Sowing in Tears

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


God’s Amazing AMAZING Grace

February 7, 2017

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.  (Romans 5:1-5)

In Paul’s letter to Roman believers, he writes that God has given us access, by faith, to a quality of grace that makes it possible for us to stand for Jesus Christ in this world and live our lives to glorify Him. Paul writes that we should rejoice in our tribulation, because it is our suffering that forces us to access the grace God makes available to us.

In another verse about grace from the pen of Apostle Paul, we read: “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.” (2Corinthians 9:8) This is the most emphatic verse in the Bible about the grace God makes available to us.

According to Paul, God is able to make all grace (not just a little bit of grace), abound (not just trickle), toward you (not just Billy Graham, your pastor, missionaries, but toward you), that you (he repeats you for emphasis), always (not just sometimes), having all sufficiency (not just some sufficiency), in all things (not just some things), may abound (not just limp along), unto every good work (not just some good works).

All grace, abounding, always, all of you, I mean all of you, all sufficiency, all things, always abounding in all the good works God wants to do through you!

The New Testament church turned the world right side up because they believed and experienced the truth Paul was proclaiming in this extraordinary proclamation about God’s amazing grace.

Do you believe in the amazing grace of God?

Dick Woodward, 30 Biblical Reasons Why God’s People Suffer (p.21)


Joy, Joy, Joy !

December 13, 2016

“I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people!” (Luke 2:10)

Tim Hansel lived every day with debilitating, excruciating pain. Yet, in his book, You Gotta Keep Dancing, he wrote: “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 described in his letter to the Galatians. (Galatians 5: 22, 23)  As evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, joy can be paraphrased “happiness that does not make good sense.” The derivation of the word “happiness” pertains to 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 seventeen times!

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 Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to those who follow Him. This joy is intended for all people, including you and me.

Are you choosing to be joyful, anyway?

Dick Woodward, 20 December 2013


Therapy for Thanksliving

November 22, 2016

“In everything … with thanksgiving tell God every detail of your needs … And the peace of God which transcends human understanding will stand guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.”   (Philippians 4:6, 7)

As I have applied what Paul prescribes in these verses (in the NIV and J.B. Phillips), I have found this prescription for peace to be one of the most helpful spiritual disciplines. According to Paul, an attitude of gratitude leads to the therapy of thanksgiving as we give thanks in stressful circumstances.

Be sure to make the observation that Paul does not prescribe giving thanks for all things. He instructs us to give thanks in all things. When we do this it automatically moves our mindset from the negative to the positive. The apostle promises that the peace of God will protect and stand guard, (like the soldiers chained to Paul as he wrote these words), over our hearts and minds as they rest and trust in Christ Jesus.

Our circumstances are not always determined by God but may be caused by evil people who are persecuting us. We cannot always control our circumstances – but we can control the way we respond to them. Paul is telling us to respond with thanksgiving, because if we do, we will find this response to be God’s prescription that will bring peace that can contribute to our overcoming those circumstances.

When a pastor asked a church member how she was doing, she responded, “Pretty good pastor, under the circumstances.” The pastor responded, “Whatever are you doing under there?”

The therapy of thanksgiving can lead us out from under our circumstances and into the Presence and peace of God.

Dick Woodward, 02 September 2009

Editor’s Note: A blessed Thanksliving type of Thanksgiving to all!! : )


God’s Eighteen Wheelers

November 4, 2016

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”    (Matthew 6:13)

An attractive young lady was returning from a church meeting at a late hour. When she stopped at a traffic light, a large “eighteen-wheeler” truck was in the next lane. As the light changed and she pulled away, the large truck began tailgating her car while blinking its lights and blowing its loud air horn.

Frightened, she increased her speed as she drove out of the city limits toward the farmhouse where she lived with her parents. The huge truck followed her all the way, lights blinking and horn blowing.  She turned into the long dirt road that led to her home. The truck followed her as she drove right up to the porch of the house. When she frantically popped open her door to run for the house, the back door of her car suddenly opened and a man with a large knife bolted for the woods.

When she stopped for that traffic light, the truck driver saw the man crouched behind her front seat with a knife in his hand.  Realizing that she was going to be attacked as soon as she drove into the country, the truck driver wanted to save her from that tragedy.

Sometimes, our suffering and limitations seem like that eighteen-wheeler bearing down on us.  Actually, however, that suffering can be a vehicle of our loving God, purging out of our lives the evil one who is determined to ruin us. This is what our Lord was profiling when He instructed us in the disciple’s prayer to pray that we might be delivered from the evil one.

Can you meet yourself in this story?

Dick Woodward, 22 May 2012


Psalm 23: To it, or Through it?

November 1, 2016

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  (Psalm 23:4)

The great Shepherd psalm of David is the most familiar chapter in the Bible.  It is loved by Jews, Catholics and all shades and grades of Protestants.  Psalm 23 is the greatest description ever written of what the relationship between God and humankind can be.

After declaring that his God makes him lie down in green pastures and leads him beside still waters, David also declares there to be times when he finds himself in a valley that is so dark it is like the shadow of death.  However, he is comforted by the staff of his Shepherd.  He is referencing the confidence he has in the ability of his Shepherd to lead him through that valley, not just to that valley.

He is also comforted by the rod of his Shepherd.  A shepherd uses a rod as a defensive weapon to keep predators away from the sheep.  David is saying here that he has great confidence in the ability of his Shepherd to protect him from anything he might encounter in that valley.

The bottom line: David knows his Shepherd God can not only lead him to a valley, but through that valley.

Are you in a valley right now?  If you are, realize your Shepherd God wants to lead you through your valley.  Trust God’s perfect ability to lead and protect you all the way through your valley.

Faith nearly always involves choices.  The choice is yours. So, which is it going to be?

Is it going to be “To it, or through it?”

Dick Woodward, 16 March 2013


God’s Good

October 25, 2016

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

As I look back over my life since I was born in 1930, and born again in 1949, this verse sums up my entire walk of faith and ministry.  According to the J. B. Philips translation, God fits into a pattern for good everything that happens to those who love God and are called according to His plan.  I like this because by implication there may not be anything good about many of the things that happen to us.  But if we meet two prerequisites – if we love God, and are called according to His plan – our loving God will fit into a pattern for good all the events of our lives.

Before we personally apply the great promise of this verse we must meet these two prerequisites.  The first is that we love God.  It isn’t easy to love God.  The Apostle John asked us how we can love the God we cannot see (1 John 4).  We can’t hug a Spirit.  Jesus told us that if we love Him we must keep His commandments.  According to the writings of the Apostle Paul quoted above, we can show we love God by being called according to His plan.

We are so self-centered we are quick to assume that the good into which God fits all the events of our lives means our good.  However, when we understand what it means to love God the only good that will interest us will be God’s good.

Dick Woodward, 05 November 2010

Editor’s Note: Today, October 25th, is my father’s birthday. This year he would have turned 86. We are so grateful to God for the gift of his life and the way he pursued “God’s good” even when the circumstances of a debilitating disease pushed him into a wheelchair and eventually the confines of a hospital bed. The doctors were amazed when he made his 65th birthday as a quadriplegic. The fact that he was 83 when he died as a bedfast quadriplegic in 2014 is miraculous. But all who knew Dick Woodward can still hear his voice saying, “I can’t, but He can… I didn’t but He did.” (In other words, when Papa couldn’t do anything but nod his head, God did – the miraculous – in and through him.)  Last I heard, the MBC is now in something like 40 languages (!)