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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: June 12

12 Jun

 

Meditate
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Sing
Go Tell It on the Mountain

Go tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and everywhere
Go tell it on the mountain
Jesus Christ WILL SAVE!

Vs 1
When I was but a sinner,
I prayed both night and day,
I asked the Lord to help me
and He showed me the way.

Vs 2
When I became a seeker,
I sought both night and day,
I asked the Lord to help me
and He taught me to pray.

Vs 3
The Lord made me a watchman,
upon a city wall,
And if I am a Christian,
I am the least of all.

Message  
It is hard to think about it, but there are people who die without having a relationship with Jesus. This is hard, because Jesus said that only those who know him have eternal life. We hate to think that there are people who are lost for eternity, but it is not because God let them fall by the wayside. It is not because God did not care enough for them or did not want them. It is certainly not because Jesus did not die for them. So why are there people spending eternity in hell, apart from God? It is because we did not tell them. The Bible asks “How can they know if we do not tell them?”

Another sad thought is that there are people who have accepted Jesus, but are living in Spiritual poverty. Again, it is not because God does not care or has ignored them. It is also not simply the person’s fault for not doing what they should do. It is because we are not making disciples and teaching others to obey and live as Christ taught. We are not teaching and helping people to study the Scriptures and pray. We are not coming together to encourage and support each other.

It is the responsibility of all Christians to pray, learn and develop our relationship with God, but it is also our responsibility to help others do the same. We are the body of Christ. We are the family of God. We cannot work and live independently of others. Are we our brother’s keeper? The answer is yes.

CFO is a vital tool to help us learn how to develop our own relationship with Christ, bring others to Jesus, and disciple believers in the faith. We learn, at CFO, that we are not too young or too old, too rich or too poor, or too new in the faith or mature in Christ to be an important part of the body.

Blessing
Contact someone who was instrumental in bringing you to Jesus or mentoring your Christian walk and thank them. If this person is no longer alive, contact their family and let them know what this person did and what a blessing they were to you.

Move
Do you have an old piece of exercise equipment? Put on some worship music and USE the equipment.

Create
On a large piece of paper, make several stick figures. Draw each “person” missing one body part. Underneath, the people write one task that would be difficult or impossible for them to do. Ask God if there is anything that you are not doing that is hampering His work in the body.

Nourish
Invite someone over for dinner that either does not know Jesus or who is having a Spiritual struggle. Over dinner, share the Gospel or find out how you can mentor them in the faith.

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

Recreation
Do something adventurous today. For some it may be a walk around the block and for others it may be climbing a mountain. If you need help, take someone with you. Remember, this is the family of God, we are not meant to go it alone.

Pray
Spend some time in quiet prayer and ask God to help you write a list of things that you are doing for Him. Read over the list and ask Him to show you which of these things He wants you to keep doing and which He would like you to stop. Ask Him if there are any new things He wants you to add to your list.

Snacks
Did you have enough fruits and vegetables today? If not, have one for a snack.

World Prayer
Pray for churches that do not have enough workers.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, rest in God’s grace for another day. Thank Him for sleep and be excited about the plan He has for you tomorrow.

Life Lessons: 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:
Used with permission: “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, CFO Sings, song 148

 

 

Life Lesson: May 29

29 May

Are you in the boat or on the shore?

Meditate
Read John 1:43-51

Sing
Trust and Obey

Verse 1
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word
What a glory He sheds on our way
While we do His good will
He abides with us still
And with all who will trust and obey

Chorus 
Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 2
Not a shadow can rise
Not a cloud in the skies
But His smile quickly drives it away
Not a doubt nor a fear
Not a sigh nor a tear
Can abide while we trust and obey

Verse 3
Not a burden we bear
Not a sorrow we share
But our toil He doth richly repay
Not a grief nor a loss
Not a frown nor a cross
But is blessed if we trust and obey

Verse 4
But we never can prove
The delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay
For the favor He shows
And the joy He bestows
Are for those who will trust and obey

Verse 5
Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way
What He says we will do
Where He sends we will go
Never fear only trust and obey

Message
There is a song that is familiar to some and includes the line, “In the sand, I am leaving my sailboat.” In Scripture, Jesus is calling his disciples. He is calling them swiftly and permanently out of the lives they are leading. I don’t know much about these men. Several were fishermen, but I don’t know what their favorite color was or who they might go out of their way to sit by. I don’t know who told which kind of jokes. They seem like cardboard characters, easily moved, like game pieces on a Monopoly board. But they were real people. Surely they lived in full color, with sights, smells and sounds, just like I do.

My life, as full as it seems, is still a small boat. I’ve been called to follow Jesus and I answer that call in many avenues of prayer, love and service. Still, he calls me to more. I can not even dream up the other shores I will see as I continue to follow. Like the disciples on the shores of Galilee, I get to leave it all and see what new visions he shows me. To quote John Greenleaf Whittier, “In simple trust, like theirs who heard beside the Syrian Sea, the gracious calling of the Lord, let us, like them, without a word rise up and follow Thee.”

Jesus, I want to stop complicating everything and simply follow you. I want to get onto the Kingdom ship and take the adventure that comes.

Blessing
Bless someone who needs a ride, an errand run, or groceries picked up. Do not wait for them to ask. Call and let them know you are available.

Move
Sing and do the motions for the song Over and Over

Over and over, like a mighty sea
Comes the love of Jesus flowing over me
Over the sea, over the sea, Jesus Savior pilot me
Over the sea, over the sea, Savior pilot me

Create
Create a gratitude board. List all the things you are grateful for which God has given you and that you do not have to leave behind in this world.

Nourish
Eat in a public place and pray for your meal as well as the people around 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
Find someone who will agree to start today and walk with you for 30 minute a day for one week.

Pray
Pray for people who have lost belongings in flood, fire, divorce, job loss, etc. Pray God’s infilling of peace, love and hope into these lives. Pray that these people will be filled with the things of God and not just of this world.

Snacks
Skip the snack today and pray for those who do not know where their next meal is coming from.

World Prayer
Pray for sailors, using the Navy Hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save

Verse 1
Eternal Father strong to save
Whose arm doth bind the restless wave
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea

Verse 2
O Saviour whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard
Who walked on the foaming deep
And calm amid its rage didst sleep
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea

Verse 3
O sacred Spirit who didst brood
Upon the waters dark and rude
And bid their angry tumult cease
And give for wild confusion peace
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea

Verse 4
O Trinity of love and pow’r
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour
From rock and tempest fire and foe
Protect them whereso’er they go
And ever let there rise to thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea

Sleep
As you drift off tonight, feel the bed and blankets around you and picture God’s arms holding you. Rest in thankfulness for His love.

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:
1) “Trust and Obey” CCLI Song # 22094, Daniel Brink Towner | Rev. John Henry Sammis, Public Domain, All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI License # 283314; 2) “Over and Over” CFO Sings pg 289; 3) “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”, CCLI Song # 115183, John Bacchus Dykes | William Whiting, Public Domain,  All rights reserved. www.ccli.com, CCLI License # 283314

Life Lesson: May 8

8 May

Let’s be honest – how well do we love others?

Meditate

Read 1 John 5:1-6

Sing
Beloved, Let Us Love One Another

Beloved, let us love one another.
For love is from God
And everyone who loves is born of God
and he knows God.
The one who does not love
does not know God for God is love.
Beloved, let us love one another
for love is from God

Message
During a recent Bible study, we were working our way through First John when I made a startling connection. These were not new Scriptures, but two old familiar Scriptures were suddenly connected in a new way. The first passage came from 1 John 3:16 where we decided, as a group, that love was defined as: “laying down one’s life for another.” The second passage came from 1 John 4:7 where we read that God commands us to love each other. We all agreed and were quite happy with ourselves when we decided that we love everyone.

Then… There was a pause… Do we, according to our previous definition, love (lay down our lives for) everyone? Now three are people who I love and I would lay down my life for. Then there are people who I love and hurt when they hurt. Then there are those who I tolerate. Lastly, there are those who I would rather not be around. Do I love everyone? Would I lay down my life for everyone? John then takes this to the next logical conclusion: If I say I love God and hate my brothers and sisters, then I am a liar (1 John 4:20). John previously told us that if we hate our brothers and sisters, we are murderers and cannot live with God (1 John 3:15). As a Bible study group, we came to this final conclusion: If I say I love God, then I must be willing to lay down myself for others. If I am unwilling to set myself aside and raise others up, then I am simply a liar and a murderer. Because of God’s love for me, I must make amends with others and treat everyone as better and more important than me. For more of this, read James!

Blessing
Contact someone who you tend to just “tolerate” and pray a blessing for them.

Move
Get comfortable in a chair or on the floor or bed. Be aware of each body part from your toes to your head. Do not miss any part, moving from the bottom to the top. As you consider each part, tense, hold and release each part. When you are finished, pray that God will release your love for others, just as you have released each body part from tension.

Create
Using a 3×5 card or other small piece of paper, write a blessing to an unknown person. Ask God how many of these you should do and do as many as he tells you.

Nourish
Pick one meal today and whatever you eat, donate the food stuffs for that meal to a local food pantry or soup kitchen.

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
Find a natural place of beauty, museum or exhibit in your area that you have never been to and go enjoy it. Go even if you think it might not be something you are interested in.

Pray
In prayer; make a list of people who you need to love better. Take a few minutes to pray for each of these people. Give these people the blessing cards you created today.

Snacks
Treat yourself to something you find really yummy. Do not over-do it, but enjoy it. We cannot do this every day, but a treat is something special.

World Prayer
Pray for those areas of the world that are in war.

Sleep
Pray one last blessing on the person you find most difficult before you fall asleep.

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:
Beloved, Let Us Love One Another, Dale Garratt, CFO Sings, pg 304

Life Lesson: March 27

27 Mar

What drives you? What controls your thoughts and how you talk? Is it your personal goals or is it the love of Christ in you?

Meditate
Read and mediate on the words of 1 Corinthians 9:16-23

Sing: “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”

Verse 1
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Verse 2
Behold the Man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

Verse 3
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Message
Think about how often you act out of compulsion. We eat, sleep, and breathe out of necessity for life. Many of the things we do out of impulse or “lack of control” are negative or sinful. Paul was so impacted by the Father’s love that he had no choice but to preach the gospel! What is your response to the love of God? Are you compelled to tell others about the good things He has done in your life?

Blessing
Call a friend that you have not spoken to in a long time.

Move
Do stretches for 10 minutes. Work your whole body.

Create
Write a long note to your spouse, parent, sibling, or other closest relative or friend.

Nourish
Be thankful for what you eat today. Say a prayer of thanks before your meal, stop and pray again in the middle of your meal, and close your meal with a word of thanksgiving.

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 a board game with someone.

Pray
For the person you wrote your note to.

Snacks
Eat a piece of fruit.

World Prayer
Pray for our nation and President today.

Sleep
Go to bed a few minutes early tonight. Plan to get up a few minutes early tomorrow and spend that time in prayer and Bible reading. Put your Bible next to your bed so that you have no excuse in the morning.

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: “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us” CCLI Song # 1558110, Stuart Townend, © 1995 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing), For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com, CCLI License # 283314

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

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

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