February 10, 2017
“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5-6)
The ancient inspired hymn writer is describing a father who is sowing seeds his family desperately needs because they are hungry. As a provider he knows that if he does not plant these seeds, there will be no food for them and they will starve to death. He therefore sows these precious seeds with tears streaming down his face.
The Holy Spirit leads the author to a beautiful application after he paints this solemn picture for us: sometimes when we are suffering to the point of tears, those tears are precious seeds our heavenly Father is sowing in the soil of our suffering. When that is the case, we will doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing the fruitful results of our suffering with us.
This is a truth that is often shared in the Bible. Sometimes suffering is not the setback it appears to be. It is rather the cutback of our Heavenly Father who is like a divine vineyard keeper. He cuts us back to increase the quality and the quantity of the fruit our life is yielding for Him.
I sometimes think God is more real and works more effectively in the lives of people in waiting rooms outside the operating theaters of our hospitals than He does in the sanctuaries of our churches. God does not waste our sorrows and we should not waste them either.
Listen to the wisdom of the hymn writer when he tells us our tears are precious seeds that will ultimately rejoice our hearts.
Dick Woodward, 15 February 2013
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Posted by Dick Woodward
October 18, 2016
“…for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
In this epistle of joy, the epistle to the Philippians, Paul exhorts us, “Delight in Jesus. Learn to derive your joy from knowing Him.” He uses the word ‘joy’ again and again and again. And what he’s really saying to us when he uses the word joy in the conditions in which he’s living is simply this, “Learn to derive your joy from your relationship to Jesus Christ. Learn to delight in Him.”
What is the source of your happiness? In what do you delight? Now again, if you delight in your health, well, you’re on thin ice. What would you do if you lost your health? If you delight in money, what would you do if you had a big crash and you lost everything? If you delight in your loved ones, and many, many people do, what are you going to do when you lose them?
It’s because God loves us that God tells us things like this, “Delight in Me. Learn to derive your joy from knowing Me.” That’s the source of joy. And so that should be our delight. That’s the reason Paul could have peace, even in the dungeon, even when he was in prison, no matter what the circumstances were, the reason he could say, “I’m ready for anything. I have learned how to live when everything’s good, I have learned how to live when everything’s bad.” Here is one of the big keys: Paul’s delight was the Lord, and the Lord was the Source of his happiness.
Not what he had or didn’t have.
Dick Woodward, (Ben Lippen Retreat, 1979)
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Posted by Dick Woodward
March 8, 2016
Since today marks the two year anniversary of Dick Woodward’s passing, the Editor would like to share something a little different 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 Rev 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 with Jesus in the Presence of Everlasting Love…
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Posted by Dick Woodward
December 20, 2013
“I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people!” (Luke 2:10)
A great man named Tim Hansel lived every day with excruciating pain. He wrote in his book, You Gotta Keep Dancing, that pain and suffering are inevitable but misery is optional. That is true for a Spirit controlled disciple of Jesus. Tim also wrote “I can choose to be joyful.”
Joy is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit the Apostle Paul wrote about in his letter to the Galatians (5: 22, 23). As evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives joy could be paraphrased “happiness that does not make good sense.” The derivation of the word “happiness” has to do with what happens to us. But this joy, which is the fruit of the Spirit living in us, is not controlled by what happens to us. That is why we say it does not make good sense, especially to secular non-spiritual people. In the very short letter the Apostle Paul wrote from prison to his favorite church, the Philippians, he used the word joy 17 times!
While appearing to the shepherds the angels explained why their declaration would bring great joy to all people: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
Great joy came because the One born is the Savior. He is the Christ, which is the Greek way of saying the Messiah. And He is to be our Lord. Joy came because He gives the Holy Spirit to those who follow Him. This joy is intended for all people, including you.
Are you choosing to be joyful, anyway?
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Posted by Dick Woodward