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Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

InterruptionsMark 5:21-34
The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.(Psalms 33:11) My sister and I were looking forward to our holiday in Taiwan. We had purchased our plane tickets and booked our hotel rooms. But 2 weeks before the trip, my sister learned she had to stay at home in Singapore to handle an emergency. We were disappointed that our plans were interrupted. Jesus’ disciples were accompanying Him on an urgent mission when their trip was interrupted (Mark 5:21-42). The daughter of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, was dying. Time was of the essence, and Jesus was on His way to their home. Then, suddenly, Jesus stopped and said, “Who touched My clothes?” (v.30). The disciples seemed irritated by this and said, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” (v.31). But Jesus saw it as an opportunity to minister to a suffering woman. Her illness had made her ceremonially unclean and unable to participate in community lif…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

A New Bucket ListRomans 12:6-21
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. (Rom 12:10) A friend told me he had recently accomplished one of the things on his “bucket list” (a list of things to do before you die) when he took his sister to Europe. Although he had traveled there many times, she had never been there. What struck me was the unselfish nature of having that goal on his “bucket list.” It caused me to wonder how many of my dreams and goals are focused on others, not on myself. Romans 12:6-21 speaks of God’s gifts to us as members of the body of Christ and how we should use them in everyday life. All of them are outward in focus. Teaching, for example, is not for the teacher’s self-fulfillment but for the benefit of others. So too with the other gifts mentioned in verses 6 through 8. Paul summarized this openhanded approach by urging us to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

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Wake-Up MusicDeuteronomy 31:16-22
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. (Col 3:16) In a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, a group of international refugees has been singing songs that they hope will wake up their homeland. According to the BBC, the group Waayah Cusub has been enjoying extensive airplay on radio stations and television channels by using bold lyrics to address social issues. One of the musicians says, “We are not happy with what is happening back home; in fact we have recorded a thought-provoking song that we hope will bring our leaders back to their senses.” Long before Waayah Cusub began using songs to call for an end to social pain and violence, God taught Moses to use music in a bold and provocative way. Knowing that His people’s sinful inclinations would distract them when they began to enjoy the prosperity of the Promised Land (Deut. 31:21), God told Moses to teach them the song…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Gift Of Self-IndulgenceEzekiel 16:48-57
She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.(Ezekiel 16:49) An upscale London department store launched a new gift card with the slogan, “The Gift of Self-Indulgence.” Throughout the store, signs, slogans, and even nametags called attention to the cards. According to one employee, sales of the gift cards during the first weeks of the promotion had been very strong, far exceeding company expectations. Generosity may prompt a person to give a luxurious gift to someone special, but too often we find it easier to purchase what we want for ourselves. The prophet Ezekiel sheds light on an ancient city whose people suffered God’s judgment, in part, because they embraced a self-indulgent lifestyle. “This was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the po…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Secret Is1 Corinthians 2:6-16
We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages. (1 Cor 2:7) If you believe Rhonda Byrne, author of the bestselling book The Secret, “The shortcut to anything you want in your life is to be and feel happy now!” According to Byrne, this has to do with something called the law of attraction. If you think only about things that make you happy, she says, happy things will be attracted to you. Sounds easy enough. However, the Bible says that “the secret” to life is something very different. It has to do with “the law of the Spirit of life” that sets us free from “the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2), not with the “law of attraction.” According to the apostle Paul, the most important thing to know is “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). To those who are concerned with happiness now, this is indeed foolishness (v.14). They do not recognize the power of God in what appears to them as weakness. The Lord created…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Making The CutMatthew 4:18-22
[Jesus] said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”(Matthew 4:19) Every year, high-school seniors apply to their favorite universities and then watch the mailbox for the letter announcing their acceptance. It was different for teens in New Testament times. Jewish boys would often attend rabbinical schools until age 13. Then only the best and brightest would be chosen to “follow” the local rabbi. This small, select group of disciples would go where he went and eat what he ate—modeling their lives after the rabbi. Those who didn’t make the cut would pick up a trade like carpentry, sheep-herding, or fishing. Guys like Simon, Andrew, James, and John hadn’t made the cut. So instead of following the local rabbi, they were down by the docks, knee-deep in the family business. It’s interesting that Jesus sought out the men the local rabbi had rejected. Instead of targeting the best and brightest, Jesus offered His invitation, “Follow Me,” to ordinar…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Godly Sorrow2 Corinthians 7:5-10
I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner. (2 Cor 7:9) Thieves stole nearly $5,000 in sound and office equipment from a church in West Virginia, only to break in the following night to return the items they had taken. Apparently, the guilt of stealing from a church weighed so heavily on their conscience that they felt the need to correct their criminal behavior of breaking the commandment: “You shall not steal” (Ex. 20:15). Their actions make me think about the differences between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow. Paul praised the Corinthians for understanding this difference. His first letter to them was biting, as he addressed issues of sin. His words caused sorrow among them, and because of this Paul rejoiced. Why? Their sorrow did not stop at just feeling sad about getting caught or suffering the unpleasant consequences of their sins. Their sorrow was godly sorrow, a genui…