December 10, 2019
“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
After the Angel Gabriel visited the priest Zechariah he went to the village of Nazareth to a peasant girl named Mary. When Angel Gabriel told Mary she was going to be the mother of God she responded in several ways. The Scripture states very clearly that she believed and praised God. (Luke 1:45-55)
As we might well imagine, we read that she was so filled with awe the first person to question the virgin birth was the Virgin. Mary showed us that honest inquiry is not the sign of a weak faith. The verse above tells us that she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
When the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles tell us about the Christmas that shall be when Jesus Christ comes back again, they tell us that His coming is the hope of the world and the blessed hope of the church.
Hope is the conviction that something good exists in this world and we are going to experience it. Close to 30,000 people in America take their life every year because they no longer believe in something good. In other words, they end their lives when they lose hope.
Some believers are so awed by the miracle of the Second Coming they ask questions and experience a “paralysis of analysis” which is followed by much pondering in their hearts.
When we realize that we have a message of hope to tell people without hope about the Christmas that shall be, we simply must share that good news. It is Christmas negligence to have this hope and not share it with people who have no hope.
Dick Woodward, 06 December 2011
November 8, 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)
The transformation of water into wine at Cana was the first supernatural miracle of Jesus. In addition, this account of Jesus turning water into wine is a beautiful allegory that shows us how to be born again. Carefully and prayerfully read the story.
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. Mary’s statement 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 is to fill our human vessel with the Word of God.
A third step is pictured when Mary tells the servants “do whatever Jesus tells you to do.” While we are filling our vessel with the Word we must do what it tells us to do.
The fourth step is when Jesus tells the servants to draw out what they had 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
December 4, 2015
“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)
The holidays are the most family-oriented weeks of the year. Yet for many – those who have no family, singles, widows and widowers, the divorced among us, and those with painful and negative family experiences – the holidays can be the most difficult time of the year. As a pastor, every year I had parishioners who asked me in early November to pray for them to make it through the holidays. The hard reality is that lonely, depressed, and anxious people are lonelier, more depressed, and more anxious during the “season to be jolly” than at any other time of the year.
At the same time, the last four weeks of the year are filled with joy and happiness for millions of people and their families. Whether the holiday season is your favorite time or your most difficult time of the year, I want to share a Christmas prescription that can bring the true meaning of Christmas to your holidays and to every day of your new year.
Try to block out the advertising blitz of the commercial Christmas we have today. Carefully read the Christmas scriptures in the first two chapters of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and then read the first 18 verses of the Gospel of John.
God told a devout peasant girl what He was going to do. Mary believed God, but she asked Him questions and pondered these things in her heart.
Dick Woodward, A Christmas Prescription
Editor’s Note: During December, the blog posting elf would like to share one of Papa’s booklets, A Christmas Prescription, bit by bit with you. Be blessed this month as we ‘ponder’ the Christmas that was, the Christmas that shall be, and the Christmas that is…