Working the Works of God

September 4, 2015

“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. The night is coming when no man can work.” (John 9:4)

The Gospel of John gives us another window into the way Jesus felt about the works God wanted Him to do. According to this vision statement of Jesus He knew the reality that He had less than three years to do those works.

In 1956 the famous missionary Jim Elliot was speared to death, along with his four colleagues, by the tribal people they were trying to reach with the Gospel. Jim was a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. About four years before he died, he wrote in his journal, “When it comes time to die, make sure all you have to do is die.”

We can’t understand how God decides the day of our death. We don’t know when our own finish line will come. But we should all live in such a way that when we come to the finish line of our lives there will be no unfinished business, no works our Father assigned to us that we’ve left undone.

Do you have the magnificent obsession of Jesus to work the works God has assigned to you while it is day not knowing when the night is coming and you cannot work anymore? Can you accept the challenge of being like Jesus in your attitude toward the works God wants you to do?

Dick Woodward, 18 August 2009

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

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)

Two-Way Streets of Communication

April 10, 2015

“For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?” (2Corinthians 2:2)

Every relationship we have is a two-way street. According to the Apostle Paul whatever we send down that street comes back up that street with a dynamic impact on that relationship.  Jesus states this same truth with a positive spin when He teaches hypercritical people, “With the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:2)

This was a relevant marketplace metaphor at the time of Christ.  If you were selling oats and a fellow merchant in the marketplace was selling wheat, when you bought from each other you could request to use their bushel standard of measurement.  Paraphrased, this is saying that whatever standard you use when you give to the other person in a relationship, they will use that same standard when they give to you. All of this means that we cannot control the weather or rainy days, but we can control the emotional climate that surrounds us in a relationship.

Communication is not only what is said but what is heard.  It is not only what is said but what is felt.  How does the communication you are contributing in a relationship make the other person in that relationship feel?  If you’re sending negative waves into that other person’s life, is that likely to inspire them to send positive waves in your direction?

Paul gave us another great teaching on this subject when he wrote, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for the building up of others, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)

I challenge you to apply these teachings of Jesus and Paul in your relationships.

Dick Woodward, 05 February 2011

Letting the Light shine

March 20, 2015

“…  I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”   (John 9:39)

Jesus claimed that He is the light of the world.  He also commissioned His followers with the exhortation that we are the light of the world.  From the verses above we learn that the light of which our Lord speaks is a very strange quality of light.  It makes it possible for those who are blind to see and it reveals the blindness of those who think they see.

When I was a child I lived near coal mines.  One day a terrible explosion rocked a coal mine where 20 miners were trapped and isolated for three days in a small pocket of that mine.  When they were rescued there was great jubilation and celebration among the rescued miners and those who had broken through to them.  The celebration grew quiet when one of the rescued miners asked the question: “Why didn’t you guys bring any lights?” The rescuers had actually brought many lights.  The miner who asked the question had been blinded by the flash when the explosion happened.  He had been blind for three days, but in the pitch black darkness of the mine he didn’t know he was blind until the light came.

The light that Jesus is – and the light He tells us that we are – has that purpose and function.  It reveals the spiritual blindness of those who think they see and it gives sight to those who know they are spiritually blind.  Jesus told us we are that light.  Are you willing to let the light of Jesus shine through you?

Dick Woodward, 21 May 2010

At the Feet of Jesus

February 27, 2015

“… but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better…”  (Luke 10:42)

Every time we meet Mary, the sister of Martha, she is at the feet of Jesus.  The verse above describes her at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word.  Martha is frustrated because Mary is attending the Bible study while she herself is doing all the serving.  Jesus sides with Mary because she has chosen the number one priority that day.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 11, the brother of these two sisters has died.  When the Lord arrives too late to save Lazarus both these sisters greet Him with the same words: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.”  However, when Mary spoke those words we read that she prostrated herself at his feet showing that she accepted His will.

In the next chapter a banquet is described at which their resurrected brother is the guest of honor.  We see Mary there worshiping Jesus at His feet.  She anointed His feet with perfume worth a year’s wages.  What would it mean if you worshiped Jesus with your annual income?

This Mary is a great example for all of us when she is at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word, accepting His will, and worshiping Him.  If we prostrate ourselves at His feet as we read our Bibles, we will hear His personal word to us and find His will for our lives.  If we continue to follow Mary’s example we will be at His feet accepting His will for our lives. And those who follow the example of Mary will find themselves forever offering costly worship at the feet of Jesus.

Dick Woodward, 19 February 2013

Examining our Hearts

September 2, 2014

Search me, Oh God, and know my heart.  Try me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”  (Psalm 139:23-24)

David showed great spiritual wisdom when he prayed this prayer.  He asked God to take the lid off his mind and show him the thoughts that should not be there.  He then asked God to take the lid off his heart because he wanted to see the motives that should not be in his heart.  He prayed this prayer of self-examination because he wanted to walk in the everlasting way.  Another way of saying the same thing is that David wanted God to purify his thoughts and  motives because he wanted to be the man God created and re-created him to be…

Paul closes his second letter to the Corinthians with a verse that has a cluster of challenges regarding how they are to think of themselves. If you compare several translations of this verse (2 Corinthians 13:5), you will realize that these challenges can be summarized and paraphrased into just three:  “EXAMINE yourself, whether you are in the faith; PROVE yourself that you are an authentic disciple of Christ.  And KNOW yourself, how that Jesus Christ is in you.” …

Paul wrote to the Colossians that God called him to share a spiritual secret with the Church: Christ in our hearts is our only hope of bringing glory to God.  (Colossians 1:24-29)  In this great passage he writes that sharing this secret is his life’s work and is worthy of all his life’s energies.   “Christ in you the hope of glory.”  He exhorts us to know by experience that Christ is in us and we are in Christ.

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Your Self


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