Archive | May, 2017

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

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