Wise Men Still Seek Him….

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


Triumphant Faith

October 14, 2016

“…whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance… If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting.”   James 1:2-6

When you encounter a storm in your life, that trial will often bring you to the place where you just don’t know what to do.  You realize you need more wisdom than you have.  James writes that we must let the test of faith lead us to the trust of faith.  When we lack wisdom, we must ask God, Who will be delighted to share God’s wisdom with us.  In the Old Testament when the people of God were fighting against overwhelming numbers, their frantic prayer of faith was, “nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You!” (2 Chronicles 20:12)  Ask God for the wisdom we do not have, and believe our loving Heavenly Father wants to give us that wisdom.

The J.B. Phillips translation writes that we should not treat our trials as intruders but welcome them as friends. The process of working through our trials will teach us the test of faith, which leads to the trust of faith, and brings us to the triumph of faith.  I have been in a wheelchair since 1984 and a bedfast quadriplegic since the late 1990’s.  I have, therefore, thought much about the suffering of disciples.  God is not in denial about the hard reality His people suffer.

In the Bible we are warned that God does not think as we think, nor does God do as we do. (Isaiah 55)  If the desire of my heart is to know God’s will and to live my life in alignment with the will and ways of God, wouldn’t it logically follow that I should not always expect to understand the way I’m going?  Obviously, that includes our suffering.

…Where did we ever get the idea we should expect to understand everything that happens to us? If God gave us an explanation for everything and the answers to all of our why questions, the very essence of faith, the need for faith, would be eliminated.

Almighty God has willed that without faith, we cannot please Him or come to Him (Hebrews 1:6.)  God is pleased when we come to Him in our crucibles of suffering and cry, “if you heal me, that’s all right.  But, if You don’t heal me, that’s all right too, because YOU are all right!”

Dick Woodward, Marketplace Disciples (p.278-281)


Gifts, Gifts, Gifts….

April 7, 2015

“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?” (I Corinthians 4:7 NLT)

We would all do well to take a few minutes to think about and answer this intriguing question presented by the Apostle Paul.  Can you think of anything you have that you did not receive from God?  Can you think of all the wonderful things you have received from God?  According to the Bible our salvation is a gift from God.  The faith it takes to receive salvation is also a gift from God.  As Paul has implied, as we do a gift inventory we will find that God has given us many kinds of gifts.

Our DNA proves that God has given us a physical identity that is unique and different from every other person living on the planet.  Physically, there is not now, there never has been, and there never will be any one exactly like you.  God has also given us intellectual gifts that equip us to live smarter, not harder.

When we receive the gift of faith that saves us, God also gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  When we receive the Holy Spirit God adds a cluster of spiritual gifts that enable us to minister in many ways.  For example, He gives gifts of mercy which enable us to love those who are hurting with great compassion.  He gives the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and teaching that make it possible for us to teach the Word of God.  He gives many gifts that equip us to lead others to Christ.

Today, make a gift inventory and thank God for all the gifts He has given you!

Dick Woodward, 07 February 2012


Becoming Champions (for Christ!)

January 20, 2015

All our steps are ordered by the Lord; how then can we understand our own ways?”  Proverbs 20:24

God doesn’t think or act as we do so Solomon has the wise question in Proverbs 20:24: “If we are going the way God wants us to go, how can we expect to always understand the way we are going?”  That’s the revised Woodward translation.  I believe it is obvious that God is making an original and He always does that in an original way.  There ain’t nobody like you and there ain’t supposed to be.

Today my thoughts turned to six of the most powerful verses in the Bible:  the last four verses of Romans 11 and the first two verses of chapter 12.  They tie in with Isaiah 55 and the reality that we do not know what God is doing but the profound truth focused is that He is the source of, the power behind, and His glory is the purpose of everything He is doing.  The application in Chapter 12 is that we should express intelligent worship by surrendering our bodies as a living sacrifice (not a dead one), be sure we are not getting our signals from the secular culture, ask God to transform our mind so we can think as He does, and then, having met these prerequisites, prove one day at a time that His will for us is good, meets all His demands, and moves toward spiritual maturity.  (This passage is especially good in the Phillips.*)

You are such a magnificent person and God is shaping you to be a champion for Christ in dimensions that are far beyond anything we could imagine or even think to imagine! Whatever help it takes you must master this problem or it will master you.  Every time God wants to do a great work like what He is doing in your life, the evil one is there trying to defeat the work of God.  Don’t let him have the victory.  Put on the whole armor of God to defeat what the evil one is trying to do.

Dick Woodward, (email, 20 January 2007)

(*J.B. Phillips translation of The New Testament in Modern English)


Faith: Testing and Trusting

November 20, 2014

“…whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance… If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting.”   James 1:2-6

When you encounter a storm in your life, that trial will often bring you to the place where you just don’t know what to do.  You realize you need more wisdom than you have.  James writes that we must let the test of faith lead us to the trust of faith.  When we lack wisdom, we must ask God, Who will be delighted to share His wisdom with us.  It the Old Testament when the people of God were fighting against overwhelming numbers, their frantic prayer of faith was, “nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You!” (2Chronicles 20:12) … Ask God for the wisdom we do not have, and believe our loving Heavenly Father wants to give us that wisdom.

The JB Phillips translation writes that we should not treat our trials as intruders but welcome them as friends. The process of working through our trials will teach us the test of faith, which leads to the trust of faith and brings us to the triumph of faith.  I have been in a wheelchair since 1984 and a bedfast quadriplegic since the mid 1990’s.  I have, therefore, thought much about the suffering of disciples.  God is not in denial about the hard reality His people suffer.

In the Bible we are warned that God does not think as we think, nor does He do as we do.  (Isaiah 55) If the desire of my heart is to know God’s will and to live my life in alignment with the will and ways of God, wouldn’t it logically follow that I should not always expect to understand the way I’m going?  Obviously, that includes our suffering.

…Where did we ever get the idea we should expect to understand everything that happens to us? If God gave us an explanation for everything and the answers to all of our why questions, the very essence of faith, the need for faith, would be eliminated.

Almighty God has willed that without faith, we cannot please Him or come to Him (Hebrews 1:6.)  God is pleased when we come to Him in our crucibles of suffering and cry, “if you heal me, that’s all right.  But, if You don’t heal me, that’s all right too, because YOU are all right!”

Dick Woodward, Marketplace Disciples (p.278-281)


When you don’t know what to do….

June 13, 2014

“We don’t know what to do but our eyes are on You.”  (2 Chronicles 20:12)

No matter how gifted we may be, sooner or later we will hit a wall of crisis where we simply do not know what to do.  The Scripture from Chronicles is taken from an historical context when the people of God were overwhelmingly outnumbered and they simply did not know what to do.

James later wrote that when we do not know what to do we should ask God for the wisdom we confess we do not have (James 1:5).  He promises us that God will not hold back but dump a truckload of wisdom on us.

Years ago I received a telephone call from my youngest daughter when she was a first year student at the University of Virginia.  With many tears she informed me that she had fallen down a flight of stairs and was sure she had broken her back.  At the hospital they had discovered mononucleosis and seriously infected tonsils that needed to be removed.  She concluded her “organ recital” litany: “Finals begin tomorrow and I just don’t know what to do, Daddy!”

Frankly, I was touched that my very intelligent young daughter believed that if she could just share her litany of woes and tap into the vast resources of my wisdom I could tell her what to do when she did not know what to do.

According to James that is the way we make our heavenly Father feel when we come to Him overwhelmed with problems and tell Him we just don’t know what to do.  That’s why a good way to begin some days is:

“Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on YOU!”

Dick Woodward, 04 April 2013

Editors Note: Blessings to all the fathers out there as we in America celebrate Father’s Day this weekend. As that ‘young daughter’ who continued tapping into her Papa’s wisdom until the day he died, these words comforted my heart. Our Heavenly Father is always here when we don’t know what to do.


How Are You Going to Spend Your Year?

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.