A Prayer for Our Valleys

October 27, 2017

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”  (Psalm 23:4-5)

In your dark valleys, learn to pray in this manner:

“As I enter this valley, Lord, I will not be paralyzed by fear, because I believe You are with me. Your ability to protect me and lead me through this valley is a comfort to me. I know that in the darkest and scariest part of this valley, in the middle of life threatening danger, You will spread a table of provision for me.

I am trusting You completely to anoint me with the oil of Your personalized, attentive care. I believe you will give me mercy for my failures and the grace I need to help in my time of need. You will also pursue me with Your goodness, unconditional love and acceptance, when I wander away from Your loving care.”

Finally, thank your Good Shepherd-God that you can trust Him to lead you through this life to unbroken fellowship with Him forever in Heaven: to the green pastures that never turn brown, the still waters that never become disturbed, and the cup that never empties.

Offer this prayer to “the God of peace, Who brought up from the dead that great Shepherd of sheep, Who through the blood of the everlasting covenant, can make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”  (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Dick Woodward, from Psalm 23 Sheep Talk


Walking by Faith

August 30, 2016

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way? (Proverbs 20:24, NIV)

When God spoke through the prophet Isaiah God told us there is as much difference between the way God thinks and does things and the way we think and do things as the heavens are high above the earth.  Building on that revelation the wisest man who ever lived proposed a logical question: if God is directing the steps of a person how can that person always expect to understand the way they are going?

As a God-passionate person, doing your best to follow the guidance of the Lord, have you ever found yourself completely baffled and blown away by inexplicable happenings like the sudden death of a loved one, or other tragedies?  When we put the two Scriptures quoted above side by side we should expect there to be times when we simply do not understand what God is up to.

Moses explained what he called the “secret things” belong to the Lord but the things God wants us to do God makes very clear (Deuteronomy 29:29).  That means there are secret things God is keeping secret.  If God is keeping those things secret nobody can explain them.

All these verses considered together are telling us that while we walk with God we should not expect to understand everything.  We walk by faith.

Dick Woodward, 19 October 2010


Two-Dimensional Dragonfly Faith

March 13, 2015

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God … eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)

A dragonfly is a marvel of aerodynamics with two sets of wings that enable it to hover like a helicopter.  A dragonfly actually spends the first to fourth years of its existence at the bottom of a body of water.  This underwater creature is equipped with two respiratory systems: one that enables it to inhale water through its long narrow body and derive oxygen from the water, as many underwater creatures do; and the second system that one day will equip a dragonfly to breathe air when it enters into its second dimension of life.

When the underwater, first existence of the dragonfly has been fulfilled, it rises to the surface of the water, climbs up on the land, dries its wings in the sun, spreads those two magnificent sets of wings and gloriously begins the second dimension of its existence.

The dragonfly is designed by God to live out its existence in two dimensions. We have that in common with the dragonfly.  According to Paul, we, also, are designed by God to exist in two dimensions. God issues us an earthly body to live out our life here on earth, and God is going to issue us a heavenly body that will equip us to live forever in the second, eternal dimension of our providentially planned existence in heaven.

This is why Paul writes these profoundly devotional verses in chapter 4 of Second Corinthians telling us that we should welcome, accept and embrace anything that grows our eternal inward self, preparing us for heaven.

Dick Woodward, 11 October 2011


Gravy-on-the-Table Faith

November 29, 2014

“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)

As we ponder the definition of faith we often hear it said that believing is seeing.  “When I see it, then I’ll believe it” is the way some put it.  In Psalm 27 David clearly writes that if we believe first, then our believing leads us to the seeing of what we believe.

Biblical faith always has an unseen object.  According to other Scriptures there will always be evidence that the unseen object of our faith exists, but when our faith is biblical faith the object of that faith will be unseen (Hebrews 11:6).  Seeing does not lead to believing because we already have the object of our faith when we see, but believing does lead to seeing according to David and other authors of the Bible.

A rural pastor told his people that when they invited him home for dinner after church he was always hoping they would have southern fried chicken.  If he had no reason to believe that would be the menu he could only hope there would be chicken for dinner.  But when he came into their home if he smelled chicken and then saw from the living room chicken gravy sitting out on the dining room table, those things were the evidence of the object he could not see.  He could now believe with certainty there was chicken in the kitchen and that he would have it for dinner.

David tells us that after the believing that leads to seeing, all we have to do is wait on the Lord until we see the object of our faith.  Are you believing God for something you cannot yet see?

Dick Woodward, 02 March 2013