Tag Archives: God

Life Lesson: August 28

28 Aug

Meditate
Read Luke 11:1-13.  Also read the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13

Sing
Seek Ye First

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
And all these things shall be added unto you.
Allelu, Alleluia!

Ask and it shall be given unto you. Seek and ye shall find
Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.
Allelu, Alleluia!

Message
I often find myself praying without much thought. At times, this is good, as it means that I am praying throughout the day. Sometimes, though, it means that I am praying without considering who I am speaking to or what he may want to say to me. It also means that I am tossing out my list of needs and wants without considering what God wants for me.
In the passage today, Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray. Of course they had prayed in the past, but today they want their prayer life refreshed and renewed. They wanted to know what was important for Jesus to pray for. If it was important for Jesus and if it was important for the disciples, it should certainly be important for us.
Jesus provided the disciples and us a wonderful pattern for our prayers. He teaches us to begin with REVERENCE for the one to whom we pray. We then acknowledge to AUTHORITY of God, by saying “God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done” instead of mine. We then pray for PROVISION of our physical, relational, and spiritual needs. We ask for our daily bread to be provided, we seek forgiveness and reconciliation, and we ask that God would help us in our spiritual journey by leading us away from temptation d evil. Lastly, we RELINQUISH all to his power and glory forever.
When considering Jesus’ teaching on prayer, we often times stop after the pattern that he provides in what we call The Lord’s Prayer. It is also good to note that Jesus emphasizes persistence in prayer, the promise of God (ask and you WILL find) in prayer, and the provider (our Father) in prayer.
Today is always a good day to seek God’s will in our lives and a good way to do this is to refresh and renew our prayer life. This can be done only by the help of the Holy Spirit and at the end of Jesus’ teaching on prayer, he concludes with this thought, ”If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask him.” A good way to begin renewing our prayer life is to ask for the Holy Spirit first.

Blessing
Ask God who you should bless today and how he wants you to bless them. Do it!

Move
Walk around your block, praying for the people in the homes around you. Pray first for the presence of the Holy Spirit and then pray using the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer.

Create
Make a list of the four prayer focus from pattern of the Lord’s Prayer. Take each one and develop it into a poem, prayer, or list of prayers that fit into that category.

Nourish
Before devouring your meals today, take some time to pray. Make your prayer time as important as your meal time. Pray before putting the food on the table. Think of the food as the “Amen!” or “dessert” of your prayer, instead of the Prayer as the “appetizer” to your 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
Spend some time doing a puzzle. Exercise your mind today. Make it even better by doing it with someone else.

Pray
Using the prayer you developed in your creative time, take as much time as you need to pray through the ideas you developed. Take some time with each one and commit to whatever time it takes. Spend time with God today.

Snacks
Do you pray before meals? Do you pray before you have a snack? Remember to be as thankful for your snack as you are your dinner.

World Prayer
Again, using the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer, pray for various areas of the world.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, recite the Lord’s Prayer.

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.

SONG CREDITS
_______
Seek Ye First, Karen Lafferty, CFO Sings, pg 107.

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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 Lesson: August 1

31 Jul

Meditate
Read Mark 1:9-13.
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Meditate on the words of God to Jesus, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Sing
Chorus 1
Step into the water
Wade out a little bit deeper
Wet your feet in the water of His love
Step into the water
Wade out a little bit deeper
Come join angels singing praises
To the Lamb of God

Verse 1
It is time we the people
Stand up for what is right
It is time we squared our shoulders back
Raised our swords to fight
For the Bible is our weapon
And the Spirit is our shield
The church needs more of its members
To be workers in the field

Verse 2
There is vict’ry for the Christian
Who walks the narrow way
There has been a prize appointed
For the soul who does not stray
Oh I want to live for Jesus
Be all that I should be
So that I can rest with Him
Forever live eternally

Message
My parents often tell me how proud they are of me and it makes me feel good. One day in particular, my Mother told me that she would be at an upcoming worship service because she “loves it when I lead worship”. Following that service, she introduced me to a couple of her friends and with a smile on her face and an arm around my waist said, “This is my daughter!” My Mother’s comments that day made me feel special. They also gave me a new sense of purpose. I wanted to continue to make my Mother proud. Oh, I have failed and I will fail again, but I know my Mother is still proud and I desire to keep on trying and working to improve.

God, by way of the dove, put his hand around Jesus’ waist and said, “This is my son!” and “I love who you are and what you do.” What strength that must have given Jesus as he entered the wilderness.

Have you been baptized? Have you experienced God’s hand around your waist and his smile as he says, “You are my child and I love you. With you I am well pleased.” Hold on to this as you press through life and strive to do what you are called to do. Take God’s love as your strength.

Blessing
There is someone whom you have influence over. It may be a child, parent, sibling, fellow-worker, or someone else. Contact them and let them know what you like about them. E-mail or letter is OK, but verbally would be best. If you can do it face to face, even better!

Move
Step into the water (take a shy and tentative step forward)
Wade out a little bit deeper (take another step with a little more confidence)
Wet your feet in the water of His love (wiggle your toes in the water)
Step into the water (take a step with full confidence)
Wade out a little bit deeper (take a giant step forward)
Come join angels singing praises (bathe in the water)
To the Lamb of God (raise hands and stretch in the air)

Create
Take five 3×5 cards. Ask God what encouraging message to write on each one. Put them upside down on the table. Ask God to bring a person to mind and then pick a card. Send that card to the person.

Nourish
Drink extra water today. As you drink the water, remember your baptism and be thankful.

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 and enjoy some water. Find a body of water, fountain, aquarium or small fish pond. Enjoy the water by boating, swimming, just watching it. Other options might be to look at pictures of water or soak in the tub. Enjoy the experience of God’s creation of water.

Pray
If there are areas of your life that you know are not pleasing to God, write them down on a piece of paper. Confess each area as sin and repent. Claim God’s forgiveness and his strength to stand against the enemy in these areas. Burn the paper in a safe place.

Snacks
Make jello (sugar free). It’s fun!

World Prayer
Pray for all of the coastal regions of the world.

Sleep
As you go to sleep tonight, pray that your rest will be totally refreshing.

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:
CCLI # 283314, CCLI Song # 44429, Kirk L. Talley, © 1981 Homeward Bound Music. 1984 Assigned To Kirk Talley Music (Admin. by Integrated Copyright Group, Inc.)

Life Lesson: July 24

24 Jul

Meditate
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:5-15). Spend time in quiet prayer. Pray for specific needs. Insert yourself in the Lord’s Prayer. As people come into your mind, insert their name into the prayer.
Sing
Father, I Adore You

Father, I adore you, Lay my life before you. How I love you!

Jesus, I adore you, Lay my life before you. How I love you!

Spirit, I adore you, Lay my life before you. How I love you!

Message
Take time to pray. Your quiet time is your own between you and God. Keep a journal; write your prayer requests. Write down any other thoughts, activities, or actions you should take during this day. Note the difference when you say the Lord’s Prayer with yourself inserted.

“My Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, for me….etc.” How does this make you feel? Does this change your view of your relationship with God? Does this change your view of God’s love for YOU?

Blessing
Write the person that you thought of during meditation. Just write out the Lord’s Prayer and insert their name. Mail or hand deliver your note.

Move
Reach as high as you can. Reach as wide as you can. Reach as far forward as you can. Reach as far down as you can. Thank God when you stand up straight and tall.

Create
Draw a flower in your journal. Leave enough space and draw 10 more. You’ll see many flowers while walking in God’s kingdom. Some will be the flowers of heavenly personalities maybe even some of your friends. Name these flowers as people to pray for.

Nourish
Eat something healthy. Don’t skip a meal, but don’t over-do.

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 for a walk and practice staying on the correct side of the road. Keep singing the song of the day.

Pray
Ask God to walk with you through the day, and to keep your thoughts centered on Him. Imagine yourself hand in hand with Jesus, Keep reminding yourself of this image.

Snacks
Don’t “graze”. Have something healthy. Fruit or nuts – but not both. Do everything in moderation.

World Prayer
Pick a place or area in the world from the last news broadcast you saw. Pray for the people. Pray that each person in that place or area will hear of Jesus, think about what they’ve heard and accept Jesus in their hearts. Pray for committed Christians there, that they will have the courage to reach out to their neighbors.

Sleep
Be sure to get enough sleep. You should sleep one hour for every two hours you are awake. With less and less sleep any witness you may have will be less and less effective.

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 Father, I Adore You, Terrye Coelho, CFO Sings, pg 341

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

Debt Free Lives, Part 1

3 Jul

Even now, I struggle with the title of this chapter. Sin and debt have become so ingrained in our lives and such an acceptable state, we can not imagine life without it. Maybe, in all honesty, we do not want to, but Galatians 5:1 tells us that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Yet every day, we make choices to live in the slavery of sin. With everything we do, think or say, we are faced with the choice to do it God’s way or do it our way and more often than not, we choose our way over God’s.

Sin is disobedience, plain and simple. Sin is doing, thinking or holding on to what we should not, even when we know it. Sin is doing it my way instead of God’s way. As previously mentioned, sin is an interior issue, not an exterior one. James 1:14-15 “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is 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.” 1 John 1:6, “If we claim to have fellowship with him (God) yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” I heard a sermon recently where the preacher (not my Father or Husband) was talking about sin. Yet, he did not call it sin. He talked about mistakes and errors in judgment. He talked about those “oops” that we do, not doing things right and that we are only human. It is time that we faced sin head on, call it what it is and determine that it is time to get a handle on our own evil desires. I know the world thinks there are gray areas, but a good rule of thumb is, if we have to ask if what we are doing is wrong, we probably should stop and run away. Stop making excuses and let’s begin to take God seriously.

In order to take God seriously, we need to understand what God say about sin. The Word is very clear and we should have no difficulty with interpretation. Get ready, these are tough words, from Romans 1:18 – 2:6 “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

“So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

“Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

“But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.* But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.” (New Living Translation)

We have been taught that sin is a part of life and we have no control over it. “We are only human” and “God made me this way” have become our most favored excuses to remove our responsibility and keep doing what we are doing. Let’s be honest, we sin because the consequences seem so far away, everyone else is doing it, it seems harmless, and generally sin is fun. We would not do it, if it was not fun and if it did not give us some pleasure in return. Even if just for a short time. Watch the TV or read a magazine and you will soon understand that our whole purpose in life is to make ME happy. Society has developed a serious idol worship. The idol of self. Everything we do, we do for our comfort, progress and personal wellbeing. (continued in Debt Free Lives, Part 2)

Resting

19 Jul

Rest time in CFO, also called horizontal hour, has often been treated as nap time or skipped altogether to run an errand or have a meeting. Rest time is intended as a time to get quiet and alone with God. This is a time to just listen and let God minister to you all alone. If you take this time to get alone and quiet and you find that you have fallen asleep, let it happen. God can minister to you as you sleep. Remember, God gives rest to the weary.

Rest is defined as “freedom from activity or labor and peace of mind or spirit, free of anxieties”. This sounds heavenly.

Genesis 2:2-3 tells us by the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Psalm 37:7 says, Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;” and Isaiah 40:31 says, “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.

Sometimes we need to stop. We need to rest. We need to take time to hear God and sense His presence and His leading. Having a rest time does not mean a time of sleep each day, it means a time of freedom from activity or labor.

Creatives

9 Jul

God has done some wonderful and amazing things in people, through the Creatives session in CFO. It is done in a variety of ways, but the most common are Creative Writing and Creative Art. Generally a scripture or theme is presented to the group and materials, such as paper, pens, chalk, paints, clay or other media are distributed. Each person gets quiet before God and allows Him to begin to work in their heart. As the person begins to draw or write, God will reveal a word or truth that is needed for this person or maybe someone else in the group. At the end of the session, people are encouraged to share what they did and what God revealed to them. Some CFO events have used Creative Drama, Nature, Conversation, Music and others.

Webster says that creativity is to bring into existence, to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior and to produce through imaginative skill.

First this: God created the Heavens and Earth-all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.  Gen 1:1-2. Genesis 1:27 says that God made man in his image and later we are told that God looked at everything he made and said it was good.

God liked creating and enjoyed his creation and we should too. Do we use our imaginations or do we let the TV, videos, movies, video games do it for us? Reading uses our imagination, but even that is a form of creativity that is already done for us. Spend time writing in a journal, making up a song, drawing or painting. Many of us probably do not even know what our potential is. We need to take time to use the talents God has given us and create something. We are a society of consumers, which is what got us into financial trouble. Stop just consuming and create something.

Debt Free Lives, Part 3

20 Apr

(continued from Debt Free Lives, Part 2)
God was serious about payment of sin debt and we seem to know this. We sing about  it with all the gusto and conviction we can muster:

– “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound… I once was lost, but now am found… Was blind, but now I see…”  Then WHY do we stay lost and blind?
– In Christ Alone – vs 3 “Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me for I am his and he is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ!”  Sin has lost it’s grip, but we do not always want to let go.
– “Give us Clean Hands, give us pure hearts…..” , with the option to dirty them later?
– “The Power of Your Love… Let my heart be changed renewed. Living everyday by the power of your love.” . But only when it is comfortable and certainly not on the weekends?
– “Made To Worship… We are forgiven and free. When we embrace surrender and choose to believe then we will see who we were meant to be.”

We know the truth. We speak the truth. We just do not always live it.

We know that God has made provision for us when we sin. John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  What we need to grasp is that God has also made provision for us to live holy lives. Ephesians 6:10-18 gives us the battle plan, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power, put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

We must never get the idea that we can somehow work for our salvation or earn our own freedom, but we must take an active role in the grace plan that God has given us. If we decide that we are just going to live like the world and then cash in our “Get our of Jail Free” card at the end of the game, we are missing out on the abundant life that God has for us and we have not taken seriously the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for our salvation. The true revelation of what Jesus did for us should drive us to our knees in humble worship and should drive us to a life of obedience. As James 1:22 explains, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

We want to have a life of faith. We want the abundant life and a life that is free and full of joyful obedience.  We can all say, “Yes! This is what we want”, but we find it so hard to live it everyday. As CFOers, I think we can agree that are able to do pretty good at CFO and maybe a few days following, but then we slip back into the normal routine and trappings of life. We forget what we have learned or we have not learned it well. CFOers have a unique tool to help in the journey to live the life that God calls us to live. This does not mean that CFOers are perfect or that the program is a magical formula to make our lives perfect. It simply means that this is a good tool or road map to help us run the race set before us, as Paul describes it. It makes me think of a Swiss Army knife. It can do many jobs, but alone, it will not fix the car. CFO is a tool that will help us do many jobs, but it won’t give us salvation. Only God can to that.

Debt Free Lives, Part 2

19 Apr

(continued from Debt Free Lives, Part 1)
Having identified sin for what it is and the virtual impossibility of change, what is the point of change and how dare we imply that change is possible? The fact is that living a sin free life is not a concept that is new with this book. God clearly stated, way back in Leviticus 11:44 and many other places, “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”  It says in Hebrews 12:14, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” If God said it, there must be a way. Right?

Romans 6:1-18 addresses the idea of fighting the desire and temptation to sin, “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

“Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

“Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.”  (New Living Translation)

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