JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Trust, today’s Focus on God examines His love for the world.
According to John 3:16 and 17, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
The world is a big place with a population that rises above 7 billion people today. When Jesus came into the world, He was coming as the remedy for the deepest problem of each one of us. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Where sin is our greatest problem, Jesus is our ultimate solution because in His grace is the forgiveness and eternal life that He offers us. There may be shortages of other resources in the world today, but there is no shortage of God’s love. His grace is abundant to save whoever calls on the name of the Lord.
God’s love for the world is a reason to trust in God for today and forever.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the greatness and goodness of God.
We see this in Psalm 95, which begins with the invitation for us to “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.”
This is not a timid worship gathering described here. This is a jubilant celebration using music to convey love for God and to proclaim His distinct place of honor as the great King above all gods.
As we approach God with a thankful heart, we remember how we are blessed by His attributes. He is holy and is making us holy. He is merciful and pardons sin. He is wise beyond measure, and gives us wisdom as we take His Word to heart.
With a thankful heart, we also remember how He has blessed us with His precious gift when He sent Jesus to the world. First John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” In Jesus, we see the evidence of God’s love for us.
The greatness and goodness of God are reasons 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 power of God to save us and be our source of strength.
In Isaiah 30:15, this is what the Sovereign LORD says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Repentance is a turning point that acknowledges we have been going the wrong way and turn to Jesus for forgiveness and direction to follow His way.
Rest is a reliance on God’s grace to save us. We acknowledge that no amount of good deeds could ever outweigh our bad deeds to make us right with God. We do not have the ability to climb ourselves out of our debt of sin. But because of what Jesus did for us at the cross, we believe that He paid the price of our debt. And so, we depend on Jesus.
Quietness is a place of solitude at God’s throne of grace, convincing us that God is in control.
Trust is a place of confidence in the LORD even in times of trouble.
The power of God to save us and be our source of strength is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – We have seen some amazing accomplishments in our lifetime through technological breakthroughs. However, there are limits to what we can do and the capability of our inventions. We cannot save ourselves from death, and we cannot live perfect lives as Jesus did.
Isaiah 2:22 urges us to “stop trusting in man, who has but breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he.”
There are limits to the capability of weapons of war to protect us. Psalm 44:6 says to the LORD, “I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory, but you give us victory over our enemies.”
There are limits to the security that human leaders can provide for us. Psalm 118:8 and 9 says, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”
There are limits to the durability of money. Psalm 49:16 tells us that the rich man takes nothing with him when he dies. Money will not benefit him then. But God’s grace is trustworthy beyond the grave.
Psalm 13:5 says, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”
The limitation of man is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – Adam and Eve were free to eat the fruit of any tree except from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil.
But Satan tried to portray God as a naysayer when he approached Eve. He said, “Did God really say, ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden?’
Eve corrected him, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”
Satan’s next tactic was to portray God as a rival. He said, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” With these words, he persuaded Eve to disobey God and take a bite.
Sin is the great tragedy of humanity. Paradise was lost through sin. The good news is that paradise is restored through Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Salvation through Jesus Christ overcomes the tragedy of sin and is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK -From Hebrews 9:27 and 28.
“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
This passage reveals two appearances of Christ to earth. One appearance happened in history. His purpose for coming was to restore us to God through His sacrifice on the cross. The second appearance is a future event. His purpose for coming again is to bring reality to His promise of eternal life.
First Thessalonians 4:17 tells us that when Christ comes again, those who are in Christ will be with the Lord forever.
That is what makes salvation so precious. We will be in God’s presence, and nothing will be able to separate us from life’s most important relationship.
Being ready for Christ’s second appearance is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.