Lead Me, O Lord, I pray

Then, I heard a voice in heaven saying,
‘Whom shall I send? and who will go for us?’ Then said I, Here am I; send me.’
I will go, Lord, if You lead me; I will hold Your people in my heart.’

Deeper in my heart I will hear Your call; I will cry for the desert
until my eyes run with tears because people do not obey Your laws.
If I open my eyes to the world around me, if I open my heart to the people
that surround me, then I feel pain and brokenness.

I see suffering and injustice.
Lord, see what evil the prince of this world is devising,
Let the wind of Your Spirit blow and reverse the works of darkness;
and Your fire will cover the earth.

Deliver us, Lord, from every evil
and grant us peace in our day.
In Your Mercy, Lord,
keep us free from sin,
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior,
Jesus Christ.

Let Your Kingdom come, Lord, in me.
I pray the protection of Christ to clothe me,
Christ to enfold me,
to surround me and guard me
this day and every day,
surrounding me and my companions,
enfolding me and every friend.

 

The above was taken from The Celtic Daily Prayer
Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community

Jesus calls us each day to go out into the world as missionaries of His life in ours, touching human hearts in their need with His All encompassing Love for them.
So let us spread the true message of Christ’s gospel; Mercy, Forgiveness, Grace, Compassion, and the greatest of all, Love.

 

Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister

1 Corinthians 13

Read and Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13 asking The Holy Spirit to shine Christ’s light upon any areas needing His empowerment to change in being more like Him in our inner character, that in all we do, we give the Glory and Honor to Him for entrusting us with His very life to live and abide in us.

What will remain of our lives when we leave this earth and are no more?

The only lasting remnant of our lives will be the bits of Grace, Mercy, Forgiveness, Compassion and Love we offered to others without strings attached.

What will remain are those selfless acts done out of a servant’s heart of obedience to God in having made proper stewardship of all the resources He has given to us while on this earth in investing ourselves in lives to have made a difference.
All that I have been given has been provided to me by God’s hand.

What I have done for the least of His out of spreading His gospel of Grace and Love, touching hearts with His free gift of Salvation, in feeding the hungry, ministering to the poor, caring for the widows, serving where He leads is the highest of desires that can be attained while upon this earth.

Christ came to this earth having nothing of his own and this too is how we shall live, that those things He has given to us, are given so we can minister to others, so we can help provide for needs, so we can aid those who have not, so we can fulfill those purposes He has chosen and called us to do so in and by His Power.

The greatest charge given to us is to: Love the Lord our God with all our Hearts, with all our Souls, with all our Minds, with all our Strength, and to Love our neighbors as ourselves.

Love is an action. Love is something we do. Love is how we treat others, how we minister to needs, how we pour out of ourselves God’s Heart to those in the streets, to those we meet in stores, to those we have business associations with, to those in schools, to those if official positions, to those who gather in our midst, to those we interact with, to those who know God and to those who know not God.

Preaching or talking of Love is empty unless we live it, do it, practice it, spread it.
If we walk not in sincerely motivated love towards embracing everyone, then we have not Christ residing in us, we have no understanding of His gospel, and we failed in our Christian duty to BE Christ to all we meet.

Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister

Slowing down with a cup of tea

IMG_1021Settling down tonight, with a steaming cup of apple cinnamon tea with a bit of honey in it. Slowing down from the day, reflecting, relaxing, enjoying the quiet of the night.

Thanking God for friends and how precious it is when he brings others to share a bit of life in all the ups and downs we experience.

Breathing in the fresh experiences in God today, from my waking to my sleeping, He remains a powerful source in my now, always steady, constant, and consistent in His love for me.

Psalm 23

“The Lord is indeed my shepherd, I shall not want, for He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams, He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.

 

Even though I walk through the valley of death, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.

You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

Thank you Lord for granting me another day to live in Your Grace. Thank You Lord for the honor of representing You today. Thank You Lord for all of Who You are in me, for I shall seek You all the moments You give me breath, to walk in Your ways, to give Praise and Honor to You, for Your tender Mercies granted to me this day.

Does the White American Gospel Work?

Our white American Gospel does not work in the garbage dumps of Bogata, or in the villages of third world countries who have no wells, no storage place, no income, and no way to support themselves.

Nor does it work for those normal everyday humans who will always struggle.
Take a trip to any inner city, or rural poverty place and try and preach prosperity religion and see how that works out! Take a trip to the poorest dwellings in your own community and preach your prosperity gospel and see how that works out!

We will never erase poverty, eliminate persons from suffering chronic illnesses, living in pain from trauma, but we can spread empathy, understanding, and share the Hope Christ can give to persons the ability to walk in the midst of the most dire of circumstances, for this is God’s Grace!

Too many misconstrue the gospel of Christ. He came to spread the message of Forgiveness, Mercy, Compassion, Grace, Love and too many twist and turn it into materialistic consumerism Christianity.

Christians need to get in the real world of people, who struggle to put food on their tables, who struggle to pay the bills, who struggle to exist. Christians need to enter into the suffering of others, not pray it away, not dismiss it, not rebuke it, but to sit with others as Jesus did with us, with humanity.

Do we pray for others?  Yes, we do.  We then need to come along side them, walking with them, entering into their suffering with Christ’s Compassion.  We help to ease their burden in this way, as we share with them in whatever adversity they are having to endure.

Christ came with a message that is real, that breeds truth, that allows us to be authentic human beings, with weaknesses, but in our vulnerability in sharing our lives in open, honest communication, we are Christ with hands, feet, and arms, reaching towards others to not ‘fix’, but to just BE Him in all of whom we are becoming.

Get out of the ‘church’ and get into the streets where the mission is. We have the Hope people need. We have the abundant life of Christ who enters into our world right where we are. We do not have to do anything to have His free gift of salvation.

Christ offers to us, Freely, Love, with no strings attached and it is His love that draws us into a deeper contemplative life where we realize all that He richly gives in our inner beings; satisfaction, contentment, joy, peace, meaning and fulfillment not found in any other service. He becomes the Reason we live.

Too many preaching if you give, you will get returns much greater in financial means, etc. Giving is from the heart, having no expectations of receiving anything but the Mercy, Love and Compassion of our Father God, who richly rewards us with an inner contentment.

Preachers who feel they have to quote scriptures, emphasizing giving, etc. are not trusting God. They are preaching from desperation, for an attempt to manipulate others into giving.

Preaching giving to get is not what Christ taught. It is not scriptural to teach that we give in order to get. Prosperity in the scriptures refers to an abundant inner life filled with the overflow of the Spirit’s reign in us, that bears the fruits of the spirit, not a fat bank account.

Giving from our hearts is an outpouring of the Spirit’s activity moving in our hearts. Those who have died to Christ do not worry, do not fret, but fully Trust in His Fullness, whether they see it or not. Giving is having an inner attitude of love, of mercy of not expecting anything in return.

For when we give to expect it is not a biblical or Godly principle. Our God supplies all our needs is a Godly principle, but is not based on the worldly view of investing to get more returns.

We invest in Spiritual Principles as followers of God. The Christian life is not about wealth, possessions, material goods, or collecting stuff.

Those that have been blessed with an abundance of wealth are to be wise stewards giving to others as the Lord leads. Being wise with how God has entrusted us with resources is walking in the Godly wisdom and Godly council of those He has put in our paths.

The Christian life is about BEING CHRIST! It is about pouring ourselves into others lives so that they will Know He lives. It is about living in a shared bond of community with other believers, giving away of our resources that God has given to us, using discernment. For He gives us so much more than we can gain in this world, He gives us HIS FULLNESS.

Giving involves establishing boundaries, relying on Godly wisdom, walking in Spiritual wisdom, and pursuing Holiness. We are not to be doormats where others abuse and step all over us.

What is your life like? Have you given all to Christ? Have you given of your wealth and finances over to His reign? Have you submitted your desires to Him? Have you surrendered your heart, your home, your family, your career, your activities, your weaknesses, your stubbornness, your rights, your all to the Lord who will fill you with His Spirit of fullness?

We have but one life, what are you doing with yours, For God? What are you holding back? In what ways are you resisting Him? In what ways are you having your foot in the world and your foot in Him that is not giving of your All to His desires for you?

Have you surrendered everything to the Lord, allowing His Spirit Reign in the most secret of places in your heart?

Give to Him today, Your all, and He will fill you with His Fullness that satisfies and completes us as no other person or thing can.  He will enrich your life with meaning and purpose, along with giving you an inner peace, contentment and joy nothing in this world is able to offer to anyone.

 

Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister

 

Participating with God’s Spirit

Those of us who lived in the last great awakening (during the 1970’s) had no idea we were in a great movement of God. We experienced the Power of Christ in our everyday lives! It was in living and giving of ourselves to His Spirit, who set us Free from a life of serving ourselves, serving wealth, serving worldly ways.

We did not preach about of some great move of God, we lived in it as He was moving in our lives and in the lives of others. We joined in participating in His Spirit moving in the world as He provided direction.

God’s Spirit moves daily, in each moment; He reveals His goodness, His miraculous life in us, is revealed in each moment. He opens opportunities to serve each day, each hour, each moment as we remain available to Him.

God is no respecter of persons or even geographical place. It is when we Exalt Him that He draws all persons to Himself. There is no magical formulae to Christ, for that is witchcraft, that is man’s devising ways to figure out how to gain God’s blessings.

When we devise a formulae, it is man made and it is not God’s design. He is the miracle in our lives daily, He manifests His Fullness when we walk in Obedience to His ways.

The gospel calls us to abide in a Holy Union in Him where He is revealed in all His miracles as radical transformation occurs in our hearts. It is in Loving others, where He resides.

In those early days of walking in Christ, we discovered a lifestyle of sharing our lives in the body with one another, in remaining open, in living a different way, in pursuing Holiness beyond anything this world had to offer us.

We entered into BEING Christ as we were rooted in foundational principles of Christianity, in having a different lifestyle than that which the world dictated.

Too many today are taking on cultural expectations and adapting their spirituality into the acceptance of others, into serving what others desire, instead of taking a stand for spreading the entire gospel; Forgiveness, Compassion, Mercy, Grace, Love.

Too many misconstruing Christ’s message as they have become followers of people, authors, doctrine, religion and church denominations.

Too many not grounding their people in the way of God. Too many preaching, but failing to teach with any depth, without adhering to Godly principles. Too many preaching man’s doctrine, man’s way.

It is time to BREAK away from all of that and to BE the true disciples of Christ, giving our all to BE His followers, to BE His children, to BE HIS HOLY BRIDE!
Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister

 

The invisible ones inside the ‘church’

A friend of mine wrote her feelings about sitting in church week after week with very little awareness from others and recently has not been able to attend and …not one call from any of the attenders, or the pastor. I have written my response to her letter as follows.

Being invisible to others in church makes one wonder who are these people who attend and have no awareness of the needs of those who sit silently hurting in the pews?

Are we not called to a higher purpose to reach out to those who come into our midst, welcoming them into our arms, helping to support, encourage, pray and carry one another’s burdens?

The words I read, were written from a woman who has lived the rejection of church people. She is not alone in this perspective, for I hear it many times. What a testimony in being the church, that the very people God is bringing into our midst, are being rejected by us, the church of Christ.

I think sometimes, it is more about who you know, and it is them that you reach out to, and it becomes what is known in the world as a ‘clique’, and they exist inside of the church.

We have to be careful of church ‘cliques’ as they are real, and they cause others to feel rejected by not being accepted into the ‘clique’ or not being able to do the ‘things’ the ‘clique’ do with each other as the ‘group’ does business as usual.

Church is not for doing ‘business’ as usual, for with Christ, we the people, who are the broader ‘church’ need to be available, need to reach out, need to be open hearts for the hurting people that come to find what they are missing; truth, love, acceptance and the fullness of life in Christ that is available to all.

We need to drop our own self absorbance, our own selfish desires, our own needs to belong, and give of ourselves to the Christ that has called us to love others and to serve by Glorifying Him, not ourselves. This means giving of ourselves to others.

The call of Christ to Christians is to service. Service requires a dying to the self. This is a lifelong process and will continue to be so until He calls us to our eternal home and we hear: “Well done my faithful servant.”

We all need to search our own hearts and ask ourselves, are we making ourselves available to others? Are we being sensitive to others? Are we welcoming others? Are we noticing others? Are we walking the narrow path of Faith in being followers of Jesus? Are we seeking Him in all we do? Are we listening to His voice? Are we being true to our words, following through on what we say we will do? Are we putting others before ourselves? Are we acting and behaving like believers of the most High God?

Then we need to ask ourselves, “What is Jesus calling me to do?” Than we need to listen to His voice, take the actions he directs us in living towards full obedience in serving Him, no matter where we are, inside, or outside of the ‘church’ building.

We are voices for the voiceless, champions for the oppressed, lights in the darkness, and vessels to be filled with God’s Holiness, Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, and Truth. Not to be hidden, but to be shared with everyone we interact with.

We must come to the place where we say: “Not my will, but yours Oh Lord.” Where he calls us, He will equip us and fill us with Him giving us the ability to walk in the good works that He has prepared for us to do.

The Christian life is about Serving in Obedience to Him in all we do: in our relationships, our activities, our time, our resources, our jobs, volunteer work, our finances, our possessions, in our thoughts, our minds, our hearts, in our words, in the commitments we take on, in fellowship with one another, and in each day we live.

We, who are the church, need to Wake Up to the Call God has on our lives, and become Real, touching the wall of humanity whose hearts scream out for a compassionate understanding person to connect with.

Let us no longer dwell in the darkness, but shine God Hearts as people of light. Let us live the Truth and show forth God’s love in our actions, behaviors, and words unto those hurting, struggling, searching for Love. Let us live our lives in Obedience in serving the Christ that has given us New Life, and touch others with His Life through us as His people, expressive of Who He is!

In obedience, we are to be the Welcoming Arms of Christ, which begins when he brings others into our midst, and continues as we walk with them, encouraging, supporting, teaching the foundational basis of Faith and spurring them on towards spiritual growth and maturity, as we walk hand in hand, in His Love.

We all have work to do in His Kingdom. Let us be about our Father’s business, focused on those things He has called us to do, and not be so busy we fail to fulfil those works.

When we make real application of biblical principles and incorporate them into our lives, by allowing His Spirit Reign in every area, of our lives, we are then fulfilling our mission as Christians to:

“Love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”

Then we can come to the place where we know:
“It is no longer I that live, but it is He that lives in me!”

 

 

Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister

 

 

Added thoughts:
We are called to Love, Everyone, not just those we deem ‘spiritual’, not just those who are leaders, not just those we align with, but EVERYONE in our midst! There is no spiritual hierarchy in God’s Kingdom. We all have roles to fill, we all have a purpose, we all have value and worth.

A Pastor, teacher, leader, elder, deacon, is no greater in God’s Realm than anyone else. No one is above another. We all serve as God’s children and He Loves us all with the same unmerited Love, not conditional on what we do or do not do. God’s Love is unlike man’s love that is biased and not free from judgements.

The difference in roles regarding leadership in the church is that each person has varying levels of authority of power given their ‘title’, but they are all in submission to God and to each other as they belong to the same body, functioning in different gifts as God has given to the body in order to work together for the Glory of the Kingdom in furthering Godly ministry.

It is a sad fact that ‘cliques’ live in the church, which only divides, only seeks one way, only accepts ‘conditionally’, only remains among themselves, the ‘insiders’. I ask myself… and anyone reading this to search our hearts and see where we are missing the boat on what it means to truly Love as Christ has Loved us.

Not one of us has arrived in perfection, but are on a continual journey of becoming more like Jesus in our hearts, day by day, submitting to His Ways, His voice, His Image.
Not one of us knows how to Love perfectly. Not one of us has it all figured out.

So, until that day we are ushered in to our Heavenly Dwelling place, we are to BE the Church, the Body of Christ to ALL we encounter, not snubbing, not ignoring, not dismissing, not rejecting, but reaching out to ALL in our midst, especially within a local institutional church.

I cannot express how many members of churches feel distanced, feel isolated, feel separated from this ‘inside clique’, feeling rejected, feeling not accepted, feeling not included, feeling like an ‘outsider’.

Should this be so? Let us ask God what each one of us can do to make a difference in the lives of those who are in our midst and who are in our lives to help in building social bonding and connections in and through the Love of Christ who resides in us!
We each need to search our hearts before our Father God and ask Him who we are neglecting in our midst and how can we be better servants, more compassionate, more understanding, showing our empathy and Love?

 

Conclusion:
Although this pertains especially to those professing to be leaders (as members will tend to be followers of those who lead – so what example are we setting up?) or pastors, we All need to be participators of loving in real, practical concrete ways.

Vulnerability is necessary for Growth

Theodore Roosevelt made a speech sometimes referred to as “The Man in the Arena” at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on April 23, 1910 which I think merits remembrance.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points our how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deed could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….”

This speaks to me of the ability to have an understanding that it becomes necessary in opening our souls in a vulnerability to engage ourselves in our pursuits in life.

Through investing and engaging in our endeavors, we will undoubtedly experience both the failures and successes and hopefully realize this is part of life. It is a necessary ingredient that persons fail before they attain a level of success in their lives; business, career, relationships, volunteering, spiritual roles, maturity, etc.

As human beings it becomes necessary to integrate all our experiences, both the negative and positive ones, along with emotional states. It is in fully accepting and in the allowing ourselves space to hold all these moments within in order to process these events into growth related times.

Hopefully as adults, (although many fail to realize this at any level) we come to a place that teaches us, in order to move through life in accomplishing goals, participating in endeavors, and building healthy relationships with others, we learn from these times, using what has not worked or been affective in this sifting process, of what or who, we allow to remain in our lives and what, or who becomes necessary in learning how to let go of, that helps us in maturing into wise persons.

Brene Brown – a LMSW stated: “Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be – a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation – with courage and the willingness to engage.

Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.”

There are persons who will deny any wrongs they have made, excuse or justify ill behavior or defend inappropriate happenings or offenses done, of either themselves, or those they are in leadership over, in attempts with keeping to a belief system that they are above error and that they have some sort of a ‘knowing’ that how they behave and respond to others is always right, in light of any other evidence that may exist to the contrary from issues others in their midst try to raise in having addressed.

Whether we have a spirituality to our life or not, the only way to grow in maturing as healthy adults, is in learning from our experiences as a whole, integrating all sides, negative and positive, into our beings, and seeking to have right relationships in respectfully relating to others in valuing, honoring, and giving dignity to our conversations.

Vulnerability is closely tied to humility in the realizing we all share in our humanity and there is no one who has arrived in any state of perfection while walking this earth.

As a woman of Faith, my desire to remain open before God and before others as an approachable person is who I want to be, in valuing the sanctity of space with others, where I desire to create a safe place where they can just come as they are, making confidences known, that I hold others conversations with the highest of integrity, in offering a listening environment, where I remain open to the Spirit’s guidance, respecting and giving honor to their voice.

Creating places where others feel safe is vital to our wellbeing and in the bonds we make with others, in allowing them a place, to come to us and let us know of any wrongs or offenses we have made, (or those we have some supervisory or leadership charge over has made) giving us opportunity to address hurt, suffering, or pain that has resulted as a consequence, that in our responses, we will hopefully help towards healing wounds.

There can be no healing of wounds, no bonds of friendship when we are not willing to be both accessible and approachable before others as this lack will not build pathways for peace, but will build walls and obstacles in living on this earth as God’s children, walking in an honesty and sincerity, having pure motivations with one another.

All this to say, vulnerability is a strength within a person in being an open heart, in being a real and authentic human being.

When we are able to walk as authentic human beings, God opens our lives in incredible ways, ushering us into a world where meaningful connections and relationships become what is of value and what is of worth in this life.

The remnants of our lives that remains when our bodies are gone, are the impressions and value we have instilled in other persons, in having made a difference to have been known and to have loved.

 

 

Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister