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Life Lesson: May 23

22 May

Meditate 
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:16-26)

Sing
Higher Ground
Chorus 1
Lord lift me up and let me stand
By faith on heaven’s tableland
A higher plain than I have found
Lord plant my feet on higher ground

Verses
I’m pressing on the upward way
New heights I’m gaining every day
Still praying as I’m onward bound
Lord plant my feet on higher ground

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay
Though some may dwell where these abound
My prayer my aim is higher ground

I want to live above the world
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled
For faith has caught the joyful sound
The song of saints on higher ground

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright
But still I’ll pray ‘til heaven I’ve found
Lord lead me on to higher ground

Message
We laugh about not praying for patience and we joke about not having self-control, but Galatians does not paint a picture that is funny. This passage talks about choosing freedom instead of serving the flesh, biting and devouring one another, gratifying the desires of our flesh, sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, envy, conceit, strife, etc. We may be able to say that we are not likely to fall into drunkenness or sexual immorality, but what about divisions, anger or rivalries? Read today’s passage again and see some of the things that we are likely to fall into when we are not living by the Spirit.

Life in the Spirit is not about having a list of things to strive for. It is not about a check list to make sure we did not get angry today and we did not envy today, but it is about “loving our neighbor as ourselves” (Gal 5:14). If we strive to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, these negative things will be replaced with the positive things. We do not need to say, “I am going to be more patient today.” We need to say, “I am going to stay close to God today.”

I tend to have a short temper and I recognize that when I spend more time in the Word and prayer, the length of my temper grows. I do not concentrate on my temper, I consecrate on God. When I spend more time with God, it keeps the ground fertile and healthy so that the Holy Spirit can grow His fruit in me. Just like in a garden, this is not a onetime thing. Every day, I need to be pulling weeds with prayer, pruning the plants with Bible study, and tilling the soil with service.

Blessing
Consider someone who has shown some fruit of the Spirit, but does so in a quiet way and is not generally noticed. Call them and tell them what you have noticed. Encourage them on their journey up the mountain.

Move
As you sing the verses to this song, pretend to climb the mountain. Use high steps to get up to higher ground. When you sing the chorus, stand still and lift your hands. Let God plant your feet in the place that he has brought you.

Create
Draw a line from the lower left corner of your paper to the upper right. This is your mountain. Ask God to show you where you are on the mountain now and place a symbol there that indicates You. Remain in prayer and as God reveals, note those things that you have conquered by His grace. Place symbols, below you, on your mountain to signify these things that God shows you. Ask God what you still need to work on and place these things higher up on the mountain.

Nourish
Open a recipe book and find something new to try. Take a chance.

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 mountain or hill to climb.

Pray
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). Spend some quiet time and consider how God has shown you each of these characteristics in himself. Pray that the Holy Spirit will grow these things in you.

Snacks
Eat a piece of fruit for your snack. Try something you have never eaten before.

World Prayer
Pray for those who are stuck on the mountain and cannot move because they do not trust God to supply what they need, because they feel they can live life on their own, because they think they are fine where they are, or because they fear that God is not really on the mountain.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, picture a mountain. Climb that mountain and feel the energy that God provides when we push onward and upward to His goal for our lives.

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.

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LYRICS CREDIT:
Used with permission: “Higher Ground”, Johnson Oatman, Jr. & Chas. H. Gabriel, CFO Sings, pg 63

Life Lesson: April 3

3 Apr

Life comes from light – both in the natural and spiritual world. Think about what that means to you.

Meditate

Read John 8:12 & Matthew 5:14. Think about God being pure, holy light and now think about that light being transferred to you.

Sing
Jesus is the light Jesus is the light, light of the world (3x) Jesus is the light, light of the world Jesus is the light, light of the world He’s ever shining in my soul! (CFO Sings, pg 230)

Message
In the natural, all life is sustained by light. Light is the energy resource of photosynthesis. Plants, which live by photosynthesis, use light energy to make food: sugar, starch, amino acids, proteins, fats, oils, vitamins…. All the food we need. That food energy flows directly to plant eaters and is the energy resource behind even steak and eggs. When plants and animals die, they become food for the decaying organisms: bacteria, fungi, etc. All are fed or energized by the energy of light.

In the unseen dimensions, life also comes from light, the light of the Spirit flowing from the Son. (Isn’t it interesting that son and sun are pronounced the same in the English language?) The spiritual light energy came into our bodies in the womb and we continue to live as we remain in the stream of that light – we live forever. But we may not recognize the light. If we turn away, we sense the spiritual shadows. When we turn to the light, when we walk in the light, we are forgiven and have fellowship with Jesus, who is the light. And we become more and more like him until we too are the light of the world.

Blessing
Bless the natural work you see around you. Thank God for flowers or trees or skies or seas. Pick up some clutter that you find in nature. Then bless someone with nature – give a flower today.

Move
Take a little walk if you are able. Walk down your street or road, moving your elbows (keeping them close to your ribs) as you walk. If you cannot walk that way, move what you can and breathe deeply.

Create
Get some newspaper and make newspaper sculpture. Use masking tape to hold what you shape in place. A tight roll of paper can make a stem. Torn strips can make leaves or petals. A stand can be made with a piece of cardboard. Can you make a tree, a flower, a bird, or a dog?

Nourish
Eat food that comes from leaves. That is not just lettuce and spinach. It is almost all food. The meat you eat comes first from leaves of grass.

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
Work on a puzzle with a picture of light. A sunrise or sunset would do.

Pray
Thank God for light: the light of the sun and the light of the Son. Pray for needs by sending the light of the Son into the needy situation. Pray that a person, a specific person, will see or feel the light of Jesus.

Snacks
Eat some nuts and share some nuts. If nuts will not work, due to allergies, try popcorn. Remember to share your snack.

World Prayer
In your divinely enabled imagination, see the sun sending light onto the rotating earth. See the light removing and eliminating darkness – The darkness of hunger and cold. Remember a place of special need and pray for the sun to soak into that place.

Sleep
Though natural darkness goes with sleep, finish your day by thanking God for the light. Remember that the spiritual light is your blanket of protection and your pillow of renewal.

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.

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: Feb 13

13 Feb

Meditate

Read Exodus 14:10-12. Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’

Sing
Precious Lord, take my hand,
lead me on, let me stand.
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Though the storm, through the night,
lead me on to the light.
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

Message
If you are reading this, I think you are most likely a human being. With that in mind, I think it is fair to say that at one time or another you have said or done something that did not seem very intelligent. These Israelites spent years crying out to God for salvation. Now they are crying to be put back in Egypt. We are not much different. When things get hard, we want to give up. If you have felt this way, you are neither unusual or bad. The key is to move beyond that place.

There are days when it seems too difficult to fight temptation. There are days when it is scary to do what God wants me to do. There are days when I just want to give up and go back to my old life. It is then that I need to recognize the old life for what it was. It was a life of slavery and  a life of pain. It was a life that led to death and there was no hope.

God has a bigger plan for me, but I must take the long journey, in unknown territory to get there.

Blessing
Buy a plant or flower arrangement for your church’s altar. After the service, give it to someone who lives alone.

Move
Sing and do the motions (or make up motions) for:
“Yes, Lord, Yes!
To your will and to your way,
I say, Yes, Lord, Yes!
I will trust you and obey.
When your Spirit speaks to me,
with my whole heart I’ll agree
and my answer will be, Yes, Lord Yes!”

Create
Work with play dough. Watch as God builds something to speak to you!

Nourish
Eat something that grows and 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
Play a game with someone.

Pray
Write prayer concerns on small pieces of paper. Put them in a fire-safe can or fireplace and burn them. As the smoke rises, let God have your concerns and leave them with him.

Snacks
Make some trail mix and share with a neighbor.

World Prayer
Pray for the people in China and persons who suffer under unfair and unsafe labor practices.

Sleep
Before going to bed tonight, give someone a hug. If appropriate, make sure your hug lasts at least 10 seconds.

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.
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From “Lead Me On” © 1999 Word Music, LLC | Kathie Hill Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.) | (Admin. by Word Music Group, Inc.) Kathie Hill. CCLI#283314 &  From “Trading My Sorrows” © 1998 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music Darrell Evans. CCLI#283314

 

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