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.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason To Believe is the details of Isaiah 53.
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the prophet Isaiah wrote specific details that would be fulfilled in Jesus’ life.
Verse 3 points out that He would be despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.
Verse 5 says He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.
Verse 9 says that He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death.
Verse 11 says “after the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied.”
Verse 11 also says “By his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many.”
In Isaiah 53, we see references to Jesus rejection, His crucifixion, resurrection, and His qualification to release us from the guilt of our sins.
The details of Isaiah 53 concerning Jesus are reasons to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What are the qualities of a nation blessed by God?”
The theme of this year’s National Day of Prayer is “Wake Up America”, emphasizing our need corporately and personally to return to God in reverence for His Holy Name.
There are Scriptures that give us insight into how a nation can return to God and receive His blessing.
The most notable is Second Chronicles 7:14, where the LORD says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
In the 1830’s a French historian traveled to America to discover what made America great. He wrote down this observation: “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
The wisdom of Proverbs 14:34 is still relevant today. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” These are some Biblical principles to remember as we pray for our nation’s leaders and communities in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “Why does God allow suffering in the world?”
This is a big question that deserves some attention, because so many people ask it out loud or ponder it in their hearts.
Suffering started in the world after sin entered the human race. This was the result of a choice that Adam and Eve made, which led to the reality of physical death, conflict between people, pain during child birth, frustration from work, and shame, to name a few. God made Adam and Eve with the dignity to have the freedom to make choices. When they disregarded God’s Word and ate from the forbidden fruit, pain and suffering followed.
Ever since, our world has been broken. We live with the consequences of Adam and Eve’s decision.
The good news is that God had a plan to redeem us from the curse of sin. He sent Jesus, who suffered extreme pain at the cross, and then rose from the dead. He can sympathize with our pain, and He knows how to take us beyond it. He is preparing a place for His followers in heaven, where tears, pain, sin and death will not be found.
When it comes to suffering, there are no easy answers, but the presence of suffering calls for the compassion of Christ to be expressed through His followers in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the heroes of faith.
These heroes are found in Hebrews 11, and encourage us to follow in their footsteps with a life that trusts in God and obeys His word.
The heroes of faith give us insight into what faith looks like and how it is lived out. The list of faith’s heroes includes Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Rahab.
None were perfect, but they did have believing hearts in the true and living God, and were declared “righteous” in God’s sight.
What we learn from their faith is that “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This is what they were commended for. They trusted God’s promises more than they trusted in their present circumstances or what they saw with their eyes.
The Apostle Paul was trained to fix his eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. He said in Second Corinthians 4:18, “We fix our eyes NOT on what is seen, but what is unseen.” He also said, “We live by faith, not by sight.”
The heroes of faith testify to lives that were guided by the hand of God and give us a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “As we live with an eternal perspective, what can we learn from history?”
An eternal perspective includes an appreciation of history.
It has been said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If you think about it, that is a sobering view of the sinful nature, because it reflects on our tendency to be blind sided by the dark side of history.
First Corinthians 10 is a textbook case of learning from previous moral failures in Israel’s history. Verse 11 says, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us.”
History can also stir us to praise God, as we remember the reference points proving His love for us. Psalm 78, verse 4 says, “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.” Verse 7 says, “Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds.” Since those words were written there is more to God’s story of love and redemption. Jesus came from heaven to earth, died on a cross for our sins, and rose again to offer us eternal life through faith in Him. This is the message that our generation is entrusted with to pass along to the next generation in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK-Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What does it mean to live with an eternal perspective?”
The Apostle Paul said in Second Corinthians 4:18, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Living with an eternal perspective acknowledges that there is more to this life than what we see in this world. If our trust is in the things we see, then we are living with a false sense of security, because the things we see around us will eventually pass away.
The invisible qualities of God’s Kingdom will outlast our physical lives on earth. Faith, hope, and love last forever. God’s word lasts forever. Heaven lasts forever. Jesus Christ lives forever. And if our hope is in Jesus, our souls will last forever with Him.
Revelation 22:21 is the last verse of the Bible, revealing the eternal view of God’s Kingdom in a place of peace and security: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”
This is where our hope is ultimately found in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the increase of knowledge.
A transition has been underway in society, taking us from the industrial age to the information age, ever since the invention of the computer.
In the last century, we have seen tremendous advancements in transportation, communication, and medical breakthroughs. Daniel 12:4 pointed to a day when people would go here and there to increase knowledge.
But General Omar Bradley has made this observation about our times: “We have grasped the mystery of the atom and neglected the Sermon on the Mount…Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”
There is a type of knowledge that we need beyond facts-and that is the knowledge of the truth-knowing Jesus Christ with a mind and heart that embraces Him as Savior and Lord. Second Peter 3:18 urges us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is the kind of knowledge that will help us use technology constructively, and live out our faith productively.
The increase of knowledge in the grace of the Lord Jesus is a reason to believe in God’s good news.