A Prayer for Peace (in times of crisis)

June 30, 2020

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  (John 14:27)

When I was in a very difficult situation, the prayer of Saint Francis had great meaning for me. I memorized it and prayed it every night for several months. I know you are very familiar with it but in case you don’t have a copy there, here it is:

 “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

Dick Woodward (email to his daughter, 2005)


#FAITH: Let the Redeemed SAY SO!

June 26, 2020

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy…” (Psalm 107:1-2)

Redemption means to get something back that has been lost. It is similar in meaning to the word “rehabilitation” which essentially means “to invest again with dignity.” The first words of Psalm 107’s marvelous hymn of redemption are quoted above. At the end of each of the five stanzas in this psalm, we are told that those who have been redeemed by the Lord should step up and say so.

Levels and dimensions of redemption are profiled in this psalm. Each description ends with the charge that we thank the Lord for His goodness in redeeming us in this way.

God redeems us from our chaos when He finds us. God then redeems us from our chains when He sets us free from our sins.

This is followed by the way God redeems us from our foolish and sinful choices. The psalmist emphasizes our responsibility for bringing on the consequences of our sins.

The psalmist then describes the way God redeems us from our complacency by meeting us in our crises from which He redeems us when we are at our wits end and don’t know what to do.

As you meditate on all these levels of redemption, ask God to continuously redeem you in all these ways. As you reflect on each individual dimension of redemption, step up and join the redeemed of the Lord in grateful worship.

And say so!

Dick Woodward, 27 June 2012


Pizza! Pizza! – The Anatomy of a Sin

June 23, 2020

“Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:15)

In this verse James gives us what we might call the “Anatomy of a Sin.”

One day more than twenty years ago, my wife had to be gone for six or seven hours. Watching sports television that evening, every thirty minutes or so an advertisement promoting pizza came on. I truly love pizza but I’m not supposed to have it because I am a diabetic.

Each time I saw the commercial I developed a stronger desire for pizza.

I had a telephone and some money in my pocket, so eventually I called and ordered a pizza. I told them I was in a wheelchair so please walk in. When the delivery man arrived, I asked him to place the pizza on the blanket in my lap and take the box with him (to leave no evidence.)

When my wife returned, however, as she picked up the blanket to fold it a small pizza crust dropped to the floor. Needless to say, I got in trouble, big time!

According to James sin involves a lure, a look, a strong desire, and eventually temptation – then sin and death, which means “the pits.” The lure is like a piece of metal and our strong desire is a powerful magnet. If we don’t do something to break up that magnetic field between our desire and that lure, we will sin.

I didn’t do that, so pizza landed in my lap.

James shared this with us so we would understand the importance of breaking up the magnetic sequence of sin.

Are you willing to do that?

Dick Woodward, 24 June 2011


A Prayer for Comfort

June 19, 2020

“Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For He gives us comfort in our trials…” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Suffering can drive us to God in such a way that we make this discovery: God is here and God can comfort us.

When you undergo a life-threatening surgery and you, completely alone, are being placed under the bright lights, remember that God is the ultimate source of the greatest comfort you can experience in this lifetime.

As a pastor I have frequently heard believers say that God met them in a supernatural and intimate way while they were going through a medical crisis.

Many of us have known people we loved very much who are depressed and oppressed. They are nearly always alone and their pain is so intensely private they do not want any of the caring people in their lives to be with them.

Others believe their suffering is so personal they must place themselves in self-imposed solitary confinement. If that happens to you, I challenge you to make this great discovery: God is here, and God can comfort you.

Father of all mercy and comfort, make me know personally that You are the source of all comfort. Comfort me in my pain. When I feel alone and depressed, may I discover that You are here, You are real, and You can comfort me. 

I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Dick Woodward, from 30 Biblical Reasons Why God’s People Suffer


Ministers of Comfort (for the Brokenhearted)

June 16, 2020

“…who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

They say an evangelist is “one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.” Paul is telling us in this passage of Scripture that a minister of comfort is “one hurting heart telling another hurting heart where the Comfort is.”

According to Paul, every time you enter into a deeper level of suffering God gives you a diploma to hang on your wall of spiritual credentials.

Jeremiah Denton was in solitary confinement in Hanoi for seven years. While he was alone in that cell he made a discovery: God was there and God comforted him. Have you entered into a level of suffering that was deep enough for you to make that same discovery? If you have, then as a qualified minister of comfort you can tell other hurting hearts where the Comfort is.

As a pastor for just under six decades I have made a discovery. The best one to comfort a parent who has lost a child is a parent who has lost a child, and best one to comfort the person who has lost a spouse is someone who has lost a spouse – when those who have suffered these losses have been comforted by God. The same is true for women who have had mastectomies, those who are going through divorce, battling cancer, and every other type of suffering.

When God has comforted you in your deepest levels of suffering are you willing to reach outside yourself and become a qualified minister of comfort?

Dick Woodward, 17 June 2010


Misery vs. Peace & Joy

June 12, 2020

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

“While pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is optional.” These are the words of a man who lives every day with excruciating pain.

How can misery be optional for someone in agonizing pain? How do we explain Paul mentioning joy seventeen times in the short letter he wrote from prison to the Philippians?

Paul explains that for those who experience a relationship with the risen, living Christ there is peace and joy that are not controlled by our circumstances. The peace and joy Paul experienced could be called, “Peace that doesn’t make good sense” and “Happiness that doesn’t make good sense.”

According to Paul, the foundation of our peace and joy should be Jesus Himself. He therefore prescribed that we are to delight ourselves in Jesus and find our peace and joy in Him at all times.

What is your foundation for serenity and joy? If your foundation is the relationship with a loved one, do you realize there is no relationship with people here in this life that cannot be removed?

If your foundation is your health, youth, or athleticism, many thousands of people who had those foundations before age, illness, or injury destroyed them, will join me in warning you that they are fragile foundations for the peace and joy Paul is describing.

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Dick Woodward, 23 June 2009


Holy Spirit PATIENCE!!

June 9, 2020

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances may be.” (Philippians 4:11)

Patience is part of Paul’s prescription for peace in Philippians. Throughout the history of the church, patience has always been considered a great virtue by spiritual heavyweights.

Why is patience such an important virtue?

For starters, patience is one of the nine fruit of the Spirit we find listed in the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. When the Holy Spirit lives in us, one of the ways the Spirit manifests in us is through a supernatural quality of patience.

In the Bible we are continuously exhorted to “Wait on the Lord.” In our relationship with God we might call patience “faith waiting.” Nothing will test and grow our faith like waiting. When we think God is not responding to our prayers, it may be that what God is doing in us while we are waiting – like growing the virtue of patience in us – is more important than that for which we are waiting.

In our relationships with people, patience can be called “love waiting.” I have found that the Lord wants to grow two dimensions of patience in us. He wants to grow “vertical patience” in us by teaching us to have a faith that waits. And He is growing “horizontal patience” in us by teaching us that in relationships, love waits.

Love is the first and primary virtue through which the Holy Spirit wants to express the life of Jesus Christ in us.

While impatience is a “peace thief,” vertical and horizontal patience are supernatural, God-given virtues that maintain the peace of God in our lives.

Dick Woodward, 09 June 2009


God’s Faithful Remembrance

June 5, 2020

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10)

This Scripture is directed to people who have labored long and hard in the ministry without much visible affirmation, encouragement and reward. These words instruct us to think about the One for Whom we are doing our ministry.

Abraham heard three words from God recorded in Genesis: “Walk before Me.” (Genesis 17:1) These three words remind us that we need to know for Whom we are ministering. We need to know how God feels about what we do in the way of ministry.

When there is not much fruit and few encouraging accolades, it is a great consolation to faithful servants of the Lord to be reminded of the glorious reality that God has seen our efforts.

And God will never forget our faithful labors.

The story is told of two elderly missionaries who returned to New York after half a century as missionaries in Africa. They both lost their wives in Africa and were lonely in that large city. When they met at the YMCA where they were staying and shared their discouragement, one of them said to the other, “We are not home yet, George.”

Sometimes the recognition and the reward for faithful service may only come when these words are heard at Heaven’s gates: “Well done good and faithful servant!”

If you are a faithful servant without much affirmation or encouragement, may these words be a consolation to you.

Dick Woodward, 04 June 2010


GOD: “Let’s Go to Ninevah!”

June 2, 2020

“…The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” (Jonah 3:1)

In the story Jonah tells us, he is not the hero. God is.

A paraphrased summary of Jonah’s truth looks something like this:

“When I went Nineveh, I was not agape love, but God was. I told the Lord, ‘I can’t love Ninevites, Lord.’ But God said to me, ‘I can, Jonah, so let’s go to Nineveh!’

I told the Lord, ‘I don’t want to go. I don’t want to love Ninevites, Lord!’

The Lord said to me, ‘I know that, Jonah. But, you see, I want to love Ninevites, so let’s go to Nineveh!’

When I went to Nineveh, I did not love Ninevites. When I was in the city of Nineveh, however, God loved the entire population of Nineveh through me.”

Miracle of miracles, God saved the entire population of Nineveh through the preaching of this prophet who hated the people God wanted to save.

…To be “prejudiced” means to “pre-judge.” Is God’s work through you being blocked because of your prejudice? Are there people with whom you do not share the Gospel because you have animosity toward them?

Or because they are above or below your level of education, wealth and social status? Do you fear apathy, ridicule, hostility or embarrassment?

Are you joining Jonah saying, “I will not?”

When are you going to let the love and power of Christ cut through your conscious and unconscious prejudice and say to God, “I will?”

It’s not a matter of what you can do, but of what God can do.

Faithfulness is your responsibility; fruitfulness is God’s responsibility.

Dick Woodward, Jonah Coming & Going: True Confessions of a Prophet

#Jonah #hope #love #peace #faith #inspiration #grace


Pentecost Power: An Eagle Perspective

May 29, 2020

“He gives power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increases strength… But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles.  They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

When the power of Pentecost came upon the apostles, there was a noise like a mighty rushing wind. As we read in the New Testament book of Acts how the apostles received the power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and began implementing the Great Commission amidst severe persecution, we should think of the eagle leaping off its nest directly into adverse winds to rise and soar above the storm enveloping it.

As you see in your mind’s eye the eagle sitting on the side of its nest, waiting for the velocity of the wind to become strong, you have a metaphor that allegorizes an important expression found many times in the Old Testament: “Wait on the Lord.”

It means we are not to go charging ahead without clear direction from the Lord.  We are to wait on the Lord. We are exhorted to follow the example of an eagle by waiting until the wind of the Spirit is here to direct, support and empower us.

Then we should follow the eagle’s example and take the leap of faith off our nests directly into the adversity that is challenging us. As the power of the Holy Spirit drives us into the strong winds of a storm, the energizing unction of the Holy Spirit will give us the spiritual aerodynamics we need to lift up and soar over it.

Dick Woodward, from As Eagles: How to be an Eagle Disciple