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Showing posts from October, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

A renewal and restoration of relationships
1 John 2:7-17
“But whoever hates his brother is in darkness, he does not know where he is going, because darkness has blinded him.”
Creation was an act of love. We were meant to be in peaceful and loving relationship with God and our fellow beings. Sin led to alienation from God which brought darkness into our lives. This darkness corrupted humankind and resulted in the first murder, brother killing brother. Apostle John, who is known as the Apostle of love emphasized that the practical aspect of Christian life in this epistle. Jesus Christ revealed the true love through his life and death, as Christians we should manifest this divinely love in and through our life.
When we peruse through history, it is loaded with examples of crimes against humanity which are perpetuated even today. How could most of the world stand in silence when millions of Jews were killed during the holocaust? How could most of early Christians in America turn a blind eye …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Family: A Recreation of Relationships Joshua 24: 14 – 22 “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24: 15  When God created human beings, He established the institution of family During those days, “corporate” worship was basically family worship. God’s relationship with human beings existed through the establishment of the family. The Israelites did not have a formal place of worship until the Tabernacle of Moses. Prior to this, their place of worship was the home, and the corporate unit of worship was not the congregation, but the family. We have a rich tradition of daily family worship, which we have practiced for generations.   Sadly today in just one generation, this great tradition has died.  We no longer have regular family worship in our homes.  For most of us, all spirituality is exercised in the church.  There has been a complete abdication of our responsibility for spiritual leadership and family worship. Corporate worship in churches was never meant to replace…

Word for the day by Christian Education forum

Family: a recreation of relationship Eph: 3: 14-21
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” Recently our Church family experienced the joys of family retreat at a Christian Retreat Center in New York. At retreat we all embarked upon many adventures such as boating, zip-lining, sports, and various indoor games. These activities helped us all to foster a communal bond with the members of our church. One of the byproducts of retreat is recreation of relationships. However, recreate means prepare before you create. We must personally prepare our mind, body and atmosphere as well as our circumstances before we reach out to others to create relationships.
In order to create long lasting relationships with God’s holy people, we must first nurture our own faith and power within our heart. Ephesians 3 prays for one to possess “power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” In …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Remaining Silent Acts 18: 1-11 -  “And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent” Acts (9)
Years ago I read a story about an atheist philosophy professor and his pursuit of proving God does not exist to his students. After a semester of trying to prove this, on the last day of the class he would ask if anyone still believes in God to stand. He proceeded to take a piece of chalk and drop it saying if God existed he could prevent this chalk from breaking. No one ever stood and the chalk always shattered. In one class a believer knowing what was waiting on the last day prayed daily for the strength to stand when the time came. On the last day the Professor called on anyone who still believed in God to stand. To the shock of the class and the Professor the believer stood. In disbelief the Professor calling the student a fool said if God exists he would stop this chalk from breaking. As he went to drop the chalk it slipped rolling d…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Family: A Recreation of Relationships Genesis 2:18-25
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
God created Adam out of the dust of the ground, and some time later Eve.  We are created for one another.  Humans need each other.  God said it was not good for man to be alone, humans need to be in fellowship with humans, there must be a mutual regard among humans, and we are all commended to love each other. Before Eve was created, Adam was alone accompanied only by the animals that God had created.   God knew that Adam would not be able to find fulfillment or completeness with animals.  Moreover, in verse 18 “complete loneliness made for an imperfect life.  Therefore God created Adam’s perfect companion, Eve.  Here we discover that Adam and Eve were created for each other.  They were created equally to bear God’s image.  They were created equally to share life together.  They were created equally for companionship for…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Relationship Luke. 19: 1–10
“For the son of man came to seek and to save what was lost” Luke 19:10
Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus in Jericho is a familiar passage to all of us.  There are people who seem to possess everything this world holds in value and esteem but still lacks something.  Zacchaeus was one of those people who had it all. He was rich and possessed position and power, yet something was missing from his life. Zacchaeus was such a person yet, had a desire and was desperate to get a glimpse of Jesus, but had to overcome obstacles. Yet, he was persistent; neither the crowd nor his short stature stopped him from seeing Lord Jesus Christ, he climbed a tree to get a glimpse of the Lord. Today we may want to ask ourselves, do we have the eagerness to see Jesus? If we do, our savior will stop and call our names.  It was not Zacchaeus who initiated the relationship, it was Jesus. Jesus knew this man’s name, and called him by name, and then invited Himself to his house for a meal. …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Youth is to be with the creator Luke 15: 25-32
The father said, “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.” The passage of the prodigal son is one of the most familiar and preached passages of the bible. The younger son squandered his father’s wealth and brought disrepute to his father only to return to ask for forgiveness. He ran the risk of being rejected by his father. His father, knowing nothing of his repentance, ran to meet him. At the time of Jesus, and as today in the Middle East, it would have been very unusual and shameful for an older man to run in this way and to expose their feet. It has been suggested that he did this to reach his son before the villagers attacked and stoned him for the shame he had brought on them. The father protected a disobedient son from the law of the land (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). In the eastern culture, the servant ki…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

To be with the Creator Philippians 3:1-16 “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” What does it mean to be with someone? In a literal sense, it would mean sitting next to someone, for instance, sitting next to someone on the train or bus.  On an emotional level could mean that you are in a relationship; or that you are a caretaker or guardian for someone and hence are physically near them.  But what does it mean to be with the Creator, who is not necessarily present beside you physically, whose relationship to you is quite different than any other, and who is most certainly not under your guardianship, but rather is your guardian. This is something that isn’t easy to answer, but on examining Paul’s words to the Philippian church above, Paul speaks of  the surpassing value of knowing Jesus Christ, a value that convinces Paul, that all other things are “rubbish” and useless. Paul claims that knowing Jesus Christ allows him to be “found in Jesus Christ.” In…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Youth is to be with the creator. Hebrews 12: 1-11
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.. This passage is a particular relevance for youth. Our youths have amazing opportunity with full of hope and boundless possibilities. But this is also a time where some youth are full of worry and fear; they may believe that their future is not so bright. Regardless of how one perceives their future, it is also evident that in youth we find an ideal window of time to begin to shape who you are. Here in Hebrews chapter 12 are some kernels of truth that are relevant for youths. First, and importantly, God is letting us know, from the beginning, that we are not alone in this race of life that He has set before us. In fact, we have had many before us as models for the Christian race and we have Jesus ahead of us. We are never alone. Second, the Greek word for “Race (or competition)” is Agon, from which we get the word agony. A race, particularly a very long one, is agony. It …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Youth is to be with the creator Psalms 103 Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed liked the eagle’s. (v.5)
Psalm 103 is one of the most familiar and beloved of all the psalms. It is a song of praise celebrating God’s deliverance in all aspect of life. This psalm is “key” to unlocking the right attitudes and right actions of worship. This psalm contains three steps of praising, Personal Praise (v. 1-5), National Praise (v. 6-18) and Universal Praise (v. 19-22). Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers once said about this Psalms, “there is too much in this psalm for a thousand pens to write, it is one of those all-comprehending scriptures which is a Bible itself, and it might alone almost suffice for the hymn-book of the church”.  Remind what Lord has done for us:  The Psalmist begins with an invitation to praise God which reflects a burst of enthusiastic devotion in honor of the Lord. The word ‘praise’ is used 7 times in this psalm. The psalmist sings …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

"Youth is to be with the creator” 1 Timothy 4: 7-16 "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  (v.12)
St. Paul prescribes Timothy, a young leader of the church at Ephesus a number of ways to overcome hurdles and despite his age Timothy was willing to take on the task. Paul advice on leadership apart from the many entrepreneurs and falls advertising we see today. His struggles can resemble ours as youths which we face a great deal of trouble. Paul instructs Timothy to practice holy living only then are we true to what we say and teach others. This is probably one of the hardest tasks youths face, especially today when so much in life entails manipulating or getting away with something so you avoid trouble or embarrassment, but God gives us countless opportunities to prove our loyalty to Him.
Paul also says trouble is inevitable, even when we try to do what’s right: “We wor…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Youth is to be with the Creator Ecclesiastes 12:1-8
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them,”-       The wise King Solomon, who shared his God-given wisdom in Proverbs, focused in Ecclesiastes on the meaning of life in an imperfect and fallen world. This passage was written to the young people to remind them that life is going fast and before they know it, those who are young today will be one day old. He states that life here on earth, without God leads to emptiness and vanity. Meaning in life is not found in money, pleasure, work, knowledge or popularity. True satisfaction comes from knowing God and doing what pleases Him.    Younger people should not get the idea that they can forget about God until they get older. That day may never come. People who have lived much of their lives without God do not easily find Him in the eleventh hour.       Temptations are all around us. It…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Youth: a time to be with the creator Luke 18:18-30
“When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.” Since 2012, we have seen the 5 largest jackpots in the history of the US lottery. The winnings ranged between 400 and 600 million dollars! Most of us cannot even fathom that amount, let alone think of what we would do with all that money. Yet none of us would ever turn down such a winning. Some of us are thinking right now, "I would love just a small percentage of that!" We view money as a solution to many of our problems and even the source of happiness. There has been a debate regarding wealth and the Christian perspective of being wealthy for years. For some, the “almighty dollar” has taken full control of their lives and we forget it is the Almighty who gave us the dollar. Some may neglect our families and take away precious time from them in order to make extra money. Some people may participate in unethical and illegal practices in order to accumulate …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Incredible Amidst of Struggles Psalm 32
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! (Ps.32:11) St. Augustine said that the beginning of knowledge is to know oneself to be a sinner. In order to remind of his depraved sinfulness and God’s gracious forgiveness, St. Augustine had engraved this Psalm on his bedroom wall as he lay dying in his bed. He read it all the time and when he was too sick, he instructed others to recite it for him. Psalm 32 is considered as one of the penitential Psalm in church tradition and is also classified as a psalm of thanksgiving and wisdom psalm. This psalm contains the heaviness of sin, the happiness of forgiveness and the help from God.  It includes the nature and benefits of confession, as well as God’s character as a gracious and forgiving God. The effect of sin: - The psalmist kept silent about his sin for a while. This silence had affected him physically, emotionally and spiritually. During that time he lived i…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Incredible strength amidst struggles Hebrews 12:12-17
" Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed."
The author of Hebrews is exhorting the believers to run a race with a purpose, with endurance and the blessing of the discipline.  When we face hardships or struggles in our lives, they are not circumstantial or coincidental.  They are the product of our Heavenly Father's love for us.  They are His training program to mature us, mold us, and shape us into the image of His son. In v7 we read "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.  For what son is not disciplined by his father? When we experience struggle, we will reach the end of ourselves and we will trust in God to accomplish His will in our lives. God uses such struggles to teach us to trust Him so that He can use us, change us and see us through this life.  When we go through God's training pr…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Incredible amidst of Struggles 2 Samuel 9: 1-13 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Fiorello LaGuardia was the mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression and all of WWII, was called by adoring New Yorkers 'the Little Flower' because he was only five foot four and always wore a carnation in his lapel. One bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself. An old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told LaGuardia that her daughter's husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. LaGuardia turned to the woman and said "I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptio…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Faith amidst of struggles Psalm 119. 106-112
“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end” Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible.  Its 176 verses were thought to be written by various authors.  Despite the many influences that may have played a role in this chapter, there run commonalities.  The chapter is broken into 22 sections of 8 verses each.  Each section is titled after each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  Beginning with verse 17, it reads as a long prayer.  In Psalm 119 vs. 106-112, we view the declaration of an empowered servant.  It is very easy to envision someone closing their eyes and saying the words contained in this passage.  "Accept O Lord, the willing praise of my mouth"(vs. 108).  It is a cry for help and a statement of faith at the same time "I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws" (vs. 105).   Oftentimes we find ourselves i…