Believing God for Comfort @ The Holidays

December 15, 2017

“…whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26)

I have suggested in my two previous blogs that if you want to find the blessedness and comfort Jesus promised to those who mourn in His second beatitude, you should ask the right questions and listen to God’s answers. My third suggestion is implied by Jesus as He gave an excellent answer to Martha when he asked, “Do you believe this?”

My suggestion is that you believe God’s answers to the right questions. When we ask, listen, and believe, the death of someone we love is like an investment in the world to come. We have simply bought shares in heaven, increasing our motivation to be there in the eternal dimension with Christ and with them.

A devout surgeon I know says that the word we use most in this life is “Why?” However, the word we are going to use most in the next world will be “Oh!”

An old hymn I don’t hear much anymore proclaims:

“Friends will be there I have known long ago.

Joy like a river around me will flow.

Yet just a smile from my Savior I know,

that will be glory, be glory for me!”

The Bible is filled with God’s answers to the right questions. When we believe those answers we will discover the blessed state Jesus promised those who mourn in one word: salvation. Salvation and the comfort He promised can begin right now and last forever if we ask, listen, and believe!

Dick Woodward, 17 December 2010


Saving Faith: Never Ever Alone

December 12, 2017

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

If this happy and joyful holiday season finds you unhappy because you are mourning the loss of a loved one, in my previous post I suggested you should ask the right questions. My second suggestion is to listen to God’s answers to the right questions. For example, listen to the answer of the One Who was God in the flesh and gave us the second beatitude that promised comfort when we are mourning.

Jesus gave this answer (John 11:25-26) to Martha who had lost her brother, Lazarus, whom she and Jesus loved deeply. To paraphrase, Jesus told Martha that if a man like her brother believed in Him, even though he died he would live. Jesus then opened this great reality to all of us with the declaration that whoever believes and lives his or her life in fellowship with Him will never die.

Make the observation when the Lord appears to be redundant He is not merely repeating Himself. The second time Jesus makes this declaration He opens the reality of everlasting life to whoever meets two prerequisites: if we believe in Him and if we live our lives in Him, we will never die.

Faith alone can save but the faith that saves is never alone.

When Jesus focuses the validating faith of living in Him, He uses an expression that is found nearly 200 times in the New Testament. It means to be in relationship with Him the way a branch is in relationship with a vine.

Dick Woodward, 14 December 2010


Asking the Right Questions

December 8, 2017

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  (Matthew 5:4)

In our culture today, there are many people who are praying for the grace to get through the weeks that begin with Thanksgiving and end with Christmas Day. These people are often ‘single again.’ By that I mean those who have lost a spouse through death or divorce, or those who have lost a child or a loved one.

If you have lost someone, it would be good to listen to the second beatitude of Jesus.  He shows that His values are very different from ours when He announces that those who are mourning losses can be blessed and comforted. The word blessed can mean “happy,” “spiritually prosperous” or “in a state of grace.”

If you would like to experience the blessing and comfort Jesus promised those who are mourning losses, a first step in that direction would be to ask the right questions. Perhaps, for the first time in your life – ask the right questions.

When we suffer loss, there are right questions and there are wrong questions. The question “why” is very often a wrong question, because it can lead to questions nobody can answer. There are, however, right questions. When we lose a loved one through death there is a question God wants us to ask. It’s found in the fourteenth chapter of the book of Job, where Job writes: “When a man dies he lies prostrate, he expires and then where is he?  When a man dies shall he live again?”

When we are mourning, God wants us to ask right questions like that one.  Have you ever asked that question?

Dick Woodward, 10 December 2010


A Christmas Question: Where is He?

December 5, 2017

“… Behold, wise men …came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is He?” (Matthew 2:2)

In the Old Testament, God begins dialogue with us by asking the question: “Where are you?” The New Testament begins with wise men asking the question: “Where is He?” If we are spiritually wise, as we read the Old Testament God will show us where we truly are. By the time we reach the New Testament we’re ready for the question of the wise men, because we know by then that we need a Savior – and we need to know where our Savior, Jesus, is.

Wise people still ask the question, “Where is He?” The Gospel of Matthew reports that those wise men were directed to a house where they found and worshiped a young Child about two years of age. By application, when we ask that question today, what are the answers we should expect to receive?

In John’s profound letter at the end of the New Testament we find these words: “We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1John 3:2) These three words “as He is” raise the question in what form, and in what ways, can we expect to find Jesus today?

If you want to be spiritually wise, ask the question: “Where is He?” Then look where a unique quality of Love can be found today. Look for where a unique quality of Light and Truth can be found today. Since we do not find Him in a test tube or a fossil, look for Jesus in an abundant spiritual dimension of life.

Dick Woodward, 07 December 2010


Don’t Throw Away Your Faith!!

December 1, 2017

“So do not throw away your faith; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised… For he that is righteous shall live by faith.” (Hebrews 10:35-38)

As the author of the book of Hebrews continues giving doubting disciples reasons why they should not throw away their faith, he tells them they should not throw away their faith because they need their faith for living. Authentic disciples know they are saved by faith, but the disciples to whom he was writing did not know, or had forgotten, that they are also called to live by faith.

He quotes the key verse of the prophecy written by Habakkuk to suffering people. When we are suffering, we especially need to be reminded that God has given us the faith to persevere and do the will of God in our crisis.

I have observed a direct correlation between spiritual growth and suffering. The Greek word translated “persevere” in these verses is a quality God grows in us when we are living by faith while we are suffering, according to the Apostle Paul (Romans 5:3-5).

The immediate response of many authentic disciples when we find ourselves in a difficult situation is: “Lord, get me out of here!”  When that doesn’t happen, we are sometimes tempted to throw away our faith.

The message conveyed by these verses is “Don’t throw away your faith.  You need your faith to live through your crisis.”

Is this a message you need to hear today?

Dick Woodward, 03 December 2010


Worriers or Warriors?

November 28, 2017

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you rest in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

The Apostle Paul challenges us in these two verses with two options: when we face challenges we can worry about them, or we can turn our challenges into prayer requests. Paul writes that we are not to worry because worry is counterproductive. He therefore prescribes that if we are overwhelmed with problems, we should let our mountain of problems turn us into prayer warriors.

So here we have two options. We can be worriers, or we can be warriors. Prayer changes things! Worry, on the other hand, does not change anything except for the severe negative consequences it can have on our body, soul and spirit. When we consider the devastating effects of worry and the miraculous results of answered prayer, that’s a no-brainer that should resolve our two options into one.

When we realize we are anxious and uptight because we are choosing to be worriers, we should ask God to convert us into prayer warriors. We should hold our problems up before the Lord and trade our futile worries for powerful prayers. God may deliver us from those problems, or give us the grace to cope with them.

But, in either case, God will give us peace.

As Paul writes, God will stand guard like a soldier over our hearts and minds and give us supernatural peace as we rest in what Christ will do.

Dick Woodward, 29 November 2011


A Psalm 100 Thanksgiving Day!!

November 23, 2017

“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, 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.

As a bedfast quadriplegic, I personally know of no other worship that means 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 be thankful!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Dick Woodward, 23 November 2011