Patterns for Good: God’s Good!!

September 12, 2017

“Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to His plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.” (Romans 8:28, JB Phillips)

This is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied verses in the Bible. Paul is not teaching that all the events of our lives are good. He is teaching that if we meet two prerequisites, God will fit into a pattern for good everything that happens to us – the good and bad.

The first prerequisite is that we love God. The Apostle John asked the question, “If a man does not love his brother whom he can see, how can he love God Whom he cannot see?” (I John 4:20) John is teaching that it’s not easy to love God because it’s not easy to love what we cannot see. How then do we love God? Jesus answered that question when He taught the apostles: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)

The second prerequisite: if we show our love by being passionately called according to God’s plan, God will fit all the events of our lives into a pattern for good – God’s good, which will be the only good that interests us if we truly love God.

There is nothing good about being a bedfast quadriplegic. But as I look back from the finish line over the events of my life, I realize I never would have done my most fruitful work for God as an able-bodied human being with strength of my own.

When the foundations of your life are breaking up, don’t let those events drive you inward into a pity party. Look up and ask God to fit everything into a pattern for God’s good, God’s plan and God’s Glory.

Dick Woodward, from Happiness That Doesn’t Make Good Sense


When Are You Going To Get Some Faith?

August 29, 2017

When evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” … And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:35-40)

I have not posted a blog for quite some time because I had a medical crisis that put me in the hospital, followed by a limited ability to work on my computer for eight weeks. This experience has reminded me of this Gospel account of a fierce storm that was turned into a great calm by a profound question asked by Jesus.

The disciples clearly believed they were all going to drown, including Jesus. The question Jesus asked was essentially: “When are you going to get some faith?” In other words, “Do you think that all I have told you about My kingdom and your part in it is going to drown at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee?”

Jesus promises to take us to the other side. When fierce storms break into our lives they will not invalidate what Jesus is doing in and through us if we will let this profound question turn our storms into a great calm.

Dick Woodward, 07 June 2012

Editor’s Note: Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Texas, especially Houston, as horrendous flooding continues.

“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door. And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore. Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you, If Heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do…”  (Albert Edward Brumley)


The Lord is My Shepherd (But?)

August 1, 2017

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” (Psalm 23)

These are some of the most familiar words in the Bible beloved by devout people everywhere. According to this Shepherd Psalm of David, the key to the real blessings of this life and the next is a relationship with God. The green pastures, still waters, table of provision, God’s blessing of anointing oil and cup that runs over all the time are all conditioned on our relationship with God. That relationship is established in the second verse when David writes, “He makes me to lie down.”

However, the spirit in which we recall these words is often something like this: “The Lord is my Shepherd — but I have a health problem.” Or, “the Lord is my Shepherd — but I have marriage problems!” Or, “The Lord is my Shepherd — but I cannot control my children.”

When we say, “The Lord is my Shepherd — but” we are putting our “but” in the wrong place. We need to get our “but” in the right place and recall the precious promise of these words this way: “I have a health problem, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd! I have marriage problems, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd! I cannot control my children, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd!”

One way the Lord makes us lie down is to use health problems, marriage problems, problems with our children, finances, careers, and any other kind of problems we can imagine to teach us about the relationship with God which is key to all the blessings profiled in Psalm 23.

Will you let the Great Shepherd use whatever challenges you are facing to establish the deeper relationship with God David described so beautifully three thousand years ago?

Dick Woodward, 14 August 2008

Editor’s Note: This was Dick Woodward’s first blog back in August of 2008, which means this Four Spiritual Secrets blog has been sharing devotional truths in the blogosphere for 9 years. Although we miss him, the blog posting elf hopes (& prays) his words continue to yield Kingdom fruit – as long as we have our ‘buts’ in the right place!! 🙂


When are We Going to Get Some Faith?

July 28, 2017

“And a great windstorm arose…but He said to them, ‘How is it that you have no faith?’…and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4: 35-40)

If you read the story recorded in the fourth chapter of Mark you will see Jesus directing the disciples to get into their boat and cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. On this sea crossing a great storm fell upon them. They woke Jesus with the question, “Don’t you even care that we (including Him) are all going to drown?” After turning the great storm into a great calm, Jesus asked them the great question:

“How is it that you have no faith?”

Jesus had been teaching them that He was King of the Kingdom of God and they were subjects in that Kingdom. Did they really think all of this was going to come to an end at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee? One translation renders His great question: “Do you not even yet believe in me?” Another puts it: “When are you going to get some faith?”

Before we are too hard on the apostles, let’s apply the essential truth of this story personally. Jesus has promised us that He will take us from the other side of this life to the next dimension called Heaven. While we are on that journey, if a great storm falls upon us do we believe that storm declares all His promises to be null and void? Or do we have a quality of faith that can turn that great storm into a great calm?

Storms in our lives are a classroom in which God wants to strengthen, grow and authenticate our faith.

Dick Woodward, 20 August 2010


God’s Great Faithfulness & Love

July 26, 2017

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

After World War II, a devout woman named Corrie ten Boom told people all over the world how, in a Nazi concentration camp, God revealed this truth to her: “There is no pit so deep but what the love of God is deeper still.”

When the suffering of Job brought him to the bottom of a pit of despair, he received his great Messianic revelation: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:25-26)

In the third chapter of his Lamentations, Jeremiah received the same kind of revelation given Corrie ten Boom and Job. God made Jeremiah know this marvelous truth about the love of God when Jeremiah’s weeping bottomed out in his grotto: “I have never stopped loving the people of Judah!”

The unconditional love of God is taught from Genesis to Revelation. It is not won by a positive performance or lost by a negative performance. Meditating on God’s miraculous revelation to Jeremiah, I am deeply inspired that all the horror of the Babylonian conquest and captivity did not mean that God no longer loved the people of Judah.

Millions have affirmed this great truth singing the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” written by Thomas Obediah Chisholm.

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.”

Dick Woodward, Mini Bible College OT Handbook (p.501)


God’s Comfort in Our Suffering

July 14, 2017

“Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort.  For He gives us comfort in our trials…” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, J. B. Phillips)

Suffering can drive us to God in such a way that we make this discovery: God is there and God can comfort us.

There is a supernatural quality of comfort that can be found in knowing God. God does not want us to go through life and never discover that God is there for us and will comfort us. When you undergo a life-threatening surgery and you, completely alone, are being placed under the bright lights, remember that God is the ultimate source of the greatest comfort you can possibly experience in this life.

Many of us have known people we loved who are depressed and oppressed. They are nearly always alone and their pain is so intensely private they do not want any of the caring people in their lives to be with them.

Others believe their suffering is so personal they must place themselves in a self-imposed solitary confinement. If that happens to you, I challenge you to make this great discovery: God is there, and God can comfort you!

Father of all mercy and comfort, make me know personally that You are the source of all comfort.  Comfort me in my pain. When I feel alone and depressed, may I discover that You are there, You are real, and You can comfort me.  I pray in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Dick Woodward, from 30 Biblical Reasons Why God’s People Suffer


What is God Doing in Your Life?

July 5, 2017

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do£?” (Psalm 11:3)

Greek is a very precise language; Hebrew is not. That’s why we frequently find footnotes suggesting alternate readings in the margins of our Bibles when we read Old Testament Scripture passages. The NIV translation of Psalm 11:3 has such a footnote. The alternate reading suggested for this verse is: When the foundations of your life are breaking up, “What is the righteous One doing?”

Over the years I experienced several periods when it seemed that the foundations of my life were breaking up. I have found the alternate reading of this verse to be a reliable response that turned many of those crises into significant spiritual datelines in my journey of faith.

My faith walk began in 1949. Along the way I dropped two words out of my vocabulary: fortunately and coincidentally. Because I believe in Divine Providence, I no longer believe in luck. I fully agree with the spiritual heavyweight who stated, “when a devout believer thinks they have experienced a coincidence, that just means God prefers to remain anonymous.”

The Chinese characters for “crisis” are the characters for ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity.’  I believe we should factor into all our crises this knee jerk response: “What is the righteous One doing in my life now?” I find that God is always up to something and ultimately it is always something very good. It is not primarily for our good but it is what accomplishes God’s good for God’s glory.

Dick Woodward, 02 July 2010