JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on God’s guidance.
In Exodus 13:21, we learn how God guided and provided for the Israelites after they were released from slavery in Egypt.
“By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”
The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire at night was an indication that God was present with the Israelites. God was making a way for them to move forward in His plan. Without the pillar of cloud in the day, the people would have baked in the desert sun. Without the fire by night, the people would have stumbled in the darkness. God has not left His people without tools to go forward in His plan. God’s Word is described as a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. God’s Presence serves as our shade to refresh us in the midst of circumstances that drain the soul. Psalm 121, verse 5 says, “The LORD watches over you-the LORD is your shade at your right hand.” With a teachable spirit, we can enjoy the journey of moving forward in God’s plan, under His presence, in light of His Word.
God’s guidance is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
Through the expression and reception of God’s Word, faith is formed in our hearts. Not everyone who hears with their ears will believe with their hearts. However, if our hearts are thirsty for the truth, and craving for righteousness, the words of Jesus are sure to be a satisfying drink for spiritual nourishment.
Isaiah chapter 55 compared the acceptance of God’s Word to the rain cycle, which comes from heaven and does not return without watering the earth. The LORD says in verse 11, “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.”
Faith is born and thrives with the influence of God’s Word shaping our heart.
The life-changing impact of God’s Word is a lesson of faith to remember.
JOHN SHIRK – To know whether or not we can trust something or someone, we need to have confidence in whether or not they are true. The words ‘true’ and ‘trustworthy’ go together.
On one occasion, Jesus prayed for His followers, saying, “Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth.”
When does the Bible make a difference in our lives? When we accept it as truth. That is where we find Jesus crucified for our sins, then risen from the dead, and exalted as Lord.
In First Thessalonians 2:13, Paul wrote a letter to the church saying, “We also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”
This is how the Bible can have a life-changing impact on our lives that transforms us into the likeness of Christ-when we humbly accept the words of Scripture as the words of truth. Then, we will have a trustworthy resource for knowing God and knowing what He wants us to do.
The reliability of God’s Word is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – There are several ways we might be tempted to sin-Either through the external forces of the world’s value system and the influence of Satan or through the internal force of the sinful nature.
The source of Jesus’ temptation was not internal, but rather external, because He had no sinful nature. But He was tempted externally by the devil.
It happened in Luke 4. The devil tempted Jesus three times, and each time, Jesus responded with the words, It is written. He resisted the devil by using the Word of God.
That resource is available to us today, and will help us in moments of temptation. The writer of Psalm 119 said to the LORD, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Hiding God’s Word in our heart is effective for overcoming temptation and is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – From Luke 8:21.
Jesus said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
This statement broadens our view of family. At the time when Jesus said this, someone approached Jesus to tell him that his mother and brothers were standing outside wanting to see him. But they were having trouble getting through because of the crowd.
That is when Jesus widened the definition of His family circle to include anyone who was receptive to God’s Word and applied His truth to their lives. This application includes receiving the good news of salvation found only in Jesus Christ. This family definition includes people of faith for future generations, including ours. Family membership is one of God’s spiritual blessings for the follower of Christ. He enlarges our family to include God’s people who are brothers and sisters in Christ. Our fellowship is meaningful through the blood of Christ.
Putting God’s word into practice is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.