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


God’s Peace: A Therapy of Thanksgiving

November 20, 2018

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, tell God every detail of your needs.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

As I have tried to apply what Paul prescribes in these verses, I have found this prescription for peace to be more helpful than any other spiritual discipline. According to the Apostle Paul, an attitude of gratitude leads to the therapy of thanksgiving as we apply gratitude to our 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 writes these words) over our hearts and minds as they rest and trust in Christ Jesus.

We cannot always control our circumstances – but we can control the way we respond to them. Paul is telling us to respond with gratitude. If we do, we will find this prescription of thanksgiving contributes to victory over our circumstances, because the therapy of thanksgiving leads us into God’s peace.

When a pastor asked a church member how she was doing, her response was, “Pretty good pastor, under the circumstances.”

The pastor responded, “Whatever are you doing there?”

Dick Woodward, 02 September 2009

GOD’S PEACE & A BLESSED THANKSGIVING TO ALL!!


Who is the Greatest?

October 16, 2018

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

Who was the greatest prophet who ever lived? According to Jesus the answer is John the Baptist. (Luke 7:28, Matthew 11:11) After studying the Scripture for six decades I find that answer intriguing because very little space in the Bible records John the Baptist’s life and ministry.

Meditating on the Scriptures that describe him, I have come to the conclusion that at least one key to his greatness is that he accepted the limits of his limitations and the responsibility for his abilities.

As we attempt to discover who we are and what God wants to do through our lives it is a good rule of thumb to accept the limits of our limitations and the responsibility for our abilities.  When a degenerative disease of the spinal cord took away my physical abilities (26 years ago), it was vital for me to accept my increasing limitations and continue to be responsible for my abilities.

After the first two years of crippling illness when acceptance came, it was so profound it felt like a form of inner healing. Using speech recognition software on my computer I received the grace to write about ten thousand pages of what we call The Mini Bible College. These 782 studies of the Bible have been translated into 28 languages in 60 countries.*

It fills me with grateful worship to realize that the formula for greatness I learned from John the Baptist guided me to the most important work I have done for Jesus Christ.

Are you willing to accept the limits of your limitations and the responsibility for your abilities?

Dick Woodward, 16 October 2012

*Editor’s Note: As of October 2018, the Mini Bible College has been translated into 48 languages (with 12 more in production) impacting 84 countries. Thanks be to God and the ongoing work of International Cooperating Ministries.


Giving vs. Getting

August 3, 2018

“… Remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)

This has been called the ninth beatitude of Jesus.  When Jesus began His greatest discourse with a check-up from the neck-up, He shared eight beautiful attitudes that will make us the salt of the earth and the light of the world. This ninth beatitude can transform and revolutionize our relationships.

If you are in a relationship, like a marriage, for what you can get from that other person, Jesus has a challenge for you. For one week, instead of thinking of what you are going to get from the person, ask yourself continuously what you can give to that person. After giving this assignment to many married couples I have seen this challenge revolutionize their marriages.

You see, if you are in a marriage for what you can get from each other, neither of you is receiving anything because neither of you is giving anything. The relationship is a sterile empty vacuum. But this one attitude can completely transform your marriage (and any relationship) if one or both of the people in that relationship will dare to accept this challenge from Jesus.

There is no place in the Gospels where Jesus speaks these exact words. However, in addition to having this quotation in the book of Acts, the spirit of this beatitude characterizes the relationships of Jesus we read about all through the first four books of the New Testament.

I exhort you to accept this challenge of Jesus for one week! If you do, you will also prove in experience that there is in fact more happiness (which is what the word blessed means) in giving than in getting.

Dick Woodward, 03 August 2009