Tag Archives: behaviour

Who Is It For?

Who can come?
Who is it for?
Who can be here?
Who is able to stay?

This is your Temple Lord,
your holy place.
Who is welcome?
Is it for me?
What do I need to do?
What are you asking
of those who want to be with you?

You need obedience,
a willingness
to do what you ask,
what you need,
to follow your ways.
This place,
here in your holiness,
is for truth,
not hearsay,
conjecture,
muck-raking,
or downright lies.
It is a place
to build people up,
not knock them down;
to be fair
and honest,
not economical
with the truth.

You demand respect,
not for yourself,
but for those we live amongst,
who help us,
provide for us,
those we see
and those we don’t.

You need us to keep our promises,
better to say nothing
than to promise
and not deliver.
You are not looking for empty words,
meaningless platitudes,
commitments
that come to nothing.
Words cost,
and we need to be willing
to pay the price
of what we say we will do.
Cheap options
are not your way,
but the way of sacrifice,
inconvenience
and honour.

These things are holy Lord,
the things you ask
of those
who want to be with you,
to live your ways,
to be in your presence,
day by day.

Psalm 15 (CEV)

(A psalm by David.)

Who May Worship the Lord?

15 Who may stay in God’s temple
    or live on the holy mountain
    of the Lord?

Only those who obey God
    and do as they should.
They speak the truth
    and don’t spread gossip;
    they treat others fairly
    and don’t say cruel things.

They hate worthless people,
    but show respect for all
    who worship the Lord.
And they keep their promises,
    no matter what the cost.
They lend their money
    without charging interest,
    and they don’t take bribes
    to hurt the innocent.

Those who do these things
    will always stand firm.

They Who Do Justice

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For or Against?

He isn’t one of us.  They don’t do it the right way.  She doesn’t use the right words.

Words that are used to exclude, to dominate, to prescribe.  We might think we are keeping good order, but are we just maintaining status quo and stifling growth and development?

Mark 9:38-50

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. 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. 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.

Jesus’ disciples were concerned that someone was going around using his name, when he wasn’t part of their group.  They are quite put out by it – Jesus is unconcerned.  Jesus is not precious about who is “in” or “out”, but is happy to accept someone working in his name.

He turns the conversation around to what really shows whether someone is for him or against him – how they behave, how they treat others and whether they lead others astray or not.

You don’t want to be causing someone else to do something wrong.  People watch us.  They see how we live out our faith.  They assume that if we do something as one of God’s followers it is ok.  So if we dodge a fare, take a prohibited short cut, take advantage of someone, trample on others feelings etc etc…, they can think that is how faith is lived out.  And if they follow suit, the fault is not theirs, but ours – we have led them to believe that kind of behaviour is alright – and we are responsible.

It’s an awesome responsibility this Christian living.  We are charged with showing others God’s ways.

All of our life should be lived for him, living as he would, pointing the way.

Lord,

forgive me

for the times when my focus has been on others

and what they are or aren’t doing,

rather than on how I am living.

May I accept the ways of those who call on you,

however different they are to mine.

May my concern be about what I am doing,

how I live,

the example I give to others,

what I show them of you.

Lord,

I offer the whole of my life to you,

keeping nothing for myself.

Practice What you Preach

Do as I say, not as I do

is something I have been heard to say to my sons.  In other words, it’s not always how I act that is right, but the things I say when I’ve got my sensible head on.  What I truly believe is what should be heeded, not some of the stupid things I do.

This is very much Jesus concern with the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law.  For what they taught did not tie up with how they behaved.  What they said was right, for they quoted God’s Law, but they didn’t live it out in their own lives.

They placed heavy burdens on people, and did nothing to help them carry them;

everywhere they went, they wanted to be seen, and treated as important;

they wanted to be honoured and treated with respect;

but none of this fitted in with the laws that they taught – the laws of a God who all he asked of people was to love.

And so Jesus warns the crowd, not to do as the Pharisees and Teachers do.  Instead they are to do as Jesus does – to be humble and a servant of others.  For in that is true greatness found – not in momentary worldly praise and prestige.

Jesus way was not to see what he could take – but to give.  That was not just the way he taught, but the way he lived.

Do we practice what we preach?  Or is it do as I say, but not as I do?

Do we live as servants, or as those who want to be served?

Lord

may my actions

match my words,

may my words

match my beliefs;

may my beliefs

match your teaching

and your way of living.

May I live to serve

both you

and those whose lives I touch