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20/20 Insight-The Holy Spirit-Reminding us of Jesus’ Words

May 29th, 2020 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Vision, today’s 20/20 Insight focuses on the work of the Holy Spirit to remind us of Jesus’ words.

In John 14:26, Jesus told His disciples, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Some of those disciples went on to write letters in the New Testament that were inspired by the Holy Spirit, namely Peter, John, and Matthew.

The Holy Spirit is our Advocate too, guiding us in the truth, and reminding us of the teachings of Jesus. When we read the Bible and take the teachings of Jesus to heart, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to guide us in the truth. The Holy Spirit is the holy Presence within us, moving us to do what is right in the eyes of God.

Focusing on the teachings of Jesus gives us greater clarity for living out the Christian life.   

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

20/20 Insight-The Work of the Holy Spirit-Righteousness

May 28th, 2020 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Vision, today’s 20/20 Insight focuses on the work of the Holy Spirit to lead us to righteousness.

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He promised His followers that He would not leave us alone. The Heavenly Father would send the Spirit of truth.  

On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit did come and does reside in those who follow Jesus. As a result, spiritual fruit flows from our lives. Romans 8:9 says, “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh, but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.”

The Holy Spirit directs us to the holy example of Jesus and inspires us to be more like Him.

Focusing on the righteousness of Jesus Christ gives us greater clarity for living out the Christian life.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

20/20 Insight-Growth in Godly Character

May 27th, 2020 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Vision, today’s 20/20 Insight focuses on God’s purpose for our lives to grow in godly character.

God works through times of adversity and discipline to accomplish character in our lives. He will let us struggle with questions or struggle in our pain, but He does not leave us or forsake us. He is right there with us, providing His grace in our time of need.

James 1:3 explains that the trials that we face are tests to our faith. These tests are meant to produce perseverance. When perseverance finishes its work, we have the opportunity to become mature and complete, not lacking anything.   God works through the character qualities of our lives to enable our faith to thrive for Him.

Focusing on the fruit of godly character gives us greater clarity for living out the Christian life.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Ascension Day

May 21st, 2020 1 comment

JOHN SHIRK – This is Ascension Day, when we reflect on the day that Jesus was taken to heaven. It happened in Acts 1:9.  “He was taken up before the eyes of his disciples, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”

Ascension Day explains where we are at the present moment in a number of ways.

First, the Holy Spirit is actively working in the church today, among followers of Jesus.  Jesus said to His disciples, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” And on Pentecost Day, just 10 days later, that promise was fulfilled.

Secondly, Ascension Day explains what Jesus is doing now. He told His disciples, “I am going there (to my Father’s house) to prepare a place for you. That is one thing Jesus is doing. Another thing He is doing is interceding for us. He is our Mediator. He reconciles us to God the Father, so that we can live in peace with God.  Hebrews 9:24 tells us that He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. He prays for us and pleads our case for our innocence because of His blood that was shed for our sins. Because of Jesus, we can go to the throne of grace with our prayers and petitions. 

And thirdly, Ascension Day reminds us that Jesus will come again. In Acts 1:10, two men, who appear to be angels, tell the disciples, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

For a closer look at the Ascension of Jesus, read more about it in Acts 1, verses 9 to 11.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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20/20 Insight-God’s Purpose To Save Us.

May 19th, 2020 1 comment

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Vision, we are examining more of God’s purposes for our lives with our 20/20 Insights this week.

Today’s 20/20 Insight focuses on God’s purpose for our lives to be saved from our sins.

That is why Jesus came to the world. John 3:17 tells us that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Jesus is God’s plan of redemption. There is no plan B.  Our sin put us in a desperate place. It was like we were rafting downstream and crossed the point of no return. We were on a collision course with a waterfall. The only thing that can save us is a sturdy branch that is extending from the bank. It is within our grasp. In the spiritual realm, Jesus is the Branch of the LORD, and He is strong enough to rescue us, so we can reach for Him today. He is mighty to save. 

Romans 10:13 says that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Focusing on the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ gives us greater clarity for living out the Christian life.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Good News Focus-Grace Humbles Us

May 18th, 2020 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Good News Focus is on Romans 12:3.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

Pride gets us into trouble, leading us to think of ourselves as better than other people around us and better than we really are. With pride in our heart, we are not willing to take an honest look at our character flaws to see where changes might be needed.

But if we see ourselves as God sees us, we will see ourselves as dearly loved by God, and at the same time, dependent on His grace. We will also see the need to be connected with other believers, who can speak truth into our lives and offer support for living the Christian life.  Humility puts our heart in the right place for God to work out His purposes in our lives.  

Jesus is our Source of Good News, leading us to a place of humble service in the body of Christ in the Year of Vision.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

20/20 Insight-Purpose for Our Lives-Love God First

May 15th, 2020 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Vision, we are examining some of God’s purposes for our lives with our 20/20 Insights this week.

Today’s 20/20 Insight focuses on God’s purposes for our lives to love Him first.

In Matthew 22, an expert in the law tested Jesus with this question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied in verse 37, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”    

God loved us before we loved Him. He went to extreme measures to show the depth of His love for us in the form of Jesus Christ. His death on the cross was the ultimate expression of love. His grace is offered to us as a gift to be received. This is our first step into a life of loving God first and walking in the path of His commands.   

Focusing on loving God more and more everyday gives us greater clarity for living out the Christian life.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Good News Focus-Cheerful Giving

May 13th, 2020 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Good News Focus is on Second Corinthians 9:7.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

The Apostle Paul was appealing for generous gifts to help other Christians in need. But he was not appealing to their sense of obligation. Rather, he was appealing to their sense of generosity to give what they wanted to give. If I am forced to give, I am giving out of duty. If I give voluntarily, I am giving out of delight.

In verse 8, he said, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

It is refreshing to know when our offerings to God are building up the church and helping people in need. The Gospel inspires us to consider the needs of others, and to honor God with our wealth.

Jesus is our Source of Good News, leading us to places of generous and cheerful giving in the Year of Vision. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

20/20 Insight-God’s Purpose for our Lives-Trust Him

May 13th, 2020 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Vision, we are examining some of God’s purposes for our lives with our 20/20 Insights this week.

Today’s 20/20 Insight focuses on God’s purpose for our lives to trust Him.

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 submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” 

To trust in God fully means to lean all of our weight on Him, believing that He will save us from our sins and guide us in His righteousness. Our own understanding can lead us astray, but God’s wisdom will lead us in the path of God’s will.

Psalm 119, verse 105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” His wisdom gives us direction for our lives. His truth gives us freedom. His grace gives us peace. 

Focusing on trusting God day by day gives us greater clarity for living out the Christian life.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

20/20 Insight-Nourishment of God’s Word

May 8th, 2020 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Vision, today’s 20/20 Insight focuses on the nourishment of spring rains and the word of God.

In Isaiah 55:10, the LORD compares the rain cycle with the nourishment of His Word to feed our soul.

From the New Living Translation, “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

Just as the soil needs rain for the crops to grow, so we need God’s Word for our faith to grow. That is one dependable place where we can turn to taste and see that the Lord is good.

Focusing on God’s Word daily gives us greater clarity for living out the Christian life.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

20/20 Insight-Beauty of a Flower

May 6th, 2020 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Vision, today’s 20/20 Insight focuses on the beauty of a flower and the brilliance of God’s glory.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:28, “See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”

Flowers have their season when they burst forth in brilliant color and decorate our world with breathtaking beauty.  But they don’t last forever. Eventually, their beauty fades. That is one of the ways we are similar to a flower. We have a moment on earth that God has given to shine. Our most brilliant moments occur when we are fulfilling our God-given purpose to reflect His glory. This moment is our opportunity. This is our season to shine by sharing His grace, and standing for His truth.

Focusing on God’s glory gives us greater clarity for living out the Christian life.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com