Beattitude Attitude Adjustments

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


The Vine Looking For Branches

July 31, 2018

“I am the vine, you are the branches.”  (John 15:5)

The apostles had been in awe of the profound words and miraculous works of Jesus. In their last retreat, Jesus essentially said that the key to His preaching, teaching, and supernatural ministry is that He and the Father are one.  The Word and work of our Heavenly Father was spoken and accomplished on earth through Jesus because He is one with the Father.  Jesus taught the disciples that after His death and resurrection, if they would be at one with Him His Word would be spoken and His work would be done on earth through them.

While the disciples were in a garden, Jesus pulled down a vine which had many branches loaded with fruit and said: “I am the Vine and you are the branches.”  In this metaphor the fruit does not grow on the vine. The fruit grows out on the branches because they are properly aligned with the Vine.

The branches can bear no fruit without the Vine and the Vine can bear no fruit without the branches. If the Vine, Jesus, wants to see fruit produced, He must pass His life-giving power through the branches, the apostles and now us.

By this inspired metaphor, Jesus was actually teaching two propositions: “Without Me, you can do nothing” and “Without you, I will do nothing.”

It is the plan of God to use the power of God in the people of God to accomplish the purposes of God according to the plan of God.  Jesus is a Vine looking for branches.

Are you one of His branches?

Dick Woodward, 31 July 2012


Fullness of Faith: Doing & Knowing

June 19, 2018

“This is how we know we are in Him: whoever claims to live in Him must walk even as Jesus walked.” (1 John 2:5-6)

In the first sixteen verses of this short letter, the Apostle John gives us a prescription for fullness. His prescription comes in seven parts: facts, faith, forgiveness, fellowship, follow-ship, fruitfulness, and fullness.

The facts are the death and resurrection of Jesus. When we believe the first fact we have forgiveness; when we believe the second the result is fellowship with the risen Christ.

Changing one letter in the word ‘fellowship’ to followship provides the key to John’s prescription for fullness. When you read this letter observe the repetition for emphasis of this concept: we will know that we know when we walk as Jesus walked.

Followship is also a key to the fullness of faith emphasized by Jesus. He made His covenant with the apostles: “Follow Me and I will make you.” (Matthew 4:19) The most important part of the Great Commission of Jesus occurred when He commissioned the disciples to make disciples. (Matthew 28: 18-20) A synonym for discipleship is apprenticeship. Jesus apprenticed the apostles and He commissioned them to apprentice disciples.

A great claim of Jesus is recorded in the Gospel of John Chapter 7 when He declared that His teaching is the teaching of God. Jesus also proclaimed that we prove that when we do his teachings. (John 7:17)

According to Jesus the doing leads to the knowing.  Intellectuals have claimed for a millennium that knowing will lead to doing, but Jesus said, “When you do you will know.”

Are you willing to do that you might know His teaching is the Word of God?

Dick Woodward, 18 June 2011


Being the Merciful Love of Jesus

April 13, 2018

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:7-8)

Jesus begins His greatest discourse of the Beattitudes with a “check up from the neck up.” He teaches eight attitudes that can make disciples salt, light and His solution to what is wrong in this crazy world. These eight attitudes come in four pairs, the third of which is to be merciful with a pure heart.

One scholar writes that these blessed attitudes are like climbing a mountain. The first pair takes us halfway up the mountain, the second pair takes us to the top of the mountain, while the third pair takes us half way down the other side.

With profound simplicity Jesus is basically asking: “When disciples are filled with righteousness that takes them to the top of the mountain, what kind of people are they?  Are they Bible experts who throw the book at others?”

No!  They are filled with mercy (which is unconditional love) and while they love in this way they are pure in heart.

To be pure in heart is only understood when we research the Greek word that is used here for pure – the word from which we get ‘to be catheterized.’  It means that as disciples are merciful we have a catharsis through which everything that is not the unconditional love of Christ is removed from our hearts.

If you want to be one of the solutions of Jesus in this world, hunger and thirst for what is right and you will find that love is right and right is love.

Be a conduit of that love – the love of Jesus – and become His salt and light.

Dick Woodward, 13 April 2010


How Are You, REALLY?

October 31, 2017

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)

A long time ago when I lunched with a friend on Mondays, I always asked him, “How are you, Skip?”

“Great, wonderful, marvelous and tremendous!” he’d answer.  Always.

Many Mondays I’d not had a good weekend and life was not great, wonderful, marvelous, and tremendous for me. But this guy was always emphatically optimistic. After this pattern continued for some time, one Monday I asked him, “Tell me something. If everything wasn’t great, wonderful, marvelous, and tremendous, how would you answer my question?”

“Oh, I’d probably lie to you,” he responded.

I decided to rephrase my question. I asked, “How are you, really, Skip?”

He worked with a group of people who emphasized Scripture memory and they all memorized a verse each week.  “Frankly, if you really want to know,” he said, “My verse of the week is, ‘Hang it on your beak, freak!’” We then had some honest conversation, what I call reality contact.

This is what James had in mind – if we are honest with each other we will be burdened to pray for each other. If we’re not honest when we meet together, we will not pray for each other honestly. One translation reads that our honest prayers will explode with power!

We should have this kind of reality contact with a believer we trust.

How are you, really?

Dick Woodward, 01 November 2011


The Fellowship of the Fig Tree

June 30, 2017

“… before Phillip called you I saw you under the fig tree.”  (John 1:48)

When Jesus was recruiting apostles, he had an interesting exchange with the one who was to become the Apostle Nathaniel. Nathaniel apparently had the regular practice of having times of intimate fellowship with God under a fig tree. When he met Jesus for the first time Jesus affirmed him as a Jew in whom there was no guile. When Nathaniel exclaimed, “How do you know me?” Jesus said in so many words: “I’m the One you’ve been talking to under the fig tree!” That really blew Nathaniel away and he was convinced forever that Jesus was the Son of God and many other things. (The whole story can be found in John 1:47-51).

I find this challenge in the exchange between Jesus and his apostle: do we have a fig tree or a place where we regularly meet with God and have intimate fellowship? You might call this, as I have, “The Fellowship of the Fig Tree.”

Years ago I gave a devotional to several hundred people on this concept. One of them, who became a dear brother, was in the furniture business. He gave me a beautiful artificial fig tree, placing it in my home where I had my quiet times with God every morning. He wanted me to have my intimate times with God under a fig tree. That was nearly 40 years ago. It is still here in our home today.

Do you belong to the Fellowship of the Fig Tree? Do you have a special place where you meet with God every day?

Dick Woodward, 07 July 2009


LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

June 20, 2017

“And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1 John 4:21)

In this love chapter of the Bible, John gives us 10 reasons we must love.  His last reason is that we have been given a commandment by Jesus that we are to love one another.  When Jesus was about to leave the apostles by way of His death on the cross, He left the apostles with this New Commandment.

Jesus explained to them later in that same setting that this would only be possible because He was sending them the Holy Spirit. He used a word for the Holy Spirit that means: “One who comes alongside of you and attaches to you for the purpose of assisting you.”

The concept of a commandment is lost for many people in our culture because we are so democratic in our values. The closest we come to understanding this word is in our military training. When my youngest brother was in training the order was given that the smoking lamp was out – which meant no smoking.  In defiance of the order he lighted a cigarette. His Marine drill instructor ordered him to bury that cigarette in a grave six feet deep.

When he reported to the drill instructor all covered with mud and sweat, the instructor asked if he had buried the cigarette pointing north and south or east and west? When my brother wasn’t sure he was told that he had to do it again the next day and make sure it pointed north and south. The next time the no smoking order was given do you think he lighted another cigarette?

Do you get the full weight of these 10 reasons we must love?

Dick Woodward, 06 August 2010