JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the conversion of the Apostle Paul.
Before knowing Christ, Paul had reasons to put confidence in his flesh. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. This was a man who had religion, but no relationship with Jesus. Then he met Jesus on the way to Damascus, and Paul was changed forever.
He says in Philippians 3:7, “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”
Paul might have lost confidence in his own credentials, but he gained a relationship with Jesus through faith, and that relationship became his greatest treasure, highest ambition, and source of confidence. From that point on, his boast would be in the Lord.
The conversion of Paul shows us that with Christ’s help, people can change. His conversion is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “what are some Biblical guidelines for choosing a career path?”
One of the most significant guidelines that we find in the Bible regarding future endeavors is to trust in God and seek His will. Praying about our future prepares the way for God to direct our path.
Proverbs 3: 5 and 6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Psalm 37:4 to 6 is another Bible reference that shapes our future according to God’s will. “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
What do you like to do? Where are your gifted? What kind of training is needed to be qualified? Is it possible to glorify God in such-and-such a profession? These are some questions to consider when choosing a career path. They can be helpful as we seek God’s guidance for future job opportunities in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the meaning of Jehovah Shalom?”
This name for God appears in the King James Version of the Bible in Judges 6:24. “Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD and called it Jehovah Shalom.” The New International Version describes the name of the altar as “The LORD is Peace.”
Gideon had just realized that he had seen the angel of the LORD, and it appears that he became fearful of death as a result. But the voice of the LORD broke through with reassurance. He said to Gideon, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die!”
These are common messages for God’s servants found in the Bible. “Peace be with you” and “Do not be afraid.”
With Jesus as our Prince of Peace, we can have fellowship with God and freedom from the fear of judgment leading to death in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the meaning of Jehovah Jireh?”
This name for God appears on Mount Moriah as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar. Just in time, the angel of the LORD intervened, drawing Abraham’s attention to a ram in a thicket caught by its horns. Isaac’s life was spared.
According to Genesis 22:14, Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide.” The King James Version tells us that Abraham called the name of the place “Jehovah Jireh”.
The ram can be seen as a foreshadow of Jesus. Just as the ram became the substitute sacrifice for Isaac, Jesus became the substitute sacrifice for us. He took our place by absorbing the punishment of our sin on the cross. As a result, we are set free by the shedding of His blood for our sins.
God has provided a precious gift for us in the form of Jesus, and by faith, we can accept His provision for eternal life in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK-Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the meaning of “El Shaddai?”
This reference to God first appears in Genesis 17:1, where the LORD identifies Himself to Abram this way: “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.”
This refers to the might and self-sufficiency of God’s character. This name for God also refers to Him as our source of blessing. “El Shaddai” was how God revealed Himself to Abram when he was 99 years old. In that conversation, God assured Abram that He would fulfill His promise to him and greatly increase his number through his descendants.
Michael Card wrote a song called “El Shaddai” which became widely known through the recording by Amy Grant. Some of the lyrics say, “Through your love and through the ram, You saved the son of Abraham. Through the power of Your hand, turned the sea into dry land.”
The implication of El Shaddai is that God is completely sufficient and totally competent to do what He says He will do. He is our Provider and Sustainer, and because of that, we can trust His Word in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is broken circumstances.
How might God use our broken circumstances to bring us to the point of faith?
Consider the example of the prodigal son in Luke 15. He squandered his wealth on wild living. For a season, he feasted on what he wanted. But it was just for a season. Then, it was gone. And he was left with an empty stomach, an empty wallet, and an empty soul. He was broken, and humbled. That is what broken circumstances will do in our lives. They will humble us. This brings us to a critical crossroads: whether to give up, try to dig out ourselves, or reach out for help.
The prodigal son came to his senses with this thought, “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him, ‘I am no longer worthy to be called your son, make me like one of your hired men.’” So he got up and went to his father. His father’s response? He was filled with compassion for his son. He ran to him and kissed him.
God welcomes us when we return to the place where we belong-His arms of grace.
The broken circumstances of our lives become opportunities for us to recognize our need for Jesus and are reasons to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What does it mean when Jesus said to Paul, ‘It is hard for you to kick against the goads?’”
The phrase “kicking against the goads” was a common expression in Bible times, referring to the practice of farmers goading their oxen in the fields.
A goad is defined as a spiked stick used for driving cattle or oxen.
According to Chuck Swindoll, there were occasions when an ox would kick at the goad. When this happened, the goad would stab into the flesh of its leg and cause greater pain.
What Jesus was saying to Paul before his conversion was that by resisting Jesus, Paul was only hurting himself.
The Holy Spirit says in Hebrews 3:7, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
After that encounter, Paul stopped resisting Jesus and started to serve Him. His hardened heart against Christ was made tender as he received God’s love. The message that Jesus had for Paul urges us to be responsive to His promptings in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason To Believe is spiritual gifts.
Believers in Christ receive spiritual gifts from God. These are opportunities of service to glorify God. He is working through spiritual gifts among His followers to build the church and spread the Gospel throughout the world.
God gives us spiritual gifts to exercise them, not to stuff them into a dark corner where no one can see them.
First Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
The exercise of our spiritual gifts glorifies God and is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the wisdom of the Ten Commandments.
One of the reasons we have traffic patterns is because of traffic laws. If all motorists completely threw the rules of the road out the window, there would be a breakdown of order.
When the Israelites neglected the Ten Commandments, the nation began to decline. We see this in Hosea 4:1 and 2, where the prophet described their moral vacuum this way: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away.” The breaking of God’s commands was symptomatic of a society that pushed God away from them.
The Ten Commandments are built on the law of love. Jesus is the fullest expression of love. Following Jesus will move us to honor God’s commands and to share His love with others.
The wisdom of the Ten Commandments is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “How did Jesus define greatness?”
An argument developed among Jesus’ disciples on the question, “Who was the greatest?”
Whenever people start asking this kind of question, either privately or out in the open, you can anticipate arguing and dissension to follow.
Jesus used this argument as a teachable moment. He said to them in Mark 9:35, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last and the servant of all.”
Jesus defined greatness in terms of serving others. He encourages us to think in terms of giving, generosity, sacrifice, and love. Jesus is the greatest of all, and He set an example of service and sacrifice for us to follow. He said in Matthew 9:26, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
According to Jesus, service is the pathway to greatness in the Year of Exploration.