My Way

He’s not one of us
She doesn’t do it our way,
they’re not our kind.

How quick we are to decide
who is in or out.

But who says our way
is The Way,
the only way,
the acceptable way?
What if they are showing us a different,
equally valid,
even better way.

What matters is not my way,
our usual way,
but God’s Way.

And I can’t define that
by my way.

Lord, help me to be open,
to see you in other
different ways,
to encounter you anew
outside my boundaries.

May I not cause rejection
by my failure to see,
or bind others so tightly
in how I think things should be
that they cannot discover you for themselves.

There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy

Mark 9:38-50 (CEV)

For or against Jesus

38 John said, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to force demons out of people. But he wasn’t one of us, and we told him to stop.”

39 Jesus said to his disciples:

Don’t stop him! No one who works miracles in my name will soon turn and say something bad about me. 40 Anyone who isn’t against us is for us. 41 And anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name, just because you belong to me, will surely be rewarded.

Temptations To Sin

42 It will be terrible for people who cause even one of my little followers to sin. Those people would be better off thrown into the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their necks. 43-44 So if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! You would be better off to go into life crippled than to have two hands and be thrown into the fires of hell that never go out.[a] 45-46 If your foot causes you to sin, chop it off. You would be better off to go into life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.[b] 47 If your eye causes you to sin, get rid of it. You would be better off to go into God’s kingdom with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. 48 The worms there never die, and the fire never stops burning.

49 Everyone must be salted with fire.

50 Salt is good. But if it no longer tastes like salt, how can it be made salty again? Have salt among you and live at peace with each other.

Take It to the Lord in Prayer

A particular favourite hymn of ours, sung at all special occasions is What A Friend We Have in Jesus.  We sang it at our wedding and in thanksgiving for our children – because taking everything to God in prayer seems the right basis to found life on.

This passage from James echoes that sentiment.

If life is difficult – pray; if things are going well – pray.  If you’re ill, troubled, wandering – pray.  Whatever is happening in life, to God is the place to take it.

Prayer is not a last chance saloon, it is the place we can bring everything in our lives.  Our hopes, fears, joys and sorrows, the right place for whatever is happening is in the presence of God.

Prayer is not a magic formula, it is just spending time with God, sharing with him – and allowing him to speak to us, comfort us, challenge us, call us, heal us – whatever we need at that time.

So whatever is happening – we can pray.  God knows what is going on, but prayer is our opportunity to spend time with our friend, our Saviour, our Lord.

James 5:13-20 (CEV)

13 If you are having trouble, you should pray. And if you are feeling good, you should sing praises. 14 If you are sick, ask the church leaders to come and pray for you. Ask them to put olive oil on you in the name of the Lord. 15 If you have faith when you pray for sick people, they will get well. The Lord will heal them, and if they have sinned, he will forgive them.

16 If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent person is powerful, and it can help a lot. 17 Elijah was just as human as we are, and for three and a half years his prayers kept the rain from falling. 18 But when he did pray for rain, it fell from the skies and made the crops grow.

19 My friends, if any followers have wandered away from the truth, you should try to lead them back. 20 If you turn sinners from the wrong way, you will save them from death, and many of their sins will be forgiven.

Psalm 124

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A Psalm of promise, of thanks, of hope, of clinging to God who rescues us.

Psalm 124

Psalm 124 (CEV)

(A song by David for worship.)

Thanking the Lord for Victory

124 The Lord was on our side!
Let everyone in Israel say:
    “The Lord was on our side!
Otherwise, the enemy attack
would have killed us all,
    because it was furious.
We would have been swept away
    in a violent flood
    of high and roaring waves.”

Let’s praise the Lord!
He protected us from enemies
    who were like wild animals,
    and we escaped like birds
    from a hunter’s torn net.

The Lord made heaven and earth,
    and he is the one
    who sends us help.