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Monday, April 29, 2013

How one ought to behave



if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
1 Timothy 3:15 ESV
Paul is writing to let Timothy know what acceptable behavior is in the household of God. This makes sense since there is certain behaviors that are expected and acceptable in every household. The household of God is no exception.
Most of us came to realize as we were growing up that not every household behaved as ours did. When we would go to visit a friends house we would certainly see similarities in behavior, but there would differences as well. This is how we learned what was acceptable in some places and not in others.
Well, in the household of God there are certain behaviors that are expected from those that live there. This is what Paul was getting at in first Timothy. He wanted Timothy to be able to teach others what was considered acceptable behavior in the household of God.
As Christians we certainly need to be aware of what is acceptable to God. We cannot presume to bring worldly behavior into the household of God and be acting in an acceptable way. Now that we are members of His household we need conduct ourselves as such.
So today, let’s commit to learning what is acceptable behavior in the household of God and practice it. Let’s put away the worldly behavior that holds us back.
© 2013 Leo J. Woodman


Friday, April 26, 2013

Living in the household of God


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

Paul writing to the Ephesian church wants them to realize their citizenship has changed. They are now members of the household of God. They are no longer strangers  to the household of God, but citizens of His household. Members of the family.
As Christians we too must realize that we are members of the biggest family the world has ever known. We may live in a particular community, but  we are members of the household of God first and foremost. So what that says about us is, we are representatives of our family of which God is the Father and Jesus is our brother. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing we are representing  our Heavenly Father. We are to let others see that heavenly influence in us.
We must let the light of God shine in all that we do. We don’t want to let others have a bad view of the household our Father has established. If we present a bad image to others it reflects badly on our Father and His entire household.
So today, let’s be honored to be a member of the household of God and invite others to come home. Let’s talk about God’s love for us and how it has been lived out in Jesus. Let’s talk about our brothers and sisters and the love we share in Christ. Let’s not give a poor, run down view of our Father’s House.


© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Traveling light


And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. Luke 9:3 ESV


Traveling light seems to be Jesus idea here. He was sending out His apostles to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Even though He sent them out with just the clothes on their back, they were still able to share the gospel wherever they went.



Think of how we plan for going on even for the shortest mission trips today. The amount of time, money and energy that is spent long before the trip ever takes place is amazing. So often we worry too much about what we need rather than what the world needs. Jesus wanted His apostles to be more concerned with preaching the gospel than with comfort and security.

My friend Scott took this verse to heart as well. The last time I saw Scott he had all his worldly possessions in a small trash bag. He had just returned from Oklahoma when he came by the church building to visit with me. He asked me to keep his things while he went to see if he could find a place to stay while he was in the area. Even though
everything he had fit into a bag, he was willing to leave it with someone else while seeking shelter. Scott trusted God and those he came in contact with. He knew God would provide.

How many of us are burdened with the trappings of this world and don’t fully trust in God ability to provide for our needs? I would venture to guess quite a few of us. We tend to worry about our perceived needs more than the spiritual needs of the lost in the world.

Today, let’s seek God’s wisdom for our lives and what is spiritually best for others. Let’s be willing to go out in faith to share the gospel and trust in God to provide for our needs. Let’s travel light like the Apostles did.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Monday, April 22, 2013

I can do all things


I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 ESV


Many of us cling to this verse in times of difficulty and we should, because it is right. We can do all things through him who strengthens us. The Christians life is filled with challenges and difficulties, yet we do not have to succumb to them. We can stand in the face of adversity because of Jesus.

Because of Jesus we are not alone in our struggles. We can be strong. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 4:12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ESV The Lord is our strength in time of trial.

We live in a world where so often we feel all alone, but in Jesus we  never are alone. Think of what Paul’s life was like, he suffered many things for the cause of Christ yet he never wavered in his mission. Why is that? It is because he knew where his strength came from. He knew that he could do all things, not just some things. He could do all things through Him that strengthened him, that is the Lord.

So today, if you find yourself doubting your ability to cope with what has come your way in life remember Paul’s word of encouragement. You too can do “all things” through Him who strengthens you.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Count the cost


For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:28,33 ESV


Jesus warned His potential followers to count the cost, before making a commitment they weren’t ready to follow through on. The decision to follow Jesus is not one to be taken lightly. To follow Jesus is to do what he does.

Jesus gave His life to serve His Father and do His will. When we claim to be a follower of Christ we are claiming to serve God and do His will. Following Jesus is not simply joining a group that makes you feel good about yourself.

Jesus said that if you want to follow Him you must renounce all that you have. How many of us have truly done that? Think of Jesus apostles, they left everything and everyone to follow Him. Every one of Jesus apostles gave their lives to serve God and do His will. The average Christian does not believe that is what the “average” christian is called to do.

Do we truly believe that Jesus said something that He didn’t mean? I don’t think so. My friend Scott didn’t think so. He left everything to follow in the steps of Jesus. He believed that he was called to bring the gospel to everyone, everywhere.

So today, let’s ask ourselves do we believe what Jesus said concerning following Him? What have we given up in our lives to follow Jesus, or have they really not changed at all. Are we clinging to the life we have and  not doing much to reach out to the world around us?


© 2013 Leo J. Woodman




Friday, April 12, 2013

I will follow you


And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Matthew 8:19,20 ESV



The verses above remind me of my friend Scott. I think Scott takes these verses to heart. He believes that he is to spread the gospel just like Jesus did. He is willing to follow Jesus and leave all the creature comforts behind and go serve people where they are.

Think about what is happening in these verses. A very religious man tells Jesus “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus response is to tell the man what it means to follow follow him. Jesus basically says if you want to follow me you won’t have all the comforts you are used to. Because, Jesus said I don’t even have a place to lay my head at night. It’s safe to assume that the scribe didn’t follow Jesus, because he probably had  a comfortable living and wasn’t ready give all of it up.

I respect the fact that Scott takes these verses to heart and lives his life according to them. How many of us would be willing to sacrifice all that we enjoy to follow Jesus and travel from place to place to share the good news?  That’s what Scott did.  

So today, let’s consider what we can do to follow Jesus more closely. How can we leave our comfort zone and reach out to others like Jesus did? There are many people out there today that need to hear the Gospel. How will we bring it to them?
© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Scott


Today I have been thinking about a friend of mine. His name is Scott. I met Scott a couple of years ago when he came into the church building where I preach. He showed up to worship with us. He was wearing ill fitting sweat pants and a dress shirt. He was carrying a trash bag with some items in it and a gallon jug of water. Most of us would have thought that “he could have dressed better” for worship. He introduced himself to me and told me he was a “homeless missionary”. He said he traveled around northern New England sharing the good news with homeless people. 



Scott spent a couple of month’s in the area that winter and he worshipped with us fairly regularly. He didn’t always worship with us, he thought it was important to worship with other churches in the area as well. He was willing to reach out to anyone and worship with them, he wanted to let everyone know he cared about them.

In my next few postings I’m going to share some of my encounters with Scott. He reminded me of some things that I had forgotten. It is amazing, the people that God sends into our lives at different times to teach us something. When Scott came into my life I was reminded of a verse, Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ESV Scott was a stranger, and by showing him hospitality I learned some things and was reminded of others.

So today, let’s be open to the people God sends our way. He may have a lesson we need to learn from them.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Do you believe this?

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25,26 ESV





Do you believe this? When you read these verses, do truly believe what they say? Do you believe that your belief in Christ gives you everlasting life in Him?

Jesus is making an I am statement in this passage, he proclaims Himself to be the resurrection and the life. In doing so He is letting it be known that the only way to experience resurrection and life is through belief in Him. The believers hope is in the resurrection and life eternal.

What an amazing thought, we can live for ever because of Jesus. Those of us who have come to realize without Jesus this life is all there is and have been obedient to His gospel now have an eternal destination. The grave is not our final destination. Heaven is where we are bound.

So today let’s live life like it will never end, because in Jesus it won’t. We will live on in eternity forever with Him!

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Friday, April 5, 2013

The church in Smyrna


“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’ Revelation 2: 8-11 ESV

Smyrna today

As the letter begins Jesus tells John to write the words of the resurrected Christ. Think of the encouragement that comes from this statement not only for the church in Smyrna, but for us today as well. It is the risen Christ that is sending His message to the churches.

Jesus tells the church in Smyrna that he knows their circumstances. He knows that they are troubled and poor, but wants them to know that in spite of the lack of earthly wealth they are spiritually rich.

Jesus let’s the readers know that he knows that they are about to endure persecution and encourages them to not be afraid of what’s coming. He tells them to stay faithful unto death and they will receive eternal life. Words to encourage followers to not be intimidated by the threat of death for being a Christian.

Jesus ends His letter with a warning to listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to the churches. To listen means to take the message to heart and apply it to ones life. In His closing statement to the church in Smyrna He reminds them that if they conquer in this life they will not be faced with the second death, the death of the soul. Jesus had something similar before, And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 ESV) to encourage His followers. Imagine the encouragement the church gained from this letter.

Today, we too can be encouraged. We can know that a life of faithful service to Jesus is a worthwhile endeavor. Eternal life awaits the faithful.

© 2013 Leo J. Woodman

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

To the church in Ephesus


“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstand“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’ Revelation 2:1-7 ESV

Ephesus Today


This introductory verse of the letter to the church at Ephesus let’s the reader know the intimate relationship that Jesus has with every part of His body. The visual that is given is that of Jesus supporting His churches and walking among them. It shows that Jesus cares for and tends to every congregation of His people.

In verses two through seven Jesus shares with the church all that he knows about them. He tells them He knows their works, he knows what they are doing as a body. He knows about their endurance and their ability to see false apostles for what they are. He encourages them with these words and then gets down to the point that they need to change.

He basically tells them that their relationship with Him is not what it once was and there needs to be some changes made. He tells them to repent and return to the relationship that they once had with Him. He warns them that if they don’t they will be removed from His presence.

He then ends on a more positive note. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He let’s them know that at least in this area they are still in agreement with Him. He then tells them to listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to the churches. If they do listen and overcome their failings, they will have a place in paradise and live eternally.

So today, let’s use this message to the church at Ephesus to reevaluate our standing in Christ. Have we abandoned our first love, have we fallen away from the relationship we once Had with Him? If so let’s repent and begin anew.

(C) 2013 Leo J. Woodman