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Life Lesson: April 17

17 Apr

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…” The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that everything in our lives is an appointment in time. How then should we live?

Meditate 
Using Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, read each verse and then sit quiet. Let God bring thoughts to your mind about the relevance of each verse.

Sing
Let go, let the Spirit flow (3x) Let Go and let God!
Praise God (3x) Let Go and let God!
Clap your hands  (3x) Let Go and let God!
Praise the Lord  (3x) Let Go and let God!

Message
It was time. We knew it was close. My Father had stopped eating and drinking. He was refusing his medication. It was a matter of time. There was frustration over his discomfort and there was some fear of the unknown. We did not know what that last moment would look like, but we certainly knew what his next step would be. We knew he would walk into the arms of Jesus.

During these days, Dad would take people by the hand and pray a blessing on them. He would look in their eyes to say,”I love you.” He would sing praise to God and hold hands with his family. Every grandchild received a word of blessing from Grandpa.

This was his time to receive comfort, love and care, but it was also his time to use his last breath to bless others. We also used this time to weep and to laugh, to embrace and to love, to hold on and to let go. All of us had time to speak and to listen. The blessing of this time our family shared was a gift from God. We honor each moment we had before Dad went home.

Blessing
Choose someone you know who has a physical condition that prevents them from moving easily. Pray for them and picture them dancing with the Lord.

Move
Create motions and really stretch your body, as you sing the song:
Let go and let God have His wonderful way,
Let go and let God have His way.
Your burden will vanish,
Your night turn to day;
Let go and let God have His way.

Create
Write a letter to God. On the back of the paper, write his response to you. Address it to yourself and give it to a friend. Ask the friend to mail it at some point in the next year, without telling you when.

Nourish
Be mindful as you eat lunch today. Feel the shape and texture of the food. Notice the flavor of each bite.

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 in your room, shut the door, set the timer for five minutes and put on your favorite song. Dance until the timer goes off.

Pray
Write your prayer concerns on a piece of paper. Tear the paper up into little pieces. If you can safely burn them, do so. If you can not burn them safely, just take them and throw them in any trash can (not in your home). Know that God removes our cares and replaces them with His peace.

Snacks
Have a snack that consists of three different colors. (M&M’s do not count!)

World Prayer
If you can, go to a local nursing home. Walk the halls and pray for the names on the doors. If you can not go in, just picture the halls, the beds and the staff.

Sleep
As you go to bed tonight, let God bring people to mind and just thank Him for their place in your life.

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.

———————————-

Lyric Credits:
Let Go, Let the Spirit Flow, Copyright Association of Camps Farthest Out, Inc.
Let Go and Let God Have His Way,  Copyright Association of Camps Farthest Out, Inc.

Life Lesson: April 10

10 Apr

In times of trouble, may the Lord respond to your cry. Psalms 20 starts with hope in the midst of trouble…

Meditate

Read Psalm 20:1-9. Read it two or three times, very slowly.

Sing
I’ve got the joy joy joy joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I’ve got the joy joy joy joy
Down in the heart
Down in my heart to stay

I’ve got the peace
That passes understanding
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I’ve got the peace
That passes understanding
Down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

Message
I have problems to solve every day. My car may run poorly yet I need it for errands and appointments. I overlooked my cousin’s birthday two weeks ago. A co-worker keeps annoying me. Psalm 20 tells me that God wants to help me with any difficulty, but I must ask Him with faith in His loving care.

Blessing
Pray for your neighbors on both sides. Leave them a note letting them know.

Move
Deep belly laughs. Really laugh. Let it go and laugh some more. Laugh until you cry.

Create
On a wall in your home, post one goal for today.

Nourish
Make sure you drink 64 ounces of water today. Omit any beverages that contain sodium.

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 catch with the neighborhood children for 30-45 minutes. Treat everyone to a soda.

Pray
Watch the news for 15 minutes and pray quickly for every person or situation as you watch and listen.

Snacks
Prepare a snack to go. Take it to a homebound person and share it.

World Prayer
Prayer for the elected officials of our country. Also pray for those who have run for office and not been elected.

Sleep
Retire 15 minutes earlier than usual.

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.

___________________

Lyric Credit:
I’ve Got The Joy: CCLI Song # 4023119, Clint Brown, © 1995 Dayspring Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.), CCLI License # 283314

Life Lesson: March 6

6 Mar

Are you living with fear? Has your situation become bigger than you can handle?

Meditate

Read Jonah 2

Sing
Not a Spirit of Fear

The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear
but of love and of power and a sound mind.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus
Which was also in Christ Jesus.
Which was also in Christ Jesus.

The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear
but of love and of power and a sound mind.
There is no fear in love.
Perfect love casts out fear.
Perfect love casts out fear.
Perfect love casts out fear.

The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear
but of love and of power and a sound mind.

Message
Jonah had reason to fear. He had run away from God. He willfully disobeyed God. Now he finds himself in a dark, damp and cold place. He was alone and had no idea what would come next. Instead of giving over to fear, he called out to the one who knows him best and loved him anyway. There was a time in my life when I found myself alone and afraid. I remember sitting in the corner crying in hopelessness. My husband was gone and my kids needed me. I was facing an unknown future and I could not imagine how I would survive. It was like a light-bulb coming on when I remembered that God was bigger than this and that he was not surprised by my situation. He was not only ready for it, he had prepared me for this very moment. I began singing an old CFO song called “I Will Not Be Afraid” and God turned my fear turned into strength by His love. Sometimes, we try to get through difficult situations on our own and sometimes we find it easier to remain in difficulty rather than doing a hard thing and making life better. We do this because we hang on to pride, fear, stubbornness, control, comfort of the familiar, and many other “reasons”. These reasons for not crying out to God become idols and we hang on as if they can give us life. Jonah recognized the result of hanging on to these idols: “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them (Jonah 2:8).” Let go and let God have his way in your life. Let go of fear, pride, control, and any other seaweed that is holding us in the belly of the fish.

Blessing
Is there someone you know who is afraid? Send them this message as an encouragement. Offer to pray for them in their situation.

Move
March around while proclaiming: “I will not be afraid! I will not be afraid! I will look upward and travel onward, and I’m not afraid!” Get your heart rate up because of conviction instead of fear. (Use the other verses on pg 101 of CFO Sings if you have it available.)

Create
Get a piece of paper and a writing utensil. Ask God to help you make a list of what makes you afraid. Pray for God’s love to be a greater force in your life than those fears and then destroy the list.

Nourish
Make sure you are praying before each 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
Go to the store and buy a flower. Just a simple carnation would do. Take the flower to someone who might be feeling alone and afraid. Spend a few minutes visiting with them.

Pray
Pray Jonah’s prayer a couple of times and then quietly listen to God. Journal what you hear.

Snacks
Skip your snack tonight and remember those who do not have enough to eat.

World Prayer
Pray for those who live in fear and do not know the love of God.

Sleep
As you fall asleep, be thankful that God has you in the palm of his hand.

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:
Not a Spirit of Fear, Ordelphia Nelson, CFO Sings, pg 308

Life Lesson: January 9

9 Jan

Meditate: Read Exodus 14:1-3.

‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are our ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8

Sing
My life is in you Lord.
My strength is in you Lord.
My hope is in you Lord.
In you, it’s in you!
I will praise you with all of my life.
I will praise you with all of my strength.
With all of my life, with all of my strength, all of my hope is in you.

Message
God, what are you doing? Turn back? Camp here? Did the Israelites question God’s directions? Did they understand what he was doing?   We needed to leave for my daughter’s ball game and that’s when I cut my hand. It was clear that I would need stitches. We went to the hospital and minutes turned into hours. What was taking so long? We needed to get to Erin’s game. Finally we were done, but it was too late for the game and we just headed home. I was disappointed and did not understand why God did not answer my prayers to get us to the game. When we arrived home the reasons were clear. The game had been canceled due to rain. Rain we were not getting at the hospital or at home. God was actually watching out for us and save us a 90 mile round trip to a canceled game.

When will I learn that God knows best?

Blessing
Randomly give away the 3×5 cards you will write today (see Pray section). Leave them for a waitress or give them to the cab driver. Leave one for your mailman.

Move 

My Lord know the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow. My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow. Strength for today is mine always. My Lord know the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow.

Create
Plant a flower, bush or tree.

Nourish
Eat something with whole grains today.

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
Sit on your porch with a song book. See how far you can get, singing through it. Start at the back of the book this time.

Pray
Write out prayers of blessing on 3×5 cards. Write what God lays on your heart. You do not know who these are for.

Snack
Each a fresh vegetable you have never eaten before.

World Prayer
Pray for the Jewish people of the world who do not yet know Jesus as the Messiah.

Sleep
Go to bed an extra 15 minutes early, if you have been feeling tired.

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.

——————————

LYRIC CREDIT:
From “My Life is in You Lord” © 1986 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music Daniel Gardner. CCLI#283314

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

Life Lesson: October 23

23 Oct

Meditate
Read: John 3:16-21

Sing:  And Can It Be

Verse 1
And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood
Died He for me who caused His pain
For me who Him to death pursued
Amazing love How can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me
Amazing love How can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me.

Verse 2
He left His Father’s throne above
So free so infinite His grace
Emptied Himself of all but love
And bled for Adam’s helpless race
‘Tis mercy all immense and free
For O my God it found out me
Amazing love How can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me

Verse 3
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray
I woke the dungeon flamed with light
My chains fell off my heart was free
I rose went forth and followed Thee
Amazing love How can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me

Verse 4
No condemnation now I dread
Jesus and all in Him is mine
Alive in Him my living head
And clothed in righteousness divine
Bold I approach th’eternal throne
And claim the crown through Christ my own
Amazing love How can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me

Message
            Are you certain you are going to be with Jesus for eternity? If you were to die tonight, would you see Jesus? These are important questions and unless you can answer a resounding. “YES!”, you need to get this worked out today. I asked this question of a woman one day and she answered, “Well, I hope so.” This is not a good answer. Yes, we have hope of eternity, but it should not be a wishful thinking kind of hope. It should not be like, “Well I hope the seatbelt holds if I have an accident.” Or “Well I hope I get the Christmas present I want this year.” When asked if we are going to spend eternity in heaven, our answer should sound more like, “Absolutely!”, “No doubt!”, or “Yes, and I am so thankful.”

If you are not able to answer this question without doubt, today is the day. You do not have to have all the answers, you do not need to be perfect, you do not need to have all your sin issues worked out and you do not need to change everything about yourself. Jesus does not list any of these things as requirements for salvation. He simply says that those who believe in him will have eternal life. Some of these other things will fall into place as you get to know God and his Word. Other stuff in life takes longer and may be a life long struggle, but Jesus does not give up on us.

If you have no doubt that you believe in Jesus and have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, Praise God! Do not take this for granted.

Blessing
To celebrate your “born again birthday”. make or buy 6 cupcakes. Take 5 of them to the people that God brings to mind. Let them know what these are celebrating.

Move
Stretch today. Begin with your toes and work up to your head. Pay attention to every body part. Do not forget your knee caps, tummy muscles, and your ears.

Create
Get out your crayons and paper. Draw a depiction of your life before Christ. Turn your paper over and draw a depiction of your life after Salvation.

Nourish
Find someone to share a meal with and include communion.

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 that represents new life. Plant a flower, a tree, or something else that will live and grow.

Pray
Pray for those who do not know Jesus.

Snacks
Have the last cupcake for a snack. Put a candle in it and remember the day you were born again in Jesus.

World Prayer
Pray for those around the world that are being led astray by false religions.

Sleep
As you fall asleep, pray this prayer with a confident peace, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.”

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.
_______
“And Can It Be”, CCLI Song # 5252295, Charles Wesley | Don Chapman | Thomas Campbell, © 2002 Hearts to God Music, Inc., CCLI License # 283314

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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