At the Feet of Jesus

February 18, 2022

“… 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


Tears of Suffering

February 11, 2022

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5-6)

The ancient hymn writer is describing a father who is sowing seeds his family desperately needs because they are hungry.  As a provider he knows that if he does not plant these seeds, there will be no food for them and they will starve to death. He therefore sows these precious seeds with tears streaming down his face.

The Holy Spirit leads the author to a beautiful application after he paints this solemn picture for us: sometimes when we suffer to the point of tears, those tears are precious seeds our heavenly Father is sowing in the soil of our suffering.  When that is the case, we will doubtless come again rejoicing bringing the fruitful results of our suffering with us.

This is a truth that is often shared in the Bible. Sometimes suffering is not the setback it appears to be, but the cutback of our Heavenly Father who is like a divine Vineyard keeper. He cuts us back to increase the quality and the quantity of the fruit our lives are yielding for Him.

I sometimes think God is more real and works more effectively in the lives of people in waiting rooms outside operating theaters in hospitals than He does in the sanctuaries of our churches. God does not waste our sorrows, and we should not waste them either.

Listen to the wisdom of the hymn writer when he tells us our tears are precious seeds that will ultimately rejoice our hearts.

Dick Woodward, 15 February 2013


God’s Abounding Grace!!

February 8, 2022

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

The mercy of God withholds from us what we deserve and the grace of God bestows on us all kinds of wonderful blessings we do not deserve.  Grace is also the dynamic we receive from God to do what God calls and leads us to do. 2 Corinthians 9:8 quoted above is the most superlative verse about grace in the Bible.

It tells us that God is able to make all grace, not just some grace, abound toward us, not just trickle in our direction. Then we may have all sufficiency, not just some sufficiency, in all things, not just some things. We are then equipped to abound, not just do our duty, as we do every good work God leads us to do, not just the works we like to do, ALWAYS! Twice in this verse Paul emphasizes the reality that this grace is for you – not just for the pastor or the missionary – but you!

Is this grace a reality in your journey of faith?

I once heard Dr. A. W. Tozer preach on this verse. After he read it there was an eloquent pause before he said, “Sometimes you cannot help but allow the thought that God oversold grace in the New Testament.” He then preached a powerful message challenging us to believe God has not oversold God’s grace but that we need to learn how to access His grace.

The hymn writer wrote, “The favor God shows and the joy He bestows are for those who will trust and obey…”

That is a good place to start.

Dick Woodward, 10 February 2012


#FAITH: The Beauty of Diversity

February 4, 2022

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

The story is told of a doctor who came out of the delivery room and told an expectant father, “I have 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 used an illustration like what I just shared. He does this in his inspired letter to the Corinthians because he wants to make a point about 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 do your part.

Dick Woodward, 05 February 2013


God Loves You (& Me!)

February 1, 2022

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

I learned from studying psychology that we are all a great network of needs. From the Bible I learned that God is love. His Son, Jesus, was ‘God with skin on.’ Love is the most mesmerizing dynamic of Christ’s life on this earth. The people who met Jesus were loved as they had never been loved before.

We are also designed to be ‘God with skin on.’ 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 and controlled by the Holy Spirit, they are conduits of the love of Christ.

We should all ask God to make us conduits of God’s love. 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!”

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 God loves me.

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


God’s Ways & Our Ways

January 25, 2022

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)

In one of the most important chapters of the Bible Isaiah shared what we might call his “philosophy of ministry.”  Isaiah, who is called “The Prince of the Prophets,” declared that he preached the Word of God because there is as much difference between the way God thinks and acts and the way we think and act, as the heavens are high above the earth.  Isaiah believed the Word of God can bring about an alignment between the thoughts and ways of God and our thoughts and ways. 

As an application to Isaiah’s profound declaration, Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, asked the question, “If our steps are ordered by the Lord, how can we always expect to understand the way we are going?” (Proverbs 20:24)

It is so important that we have this profound truth declared by Isaiah engraved in our minds: God does not think and act as we do! This is especially true when we are baffled by events and circumstances that overwhelm us and obsess us with “Why” questions.

A devout Christian surgeon I know says, “The word we use most in this life is ‘Why.’ And the word we’re going to use most in the next dimension is ‘Oh!’”  That’s because when we have eternal perspective on this life we are now living, in time we will say “Oh” when we see why God’s thoughts and ways are higher and better than the way we think and act.

Dick Woodward, 25 January 2011


Always Pray about EVERYTHING!

January 21, 2022

“…tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer…” (Philippians 4:6)

It’s easy to say, “Don’t worry,” but what are we going to do about our problems if we don’t worry about them? The Apostle Paul doesn’t leave us in a vacuum when he prescribed: “Pray about everything!”

The Word of God exhorts us to pray when we are in crisis situations. Psalm 46:1 has an alternate reading in the New Standard version, “God is our refuge and strength, abundantly available for help in tight places.” God delivered Paul from many tight places. We should therefore always pray in a crisis: “When it’s hardest to pray, pray the hardest!”

However, from personal experience Paul knew that God doesn’t always take our problems away. He had a physical condition that he described as a “thorn in the flesh.” Three times he asked God to take it away. Paul saw many people miraculously healed as he ministered the healing power of the Holy Spirit to them. Yet, when he asked God to solve his own health problem, three times God said, “No. No. No.”

But God also responded, “My grace is sufficient for you and that is all you need. My strength looks good on weak people.” (2 Corinthians 12) His weakness drove Paul to discover the strength of God. When he did, he not only accepted his condition but eventually thanked God in it so the power of God might be showcased in him.

As Paul accepted the will of God regarding his thorn, he learned that the will of God will never lead us where the grace of God cannot keep us. Paul exhorts us from his personal experience that prayer may deliver us from our problems, or prayer may give us the grace to cope with them. But, in any case, pray.

Always pray about everything!

Dick Woodward, from “A Prescription for Peace”


#Prayer: One Day at a Time

January 18, 2022

Give us this day our daily bread…”  (Matthew 6:11)

Jesus is using the symbol of bread here to represent all our needs. We are a veritable basket of needs: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. This first personal petition should not be limited to our need for food, but all our needs.

Observe the concept ‘one day at a time’ is repeated twice in this petition of just seven words. Alcoholics with years of sobriety tell me that when they took their first step, they could not entertain the thought of being sober for more than one day.

This prayer of Jesus prescribes that we pray ‘this day’ and ‘daily’ when we present our needs to our Heavenly Father. This principle of one day at a time is a proven therapy that has made the difference between life and death for some of my closest friends who are celebrating many years of sobriety.

Observe how Jesus concludes His teaching about values with the same emphasis later in Matthew 6: “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34)

We read in the book of Numbers that when God miraculously provided bread from Heaven in the wilderness, the Israelites were only permitted to collect enough manna for one day. That story, recorded in Numbers 11, is also applicable to the one-day-at-a-time principle Jesus prescribes in the prayer He taught us to pray.

When we apply the story of that manna miracle to our daily devotions, we should make the application that we cannot hoard our experience of a word from God or the blessings of a time in the presence of God. We must have our souls and spirits nourished with heavenly manna every day, one day at a time.

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Prayer


Tears of Prayer

January 14, 2022

“I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.” (Isaiah 38:5)

Early in my ministry as a pastor I made a discovery about prayer. I came to the conclusion that we are praying even when we do not close our eyes, fold our hands, and bow our heads. I discovered that prayer is the sincere desire of our souls no matter how we express it.

The sigh of a believer can be a prayer. When we come to the end of our resources and throw ourselves across a bed and sigh, or cry – that is also a prayer.

God sent the Prophet Isaiah to tell a sick King Hezekiah that he was going to die. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and cried. When God saw the tears of King Hezekiah, God sent Isaiah back to him with the message: “I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears.”

And God added 15 years to King Hezekiah’s life.

When we express the sincere desires of our souls, which are often too deep for words, in tears and sighs of despair – that is prayer God hears and answers. God has as much interaction with people in the waiting rooms of hospitals as God has in the sanctuaries of our churches.

Realizing your tears and sighs of despair are prayers, will you offer them to God as the prayers of your heart?

God will hear you.

Dick Woodward, 18 January 2011


Letting Go

January 7, 2022

“… but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3: 13, 14)

As we move into a new year many of us can say, “These forty/eleven things I dabble in” as we consider our priorities. Spiritual heavyweights like Paul can write “One thing I do.” They write that they have their priorities sifted down to one thing because they forget those things that are behind.

We all have things we need to let go of so we can press toward the goal of what God wants us to do now and in the future.

The story is told of a man who fell over a cliff but managed to grab hold of a little bush that was growing out of the cliff about forty feet from the top. He frantically shouted “Help!” several times but his voice simply echoed back to him. Desperately he yelled, “Anybody there? A subterranean voice answered, “Yes!” He then yelled again “Help!” Then the voice said. “Let go!” After a brief pause the man shouted, “Anybody else out there?”

Sometimes it takes a lot of faith to let go. It may be that we need to let go of things that we cannot do and only God can do. It may be we need to let go of things we cannot control. And, sometimes we need to let go of hurts that people have inflicted on us and we cannot forgive them and just let it go.

Do you need to let go and let God so you can unload baggage and move forward with God?

Dick Woodward, 11 January 2013