The Peace of God: A Prescription for Peace

May 5, 2017

“Don’t worry over anything whatever…” (Philippians 4:6)

In the fourth chapter of his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul prescribed twelve conditions for what the Bible calls “the peace of God.” Those who have the Holy Spirit living in them must meet these twelve conditions if they want to live in this continuous state of peace. If you profess to be a follower of Christ and you don’t have this peace, maybe you didn’t know it’s based on these conditions?

The first of these conditions is: don’t worry. Paul doesn’t begin his conditions for peace this way because there is nothing to worry about. He prescribes this because worry is not productive. In fact, worry is counterproductive. Worry saps from us the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical strength we need to cope with our problems. If you examine Paul’s peace prescription carefully, you will discover that he tells us to replace our worry with something that is productive: prayer.

I once saw a sign that asked: “Why Pray When You Can Worry?” I had hitch-hiked from the East Coast to the West Coast of America to transfer to a Bible college in California and I only had $23.00 in my pocket. The godly old man who showed me the sign ran the employment office for the college and I desperately needed a job. He saw the worry in my face, pointed to the sign and asked, “Which one is it going to be, son?”

The bottom line: being anxious doesn’t solve our problems.

Dick Woodward, 19 May 2009

Editor’s Note: Facing challenges, however big or small, can cause worry to throttle our peace. Dick Woodward (my Papa) ascertained that the peace of God (which is a gift of the Holy Spirit) can be learned in his booklet “A Prescription for Peace.” When a disease of the spinal chord confined him to a wheelchair, then to a hospital bed, he memorized Philippians 4 and learned how to access the peace of Christ even when he was in pain 24/7. In the next few weeks, the blog-posting elf will share 12 conditions of peace from his booklet & series we posted on this blog back in 2009.

Be blessed & may the peace of Jesus Christ be with you, always!


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!! : )


Prayer for Peace (in times of crisis)

June 28, 2016

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  (John 14:27)

When I was in a very difficult situation, the prayer of Saint Francis had great meaning for me.  I memorized it and prayed it every night for several months.  I know you are very familiar with it but in case you don’t have a copy there, here it is:

 “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console: to be understood, as to understand: to be loved as to love: for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

Dick Woodward (email, 05 March 2005)


Seeking Approval: In God’s Sight

April 1, 2016

“How can you believe since you look to one another for approval and are not concerned with the approval that comes from God?”  (John 5:44)

God approves of right thinking and God approves when we do what is right.  When we wrestle with the dichotomy of doing what is right and what is expedient, we should be motivated to offer the sacrifices of righteousness unto God, and trust God because we value God’s approval.

Abraham was told by God, “Walk before Me.” (Genesis 17:1) How many of us do that? Do we really walk before God, all day long, every day?  Have we ever actually moved through a 24-hour day holding in focus how God feels about who we are, what we are and all the things we are doing – or are not doing?

There are times in this life when we simply cannot have the approval of God and the approval of man at the same time.  There are times when we are not able to explain to people what is going on in our lives.  When those times come, if our peace depends on the approval of people, we will discover the foundation of our peace is very fragile.

More than 150 times these three words are found in the Bible: “In His sight.”  That concept should be very important to us in this life.  One day when we all face the certainty of judgement, the way we have lived our lives in God’s sight will be the only thing that matters.

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Peace


Spiritual Wars

September 15, 2015

“Now the works of the flesh are…but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control.” (Galatians 5: 19, 22, 23)

One of the most important New Testament passages of Scripture is found in Galatians chapter five where Paul identifies a war that is taking place in the life of every authentic disciple of Jesus Christ: the war between the flesh and the Spirit. The flesh is “human nature unaided by God.”  According to Paul our human nature unaided by God is a monster and it produces what Paul labels “the works of the flesh.”

In contrast to a list of qualities that are like an immoral “train wreck” in slow motion, Paul gives us nine qualities that are the fruit and evidence of the reality that the Holy Spirit of God lives in us.

When we look in, Paul writes that we will find that we have a quality of love coming out of our life.  We will also find a quality of joy and a peace we’ve never experienced before.

For a cross section of this love we should consult verses 4-7 of First Corinthians 13.  We find it is a love that doesn’t make good sense because it is completely others-centered.  Our joy is a happiness that doesn’t make good sense and the same could be said of our peace because all three are not related to our circumstances.

There is something to believe and Someone to receive.  It is only when we receive God’s Holy Spirit that we can win the war between the flesh and the Spirit.

Dick Woodward, 19 November 2010


Gratitude Attitudes

May 16, 2015

“… in everything… with thanksgiving present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

In the last chapter of the letter to his favorite Church at Philippi Paul gives us a prescription for peace.  The peace of God is a state of personal peace in which God keeps a believer if they meet certain conditions (Isaiah 26:3).  There are twelve such conditions listed in Philippians 4.

As I seek to maintain the personal peace that comes from God, I get more mileage out of the prescription listed above than any of the others.  I have discovered when I begin to thank God for all the good things in my life it’s like a switch clicks and I find my mind automatically moving from the negative to the positive.

To use another metaphor, if I placed all the bad stuff in my life on the left side of a scale – like a scale of justice – and all the good stuff on the right side of that scale, the right side will far outweigh the left side.  That’s what happens when I implement what I call, “The Therapy of Thanksgiving.”

An old hymn put it this way:

“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed.
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

That’s why Paul’s prescription is that when we pray, in everything (not for everything), we should offer thankful prayers.  He promises that when we do, the peace of God will stand guard over our hearts and minds.

Dick Woodward, 22 October 2010


Prayer Changes Things!!

November 14, 2014

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you rest in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 6-7 NLT)

In these two verses the Apostle Paul is challenging us with two options: when we are facing challenging problems we can worry about them, or we can turn our problems into prayer requests.  The reason Paul writes that we are not to worry is because worry is counter-productive.  He therefore prescribes that if we are overwhelmed with problems, we should let our mountain of problems turn us into prayer warriors.

So here we have two options.  We can be worriers, or we can be warriors. Prayer changes things!  Worry, on the other hand does not change anything except for the severe negative consequences it can have on our body, soul and spirit.  When we consider the devastating effects of worry and the miraculous results of answered prayer, that no-brainer should resolve our two options into one.

When we realize we are anxious or uptight and we know it is because we are choosing to be worriers, we should ask God to convert us into prayer warriors.  We should hold our problems up before the Lord and trade our futile worries for powerful prayers.  He may deliver us from those problems or give us the grace to cope with them.  But, in either case, He will give us peace.

Paul writes that God will stand guard like a soldier over our hearts and minds and give us supernatural peace as they rest in what Christ will do.

Dick Woodward, 29 November 2011