#FAITH : God’s Strength in Our Weakness

October 25, 2019

“The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years… Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:10-12)

When I was 25 years old I attended a conference for pastors. Our speaker was a famous pastor who had snowy white hair. I felt sorry for him because he was so very old. As he started to speak his first words to us were: “I’m old. I’m gloriously old, but I wouldn’t be as young and ignorant as you are for anything in the world!”

I was feeling sorry for him because he was so old, while he was feeling sorry for me because I was so young.

In many cultures age is considered a plus because wisdom comes with age. Psalm 90 makes the statement we reach 80 years of age “by reason of strength.” I have had a debilitating disease since 1978. By God’s grace, I have found the strength which comes from the Lord and is exhibited in the showcase of my physical weakness.

I was born eighty years ago today (25 Oct), so these verses resonate with me in a personal way. Two of the ways Moses exhorts us to apply this psalm is to number and value our days to gain a heart of wisdom about how we should spend them.

He then concludes his psalm asking God to show us the work God wants us to do, so that God’s glory might appear to our children. His last words invite God to anoint the work God reveals to us.

Dick Woodward, 25 October 2010

Editor’s Note: October 25th is Dick Woodward’s birthday. The fact that he was 83 when he died as a bedfast quadriplegic in 2014 is miraculous. But everyone who knew Dick Woodward can probably still hear his voice saying, “I can’t, but God can… I didn’t but God did.” (In other words, even when Papa couldn’t do anything but nod his head, God did miraculous things in and through him.) After 28 years as a quadriplegic, today his spiritual legs are running along Heavenly pavements, basking in the everlasting love of Jesus.


#FAITH : An Attitude of Gratitude

October 22, 2019

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, 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 the Church at Philippi Paul gives them, and us, a prescription for peace. The peace of God is a state of personal peace in which God can keep us if we meet certain conditions. (Isaiah 26:3)

As I seek to maintain the peace of God I get the most mileage out of the prescription listed above. I have discovered that when I begin to thank God for all the good things in my life it is as if a switch is thrown and I find my mind automatically moving from the negative to the positive.

To use a metaphor, if I were to place 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 writer 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.”

(Johnson Oatman, Jr.; 1856-1926)

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

Dick Woodward, 22 October 2010


#FAITH : A Prescription for Worship

October 15, 2019

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing …Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him, bless His name! For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100)

If you read Psalm One Hundred you will find that David has given us a universal prescription for worship. He begins by prescribing that people in all the lands of the earth should make joyful sounds of worship in God’s presence. He concludes by prescribing that those who worship know that God’s truth endures in all generations.

This brief prescription for worship tells us what worship is: it is to come before the presence of God. It tells us how to worship: it is like having an audience with a Heavenly King. To have an audience we must pass through gates of thanksgiving which are followed by corridors of praise.

The doors that open into the presence of the King are the doors of singing.

As we worship in the presence of the Heavenly King there are certain things we know. We know He is God and we know we are His. We are His little sheep who live in His pasture. We know He is good, His mercy and unconditional love is everlasting, and His truth endures.

David prescribes the result of worship: We should serve the Lord with gladness until people in all the lands of the earth in every generation make joyful sounds of worship in the presence of God.

Dick Woodward, 22 June 2007


Spiritual Memorials (on Memorial Day!)

May 27, 2019

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…”  (Philippians 1:3)

It is fitting that we in the United States of America set aside one day each year to memorialize our fallen warriors. In the Old Testament God regularly commanded the Israelites to erect memorials so they would never forget certain events on their journey of faith.

When we study those memorials we realize that God wanted them to remember miracles He performed for them. God never wanted them to forget significant spiritual datelines. Throughout the Old and New Testaments we therefore continuously hear the exhortation to remember!

Memorials are closely linked with the attitude of gratitude and the awful sin of ingratitude. On Memorial Day are you thankful for “The Greatest Generation,” who in the first half of the 1940s saved us from an unthinkable future without freedom and throughout decades of the Cold War from more of the same? Does your memorial gratitude continue through those who fell in Korea, Vietnam and now in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Do you have spiritual memorial datelines for which you are grateful as you remember them before God? Do you have a dateline of when you came to faith in what Christ did for you on the cross?

Do you have spiritual datelines beyond that point of beginning your faith journey, when the risen Christ proved Himself to you in miraculous ways? Do you have a dateline when He made you know what He wants you to do for Him?

In the fulfillment of that vision has He brought significant people into your life to help you bring that vision into reality?

Then have a spiritual Memorial Day and be filled with grateful worship!

Dick Woodward, 31 May 2010


Always Pray About Everything!

March 1, 2019

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

It’s easy to say, “Don’t worry,” but what are we going to do about our problems if we don’t worry about them?

God’s Word exhorts us to pray when we are in crisis situations. Psalm 46:1 states: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Alternate readings state that God is “abundantly available for help in tight places.

The Apostle Paul was delivered from many tight places. He asked the Philippians to pray that he might be delivered from prison. They prayed, and he was delivered from his imprisonment at that time. We should therefore always pray in a crisis. It has been said, “When it’s hardest to pray, pray the hardest!”

Paul knew from personal experience, however, that God does not always take our problems away. He had a physical “thorn in the flesh” that he asked God three times to take away. Paul saw many people healed as he ministered the power of the Holy Spirit to them. Yet, when he asked God to solve his health problem, three times God said, “No. No. No.” God essentially said, “Tell you what I’m going to do, Paul. I’m going to give you the grace to cope with your problem.” (II Corinthians 12)

When God gave Paul the grace to cope, he discovered the power of Christ was upon him in a mighty way. Paul not only accepted the will of God, he learned that the will of God will never lead us where the grace of God cannot keep us.

Tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer.

Prayer may deliver us from our problems, or it may give us the grace to cope with them. But, in any case, pray.

Always pray about everything!

Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Peace


The Lord IS MY Shepherd

February 6, 2019

“The Lord is my Shepherd…”   (Psalm 23:1)

God created you and me to be men and women who make choices. God very much wants to be our Shepherd, but we must choose to make God our Shepherd.  We must deliberately choose to say, “baa!” and become one of the sheep of God’s pasture.

Can you declare the first five words of this great Shepherd Psalm as a personal confession of faith? Can you confess, “The Lord is my Shepherd?”

People touch me as they describe the way the Lord came into their lives, made them lie down and say, “baa!”  I am frequently concerned, however, when I fail to hear how that relationship is working in their lives today.

One of David’s most remarkable declarations in this psalm is that the blessings provided by his Shepherd-God are in place ‘all the days of my life.’

Be sure to make the observation that David’s great profession of faith is not, “The Lord was my Shepherd,” but that “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

When the Lord makes you lie down and confess, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” you are also confessing you are a sheep.

Sheep are completely helpless and hopeless without their shepherd.

Years ago I was out of bed at an early hour. When my wife asked why I was getting up at 4:30a.m., I told her what I read during my devotions: “When you wake up, get up, and when you get up, do something for God’s lambs.”  She responded, “baa!” (She was reminding that she and our five children are also God’s lambs.)

Psalm 23 is filled with sheep talk that shows us that God wants to hear every one of us say, “baa!”

Dick Woodward, from Psalm 23 Sheep Talk


Redeemed Out of Chaos

December 14, 2018

 “They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses.” (Psalm 107:4-6)

This excerpt from the first stanza of Psalm 107’s great hymn of redemption describes how God redeemed His people when they were wanderers in a wilderness. Their way was desolate. They were hungry and thirsty to the point that their souls fainted in them. Then they cried to the LORD and He delivered them from their distresses.

Deliverance is a synonym for salvation, and salvation is a synonym for redemption. This first stanza of Psalm 107 describes how God redeems the Israelites from their CHAOS.

In the Gospel of Matthew we read several times when Jesus saw the multitudes He wept for them because they were like lost sheep that had no shepherd. They did not know their right hand from their left. In the Gospel of Luke the entire fifteenth chapter is called “The Parable of the Lost Things” because it describes the loving heart of Jesus for those who are lost. A key verse of Luke tells us that Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost. (Luke 19:10)

From Genesis to Revelation we are told of the great loving heart of God for those who need to be redeemed from being lost. After eloquently describing this first level of redemption, the theme of this psalm is repeated: that those who have been redeemed from their chaos should step up and thank the Lord.

Can you resonate with this first level God’s redemption, and then step up and say so?

Dick Woodward, 14 December 2009