Posts

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Heartbreak And HopeLamentations 3:1-6, 16-25
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him.(Lam 3:25) When American country singer George Jones died at the age of 81, his fans remembered his remarkable voice and his hard life and personal struggles. While many of his songs reflected his own despair and longing, it was the way he sang them that touched people deeply. Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot said, “His voice was made for conveying heartbreak.” The book of Lamentations records Jeremiah’s anguish over the nation of Judah’s stubborn refusal to follow God. Often called “the weeping prophet,” he witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and saw his people carried into captivity. He wandered the streets of the city, overwhelmed by grief (Lam. 1:1-5). Yet, in Jeremiah’s darkest hour, he said, “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (3:21-23). Wh…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Image
Creeping Christmas?Galatians 4:1-7
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Cor 9:15) I love Christmas. The celebration of the birth of Christ and the beauty and wonder of the season make it “the most wonderful time of the year” for me. In recent years, however, the season has been accompanied by a growing irritation. Every year “Christmas stuff” comes out earlier and earlier—creeping all the way back to early fall. Christmas used to be limited to December, but now we find radio stations playing Christmas music in early November. Stores start advertising Christmas specials in October, and Christmas candy appears in late September. If we’re not careful, this growing deluge can numb us—even sour us to what should be a season of gratitude and awe. When that irritation begins to rise in my spirit, I try to do one thing: Remember. I remind myself what Christmas means, who Jesus is, and why He came. I remember the love and grace of a forgiving God who sent us rescue in the Person of His …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Final Picture Isaiah 40:21-31 v26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things. 
What started as an empty 11-acre field in Belfast, Northern Ireland, ended up as the largest land portrait in the British Isles. Wish, by artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, is made from 30,000 wooden pegs, 2,000 tons of soil, 2,000 tons of sand, and miscellaneous items such as grass, stones, and string. At the beginning, only the artist knew what the final artwork was going to look like. He hired workers and recruited volunteers to haul materials and move them into place. As they worked, they saw little indication that something amazing was about to emerge. But it did. From the ground, it doesn’t look like much. But from above, viewers see a huge portrait—the smiling face of a little girl. God is doing something on a grander scale in the world. He’s the artist who sees the final picture. We’re His “fellow workers” (1 Cor. 3:9) who are helping to make it a reality. Through the prophet Isaiah,…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Drinking GourdPhilippians 2:12-18
Shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.(Phil 2:15-16) Prior to the American Civil War (1861–1865), fugitive slaves found freedom by following the Underground Railroad, a term for the secret routes from the South to the North and the abolitionists who helped them along the way. Slaves would travel at night for many miles, keeping on track by following the light of the “Drinking Gourd.” This was a code name for the collection of stars known as the Big Dipper, which points to the North Star. Some believe the fugitives also used encoded directions in the lyrics of the song “Follow the Drinking Gourd” to keep them from getting lost as they traveled. Both the abolitionists and the “drinking gourd” served as points of light directing the slaves to freedom. The apostle Paul says that believers are to shine as “lights in the world” to show the way to those seeking God’s truth, redemption, and spiritual liberation (Phil. 2:15). We live in a…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Honor Of FollowingMatthew 4:18-22
Then [Jesus] said to them, “Follow Me.” (Matthew 4:19) While visiting Jerusalem, a friend of mine saw an old rabbi walking past the Wailing Wall. The interesting thing about the aged rabbi was the five young men walking behind him. They too were walking bent over, limping—just like their rabbi. An Orthodox Jew watching them would know exactly why they were imitating their teacher. They were “followers.” Throughout the history of Judaism, one of the most honored positions for a Jewish man was the privilege of becoming a “follower” of the local rabbi. Followers sat at the rabbi’s feet as he taught. They would study his words and watch how he acted and reacted to life and others. A follower would count it the highest honor to serve his rabbi in even the most menial tasks. And, because they admired their rabbi, they were determined to become like him. When Jesus called His disciples to follow Him (Matt. 4:19), it was an invitation to be changed by Him, to…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Tear Down The WallGenesis 50:15-21
He comforted them and spoke kindly to them.(Gen 50:21) The years following World War II were labeled the Cold War as nations exchanged threats and jockeyed for power. The Berlin Wall, built in August 1961, stood for almost 3 decades as one of the most powerful symbols of the smoldering animosity. Then, on November 9, 1989, it was announced that citizens could cross freely from East to West Berlin. The entire wall was demolished the following year. The familiar Old Testament story of Joseph follows a favorite son whose brothers hated him (Gen. 37–50). Yet Joseph refused to build a wall of hatred between himself and his brothers who sold him into slavery. When a famine brought them face to face after many years, Joseph treated his brothers with kindness, saying, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good . . . . And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (50:20-21), helping to restore the relationship between them. Twenty-five years ago tod…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Legacy
Colossians 3:8-17
Holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering. (Col 3:12)One day my wife called me at work and said, “Something’s going on next door. Lots of cars are there.” Because of my neighbor’s occupation, I feared the worst, and soon those fears were realized. Our neighbor, policeman Trevor Slot, had just been killed in the line of duty, trying to stop the escape of two bank robbers. Our community was stunned. Trevor had no time to prepare for his death. Yet he was ready. His faith in Christ was secure, and his reputation as a remarkable man was intact. At his funeral, attended by hundreds of fellow officers, his colleague Detective Brandyn Heugel said, “He was a dedicated police officer, but first and foremost he was a loving husband to Kim and a doting father to Kaitlyn and Abbie.” Indeed the theme of Trevor’s tributes all centered on his great personality and his love and care for his family. Trevor’s life exemplified the word…