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John Shirk

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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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Life Application Truth-Perseverance

john : May 7, 2012 5:05 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Acts 8, verses 1 and 4.

Following the stoning of Stephen, the first recorded Christian martyr of the early church, “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria……

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

Jesus said that the Gospel would start in Jerusalem, and then spread to Judea and Samaria. Here in Acts 8, we learn that He actually worked through persecution to spread the word beyond Jerusalem.

There was freedom of movement for the early disciples to go from place and place and an unwavering commitment to Christ that would not be moved. Those were the ingredients that led to the spread of the Gospel.

While persecution is painful, it also a powerful witness of someone who is so convinced of the testimony of Christ, and so dedicated to Him, that the purity of their witness shines through the sacrifices they make for Him.

Perseverance through persecution 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-Prayer With Faith

john : May 3, 2012 9:31 am : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Psalm 33, verse 12.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.”

That is the focus Scripture of the National Day of Prayer, designed to mobilize us to pray for our nation, and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in our culture.

First Peter 3 urges us to set apart Christ as Lord. When this becomes a reality in our lives, He becomes our living hope.

Included in the focus for today is this prayer, which God is hearing from the hearts of many Christians today:  “We come before you once more, seeking your forgiveness and mercy. You, our God, are our only hope. Hear our prayer, and for Your honor’s sake, shine your face upon this nation.  Give our leaders the desire to seek Your wisdom and the courage to follow Your guidance….and watch over the men and women of our armed forces as they sacrifice for the cause of freedom. We give You thanks for all You have done for us, and we pray earnestly that you will help us become, once again, a nation whose God is the Lord. In the name of Your Son and our Savior, we pray this prayer. Amen.”  On this National Day of Prayer, we are reminded that prayer with faith and a thankful heart 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-Insight and Incentive from God’s Character

john : May 1, 2012 9:58 am : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Deuteronomy 10:17.

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.”

Here we learn that God is on the throne. He reigns with power. He is just. He is true.

Moses was telling the Israelites about God’s character to motivate them to repentance. He was urging them to cut away their resistance to God’s ways and stop being so stubborn. He was teaching them to know God and to revere His name. If we want to follow His ways, we need to take time to get to know the LORD for who He really is. Clear thinking of God’s character serves to shape our character to be more like Jesus. What we learn about God in this case teaches us not to accept bribes or show partiality.

As we spend time in God’s Word this week, let’s allow His influence and example to be the guiding force for our actions.

Knowledge of God with a reverent heart 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-Loving Our Neighbor

john : April 27, 2012 8:42 am : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Matthew 22:38.

After Jesus was questioned about the greatest commandment in the Bible, Jesus responded by saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Then, He gave a bonus for us to obey. The second greatest commandment in the law is found in verse 38.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is consistent with the Golden Rule, which was also taught by Jesus. He said, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”  These simple commands prompt us to treat others with respect, dignity, and consideration.

As we have been blessed by God’s love, He motivates us to be mindful of others, and to translate genuine concern into action. It would be an oxymoron to love God and NOT care about people. There are many practical ways to help people. But the important thing about loving people in the name of Jesus is that people who benefit from our expressions notice the power of God’s love working through us, and recognize His care for them.

Love for our neighbor as ourselves 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-Loving God First

john : April 25, 2012 3:45 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Matthew 22:37.

Jesus responded to the question, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He quoted Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

The Good News of Jesus Christ emphasizes God’s love for the world to send Jesus into the world to save sinners. What is the proper response to this amazing grace?  Jesus tells us that the most important thing we can do is to respond to God’s love with a fully devoted heart.

Jesus wants us to make our relationship with God the most important priority of our lives. This relationship, built on love, is a sustainable foundation for having the incentive to carry out His other commands. His grace is worth more than gold, or any of the treasures of this world. His words deserve our full attention. His glory merits our full worship.

Love for God is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Remembering Chuck Colson 1931-2012

john : April 24, 2012 2:57 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – Chuck Colson died on Saturday, April 21 from complications resulting from a brain hemorrhage. He was 80 years old.

http://chuckcolson.org/

He was the first member of the Nixon Administration to be sent to prison for Watergate-related charges in the 70’s. He was known at the White House as the “hatchet man.” However, in 1973, a miracle happened. He became a follower of Jesus Christ.

His friend Tom Phillips gave him a copy of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Tom said, “Once you read this, you might want to read the Book of John in the Bible.”  It turned out to be a soul-winning combination in Chuck Colson’s life. The words from C.S. Lewis and  from John’s Gospel appealed to his mind and heart, leading him to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior.

www.charismanews.com/us/33260-billy-graham-remembers-chuck-colson

After his conversion to Christ, Chuck Colson started Prison Fellowship Ministries, which was designed to reach out to prisoners and their families with the Gospel. In addition, he gave oversight to the Colson Center, which is a teaching and training center focused on the Christian worldview.  Chuck Colson was reconciled to God and thoughtfully challenged others to be reconciled with God. His dramatic turn from the Watergate years is an example of the dynamic change that God provides for the person who places their trust in Jesus.

http://mnnonline.org/article/17107

The journey of his life is a vivid of example to me of how Jesus can profoundly change lives. If you have started life on the wrong foot, taken wrong turns, or made wrong choices, it’s not too late to turn the ship around. Forgiveness from the past, transformation in the present, and hope for the future. This was Chuck Colson’s experience. This can be our journey too as we follow Jesus with a trusting heart.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Life Application Truth-The Peace of God through Prayer

john : April 20, 2012 5:17 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – From Philippians 4, verses 6 and 7.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God with transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Here we see that the peace of God serves as a form of protection for our hearts and minds.

The peace of God gives us a true sense of security, having the assurance that our soul is in the Lord’s hands, no matter what may happen around us today.

The peace of God gives us a true sense of stability, formed out of a faith that is rooted in the foundation of His Word.

The peace of God gives us a true sense of serenity, a calm spirit in the midst of stormy conditions.

Whatever challenges we face in a given day, God invites us to talk to Him about them. He cares for us, and He is near enough to hear our every word and understand the emotion behind those words.

Prayer from a thankful heart is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The Titanic’s Heroic Pastor

john : April 19, 2012 3:08 pm : John Shirk, Staff Pages

JOHN SHIRK – April 15 was the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. John Harper was on that ship. He was a Baptist pastor who was on the way to preach at Moody Church in Chicago. He never made it. But before he died, John Harper did a number of heroic things.

First, he took his 6 year-old daughter who was with him on the ship to a lifeboat.  He stayed on the ship, preaching the Gospel to the end. Even after he jumped into the sinking water, survivors said that he attempted to convert those who were in the freezing water, before dying himself. He referred to Acts 16:31, which says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” One particular man was clinging to the ship’s debris when Harper swam to him and challenged him twice to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. He rejected the first offer, but gave his life to Christ at the second invitation. At a Titanic Survivor’s meeting in Canada 4 years later, the survivor told his story and said, “I am the last convert of John Harper.”

Here’s the link to Baptist Press

John Harper looked out for both his daughter’s physical protection and the need for spiritual salvation of the lost around him. In a time of crisis, the measure of John Harper’s character was tested, and he rose to the occasion. His story is told in the book, “The Titanic’s Last Hero”.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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