Tag Archives: barriers

What Do I Have to Do?

What do I have  to do
to follow you?
To be with you?
To be a part of all you are doing?

Look at all I do,
all my good deeds,
my worthy actions,
I always do the right thing.

But,
do I do them for the right reason?
Is my heart and soul in it,
or just wanting to be seen
to do the right thing?

What are my motives?

And more importantly
what are the blockages in my life?

What holds me back
from doing more,
being more,
giving more?

What am I holding on to
so tightly
that I can’t let go
and because I can’t let go
I can’t give all of me?

That is what I have to do.
To make sure nothing
and no one
comes between me and God;
nothing is more important than him

then
my giving will be free
and I will be open
to receive all God has to offer me.

That is what I have to do.

Lord,
I might not think I am rich,
but I have so much.
Stuff
that I gather around me
and allow to become important,
barriers I create
that stop love getting through
– both ways,
habits I hold on to
that make me unable to see
another way,
the high horse I climb
where I can no longer reach
and no one can reach me.

Lord,
these
and all the barriers I have built in my life,
I invite you to take,
to smash,
to free me

that I may give
and receive
and know more of you

then be able to give more of you

Mark 10:17-31(CEV)

A Rich Man

17 As Jesus was walking down a road, a man ran up to him. He knelt down, and asked, “Good teacher, what can I do to have eternal life?”

18 Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. 19 You know the commandments. ‘Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Do not cheat. Respect your father and mother.’”

20 The man answered, “Teacher, I have obeyed all these commandments since I was a young man.”

21 Jesus looked closely at the man. He liked him and said, “There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me.”

22 When the man heard Jesus say this, he went away gloomy and sad because he was very rich.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “It’s hard for rich people to get into God’s kingdom!” 24 The disciples were shocked to hear this. So Jesus told them again, “It’s terribly hard[a] to get into God’s kingdom! 25 In fact, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God’s kingdom.”

26 Jesus’ disciples were even more amazed. They asked each other, “How can anyone ever be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.”

28 Peter replied, “Remember, we left everything to be your followers!”

29 Jesus told him:

You can be sure that anyone who gives up home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or land for me and for the good news 30 will be rewarded. In this world they will be given a hundred times as many houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and pieces of land, though they will also be mistreated. And in the world to come, they will have eternal life. 31 But many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first.

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.

Crossing Boundaries

There are always those places that have a bad reputation, certain areas of towns, particular estates, or even whole towns.  The town we live in doesn’t have a brilliant name, but there are some amazing people who live here.  How easily we right places off, and by association a whole group of people.  Fortunately God doesn’t.

Agricultural gate in the Israeli-built separation wall, Beit Ijza, West Bank. In the background one sees the villas of Giv’at Ze’ev settlement. By Shy halatzi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Acts 8:14-17

14 The apostles in Jerusalem heard that some people in Samaria had accepted God’s message, and they sent Peter and John. 15 When the two apostles arrived, they prayed that the people would be given the Holy Spirit. 16 Before this, the Holy Spirit had not been given to anyone in Samaria, though some of them had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Peter and John then placed their hands on everyone who had faith in the Lord, and they were given the Holy Spirit.

This passage comes about after the stoning of Stephen, and the disciples scattering – for their survival.  The irony of course being that as Paul was trying to stop the church by making trouble for them and arresting them, he actually managed to spread it wider.  Nothing was going to stop these converts talking about what they had discovered in Jesus.

And now the gospel has spread to Samaria.  We know from what we read in the gospels, that the Samaritans are seen as the lowest as the low.  For example in John 4 as Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman, when he asks her for a drink of water, she says, “How can you ask me for a drink of water when Jews and Samaritans won’t have anything to do with each other?”; and in Luke 10 a Samaritan is used to illustrate the exact opposite of the supposed good people.

It’s an interesting beginning to this passage.  “The disciples have heard”… so they send Peter and John.  Have they sent them to check out what is happening?  To make sure it’s legitimate?  They don’t trust that Samaritans can have accepted God?  Or am I too suspicious and cynical, and they’ve gone to rejoice?

Whichever it is, clearly God has done something in the lives of these people.  Whatever their nationality, their reputation, their history, God is real in their lives.  God has crossed the boundaries that people had tried to keep going – and done his thing in their lives.

I wonder if at times I’m guilty of writing people off, dismissing them, assuming God won’t work in and through them because they don’t fit my particular criteria.  Fortunately God is much bigger than that – after all he chooses to work in and through me.  And so the challenge for me from this is to wonder who I am missing God in and how – and do something about it.

To quote a verse from one of my favourite hymns:

He is breaking down the barriers,
He is casting up the way;
He is calling for His angels to build
up the gates of day;
But His angels here are human, not
the shining hosts above,
For the drum-beats of His army are
the heart-beats of our love.

I found this beautiful version of ‘Just as I am’ – a reminder that God loves and accepts each one of us

Lord

you call me

to build others up,

not knock them down,

or shut them out.

As you accept me,

I pray that you will give me grace

to accept others,

to see what they have to offer me,

to live in love,

peace

and acceptance