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 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 – 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 – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the attractive qualities of love.
Valentine’s Day is often associated with candy, flowers, and romantic dinners. These celebrations of Valentines Day have value in expressing heartfelt love in the marriage relationship. However, for love to thrive for the long haul, we need more than gifts and romance.
The Bible reveals how marriages can thrive for life, churches can thrive in unity, and families and friendships can thrive with joy.
This is the nature of love, according to First Corinthians 13:4 to 7- Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
The attractive qualities of love are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – From Romans 5:8.
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This highlights the difference between natural love and supernatural love. Many times in our world, people will wait to love someone until that person has proven themselves in some way, whether it be through attractiveness, accomplishment, or affluence.
God’s love is not like that. He did not wait to love us until we had proven ourselves worthy of love. If that were the case, Jesus would never have come. Instead, He made the first move toward us. He loved us first in the midst of our sinful condition, so that He could pull us out. We never have to wonder if God really loves us. If you ever feel that way, you can turn your eyes back to the cross of Christ. 2,000 years ago, His death was God’s ultimate expression of love to a world in desperate need of His grace.
Confidence in God’s love is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.
JOHN SHIRK – From First John 4:10.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Just about anyone can say the words, “I love you”, but the real test of that love will come in actions. God’s expression of love for us was not empty. He backed up His claim with a sacrifice of love. He gave us Jesus, who paid the penalty for our sins so that we could enjoy the gift of eternal life. There is no way we can outdo the love of God. But through Jesus, it is possible for us to tap into that love and let it flow through us to share with others. The next verse, First John 4:11 says, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
God’s love is not to be hoarded, but shared. As God’s love compels us in our activity, the Holy Spirit enables us to thrive where we are planted. We are refreshed by His love, even as we bring refreshment to others.
The expressions of sincere love are vital signs of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.
FRED MCNAUGHTON – Joell Ketcham of LOVE FROM LANCASTER COUNTY is asking WJTL listeners to donate new undergarments and socks for adults and children and new toys to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. LOVE FROM LANCASTER COUNTY is working with a church in Staten Island, NY to help families who lost everything in the flooding. New items are being received at 348 Hollow View, Manheim, PA. You can also FACEBOOK – LOVE FROM LANCASTER COUNTY for more info. You can also email Joell – firstname.lastname@example.org, for more info. You can also listen to Joell’s interview at the WJTLCasts page.
JOHN SHIRK – From First Corinthians 13, verses 4 through 7.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
This is the description of love that never fails. This is the highest form of love that sustains marriages, supports friendships, helps the hurting, and at times, wins over enemies. This is the kind of love that makes heroes out of ordinary people. Jesus is the ultimate source of this kind of love, so these descriptions of love are true of Jesus too. Jesus is patient. Jesus is kind. Jesus never fails.
The implication of this kind of love is that God wants us to develop this kind of love for others. Ephesians 5:1 says, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Imitating the love of Jesus is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.