Archive

Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Q and A-Real and Authentic Freedom

July 1st, 2016 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is the key to real and authentic freedom?”

Over the Fourth of July, America celebrates Independence Day with fireworks. Political liberties such as free speech, religious expression, freedom of assembly, and the freedom of the press are all granted in the U.S. Constitution. These are some of the liberties that we enjoy today, which many other nations do not experience.

As precious as these liberties are, they are not the keys to real and authentic freedom. Jesus offers us the key in John 8:36. He said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Jesus was referring to Himself. He is full of grace and truth. One of His purposes for coming to the world was to set the captives free. In verse 31, He says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

While political freedoms can be taken away, no one can steal away our spiritual liberty. The truth of Jesus’ words and His gospel of grace are keys to real and authentic freedom in the Year of Exploration.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Encounter With Jesus-If God Is For Us….

October 20th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Connection, today’s Encounter with Jesus examines His abundant grace.

Romans 8:31 asks the question, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Sometimes, people wonder where God is, or why He seems so distant. The truth is that God has spoken of His love to us when He sent Jesus to us. The death of Jesus on the cross was the offer of God’s grace to humanity, saying that our sins can be forgiven, and our relationship can be restored to God through faith in Jesus’ name.

In reality, we have run away from God with every sin that we ever committed. Woven throughout the Scriptures is the picture of God pursuing His people. He sought us out for relationship. He seeks to bless us, not to harm us. He is for us, not against us. How will we respond to His abundant grace? Jesus invites us to follow Him.

In saying yes to that invitation, we have the opportunity to enjoy His friendship and Heavenly treasures forever.

A daily connection with Christ gives us security in the arms of God’s grace.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Encounter With Jesus-High Priest

June 15th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Connection, today’s Encounter with Jesus examines His role as our high priest.

One of the functions of the high priest in the Old Testament was to enter the Most Holy Place once a year to make atonement for himself and the people. The high priest would offer animal blood as sacrifices year after year, which did not have the power to take away sin. Then came Jesus who offered Himself for our sins once for all. His blood was payment enough to take our sin away. His grace is sufficient for our need.

Hebrews 4:14 says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

In our times of weakness and temptations, Jesus will be our source of strength if we turn to Him. He is able to turn our weaknesses into strengths, so that when people see the change in our lives, they see the power of Christ making the difference.

A daily connection with Christ gives us constant access to the throne of grace.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Relationship Building Principle-Overcome Evil With Good

May 20th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Genesis 50:20.

Joseph was a godly man with great influence in the land of Egypt. His brothers had rejected him when he was a teenage boy. They were jealous of him and would not speak kindly to him. Many years later, they needed his help. When his brothers came to Egypt seeking relief from the famine, they made their appeal to Joseph, who had a choice to make. He could let the past embitter him against his brothers, or he could forgive them and offer them aid.

Joseph returned their hostility with kindness. This is a pattern similar to how God treats a world that has treated Him with hostility because of our sin. He has responded by offering us grace. He sent Jesus to the world, whose sacrifice on the cross overcame evil with good.

Near the end of his life, Joseph could look back and see the wisdom of God’s plan through the good, bad, and the ugly. He said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” That is an expression of undeserved grace, the kind of grace that can restore broken relationships.

Overcoming evil with good is a relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Testimonial Evangelism

March 11th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.

One way is the Testimonial approach.

This is when we tell other people how God has specifically changed our lives with the touch of His grace. This might happen in a setting where we are sharing one-on-one with a friend. Or we might share our testimony in a church meeting.

In John 9, a man who was blind from birth was given sight. When the Pharisees asked him about this, he said about Jesus, “He put mud on my eyes and I washed, and now I see.”

Our testimony is where our story and God’s grace meet. When people hear and see the difference that Jesus makes in our lives, they have opportunity to see how Jesus can also change their lives in a profound way.

Psalm 66:16 says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

Taking the testimonial approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Invitational Evangelism

March 6th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.

One way is the Invitational approach.

In our enthusiasm of being a follower of Jesus, we are motivated to invite others to experience new life in Christ too.

In John chapter 4 of the Bible, there was a woman at the well, who had an encounter with Jesus. She was living in immorality, but Jesus did not condemn her. Instead, He invited her to taste the living water of His grace.

She, in turn, went back to her Samaritan village to say to her people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I did. Could this be the Christ?” The Bible says they came out of the town and made their way toward him. Many of them became followers of Jesus too.

Jesus extends this invitation: “Come, follow me.” Revelation 22:17 says, “Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”

Taking the invitational approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Relationship-Building Principle-An Earnest Search For God

January 29th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Psalm 63, verses 1 through 3.

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”

This is a Psalm of David, whom God described as a man after His own heart. In times of emptiness, it is a human tendency to seek fulfillment in the things of this world. In our thirst, we reach for water, which satisfies our physical thirst for a period of time, until we get thirsty again. The things of this world may satisfy our longings briefly, but not forever. Jesus told the woman at the well, that there was water that could permanently satisfy the longings of her soul, and that water is His grace.

In times of emptiness, David would seek satisfaction in the love of God; God would be glorified in David’s life.

An earnest search for God with our soul is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-Life Changing Impact

November 6th, 2014 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the life changing impact of God’s grace.

After Paul was converted to Christ, there was a noticeable change in his life. Instead of wanting to persecute the church, he wanted to build up the church in the qualities of faith, hope, and love. He had an earnest desire to see Jesus glorified in his life. Through his testimony, that is exactly what happened. He became a devoted follower of Jesus, which was a reason for churches to praise God. Not only did they lose an enemy, but they gained a friend, a true ally who would speak up for the Good News of Jesus Christ, and be influential in leading people to the Lord.

In Galatians 1:22, Paul was talking about his spiritual journey after coming to faith in Christ. He said, “I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: ‘The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’” Then Paul says, “And they praised God, because of me.”

This goes to show that if Paul can be converted to Christ, no soul is hopeless. When someone makes a sweeping life change like this, the body of Christ has the opportunity to surround that person with support and encouragement.

The life-changing impact of God’s grace is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-God’s Graciousness

August 25th, 2014 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the graciousness of God.

Grace is that quality of God’s character that ultimately saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life. It is not an item we can purchase or a wage that we can earn. Ephesians 2:8 describes God’s grace as a gift to be received. In His grace, God shines His favor on His people.

The graciousness of God can be seen in the blessings that He pours out on the inhabitants of the earth. He sends rain from heaven to provide us with food from the crops.

His graciousness is often connected with His patience and kindness.

Instead of wiping out the civilization of Nineveh, as He had threatened through Jonah the prophet, the LORD saw how they had turned from their evil ways and had compassion on them. Likewise, God’s graciousness relents from the judgment that we deserve when we repent from our sins and trust in Jesus for forgiveness

God’s graciousness also equips the believer with spiritual gifts. He blesses us to be a blessing to others through acts of service. First Peter 4:10 tells us to use whatever gift we have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

The graciousness of God is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Moment Of Celebration-Forgiveness

January 13th, 2014 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the blessing of forgiveness.

Psalm 32, verse 1 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

This describes the person who has confessed their sins to God and confessed their need for His mercy. They are focused on walking with God with a humble heart. They do not make intentional plans that disregard God’s laws. Rather, they seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. Their first love is for God, and that allegiance compels them to live for His glory.

The forgiveness of God offers us freedom from guilt. In the New Testament of the Bible, we learn that this forgiveness is available through faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23 and 24 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

The blessing of forgiveness is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

Lesson Of Faith-The Greatest Gift Of All

December 18th, 2013 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Jesus would be born as God’s gift to us.

This promise appears in Isaiah 9:6-“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince Of Peace.”

Jesus is the expression of God’s grace. He is not a trophy to earn, but a gift to receive. Over and over in the Bible, we are told that God’s grace is a gift to receive and is necessary for eternal life.

Ephesians 2:8 and 9 says, “It is by grace you have been saved through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

And Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This Christmas, there is not a more complete package with greater, long-lasting value than to receive the gift of God’s grace in the person of Jesus Christ.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

 

The promise that Jesus would be born as God’s gift to us is a lesson of faith worth remembering.