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.


Surprised by Joy

July 6, 2013

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)

C.S. Lewis entitled the story of his conversion Surprised by Joy.  According to Jesus any disciple of His who follows Him and is fruitful will be surprised by joy when they discover one of the reasons why He exhorted us to be fruitful.  Jesus was the most fruitful human being who ever lived and it brought Him great joy.  He wanted that same joy to be our experience and He wants us to experience the joy that comes along with being fruitful.

When I first started in the ministry I worked with a senior pastor I loved and wanted to serve for a long time, but he placed me in a satellite startup new church.  As I complained he shared this verse in the letter of Paul to the Galatians: “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”  Some time passed before I became fruitful in that new church but when that happened I cannot begin to describe the joy that came along with knowing that God could use even me.

The Gospel of John tells us in chapter four that when Jesus gave the woman at a well an experience He described as a drink of living water Jesus was obviously euphoric and filled with joy.  The apostles offered Him food to eat.  He refused their offer and told them He had food to eat they knew nothing about.  He said that His meat was to do the will of His Father and to finish His Father’s work.

Have you been surprised by the joy that comes from proving that God can use even you?


Why Marvel?

January 29, 2013

  “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”  (John 3:7)

When Jesus declared that we should not marvel because He told us we must be born again, He meant that we should not marvel as if the new birth were unnecessary. Jesus explained that flesh gives birth to flesh and only the Spirit gives birth to spiritual people.  When the Bible uses the word, “flesh,” it means “Human nature unaided by God.” History tells us human nature unaided by God is a monster.  So, Jesus said we should marvel not as if the new birth were unnecessary.

Jesus also told us we should not marvel as if the new birth were impossible.  God can work a miracle of creation in the life of a human being.  David prayed: “Create in me a pure heart, O God…” (Psalm 51:10).  The apostles refer to the new birth as if it were the answer to David’s prayer (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We should not marvel as if the new birth were incomprehensible.  We do not see electricity.  But we believe in electricity because we see the effects of electricity.  When we see trees bending and objects flying we say, “Look at that wind!” But we do not see the wind.  We only see the effects of the wind. It is that way with the new birth.  We cannot see the Spirit.  We only see the effects of the Spirit in the life of someone who is being born again.  But as we believe in other things we cannot see – like the wind and electricity – we can believe in the new birth.

And finally, Jesus meant you should not marvel as if the new birth could not happen to you.

Believe Jesus and it will happen to you!