JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the sunrise.
We do not wonder if the sun will rise in the morning or ponder which hour it will appear over the eastern horizon. We might wonder if we will arise on time, but we don’t question the timing of the sunrise.
God’s faithfulness is compared to a daily sunrise. Yes, we might have questions about our own faithfulness at times, but God’s faithfulness is a quality that we can depend on. As we look to God and come under His influence, He will enable us to become more faithful.
Lamentations 3:22 gives us this reason not just to believe in God, but to also have hope in Him. “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “
Just like the sunrise, the LORD is faithful. He sent Jesus to the world at just the right time when we needed a Savior. And when the time is right, Jesus will appear again to gather His followers into His heavenly kingdom.
The faithful appearance of the sunrise is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Connection, today’s Encounter with Jesus examines His letter to the church at Smyrna.
In Revelation 2:9, His main message to this church is to commend them for their faithful witness. He says, “I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich.” “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.” “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
The witness of this church reveals that followers of Christ will, at times, face persecution for our faith.
Polycarp was the bishop at Smyrna, and when he was 86 years of age, he was pressured to acknowledge Caesar as Lord. But Polycarp would not bow to the pressure. He said, “Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” As a result of his stand for Jesus, Polycarp became a martyr for the faith.
A daily connection with Christ inspires faith and courage for times of testing.
JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Proverbs 14:22.
“Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.”
Plans indicate our intentions to act. This verse is referring to the principle of sowing and reaping.
If we sow evil plans, we will stray off course from God’s intended will for our lives, and the outcome leads to confusion, dissension, and pain. Someone gets hurt when evil plans are carried out. If our plans are evil, God’s remedy is for us to turn back before we carry out those plans.
If the Lord directs our plans, those plans will be consistent with love and faithfulness, and good fruit will flow out of our actions. A generous person who refreshes others will be refreshed. What we send out is often what comes back. Those who plan what is good open the door for thriving relationships and for the name of the Lord to be honored.
Making plans that are good in the eyes of the Lord is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – In faithfulness, we fulfill our commitments. At work, we take responsibility for our assignments. At home, we fulfill our vows to our spouse, and responsibilities to our children to raise them up in the ways of the LORD.
As we look to the LORD and His strength, we see His faithfulness expressed in love. The cross is an example of His faithful love. That is where Jesus laid down His life so that we might be brought back to life and brought back to a relationship with God.
Deuteronomy 32:4 says about God, “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just; a faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he”
Faithfulness is a dependable quality. We can fully rely on the love that God has for us because of His faithfulness. His influence on our lives motivates us to express our love for others with honesty and faithfulness. First Corinthians 13:6 says, “Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.”
Faithfulness is a quality of love and is a lesson of faith worth remembering.