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
July 1, 2014
“Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven...” Matthew 6:9-13)
The message of the Bible frequently sifts down to just two words: God first. From Genesis to Revelation, the bottom line interpretation and application of the commandments, character studies, allegories, parables, psalms, sermons, Gospels, Epistles and teachings of Jesus is simply “God first.” The prayer Jesus taught us begins with that God-first emphasis when He instructs us to begin by asking God that His name, the essence of Who and what He is, might be honored and reverenced…
Prayer is not a matter of us persuading God to do our will. The very essence of prayer is an alignment between our wills and the will of God. Prayer is not a matter of us making God our partner and taking God into our plans. Prayer is a matter of God making us His partners and taking us into His plans…
We are not to come into our prayer closets, or corporate worship, with a ‘shopping list’ and send God on errands for us. When we pray, we should come into the presence of God with a blank sheet of paper and ask God to send us on errands for Him. We should be like soldiers reporting for duty to their Commander in Chief.
Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Prayer
June 10, 2014
“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
In Luke 19, verses 1 – 10, we encounter Jesus interacting with the tax collector, Zacchaeus. The beautiful part of the Zacchaeus story is when Jesus goes to spend His only day in Jericho with this little crook, and all the people are griping about it. It would make a great painting if an artist would paint Jesus who was a big man, according to Josephus, walking home with His arm around small Zacchaeus.
Here we see the strategy of Jesus. He is passing through Jericho. He obviously wants to reach the man who can impact and reach Jericho for Him after he has passed through and beyond the city limits. It must have made a big impact upon the city when Zacchaeus started calling in the people he had ‘ripped off.’ Imagine their surprise, joy, and awe when they, thinking he was going to get into their purses even deeper, discovered that he wanted to pay them back 400% because he had met Jesus! This is an illustration and an application of what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) to the effect that the solution, the answer, the salt, the light – is something we are, and that we simply must hear His word and do it.
Dick Woodward, MBC New Testament Handbook (p.142-143)