Scripture: Paul wrote, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." Romans 14:19, NIV.


 Stumbling Blocks    Woe to pedestrians who traverse uneven pavement! The Romans, who contributed the word for foot travel, tried their best to build perfect roads.
Alas! Neither then or now do roads stay perfectly flat, and a block that projects above its neighbors is destined to catch the toe of those of us who walk upright on two pedes - er, feet.  It becomes a stumbling block.
    The writers of the Bible were well aware of the stumbling block, and often used the expression as an example of obstacles in our walk with God/Jesus. Paul speaks of stumbling in his letter to the Romans, 14:13. He is speaking to Christians, there!  A Christian as a stumbling block? Oh! Yes, read Romans 14, and learn what Paul was finding in the churches. He is writing specifically about eating practices, what was acceptable and what was not. Read between the lines a little. Consider 14:10. Judging others is a tricky business; the Lord will be the ultimate judge of us all.
    Yet judge we do. Special practices; sacred do’s and don’ts. Thy way and my way make  for  an  uneven  pavement  for  another trying to follow us.    The topic of church attendance came up at our Bible study. It seems that not everyone who is asked to come to church with us is willing to do so. Why not? What can we do or say that will bring in the lost, the lonely, and the seekers. Let’s face it - every institution of worship should be filled! We should not have to drag people to church. They should be so desirous of filling their souls with God that our world would be bubbling with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Ro. 14:17b).
    Is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit what people see and think when they see us; our/the ‘church’? If not, then are we a stumbling block? Sure sounds that way, to read about stumbling blocks in the Bible.

    Check out Isaiah 8:11-17. Here, God is a stumbling block! God?

    We are “Resurrection People” if we believe the message of Easter. Jesus, the Christ/Messiah, became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, each and every one in the whole world.  
He died on the cross, was buried, and rose again. Resurrection!

    Do you believe that? Many believe in Jesus, but not in the Resurrection. It has become their stumbling block.
         We’ve heard the call: Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. (Mk. 1:3)
   
Be on the lookout for stumbling blocks. Neither create them, nor allow them to remain as a trap that others might stumble.   
March 3, 2002

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