A Doxology Standard: God’s Power & God’s Glory

June 28, 2017

“For of Him and through Him and unto Him are all things, to Him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

The Apostle Paul closes the doctrinal section of his greatest masterpiece with these words in Romans. In his writings, Paul uses the expression “all things” frequently but never casually or without great thought and inspiration. In this context, he is probably referring to all the glorious truths he has written in his letter to the Church in Rome.

To paraphrase these words, I believe Paul is writing that God is the source of all things, God is the power behind all things, and God’s glory is the purpose for all things. The Apostle Paul suffered from health challenges every day of his ministry. Suffering chronic fatigue from quadriplegia the past 30 years, I have become very discriminating about how I spend my energy and strength. I use this doxology as my criteria for deciding whether or not I get involved in a project.

I do not want to be part of anything unless I can say that God is the source of it, God is the power behind it, and God’s glory is the purpose of the project. My life and strength are in such short supply I do not want to spend it on anything unless I know God is the source of it. God must be the power behind it, because I have no strength of my own. Since everything we do should be for the glory of God I want to be certain that God’s glory is the purpose of any work I attempt to do in this life.

Are you using this standard in your life?

Dick Woodward, 10 July 2009


DIVINE GUIDANCE: ONE STEP AT A TIME

June 23, 2017

“… I being in the way the Lord led me…” (Genesis 24: 27)

When we discover the context of these words of Scripture we realize they teach us a principle of how God often works in our lives. It is easier to steer a moving vehicle than one that is stationary. God can sometimes steer us more easily when we are moving. That’s why we often find that one step frequently leads to the next step when we have faith to be led by the Holy Spirit.

The words above from Genesis were spoken by Abraham’s servant who was commissioned to travel to the land of Abraham’s people to find a wife for Isaac. As he journals the events of his search he writes that while he was in the way the Lord led him he encountered the family of Rebekah. When he met her, he knew that his search had ended.

We who are committed followers of Christ were commissioned two thousand years ago to go to all nations and make disciples for Jesus Christ. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Like the servant of Abraham, as we embark on the adventure of obeying our great commission, we should expect that each step will lead to the next step.

We don’t always have to know where the road leads as long as we know it is the right road. While we are in the way our Lord has commissioned us to go we must have the faith to take that first step, and then, one step at a time, expect our Lord to show us His will about the next step.

Dick Woodward, 28 July 2009


LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

June 20, 2017

“And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1 John 4:21)

In this love chapter of the Bible, John gives us 10 reasons we must love.  His last reason is that we have been given a commandment by Jesus that we are to love one another.  When Jesus was about to leave the apostles by way of His death on the cross, He left the apostles with this New Commandment.

Jesus explained to them later in that same setting that this would only be possible because He was sending them the Holy Spirit. He used a word for the Holy Spirit that means: “One who comes alongside of you and attaches to you for the purpose of assisting you.”

The concept of a commandment is lost for many people in our culture because we are so democratic in our values. The closest we come to understanding this word is in our military training. When my youngest brother was in training the order was given that the smoking lamp was out – which meant no smoking.  In defiance of the order he lighted a cigarette. His Marine drill instructor ordered him to bury that cigarette in a grave six feet deep.

When he reported to the drill instructor all covered with mud and sweat, the instructor asked if he had buried the cigarette pointing north and south or east and west? When my brother wasn’t sure he was told that he had to do it again the next day and make sure it pointed north and south. The next time the no smoking order was given do you think he lighted another cigarette?

Do you get the full weight of these 10 reasons we must love?

Dick Woodward, 06 August 2010


A Prayer for the Peace of God

June 16, 2017

As a pastor I have known believers so ill or distraught they couldn’t concentrate enough to grasp Paul’s conditions for peace in booklet form, so I put them in a peace prayer. If you are seeking God’s peace, I invite you to pray this prayer with me.

Heavenly Father, You tell us in Your Word that You can keep us in a state of perfect personal peace if we meet Your conditions for that state of peace. Because I seek this peace in my life, give me the wisdom to worry about nothing and the faith to pray about everything. May I receive from You the mental discipline to think about all the good things and the integrity to do all the right things.

May I always have that incurable optimism that believes in goodness, and give me such an insight into what You have been doing and what You are now doing in my life and in my world that I will give thanks always and in all things. May I never try to push You or run before You, but always wait on You, experiencing and expressing the gentleness and patience that are the evidence of Your Spirit living in me.

As I sort out my priorities, may I always value Your approval of who and what I am and what I do, and not walk before others to be seen by them or to please them. Never let me forget how near You are to me as I draw near to You, worshiping and enjoying You each day and forever.

And finally, Father, realizing that it is not who I am, but who You are that is important; acknowledging that it is not what I can do, but what You can do that really matters; agreeing that it should never be what I want, but always what You want; and remembering that in the final analysis it will not be what I did, but what You did that will have lasting eternal results, give me that absolute trust in You and total dependence on You that will truly rest my heart and my mind in Christ.

Enable me to meet these conditions for personal peace in the name of Jesus Christ, for my peace and for Your glory. Amen.

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Peace

Editor’s Note: This concludes excerpts from my Papa’s Peace booklet. The blog posting elf will now return to regularly random blog selections of his writings. May the peace of Jesus Christ be with you, now & forever!


12th Condition for Peace: Believe in God’s Goodness

June 13, 2017

“…if you believe in goodness…” (Philippians 4:8)

As a young social worker I visited an elderly couple who had spent 50 years as missionaries in China. They were in poor health and living in indigent welfare housing. As these dear white-haired saints (who were what I consider spiritual nobility), reflected on what they had to show for their time of sacrificial service, they were beginning to doubt the value of all the good they had done for Jesus.

I shared this part of Paul’s peace prescription with them. Paul teaches here that our good works are not always rewarded in this life, but all good works of believers will be rewarded in the eternal state. (ICorinthians 3:11-15)

Paul certainly could have identified with this couple who realized their ‘welcome home’ would be waiting in heaven. From the time of his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul completely dedicated himself to the work of Jesus. What did that get him? Prison after prison, each one worse than the last; most were foul smelling dungeons. And yet, he writes that he experienced peace and joy.

When Paul writes, “If you believe in goodness…,” I am convinced he is focusing on the lifetime of goodness faithful servants have invested for the Lord.

Discouraged servants of God are tempted by the evil one to doubt the worth of good they have done. This part of Paul’s prescription addresses this peace thief. He would spare spiritual servants of Jesus the loss of peace we may suffer if we forget, that even though we may not be rewarded for faithful service in this life, our reward is waiting in the eternal state.

We are to value the approval of God in this life and be certain of His approval in the life to come.

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Peace


11th Condition for Peace: JOY!

June 9, 2017

“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in him at all times.” (Philippians 4:4)

“Pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is optional.” These are the words of Tim Hansel, a man who lived every day with excruciating pain. How can misery be optional for someone in agonizing pain? And why does Paul mention joy 17 times in the short letter he wrote from prison to his favorite church?

When we experience a relationship with the risen, living Christ there is a peace and joy that is not controlled by circumstances. The peace Paul prescribes doesn’t make sense because it “transcends human understanding.” According to Paul, the foundation of our peace is finding joy in Jesus Himself. We are to delight ourselves in the Lord and find peace and joy in Him at all times.

What is the foundation of your serenity and joy? If your foundation is relationships with loved ones, do you realize there is no relationship with people here in this life that cannot be removed? If it’s your health or athleticism, I can bear witness to the sad reality that is a fragile foundation. Many thousands of people who had a physical orientation around which their lives revolved before age, illness or injury destroyed them, will join me in warning you that health and physical abilities are fragile foundations for peace and joy.

Jesus commended Mary when she upset her sister Martha by sitting at His feet and listening to His Word rather than help with dinner preparations. With as much love for Martha as He had for Mary, Jesus said to Martha, “Mary has chosen the good part that will never be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

When Paul tells us to find our joy in the Lord, he is agreeing with what Jesus told Martha by directing us to build the foundations for our peace and joy in Jesus Christ.

“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in Him at all times!”

Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Peace


10th Condition for Peace: Christ within us

June 6, 2017

“…never forget the nearness of your Lord.” (Philippians 4:5)

When Paul experienced his last horrible imprisonment in Rome, visiting him was dangerous. Roman guards might chain you up if you came to see him. And nobody did. Paul writes: “They all forsook me. May God not lay it to their charge.” But he also writes: “Nevertheless the Lord stood by me and ministered to me.” (2 Timothy 4:16-17)

Paul has a relationship with the risen Christ. This is always his explanation for the dynamic of his life. He writes: “Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace all the time and in every way.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16) In the upper room discourse, Jesus shared: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you.” (John 14:27) Paul knows that Christ Who lives in us will give us, and keep us, in a state of perpetual peace.

As a by-product of Paul’s relationship with Christ, he can write, “I am ready for anything through the strength of the One Who lives within me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Jesus was speaking about a relationship with God when He taught: “Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10 Amplified Bible)

Seeking is intense asking and knocking is intense seeking. Open the door of your life wider and invite Christ into the center of every meaningful area of your life.

“Never forget the nearness of the presence of the Lord.”

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Peace