Pushing & Prayer

March 27, 2015

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”  (I Corinthians 4:2)

Paul declared that one of the greatest virtues of a servant of the Lord is faithfulness.

There’s a story about a man told by God to push against a huge rock as the primary work for his lifetime.  For many years the man did that. Exhausted, burned out and discouraged he told the Lord that the rock had not moved a centimeter.  The Lord responded that He had not told the man to move the rock, but to push against it.  He made the observation that pushing against the rock had given him a strong healthy and muscular body. God knew all along that only He could move that rock.

This leads to an acrostic based on the word push:

P- Pray

U– Until

S– Something

H– Happens

I am now living in my 82nd year.  One of the observations I’ve made in my long life is that God is our Mentor.  He is always teaching us and is fiercely committed to the proposition that we are going to grow spiritually and in every other way.  He deliberately assigns us tasks that are not only difficult, but impossible, knowing that those tasks will grow and mature us into faithful servants He can use to do through us what only He can do in this world.

Another observation without which I could not function as a human being, especially as a pastor, is what I call Four Spiritual Secrets.  Concisely put: I’m not, I can’t, I don’t even want to — but He is, He can, He wants to, and He does.

Trusting God push and pray, so God can do His work in and through you.

Dick Woodward, 20 June 2012


Prescription for Looking Around

February 6, 2015

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

According to the Apostle Paul, if the Holy Spirit of God lives in us, when we look in we will find unique qualities of love, joy, and peace coming out of our life.  When we look up we will discover a faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that will equip us to walk with God as we should.  Then when we look around we will find unique qualities of patience, kindness and goodness equipping us to have the kind of relationships our God wants us to have with people.

In our relationship with God patience could be described as “faith waiting.” In our relationships with people – especially our children or spiritual children – patience could be described as “love waiting.” The patience that is the fruit and evidence God’s Spirit living in us is a supernatural quality and does not come from our genetic heritage.  We do not have this patience because we inherited a ‘laid back, easy does it’ disposition from one or both of our parents.  It must be emphasized that this patience is a supernatural expression of the Spirit of God living in us.

The same can be said for a quality of kindness and goodness we discover when we relate to people with whom we are in relationships.  Kindness means that we treat people with whom we interact as if they were our kin.  Goodness means that we do good things and react in good ways in our relationships.

If the Holy Spirit of God lives in you, are you willing to find in these three supernatural qualities of the Holy Spirit a prescription that will govern your life when you look around?

Dick Woodward, 23 November 2010


A Christmas Challenge (all year long!)

December 19, 2014

“So the Word became human and made his home among us…And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”  (John 1:14 NLT)

God became human and made His home among us so we could see and not just read what He wrote in the 39 books of the Old Testament.  We should find a Christmas challenge in the words of the Apostle Paul which tell us “… that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2Corinthians 4:11).

One of the reasons God did Christmas was because He felt that a written Word was not enough.  He wanted us to see as well as read His Word to us.  Everything Jesus was, said, and did was one great spoken Word from God to you and me (John 1: 1, 14, 18).

It is the plan of God that unbelievers in this world today should see as well as read His Word through your mortal flesh and mine.  That truth, which is clearly articulated by the Apostle Paul, moved me to make an important decision in my ministry as a Bible pastor/teacher.  In the early sixties I was praying about accepting an opportunity presented to me to be a radio Bible teacher.  Those words of Paul were used by God to direct me to be the pastor of a church where people could see as well as hear the Word of God in my mortal flesh.

“We’re writing a Gospel a chapter each day by things that we do and things that we say.  Men read what we write whether faithless or true.  Say, what is the Gospel according to you?”

That should be our Christmas challenge all year long.

Dick Woodward, 16 December 2011


Faithful Labors & Laborers

October 31, 2014

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10)

The devotional and practical application of this Scripture shows us that these thoughts are directed to people who have labored long and hard in the ministry without much visible affirmation, encouragement or reward.  These words are instructing them to think about the One for Whom they were doing this ministry to God’s people.

Abraham heard three words from God which are recorded in Genesis 17:1.  “Walk before Me.”  These three words remind us that we need to know Who we’re doing it for and we need to know how He feels about everything we do in the way of ministry to His people.  When there is not much fruit and very few encouraging accolades, it can be a great consolation for faithful servants of the Lord to be reminded of the glorious reality that God has seen and He will never forget our faithful labors.

The story is told of two elderly missionaries who returned to New York after nearly half a century serving in Africa.  They had lost their wives in Africa and were very, very lonely in that large city.   Sharing their discouragement when they met at the YMCA where they were staying, one of them said to the other, “We are not home yet, George.”

Sometimes the recognition and the reward for faithful service may only come when these words are heard: “Well done good and faithful servant.”

If you are a faithful servant without much affirmation or encouragement let these words console you today.

Dick Woodward, 04 June 2010


100% Total Commitment

October 10, 2014

“And every man stood in his place all around the camp (of the Midianites); and the whole army (of Midian) ran and cried out and fled.” (Judges 7:21)

One of the greatest victories described in the Old Testament is the victory of Gideon over the army of the Midianites.  There were several hundred thousand Midianites and Gideon only had 300 soldiers.  In the middle of the night, in pitch darkness, Gideon placed his 300 committed warriors in three strategic locations around the sleeping enemy army.

On signal from Gideon each group of 100 soldiers exposed 100 torches, blew 100 bugles, and then 100 men shouted: “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” This gave their enemy the impression they were surrounded by a powerful army.  The Midianites completely panicked.  In the darkness they began fighting each other and were soon conquered.

Although this was a great miracle it was a miracle that required a total commitment on the part of Gideon’s 300.  That’s why he reduced his army down to less than one percent of what he started with.  He had to know that his men were a one hundred percent committed minority rather than an apathetic majority.

This victory also teaches the critically important concept of teamwork.  The work of God is a team sport and requires a team effort.  The verse quoted above summarizes the key to this great victory.  We read that every man of the 300 ‘stood in his place.’  If even a few had been too frightened to execute this plan the event would have been a disaster.

Are you willing to find and stand in your place that together we might defeat all the powers of hell?

Dick Woodward,  12 December 2012


Prejudice vs. faithfulness

June 24, 2014

“…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 for telling it on himself? A paraphrased summary of Jonah’s truth looks 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 and while I was in the city of 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 sizes, shapes and forms. Is the work of God in this world 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?

When you experience God’s call are you joining Jonah and 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?” …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

 


A Formula for Faithfulness

June 20, 2012

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”  (1 Corinthians 4:2)

Paul declared that the greatest virtue of a servant of the Lord is faithfulness.

The story is told of a man who was told by God to push against a huge rock as his primary work for a lifetime.  The man did that and exhausted, burned out and discouraged told the Lord that rock had not moved a centimeter.  The Lord responded that He had not told the man to move the rock, but to push against it.  He made the observation that pushing against the rock had given him a strong healthy and muscular body.  God knew all along that only He could move that rock.

This leads to an acrostic based on the word push.  It goes like this:

P- Pray

U– Until

S– Something

H– Happens

I am now living in by 82nd year of life.  One of the observations I have made in my long life is that God is our Mentor.  He is always teaching us and He is fiercely committed to the proposition that we are going to grow spiritually and in every other way.  He deliberately assigns us tasks that are not only difficult but impossible knowing that those tasks will grow and mature us into a faithful servant He can use to do through us what only He can do in this world.

Another observation without which I could not function as a human being or especially as a pastor is what I call four spiritual secrets.  They are that I’m not, I can’t, I don’t even want to but He is He can He wants to and He does.

So push and pray until He does work through you.