A Prayer for God’s Peace

July 3, 2020

“Heavenly Father, You tell us in Your Word that You can keep us in a state of perfect peace if we meet Your conditions for peace. Please give me the wisdom to worry about nothing, and the faith to pray about everything.

May I receive from You the discipline to think about good things and the integrity to do the right things.

May I always have an incurable optimism that believes in goodness, and such an insight into what You are doing in my life and in my world that I will give thanks in all things.

May I never try to push You or run before You, but always wait on You, experiencing the gentleness and patience that are the evidence of Your Holy Spirit living in me.

As I sort out my priorities, may I always value Your approval of who and what I am, and not walk before others to be seen by them or to please them.

Never let me forget how near You are to me as I draw near to You, worshiping and enjoying You each day and forever.

And finally, Heavenly Father, realizing that it is not who I am, but who You are that is important; acknowledging that it is not what I can do, but what You can do that really matters; agreeing that it should never be what I want, but always what You want; and remembering that in the final analysis it will not be what I did, but what You did that will have lasting eternal results, give me that absolute trust in You and total dependence on You that will truly rest my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus.

I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, and for Your glory. Amen.”

Dick Woodward, (“A Prescription for Peace”)


Pizza! Pizza! – The Anatomy of a Sin

June 23, 2020

“Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:15)

In this verse James gives us what we might call the “Anatomy of a Sin.”

One day more than twenty years ago, my wife had to be gone for six or seven hours. Watching sports television that evening, every thirty minutes or so an advertisement promoting pizza came on. I truly love pizza but I’m not supposed to have it because I am a diabetic.

Each time I saw the commercial I developed a stronger desire for pizza.

I had a telephone and some money in my pocket, so eventually I called and ordered a pizza. I told them I was in a wheelchair so please walk in. When the delivery man arrived, I asked him to place the pizza on the blanket in my lap and take the box with him (to leave no evidence.)

When my wife returned, however, as she picked up the blanket to fold it a small pizza crust dropped to the floor. Needless to say, I got in trouble, big time!

According to James sin involves a lure, a look, a strong desire, and eventually temptation – then sin and death, which means “the pits.” The lure is like a piece of metal and our strong desire is a powerful magnet. If we don’t do something to break up that magnetic field between our desire and that lure, we will sin.

I didn’t do that, so pizza landed in my lap.

James shared this with us so we would understand the importance of breaking up the magnetic sequence of sin.

Are you willing to do that?

Dick Woodward, 24 June 2011


Misery vs. Peace & Joy

June 12, 2020

“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in him at all times.” (Philippians 4:4)

“While pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is optional.” These are the words of a man who lives every day with excruciating pain.

How can misery be optional for someone in agonizing pain? How do we explain Paul mentioning joy seventeen times in the short letter he wrote from prison to the Philippians?

Paul explains that for those who experience a relationship with the risen, living Christ there is peace and joy that are not controlled by our circumstances. The peace and joy Paul experienced could be called, “Peace that doesn’t make good sense” and “Happiness that doesn’t make good sense.”

According to Paul, the foundation of our peace and joy should be Jesus Himself. He therefore prescribed that we are to delight ourselves in Jesus and find our peace and joy in Him at all times.

What is your foundation for serenity and joy? If your foundation is the relationship with a loved one, do you realize there is no relationship with people here in this life that cannot be removed?

If your foundation is your health, youth, or athleticism, many thousands of people who had those foundations before age, illness, or injury destroyed them, will join me in warning you that they are fragile foundations for the peace and joy Paul is describing.

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Dick Woodward, 23 June 2009


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


Pentecost Power: An Eagle Perspective

May 29, 2020

“He gives power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increases strength… But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles.  They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

When the power of Pentecost came upon the apostles, there was a noise like a mighty rushing wind. As we read in the New Testament book of Acts how the apostles received the power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and began implementing the Great Commission amidst severe persecution, we should think of the eagle leaping off its nest directly into adverse winds to rise and soar above the storm enveloping it.

As you see in your mind’s eye the eagle sitting on the side of its nest, waiting for the velocity of the wind to become strong, you have a metaphor that allegorizes an important expression found many times in the Old Testament: “Wait on the Lord.”

It means we are not to go charging ahead without clear direction from the Lord.  We are to wait on the Lord. We are exhorted to follow the example of an eagle by waiting until the wind of the Spirit is here to direct, support and empower us.

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

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


Thinking about #PEACE!

May 26, 2020

“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Someone once said: “Five percent of people think. Ten percent think they think, and eighty five percent would rather die than think. And the ten percent who think they’re thinking are just rearranging their prejudices.”

In his letter to the Philippians Paul challenges us to join the five percent and think. He also tells us specifically how to think. It’s as if our thoughts are sheep and we are the shepherd.

Paul challenges us to think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and good news. We naturally seem to think about things that are not true, dishonorable, unjust, impure, ugly, and bad news.

Paul’s prescription for peace agrees with the teaching of Jesus. Jesus taught us not to worry about the things we cannot control. He highly valued prayer in His own life and taught His disciples that we should always pray.

Jesus also taught that the difference between a life filled with light and a life filled with darkness is how we see things. His greatest discourse was eight attitudes that can make us one of His solutions in this world.

According to Paul, having and maintaining “the peace of God” is largely a matter of what we worry and think about all day.

What do you think about all day?

Dick Woodward, 26 May 2009


God Loves You – and ME!

May 19, 2020

 “…that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23)

The Holy Spirit can be described as Love Incarnate: the love of God with skin on, yours and mine. Love is the primary fruit of the Spirit and evidence of the Spirit’s residence in us.

When people are filled with the Holy Spirit, they are conduits of the love of Christ.

In two places Jesus tells us to ask, seek and knock continuously. (Luke 11:9-13 and Matthew 7:7-11) We should continuously ask God to make us conduits of His love. When that happens we will not only be conduits of God’s love, we will know that God loves us by experiencing His love in our hearts.

Do you know and believe that God loves you?

Many people don’t feel worthy of being loved by anybody – not even God. When someone says, “I love you,” a negative tape begins to play that says, “No, you don’t. If you really knew me you wouldn’t!”

The two beautiful Gospel words mercy and grace declare that God does not love us if and when we are worthy, because He loves us even while we are sinners. (Romans 5:6-10)

Jesus prayed that those who make up the Church would live in such a way that this world of hurting people will know and believe God loves them as much as He loves His only begotten Son. If you do not know that God loves you, then we who are part of the Church have failed you.

God loves you!

…Because by the grace and mercy of God, I know that He loves me.

Dick Woodward, from Happiness That Doesn’t Make Good Sense


#FAITH PREP IN THE MORNING

May 5, 2020

“Let me hear of Your steadfast love in the morning, for in You I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.”  (Psalm 143:8)

Early every morning the eagle preens its feathers for more than an hour. Sitting on the side of its nest, the eagle passes each feather through its mouth, something like steam cleaning while depositing a liquid that makes its feathers water repellent.

This is important because eagles fish by diving under the water. The fluid deposited on their feathers also locks them together to improve their aerodynamics.  Whether an eagle is planning to fish or not, every morning for an hour they sit on the side of their nest and preen. They are not primping, they are preening – a very prudent preparation.

Like you and me, eagles never know what challenges they may face on any given day. Therefore, they preen in preparation for every possible challenge each day may hold.

Do you wake up holy in the morning? Before you’ve had your coffee? It’s possible for spiritual people to wake up holy, but if we’re honest we will concede that most of the time we don’t wake up that way.

It is very important to make a good beginning each day. When we consider the eagle’s daily practice of early morning preening, we are challenged to begin every day of our lives with spiritual preparation.

Have you preened your spirit with God’s help this morning?

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

#prayer #hope #devotions #love #eagles #God


Unquenchable #FAITH, Unfailing #LOVE

May 1, 2020

Surely goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)  

What is the basis of David’s unquenchable faith? What gives him the assurance that all the blessings he has described in Psalm 23 will be experienced “all the days of his life” and “forever?”

The word Selah, found frequently in the Psalms of David, can be interpreted: “Pause and calmly think about that.” If we pause and calmly think about it, we realize that all through Psalm 23 David presents the Good Shepherd as the great Initiator of their relationship.

It is the Shepherd Who gets David’s attention then makes him lie down and say, “baa,” confessing that he is a sheep and the Lord is his Shepherd. It is the Shepherd Who makes David lie down by green pastures and leads him beside still waters. It is the Shepherd Who uses His staff when David strays from Him, and drives him into paths of righteousness that restore his soul.

As David walks through the valley of the shadow of death, his confidence is not in his own extraordinary ability as a warrior. His confidence is clearly in the Good Shepherd. As David walks through this scary valley, he looks to God for protection and provision. He knows God will personally anoint him with oil and keep that cup running over within him.

The source of David’s confident faith is also expressed in this hymn, “I Sought the Lord,” by George McDonald.

“I find, I walk, I love, but Oh the whole of love

            Is but my answer, Lord to Thee.

            For You were long beforehand with my soul.

            Always, you have loved me.”

Dick Woodward, from Psalm 23 Sheep Talk

#prayer #hope #inspiration #belief #comfort


THE ME FIRST #FAITH CLUB

April 28, 2020

“Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”  (1Timothy 4:16)

Although it sounds contrary to what we have been taught, the Apostle Paul wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy, that there are times when we should join the Me First Faith Club. When you find something great in the Scriptures, how many times is your first thought the person who simply must hear this truth?

In this prescription for spiritual growth Paul writes that Timothy should place the Scripture on his life, and then hold his life up to Scripture. Paul promises Timothy that if he will continuously do this as a spiritual discipline, he will experience salvation and then lead others to salvation.

There are at least three times when committed disciples should put ourselves in first place: when we are judging, when there is sin to confess, and when it comes to our spiritual needs. Many disciples have become casualties because they neglected these priorities.

There is a sense in which if we do not save ourselves we cannot save anybody else. When oxygen masks appear on a commercial air flight, mothers are instructed to place their masks on first and then put their babies’ masks on.

If you are a spiritual leader don’t apply Scripture to others that you have not first applied to yourself. Think of the priorities being taught here as concentric circles. You are the innermost circle. The other circles represent those with whom you share God’s Word after you have joined the Me First Faith Club.

Save yourself and then watch God save others.

Dick Woodward, 27 April 2013

#prayer #hope #peace #theBible #belief