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John Shirk

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Freedom Phrase-The Refreshment of God’s Word

john : November 8, 2019 4:32 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Isaiah 55, verses 10 and 11.

This is what the LORD says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 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.”

God likens the going and coming of His Word to the rain cycle. We can identify with that process. The rain falls, and then evaporates into the atmosphere, but not without nourishing the ground, causing the crops to flourish, and providing food for those who live on the earth.

The rain cycle is compared to the nourishment of God’s Word to make our faith flourish for God’s glory. Consider what might happen when we soak in the message of the Bible with a teachable heart.

Through Jesus, we are set free to taste the refreshment of God’s Word. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Finding True Treasure in God

john : November 7, 2019 5:57 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation chapter 3, verses 17 and 18.

This was the message sent to the church in Laodicea. 

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich, and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”

If Jesus is correcting us from a sinful attitude or sinful pattern, it is not because He is condemning us. It’s because He loves us. One of His priorities for our lives is pure devotion to Him. And He is willing to work with us to get rid of any toxic influence that is contaminating our relationship with Him. His rebuke is a wake-up call to be rich in faith, and not to rely on our material wealth.

The words of Jesus inspire us to open our eyes to the treasures of His grace in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Walking Through God’s Open Doors

john : November 6, 2019 6:21 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation 3:7.

Jesus had a message for the Church at Philadelphia.

“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

The church at Philadelphia was a faithful church to Jesus Christ.  One thing we learn through Jesus’ words here is that no one can shut the door on God’s opportunities. The curse of man cannot overrule the blessing of God. The strength of man cannot overpower God’s plans. If God is for us, who can be against us? Darkness retreats in the presence of light.

The words of Jesus inspire us to walk through the open doors of God’s opportunities in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-True Worship and Moral Purity

john : November 4, 2019 4:42 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation 2:19.

Jesus had a message for the church at **Thyatira.

“I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you:”

The church tolerated a woman who was misleading God’s servants into immorality. Jesus was giving time for the woman to repent of her ways, but she was unwilling.

Those who joined with her immorality and idolatry would suffer intensely unless they repented of her ways. For the rest of the church, Jesus encouraged them to hold on to what they had until He comes.

The words of Jesus inspire us to faithful worship and moral purity in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Faithfulness in Dark Places

john : November 1, 2019 5:36 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation 2, verse 13 a.

Jesus sent a message to the church at Pergamum: “I know where you live-where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me.”

This church was situated in a spiritually dark place. There were some influences of the culture infiltrating the church like immorality, idol worship, and false doctrine.  Not everyone in that church was compromising, but some were corrupted. In His love for the church, Jesus called for repentance, because He is looking for a purified church that remains true to His name.

The words of Jesus inspire us to live with pure devotion to Christ in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Be Faithful

john : October 30, 2019 4:28 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation 2:8.

Jesus had a message for the church at Smyrna:

“These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich!” 

This church faced adversity in the form of poverty and persecution. Yet, Jesus noticed the richness of their spiritual condition.  

Some of His words may not seem very comforting. He told the church that the devil would put some in prison and that they would suffer persecution. But Jesus was allowing them to identify with His sufferings along with His victory. He said, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” 

When we stand for a noble cause worth dying for, we have meaningful purpose for living.

The words of Jesus inspire us to overcome adversity with faithfulness in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-First Love

john : October 29, 2019 5:49 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation 2:5.

Jesus had a message for the church at Ephesus, who had forsaken their first love.

He said, “Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”

The Christian life is a journey of faith. Sometimes, we might lose that love we had at the beginning of our journey when we served God with enthusiasm.  Our faces were radiant whenever we thought about God. 

Jesus gives us hope that those days can return again. Remember the mountaintop where we encountered God and marveled at His grace, and return to those things that we were doing when we were in love with Jesus.

The words of Jesus inspire us to return to our first love in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Freedom Phrase-Boast In The Lord, not in ourselves

john : October 24, 2019 5:28 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on First Corinthians 1, verses 30 and 31.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Anyone with a true understanding of the Gospel knows that we have no reason to brag about how great we are. All the boasting goes to God who has been gracious in providing a Savior for us. 

Our redemption is the result of God’s graciousness toward us. His grace provides us with the opportunity to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, and to be saved from our sinful nature.  Every breath we take is an opportunity to praise Him.

Through Jesus, we are set free to boast in the saving grace provided by a generous God.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Freedom Phrase-Overcoming Temptation

john : October 17, 2019 3:20 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on First Corinthians 10, verses 12 and 13.

“If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

When it comes to temptation, it is wise to be on guard. If we think we are above being tempted in a certain area, that may be when we are most vulnerable. Peter insisted he would not deny Jesus three times, but was willing to die for Him.  His overconfidence kept him from recognizing his lack of courage for the Lord.

There is a strategy for overcoming temptation found in James 4:7. “Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

Through Jesus, we are set free to say “Yes” to God’s will and “No” to Satan’s temptations.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Wisdom from the Red Letters-Old and New Treasures

john : October 11, 2019 4:35 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Matthew 13:52.

Jesus said, “Every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

The teachers of God’s Word are called to share the whole counsel of God with their students. This includes the ancient writings of the Old Testament and the good news found in the New Testament.

Out of the “new” comes fresh insights to learn the Gospel. Out of the familiar comes reminders to help us remember what we already learned.

Having access to both the New and Old Testament helps us to see how both parts of the Bible work together to reveal our need for Jesus.

The words of Jesus inspire us to uphold the value of the Old and New Testaments to grow in our faith in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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