grace is a gift to receive and is necessary for eternal life.
Ephesians 2:8 and 9 says, “It is by grace you have been saved through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”
And Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This Christmas, there is not a more complete package with greater, long-lasting value than to receive the gift of God’s grace in the person of Jesus Christ.
The promise that Jesus would be born as God’s gift to us is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – In Micah 5:2, we read about the birthplace of God’s anointed leader:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
The name “Bethlehem” is significant because it means “House of Bread.” Jesus identified Himself as the bread of life. So, entering the world stage as a baby in the manger, Jesus came to the House of Bread, as the Bread of Life.
His birth in Bethlehem was planned long before it really happened. The location of Christ’s birthplace is sending the signal to the world that just as bread satisfies physical hunger, so Jesus is our vital source for satisfaction for spiritual hunger.
And just as Jesus came to Bethlehem, which was considered small and insignificant, so He approaches people who are humble, and raises them up for extraordinary purposes.
The promise that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – Today, WJTL remembers the identity of Jesus as the light of the world.
In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
With our focus of faith on Jesus, we have moral clarity with a better understanding of how God wants us to live.
With our focus of faith on Jesus, we have Kingdom clarity with a better understanding of what God wants us to treasure.
And with our focus of faith on Jesus, we have directional clarity with a better understanding of where God wants us to go.
Jesus invites us to follow Him and to see the world in the light of His grace and truth. He offers abundant and eternal life to those who say “Yes” to His invitation.
The identity of Jesus as the light of the world is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – In Christ, we see a perfect record of obedience to the Father’s will. He said in John 14:31, “I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” He became the unblemished sacrifice for our sins. Even though He never sinned, He paid the penalty of our sins at the cross. Speaking of Jesus, Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
How does that happen? How can we be made righteous in the eyes of God when our track record shows a history of moral failures? The Bible says that ‘the righteous will live by faith.’ When we trust in the name of Jesus for salvation, God no longer holds our sin against us. We are forgiven and set free from the death sentence that our sins deserve. The sinless life of Christ made Him a worthy sacrifice for our sins. His death and resurrection has made Him the worthy Savior to be praised.
Jesus is in a separate category from every human being who walked on the face of the earth. Because of His sinless record and obedience to death on a cross, God has exalted him to the highest place and has given Him the name that is above every name.
The sinless life of Christ is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – Philippians 2:6 tells us that “being in very nature God, he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!”
Jesus deserved the crown of glory. Instead, He wore the crown of thorns.
Jesus was worthy of being lifted up to a throne of honor. Instead, He suffered the cross of shame.
Jesus was worthy of being served as a distinguished leader. Instead, He came to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.
There is an important reason to examine the attitude of Christ. Philippians 2:5 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
The attitude of Jesus is a lesson of faith worth remembering.