Posts

Showing posts from May, 2019

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

For Sale: One SoulMatthew 16:24-28
What will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26) One would think that selling one’s soul, as Faust offered his to the devil in Goethe’s Dr. Faustus, is only a figment of literary fiction. Medieval as it seems, however, several cases of soul-selling have occurred. Wired magazine reported that a 29-year-old university instructor succeeded in selling his immortal soul for $1,325. He said, “In America, you can metaphorically and literally sell your soul and be rewarded for it.” One wonders how the purchaser intended to collect. We can’t literally sell our soul, but we can lose our soul to gain something else. We need to ponder Jesus’ question, “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). Our answers today would differ only in specifics from the responses of Jesus’ day: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The lusts that captivate us and the thirst for unbridled pleasure, success, revenge, or material things have certainly tak…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Image
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION FORUM
Word for the Day
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". 
Psalm 119:105
Wow!Romans 11:33-36
Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?(Exo 15:11) One blustery day in June, our family, holidaying in the Canadian Rockies, went to a tourist site that was billed as a “must see.” The cold wind made me reluctant to go on until I saw a group of people returning from the scenic spot. “Is it worth it?” I asked. “Definitely!” was their response. That gave us the incentive to go on. When we finally reached the spot, its beauty rendered us virtually speechless. “Wow!” was all we could manage. Paul reached that point as he wrote about the work of God in saving Jew and Gentile in the book of Romans. Three things about God “wowed” him. First, God is all-wise (11:33). His perfect plan of salvation shows that He has far better solutions to the problems of life than we are capable of …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Armed For The FrayEphesians 6:10-18
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.(Eph 6:11) Paul the apostle, a spiritual warrior, testified as he came to the end of his embattled life: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Years earlier, that valiant soldier of Jesus Christ had pleaded with his fellow Christians to put on the armor of God that would enable them to stand firm in their conflict with the powers of darkness. He knew the vital importance of donning that armor every day. In his service for Christ, Paul had been whipped, beaten, stoned, and imprisoned, and was often hungry, thirsty, cold, and weary (2 Cor. 11:22-28). Strapping on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (God’s Word) enabled Paul to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Eph. 6:14-17). With God’s a…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

A Call To Comfort2 Corinthians 1:3-11
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.(2 Cor 1:3) In their book Dear Mrs. Kennedy, Jay Mulvaney and Paul De Angelis note that during the weeks following the assassination of US President John Kennedy, his widow, Jacqueline, received nearly one million letters from people in every part of the world. Some came from heads of state, celebrities, and close friends. Others were sent by ordinary people who addressed them to “Madame Kennedy, Washington” and “Mrs. President, America.” All wrote to express their grief and sympathy for her great loss. When people suffer and we long to help, it’s good to recall Paul’s word-picture of “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” as “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). Our heavenly Father is the ultimate source of every tender mercy, kind word, and helpful act that brings encouragement and healing. Bible scholar W. E. Vine says…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

WitnessesActs 1:1-11
You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me . . . to the end of the earth.(Acts 1:8) In a criminal court case, witnesses provide vital information about a possible crime. Being a witness means telling the court the truth about what you know. Just as the criminal justice system relies heavily on witnesses, Jesus uses bold, faithful, and credible witnesses to spread His Word and build His church. Before Jesus ascended to His Father, He gave His disciples a final command—to launch a worldwide witnessing campaign. The Holy Spirit would come upon them and give them supernatural power to be His witnesses throughout the world (Acts 1:8). Jesus called these early apostles to go into a world where people did not know about Him and to give a truthful account of what they had seen, heard, and experienced (Acts 4:19-20). Since they had witnessed His perfect life, teachings, suffering, death, burial, and resurrection (Luke 24:48;…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Image
None So BlindPsalms 82:1-8
Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.(Matthew 25:40) Singer Ray Stevens is generally given credit for writing the phrase “There is none so blind as he who will not see,” a line from the song “Everything Is Beautiful.” But preacher Matthew Henry used the phrase 250 years ago when commenting on the lyrics of another songwriter, Asaph. Asaph’s lyrics were not as upbeat as those of Stevens. His song was a rebuke to the Israelites for failing to fulfill their God-given purpose. God had chosen them to show the world how to live right and judge justly, but they were failing miserably. Instead of defending the weak and fatherless, they were defending the unjust and showing partiality to the wicked (Ps. 82:2-3). In his commentary on Psalm 82, Henry wrote: “A gift in secret blinds their eyes. They know not because they will not understand. None so blind as those that will not see. They have baffled their own consciences, and so…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Witness Of Friends1 John 1:1-7
We have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.(1 John 1:2) Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Halberstam died in a traffic accident 5 months before the publication of his landmark book about the US war in Korea. In the days following the author’s death, fellow writers and colleagues volunteered to conduct a national book tour on his behalf. During every engagement, they paid tribute to Halberstam by reading from his new book and offering personal recollections of their friend. When it comes to conveying the essence and importance of a person, there’s no substitute for a friend. After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, His followers began to tell others about the unique Person they had known. “We have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 John 1:2). Their purpose was that others might come t…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Image
The Arlington LadiesMatthew 26:6-13
What this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.(Matthew 26:13) In 1948, the US Air Force Chief of Staff noticed that no one attended the funeral of an airman at Arlington National Cemetery, and that deeply disturbed him. He talked with his wife about his concern that each soldier be honored at burial, and she began a group called the Arlington Ladies. Someone from the group honors each deceased soldier by attending his or her funeral. The ladies also write personal notes of sympathy and speak words of gratitude to family members when they are present. If possible, a representative keeps in contact with the family for months afterward. Margaret Mensch, an Arlington Lady, says, “The important thing is to be there for the families. . . . It’s an honor to . . . pay tribute to the everyday heroes that make up the armed forces.” Jesus showed the importance of paying tribute. After a woman poured a costly, fragrant oil on His head, He said that…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Make WayIsaiah 40:3-5
Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3) Dwight D. Eisenhower was known for his courageous leadership during World War II. His battle-tested skill equipped the troops to reclaim Europe. Soon after returning to the US as a hero, he was elected president. While in Europe, Eisenhower had experienced the danger and difficulty of navigating the twisting roads. So, for the sake of US national security, he commissioned a network of roads that became the nation’s interstate highway system. Mountains were tunneled through and valleys were traversed by mammoth bridges. In ancient times, conquering kings gained access to newly acquired territories through highways built for their troops. Isaiah had this in mind when he declared, “Make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isa. 40:3). And John the Baptist called people to repentance to “prepare the way” into their hearts for the arrival of King Jesus. What preparation …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

I’m Right; You Must Be WrongLuke 6:37-42
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.(Luke 6:37) My friend Ria admires the great blue heron’s amazing 6-foot spread of wings and marvels at his majestic appearance. She welcomes the sight of him gliding in for a landing on a small island in the middle of the pond near her home. Now, I can appreciate that the heron is a marvelous and unique creature. But I don’t ever want to spot him in my backyard! That’s because I know he won’t be there just to admire the garden. No, this not-so-fine-feathered version of persona non grata(someone not welcome) will be checking out our pond for a take-out fish dinner! So, am I right? Or is Ria? Why can’t we agree? Different personalities, history, or knowledge can color people’s views. It doesn’t mean that one person is right and the other wrong, yet sometimes we can be unkind, rigid, and judgmental if there is not agreement. I’m not talking about sin—but just a differe…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Image
Restoring Spiritual Sight
John 9:1-11

The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.(Psalms 119:130)Sanduk Ruit is a Nepalese doctor who has used his scalpel, microscope, and simplified cataract surgery technique to give sight to almost 70,000 people over the past 23 years. The poorest patients who visit his nonprofit eye center in Katmandu pay with just their gratitude. Our Lord Jesus Christ healed many of physical blindness during His time on earth. But of greater concern to Him were the spiritually blind. Many of the religious authorities who investigated the healing of the blind man refused to believe that Jesus was not a sinner (John 9:13-34). This caused Jesus to say, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind” (v.39). The apostle Paul wrote of this spiritual blindness when he said, “If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this a…

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

Image
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…