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John Shirk

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Freedom Phrase-Righteous Pathways

john : May 17, 2019 6:20 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Psalm 23:3b.

With the LORD as my Shepherd, “He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

In John chapter 10, when Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd, He said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”

Jesus knows how to guide His people in the right direction. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age. Jesus will not tempt us to do what is wrong, but He will move us to do what is right for the glory of God.

Through Jesus, we are set free to walk on the righteous pathways where God leads us. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Freedom Phrase-Green Pastures and Quiet Waters

john : May 15, 2019 5:32 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Psalm 23:2.

With the LORD as my shepherd, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.”

In a relationship with God, we can rest in His grace. His love will be our source of peace and confidence. In a works-oriented religion, a person tries to earn the favor of God with good deeds, but with that mindset, there is never any true security that we have done enough to please our Maker. When we see God’s love through the cross, we see His grace as a gift to be received by faith, not a paycheck to earn by our good deeds.  

Our yearning for peace with God is satisfied in Christ, and our thirst for righteousness is satisfied by the gentle flow of His grace.   

Through Jesus, we are set free to enjoy God’s rest and refreshment.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Poor In Spirit

john : May 13, 2019 6:39 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Matthew 5:3.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus is talking about the blessing of being humble before God. A person who is proud does not recognize their need for God’s grace. But with humility, we see a clearer picture of who God is, who we are, and how much we need Him.

When David confessed his sin in Psalm 51, he said, “A broken and contrite heart, you, God, will not despise.”

The Kingdom of heaven will be filled with people who have turned to God in their brokenness.

The words of Jesus inspire us to be humble before God in the Year of Redemption. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Freedom Phrase-Godly Contentment

john : May 10, 2019 4:43 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

John Shirk – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on First Timothy 6:6.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Materialism is not just a spiritual battle in our culture today. It was a struggle in the early church too. Paul the Apostle pointed out that “some people, eager for money, wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Then he turned to Timothy and said, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”

It will be much harder to say “No” to something that is bad for us unless we say “Yes” to something that is good for us. The pursuit of godliness helps us to overcome an unhealthy attachment for material things. We will learn to find our ultimate joy in knowing Jesus and developing the qualities of His character.

Through Jesus, we are set free from materialism to enjoy godly contentment.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Jesus, The Living One

john : May 1, 2019 5:37 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation 1:18.

Jesus said to the Apostle John,  “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

The resurrection of Jesus means that His followers live by faith in a Risen Savior, NOT a dead Christ.

His resurrection means that we can live in relationship with Him today. His word is living and active to guide us in the truth of God’s plan. He is alive and available to hear our prayers.

His resurrection also means that our faith overflows with hope, because Jesus has released His followers from the power of death and hell.

The words of Jesus inspire us to celebrate the miracle of the resurrection in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Freedom Phrase-Instruments of Righteousness

john : April 30, 2019 5:17 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Romans 6:13.

“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.”

By putting our lives in the hands of God, we will become like a useful instrument that expresses praise for God and faith in God. In light of what Jesus did for us at the cross, we can respond to His grace with a grateful heart and offer ourselves to God for His holy purposes. If the church is like an orchestra, then Jesus is the conductor, and each follower has a part to play in God’s musical masterpiece. So, let’s keep our focus on Jesus and take our cues from Him.

Through Jesus, we are set free to offer ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Jesus, the Promised One

john : April 26, 2019 5:28 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Luke 24:44.

Jesus said to His disciples after He rose from the dead, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

Jesus would have had a lot of material available to explain how He was the Messiah to the disciples. There are hundreds of prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament, which is one of the reasons that the Old Testament is so significant for followers of Jesus.

Micah and Isaiah predicted Jesus’ birth. 

Isaiah and David predicted Jesus’ death on a cross. 

And the resurrection of Jesus was mentioned in the Psalms. 

The words of Jesus inspire us to believe in Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promises in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Freedom Phrase-Serving Others

john : April 25, 2019 6:23 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Luke 9:16 and 17.

One of Jesus’ miracles involved the feeding of the five thousand from a small amount of food. Good things can happen when we offer to Jesus something that seems small and insignificant to us.

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”

Notice, that Jesus included the disciples in the distribution of the food. In much the same way today, Jesus has abundant grace to pour out on people in need, and works through His followers to reach them.

Through Jesus, we are set free to serve others in ways that meet their needs.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Freedom Phrase-Think About Such Things

john : April 24, 2019 5:54 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Philippians 4:8 and 9.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-thing about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Sometimes, we can be disturbed by our thought patterns. Fear and anxiety paralyze us from moving forward in God’s will. Self-righteousness keeps us from loving people. Complaining thought patterns keep us from the joy of thanksgiving. But if we fix our thoughts on Jesus, a new way of thinking will emerge that focuses on the virtuous qualities of the Bible.

Through Jesus, we are set free to focus our thoughts on Jesus and experience His peace.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letters-It Is Finished

john : April 22, 2019 4:58 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in John 19:30.

From the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

This was not an admission of defeat. It was a statement declaring that His mission was successfully accomplished. The Scripture foretelling the death of Jesus was fulfilled. The price has been paid for our redemption. 

The crucifixion of Jesus is the most vivid example of how God can overcome evil with good. His death was not wasted. His death was the pathway to the resurrection and our lifeline to true and lasting freedom.

The words of Jesus inspire us to embrace the message of the cross as the power of God in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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