Expressing the Inexpressible

December 5, 2014

“And they sang a new song…” (Revelation 5:9)

 Have you ever wondered why God gave us the miracle of music?  We find a clue in the Old Testament book of Chronicles where David divided the Levite priests into courses of four thousand: “four thousand praised the Lord with musical instruments, ‘which I made,’ said David, ‘for giving praise’.” (1Chronicles 23:5)

There are times when we have a need to express the inexpressible.  When we are infatuated with love we often give each other nicknames.  I had an old girlfriend in California I forgot to tell my wife about when I married her in Virginia.  I called that girl “Punky” and she called me “Hunky.” We had written letters to each other using those nicknames.  One evening during the third month of our marriage when I came in from work my wife called me “Hunky darling!” How I wished I had burned those letters. We invent nicknames because we are trying to express the inexpressible.*

The greatest need we ever have to express the inexpressible is when we enter into the divine presence of Almighty God.  In the last book of the Bible, we read that when a door opens into heaven we find every creature in heaven worshiping a Lamb on the throne of heaven.  For that occasion they are given a new song because the need to express the inexpressible will be so very great. I can’t wait to hear what that new song will sound like!

For believers the purpose of music has been, will be, and is now to express inexpressible praise to God.  Whether it is in a congregation with a choir, or a worship group leading a large congregation, or in your private prayer closet let music express the inexpressible for you.

 Dick Woodward, 17 July 2011

*Editors Note:  After 56 yrs of marriage (& counting), Dick still calls Ginny his “Angel Face” and she calls him her “Angel Pie.”    (written on 17 July 2011)  An addendum today, Papa & Mama kept calling each other Angel Face & Angel Pie until he went to glory… : )


…Life with God!!

October 24, 2014

“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.  However, if we think about it, these words should also be applied to our loved ones while they are still living.  The most exciting truth in the New Testament is presented in just two words: “In Christ” or “In Him.”

Jesus told the apostles that after His death and resurrection He would give them the divine presence of the Holy Spirit.  They would then be able to be “in Him” the way a branch is in a vine.   That means all of us can be wrapped in a bundle of life with Christ as we live our lives in this world.  What an exciting concept!  Jesus told the apostles, and you and me, all about this in the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of John.  He even told us how to abide in Him and experience the miracle of Him abiding in us.  He told us we can abide in Him and He will abide in us if we abide in His Word.

I challenge you that if you abide in His Word today you will find yourself wrapped in a bundle of life with God!

Dick Woodward, 23 September 2010

Editor’s Note:  Many of you may remember (since he usually celebrated all month) October 25th was Dick’s birthday – this year he would have turned 84.  We do miss him! But, oh, how we thank God for the 83 years of Papa’s life that touched the hearts of so many, especially as he shared his deep love of the Scriptures.  As he was (& is) ‘wrapped in a bundle of life with God,’ may we continue to wrap our lives in Christ with deep, daily doses of the Living Word.


A Prayer for the Dark Valleys

October 21, 2014

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”   (Psalm 23:4-5)

In your dark valleys, learn to pray in this manner:  “As I enter this valley, Lord, I will not be paralyzed by fear, because I believe You are with me.  Your ability to protect me and lead me through this valley is a comfort to me.  I know that in the darkest and scariest part of this valley, in the middle of all the life threatening danger, You will spread a table of provision for me.

I am trusting You completely to anoint me with the oil of Your individualized, personalized and attentive care.  I believe you will give me mercy for my failures and the grace I need to help me in my time of need.  You will also pursue me like a ‘Hound of Heaven’ with Your goodness, unconditional love and acceptance, when I wander away from Your loving care.”

Finally, thank your Good Shepherd-God that you can trust Him to lead you through this life to unbroken fellowship with Him forever in Heaven; to the green pastures that never turn brown, the still waters that never become disturbed, and the cup that never empties.

Offer this prayer to “the God of peace, Who brought up from the dead that great Shepherd of sheep, Who through the blood of the everlasting covenant, can make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”  (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Dick Woodward, from Psalm 23 Sheep Talk


Metamorphosis

July 30, 2013

“…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”          . (1Corinthians 15:50)

Another arresting statement made by Paul in his great resurrection chapter is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, because corruption cannot inherit incorruption.  What Paul means by this statement is that we cannot go to heaven with a physical body.  When God decides that He wants us in heaven, He must perform a metamorphosis on us that prepares us to spend eternity with Him in heaven.  God works that miracle metamorphosis through our death and resurrection.

As Paul describes the resurrection of believers at the time of the second coming of Jesus Christ he also tells us that those who are living when Jesus returns will be changed.  They must be changed because they cannot enter into heaven with their physical bodies.  They, too, must experience a miracle metamorphosis to prepare them for heaven.

Here Paul is declaring a sixth eternal value:  our heavenly bodies will be so much greater than our physical bodies we must experience a metamorphosis to live forever in heaven.  This is just one more way the Scripture consistently tells us that heaven is greater than earth and the best things in life for believers await them in the eternal dimension of life.

The Shepherd Psalm of David tells us that God makes us lie down to discover the green pastures and still waters of life.  But, then we get up again and the green pastures turn brown and the still waters become disturbed.  Many see a metaphor of the believer’s death as the Great Shepherd coming into our life making us lie down in death that He might give us the green pastures that never turn brown and the still waters that never become disturbed in heaven.


Little Clay Pots

July 24, 2013

“Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”   (2 Corinthians 4: 16)

Many years ago when John Quincy Adams began crossing a street, he was in such poor health it took him five minutes to approach the other side.  A friend who was passing that way asked, “How is John Quincy Adams this morning?”  He replied, “John Quincy Adams is doing just fine.  The house he lives in is in sad disrepair.  In fact, it is so dilapidated, John Quincy Adams may have to move out soon, but John Quincy Adams is doing just fine, thank you!”

John Quincy Adams was no doubt acquainted with the verse of Scripture I have quoted.  Paul writes that we have an outward man and an inward man.  In two of my favorite translations the outward man, or our body, is referred to as a common earthenware jar and a little clay pot (JB Phillips and the Living Bible Paraphrased.)

Paul declares a fourth eternal value: Our inward man is a greater value than our outward man. These verses Paul wrote to console those who were persecuted at that time are also a consolation for persecuted believers today or those who may be in the final stages of cancer that is causing their physical bodies to perish.  When they have prayed for healing and it appears that God is taking them home, their inward man can be renewed while their outward man is wasting away.

As some believers study the resurrection chapter they want to believe they will hold on to their physical body.  The great news is God is going to replace our little clay pots with spiritual bodies.


A Spiritual Body

July 19, 2013

“It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”  (1 Corinthians 15:44)

Have you ever seen a dragonfly with its double wings moving like a helicopter from one flower to another?  This amazing creature actually begins its life under water.  For about two years it exists as a shellfish with a long narrow body like a knitting needle.

If you did a cross section on that shellfish you would find that it has two respiratory capacities.  With one it can absorb oxygen from passing water through its body like other shellfish; however, it has another respiratory system that will one day breathe air.

When the two years of its underwater life have ended it rises to the surface of the water, moves to where land begins, dries its magnificent wings in the sun and then begins the second dimension of its existence.

The Apostle Paul writes that we are also designed to live our life in two dimensions and God has provided a body for us to live in each place.  He has given us a body so we can live on earth and a body so we can live in heaven.  Paul labels our earthly body “a natural body” and our heavenly body “a spiritual body.”  He then identifies a third spiritual value:  A spiritual body is a greater value than a natural body. 

Since I have spent several decades trapped in a quadriplegic body I really resonate with Paul when he declares that a spiritual body is prepared for me.  How I look forward to that spiritual body that will not have the limitations of my present body.  With great joy I anticipate the spiritual body God has prepared and Christ has made possible for me.

Do you value your spiritual body?


T’was 11 days before Christmas

December 20, 2012

“Around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“This is heaven.” declared a small boy.
“We’re spending Christmas at God’s house!”

When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their Savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring.
Those children all flew into the arms of their King.

And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

(This poem, written by Cameo Smith, honors the children killed last Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.)

We read in the Gospel of Matthew: Then Herod… put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under…”  (Matthew 2:16). Think of the children who stormed heaven’s gates shortly after the first Christmas.

There is much in this life that makes no sense until we have an upper story and an eternal dimension to what we believe.  The eternal dimension is the most important dimension of our existence.  It can make sense out of some of the inexplicable tragedy caused by evil.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 542 other followers