JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the conversion of John Newton.
In the 1700’s, John Newton was moved by his relationship with Jesus to leave behind the slave trade and become an ordained minister of the Gospel.
His famous hymn and epitaph reflect the contrast of his life before knowing Christ and after his conversion.
The lyrics to his famous hymn begin this way: Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.
His epitaph reads: John Newton, Clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy.
Ephesians 2, verses 4 and 5 shows us how change is possible: “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-It is by grace you have been saved.”
The conversion of John Newton was a life-changing moment and is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “Why is it important to praise God?”
There is a close connection in the Scripture between praising God and giving thanks to Him.
In Luke 17, there were ten men healed of leprosy. One of them came back to Jesus, praising God in a loud voice. Then he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.
Praising God is a significant way to express our gratitude to Him for who He is and what He has done. Psalm 150, verse 2 tells us to praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praising God gives us the opportunity to give credit where credit is due. It’s the right response for a grateful heart.
Praising God is a joyful experience for us as we celebrate the goodness of God.
And praising God gives public testimony that gives others the opportunity to hear what His grace means to us, and how it is shaping our heart.
As the name of Jesus is lifted up, the hearts of people are moved to acknowledge Him as King and Lord in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is God’s control over the weather.
The disciples responded with awe and amazement when they realized that Jesus could settle a violent storm at the command of His word.
In Matthew chapter 8, they were in a boat when they encountered a furious storm. The waves swept over the boat, and the disciples feared that they would drown. They cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save us!” Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The disciples responded to the sudden change in the atmosphere with these words, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
This puts Jesus in a completely different category from everybody else. None of us can control the weather. It takes a Divine presence to guide the path of the thunderstorm or calm the raging sea. Jesus has that authority.
His command over the weather is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “Why do the nations rage?”
This question is raised in Psalm 2.
Verse 2 offers the response to this question. This is what the New Living Translation says, “The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one.” They cry, “Let us break their chains, and free ourselves from slavery to God.”
There is a prophetic picture here showing what happens when the leaders of the nations rebel against the authority of God. There is a surge of anger, and that anger is directed against God. What they think leads to freedom actually takes their rage to a boiling point. God responds with His rebuke and terrifies the nations with His fierce fury. He will not be mocked or dethroned.
Psalm 2 can help us avoid this fate by responding favorably to the Lord’s authority. Verse 11 says, “serve the LORD with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Verse 12 adds, “What joy for all who take refuge in him!”
Under God’s authority, there is joy, peace, and liberty in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What does it mean for our bodies to be temples of the Holy Spirit?”
This reference is found in First Corinthians 6:19, which says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
A temple is a place of worship, so in reality, when we become followers of Jesus, our bodies become sacred houses of worship. How then, can we honor God with our body?
This passage specifically is referring to fleeing immoral conduct. It can also refer to how we use the various parts of our body to honor God. With our eyes, we fix our faith on Jesus. With our ears, we listen attentively to His word. With our heart, we desire to love Jesus and know Him better with every passing day. With our mind, we set our thoughts on things above, not on earthly things. With our hands, we serve in Jesus’ name. With our feet, we go to where He sends us to share His gospel.
These are some of the ways we can honor God with our body in the Year of Exploration.
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.