Tag Archives: Christian living

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: April 17

17 Apr

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…” The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that everything in our lives is an appointment in time. How then should we live?

Meditate 
Using Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, read each verse and then sit quiet. Let God bring thoughts to your mind about the relevance of each verse.

Sing
Let go, let the Spirit flow (3x) Let Go and let God!
Praise God (3x) Let Go and let God!
Clap your hands  (3x) Let Go and let God!
Praise the Lord  (3x) Let Go and let God!

Message
It was time. We knew it was close. My Father had stopped eating and drinking. He was refusing his medication. It was a matter of time. There was frustration over his discomfort and there was some fear of the unknown. We did not know what that last moment would look like, but we certainly knew what his next step would be. We knew he would walk into the arms of Jesus.

During these days, Dad would take people by the hand and pray a blessing on them. He would look in their eyes to say,”I love you.” He would sing praise to God and hold hands with his family. Every grandchild received a word of blessing from Grandpa.

This was his time to receive comfort, love and care, but it was also his time to use his last breath to bless others. We also used this time to weep and to laugh, to embrace and to love, to hold on and to let go. All of us had time to speak and to listen. The blessing of this time our family shared was a gift from God. We honor each moment we had before Dad went home.

Blessing
Choose someone you know who has a physical condition that prevents them from moving easily. Pray for them and picture them dancing with the Lord.

Move
Create motions and really stretch your body, as you sing the song:
Let go and let God have His wonderful way,
Let go and let God have His way.
Your burden will vanish,
Your night turn to day;
Let go and let God have His way.

Create
Write a letter to God. On the back of the paper, write his response to you. Address it to yourself and give it to a friend. Ask the friend to mail it at some point in the next year, without telling you when.

Nourish
Be mindful as you eat lunch today. Feel the shape and texture of the food. Notice the flavor of each bite.

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

Recreation
Go in your room, shut the door, set the timer for five minutes and put on your favorite song. Dance until the timer goes off.

Pray
Write your prayer concerns on a piece of paper. Tear the paper up into little pieces. If you can safely burn them, do so. If you can not burn them safely, just take them and throw them in any trash can (not in your home). Know that God removes our cares and replaces them with His peace.

Snacks
Have a snack that consists of three different colors. (M&M’s do not count!)

World Prayer
If you can, go to a local nursing home. Walk the halls and pray for the names on the doors. If you can not go in, just picture the halls, the beds and the staff.

Sleep
As you go to bed tonight, let God bring people to mind and just thank Him for their place in your life.

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

———————————-

Lyric Credits:
Let Go, Let the Spirit Flow, Copyright Association of Camps Farthest Out, Inc.
Let Go and Let God Have His Way,  Copyright Association of Camps Farthest Out, Inc.

Life Lesson: January 16

16 Jan

Meditate
Read Psalm 20:1-9. Think about the fact that when you call out to God, He answers you.

Sing: Blessed Be Your Name
Blessed be your name
in the land that is plentiful,
where your streams of abundance flow.
Blessed Be your name.
And blessed be your name
when I’m found in the desert place
though I walk through the wilderness.
Blessed be your name.
Chorus:
Every blessing you pour out I’ll turn back to praise
and when the darkness closes in Lord still I will say,
blessed be the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Blessed be Your Glorious name.”

Message
It was 3:30 am and I had not slept. The previous day was like no other that I ever experienced prior or wanted to experience again. About 20 hours ago, my best friend and the grandmother of my children died. She had struggled with cancer for quite some time and I knew she was tired. It was a blessing and I knew that she was with God, but that did not take away the ache in my heart. I felt a weight in my soul that I could not explain, and a cry in my heart that could not make it out.

As I sat in the dim light of the kitchen, the rest of the house asleep, I opened her Bible to the Psalms (she loved the Psalms). The first thing that I read was, “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress”. Distress. I was in distress.

I continued to read and although my pain did not cease, I found hope for tomorrow in these words: “The name of the God of Jacob will protect me”, “He will send me help from the sanctuary”, “He will give me the desires of my heart”, “I will be victorious”, “The Lord saves his anointed”, “I will rise up and stand firm”, “God will answer me when I call.”

Blessing
Others Ask God to tell you who you are to bless today. What does he want to say to this person through you? Make sure you go and tell them. Do not keep this to yourself.

Move
Stand up, stretch as high as you can and say (out loud), “Praise you, Father God.” Reach down and touch the floor (carefully go as low as you can) and say, “Praise you, Jesus the Christ.” Reach your arms out to the side, stretching your hands out as far as possible and say, “Praise you, Holy Spirit.” Do this three times, each time emphasizing a different person of God.

Create
Take five minutes and think again about God hearing you when in distress. Write a note to yourself from God in response to your concern about a distressful situation.

Nourish
Think about what you have eaten in the past 24 hours. Have you had something fresh and green from God’s garden?

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
Ask God who he wants you to pray for. Make a phone call and let that person know that God wants you to pray for them and do it. Do it on the phone right then. If you get voice mail, leave the prayer.

Snack
Have a snack, but keep it healthy and remember that a snack is a small amount of food. Also remember that a snack is best shared in fellowship. If you can combine your snack with your prayer group time, that would be great.

World Prayer
Let God tell you what people group to pray for. Take some time to pray for those who have lost loved ones.

Sleep
Be honest. Did you get enough sleep last night? If not, go to bed a little earlier tonight. Even if it is 10 minutes. If you watch TV before bed, turn it off and try praying instead. If you have had enough sleep, take time to thank God for good sleep.

From morning until night, we are to worship and commune with God. Start your day in His Word and throughout the day weave in these elements of time with him.

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Lyrics Credit: From “Blessed Be Your Name” © 2002 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) Beth Redman | Matt Redman. CCLI#283314

Our Debt

2 Jul

As a Credit Manager, for a furniture manufacturer, I am very aware of debt and the driving force it has on our society. Each day I see so many companies that have given up and filed bankruptcy, because it has become impossible to manage. Some days have hundreds of bankruptcy filings. As a family with two auto loans, a camper loan, student loan and credit cards, my husband and I are very aware of the oppressive weight that debt can hold over our lives. We (personal or corporate) do not want to be in debt, but we are drawn in to the “gotta have it” mentality and then once in debt, it become very difficult to get out and stay out. It reminds me of trying to diet. We go one pound down and two pounds up, until we wake up one morning and realize that we have no idea how we got to where we are.

Let me try to give some perspective to the debt situation in the United States. With the U.S. National Debt Clock ticking, up to $10,624,404,037,210.22 on January 27, 2009 and the ever increasing Consumer Debt at $2.6 trillion, we are well in over our heads. If the estimated population of the U.S. is 305,539,618 then each one of us, from my three year old grandson to my 80 year old Father-in-law, owe $43,000 each. The average household size is 2.59 persons, which makes the household share of this debt $112,076 and since the median household income is only $50,000, we are in serious trouble.

In my work, over the years, I have been fascinated by people and their ways of dealing with debt. Some pay according to the agreement with the lender and take their commitment with all seriousness. Others pay according to their ability or the convenience of making a payment, regardless of what is owed. These people become indignant when questioned about or reminded of their debt. There are debtors that acknowledge their debt and make payments when reminded, but otherwise do not think much about it. These are the people that will only pay those debts that are brought to their attention. There are also those who simply do not acknowledge their debt and have no intention of paying it. This list is not exhausted, because it is as long as the list of people in the world, but it gives us an idea and I suspect we can put ourselves in one of these categories.

When each of us finally come to the place where we are ready to face our debt, we find that we are either totally overwhelmed and can hardly see a future of freedom or we determine that it is nothing more than a nuisance, but not a priority. We may decide that debt is really something other people have a problem with, but ours is totally under control. Some may actually have the attitude that debt is the lenders issue, not the borrowers and this is a very dangerous conclusion to draw, as it removes us from all responsibility of our debt.

Scripture is quite clear about debt. Proverbs 22:7, says, “…the borrower is servant to the lender.” and in 22:26-27, “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you”. Romans 13:8 states “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” I do not think God can be any clearer and we have not even looked at all of the passages that warn us about being in debt or lending.

Financial debt, the debt of money borrowed and repayment owed, is something that we are all aware of and understand. Is is the force that drives our economy and can ruin our families. It can take an entrepreneurial dream and turn it into a bankrupt nightmare. It is a predicament that can start war and end in death. It is something that can make an average,  upstanding, moral man turn to crime to make ends meet. A family with all the comforts the world can imagine may suddenly find themselves living in a shelter or worse, on the street. As overwhelming and impossible as this all may seem, it is nothing when compared to the debt of sin that we owe. If you thought $10,624,404,037,210.22 was a big number, try putting a value on the debt of our sin as viewed by the eyes of the innocent one who paid our debt on the cross. If we work hard and live within our means, we may someday find freedom from our financial debt to others. The only means we have to pay off our sin debt is the gift of Grace that God provided through his Son, Jesus Christ. We can not live within our means and do anything good.  As Paul said, “our best is but filthy rags”. It is God, and God alone, that can make all things new.

As clear as Scripture is about financial debt, it is just as clear about our debt of sin. Romans 3:23, says “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” and 6:23 tells us that, “For the wages of sin is death….”. The hope of Christ is found in Colossians 2:13-14 which says, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

Just as people respond to financial debt in various ways, we respond to sin debt in the same manner. To some, sin is overwhelming and seems impossible. For others, it is a nuisance, but not a big deal. Sin just means a little guilt now and then. Many of us see sin as something other people have a problem with or that it is God’s issue, not the sinner’s. You know,  if he didn’t make so many rules, we would not have so many problems. We have very unhealthy attitude about both debt & sin. We become flippant about financial debt (only $20 on my JCP card), until it becomes a hopeless problem. We become flippant about sin debt (only a little gossip, only a $1 lottery ticket, not really a bad word, gluttony?, greed?, I’ve gotta have it….), until we begin to suffer the consequences of the sin. Then it becomes a mountain.

I have worked with people who have paid off huge debt over a long period of time. It seemed impossible, but when it is done, they felt great and I felt great. In those times, when I have worked with them to pay off the debt or I was able to write off a portion to help them out, it is as if they have a fresh start. What if, after the debt was clear, they continued to work on it and worry about it and call me? That would not make sense. I would feel bad that I could not convince them that it is finished. What if they turned around and ordered another $10,000, with no more ability to pay than the did before? I would feel that all my work was for nothing. So how do we suppose Jesus feels, when he said, “It is finished” – John 19:30 and yet we continue to trying to fix it (pay it off) ourselves? Why do we continue to carry it around and beat ourselves up? Why do we just turn around and do it again? Why do we have such a hard time living in the  freedom that Christ provides? The answer is simple, “…the Devil prowls around, like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8 and “…by our own evil desire, we are dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15. This is an internal, ongoing battle that is not going to go away.

Gallery

Life Lessons from CFO

1 Jul

Society is so far out of balance. We have too much food, not enough food, too much exercise, not enough exercise, too much TV, not enough study, too much sports, not enough downtime, too much purchasing, not enough producing,  too much worry, not enough meditation. So how can we use the CFO program to help us get our lives into balance?

It sounds a little like a cliché, but it makes sense, Inspiration + Expiration = Respiration. We need some of everything to have balanced lives. We can have a diet of only green leafy vegetables, but that does not mean we will be healthy. The CFO program replenishes and depletes (this is not a negative) each part of us, body, mind and soul. Meals, rest and sleep replenish the body. Singing, exercise and recreation deplete the body. The mind is replenished by the talk and also by sleep, while Creatives and fellowship deplete the mind. The Spirit is replenished by Meditation, prayer, sleep and the blessing service and is depleted by Creatives, singing, prayer and the world prayer broadcast.

In the next pages, you will find a basic daily guide for using the CFO program each day. There is a suggested meditation, song, scripture and so on. I encourage you to work through each day and all the parts of the program, do not be concerned about doing them in order or making sure you do it perfectly. If you do not know the song, let God help you make up a tune or choose a different one. If there is a suggested activity, that you feel you can not do, pray and let God give you an idea. He is always creative and will give you suggestions if you ask. Use the suggested activities to help you generate your own ideas. This should not be difficult. It it becomes too hard, then it has failed. The elements of the CFO day should just be part of who you are. Scripture, Song, prayer, giving and receiving blessing from God should be just as natural as breathing and eating.

Make notes as you complete each part and what God says to you through each section. Use the lists as a check point and journal at the end of each day. Try to look at the song and meditation early in the day, so you can carry God’s song and word through your whole day. If you are unable to do an activity on the day it is listed, do not skip it. Swap it for another day’s activity. Keep it flexible and balanced.

Once you have completed the days that are laid out, you should have some good habits developed and ideas about how to take this further. I have added a template in appendix B, that you can copy and record your daily activities and scripture choices.  You can also use these daily guides to help plan personal or group retreats. The CFO program, is a tool that God gave to an obedient man, many years ago. This book is just another tool to use the program. Let God be your guide.

My prayer is that this will help you develop positive habits and balance your lives. As John Wesley said, we need to “Do no harm, do good and stay in love with God”. This sounds balanced to me.

Remember that if or when you fail and you entertain your inner desires and they become sin, all hope is not lost. Do not despair, do not be discouraged. Confess your sin and repent (start over). Ask God to forgive you and receive his forgiveness. Forgive others that may have been involved (intentionally or unintentionally) and forgive yourself. Take control again and let Satan know that he has no place in your life. Then put on your armor, pick yourself up and continue the race.

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