Temporal vs. Eternal Values

July 17, 2018

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”  (John 17:3)

To appreciate eternal values we must define these two words: eternal and temporal.  Eternal literally means “that which was, that which is, and that which always shall be.” Temporal relates to “that which is temporary.”

Jesus made it clear that we have eternal life because we are related to the true God and believe in the One Whom God sent. Jesus and God are eternal and we have eternal life because we believe and are related to them. We must also make the observation that eternal life is referring to a quality of life as well as a quantity of life.

The word value also needs to be defined. The dictionary tells us “a value is that quality of any certain thing by which it is determined by us to be more or less important, useful, profitable and therefore desirable.”

When we bring these concepts together (eternal, temporal and value) we should realize we are discussing what is more and less important, useful, profitable and therefore desirable in this life and in the life to come.

An eternal value is that the eternal is a greater value than the temporal.

The Apostle Paul wrote: “Truly, if our hope in Christ were limited to this life only we should, of all mankind be the most to be pitied!” (1Corinthians 15:19 J.B.Phillips)

Paul so highly valued the eternal he sacrificed his life here for what he was sure awaited him in eternity.

Do you value the eternal more than the temporal?

Dick Woodward, 16 July 2013


Prejudice vs. Faithfulness & Love

July 13, 2018

“…The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”  (Jonah 3:1)

In the story Jonah tells us, he is not the hero. God is. What does the fact that Jonah wrote this story, which makes him look foolish, tell us about his values and motivations? A paraphrased summary of Jonah’s truth might look something like this:

When I went Nineveh, I was not agape love, but God was. I told the Lord, “I can’t love Ninevites, Lord!” But God said to me, “I can, Jonah, so let’s go to Nineveh!”  I told the Lord, “I don’t want to go and I don’t want to love Ninevites, Lord!”  The Lord said to me, “I know that, Jonah. But, you see, I want to love Ninevites, so let’s go to Nineveh!” When I went to Nineveh, I did not love Ninevites. When I was in the city of Nineveh, however, God loved the entire population of Nineveh through me. Miracle of miracles, God saved the entire population of Nineveh through the preaching of this prophet who hated the people God wanted to save.

To be prejudiced means to “pre-judge.”  Prejudice comes in many shapes and forms. Is the work of God through you being blocked because of your prejudice? Are there people with whom you do not share the Gospel because you have animosity toward them? Or because they are above or below your level of education, wealth or social status?

Do you fear apathy, ridicule, hostility or embarrassment? Experiencing God’s call are you joining Jonah by saying, “I will not?”  When are you going to let the love and power of the Spirit of Christ cut through all your conscious and unconscious prejudice and say to God, “I will?” Remember, it’s not a matter of what you can do, but of what God can do.

Faithfulness is your responsibility; fruitfulness is God’s responsibility.

Dick Woodward,

Jonah Coming & Going: True Confessions of a Prophet


Fellowship of the Fig Tree

July 6, 2018

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

As Jesus recruited 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 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 a challenge in this exchange between Jesus and this apostle. The challenge is simply this: do we have a fig tree place and time 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 at a businessmen’s breakfast on this concept. One of the attendees 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 place where you meet with God every day?

Dick Woodward, 07 July 2009


Knocked Down – But Never Out!

July 3, 2018

…This priceless treasure we hold, so to speak, in common earthenware – to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us.”  2 Corinthians 4:7 (J.B. Phillips)

Many years ago our famous American statesman, John Quincy Adams, was crossing a street.  Due to poor health it took him five minutes to reach the other side. A friend passing by asked, “How is John Quincy Adams this morning?”  He replied, “John Quincy Adams is doing just fine. The house he lives in is in sad disrepair. In fact, it is so dilapidated, John Quincy Adams may have to move soon, but John Quincy Adams is doing just fine, thank you!”

John Quincy Adams had good theology. To make a clear distinction between his inward man (the spiritual man who is eternal), and his outward man (the body which is temporal), and clearly value the inward man above the outward man is a vital dimension the Apostle Paul shares with us in II Corinthians chapters 4 and 5.

According to Paul, outwardly we do not always know why things happen the way they do. Therefore, our outward persona is often perplexed. Paul tells us, however, that inside there is a continuous persuasion because Christ lives in us.

Paul writes that outwardly we may be persecuted and suffer, but inside Jesus is continuously assuring us, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Speaking from his own experiences of suffering, illness and persecution, Paul acknowledges that sometimes our little clay pot gets knocked down, but never knocked out.

Because there is a Great Treasure living in our clay plot, we always get up and keep going.

Dick Woodward, In Step with Eternal Values


Relational Two-Way Streets

June 29, 2018

“For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?” (2 Corinthians 2:2)

You can’t control the weather and rainy days but you can control the emotional climate that surrounds you. There is a relationship principle that tells us communication is a two-way street: whatever you send down that street comes back up that street in your relationship with another person.

That is what the Apostle Paul is essentially teaching: If I say things that get you down who is going to build me up or pull me up? The reality is that you are probably going to pull me down because misery loves company. This is a negative way of stating a positive truth. That truth is if I say things that build you up, I have equipped you to build me up.

In another place Paul wrote:Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)

In every relationship we have, with our spouses, children, parents, those we work with, those we work for, and those who work for us – make the commitment to say and do things that build them up and minister the grace of God to them.

You will be surprised by joy to discover that what you send down a relational street will come back up that street in your relationship with that person.

Jesus gave an unstable man named Simon the nickname Peter, which means stable like a rock. After calling Peter a rock for three years Peter was stable like a rock.

Dick Woodward, 29 June 2010


Experiencing Unity & Celebrating Diversity

June 26, 2018

“For in fact the body is not one member but many.”   (1Corinthians 12:14)

A great Scripture in the New Testament about the way a church is to function is chapter 12 of First Corinthians. After the Apostle Paul uses the words diversity and oneness several times, he brings these two opposite concepts together in his inspired metaphor that the Church is to function as a body.

He writes that it is not either/or but both/and; that diversity should be celebrated rather than resolved. As diverse members of the body of Christ come together in ministry there are let it happen people, make it happen people, don’t know what’s happening people, and don’t know anything is supposed to be happening people.

Let it happen people desperately need make it happen people. And the other two kinds of people obviously need the first two kinds of people. The truth is we all need each other to function as a team, a body, and a Church.

There are Mary and Martha people and they both need each other. Marthas often do not appreciate Marys because they think they are unorganized. But Marys need Marthas and Marthas need to realize that if it were not for Marys there would not be anything to organize.

Are you fitting in with people who have what you do not have, and sharing with them what you have that they do not have?

When we experience unity while celebrating diversity we do not have uniformity but a supernatural community that is in reality the body of our risen and living Lord Jesus Christ.

Dick Woodward, 25 June 2013


Wrapped in Bundles of Life with God

June 22, 2018

“Wrapped in a bundle of life with God…” (I Samuel 25:29)

“These words of Scripture are often found inscribed on gravestones of children who died at a very early age, especially in Jewish cemeteries where Jewish mothers expressed the almost inexpressible feelings of their hearts as they laid their children to rest. As Christians we could also inscribe these words on the gravestones of our children and loved ones because they bring great comfort and consolation as we think of those we have lost through sickness and death.” (Dick Woodward)

On Monday morning, 22 June 2015, Dick Woodward’s precious wife, Ginny, went to rest in the Everlasting Arms of God with all five of her children gathered around her bedside singing “Amazing Grace.” We are grateful to God for the gift of her life and the amazing grace of Jesus that fills the legacy of love and faith she leaves behind.

Partnering with Papa in ministry and life during their 58-year marriage, in the last 25 years when he said “we” would do something, he truly meant it. As he became a wheel-chair bound quadriplegic and subsequently a bedfast quadriplegic, Mama literally served as his hands and feet (and much more besides.)

Steadfast faithfulness describes our precious Mama. We thank God our Heavenly Father for His faithfulness to her, her faithfulness to God, to us, and to our Papa – a witness not only to our family and the Tidewater/ Williamsburg community, but around the world where the Mini-Bible College continues to yield Kingdom fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We pray that the seeds of faith and love she planted, watered with her deep, deep love of Jesus, will continue to bloom and grow for many years to come.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end…”

The Blog Posting Elf, (24 June 2015)

Dick & Ginny Woodward, “wrapped in bundles of life with God.”