June 19, 2020
“Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For He gives us comfort in our trials…” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Suffering can drive us to God in such a way that we make this discovery: God is here and God can comfort us.
When you undergo a life-threatening surgery and you, completely alone, are being placed under the bright lights, remember that God is the ultimate source of the greatest comfort you can experience in this lifetime.
As a pastor I have frequently heard believers say that God met them in a supernatural and intimate way while they were going through a medical crisis.
Many of us have known people we loved very much who are depressed and oppressed. They are nearly always alone and their pain is so intensely private they do not want any of the caring people in their lives to be with them.
Others believe their suffering is so personal they must place themselves in self-imposed solitary confinement. If that happens to you, I challenge you to make this great discovery: God is here, and God can comfort you.
Father of all mercy and comfort, make me know personally that You are the source of all comfort. Comfort me in my pain. When I feel alone and depressed, may I discover that You are here, You are real, and You can comfort me.
I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Dick Woodward, from 30 Biblical Reasons Why God’s People Suffer
August 24, 2018
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:22-23)
The way we see things can be the difference between a life filled with light and happiness or a life filled with darkness and unhappy depression. Jesus and the entire Word of God consistently challenge our mindsets and show us how we should see things.
Have you as a believer ever found yourself in a funk and realized that you needed an attitude adjustment? I certainly have and I have learned there are times when an attitude adjustment can pull me out of what I label a “pit fit.” The two letters “AA” represent many things, but let them remind you to make regular Attitude Adjustments when you need to make them.
There are times when the best defense is a good offense. That rings especially true when it comes to attitudes. Instead of erecting a strong defense of attitude adjustments, the better part of wisdom is to put in place a strong offense of God ordained attitudes that will raise us above the devastating effects of “stinkin thinkin.”
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught that if we want to be part of His solution as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we must begin by having eight attitude adjustments. Read Chapter Five of the Gospel of Matthew and study closely the eight blessed attitude- beatitudes of Jesus.
When you understand and apply them they will make your life into the light and salt of the world!
Dick Woodward, 25 August 2011
June 1, 2018
“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart…” (1John 3:20)
In the Bible heart often refers to our emotions. The Apostle John is using heart in that sense in I John 3:20. What he is essentially writing is that if the way we feel condemns us, God is greater than the way we feel.
Before John writes these words, he challenged his readers to love in actions and not merely in words. He follows his insight that God is greater than the way we feel with the prescription that we should keep the two great commandments of Jesus: to love God and to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. (Matthew 22: 35-40) Jesus claimed these two commandments would fulfill all the commandments in the Bible.
We are to love when we look up, when we look around, and when we look in. Jesus teaches that we are to love God completely, love others unconditionally, and love ourselves correctly. Loving ourselves does not mean when we pass a mirror we should stop and have our devotions. Jesus taught we should say the same thing about ourselves that God says about us – that God loves us.
The prescription for depression the Apostle of Love gives devout disciples is that when our heart condemns us, we should realize that our faith is not to be based on something as fickle as our feelings.
Our faith is based on the reality that we believe and apply the commandment to love.
The last thing we should do when our heart condemns us is isolate ourselves into a pity party. We need to get with people and love them.
Dick Woodward, 13 June 2011
March 13, 2018
“But the LORD said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1Kings 19:9)
Elijah was one of the greatest prophets who ever lived. First Kings 18 reports one of the greatest days a prophet could possibly have when Elijah led the chosen people of God into a great and mighty revival. In response to his sermon, they shouted that they were going to put God first. As evidence of their fervent dedication to God they helped him get rid of 850 false prophets of wicked King Ahab and his depraved Queen Jezebel.
The very next day when Elijah received a message from Queen Jezebel that she was going to kill him, this great prophet ran into the wilderness then slumped down in exhausted despair under a broom bush tree where he asked God to kill him. God did not kill Elijah but He did answer his prayer. God fed him with supernatural bread then put him in a deep sleep. This gave Elijah the strength to travel to a cave where God asked him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
If this can happen to a great man of God, this can and does happen to all of us sooner or later. Elijah was having a pity party. With my severe physical limitations if I get anywhere near a pity party I immediately sink like a cannonball in a swimming pool! In East Africa there’s an oft repeated Swahili saying: “pole sana!” It means “poor pitiful you – poor one – so sorry for you!”
Writing as one who cannot survive a ‘pole sane’ pity party I warn you to flee this temptation like a plague. It’s a blueprint for a burnout. If this finds you having a pity party let God ask you: “What are you doing here?
Dick Woodward, 28 March 2011