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Life Lesson: Feb 6

6 Feb

To be chosen and to be obedient. We desire one and we find it easy to shrink from the other. Yet, God’s best for us is when we say ‘yes’ to both.

Meditate: Jeremiah 1:4-10

Sing Rise Up O Men of God
Verse 1
Rise up O men of God
Have done with lesser things
Give heart and soul and mind and strength
To serve the King of kings

Verse 2
Rise up O men of God
His kingdom tarries long
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And end the night of wrong

Verse 3

Rise up O men of God
The church for you doth wait
Her strength unequal to her task
Rise up and make her great

Verse 4
Lift high the cross of Christ
Tread where His feet have trod
As brothers of the Son of Man
Rise up O men of God

Message
Have you ever received a call from a person who asked you to do something and you had a “perfectly good” excuse why you could not do it? Maybe you had several good excuses. Maybe it would have saved a great deal of time to just say, “No, I do not want to do that.” I have to admit that I have made excuses rather than just admitting that I did not want to do something.

I have also made excuses to God: “It is too cold”, “I am too tired”, “I am afraid of being laughed at or thought a fool”, “I do not have enough money”, “I do not have enough time”, “I cannot talk in front of people”, or “I do not have those abilities”. Maybe I forget that God created me and he knows exactly who I am. There is never a need to remind him or fill him in on the details that he may have forgotten.

Jeremiah let God know that he was simply too young to do what God was asking him to do. The ironic thing is that God had just got done saying, “I formed you in your Mother’s womb.” God knew exactly how old Jeremiah was. There was no need to remind him.

Moses also made excuses. He made so many excuses that God got angry.

It seems to me that Jesus had the most valid excuses, since he (unlike the rest of us) knew exactly what was going to happen. For Jesus, the purposes of God and his love for us trumped any excuse that could possibly have been made.

What is God asking of you today? Are you to speak to someone, call or visit someone, serve in some way, take a class, forgive someone, start a new ministry, give something away or something is it else? You know! Now what is your excuse?

Blessing
Send a note to someone thanking them for being obedient to God’s call. Let them know how their obedience touched your life.

Move
Get out and walk. If you see someone during your walk, ask God if you are supposed to bless them in some way.

Create
Write down what you feel God is telling you to do. Write down your excuses. Think of the attributes of God that negate your excuses.

Nourish
Make sure that you eat breakfast! This is the most important meal of the day!

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 a nursing home and take some (you only need a few) carnations. Without saying anything, pass them out to the staff and clients. Offer the people you meet a flower and a smile.

Pray
Pray for those who feel hopeless because they have told God, “No!” for too long. Pray that God will give them a fresh mission. Pray that you will not find yourself there someday.

Snacks
Treat yourself to a small ice cream cone and buy one for a friend.

World Prayer
Go on-line and search for a site that offers mission trips for youth. Look at the pictures and pray for the young people who are answering God’s call. Pray that the hearts of the people they serve will be changed. Pray also that the hearts of each young person would be changed.

Sleep
As you fall asleep, thank God for all of the obedient people who have led you to Christ.

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:
“Rise Up O Men of God”, William H Walter, 1894. Used by permission, CFO Sings, Page 220

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Life Lesson: Nov 7

7 Nov

How do you live? What are your goals? The promise of life-change hinges on loving others not ourselves.

Meditate
Read Mark 8:31-38. Meditate on verse 33.

Sing
Chorus 
I surrender all, I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all

Verse 1
All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.

Verse 2
All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow.
Worldly pleasures all forsaken, Take me Jesus take me now.

Verse 3
All to Jesus I surrender, Make me Savior wholly Thine.
Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine.

Verse 4
All to Jesus I surrender, Lord I give myself to Thee.
Fill me with Thy love and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me.

Verse 5
All to Jesus I surrender, Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation, Glory glory to His name.

Message
Be in silence to hear from God.

Blessing
When you are out today, speak a blessing to the first person you see.

Move
Convert your exercise program into a spiritual time. Every movement of your body has a cadence that can be set to prayer, such as the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary or the Doxology.

Create
Draw a picture, using the hand you don’t write with. Ask God what is the point of your drawing.

Nourish
Consider eating half portions or fasting 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
Have you been wanting to play? Let yourself be a child. Visit a playground in a park. Watch the children at play. Buy a coloring book and crayons. Laugh out loud.

Pray
Picture Jesus sitting surrounded by a large assortment of wrapped boxes. He invites you to unwrap each one, because they are gifts for you! Unwrap the gifts of love, joy, peace, forgiveness, good health, strength, endurance, provision of all kinds, hugs, kisses, and good will toward you from others. Lastly, Jesus wraps himself up and presents himself to you. He beckons you to come and accept this gift. As you do, realize that all the other gifts are straw and dust without the gift of Jesus. Realize also that when you accept the gift of Jesus, you must give up yourself in return. Through this exchange, the concerns of God become your concerns and  your concerns begin to fade.

Snacks
Skip your snack today and pray for those who do not have anything to eat.

World Prayer
You have built yourself up in this day with God. Use this energy to pray for things outside yourself.

Sleep
Ask the Lord to help you empty your mind of all the day’s woes and problems and fill it with his peace. Be silent and drift off to 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:
“I Surrender All” CCLI Song # 23189, Judson Wheeler Van De Venter | Winfield Scott Weeden, Public Domain, For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com,CCLI License # 283314

Life Lesson: Sept 11

11 Sep

Life Lesson 45

Meditate

Hebrews 12:18-29. Consider verses 28-29 in light of your own worship.

Sing
10,000 Reasons

Chorus
Bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Verse 1
The sun comes up it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Verse 2
You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Verse 3
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Message
            I found my mind wandering in worship on Sunday. I was thinking about my “ToDo” list, lunch, my kids, and my work. I was thinking about people in attendance that Sunday and wondering where some of the others were. I was thinking about how I was feeling and that my head was not really in the game. I wondered why I could not seem to focus on worship and then wondered what the next song was. I suddenly realized that if I am not staying focused when I am standing behind the pulpit, then how were the people in the pews managing.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that our worship needs to be acceptable; with reverence and awe. I would love to be able to say that my worship of the All-Mighty, Most Holy, Exceedingly Awesome, Only God is acceptable, reverent and awestruck. I am sad to say that I can not say that, with all honesty. I think maybe I fall more into the category of the synagogue leaders who told the people to go be healed on a day other than the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17). These leaders were more concerned about everyone doing church the right way (their way), rather than the things of God.

I have realized that my worship needs to be a constant state of being, rather than a momentary event and it needs to be done with my whole body, mind, soul, and strength. I need to make sure that I am preparing for Sunday worship all week long, so that Sunday becomes a celebration and culmination of my weekly worship. In the hour that I spend in church I want my entire being to be connected to God, through Jesus, for His honor and glory. I am sure that I will have successful times and unsuccessful time, but I know that if I continue to press on, God will honor my attempt to worship him acceptably in reverence and awe.

Blessing
Read Matthew 25:34-45. Ask God who he wants you to bless today and how. Know that by meeting the needs of the “least of these”, you are in a true act of worship.

Move
Using the Doxology, make up motions and get your entire body involved in worship.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost
Amen

Create
Ask God to help you identify things that distract you from worship. Make a list of these things. When you have finished that list, make a list of reasons to worship God. The reasons to worship should outnumber the list of distractions. Keep the second list handy so that you can bring yourself back to worship as needed.

Nourish
Before eating, spend time in thankful worship.

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

Recreation
Take a walk. Even if it is five minutes around your home or office.

Pray
Instead of intercessory prayer or praying for needs and concerns, spend your prayer time in worship. Sing songs of praise.

Snacks
Give up your snack time and replace it with worship.

World Prayer
Pray for those who can not worship openly for fear of persecution.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, whisper praises to God.

From morning until night, God wants us to worship and commune with Him. Start your day in His Word and then weave throughout the day these elements of devotion, worship, contemplation and service to others.

______
“10,000 Reasons”, CCLI Song # 6016351, Jonas Myrin | Matt Redman, © 2011 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), Said And Done Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), Six Steps Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), SHOUT! Music Publishing (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), CCLI License # 283314

 “Doxology”, CCLI Song # 56204, Louis Bourgeois | Thomas Ken, Public Domain, CCLI License # 283314

Life Lesson: Sept 4

4 Sep

Meditate:  Read Hebrews 11:29–12:2.

Sing:  Faith of Our Fathers

Verse 1
Faith of our fathers living still
In spite of dungeon fire and sword
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word

Chorus
Faith of our father’s holy faith
We will be true to thee till death

Verse 2
Our fathers chained in prisons dark
Were still in heart and conscience free
How sweet would be their children’s fate
If they like them could die for Thee

 Verse 3
Faith of our fathers we will strive
To win all nations unto Thee
And through the truth that comes from God
Mankind shall then be truly free

Verse 4
Faith of our fathers we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife
And preach Thee too as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life

Message
               We all have someone who we think is the highest example of faith and Christian living. Most of us can think of someone that we look up to and want to emulate. The reality is that these are just people who trust God, by faith, to walk them through the journey that He has planned for them.
I had always looked up to my father as a “real man of God.” I wanted to be like him and I wanted to have a relationship with God just like he did. It was hard when I grew up and began to see his faults. He was still a good man, but I suddenly began to realize that he was not perfect and that was alright. He was on a journey. There were others that I met in CFO. There were speakers and song leaders that I believed could probably walk on water. As I got older, I began to hear things and see things that shed light on the truth that these were just sinful human beings. Like me! These people were sinful, they were mortal, they were fallible, and their only hope was to walk by faith. The good news is that I could look at their lives and learn from them. They are part of the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds me and by their examples (good and bad), I can learn to walk the journey that God has laid out for me.
God has a plan for each one of us. If you doubt that, consider Paul’s word to the Ephesians, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (2:10).” Sometimes we see a glimmer of what that is and other times we feel that we are in the dark. The good news is that we can trust him to guide and direct our path to get us to the good that he has planned for us. It is also good news to know that we are not alone. God gives us people to walk with us on this journey.
We have two roles in our walk with God: 1) Walk by faith. Keep our eyes on the prize and use those who have gone on before us as examples. 2) Be an example. Remember, there are people coming up behind us that need someone to guide. Is your life a good example for those who need it?

Blessing
Consider one or two people who have helped strengthen you in your journey with Jesus. Write them a note and tell them how they have helped and pray a blessing for them. If they are no longer living, see if you can track down a family member and send the note and blessing to them.

Move
Walk through every room in your home. Picture each room as a stop on your journey through life and ask God to reveal a message about that stop. Seek God’s leading concerning your walk in the future, by lessons learned in the past.

Create
Rewrite today’s song in your own words. This does not have to rhyme and it does not have to fit the music. Allow yourself creative license.

Nourish
Do not get so busy with the journey today that you forget to eat. Eat slow and healthy today. Do not rush the journey.

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

Recreation
Whatever you do today, take a minute and be intentionally present in the moment. See what there is to see. Close your eyes and smell. Take time to taste and to touch something along the way. Remind yourself to hear what is happening.

Pray
Spend some quiet time asking God who he wants you to help or mentor as they walk through life. Begin by praying for this person and then ask God how you should take the next step.

Snacks
Eat something with a great smell, interesting looks, unusual texture, and maybe even a curious sound. Let taste be the last thing you discover about your snack.

World Prayer
Pray for those who do not walk with God and feel alone today.

Sleep
Thank God that he is always present in your journey.

From morning until night, God wants us to worship and commune with Him. Start your day in His Word and then weave throughout the day these elements of devotion, worship, contemplation and service to others.

______
Faith of Our FathersCFO Sings, pg 309.

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

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