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Freedom Phrase-Celebrating God with Gratitude

November 27th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Psalm 95, verses 1 to 3.

“Come let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.”

One of the ways that worship music is valuable to our lives is that we have opportunity to express our gratitude to God for who He is and His gift of salvation. The writer of this Psalm acknowledged that God is great and is King above all gods. There is no rival to His throne. This Thanksgiving season is a good opportunity to listen for those songs that reflect God’s greatness, and then sing along with all of our heart.

Through Jesus, we are set free to celebrate God as the rock of our salvation.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Freedom Phrase-Giving Thanks

November 22nd, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Psalm 106, verse 1.

“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

This description about God shows up in the Bible at least nine times, and is always connected with giving thanks or praise to God.

Out of God’s goodness, God provides us with good and perfect gifts. His enduring love does not have an expiration date. That means that His love for His people will never wear out or fade or become irrelevant. God is good. God is love. That is His nature in the realm of eternity, and because of His attributes, His followers have reasons to give thanks forever.

Through Jesus, we are set free to give thanks to the LORD for His goodness and enduring love.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Freedom Phrase-New Patterns

November 20th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Romans 6, verses 17 and 18.

“Thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”

Changed lives are occasions for thanksgiving. When we see someone give their allegiance to Christ and new patterns emerging in their lives as a result, that is a reason to thank God. That is also an opportunity to encourage them to remain faithful to Jesus. 

These verses also challenge us to remain consistent in obeying Jesus every day. Then, our behavior will line up with our beliefs. That’s called integrity, which God uses as an influence for the Gospel in the world today.

Through Jesus, we are set free from patterns of sinful behavior to enjoy the opportunities of serving God.  

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Red Letter Wisdom-The Reward of Hospitality

November 15th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Matthew 10, verses 41 and 42.

Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

God sees even the smallest tasks that we do with pure motives and will reward us as He sees fit. Jesus wants us to love all people, including our enemies. But in this particular statement, Jesus is specifically encouraging us to look out for the needs of His faithful servants and followers.

The words of Jesus inspire us to welcome members of God’s family with hospitality and kindness in the Year of Redemption.   

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Red Letter Wisdom-Don’t Hinder the Lord’s Work

November 13th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Luke 9:50.

One of Jesus’ disciples, John, said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

Jesus answered, “Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Jesus recognized that the person driving out demons had pure motives. He was not less important, nor were his deeds any less significant because he was outside of Jesus’ close circle of disciples. This became a teachable moment for John, and it becomes a teachable moment for us too. Our lives matter to God. He takes great delight in our faith and in our service for Him. The same is true for the person next to us who seeks to honor the Lord with their lives. Treat them as members of the same team, not as opponents. Seek to bless them, and not to hinder them.

The words of Jesus inspire us to celebrate the victories of other believers and to encourage them in the Year of Redemption.  

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Jesus Fulfilled the Father’s Will

November 12th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in John 14:30 and 31.

Jesus said to His disciples the night before He was crucified, “I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”

The cross is the place where this statement was revealed in a compelling way. Satan wanted Jesus to die. We know that because he entered in Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus over to death. And it was God’s will for Jesus to die as a ransom for many. Satan’s motivation was the destruction of humanity. God’s motivation was the salvation of humanity. By Jesus being willing to go to the cross, He did exactly what His Father sent Him to do. By rising from the dead, He proved that Satan had no hold on Him.

The words of Jesus inspire us to be amazed at what God has done through the cross and empty grave in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Freedom Phrase-The Refreshment of God’s Word

November 8th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Redemption, today’s Freedom Phrase is based on Isaiah 55, verses 10 and 11.

This is what the LORD says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

God likens the going and coming of His Word to the rain cycle. We can identify with that process. The rain falls, and then evaporates into the atmosphere, but not without nourishing the ground, causing the crops to flourish, and providing food for those who live on the earth.

The rain cycle is compared to the nourishment of God’s Word to make our faith flourish for God’s glory. Consider what might happen when we soak in the message of the Bible with a teachable heart.

Through Jesus, we are set free to taste the refreshment of God’s Word. 

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Red Letter Wisdom-Finding True Treasure in God

November 7th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation chapter 3, verses 17 and 18.

This was the message sent to the church in Laodicea. 

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich, and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”

If Jesus is correcting us from a sinful attitude or sinful pattern, it is not because He is condemning us. It’s because He loves us. One of His priorities for our lives is pure devotion to Him. And He is willing to work with us to get rid of any toxic influence that is contaminating our relationship with Him. His rebuke is a wake-up call to be rich in faith, and not to rely on our material wealth.

The words of Jesus inspire us to open our eyes to the treasures of His grace in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Walking Through God’s Open Doors

November 6th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation 3:7.

Jesus had a message for the Church at Philadelphia.

“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

The church at Philadelphia was a faithful church to Jesus Christ.  One thing we learn through Jesus’ words here is that no one can shut the door on God’s opportunities. The curse of man cannot overrule the blessing of God. The strength of man cannot overpower God’s plans. If God is for us, who can be against us? Darkness retreats in the presence of light.

The words of Jesus inspire us to walk through the open doors of God’s opportunities in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Red Letter Wisdom-True Worship and Moral Purity

November 4th, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation 2:19.

Jesus had a message for the church at **Thyatira.

“I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you:”

The church tolerated a woman who was misleading God’s servants into immorality. Jesus was giving time for the woman to repent of her ways, but she was unwilling.

Those who joined with her immorality and idolatry would suffer intensely unless they repented of her ways. For the rest of the church, Jesus encouraged them to hold on to what they had until He comes.

The words of Jesus inspire us to faithful worship and moral purity in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Red Letter Wisdom-Faithfulness in Dark Places

November 1st, 2019 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Wisdom from the Red Letters is found in Revelation 2, verse 13 a.

Jesus sent a message to the church at Pergamum: “I know where you live-where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me.”

This church was situated in a spiritually dark place. There were some influences of the culture infiltrating the church like immorality, idol worship, and false doctrine.  Not everyone in that church was compromising, but some were corrupted. In His love for the church, Jesus called for repentance, because He is looking for a purified church that remains true to His name.

The words of Jesus inspire us to live with pure devotion to Christ in the Year of Redemption.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com