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Monday, December 31, 2012

Let there be no cause for stumbling

 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1 John 2:9-11 ESV

Once again John shows the contrast between darkness and light. In this passage he shows us there is no room for hate in the church. If one does have hatred toward his brother he is lost. He is wandering in darkness.

But, the one that has love for his brother is walking in the light and the light is where God is. He is in the darkness. Only stumbling and hurt are found in the darkness. To be in darkness is to be blind, because hatred blinds.

I have seen hatred within the body of Christ and it is ugly, it brings darkness to the one that hates. It is a darkness that overcomes and overwhelms the one that carries the burden of hatred. Hatred hardens the heart and weakens the spirit. The one that shows hatred toward a member of the Lord's body is showing hatred toward the Lord. In so doing they put themselves out of fellowship with the Lord and His body.

There is no room for hatred within the body of Christ. There is only light and to live in Christ is to live in that light. Light makes everything visible. So, if we cannot see the need to love our brethren we need to step back into the light.

We must never forget; to claim to be a Christian and yet hate a member of Christ' body is to practice hypocrisy. This hypocrisy is visible within the body and without the body. This kind of hypocrisy does great damage to the reputation of the church and the world sees it. When the world sees it they see no need to change the way they live.

Today let's be a light to the world and show love for one another so the world will know we are His.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, December 28, 2012

We ought to walk in the same way

 Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
1 John 2:6 ESV

The apostle John certainly gave us words to live by in this statement. If we say we are in Christ we are to walk in His footsteps. The Gospels really do give us a step by step guide on how to walk as Jesus did.

When we read the gospel accounts of Jesus, we are shown how we are to live. We are to; have absolute faith in our heavenly Father, a willingness to do His will, a love for all humanity and a forgiving heart.

We are coming up on a new year. This coming year will give us Lord willing, 365 days to show Jesus to the world. That is a bare minimum of 365 opportunities to effect the lives of those around us like Jesus did. Think of it if we only come in contact with one person a day, that is 365 lives touched by us. Most of us will come in contact with many more than that in the course of a regular day. Everyone of those moments of contact is moment to show Jesus to that person.

So today, let's make up our minds to study those gospel accounts and learn from our master how we are to interact with those that we come in contact with. Let's learn the lessons and apply them daily. Let's walk like Jesus walked.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We deceive ourselves

 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:8 ESV

When I read this verse I realize that I have to admit to myself that I do have sin in my life. When I admit this I then can begin to evaluate my spiritual condition. If I can't admit this to myself I am truly deceiving myself and lying to myself.

If you notice in this verse John writes in the plural sense. In other words he includes himself in his statement. He wants to get the message across that none of us is exempt from self deceit. We all must be honest with ourselves about our capacity for sinful behavior.

The reality is that we all commit sins more often than we would like to admit. But, we have a faithful God that is willing to forgive us. So, we must be careful not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

It is easy to see the sins of others. It is easy to judge their motives for what they do. It's not so easy to see our own short comings. But, when we do look at ourselves more honestly we can be more forgiving toward others. We will be less likely to condemn others when we can say to ourselves; "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone." John 8:7 b ESV

Today let's all take an honest look inward and confess our sins to the one who can and will forgive us. Let us also forgive others as we have been forgiven.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, December 21, 2012

Walk in the light

 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John1:6-7 ESV

When John speaks of walking in darkness, he is speaking of walking in sin. Sin is darkness. John is telling his readers in these verses that saying we're living God's way and yet still sinning we are lying.

If we are walking in God's ways we cannot continue to live as we did before. So, to say we are in fellowship with God and continue to live as we did before we are lying. We are lying to ourselves and to God.

But, if we walk in the light of God's word we are in fellowship with God. In other words we are of the same mind set. We are following His ways. So as long as we continue in fellowship with God our sins are forgiven in Jesus. But, if we turn our backs on His ways and we wander back into the darkness of sin we are no longer protected by the blood of Jesus. We bear our sins.

As the Psalmist said; “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Ps. 119:105 ESV
God's word is our guide in this life to keep our feet on the path of righteousness, we must walk in the light. Did you notice the psalmist used the word path, the right way is narrow like a path and not wide like a highway. Darkness (sin) is on either side of the path, we must keep on the path.

So today, let's not lie to ourselves by living one way and saying we're doing something else. Let's walk in the light of His word and have fellowship with God in Christ.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

God is light

 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5 ESV

What a visual we get from this statement, absolute light. Nothing hidden, absolutely no darkness anywhere. The complete opposite of the world we live in. The world we live in is full of darkness and secrets. No darkness at all speaks to the purity, the Holiness of God's being.

As Christians, this is the God we serve, a God of light. As Paul said to Timothy the one “who dwells in unapproachable light”.(1 Timothy 16:16 ESV) Again Paul gives a visual of a God that is so pure and Holy, we cannot even come near to Him. Yet think of it; through Jesus we can come near, Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:16 ESV

Jesus bridged the gap that kept us from our God and made it possible for us to approach Him again. Through Him we have been taken out of the darkness into the Light. We have been brought back into fellowship.

When I think of God as light I think of the warmth that the sun gives and the illumination it provides. But when I think of the most beautiful sunny day, it pales in comparison to the light of God. Because, even in the most sunny of days there are still shadows and dark places. There are objects that block the light and deep dark places the light cannot penetrate. God is not like that He is far greater than that, “in Him is no darkness at all”.

So today, let's bask in the light of our God. Knowing He is pure and Holy. Trusting in His transparent love for us. Through Jesus He has shown us He loves us. Commit today to continue in the light of His love.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thoughts on Romans

 Concluding Thoughts on Romans 12

Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters in all of the New Testament. Paul does a great job of letting his readers know what good Christian character is. He helps his readers to see the role that they have within the body and the influence they have over that body.

Just look at the list of what we are to be and do that he covers in this one chapter. We are to live a life of sacrifice, be transformed, not to think too much of ourselves, we are all members of one body, we all have gifts for service to the body, we are to have genuine love for the body and serve where we can. Read Romans 12 through to get all of the details.

Romans 12 is so significant to me it is listed on my FACEBOOK page for religious views, “Christian- see Romans 12”.

I read and meditate on this chapter periodically. I find that it gives me a lot to think about and an opportunity to do some soul searching. It's not a to do list that I base my life on but a good place to look and take a spiritual inventory.

When one reads Romans 12 they are forced to look inward, and are caused to reevaluate where they are in their spiritual development. What a valuable treasure it is.

I hope that the blogs I have posted about this wonderful chapter have been a blessing to you and your study of God's word.

So today, let's purpose in our hearts to live the life that we have read about in Romans 12.

Feel free to share some of your thoughts on Romans 12 with me in the comment section.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Don't be overcome

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21 ESV

Paul finishes his passage on a great note. We don't want to be overcome, we want to overcome. The Christian walk is meant to be a victorious walk. But, if we don't watch it we can be overcome and lose the opportunity for victory.

When Paul says don't be overcome by evil, he means don't let evil win in your life. Don't give in to the old self and its ways. Hold on to what you know to be good and right. In Christ we are already more than conquerors. We don't have to give in to the evil influences around us. We can and need to stand firm in our faith.

Paul says that we should overcome evil with good. How do we do that? How is any battle won? Perseverance, and overwhelming power is how a battle is one. We as Christians need to persevere in doing good. We need to bring the overwhelming power of good to bear in every evil situation. When our enemies attack us, we need to overcome with twice as much good in response to their attacks. Read Matthew 5:39-48. Jesus taught us how do this in His sermon on the mount.

So today, let's be prepared for battle. Let's know in advance how we will react to evil. Let's employ the weapons of good that the Lord has supplied for us and “overcome evil with good”.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Monday, December 10, 2012

On the contrary

To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head."
Romans 12:20 ESV

In verse twenty Paul tells his readers what to do in place of vengeance. Bless them! Blessing someone is not our first reaction when we are wronged by them. Our natural inclination is to seek vengeance on some level. But Paul says don't do that, take care of their needs instead.

Did you notice how Paul starts the verse, “to the contrary”? Paul says act in a way contrary to what you might want to do. The last thing we want to do for someone that has wronged us to treat them nicely. After all they haven't treated us well why should we do good to them? Because it is the “Christian” thing to do. Jesus treated people well, in spite of how He was treated by them. If that was Jesus reaction to being wronged, it should be ours as well. Doing this will take practice because it doesn't come natural to most of us. Do you remember the old saying; practice makes perfect? As Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 ESV So, today let's practice blessing our enemies. Not because we want to heap burning coals on their heads, but because it is the right thing to do.

This passage also reminds me of what I used to say to my kids when I dropped them off at school or at someone's house. “Be good and don't act natural”. They knew that I was saying be on your best behavior and don't misbehave. In light of what Paul has said, I think I will take my own advice. I'll will be good and not act natural. How about you?

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, December 7, 2012

Vengeance is Mine

 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
Romans 12:19

So, Paul follows up his thoughts on living peaceably with the admonishment to not avenge ourselves. Vengeance never is a good thing and never settles anything. If you don't believe that, just look at the world we live in. Retaliation by those that have been wronged, just causes retaliation by those that wronged them in the first place. Think of the Hatfield's and McCoy's a feud that went on for years because both sides felt the need to avenge themselves. Many died before the feud ended. Think of how many lives would have been saved if both sides of the feud had left vengeance to God. Spiritually speaking; think of how many lives will be saved if we can learn not to avenge ourselves.

Paul says that we should leave vengeance to the Lord, let Him repay those that have wronged us. Paul is quoting Deuteronomy 32:35 when he write this verse. I think he does this to show us that this has always been the way God has wanted His people to handle being wronged. Jesus backs this up in His teachings. “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39 ESV Jesus not only taught this, He lived it out. And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.Luke 23:34 ESV As Jesus was being crucified He asked for those that had wronged Him to be forgiven. He didn't seek vengeance.

When we think about it, whatever we do in retaliation for wrongs suffered does not have the lasting effect that God's vengeance does. Our retaliations only prompt more retaliation. When God deals with someone it is just, and enduring. It is final. God sees the big picture, we only see what is going on in the moment. What that means is; we react in the moment, but God acts eternally. We must always remember He holds the future in His hands, He will make everything right in His time.

Today, let's leave vengeance to the Lord and learn to forgive those that have wronged us.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Living peaceably

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18 ESV

Living peaceably, doesn't that sound great? It is, and Paul says we can but it depends on us. We as individuals are responsible to do our best to live peaceably with everyone.

We cannot take responsibility for how others live, we can only be responsible for our own actions. But when you think of it, if every member of the Lord's body tried to live peaceably with everyone else there would be an incredible peace amongst God's people.

That being said, if there is anything less then peace amongst God's people there has to be someone not doing their best to live peaceably. When Paul makes statements like this he is asking his readers to take a look at themselves to see if they are doing their best. Statements like this one force us to look inward and reevaluate our walk. Introspection is good for us. Because, if we don't take time to look inward we don't see what God sees. He knows our hearts. What Paul is doing is getting us to know our hearts.

So today, let's look inward and see what God sees. Is what He wants to see, in us? If not, we need to make some changes. Living peaceably is far better than living at odds with others. When we are at odds with others, we are at odds with God. Not a good place to be.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Monday, December 3, 2012

Do what is honorable

 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
Romans 12:17 ESV

Repaying evil for evil never works does it? When we start playing that game everyone involved loses. The situation spirals out of control and effects many innocent by-standers. Payback never settles an issue. There is a reason Paul says not to repay evil with evil. He wants the church to be different than the world. He wants to show Christian behavior to be different than that of the world. Fighting like that within the body of Christ brings reproach on the whole body.

When you look at the second half of the verse you see what Paul wants from Christians, thoughtful and honorable behavior. He wants his readers to think before they react. He wants them to give some thought to what their actions may be and how they will appear to “everyone”. What ever behavior is exhibited within the church is on public display. The world is watching and if they see the church acting in the same way or even worse than those in the world do, it is a disgrace to our Lord.

We as Christians must think before we act in any given situation, because we represent the Kingdom of God to the world. Today, let's give thought to what is honorable and do what is honorable in the sight of all. Let us learn to forgive as we have been forgiven.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, November 30, 2012

Live in harmony

 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Romans 12:16 ESV

Paul advises the church to live in harmony and then proceeds to give three examples of how to do this. Let's look at all three individually.

Do not be haughty, don't be arrogant is what he's getting at. Arrogance has no place in the body of Christ. If our Lord and master is a humble servant, that is what we are to be as well. No room for arrogance there is there? Besides that does anyone really enjoy being around an arrogant person? No, arrogance causes dis-chord which is opposite of harmony. So, let's not be haughty.

He follows up with associate with the the lowly. Jesus did that. We should too. Jesus associated with every kind of person like prostitutes, tax collectors and even arrogant religious leaders (pharisees). After all none of us is as high and mighty as Christ. He is the great equalizer. We are equal under Him and we should treat each other as such.

Last he says do not be wise in your own sight. False wisdom certainly is not beneficial to the body. I say false, because when we base what we do on our own knowledge and exclude God's wisdom we are in dangerous territory. Everything we do within the body must be based on biblical truths, not our own wisdom or opinions. To think of ones self as being wise, is to be arrogant and self elevating.

All this being said, if we follow Paul's teaching on living in harmony we all will be blessed by it. The body will be much more harmonious.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15

In this verse Paul is speaking to the closeness that we as Christians should have with one another. We should sincerely feel what our brothers and sisters feel. We should share an emotional bond. Fellowship within the church is far deeper than simply belonging to a group or organization.

The church is far more than an organization, it is an organism. It is a living thing. It is a life giving thing. It is the body of Christ. When Paul says we should rejoice when members of the body rejoice and weep when they weep, he is speaking of a closeness like Jesus has to the body. When something is happening to the body of Christ He knows it. Paul understood this first hand, “And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Acts 22:7 ESV Jesus Himself was letting Paul know that He knew what was happening to His body.

Paul wants us to strive for that same kind of sensitivity toward our fellow members of the body. We as Christians are to empathize with other members of the body, put ourselves in their place and feel what they feel. We are to share in their joys and sorrows.

So today, come along side your brothers and sisters in Christ. Support them in what they are experiencing, whether it be joy or sorrow. If you do this for them, they will do the same for you. When we support each other in this way, the body of Christ is strengthened. Lets lift one another up.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Monday, November 26, 2012

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Bless those who persecute you

-->Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Romans 12:14

Sounds like a “natural” way to respond to persecution doesn't it? No, not really. Blessing those that persecute us is not the first thing that comes to mind when we face persecution. Our natural response to persecution is retaliation. We want to see our persecutors suffer for the pain inflicted on us. But, Paul says that is not the answer. We are to bless and not curse them.

Paul asks us to go against our nature, that nature being our sinful nature. Some would say you mean it's our human nature. I suppose so, because as humans we tend to respond in sinful ways to such things as persecution. Paul calls us to respond differently, he calls us to respond in a Christ like manner. We are to bless those that persecute us.

We as Christians are to respond to persecution like Jesus did. And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.” Luke 23:34 ESV Jesus as He was being crucified asked His Father to forgive those that were persecuting Him. Even when faced with great humiliation, pain and death, Jesus chose to bless rather than curse. That is what we are called to do. Right now you are probably thinking, well that was Jesus of course that's how He would react. Humans react differently. Really?

Let's look at Stephen. And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:16 Stephan, a man cried out to God to forgive those that were persecuting him. If Stephan when he was being stoned to death for preaching the gospel could forgive, shouldn't we be able to bless our persecutors?

Paul said to bless our persecutors. What greater blessing can we give someone than what Jesus has given us, forgiveness.

So today, let's pray for our persecutors and ask for their forgiveness.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, November 23, 2012

The needs of the saints

 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Romans 12:13 ESV

When I read this verse I'm reminded just how much of a family the church is supposed to be. We are to look after one another and build relationships with one another. Paul wasn't bringing up a new idea for the church. The church had been functioning this way since the early days in Jerusalem. (Acts 2:42-47)

We as members of the body of Christ are to care for each others needs whether they be physical, social or spiritual. We are a body and we are to function as such, all parts supporting one another.

Paul touches on two very important things in this verse. Needs of the saints and hospitality toward the saints. We as members of the body need to help and support others as the need arises. There will be times when some of us are blessed materially while others are in need. We should share our abundance with those that are in need. After all, whatever we have is a blessing from God. We should bless others as we have been blessed.

Paul says “seek to show hospitality”. In other words, look for ways to be hospitable to the members of the body. When we show hospitality, we show others that they matter to us and that we want them around. Spending time with members of the body outside times of worship builds relationships. Being hospitable is opening up your heart and home to others. When we do this for each other bonds are formed and the body is strengthened.

Wherever this kind of care is practiced in a congregation you see a healthy body of believers. One simple verse put into practice can do so much. Let's put it into practice.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stack the odds in you favor

 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Do you want to know how to remain strong in your faith? Stack the odds in your favor.

Rejoice in Hope, only Christians have true hope. We have an eternal hope. Non-christians place their hope in things that are temporary. Things that fail. Our hope is in Christ, He never fails.

Be patient in tribulation, all trials and tribulations are temporary. God's love for us is eternal. Whatever we may be facing in this life is just temporary, it will pass.

Be constant in prayer, because that is where we find our strength to go on. That is where we find our hope. That is where we find the patience to endure whatever we are going through.

When we do these three things we will be able to stay strong and resist the devil.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Serve the Lord

 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Romans 12:11 ESV

In this verse Paul says not to be lazy in our desire to serve, but we should have a passionate spirit in our service to the Lord.

I think Paul says this for good reason. Because, I think we all have a tendency to get lazy in our desire to serve at times. Paul reminds his readers to not let this slothful attitude to take over in their lives. Every relationship requires work from the parties involved in it. The Lord always does His part in the relationship, it is we that tend to trail off in our zeal to serve.

In His letter to the church at Ephesus the Lord said this; “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Revelation 2:4 ESV The Lord wanted the church at Ephesus to know that He was aware that they as a body had lost the passion, the love they once had for Him. The Lord is aware of our level of passion for Him and service to Him.

Paul says have a passionate spirit. He wants us to remember the passion we had at first and rekindle that passion. Obviously maintaining ones passion for service to the Lord has its ebb and flow. We have to be aware of that and where we are in that and act. If you feel your passion ebbing away turn the tide, remember the passion for service you had when you began your walk with the Lord and rekindle that fire.

Reread one of the Gospel accounts and see the passion that the Lord has for us in the ministry of Jesus. Ask the Lord to build you up in your faith. Begin serving anew. Find a new way to serve within the body and serve the Lord with a passionate spirit.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, November 16, 2012

Let love be genuine

 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Romans 12:9,10 ESV

These two verses really hinge on the first sentence, “Let love be genuine”. Paul wants his readers to know that love of the body of believers is to be genuine. He wants them to realize that they should love the body that they are a part of.

When you think of it this passage is really pointing out what the marks of a true Christian are; love for the brotherhood, love for what is good, disdain for what is evil and honoring the body of Christ.

Paul uses the word “outdo” when he refers to honoring other members of the body (church). Think of the ramifications of this idea, outdoing one another in honoring each other as valuable parts of the body. Would anyone feel insignificant within the body? Or, would every member feel important to the function of the body? I think it would be the latter.

What Paul is getting at is that everyone matters, people matter. He wants every member to be cognizant of every other member. He wants the body of believers to function at its highest level.

Today let's turn our focus to others within the church and honor them for the person they are and what they bring to the whole. Help them to see that they truly matter. Let our approach be genuine as we seek to build up the body.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Thursday, November 15, 2012

We have gifts, let's use them

 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12: 6-8 ESV

Paul speaks of a multitude of gifts that exist within the body of Christ. It is not an all inclusive list, but it covers a lot of gifts that many of us have to some degree. Just look at the list and see if you fall under one of those categories. If you do, are you using your gift to serve the body?

I want to focus on one particular gift that I believe is overlooked far too often, service. Everyone of us within the body have been called to serve. Yet, this isn't what many want to pursue. We have a tendency to look at some of the more “glorious” gifts of teaching, giving and leading and we covet them. We covet them as though we could serve Jesus and His body better if those were our gifts.

When we do that, I think we over look what was at the heart of Jesus ministry and what He wants us to appreciate. When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you? If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. John 13:12, 14 ESV Jesus Himself set the example as one who serves the needs of others. We are to follow in His steps.

Take another look at the list of gifts, at the core of every gift is service. Service to the body of Christ. Let's make up our minds today that we will serve the body with whatever gifts we have been given. The one gift that we all have, is the ability to serve. Find a place you can serve in the body today and serve because He served.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Members one of another

 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Romans 12:4,5 ESV

This is one of my favorite verses. Paul conveys how intermingled we are in the body of Christ. We as individuals work together as a part of the whole. None of us has exactly the same function in the body of Christ, but everyone of us is important to the function of the body.

Its important that we remember this. My last posting was about not thinking too much about ourselves, which is true we shouldn't. But, we should realize that we as individuals are an important part of the local body where we worship.

Realize that your particular personality and abilities are to be used to the benefit of the body. When we read our bibles we see that God uses peoples personalities and abilities to His glory. But they must be willing to let Him use them.

Are you letting God use your personality and abilities for His glory in the body where you are? Every person brings something unique to the local body of believers. You are unique and God wants to use that to His glory. Will you let Him? Take time today to look at yourself, an honest look. What is unique about you? What abilities do you have to strengthen and build up the body? Write them down. Take some time to think about how to be the best you, you can be in your congregation. Ask God for wisdom to use your personality and ability to His glory and find ways to go to work where you are and build up that body.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Monday, November 12, 2012

Yesterday's Sermon

Yesterday's Sermon

"Watch where you walk"

is up on the website:


Don't think more highly of yourself than you ought to think

 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3 ESV

What do you suppose Paul is trying to get at with this verse? Maybe, its not all about you? The reality of the human mind is that we have a tendency to think of our selves first and others after. That thought process not only causes problems in the world, but in the church as well. Paul is trying to get the point across that we are a part of the whole. We are not the sum of the whole.

He wants his readers to think more clearly than what comes naturally. He wants people to see beyond themselves and to the needs of others and of the body as a whole. This is why he says think with sober judgement. As Christians we need to take on a new thought process, we need to stop thinking as the world thinks.

We need to think like Jesus. Paul said this about Jesus; though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:6,7 ESV Jesus understood that there was more to His existence on earth than just His own desires. Jesus came to serve, not to be served. Although God Himself, Jesus put the needs of others before His own. We as Christians need to follow in His footsteps. Our place is to serve one another, serve the body. Fulfill our part in service to God.

We should take comfort daily, that we are blessed by God because of His grace toward us. Knowing that we are blessed, should be leading us to want others to be blessed in Jesus as well. Today let's put the needs of others before ours and serve from the heart according to the measure of faith that God has given us.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, November 9, 2012

Do not be conformed

 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 ESV

When I was a teenager I was labeled a non-conformist by my High school principle. He did this because I balked at all authority. Balking at authority is not what Paul is speaking of in this passage. Paul is saying that Christians are not to be conformed to the ways of the world. They are not to indulge in all the sinful ways of the world. As christians we are a called out people. That means to be called out of the world. Not physically, but spiritually called out of the world.

He then goes on to explain we are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. As Christians we are being renewed. As we come under the influence of the scriptures and we learn a different way to live, we are renewed in our thinking. Our minds are changed. We will be tested and when we're tested we need to lean on our new understanding of life to help us live in the right way.

The bible tells us all we need to know about what is good, acceptable and perfect in God's sight. When we read the Gospels we see all of these things lived out in the life of Jesus. When we look to the remainder of the New Testament teachings of the Apostles, we find the instructions we need to live this new life out before the world. Everything we need to be transformed is within the pages of our bible. We just need to apply it to our lives.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16,17 ESV

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Present your bodies as a lving sacrifice

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 ESV

In the above verse Paul is making an appeal to his readers. He wants them to give their bodies, their lives as a sacrifice to God. He wants them to give themselves to God as holy and acceptable. In other words he wants them to be living a holy life before God. Why is he appealing for this? Because their lives are to be worship of God. Paul isn't just speaking about worshipping properly on Sunday morning. No, he is calling his reader to live lives worthy of God at all times.

Paul says to present oneself as a living sacrifice is to give God spiritual worship. In John 4:24 Jesus said: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." ESV. Paul is really supporting what Jesus Himself said. Disciples lives are to be spiritual worship of God and are to be lives lived according to the truth. What is the truth? Jesus also said this; "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:6 ESV Jesus is the truth. If Jesus disciples are going to live lives of sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, they must be living Christ like. They must live like Him because His life was one that was sacrificial, holy and acceptable to God.

Paul wants his readers to know that they need to be living Christ for the world to see. Living in a way that God would be pleased with.

The question we have to ask ourselves is this; Am I presenting my body, my life to God as a sacrifice holy and acceptable in His sight? If the answer is no, we need to start living like Jesus. We need to truly become one of His disciples. We need to read the gospel accounts of Jesus and start modeling ourselves after Him. We need to read the rest of the New Testament as well to see what the Apostles taught concerning the Christian life. We need to learn and observe everything that Jesus taught. That is how we will live lies sacrificially, holy and acceptable to God.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Love and Honor

 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
1 Peter 2:17 ESV

To paraphrase the verse above. Respect everyone. Love the church. Respect God. Respect your ruler.

Peter uses four brief sentences to make four significant points. Peter wants his readers to understand as followers of Christ these are four things we should exhibit in our lives. 
We live in a world today where true respect is not taught as it should be. Tolerance is taught in place of respect. They are not one and the same. Respect is a gift that is given to another. Every person deserves respect and it should be given freely by those that claim to be a follower of Christ. Why do they deserve respect? They bear the image of their creator. Tolerance is accepting what someone does or is, regardless of how you feel about it morally. Tolerance really doesn't show love or respect. It just shows tolerance. Tolerance doesn't really help someone to be all that they can be. It stagnates their life and growth. If we truly respect others we will want what is best for them and help them to attain it.

Love of the brotherhood or the church, is not simply that we “love” to be a part of what we have found to be beneficial for us. No, the kind of love that Peter is speaking of is a deep and abiding love for the members of the body of Christ. He is also speaking of loving the teachings of the church. When we show this kind of love for the brotherhood and its teachings, it is evident that we are committed to the churches best interest in unity. 
Respect for God and His word is the highest priority for those that call upon the name of the Lord. We serve a mighty God, we are to respect Him by honoring Him in our lives. We must obey His teachings and teach them to others so they might obey Him as well.

Respect for our rulers is a sign to the world around us that we serve the one that put them in charge. "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." Romans 13:1 ESV Respect for authority is respect for God.

So today, let us love and honor God, His church, All people and those in Authority.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, November 2, 2012

To you I lift up my eyes

 To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us. Psalm 123:1,2 ESV

I love the visual I get from these verses.

A servant looking to his master for mercy, for approval, for acceptance. Looking up in humility, knowing his status before the master. This is how we should visualize ourselves as we go before God in prayer. Kneeling, looking up as a child looks to a parent for answers and sustenance.

We should be humbled in the presence of God's magnificence. Humbled, yet knowing we are dearly loved by the one that created us and all that He has given to us. We serve an awesome God.

If you ever doubt His love remember what Jesus said, And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32 ESV Jesus was describing the kind of death He would die. It is through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that God has drawn all people to Himself. That amazing act of love brings us to our knees.

So today, lift up your eyes toward heaven. Lift up your eyes to the cross and see a God that truly loves you. He loves you in spite of all that you aren't, he loves you because He created you in His image. He wants to give good things to you. He wants to hear all your cares. He wants to hear your thankfulness.

Humble yourself before Him in prayer today.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Save us Lord we are perishing

And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:24-26 ESV

I thought of this passage yesterday when the hurricane was approaching. I wondered how many people were praying in this manner yesterday and yet had not chosen to speak to the Lord at all the day before.

Looking at the passage above we see Jesus disciples panic when the weather changed suddenly. They want to be saved, but prior to that they had smooth sailing and hadn't engaged the Lord. They were doing their thing and the Lord was doing His. But, when things got rough they decided to go to Him.

When they cried for help the Lord responded and handled the situation. Before doing that, He asked them “why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Why is it that we Christians respond to the storms of life the same way the Apostles did? Because we like them, aren't truly trusting in the one that controls everything. We see circumstances and panic rather than trust in the Lord to see us through.

If you prayed like this yesterday as the storm approached, learn from this passage and trust in the Lord to see you through. Have faith, pray with confidence that the Lord is in control and trust yourself in His hands.

Remember whether it be stormy weather or the storms of life our Lord is in charge. Every storm ends and the sun will shine again. Engage the Lord every day, go to Him before panic sets in.

© Leo J. Woodman

Review of Unclean

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book review
"Muscle and a Shovel". Really enjoyed this book. This book is a great resource for those seeking biblical truths. I will be giving this book as a gift.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Today we will be discussing Luke 1:26-38, the birth of Jesus foretold.

In verse twenty six Luke is careful to point out that it was in the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy that “the angel Gabriel was sent from God” to Nazareth. Luke wants his readers to know that the events he is about to share were prompted by God Himself.

Gabriel is sent to speak to a virgin, engaged to a man by the name of Joseph. Luke again shares some Jewish genealogy when he writes, “Joseph of the house of David”. This is significant because of, what was told to King David by Nathan the prophet.

Read 2nd Samuel 7:5-17. This is a Messianic prophecy concerning Jesus. So, when Luke makes mention of Joseph's ancestry it is for good reason. He is letting the reader know that the birth of Jesus is going to be prophecy fulfilled.

Verses 28-33 recounts the proclamation of Gabriel to Mary, where Gabriel tells her she will have a son and what he will be named. Luke quotes Gabriel as he tells Mary, that prophecy will be fulfilled in the statement he makes in verses 32-33. Gabriel says that Jesus will receive “the throne of his father David”ESV and that His kingdom will be eternal. So, Joseph's ancestry is very significant isn't it? Even though Joseph will not be the biological father of Jesus, Jesus will be born into the line of David. (we'll look at this more in later comments)

Mary's reaction is one of questioning, not a lack of faith, like we saw with Zechariah. She simply asks “how will this be, since I am a virgin?”ESV The angel answers her question in verses 35-37. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." ESV Did you notice Gabriel throws in the fact that Elizabeth as an old woman is going to have a baby? I think he says this to show that God can do anything He wants, He is not limited by biology. What a powerful God we have!

Mary responds to Gabriel in absolute faith. "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." ESV She welcomes the blessing God has chosen to bestow upon her. Think of her faith. A young virgin, already engaged is told she will become pregnant and give birth to the Son of God. God can do incredible things through the lives of faithful people.

The passage that we looked at today shows us that God keeps his promises and that the birth of Jesus was always planned for. Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.Isaiah 7:14 ESV Luke recounts the moment in time when God was fulfilling His promise.

Tomorrow we will go over verses 39-45 of Luke chapter one when Mary visits Elizabeth.

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The birth of John the Baptist foretold

 Today we will be looking at verses 5 through 25 of Luke chapter one, these verses speak about the birth of John the Baptist.

It is obvious in this passage that Luke did his homework concerning the religious history and traditions of the Jews. Luke had quite an understanding of the Aaronic priesthood. He made note of couple of significant facts; there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Luke 1:5 ESV See Chronicles 24:1-10 and Exodus 6:23-25. The average Greek would not have known the genealogical history and significance of Zechariah and Elizabeth. But Luke took the time to research it and present it in his account.

Luke also makes the point that they were both righteous before God. He also points out that Elizabeth was unable to have children and that she and Zechariah were elderly. Luke then lets us know that it was during Zechariah's service to God, that God sent an angel with some incredible news. (Verses 8-13) They were going to have a son! In verses 14-17 the angel explains that there are great things that will come from the birth of this son.

Even though an angel of God stands before him making this proclamation, Zechariah doubts. He basically says to the angel; we are old, how could this happen? The angel Gabriel responds to his doubt by making him mute until the prophecy was fulfilled.

Luke then tells us in verses 24 and 25 that just as the angel said would happen, Elizabeth did become pregnant. But, she kept it quiet for five months.

As we look back over these verses we can see that God used His system of the priesthood and ancestral lines to bring about His will. To bring forth the prophet that would prepare the people for their long awaited Messiah.

Luke wants his readers to understand that God had been planning for the birth of Jesus all the way back when he established the Aaronic priesthood in the wilderness wanderings of the exodus. Isn't it interesting that God uses a non-Jew to point this out?

Tomorrow we look at the foretelling of the birth of Jesus. Luke 1:26-38

© 2012 Leo J. Woodman