Tag Archives: love

Life Lesson: May 8

8 May

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

Meditate

Read 1 John 5:1-6

Sing
Beloved, Let Us Love One Another

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Life Lesson: December 26

26 Dec

Meditate
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:8. Consider that God knows your past, present and future, and that he loves you.

Sing: I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
Over the mountains and the sea,
your river runs with love for me and
I will open up my heart and let the healer set me free.
I’m happy to be in the truth and I will daily lift my hands.
For I will always sing of when your love came down.
Chorus:
I could sing of your love forever,
I could sing of your love forever,
I could sing of your love forever,
I could of your love forever.

Message
After reading through the Upper Room devotional this morning, I bowed my head to pray. The devotional spoke about life’s mountains that we need to climb, with God’s help.  I have had those mountains in my life. Mountains of debt, divorce, hurting children, pain, loss and the list goes on. At this moment, though, I found that I was not staring at a large, dark mountain in the distance. I could see the plains, stretching out before me, with the sun rising in the distance and I smiled.

I spent some time in prayer and praise to my Wonderful, Merciful God who brought me over the mountains of my past. I know that there will be mountains in my future and I will look to God for help over them, but for now He has given me a time of rest. I thanked God for reminding me to be thankful in the plateaus of life.  I also found that I could pray for others in crisis, based on the knowledge that God brought me through and will deliver them also.

Blessing
Write out a prayer for someone today. Mail it to them.

Move

Create motions as you sing this song.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty,
there’s nothing my God can not do.
The Mountains are His, the rivers are His,
the stars are His handy work too.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty,
there’s nothing my God can not do.

Create
Write a letter to God. Spend some time in prayer, asking God to respond to your letter. Turn your paper over and write God’s response. Put the letter in an envelope, address it to yourself and put a stamp on it. Put the letter in a convenient place, so that the next time you are in a city away from where you live, drop it in the mail box. You can also ask a loved one to mail it for you, some time in the future.

Nourish
Did you eat three regular meals today? Be aware of the portion sizes today.

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

Recreation
Take a walk outside. Look at nature. Really look at three different plants, animals or insects. Notice the intricacies of God’s design.

Pray
Call or write to someone and ask them to pray for you. If they are willing to do it right then, allow them the privilege.

Snack
Have a light snack of seeds and nuts.

World Prayer Broadcast
Let God tell you what people group to pray for. Pray for those who are facing mountains that seem too big.

Rest
As you fall asleep tonight picture the beauty of God’s creation. Remember Psalm 121:8.

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.

———————
Lyrics Credit: From “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” © 1994 Curious? Music UK (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) Martin Smith. CCLI#283314. & From “My God Is So Great” © 1959, 2002 Nuggets of Truth CCLI#283314

Life Lesson: December 12

12 Dec

Meditate
Read Exodus 13:17-22
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and not be afraid. – John 14:27

Sing
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in his wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of his glory and grace.

Message
“He hurt me!” “He deserves to be punished!” “I can never forgive!” “This is too painful, it’s just killing me!” “I can’t take it anymore!”

We have all spoken words like this at one time or another. The problem is that these are not God’s truth, they are Satan’s lies. We begin to speak these words and begin to believe them when we have taken our eyes off God and look at the situation around us. Just as Peter began to sink when he took his eyes off Jesus, we will begin to sink into the lies.

The Israelites did not know where they were going and Satan would have liked them to believe that they were lost and going to die, but the truth was that God was leading them the entire way. All they had to do was look up and keep their eyes fixed on God.

Blessing
Buy a small baby blanket and a little child’s prayer book and send it anonymously to an expectant Father.

Move
Find a picture of Jesus and just look at it. Pray and ask God that although you know this is just an artists representation of Jesus, you want to remember this face and have his eyes before you at all times. Close your eyes and remember the face. If you can not remember the details, look again. Take the time you need, so the picture is in your mind.

Create
Begin to make a list of the attributes of Jesus, using the alphabet. One attribute per letter.

Nourish
Skip the extras today. Skip the extra salt, bread, fat and sugar. For each item you skip, drink some water. Add fresh lemon to your water.

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
Sit on your porch with a song book. See how far you can get, singing through it.

Prayer
Pray Psalm 3. Read one line at a time and apply it to yourself and your life.

Snack
Try a passion fruit or another fruit you have never eaten.

World Prayer Broadcast
Pray for the people of the United States who are struggling over the issue of abortion and the mothers who may have a decision to make between the life or death of their unborn child.

Sleep

Before going to bed, call or text a special friend or family member and say, “Goodnight, I love You”. Do not get caught on the phone in a conversation. Keep it short.

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.

——————–

From “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” © 1998 Pilot Point Music (Lillenas [Admin. by The Copyright Company) Helen Howarth Lemmel | Ken Bible. CCLI#283314

Life Lesson: Dec 5

5 Dec

Meditate
Mathew 19:13-15. “Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray.” vs 13a (NRSV)

Sing
“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Message
As a single Mother I often found myself having to do things around the house that I wasn’t real sure how to do. This particular time, the rear tail light was out on my car and I figured that I ought to be able to handle this. After going to the store and picking what I thought was the correct bulb (of course, how would one know, picking one tiny little light out of 5,863 different bulbs), I went home to fix my car.   Danny was five years old and was playing beside where I was working, occasionally coming over to supervise. I took the cover off the light, that was easy. I located the blown bulb, that was easy. I reached in to pull out the old bulb and this began the trouble. The bulb would not come out. I looked it over to see if I was to twist or turn it and decided it should just pull out. I pulled and pulled and with every pull, I became more frustrated. This should not be a difficult thing to do. As I became more upset, Danny came and asked me what the matter was.   I told him simply that I could not get the light bulb out of the car, to which he responded by taking a step back and folding his hands. He looked up into the sky and said, “God, help Mommy get the light bulb out of the car”. After saying his prayer, he stepped up and asked me if the light bulb came out. I said no.

Looking rather disturbed, Danny once again stepped back, folded his hands rather deliberately, looked up and said, “God, please help Mommy get the light bulb out of the car.” Coming back up to me, he asked with expectancy, “Did you get the light bulb out of the car?”   With my own frustration I said, “No!”   Surprised, Danny marched back a couple of steps, tightened his fists to his sides, looked up in the sky and said in his little voice, “God, I tell you help Mommy get the light bulb and you no help Mommy get the light bulb out of the car why you no help Mommy get the light bulb out of the car…”   At that moment, the light bulb popped out into my hand and Danny nodded approvingly and went back to playing.

Blessing
Choose a family in your neighborhood that has children. Take a card to the Mother and Father, with your prayer written inside. Include an inexpensive bag of balloons for the children.

Move
Sing and do the motions to “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.”

Create
Look at your hands. Consider the children that these hands have touched in love and blessing. Pray for each of these children. If you are able to send them a note, take the time to do this.

Nourish
Consider fasting today and use that time to pray. If you can not fast an entire day, at least fast for one 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
Plan a trip to the zoo or aquarium. If you can not afford this, go to your local library and rent a video about animals. If you can, share this with a child.

Pray
If you have children, lay your hands on them and pray for them. If you do not have children of your own, pray for your neighbor’s children.

Snack
Make brownies. Do not eat them all. Share them with a neighbor.

World Prayer Broadcast
If you do not already sponsor a child in a third world or developing country, consider Compassion® International . If you definitely can not afford to do this, consider a one time gift. If this is not possible, at least get on-line and review the pictures. Take time to pray for these children and this program.

Rest
Before going to sleep tonight, turn the TV off and remember your favorite story from childhood. If you can not think of one, read a Doctor Seuss story.

—————————–
Lyrics Credit: From “Jesus Loves Little Children” © 1999 Pilot Point Music (Lillenas [Admin. by The Copyright Company]) David S. Winkler | George Frederick Root. CCLI#283314 & Compassion® International can be found at http://www.compassion.com

Life Lesson: October 31

31 Oct

Meditate: John 15: 1-17

Sing: What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Verse 1
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry, Ev’rything to God in prayer.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry, Ev’rything to God in prayer.

Verse 2
Have we trials and temptations, Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrow share?
Jesus knows our ev’ry weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Verse 3 Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior still our refuge! Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He’ll take and shield you, You will find a solace there.

Message
            I have had many friends in life. Some friends stick together through life, but many float in and out as life changes. One of my most beloved friends has passed away and after several years, she is still missed. Sadly, I have hurt some of my friends and some of my friends have hurt me. It seems that no matter how much you love your friends it is never a perfect relationship. Friends disagree, they drift away, and they die.
In John, Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” The good news of this passage is that if Jesus is our friend, he will never drift away or leave us. An important word in this passage is the little word “If.” This is not a one sided relationship. We need to do our part.
Our part of this relationship is obedience. Although this sounds hard, Jesus lets us know that to be obedient means that we love one another. That should be easy. All we have to do is love. Just as Jesus laid down his life for us, we are to lay down our lives for others. Jesus calls us to abide in him so that we will produce fruit. To abide means that we obey. To obey means that we are called friends!
What would life look like if we were obedient and fully lived in Jesus? What would life look like if we put every other person first? Think of the fruit that we would produce!

Blessing
Ask God who needs a friend today and write them a note from Jesus. Let them know that Jesus calls them friend, but only sign Jesus’ name.

Move
Nobody is looking. Sing I am a friend of God and dance!
Verse
Who am I that You are mindful of me, That You hear me when I call?
Is it true that You are thinking of me? How You love me! It’s amazing!

Chorus
I am a friend of God. I am a friend of God. I am a friend of God. He calls me friend!

Bridge
God Almighty Lord of glory You have called me friend

Create
Write a list of attributes of a friend. Consider how God has shown you that he is your friend. Consider also how you have (or have not) shown that you are God’s friend.

Nourish
Be a friend and share your meal with someone who may otherwise eat alone today.

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

Recreation
Find or remember a joke that makes you laugh. Go for a walk or ride with someone and share the joke. Laugh together.

Pray
That you would be a friend to those around you. Ask God to constantly show you who needs a friend.

Snacks
Have a special treat today and share one with someone else.

World Prayer.
Pray for the many who are feeling alone today.

Sleep
As you fall asleep tonight, be thankful that even if you have no one else in your home, you are not alone. Feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.

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.

_______ “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, Charles Converse, CFO Sings p 169. “I am a friend of God”, CCLI Song # 3991651, Israel Houghton | Michael Gungor, © 2003 Integrity’s Praise! Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing (IMI)), Sound Of The New Breed (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing (IMI)), Vertical Worship Songs (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing (IMI)), CCLI License # 283314

Fellowship & Snacks

19 Sep

This may be the most widely attended part of camp. I have to admit that it is one of my favorite times, but this is not just a time to eat. This is a time of fellowship. We can get to know people, share our joys and laughter, but be careful not to stay up to late or eat too much.

I was quite convicted when I saw that Webster said snacks were “a small amount of food”. I decided that a snack is not the fourth meal of the day and I need to make some changes. Webster also said that Fellowship is the quality or state of being brothers, association in alliance or partnership. I think this fits Kingdom living quite well.

Scripture tells us in Acts 2:42, that “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship.”, Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.”, Hebrews 10:24-25, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”, 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

We must spend time with each other in fun and fellowship to encourage one another and to keep us accountable. To live our lives in secret and privacy, can lead to temptation and depression. Kingdom living requires the kingdom subjects to work as a team.

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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