Archive | September, 2017

Life Lesson: Sept 25

25 Sep

Meditate
Read: Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1, Philemon 1: “Paul, a servant, an apostle, a prisoner,  of Christ Jesus…”

Sing: Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

Chorus
My chains are gone I’ve been set free,
My God my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love amazing grace

Verse 1
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see

Verse 2
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Verse 3
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

Verse 4
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God who called me here below
Will be forever mine, Will be forever mine
You are forever mine


Message
            I am a mother, a daughter, a wife, a grandmother, an aunt, a sister, an employee, a pastor, a worship leader, and I have many other titles. I probably would not, however, think to call myself servant or prisoner. I cherish my freedom and my independence. Along with many others, I celebrate Independence Day and I sing songs of thanksgiving for my freedoms. Sometimes I forget that although society allows me to say and do mostly whatever I want, I am not really free. I am in bondage to sin. As Paul says, there are things I should do that I do not and there are things I should not do that I do! It seems that I should be in control of my thoughts and actions, but there are times that I do not seem to have any self-control. I am in bondage to the evil that controls my heart.

There is good news though! Jesus came to break the bondage that holds us as slaves to sin which leads to death. We can be confident that Jesus Christ came to set us free. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1a).” Why then do we continue to hold so tightly to the chains that have been broken by Jesus? Paul encourages us to “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1b).”

So, if we have freedom in Christ, why does Paul call himself a slave and a prisoner? As slaves of Jesus, we are actually free. We no longer have to live in the sin that so easily entangles us. We no longer have to align with the world that puts pressure on us to be a certain way or think certain things. We are free to be the new and transformed people that God created us to be.

I often need to be reminded, but I know that I do not have to be a slave to the world, but I can be free in bondage to Christ and be all he wants me to be.

Blessing
Send a note to an expectant Father. Write a prayer of blessing for him and this new title that God has for him.

Move
Play some music and dance. Be thankful that God has freed you to dance for him!

Create
Consider the descriptions used by Paul to describe his relationship with Jesus. Make a list of names that might describe your relationship with Jesus.

Nourish
Try a new recipe today. If you generally eat alone, share your meal with someone.

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
Visit the local humane society and play with the animals.

Pray
Ask God to show you how to live into the titles that you discovered during your creative time. Be sure to have a time of listening prayer and journal what you hear.

Snacks
Have some ice cream. You are free, but you do not have to overdo it.

World Prayer.
Pray for those who are in physical bondage. Pray for those in prisons or in some other form of physical captivity.

Sleep
As you go to sleep, be thankful for the freedom you have.

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.

_______
“Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)”, CCLI Song # 4768151, Chris Tomlin | John Newton | Louie Giglio © 2006 worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), sixsteps Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), Vamos Publishing (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), CCLI License # 283314

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Life Lesson: Sept 18

18 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 11

11 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 4

4 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.

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