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Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

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Tell Your StoryMark 5:1-20
Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you. (Mark 5:19) An organizational consultant in New York says that his graduate students typically recall only 5 percent of the main ideas in a presentation of graphs and charts, while they generally remember half of the stories told in the same presentation. There is a growing consensus among communication experts about the power of the personal touch in relating an experience. While facts and figures often put listeners to sleep, an illustration from real life can motivate them to action. Author Annette Simmons says, “The missing ingredient in most failed communication is humanity.” Mark 5:1-20 gives the dramatic account of Jesus setting a violent, self-destructive man free from the powerful demons that possessed him. When the restored man begged to stay with Jesus as He traveled, the Lord told him, “?‘Go home to your friends, and tell them wh…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Just Like DavidPsalms 51:1-12
I acknowledge my transgressions. (Psalms 51:3) The elderly woman didn’t like the way her pastor prayed each Sunday morning, so she told him. It bothered her that before he preached he would confess to God that he had sinned the week before. “Pastor,” she said, “I don’t like to think my pastor sins.” We’d like to believe that our spiritual leaders don’t sin, but reality tells us that no Christian is exempt from the burdens of the sinful nature. Paul told the believers at Colosse to “put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (Col. 3:5 niv). The problem is that sometimes we don’t do that. We yield to temptation, and we’re left with a mess. But we are not left helpless. We have a pattern to follow for restoration. That pattern comes from the heart and pen of King David, whose sin demonstrated the sad consequences of succumbing to temptation. Look closely at Psalm 51 as David owned up to his sin. First, he flung himself at God’s feet, plead…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Indestructible!Hebrews 7:11-21
[Christ] has come . . . according to the power of an endless life. (Hebrews 7:16) The space shuttle reenters Earth’s atmosphere at more than 25 times the speed of sound! Friction from wind resistance raises the spacecraft’s outer temperature to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep the shuttle from burning up, 34,000 separate tiles protect its underbelly. These tiles must be virtually indestructible against high-speed friction. In this world of death and decay, nothing is truly indestructible. Yet the Bible tells us of an indestructible life. Comparing the Lord Jesus to the works of the law, we are told, “[Christ] has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life” (Heb. 7:16). The Greek word translated “endless” is best rendered “indestructible.” The Messiah is our Great High Priest whose priestly duties required His own sacrificial death for our sins. His resurrection guarantees eternal redemption for all…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Real RewardsMatthew 5:3-12
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) I once viewed the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12 as a kind of sop Jesus threw to the unfortunates: “Well, since you aren’t rich, and your health is bad, and your face is wet with tears, I’ll toss out a few nice phrases to make you feel better.” Unlike medieval kings who threw coins to the masses, though, Jesus had the advantage of dangling real rewards before His audience. He who came down from heaven knew well that the glories of the kingdom of heaven would easily counterbalance whatever misery we might encounter here on earth. Among many Christians, an emphasis on future rewards has gone out of fashion. My former pastor Bill Leslie used to observe, “As churches grow wealthier and more successful, they’re less likely to sing ‘This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through’ and more likely to intone, ‘This is my Father’s world.’ ” We dare not discount the value of hope in futu…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

I Know I CanEphesians 3:14-21
[God] is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.(Eph 3:20) Remember the story of The Little Engine That Could? That determined little train climbed the steep hill by chanting positively, “I think I can. I think I can.” And then, as it gained more resolve, it declared, “I know I can. I know I can.” No one would disagree that followers of Christ should think and live in a positive way. But do you ever find yourself depending too much on your own abilities rather than on the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit? In John 15, Jesus explained our need for complete dependence on Him when He said, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (v.5). Paul reminded us that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us]” (Phil. 4:13), that “the excellence of the power [is] of God and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:7), and that we are “strengthened with might thr…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

It’s All About The HeartMatthew 15:7-20
Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart.(Matthew 15:18) Every time Susan opens her mouth, it sounds like the blare of an ambulance siren. This TV commercial uses humor to indicate that a dental problem could reveal a more serious physical ailment. So she’d better see her dentist soon! The commercial made me think about what comes out of my mouth when I open it. Jesus said that our words come from our heart (Matt. 15:18). He offended the Pharisees when He said, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (vv.11-12). They thought they were right with God because they followed strict rules, including ritual cleansing of their hands before eating and eating only “clean” foods. Jesus upset their pride. Jesus upsets our pride too. We may think we’re godly people because we go to church regularly or pray, but then we gossip or talk about people behind their backs. James 3:9-10 sa…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Beware The Rupert2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 12-15
Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.(2 Corinthians 11:14) In the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of Europe, an armada of Allied ships assaulted the beaches of Normandy, France. Simultaneously, thousands of airplanes dropped paratroopers into the action. Along with the paratroopers, the Allies also dropped hundreds of rubber dummies behind the enemy lines. Called “Ruperts,” these dummies were intended to simulate an attack to confuse the enemy. As the Ruperts landed, some German outposts were tricked into fighting the “paradummies,” creating a vital crack in the walls of Fortress Europe. We accept that kind of deception as part of a legitimate military operation designed to thwart oppressive forces. What we should not accept is the deception Satan throws our way. Paul explained that the devil “transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), and his servants appear to be people who are promoting righteousness (v.15). W…