Archive | October, 2017

Life Lesson: October 16

16 Oct

Meditate
Read: Jeremiah 29:1 and 4-7

Sing: My Life Is In Your Hands

Verse 1
My life is in your hands.
My life is in your hands.
O, dear Father, My life is in your hands.

Verse 2 – My work is in your hands…..
Verse 3 – My friends are in your hands….
Verse 4 – My (fill in the blank) are in your hands…
Verse 5 – I leave them in your hands….

Message
            Jerusalem had been destroyed and the people had been taken away from all that they had loved and fought for. Their security and comfort had been replaced by uncertainty and fear. So what did God say to his people in their time of distress? He said, “Build houses and settle down, plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters, find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there, do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

When I am in distress, I want to hear God say, “Do not worry, I will rescue you within the next few minutes. You will not have to live like this and I will not allow you to be in discomfort for another moment. You and your children will live in safety and security forever. I will make the bad people who hurt you pay and they will know that you are someone special.” I would like to say that this is an exaggeration, but this sounds pretty close to how I have prayed in the past.

I see five things in Jeremiah’s letter from God: 1) Build houses and settle down, 2) Plant gardens and eat what they produce, 3) Marry and have sons and daughters, 4) Seek the peace and prosperity of the city, 5) Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

In other words: 1) Get comfortable where you are, 2) You will need to fend for yourselves, 3) This will last a LONG time, 4) Pray for your enemies and the bad all around you, 5) Do not complain about where you are at, but thrive there.

So often, we are looking to get out of our wilderness. We want to have temptations and hurts just zapped away. We want the better job or house and we want our financial or relational situation changed today! God does not work that way. He walks us through life one step at a time. Just think, if God took us around life instead of through it, what kind of life would we have? What kind of character would we have? What kind of relationship would we have with him? Paul tells us in Romans 5:3b-5, “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” God is using everything (good and bad) in our lives to build us up in character and bring us closer to him.

Blessing
            Find someone in a difficult situation and bring them a small gift. It does not have to be big or expensive. It does not have to be purchased. Just something to make them smile and know that God is still with them.

Move
Sing and do motions for “My God Is So Great”. Do it until you are convinced.

My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.
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’s nothing my God cannot do.

Create
Draw a picture of God’s hands. Write the things, on the palms of his hands that you need to give up today. Once you have done this, hang the picture somewhere so you will see it frequently.

Nourish
Eat some plain white rice today. Remember those who would consider this a luxury 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
Ask God what you could do today for some fun. Do it!

Pray
Pray for those who do not know where there next meal will come from or where they will sleep tonight.

Snacks
Give up your snack and spend some extra time in prayer for those who did not have enough today.

World Prayer.
Pray for all of the missionaries who are away from home for the Kingdom of God.

Sleep
As you fall asleep, sing today’s song as you “tuck” all of your concerns into God’s hands for the night.

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.

_______
“My Life Is In Your Hands”, CFO Sings, pg 179, Barbara Neighbors Deal.

“My God Is So Great”, CFO Sings, pg 178, Source unknown.

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Life Lesson: October 9

9 Oct

Meditate: Read Jonah 2

Sing: It Is Well with My Soul

Chorus:   It is well with my soul. It is well, It is well with my soul. 

Verse 1
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well. It is well with my soul

Verse 2
Tho’ Satan should buffet. Tho’ trials should come
Let this blest assurance control.
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

Verse 3
My sin O the bliss of this glorious tho’t
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord O my soul

Verse 4
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so it is well with my soul

Message
            How can this man, Horatio Spafford, write a song that basically says, “Even though life is hopeless and horrible, I am ok!” There have been times in my life when I was not ok. I was afraid, lost, alone, hurt, or angry. I was NOT ok! But today, I am ok. How can that be? It can be, because God is faithful. God gives grace to the lost and mercy to the suffering. God forgives and God gives hope. Horatio Spafford did not say, “It is well!” because life circumstances changed. He said, “It is well!” because God is good and nothing in this life is worth hanging on to except God. Horatio did not focus his attention on the sea billows, trials, and suffering around him, he turned his eyes to the one who pardoned all of his sin and promised to come again to take him to a better place.

Jonah was in the belly of the big fish when he prayed to God for help and mercy. He proclaimed “when my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord (vs7).” When all seemed lost, Jonah turned from his circumstances and grabbed hold of the only thing that mattered, God! My favorite verse in this chapter is verse 8. Jonah realizes and says, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” Jonah discovered, just as Horatio Spafford discovered, there is nothing in this life that is more important than our relationship with God, through Jesus.

Jesus tells us, in Luke 14:26-27, that we must set everything else aside (even family) to be a disciple. Nothing can stand in the way of our relationship with Jesus. Then, no matter what happens once we pick up our cross and follow, we must keep focused on the most important thing. If we try to hang on to things in this life, we will forfeit the grace that God has for us.

Blessing
Go to the grocery store and pick up a few extra items that you can donate to a food pantry or take to someone in need.

Move
Sing: ‘Let Go, Let the Spirit Flow” and do some motions. Make your motions as big as you are able. Remember that we have some “worthless idols” that we need to let go of.

Let go, let the Spirit flow. (3x) 
Let go, and let God.

Additional verses: Clap you hands, raise your arms, lift your knees, etc.

Create
After some time in prayer, make a list of “worthless idols” to which you hold on. Next to the list, make a new list of where you have seen God’s grace in your life.

Nourish
Keep track of what you eat today. Are you getting a well-balanced diet?

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
Swim today. If you are not able to swim, take a long hot bath. Enjoy the feeling of the water around you.

Pray
Rewrite Jonah’s prayer in your own words and in relation to your own life circumstances.

Snacks
Treat yourself to your favorite cookie.

World Prayer
Read the paper or watch the news. Jot down the first four situations you read or see. Take several minutes to pray for each one.

Sleep
Are you getting enough sleep? What can you do to improve your sleep time?

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.

_______
“It Is Well with My Soul”, pg. 61 CFO Sings, H.G. Spafford & P.P. Bliss

“Let Go, Let the Spirit Flow”, pg. 262 CFO Sings, Frank Wilson & LaVerne Krull Caton

Life Lesson: October 2

2 Oct

Meditate: 
Read Psalm 136

Sing: Revelation Song

Verse 1
Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain, Holy holy is He.
Sing a new song To Him Who sits on Heaven’s mercy seat.

Chorus
Holy holy holy Is the Lord God Almighty.
Who was and is, And is to come.
With all creation I sing Praise to the King of kings.
You are my ev’rything, And I will adore You!

Verse 2
Clothed in rainbows of living color, Flashes of lightning.
Rolls of thunder, Blessing and honor, Strength and glory,
And power be to You, The only wise King!

Verse 3
Filled with wonder, Awestruck wonder, At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power, Breath and living water.
Such a marv’lous mystery! yeah

Message
            Do you ever forget who God is? I do not mean that we forget that he is the Creator, but do you ever just take that for granted and treat him like a Magic Wand waiting to do your bidding? I know we all want to answer an emphatic, “No! Of course not!” Well, I know I do sometimes. I go to him (after I wake up) and after giving a cursory, “Thank you for this new day,” I then move into the needs and wants of my day. My prayers often sound like this, “Lord, Thank you for this day. I pray that Sally gets the help she needs and Joey does well on his test today. Lord, I am really busy today, so please help me with that.” I then get distracted by something and after checking the text that just came in on my phone, I continue. “Oh Lord, I still need help with that bill that I really can not afford and please help that lady (whose name I can’t remember) who said she has cancer.” Another text comes in and then the reminder on my calendar pops up to say my first appointment is at 9:00, so I finish up. “Lord, I have such a busy day. Please help me. I wish that I had more time to spend with you. Amen.”

I am certainly not suggesting that our prayers should be long and drawn out and praying for others is very important. Praying for ourselves is okay too, but it is important to consider our attitudes and focus when we are praying. In Matthew 6:5-8, Jesus tells us to go into our room and pray in secret. This means that all attention is given to God and that it is our intention to spend time in prayer, instead of fitting it in where we can. What if we spent time in a secret and quiet place, giving our total attention to God every day? What if we spent more time focusing on him that on ourselves, our problems, and our worries?

Today is a good day to turn my eyes upon Jesus and off of the world, my problems, my responsibilities, and me.

Blessing
Praying with someone can be a real blessing. Find someone who has nobody else to pray with and offer to spend 15-30 minutes with them in prayer. Take as long as you (or they) need.

Move
Sing and do the motions for “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” Repeat this several times until you are no longer distracted by anything but Him. Spend a few moments in quiet listening prayer.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus        (Begin with head down and begin to look up)

Look full in His wonderful face   (Continue raising your eyes and head and raise your hands)

And the things of earth              (Spread your arms out in front of you, moving them side to side)

Will grow strangely dim              (Sweep the things of the earth away)

In the light of His glory and grace (Bow in reverence and prayer)

Create
Take Psalm 136 and rewrite the first part of each verse using your own life experiences.

Nourish
If you are able, fast one meal and spend that time in prayer. If you are not able to give up food, eat lightly and use the rest of the time to pray.

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

Recreation
Get out and ride a bike today. If you do not have one and can not borrow one, at least take a walk.

Pray
Just praise God! Read through the Psalm you wrote and read through the song for today. Read the words out loud!

Snacks
If you did not fast for a meal today, try fasting your snack time. Spend the time in prayer.

World Prayer.
Pray for the leaders of the world.

Sleep
Go to bed a few minute early and give God those minutes in 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.

_______

1. “Revelation Song” – CCLI Song # 4447960, Jennie Lee Riddle, © 2004 Gateway Create Publishing (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing (IMI)), CCLI License # 283314.  CCLI Song # 15960

2. “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” – Helen H. Lemmel, © Words: 1922 New Spring Music: 1922 New Spring, CCLI License # 283314

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