Christmas Greetings

December 22, 2017

“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” (Luke 2:10)

 When the angels appeared to the shepherds, they announced they were bringing good tidings of great joy to all people – a wonderful Christmas greeting! Good tidings not just for good people, but to bring great joy to ALL people. That means all kinds of people, and all kinds of people everywhere.

Before He ascended, the last words of Jesus were: “… be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT)

Some Christians live their faith as if the last words of Jesus were: “Now don’t let it get around.” They live as if the Gospel is a secret to be kept.

Never forget these two beautiful Christmas words: “All people!”

The spiritual community of those who believe and follow Jesus is not to be a secret organization. It should be a community of people who exist for the benefit of non-members.

Jesus Christ came to bring good news and great joy to people who are not good.  The Bible tells us that all of us have gone astray and turned every one of us to his or her own way. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that God laid the penalty for all of our sins on His Son, Jesus. (Isaiah 53:6)

Two more great Christmas words are “mercy” and “grace.” The mercy of God withholds from us what we deserve, and God’s grace lavishes on us all kinds of marvelous things we do not deserve. God’s mercy and grace give us more blessings than we can count if we have the faith to receive them.

Dick Woodward, 23 December 2011


The Christmas That Was

December 19, 2017

“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” (Luke 2:20)

A teenager once asked me the question, “If Christmas was surrounded by all these miracles, why is it that 30 years later Jesus had such a hard time convincing everybody He was the Messiah?” If you will carefully read the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke, you will find the answer: the Christmas that was involved very few people.

When Angel Gabriel told an old priest what God was going to do, the priest didn’t believe God.  When Angel Gabriel informed the priest that God was going to do Christmas anyway, unbelief shut the mouth of the priest. Zechariah had the greatest sermon to preach any priest has ever had, but he was smitten with muteness. As the miracle of Christmas unfolded, he couldn’t preach his greatest sermon.

God then shared the miracle with a very godly young woman who was to be the birth mother of Jesus. Mary’s response (called the “Magnificat”) showed how godly she was, because in 10 verses of Scripture she referenced the Old Testament 23 times. But, as godly as she was, she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. God then informed her fiancé, Joseph, because it was on a need to know basis and he surely had a need to know.

God then told some lowly shepherds what God was doing. Why tell them?  He told them because before and after they saw the miracle they told everybody about the Christmas that was.

Luke has given us 132 verses that tell us about Christmas. Are we telling people about the miracle of the Christmas that was?

Dick Woodward, 21 December 2010


Saving Faith: Never Ever Alone

December 12, 2017

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

If this happy and joyful holiday season finds you unhappy because you are mourning the loss of a loved one, in my previous post I suggested you should ask the right questions. My second suggestion is to listen to God’s answers to the right questions. For example, listen to the answer of the One Who was God in the flesh and gave us the second beatitude that promised comfort when we are mourning.

Jesus gave this answer (John 11:25-26) to Martha who had lost her brother, Lazarus, whom she and Jesus loved deeply. To paraphrase, Jesus told Martha that if a man like her brother believed in Him, even though he died he would live. Jesus then opened this great reality to all of us with the declaration that whoever believes and lives his or her life in fellowship with Him will never die.

Make the observation when the Lord appears to be redundant He is not merely repeating Himself. The second time Jesus makes this declaration He opens the reality of everlasting life to whoever meets two prerequisites: if we believe in Him and if we live our lives in Him, we will never die.

Faith alone can save but the faith that saves is never alone.

When Jesus focuses the validating faith of living in Him, He uses an expression that is found nearly 200 times in the New Testament. It means to be in relationship with Him the way a branch is in relationship with a vine.

Dick Woodward, 14 December 2010


Asking the Right Questions

December 8, 2017

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  (Matthew 5:4)

In our culture today, there are many people who are praying for the grace to get through the weeks that begin with Thanksgiving and end with Christmas Day. These people are often ‘single again.’ By that I mean those who have lost a spouse through death or divorce, or those who have lost a child or a loved one.

If you have lost someone, it would be good to listen to the second beatitude of Jesus.  He shows that His values are very different from ours when He announces that those who are mourning losses can be blessed and comforted. The word blessed can mean “happy,” “spiritually prosperous” or “in a state of grace.”

If you would like to experience the blessing and comfort Jesus promised those who are mourning losses, a first step in that direction would be to ask the right questions. Perhaps, for the first time in your life – ask the right questions.

When we suffer loss, there are right questions and there are wrong questions. The question “why” is very often a wrong question, because it can lead to questions nobody can answer. There are, however, right questions. When we lose a loved one through death there is a question God wants us to ask. It’s found in the fourteenth chapter of the book of Job, where Job writes: “When a man dies he lies prostrate, he expires and then where is he?  When a man dies shall he live again?”

When we are mourning, God wants us to ask right questions like that one.  Have you ever asked that question?

Dick Woodward, 10 December 2010


A Christmas Question: Where is He?

December 5, 2017

“… Behold, wise men …came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is He?” (Matthew 2:2)

In the Old Testament, God begins dialogue with us by asking the question: “Where are you?” The New Testament begins with wise men asking the question: “Where is He?” If we are spiritually wise, as we read the Old Testament God will show us where we truly are. By the time we reach the New Testament we’re ready for the question of the wise men, because we know by then that we need a Savior – and we need to know where our Savior, Jesus, is.

Wise people still ask the question, “Where is He?” The Gospel of Matthew reports that those wise men were directed to a house where they found and worshiped a young Child about two years of age. By application, when we ask that question today, what are the answers we should expect to receive?

In John’s profound letter at the end of the New Testament we find these words: “We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1John 3:2) These three words “as He is” raise the question in what form, and in what ways, can we expect to find Jesus today?

If you want to be spiritually wise, ask the question: “Where is He?” Then look where a unique quality of Love can be found today. Look for where a unique quality of Light and Truth can be found today. Since we do not find Him in a test tube or a fossil, look for Jesus in an abundant spiritual dimension of life.

Dick Woodward, 07 December 2010


Merry Christmas to ALL PEOPLE!!

December 23, 2016

“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”  (Luke 2:10)

When the angels appeared to those frightened shepherds, they gave a wonderful Christmas greeting when they announced that they were bringing good tidings of great joy to all people.

These good tidings were not just for Jewish people, or for good people. They were to bring great joy to ALL people! That means all kinds of people – and all kinds of people everywhere!

Before Jesus ascended, his last words were: “…go be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NLT).

Some people hoard their faith as if the last words of Jesus were: “Now don’t let it get around!”  They live out their faith as if the Gospel is a secret to be kept.

Never forget these two beautiful Christmas words: “All people!”

The spiritual community of those who follow Jesus is not to be a secret organization. It is a community of people who exist for the benefit of non-members.

Jesus Christ came to bring good news and great joy to people who are not good. The Bible tells us that all of us have gone astray and turned every one of us to his or her own way.  That’s the bad news.  But the good news is that God laid the penalty for all of our sins on His Son. (Isaiah 53:6)

Two more great Christmas words are mercy and grace. The mercy of God withholds from us what we deserve and His grace lavishes on us all kinds of marvelous things we do not deserve. God’s mercy and grace give us more blessings than we can count if we have the faith to receive them.

Merry Christmas to ALL!!

Dick Woodward, 23 December 2011


Christmas Deliverance

December 16, 2016

“… and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

If anyone in the Christmas story had the right to an explanation of what was happening, it surely was Joseph. The angel who shared these words expressed what Christmas is all about when he told Joseph to call Mary’s baby Jesus, because He would save His people from their sins.

The word, Jesus, means “Savior.” But I would like to call your attention to the reality that the baby was to be given this name because He would save His people from their sins.

Many believers seem to put a spin on the angel’s statement that was never intended. Our spin is something like “forgive people for their sins.” However, the hard reality is the angel declared that it was the purpose on the heart of God to save people from their sins.

In the words of the redemption hymn, when God redeems us from our chaos it is also God’s plan to deliver us from our chains. (Psalm 107)  That was obviously on the heart of God when the angel pronounced this Christmas Good News.

Redemption means “to buy back and bring back that which was lost.” Rehabilitation in its Latin root means “to invest again with dignity.”  Jesus came to forgive us for our sins, but He came to offer us much more than that. He wants to save and deliver us from our sins.

This year have a personal Christmas – believe the declaration the angel made to Joseph!

Dick Woodward, 24 December 2009