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Life Lessons from CFO

1 Jul

Society is so far out of balance. We have too much food, not enough food, too much exercise, not enough exercise, too much TV, not enough study, too much sports, not enough downtime, too much purchasing, not enough producing,  too much worry, not enough meditation. So how can we use the CFO program to help us get our lives into balance?

It sounds a little like a cliché, but it makes sense, Inspiration + Expiration = Respiration. We need some of everything to have balanced lives. We can have a diet of only green leafy vegetables, but that does not mean we will be healthy. The CFO program replenishes and depletes (this is not a negative) each part of us, body, mind and soul. Meals, rest and sleep replenish the body. Singing, exercise and recreation deplete the body. The mind is replenished by the talk and also by sleep, while Creatives and fellowship deplete the mind. The Spirit is replenished by Meditation, prayer, sleep and the blessing service and is depleted by Creatives, singing, prayer and the world prayer broadcast.

In the next pages, you will find a basic daily guide for using the CFO program each day. There is a suggested meditation, song, scripture and so on. I encourage you to work through each day and all the parts of the program, do not be concerned about doing them in order or making sure you do it perfectly. If you do not know the song, let God help you make up a tune or choose a different one. If there is a suggested activity, that you feel you can not do, pray and let God give you an idea. He is always creative and will give you suggestions if you ask. Use the suggested activities to help you generate your own ideas. This should not be difficult. It it becomes too hard, then it has failed. The elements of the CFO day should just be part of who you are. Scripture, Song, prayer, giving and receiving blessing from God should be just as natural as breathing and eating.

Make notes as you complete each part and what God says to you through each section. Use the lists as a check point and journal at the end of each day. Try to look at the song and meditation early in the day, so you can carry God’s song and word through your whole day. If you are unable to do an activity on the day it is listed, do not skip it. Swap it for another day’s activity. Keep it flexible and balanced.

Once you have completed the days that are laid out, you should have some good habits developed and ideas about how to take this further. I have added a template in appendix B, that you can copy and record your daily activities and scripture choices.  You can also use these daily guides to help plan personal or group retreats. The CFO program, is a tool that God gave to an obedient man, many years ago. This book is just another tool to use the program. Let God be your guide.

My prayer is that this will help you develop positive habits and balance your lives. As John Wesley said, we need to “Do no harm, do good and stay in love with God”. This sounds balanced to me.

Remember that if or when you fail and you entertain your inner desires and they become sin, all hope is not lost. Do not despair, do not be discouraged. Confess your sin and repent (start over). Ask God to forgive you and receive his forgiveness. Forgive others that may have been involved (intentionally or unintentionally) and forgive yourself. Take control again and let Satan know that he has no place in your life. Then put on your armor, pick yourself up and continue the race.

Pray With Me: Oct 22

22 Oct

Pray With Me  For an increase in the gifts of imagination and courage in your Church.

Pray with me today for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our friends, and our families.  Find a quiet place. Make today’s theme the focus of your prayers today.

Pray With Me: Oct 21

21 Oct

Pray With Me  For those suffering from famine or drought.

Pray with me today for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our friends, and our families.  Find a quiet place. Make today’s theme the focus of your prayers today.

Life Lesson: October 20

20 Oct

Meditate
Read: Jeremiah 29:1 and 4-7

Sing: My Life Is In Your Hands

Verse 1
My life is in your hands.
My life is in your hands.
O, dear Father, My life is in your hands.

Verse 2 – My work is in your hands…..
Verse 3 – My friends are in your hands….
Verse 4 – My (fill in the blank) are in your hands…
Verse 5 – I leave them in your hands….

Message
            Jerusalem had been destroyed and the people had been taken away from all that they had loved and fought for. Their security and comfort had been replaced by uncertainty and fear. So what did God say to his people in their time of distress? He said, “Build houses and settle down, plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters, find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there, do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

When I am in distress, I want to hear God say, “Do not worry, I will rescue you within the next few minutes. You will not have to live like this and I will not allow you to be in discomfort for another moment. You and your children will live in safety and security forever. I will make the bad people who hurt you pay and they will know that you are someone special.” I would like to say that this is an exaggeration, but this sounds pretty close to how I have prayed in the past.

I see five things in Jeremiah’s letter from God: 1) Build houses and settle down, 2) Plant gardens and eat what they produce, 3) Marry and have sons and daughters, 4) Seek the peace and prosperity of the city, 5) Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

In other words: 1) Get comfortable where you are, 2) You will need to fend for yourselves, 3) This will last a LONG time, 4) Pray for your enemies and the bad all around you, 5) Do not complain about where you are at, but thrive there.

So often, we are looking to get out of our wilderness. We want to have temptations and hurts just zapped away. We want the better job or house and we want our financial or relational situation changed today! God does not work that way. He walks us through life one step at a time. Just think, if God took us around life instead of through it, what kind of life would we have? What kind of character would we have? What kind of relationship would we have with him? Paul tells us in Romans 5:3b-5, “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” God is using everything (good and bad) in our lives to build us up in character and bring us closer to him.

Blessing
            Find someone in a difficult situation and bring them a small gift. It does not have to be big or expensive. It does not have to be purchased. Just something to make them smile and know that God is still with them.

Move
Sing and do motions for “My God Is So Great”. Do it until you are convinced.

My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are His. The rivers are His. The stars are His handiwork too.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.

Create
Draw a picture of God’s hands. Write the things, on the palms of his hands that you need to give up today. Once you have done this, hang the picture somewhere so you will see it frequently.

Nourish
Eat some plain white rice today. Remember those who would consider this a luxury meal.

Rest
Find 10 minutes to be still. Do nothing during this time. This is God’s time to renew you in mind, body and spirit.

Recreation
Ask God what you could do today for some fun. Do it!

Pray
Pray for those who do not know where there next meal will come from or where they will sleep tonight.

Snacks
Give up your snack and spend some extra time in prayer for those who did not have enough today.

World Prayer.
Pray for all of the missionaries who are away from home for the Kingdom of God.

Sleep
As you fall asleep, sing today’s song as you “tuck” all of your concerns into God’s hands for the night.

From morning until night, God wants us to worship and commune with Him. Start your day in His Word and then weave throughout the day these elements of devotion, worship, contemplation and service to others.

_______
“My Life Is In Your Hands”, CFO Sings, pg 179, Barbara Neighbors Deal.

“My God Is So Great”, CFO Sings, pg 178, Source unknown.

Pray With Me: October 19

19 Oct

Pray With Me  For those who serve our poor and hungry.

Pray with me today for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our friends, and our families.  Find a quiet place. Make today’s theme the focus of your prayers today.

Pray With Me: October 18

18 Oct

Pray With Me  For those suffering in any way from the Ebola epidemic.

Pray with me today for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our friends, and our families.  Find a quiet place. Make today’s theme the focus of your prayers today.

Pray With Me: October 17

17 Oct

Pray With Me  For those with incarcerated loved ones.

Pray with me today for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our friends, and our families.  Find a quiet place. Make today’s theme the focus of your prayers today.

Pray With me: Oct 16

16 Oct

Pray With Me  For our bosses.

Pray with me today for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our friends, and our families.  Find a quiet place. Make today’s theme the focus of your prayers today.

Pray With Me: October 15

15 Oct

Pray With Me  For those who are in jobs that provide, but make them feel unsatisfied and hopeless.

Pray with me today for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our friends, and our families.  Find a quiet place. Make today’s theme the focus of your prayers today.

Pray With Me: October 14

14 Oct

Pray With Me  For those battling cancer.

Pray with me today for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our friends, and our families.  Find a quiet place. Make today’s theme the focus of your prayers today.

Life Lesson: October 13

13 Oct

Meditate: Read Jonah 2

Sing: It Is Well with My Soul

Chorus:   It is well with my soul. It is well, It is well with my soul. 

Verse 1
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well. It is well with my soul

Verse 2
Tho’ Satan should buffet. Tho’ trials should come
Let this blest assurance control.
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

Verse 3
My sin O the bliss of this glorious tho’t
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord O my soul

Verse 4
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so it is well with my soul

Message
            How can this man, Horatio Spafford, write a song that basically says, “Even though life is hopeless and horrible, I am ok!” There have been times in my life when I was not ok. I was afraid, lost, alone, hurt, or angry. I was NOT ok! But today, I am ok. How can that be? It can be, because God is faithful. God gives grace to the lost and mercy to the suffering. God forgives and God gives hope. Horatio Spafford did not say, “It is well!” because life circumstances changed. He said, “It is well!” because God is good and nothing in this life is worth hanging on to except God. Horatio did not focus his attention on the sea billows, trials, and suffering around him, he turned his eyes to the one who pardoned all of his sin and promised to come again to take him to a better place.

Jonah was in the belly of the big fish when he prayed to God for help and mercy. He proclaimed “when my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord (vs7).” When all seemed lost, Jonah turned from his circumstances and grabbed hold of the only thing that mattered, God! My favorite verse in this chapter is verse 8. Jonah realizes and says, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” Jonah discovered, just as Horatio Spafford discovered, there is nothing in this life that is more important than our relationship with God, through Jesus.

Jesus tells us, in Luke 14:26-27, that we must set everything else aside (even family) to be a disciple. Nothing can stand in the way of our relationship with Jesus. Then, no matter what happens once we pick up our cross and follow, we must keep focused on the most important thing. If we try to hang on to things in this life, we will forfeit the grace that God has for us.

Blessing
Go to the grocery store and pick up a few extra items that you can donate to a food pantry or take to someone in need.

Move
Sing: ‘Let Go, Let the Spirit Flow” and do some motions. Make your motions as big as you are able. Remember that we have some “worthless idols” that we need to let go of.

Let go, let the Spirit flow. (3x) 
Let go, and let God.

Additional verses: Clap you hands, raise your arms, lift your knees, etc.

Create
After some time in prayer, make a list of “worthless idols” to which you hold on. Next to the list, make a new list of where you have seen God’s grace in your life.

Nourish
Keep track of what you eat today. Are you getting a well-balanced diet?

Rest
Find 10 minutes to be still. Do nothing during this time. This is God’s time to renew you in mind, body and spirit.

Recreation
Swim today. If you are not able to swim, take a long hot bath. Enjoy the feeling of the water around you.

Pray
Rewrite Jonah’s prayer in your own words and in relation to your own life circumstances.

Snacks
Treat yourself to your favorite cookie.

World Prayer
Read the paper or watch the news. Jot down the first four situations you read or see. Take several minutes to pray for each one.

Sleep
Are you getting enough sleep? What can you do to improve your sleep time?

From morning until night, God wants us to worship and commune with Him. Start your day in His Word and then weave throughout the day these elements of devotion, worship, contemplation and service to others.

_______
“It Is Well with My Soul”, pg. 61 CFO Sings, H.G. Spafford & P.P. Bliss

“Let Go, Let the Spirit Flow”, pg. 262 CFO Sings, Frank Wilson & LaVerne Krull Caton

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