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
May 26, 2017
“Don’t worry over anything whatever; 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 4:6-7)
Observe that Paul prescribed “earnest and thankful prayer.” Do you know what thankful prayer is? My definition of thankful prayer is grateful worship. I have found effective peace therapy in a litany of thanksgiving that has evolved in my devotional life over the last thirty years of praying through Paul’s peace prescription while accepting the hard reality of limitations.
When we’re thankful, we automatically move our minds from the negative to the positive issues in our lives. When suffering from a condition or illness that is causing us to lose our faculties one by one, we have two choices: we can continuously think about what we’ve lost, or are losing, or we can think about what we still have and be thankful.
As I experienced the loss of my physical ability, I have personally found that I get more mileage out of this condition for peace than any of Paul’s other conditions. I have so many blessings for which to be thankful. I discover regularly that when I begin to focus on my blessings, the peace of God is in place. As I think of all the problems I have because nothing works from my neck down, mentally I put those challenges on one side of a scale, while on the other side I place my blessings. I always find that the good stuff far outweighs my bad stuff – and the peace of God returns.
I highly recommend this thanksgiving therapy, which is a vital part of Paul’s prescription for peace.
Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Peace
November 22, 2016
“In everything … with thanksgiving tell God every detail of your needs … And the peace of God which transcends human understanding will stand guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7)
As I have applied what Paul prescribes in these verses (in the NIV and J.B. Phillips), I have found this prescription for peace to be one of the most helpful spiritual disciplines. According to Paul, an attitude of gratitude leads to the therapy of thanksgiving as we give thanks in stressful circumstances.
Be sure to make the observation that Paul does not prescribe giving thanks for all things. He instructs us to give thanks in all things. When we do this it automatically moves our mindset from the negative to the positive. The apostle promises that the peace of God will protect and stand guard, (like the soldiers chained to Paul as he wrote these words), over our hearts and minds as they rest and trust in Christ Jesus.
Our circumstances are not always determined by God but may be caused by evil people who are persecuting us. We cannot always control our circumstances – but we can control the way we respond to them. Paul is telling us to respond with thanksgiving, because if we do, we will find this response to be God’s prescription that will bring peace that can contribute to our overcoming those circumstances.
When a pastor asked a church member how she was doing, she responded, “Pretty good pastor, under the circumstances.” The pastor responded, “Whatever are you doing under there?”
The therapy of thanksgiving can lead us out from under our circumstances and into the Presence and peace of God.
Dick Woodward, 02 September 2009
Editor’s Note: A blessed Thanksliving type of Thanksgiving to all!! : )
May 22, 2015
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…” (Philippians 1:3)
It is fitting in the United States of America that we set aside one day each year to memorialize our fallen warriors. In the Old Testament God regularly commanded His chosen people to erect memorials so they would never forget certain events on their journey of faith. When we study those memorials we realize that God wanted them to remember miracles He performed for them. He never wanted them to forget significant spiritual datelines. He often repeated for emphasis things He wanted them to remember. Throughout the Old and New Testaments we therefore continuously hear the exhortation to remember!
Memorials are closely linked with the attitude of gratitude and the awful sin of ingratitude. On Memorial Day are you thankful for “The Greatest Generation” of the 1940s who saved us from an unthinkable future without freedom? and throughout Cold War decades from more of the same? Does your memorial of gratitude continue through those who fell in Korea, Vietnam and now in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Do you have spiritual memorial datelines for which you are grateful as you remember them before God? Do you have a dateline of when you came to faith in what Christ did for you on the cross? Do you have spiritual datelines beyond that point of beginning your faith journey, when the risen Christ has proved Himself to you in miraculous ways? Do you have a dateline when He made you know what He wants you to do for Him? In the fulfillment of that vision has He brought very, very significant people into your life to help you bring that vision into reality?
Then have a spiritual Memorial Day and be filled with grateful worship!
Dick Woodward, 31 May 2010
Editor’s Note: My father had the utmost respect for our military. His father became a Christian while sharing his pup-tent with a Christian in the European theatre of WWI. Although my father never served in the military (he was 15 when WWII ended & then studied to be a pastor), his brothers served in the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines during WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam. My father always said he felt like a Navy Chaplain while ministering to so many Navy families @ the Va. Beach Community Chapel for 25 years – a great honor to him! Whether you are a peace-nik (like the Blog-Posting Elf who served overseas as a relief & development worker in conflict zones for many years) or friends & family of active military serving in today’s war zones – as my father suggested, this Memorial Day let’s remember those who have given their lives for peace, and then remember spiritually what God has done for each one of us!
November 22, 2012
“… although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful…” (Romans 1:21)
In the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome he gives a resume of the fall of the human race. Paul does the same thing Moses did in the third chapter of the book of Genesis. They both describe the fall of man as it was and as it is. By that I mean they are not merely describing an historical event in the past but they want us to understand what is happening in our culture right now.
In Paul’s account of the fall of the human race he traces the origin of our fall to two things: we did not glorify God as God, and we were not thankful. He then continues to describe how God gave us up to what we wanted and we became guilty of every imaginable kind of sin. As he vividly describes what happened to the human race after God did not give up on us but gave us up to what we wanted, the result became what Paul described as “all unrighteousness.”
If you track with Paul as he itemizes what he means by “all unrighteousness” it’s intriguing to realize that all that horrible sin began with the hard reality that we were not thankful. There are so many exhortations and prescriptions in the Word of God for us to be thankful but here in the first chapter of Romans is a great warning about the price of not being thankful.
Like it was and like it is, appreciate the value of an attitude of gratitude. And, like it was and like it is, do not underestimate the price of an attitude of ingratitude.