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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: Sept 19

19 Sep

Meditate: Read Isaiah 51

Sing: Therefore the Redeemed

Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return
And come with singing unto Zion,
And everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. (repeat)

They shall attain gladness and joy,
And sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return
And come with singing unto Zion,
And everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.

Message

There are times when I feel sad or depressed. There may be a situation that brings on these feelings or it may be something I cannot put my finger on. When these times come, whether justified or not, the enemy tries to tell me that my faith is shaken or I do not put enough trust in God. If I listen to this voice, it drives me further and further into the negative feelings and the vicious circle continues.

It is times like this that I need to spend less time trying to identify, justify or explain my emotions and turn to God, my shield and the lifter of my head (Ps 3:3). It is God who will rescue me or shield me or comfort me. God will never shame me or condemn me for the emotions that I feel.

Isaiah tells us that the redeemed of the Lord (that’s us) shall receive gladness and joy and that our sorrow and mourning shall flee away. It tells us that we will have everlasting joy upon our heads and that this joy comes from the Father.

We can not just make our negative feelings go away by saying we should not feel this way and it will not make it better to have someone else tell us our feelings are wrong. What will make things better is to acknowledge that we feel this way (for whatever reason) and lean in closer to God. Acknowledge that we have been redeemed, that we belong to him, and that we can trust him to rescue us. In these times, read the Scripture, pray, meditate, and practice the various “prayer” activities we have learned in CFO. In this way, God will liberate us from despair, anxiety, fear, sadness or depression.

Blessing
Seek someone out that may be experiencing negative emotion and bring them a flower. Let them know that the flower represents the love of God in this time. 

Move
Sing and do motions for Deep and Wide. Remember that you can never go so far as to get away from the love of God.

Deep and wide. Deep and wide. There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide. (repeat)

Create
Get out your crayons and draw a picture of your emotions right now. Ask God if there is something he wants to show you in this picture.

Nourish
Remember that what we eat can have an impact on how we feel. Choose your food well.

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
Dance

Pray
Pray through the UPT prayer list. If you do not get this list, contact Carolyn Miller to begin getting it. www.unitedprayertower.org

Snacks
Try a spice you have never had before.

World Prayer
Pray for those who feel hopeless.

Sleep
Just sense the presence of God as you fall asleep. If you do not seem to feel him, begin to quietly whisper, “Come Lord Jesus.”

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.

_______
“Therefore the Redeemed”, Ruth Lake, pg 136, CFO Sings.

“Deep and Wide”, Har. Herbert G Tovey, pg 141, CFO Sings

Life Lesson: Sept 12

12 Sep

Life Lesson 45

Meditate

Hebrews 12:18-29. Consider verses 28-29 in light of your own worship.

Sing
10,000 Reasons

Chorus
Bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Verse 1
The sun comes up it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Verse 2
You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Verse 3
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Message
            I found my mind wandering in worship on Sunday. I was thinking about my “ToDo” list, lunch, my kids, and my work. I was thinking about people in attendance that Sunday and wondering where some of the others were. I was thinking about how I was feeling and that my head was not really in the game. I wondered why I could not seem to focus on worship and then wondered what the next song was. I suddenly realized that if I am not staying focused when I am standing behind the pulpit, then how were the people in the pews managing.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that our worship needs to be acceptable; with reverence and awe. I would love to be able to say that my worship of the All-Mighty, Most Holy, Exceedingly Awesome, Only God is acceptable, reverent and awestruck. I am sad to say that I can not say that, with all honesty. I think maybe I fall more into the category of the synagogue leaders who told the people to go be healed on a day other than the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17). These leaders were more concerned about everyone doing church the right way (their way), rather than the things of God.

I have realized that my worship needs to be a constant state of being, rather than a momentary event and it needs to be done with my whole body, mind, soul, and strength. I need to make sure that I am preparing for Sunday worship all week long, so that Sunday becomes a celebration and culmination of my weekly worship. In the hour that I spend in church I want my entire being to be connected to God, through Jesus, for His honor and glory. I am sure that I will have successful times and unsuccessful time, but I know that if I continue to press on, God will honor my attempt to worship him acceptably in reverence and awe.

Blessing
Read Matthew 25:34-45. Ask God who he wants you to bless today and how. Know that by meeting the needs of the “least of these”, you are in a true act of worship.

Move
Using the Doxology, make up motions and get your entire body involved in worship.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost
Amen

Create
Ask God to help you identify things that distract you from worship. Make a list of these things. When you have finished that list, make a list of reasons to worship God. The reasons to worship should outnumber the list of distractions. Keep the second list handy so that you can bring yourself back to worship as needed.

Nourish
Before eating, spend time in thankful worship.

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 a walk. Even if it is five minutes around your home or office.

Pray
Instead of intercessory prayer or praying for needs and concerns, spend your prayer time in worship. Sing songs of praise.

Snacks
Give up your snack time and replace it with worship.

World Prayer
Pray for those who can not worship openly for fear of persecution.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, whisper praises to God.

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.

______
“10,000 Reasons”, CCLI Song # 6016351, Jonas Myrin | Matt Redman, © 2011 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), Said And Done Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), Six Steps Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), SHOUT! Music Publishing (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), CCLI License # 283314

 “Doxology”, CCLI Song # 56204, Louis Bourgeois | Thomas Ken, Public Domain, CCLI License # 283314

Life Lesson: Sept 5

5 Sep

Meditate:  Read Hebrews 11:29–12:2.

Sing:  Faith of Our Fathers

Verse 1
Faith of our fathers living still
In spite of dungeon fire and sword
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word

Chorus
Faith of our father’s holy faith
We will be true to thee till death

Verse 2
Our fathers chained in prisons dark
Were still in heart and conscience free
How sweet would be their children’s fate
If they like them could die for Thee

 Verse 3
Faith of our fathers we will strive
To win all nations unto Thee
And through the truth that comes from God
Mankind shall then be truly free

Verse 4
Faith of our fathers we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife
And preach Thee too as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life

Message
               We all have someone who we think is the highest example of faith and Christian living. Most of us can think of someone that we look up to and want to emulate. The reality is that these are just people who trust God, by faith, to walk them through the journey that He has planned for them.
I had always looked up to my father as a “real man of God.” I wanted to be like him and I wanted to have a relationship with God just like he did. It was hard when I grew up and began to see his faults. He was still a good man, but I suddenly began to realize that he was not perfect and that was alright. He was on a journey. There were others that I met in CFO. There were speakers and song leaders that I believed could probably walk on water. As I got older, I began to hear things and see things that shed light on the truth that these were just sinful human beings. Like me! These people were sinful, they were mortal, they were fallible, and their only hope was to walk by faith. The good news is that I could look at their lives and learn from them. They are part of the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds me and by their examples (good and bad), I can learn to walk the journey that God has laid out for me.
God has a plan for each one of us. If you doubt that, consider Paul’s word to the Ephesians, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (2:10).” Sometimes we see a glimmer of what that is and other times we feel that we are in the dark. The good news is that we can trust him to guide and direct our path to get us to the good that he has planned for us. It is also good news to know that we are not alone. God gives us people to walk with us on this journey.
We have two roles in our walk with God: 1) Walk by faith. Keep our eyes on the prize and use those who have gone on before us as examples. 2) Be an example. Remember, there are people coming up behind us that need someone to guide. Is your life a good example for those who need it?

Blessing
Consider one or two people who have helped strengthen you in your journey with Jesus. Write them a note and tell them how they have helped and pray a blessing for them. If they are no longer living, see if you can track down a family member and send the note and blessing to them.

Move
Walk through every room in your home. Picture each room as a stop on your journey through life and ask God to reveal a message about that stop. Seek God’s leading concerning your walk in the future, by lessons learned in the past.

Create
Rewrite today’s song in your own words. This does not have to rhyme and it does not have to fit the music. Allow yourself creative license.

Nourish
Do not get so busy with the journey today that you forget to eat. Eat slow and healthy today. Do not rush the journey.

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
Whatever you do today, take a minute and be intentionally present in the moment. See what there is to see. Close your eyes and smell. Take time to taste and to touch something along the way. Remind yourself to hear what is happening.

Pray
Spend some quiet time asking God who he wants you to help or mentor as they walk through life. Begin by praying for this person and then ask God how you should take the next step.

Snacks
Eat something with a great smell, interesting looks, unusual texture, and maybe even a curious sound. Let taste be the last thing you discover about your snack.

World Prayer
Pray for those who do not walk with God and feel alone today.

Sleep
Thank God that he is always present in your journey.

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.

______
Faith of Our FathersCFO Sings, pg 309.

Life Lesson: August 29

29 Aug

Meditate
Read Luke 11:1-13.  Also read the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13

Sing
Seek Ye First

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
And all these things shall be added unto you.
Allelu, Alleluia!

Ask and it shall be given unto you. Seek and ye shall find
Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.
Allelu, Alleluia!

Message
I often find myself praying without much thought. At times, this is good, as it means that I am praying throughout the day. Sometimes, though, it means that I am praying without considering who I am speaking to or what he may want to say to me. It also means that I am tossing out my list of needs and wants without considering what God wants for me.
In the passage today, Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray. Of course they had prayed in the past, but today they want their prayer life refreshed and renewed. They wanted to know what was important for Jesus to pray for. If it was important for Jesus and if it was important for the disciples, it should certainly be important for us.
Jesus provided the disciples and us a wonderful pattern for our prayers. He teaches us to begin with REVERENCE for the one to whom we pray. We then acknowledge to AUTHORITY of God, by saying “God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done” instead of mine. We then pray for PROVISION of our physical, relational, and spiritual needs. We ask for our daily bread to be provided, we seek forgiveness and reconciliation, and we ask that God would help us in our spiritual journey by leading us away from temptation d evil. Lastly, we RELINQUISH all to his power and glory forever.
When considering Jesus’ teaching on prayer, we often times stop after the pattern that he provides in what we call The Lord’s Prayer. It is also good to note that Jesus emphasizes persistence in prayer, the promise of God (ask and you WILL find) in prayer, and the provider (our Father) in prayer.
Today is always a good day to seek God’s will in our lives and a good way to do this is to refresh and renew our prayer life. This can be done only by the help of the Holy Spirit and at the end of Jesus’ teaching on prayer, he concludes with this thought, ”If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask him.” A good way to begin renewing our prayer life is to ask for the Holy Spirit first.

Blessing
Ask God who you should bless today and how he wants you to bless them. Do it!

Move
Walk around your block, praying for the people in the homes around you. Pray first for the presence of the Holy Spirit and then pray using the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer.

Create
Make a list of the four prayer focus from pattern of the Lord’s Prayer. Take each one and develop it into a poem, prayer, or list of prayers that fit into that category.

Nourish
Before devouring your meals today, take some time to pray. Make your prayer time as important as your meal time. Pray before putting the food on the table. Think of the food as the “Amen!” or “dessert” of your prayer, instead of the Prayer as the “appetizer” to your 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
Spend some time doing a puzzle. Exercise your mind today. Make it even better by doing it with someone else.

Pray
Using the prayer you developed in your creative time, take as much time as you need to pray through the ideas you developed. Take some time with each one and commit to whatever time it takes. Spend time with God today.

Snacks
Do you pray before meals? Do you pray before you have a snack? Remember to be as thankful for your snack as you are your dinner.

World Prayer
Again, using the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer, pray for various areas of the world.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, recite the Lord’s Prayer.

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.

SONG CREDITS
_______
Seek Ye First, Karen Lafferty, CFO Sings, pg 107.

Life Lesson: August 22

22 Aug

Meditate
Read Matthew 6:5-15. Read over verses 9-13: “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’ (Matthew 6:9–13).”

Sing
In the Secret

Chorus
I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more

Verse 1
In the secret in the quiet place
In the stillness You are there
In the secret in the quiet hour
I wait only for You
‘Cause I want to know You more

Verse 2
I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward
Pushing every hindrance aside
Out of my way
‘Cause I want to know You more

Message
Two Christians were trying to outdo each other and the conversation came around to prayer. One said, “I’ll bet $20 you can’t even say the Lord’s Prayer.” The other replied, “It’s a bet.” He began, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” The first man interrupted, “OK, here’s your money. I didn’t think you could do it.”
Some things become so familiar to us that we do not really know what we are saying. There are other things that we think we know, but have not spent enough time with that we are not even aware we are wrong. The Disciples had certainly prayed before, but they wanted a fresh new way. They wanted to do it the way Jesus would do it. We should want nothing less. There are so many times that I think I know what is right and I need to be reminded the truths that Jesus taught.
Luke also records Jesus’ teaching on prayer and it is good to review what he taught. In Luke 11:1-13 Jesus gives us a pattern of prayer (vs 1-4), he tells us to be persistent in prayer (vs 5-8), he reminds us of God’s promise to us when we pray (vs 9-10) and he reminds us that God is the Father who answers our prayers (vs 11-13).
If we believe that Jesus was the best teacher on prayer, then we should be reviewing this teaching on a regular basis and our prayer life should reflect his teaching.

Blessing
Ask God who He wants you to bless and how. Take 5 minutes and be quiet. Let God show you who to bless today.

Move
Stretch out. Start by reaching high over your head while taking a deep breath. Bend over as far as comfortable and then come up slowly. Carefully stretch each leg and rotate your ankles. Continue to stretch until all of your muscles have been worked. Remember to breath and do not forget your face muscles.

Create
The pattern of the Lord’s prayer includes praise, focus on the Kingdom, prayer for provision, prayers of repentance and forgiveness, and prayers for protection and guidance. Write out your prayer, developing each section of the Lord’s Prayer.

Nourish
If you are able, skip a meal today to fast and pray. If you are not able to completely fast, go light on one meal and spend extra time in prayer.

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 that you have not played in a long time. Find someone to play with and if you do not remember all the rules, make them up as you go along.

Pray
Make a list of people to pray for. Your list may include many or just a few. Pray for each person on your list using the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer. Let God direct your prayer.

Snacks
Eat a fruit or vegetable that you have not had before.

World Prayer
Find a world map and ask the Lord to show you what area of the world to pray for today. Use the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer.

Sleep
Repeat the Lord’s prayer until you fall asleep. Say it very slowly and rest on each line. If you only get through a line or two, that is okay. You can finish it tomorrow.

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
In the Secret, CCLI Song # 1810119, Andy Park, © 1995 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.), CCLI License # 283314

Life Lesson: August 15

15 Aug

Meditate
Read Luke 10:1-20. Consider especially vs 1-4.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.  He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. (Luke 10:1-4)

Sing
Give the World Light
vs 1
Lord, give the world Light; let Light shine through me.
Lord, give the world Truth; let Truth speak through me.
Lord, give the world Love; let Love flow through me.
Lord, give the world Life; let Life sing through me.

vs 2
Lord, thank you for Light; let Light shine through me.
Lord, thank you for Truth; let Truth speak through me.
Lord, thank you for Love; let Love flow through me.
Lord, thank you for Life; let Life sing through me.

Message
Growing up as the daughter of a United Methodist Pastor, the word “appointment” had special meaning. It meant that wherever the Bishop sent my Father, we were to go. The Bishop appointed my Father to a specific church and there my family would move so that my Dad could take care of the needs of the church. Later in life, I found that the word “appointment” carried an even stronger meaning in my life. As the wife of a United Methodist Pastor, I knew that a new appointment meant packing all of our belongings, quitting my job, traveling to an unknown place and moving away from my friends and family. Today, the word “appointment” means that as a Certified Lay Minister, the District Superintendent can send me to a church that needs help. It is now my call to action in service to Christ’s church.

The appointment process (being sent to do ministry) is not a new concept. Luke records that, “the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” These people were sent into the surrounding towns to minister to the people and let them know that Jesus is on his way. They were to tell them that, “The Kingdom of God has come near to you.”

Is it any different today? No. We are each appointed by Jesus to let those around us know that the Kingdom of God is near. We do not have to be Pastors or Lay Ministers. We do not have to be in the United Methodist Church. We do not have to have an official title or office in our own church. If we call ourselves Christian, then we are appointed by Christ to “Go and Preach the Gospel.”

Blessing
Contact your Pastor (or several) and thank them for their work in the church. Pray a blessing over them.

Move
Walk around your church seven times and ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.

Create
Make something special and send it with a note to a person doing ministry in your area.

Nourish
As you eat today, pray for those who do not have enough to eat.

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 relaxing. Read a book, do a puzzle, watch the kids in a park or find something else that you can do to rest your body today.

Pray
Ask God where he is appointing you. Spend 15 minutes in silence and then write what you hear.

Snacks
Eat something that grows on a tree.

World Prayer
Pray for those who are sensing God’s appointment to ministry in either an official capacity or volunteer.

Sleep
Rest in the knowledge that even if God’s appointment on your life is difficult, he will take care of you and all of your needs. Fall asleep in peace and thankfulness.

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:
Give the World Light, CFO Sings, page 32

Life Lesson: August 8

8 Aug

Meditate
Read 2 Kings 2:1-14 & Luke 9:51-62

Sing
Higher Ground
vs1
I’m pressing on the upward way. New heights I’m gaining everyday.
Still praying as I onward bound, “Lord plant my feet on higher ground.”

vs2
My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay.
Tho’ some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim is higher ground.

vs3
I want to live above the world tho Satan’s darts at me are hurled.
For faith has caught the joyful sound: The song of saints on higher ground.

vs4
I want to scale the utmost heights and catch a gleam of glory bright,
but still I’ll pray till heaven I’ve found, “Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”

Chorus
Lord, lift me up and let me stand by faith on heaven’s table land.
A higher plane than I have found. Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Message 
Elisha was a young farmer living with his parents when he was called to be Elijah’s successor and he gave up everything (Father, Mother, business and oxen) to follow. Much time passes as Elisha is mentored and trained by Elijah and in the end, Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. The Message translates this request as, “Your life repeated in my life. I want to be a holy man just like you.” Elisha had walked with Elijah for a long time and wanted to be everything he had seen in Elijah.

The two Scriptures we read for meditation have some interesting similarities. Both have similar beginnings: “When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven” and “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven” Both record similar responses from the disciples to their teacher: “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you” and “I will follow you wherever you go” Lastly, both teachers explain the difficulties of what has been asked: “You have asked a difficult thing” and “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

God responded to Elisha’s request as he saw Elijah being taken up and by the symbol of his cloak being left behind. God had already responded to the disciple of Jesus in the prophet Joel when it was recorded, “In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on your sons and daughters.”

Elisha could have left the cloak on the ground and walked away. Jesus’ disciple also could have walked away. Both Elijah and Jesus said it would be a hard thing. Neither disciple walked away and the impact on the world is astounding. We need to ask ourselves today:

  • Am I asking for God’s Spirit to be working in my life?
  • Am I taking what God gives me and using it well?”

In Glenn Clark’s book, “I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes”, he suggests these prayers:

“I pray for…

“…your spirit to enter me and fill me completely.”
“…your kingdom to come, in earth as it is in heaven.”
“…my will to become completely and utterly your will.”
“…the right persons to come into my life at the right time and in the right way.”
“…the right ideas to come to me in perfect sequence and in perfect order, in the right time and in the right way.”
“…my deepest soul’s sincere desire to be fulfilled in the right time and in the right way.”

Blessing
Ask God who you should bless today. Write the prayer pointers from “I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes” and give them to this person. Let them know that this is what you will be praying for them. Do not forget to pray!

Move
Find a staircase in a building or in your home. Walk up and down the stairs several times while considering the chorus of “Higher Ground”

Create
Draw a line on a paper that represents the mountain that you are climbing to reach the heights that God has for you. Spend some time in prayer and ask God to help you see what helps you move up the mountain, what pushes you back and what keeps you from moving at all. Draw some symbols along the mountain that represent these helps or hindrances.

Nourish
As you eat today, be aware of your calorie intake. Are you eating enough? Are you eating too much? Find out how many calories are good for 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
Take someone on an outing that cannot generally get out. This may be a child with busy parents or an older person without ability or freedom to get out. Take them to see or do something simple and then take them for an ice cream cone.

Pray
Using the prayers in the message today, spend time praying for God to pour out his Spirit into your life.

Snacks
Forget it! You had ice cream during recreation today!

World Prayer
Turn on the TV or from your newspaper, get the “headline” of the day. Pray for those involved in this situation.

Sleep
Try to get some extra sleep tonight so that you can be the best you can be for God.

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: 
“Higher Ground” pg 63 CFO Sings

Life Lesson: August 1

1 Aug

Meditate
Read Mark 1:9-13.
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Meditate on the words of God to Jesus, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Sing
Chorus 1
Step into the water
Wade out a little bit deeper
Wet your feet in the water of His love
Step into the water
Wade out a little bit deeper
Come join angels singing praises
To the Lamb of God

Verse 1
It is time we the people
Stand up for what is right
It is time we squared our shoulders back
Raised our swords to fight
For the Bible is our weapon
And the Spirit is our shield
The church needs more of its members
To be workers in the field

Verse 2
There is vict’ry for the Christian
Who walks the narrow way
There has been a prize appointed
For the soul who does not stray
Oh I want to live for Jesus
Be all that I should be
So that I can rest with Him
Forever live eternally

Message
My parents often tell me how proud they are of me and it makes me feel good. One day in particular, my Mother told me that she would be at an upcoming worship service because she “loves it when I lead worship”. Following that service, she introduced me to a couple of her friends and with a smile on her face and an arm around my waist said, “This is my daughter!” My Mother’s comments that day made me feel special. They also gave me a new sense of purpose. I wanted to continue to make my Mother proud. Oh, I have failed and I will fail again, but I know my Mother is still proud and I desire to keep on trying and working to improve.

God, by way of the dove, put his hand around Jesus’ waist and said, “This is my son!” and “I love who you are and what you do.” What strength that must have given Jesus as he entered the wilderness.

Have you been baptized? Have you experienced God’s hand around your waist and his smile as he says, “You are my child and I love you. With you I am well pleased.” Hold on to this as you press through life and strive to do what you are called to do. Take God’s love as your strength.

Blessing
There is someone whom you have influence over. It may be a child, parent, sibling, fellow-worker, or someone else. Contact them and let them know what you like about them. E-mail or letter is OK, but verbally would be best. If you can do it face to face, even better!

Move
Step into the water (take a shy and tentative step forward)
Wade out a little bit deeper (take another step with a little more confidence)
Wet your feet in the water of His love (wiggle your toes in the water)
Step into the water (take a step with full confidence)
Wade out a little bit deeper (take a giant step forward)
Come join angels singing praises (bathe in the water)
To the Lamb of God (raise hands and stretch in the air)

Create
Take five 3×5 cards. Ask God what encouraging message to write on each one. Put them upside down on the table. Ask God to bring a person to mind and then pick a card. Send that card to the person.

Nourish
Drink extra water today. As you drink the water, remember your baptism and be thankful.

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 and enjoy some water. Find a body of water, fountain, aquarium or small fish pond. Enjoy the water by boating, swimming, just watching it. Other options might be to look at pictures of water or soak in the tub. Enjoy the experience of God’s creation of water.

Pray
If there are areas of your life that you know are not pleasing to God, write them down on a piece of paper. Confess each area as sin and repent. Claim God’s forgiveness and his strength to stand against the enemy in these areas. Burn the paper in a safe place.

Snacks
Make jello (sugar free). It’s fun!

World Prayer
Pray for all of the coastal regions of the world.

Sleep
As you go to sleep tonight, pray that your rest will be totally refreshing.

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:
CCLI # 283314, CCLI Song # 44429, Kirk L. Talley, © 1981 Homeward Bound Music. 1984 Assigned To Kirk Talley Music (Admin. by Integrated Copyright Group, Inc.)

Life Lesson: July 25

25 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.
_______

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

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.

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