Unforgiveness vs. Inner Healing

February 4, 2017

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”  (Matthew 6:12)

The greatest obstacle to inner healing is unforgiveness. Those who work in ministries of healing claim that the lack of forgiveness on the part of a victim can retard their own inner healing.

Can you see why Jesus instructed His disciples to pray every day: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors?”  The original language has it, “As we have already forgiven our debtors.” Do you think Jesus knew how important it is to our inner healing that we should forgive those who sin against us?

Some are bothered by the way Jesus offers commentary on this petition in the Disciple’s Prayer.  He commented that if we do not forgive we are not forgiven. It almost sounds as if we are forgiven because we forgive. He defuses their confusion with a parable that is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 18.  A man is forgiven a very large debt in the millions of dollars, saving him from debtor’s prison and having his family sold into slavery.

But on the way home he meets a man who owes him twenty dollars. He grabs him by the throat and orders him to pay him every cent or he will have him put into debtor’s prison. Both events are observed and shared with the one who forgave him the large debt. He is recalled and his forgiveness is revoked. Jesus comments on that story, that if we from our hearts do not forgive, we are not forgiven.

The point is that if we are a forgiven person we will be a forgiving person.  If we are not a forgiving person we are not really a forgiven person.

Dick Woodward, 09 January 2013


Storm Survival: Applied Belief

September 2, 2016

“Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”  (Matthew 7:26)

Jesus is clearly teaching that if we base our belief system on His teachings we will weather the storms of this life. When a counselor is disputing the belief system of a depressed person, a favorite disputation question is: “What are you telling yourself about the fact that you lost your job that has you so depressed?” That is the question you should ask yourself when you are experiencing emotional consequences like depression.

The medical director of a large mental hospital for the state of Virginia told me the purpose of psychiatry is to find the unconscious explanation for the conscious behavior of people.  He lamented the hard reality that so often today the psychiatrist is a pharmacologist who medicates a patient’s depression without ever getting to the cause of the depression.

The word “psychiatry” means “the healing of the soul.” Was there ever a greater healer of the soul than Jesus?    I believe that the values and the teachings of Jesus will give us the healthiest belief system for living as we pass through this world.

However, it is critically important that we implement that belief system as we respond to storms we encounter.  In this era we have gone bonkers over knowledge.  According to Jesus, it is not the knowledge of His teaching but the application of that belief system that builds the house that survives the storms.

Dick Woodward, 12 October 2012


Distress-driven Balm from the Psalms

August 28, 2015

“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.”  (Psalm 4:1 KJV)

One of my favorite Scripture verses is the first verse of Psalm 4 in the old King James translation. David is in a wringer and he is talking to God about it. Almost parenthetically he drops this thought, “You have enlarged me when I was in distress.”  As I reflect upon my wringer years of disability, and I think of the growth I have experienced while in the wringer, that little phrase says it for me. Truly God has grown me in my time of distress.  In His providence, I believe God always has that agenda when He is growing His children…

As I mentioned on the phone, Psalm 46 is a great psalm that applies to servants of the Lord when they are living on the edge and the whole world seems to be coming unraveled like a cheap sweater. An NASB footnote says the opening verse could be interpreted this way, “God is my refuge and strength.  He is abundantly available for help in tight places.” This psalm inspired Martin Luther’s great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” It can be applied devotionally to believers who live in contexts like where you are.  The Living Bible paraphrases the Psalm, “Even if the earth blows up and the mountains are thrown into the sea, the believer can say, “the Lord of hosts is with me, the God of Jacob is my fortress.”  The punchline comes when the Psalmist instructs the believer in the midst of chaos to, “Be still and know that I am… and that I will be.”

I hope you have a chance to check out Psalm 143.  As I meditate on this one, having memorized it, the Lord brings you to mind.  David cries to God, “Answer me speedily because my spirit fails. Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning.  Cause me to know the way in which I should walk.” I like the last part when he prays, “Revive me.”  The old King James reads “quicken me.”  That word, quicken, means something like, “touch me to life – give me a touch from You that will spring to life the work of the Spirit in my heart and life.”

… Well, as your ‘ole daddy and pastor I just wanted to unload some of these Scriptures that mean so much to me.  You may be down in the well, but we are holding the ropes. Recently I heard somebody say, “When saying goodbye to a fellow soldier of Christ, we should never say, ‘take it easy.’ We should say, ‘Hang tough, and fight the good fight.'”

Gobs and gobs of agape….

Dick Woodward, 01 April 1997 (fax to his overseas daughter)

Editor’s Note: Found this fax while sorting dusty boxes this week. Although much longer (many more Psalms, all typed out!) thought it might bless someone out there like it did Papa’s kid, again, after 18 years.  Kinda long, but since The Editor has averaged only 1 post per week the last 2 months, this can make up for two.   Bi-weekly posting grooves will hopefully be back on track soon.


Too Weak To Pray…

June 16, 2015

“Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.  Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’”  (Mark 2: 4, 5)

When my wife was critically ill after the birth of our first child she reached a crisis on a Friday morning at ten o’clock.  Her eyes were moving back into her head and we thought we were losing her.  While several doctors did a spinal tap to relieve pressure on her brain, two precious sisters in the Lord were burdened to pray for her that morning at ten o’clock – not knowing anything about her crisis.  She pulled through that crisis and her life was saved.

While having her quiet time after returning from the hospital, she read the verses quoted above. She was moved to tears to realize that when she was too weak to pray for herself her sisters in the Lord were praying for her, and when the Lord saw their faith He ministered healing to her.

In our life span there are sure to be times when we will be too weak to pray for ourselves.  That’s one reason it is wise to be in spiritual community with other believers who know the Lord and love Him and who know you and love you.  If you had an accident or a sudden illness do you have anyone who would pray for you when you are too weak to pray for yourself?

The wisest man who ever lived wrote: “Two are better than one, because… if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4: 10, 11 NIV)

Dick Woodward, 18 September 2011

Editor’s Note: After Hospice care started here in our home last week, Dick’s precious Ginny is now too weak to pray for herself. We (the extended Woodward family) are so grateful for the faithful prayers of the spiritual community lifting her (and us) up at this time.


Revelation or Medical Scoop?

December 14, 2013

“Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died… that person shall be cut off from Israel.”  (Numbers 19:13)

In 1970 a medical doctor named S. I. McMillen wrote a book entitled None of These Diseases.  In his book Dr. McMillen highlighted practices Moses mandated like quarantines and sterilization of medical instruments.  As quoted above, if a person had contact with a dead body (and in other verses someone who was sick), they were considered unclean for seven days and quarantined from the rest of the population.

Dr. McMillen referenced the discovery of a low percentage of ovarian cancer at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City, which research traced to the fact that Jewish husbands were circumcised as mandated by Moses.  This led to the common practice of circumcising male babies.  At the end of each chapter this doctor raises the question: did Moses scoop medical science by thousands of years, or did he have a revelation from God as he claimed?

This should convince us that the Bible is in fact the Word of God.  And it should inspire us to follow the wise counsels of the Bible ourselves and then share them with others.  As a young pastor I was mentored by Dr. Henry Brandt, a Christian clinical psychologist. He encouraged me to use the wise counsels in the Bible as I helped those in my congregation who had many problems.

As I did I found the Bible to be filled with counseling for the problems people had with worry, stress, personal peace, prayer, guidance, love, marriage, the dynamic to cope and other issues. The best marriage counseling in the world is in the Bible.

Do you believe you can trust the counseling you find in the Bible?


A Prescription for Greatness

October 16, 2012

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

Who was the greatest prophet who ever lived?  Who was the greatest man who ever lived?  According to Jesus the answer is John the Baptist (Luke 7:28; Matthew 11:11).  Having studied the Scripture for six decades I find that answer to be intriguing because very little space is given in the Bible to record this man’s life and ministry.

As I meditate on the Scriptures that describe him I have come to a conclusion about his greatness.  At least one key to his greatness was that he accepted the limits of his limitations and the responsibility for his ability.

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

After about two years of illness when the acceptance came, it was so profound I decided it was a form of inner healing.  Using speech recognition software on my computer I received the grace to write about ten thousand pages of what I call a Mini Bible College.  These 782 studies of the Bible have been translated into twenty eight languages in sixty countries.

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

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