January 6, 2017
“…wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:1-2)
When we begin reading the Old Testament we find ourselves facing the question: “Where are you?” When we begin reading the New Testament we read that wise men asked the question: “Where is He?” The Old Testament shows us where we are. When it does, the New Testament makes sense to us because we are looking for the same Savior those wise men were seeking.
Where is He? If we want to find Him we should look where the love is, because if we live in the love that Jesus is we will live in Him, and He will live in us. As we seek for clues to His reality we are given another answer by the Apostle John:
“God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship…” (1 John 1:5-7).
The aged apostle tells us that God is light and if we want to fellowship with Him He will not come live with us in our darkness. No, we must join Him where He lives in the light. Then we have fellowship with Him and a unique fellowship with all those who are in fellowship with Him.
The light of which John writes is truth – the truth this world saw and heard when the Light became flesh and lived with us full of truth and the grace to live that truth. So, if you want to know where Jesus is, look where the light is. Then become a conduit of that light.
Dick Woodward, 29 September 2011
December 10, 2016
“…Wise men came saying, “Where is he?” (Matthew 2: 1, 2)
Christmas cards tell us that wise men still seek Him. Wise men still find Him. Wise men still worship Him and give gifts to Him. We can add this observation: wise men (and women) still ask the question: “Where is He?”
If we want to know where Jesus is today, we should look where the Love is. Paul writes that He is a specific quality of love. (1Corinthians 13:4-7) If we tap into that quality of love we will find ourselves connecting with God, and discover that God is connecting with us. (1 John 4:16)
The great Christmas word,“incarnation,” literally means “in flesh.” (John 1:14) The Bible tells us that incarnation also means relocation. God wants to express the quality of love God is where people are hurting. If we will intentionally place ourselves where people are hurting, as we become conduits of God’s love that addresses their pain we will discover where God is and where we want to be for the rest of our lives.
We must also look where the Light is. Then, we can deliberately place ourselves where others live in spiritual darkness and ask God to pass the Light of Christ through us to address their darkness.
And we should look where the Life is. The Apostle John writes that God has given us a quality of life God labels “eternal life.” (1John 5: 11, 12) We can experience this quality of life ourselves, and we can become conduits of that Life for others.
We can go, or God may place us with the hurting, those living in darkness, and those suffering from a low quality of life. As we become God’s conduits, that’s when we discover by experience where Jesus is.
Dick Woodward, 13 December 2011
December 6, 2016
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a candlestick, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
I love Christmas lights! Where I live in Williamsburg, Virginia, one of the signature features of Christmas decorating is using white lights. We put our Christmas tree up for all of December because we enjoy the white lights so very much.
A very significant Christmas gift I received is a book I wrote this year that was delivered from the printer on the third of December. It’s called Marketplace Disciples. The thrust of this book’s message highlights the mandate Jesus gave His disciples to be the light of the world and salt of the earth.
The risen, living Christ uses the fact that we need to make a living to get the salt out of the salt shaker and the candles He has lighted on candlesticks of His choosing. We should impact the marketplace because we are authentic disciples of Jesus Christ. The values of Christ should revolutionize our ethics and the way we do business.
This year when you see the beautiful Christmas lights remember that Jesus said His light flowing through us cannot be hidden.
Dick Woodward, 17 December 2013
Editor’s Note: Marketplace Disciples, the last book my father wrote before he passed in March of 2014, is available through the website of ICM (International Cooperating Ministries.) It’s really a ‘best of Dick Woodward’s teachings’ and makes a nice Christmas present. (hint, hint)
You can click here for a direct link: Marketplace Disciples
July 27, 2016
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
The applications of our Lord’s metaphors are almost endless. One application to the metaphor above is that for our candle to give light it must be consumed. Unlighted candles are not consumed, but the candles that shine are the candles that burn. There is no shining without burning.
In another great metaphor Jesus told us there is no such thing as a fruitless disciple. We are like branches and He is the Vine. As branches, if we are properly intersected with Jesus, we can draw from Him the life force to be fruitful. He promised if we are plugged into Him and are fruitful we will be cut back and pruned to be made more fruitful. Cutbacks and pruning can really hurt. They can come in the form of suffering, but they improve the quality and the quantity of our fruit.
In light of these very clear teachings we should not be surprised when we find ourselves burning through suffering that our brightest light for Christ yields the best fruit.
Like many others I thought my most fruitful years were when I was able bodied and active. But I have been joyfully surprised to discover that my most fruitful service for Christ has been as a bed fast quadriplegic. Using voice activated computer software from my bed, 782 Bible studies have been produced and are being heard in 31 languages in 60 countries. Worldwide more than 45,000 small groups are listening to our Scripture studies on solar powered digital audio players I call “God pods.”
Have you discovered there is no shining without burning?
Dick Woodward, 09 August 2013