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.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason To Believe is the shuddering of demons in the presence of Jesus.
In Matthew 8:29. Jesus encountered two demon-possessed men. They were so violent, no one passed their way. As they encountered Jesus, they said, “What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
These demons recognized Jesus as the Son of God, and they also knew that there is an appointed time when He will destroy them and the evil that they promote. These demons possessed men, but they shuddered in the presence of Jesus.
This says something to us about our need to welcome the presence of Jesus as Savior and Lord. He has the power to deliver us from evil.
James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.” They might believe in God’s existence, but they are certainly not on God’s side, and they tremble at the thought of the appointed time when God makes everything new.
The shuddering of demons in the presence of Jesus is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the key to knowing the will of God?”
We might think that the key to knowing God’s will is more information, but according to Romans 12, verses 1 through 3, the key to knowing God’s will is through transformation, and transformation happens when we offer ourselves to God in a spirit of worship.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Responding to God’s mercy with a grateful heart is the starting place for opening our lives to knowing the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is Feast of Passover.
This Jewish feast continues to be observed year after year to this very day celebrating deliverance from slavery. Moses was sent by God as a messenger to tell Egypt’s powerful leader Pharoah, “Let my people go.” Pharoah resisted Moses’ message time after time, despite many plagues on his land.
The final plague was what led to Pharoah’s change of mind, and Israel’s deliverance from slavery. The Israelites were told to sacrifice the Passover lamb without defect and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. The firstborn of the family in that house would be protected when the LORD came to strike down all the firstborn in Egypt.
The LORD gave the Israelites instructions to observe Passover as a lasting ordinance.
Followers of Jesus see Jesus as the fulfillment of Passover. He was unblemished. His blood is precious, and qualifies as an atonement for our sins, to deliver us from slavery to sin, and from spiritual death. First Corinthians 5:7 says “Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.”
Passover is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the season of spring.
Spring brings warmer temperatures, melting snow, blooming flowers, and a greener landscape. The Song of Solomon describes the spring season like this: “See! The winter is past. The rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.”
Have you noticed the birds chirping with songs of delight?
Spring is a season of new life and so much growth. These dimensions of spring become realities for the person who trusts in the Lord.
Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here.”
Spring reminds us of the new life found in Jesus Christ and the nourishing effect of His grace on our soul.
The season of spring is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the sunrise.
We do not wonder if the sun will rise in the morning or ponder which hour it will appear over the eastern horizon. We might wonder if we will arise on time, but we don’t question the timing of the sunrise.
God’s faithfulness is compared to a daily sunrise. Yes, we might have questions about our own faithfulness at times, but God’s faithfulness is a quality that we can depend on. As we look to God and come under His influence, He will enable us to become more faithful.
Lamentations 3:22 gives us this reason not just to believe in God, but to also have hope in Him. “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “
Just like the sunrise, the LORD is faithful. He sent Jesus to the world at just the right time when we needed a Savior. And when the time is right, Jesus will appear again to gather His followers into His heavenly kingdom.
The faithful appearance of the sunrise is a reason to believe in God’s good news.