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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: June 19

19 Jun

Meditate
Revelation 19:6 – Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Isaiah 40:28 – Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom.
Job 42:2 – I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Mark 10:27 – Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’
Genesis 18:14a – Is anything too hard for the LORD?

Sing
How Great Thou Art

Chorus
Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art. How great Thou art
Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art

Verse 1
O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy pow’r thru’out the universe displayed

Verse 2
When thru the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze

Verse 3
And when I think that God His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

Verse 4
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, My God how great Thou art!

Message
When troubles come, I often forget that God is Almighty, All-Powerful, Omnipotent, Invisible, Unmovable, Supreme, Unstoppable and more! When one of my children calls with troubles, when someone at work seems unreasonable, when the world seems unfair or when my list of things to do seems bigger than there are hours in the day, I forget that my God can do all things. Why is it that we do not turn to God FIRST? Turning to God seems to be a last ditch effort when all else fails.

The Bible teaches us: God can do all things!, Nothing is too hard for God!, God never gets tired and he is never too busy! We can trust God because he cannot violate his character. He cannot lie. He cannot be contrary to his own goodness and perfection and faithfulness. He cannot be tempted or tempt anyone. We should run to him immediately, just like a toddler instinctively runs to Mommy or Daddy when afraid or troubled.

We know that God is powerful because he created the world and keeps it running. We can also be certain of God’s power because he raised Jesus from the dead. God never shook his head in worry over how to keep the mountains up or the sun suspended in the sky. He never wondered about how to make the colors of the flowers. God was never troubled over how to sustain microorganisms or hippos. Most importantly, God never felt defeat or fear over Jesus’ death. God raised Jesus from the dead and this took no more effort than growing grass.

As I think about the great power of God it excites and energizes my worship of him. As I think about his power, it encourages me in my walk with him. As I think about the great power of God it causes me to realize I have no need to worry or fear as I live through difficult times.

Blessing
Ask God what you have that someone else needs. Do not be afraid. Give what you have to the person who needs it. God will take care of you.

Move
Sing and do the motions for: My God is So Great

My God is so great, so strong and so mighty.
There is nothing my God cannot do. (repeat)
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 is nothing my God cannot do.

Create
Take paper and crayon. Get quiet before God and ask him what things you are trying to take care of on your own. Draw pictures representing each of these things. Take a bright-colored crayon and color over the things that God has shown you. The bright color depicts God’s power over these things that trouble you.

Nourish
Notice what you are eating today. Consider where it comes from and how it was made. Thank God for his power to create and sustain the world.

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
Take in something of nature. Go for a walk and see the power of God in the flowers and trees or the ocean. If it is rainy, praise God for his power that waters the earth.

Pray
Be thankful. Praise God for his power. Claim his power over difficult areas of life.

Snacks
Share your snack with someone who needs to understand God’s power. Share God’s power with this person.

World Prayer
Pray for areas of the world that have been affected by powerful acts of nature.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, repeat the words of today’s song, How Great Thou Art

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: 
How Great Thou Art, CCLI Song # 14181, Stuart Wesley Keene Hine, © 1949. 1953 Stuart Hine Trust. CFO Sings, pg. 350

My God is So Great, CFO Sings, pg. 178

Life Lesson: June 12

12 Jun

 

Meditate
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Sing
Go Tell It on the Mountain

Go tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and everywhere
Go tell it on the mountain
Jesus Christ WILL SAVE!

Vs 1
When I was but a sinner,
I prayed both night and day,
I asked the Lord to help me
and He showed me the way.

Vs 2
When I became a seeker,
I sought both night and day,
I asked the Lord to help me
and He taught me to pray.

Vs 3
The Lord made me a watchman,
upon a city wall,
And if I am a Christian,
I am the least of all.

Message  
It is hard to think about it, but there are people who die without having a relationship with Jesus. This is hard, because Jesus said that only those who know him have eternal life. We hate to think that there are people who are lost for eternity, but it is not because God let them fall by the wayside. It is not because God did not care enough for them or did not want them. It is certainly not because Jesus did not die for them. So why are there people spending eternity in hell, apart from God? It is because we did not tell them. The Bible asks “How can they know if we do not tell them?”

Another sad thought is that there are people who have accepted Jesus, but are living in Spiritual poverty. Again, it is not because God does not care or has ignored them. It is also not simply the person’s fault for not doing what they should do. It is because we are not making disciples and teaching others to obey and live as Christ taught. We are not teaching and helping people to study the Scriptures and pray. We are not coming together to encourage and support each other.

It is the responsibility of all Christians to pray, learn and develop our relationship with God, but it is also our responsibility to help others do the same. We are the body of Christ. We are the family of God. We cannot work and live independently of others. Are we our brother’s keeper? The answer is yes.

CFO is a vital tool to help us learn how to develop our own relationship with Christ, bring others to Jesus, and disciple believers in the faith. We learn, at CFO, that we are not too young or too old, too rich or too poor, or too new in the faith or mature in Christ to be an important part of the body.

Blessing
Contact someone who was instrumental in bringing you to Jesus or mentoring your Christian walk and thank them. If this person is no longer alive, contact their family and let them know what this person did and what a blessing they were to you.

Move
Do you have an old piece of exercise equipment? Put on some worship music and USE the equipment.

Create
On a large piece of paper, make several stick figures. Draw each “person” missing one body part. Underneath, the people write one task that would be difficult or impossible for them to do. Ask God if there is anything that you are not doing that is hampering His work in the body.

Nourish
Invite someone over for dinner that either does not know Jesus or who is having a Spiritual struggle. Over dinner, share the Gospel or find out how you can mentor them in the faith.

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

Recreation
Do something adventurous today. For some it may be a walk around the block and for others it may be climbing a mountain. If you need help, take someone with you. Remember, this is the family of God, we are not meant to go it alone.

Pray
Spend some time in quiet prayer and ask God to help you write a list of things that you are doing for Him. Read over the list and ask Him to show you which of these things He wants you to keep doing and which He would like you to stop. Ask Him if there are any new things He wants you to add to your list.

Snacks
Did you have enough fruits and vegetables today? If not, have one for a snack.

World Prayer
Pray for churches that do not have enough workers.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, rest in God’s grace for another day. Thank Him for sleep and be excited about the plan He has for you tomorrow.

Life Lessons: 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:
Used with permission: “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, CFO Sings, song 148

 

 

Life Lesson: June 5

5 Jun

Meditate
“Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Haggai 1:5–6

“The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

Sing
He’s All I Need

He’s all I need
He’s all I need
Jesus is all I need

He’s all I need
He’s all I need
Jesus is all I need

Message  
You may have heard it said that we hear and see things through the filters of life. This means that everything we hear and see passes through the experiences of our lives. For example: if we have experienced condemnation then compliments are hard to accept as they pass through the filter of low self-worth. Sometimes, our filters are just not mature enough and we simply do not understand what we hear. When I was young, we would read Psalm 23 and it always made me shake my head. I just did not understand why we would say such things. You see, I had been taught God is good and this was saying to me that “The Lord was my Shepherd and I do not want him.” At least that is how I understood it. It was quite some time before I realized that a better way to say it is: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not BE IN want.” Now that made sense!

It also does not make sense when God’s people worry and fret over what they do not have or what they think they need. If we claim Jesus as Lord and we put our trust in him, why do we worry? As Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on… which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?… Why are you anxious about clothing?… Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… Our heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you… Do not be anxious about tomorrow…” (Mat 6:25-34).

If we worry or are anxious, we need to let God clean the filters that we use to process what we hear and see. These filters are cleansed of the dirt and grime of life by letting God wash us in His Word. We need to read and study the Scripture, be in prayer, worship and praise God often, attend church, and be in a small covenant group. If we are seeking the Kingdom of God, he will take care of the needs of life.

Blessing
Go to the store and buy some nice new clothes, food or household items and give them to someone in need. Do not give them leftovers. Be the hands and feet of God in providing what is needed while this person seeks the Kingdom of God.

Move
Read Psalm 23, and act it out.

Create
Draw and cut out 10 circles. In 5 of them, write things that you worry about. In the other 5, write ways that God wants you to seek after His Kingdom. Draw a line through the first 5 to note that you are no longer going to do that. Post the 10 circles in places where you will see them around your house. Acknowledge that which you are no longer focusing on and that which you will now seek after.

Nourish
Prepare your food and take two minutes to praise and thank God before eating.

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
If you know of a parent who needs a break, offer to take the kids to McDonald’s playground. Buy them some fries and let them play. Do not worry about it. Just seek God.

Pray
Pray for those who do not have their basic needs met. Be thankful for all that God has provided you.

Snacks
Share your snack with someone who is alone.

World Prayer
Find your CFO Worldwide directory or go to the website and pray for CFO camps around the world. Pray that CFO makes a difference in the world for the Kingdom of God.

Sleep
Count your blessings as you fall asleep.

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:
 Used with permission: “He’s All I Need” CFO Sings, pg. 167

Life Lesson: May 29

29 May

Are you in the boat or on the shore?

Meditate
Read John 1:43-51

Sing
Trust and Obey

Verse 1
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word
What a glory He sheds on our way
While we do His good will
He abides with us still
And with all who will trust and obey

Chorus 
Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 2
Not a shadow can rise
Not a cloud in the skies
But His smile quickly drives it away
Not a doubt nor a fear
Not a sigh nor a tear
Can abide while we trust and obey

Verse 3
Not a burden we bear
Not a sorrow we share
But our toil He doth richly repay
Not a grief nor a loss
Not a frown nor a cross
But is blessed if we trust and obey

Verse 4
But we never can prove
The delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay
For the favor He shows
And the joy He bestows
Are for those who will trust and obey

Verse 5
Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way
What He says we will do
Where He sends we will go
Never fear only trust and obey

Message
There is a song that is familiar to some and includes the line, “In the sand, I am leaving my sailboat.” In Scripture, Jesus is calling his disciples. He is calling them swiftly and permanently out of the lives they are leading. I don’t know much about these men. Several were fishermen, but I don’t know what their favorite color was or who they might go out of their way to sit by. I don’t know who told which kind of jokes. They seem like cardboard characters, easily moved, like game pieces on a Monopoly board. But they were real people. Surely they lived in full color, with sights, smells and sounds, just like I do.

My life, as full as it seems, is still a small boat. I’ve been called to follow Jesus and I answer that call in many avenues of prayer, love and service. Still, he calls me to more. I can not even dream up the other shores I will see as I continue to follow. Like the disciples on the shores of Galilee, I get to leave it all and see what new visions he shows me. To quote John Greenleaf Whittier, “In simple trust, like theirs who heard beside the Syrian Sea, the gracious calling of the Lord, let us, like them, without a word rise up and follow Thee.”

Jesus, I want to stop complicating everything and simply follow you. I want to get onto the Kingdom ship and take the adventure that comes.

Blessing
Bless someone who needs a ride, an errand run, or groceries picked up. Do not wait for them to ask. Call and let them know you are available.

Move
Sing and do the motions for the song Over and Over

Over and over, like a mighty sea
Comes the love of Jesus flowing over me
Over the sea, over the sea, Jesus Savior pilot me
Over the sea, over the sea, Savior pilot me

Create
Create a gratitude board. List all the things you are grateful for which God has given you and that you do not have to leave behind in this world.

Nourish
Eat in a public place and pray for your meal as well as the people around you.

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
Find someone who will agree to start today and walk with you for 30 minute a day for one week.

Pray
Pray for people who have lost belongings in flood, fire, divorce, job loss, etc. Pray God’s infilling of peace, love and hope into these lives. Pray that these people will be filled with the things of God and not just of this world.

Snacks
Skip the snack today and pray for those who do not know where their next meal is coming from.

World Prayer
Pray for sailors, using the Navy Hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save

Verse 1
Eternal Father strong to save
Whose arm doth bind the restless wave
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea

Verse 2
O Saviour whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard
Who walked on the foaming deep
And calm amid its rage didst sleep
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea

Verse 3
O sacred Spirit who didst brood
Upon the waters dark and rude
And bid their angry tumult cease
And give for wild confusion peace
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea

Verse 4
O Trinity of love and pow’r
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour
From rock and tempest fire and foe
Protect them whereso’er they go
And ever let there rise to thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea

Sleep
As you drift off tonight, feel the bed and blankets around you and picture God’s arms holding you. Rest in thankfulness for His love.

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:
1) “Trust and Obey” CCLI Song # 22094, Daniel Brink Towner | Rev. John Henry Sammis, Public Domain, All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI License # 283314; 2) “Over and Over” CFO Sings pg 289; 3) “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”, CCLI Song # 115183, John Bacchus Dykes | William Whiting, Public Domain,  All rights reserved. www.ccli.com, CCLI License # 283314

Life Lesson: May 23

22 May

Meditate 
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:16-26)

Sing
Higher Ground
Chorus 1
Lord lift me up and let me stand
By faith on heaven’s tableland
A higher plain than I have found
Lord plant my feet on higher ground

Verses
I’m pressing on the upward way
New heights I’m gaining every day
Still praying as I’m onward bound
Lord plant my feet on higher ground

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay
Though some may dwell where these abound
My prayer my aim is higher ground

I want to live above the world
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled
For faith has caught the joyful sound
The song of saints on higher ground

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright
But still I’ll pray ‘til heaven I’ve found
Lord lead me on to higher ground

Message
We laugh about not praying for patience and we joke about not having self-control, but Galatians does not paint a picture that is funny. This passage talks about choosing freedom instead of serving the flesh, biting and devouring one another, gratifying the desires of our flesh, sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, envy, conceit, strife, etc. We may be able to say that we are not likely to fall into drunkenness or sexual immorality, but what about divisions, anger or rivalries? Read today’s passage again and see some of the things that we are likely to fall into when we are not living by the Spirit.

Life in the Spirit is not about having a list of things to strive for. It is not about a check list to make sure we did not get angry today and we did not envy today, but it is about “loving our neighbor as ourselves” (Gal 5:14). If we strive to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, these negative things will be replaced with the positive things. We do not need to say, “I am going to be more patient today.” We need to say, “I am going to stay close to God today.”

I tend to have a short temper and I recognize that when I spend more time in the Word and prayer, the length of my temper grows. I do not concentrate on my temper, I consecrate on God. When I spend more time with God, it keeps the ground fertile and healthy so that the Holy Spirit can grow His fruit in me. Just like in a garden, this is not a onetime thing. Every day, I need to be pulling weeds with prayer, pruning the plants with Bible study, and tilling the soil with service.

Blessing
Consider someone who has shown some fruit of the Spirit, but does so in a quiet way and is not generally noticed. Call them and tell them what you have noticed. Encourage them on their journey up the mountain.

Move
As you sing the verses to this song, pretend to climb the mountain. Use high steps to get up to higher ground. When you sing the chorus, stand still and lift your hands. Let God plant your feet in the place that he has brought you.

Create
Draw a line from the lower left corner of your paper to the upper right. This is your mountain. Ask God to show you where you are on the mountain now and place a symbol there that indicates You. Remain in prayer and as God reveals, note those things that you have conquered by His grace. Place symbols, below you, on your mountain to signify these things that God shows you. Ask God what you still need to work on and place these things higher up on the mountain.

Nourish
Open a recipe book and find something new to try. Take a chance.

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
Find a mountain or hill to climb.

Pray
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). Spend some quiet time and consider how God has shown you each of these characteristics in himself. Pray that the Holy Spirit will grow these things in you.

Snacks
Eat a piece of fruit for your snack. Try something you have never eaten before.

World Prayer
Pray for those who are stuck on the mountain and cannot move because they do not trust God to supply what they need, because they feel they can live life on their own, because they think they are fine where they are, or because they fear that God is not really on the mountain.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, picture a mountain. Climb that mountain and feel the energy that God provides when we push onward and upward to His goal for our lives.

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:
Used with permission: “Higher Ground”, Johnson Oatman, Jr. & Chas. H. Gabriel, CFO Sings, pg 63

Pray With Me: May 18 Ascension Thursday

18 May

Pray With Me  For Christians-that we may go out and spread the Good News to all the world, as we celebrate this day of remembering of the Ascension of the Lord.

 

Life Lesson: May 15

15 May

Forgiveness and forgiving – a gift from God to us, compelling us to do the same with others.

Meditate:
Read Romans 4:13-25.
Mediate on the word Forgive. Repeat several times, “I am forgiven!” Each time you say it, put the emphasis on a different word.

Sing
“Freely, Freely” (page 165 in CFO Sings)

Chorus
He said freely, freely
You have received.
Freely, freely, give.
Go in My name
And because you believe
Others will know that I live

Verse 1
God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name
I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name And in Jesus’ name
I come to you
To share His love as He told me to.

Verse 2
All pow’r is giv’n in Jesus’ name
In earth and heav’n in Jesus’ name
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share His pow’r as He told me to.

Message
“Tell them you are sorry!” I would tell my kids, as if it will just make a wrong go away. We force our children, under threat, to say they are sorry. Under their great protest, I would make my kids hug or “kiss and make up”, in order to reconcile a wrong. We like to think that our sins are forgiven by a few words or an action taken.

Although this sounds nice, it was not that easy. This passage from the book of Romans tells us, “He (Jesus) was delivered over to death for our sins.” That included the little sins and the big sins. A word did not do it. Death did it. A hug did not reconcile us and make it right, it took the mighty power of God resurrecting Jesus from the dead.

We must not forget the great price and power it took to remove our sin, reconcile us to the Father, and bring us into new life. Yes, forgiveness and reconciliation are real and available, but we must not minimize it or take it for granted.

You have been forgiven! Do not let your un-forgiveness of others steal your joy!

Blessing
Call someone who you have struggled with and just let them know you are praying for them today.

Move
Go outside and feel the air and the weather. If it is cold or hot, rainy or clear, windy or calm, take some time to feel it. Walk around your home and notice how the air and weather affect how your body feels. Feel it penetrate you. Picture the air and the weather as God’s forgiveness. Sense how the power of God’s forgiveness affects your heart and soul. Feel it penetrate you.

Create
Take some old magazines and find pictures of fruit. Write one word on each piece; Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Self-control. Take each paper and tape them in various places around your home, office or car. Ask God where to put them so that the reminders will be in the place where you need it the most.

Nourish
Prepare a recipe that you have never made before because the recipe scared you.

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 visit a museum or attraction in your community that you have known about but never visited.

Pray
Be still and ask God to show you how he has changed your heart. Ask Him who to pray for and commit to pray for them over the next several days.

Snacks
Make a fruit and low-fat yogurt smoothie

World Prayer
Pray for those who have un-forgiveness in their heart and believe they are unable to repair the damage that someone has caused.

Sleep
Lay in the dark and sense God’s presence penetrating your whole being. Thank Him for the forgiveness and love He provides.

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:
“Freely, Freely”, used with permission, CFO Sings page 165

Life Lesson: May 8

8 May

Let’s be honest – how well do we love others?

Meditate

Read 1 John 5:1-6

Sing
Beloved, Let Us Love One Another

Beloved, let us love one another.
For love is from God
And everyone who loves is born of God
and he knows God.
The one who does not love
does not know God for God is love.
Beloved, let us love one another
for love is from God

Message
During a recent Bible study, we were working our way through First John when I made a startling connection. These were not new Scriptures, but two old familiar Scriptures were suddenly connected in a new way. The first passage came from 1 John 3:16 where we decided, as a group, that love was defined as: “laying down one’s life for another.” The second passage came from 1 John 4:7 where we read that God commands us to love each other. We all agreed and were quite happy with ourselves when we decided that we love everyone.

Then… There was a pause… Do we, according to our previous definition, love (lay down our lives for) everyone? Now three are people who I love and I would lay down my life for. Then there are people who I love and hurt when they hurt. Then there are those who I tolerate. Lastly, there are those who I would rather not be around. Do I love everyone? Would I lay down my life for everyone? John then takes this to the next logical conclusion: If I say I love God and hate my brothers and sisters, then I am a liar (1 John 4:20). John previously told us that if we hate our brothers and sisters, we are murderers and cannot live with God (1 John 3:15). As a Bible study group, we came to this final conclusion: If I say I love God, then I must be willing to lay down myself for others. If I am unwilling to set myself aside and raise others up, then I am simply a liar and a murderer. Because of God’s love for me, I must make amends with others and treat everyone as better and more important than me. For more of this, read James!

Blessing
Contact someone who you tend to just “tolerate” and pray a blessing for them.

Move
Get comfortable in a chair or on the floor or bed. Be aware of each body part from your toes to your head. Do not miss any part, moving from the bottom to the top. As you consider each part, tense, hold and release each part. When you are finished, pray that God will release your love for others, just as you have released each body part from tension.

Create
Using a 3×5 card or other small piece of paper, write a blessing to an unknown person. Ask God how many of these you should do and do as many as he tells you.

Nourish
Pick one meal today and whatever you eat, donate the food stuffs for that meal to a local food pantry or soup kitchen.

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
Find a natural place of beauty, museum or exhibit in your area that you have never been to and go enjoy it. Go even if you think it might not be something you are interested in.

Pray
In prayer; make a list of people who you need to love better. Take a few minutes to pray for each of these people. Give these people the blessing cards you created today.

Snacks
Treat yourself to something you find really yummy. Do not over-do it, but enjoy it. We cannot do this every day, but a treat is something special.

World Prayer
Pray for those areas of the world that are in war.

Sleep
Pray one last blessing on the person you find most difficult before you fall asleep.

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:
Beloved, Let Us Love One Another, Dale Garratt, CFO Sings, pg 304

Life Lesson: May 1

1 May

Yielding to God and His ways is so rewarding. It is our choice, yet His response to us is so much more.

Meditate
Read Jeremiah 31:31-34.
Pay special attention to the end of verse 34: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Sing
Verse 1:
Have Thine own way Lord. Have Thine own way.
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me, after Thy will.
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Verse 2:
Have Thine own way Lord. Have Thine own way.
Search me and try me, Master today.
Whiter than snow Lord, wash me just now.
As in Thy presence, humbly I bow.

Verse 3:
Have Thine own way Lord. Have Thine own way.
Wounded and weary, help me I pray.
Power all power, surely is Thine.
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Verse 4:
Have Thine own way Lord. Have Thine own way.
Hold o’er my being, absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit, till all shall see.
Christ only always, living in me.

Message
Jesus Christ is the New Covenant, the spotless Yeshua, My salvation! Jesus tells us, Take my yoke upon you and learn of me. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. You and I were not created to carry the burden of the world, but to rest in Jesus. The battle is his and not ours to fight. Jesus has already won! Alleluia!

Blessing
Find a partner and take turns speaking affirmations to one another: “You are a child of God”, “Jesus has paid the price for your sins”, “God does not remember your sin anymore”, and “You are precious in His sight”

Move
Sit in a chair and move each body part, from your toes to your neck and head. Do not strain, but feel each body part work. Remember your fingers, tongue, eyes, and nose. Use quiet music to relax by.

Create
Take some quiet time to listen to God. Write a note of thanksgiving to Jesus. Date it and place it in a drawer or book where you may find it at some other time.

Nourish
Prepare a meal with the decision to drop one unhealthy habit. For example: Use a smaller plate, do not have seconds, cut out desserts, cut serving size in half.

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
Do something physical that you have wanted to try, but have never done.

Pray
Be still and ask God to show you how he has changed your heart. Ask Him who to pray for and commit to pray for them over the next several days.

Snacks
Have some apple slices with cheese.

World Prayer
Pray for each of the nations of South America, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Sleep
Commit to getting 7-8 hours of sleep tonight. Go to bed at a time that you will have that many hours available.

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:
“Have Thine Own Way Lord”, used with permission, CFO Sings, page 296

Life Lesson: April 24

24 Apr

Be amazed by God. Remember His graciousness toward you.

Meditate
Read Revelation 1:4-8. Read verse 7 over several times.

Sing
Thou Art Worthy¹

Thou art worthy. Thou art worthy.
Thou art worthy, oh Lord.
To receive glory, glory and honor,
glory and honor and power.
For Thou hast created,
hast all things created.
Thou hast created all things.
And for Thy pleasure they are created,
for Thou art worthy, oh Lord.

Message
As much as we hate to admit it, we often tend to become self-centered in our relationship with Jesus. We pray for things we need or we pray intercessory prayers for the needs of others. We thank God for the things He does for us and we get excited about the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives. All of this is good and it has its place, but how often do we just spend time considering the greatness of God? Spend today being amazed by the wonderful God we serve. Instead of expecting God to fill us and speak to us today, give Him your full attention and your praise.

Blessing
Bless the Lord today by serving someone in need.

Move
Sing the song, Alleluia², and move around in worship to God.

Create
Make a list of the attributes of God from A-Z

Nourish
Share your meal with someone and see if you can spend the time talking about how good God is rather than talking with about your troubles or your neighbor.

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 out and take pictures of God’s great creation. If it is a dark, gloomy or rainy day, go anyway and find God in nature. He is there in the great and the small.

Pray
Pray prayers of praise today. These are prayers that only reflect on God and His greatness.

Snacks
Fast from your snack today and spend time praising the name of Jesus. Feed your soul by looking at song, hymns, or Scriptures that speak of praising Jesus.

World Prayer
Using a map or globe, look at each area of the Earth. Place your hand on each part and pray for God’s rule and reign over that area.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, repeat the words of today’s song, Thou Art Worthy

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: 
1) Thou Art Worthy, Pauline Michael Mills, CFO Sings, pg 232; 2) Alleluia, CFO Sings pg 10

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