Entering the Gates of Thanksgiving

November 26, 2015

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100)

 In this profound thanksgiving psalm David tells us that coming into the presence of God is like having an audience with a great King.  That audience begins with the gates of thanksgiving that are followed by the courts of praise.  In a corporate worship service or in your closet worship, always try to begin your approach to God at the gates of thanksgiving followed by the courts of praise.

I personally know of no other worship helps that mean more to me than to begin my approach to God with thanksgiving.  When I begin thanking Him and praising Him for all my blessings I soon find myself coming before His presence with singing.  In His presence I know that He is God.  I know that He is my Shepherd and I am His sheep.  I know that He is good, His mercy is everlasting and He wants me to share the truth of His Word in all the lands of this world because He wants people in all the lands of this world and in every generation to know what it is to make a joyful shout of worship in His presence.

 Let this great worship psalm of David show you how to

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Dick Woodward, 23 November 2011

Like it Was, Like it Is

November 19, 2015

“… although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful…”   (Romans 1:21)

In the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome he gives a resume of the fall of the human race.  Paul does the same thing Moses did in the third chapter of Genesis.  They both describe the fall of man as it was and as it is.  By that I mean they are not merely describing an historical event in the past but they want us to understand what is happening in our culture right now.

In Paul’s account of the fall of the human race he traces the origin of our fall to two things: we did not glorify God as God, and we were not thankful.  He then continues to describe how God gave us up to what we wanted and we became guilty of every imaginable kind of sin.  As he vividly describes what happened to the human race after God did not give up on us but gave us up to what we wanted, the result became what Paul described as “all unrighteousness.”

If you track with Paul as he itemizes what he means by “all unrighteousness,” it’s intriguing to realize that all that horrible sin began with the hard reality that we were not thankful.  There are so many exhortations and prescriptions in the Word of God for us to be thankful but here in the first chapter of Romans is a great warning about the price of not being thankful.

Like it was and like it is, appreciate the value of an attitude of gratitude.  And, like it was and like it is, do not underestimate the price of an attitude of ingratitude.

Dick Woodward, 22 November 2012

The Greatest Teaching Method

November 13, 2015

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)

The Apostle Paul invested himself in a one on one relationship with a young man named Timothy.  He challenged Timothy to have that same kind of relationship with other men, who would then have that kind of relationship with other faithful men.

I had about seven years of classroom education for the ministry.  I also had a handful of older men who mentored me personally in a relationship like Paul had with Timothy.  A great pastor named Ray Stedman invested four hours every Thursday afternoon for a year with me in the Word of God.  He challenged me to do the same with others.

As I have considered the impact of Ray Stedman’s investment in me and my investment in others, I have come to the conclusion that this is the greatest teaching method in the world.

This method actually started for me when I was a small boy as I watched my father spend hours sitting in a rocking chair preparing his Sunday school lesson.  Every now and then he would exclaim, “Oh this is wonderful!”

I realized there is wonderful truth in the Bible.  When I was a late teenager I adopted that declared value of my father and have passed that value on to my son who is a pastor.  I am greatly blessed to have had a father and a mother who taught me the Scriptures in a one on one relationship like Paul had with Timothy.

If you are a Timothy, do you have a Paul? If you are a Paul, do you have a Timothy?

Dick Woodward, 08 December 2012

Editor’s Note: Women readers note that we are not off the hook – we should be challenged to do the same with younger/ older women in our faith communities! The daughters and sons of Dick Woodward would not be where we are today if it had not been for our precious Mama who prayed for us, taught us about Jesus, loved us with His love… and led by her example of faith.  Of course, it also helped that she & Papa ganged up together to get the Word of God into us (& us into the Word!) 

Learn To Wait On The Lord

November 10, 2015

“Then he blessed him there.”  (Genesis 32:29)

It takes more faith to wait than it takes to be active.  God’s guidance prescription for what we call Type A personalities like Jacob is to wait on the Lord.  Jacob was missing God’s will for his life because he was always running ahead of God.  He was a make-it-happen, mover, shaker and doer kind of person.  Read the story of Jacob in Genesis, chapters 25 through 32, and Paul’s commentary on that story in chapter 9 of Romans.  As you read how God crippled Jacob so He could crown him with His will for Jacob’s life, you will see what I call, “The Cripple Crown Blessing of Jacob.” When a man is crippled what else can he do but wait on the Lord?

Sometimes on our journeys of faith, God puts us in a holding pattern.  We are like commercial airplanes when they are directed by the control tower to circle the field while waiting their turn to land.  In the book of Psalms, the word Selah is found in 73 places.  The Amplified Bible’s paraphrase for Selah is: “Pause, and calmly think of that.”

As He leads us God frequently places Selahs in our lives. Sometimes what God does in our lives while we’re waiting can be more important than what we’re waiting for.  He may want us to pause and calmly think about our priorities, our vision statement and mission objectives and other issues as we experience His will for our lives.  When you encounter one of the Lord’s Selahs and find yourself in one of His holding patterns, ask yourself what God wants you to pause and calmly think about.  And, never put a question mark where God places a period in your walk of faith.

Dick Woodward, 10 June 2013

October 25th: Purposeful Benedictions

October 24, 2015

For… to Him are all things… To Him be the glory forever! Amen.” ..(Romans 11:36)

The Apostle Paul concluded the argument of his greatest theological masterpiece with an inspired benediction in which he declared that God is the Source of all things, He is the Power behind all things and the Glory of God is the purpose for all things.

When Paul puts these two words “all things” together, he is referring to all the things he has written about in his letter to believers in the city of Rome.  He then concludes his inspired and the most comprehensive explanation of the Gospel ever written by quoting Isaiah: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments (decisions) and His ways past finding out!” That is followed by his benediction as referenced above.

I come to this truth on the day when many who love me are celebrating my 80th birthday.  A secular motivational speaker, Dale Carnegie, wrote that the most beautiful sound in the world to a man is the sound of his own name.  I disagree with him because there is a sense in which I do not even like the sound of my name.  To me the most beautiful sound in the world is the name of Jesus Christ because apart from Him I would be a zero with the circle rubbed out.

As I reflect on Paul’s benediction I have made the commitment that I do not want to pour my life into any venture unless I am certain that God is the Source of it, He is the Power behind it and the glory of God is its purpose.  How does this benediction impact your mindset?

Dick Woodward, 25 October 2010

Editor’s Note: As many of you know, Papa’s birthday is October 25th. This year he would have turned 85.  Oh how we miss him(!) but today, as stated in this post 5 years ago, when we remember Papa, he would have us dwell in the Name of Jesus Christ & be challenged by Paul’s benediction – is God the source & power behind what we’re doing? Is God’s glory the purpose for what we do?

When We don’t know What to Do??

October 17, 2015

We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”  (2Chronicles 20:12 NLT)

Have you ever faced problems that confronted you with the intolerable, the undeniable, the unthinkable and the impossible?  Throughout Hebrew and church history the people of God have often been confronted with these overwhelming realities.  Scripture supports the thought that God sometimes not only permits but creates these circumstances (Isaiah 45: 7).  According to Isaiah He does this because He wants us to learn that He is our only hope and our only help as we live for Him in this world.

The Word of God teaches that God is our Mentor and He does His most effective mentoring when we are coping with calamities and trials of every possible description.  The confession quoted above is proclaiming that the people of God have two problems.  They do not know what to do and they do not have the power to do it when they know it.

Scripture tells us God will give us all the wisdom we need when we confess that we do not know what to do (James 1:5).  And Scripture teaches that God will give us the power to do what He wants us to do because He is God and He always completes what He begins in us (Philippians 1:6; 2:13).

There are times when it is wrong for us to put God to the test.  Then there are times when God invites us to prove Him.  God wants to give us the gift of faith.  He also wants to give us immeasurable degrees of the grace to overcome the greatest possible obstacles.  That’s why He sometimes permits calamities or trials that force us to access His all sufficient grace.

Dick Woodward, 18 September 2013

Do Right (& sleep @ night!)

October 9, 2015

“Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, ‘Who will show us any good?’”  (Psalm 4:5)

David cannot sleep.  He is uptight and anxious.  From the context of the psalm we know he cannot sleep because he is under great stress.  He decides to meditate within his own heart and be still.  (He has a little “board meeting” with himself in the middle of the night).  If he does the right thing, he believes he cannot survive.  He is therefore thinking about doing the expedient thing.  But since he is a man of great spiritual integrity he finds himself awake and uptight.

As a result of his meditation he resolves his dilemma.  He makes the decision that he is going to make whatever sacrifices he has to make to do what is right and then trust the Lord for his survival.  He knows there are many people who are looking for someone who will do what is right even though it costs them everything to do right.

Have you ever found yourself awake, uptight and stressed out in the middle of the night because you are in a crisis?  If you do what you believe God wants you to do, you don’t see how you can survive.  But your spiritual integrity won’t let you sleep if you don’t do what you believe God wants you to do.  David models here a prescription for resolving that kind of dilemma.

His prescription is simply to do right.  Whatever it costs you, do right and trust God for the consequences.  Many people will be blessed, God will be glorified, you will have great peace, and get some sleep.

Dick Woodward, 02 March 2012


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 653 other followers