JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the significance of Pentecost.
In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came in power at the time of a Jewish Feast, which commemorated when God spoke to Moses and gave the Ten Commandments to the Hebrews.
The Feast of Weeks also happened at the beginning of an agricultural season. One of the practices of this feast is to bring the firstfruits to God, as an acknowledgment of God’s gracious hand.
Just as the Feast of Weeks was a turning point for the Jews to receive the law, Pentecost became a turning point for the church to receive the Holy Spirit. The result was new life and the power that believers would need to be witnesses for Jesus. 3,000 people responded to Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost and experienced new life in Christ.
The significance of Pentecost is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on a life directed by God.
One of the questions that graduates face is “what will I do with the rest of my life?” This is a significant question. The answer may depend on another question. “Who will lead us?”
Proverbs 3:5 and 6 are key passages that reveal how our lives can be directed by the wisdom of God’s plan.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” The next verse is also important for having a mindset that is ready to respond to the counsel of God.
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.”
For moral decisions, there is clarity available in the commandments of God.
For career decisions, there is guidance available in the hand of God.
For decisions that build relationships, there is help available in the love of God.
Having our paths directed by God is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – One of the benefits of living in this moment of human history is that we can look back at the Bible characters of the past who were faithful to the Lord and be motivated by their witness. This week, we examine some of faith’s heroes in Hebrews 11.
Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the faith of Abraham.
Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
It was the voice of the LORD that was calling Abraham out of his comfort zone to unknown territory. One of the reassuring promises that God gave Abraham was, “I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” God delivered on His promises to Abraham.
Faith does not normally see the big picture of God’s plans, but is willing to trust God step by step, because we believe that moving forward into the unknown with God is better than staying in our comfort zone without Him.
When someone obeys God’s calling, that is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on what happens in the Year of the Lord’s favor
Isaiah 61 contains words that would eventually be fulfilled by Jesus. The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.
When Jesus came to earth, He fulfilled these words. This is where Jesus stopped when He read the scroll from Isaiah. During His earthly ministry, we learn that Jesus healed the sick, encouraged the brokenhearted, and preached the Gospel. He drew crowds with His miracles, and gained enemies by claiming to be God’s Anointed One. In the favor of the LORD, we find the light of hope, the source of healing, and the freedom of forgiveness.
The favor of the LORD is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on good and perfect gifts.
James 1:17 tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Here we see that God is the giver of all good gifts. Some of those gifts might be tangible things. First Timothy 6 tells us that God is the One who provides us with everything for our enjoyment. But this blessing comes with a caution for us not to put our hope in wealth, but rather to put our hope in God. Love the Giver more than the gift.
Some of the good gifts provided by God might be resources that we need to survive. Acts 14:17 says, “He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” This, too is a blessing from God and a reason to give thanks.
Some of His gifts are perfect. Jesus is the perfect remedy for our sin. God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son. The Holy Spirit is the perfect power source for living the Christian life. Jesus said in Luke 11, “how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
Every good and perfect gift from God is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the opportunities to join joyful occasions.
When you think of joyful occasions, what are some situations that come to your mind? It is likely that when a joyful occasion comes to our mind, that we will picture several people being there to enjoy the festivities.
Entering into someone else’s joy is expressing sincere friendship just like having the compassion to enter someone else’s pain. Romans 12:15 urges us to rejoice with those who rejoice.
In Luke 15, Jesus told three stories of something or someone who was lost and then was found. In each story, the person who found the object or person who had been lost, wanted someone to celebrate with. Who do they call? Friends, neighbors, and family members.
It’s the people closest to us with whom we want to celebrate. This is something to consider when we receive invitations to weddings, baptisms, award ceremonies, graduations, or anniversary celebrations. We may not always be able to attend every celebration, but receiving such an invitation means that someone wants us to join in their celebration, and we have an opportunity to express our joy in their joy.
The opportunity to join joyful occasions is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the compassionate expression of a sensitive heart.
Romans 12:15 urges us to mourn with those who mourn.
There is a wise saying that cautions us from singing songs to a heavy heart. When someone hears sobering news from the doctor, or is grieving the loss of a loved one, it is not just a typical day for them. God calls us to be compassionate and sensitive to others who find themselves in vulnerable places. God calls us to take the time to enter their world of pain, to walk with them, and be sympathetic in the midst of their tears. This show of support may look different in various situations. One person may need a listening ear. Another person may have practical needs where we can serve them. Another person might need a shoulder to cry on. The expression of compassion to a troubled soul takes our time, attention, and concern. In this way, we can represent Jesus in difficult places and offer hope and a godly perspective.
The compassionate expression of a sensitive heart is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the influence of a Christian mother.
The Apostle Paul wrote to a young pastor named Timothy by saying, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded now lives in you also.”
Here were some faithful women who were witnesses of the Gospel to their offspring. Timothy embraced the same faith of his mother, and that faith that lived in Timothy became stronger and bolder with the encouragement of Paul the Apostle, who was his mentor.
Proverbs 31:30 says that charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
The influence of a Christian mother is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the greatness of God.
These are the words of Psalm 145, starting at verse 3.
“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”
Here is one way we can apply this portion of Scripture into our lives today. Think of some great deed that God has done such as the creation of the world or His redemptive work of sending Jesus into the world. Then, tell someone about it, and what it means to us.
The Greatness of God is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the fruitful outcome of abiding in Christ.
Jesus said to His disciples in John 15:5, “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.”
We are called to a relationship with Christ. Relationships flourish where there is love, faithfulness, honesty, and open communication. This is how our witness for Christ can thrive today. We know from the Bible that Jesus loves the people in the world; that He is faithful; that He is the truth; and that He speaks openly and freely about the will of God. On trial, Jesus said, “I have spoken openly to the world.” As we respond to His voice, we get to know Jesus more and more. We learn to love Him more and more. We are also transformed into the likeness of His character more and more. A faithful relationship to Jesus leads to a fruitful witness for Jesus in a world that desperately needs Jesus.
In John 15:8, Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
The fruitful outcome of abiding in Christ is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.