#Renewal – Turning Water into Wine

November 19, 2019

“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11)

Jesus goes to a wedding and when they run out of wine, He creates more wine. In addition to the record of a miracle, this story is a formula for regeneration and a prescription for renewal.

There is tired and there is tired of.  Disciples of Jesus not only get tired, they get tired of.

We call this “burnout.”

I’m convinced this first miracle of Jesus presents a prescription for burnout. If you are experiencing the need for renewal consider this prescription. When Mary tells Jesus they have no wine, since wine is a symbol of joy in the Bible let this represent your confession that you need renewal because you are tired of, dry, and burned out.

Then block out some time to fill your human vessel with the Word of God as symbolized by the vessels being filled with water. While you are filling up on the Word of God do whatever the Holy Spirit tells you to do. Then realize that renewal is not just to give you a spiritual experience, renewal is for the benefit of those God wants to touch and bless using you as God’s channel.

Let these four principles from Jesus Christ’s first miracle bring renewal to you as you serve Him. Our Lord often invited His disciples to come apart and rest awhile. If you don’t come apart at times and take this prescription of Jesus for your burnout – your life will come apart.

Let Jesus turn your water into wine.

Dick Woodward, 16 November 2011


#FAITH: Steps for Regeneration

November 15, 2019

“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11)

An allegory is a story in which people, places and things have a deeper meaning. In addition to being the record of a supernatural miracle, the story of Jesus turning water into wine is a beautiful allegory that shows us how to be born again.

Carefully and prayerfully read the story. (John 2:1-11)

A first step is expressed in the words of Mary when she tells Jesus: “They have no wine.”  Wine is a symbol of joy in the Bible. This statement of Mary is like a confession. Our first step in being born again is to confess that we have no wine (joy) and we need to be born again.

A second step in this formula is when Jesus tells the servants to fill the huge thirty gallon jars with water. The Scripture is sometimes symbolized by water because of the way it cleanses. A devotional application here could therefore be that our second step toward regeneration would be to fill our human vessel with the Word of God.

A third step is pictured when Mary tells the servants to “do whatever Jesus tells you to do.” While we are filling our vessel with the Word we must do what Jesus tells us to do.

The fourth step is when Jesus tells the servants to draw out what they had just poured into the huge jars and serve it as wine. Precisely, when did the water become wine? I’m convinced it was when the servants had the faith to serve the water as wine. We are born again when we believe Jesus can turn our water into wine and show His glory through us.

Dick Woodward, 14 November 2011


#FAITH: An Inspired Art Gallery

November 12, 2019

So the word of God became a human being and lived among us. We saw His splendor (the splendor as of a father’s only son) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

The Gospel of John is like an inspired art gallery. Every chapter is a room in that gallery with beautiful portraits of Jesus Christ hanging on the walls. The portrait in the first room is that of Jesus as the Word that became human to make His home among us.

If you want to communicate a great idea wrap it in a person. God does that all the way through the Bible. God communicates the concept of faith by wrapping it in the person of Abraham. God tells us what grace is by wrapping that beautiful concept in the person of Jacob.

What does it mean when we are told that Jesus is the Word? A word is the vehicle of a thought. When I want to communicate thoughts from my mind to your mind I use words as vehicles of my thoughts.

God had ‘Thought’ that God wanted to express to this world. Jesus is like a comprehensive Word that expressed the Thought of God to this world – and to you and me.

Our loving Heavenly Father decided that an inspired written Word was not enough. God wanted us to see His expressed thought in human flesh and blood. God therefore became human and made His home with us as Jesus so we could see and experience His expressed thought toward us.

The Word not only made His home among us – Jesus wants to make His home in us. If Jesus has done that for you, what great ideas does He want to communicate to others by wrapping them in your life?

Dick Woodward, 10 November 2011


#LOVE: THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD

November 8, 2019

“There are three things that last — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.”  (1 Corinthians 13:13)

What is the greatest thing in the world? The Apostle Paul sifts his answer down to three things: hope, faith and love. Hope is the conviction that there can be good in life. God plants hope in the hearts of human beings.

Hope gives birth to faith, and faith is one of the greatest things because faith brings us to God. However, when Paul compares these two great concepts with love, without hesitation he concludes that love is the greatest thing in the world.

This is true because love is not something that brings us to something that brings us to God. When we experience the special love Paul describes we are in the Presence of God.

There is a particular quality of love that is God and God is a particular quality of love.

To acquaint us with that specific quality of love, in the middle of this chapter Paul passes love through the “prism” of the Holy Spirit that comes out on the other side as a cluster of 15 virtues. All these virtues of love are others-centered, unselfish ways of expressing unconditional love. If you study these virtues you will find in them a cross section of the love that is God – and is the greatest thing in the world.

Paul presents faith, hope and love as the greatest things because they last. Love is the greatest of the three because one day we will no longer need hope and faith when throughout eternity we will be in the Presence of Love.

Therefore, the greatest thing in the world is Love.

Dick Woodward, 08 November 2013


#FAITH : A RECIPE FOR REST

November 5, 2019

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus loves to give invitations. He addresses this one to people who are loaded with problems and are working themselves to exhaustion trying to solve their problems. Jesus promises that if we come to Him, He will give us rest. If you look closely at this invitation He is inviting us to come to Him and learn about His heart, His burden, and His yoke. It is what we learn from Him that will lead us to rest.

Jesus wants burdened people to learn that His burden is light, His heart is humble, and His yoke is easy. There is a sense in which Jesus had the weight of the world on His shoulders and yet He claimed that His burden was light.

His burden was light because He let His Father carry the load.

The most important part of His recipe for rest is what Jesus wants us to learn about His yoke. A yoke is not a burden. It is an instrument that makes it possible to bear a burden. When a cart is piled high with cargo it is the yoke that makes it possible for an ox to pull a great load with ease.

It is the yoke of Jesus that shows us how to pull our heavy burdens of life.The yoke of Jesus is that He let His Father carry the burdens. We take His yoke upon us when we let the Holy Spirit carry the load.

Dick Woodward, 05 November 2013


#FAITH: Reality Contact

November 1, 2019

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)

A long time ago I lunched every week with a friend on Mondays. I’d always ask him, “How are you, Skip?”

“Great, wonderful, marvelous and tremendous!” he’d answer. Always!

On many Mondays I’d not had a good weekend and life was not great, wonderful, marvelous and tremendous for me. But this guy was always emphatically optimistic. After this pattern continued for some time, one Monday I asked him, “Tell me something. If everything wasn’t great, wonderful, marvelous and tremendous, how would you answer my question?”

“Oh, I’d probably lie to you,” he responded.

I then decided to rephrase my question. I asked, “How are you, really, Skip?” He worked with a group of people who emphasized memorizing a Scripture verse of the week. “Frankly, if you really want to know,” he said, “My verse of the week is, ‘Hang it on your beak, freak!’”

We then had some honest conversation, what I call “Reality Contact.”

What James had in mind is that if we are honest with each other we will be burdened to pray for each other. As a result of mutual prayers for one another we will be healed. If when we meet together we are not honest, we will not pray for each other and the mutual healing will not happen.

One translation reads that our honest prayers will explode with power!

We should have this kind of relationship with a believer we trust, but we are missing something important if we do not have “Reality Contact” with someone.

Do you have that kind of relationship with anyone?

Dick Woodward, 01 November 2011


#FAITH: God’s Unconditional Love

October 29, 2019

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)

After writing his prophecy that moved scholars to label him “The Weeping Prophet,” Jeremiah adds a short postscript to fifty-two chapters of weeping. That postscript is called “Lamentations,” which means “Weepings.”

You need to know why Jeremiah is weeping to appreciate his writings. He is weeping about the Babylonian massacre and captivity of God’s chosen people. For years he warned the people of God that unless they repented this awful tragedy would happen. As he writes Lamentations he has been permitted to remain in the land of Judah.

Sitting in his grotto he laments all the tragic things that have now happened.

In the midst of his deepest expressions of sorrow and sadness he suddenly breaks forth with the verses quoted above. These verses tell us clearly that what God revealed to Jeremiah in his darkest hour was that God never stopped loving His chosen people.

A providential wonder of prophecy is that Jeremiah’s grotto where he wrote these Lamentations was on top of a hill called “Golgatha.” This means that God gave Jeremiah this wonderful prophecy of God’s unconditional love for God’s chosen people throughout the tragedy Jeremiah was lamenting on the very spot where centuries later God would pour out God’s unconditional love for the whole world.

Dick Woodward, 28 October 2009