#FAITH: Let the Redeemed SAY SO!

June 26, 2020

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy…” (Psalm 107:1-2)

Redemption means to get something back that has been lost. It is similar in meaning to the word “rehabilitation” which essentially means “to invest again with dignity.” The first words of Psalm 107’s marvelous hymn of redemption are quoted above. At the end of each of the five stanzas in this psalm, we are told that those who have been redeemed by the Lord should step up and say so.

Levels and dimensions of redemption are profiled in this psalm. Each description ends with the charge that we thank the Lord for His goodness in redeeming us in this way.

God redeems us from our chaos when He finds us. God then redeems us from our chains when He sets us free from our sins.

This is followed by the way God redeems us from our foolish and sinful choices. The psalmist emphasizes our responsibility for bringing on the consequences of our sins.

The psalmist then describes the way God redeems us from our complacency by meeting us in our crises from which He redeems us when we are at our wits end and don’t know what to do.

As you meditate on all these levels of redemption, ask God to continuously redeem you in all these ways. As you reflect on each individual dimension of redemption, step up and join the redeemed of the Lord in grateful worship.

And say so!

Dick Woodward, 27 June 2012


Ministers of Comfort (for the Brokenhearted)

June 16, 2020

“…who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

They say an evangelist is “one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.” Paul is telling us in this passage of Scripture that a minister of comfort is “one hurting heart telling another hurting heart where the Comfort is.”

According to Paul, every time you enter into a deeper level of suffering God gives you a diploma to hang on your wall of spiritual credentials.

Jeremiah Denton was in solitary confinement in Hanoi for seven years. While he was alone in that cell he made a discovery: God was there and God comforted him. Have you entered into a level of suffering that was deep enough for you to make that same discovery? If you have, then as a qualified minister of comfort you can tell other hurting hearts where the Comfort is.

As a pastor for just under six decades I have made a discovery. The best one to comfort a parent who has lost a child is a parent who has lost a child, and best one to comfort the person who has lost a spouse is someone who has lost a spouse – when those who have suffered these losses have been comforted by God. The same is true for women who have had mastectomies, those who are going through divorce, battling cancer, and every other type of suffering.

When God has comforted you in your deepest levels of suffering are you willing to reach outside yourself and become a qualified minister of comfort?

Dick Woodward, 17 June 2010


God’s Faithful Remembrance

June 5, 2020

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10)

This Scripture is directed to people who have labored long and hard in the ministry without much visible affirmation, encouragement and reward. These words instruct us to think about the One for Whom we are doing our ministry.

Abraham heard three words from God recorded in Genesis: “Walk before Me.” (Genesis 17:1) These three words remind us that we need to know for Whom we are ministering. We need to know how God feels about what we do in the way of ministry.

When there is not much fruit and few encouraging accolades, it is a great consolation to faithful servants of the Lord to be reminded of the glorious reality that God has seen our efforts.

And God will never forget our faithful labors.

The story is told of two elderly missionaries who returned to New York after half a century as missionaries in Africa. They both lost their wives in Africa and were lonely in that large city. When they met at the YMCA where they were staying and shared their discouragement, one of them said to the other, “We are not home yet, George.”

Sometimes the recognition and the reward for faithful service may only come when these words are heard at Heaven’s gates: “Well done good and faithful servant!”

If you are a faithful servant without much affirmation or encouragement, may these words be a consolation to you.

Dick Woodward, 04 June 2010


GOD: “Let’s Go to Ninevah!”

June 2, 2020

“…The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” (Jonah 3:1)

In the story Jonah tells us, he is not the hero. God is.

A paraphrased summary of Jonah’s truth looks something like this:

“When I went Nineveh, I was not agape love, but God was. I told the Lord, ‘I can’t love Ninevites, Lord.’ But God said to me, ‘I can, Jonah, so let’s go to Nineveh!’

I told the Lord, ‘I don’t want to go. I don’t want to love Ninevites, Lord!’

The Lord said to me, ‘I know that, Jonah. But, you see, I want to love Ninevites, so let’s go to Nineveh!’

When I went to Nineveh, I did not love Ninevites. When I was in the city of Nineveh, however, God loved the entire population of Nineveh through me.”

Miracle of miracles, God saved the entire population of Nineveh through the preaching of this prophet who hated the people God wanted to save.

…To be “prejudiced” means to “pre-judge.” Is God’s work through you being blocked because of your prejudice? Are there people with whom you do not share the Gospel because you have animosity toward them?

Or because they are above or below your level of education, wealth and social status? Do you fear apathy, ridicule, hostility or embarrassment?

Are you joining Jonah saying, “I will not?”

When are you going to let the love and power of Christ cut through your conscious and unconscious prejudice and say to God, “I will?”

It’s not a matter of what you can do, but of what God can do.

Faithfulness is your responsibility; fruitfulness is God’s responsibility.

Dick Woodward, Jonah Coming & Going: True Confessions of a Prophet

#Jonah #hope #love #peace #faith #inspiration #grace


A Prescription for a Panic Attack

March 16, 2018

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’”  (Psalm 3:1-2)

As David writes this third Psalm he is facing the greatest crisis of his life. His son, Absalom, has turned the entire nation against him and has driven him out of Jerusalem into the wilderness where David hid from King Saul when he was a young fugitive. His situation is so desperate many people said even God can not help him. But in this psalm David explains how he knows God is there for him; he is not having a panic attack, so he gives us this prescription to prevent us from having one.

Observe the way David uses three tenses as he lays out his prescription that kept him from panicking. He recalls that in the past there were many times when he cried out to God and the Lord heard him. When he lay down to sleep not knowing if the enemy would slit his throat while he slept, he awoke alive because the Lord sustained him. He then declared in the future tense that he will not be afraid of the thousands of people who want to see him dead. He then declares in the present tense that God is with him and His present blessing is upon him.

When you are in a crisis think back to times in the past when God met you and brought you through a crisis. Then let those past answered prayers inspire you to trust God for the present and the future crises in your life.

Look back. With faith, look forward. Then look around at your present circumstances, not with panic but with faith and peace.

Dick Woodward, 18 March 2012


A Go-To Prayer for Stormy Weather

January 22, 2016

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” (Matthew 14:30)

The Apostle Peter is the only man besides Jesus Christ who ever walked on water.  Yet millions only remember that he took his eyes off the Lord and would have drowned if the Lord had not saved him.

We read that Peter’s magnificent faith was flawed.  He saw the wind.  Since we cannot see wind this actually means that when he saw what the wind was doing, he lost sight of what Jesus was doing and became afraid.  The remarkable thing here is that when he kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on water!

It was not until he was beginning to sink that Peter cried out this prayer: “Lord, save me!”  Two thousand years later, this remains a go-to prayer for us through the many storms of life.  Jesus taught that our prayers should not be long and we should never think we will generate grace with God by our many words.  If Peter had prayed a longer prayer, additional words would have been glub, glub glub (as he sunk under water!)  When Jesus caught Peter by the hand He gave him the nickname, “Little Faith.” (I believe our Lord was smiling when He did.) He literally asked Peter: “Why did you think twice?”

While very ill the past two weeks many people have been recruited to pray for me.  Yesterday it occurred to me that I had not prayed for myself.  I then fervently pleaded this prayer that the Lord always answers:  Lord, save me!

In your spiritual walk, don’t think twice and don’t be a “Little Faith.”  Instead, learn to plead this prayer…and soon you will find your way through the stormy waves of life walking on water.

Dick Woodward, 28 January 2014


A Prayer for the Dark Valleys

October 21, 2014

“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 all the 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 individualized, personalized and attentive care.  I believe you will give me mercy for my failures and the grace I need to help me in my time of need.  You will also pursue me like a ‘Hound of Heaven’ 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


ABOUNDING GRACE

June 20, 2014

“… God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 KJV)

I once heard Dr. A.W. Tozer preach on this text. After he read the verse with much inflection, he paused, shook his head and said, “Sometimes you cannot help but allow the thought that God oversold the product in the New Testament!” Of course, he went on to explain that God has not oversold the product. We tend to undersell the product because our access into God’s abounding grace is flawed.

Think of this with me for a moment. God is able to make all grace, (not just some grace), abound toward us, (not just trickle in our direction), that we, (he repeats that for emphasis meaning it’s not just for pastors or missionaries, but for every believer), always, (not just sometimes), may have all sufficiency, (not just some sufficiency), in all things, (not just some things), may abound, (not just go limping), unto every good work, (not just the ones we like.)

Once you have meditated on this verse a few times ask yourself this question, “True or false?”

If we answer that question as we should by saying it’s true, should that not give us the courage to tackle the things God is leading us to do that we know we cannot do? Are you doing anything that can only be explained by the supernatural reality that He is, only He can, and He did because you accessed His abounding grace?

Dick Woodward, 16 March 2010