JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “Is Christianity a crutch?”
Sometimes, people think of Christianity as a crutch in negative terms to imply that faith is for the weak and for losers. Is it better to rely on ourselves or rely on God to meet our greatest needs?
Physically, crutches are useful for the person who lacks strength to walk on their own. Spiritually, sin weakens us to the point that we are not able to stand before God in our own righteousness. This is why we need Jesus. His righteousness gives us light for our path, strength for the journey of faith, and a way to live in good standing with God.
Isaiah 50, verse 10 says, “Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.”
The Hebrew word for “rely” in that verse means to lean on for support. Charles Spurgeon has said, “That is what you have to do with Christ-lean on Him with all your weight of sin and sorrow-lean on Jesus Christ….do not try to hold yourself up now-throw yourself right on him.
By leaning on Jesus, we are relying on the strength of God for support and salvation in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is encouragement in the church.
Barnabas was a role model of encouragement in the early church. Acts 11:23 records that when he went to Antioch, he saw the evidence of the grace of God. He was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Encouragement has a way of bringing out the best in people who want to serve God. Sometimes the circumstances of life wear us down, and the support of a brother or sister in Christ can provide a spark that ignites our faith once again.
Encouragement can also prevent someone from wandering into sinful patterns. We find that in Hebrews 3:13, which says, “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” So, let’s be a modern day Barnabas and find someone to encourage in the faith today.
Encouragement in the church is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “How do I get ready each day to honor God with my life?”
We would not think of going to work without putting on clothing that meets the dress code at work. Nor would we think about going out the door without combing our hair, brushing our teeth, and in some cases, putting on makeup or shaving the face. These are some routines in the morning that make our appearance presentable in public.
The Bible talks about a dress code for Christians that can help us get spiritually ready for each new day to bring honor to God.
Colossians 3:12 says, “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
By spending quality time with God in His Word and in prayer, we will be reminded that we are made holy by His grace and dearly loved. Then, we will be prepared to clothe ourselves with the qualities of Christ in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “How can I have peace in a world of turmoil?”
There is a way to have peace in the mist of an unsettled today and an uncertain tomorrow. Hold on to Jesus with all your weight. Lean on Him with all your trust.
In John 14:27, Jesus said to His followers, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Jesus is the source of peace-peace with God, peace with others, and peace within.
Knowing the peace of God is linked with trusting God in Isaiah 26, verses 3 and 4: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.”
Long after the troubles of this world are gone, the grace of God will remain for His people forever. That is why we have a secure foundation for our faith, and that is why we can trust in Jesus in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the provision of God to live a godly life.
Second Peter 1:3 says that “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him, who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Life is a spiritual battlefield. There are sinister forces that work against our soul, seeking to destroy us and separate us from God’s love. But God has resources too, to help us overcome those forces that wage war against our soul. Three of those resources are the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the Church.
The Holy Spirit fills us with love and hope. He reminds us of Jesus’ words, and guides us in the truth.
The Bible is the word of God, encouraging us with the message of grace and making known His will for our lives.
The church gives us a support structure in the Christian life and a place of belonging in His family of believers.
God’s provision for us to live a godly life is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the tombs of the prophets.
All throughout Israel, and the Middle East, there are graves of various prophets and patriarchs.
The traditional site of King David’s tomb is located on Mount Zion. First Kings 2:10 records that David rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David.
The grave site of Moses is somewhere in Jordan, although the exact location is unknown. This is consistent with the Biblical account which says in Deuteronomy 34:6 that God buried him in Moab, but to this day no one knows where his grave is.
Joseph’s tomb is a familiar site in Nablus. As he was about to die, he gave instructions for his bones to be carried from Egypt when God came to the aid of Israel to guide them to the Promised Land.
In Matthew 23, Jesus acknowledged that the Pharisees built tombs for the prophets and decorated the graves of the righteous.
The tombs of the prophets indicate that these people really did live on the earth, and they were part of God’s great story of redemption that led to the time of Christ.
The tombs of the prophets are reasons to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the priestly blessing?”
In Numbers 6:24, The LORD instructed Moses how to direct Aaron and his sons to bless the Israelites:
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you: The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
This is a benediction sometimes given at the end of church services today. This blessing reflects God’s heart for us to know His peace and grace, which satisfies our soul and makes our joy complete.
This blessing is ultimately realized through a relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the way for us to experience God’s favor. Grace and peace prevail in the hearts of those who turn away from sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness and direction in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is God’s perfect timing.
Second Peter 3:9 tells us that the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise. His promises may be fulfilled at a slower pace than we would prefer, but that does not mean that God is running behind schedule. It might mean that we are trying to run ahead of Him. Going at God’s timing sometimes requires waiting on the Lord.
An example of God’s perfect timing can be found in John chapter 4, when a royal official asked Jesus to heal his son before he died. Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was a long way off, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When the royal official inquired as to the time when his son got better, they told him that the fever left him at the seventh hour. Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus said to him, “your son will live.” So, he and all his household believed.
According to Romans 5:6, it was at just the right time when Christ died for the ungodly.
God’s perfect timing to fulfill His perfect will is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “Who was Asaph and what was his struggle?”
Asaph was a gifted musician in the time of David, and he used music as a tool to glorify God.
But Asaph lost focus at one point in his life, and he wrote about it in Psalm 73. In his testimony, he recalled, “I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” He started to perceive their lives on the other side of the fence as having no struggles, free from burdens, and with healthy bodies. He said, “This is what the wicked are like-always carefree, they increase in wealth.” This perspective led him to false thinking, and it is the kind of path that might tempt us if we perceive the same things. He said, “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure.”
But before he went further down this path of envy, something gave him perspective. He entered the sanctuary of God. Then he understood their final destiny. The result was a celebration of being in relationship with God. He said to the LORD, “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”
Asaph’s journey shows how an eternal perspective brings clarity when we come to God in a place of worship in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the role of spiritual leadership in the church?”
Ephesians 4:11 tells us that it was Jesus who gave gifts for “some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service.”
The purpose of teachers and preachers is to proclaim God’s word in a way that accurately represents God’s character and mobilizes God’s people to live out the Christian faith in acts of service.
As God’s word is faithfully proclaimed, the church body will grow in a number of ways:
According to Ephesians 4:12, the body of Christ will be built up. This implies that the faith of the church will grow stronger.
According to verse 13, the church will be unified in the faith.
And according to the same verse, the church will become mature in the faith so that we can reflect Jesus in our witness.
Leadership sets the tone for the church to grow together in faith and to express our faith through love in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is people all over the world.
Today, there are over 7.1 billion people in the world, and God is the creator of each person who lives on the face of the earth at this time.
Psalm 145, verse 9 tells us that “ the LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”
The LORD knew about each one of us before we were born, He knew what we needed, and He provided a way for us to live forever with Him when He sent Jesus to the world.
The writer of Psalm 95 acknowledged God as Creator and responded with worship. Verse 6 says, “Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God.” Our breathing proves that we exist, but our worship reflects that we thrive for the glory of God.
The people of the world have been made in the image of God, and were made to bring glory to God. The existence of people on the earth is a reason to believe in God’s good news.