JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the providence of God.
Providence refers to the guiding hand of God moving in the events of our lives with His wisdom and love.
An example of God’s providence in the Bible was the encounter of Cornelius and Peter for a redemptive purpose. Both Cornelius and Peter were experiencing a vision from God close together for the purpose of bringing them together. Each person had something to learn from the other.
From Peter, Cornelius and his relatives heard the good news of Jesus and received the Holy Spirit.
From Cornelius, Peter learned that God’s grace was available not just for the Jews, but also the Gentiles. He said in Acts 10:34, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”
The Providence of God orchestrates the circumstances of our lives with Divine appointments, and is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Acts 10:34 and 35.
Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”
Peter made this statement at the house of Cornelius, who was a military commander in the Roman army. Cornelius was a Gentile, and Peter was a Jew. Peter had the opportunity to share the Gospel with Cornelius and his household. At the same time, Peter was learning that this Gospel was not confined to national boundaries, but would be good news to all who embraced the testimony of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
This truth could be instrumental in stopping racism today. The starting place for mending strained relations of any kind is opening our heart to the love of God.
Embracing God’s love for people of every race and nationality is a vital-relationship building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the empty tomb.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached a sermon that persuaded 3,000 people to come to faith in Christ. It was a moment when he preached the Gospel. In that sermon, Peter said in Acts 2:32, “God raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”
This happened fifty days after the crucifixion of Jesus. If opponents wanted to prove Peter wrong, they could have pointed people to a tomb where they placed the body of Jesus. But the stone had been rolled away, and the tomb was empty. The empty tomb tells us that Jesus has defeated death and conquered the grave. He leads His followers to eternal life, not a mortal end. Jesus told His disciples in John 14:19, “Because I live, you also will live.”
The empty tomb of Jesus is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.