Words God Speaks Through Nature: Death & Resurrection

September 4, 2018

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”  (Psalm 19:1-2)

At the end of summer we approach the threshold of beautiful fall colors in the trees all around us.  As you enjoy the explosion of colors this year consider the words God speaks to us through nature every fall.

Since fall’s beautiful colors are produced by the death of leaves, the word God is speaking to us is that death can be beautiful.  In many ways the most beautiful reality you and I encounter in our three or four score years on earth is the death of our Lord Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to experience salvation and enter heaven.

The Apostle Paul tells us the Gospel is that Christ died so we might live – and now it is our turn. We must die (to ourselves) so Christ may live through us. (Galatians 2:20) That means our deaths to ourselves can be beautiful.

Every spring God speaks another word to us. That word is seen through all the resurrection around us as we see black trunks and bare branches of trees we thought were dead sprout to life and bloom.

The Latin root meaning of the word rehabilitation is “to invest again with dignity.”

Do we have the faith to believe God can bring to life that which we thought was dead?  Can we apply that thought to our own lives, to the lives of our children, and to people we know and love?

Dick Woodward, 04 September 2012


God’s Revelations to (& through) Us

April 27, 2018

“The heavens declare the glory of God… The Law of the Lord is perfect… May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight…” (Psalm 19: 1, 7, 14)

In Psalm 19 David writes that every day and every night God is preaching a sermon through the heavenly bodies. The text of that sermon is the glory of God. The firmament, the space in which those bodies exist, is also preaching a sermon.

Space preaches to us about the infinite size of God.

David’s thoughts then turn to the special revelations of God. That’s what theologians call the Word of God and David calls the Law of God. David is impressed and impresses us with what the Word of God can do: convert the soul, enlighten the eyes, and make wise the simple. God’s Word can rejoice the heart and it will endure forever. So, too, will the one whose soul has been converted by the Word. As David meditates on what the Word can do, he claims that the Word is more to be desired than pure gold.

Having reflected on what we might call “Natural Revelation” and “Biblical Revelation,” he next guides us to consider “Personal Revelation.”  His thought is that God’s revelation through nature is magnificent and beautiful. God’s revelation through Scripture is miraculous and perfect.

But what about God’s revelation through people like you and me?

Another thing Scripture does is warn us about willful sins that mar the revelation of God through us.

Are we willing to track with David through these three ways God speaks and then pray that God’s revelation through us will be acceptable in God’s sight?

Dick Woodward, 26 April 2010


Two Words God Speaks through Nature

April 22, 2017

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”  (Psalm 19:1-2)

When summer ends we encounter the explosion of beautiful fall colors. While we enjoy the colors, consider a word God speaks to us through nature every fall: death. Since those beautiful colors are produced by the death of leaves, God is speaking to many of us that death can be beautiful. In many ways, the most beautiful reality you and I encounter in our three or four score years on earth is the death of our Lord Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to experience salvation and enter heaven.

Paul tells us the Gospel is that Christ died so we might live – and now it is our turn. We must die to ourselves so Christ might live through us. (Galatians 2:20)  That means death to our selfish ways can be beautiful.

Every spring God speaks another word through nature to us: resurrection. That is seen all around us as black trunks and bare branches of trees we thought were dead sprout to life and bloom.

The Latin root meaning of rehabilitation is “to invest again with dignity.”  Do we have faith to believe God can bring to life that which we thought was dead?  Can we apply that thought to our lives, to the lives of our children, and to all the people we know?

Dick Woodward, 04 September 2012


Creation: The Three Missing Links

September 17, 2016

“In the beginning God created…”  (Genesis 1:1)

Most people have heard about the missing link that turns up when comparing the theory of evolution with the Genesis creation account, but there are actually three missing links.  The first missing link is the issue: How did it all begin?  The Bible’s answer is recorded in just two words: “God created.”  It all began with a first act of creation that accounted for the universe, the earth, and all plant life.

The author uses an interesting Hebrew word for created, “barah,” which means “to create something out of nothing.” Since there are no samples that are half plant and half animal there is a second missing link.  The Genesis account again uses “barah” as animal life is created in the water.

There is also no sample that is half animal and half human.  So, for a third time the author of Genesis uses “barah” when God creates mankind.  What is usually considered the missing link is actually this third missing link.  In all three places where the secular scholar struggles for answers, the author of Genesis writes barah: God created.

God began the Bible with the creation account because God knew that one day we would realize that we need an act of creation in our hearts.  We would then also know where to take that need by joining David in the prayer: “Create (barah) in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NLT)

We can also go to Jesus, Who taught the new birth, and the apostles, who, agreeing with David, referred to the new birth as a new creation. (John 3:3-5; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Dick Woodward, 19 November 2013


Spiritual Gardens

June 4, 2016

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption … What counts is a new creation.” (Galatians 6: 7, 8, 15)

The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Galatians.  The first part of this passage is often preached to unbelievers, but Paul was addressing professing believers.  As believers this is a spiritual law of our lives in Christ.  Every day we can sow spiritual seeds in the garden of our life, or we can sow seeds of our flesh in that garden.  William Barclay, a professor of Bible at Edinburgh University for forty years, wrote that when the Bible refers to our flesh it means “human nature unaided by God.” According to Paul, human nature unaided by God is a seed that produces corruption.

We have the option to sow spiritual seeds in our lives every day.  Paul writes that these spiritual seeds produce a continuous creation.  David prayed “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me.” (Psalm 51:10) In the New Testament the apostles refer to being born again as a miracle of creation.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God…” (2 Corinthians 5:17, 18)

This means we have two awesome options before us every day: creation or corruption.  We can sow spiritual seeds in the garden of our lives which continue the act of creation God is miraculously performing in us, or we can sow seeds that produce corruption.

What seeds are you sowing in the garden of your life every day?

Dick Woodward, 15 February 2011


What is a Mother?

May 8, 2015

Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.” (Psalm 128:1-3)

When you meditate on these verses in Psalm 128 that describe the role and function of a wife and mother, you can paraphrase them this way: a mother is a man-maker.  She is like a fruitful vine in the very heart of her husband’s home.  To borrow a metaphor from the very beginning of the Bible, she is a completer whose passion is to see that her husband becomes all that His Creator designed him to be.

She is a people-maker because she gives him children who are like fruitful plants around his table.  Many people would like to put a period after the fourth word of this psalm and say that everyone is blessed or happy, but that is not the way the psalm reads.  The blessing on this man comes because he meets conditions: He walks in the ways of God.

The other verses of the psalm tell us this is how God blesses and impacts the world.  He finds a blessed man, joins him to a blessed woman, and gives them blessed children.  They impact Zion- which is the spiritual community- and then this family unit fruitfully impacts the city and the country.

A mother is at the heart of this great strategy of God.  As such she is also a home-maker and a memory-maker.  What a great and noble calling!

Rise up and call your mother blessed this Sunday!

Dick Woodward, (07 May 2011)


The Three Missing Links

November 19, 2013

“In the beginning God created…”  (Genesis 1:1)

Most people have heard about the missing link that turns up when we compare the theory of evolution with the Genesis creation account, but there are actually three missing links.  The first missing link is the issue: How did it all begin?  The Bible’s answer is recorded above in just two words: “God created.”  It all began with a first act of creation that accounted for the universe, the earth, and all plant life.

The author uses an interesting Hebrew word for “created.”  It is the word “barah” which means “to create something out of nothing.” Since there are no samples that are half plant and half animal there is a second missing link.  The Genesis account again reads “barah” as animal life is created in the water.

There is also no sample that is half animal and half human.  So, for a third time the author of Genesis uses “barah” when God creates man.  What is usually considered the missing link is actually this third missing link.  In all three of these places where the secular scholar struggles for answers the author of Genesis writes: “barah,” God created.

God began the Bible with the creation account because He knew that one day we would realize we need an act of creation in our hearts.  We would then also know where to go with that need to join David in the prayer: “Create (barah) in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NLT)

We can also go to Jesus Who taught the new birth and the apostles, who agreeing with David, referred to the new birth as a new creation!  (John 3:3-5; 2 Corinthians 5:17)