Pursuing Perfect Peace

May 18, 2018

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

The prophet Isaiah wrote of a state of perfect peace in which God can keep us, continuously. He also wrote that this state of perfect peace is based on two important conditions: we must keep our minds centered on God, and we must trust God. This peace is supernatural because it’s a peace we can have even when circumstances of our lives are chaotic.

Jesus promised that He gives His followers peace the world will never understand because it comes from Him and is ours even in the middle of the storms of life. The early followers of Jesus Christ were persecuted (as many continue to be today.) While suffering unimaginable cruelty at the hands of their persecutors many died peacefully because they had this peace of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul believed in this peace. In one chapter of one of his letters (Philippians 4) he listed twelve conditions on which this peace is based. In another letter Paul described this peace as the fruit of the reality that the Holy Spirit lives in authentic disciples of Jesus. (Galatians 5:22-23)

“Christ in you” is the foundation on which all conditions of this peace are built. (Colossians 1:27)  Looking at Paul’s twelve conditions for the peace of Christ, there is obviously something to believe and Someone to receive when you become a follower of Jesus Christ.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

Dick Woodward, (15 May 2009)


Can You Pray with Me?

May 15, 2018

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone…”  (1 Timothy 2:1)

In the second chapter of Paul’s first pastoral letter to Timothy when he sorts out priorities of the many activities of the church, the Apostle Paul declares prayer to be an absolute, number-one priority.

Paul’s rationale for making prayer the first priority of the church is that prayers should be made for everyone because God wants everyone to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  I find this to be a challenge. In many years as a pastor, I found it all but impossible to get people to come and pray with me for an hour. As I pleaded with parishioners to attend prayer meetings, I often quoted the question of our Lord Jesus, “Can you not keep watch (& pray) with Me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)

Over many years I have concluded that God’s people do not pray because the evil one does not want them to pray.

“When it’s hardest to pray, always pray the hardest!”

An old soul shared that prayer insight with my wife and she shared it with me.  We should apply that insight by praying the hardest when we do not feel like praying. We should pray the hardest when we are facing challenges that are not just hard, but impossible apart from God. We should certainly apply that insight when personal problems and disappointments weigh us down with sorrow.

If we pray when it’s hardest, we will discover that prayer can turn a great storm into a great calm.

Can you keep watch and pray with Jesus?

Dick Woodward  (April, 2000 Prayer Letter)


Mothering: A Noble Calling

May 11, 2018

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.” (Psalm 128:1-3)

When you meditate on this Scripture that describes the role and function of a wife and mother, you can paraphrase observations this way: a mother is a man-maker. She is like a fruitful vine in the heart of her husband’s home. To borrow a metaphor from the beginning of the Bible, she is a completer whose passion is to see that her husband becomes all our Creator designed him to be (just as her husband is a completer to ensure she is all our Creator designed her to be.)

She is a people-maker because she gives him children who are like fruitful plants around his table.  Many people would like to put a period after the fourth word of this psalm and say that everyone is blessed or happy, but that is not the way the psalm reads. The blessing on this man is because he meets certain conditions: he walks in the ways of God.

The other verses of the psalm tell us this is how God blesses and impacts the world. God finds a blessed man, joins him to a blessed woman and gives them blessed children. They impact Zion – the spiritual community – and this family unit fruitfully impacts the city and the country.

A mother is at the heart of this great strategy of God. What a great and noble calling!

Rise up and call your mother blessed this Sunday!

Dick Woodward, 07 May 2011


Miracles & Mission Impossible(s)

May 8, 2018

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.”  (Matthew 14:19)

Just before our Lord fed five thousand hungry families, He challenged the apostles with an impossible mission. When the apostles urged the Lord to send that hungry multitude away, Jesus said to the apostles, “You feed them!  How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”

The apostles must have been overwhelmed by that challenge. How were they going to find enough food in that deserted place to feed that big crowd of people?

The only food the apostles could find was a basket of five biscuits and two little sardines.  They placed that food in the hands of the Lord saying, “All we have is this food a small boy brought with him, but what is this among so many hungry people?”  The Lord blessed what the apostles gave Him and then passed that little boy’s lunch through the hands of the apostles to the mouths of more than five thousand people.

That day the apostles learned that whatever we have is adequate when we place our inadequacy in the Lord’s hands.

Through the miracles we are experiencing in ministry, we are learning that our Lord likes to assign us a mission impossible. Then, when the impossibility of our mission makes us turn to Him and say, “This is all we have,” He takes it in His hands, blesses it, and then feeds millions with the Living Bread from heaven.

Dick Woodward (ICM Networking, Fall 2000)


Accepting Afflictions

May 4, 2018

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word…  It is good for me that I have been afflicted… I know, O Lord, that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” (Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75)

Many believers like me resonate with these words from Psalm 119. Although this is not always the explanation when God’s people are afflicted, it often is. I have lived with a chronic illness since 1978 and have been paralyzed since 1984. Although I began ministry as a pastor in 1955, my afflictions moved me to do the life’s work God called me to do.

God tells us that He chastens those He loves. (Revelation 3:19)  Although the goodness of God can lead to repentance, for most of us it is the chastening of our Lord knocking on the doors of our lives that moves us to open up and invite Him in. Like Jonah, sometimes it’s only through divine intervention that “I will not” is converted to “I will.”

As a “Type A” workaholic pastor I left before I got there and people could not keep up with my fast walk. For someone like me to be slammed down in one place, unable to move anything from the neck down, it was an overwhelming intervention.

It took two years to even begin moving toward accepting my limits. When the acceptance came it was a supernatural miracle of inner healing. After twenty years I eventually reached the point where I could tell the Lord I loved Him for cutting me back and improving the quality and quantity of what He wanted me to do for Him.

Can you resonate with the perspective of this ancient hymn writer?

Dick Woodward, 04 May 2013

Editor’s Note: After physical limitations slowed my father down, he compiled the Mini Bible College, a topical study of the Old and New Testaments that has been translated in over 41 languages (& counting!)


Still Waters: God at Work

April 20, 2018

“He leads me beside the still waters.”  (Psalm 23:2)

Most people associate the still waters of David’s Shepherd Psalm with peace. However, if you research sheep you will find when they drink from a stream of water that stream must be as still as a mirror or the water will go up their snouts. An authentic application of this still water metaphor means our great Shepherd leads us to places just suited for us.

In 1979 I resigned as pastor of a large church in a big city and accepted a call to a small church that had just begun in a small town. After being in the small church for a year I went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota due to the onset of debilitating symptoms. After nearly a month of studies, the doctor who directed my program misread my file. Thinking I was still in the large church, when he gave the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis he told me I needed to go to a small church in a small town. I told him that for a year I had already been in a small church in a small town.

I was to learn to be fulfilled with doing less and doing it better.

As my symptoms persisted and confined me to a wheelchair, a group of friends helped build a house that accommodated my physical challenges. One made a beautiful stained glass window by the entrance with these two words: “Still Waters.” These words have not just been a label for my home the past 26 years but also my ministry – in this location by God’s grace I have accomplished my most fruitful work for the Kingdom, most as a bedfast quadriplegic.

“Still Waters” – can you write these two words across what God is doing in your life right now?

Dick Woodward, 20 April 2012


Eagle Disciples: Looking Into the Son

April 17, 2018

…they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:31)

The exceptional longevity of an eagle means it is seldom ill. When it does get sick, however, it goes to the highest elevation it can find, lies on its back, and looks directly into the sun. This sun treatment proves to be therapeutic and often restores the health of the eagle. When the ultimate illness comes to an eagle, it climbs to the highest possible elevation and looks into the sun for an entire day. When the sun goes down that evening, the eagle dies.

Have you ever seen an eagle disciple of Jesus Christ die? The first time I intellectually believed the Gospel was when I watched my mother die. She died as an eagle follower of Jesus, looking right into the Son. The godly pastor with us had seen scores of saints go home, but said he had never seen anything like what he saw that night.

At the age of 49, she left behind six daughters, five sons and a husband. She spent the last two hours of her life with her family, but she was already in Heaven, talking to Jesus. She often said she never had any peace. We had a little house of about 1,300 square feet with 13 people living in it, so you can understand why she had precious little peace or quiet. In those last hours she kept saying, “Oh, this peace, this peace!”

I believed intellectually at her death, but I did not become a disciple of Jesus Christ for several years because I knew believing involved a commitment.

My mother had always challenged me, “If Jesus Christ is anything to you, Dick, He is everything to you; because, until Jesus Christ is everything to you, He isn’t really anything to you.”

My life was changed forever because she lived and died as an eagle disciple of Jesus Christ.

Dick Woodward, As Eagles: How to Be an Eagle Disciple