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Life Lesson: August 14

14 Aug

Meditate
Read Luke 10:1-20. Consider especially vs 1-4.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.  He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. (Luke 10:1-4)

Sing
Give the World Light
vs 1
Lord, give the world Light; let Light shine through me.
Lord, give the world Truth; let Truth speak through me.
Lord, give the world Love; let Love flow through me.
Lord, give the world Life; let Life sing through me.

vs 2
Lord, thank you for Light; let Light shine through me.
Lord, thank you for Truth; let Truth speak through me.
Lord, thank you for Love; let Love flow through me.
Lord, thank you for Life; let Life sing through me.

Message
Growing up as the daughter of a United Methodist Pastor, the word “appointment” had special meaning. It meant that wherever the Bishop sent my Father, we were to go. The Bishop appointed my Father to a specific church and there my family would move so that my Dad could take care of the needs of the church. Later in life, I found that the word “appointment” carried an even stronger meaning in my life. As the wife of a United Methodist Pastor, I knew that a new appointment meant packing all of our belongings, quitting my job, traveling to an unknown place and moving away from my friends and family. Today, the word “appointment” means that as a Certified Lay Minister, the District Superintendent can send me to a church that needs help. It is now my call to action in service to Christ’s church.

The appointment process (being sent to do ministry) is not a new concept. Luke records that, “the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” These people were sent into the surrounding towns to minister to the people and let them know that Jesus is on his way. They were to tell them that, “The Kingdom of God has come near to you.”

Is it any different today? No. We are each appointed by Jesus to let those around us know that the Kingdom of God is near. We do not have to be Pastors or Lay Ministers. We do not have to be in the United Methodist Church. We do not have to have an official title or office in our own church. If we call ourselves Christian, then we are appointed by Christ to “Go and Preach the Gospel.”

Blessing
Contact your Pastor (or several) and thank them for their work in the church. Pray a blessing over them.

Move
Walk around your church seven times and ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.

Create
Make something special and send it with a note to a person doing ministry in your area.

Nourish
As you eat today, pray for those who do not have enough to eat.

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 relaxing. Read a book, do a puzzle, watch the kids in a park or find something else that you can do to rest your body today.

Pray
Ask God where he is appointing you. Spend 15 minutes in silence and then write what you hear.

Snacks
Eat something that grows on a tree.

World Prayer
Pray for those who are sensing God’s appointment to ministry in either an official capacity or volunteer.

Sleep
Rest in the knowledge that even if God’s appointment on your life is difficult, he will take care of you and all of your needs. Fall asleep in peace and thankfulness.

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:
Give the World Light, CFO Sings, page 32

Life Lessons: July 17

17 Jul

Meditate
Read Exodus 14:23-25.
The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt, Exodus 14:25b

Sing
O, victory in Jesus, my Savior,  forever!
He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood.
He loved me ere I knew him
and all my love is due him.
He plunged me to victory,
beneath the cleansing flood.

Message
During a particular difficult time in my life, I found myself “confiding in” a friend at the office. Now this would be OK, but the person I was talking to was not a Christian. As I spoke, I realized that I knew when this was all done, I would see God in my trial and I would see how he took care of me and walked me through. But, what would my friend be left with? Would she see God and know his love and care or would she just remember my pain, anger, anxiety and worry?

Pharaoh and his army knew who they were up against and they saw the power of God at work in the lives of the Israelites. The army obviously knew the situation the Israelites were in, since they were the cause of the problems, but they were able to see God at work.   When people see our trials, do they see God’s victory or Satan’s defeat? We do not need to hide our trials from the world. In fact people need to know that Christians do not have perfect lives, but our situation may be just what they need to see God at work. This may be the perfect opportunity to introduce them to Christ, so that next time they may go to him in their time of need.

Blessing
Send a card or e-mail to a person in the military.

Move
March in place and with conviction, sing:
I will not be afraid.
I will not be afraid.
The Lord is with me and he will guide me
and I’m not afraid.

Create
Write a rhyming poem about something you are afraid of and God’s victory over this issue.

Nourish
Eat outside tonight and enjoy the outdoors.

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
Get online and look up a historical battle and identify what good came out of the struggle. If you are not able to do this, look up a battle in the Old Testament and determine what good came out of that.

Pray
Find someone you can pray with today. Spend a few minute praying face to face for a something or someone who is close to both of you.

Snacks
Pop some popcorn. Enjoy it without butter and salt.

World Prayer
Pray for our service men and women.

Sleep
As you fall asleep, thank God for his provision of a bed and no gunfire overhead.

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:
From “Victory In Jesus” © 1939 Mrs. E.M. Bartlett. Renewed 1967 Albert E. Brumley And Sons (Admin. by Integrated Copyright Group, Inc.) Eugene M. Bartlett. CCLI#283314 &  From “I Will Not Be Afraid” G.E.M. Govan. CFO Sings

Life Lesson: June 26

26 Jun

Meditate
Hebrews 12:14-15: Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Sing
Something Beautiful

Something beautiful something good.
All of my confusions, he understood.
All I had to offer him was brokenness and strife.
And he made something beautiful out of my life.

Message
In the book of Ruth 1:20-21, Naomi is in a strange land and has lost her husband and her sons. She is afraid and has no way to provide for herself, much less her two daughters-in-law. In verses 20-21, she says, “Don’t call me Naomi, but call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Naomi means pleasant and Mara means bitter. Naomi has allowed her circumstances to change and define who she is.

There have been times when I have felt hopeless, afraid, lonely, unloved, or scared. In these times, it is natural to begin to live in these feelings and allow them to become reality in our lives, instead of trusting God to make us something new. We forget that God has bigger and better plans for us and that he will make something beautiful out of our lives if we trust and allow him to do it.

Do we spend our time proclaiming the hurt, anxiety and despair of life or do we proclaim the great power of God? As Paul put it, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20–21.

Life happens, but we do not have to accept the circumstances we see today as the final outcome. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, but he is in the business of changing us from Glory to Glory!

Blessing
Our Hebrews passage warned us not to let any bitter root grow up and cause trouble. Contact someone with whom you have a bitter root beginning to grow or someone who has a bitter root growing between themselves and someone else. Pray with them, asking God to heal the relationships.

Move
Sing I will Change Your Name

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast lonely or afraid
I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My face

As you sing, stretch your muscles. Start at your head and face by tightening your muscles and then releasing. Gently roll your neck and shoulders. Work your arms and fingers. Bend at the waist. Work your hips, legs and feet. Do not forget your toes.
While you do this, let God tell you who he knows you to be. Counter the negative ideas that may come and tell you otherwise.

Create
Write a list of things that cause you to become bitter. After some prayer, write names of God next to each item on the list. Choose names that counter or cover the issue that you are dealing with.

Nourish
If you have a juicer, get it out of the cupboard and try some new juice ideas. If not, get some fresh fruit and yogurt to enjoy a healthy smoothie.

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

Recreation
Go for a hike in the woods. Notice the beauty of God’s creation. Realize that you are part of the beautiful creation that God called, “Good!”

Pray
Pray that God will show you how much he loves you. Share this with someone who does not really understand that God loves them.

Snacks
Try a beautiful fruit: Pomegranate, Kiwi or something else that intrigues you.

World Prayer
Watch the news or read the paper. Be aware of people who have bitter roots growing in them. Pray for them and ask God to touch their hearts.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, thank God that he created you and that he loves you. Rest in the fact that you are loved and cared for by 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.
_______
Something Beautiful”, CCLI Song # 18060, Gloria Gaither | William J. Gaither, © 1971 William J. Gaither, Inc. ARR UBP of Gaither Copyright Management, CCLI License # 283314

I Will Change Your Name”, CCLI Song # 145139, D. J. Butler, © 1987 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.), CCLI License # 283314

Life Lesson: June 19

19 Jun

Meditate
Revelation 19:6 – Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Isaiah 40:28 – Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom.
Job 42:2 – I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Mark 10:27 – Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’
Genesis 18:14a – Is anything too hard for the LORD?

Sing
How Great Thou Art

Chorus
Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art. How great Thou art
Then sings my soul, My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art

Verse 1
O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy pow’r thru’out the universe displayed

Verse 2
When thru the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze

Verse 3
And when I think that God His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

Verse 4
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, My God how great Thou art!

Message
When troubles come, I often forget that God is Almighty, All-Powerful, Omnipotent, Invisible, Unmovable, Supreme, Unstoppable and more! When one of my children calls with troubles, when someone at work seems unreasonable, when the world seems unfair or when my list of things to do seems bigger than there are hours in the day, I forget that my God can do all things. Why is it that we do not turn to God FIRST? Turning to God seems to be a last ditch effort when all else fails.

The Bible teaches us: God can do all things!, Nothing is too hard for God!, God never gets tired and he is never too busy! We can trust God because he cannot violate his character. He cannot lie. He cannot be contrary to his own goodness and perfection and faithfulness. He cannot be tempted or tempt anyone. We should run to him immediately, just like a toddler instinctively runs to Mommy or Daddy when afraid or troubled.

We know that God is powerful because he created the world and keeps it running. We can also be certain of God’s power because he raised Jesus from the dead. God never shook his head in worry over how to keep the mountains up or the sun suspended in the sky. He never wondered about how to make the colors of the flowers. God was never troubled over how to sustain microorganisms or hippos. Most importantly, God never felt defeat or fear over Jesus’ death. God raised Jesus from the dead and this took no more effort than growing grass.

As I think about the great power of God it excites and energizes my worship of him. As I think about his power, it encourages me in my walk with him. As I think about the great power of God it causes me to realize I have no need to worry or fear as I live through difficult times.

Blessing
Ask God what you have that someone else needs. Do not be afraid. Give what you have to the person who needs it. God will take care of you.

Move
Sing and do the motions for: My God is So Great

My God is so great, so strong and so mighty.
There is nothing my God cannot do. (repeat)
The mountains are his. The rivers are his.
The stars are his handiwork too.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty.
There is nothing my God cannot do.

Create
Take paper and crayon. Get quiet before God and ask him what things you are trying to take care of on your own. Draw pictures representing each of these things. Take a bright-colored crayon and color over the things that God has shown you. The bright color depicts God’s power over these things that trouble you.

Nourish
Notice what you are eating today. Consider where it comes from and how it was made. Thank God for his power to create and sustain the world.

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 in something of nature. Go for a walk and see the power of God in the flowers and trees or the ocean. If it is rainy, praise God for his power that waters the earth.

Pray
Be thankful. Praise God for his power. Claim his power over difficult areas of life.

Snacks
Share your snack with someone who needs to understand God’s power. Share God’s power with this person.

World Prayer
Pray for areas of the world that have been affected by powerful acts of nature.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, repeat the words of today’s song, How Great Thou Art

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 Great Thou Art, CCLI Song # 14181, Stuart Wesley Keene Hine, © 1949. 1953 Stuart Hine Trust. CFO Sings, pg. 350

My God is So Great, CFO Sings, pg. 178

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: 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

Prayer and Prayer Groups

1 Aug

Prayer is the center of CFO. Everything we do should be done in prayer. Every part of our day should be spent in prayer. Prayer groups in CFO are the times we gather with a few others in silence, in praise and in prayer for the needs of each person. This is not a time to fix a person’s problems or give advice. It is a time to pray.

Do not be afraid of silence. It is not necessary for someone to be speaking at all times. Do not hesitate to share your needs but keep your story short and current. Since there is a limited time, we want to make sure everyone has a chance to share and we have adequate time to pray. A good rule of thumb is to spend more time praying than talking. A prayer group is a safe place. This is a place where we should be able to speak freely and openly about whatever is on our heart. What people share in a prayer group should be kept in complete confidence and never mentioned outside the group.

Webster calls prayer an address to God in word or thought. “An address” sounds a bit impersonal. I like to think of it in a variety of ways. Sometimes, we talk to God with the realization that he is the Creator of the Universe and we are greatly humbled. Sometimes we approach God as our only source of provision and as our only hope. It is as if we are on our face as a poor man looking for a meal. Then there are those days when we curl up in Abba’s lap and pour out our heart to him as our Daddy, our Father.

1 Peter 4:7-8 says, The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to, Pray continually.  Jesus told the disciples to Watch and pray so you do not fall into temptation. and Ephesians 6:18 says, Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

The application here is pretty clear. We are called to pray in all ways at all times, as if our lives depend on it.
Our lives should be a constant prayer.

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