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Freedom Phrase-Overcoming Temptation

October 17th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on First Corinthians 10, verses 12 and 13.

“If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

When it comes to temptation, it is wise to be on guard. If we think we are above being tempted in a certain area, that may be when we are most vulnerable. Peter insisted he would not deny Jesus three times, but was willing to die for Him.  His overconfidence kept him from recognizing his lack of courage for the Lord.

There is a strategy for overcoming temptation found in James 4:7. “Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

Through Jesus, we are set free to say “Yes” to God’s will and “No” to Satan’s temptations.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Wisdom from the Red Letters-Old and New Treasures

October 11th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Matthew 13:52.

Jesus said, “Every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

The teachers of God’s Word are called to share the whole counsel of God with their students. This includes the ancient writings of the Old Testament and the good news found in the New Testament.

Out of the “new” comes fresh insights to learn the Gospel. Out of the familiar comes reminders to help us remember what we already learned.

Having access to both the New and Old Testament helps us to see how both parts of the Bible work together to reveal our need for Jesus.

The words of Jesus inspire us to uphold the value of the Old and New Testaments to grow in our faith in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Freedom Phrase-The Right Focus

October 9th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Hebrews 12, verses 1b through verse 3.

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

When we face temptation, discouragement, or persecution for our faith, we can find strength by remembering the tenacity of Jesus to finish the race that was marked out for Him. Love was His motive. Future glory with His followers was His joy. His example is our inspiration.

Through Jesus, we are set free from the entanglements of sin to run the race marked out for us. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Red Letter Wisdom-The Desire of Jesus

October 8th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in John 17:24.

Jesus prayed, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

Jesus was faithful to His mission from start to finish. The book of Hebrews tells us that for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame.

The yearning of Jesus’ heart was to be with His followers in a place of glory. It was by Jesus going to the cross that we have the opportunity to go to heaven and to see Jesus in His joy someday.

The words of Jesus inspire us to walk with Jesus and seek His glory in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Freedom Phrase-A Thriving Faith

October 7th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Jeremiah 17, verses 7 and 8.

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

In the various seasons of our lives, whether in times of celebration or in times of adversity, God is there, and He is able to work through the circumstances of our lives to strengthen our faith in Him and make it flourish. The key for us is to trust God through it all, and to remember His unfailing love for us. That way, our hope will not be connected to favorable circumstances, but rather to God Himself.

Through Jesus, we are set free to have a thriving faith for the glory of God.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Freedom Phrase-Saying “Amen” to God’s Promises

September 30th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Second Corinthians 1:20.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

There are some precious promises found in God’s Word for followers of Jesus such as forgiveness of sins, adoption into God’s family, the gift of the Holy Spirt, and eternal life.

Jesus was the fulfillment of a promise made by God in the Old Testament. His appearance in the world 2,000 years ago is evidence that we can trust God to be true to His Word.

Through Jesus, we are set free from the guilt of our past to live with purpose for today and hope for the future.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Red Letter Wisdom-Being a Voice of Hope

September 28th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Luke 24:17.

Jesus asked two people walking on the road to Emmaus, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

Sometimes, there is wisdom in asking a well-timed question. Jesus gave opportunity for Cleopas and his companion to talk about their discouragement after Jesus was crucified. Without recognizing Jesus, Cleopas confided that he had hoped Jesus was the one who was going to redeem Israel. He and his companion did not know what to think about all that happened and the reports that Jesus was alive.

Then Jesus proceeded to explain what the Scriptures said about Him. While Jesus talked, their hearts burned within them. He ignited hope. Jesus walked with them during the conversation. His example shows us that being a voice of encouragement for someone involves asking good questions, offering a listening ear, sharing words of hope, and walking the journey with them.  

The words of Jesus inspire us to be a voice of hope for those who are discouraged in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Freedom Phrase-Surrounded By Unfailing Love

September 26th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Psalm 32:10.

“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.”

That is an amazing thought to consider how the LORD’s unfailing love is all around us when we trust in Him.

His unfailing love is in front of us-providing us with grace and peace as the LORD turns his face toward us with His favor.

His unfailing love is below us-giving our faith a firm foundation.

His unfailing love is behind us-giving direction for our journey. His voice behind us says, “This is the way, walk in it.” 

His unfailing love is also above us, sending us good and perfect gifts from heaven.

And His unfailing love is beside us, providing us with friendship on the road that leads to heaven.

Through Jesus, we are set free to celebrate the LORD’s unfailing love surrounding us.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Red Letter Wisdom-Reason To Rejoice

September 23rd, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Luke 10:20.

Jesus said to His followers, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

He said this to 72 people who had seen God do amazing things in their ministry. Demons submitted to them in Jesus’ name. And they came back to Jesus with hearts full of joy at what God had done through them.

But Jesus reminded them that there was a reason to rejoice greater than seeing the demons submit to them. That was having the assurance that their names were written in heaven. That is a miracle worth celebrating-the opportunity of being a new creation in Christ, and belonging to Him forever.

The words of Jesus inspire us to enjoy our relationship with God each and every day in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Freedom Phrase-Hope In Our Times of Trouble

September 20th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Second Corinthians 4, verses 16 and 17.

The Apostle Paul said, “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Hardships can come to us in various ways-sickness, persecution, poverty, or stressful circumstances.

Paul had these hardships, and remained hopeful in his pain. He believed that God was working out His eternal purposes in the midst of that pain. He looked beyond his temporary circumstances. In our times of trouble, we are never without hope whenever we hold on to God. The grace of Jesus encourages us with the reality of God’s love for us and His plan of eternal glory.

Through Jesus, we are set free from discouragement and despair to put our hope in God.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Freedom Phrase-Christ Became A Curse For Us

September 19th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Galatians 3:13.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

That is what Jesus did for us when He died on a cross. He took the curse of our sin upon Himself so that we might be blessed with His righteousness. 

We can respond to this historical moment with gratitude. This was a sacrifice that Jesus endured voluntarily, because He loves us. We can say thank-you by trusting Him to forgive us and to lead us every day for the rest of our lives. It will not be the most popular path nor the easiest path. But His way will prove to be the only path forward in His grace and mercy.

Through Jesus, we are set free from the curse of the law to experience the blessing of His grace.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com