‘Do all things for the greater glory of God’ 1Cor.10:31-33
As you come to prayer today let the warmth of his loving presence fill your whole being.
Whatever we do comes out of being filled with the Holy Spirit of love. Otherwise our actions will be self seeking and for our own good not for the good of others. Paul tells us that in whatever we do, to do everything for God’s glory. Choosing the greater things, the higher road is choosing to follow Jesus.
‘And make sure you’re not offending anyone, any other group or any part of God’s church over your personal preferences. I try to please everyone in all things, rather than doing what is best for me; I do what is best for others.’
Notice Paul says he tries to please everyone and not give offense to anyone.
A seemingly impossible task in these times, for whatever we do or say can be taken in an offensive way.
So what do we do? How do we ‘live for the greater glory of God.’
St.Ignatius of Loyola was a nobleman in Spain during the 15th century that coined the phrase after St.Paul. Only during recovery from having his legs seriously shattered in battle did he come to a place of surrendering his life to Christ. His salvation came through reading about the life of Christ and of other followers who lived for the greater good and for the glory of God. This inspired him to answer the call to lay down his sword and follow a new way.
So maybe this is a good place to start. To lay down our swords, the hill we think is so important that we miss the opportunity to lead others to Christ with love. Maybe our church and our lives could be an example to inspire others to follow too.
Pause humbly before the Lord now and let your heart be cleansed of any self-seeking or personal preferences that offends another.
“ Lord Jesus, we desire you, we long for your ways to be made manifest through our lives, so we now lay down our swords of our own ways before you.
May we know your deep love for us that everything we do will be for the greater good of others.
We cannot do this out of our own will but from the inspiration of your Holy Spirit.
Help us today, to attend to your spirit within us in everything we do and in every thought we have of offense, stop us there to turn over our thoughts to you.
Fill us with your very life, with every breath we take for the greater glory of God.
‘You have given all to me, and to you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace for that is enough for me.’
The word came to me...I went down to the potter's house, “Can I not do with you, house of Israel, just as this potter has done? — this is the Lord’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel.”
Let God's message be revealed to your heart now.
Think a moment about what it would be like to work with a piece of clay on a potter's wheel.
Years ago I tried this on an old manual wheel.
The kind you have to spin with your foot and it takes a very strong body with steady hands and sure arms to hold the clay shaping it into a perfect pot. One that will not burst when fired in the hot kiln.
I could never quite get this art perfected because I was not strong enough though I tried and tried. I had a friend that was much bigger and stronger than I and he could work the clay like magic to create a container of beauty and function.
Notice that God speaks to Jeremiah about shaping the house of Israel, His people, He is wanting to reshape and re-center them as He chooses for his pleasure and purpose. In His strong and steady hands.
What do you suppose God is saying to his people today and what is the desire for his collective church in these times? Yes we are the clay in his hands as individuals to give him permission to work with us and shape us but how do we collectively allow him to work with us together?
Let his spirit guide us now as we pray with one voice,
‘Lord, have your way with us as we attend to your shaping and recreating us into a vessel for your purpose.
Help us to listen collectively to your voice and message as to what you are doing with us together.
We let your strong arms hold us in your hands to re center us on what is your good and perfect will.
That which is true, beautiful, just, honorable, and worthy of praise for your glory.
May we have willing hearts that are pliable for you to shape us into one vessel strong enough that under fire we will not break.
When we get stuck in our own ways, opinions, and bias, keep us from spinning off and hold us in the center of your truth.
Your hands of love will keep there.
Make us one as you are one,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Make something beautiful out of us!
May the world see you glory here in your church a vessel of beauty, purpose,acceptance and grace.
You are the potter we, your people are the clay.
Have your way in us today.
Jesus tells Martha who had come to meet him on the road in her grief that Lazarus her brother will rise again after his death. She knows her brother will live again in the afterlife but Jesus speaks of another realm . He opens her eyes to see that he actually is the resurrection and life.
If we believe in him then we will live and never die- ever.
‘Do you believe this?’ he asks Martha.
This is where her proclamation of faith rises, ‘Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the One who is coming into the world’
Sit with the image of Jesus and Martha having a conversation together.
What do their faces look like and how are they looking at each other?
When we are in grief our true raw selves are exposed as we cannot hold that part of our broken hearts together. We say what we think inside.
This is where Jesus appears with us in our true feelings and questions.
‘If only you had been there’ Martha shares with her friend, Jesus.
You can feel her anguish in her honest questioning.
He then asks her,do you believe this?
And she comes to believe and understand who he really is,so much more than she ever thought possible.
He asks us the same.
Do you believe this?
How does he want to come into the world as life where we are dying?
Can we come to him now with our honest questions and in our grief to grow in our understanding to believe He is the One?
Pause here to offer your complete self to God and give him your questions and grief of what could have been but is not yet.
‘ Lord, we thank you that you chose to reveal yourself through Jesus the One and only One that brings life into the world.
We receive this life in us now to believe in what seems impossible to us.
May we come to believe in your resurrected power giving life where we only see death.
May we have open eyes to see what you are doing in the waiting time.
May our faith grow in expectation of the life that you are pouring into us that will be extended into the world around us.
We give you our hands as your hands. To be with you as you are entering our world each day.
Gracious God, through our faith and friendship with Jesus, join us to one another in love.
We welcome You into our homes as Martha did to be with us.
May your church be the place where faith rises and proclaims who you are, the anointed one revealing the way to the Father through the spirit of hope.
We lift up all of those that are suffering in grief today that the comfort of the Holy Spirit may be present to them.
We receive your faith, hope and love this day.
‘ It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord,....beneath the Lords demands,...for there may be hope at last..the faithful love of the Lord never ends, keeps us from destruction, his mercies never cease….’ Lamentations 3:22-32,40
Let us silence the many voices that are shouting for our attention which only bring fear and destruction.
Where is God with you right now, Who is He to you?
Receive the grace of the Holy Spirit to bring wisdom and understanding of who the trinity is and how they are working in you.
We know his word is truth so let this word of mercy and peace flood over your fears and confusion from the worlds voices shouting at you.
We may not have all the answers right now but we can rest in knowing that He does and He will not fail us as we seek peace and healing for our world in prayer.
In this polarized time let us not surrender to division and judgment, but raise our heads and cry out to God to hear our lament, our confessions, our desperation for love to win this battle and hope to rise in the church once again.
Hear O Lord as we share our hearts with you.
Thank you that you are a God that is with us, for us and living within us.
Help us to surrender to your spirit of truth and love that will guide our ways.
We want our lives to follow your teachings, Jesus and not the ways of this divided world.
We pray as one voice for your mercy and compassion to fall on all of those who are sick and all of those that are treating this disease. We ask that you would eradicate this virus and heal our land.
Let us seek peace and pursue love in the way we think and help us to be silent when we really do not know how to solve this problem.
Forgive us for getting caught up in these judgments and divisions toward others.
We thank you for your merciful compassion in forgiving of our wrong ways.
Give us courage to speak out what we do know about who You are.
We trust in your saving grace and power to bring redemption.
We ask for people to return to you and find salvation from their fears there.
Ignite the light of Christ in our hearts to shine the way.
In the beautiful name of Jesus we pray,
With arms lifted and hearts open we come to the Three in One this day and rest under the tree of truth and wisdom.
The kingdom is like a small mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
Jesus spoke in parables about the kingdom of God to reveal that which was hidden and overlooked.
Just like that mustard seed only the farmer would have known how small it was when he planted it. The one that sits under the tree may not have any idea how small awes of that tree were.
‘ T kingdom is Like yeast hidden in the flour,it permeates the whole dough making the bread into something edible and beautiful .
So the kingdom of God is small and will become something great and beautiful in you.
Pause here a moment and think of what small thing you may have overlooked lately that God wants to plant and grow in you.
What have you overlooked and passed by that wants to get your attention?
Let’s pray together as one people of his kingdom asking with one voice.
‘What is it Lord, that you want us to notice today?
Open our eyes to see the parables of your kingdom all around us through creation and the people you place before us.
Help us to notice the small things that are stirring within us to create a change in other lives as well as our own.
When we are offended may we not take that offense nor hold unto it,but be curious about it and allow you to speak to us there.
May we care for the seeds of kindness and gentleness of your spirit in us to show to others.
Help us to nurture the seeds of smallness in us that they will become great,
Revealing the glory of God;
A beautiful shelter and resting place
A tree of wisdom and grace
Knowledge and truth
Above all things may the seeds of your kingdom
Produce the presence of love in us and in the world .
We ask for your kingdom to come to earth today with healing and hope and truth.
Make something great and beautiful out of the smallness in us.
In the beautiful name of Jesus, we pray.
“We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours. Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity.”
….this glorious treasure within a simple clay jar, that’s who you are.
How does The Holy Spirit manifest Christ’s life in you through hard times, afflictions and sufferings?
Can you look for and find the treasure within this difficult situation, even in the affliction without being crushed or driven to despair?
Hold your very physical body up before the Lord now and allow him to bless you with your own hands placed on your heart.
Breathe into your very being the living treasure of grace that is being poured into you now.
Let Christ’s breath be the power that brings life through your body.
Pause here to pray in response to this life in you .
‘Lord Jesus, we receive your life in us through the power of your Holy Spirit.
We receive your blessings of grace to sustain us through these difficult times.
May we know your power working in us when the pressure and despair comes that we can stand firm in the life you give us.
Cleanse us, O Love, from our hidden faults,for you alone discern our weakness.
Keep us from bodily acting in error and let not our fears
have dominion over us.
May we seek for and find the treasure you have given within us.
May we bless the very bodies you have given us and see them as beautiful containers to show forth your life to others .
Let us be a beneficial presence in the world, freely and fully surrendered to your love.
Let the words of our mouth, and the meditations of our heart find favor in your heart, O Beloved, our strength and Joy.
May all those that are being crushed and afflicted unto despair receive your grace, strength and joy this day.
May the beautiful treasure of Christ in you be revealed through the beautiful you!
‘He who scattered them, now gathers them together’
Return to a centered place in your heart and stay here a while to listen with the ears of His heart.
The word of God, Jesus, the Good Shepherd is here now and gives you the seed of His word for this day.
Bring your scattered self to him now and let him gather all your thoughts, cares and worries together into His basket to sort through .
He has the seed of truth and understanding to plant in you.
Where do these seeds fall in the soil of your heart?
What worldly anxiety and chatter is choking out the greening of His love and word in you?
Let all that you do not understand go and let the truth of what you do know rise up and grow in the fertile soil of acceptance.
God is love and God is just.
He is our good shepherd who we can trust.
He is the help and guide for us to grow in these days we are living in.
Pause and respond in prayer,
‘We return to you, O Lord .
To you we center our scattered selves and allow you to gather us into your generous embrace of love.
We ask for understanding and knowledge that comes from you the Shepherd of our souls.
We ask for wise leaders to help guide and provide truth that is your word, Jesus, to grow is us.
May we gain understanding and revelation of your heart in us.
May we give up our own ways of figuring things out and accept your ways of redemption.
May we follow the teachings of your Son, and let the seeds of love grow deeply in us.
May we be the ones that grow abundantly the fruit of your love through our words and our actions fully surrendered to your will in us.
We return to you now being content with the grace of God.
Love as if Christ is loving through you today!
‘You are granted understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.’
Jesus tells stories for us to ask questions.
‘Blessed are those who have eyes to see and ears to listen with hearts to understand’
As you sit in presence today allow your story, the one you find yourself in, reveal the questions you want to ask.
What is it that you hear or see that you do not understand ?
Hold those questions as mysteries before the Trinity now.
They are there with you in the middle of these questions and want to bring a new kind of understanding to you.
It is a new knowing in the heart that is beyond the explanations of the mind. It is the presence of God with these mysteries that understanding will be given. As you let go of the striving to know, the struggle to make sense of things that a new point of view will appear.
This is Christ in you, the hope of his glory to be revealed here on earth.
This is his eyes seeing through you, his ears hearing, his mind understanding.
I know this sounds so mysterious and it is.
Thanks be to God that the mysteries of the kingdom can only be understood through the Holy Spirit that he has freely given to us!
Pause here to breathe deeply and pray,
‘Jesus, our brother, friend and teacher , we long to hear and understand the story of our lives.
Give us your ears to listen and your eyes to see the workings of your kingdom around us.
What is it in our lives that you want to re- story and re-create a new way for us to grow in today?
Where do you want to give us a new understanding in our hearts?
May we give you the time to teach us and reveal more of your point of view.
We are in desperate need for hope and direction in our world and in our church today.
We cry out for understanding and wisdom from above.
May your church make room for your Holy Spirit to bring truth to our ears that we will not miss what it is that you desire from us.
So this day, we choose to walk with you, to get up when we fall and learn to begin again with humility of heart.
May we have open eyes to see and open ears to listen.
We ask this all in the beautiful name of the Trinity.’
‘The love of Christ urges us on,.... to give up our human point of view of things.’ 2Cor.5:15-18
Because he died for all so we could live no longer in the old way but as alive in Christ . In His love.
So what is this human point of view we are to give up, the old way of seeing ?
And what is this new heavenly kingdom way of being alive look like?
Jesus became as a human being like us so we could become his presence on earth after his death and resurrection.
Every time we speak or show up to another created being we are living as Christ and He is living in us.
Take a while to consider your own human point of view of others and events right now in the world.
Surrender your thoughts to the Holy Spirit as we pray;
Creator God, you make all things new, we give you our thoughts now, our own human point of view and allow your spirit to fill us with the love of Christ.
You recreate our beings with a new perspective in life .
May that selfless love urge us to see things and others in that way. The kingdom of heaven way. As you emptied yourself to become like us may we lay our own old ways of thinking and being down at your cross.
Compel us to live as you live fully aware of the reconciliation work you are doing on the earth..
We give you our hands to freely use, our mouths to speak through, our feet to lead us where you want us to go.
We are overwhelmed at the very idea that you, the creator God of the universe, would love the world through us mere humans .
Thank you for this gift of a new life, this new way of seeing.
May we see everyone as those you personally and sacrificially died for and have come to bring them back to you.
Help us to daily shed the old human point of view to see you Christ in us in a new kingdom way and live a selfless life.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit to make all things new we pray
Micah 7:14 ‘Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance..’
‘Mercy and compassion are God’s way, and will guide our footsteps upon the path of peace.’ Ps.85
We all want what is good but what does good want from us?
Sit with this question a moment…
Micah’s cry for justice and for God’s guidance of the people can certainly relate to our prayers for today.
We all seemingly want what is good for all and yet our good isn’t always good.
If we know God, we will know love and the way of peace will lead us.
We must be humble enough to allow his staff to correct our direction as sheep tend to follow any path another sheep is headed.
It is The Shepherd's staff of mercy that pulls us back from the sheer cliff of the abyss we could potentially fall off.
7-8 “As for me, I look to the lord for help, I wait confidently for God to save me..Though I fall, I will rise again, though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.”
Pause and consider which way you are headed and what path you are on. Is it a path to bring peace? Is your confidence in God’ goodness or your own?
“Here we are, Lord, hear our prayers as we come to you in humility.
We admit that our ways are not always for the best interest of others as your ways are.
We give you permission to guide us on the path of peace and compassion.
To lead us with your staff that saves us from ourselves going down a harmful path.
Draw us closer to know your heart and know love as we look at our world through your eyes.
We desire more of you in our lives, more compassion, more mercy, more clear guidance in how to respond to the situations we will face today.
We collectively thank you that you hear us now.
Thank you for the gift of knowing your ways are good and we pray for all your children to respond to your light and path of peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.”
Be blessed with peace this day!