At the Feet of Jesus

February 19, 2019

“… but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…”  (Luke 10:42)

Every time we meet Mary, the sister of Martha, she is at the feet of Jesus. The verse above describes her at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word. Martha is frustrated because Mary is attending the Bible study while she is doing all the serving. Jesus sides with Mary because she chose the number one priority that day.

In the 11th chapter of the Gospel of John the brother of these two sisters dies. When Jesus arrives too late to save their brother, both these sisters greet Him with the same words: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.”  However, when Mary spoke these words we read that she prostrated herself at his feet showing that she accepted His will.

In the next chapter Martha and Mary’s resurrected brother is the guest of honor at a banquet. Mary is once again there worshiping Jesus at His feet. She anointed His feet with perfume that was worth a year’s wages.

What would it mean if you worshiped Jesus with your annual income?

Mary is a great example for us as she is at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word, accepting His will, and worshiping Him. If we will not merely read our Bibles but hear Christ’s personal word to us at His feet when we do, we will find His will for our lives. If we continue to follow Mary’s example, we will be at the feet of Jesus accepting His will.

As we follow Mary’s example we will find ourselves worshiping Jesus forever with costly worship at His feet.

Dick Woodward, 19 February 2013


Tending Our Spiritual Gardens

February 15, 2019

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. What counts is a new creation.” (Galatians 6:7,15)

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. 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 – spiritual seeds that 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.

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” (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


LOVE: OUR FIRST PRIORITY

February 12, 2019

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love… I am nothing.” (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

The Apostle Paul composed an inspired poem of love in which he declared that the agape love of God should be the number one priority of spiritual people. He wrote that love is greater than knowledge and more important than faith.

Paul’s teaching about spiritual gifts in the previous chapter concludes with: “Earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I will show you a more excellent way.”  (I Corinthians 12:31)  Paul begins his great love chapter with his prescription for that most excellent way: “Let love be your greatest aim,” or “Put love first.”

A SUMMARY PARAPHRASE APPLICATION:

If we speak with great eloquence or in tongues without love, we’re just a lot of noise. If we have all knowledge to understand all the Greek mysteries, the gift to speak as a prophet, and enough faith to move mountains, unless we love as we do all those things we are nothing.  If we give all our money to feed the poor and our body to be burned at the stake as a martyr, if we give and die without love, it profits us nothing.

Nothing we are, nothing we ever become, nothing we have and nothing we ever will have in the way of natural and spiritual gifts should ever move ahead of love as our first priority. Nothing we do, or ever will do as an expression of our faith, our gifts, our knowledge, or our generous, charitable, unconditionally-surrendered heart is worthy of comparison, or can replace love as we live out our personal priorities in this world.”

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love


Faith vs. Giantology

February 8, 2019

“Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)

In the Old Testament book of Numbers we read that twelve Hebrew spies were sent into Canaan to determine the strength of the enemies they would face invading that land. Ten of the spies reported that, “The people in that land are such big and fierce looking giants they made us feel like grasshoppers. And the cities are mightily fortified with walls so thick they build houses on them!”

However, two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, reported that they had never seen such fruitful soil in their lives. They described how two men had to carry one cluster of grapes on a thick pole in Canaan.  Furthermore, they proclaimed that since they had the Lord with them they were well able to conquer the land of Canaan.

We might say the ten spies with the negative report were experts in “giantology” because they only saw the giants, while Caleb and Joshua saw the Lord. They had vision that the Lord was well able to give them the exceedingly fruitful land of Canaan.

When we “committee our way unto the Lord” and are challenged to take on a project that has great potential for being fruitful, but there are many obstacles and risks involved, we often have a split committee on a ten to two basis. Ten are experts on obstacles and risks involved in that project and two are like Caleb and Joshua.

When you are faced with challenges that involve risks but great potential for God, are you an expert in “giantology” or do you see the Lord?”

Dick Woodward, 11 February 2011


The Lord IS MY Shepherd

February 6, 2019

“The Lord is my Shepherd…”   (Psalm 23:1)

God created you and me to be men and women who make choices. God very much wants to be our Shepherd, but we must choose to make God our Shepherd.  We must deliberately choose to say, “baa!” and become one of the sheep of God’s pasture.

Can you declare the first five words of this great Shepherd Psalm as a personal confession of faith? Can you confess, “The Lord is my Shepherd?”

People touch me as they describe the way the Lord came into their lives, made them lie down and say, “baa!”  I am frequently concerned, however, when I fail to hear how that relationship is working in their lives today.

One of David’s most remarkable declarations in this psalm is that the blessings provided by his Shepherd-God are in place ‘all the days of my life.’

Be sure to make the observation that David’s great profession of faith is not, “The Lord was my Shepherd,” but that “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

When the Lord makes you lie down and confess, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” you are also confessing you are a sheep.

Sheep are completely helpless and hopeless without their shepherd.

Years ago I was out of bed at an early hour. When my wife asked why I was getting up at 4:30a.m., I told her what I read during my devotions: “When you wake up, get up, and when you get up, do something for God’s lambs.”  She responded, “baa!” (She was reminding that she and our five children are also God’s lambs.)

Psalm 23 is filled with sheep talk that shows us that God wants to hear every one of us say, “baa!”

Dick Woodward, from Psalm 23 Sheep Talk


The Beauty of Diversity

February 1, 2019

“If the whole body were an eye where would the sense of hearing be?”  (1Corinthians 12:17)

The story is told of a doctor who came out of the delivery room and told an expectant father, “I have some grave news for you. Your wife has given birth to a 7-pound eyeball.  And that’s not all. It’s blind!”

If you came home one night in the dark and found a 185 pound eyeball in the corner of your front porch, would that give you a rush of anxiety?

In the verse above the Apostle Paul uses an illustration like the illustrations I just shared. He does this in his inspired letter to the Corinthians because he wants to make a point: the beauty of diversity.

One of the fingerprints of the Church of Jesus Christ is that we celebrate diversity. Diversity in the body of Christ is to be celebrated rather than resolved. If two of us are exactly alike one of us is unnecessary. Some members of the First Church of Corinth were telling others they were not authentically spiritual unless they had the same spiritual gifts that they had.

Paul’s remedy for that kind of thinking was the metaphor of a body being just one member and not a body with the beauty of many diverse parts. Other members of the body of Christ have what you do not have and you have what they do not have – that means you need them and they need you.

The body of Christ is a team sport.  Are you willing to be a team player?  If so, step up and play your part.

Dick Woodward, 05 February 2013


Peter’s Prayer: Lord, Save Me!

January 25, 2019

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

In the Bible the Apostle Peter is the only man besides Jesus Christ who 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 Peter’s magnificent faith was flawed. He saw the wind. Since we cannot see wind this means 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, Peter walked on water!

It was not until he was beginning to sink that Peter cried out this prayer. Two thousand years later, this remains a go-to prayer for us through the storms of life. Jesus taught that our prayers should not be long. We should never think we will generate grace with God by our many words. (If Peter had made a longer prayer, the words beyond the third would have been glub, glub glub!)

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: Lord, save me!

In your spiritual walk, don’t think twice and don’t be of 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