JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Promise of Hope is based on Exodus 33:14.
Being a leader of a group of people can be a lonely place, especially when facing a difficult decision. Moses led Israel through a desert experience, and sometimes, his own people rebelled against his leadership. Where would Moses turn for guidance?
One day he had a conversation with God. He prayed, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways, so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
The LORD replied to Moses’ prayer, saying, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
That is exactly what Moses needed to hear, and Jesus said something similar to us in Matthew 11:28. He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Rest for the soul is a promise of hope for those who follow Jesus in the Year of Trust.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Trust, today’s Focus on God examines His goodness.
According to Acts 10:38, with the Holy Spirit and power, Jesus was anointed to do good and heal all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
In his book, The Practice of Godliness, author Jerry Bridges noted that goodness involves deliberate deeds that are helpful to others. While the Bible uses the word “Good” to refer to what is upright, honorable, and noble concerning moral character, it also uses it to describe actions that are beneficial to others.
When we examine the life of Jesus, we see that His actions were upright and helpful to others. His good deeds flowed out of His good character. He came with the power to heal our brokenness, transform our hearts into His likeness, deliver us from evil, and save us from our sins.
The goodness of God is a reason to trust in God for today and forever.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Trust, today’s Focus on God examines His strength and love.
According to Psalm 62, David was impressed by these two specific characteristics of God.
He wrote in verses 11 and 12: “Two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord are loving.”
This is a combination of characteristics that gives weight to the evidence that we can trust God. He has the capacity to protect us from our strongest foes and has the compassion to meet us at our point of need. This is why we can celebrate with Paul the Apostle who said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” When we are aligned with Christ, we live with the confidence that we are more than conquerors in Christ, who loved us at the cross, and rose from the grave with His resurrection power.
The strength and love of God are two reasons to trust in God for today and forever.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Promise of Hope is based on Acts 1:11.
Jesus was taken up before the eyes of His disciples. After a cloud hid him from their sight, two men, dressed in white, stood beside them, saying, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
If the disciples had remained looking into the sky, they would have missed the opportunities that God had for them to be His witnesses. There is a time for looking up. When Jesus returns, He will appear from above. Looking up fills us with the hope of His return as we anticipate the redemption of our bodies.
But while we live on this earth, there is also a time for looking around to the people who need Jesus. This is the mission that God has for us. Then, go love and serve them in Jesus’ name so that they too will be ready to meet Jesus when He returns.
The return of Jesus is a promise of hope for those who follow Jesus in the Year of Trust.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Trust, today’s Focus on God examines His patience.
According to Second Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
The patience and compassion of God toward the ungodly are good reasons to explain why Jesus has not yet returned. Some day, He will return, and when that happens, the heavens will disappear with a roar and the elements will be destroyed by fire. The earth and everything in it will be laid bare. But in the meantime, God waits for people to stop running away from God and turn toward Him. He gives people time to repent and to be saved from the destruction that is coming.
God’s patience is a window of opportunity to seize this day to receive the grace that God freely offers us.
God’s patience reflects His graciousness and compassion and is a reason to trust in God for today and forever.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Trust, today’s Focus on God examines His love for the world.
According to John 3:16 and 17, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
The world is a big place with a population that rises above 7 billion people today. When Jesus came into the world, He was coming as the remedy for the deepest problem of each one of us. 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. Where sin is our greatest problem, Jesus is our ultimate solution because in His grace is the forgiveness and eternal life that He offers us. There may be shortages of other resources in the world today, but there is no shortage of God’s love. His grace is abundant to save whoever calls on the name of the Lord.
God’s love for the world is a reason to trust in God for today and forever.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Promise of Hope is based on John 15:8.
Jesus said to His disciples, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Jesus explained to them that their fruitfulness would depend on staying connected to Him. In verse 5, Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Flowing out of our relationship with Jesus will be spiritual fruit that makes a difference in God’s Kingdom for eternity. He invites us into the Great Commission of making and growing disciples for Christ. Without God, we can do nothing; but with God, the ordinary person becomes an extraordinary witness for Christ.
The evidence of spiritual fruit is a promise of hope for those who follow Jesus in the Year of Trust.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Trust, today’s Focus on God examines Jesus as our Great Physician.
According to the words of Jesus in Luke 5:31, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Then He said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Another way of saying that is that Jesus did not come for people who had their “act together”. He came for people who were messed up in sin and desperate for a Savior.
The truth is that no one is spiritually healthy apart from the saving grace of God. Romans 3:10 reminds us that “there is no one who is righteous, not even one.”
Our sin is a fatal disease. Jesus is our only hope for a cure. This is why He came to the world. This is why He went to banquets and spent time with sinners. Doctors can treat our physical ailments for a season, but Jesus is the only doctor who can take away our sin.
Knowing Jesus as our Great Physician is a reason to trust in God for today and forever.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Trust, today’s Focus on God examines His watchfulness.
According to Second Chronicles 16:9, “the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
His vision is vast and His vision is perceptive. He is keenly aware of those who are fully committed to Him. He is also able to discern our motives behind our actions. Where God sees authentic commitment, He provides encouragement for our faith to keep pressing on in dedication and service.
Through eyes of faith, His view of us matters, and makes a difference in our words, actions, and attitudes.
The watchfulness of God is a reason to trust in God for today and forever.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Promise of Hope is based on Matthew 5:9.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
When we serve as a peacemaker, we are reflecting the mission of Jesus, who came as a Mediator between God and mankind.
There are various forms of peacemaking that are valuable, such as conflict resolution, or being an influence to bring peace between nations. But the ultimate peacemaking mission is evangelism, where we serve as ambassadors for Christ, imploring people in this world to be reconciled to God. This is what Jesus calls His followers to do until the end of the age.
Being identified as a child of God is a promise of hope for those who follow Jesus in the Year of Trust.