Keeping Our Eyes On Jesus

October 13, 2017

 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

When the ultimate terminal illness comes to an eagle, it climbs to the highest possible elevation and looks into the sun for an entire day. When the sun goes down that evening, the eagle dies.

Have you ever seen an eagle disciple of Jesus Christ die? I first started believing the Gospel when I watched my mother die. She died looking right into the Son. Our godly pastor, who had seen scores of saintly ones go home, said he never had seen anything like what he witnessed with us that night.

At the age of 49, my mother left behind six daughters, five sons and a husband. She spent the last two hours of her life with us, but she was already in heaven. She was talking to Jesus. She often said she never had any peace. We had a little house of thirteen hundred square feet with 13 people living in it, so you can understand why she had precious little peace and quiet. In those last hours she kept saying, “Oh, this peace, this peace!” Several times she started to share something but said, “I can’t tell you about that.”

The Apostle Paul described something similar in 2 Corinthians 12, when he tells us he was caught up into the third heaven, saw many things, but said essentially, “I can’t tell you about that.”

I believed intellectually at my mother’s death when I was 14, but I did not become a disciple of Jesus Christ for several years. I delayed my decision because I knew believing involved commitment. I knew this because my mother had said to me:

“If Jesus Christ is anything to you, Dick, He is everything to you. Because, until Jesus is everything to you, He isn’t really anything to you.”

My life changed forever because she lived and died as an eagle disciple of Jesus Christ. Those closest to us may also become believers as they see us live and die with our eyes on Jesus Christ.

Dick Woodward, As Eagles: How to Be an Eagle Disciple


Highways for Jesus Christ

September 26, 2017

“…the voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:4-6)

In ancient times, when a king wanted to visit a distant town in his kingdom, a highway was built on which he could travel called The King’s Highway. According to Isaiah and John the Baptist, the highway on which God came into this world is the perfect life of the Messiah: in Him mountains of pride were leveled, empty valleys filled completely with the Holy Spirit, crooked ways of sin made perfectly straight, and rough spots made smooth – especially through His response to the cross.

I like to think of John the Baptist introducing Jesus, “Here He is! Here is the highway on which God is traveling into this world!”

After 33 years Jesus told the apostles celebrating Passover with Him that he was going to leave this world. After His death and resurrection, He told these same apostles, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21)

By application, Jesus told the apostles that just as He came into this world to be a highway for God, the apostles were also to live their lives as highways for God.

God wants our lives to be highways on which He can travel into our marketplaces. This is intensely true when we are suffering. How does this happen? Our lives can become highways for God when we pray this prayer every day:

Oh God, make my life a highway on which You can travel into this world and show Your salvation to the people I’m with, and do business with, today.

Dick Woodward, Marketplace Disciples (p.283-284)


Waiting and Leaping (by Faith!)

August 9, 2017

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:28-31)

Picture an eagle sitting on the side of its nest, waiting for the velocity of the wind to become strong. In the same way, we must “wait on the Lord.” We are not to go charging ahead into life without clear direction from the Lord. We are exhorted to follow the example of the eagle by waiting until the wind of the Spirit builds up to a certain velocity to direct, support and empower us.

Then we should follow the example of the eagle and take a leap of faith directly into the adversity that is challenging us. As the power of the Holy Spirit drives us into the strong winds of the storm, the energizing unction of the Holy Spirit will give us the spiritual aerodynamics needed to lift up and soar over the storm.

In the Gospels, Peter’s leap of faith illustrates this tension between waiting on the Lord and leaping. In the middle of a great storm, Jesus came to the disciples by walking on the water. Peter said, “Lord, if it really is You, invite me to walk on the water to You.” The Lord then invited Peter to walk on the water to Him. (Matthew 14:22-32)

Peter had great faith, yet he did not get out of the boat until he was sure of two things: that it was the Lord out there in the middle of the storm, and that the Lord was inviting him to walk on the water to Him.

The obvious application is that we should never take a leap of faith until we are sure the Lord is in our faith venture, and that the Lord is leading us to take that leap of faith.

Dick Woodward, from As Eagles: How to be an Eagle Disciple


A Doxology Standard: God’s Power & God’s Glory

June 28, 2017

“For of Him and through Him and unto Him are all things, to Him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

The Apostle Paul closes the doctrinal section of his greatest masterpiece with these words in Romans. In his writings, Paul uses the expression “all things” frequently but never casually or without great thought and inspiration. In this context, he is probably referring to all the glorious truths he has written in his letter to the Church in Rome.

To paraphrase these words, I believe Paul is writing that God is the source of all things, God is the power behind all things, and God’s glory is the purpose for all things. The Apostle Paul suffered from health challenges every day of his ministry. Suffering chronic fatigue from quadriplegia the past 30 years, I have become very discriminating about how I spend my energy and strength. I use this doxology as my criteria for deciding whether or not I get involved in a project.

I do not want to be part of anything unless I can say that God is the source of it, God is the power behind it, and God’s glory is the purpose of the project. My life and strength are in such short supply I do not want to spend it on anything unless I know God is the source of it. God must be the power behind it, because I have no strength of my own. Since everything we do should be for the glory of God I want to be certain that God’s glory is the purpose of any work I attempt to do in this life.

Are you using this standard in your life?

Dick Woodward, 10 July 2009


Light and Salt in the Marketplace

December 6, 2016

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a candlestick, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:14-16)

I love Christmas lights! Where I live in Williamsburg, Virginia, one of the signature features of Christmas decorating is using white lights. We put our Christmas tree up for all of December because we enjoy the white lights so very much.

A very significant Christmas gift I received is a book I wrote this year that was delivered from the printer on the third of December. It’s called Marketplace Disciples. The thrust of this book’s message highlights the mandate Jesus gave His disciples to be the light of the world and salt of the earth.

The risen, living Christ uses the fact that we need to make a living to get the salt out of the salt shaker and the candles He has lighted on candlesticks of His choosing. We should impact the marketplace because we are authentic disciples of Jesus Christ. The values of Christ should revolutionize our ethics and the way we do business.

This year when you see the beautiful Christmas lights remember that Jesus said His light flowing through us cannot be hidden.

Dick Woodward, 17 December 2013

Editor’s Note: Marketplace Disciples, the last book my father wrote before he passed in March of 2014, is available through the website of ICM (International Cooperating Ministries.) It’s really a ‘best of Dick Woodward’s teachings’ and makes a nice Christmas present. (hint, hint)

You can click here for a direct link: Marketplace Disciples


Mobile Temples

January 17, 2014

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? …Therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  (1 Corinthians 6:19)

When the apostle Paul wrote these words he was addressing people who had become believers while they were involved in the worst kinds of sexual immorality.  Their past continued to impact their lives because they were still involved in sexual sin as believers.  He wrote to them that their bodies were not made for sex; they were made to be Temples of God.  Everywhere they went, every day, they were Temples of God and they were to be aware of that glorious reality.  It’s like Paul was telling them, and us, we are mobile Temples of God on wheels, taking God with us everywhere we go.

If you read all of 1 Corinthians 6, you will see how Paul applies this metaphor.  For example, he writes that it is unthinkable that they would take the Temple of God and join it to a prostitute or an extramarital sex partner.  Make your own applications.  What effect should it have on the people in your life as you move among them every day bringing the divine presence of Almighty God with you?

For starters, all the things you’re not and you cannot do are possible because of the Divine Treasure living in you.  Then the nine fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace when you look in, patience, kindness, goodness when you look around, and faithfulness, meekness and self control when you look up), are all available to you. (Galatians 5:22-23)

How can you glorify God today as one of His mobile Temples?


Spiritual Nutrition

October 24, 2013

“I fed you with milk and not with solid food…”   (1 Corinthians 3:2)

The Apostle Paul believed that when a person becomes a believer they are like a newborn baby who critically needs milk and formula to survive.  Babies need to be fed milk before they are ready for solid food.  Since a baby does not have a fully developed digestive tract we feed them milk.  Paul uses milk here as a metaphor for spiritual truth a teacher feeds to believers.  When we find spiritual truth without human help that is meat and solid food.

The bottom line is that new believers, like new born babies, critically need their milk and formula if they are going to progress to solid food that makes them grow into spiritual adults.

What is the nutritional formula for a new believer? A primary part is the Word of God.  Peter writes that as new believers, we should earnestly desire the Word of God the way newborn babies go after their mothers’ breast knowing that survival depends on what is received there.  Prayer is another vital part of that formula.  When we pray we talk to God, and when we open God’s word He talks to us.

We must add spiritual community and fellowship to this formula. We need the inspiration and encouragement we receive from other believers.  Witnessing and sharing our faith with secular people is another important part of our spiritual diet.  So are service and acts of love and charity.

Are you getting your spiritual nutrition?  Or are you suffering from spiritual malnutrition, barely surviving because you are not getting your formula and milk? Although we always need the truth we receive from teachers, we should also hunger for the solid food truth we receive directly from the Lord.