JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason To Believe is the Fall Foliage.
The many different colors of leaves on the trees reveal God’s creativity and appreciation for beauty. They are too numerous to count.
The Architect behind the leaves is also the Maker of each person on this planet. We have our own unique personality and characteristics.
We are here for a season in the realm of human history. While we remain, we are meant to reflect God’s glory and reveal His beauty on the earth. Beyond this life, those who are faithful to Jesus will be carried away to join the family of God around heaven’s throne.
The writer of Revelation 7:9 wrote, “After this, I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”
The Fall Foliage reminds us of the kaleidoscope of people who are made to reflect God’s glory, and is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What does it mean to worship God in spirit and in truth?”
Jesus was engaged in a conversation with a woman at the well. They were talking about worship. She was a Samaritan, and as she learned more about Jesus, she said to Him, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus downplayed the significance of tying meaningful worship with a specific location. Instead, He focused on the matters of the heart. He said in John 4:23, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Worship that pleases God is not about the outward expressions of a ceremony or being in a certain territory. Worship is about expressing love for God with sincerity, and acknowledging Him for who He really is. So, as we grow in the grace and knowledge of God, our worship will thrive for the glory of God in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the meaning behind the Parable of the Rich Fool?”
Jesus told this parable in Luke 12 to show that life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.
A rich man had a bumper crop year. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops”. Then, he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many ears. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”
But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then, who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Jesus said, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves, but is not rich toward God.”
The point of this parable is not to suggest that it is wrong to save money or plan for retirement, but it does highlight the folly of storing up for ourselves treasures on earth without storing up treasures in heaven in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the moon.
According to NASA, the Moon is approximately 238 thousand miles from planet earth. On a cloudless night, it appears as a light in the sky faithfully.
Psalm 89:37 describes the moon as the faithful witness in the sky. We see the moon because it reflects the light of the sun.
God’s promises are like the moon in the sense that they reflect His goodness and trustworthiness.
Our good deeds carried out in the name of Jesus are also like the moon in the sense that they reflect God’s glory.
Jesus instructs us to let our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven.
In this way, followers of Jesus can be like the moon and reflect Christ’s love and goodness to the world in which we live.
The Moon, as a faithful witness in the sky, is a reflector of light and is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What does the Bible say about work?”
In the beginning of the Bible, we see a description of God at work in the world. For six days, He created the world, and on the seventh day, He rested from all his work. The Sabbath-rest followed this pattern of six days of work and one day of rest.
God gave work for man to do, even before sin entered the human race. Genesis 2:13 says that the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
The thorns and thistles came to the workplace after sin entered the human race. Frustration from work was what resulted from the fall.
The good news about Jesus is that His resurrection provides purpose for the labor that we do for Him. First Corinthians 15:58 encourages us to always give ourselves fully to the Lord, because we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain.
God uses work in our lives in various ways: to give us satisfaction, provide for our families and others in need, serve others, and bring glory to Jesus. Work is a gift from God that gives us the opportunity to serve Him productively in the Year of Exploration.
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.