JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Trust, today’s Focus on God examines His creation of the stars.
According to Isaiah 40, verse 26, the Holy One invites us to probe and ponder this thought: “Lift your eyes to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”
Astronomers estimate that there are at least 100 billion stars in our galaxy alone. The world population clock estimates close to 7.5 billion people living on the earth right now. So, if God can keep track of all the stars He has made, it stands to reason that He won’t lose track of the people He has made either. The point being made in Isaiah 40 is that God is our Creator. He will not grow weary or tired. No one can fathom His understanding. He holds the universe and the world in His hands. He will not let go of those who are captured in the grip of His grace.
God’s creation of the stars 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 power as a miracle worker.
According to Psalm 77:14, God is a miracle-worker. “You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.”
The Christian faith is built on miracles, such as the Creation of the world, the virgin birth of Jesus, the miracle of His love demonstrated at the cross, and the raising of Jesus from the dead three days later.
There is another miracle worth noting-the miracle of God’s love to draw someone to faith in Jesus and to change a heart. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!”
God’s power as a miracle worker is a reason to trust in God for today and forever.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Promise of Hope is based on Hebrews 13:8.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
This is a comforting verse for the follower of Christ, because it means that the name of Jesus is always superior to all other names, the throne of Jesus will never be upended, and the love of Jesus will never run dry. His truth is not bending to the changing values of the culture. His character does not change with the passage of time because there is no need for growth or improvement. Jesus is Lord, and that fact will never change. The sacrifice He made for our sins 2,000 years ago still has the power to forgive sins and transform our lives.
He is the constant source of help for His people. We find evidence of that in the preceding verses. In verse 5, God said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
The constant presence 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 faithfulness as a Promise-keeper.
According to Second Corinthians 1:20, “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
A consistent promise keeper is faithful, having the goodness to follow through with stated intentions, and having the strength to make it happen, despite facing opposition that wants to thwart those purposes. Because these are the qualities of God, His promises are trustworthy and true.
Before Joshua died, he said to the Israelites, “Not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed.”
God’s faithfulness as a promise keeper is a reason to trust in God for today and forever.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the day of Christ’s birth.
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Every day is a gift for us to celebrate. But there is a particular day that is especially worth noting as a day of celebration.
The surrounding verses include references to Christ. Verse 22 talks about the stone that the builders rejected becoming the capstone. The Apostle Peter applied this verse to Jesus in his writings. And verse 26 was applied to Christ at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.”
The coming of Christ into the world is a day to celebrate and is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “Why is the virgin birth of Jesus so important?”
In the Old Testament, Isaiah prophesied that the virgin would be with child, and in Matthew chapter 1, that prophecy became reality at the birth of Jesus.
First, the virgin birth is significant because it is a miracle. Jesus was not born by ordinary means. His birth was the result of Divine Intervention.
Secondly, the virgin birth is significant because it highlights the fact that Jesus was not born with a sinful nature. The angel said to Mary “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
This fact set Jesus apart from every other human being. He knew what it was like to be human, but He did not sin. This made Him a worthy sacrifice for our sins when He went to the cross.
The virgin birth reveals Jesus to be the Son of God and the Savior of the world in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the true meaning of Christmas?”
There are many possible influences that can take our attention away from the true meaning. Too much activity can lead to stress during the holiday season. Too much shopping can lead us to debt after the holiday season.
The true meaning of Christmas is marked by a special, sacred gift that came from heaven to earth about 2,000 years ago-a child born in a manger who was born to save God’s people from their sins.
The true meaning of Christmas can be found in the proclamation of the angel to the shepherds when Jesus was born. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
This focus point will make our celebration of Christmas meaningful during this holiday season in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the Incarnation.
This is a term that means “the act of being made flesh.” This term applies to Jesus in the sense that He came from heaven to become a man. The Incarnation of Christ refers to His humanity. At the same time, Jesus retained His deity in human form.
Speaking of Jesus, John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The meaning of the Incarnation to our lives is that God has come near to where we are. We know He can identify with the experience of being human, because He shared those experiences with us, except that He never sinned. He experienced hunger, pain, sorrow, anger, anguish, and joy. He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.
Josh McDowell says, “The Incarnation is Jesus’ way of saying, ‘I understand.’”
The Incarnation is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “How can I celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way this year?”
The noise, shopping lists, and busy schedules can cause us to lose the joy during the Holiday season. Here are some words to add meaning to our celebration of Christ’s birth.
The most important action word is to “Receive” the gift that God has offered. Jesus is God’s greatest gift to the world. Being receptive to this gift makes all the difference in having a meaningful celebration.
Another word to bring focus into the Holiday season is “Remember.” Take time to read about Christ’s birth in the Bible. Reflect on why Jesus came, and the miracle of His love.
The third word is “Recognize.” This involves coming to terms with the worth of Jesus’ birth. Ephesians 1:7 says about Jesus, “In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
If we receive, remember and recognize God’s greatest gift, our hearts will be filled with praise for God who provided what we need most in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the relevance of the Gospel for every generation.
There is no generation in history, present, or future that can say they do not need the Lord. Jesus is the worthy Savior who came for all people in all generations of history. This is why we have the calling to pass along the Gospel to the next generation-to make His salvation known to future generations. His righteousness is what we all need, and His righteousness is applied to those who trust Jesus for salvation.
Psalm 22, verse 30b and 31 says, “Future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!”
Methods of presenting the Gospel may change over time, but the actual message remains the same, and is changing lives daily from the inside out.
The relevance of the Gospel for every generation is a reason to believe in God’s good news.