Showcase: God’s Strength in Our Weakness

October 5, 2018

“…When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

The Apostle Paul opens a biographical window into his life when he tells us about what he calls his “thorn in the flesh.” He explains that he had many supernatural spiritual experiences, but to keep him humble God gave him this “thorn.” Paul asked God three times to take it away. Even though he had an extraordinary ministry that brought healing to many, three times God’s response was essentially: “No! But My grace will be with you, and that is all you need to cope with the challenge of your thorn.”

Although we’re not exactly certain what Paul’s “thorn” was, he wrote to the Galatians that when he first visited his eyes were so hideous it made them want to vomit and say that if they could, they would take the eyes out of their own heads and place them in his. The book of Acts reports that at that time Paul’s physician Luke joined him so he could treat him. This “thorn” was also accompanied with severe weakness. Paul mentions weakness so much in his writings we know that throughout his extraordinary ministry he had to cope with extreme chronic fatigue.

Paul explains that his physical weakness was a showcase in which God could exhibit God’s supernatural strength. In the Living Bible Paraphrase of this chapter God tells Paul, “My strength looks good on weak people.” And Paul confesses, “The less I have the more I depend on Him.” He summarizes all this: “When I am weak, then I am strong.”

Will you let your weakness showcase God’s strength and grace today?

Dick Woodward, 04 October 2011


Another Beautiful Word: GRACE

August 31, 2018

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8)

The mercy of God withholds what we deserve and the grace of God lavishes on us countless blessings we do not deserve. As we appreciate what the mercy of God withholds and the grace God bestows when we believe the Gospel, we should be filled with grateful worship of our gracious and merciful God.

When Jesus gave His Great Commission He instructed the disciples to wait until the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1: 4, 5) After that happened to the disciples on Pentecost, we read:  “Great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33) This use of the word “grace” means there is such a thing as the anointing and energizing unction of the Holy Spirit upon us as we serve Jesus Christ. I am using the word in that sense when I tell people that the grace of Jesus outweighs my challenges (especially as a bedfast quadriplegic.)

Paul declared this dimension of grace when he wrote: “God is able to make all grace abound toward you so that you, always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8) This is the most emphatic verse in the New Testament regarding the anointing and energizing grace of God.

Check out the superlatives the Apostle Paul uses in this verse:  All grace – aboundingeach and every one of you – having all sufficiency – in all things – abounding unto every good work – always!  According to Paul we should all be able to make the claim that His grace outweighs our challenges.

Do you believe the grace of God outweighs your challenges today?

Dick Woodward, 31 August 2012


God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

February 13, 2018

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ… The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”  (Romans 1:7; 16:24)

The Apostle Paul begins his letter to believers in Rome with a marvelous greeting: “Grace to you.”  He then closes his letter with the prayer that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with them.

Paul dictated all his letters but one to a stenographer. At the close of each letter he took the writing instrument from the scribe and in his own hand wrote these words: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

Paul greets and leaves believers with a wish and a prayer for grace. This is because grace is a dynamic of God that saves us. We can define grace if we turn this five-letter word into an acrostic to spell out:

God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

But grace is not just a way God saves us: the grace of God is the dynamic we desperately need to live for Christ.

In Romans 5:2, Paul writes that God has given us access, by faith, to the grace that makes it possible for us to stand for Christ and live a life that glorifies God.

Since grace is always a great need, consider meeting and leaving fellow (& fellowette*) believers with a wish and prayer for grace.

Dick Woodward, 24 February 2012

(*Editor’s discretionary inclusion)


God’s Manifold Mercy & Grace

February 9, 2018

“Goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life.” (Psalm 23:6)

“God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that you, always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Two of the most beautiful words in the Bible are mercy and grace. The mercy of God, which is the unconditional love of God, withholds from us what we deserve, while the grace of God lavishes on us all kinds of blessings we do not deserve, accomplish, or achieve by our own efforts.

As we thank God for our blessings, at the top of the list we should be thankful for God’s mercy that withholds and God’s grace that bestows. The good news of the gospel is that when Christ suffered on the cross for our sins, everything we deserved that we might have peace with God was laid upon Him. (Isaiah 53: 5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

If you want to grasp the meaning of these two words observe when and why they turn up in the Bible. Try to understand what we deserved and why. That will grow your appreciation of the mercy of God. Then investigate all that is bestowed upon us by the grace of God. As you search out these two beautiful words in the Bible, you will understand why “the mercy that withholds and the grace that bestows” should be at the top our thanksgiving prayer lists.

Dick Woodward, 26 February 2009


God’s (more than adequate) Abounding Grace

September 8, 2017

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2Corinthians 9:8)

Owners of expensive Rolls Royce automobiles may not realize how secretive the manufacturer of those extraordinary automobiles has been. One man sent a telegram to the manufacturer asking, “What is the horse power of my Silver Cloud Rolls Royce?” The return telegram in typical British fashion was just one word: “Adequate.”

When the Apostle Paul wrote about God’s grace in 2 Corinthians 9:8, it’s almost as if someone asked the question: “What is the measure of our grace as authentic disciples of Jesus Christ?” The response of the great apostle was much more than the word adequate.

This is the most superlative verse in the New Testament on the subject of grace available to us as we follow Jesus Christ. Mercy is God withholding from us what we deserve, while grace is God lavishing on us all kinds of wonderful blessings we do not deserve. We’re saved by grace but we are also given grace that makes it possible for us to live a life that glorifies God, exalts the risen, living Christ, and holds forth the Word of God to people who desperately need it.

As you contemplate this verse, realize that Paul is talking about all grace, in all things, at all times, all that you need, abounding in every good work – and twice in these few short words, he writes that it is for you.

Has Paul oversold the product, or do we have flawed access into God’s grace?

Dick Woodward, 10 September 2010


THE GRACE OF CHRIST BE WITH YOU

August 11, 2017

“Grace to you… from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7)

Studying the Apostle Paul’s inspired letters you will find common salutations and greetings in all of them. Paul begins his letters with “Grace to you” and concludes with words like these: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (Romans 16: 20)

In nearly every generation of language and culture people use certain words when they first encounter someone. After visiting together there are words used at parting. Some of these salutations and greetings are shallow and not intended to have meaning. (“Hi” and “Goodbye?”) It was not like that, however, with the way Paul began and concluded his letters.

One of Paul’s favorite concepts was grace. He emphasized the truth that we are saved by grace and not by works in many of his letters. He also wrote that we have access, by faith, to grace that makes it possible for us to live a life that glorifies God. (Romans 5:2)

A great verse describing this empowering dimension of grace is 2Corinthians 9:8. Paul writes that God is able to make all grace abound toward us so that each one of us may always find the spiritual dynamic we need to abound in every good work God is calling us to do.

All grace – all the power we need – each and every one of us that we might find all sufficiency we need to abound in every good work – ALWAYS!

As you come to appreciate the meaning of grace, could it not be an appropriate heartfelt concept to include in your greetings with your sisters and brothers in Christ?

Dick Woodward, 10 August 2010


The Cross of Christ: Mercy & Grace

April 11, 2017

“Goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life.”
(Psalm 23:6)

“God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that you, always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Two of the most beautiful words in the Bible are mercy and grace. The mercy of God, which is the unconditional love of God, withholds from us what we deserve, while the grace of God lavishes on us all kinds of blessings we do not deserve, accomplish, or achieve by our own efforts.

As we thank God for our blessings, at the top of the list we should thank Him for the mercy that withholds and the grace that bestows. The good news of the Gospel is that when Jesus Christ suffered on the cross for our sins, everything we deserved was laid upon Him that we might have peace with God. (Isaiah 53: 5, 6; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

If you want to grasp the meaning of these two words observe when and why they turn up in the Bible. Try to understand what we deserved and why. That will grow your appreciation of the mercy of God. Then investigate all that is bestowed upon us by the grace of God. As you find these two beautiful words throughout the Bible, you will understand why I challenge you to pray with thanksgiving for:

The mercy that withholds and the grace that bestows.

Dick Woodward, 26 February 2009