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Showing posts from November, 2019

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…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Mention The Name Acts 4:5-20 John 14:10- I am in the Father, and . . . the Father is in me A church group invited a speaker to address their meeting. “Talk about God,” the group leader told him, “but leave out Jesus.” “Why?” the man asked, taken aback. “Well,” the leader explained, “some of our prominent members feel uncomfortable with Jesus.  Just use God and we’ll be fine.” Accepting such instructions, however, was a problem for the speaker who said later, “Without Jesus, I have no message.” Something similar was asked of followers of Jesus in the days of the early church. Local religious leaders conferred together to warn the disciples not to speak about Jesus (Acts 4:17). But the disciples knew better. “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard,” they said (v. 20). To claim to believe in God and not in His Son Jesus Christ is a contradiction in terms. In John 10:30, Jesus clearly describes the unique relationship between Himself and God: “I and the Father are one”—thus est…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Horse Power Job 39:19-25 Psalms 139:14 - I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Think for a moment of the power, beauty, and majesty of a galloping horse—his head held high, his mane flying in the wind, and his legs working in unison to provide speed, power, and abandon. What a wonderful example of God’s magnificent creation is the horse! God created it not just for our amazement and enjoyment but also as a complement to the human race (Job 39). Properly trained, the horse is fearless when we need a courageous companion. The horse was used to carry the soldier faithfully into conflict with speed (v.24) and anticipation (v.25). Although God was using creation to teach Job about His sovereignty, we can also be reminded through this passage about our own value in God’s world. We are created not simply as a beautiful creature with a job to do but also as a creature made in God’s image. The power of the horse is amazing, but the value of each human transcends all other creatures…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Less than the least Genesis 32:3-12 Vs 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant. Unlike those who think highly of themselves, Jacob knew that he had been ruined by sin (Gen. 32:10). He thought himself a man unworthy of God’s grace. He had cheated his brother Esau out of his birthright (ch.27), and his brother hated him for it. Now, years later, Jacob was going to face Esau again. “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies,” Jacob prayed, using a word for “least” that suggests the tiniest object. “Deliver me, I pray” (32:10-11). How odd to see those phrases side by side: I am unworthy of Your mercies . . . . Deliver me! Yet Jacob could pray for mercy because his hope lay not in his own worth, but in God’s promise to look with favor on those who throw themselves at His feet. Humility and contrition are the keys that open the heart of God. Someone has said that the best disposition for praying is being stripped of everythi…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Six-Word TestimonyJohn 9:1-11,24-25
One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see. (John 9:25) Over the past 15 years, Dan Smith’s name and face have appeared on fliers in coffee shops, laundromats, and small businesses across New York City. The six-word slogan on each flier says: Dan Smith Will Teach You Guitar. The result is that Mr. Smith stays as busy as he wants to be, teaching his students how to play the guitar. Many enthusiastic students hang his fliers in new places. It’s their way of saying, “Dan Smith taught me guitar. He can teach you too.” The pages of the Bible are filled with accounts of people telling what God has done for them. One of the most vivid appears in John 9 where Jesus encountered a man blind from birth and miraculously enabled him to see (vv.1-7). After repeated questioning by skeptical local religious leaders, the man could only say, “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see” (v.25). If you had six words to express what Christ has done for y…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Does God Care?Psalms 30 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper! (Psalms 30:10) Minnie and George Lacy were faced with some questions: “Is Jesus enough? Is our relationship with Christ sufficient to sustain us? Will He be enough to help us want to go on living? Does He care?” While serving as missionaries in 1904, the Lacys’ youngest daughter fell ill. Then in rapid succession, all five of their children died from scarlet fever, none living to see the new year. In letters to the mission board George Lacy wrote about their deep loneliness and grief: “Sometimes it seems more than we can bear.” But then he added, “The Lord is with us and is wonderfully helping us.” In this, their darkest time, they found that Jesus was near and He was enough. Many of us will face moments when we will wonder if we can go on. If our health fails, if our job disappears, if we lose those closest to us, will we find our relationship with the Lord real enough to keep us pressing forward? The psalmist…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Hands Off!Psalms 46
Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalms 46:10) I remember bobbing for apples when I was a child, a game that required me to have my hands tied behind my back. Trying to grab a floating apple with my teeth without the use of my hands was a frustrating experience. It reminded me of the vital importance of our hands—we eat with them, greet with them, and use them to do just about anything that is vital to our existence. When I read Psalm 46:10, I find it interesting that God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The Hebrew word for “still” means to “cease striving,” or, literally, “to put our hands at our side.” At first glance this seems to be a rather risky piece of advice, since our first instinct in trouble is to keep our hands on the situation and control it to our advantage. God in essence is saying, “Hands off! Let Me deal with your problem, and rest assured that the outcome is in My hands.” But knowing when to take our hands off and let God work can make us …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

MosaicEphesians 2:10-22
We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. (Eph 2:10) For 3 weeks every fall season, our city becomes an art gallery. Nearly 2,000 artists from around the world display their creations in galleries, museums, hotels, parks, city streets, parking lots, restaurants, churches, and even in the river. Among my favorite entries are mosaics made from small pieces of colored glass. The winning entry in 2011 was a 9 x 13-foot stained-glass mosaic of the crucifixion by artist Mia Tavonatti. While viewing the artwork, I heard the artist discuss how many times she had cut herself while shaping the pieces of glass for her mosaic. As I gazed at the beautiful rendition of what was a horrific event, I saw more than a representation of the crucifixion—I saw a picture of the church, the body of Christ. In each piece of glass I saw an individual believer, beautifully shaped by Christ to fit together into the whole (Eph. 2:16,21). In the artist’s story, I recognize…