Resurrection: A Dragonfly Approach

April 18, 2017

“Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.”   (1Corinthians 15: 49)

Have you ever watched a dragonfly move from one plant to another with its two sets of wings making it possible to hover like a helicopter?  A dragonfly actually spends the first two years of its existence at the bottom of a large body of water. When that phase of its existence comes to an end, it rises to the surface of the water, climbs up on the bank and lets it wings dry in the sun. Then it spreads those magnificent wings and begins the second dimension of its existence as an aeronautical wonder.

Easter reminded us that, like the dragonfly, we are meant to live out our existence in two dimensions. If you did a cross-section of that under-water dragonfly you would see that it has two respiratory systems: one for living under water and one for breathing air in the second dimension of its life.

If you could do a spiritual cross-section of a follower of Jesus Christ, you would find that we are also equipped with two systems. We have an outward person and an inward person. Our outward person is just a little clay pot in which our eternal inward person lives.

We are told in the great Resurrection Chapter (1 Corinthians 15), that we are given a body for living this life and we will be issued another body for living in the eternal state. According to Paul, that new body will be a spiritual body that will equip us for living throughout all eternity.  I don’t know about you, but as a bed fast quadriplegic I’m really looking forward to being issued that new body!

Dick Woodward, 12 April 2012

 


At the Feet of Jesus

February 27, 2015

“… but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better…”  (Luke 10:42)

Every time we meet Mary, the sister of Martha, she is at the feet of Jesus.  The verse above describes her at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word.  Martha is frustrated because Mary is attending the Bible study while she herself is doing all the serving.  Jesus sides with Mary because she has chosen the number one priority that day.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 11, the brother of these two sisters has died.  When the Lord arrives too late to save Lazarus both these sisters greet Him with the same words: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.”  However, when Mary spoke those words we read that she prostrated herself at his feet showing that she accepted His will.

In the next chapter a banquet is described at which their resurrected brother is the guest of honor.  We see Mary there worshiping Jesus at His feet.  She anointed His feet with perfume worth a year’s wages.  What would it mean if you worshiped Jesus with your annual income?

This Mary is a great example for all of us when she is at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word, accepting His will, and worshiping Him.  If we prostrate ourselves at His feet as we read our Bibles, we will hear His personal word to us and find His will for our lives.  If we continue to follow Mary’s example we will be at His feet accepting His will for our lives. And those who follow the example of Mary will find themselves forever offering costly worship at the feet of Jesus.

Dick Woodward, 19 February 2013


Thanksgiving Therapy for Thanksliving

November 25, 2014

“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 tried to apply what Paul prescribes in these verses (in the NIV and J.B. Phillips), I have found this prescription for peace to be more helpful than any other spiritual discipline. According to Paul, an attitude of gratitude leads to the therapy of thanksgiving as we apply thanksgiving to our 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 writes 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 victory over those circumstances.

When a pastor asked one of his members how they were doing, their response was “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 peace of God.

Dick Woodward, 02 September 2009


Where is your confidence? and hope?

November 7, 2014

“… Being confident of this very thing that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ…for it is God at work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure.” (Philippians 1:6; 2:13)

The Apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote these words to his favorite church. Chained between two Roman soldiers without any privacy, he was not able to shepherd these believers he loved so very much. But is he stressed out because he fears that they will fall away from their faith? No, he has a beautiful confidence that they will continue in their faith until the day when Christ returns for His church!

The source of his confidence is found in two realities: he knows that the risen, living Christ has begun the miracle of regeneration in them, and he is completely convinced that Christ will continue any miracle work of salvation He begins. His confidence is not in the fact that he has led these people to Christ. His confidence is in Christ! 

In Philippians 2:13 Paul adds that his confidence is in God Who is at work in them giving them the will and the power to do according to that which pleases Him. Why is it that some people want to please God and others do not? Why is it that some people have the grace to do what pleases God while others do not? Paul answers those questions when he writes that it is God working in these believers giving them both the want to, and the power, to live in a way that pleases God.

Where is your confidence that you will continue in what Christ has begun in your life? What a miracle it is when we see evidence that God has begun the work of salvation in the life of one of our loved ones.  Where is your confidence that those you love will continue in what Christ has begun in their lives? Is your hope in them? Is it in your ability to shepherd and mentor them?

Or is your hope in Christ Who began that miracle and in God Who can give them the will and the power to do what pleases Him?

Dick Woodward, 09 October 2009


God’s Beautiful Concertos (on one string!)

October 3, 2014

“… every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”  (John 15: 2)

 My mentor Ray Stedman loved to tell the story about the famous violinist Paganini.  As a brilliant violinist and a superb showman, he would attach a sharp razor to his wrist.  At the right moment he would cut one of the strings on his violin.  The string would pop and the audience would gasp, but the most famous violinist in the world would keep playing.  He did this repeatedly and dramatically until he only had one string left on his violin.  With genius he would then play the entire concerto on that one string.

Ray’s application was that God sometimes likes to cut back our strings and play the concert of our life on one string.  This brings great glory to Him because people can’t believe that as we are experiencing those cutbacks our concerto continues to play with an even more beautiful sound.

My precious wife lost the use of her left arm and I lost the use of all four limbs.  But the concerto of our lives and ministry continues to be more fruitful than it has ever been which brings great glory to God who is the One playing the concerto of our lives.

The explanation of Jesus was that He is a Vine and we are branches related to Him.  When we are fruitful because of that alignment He cuts us back to make us more fruitful.  Is it possible that events in your life that you have considered a setback are actually the cutback of your loving Lord and Savior who wants your life to be fruitful and your reward to be great in heaven?

Dick Woodward, 14 August 2012


God’s Workmanship

September 26, 2014

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

The founding elder of the first church I pastored was a home builder. He did excellent work. When a couple wanted him to build their home he took them to a beautiful home he had built and said to them, “By the grace of God this is my workmanship.”  Ephesians 2:20 says to all followers of Christ that our risen living Christ would like to point to each of us and say: “This is My workmanship!”

We are all a work of Christ in progress. In addition to that thought this verse states that when we came to faith and were saved by grace through the faith our Lord gave us, He created us for good works. In fact we’re told that before He saved us He already planned that we would do those works for Him.

I don’t know about you but that truth excites and inspires me greatly! We’re so selfish and self-centered that when we come to faith our focus is often on what trusting Christ to be our Savior will mean to us. Many followers of Christ have the attitude “What have You done for me lately?” The Apostle Paul had the right vision when he met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus and asked the question, “Lord, what do You want me to do for You?”

As a follower of Christ have you been asking and seeking to know what works your Lord and Savior planned for you to do when He saved you by grace?  Are you asking each day, “Lord, what do You want me to do for You?

Dick Woodward, 08 March 2010