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John Shirk

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Life Application Truth-Freedom From Fear

john : June 20, 2012 2:20 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Hebrews 2:14.

Speaking of Jesus, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

Jesus was willing to be confined to a human body, so that we might  be set free from sin and death. He was willing to die on a cross so that we might live with Him in heaven. Because of His sacrifice, our view of death comes into a different focus.  Instead of seeing death as a permanent end, we see death as a promotion into the glorious presence of God. Death still causes tears, but it does not leave us in hopeless despair.  Death is still painful, but it does not have to paralyze us from living in freedom. With Christ as our Savior and Lord, death is not the end of our journey. It is the beginning of a new chapter that leads us to God’s throne in heaven, where His name is always honored in a place of joy and peace.

Being set free from the fear of death is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Life Application Truth-Trust In the Midst of Questions

john : June 18, 2012 2:13 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From First Corinthians 13:12.

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

If you could ask the Lord one question, what would it be?  Maybe you have questions about His creation, or why bad things happen to God’s people, or perhaps you have a question from the Bible that no one has ever been able to answer to your satisfaction. The Apostle Paul was telling the church that we won’t have all our questions answered in this life. Our understanding is limited. But a day is coming when we will see clearly. Faith will become sight. Jesus will be right in front of us, and then, our relationship with Jesus will take on a new dimension. Our questions will be answered, including those questions about what heaven looks like.

In the meantime, there is a book that explains some important themes about life. The Bible explains where we came from, the impact of sin,  our purpose in life, why Jesus came, the meaning of His cross and empty grave, and what happens after we die. The Gospel reveals enough about God so that we can trust Him in the midst of life’s questions and challenges.

Trusting God through life’s questions is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

 

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Life Application Truth-Grace and Peace

john : June 1, 2012 3:44 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Second Peter 1, verse 2.

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

This is a greeting from Simon Peter to those who had received the message of faith in the Lord Jesus.  As we get to know God better, several things happen:

God’s grace and peace abundantly blesses us. We are filled with joy at the reality of His presence and forgiveness of our sins. The burden of guilt that we carried is released at the cross, and now, we don’t have to fear being condemned at the coming judgment.

God’s grace and peace also changes us, adjusting our priorities and reshaping our attitudes to reflect the image of Christ.

God’s grace and peace also equips us to be effective witnesses for Jesus, overflowing from our heart and spilling over into our relationships through our words and actions. Others will see the growing influence of Jesus in us as we know God better.

The abundance of grace and peace are vital signs of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Life Application Truth-Security in Changing Times

john : May 31, 2012 2:45 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Hebrews 13:8.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

The implication of this truth is that the identity of Jesus as the Son of God never changes. He is a dependable source of grace for the person who needs forgiveness. He is a constant presence in the life of His followers. He is a constant support to strengthen our faith in times of weakness, just as He was there to lift up Peter after denying Jesus three times.

It’s been said that life’s only constant is change. However, in the midst of changing times, there is another constant that remains a source of stability, and His name is Jesus. He is the One who said, “Before Abraham was born, I am.” He is the One Reality that we can trust with our lives. His love never fails.

Security in Christ is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Life Application Truth-Fervent Prayer

john : May 23, 2012 2:12 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – from Genesis 32:10.

As Jacob was feeling tension about facing his brother Esau, he prayed, “I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups. Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”

This prayer is offered to God with earnestness and humility. Jacob expressed gratitude to God for His kindness and faithfulness. He acknowledged his need for God’s help, and reminded God of His promises.

Matthew Henry once said, “the prayers and supplications that Christ offered up were jointed with strong cries and tears, herein setting us an example not only to pray, but to be fervent.” Whether we are in a crisis or facing what seems like an ordinary day, God invites us to seek Him in prayer with our petitions and thanksgiving.

Fervent prayer is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Life Application Truth-The Return

john : May 21, 2012 2:15 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Revelation 22:20.

He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

Jesus specifically said that we would not know the specific day or hour of His return.  The implication of His promise to return is to be ready. Hebrews 9:28 tells us that Jesus will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Remembering His promise to return will challenge us to get our hearts right with God.  The way for sin to be removed as an obstacle to salvation is to call on the name of Jesus for salvation, to confess our sins, and plead for His forgiveness. He will not despise a contrite heart.

There are other ways that the promise of Christ’s return will benefit our lives once we are made right with God. Our faith will be purified. We will be greatly encouraged by the reality that God’s grace will overcome the troubles of this world. We will also be motivated to share the Gospel with others, so that they might be ready to meet the Lord with a faithful heart.

Anticipation of Christ’s return is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Today’s Life Application Truth-Love and Kindness

john : May 16, 2012 3:52 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Proverbs 14:21.

“He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.”

The effective grace of God on our lives teaches us to view other people as having value to God, just as we recognize that we are valuable to God. This translates into living out the second greatest command in all of Scripture according to Jesus: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” To despise our neighbor is to go against that command.

Another way in which God’s grace teaches us to live is to be generous toward the needy. Such expressions of generosity include helping to feed the poor, or looking after orphans and widows in their distress, which may include foster care, adoption, or checking in on an elderly neighbor who lives alone.  If someone is grieving the loss of a loved one, it may be fitting for us to spend time with them and mourn with them.  There are needs all around us-tangible needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs. With a sensitive heart toward God, He will teach us to be sensitive to those in a time of need.

Love for our neighbor and Kindness to the needy are vital signs of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Life Application Truth-The Word of Christ

john : May 14, 2012 5:40 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Colossians 3:16.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

The Apostle Paul was urging followers of Jesus to soak in God’s Word like a sponge. There are various ways that the word of Christ can take root in our lives. We can hear God’s Word at the local church in venues like Sunday School, Small group Bible Study or a sermon from the pastor. We can also wake up in the morning and make Bible reading a priority before we go to school or work. Or if we are more attentive at night, to read the Bible before we go to bed.

Christian music is another way to hear the word of Christ in a meaningful way. Songs have a way of helping us to remember certain Scriptures as they are set to rhythm. So, God also provides music as a teaching tool to help us internalize the word of God. Sometimes, hearing or sharing testimonies of God’s faithfulness highlights how God’s Word is living and active in the hearts of believers.

Filling our mind and heart with the word of Christ is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Life Application Truth-Words Matter

john : May 10, 2012 2:36 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Proverbs 15:4.

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

While a deceitful tongue distorts reality, a healing tongue brings the reality of Jesus into a specific situation.

A deceitful tongue perverts justice and slanders innocent people. A healing tongue stands up for justice and seeks to protect innocent lives, especially those who have no voice.

A deceitful tongue pollutes the environment with dirty talk. A healing tongue is a breath of fresh air.

A deceitful tongue tears down and ruins people’s lives. A healing tongue builds up wounded hearts.

There is much damage and repair in people’s hearts by the words of other people.

Through the influence of Christ, we can use words of faith, hope, and love today. We can refuse to gossip. We can refuse to manipulate others with our words. We can honor the words of Colossians 4:6, which says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.” In this way, we will spread the flavor of Christ.

The use of healing words is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Life Application Truth-Words That Honor God

john : May 8, 2012 4:42 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Psalm 63, verse 3.

David said to God, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”

This is an expression of someone who is thinking constantly of God’s love and embracing His love as a dear treasure. This is someone who has an ongoing relationship with God.  David is not in pursuit of religious duty. He is responding to divine love that keeps him alive. One reason that God’s love is more valuable than life is because our bodies will fail us someday. God’s love never fails, and will endure the test of time long after we have gone to the grave.

In light of God’s precious love, how can we honor Him with our lips?

There are various ways. We can sing a worship song to Him. The Lord delights in a joyful noise from our heart, even if we have trouble staying on key. We can tell others the good news of God’s love, so that they might hear and believe the Gospel. We can also use words of kindness, encouragement, and honesty to reflect the attitude of Christ. In these ways, the name of Jesus is honored with our lips. Let’s allow God’s love to be the influence of our words.

Words that honor God from a devoted heart are vitals signs of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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