Nourishing the Spirit

July 21, 2015

“If any man wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the teaching whether it is from God…” (John 7:17)

Jesus gave us a principle that shows us how we can know His teaching is the teaching of God. The principle is this: If any man wills to do, he will know.  For millennia those who approach the proposition of faith intellectually have said, “When I know, then I will do.”  Their premise has been and remains: “the knowing leads to the doing.”  Pointing to their temples they say, “Reach me here.” Then, pointing to their heart, they say, “Then I will follow through here.”  They are essentially saying, “Reach me intellectually and then I will commit volitionally.”

Jesus cut through that when He proclaimed this principle:  the knowing does not lead to the doing.  The doing leads to the knowing.  When you commit your will to doing what Jesus teaches then the intellectual affirmation will follow.  It is only then that you will know the teaching of Jesus is the Word of God and not just the ideas of another Rabbi coming down the pike.

When people followed Jesus on His terms He called them ‘disciples.’  A synonym for that word is “apprentice.”  An apprentice and a disciple are learning what they’re doing and doing what they’re learning.

As Jesus apprenticed His disciples they discovered that the doing leads to the knowing.  Are we applying this principle to our faith as followers of Jesus Christ?

Dick Woodward, Lackey Free Clinic Health Beat, Summer 2009


Living In Christ

July 14, 2015

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I’m indebted to E. Stanley Jones, a missionary who served in India for 50 years, and his superb daily devotional, In Christ, for showing me the importance of this phrase in the New Testament.  I highly recommend his book which highlights the use of this phrase by all the New Testament authors.

According to Dr. Jones, when we think about being “in Christ,” we should realize that Paul was not talking about being in religion.  Few people have been more into religion than Paul before he met Jesus.  Paul was so religious he fervently persecuted followers of Jesus, sure that he was pleasing God by trying to snuff them out.

It is possible to be in religion, but not be in Christ.  It is possible to be in church, and not be in Christ.  We can be in doctrine, or theology, and not be in Christ.  We can be in the ministry and not be in Christ.  We can be committed to Christ, and believe a lot of things about Christ, and still not be in Christ.

To be in Christ locates us in a Person, right now.

Unless we are ‘in Christ’ it’s like we have a powerful engine in our automobile but we cannot find our ignition key that turns the engine on.  Being ‘in Christ’ is the ignition key, opening us up to experience “all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places.” (Ephesians 1:3)  Paul essentially writes: I live because Christ lives in me and I live in Christ.

Just as you sometimes cannot find the keys to your automobile, have you misplaced this critical spiritual key – are you living in Christ?

Dick Woodward, 09 October 2013


Ginny Woodward: Wrapped in a Bundle of life with God

June 24, 2015

“Wrapped in a bundle of life with God…” (I Samuel 25:29)

These words of Scripture are often found inscribed on gravestones of children who died at a very early age, especially in Jewish cemeteries where Jewish mothers expressed the almost inexpressible feelings of their hearts as they laid their children to rest.

As Christians we could also inscribe these words on the gravestones of our children and adult loved ones because they should bring great comfort and consolation to us as we think of those we have lost through sickness and death…  (Dick Woodward, 23 September 2010)

On Monday morning, 22 June 2015, Dick Woodward’s precious wife, Ginny, went to rest in the Everlasting Arms of God with her five children gathered around her bedside.  As the family sang “Amazing Grace,” she took her last breath.   We, her family, are so grateful to God for the gift of her life and the amazing grace of Jesus that fills the legacy of love and faith she leaves with us.

As partner with Papa in ministry for 58 years of their marriage, during the last 25 years when he said, “we” would do something, he meant it.  Mama literally served as his hands and feet (and much more besides) when he became a wheel-chair bound quadriplegic and then 10 years later a bedfast quad.

Steadfast faithfulness describes our precious Mama.  We thank God for His faithfulness to her, and her faithfulness to God, to us, and to our Papa for so many years – a witness not only to our family and the Tidewater/ Williamsburg community, but all around the world where the Mini-Bible College continues to yield Kingdom fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We pray that the seeds of faith she planted in our lives, watered with her deep, deep love of Jesus, will continue to bloom and grow for many years to come.

“… the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end…”

Ginny Johnson WoodwardThere will be a Memorial Celebration for Ginny Woodward at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, 26 June 2015, at the Williamsburg Community Chapel.

We, her family, thank you for your prayers at this time.


Too Weak To Pray…

June 16, 2015

“Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.  Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’”  (Mark 2: 4, 5)

When my wife was critically ill after the birth of our first child she reached a crisis on a Friday morning at ten o’clock.  Her eyes were moving back into her head and we thought we were losing her.  While several doctors did a spinal tap to relieve pressure on her brain, two precious sisters in the Lord were burdened to pray for her that morning at ten o’clock – not knowing anything about her crisis.  She pulled through that crisis and her life was saved.

While having her quiet time after returning from the hospital, she read the verses quoted above. She was moved to tears to realize that when she was too weak to pray for herself her sisters in the Lord were praying for her, and when the Lord saw their faith He ministered healing to her.

In our life span there are sure to be times when we will be too weak to pray for ourselves.  That’s one reason it is wise to be in spiritual community with other believers who know the Lord and love Him and who know you and love you.  If you had an accident or a sudden illness do you have anyone who would pray for you when you are too weak to pray for yourself?

The wisest man who ever lived wrote: “Two are better than one, because… if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4: 10, 11 NIV)

Dick Woodward, 18 September 2011

Editor’s Note: After Hospice care started here in our home last week, Dick’s precious Ginny is now too weak to pray for herself. We (the extended Woodward family) are so grateful for the faithful prayers of the spiritual community lifting her (and us) up at this time.


A Recipe To Rest

June 9, 2015

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11: 28-30)

Jesus loves to give invitations.  He addresses this one to people who are loaded with problems and working themselves to exhaustion trying to solve them.  Jesus promises that if we come to Him He will give us rest.  If you look closely at this invitation, He is inviting us to come to Him and learn about His heart, His burden and His yoke.  What we learn there will lead us to this rest.

Jesus wants burdened people to learn that His burden is light, His heart is humble and His yoke is easy.  There is a sense in which Jesus had the weight of the world on His shoulders and yet He claimed that His burden was light.  His burden was light because He let the Father carry the load.

The most important part of His recipe for rest is what Jesus wants us to learn about His yoke.  A yoke is not a burden — it’s an instrument that makes it possible to bear a burden.  When a cart is piled high with cargo the yoke makes it possible for an ox to pull a great load with ease.  It is the yoke of Jesus that shows us how to pull our heavy burdens of life.

The yoke of Jesus was that He let His Father carry the burdens.  We take His yoke upon us when we let the Holy Spirit carry the load.

Dick Woodward, 05 November 2013


God’s Great Faithfulness & Love

June 2, 2015

“He has filled me with bitterness…my soul is bereft of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is… But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.”  (Lamentations 3: 15, 16, 22-23)

When Jeremiah gets to his darkest hour, he receives a revelation of hope and salvation. Just like Job, when suffering brought him to the bottom of despair’s pit, he received his Messianic revelation:  “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last upon the earth.  And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God!”  (Job 19:25-26)

In the third chapter of his Lamentations, Jeremiah received the same kind of revelation given to Job.  After World War II, Corrie ten Boom told people all over the world how, in a Nazi concentration camp, God revealed this truth to her:  “There is no pit so deep but what the love of God is deeper still.”  This is the same truth God revealed to Jeremiah.  It’s intriguing to realize Job received his Messianic revelation when he ‘bottomed out” through weeping and suffering. God made Jeremiah know the marvelous truth about His unconditional love that is taught from Genesis to Revelation: God’s love is not won by a positive performance or lost by a negative performance.

Reading the Lamentations, I am deeply touched and inspired meditating upon God’s miraculous revelation to Jeremiah, that all the horror of the Babylonian conquest and captivity did not mean that God no longer loved the people of Judah… Another awesome possible miracle, however, is that as Jeremiah received his revelation weeping in his grotto on the hill of Golgotha, he could have been sitting on the very spot God was going to pour out His love on the whole world.

Dick Woodward, Mini Bible College Old Testament Handbook, (pp. 500-501)


Daily Spiritual Vitamins

May 29, 2015

“…  As newborn babes, earnestly desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby…” (1 Peter 2:2)

If babies do not receive breast milk, or their formula, they will not survive.  Peter is writing that “spiritual babies” should very earnestly desire the pure milk of God’s Word that they may grow.  When he writes this he uses Greek words that mean they should go after the Word the way babies go after the nipple, knowing their sustenance and growth depend on the nourishment they are receiving at their mother’s breast.

In addition to the Word of God there are other spiritual vitamins that provide spiritual nutrition.  Whether we are new in the faith, or have been walking with God for many years, we need spiritual vitamins like prayer, worship, fellowship with other believers, and a relationship with the risen, living Christ.  We also need to find and cultivate the works of service for which we have been saved.

Although the Apostle Paul emphatically writes that we are not saved BY good works he also writes emphatically that we are saved FOR good works (Ephesians 2: 8-10).  Serving the Lord and bringing forth the fruit that lasts is a vitamin we critically need for the growth and development of our faith.  Jesus taught that God will start answering our prayers when we understand this (John 15:16).

Having visited both the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea I observed the beauty of the Sea of Galilee which has an outlet, and the Dead Sea which has no outlet.  It is like that with us.  If we do not have the outlet of service, that makes us fruitful, we are stagnant and do not grow.

Are you getting your daily spiritual vitamins?

Dick Woodward, 05 November 2011


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