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.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the message of the cross.
The good news of Jesus speaks of His coming to the earth, His death on a cross, His resurrection from the dead, and His promise to return.
These are vital elements of the Gospel that deserve our full attention for real and lasting hope.
First Corinthians 1:18 underscores the different reactions to the message of the cross. The Apostle Paul said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
Death is hard to think about, especially when it involves suffering. But Jesus was willing to face death, even though He did not deserve death. Why did He do this? There was an important reason for Jesus going to the cross. His death satisfied the wrath of God against sin, and expressed the love of the Father toward sinners. This is amazing grace that forgives the sins of those who embrace the message of the cross. This is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
The message of the cross is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on power of the Gospel to change us.
In reality, the good news of Jesus Christ changes lives in many ways. Four changes are found in Romans 1:16 and 17. The Apostle Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last; just as it is written, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’
One of the ways the gospel changes us is by saving our soul. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
A second way that the gospel changes us is by making us right with God. Christians are not perfect, but we are forgiven and restored.
A third way the gospel changes us is by giving us a valuable advocate. Jesus has proven through the cross and empty grave that He is our worthy Savior, mighty God, and a faithful friend to the end.
A fourth way that the gospel changes us is by giving us enthusiasm to live the Christian life and publicly proclaim Jesus as Lord.
The power of the Gospel to change us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the intercession of Jesus on our behalf.
Hebrews 7 talks about the competence of Jesus to help us in our weaknesses. Verse 7:25 says, “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our needs-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.”
The Bible goes on to say that Jesus sacrificed for the sins of the people once for all when he offered himself.
Jesus is the perfect solution for flawed humanity. He helped Simon Peter get beyond his denials of Christ. He said to Peter, “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
That is how Jesus intercedes for us when we fall short of His glory. He prays for us. He encourages us to return to Him after we have failed to stand up for Him. His forgiveness is available. His restoration is complete. He can revive our courage to a place where our witness motivates others to love God with all their strength.
The intercession of Jesus on our behalf is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the attractive qualities of love.
Valentine’s Day is often associated with candy, flowers, and romantic dinners. These celebrations of Valentines Day have value in expressing heartfelt love in the marriage relationship. However, for love to thrive for the long haul, we need more than gifts and romance.
The Bible reveals how marriages can thrive for life, churches can thrive in unity, and families and friendships can thrive with joy.
This is the nature of love, according to First Corinthians 13:4 to 7- Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
The attractive qualities of love are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the prize of a champion.
The Apostle Paul occasionally referred to the ancient Olympic games and compared them to the Christian life.
He said in First Corinthians 9:25, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Just as an Olympic athlete competes to the best of their ability for the gold medal, so the Apostle Paul is saying that he wanted to serve Jesus in a way that represented His great name. Such a mission has meaningful purpose, with eternal impact.
The crowning honor of an Olympic athlete is to stand at the platform, with the gold medal, representing their country while their national anthem plays. The crowning honor of Christ’s followers is to hear our Master say “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That is the applause of heaven in response to our faithful service for the glory of our King.
The prize of God’s applause is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the blessing of a new day.
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Each day is a gift of God, and provides an opportunity for us to give thanks to God for the life we have in a particular day. While there are reasons to celebrate the opportunities of this day and every day, this passage is referring to a new thing that God was doing to bring hope to the world. Jesus would appear to the world and offer the gift of eternal life to those who would receive Him.
The surrounding verses are applied to Jesus in the New Testament.
Verse 22 talks about the stone that the builders rejected, which has become the capstone. This refers to Jesus in the New Testament.
Verse 23 says that the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Jesus came on a divine mission to express God’s love.
Verse 25 says, “O LORD, save us, O LORD, grant us success.” Jesus is our answer to this prayer from an earnest heart.
A light has dawned, bringing new life and fresh hope for a bright future. His name is Jesus.
The blessing of a new day is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the beauty of a snowflake.
The design of a single snowflake is unique from all other snowflakes. In a similar way, God has made each of us with unique features. There is only one of you, which reflects God’s creativity in designing you as a distinct personality. In pondering the way God knew him personally, David said in Psalm 139, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well.”
Another dimension of snow in the Bible is how it is compared to purity. The mercy of God toward his people purifies His people from the guilt of sin. In Psalm 51:7, as David was confessing his sin of adultery and murder, referred to snow with this statement, “Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”
The beauty of a snowflake reminds us of the unique way that God has created us, and the refreshing way that God cleanses us. Because of God’s powerful love, our formation and spiritual transformation are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.