#FAITH: DOING LEADS TO KNOWING

July 13, 2021

“If any man wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the teaching whether it is from God…” (John 7:17)

Jesus gave us a solid principle that shows us how we can know His teaching is the teaching of God. The principle is this: If anyone wills to do, that person will know

For millennia those who approach the proposition of faith intellectually have said, “When I know, then I will do.” Their premise has been and remains: “the knowing leads to the doing.” 

Pointing to their temples they say, “Reach me here.” Pointing to their heart, they say, “Then I will follow through here.” They are essentially saying, “Reach me intellectually and then I will commit volitionally.”

Jesus cut through all that when He proclaimed this principle: the doing leads to the knowing. When you commit your will to doing what Jesus teaches then intellectual affirmation will follow. It is only then that you will know the teaching of Jesus is the Word of God and not just the ideas of another great teacher coming down the pike.

When people followed Jesus on His terms He called them “disciples.” A synonym for that word is “apprentice.” An apprentice and a disciple are learning what they’re doing and doing what they’re learning.

As Jesus apprenticed His disciples they discovered that the doing leads to the knowing. Are we applying this principle to our faith as followers of Jesus Christ?

Dick Woodward, Lackey Free Clinic Health Beat, Summer 2009


HEAR TO HEART COMMUNICATIONS

July 9, 2021

“We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you…As a fair exchange – I speak as to my children – open wide your hearts also.” (2 Corinthians 6:11-13)

To paraphrase this passage, Paul is suggesting that each of us has a communication “flap” on our heart. We should be face-to-face and heart-to-heart with our communication flaps open. But, the hard reality is that we are often back-to-back with our communication flaps tightly closed. 

The solution Paul prescribes here is that someone must say, “I am heart-to-heart with you, and my communication flap is open. Be heart-to-heart with me and open your communication flap.”

We face communication challenges every day in our families, work life, and in our interactions with people. When there is a communication problem it is important to realize that someone has to initiate a solution by saying, in spirit and in principle, to the person with whom they are having a communication conflict, “I am heart-to-heart with you, and my communication flap is open. Be heart to heart with me and open your communication flap.”

You may be amazed at how taking that stance can melt the obstacles between you and the person with whom you are having a challenging relationship. This can be a communication “circuit breaker” that restores communication in a relationship.

Bacteria multiply in the dark but cannot live in the light. If we do not have good communication misunderstandings multiply like bacteria, but when communication is restored it’s like we have turned the light on in our relationship. Most of the bacteria will die and we can address what doesn’t die within the light of restored communication.

Dick Woodward, 12 July 2012


CAUTION: GOD AT WORK!

July 6, 2021

“Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Isaiah 40: 4-5)

The essence of Isaiah’s great sermon is that when you build a highway you do four things: you level mountains, you fill valleys, you straighten crooked places, and you smooth out rough places.

Isaiah preached that God (our Heavenly Father) was coming into our world and when He did He was going to travel on the highway of the life of His Son. In that life the mountains of pride would be leveled, the empty spaces would be one hundred percent filled with the Holy Spirit, the crooked ways of sin would be perfectly straight and His rough places would be made smooth by the way Jesus responded to them.

Just before Jesus parted with His apostles He told them that in the same way the Father sent Him into the world He was sending them into the world. If His life was to be a highway on which God traveled into this world, our lives are also to be highways for God. 

I challenge you to ask God to make your life into a highway for Jesus to travel into this world.

If you pray that way God’s bulldozers will start leveling your mountains of pride, the Holy Spirit will fill your empty spaces, straighten out your crooked ways of sin and then give you the grace to smooth out the rough challenges that come into your life.

While all that is happening you can write “Caution: God at work” across your life.

Do you have the courage to pray this prayer?

Dick Woodward, 06 July 2012


P.U.S.H. – A Formula for Faithfulness

June 22, 2021

“Now it is required that those who have been given trust must prove faithful.”  (1 Corinthians 4:2)

A story is told of a man who was told by God to push against a huge rock as his primary work for a lifetime. The man did that for years. Exhausted, burned out and discouraged he told God the rock had not moved a centimeter. God responded that God had not told the man to move the rock, but to push against it. God made the observation that pushing against the rock had given the man a strong healthy and muscular body. 

God knew all along that only God could move that rock.

This leads to an acrostic based on the word push:

P- Pray

U– Until

S– Something

H– Happens

I am now living in my 82nd year. One of the observations I have made in my life is that God is our Mentor. God is always teaching us and God is fiercely committed to the proposition that we are going to grow spiritually and in every other way. 

God deliberately assigns us tasks that are not only difficult but impossible knowing that those tasks will grow and mature us into faithful servants God can use to do through us what only God can do in this world.

So this week push and keep praying until God does God’s works through you.

Dick Woodward, 20 June 2012

#faith #hope #inspiration #prayer #peace #love


DON’T PANIC!

March 16, 2021

“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 the third Psalm he is facing the greatest crisis of his life. His son has turned the entire nation against him and has driven him out of Jerusalem into the wilderness where he hid from King Saul when he was a young fugitive. His situation is so desperate many people said that even God could not help him. 

But in this psalm David explains how he knows God will be there for him. He is not having a panic attack so he gives us a prescription for 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 God heard him. When he lay down to sleep not knowing if the enemy would slit his throat while he was sleeping, he awoke alive because God sustained him. 

He then declared he will not be afraid of the thousands of people who want to see him dead. He goes on in the present tense that God is with him and His present blessing is upon him.

When you are in 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 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


What Does God Ask of Us?

March 9, 2021

“…And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

The prophet Micah asked an important question. In effect his question is: what are the divine requirements of God? What does God expect, require, demand, and command from me? Micah gives us three answers to this question.

His first answer is that we should do justly. In other words, we should be a conduit of justice. We should stand up against injustice anytime and anywhere we see injustice. Since we live in a world that is filled with injustice this could be dangerous. Jesus Christ did this and it got Him crucified.

Micah’s second answer is that we should love mercy. Mercy is unconditional love. This is the chief characteristic of the love of God. David believed that the mercy and unconditional love of God would pursue him all the days of his life.

Micah’s final answer to his question is that we are to walk humbly with our God. Humility has consistently been a characteristic of the great old souls we have known in this life. C.S. Lewis wrote that pride is the mother of all sins and we read in the Proverbs that God hates pride. We can see why God would hate pride because God hates sin.

Are you willing to be the person Micah profiled? There is a sense in which we cannot become a just, merciful and humble person through our own efforts. But these three answers give us a profile of the person God wants us to be. 

Are you willing to let God give you the grace to be that person?

Dick Woodward, 20 March 2011


#FAITH – Doing the Right Thing

March 2, 2021

“Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, ‘Who will show us any good?’”  (Psalm 4:5)

David cannot sleep. He is uptight and anxious. From the context of the psalm we know he cannot sleep because he is under great stress. He decides to meditate within his own heart and be still.

David has a “board meeting” with himself in the middle of the night. If he does the right thing, he believes he cannot survive. He is therefore thinking about doing the expedient thing. Since he is a man of great spiritual integrity he finds himself awake and uptight considering the expedient path.

As a result of his meditation he resolves his dilemma. David decides he is going to make whatever sacrifices he needs to make to do what is right – and then trust the Lord for his survival. He knows there are many people who are looking for someone who will do what is right even though it costs them everything to do right.

Have you ever found yourself awake, uptight and stressed in the middle of the night because you are in a crisis? If you do what you believe God wants you to do you don’t see how you can survive. But your spiritual integrity won’t let you sleep if you don’t do the right thing. 

David models a prescription for resolving that kind of dilemma.

His prescription is simply to do right. Whatever it costs you, do right and trust God for the consequences. Many people will be blessed, God will be glorified, you will have peace and be able to sleep.

Dick Woodward, 02 March 2012


Sowing Spiritual Gardens

February 16, 2021

“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 gardens of our lives, or we can sow seeds of our flesh in that garden. 

William Barclay, a professor of Bible at Edinburgh University for forty years, wrote 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 options before us every day: creation or corruption. We can sow spiritual seeds in the gardens of our lives that 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 today?

Dick Woodward, 15 February 2011


ENDURING #LOVE (Part II)

February 12, 2021

“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.”  (I Corinthians 13:7-8, J.B. Phillips)

When Paul writes, “Love endures all things,” he means love perseveres while it awaits the fulfillment of what it hopes and believes to see in the lives of the ones being loved. The Greek word translated as “endurance” is “hupomone.” It is a combination of two Greek words “to abide” and “under” whatever is required to love someone.

This is especially important when we love someone who is not responding to our loving, positive reinforcement. This quality of loving perseverance equips believers to love and pray for loved ones in their addictions to alcohol, chemical substances, pornography, gambling, eating disorders and the seemingly endless list of compulsive habits.

These chains of the evil one can only be broken with supernatural assistance from God, often using, as conduits, those who love with the love of Christ that hopes, believes, and endures all things.

By our actions we can make this statement to the ones we love: “Nothing you can do or say can make me stop loving you, because I love you with the love of Jesus Christ. The love of Christ is tough love. It can handle anything you do and say.”

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love


ENDURING #LOVE (Part I)

February 9, 2021

“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.”  (I Corinthians 13:7-8, J.B. Phillips)

“Love hopes all things” can be understood when we compare biblical faith with biblical hope. Based on the way the Bible compares faith and hope, faith must have a foundation, while we can hope when there is no reason to believe.

We read in the book of Hebrews: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) The inspired author of the great faith chapter claims that the object of faith is unseen, and faith gives substance to our hope that the object of our faith exists.

In other words, faith puts a foundation under our hope. We hope until faith gives us a reason to believe.

When faith cannot place a foundation under our hope for the ones we love, all we can do is hope for them. According to the love hymn of Paul (I Corinthians 13) the one applying the love of Christ will hope for them.

Love joyfully awaits for the fulfillment of what it prayerfully desires, imagines, dreams and hopes concerning the potential of the ones we love.

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love