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John Shirk

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Freedom Phrase-Dimensions of God’s Love

john : July 10, 2019 6:00 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Ephesians 3, verses 17 through 19.

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

God’s love is wide, reaching out to the world with the invitation to put our trust in Jesus and be saved from our sins.

God’s love is long.  Psalm 118:1 says that His love endures forever.

God’s love is high, extending from earth to the heavens. Psalm 103:11 says, “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.”

And God’s love is deep, to the degree that Jesus took our place of punishment on a cross and shed His blood for our sins.

Through Jesus, we are set free to celebrate the dimensions of God’s love for us.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Freedom Phrase-Spiritual Fervor

john : July 9, 2019 5:53 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Romans 12:11.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

A relationship with God gives us meaningful purpose to do everything for His glory. By faith, we acknowledge the zealous love of Christ for us, and we respond in gratitude and worship. We are motivated to serve Him faithfully to draw attention to His goodness and glory.

God’s love is a genuine spark that can ignite enthusiasm into our faith. We are moved by the opportunities that God gives us to share the Gospel with the world for such a time as this.

Through Jesus, we are set free from complacency to serve the Lord with spiritual fervor.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Freedom Phrase-Peace With God

john : July 5, 2019 5:05 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Romans 5, verses 1 and 2a.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”

In the presence of violence and conflict, many of us crave peace. We want wars to end. We want crime to stop. We want the arguments and disagreements to disappear from our relationships. There are some types of conflict that we cannot control, but there is a pathway provided by Jesus that leads us to peace with God. That way is the good news of His grace, which we can receive as the ultimate gift.

He will be faithful to bring us into a peaceful relationship with God and to separate us from the guilt of our sins. There is no more war with God when our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus.

Through Jesus, we are set free to have peace with God forever.  

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Bring Them Here To Me

john : June 28, 2019 10:24 am : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Matthew 14:18.

Jesus said, “Bring them here to me.” 

He was referring to five loaves of bread and two fish that was available for a crowd of five thousand men, plus women and children.

The significance of this statement is magnified when we see what happened after the food was multiplied. There was enough food for the whole crowd, and everyone was satisfied. 

Jesus invites us to bring what we have to Him. He is able to do far more than we could ever ask or imagine with our offerings. 

The words of Jesus inspire us to offer what we have to Him and watch what He will do with it in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Freedom Phrase-Belonging in God’s Family

john : June 14, 2019 5:09 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on John 1, verses 11 and 12.

Speaking of Jesus, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

God’s grace invites us into God’s family. Faith is like walking through the door that has been opened for us. What does it mean to receive Jesus and believe in his name? The meaning of Jesus’ name is “The Lord saves.”  Joseph was told to name him Jesus because He would save His people from their sins. So, that is what it means to believe in His name–to trust Jesus to save us from our sins.  

His grace will cleanse us from our guilt and give us a place of acceptance where we are known as a child of God. 

Through Jesus, we are set free to believe in His name and belong to His family.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Saul’s Conversion to Christ

john : June 12, 2019 6:05 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Acts 9, verses 5 and 6.

Jesus appeared to Saul, who was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians. Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?”

Jesus replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

There are insights to gain here. If we mistreat God’s people, Jesus takes it personally. Persecuting Christians because of their faith is the same as persecuting Jesus. Another insight is that Jesus is willing to forgive us and has the power to change our hearts. For Saul, hatred and legalism were replaced by love and grace. The third insight is that God has a plan for our lives, and when the time is right, He will reveal that plan to us.

The words of Jesus inspire us to answer His call with a willing heart in the Year of Redemption. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-God and Wealth

john : June 11, 2019 6:30 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Matthew 19:23 and 24.

Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

The lure of wealth can be lethal to our souls. Having wealth is not the problem. Loving our wealth becomes the problem. The rich young ruler turned away from Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, because his wealth had become an idol. First Timothy 6:17 offers wise counsel for the wealthy of this world. Here’s a paraphrase: Don’t be arrogant or put hope in wealth. Put your hope in God. Do good. Be rich in good deeds, and be generous and willing to share. Then you will have treasure for a firm foundation in the future.

The words of Jesus inspire us to love God more than our wealth in the Year of Redemption. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-No More Of This

john : May 29, 2019 3:49 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Luke 22:51.

Jesus said to Peter, “No more of this.” Then, He touched a man’s ear and healed him.

Peter had just drawn the sword and used it on the servant of the high priest. That was when Jesus stepped into say, “No more of this”-meaning, No more violence. He was telling Peter to put away his sword. 

Earlier, Jesus told the disciples to take two swords, but clearly, it was not for the purpose of preventing His arrest. Jesus told Pilate at His trial, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

The words of Jesus inspire us to use peaceful means in our defense of the Gospel in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Cure for Our Sinful Condition

john : May 23, 2019 5:48 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Luke 5:31.

Jesus was responding to a question from the Pharisees, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus spent time with people who had sinful reputations because He loved them. He sought to save them from their sins and change their eternal destiny from death to life. In reality, when He came to the world, He came to a situation where there was no one who always does right and never sins. That is the way the world is today too. That means, Jesus came for us in our sinful condition, not to condemn us, but to redeem us and be in relationship with us.

The words of Jesus inspire us to find the cure for our sinful condition in God’s amazing grace in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Great Commission

john : May 20, 2019 4:59 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Matthew 28, verses 18 to 20.

Just before ascending to heaven, Jesus said to His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This is known as the “Great Commission.” Jesus promises to be with us as we go in His name to produce more devoted followers of Jesus. Notice, the focus of this Commission is not just conversion. God does want us to give people the opportunity to come to faith in Christ. But that is not where it stops. Jesus also told His disciples to teach them to obey His words. That is the process of discipleship, which helps people to grow in their faith as they follow Jesus.

The words of Jesus inspire us to be part of the Great Commission in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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