The Word of God & God’s Purpose

May 26, 2015

My Word… will achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

In a marvelous chapter taken from the prophesy of the one called “The prince of the prophets,” Isaiah tells us why he preached the Word of God.  Earlier in this chapter he proclaimed that there is as much difference between the way we think and act and how God thinks and acts as the heavens are high above the earth.  He tells us he preached the Word of God because God’s Word can bring about an alignment between the way God thinks and acts and the way people think and act.

There is a strong emphasis in Scriptures on the importance of our will being in alignment with the will of God.  Jesus made his greatest prayer when He sweat drops of blood and prayed, “Not My will but Your will be done.” He taught His disciples and us to pray, “Your will be done in earth (or in their earthen vessels), as it is in heaven.”

The Word of God frequently describes the struggle between God and men like Moses, Job, Jonah, and many others who finally submit their will to the will of God  – and the will of God is done in and through them on earth as it is in heaven.  When God declares through Isaiah that His Word will not return to Him without accomplishing the purpose for which He sent it, I am convinced that this is the purpose God had in mind.

When you read, study and hear the Word of God proclaimed, will you let God accomplish this purpose for the Word of God?  Will you let the Word of God bring about an alignment between your will and the will of God?

Dick Woodward, 28 September 2010



Hope-filled “Hupomone” Love

May 19, 2015

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.”  (I Corinthians 13:7-8, J.B. Phillips)

We read in the book of Hebrews:  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.”  The inspired author of the great faith chapter means that the object of faith is always unseen, and faith gives substance to our hope that the object of our faith exists.  In other words, faith puts a foundation under our hope.  We hope until faith gives us reason to believe. (Hebrews 11:1)

When faith cannot place a foundation under our hope for the ones we love, all we can do is hope for them.  According to the love hymn of Paul, the one applying the love of Christ will hope for them. Love joyfully awaits for the fulfillment of what it prayerfully desires, imagines, dreams and hopes concerning the potential of the ones we love.

When Paul writes, “Love endures all things,” he means love perseveres while it awaits the fulfillment of what it hopes and believes to see in the lives of the ones being loved.  The Greek word translated as ‘endurance’ is ‘hupomone.”  It is a combination of two Greek words, to ‘abide‘ and ‘under,‘ whatever is required to love someone.

This is especially important when we love a person who is not responding to our loving, positive reinforcement.  This quality of loving perseverance equips believers to love and pray loved ones through their addictions to alcohol, chemical substances, pornography, gambling, eating disorders and the seemingly endless list of compulsive habits.

These ‘chains’ of the evil one can only be broken with supernatural assistance from God, often using, as conduits, those who love with this love that hopes, believes, and endures all things.  By their actions they make this statement to those they love:  “Nothing you do or say can make me stop loving you because I’m loving you with the love of Christ.  The love of Christ is tough love.”

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love


Gratitude Attitudes

May 16, 2015

“… in everything… with thanksgiving present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

In the last chapter of the letter to his favorite Church at Philippi Paul gives us a prescription for peace.  The peace of God is a state of personal peace in which God keeps a believer if they meet certain conditions (Isaiah 26:3).  There are twelve such conditions listed in Philippians 4.

As I seek to maintain the personal peace that comes from God, I get more mileage out of the prescription listed above than any of the others.  I have discovered when I begin to thank God for all the good things in my life it’s like a switch clicks and I find my mind automatically moving from the negative to the positive.

To use another metaphor, if I placed all the bad stuff in my life on the left side of a scale – like a scale of justice – and all the good stuff on the right side of that scale, the right side will far outweigh the left side.  That’s what happens when I implement what I call, “The Therapy of Thanksgiving.”

An old hymn put it this way:

“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed.
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

That’s why Paul’s prescription is that when we pray, in everything (not for everything), we should offer thankful prayers.  He promises that when we do, the peace of God will stand guard over our hearts and minds.

Dick Woodward, 22 October 2010


Salty Disciples

May 12, 2015

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness… It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”  (Matthew 5:13 NIV/NLT)

When Jesus told His disciples that they were the salt of the earth there are several ways to interpret and apply this metaphor.  We find a clue to my favorite interpretation when we realize that the word “salary” is made up of two root words: “salt” and “money.”

Twenty centuries ago the Roman Empire wanted to control the population of the world.  They knew that no human being can live without salt. So, they controlled the salt of the world. They actually paid their slaves in cubes of salt.  This is where we get the expression that a person is ‘not worth his or her salt.’

This means Jesus taught that secular people do not have life.  His disciples have life and they are the way the secular people of this world can find that life.

Years ago a missionary statesman said when missionaries live in a compound in a foreign country with a fortress mentality they are like manure: they stink!  It’s only when God spreads them around that they do a little good.  Similarly, when the followers of Jesus meet together they are like salt in a saltshaker.  The only way they can have a salty influence is to come out of the saltshaker.

One way our Lord brings us out of the saltshaker is where we make a living.  Be challenged by the reality that your workplace can be God’s way of placing you next to secular people who need life.  Realize that you are not only there to make a living…

You are there because they need the salty impact of your life.   

Dick Woodward, (21 March 2012)


What is a Mother?

May 8, 2015

Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.” (Psalm 128:1-3)

When you meditate on these verses in Psalm 128 that describe the role and function of a wife and mother, you can paraphrase them this way: a mother is a man-maker.  She is like a fruitful vine in the very heart of her husband’s home.  To borrow a metaphor from the very beginning of the Bible, she is a completer whose passion is to see that her husband becomes all that His Creator designed him to be.

She is a people-maker because she gives him children who are like fruitful plants around his table.  Many people would like to put a period after the fourth word of this psalm and say that everyone is blessed or happy, but that is not the way the psalm reads.  The blessing on this man comes because he meets conditions: He walks in the ways of God.

The other verses of the psalm tell us this is how God blesses and impacts the world.  He finds a blessed man, joins him to a blessed woman, and gives them blessed children.  They impact Zion- which is the spiritual community- and then this family unit fruitfully impacts the city and the country.

A mother is at the heart of this great strategy of God.  As such she is also a home-maker and a memory-maker.  What a great and noble calling!

Rise up and call your mother blessed this Sunday!

Dick Woodward, (07 May 2011)


What are You?

May 5, 2015

“… He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas (which is translated ‘Peter.’)   (John 1:42)

When Jesus met Peter, his name was Simon and his life was characterized by instability.  Yet Jesus gave him the nickname “Peter,” which means “rock” and essentially “stability.”

In Matthew 16 we have an intriguing interview between Jesus and Peter.  Jesus had done the “who are you?” question in reverse.  He asked the apostles, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter came up with the right answer.  The Lord then said in so many words, “You’re not that smart Peter.  That answer really didn’t come from you. It came from My Father.”

In this interview Jesus was telling Peter who and what Peter was, and what he was being called to be.  When I had a chance to meet with Ravi Zacharias in my home, I asked him, “who is Ravi Zacharias?”  He responded, “I think what really matters is how our Lord would answer that question.”  In this interview with Peter, Jesus answered that question for him.

In the Gospels Peter’s life is recorded like an unstable spiritual roller coaster. But after Jesus called Peter a ‘rock’ for three years, and after Peter experienced Pentecost, we read in Acts that this unstable man became the rock-like, stable leader of the New Testament Church.  When you read the Gospels and Acts, you realize Jesus was convincing Peter of what he could become because he had come to know his Lord and Savior.

Do you hear the voice of the Christ Who lives in your heart trying to give you His answer to this question, “What are you?”  Is He making you know what you can become and do for Him since He has made you a new creation?  Is He making you know what He can equip you to become as He is calling you and revealing what He wants you to be and do for him?

Dick Woodward, A Spiritual Compass (p. 71-72)


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