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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.

Life Lesson: July 28

28 Jul

Meditate
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:5-15). Spend time in quiet prayer. Pray for specific needs. Insert yourself in the Lord’s Prayer. As people come into your mind, insert their name into the prayer.
Sing
Father, I Adore You

Father, I adore you, Lay my life before you. How I love you!

Jesus, I adore you, Lay my life before you. How I love you!

Spirit, I adore you, Lay my life before you. How I love you!

Message
Take time to pray. Your quiet time is your own between you and God. Keep a journal; write your prayer requests. Write down any other thoughts, activities, or actions you should take during this day. Note the difference when you say the Lord’s Prayer with yourself inserted.

“My Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, for me….etc.” How does this make you feel? Does this change your view of your relationship with God? Does this change your view of God’s love for YOU?

Blessing
Write the person that you thought of during meditation. Just write out the Lord’s Prayer and insert their name. Mail or hand deliver your note.

Move
Reach as high as you can. Reach as wide as you can. Reach as far forward as you can. Reach as far down as you can. Thank God when you stand up straight and tall.

Create
Draw a flower in your journal. Leave enough space and draw 10 more. You’ll see many flowers while walking in God’s kingdom. Some will be the flowers of heavenly personalities maybe even some of your friends. Name these flowers as people to pray for.

Nourish
Eat something healthy. Don’t skip a meal, but don’t over-do.

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
Go for a walk and practice staying on the correct side of the road. Keep singing the song of the day.

Pray
Ask God to walk with you through the day, and to keep your thoughts centered on Him. Imagine yourself hand in hand with Jesus, Keep reminding yourself of this image.

Snacks
Don’t “graze”. Have something healthy. Fruit or nuts – but not both. Do everything in moderation.

World Prayer
Pick a place or area in the world from the last news broadcast you saw. Pray for the people. Pray that each person in that place or area will hear of Jesus, think about what they’ve heard and accept Jesus in their hearts. Pray for committed Christians there, that they will have the courage to reach out to their neighbors.

Sleep
Be sure to get enough sleep. You should sleep one hour for every two hours you are awake. With less and less sleep any witness you may have will be less and less effective.

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.
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LYRICS CREDIT:
Used with permission Father, I Adore You, Terrye Coelho, CFO Sings, pg 341

Life Lessons: July 21

21 Jul

Meditate
Read Exodus 14:23-25.
The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt, Exodus 14:25b

Sing
O, victory in Jesus, my Savior,  forever!
He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood.
He loved me ere I knew him
and all my love is due him.
He plunged me to victory,
beneath the cleansing flood.

Message
During a particular difficult time in my life, I found myself “confiding in” a friend at the office. Now this would be OK, but the person I was talking to was not a Christian. As I spoke, I realized that I knew when this was all done, I would see God in my trial and I would see how he took care of me and walked me through. But, what would my friend be left with? Would she see God and know his love and care or would she just remember my pain, anger, anxiety and worry?

Pharaoh and his army knew who they were up against and they saw the power of God at work in the lives of the Israelites. The army obviously knew the situation the Israelites were in, since they were the cause of the problems, but they were able to see God at work.   When people see our trials, do they see God’s victory or Satan’s defeat? We do not need to hide our trials from the world. In fact people need to know that Christians do not have perfect lives, but our situation may be just what they need to see God at work. This may be the perfect opportunity to introduce them to Christ, so that next time they may go to him in their time of need.

Blessing
Send a card or e-mail to a person in the military.

Move
March in place and with conviction, sing:
I will not be afraid.
I will not be afraid.
The Lord is with me and he will guide me
and I’m not afraid.

Create
Write a rhyming poem about something you are afraid of and God’s victory over this issue.

Nourish
Eat outside tonight and enjoy the outdoors.

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
Get online and look up a historical battle and identify what good came out of the struggle. If you are not able to do this, look up a battle in the Old Testament and determine what good came out of that.

Pray
Find someone you can pray with today. Spend a few minute praying face to face for a something or someone who is close to both of you.

Snacks
Pop some popcorn. Enjoy it without butter and salt.

World Prayer
Pray for our service men and women.

Sleep
As you fall asleep, thank God for his provision of a bed and no gunfire overhead.

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.

_____________________
LYRICS CREDIT:
From “Victory In Jesus” © 1939 Mrs. E.M. Bartlett. Renewed 1967 Albert E. Brumley And Sons (Admin. by Integrated Copyright Group, Inc.) Eugene M. Bartlett. CCLI#283314 &  From “I Will Not Be Afraid” G.E.M. Govan. CFO Sings

Life Lesson: July 14

14 Jul

Meditate

Read Exodus 14:10-12. Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’

Sing
Precious Lord, take my hand,
lead me on, let me stand.
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Though the storm, through the night,
lead me on to the light.
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

Message
If you are reading this, I think you are most likely a human being. With that in mind, I think it is fair to say that at one time or another you have said or done something that did not seem very intelligent. These Israelites spent years crying out to God for salvation. Now they are crying to be put back in Egypt. We are not much different. When things get hard, we want to give up. If you have felt this way, you are neither unusual or bad. The key is to move beyond that place.

There are days when it seems too difficult to fight temptation. There are days when it is scary to do what God wants me to do. There are days when I just want to give up and go back to my old life. It is then that I need to recognize the old life for what it was. It was a life of slavery and  a life of pain. It was a life that led to death and there was no hope.

God has a bigger plan for me, but I must take the long journey, in unknown territory to get there.

Blessing
Buy a plant or flower arrangement for your church’s altar. After the service, give it to someone who lives alone.

Move
Sing and do the motions (or make up motions) for:
“Yes, Lord, Yes!
To your will and to your way,
I say, Yes, Lord, Yes!
I will trust you and obey.
When your Spirit speaks to me,
with my whole heart I’ll agree
and my answer will be, Yes, Lord Yes!”

Create
Work with play dough. Watch as God builds something to speak to you!

Nourish
Eat something that grows and you have never eaten before.

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
Play a game with someone.

Pray
Write prayer concerns on small pieces of paper. Put them in a fire-safe can or fireplace and burn them. As the smoke rises, let God have your concerns and leave them with him.

Snacks
Make some trail mix and share with a neighbor.

World Prayer
Pray for the people in China and persons who suffer under unfair and unsafe labor practices.

Sleep
Before going to bed tonight, give someone a hug. If appropriate, make sure your hug lasts at least 10 seconds.

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.
——————————

From “Lead Me On” © 1999 Word Music, LLC | Kathie Hill Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.) | (Admin. by Word Music Group, Inc.) Kathie Hill. CCLI#283314 &  From “Trading My Sorrows” © 1998 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music Darrell Evans. CCLI#283314

 

Life Lesson: July 7

7 Jul

Meditate
Exodus 14:8. The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.

Sing
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
He is trampling our the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He hath loosed the fateful lightening of his terrible swift sword.
His truth is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.”

Message
When given the choice between fight or flight, the latter usual goes first. I do not intend to start out that way, as a matter of fact, I do not even think about it. The reality is that the moment I am asked to do something hard, I cower. I can make up excuses so fast you would never believe I even had time to process the request.   Hebrews 4:16 tells us that we can approach the throne of grace with boldness. If we can be bold before God…. You know, the God who wiped out the entire Egyptian army in one wave of His hand? If we can boldly approach Him, what makes us cower in the face of difficulties? Do we really think that money problems, difficult people, loss of work or pain can do more than the Great King of Kings whom we will spend eternity with?

Perspective. It is all about perspective. Once we realize that God is for us, we can begin to grasp that no one can be against us. The Israelites marched out boldly, we can do the same.

Blessing
Text or e-mail today’s song lyrics and scripture to someone whom God lays on your heart.

Move
Make up movements as you sing this song or repeat the words:
“We are marching in the light of God.
We are marching in the light of God.
We are marching in the light of God.
We are marching in the light of God.
We are marching, marching, we are marching,

Oh, we are marching in the light of God.
We are marching, marching, we are marching,
Oh, we are marching in the light of God.”

Create
Look at the words, Marching Out Boldly, and do an acrostic of the names or characters of God, which are greater than our troubles.

Nourish
Check the calories and portion sizes of your meals today. Are you eating a healthy and reasonable amount? Are you drinking enough water?

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
March around your home and claim that space for God and His work.

Pray
Pray for the leaders of your church; anyone in authority or leadership. Do not forget the maintenance and cleaning personnel.

Snacks
Have some green tea tonight. Hot or cold. Add some fresh lemon.

World Prayer
Pray for the president and those in our Federal Government.

Sleep
Once you are in bed, tighten and relax each part of your body, from your scalp to your toes. Remember your fingers, abdomen and your face.

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LYRIC CREDITS:

Pray With Me: July 5

5 Jul

Pray With Me  For the economies of nations–that those nations with much provision will share with those nation who have little provision.

Pray with me today for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our friends, and our families. Begin your journey with an open heart. Unpack the heavenly box of prayer  for others and discover the priceless treasures of God’s Kingdom that are present in your life!   (Matthew 13:52) Find a quiet place Make today’s theme the focus of your prayers today.

Pray With Me: July 4

4 Jul

Pray With Me  For the gift of freedom–for those who are not free–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually or socially.

Pray with me today for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our friends, and our families. Begin your journey with an open heart. Unpack the heavenly box of prayer  for others and discover the priceless treasures of God’s Kingdom that are present in your life!   (Matthew 13:52) Find a quiet place Make today’s theme the focus of your prayers today.

Debt Free Lives, Part 1

3 Jul

Even now, I struggle with the title of this chapter. Sin and debt have become so ingrained in our lives and such an acceptable state, we can not imagine life without it. Maybe, in all honesty, we do not want to, but Galatians 5:1 tells us that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Yet every day, we make choices to live in the slavery of sin. With everything we do, think or say, we are faced with the choice to do it God’s way or do it our way and more often than not, we choose our way over God’s.

Sin is disobedience, plain and simple. Sin is doing, thinking or holding on to what we should not, even when we know it. Sin is doing it my way instead of God’s way. As previously mentioned, sin is an interior issue, not an exterior one. James 1:14-15 “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” 1 John 1:6, “If we claim to have fellowship with him (God) yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” I heard a sermon recently where the preacher (not my Father or Husband) was talking about sin. Yet, he did not call it sin. He talked about mistakes and errors in judgment. He talked about those “oops” that we do, not doing things right and that we are only human. It is time that we faced sin head on, call it what it is and determine that it is time to get a handle on our own evil desires. I know the world thinks there are gray areas, but a good rule of thumb is, if we have to ask if what we are doing is wrong, we probably should stop and run away. Stop making excuses and let’s begin to take God seriously.

In order to take God seriously, we need to understand what God say about sin. The Word is very clear and we should have no difficulty with interpretation. Get ready, these are tough words, from Romans 1:18 – 2:6 “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

“So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

“Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

“But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.* But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.” (New Living Translation)

We have been taught that sin is a part of life and we have no control over it. “We are only human” and “God made me this way” have become our most favored excuses to remove our responsibility and keep doing what we are doing. Let’s be honest, we sin because the consequences seem so far away, everyone else is doing it, it seems harmless, and generally sin is fun. We would not do it, if it was not fun and if it did not give us some pleasure in return. Even if just for a short time. Watch the TV or read a magazine and you will soon understand that our whole purpose in life is to make ME happy. Society has developed a serious idol worship. The idol of self. Everything we do, we do for our comfort, progress and personal wellbeing. (continued in Debt Free Lives, Part 2)

Our Debt

2 Jul

As a Credit Manager, for a furniture manufacturer, I am very aware of debt and the driving force it has on our society. Each day I see so many companies that have given up and filed bankruptcy, because it has become impossible to manage. Some days have hundreds of bankruptcy filings. As a family with two auto loans, a camper loan, student loan and credit cards, my husband and I are very aware of the oppressive weight that debt can hold over our lives. We (personal or corporate) do not want to be in debt, but we are drawn in to the “gotta have it” mentality and then once in debt, it become very difficult to get out and stay out. It reminds me of trying to diet. We go one pound down and two pounds up, until we wake up one morning and realize that we have no idea how we got to where we are.

Let me try to give some perspective to the debt situation in the United States. With the U.S. National Debt Clock ticking, up to $10,624,404,037,210.22 on January 27, 2009 and the ever increasing Consumer Debt at $2.6 trillion, we are well in over our heads. If the estimated population of the U.S. is 305,539,618 then each one of us, from my three year old grandson to my 80 year old Father-in-law, owe $43,000 each. The average household size is 2.59 persons, which makes the household share of this debt $112,076 and since the median household income is only $50,000, we are in serious trouble.

In my work, over the years, I have been fascinated by people and their ways of dealing with debt. Some pay according to the agreement with the lender and take their commitment with all seriousness. Others pay according to their ability or the convenience of making a payment, regardless of what is owed. These people become indignant when questioned about or reminded of their debt. There are debtors that acknowledge their debt and make payments when reminded, but otherwise do not think much about it. These are the people that will only pay those debts that are brought to their attention. There are also those who simply do not acknowledge their debt and have no intention of paying it. This list is not exhausted, because it is as long as the list of people in the world, but it gives us an idea and I suspect we can put ourselves in one of these categories.

When each of us finally come to the place where we are ready to face our debt, we find that we are either totally overwhelmed and can hardly see a future of freedom or we determine that it is nothing more than a nuisance, but not a priority. We may decide that debt is really something other people have a problem with, but ours is totally under control. Some may actually have the attitude that debt is the lenders issue, not the borrowers and this is a very dangerous conclusion to draw, as it removes us from all responsibility of our debt.

Scripture is quite clear about debt. Proverbs 22:7, says, “…the borrower is servant to the lender.” and in 22:26-27, “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you”. Romans 13:8 states “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” I do not think God can be any clearer and we have not even looked at all of the passages that warn us about being in debt or lending.

Financial debt, the debt of money borrowed and repayment owed, is something that we are all aware of and understand. Is is the force that drives our economy and can ruin our families. It can take an entrepreneurial dream and turn it into a bankrupt nightmare. It is a predicament that can start war and end in death. It is something that can make an average,  upstanding, moral man turn to crime to make ends meet. A family with all the comforts the world can imagine may suddenly find themselves living in a shelter or worse, on the street. As overwhelming and impossible as this all may seem, it is nothing when compared to the debt of sin that we owe. If you thought $10,624,404,037,210.22 was a big number, try putting a value on the debt of our sin as viewed by the eyes of the innocent one who paid our debt on the cross. If we work hard and live within our means, we may someday find freedom from our financial debt to others. The only means we have to pay off our sin debt is the gift of Grace that God provided through his Son, Jesus Christ. We can not live within our means and do anything good.  As Paul said, “our best is but filthy rags”. It is God, and God alone, that can make all things new.

As clear as Scripture is about financial debt, it is just as clear about our debt of sin. Romans 3:23, says “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” and 6:23 tells us that, “For the wages of sin is death….”. The hope of Christ is found in Colossians 2:13-14 which says, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

Just as people respond to financial debt in various ways, we respond to sin debt in the same manner. To some, sin is overwhelming and seems impossible. For others, it is a nuisance, but not a big deal. Sin just means a little guilt now and then. Many of us see sin as something other people have a problem with or that it is God’s issue, not the sinner’s. You know,  if he didn’t make so many rules, we would not have so many problems. We have very unhealthy attitude about both debt & sin. We become flippant about financial debt (only $20 on my JCP card), until it becomes a hopeless problem. We become flippant about sin debt (only a little gossip, only a $1 lottery ticket, not really a bad word, gluttony?, greed?, I’ve gotta have it….), until we begin to suffer the consequences of the sin. Then it becomes a mountain.

I have worked with people who have paid off huge debt over a long period of time. It seemed impossible, but when it is done, they felt great and I felt great. In those times, when I have worked with them to pay off the debt or I was able to write off a portion to help them out, it is as if they have a fresh start. What if, after the debt was clear, they continued to work on it and worry about it and call me? That would not make sense. I would feel bad that I could not convince them that it is finished. What if they turned around and ordered another $10,000, with no more ability to pay than the did before? I would feel that all my work was for nothing. So how do we suppose Jesus feels, when he said, “It is finished” – John 19:30 and yet we continue to trying to fix it (pay it off) ourselves? Why do we continue to carry it around and beat ourselves up? Why do we just turn around and do it again? Why do we have such a hard time living in the  freedom that Christ provides? The answer is simple, “…the Devil prowls around, like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8 and “…by our own evil desire, we are dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15. This is an internal, ongoing battle that is not going to go away.

Life Lesson: June 30

30 Jun

Meditate
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Romans 12:1–2)

Sing
 Beautiful Things

Verse 1
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all

Verse 2
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

Chorus
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Verse 3
All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in you

BRIDGE
You make me new
You are making me new
You make me new
You are making me new (REPEAT)

Message
We live in a culture that says, “I can’t help it”, “This is just who I am”, “If you do not like me, get over it”, “I may be irritating and bother people, but I like who I am”, “This is the way that God made me.” Maybe we have said these things too. Maybe we have just thought them. Maybe we have even taken comfort in them. I have taken this attitude in regard to some bad habits in the past because it was easier. I did not have to quit smoking, exercise, eat better, or treat others better, because this is who I am! The reality is that this was not who God made me to be, He made me to live according to His good, pleasing and perfect will.

The real difference in the changes we make has to do with the depth of the change. If it is just a surface change it does not transform me and is only a temporary adjustment. If the change gets into my head and my heart it can be a complete life change. When the changes we make start with laying ourselves out as a living sacrifice and include our entire body, mind and soul, then we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds.”

Change is not easy. I have made some changes in my life and many others I am still working on. Anything that has significantly changed has to be kept in line with God’s plan or it will easily slip back to the old ways. The key is to stop telling ourselves that change is impossible. It may be hard work, but it is not impossible. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Blessing
Do you know someone who has tried to make a change in life? Let them know you are praying for them. If not, contact a friend and confess a change you are trying to make and ask them to pray for you. Ask if there is something you can keep in prayer for them.

Move
Sing and do the motions for “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”. With each pass over your body, ask God to transform your life.

Create
With crayon and paper, draw a picture of yourself. Take a few minutes to pray and ask God to show you what changes he wants you to make in your mind or body. After prayer, take another crayon and see what God has you add to your self-portrait.

Nourish
Take an everyday ingredient and transform it into something you have never eaten before.

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
Think of an activity that you have enjoyed in the past and have not done for a long time. Go do it. If you can share it with a friend that you have not spent time with in awhile, call them.

Pray
Spend some time in prayer concerning the things that God showed you in your creative time. Ask God to show you specific ways to make the necessary changes.

Snacks
Take your snack outside and see what God shows you.

World Prayer
Pray for those who are stuck in an unhealthy pattern and feel there is no way out.

Sleep
As you fall asleep, be thankful for the healing that God does in your mind and body as you sleep.

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.
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LYRICS CREDIT:
Beautiful Things, CCLI Song # 5665521, Lisa Gungor | Michael Gungor, © 2009 worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), CCLI License # 283314

 

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