#Faith: One Step at a Time

July 26, 2019

 “… I being in the way the Lord led me…” (Genesis 24:27)

When we discover the context of these words of Scripture we realize they are teaching us a principle of how God works in our lives. It is easier to steer a moving vehicle than one that is stationary.

God can sometimes steer us more easily when we are moving. That’s why we often will find that one step frequently leads to the next step when we have faith to be led by the Holy Spirit.

The words above were spoken by Abraham’s servant who was commissioned by Abraham to travel to the land of his people to find a wife for Isaac. As Abraham’s servant journals the events of his search, he writes that while he was in the way the Lord led him he encountered the family of Rebekah. When he met her he knew that his search had ended.

Committed followers of Christ were commissioned two thousand years ago to go to all nations and make disciples for Jesus Christ.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Like the servant of Abraham, as we embark on the adventure of obeying our great commission, we should expect that each step will lead to the next step.

We don’t always have to know where the road leads as long as we know it is the right road. While we are in the way our Lord has commissioned us to go, we must have the faith to take that first step. Then, one step at a time, expect God to lead us to the next step.

Dick Woodward, 28 July 2009


God @ Work: New Things in the New Year

December 28, 2018

“Then He brought us out that He might bring us in…”  (Deuteronomy 6:23)

Are you ready for a new thing? God often wants to do a new thing in our lives but He has three challenges.

When God wants to bring us out of the old and into a new place He cannot get us out of the old because we are insecure and want to hold on to the old place. He then has to blast us out of the old. That’s why a call of God is often made up of a pull from the front and a boot from the rear.

God’s second challenge is that He has to pull us through the transition between the old place and the new. Transitions can last for years and they can be very painful, but God promises He can pull us through the worst of them.

God’s third challenge is to get us right so He can settle us into the new place. We should no more resist that work of God than a baby should resist being born and coming out into life.

Don’t give God a hard time when He wants to do a new thing in your life. If we trust God’s character we should cooperate with Him when He wants to make changes and do new things in us and for us. A rut is a grave with both ends knocked out. Our loving Heavenly Father does not want to see His children in the living death of a rut.

Instead of giving God a hard time, make it easy for Him as He brings you out of the old place and leads you into the new places He has for you in the New Year.

Dick Woodward, 28 December 2012


Divine Guidance: One Day at a Time

August 17, 2018

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

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray He gave us a daily principle with multiple applications.  At the end of this chapter (Matthew 6) that records the central part of His great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus states that we should not worry about tomorrow. Many have made that obvious application to this prayer petition. People with challenges like addictions and overwhelming suffering are often only able to get their heads and hearts around the concept of a solution one day at a time.

Another legitimate application of this principle for living is to apply it to divine guidance. In the third chapter of his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul wrote that one way to discern the will of God for our life is to live up to the light we have now. He promises that as we do, God will give us more light.

One of my teachers once said: “If you want to see further ahead into the will of God for your life, then move ahead into the will of God just as far as you can see.”

As a college student I drove across the United States several times, mostly at night because there was less traffic. My headlights only illuminated about 100 yards at a time, but I discovered that if I kept driving into the light the headlights gave me, I eventually made it all the way from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles.

It is easier for God to steer a moving vehicle than one that is stationary.  As we respond to the light God is giving us, God adds more light to our path. The application of this principle leads us into God’s will one day at a time.

Dick Woodward, 17 August 2010


Seeking God’s Will: Open Minds & Hearts

July 11, 2017

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly…”  (James 4:3)

At the heart of a counseling session, a woman once said, “Don’t confuse me with Scriptures, Pastor. My mind is made up!” Seeking God’s will for our lives is often out of reach because we have our agendas in place when we come before God. If our minds are set like concrete before we converse with God, we are actually asking God to bless our will, our agenda and the way we have decided to go.

James tells us that when we pray, we ask and do not receive because our asking is flawed by our self-willed agendas. To seek and know the will of God we must be completely open to whatever the will of God may be. Our prayer and commitment must be in the spirit of the familiar metaphor, “You are the Sculptor, I am the clay. Mold me and make me according to Your will.  I am ready to accept Your will as passively as clay in the hands of a Sculptor.”

There are two reasons to be open and unbiased as you seek to know God’s will. The first we learn from Isaiah 55: the ways and thoughts of God are as different from our ways and thoughts as the heavens are high above the earth. Another is that we become a totally new creation when we are born again.

It is tragically possible to miss the will of God for your life because you do not have the faith to believe that God can make you a new creation in Christ: a new creation with extraordinary potential.

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Guidance


Seeking GOD’S Will (vs. our own!)

September 30, 2014

“…You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly…”  (James 4:3)

A consultant told me that much of the time, even though he is paid large fees, his clients do not want his consultation. They simply want him to affirm what they have already decided to do. At the heart of counseling session, a woman once said, “Don’t confuse me with Scriptures, Pastor.  My mind is made up!”  Knowing the will of God is often made difficult by our own wills.  It’s out of reach because we have our agendas in place when we come to God seeking His will.  If our minds are set like concrete before we converse with God regarding His will for our lives, we are not really seeking His will when we pray and open His Word. We are actually asking God to bless our will, our agenda and the way we have decided to go.

James tells us that when we pray, we ask and do not receive because our asking is flawed by our self-willed agendas.  To seek and know the will of God we must be completely open to whatever the will of God may be.  Our prayer and commitment must be in the spirit of the familiar metaphor, “You are the Sculptor, I am the clay. Mold me and make me according to Your will.  I am ready to accept Your will as passively as clay in the hands of a Sculptor.”

There are at least two reasons why you must be open and unbiased as you seek to know God’s will.  One reason we learn from Isaiah: the ways and thoughts of God are as different from our ways and thoughts as the heavens are high above the earth.  Another is that we become a totally new creation when we are born again.

It is tragically possible for you to miss the will of God for your life because you do not have the faith to believe that God can make you a new creation in Christ.  Your extraordinary potential as a new creation is one reason why you must be completely open and unbiased.  Seeking the will of God with your mind already made up could rob you of the will of God for your life… God loves you too much to let you live a life that is only a fragment of the life He has planned for you.”

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Guidance


Patterns of Providence

June 6, 2013

“I see very clearly clearly that God doesn’t show partiality.  In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts 10: 34-35 NLT)

THE EIGHTH STEP: Look for a pattern in the way God reveals His will.

In chapter 10 of Acts we read that the Apostle Peter had a vision of a sheet with animals on it, animals which the Law of Moses would not permit a devout Jew to eat.  Peter was told three times to kill and eat those animals.   He refused each time.  Then, he heard knocking on the door.  The Spirit told him to go with the men who were knocking, asking no questions about why they came looking for him.  Peter soon learned they were not only Gentiles, but the servants of his enemy, a Roman Centurion.  When he arrived at the home of this Roman army officer, he was asked to speak to the Centurion’s entire household.  The first thing Peter told them was that God had shown him not to call any man common or unclean.

Peter did not think this series of events was a coincidence, but saw these happenings as a pattern of divine guidance.  These events depict the way the Great Commission of Jesus, to preach the Gospel, crossed over a tremendous barrier of prejudice.  Peter’s experience ultimately revealed the glorious reality that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not for the Jew only, but for every person in every nation on earth.

Since our God is a God of order and the “thumbprint” of God can be seen in the extraordinary design of His creation, we should expect to see order and design in the way God reveals His will for our lives.


Motive Judgment

May 31, 2013

“When the Lord comes, He will bring our deepest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. And then God will give to everyone whatever praise is due.” (1 Corinthians 4:5 NLT)

According to the Apostle Paul, before all our works are evaluated God is going to reveal the private and secret motives of our heart.  Since that is an ultimate and certain reality it would be the better part of wisdom for us to pray about the motives of our heart on a regular basis.  We should also touch this issue of motives as we consider the will of God for our life.

THE SIXTH STEP:  Examine the motives of your heart as you seek to know the will of God.

Why do you want to know the will of God for your life?  That is an important question.  We are incredibly egocentric and self-centered creatures.  We naturally come to every situation with the inherent question in our hearts, what is in this for me?

The Word of God associates our motives with our hearts and the Bible tells us that above all things our hearts are deceitful.  Jeremiah tells us our hearts are so deceitful only God can know them (Jeremiah 17:9-10).  Do you want to know the will of God for the glory of God, or for your own glory and personal gain?  Your answer to that question will be very important to God and to you when your works are evaluated at the judgment seat of Christ.  The motives of your heart should therefore be very important to you today and every day that you live.

We should all pray with David:  “Search me, oh God, and know my heart… and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)