JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the peace of a faith-focused thought life.
In Philippians 4, the Apostle Paul listed a number of healthy habits that lead to peace with God.
One healthy habit was to rejoice in the Lord always.
Another healthy habit was to present our prayer requests to God with thanksgiving.
Another thing we can do is learn from those in places of spiritual authority-to listen to their teachings, to watch how they live, and follow their example as they follow Christ.
Verse 8 talks about yet another healthy habit that brings peace to our soul. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
When we think about Jesus, we are thinking of these qualities, because He defines them. When our minds are focused on Christ, we remember that our lives are in the hands of Someone who loves us very much and has proved it at the cross and empty grave.
The peace of a faith-focused thought life is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the words of the prophets.
Second Peter 1:19 says, “We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
The main purpose of prophecy is to draw our attention to the testimony of Jesus. Even before Jesus came into the world, the words of the prophets were indicating that when He came, He would be born of a virgin and born in Bethlehem. He would come in peace, riding on a donkey. He would be rejected by His people, betrayed by a friend, and abandoned by His disciples. He would be pierced for our transgressions, but His body would not see decay. He would once again see the light of life and be satisfied.
These predicted events tell us that God knows the future, and keeps His promises. We can trust Him to do what He says He will do.
The words of the prophets are reasons to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on what happens in the Year of the Lord’s favor
Isaiah 61 contains words that would eventually be fulfilled by Jesus. The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.
When Jesus came to earth, He fulfilled these words. This is where Jesus stopped when He read the scroll from Isaiah. During His earthly ministry, we learn that Jesus healed the sick, encouraged the brokenhearted, and preached the Gospel. He drew crowds with His miracles, and gained enemies by claiming to be God’s Anointed One. In the favor of the LORD, we find the light of hope, the source of healing, and the freedom of forgiveness.
The favor of the LORD is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on good and perfect gifts.
James 1:17 tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Here we see that God is the giver of all good gifts. Some of those gifts might be tangible things. First Timothy 6 tells us that God is the One who provides us with everything for our enjoyment. But this blessing comes with a caution for us not to put our hope in wealth, but rather to put our hope in God. Love the Giver more than the gift.
Some of the good gifts provided by God might be resources that we need to survive. Acts 14:17 says, “He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” This, too is a blessing from God and a reason to give thanks.
Some of His gifts are perfect. Jesus is the perfect remedy for our sin. God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son. The Holy Spirit is the perfect power source for living the Christian life. Jesus said in Luke 11, “how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
Every good and perfect gift from God is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the comeback of Jesus.
Two men were walking along the road to Emmaus wearing somber faces. They had hoped that Jesus would be their redeemer, but after the events of the past few days, their hopes had faded to disappointment. Suddenly, Jesus showed up and started walking and talking with them. After they recognized Jesus later, their spirits were lifted, and they went to tell His disciples, “It is true! The Lord has risen.”
Suppose you were watching a sporting event with a friend who cheered on the same team, and you turned off the TV because your team fell so far behind. Then, imagine finding out the next day that your team scored a stunning come-back victory. You would probably text your friend to share the good news.
Jesus made the greatest comeback of all time when He rose from the dead. It looked bleak on Friday, when Christ was nailed to a cross, and the disciples were scattered and distressed. It looked like the enemies of Christ had prevailed, but Jesus would not stay silent in the tomb. He came back from death, and emerged victorious over death and sin. His triumph renews our hope every day and fills us with so much joy that we want to tell others about the greatest comeback in history.
The comeback of Jesus from the grave is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on Jesus as our source of eternal life.
Romans 10:9 says that “if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
It seems fitting to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus in the spring season, because spring marks a turning point from death to new life. The message of the Gospel celebrates the fact that Jesus cannot be found in the grave, because His body was raised to life. Because of Jesus’ triumph over death, we have a living hope. His resurrection is a joyful celebration of life following death.
His resurrection has special meaning for the person who takes the Gospel to heart. Our celebration of life is not confined just to the here-and-now, but extends beyond the grave into the picture of eternity. Jesus is Lord. He came to save us from our sins. He has risen from the dead. He gives eternal life to those who make this claim their personal confession.
Trusting in Jesus as our source of eternal life is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the meaning of Hosanna.
It’s called the Triumphal entry. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Matthew 21 records that a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”
Hosanna means “Save, please.” The origin of this word “Hosanna” shows up in Psalm 118:25 in the form of a prayer: “O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.” By the time Jesus stepped onto the scene, the meaning of this word was changed to a shout of hope and exaltation.
So, it changed from a prayer request to an exclamation of praise. Hosanna reminds us that Jesus is the answer to our prayer for salvation. Those who gladly welcome Him as Messiah are filled with expressions of praise, because of what Jesus has done for us and what He means to us.
The meaning of Hosanna is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the significance of the bread and the cup.
In First Corinthians 11:23, the Apostle Paul wrote, “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’
Communion is a time of remembrance to the defining moment in history when the love of Jesus was poured out for us sacrificially so that we could live for His glory, live through His power, and live with Him in relationship forever.
Whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup of the communion table, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
The significance of the bread and the cup is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
Tune in on Winning Wednesday, April 2nd, for your chance to score the new Citizens CD! It features songs you may have heard on WJTL like “Made Alive” and “Jesus!” Keep our number handy: 717-392-3690 (392-FM90).
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life.
In John 11:25, Jesus said to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
Then, He turned to Martha and asked her a question that is relevant for us as well. Jesus said, “Do you believe this?”
There are various beliefs about Jesus today. Some say that He was a good man, who demonstrated wise teachings and who did good things for people, but not more than that. To others, He is a swear word. To others, He was a deceiver. Others echo the response of Martha, who said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
By saying this, Martha was affirming that Jesus was not just another ordinary man, but that He came from heaven as a promise from God, and is the source of eternal life for all who trust Him for salvation.
The eternal life that Jesus offers us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on Jesus as the Bread Of Life.
After feeding 5,000 people, starting with five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus taught a lesson of faith about spiritual bread.
He said in John 6:35: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Jesus was inviting us to come to Him for a type of nourishment that physical food could not provide. Blaise Pascal has said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus.
There are many different things that people seek to fill this vacuum. Some people seek satisfaction in money, fame, or pleasure. These are shallow substitutes for the long haul. Seeking Christ opens the way for us to live in relationship with God, and to experience His love and righteousness. In this way, we can have a fulfilling and thriving relationship with God that lasts forever.
The Bread of Life that Jesus offers us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.