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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Whatever one sows

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7,8 ESV

Some folks call this Karma, others “what goes around comes around” but these verses make it plain that however we treat others is how we will be treated. So, if we follow our fleshly desires whatever they may be we will reap corruption. Corruption means death, decay and rot. That is what sowing to the flesh repays. Not a pretty picture is it?

Any of us that have experienced this kind of reaping, realize just what kind of pain we have put others through. Because, we have received back what we have put out.

So today, remember to be careful what you sow, because that is what you will reap. “God is not mocked.”

Think about what Jesus said... "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 ESV Think before you speak or act, because it will come back to you. How you treat others today is how you will be treated later.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Because God is love

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8 ESV

What a charge this verse is, if we fail to show love. If we don't love, we don't know God! If we claim to be a Christian that means we claim to know Jesus, if we claim to know Jesus, we claim to know God. Think about what Jesus said in John 14:7 “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." We as Christians must love, because God is love.

Verses like this are cause for soul searching and self-examination. We have to ask ourselves if we are loving as God has loved us? Are we living Christ-like? Are we living what we have learned from Jesus?

Think of a police officer, they are taught to protect, serve and enforce the law. We would not expect or accept anything less in their conduct as a police officer. Their uniform tells us that they are to conduct themselves in a certain way. Do Christians wear uniforms? No not one made of cloth, but one that is made of love. When we present ourselves as Christians, we must be in uniform. We must be clothed in love.

As Christians we are claiming to know God. It must show in our conduct. If God is love, we are to be love because we are His.

So today, let's put on the uniform God has given us. Let's love as we have been loved. Let's show the world we know God.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Whoever loves is born of God"

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 john 4:7 ESV

John cuts right to the chase on this one when he says “whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” Simply put, if we “know” God we will love. Not a sappy kind of love, but a deep love like God has for us and is shown through Jesus. We need to have a Christ like love, because if we know the Son we know the Father.

We must look to Jesus for the example of how we are to love. Jesus loved everyone He came in contact with, pharisee, sadducee, prostitute, rich or poor it didn't matter to Him. He didn't agree with everything they did or were, but He loved them. When we read the gospel accounts we see Jesus reaching out to everyone around Him. No one was off limits to Him.

It was His mission to show God's love to the “world”. The world is full all sorts of people. He did show love for His people first, He went to the Jews first with His message. But, He didn't stop there He took His message to everyone and taught His disciples to do the same.

So today, let us start with our people first “the church” and move outward and bring the message of God's love to everyone. Let's resolve that no one is off limits for God's love. At some point in the past someone showed God's love to us and we have come to Him because of it. Let us go and do likewise. Let's show people we know God!

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, January 25, 2013

Beloved, do not believe every spirit

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 John 4:1 ESV

This is very wise advice from John. We all need to test what we hear and read to see if it is from God. The truth of the matter is, just because someone says a teaching is from God or His word does not mean it is. There are false teachers out there.

John writes this letter in the first century, the church is less than 100 years old and yet he says many false prophets had gone out into the world. If there were false teachers in the first century it stands to reason that there are false teachers in the twenty-first century.

The responsibility falls on us as followers of Christ to test what we are taught. If it is not in line with the teachings of Christ and his apostles teachings then it can't possibly be the truth. If it isn't the truth, it is false and is to be treated as a lie.

There is a reason the Berean's were praised for their study of the scriptures as we see in Acts 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. They didn't take Paul's preaching at face value they made sure that his teachings were in line with the scriptures.

So today, let's be like the Berean's and test what we learn about God's word. Whenever we read something or hear something concerning the bible, we will not take it at face value but test it against God's word. Let's examine the scriptures daily. When we do that, we will be able to identify false teaching when it is presented to us.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
1 John 3:15 ESV

Following up on my last post about loving one another, today we look at how dangerous it is for disciples of Christ to harbor hateful thoughts toward one another. If we as a follower of Jesus hate our brother it is tantamount to murder. John is expressing how important it is to continue in a loving relationship with our fellow disciples. Because, if we hate another Christian we are a murderer.

Look at the second half of the verse and see, to hate ones brother has eternal consequences. Yet there are many professed Christians that do hate another member of the Lord's body. If we show hatred for a member of the Lord's body, we're showing hatred for Jesus and ourselves as well because we are all one. To hate ones brother is to separate one's self from God.

So, today let's really look into our hearts and see if we have any hate lurking there. If we do, let's repent of it and show love for the one we have held hard feelings toward. Let's seek their forgiveness and God's as well. There is no room for hate within the body of Christ.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Monday, January 21, 2013

Yesterday's sermon

"Seek the ancient paths"

Love one another

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
1 John 3:11 ESV

When John writes this is what you have heard from the beginning, he means just that. What John is saying here is that to love one another is a direct command from Jesus himself; A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.John 13:34 ESV

What John is sharing here is not simply a suggestion, but a commandment from the Lord Himself. As disciples of Christ we have been commanded to love one another. John isn't the only New Testament writer to relay the importance of this commandment, Paul and Peter do so as well. See Romans 12:10, 1st Thessalonians 4:9 and 1 Peter 1:22. A commandment is not optional. It is not something we do when we choose, it is what we are to do at all times. To disobey a commandment of the Lord is to sin. So, if we are not showing love to a fellow believer for whatever reason, we are sinning.

So today, if we consider ourselves to be disciples of Christ we have no choice but to love our fellow disciples. The love of one Christian for another is of great importance, it shows that we truly are his disciples. As Jesus said; “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35 ESV

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, January 18, 2013

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning

 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 1 John 3:6 ESV

This verse is very sobering. It is cause for true soul searching and study. When one reads this verse they have to ask themselves if they are truly living in Christ. It causes one to look more closely at their walk, to see if there is a place in their lives where they are continuing in sinful behavior.

I think most of us, when we first consider this verse probably think; well I don't do the things I used to do before I became a Christian. So, I should be alright. But, should we leave it there? Maybe we would should dig a little deeper. Ultimately we are to model our walk after Jesus walk. So it behooves us to know what that walk was and whether or not we are following in His footsteps. Remember what John says, if we keep on sinning we haven't seen Him or known Him.

So, we need to look at the life of Jesus as it's chronicled in the Gospels and come to know what is acceptable behavior for a Christian. We don't want to continue in sinful behavior that will keep us from being all that the Lord wants us to be. Even though we have received God's grace through Jesus we don't want to continue in behavior that is an affront to that grace. Think of what the apostle Paul said about this subject. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1,2 ESV As christians we have died to sin and must lead a new life, leaving the old one behind.

So today, let's really look at ourselves and see if we are doing things in our lives that we know to be against the teachings of the Bible. Whatever we find that is not suitable behavior for us let's repent of that behavior, ask for forgiveness and continue in Jesus. Let's show by our walk that we have seen Him and know Him.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When He appears we shall be like Him

Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
1 John 3:2 ESV

This verse is one of the most encouraging verses in the bible. First, as Christians we are children of God right now. It's not like some day, down the road we will become children of God when we are in heaven. We are His now! He claims us as His. We don't look any different than anybody else, yet we are children of God.

But, we know the day is coming when we will be changed as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15: 52, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.ESV We will no longer be mortal but, immortal. John says we don't yet know what we will be like in that state, but when He returns for us we will be like Him.

It is exciting to think of the day when we will be like Him. We won't be dealing with all of the human failings and weakness we do now. That day those things will all pass away. That day will come to those that remain His “faithful” children.

Think about what Paul wrote about being God's children in Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.ESV That eternal reward will come after we have lived a life sacrifice to Him.

So today, look to the future and know that at the end of the journey we too will be glorified as Christ was glorified.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Monday, January 14, 2013

See what kind of love the Father has given to us

 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 3:1 ESV

At the beginning of chapter 3 John reminds his readers of the love that God has for us. He points out the fact that God calls us His children. He finishes that statement with “and so we are”. He declares that, yes we are are children of God. What a wonderful gift God has given us in Christ, we are His children.

He goes on to explain that is why the world looks at us the way they do. Because as Christians we are different than they are, they don't know us. Why? Because they don't know God, He is foreign to them. If God is foreign to the world, then so are His children. When we become children of God (christians) we become strangers in a strange land.

But we are at home somewhere else where we are recognized and loved as Paul said: “so then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” Ephesians 2:19 ESV We are members of the household of God. We are under His love, leadership and protection.

What an amazing love God has for us! He has taken us in to His household and given us all that He has through His Son. God is no longer a stranger to us, He is our Father. This was His plan for us, that we would be adopted as sons; “he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,” Ephesians 1:5 ESV The whole purpose in sending Jesus was to bring us back home.

So today, meditate on this verse and God's love for you. Thank Him and praise Him for His love toward you. Remember to day you are a child of God.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, January 11, 2013

Have confidence

 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
1 John 2:28 ESV

John is letting his readers know how important it is to remain in Jesus teachings. It's just as important for us today to know that the teachings we follow are those of the Lord. We all know that there are many different types of teaching out there. There are many false teachers that would have us believe something other than what our Lord has taught us through His word. This is a problem the church faced in the 1st century and she still does today in the 21st century, false teaching.

John says “little children, abide in him”, live in his ways. One thing we must remember as Christians, we are disciples of Christ. We are not be disciples of any man. Men will lead us astray, but Jesus is the way. (John 14:6) John wants all of his readers to know that if we remain in Jesus teachings, we can be confident of our place in heaven when He returns for us.

Think about it, when we stand before Jesus in judgement we want to be able to stand in confidence. We want to be able to know that He knows us because we know Him. We want him to recognize us on that day as those that followed His ways, because His ways are God's ways. We want to hear Him say “well done, good and faithful servant” not, “ I never knew you; depart from me.” We don't want to have to shrink away from Him because we were not faithful to His teachings.

So today, let's begin anew our discipleship in Christ. Let's study ourselves to be approved by Him. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What you heard from the beginning

-->Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1 John 2:24 ESV

In this verse John is alluding to the teachings of the Apostles. He is writing to remind christians to live their lives in the teachings of the Apostles. If they live this way they will be living in Jesus and God. An intimate relationship with the Son and the Father only comes from being obedient to those original teachings.

Why would he want to remind the disciples of this? Because, there were already many false teachers bringing new and different teachings from what had been taught by the Apostles. Today the same thing is happening there are those that would teach new ways of being in Christ. Even though there is no such thing, these teachings persist.

Remember what Paul had to say about this; But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8 ESV Paul uses strong language, he wants believers to know that there are no new teachings.

If this was the teachings of the Apostles in the first century it stands to reason that those teachings have not changed. So, when we consider 1 John 2:24 we must realize that all that we need to know about Jesus, God's plan of Salvation and His church is to be found between the covers of our bibles and no place else. If we live our lives according to the Apostles teachings, we live in the Son and the Father.

So today, let's commit to learning what was handed down to us in the Word of God and pay no heed to those that would want us to believe something different.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Monday, January 7, 2013

The world is passing away

 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  
1 john 2:17 ESV

John is letting his readers know that this world that we are so enthralled with is temporary. It is passing away. Our time on it and in it is fleeting. We need to look to the future in our faith. If we choose to stay on the path we have chosen in Christ we will live forever. But conversely if we give in to the desires of this life they will quickly slip away.

John as he writes to those in the faith, wants them to hold on and do the will of God. He wants his readers to have a hope in that which is eternal. Doing the will of God makes it possible for one to live on with God when this life has ended. Living with God in this life affords eternal life in glory.

I think we need to ask ourselves on a regular basis, what is it that I desire? Is it this life and what it has to offer, or is it life eternal with God. If we find ourselves leaning toward this world and its desires we need to rethink what we are doing.

So today, let's ask ourselves where our hearts lie. Are they mired in the lies of the prince of this world ? Or, are they resting in the hope that the Prince of peace gives? Every question requires an answer. What will your answer be?

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, January 4, 2013

Do not love the world

 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15 ESV

Love of the world is something we cannot afford. Our love cannot be divided. We cannot love God and the world at the same time. To do so is to commit spiritual adultery. When we come to God through Christ we are giving up our love affair with the world and the things of the world. We are entering into an exclusive relationship with the God of the universe. We must forsake the past and long for our future in heaven.

Married folks get this idea of exclusivity. We would not like to have our spouse share their love with anyone other than us. God doesn't want to do that either. God gave His Son to do die on the cross for us, He paid the ultimate price to call us into a relationship with Him. So when John says “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” he is talking about that person leaving the exclusive relationship they had with the Father.

It is obvious that the world calls to us. Even though as Christians we have left the world behind spiritually, we still physically live in it. Because it surrounds us, it tempts us and if we are not careful we can be lured away by it. That is why John writes what he does. It is so the reader can be aware of the dangers of loving this world too much.

Today let's be aware of the world around us, but let's not be tempted by it. We all have memories of the way life was before Christ. Let's remember them with sober judgement and realize that the world was not what we needed. It wasn't good for us. Our new relationship is what we need to make us complete and spiritually healthy. Let's recommit to the love of the Father.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Because your sins are forgiven

 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.
1 John 2:12 ESV

This is a great verse. John is writing to the church letting them know that he wants them to remember something very important, their sins have been forgiven. This verse is just as significant to us today. Because we too have had our “sins forgiven for his name's sake”.

When we think about it, so much of what is written in the New Testament is because our sins are forgiven for His name's sake. Paul, Peter, James, Jude and John all wrote letters to encourage the faithful to remain faithful. They wanted their readers to remember where they came from and where they stand in Christ. These letters serve the same purpose for us today. They are written to us so that we can know how to remain faithful. They are written to remind us that we have been forgiven and we need to live like we have been forgiven.

Everything we need to know about how to become a Christian and remain a Christian is found in those letters written to the church. We are truly blessed to have the Gospels, Acts , Romans and all the letters that have come down to us over the centuries. The Christian faith is an ancient and rich faith. The Christian faith was once for all delivered as Jude says in his letter. There is nothing new on the horizon, we have everything that God's wants us to have for a faithful walk in Christ.

Today, let's commit to rereading the Gospels, Acts and all the epistles (letters) to find that rich heritage that has been given to us in Christ by those He chose to pass on the faith.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman