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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: July 3

3 Jul

Meditate
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Romans 12:1–2)

Sing
 Beautiful Things

Verse 1
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all

Verse 2
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

Chorus
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Verse 3
All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in you

BRIDGE
You make me new
You are making me new
You make me new
You are making me new (REPEAT)

Message
We live in a culture that says, “I can’t help it”, “This is just who I am”, “If you do not like me, get over it”, “I may be irritating and bother people, but I like who I am”, “This is the way that God made me.” Maybe we have said these things too. Maybe we have just thought them. Maybe we have even taken comfort in them. I have taken this attitude in regard to some bad habits in the past because it was easier. I did not have to quit smoking, exercise, eat better, or treat others better, because this is who I am! The reality is that this was not who God made me to be, He made me to live according to His good, pleasing and perfect will.

The real difference in the changes we make has to do with the depth of the change. If it is just a surface change it does not transform me and is only a temporary adjustment. If the change gets into my head and my heart it can be a complete life change. When the changes we make start with laying ourselves out as a living sacrifice and include our entire body, mind and soul, then we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds.”

Change is not easy. I have made some changes in my life and many others I am still working on. Anything that has significantly changed has to be kept in line with God’s plan or it will easily slip back to the old ways. The key is to stop telling ourselves that change is impossible. It may be hard work, but it is not impossible. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Blessing
Do you know someone who has tried to make a change in life? Let them know you are praying for them. If not, contact a friend and confess a change you are trying to make and ask them to pray for you. Ask if there is something you can keep in prayer for them.

Move
Sing and do the motions for “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”. With each pass over your body, ask God to transform your life.

Create
With crayon and paper, draw a picture of yourself. Take a few minutes to pray and ask God to show you what changes he wants you to make in your mind or body. After prayer, take another crayon and see what God has you add to your self-portrait.

Nourish
Take an everyday ingredient and transform it into something you have never eaten before.

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
Think of an activity that you have enjoyed in the past and have not done for a long time. Go do it. If you can share it with a friend that you have not spent time with in awhile, call them.

Pray
Spend some time in prayer concerning the things that God showed you in your creative time. Ask God to show you specific ways to make the necessary changes.

Snacks
Take your snack outside and see what God shows you.

World Prayer
Pray for those who are stuck in an unhealthy pattern and feel there is no way out.

Sleep
As you fall asleep, be thankful for the healing that God does in your mind and body as you sleep.

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:
Beautiful Things, CCLI Song # 5665521, Lisa Gungor | Michael Gungor, © 2009 worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), CCLI License # 283314

 

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

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: 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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