Not That Way

Not that way Lord,
surely not that way.

I thought following you
was going to make life easier,
simpler,
better,
more blessings
and goodness,
how my life will be better
and problems will disappear.

But now you tell me
I have to think of others,
of their needs,
that it’s not all about me,
what I can get from you,
all the amazing things you’ll give me.

It’s about giving,
loving,
going beyond,
doing what you would do,

and that is going to cost

and not everyone will like it,
or the consequences of going your way.

Following you is not the easy way,
but it is the good way,
the right way,
your way.
It can be the way of rejection and pain,
but it is the way of life
truly lived.

So may I take the cross,
your cross
and follow you

Mark 8:31-38 (CEV)

Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death

31 Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, “The nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. He will be rejected and killed, but three days later he will rise to life.” 32 Then Jesus explained clearly what he meant.

Peter took Jesus aside and told him to stop talking like that. 33 But when Jesus turned and saw the disciples, he corrected Peter. He said to him, “Satan, get away from me! You are thinking like everyone else and not like God.”

34 Jesus then told the crowd and the disciples to come closer, and he said:

If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. 35 If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me and for the good news, you will save it. 36 What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? 37 What could you give to get back your soul?

38 Don’t be ashamed of me and my message among these unfaithful and sinful people! If you are, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Don’t Cause Trouble

By Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia (The Concern Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

1 Corinthians 10:23-33 (CEV)

Always Honor God

23 Some of you say, “We can do whatever we want to!” But I tell you that not everything may be good or helpful. 24 We should think about others and not about ourselves.25 However, when you buy meat in the market, go ahead and eat it. Keep your conscience clear by not asking where the meat came from. 26 The Scriptures say, “The earth and everything in it belong to the Lord.”

27 If an unbeliever invites you to dinner, and you want to go, then go. Eat whatever you are served. Don’t cause a problem for someone’s conscience by asking where the food came from. 28-29 But if you are told that it has been sacrificed to idols, don’t cause a problem by eating it. I don’t mean a problem for yourself, but for the one who told you. Why should my freedom be limited by someone else’s conscience? 30 If I give thanks for what I eat, why should anyone accuse me of doing wrong?

31 When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God. 32 Don’t cause problems for Jews or Greeks or anyone else who belongs to God’s church. 33 I always try to please others instead of myself, in the hope that many of them will be saved.

Today’s smack between the eyeballs verse is v32,

 Don’t cause problems for Jews or Greeks or anyone else who belongs to God’s church.

Which ties together the whole chapter.

Don’t cause problems for others, or as the Good News Version puts it

Live in such a way as to cause no trouble either to Jews or Gentiles or to the church of God

That is quite a responsibility.

When I’m sharing opinions, living my way, ploughing my own furrow, am I causing trouble to others or just doing what I want?  Doing what is good and helpful?  Or just making trouble?

Lord,
May I cause no trouble,
but
help others to live
your way,
and seek the good of all.

Forgive me the times
when I have caused others to turn away,
despair,
lose hope,
or sight of you.

May I seek
always to honour you.

Thanks to Richard Gillin for this photo from St Albans :)

78/365 Stern warning

Look Out

The Ottackal look out

1 Corinthians 10:24 (GNT)

24 None of you should be looking out for your own interests, but for the interests of others.

This is the nub of the Christian life.  A focus for lent – and beyond.

What and whom am I looking out for?  Whose interests are paramount in my life?  Where am I looking?

Lord,
I get so caught up in me,
my wants
and perceived needs;
so keen
to have my needs met,
things my way,
so involved in the world of me.

But there are so many more,
all with needs
and cares.

May my concerns,
real as some of them are,
not overshadow those of others
in my mind and life.

May I not be so wrapped up in myself
that I fail to see others;
so busy getting what I want,
that I trample on others needs;
so busy saying
‘look at me’
that others are overlooked;
so busy looking out for me,
that I am not looking out for others.