JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on Jesus as the Bread Of Life.
After feeding 5,000 people, starting with five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus taught a lesson of faith about spiritual bread.
He said in John 6:35: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Jesus was inviting us to come to Him for a type of nourishment that physical food could not provide. Blaise Pascal has said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus.
There are many different things that people seek to fill this vacuum. Some people seek satisfaction in money, fame, or pleasure. These are shallow substitutes for the long haul. Seeking Christ opens the way for us to live in relationship with God, and to experience His love and righteousness. In this way, we can have a fulfilling and thriving relationship with God that lasts forever.
The Bread of Life that Jesus offers us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the living water that Jesus offers us.
Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Water is essential for us to live. Physical water refreshes us for a period of time, but then we need to have more to sustain us. Going three days without water puts a person’s life at risk. The water that Jesus offers is enough to satisfy our soul forever.
Today, Jesus gives us the opportunity to drink from the fountain of His grace. This grace is a gift from God. It’s not something that we earn or buy with money. His grace is a gift that we receive by trusting in Jesus for salvation.
Psalm 34:8 invites us to taste and see that the LORD is good. This becomes a reality when we embrace God’s grace.
The Living Water that Jesus offers us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the freedom and healing of the righteous.
In Malachi, chapter 4, we find a description of a day that is coming when the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. In Verse 2, the LORD says, “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.”
The reference to healing in this passage indicates that God’s people will experience wounds in this life. Some of those wounds surface in the form of physical pain. Others may take the form of emotional scars. Other wounds may result from persecution because of our faith in the Lord. On the day of the LORD, there will be healing for those who live with reverence for His name. The scars will be removed. There will be nothing fearful to give us nightmares. Painful memories will no longer make us sad.
The reference to freedom in this passage indicates that the righteous will experience liberty to worship God without interference. No one will be able to censor our testimony, or our expressions of love for God. Our faith will be unchained. It will be like a refreshing day of spring after a paralyzing, snow-covered winter.
The freedom and healing for the righteous on the day of the LORD is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the meaning of “Ebenezer.”
We often hear that word during the Christmas season related to the Charles Dicken’s novel, “Ebenezer Scrooge.”
However, Ebenezer is also found in the Bible in the book of First Samuel. In their distress, the Israelites gathered together to fast and confess their sins to God. When Israel’s enemies, the Philistines, heard that they were gathered together, they set out to attack them. The Israelites pleaded for Samuel to cry out to God on their behalf.
The LORD heard Samuel’s petition and thundered against the Philistines and routed them before the Israelites.
That is when Samuel set up a stone and named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the LORD helped us.” Through life’s storms, challenges, and conflicts, Ebenezer is a term that helps us to remember where our source of help comes from. According to Psalm 121, “my help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
God’s help in times of distress is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the purpose of life and the promotion of heaven.
The Apostle Paul lived with this eternal perspective in Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Paul lived with the perspective that as long as he lived in his body, and as long as God gave him breath, his service for God would mean fruitful labor. He knew that the church would benefit from his ministry. Paul was committed to laboring for the Lord so that the church would make progress and experience joy in their faith.
Yet, internally, Paul was torn. His heart was where his treasure was. His treasure was Jesus. His longing was to be with Christ. He knew that death was a promotion into the presence of the Lord forever.
As we follow Jesus with a sincere heart, we also are likely to feel this type of internal struggle. That is a normal reaction for the person who loves Jesus in the midst of a world that loves sin. But with an eternal perspective, we acknowledge that God has placed us here on the earth “for such a time as this” to live for Christ and make Him known.
For the follower of Christ, our purpose in life and promotion to heaven is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the value of a true blue friend.
H. G. Bohn has said, “Friendships multiply joys and divide griefs.” There is something deeply meaningful when we celebrate special occasions with friends and loved ones. Perhaps this is why we tend to invite our circle of friends to our birthday parties and wedding ceremonies. We are also comforted by the support of friends in our low moments, when we have lost a loved one or if we have lost our job unexpectedly. Friends may not have the solutions to take away our pain, but they do offer us love and encouragement, which we really need when we find ourselves in a tough place.
The Bible reveals the value of a true blue friend this way:
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Jesus is the ultimate expression of a true blue friend. He told His followers, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” The next day, Jesus laid down His life for His friends.
The value of a true blue friend is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the joy of listening to Jesus.
Mary and Martha were sisters who both loved Jesus. When He came to their house, they went into very different modes. Mary went into listening mode. Martha went into work mode.
Mary was sitting at the Lord’s feet, listening to what He said. Her heart was open to what Jesus had said to her. Meanwhile, Martha was caught up in household chores: cleaning, sweeping, getting dinner ready, that sort of thing. The Bible says she was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She starts to resent the fact that Mary is not helping her. She says to Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Then comes Jesus’ gentle rebuke, which expresses His love for Martha and at the same time, His stamp of approval for Mary’s responsiveness to His words. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Mary serves as an example for us to take time to enjoy our relationship with Jesus. Spend quality time with Him. Cherish His every word, and follow what He says to us.
The joy of listening to Jesus is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the lasting legacy of enduring faith.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
When we come to faith in Jesus, God gives us a mission to carry out while we live on the earth. Each of us has a race to run in the honor of our king. While we run the race of faith, God will give us opportunities to spread the aroma of His love in our acts of service, gracious words, and godly example. Other people will be transformed by the power of the Gospel as a result of our faithful witness, and their testimony will have impact on people’s lives with whom we had no personal contact. Yet, the Lord will use our witness for Christ indirectly to reach people we have never met.
Family trees often mark the line of ancestors from one generation to another. When God’s people gather in heaven, it will be interesting to study the spiritual family tree and see whose faith in the 1700’s might have led to the conversion of someone in the 21st century, because of their enduring faith in Jesus. The impact of our work on the earth is not completed at the end of our lives. It continues until the return of Jesus Christ.
The lasting legacy of an enduring faith is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on a family reunion in the Old Testament.
Joseph was estranged from his brothers. When Joseph was a teenager, his brothers hated him to the point that they were willing to sell him to foreign merchants. They received money in the process of getting rid of him.
Little did they know that many years later, Joseph would be the one man who had the power of whether they would live or die. A famine had covered the land. Joseph was in a place of leadership in Egypt to manage the food supplies that were stored away for such a time as the drought. Joseph’s brothers were dependent on Joseph to feed them.
Through our sin and mistreatment of Jesus, we were the reason that Jesus went to the cross. He did this willingly to demonstrate His mercy for unworthy sinners. He returned our contempt with His forgiveness. In this way, Joseph’s story is an example of how God can turn what is meant for evil with good.
Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”
When God’s love heals fractured relationships, that is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on a praise report from two missionaries.
Sometimes, missionaries come back to the church from where they were sent to report on what God has done through their outreach. This also happened in the Bible.
Acts 14 traces the missionary adventures of Paul and Barnabas as they went to different communities to share the hope of the Gospel. Eventually, they went back to Antioch, their launching point.
According to Acts 14:26, on arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
When missionaries return to share their stories, the church has the opportunity to join in on the celebration of what God is doing. Sometimes, we might wonder what kind of impact our financial gifts or prayers, or letters of encouragement to missionaries is really accomplishing. Praise reports answer those questions and encourage the church to keep supporting the work of missions.
Praise reports from missionaries are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.