The Cross of Christ: Mercy & Grace

April 11, 2017

“Goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life.”
(Psalm 23:6)

“God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that you, always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Two of the most beautiful words in the Bible are mercy and grace. The mercy of God, which is the unconditional love of God, withholds from us what we deserve, while the grace of God lavishes on us all kinds of blessings we do not deserve, accomplish, or achieve by our own efforts.

As we thank God for our blessings, at the top of the list we should thank Him for the mercy that withholds and the grace that bestows. The good news of the Gospel is that when Jesus Christ suffered on the cross for our sins, everything we deserved was laid upon Him that we might have peace with God. (Isaiah 53: 5, 6; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

If you want to grasp the meaning of these two words observe when and why they turn up in the Bible. Try to understand what we deserved and why. That will grow your appreciation of the mercy of God. Then investigate all that is bestowed upon us by the grace of God. As you find these two beautiful words throughout the Bible, you will understand why I challenge you to pray with thanksgiving for:

The mercy that withholds and the grace that bestows.

Dick Woodward, 26 February 2009


God’s Amazing AMAZING Grace

February 7, 2017

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.  (Romans 5:1-5)

In Paul’s letter to Roman believers, he writes that God has given us access, by faith, to a quality of grace that makes it possible for us to stand for Jesus Christ in this world and live our lives to glorify Him. Paul writes that we should rejoice in our tribulation, because it is our suffering that forces us to access the grace God makes available to us.

In another verse about grace from the pen of Apostle Paul, we read: “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.” (2Corinthians 9:8) This is the most emphatic verse in the Bible about the grace God makes available to us.

According to Paul, God is able to make all grace (not just a little bit of grace), abound (not just trickle), toward you (not just Billy Graham, your pastor, missionaries, but toward you), that you (he repeats you for emphasis), always (not just sometimes), having all sufficiency (not just some sufficiency), in all things (not just some things), may abound (not just limp along), unto every good work (not just some good works).

All grace, abounding, always, all of you, I mean all of you, all sufficiency, all things, always abounding in all the good works God wants to do through you!

The New Testament church turned the world right side up because they believed and experienced the truth Paul was proclaiming in this extraordinary proclamation about God’s amazing grace.

Do you believe in the amazing grace of God?

Dick Woodward, 30 Biblical Reasons Why God’s People Suffer (p.21)


Dying Grace, Patience… and Peace

October 4, 2016

“Delight yourselves in the Lord. Yes, find your joy in Him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord. Don’t worry over anything whatever, but tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer. And the peace of God which transcends human understanding will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:4-7, J.B. Phillips)

When I was ill with an operation on my colon, my pastor, Dr. John Dunlap, came to visit me.  I had an infection. I was in the hospital 21 days just for that one procedure. I said to him, “John, if you’re here to tell me I have a malignancy, I can’t handle that today.”

He laughed and said, “Reverend, you’re not dying. And so you don’t need dying grace. If you needed dying grace, God would give you dying grace.”

A year later my dear pastor John had a malignancy. He said to me right away (I was there the day he found out), “Pray for me.” He was a big guy, but a big baby when it came to toothaches or anything like that. He had one of the worst malignancies the oncologist had ever seen, but all of us, we never saw such an example of dying grace as God gave our dear pastor. Dying grace. God will give you dying grace when you need it.  And dying grace, really, is a supernatural anointing of the Lord that makes it possible for us to accept it.  That’s what it is, really. An acceptance. That’s what Paul means by gentleness.

It’s like saying in another way, “Be patient.”  Patience, when you think vertically, is faith waiting. And there are many times in our walk with God where God gives us the fruit of the Spirit, patience, which is faith waiting.  God’s got to get you out before God can bring you in.  You’ve got to keep on going, so you can get through.  You’ve got to get right, so you can settle down.

… The Apostle Paul says, “Never forget the nearness of the Lord.” Think of what that meant to him in prison. When it became dangerous to be identified with him, he said in his very last letter, “No one stood with me.”  And yet, he adds, “Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me. The Lord is always with me.”

Dick Woodward, (Ben Lippen Retreat, 1979)


The Christmas That Shall Be (Part II)

December 23, 2015

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  (Psalm 27:13)

The Old Testament people of God lived their lives believing it was possible to ‘see the Good.’  In Psalm 34 King David challenges hopeless fugitives to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good,’ and the Lord is the Good they have been seeking all their lives.

In the great love chapter of the Bible, the Apostle Paul tells us the three lasting, eternal values in life are faith, hope, and love (I Cor. 13:13).  Love is the greatest of these eternal values because God is Love.  Faith is an eternal value because faith brings us to God.  Hope is also one of the three great eternal values because hope brings us to the faith that brings us to God.  In the heart of every human being, God plants hope – the conviction that something good exists in this life and someday that good is going to intersect our lives.  That is what the author of Hebrews means when he tells us that faith gives substance to the things for which we have been hoping. (Hebrews 11:1)

Every year, approximately 30,000 people commit suicide.  Research by sociologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists tells us they commit suicide because they lose hope.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we must realize that we have the Good News that can give hope to the hopeless.  Because we really believe in the Christmas that was, we should share it with the people Jesus came to seek and to save.  (Luke 19:10).  We show that we really believe in the Christmas that shall be when we tell hopeless people that God is going to give us another Christmas.

Like the wise men we should ask the question, “Where is He?,” seek Him until we find Him, worship Him, and give the gift of our lives to Him.  Then, like the shepherds, we should tell everybody the very Good News that Christmas has come and Christmas is coming again to this otherwise hopeless world!

Dick Woodward, A Christmas Prescription


Ginny Woodward: Wrapped in a Bundle of life with God

June 24, 2015

“Wrapped in a bundle of life with God…” (I Samuel 25:29)

These words of Scripture are often found inscribed on gravestones of children who died at a very early age, especially in Jewish cemeteries where Jewish mothers expressed the almost inexpressible feelings of their hearts as they laid their children to rest.

As Christians we could also inscribe these words on the gravestones of our children and adult loved ones because they should bring great comfort and consolation to us as we think of those we have lost through sickness and death…  (Dick Woodward, 23 September 2010)

On Monday morning, 22 June 2015, Dick Woodward’s precious wife, Ginny, went to rest in the Everlasting Arms of God with her five children gathered around her bedside.  As the family sang “Amazing Grace,” she took her last breath.   We, her family, are so grateful to God for the gift of her life and the amazing grace of Jesus that fills the legacy of love and faith she leaves with us.

As partner with Papa in ministry for 58 years of their marriage, during the last 25 years when he said, “we” would do something, he meant it.  Mama literally served as his hands and feet (and much more besides) when he became a wheel-chair bound quadriplegic and then 10 years later a bedfast quad.

Steadfast faithfulness describes our precious Mama.  We thank God for His faithfulness to her, and her faithfulness to God, to us, and to our Papa for so many years – a witness not only to our family and the Tidewater/ Williamsburg community, but all around the world where the Mini-Bible College continues to yield Kingdom fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We pray that the seeds of faith she planted in our lives, watered with her deep, deep love of Jesus, will continue to bloom and grow for many years to come.

“… the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end…”

Ginny Johnson WoodwardThere will be a Memorial Celebration for Ginny Woodward at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, 26 June 2015, at the Williamsburg Community Chapel.

We, her family, thank you for your prayers at this time.


Enduring Grace

September 12, 2014

“…we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand..” (Romans 5:2)

Paul writes that God has given us access, by faith, to a quality of grace that makes it possible for us to stand for Christ in this world, and live lives that glorify God. Then he writes that we should rejoice in our suffering, because God sometimes uses our suffering to force us to access that grace.

How must God feel when He sees us struggling in our own strength to live as we should, knowing He has provided us with a way to access all the grace we need? We are to rejoice when God uses suffering to make us an offer we cannot refuse that drives us into His grace.

There are levels and degrees of suffering we simply cannot endure without the grace of God. When our suffering drives us beyond the limits of any human resources we have within ourselves, these times of severe testing become God’s opportunity to provide and prove His grace to us.  A devout hymn writer expressed that truth this way:

“When we come to the end of our store of endurance.
When our strength has failed and the day is half done.
When we have exhausted our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving has only begun.

“His love has no limit. His grace has no measure.
His power has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite wisdom and mercy
He gives and He gives and He gives yet again.”

According to Paul, it is the love of God that sometimes uses our suffering to force us to access the grace he prescribed in Romans 5:2 and in the great verse about grace in 2 Corinthians 9:8.

Are you willing to let the problems you cannot solve and suffering you cannot endure drive you to access the amazing grace of God today?

Dick Woodward, 23 October 2009

Editor’s Note:  If you would like to learn more about the hymn, “He Giveth More Grace,” by Annie Johnson Flint, click here to read her inspiring story.


Misery Loves Company

August 15, 2014

“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)

You can’t control the weather or rainy days but you can control the emotional climate that surrounds you. There is a principle in a relationship that tells us communication is a two-way street.  Whatever you send down that street comes back up that street and into your relationship with another person.

That is what the Apostle Paul is teaching when he essentially writes “If I say things that get you down who is going to build me up or pull me up?”  The reality is that you are probably going to pull me down because misery loves company.  This is a negative way of stating a positive truth.  That truth is if I say things to you that build you up, I have equipped you to build me up.

In another place Paul wrote:Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)

In every relationship you have, with your spouse, your children, your parents, those you work with, those you work for, and those who work for you  – make the commitment to say and do things that build them up and minister the grace of God to them.  You will be surprised by joy to discover that what you send down that street will come back up that street and into your relationship with that person.

Jesus gave an unstable man named Simon the nickname Peter, which meant stable like a rock.  After calling Peter ‘a rock’ for three years Peter was like a rock. Try that in your relationships and see what happens.

Dick Woodward, 29 June 2010