#Faith: What are You?

May 3, 2019

“… He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas (which is translated ‘Peter.’)   (John 1:42)

When Jesus first met Peter, his name was Simon and his life was characterized by instability.  Yet Jesus gave him the nickname “Peter,” which means “rock” andstability.”

In Matthew 16 we have an intriguing interview between Jesus and Peter. Jesus had done the “who are you?” question in reverse. He asked the apostles, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter came up with the right answer. The Lord then said in so many words, “You’re not that smart Peter. That answer really didn’t come from you. It came from My Father.”

In this interview Jesus was telling Peter who and what Peter was, and what he was being called to be. In the Gospels Peter’s life is recorded like an unstable spiritual roller coaster. But after Jesus called Peter a ‘rock’ for three years and after Peter experienced Pentecost, we read in Acts that this unstable man became the rock-like, stable leader of the New Testament Church.

When you read the Gospels and Acts, you realize Jesus was convincing Peter of what he could become because he had come to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Do you hear the voice of the Christ Who lives in your heart trying to give you His answer to this question, “What are you?”

Is Jesus making you know what you can become and do for Him since He has made you a new creation? Is Jesus making you know what He can equip you to become as He is calling you and revealing what He wants you to be and do for him?

Dick Woodward, A Spiritual Compass (p. 71-72)


Finding God’s Strength in Our Weakness

February 26, 2019

“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 ten 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,’ experiencing anesthesia we give up all control. But, as believers when we give up all control, we will find ourselves 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. (Isaiah 40:27-31) 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 a formula for strength. They give us great spiritual strength in our times 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 Jesus perfect His strength in your weakness.

Dick Woodward, 26 February 2014


Faith vs. Giantology

February 8, 2019

“Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)

In the Old Testament book of Numbers we read that twelve Hebrew spies were sent into Canaan to determine the strength of the enemies they would face invading that land. Ten of the spies reported that, “The people in that land are such big and fierce looking giants they made us feel like grasshoppers. And the cities are mightily fortified with walls so thick they build houses on them!”

However, two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, reported that they had never seen such fruitful soil in their lives. They described how two men had to carry one cluster of grapes on a thick pole in Canaan.  Furthermore, they proclaimed that since they had the Lord with them they were well able to conquer the land of Canaan.

We might say the ten spies with the negative report were experts in “giantology” because they only saw the giants, while Caleb and Joshua saw the Lord. They had vision that the Lord was well able to give them the exceedingly fruitful land of Canaan.

When we “committee our way unto the Lord” and are challenged to take on a project that has great potential for being fruitful, but there are many obstacles and risks involved, we often have a split committee on a ten to two basis. Ten are experts on obstacles and risks involved in that project and two are like Caleb and Joshua.

When you are faced with challenges that involve risks but great potential for God, are you an expert in “giantology” or do you see the Lord?”

Dick Woodward, 11 February 2011


Tears & Sighs of Prayer

January 18, 2019

“I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.” (Isaiah 38:5)

Early in my ministry as a pastor I made a discovery about prayer. I came to the conclusion that we are praying even when we do not close our eyes, fold our hands, and bow our heads.

I discovered that prayer is the sincere desire of our souls no matter how we express it.

The sigh of a believer can be a prayer. When we come to the end of our hoarded resources and throw ourselves across a bed and sigh, or cry – that is also a prayer.

God sent the Prophet Isaiah to tell a sick King Hezekiah that he was going to die. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and cried. When God saw the tears of King Hezekiah, God sent Isaiah back to him with the message: “I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears.”

And God added 15 years to King Hezekiah’s life.

When we express the sincere desires of our souls, which are often too deep for words, in tears and sighs of despair – that is prayer God hears and answers. God has as much interaction with people in the waiting rooms of hospitals as God has in the sanctuaries of our churches.

Realizing your tears and sighs of despair are prescriptions for prayer, will you offer them to God as the prayers of your heart?

God will hear you.

Dick Woodward, 18 January 2011


Setting Big & Audacious Goals

January 4, 2019

“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6)

In this first week of the New Year a friend informed me that he no longer makes New Year’s resolutions. When I asked him why he said, “My willpower is nearly always out of power.”

The Apostle Paul’s favorite Church was the one he planted at Philippi. Having brought scores of people to faith in Christ in that city, he finds himself in prison and unable to have physical contact with them. As their pastor he cannot use his powers of reason and persuasion or his spiritual gifts of wisdom, preaching and teaching. Yet he has unwavering confidence that they will continue in their faith in Jesus Christ.

This confidence is not based on them or on himself. He has his upbeat perspective about them because he knows that the One Who began a miraculous work in them will complete what He started.

The word ‘perspective’ means “to look through to the end.” At the starting gate of a New Year it’s important to have healthy perspective. I’m not thinking about willpower driven resolutions but spiritual goals that only the risen, living Christ can make doable.

I’m talking about what you would like to see Jesus Christ do in your life this year.

This year I have a new challenge for setting goals – to make them big and audacious.  As we set goals for this New Year, be sure to make them big enough to let Christ in. Then watch Christ work because we have set big and audacious goals that only He can accomplish!

Dick Woodward, 04 January 2011


The Word of God & The Will of God

September 28, 2018

“My Word… will achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

In this marvelous chapter taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah, he tells us why he preached the Word of God. Earlier in this chapter Isaiah proclaimed that there is as much difference between the way we think and act, and how God thinks and acts, as the heavens are high above the earth. He tells us he preached the Word of God because God’s Word can bring about an alignment between the way God thinks and acts and the way we think and act.

There is a strong emphasis in the Scripture on the importance of our will being in alignment with the will of God. Jesus made one of His greatest prayers when He sweat great drops of blood and prayed, “Not My will but Your will be done.” He taught His disciples to pray, “Your will be done on earth (and in their earthen vessels) as it is in Heaven.”

The Word of God describes the struggle between God and men like Moses, Job, Jonah, and many others who finally submit their wills to the will of God – and the will of God is done in and through them on earth as it is in heaven. When God declares through Isaiah that His Word will not return to Him without accomplishing the purpose for which He sent it, I am convinced that this is one of the purposes God had in mind.

When you read and hear the Word of God proclaimed, will you let God accomplish this purpose for the Word of God?

Will you let the Word of God bring about an alignment between your will and the will of God?

Dick Woodward, 28 September 2010


Knowing God: Being Love

September 21, 2018

“… for he who would come to God must believe that He is…” (Hebrews 11:6)

Do you know God? I do not mean do you know a lot about God, but do you know God?  Do you want to know God? In the fragment of the verse quoted above we find a prescription that can help us know God.

The prescription is that we must believe that God is, and we must believe that God rewards those who diligently seek Him. My passion to know God led me to confess: “I believe that God is.”

But what is God and where is God?

A helpful answer came through a verse in the first letter of John where he wrote: “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:16) After studying the quality of love God is, this belief prescription led me to ask another question: “If God is this quality of love, where is God likely to be doing His love thing?”

At that time I was a social worker (in Norfolk, VA.) Responding to a call in the middle of the night, I prayed something like this: “God, I have an idea that You are love where people are hurting. That’s where I’m going, so when I get there please pass this love You are through me to address their pain.”

As the love of God passed through me to them I touched God and God touched me. That night I found out where God is and where I wanted to be for the rest of my life.

If you want to know God, place yourself as a conduit between God’s love and the pain of hurting people.

Dick Woodward, 22 September 2011