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Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

A Happy ReunionRevelation 21:1-5
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. (Rev 21:3) In 2002, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her home in Utah. She lived a vagabond life in the constant presence of the couple accused of abducting her. However, 9 months after she was abducted she was found and returned home. It was the happy reunion her family had been longing for. In the book of Revelation, John describes a vision of a new heaven and a new earth and our future reunion with the Lord (21:1-5). The context is not just geographic, but a context of life for God’s people—a glorious reality of God and His people dwelling together for eternity. John describes the benefits that come to God’s people when He takes up His abode in their midst. Abolished forever are the debilitating consequences of sin. In John’s vision, sorrow, death, pain, and separation are all part of the first things that are now gone. The old order gives way to the …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Tempted BrothersGenesis 39:1-12
How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? (Gen 39:9) Two brothers—both far from home —faced similar temptations. One, working away from the family, fell to the schemes of a younger woman. His sin led to embarrassment and family turmoil. The other, separated from loved ones because of family turmoil, resisted the advances of an older woman. His faithfulness led to rescue and renewal for the family. Who are these brothers? Judah, who fell to the desperate scheme of his neglected daughter-in-law Tamar (Gen. 38). And Joseph, who ran from the arms of Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39). One chapter, an ugly story of irresponsibility and deception; the other, a beautiful chapter of faithfulness. The stories of Judah and Joseph, presented back-to-back in the midst of “the history of Jacob” (37:2), show us that temptation itself is not the problem. Everybody faces temptation, even Jesus did (Matt. 4:1-11). But how do we face temptation? Do we demonstr…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Passionate Boldness
Acts 4:5-13
When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, . . . they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.(Acts 4:13)A young man was preaching to the passersby in Hounslow, on the outskirts of London, England. Most ignored him, a few ridiculed, and several stopped to listen. But regardless of the reaction of the people, he was undeterred. With a strong voice and clear resolve, he poured out his heart—not with the words of an angry prophet, but with deep concern for the men and women on that street. His eyes, facial expressions, and tone of voice revealed an attitude of compassion, not condemnation. In it all, he boldly shared the love and grace of Jesus Christ. In Acts 4, when the church was still new, Peter and John also boldly addressed the people of their generation. The response of the leaders of their day? “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they real…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Common CentsMark 12:41-44
[Jesus said,] “This poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury.” (Mark 12:43) In 1987, Mike Hayes, a freshman at the University of Illinois, found a unique way to finance his education. He convinced a popular columnist at the Chicago Tribune to ask his readers to “send in a penny for Mike.” “Just one penny,” Hayes said. “A penny doesn’t mean anything to anyone. If everyone . . . looks around the room right now, there will be a penny under the couch cushion . . . or on the floor. That’s all I’m asking. A penny from each of your readers.” In less than a month the fund was up to 2.3 million cents. Donations came in from all over the US, as well as Mexico, Canada, and the Bahamas. Mike eventually ended up with $28,000! The common cent just isn’t worth much—unless it’s added to a whole bunch of other pennies. The woman we read about in Mark 12 gave the equivalent of a fraction of a penny, which was “all that she had” (v.44). But Jesus hono…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Ongoing EncouragementColossians 3:14-25
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Col 3:21) Father’s Day is celebrated in many countries worldwide. Although the origins, activities, and actual day of observance differ widely, they all share the common thread of honoring fathers for their role as parents. This year for Father’s Day, I’ve decided to do something different. Instead of waiting to receive a card or phone call from my children, I’m sending words of appreciation to them and to my wife. After all, without them, I wouldn’t be a dad. Paul instructed fathers to be a positive part of their children’s development rather than a source of anger and discouragement. He wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Col. 3:21). Both of these verses are embedded in passages about loving and honoring each other i…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

My Two CentsActs 2:40-47
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. (Pro 3:27) Recently, our family had to change Internet cable services. Our former provider promised to send us a postage-paid box to mail their equipment back to them. We waited. No box came. I phoned. The promised box still did not arrive, but we did get a bill for the equipment! Wanting to get this resolved, I decided to return it at my own expense. I sent several faxes asking if they received it—but no reply. Then I got a refund check of $.02 for the returned equipment! An experience like that can be frustrating. A simple transaction was complicated by poor communication. Sadly, some people in our churches may encounter an impersonal response to their needs. Whether seeking marital counseling, childcare, guidance for a troubled teen, or a loving community, they come away feeling uncared for. The first-century church was not perfect, but it faithfully helped others. …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

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Meditate On These ThingsPsalms 119:89-105
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works.(Ps 145:5) Some Christians get a little skeptical when you start talking about meditation—not seeing the huge distinction between biblical meditation and some types of mystical meditation. In mystical meditation, according to one explanation, “the rational mind is shifted into neutral . . . so that the psyche can take over.” The focus is inward, and the aim is to “become one with God.” In contrast, biblical meditation focuses on the things of the Lord, and its purpose is to renew our minds (Rom. 12:2) so that we think and act more like Christ. Its objective is to reflect on what God has said and done (Ps. 77:12; 119:15-16,97) and on what He is like (48:9-14). In Psalm 19:14, David wrote, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord.” Other psalms reflect on God’s love (48:9), His deeds (77:12), His law (119:97), and…