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


Don’t Throw Away Your Faith!!

December 1, 2017

“So do not throw away your faith; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised… For he that is righteous shall live by faith.” (Hebrews 10:35-38)

As the author of the book of Hebrews continues giving doubting disciples reasons why they should not throw away their faith, he tells them they should not throw away their faith because they need their faith for living. Authentic disciples know they are saved by faith, but the disciples to whom he was writing did not know, or had forgotten, that they are also called to live by faith.

He quotes the key verse of the prophecy written by Habakkuk to suffering people. When we are suffering, we especially need to be reminded that God has given us the faith to persevere and do the will of God in our crisis.

I have observed a direct correlation between spiritual growth and suffering. The Greek word translated “persevere” in these verses is a quality God grows in us when we are living by faith while we are suffering, according to the Apostle Paul (Romans 5:3-5).

The immediate response of many authentic disciples when we find ourselves in a difficult situation is: “Lord, get me out of here!”  When that doesn’t happen, we are sometimes tempted to throw away our faith.

The message conveyed by these verses is “Don’t throw away your faith.  You need your faith to live through your crisis.”

Is this a message you need to hear today?

Dick Woodward, 03 December 2010


Worriers or Warriors?

November 28, 2017

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you rest in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

The Apostle Paul challenges us in these two verses with two options: when we face challenges we can worry about them, or we can turn our challenges into prayer requests. Paul writes that we are not to worry because worry is counterproductive. He therefore prescribes that if we are overwhelmed with problems, we should let our mountain of problems turn us into prayer warriors.

So here we have two options. We can be worriers, or we can be warriors. Prayer changes things! Worry, on the other hand, does not change anything except for the severe negative consequences it can have on our body, soul and spirit. When we consider the devastating effects of worry and the miraculous results of answered prayer, that’s a no-brainer that should resolve our two options into one.

When we realize we are anxious and uptight because we are choosing to be worriers, we should ask God to convert us into prayer warriors. We should hold our problems up before the Lord and trade our futile worries for powerful prayers. God may deliver us from those problems, or give us the grace to cope with them.

But, in either case, God will give us peace.

As Paul writes, God will stand guard like a soldier over our hearts and minds and give us supernatural peace as we rest in what Christ will do.

Dick Woodward, 29 November 2011


A Psalm 100 Thanksgiving Day!!

November 23, 2017

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100)

 In this profound thanksgiving psalm, David tells us that coming into the presence of God is like having an audience with a great King. That audience begins with the gates of thanksgiving, followed by the courts of praise. In a corporate worship service or in your closet worship, always try to begin your approach to God at the gates of thanksgiving followed by the courts of praise.

As a bedfast quadriplegic, I personally know of no other worship that means more to me than to begin my approach to God with thanksgiving. When I begin thanking Him and praising Him for all my blessings, I soon find myself coming before His presence with singing. In His presence I know that He is God. I know that He is my Shepherd and I am His sheep.  I know that He is good, His mercy is everlasting, and He wants me to share the truth of His Word in all the lands of this world because He wants people in all the lands of this world, and in every generation, to know what it is to make a joyful shout of worship in His presence.

Let this great worship psalm of David show you how to be thankful!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Dick Woodward, 23 November 2011


Worshiping God with Thanksgiving

November 21, 2017

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him…” (Psalm 100:4)

Psalm 100 is the definitive worship psalm that tells us what worship is, what we should experience when we worship, how to worship, what we know, and what the results should be because we worshipped.

According to David worship is coming before God’s presence, which is like having an audience with a King. Our approach to the presence of God begins at the gates of thanksgiving. This means that in a corporate worship service, or in our private closet worship, we are to begin our approach to the presence of God by passing through the gates of thanksgiving.

As I attempt to maintain my spiritual equilibrium as a bedfast quadriplegic, I get more spiritual mileage out of the therapy of thanksgiving than anything else. David has pointed me to the truth that when I begin thanking God, I soon find myself in the courts of praise coming into the presence of God with singing. In God’s presence, I know that He is God, I am His sheep and I live in His pasture. Then I’m told again that I should keep on thanking Him.

As a result of this worship experience, I know that God wants people in every land of this earth to know what it is to make joyful noises of worship in God’s presence. God also wants it to be known that His truth endures in all generations – not only in past generations.

To that end, God wants me to serve Him with gladness because I entered into His presence with thanksgiving.

Dick Woodward, 22 February 2012


PUT LOVE FIRST!

November 17, 2017

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love… I am nothing.”  (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

In the middle of the first century, the Apostle Paul declared that the agape love of God should be the number one priority of spiritual people. He wrote that love is greater than knowledge and more important than faith. His inspired words about love have been read, and should be read, in every generation of church history. That includes you and me.

Paul’s teaching about spiritual gifts in the previous chapter concludes with: “Earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I will show you a more excellent way.”  (ICor 12:31) Paul begins the next chapter with his prescription for that most excellent way: “Let love be your greatest aim,” or “Put love first.”

A PARAPHRASE APPLICATION:

If we speak with great eloquence or in tongues without love, we’re just a lot of noise. If we have all knowledge to understand all the Greek mysteries, the gift to speak as a prophet and enough faith to move mountains, unless we love as we do all these things, we are nothing. If we give all our money to feed the poor and our body to be burned at the stake as a martyr, if we give and die without love, it profits us nothing.

Nothing we are, nothing we ever become, nothing we have, and nothing we ever will have in the way of natural and spiritual gifts should ever move ahead of love as our first priority. Nothing we do, or ever will do as an expression of our faith, our gifts, our knowledge, or our generous, charitable, unconditionally-surrendered heart is worthy of comparison, or can replace love as we live out our personal priorities in this world.”

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love


Transformed Wine: A Prescription for Renewal

November 14, 2017

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

When Jesus goes to a wedding and they run out of wine, He creates more wine. In addition to the record of a miracle, this story is also a prescription for renewal. There is tired and there is tired of.  Disciples of Jesus not only get tired – we often get tired of.  When this happens, we call it “burnout.”

I’m convinced this first miracle of Jesus presents a prescription for burnout. If you are experiencing the need for renewal, consider the miracle in this context. 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 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 doThen realize that your renewal is not just to give you an experience, it is for the benefit of those God wants to touch and bless using you as His channel.

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

Let Jesus turn your water into wine. That will bring glory to Jesus and make a restored believer out of you!

Dick Woodward, 16 November 2011