Strength in Weakness

July 1, 2016

“When I am weak then I am strong…” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

In these eight words the Apostle Paul gives us a strength formula.  When you are having a serious operation, instead of counting to 10 as the anesthesiologist administers the medicine that knocks you out, I suggest you say these eight words: When I am weak then I am strong.  While most of us are ‘control freaks,’ after experiencing the full effects of anesthesia we give up all control.  But, as believers when we give up all control, we will find underneath the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)  This makes us stronger than we have ever been.

Paul, quoting Isaiah, writes the key to spiritual strength is that God gives strength to the weary and power to the weak. One translation reads that God’s strength looks good on weak people.  The key to spiritual strength is therefore not found in our strength but in our weakness. These eight words are therefore the formula for strength.  They will give you great spiritual strength in your time of absolute weakness.  Discover with the Apostle Paul that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, not in trying to make ourselves strong.  We find our greatest strength in the Everlasting Arms that are there underneath us.

Prove what Isaiah and Paul teach us.  The everlasting arms are there and they give us more strength than we have ever known as healthy active people.  The next time you experience weakness on any level of life remember to pray these eight words: “When I am weak then I am strong.”

You will soon find yourself saying, “I’m not but He is; I can’t, but He can;” and then, “I didn’t but He did” when you let God perfect His strength in your weakness.

Dick Woodward, 26 February 2014

Editor’s Note: After fixing up this blog post for today, the Blog-Posting Elf just realized that this was the last blog Papa wrote before he went to rest in the Everlasting Arms of God on March 8, 2014.  As all who knew him attest, Dick Woodward exhibited God’s strength in his weakness in extraordinary ways through countless days of weakness and suffering that was especially challenging as he wrote these words.  As he would say, “I didn’t, but God did” in and through him… even to his last breath.  


Thimble vs. Truckload Faith

August 14, 2015

“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress..” (Psalm 4:1)

While I was learning that God is there, real and personal I met with one of my mentors after experiencing the divine presence of God in a mighty way.  I told Paris Reidhead, “My cup is just running over, Paris!” His response was: “How big is your cup, Dick?  It doesn’t take much to run over a thimble.  Why don’t you ask God to turn your thimble into a cup, your cup into a bucket, and your bucket into a truckload?”

I did pray that prayer, fervently.  At that time I did not know that according to verse above God’s vehicle for that kind of growth is distress.  If you want to know what distress is, just drop the first two letters:  God uses stress to grow us spiritually, just as putting stress on our muscles grows us physically.

Over the next few years I found myself going through deep waters and fiery trials.  When we had three toddlers and two in diapers my wife was hospitalized four times in one year in a hospital 100 miles away from our home.  During that crisis, as I juggled pastoring a church and mothering our five children the Lord enlarged me, big time!

Years later I lost my health and became a bed fast quadriplegic. That is when I really learned the “Four Spiritual Secrets” which have enabled me to minister beyond anything I could have imagined.

When you want to grow spiritually I dare you to ask God to turn your thimble into a cup, your cup into a bucket, and your bucket into a truckload.

Dick Woodward, 08 March 2013

Editors Note: A reminder, the Four Spiritual Secrets are:

I’m not, but He is.
And I am in Him, and He is in me.

I can’t, but He can.

And I am in Him, and He is in me.

I don’t want to, but He wants to.

And I am in Him, and He is in me.

I didn’t, but He did.
Because I was in Him and He was in me.


A Recipe To Rest

June 9, 2015

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11: 28-30)

Jesus loves to give invitations.  He addresses this one to people who are loaded with problems and working themselves to exhaustion trying to solve them.  Jesus promises that if we come to Him He will give us rest.  If you look closely at this invitation, He is inviting us to come to Him and learn about His heart, His burden and His yoke.  What we learn there will lead us to this rest.

Jesus wants burdened people to learn that His burden is light, His heart is humble and His yoke is easy.  There is a sense in which Jesus had the weight of the world on His shoulders and yet He claimed that His burden was light.  His burden was light because He let the Father carry the load.

The most important part of His recipe for rest is what Jesus wants us to learn about His yoke.  A yoke is not a burden — it’s an instrument that makes it possible to bear a burden.  When a cart is piled high with cargo the yoke makes it possible for an ox to pull a great load with ease.  It is the yoke of Jesus that shows us how to pull our heavy burdens of life.

The yoke of Jesus was that He let His Father carry the burdens.  We take His yoke upon us when we let the Holy Spirit carry the load.

Dick Woodward, 05 November 2013


A Bush Aglow

November 15, 2013

“Moses was amazed because the bush was engulfed in flames, but it didn’t burn up.  Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up?” (Exodus 3: 2, 3 NLT)  

These verses are taken from a familiar passage that describes the call of Moses.  I love this story because it is the greatest illustration in the Bible of what I call 4 Spiritual Secrets:

I’m not but He is.
I can’t but He can.
I don’t want to but He wants to.
I didn’t but He did.

Applying the Secrets to Moses, he was not the deliverer of God’s people from their awful slavery and suffering in Egypt.  God was their Deliverer.  Moses could not deliver them but God could.  Based on his objections we know Moses did not want to deliver those people.  God wanted to deliver them.  When the Red Sea parted and the people of God marched through on dry ground nobody had to tell Moses: “You didn’t do that.” He knew, “God did that!”

The primary detail in this story is often overlooked.  God got the attention of Moses when a bush burst into flame and was not consumed!  In the extreme heat of the desert this often happens, but a burning bush is always consumed in about five seconds.  The miraculous reality that the bush was not burning up moved Moses to turn aside and see how to be a vehicle of deliverance.

Epidemic addiction issues exist today that have millions looking for deliverance. There is also epidemic burnout among those who serve the Lord.  As servants of God we need to turn aside with Moses and see how to be a “Bush Aglow” on fire for the Lord, without burning up or burning out, as conduits of God’s deliverance.