Google+ Badge

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