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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 Their security and comfort had been replaced by uncertainty and fear.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: 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

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: August 8

7 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: Dec 5

5 Dec

Meditate
Mathew 19:13-15. “Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray.” vs 13a (NRSV)

Sing
“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Message
As a single Mother I often found myself having to do things around the house that I wasn’t real sure how to do. This particular time, the rear tail light was out on my car and I figured that I ought to be able to handle this. After going to the store and picking what I thought was the correct bulb (of course, how would one know, picking one tiny little light out of 5,863 different bulbs), I went home to fix my car.   Danny was five years old and was playing beside where I was working, occasionally coming over to supervise. I took the cover off the light, that was easy. I located the blown bulb, that was easy. I reached in to pull out the old bulb and this began the trouble. The bulb would not come out. I looked it over to see if I was to twist or turn it and decided it should just pull out. I pulled and pulled and with every pull, I became more frustrated. This should not be a difficult thing to do. As I became more upset, Danny came and asked me what the matter was.   I told him simply that I could not get the light bulb out of the car, to which he responded by taking a step back and folding his hands. He looked up into the sky and said, “God, help Mommy get the light bulb out of the car”. After saying his prayer, he stepped up and asked me if the light bulb came out. I said no.

Looking rather disturbed, Danny once again stepped back, folded his hands rather deliberately, looked up and said, “God, please help Mommy get the light bulb out of the car.” Coming back up to me, he asked with expectancy, “Did you get the light bulb out of the car?”   With my own frustration I said, “No!”   Surprised, Danny marched back a couple of steps, tightened his fists to his sides, looked up in the sky and said in his little voice, “God, I tell you help Mommy get the light bulb and you no help Mommy get the light bulb out of the car why you no help Mommy get the light bulb out of the car…”   At that moment, the light bulb popped out into my hand and Danny nodded approvingly and went back to playing.

Blessing
Choose a family in your neighborhood that has children. Take a card to the Mother and Father, with your prayer written inside. Include an inexpensive bag of balloons for the children.

Move
Sing and do the motions to “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.”

Create
Look at your hands. Consider the children that these hands have touched in love and blessing. Pray for each of these children. If you are able to send them a note, take the time to do this.

Nourish
Consider fasting today and use that time to pray. If you can not fast an entire day, at least fast for one 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
Plan a trip to the zoo or aquarium. If you can not afford this, go to your local library and rent a video about animals. If you can, share this with a child.

Pray
If you have children, lay your hands on them and pray for them. If you do not have children of your own, pray for your neighbor’s children.

Snack
Make brownies. Do not eat them all. Share them with a neighbor.

World Prayer Broadcast
If you do not already sponsor a child in a third world or developing country, consider Compassion® International . If you definitely can not afford to do this, consider a one time gift. If this is not possible, at least get on-line and review the pictures. Take time to pray for these children and this program.

Rest
Before going to sleep tonight, turn the TV off and remember your favorite story from childhood. If you can not think of one, read a Doctor Seuss story.

—————————–
Lyrics Credit: From “Jesus Loves Little Children” © 1999 Pilot Point Music (Lillenas [Admin. by The Copyright Company]) David S. Winkler | George Frederick Root. CCLI#283314 & Compassion® International can be found at http://www.compassion.com

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