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?
May I cause no trouble,
help others to live
and seek the good of all.
Forgive me the times
when I have caused others to turn away,
or sight of you.
May I seek
always to honour you.
Thanks to Richard Gillin for this photo from St Albans 🙂
19 Ahab told his wife Jezebel what Elijah had done and that he had killed the prophets. 2 She sent a message to Elijah: “You killed my prophets. Now I’m going to kill you! I pray that the gods will punish me even more severely if I don’t do it by this time tomorrow.”
3 Elijah was afraid when he got her message, and he ran to the town of Beersheba in Judah. He left his servant there, 4 then walked another whole day into the desert. Finally, he came to a large bush and sat down in its shade. He begged the Lord, “I’ve had enough. Just let me die! I’m no better off than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down in the shade and fell asleep.
Suddenly an angel woke him up and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 Elijah looked around, and by his head was a jar of water and some baked bread. He sat up, ate and drank, then lay down and went back to sleep.
7 Soon the Lord’s angel woke him again and said, “Get up and eat, or else you’ll get too tired to travel.” 8 So Elijah sat up and ate and drank.
The food and water made him strong enough to walk forty more days. At last, he reached Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, 9 and he spent the night there in a cave.
Now Elijah is not so brave…. When he realises the consequences of his actions, he runs away.
I have a lot of sympathy for Elijah. He’s done the grand thing, shown how great God is, and then somehow has ended up killing the prophets of Baal. From a mighty triumph, to a place of anger, murder and shame. He soon finds himself wandering the desert.
I don’t know if you’ve ever run away, physically or metaphorically. I have. Not so much from God, but from life. I ran away to the seaside, which was just what I needed for restoration, refocusing and the strength to carry on.
Elijah ran to the desert. I’m sure that was not just literally. That was where God met him and restored him body and soul (p60).
In the desert Elijah finally collapsed, completely exhausted and in absolute despair.
And here God met him in his moment of need.
Maggi reminds us that we do not need to get ourselves to the place where we can hear God. But for Elijah, God is in his place of pain, despair, fear and hunger. His act of bravado has passed, but God has not left him. It is most definitely now not about Elijah, and all about God.
Thank you Lord,
that you find me when I need you;
that you are with me,
even when I run from you;
that you restore me,
body and soul;
that whatever happens,
you never leave me
This year, several of us are reading Beginnings and Endings by Maggi Dawn and joining together to comment on it. Do join us at the Adventbookclub Facebook page, follow #adventbookclub on Twitter or comment below. If you are also reading and blogging on this book, let me know and I will link to your blog.
15 Later the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision, “Abram, don’t be afraid! I will protect you and reward you greatly.”
2 But Abram answered, “Lord All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children. And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own. 3 You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything.”
4 The Lord replied, “No, he won’t! You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his.” 5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky and see if you can count the stars. That’s how many descendants you will have.” 6 Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord was pleased with him.
God promised Abraham that he would reward him and protect him. Yet Abraham still wants more. He wants children, and God promises him he will have many descendants.
To be honest, I’m a bit jealous of this promise to Abraham. He tells God what he wants, and God promises to fulfil it – in abundance. It all seems so simple. Yet life is not always like that.
How many of us cry out to God for something that we want, and yet we never see it, never receive that same promise from God. It’s enough to make you lose faith in God ( or yourself? Maybe it’s me? I’m not as good/worthy as Abraham)
Why does God promise this to Abraham? Why doesn’t he promise it to me? Is it a general promise that whatever we want, God will provide; or a specific and necessary promise to Abraham.
I genuinely think it is the latter. We hear lots in the bible about promises God does keep, but I suppose no one bothered recording the ones they didn’t think he had! There were people who had to struggle with their life as it was, seemingly with God not answering their pleas. Think Job, think my hero Habakkuk. We cry out to God, and it appears to make no difference, it seems he’s not listening – or if he does he ignores us. We long for things to be different. Our heart breaks. Our lives are lived in despair. Why is God not answering my longing?
And you read passages like this and it all seems so simple.
Yet, faith is just that, as we considered last week. If we believe in God, part of that is trusting him. Allowing him to do what is right, not what we want. And relying on him to sustain us in our pain and frustration; to wipe our tears, hold us safely in his arms as we sob, and giving us the strength when we think we can no longer go on with how things are.
Trust in a Time of Trouble
17 Fig trees may no longer bloom, or vineyards produce grapes; olive trees may be fruitless, and harvest time a failure; sheep pens may be empty, and cattle stalls vacant— 18 but I will still celebrate because the Lord God saves me. 19 The Lord gives me strength. He makes my feet as sure as those of a deer, and he helps me stand on the mountains.
I do think God keeps his promises, ultimately. The answers may not be what we think they should be, they may not be as spectacular as Abraham’s was, they may take longer than we think (remember Abraham took matters into his own hand when he thought God wasn’t delivering on this promise quick enough – God has a time and a place). But God is faithful and true. He is worthy of our faith and trust, he delivers on his promises, whether we recognise it or not. But we have to give him the scope to fulfil them his way and in his time. And allow him to give us the strength to hang on in there while he does.
Thank you Lord for your promises. I don’t always understand them, sometimes I want to push them, to make them work the way I want.
Thank you Lord, that you know what is the very best, for me and for the complex web that is the world.
Thank you that you hold me tight, when it feels that my world is falling apart, not following the path I expected, not fulfilling my dreams.
Thank you that you never let me go, that however much it feels like it at times, I will not drown, that you have a deeper purpose in and through me, that your promises are not in vain – though sometimes unexpected.
Lord,help me not to be blinkered in what I see and what I fail to see