A Prescription for a Panic Attack

March 16, 2018

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’”  (Psalm 3:1-2)

As David writes this third Psalm he is facing the greatest crisis of his life. His son, Absalom, has turned the entire nation against him and has driven him out of Jerusalem into the wilderness where David hid from King Saul when he was a young fugitive. His situation is so desperate many people said even God can not help him. But in this psalm David explains how he knows God is there for him; he is not having a panic attack, so he gives us this prescription to prevent us from having one.

Observe the way David uses three tenses as he lays out his prescription that kept him from panicking. He recalls that in the past there were many times when he cried out to God and the Lord heard him. When he lay down to sleep not knowing if the enemy would slit his throat while he slept, he awoke alive because the Lord sustained him. He then declared in the future tense that he will not be afraid of the thousands of people who want to see him dead. He then declares in the present tense that God is with him and His present blessing is upon him.

When you are in a crisis think back to times in the past when God met you and brought you through a crisis. Then let those past answered prayers inspire you to trust God for the present and the future crises in your life.

Look back. With faith, look forward. Then look around at your present circumstances, not with panic but with faith and peace.

Dick Woodward, 18 March 2012

Dick Woodward (25 October 1930 – 08 March 2014)

March 9, 2018

Yesterday marked the 4 year memorial of Dick Woodward’s passing. Today the Editor (a.k.a. the Blog Posting Elf) would like to again share a previous post of a letter from ICM’s website.  Instead of words from Dick Woodward, here are words about Dick Woodward from one of ICM’s African ministry partners.

17 March 2014

We have just learnt about the departure of our Leader, Teacher and trainer Reverend Dick Woodward, that we have come to know and love for some years now and whose teaching has been and still will be the foundation and the guidance to our churches, correcting our marriages shaping our doctrines and illuminating our understanding with the Mini Bible College, he is and will be always a blessing to our churches and pastors and mostly to myself and family.

What will be my excuse before God? What will be your excuse before God? If Woodward could do what he did in the ability of his God, what will be your excuse with the same God?

If Woodward could despise his pain and serve his God to the last day of his life and impact so many lives up to my little village – what will be my excuse?

Let us continue to perpetuate the purposes he lived for.

Our Pastor is not gone he is still with us through his work although he sleeps in death.

Amen – (from the Editor!)

Dick & Ginny Woodward in their “African Outfits” the Editor had made for them in Tanzania (worn on Sundays to dress up!) Now they’re worshiping together forever with Jesus in the Presence of Everlasting Love.

When We Fail

March 6, 2018

“He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness…”  (Psalm 23:3)

Failure is one of the most feared and dreaded experiences in life. The fear of failure drives millions of people every day, all day long. There are many ways to fail. We can fail in our work, in our marriage, and as parents. We can fail personally by feeling we’re not living up to our expectations and our potential. We can fail morally.

When we fail what do we do about it?

The third verse of Psalm 23 gives us a prescription for failure. David knew what it was to fail. When he needed restoration he tells us how his Shepherd restored him when he wrote: “He leads me in the paths of righteousness.”  David had already written that his Shepherd leads him to still waters. The Hebrew word for ‘lead’ he uses the second time means his Shepherd ‘drives’ him into the paths of righteousness.

David is telling us here that when we need restoration we should not seek a cheap or easy one. Rehabilitation means “to invest again with dignity.” He was implying that his restoration was a matter of being driven into the paths of righteousness for some time – perhaps even for years. His Shepherd used those paths of righteousness to restore David’s soul and give him an opportunity to invest again with dignity.

By application, when you fail and need restoration don’t seek a cheap or an easy one. Let the great Shepherd lead you into the paths of righteousness that will truly restore your soul.

Dick Woodward, 28 March 2009

Poor in Spirit: I Can’t but Jesus Can

March 2, 2018

“Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who mourn…” (Matthew 5:3-4)

Jesus gave this teaching to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. They were with Him on the slopes around the Sea of Galilee while He was ministering to a vast multitude of people. Mark 3:13 & 14 tell us that by personal invitation Jesus invited these disciples to join Him at a higher level, so He might teach them how to be part of His solution and answer to the problems at the bottom of the mountain.

Jesus taught the disciples His first two attitudes: to be poor in spirit and to mourn. Poor in spirit means broken in spirit and mourning can be applied to what we experience while we are learning that we are poor in spirit. I paraphrase these first two attitudes with the words “I can’t but He can.” One of the best ways Jesus teaches us that we can’t is failure. We hate to fail. We loathe failure. We are driven in many ways by the fear of failure. That’s why mourning can be involved in learning these first two attitudes.

Another application could be that Jesus is teaching His disciples to look down the hill at the hurting multitude. He is asking, “What makes you think you can be an answer and solution of Mine to their problems if you never know what it is to mourn and experience a broken spirit that confesses “I can’t but He can?”

Have you learned this yet? Are you letting the experiences of your life be vehicles through which Jesus teaches you these first two blessed attitudes?

Dick Woodward, 23 March 2010

Appreciated By God

February 27, 2018

“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”  (Hebrews 6:10)

All of us have or will experience a time when we are not appreciated. It’s challenging to labor long and hard helping people without a word or gesture of appreciation. The author of Hebrews gives us a beautiful message for unappreciated servants of the Lord: we can know we are always appreciated by God.

Our Lord Jesus instructed us that we are to work our righteous acts in secret. We are to give in such a way that one hand does not know what the other hand is giving. We are to pray and fast in a private closet knowing that our Father in heaven sees and knows everything we pray and do. (Matthew 6)

In the same spirit God said through Moses, “Walk before Me!” (Genesis 17:1) In our daily walks, if we hold on to the perspective that everything we do is done before and as unto our God, Hebrews 6:10 reminds us that we are always appreciated when we look up and walk before God.

At the beginning of my ministry I met a lovely elderly couple who had served as missionaries for 48 years in China. Visiting them in charity housing, in so far as I could tell they had been shown no appreciation whatsoever for their hard work in China. When I asked them how they could bear that their answer was: “You have to know Who you’re doing it for.”

Walk before God as you do your work – and when you need appreciation.

Dick Woodward, 29 February 2012

A Message for Control Freaks (& all of us!)

February 20, 2018

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…” (Philippians 4:6)

Have you ever heard someone confess, “I’m a control freak?” My response to that confession is: “Welcome to the human family!” The truth is sometimes we’re all control freaks. Both Jesus and Paul taught that we should not be anxious. That means don’t worry. They both taught us not to worry about the things we cannot control – like the height of our body or the lives of other people.

Speaking as one control freak to another, the thing that really freaks us out is what we cannot control. In what Alcoholics Anonymous call the “Big Book,” there is an illustration with which all of us control freaks can resonate. We think that life is a stage on which we are directing a play. The people in our lives are characters in that play. As play director we give them their scripts and their cues, but when they don’t respond to our direction, our frustration drives us into a bottle or some other addiction.

When I was a college student I had a mentor who wrote a poem with these lines:

You can’t control the weather or rainy days, but you can control the emotional climate that surrounds you. You can’t control the height your head will be from the sidewalk, but you can control the height of the contents of your head.”

After quite a few of those lines his punch line was:

Why worry about the things you cannot control? Accept the responsibility for the things that depend on you.”

Follow the advice of Jesus and Paul and don’t worry about what you can’t control. “…but in everything by prayer and supplication…let your requests be made known to God…”

Dick Woodward, 20 February 2011

Why Hope?

February 16, 2018

“I would have despaired, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

The Apostle Paul concludes his great love chapter by profiling three eternal values: faith, hope and love. We know that love is an eternal value because God is loveWe can also understand why faith is one of the three eternal values because faith brings us to God. But why is hope one of the three great eternal values?

God plants hope, the conviction that something good exists in this world, in the heart of every human being. When you get into the lives of many people and understand their battles and challenges, you cannot help but wonder how they could believe there is something good in this life.

My college dormitory was located at the end of Hope Street adjacent to the Los Angeles Public Library. The same day I learned in a sociology course that more than 25,000 people committed suicide in 1952 because they lost hope, a man committed suicide by jumping from the top of my dormitory.

A newspaper reporter eloquently wrote: “An unidentified man jumped to his death today from a tall building at the end of Hope Street.”

David knew that he would despair if he ever lost the conviction God put in his heart the Bible labels hope. Hope is an eternal value because it is meant to lead us to faith, and faith leads us to God.

Let hope bring you to faith, and faith to God. And, remember that people around you are despairing for the hope that you have.

Dick Woodward, 24 March 2013