January 4, 2019
“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6)
In this first week of the New Year a friend informed me that he no longer makes New Year’s resolutions. When I asked him why he said, “My willpower is nearly always out of power.”
The Apostle Paul’s favorite Church was the one he planted at Philippi. Having brought scores of people to faith in Christ in that city, he finds himself in prison and unable to have physical contact with them. As their pastor he cannot use his powers of reason and persuasion or his spiritual gifts of wisdom, preaching and teaching. Yet he has unwavering confidence that they will continue in their faith in Jesus Christ.
This confidence is not based on them or on himself. He has his upbeat perspective about them because he knows that the One Who began a miraculous work in them will complete what He started.
The word ‘perspective’ means “to look through to the end.” At the starting gate of a New Year it’s important to have healthy perspective. I’m not thinking about willpower driven resolutions but spiritual goals that only the risen, living Christ can make doable.
I’m talking about what you would like to see Jesus Christ do in your life this year.
This year I have a new challenge for setting goals – to make them big and audacious. As we set goals for this New Year, be sure to make them big enough to let Christ in. Then watch Christ work because we have set big and audacious goals that only He can accomplish!
Dick Woodward, 04 January 2011
December 27, 2016
“… as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17)
Christmas has a twin holiday that slips into many Christmas cards. Millions include a letter – complete with family pictures – that gives an update on how the year has come and gone.
With lingering economic downturns, what security do we have as we begin the new year?
In nine words the aged Apostle of Love gives us a marvelous perspective on security. There are several ways we can interpret and apply these beautiful words. We can say it is only because Jesus is that we can be as we should be in this world. We can say that our security rests in the proposition that Jesus is and He will equip us to be as He wants us to be in this world.
We can say these words mean Jesus lives in us and through us. For 33 years Jesus had a physical body of His own. For over 2000 years His followers have been the only body He has. This presents the challenge that the only Christ the people in this world know is the Christ they see revealed in, and through, you and me.
As you meditate on the memorial portraits of Christ in the New Testament presented by those who knew Him, realize these portraits are precisely the way He wants to be revealed to this world through your life and mine today.
The overwhelming personality trait of Jesus Christ is love.
Love is as He was and as He is today.
Our purpose is not to be secure, but to let the love of Jesus pass to others through our lives.
Dick Woodward, 27 December 2011
January 3, 2014
“Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NLT)
According to Moses, we should realize that life is like a game of Monopoly. We all begin with the same amount of currency. When we begin a new year we are given 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week and 8,760 hours a year. You often hear the remark: “I haven’t got time for that!” This implies that we are not given the same amount of time. It would be more accurate to say: “I don’t value that activity enough to spend some of my time in that way.”
The dictionaries tell us a value is “that quality of any certain thing by which it is determined by us to be more or less important, useful, profitable and therefore desirable.” We all have a set of values. We spend our time on the things we consider important, useful, profitable and desirable.
When we ask God to teach us how to spend our time He will challenge us to consider the values of Jesus Christ. One of the many reasons He became flesh and lived among us for 33 years was to show us how to live. He did that by presenting us with a set of values. As we read the four Gospels and follow Jesus every time He models and teaches a value, that spiritual discipline will revolutionize the way we spend our time.
I challenge you to ask God, “How should I spend my time?” I also challenge you to let the values of Christ revolutionize the way you spend your time in 2014.
December 31, 2013
“It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)
Have you ever considered these questions about your life: what it is, how much life you have, and why it is so valuable? I challenge you to study all the metaphors the Bible uses to answer these questions. According to James, our life is a little thing like the vapor of smoke that appears and then disappears. Now you see it – now you don’t.
Moses tells us that we spend our years like a tale that is told and forgotten (Psalm 90:9 KJV). In his culture people would sit around a fire and tell tales. After a fourth or fifth tale was told nobody would probably remember the second or third tale told in that setting. That is our life according to Moses.
Biblical metaphors tell us that our life is brief, short and like a dream when we awake. We are given 70 or perhaps 80 years and they are full of trouble. We are to learn to value our days and receive wisdom from God about what we should do with them.
Another metaphor tells us our life is uncertain. Our life is like a thread that is about to be cut by the scissors of the Weaver. God is the one with the scissors and we do not control when He will cut that thread. So, for us life is uncertain.
Jesus tells us He can join our little, transitory, uncertain life to Him and to God by faith and make our life eternal and everlasting.
What is your life? It is the opportunity to make that transaction with Christ and live for Him. Have you made that faith transaction?