Perfect Peace: Christ in You

October 6, 2016

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

Isaiah wrote of a state of perfect peace in which God can keep us, continuously. However, he also wrote that this state of continuous serenity is based on two very important conditions: we must keep our minds centered on God, and we must trust God. This peace is supernatural because it’s a peace we can have even when the circumstances of our lives are chaotic.

Jesus promised that He would give His followers a peace the world would never understand because it comes from Him and can be ours even in the middle of our storms of life. The early followers of Christ were persecuted. While suffering unimaginable cruelty at the hands of their persecutors many died at peace because they had this kind of supernatural peace.

The Apostle Paul believed in this peace. In just one chapter of one of his letters he listed twelve conditions on which this peace is based. In another letter Paul described this peace as fruit – the expression of the reality that the Holy Spirit lives in authentic disciples of Jesus. We might therefore conclude that the basic condition for this peace is that the Holy Spirit lives in us.

“Christ in you” is the foundation on which all the conditions of this peace are to be built (Colossians 1:27 LB).  I have a question I want to ask you. There is obviously something to believe and Someone to receive when you become a follower of Jesus Christ. My question is: have you received Him?

Dick Woodward, 15 May 2009


Finding Joy and Peace

August 19, 2016

“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in Him at all times.”  Philippians 4:4

Misery is optional even though pain and suffering are inevitable.  Those words were written by a man who lives with excruciating pain every day.  How can misery be optional for someone in pain? How is it Paul can mention joy 17 times in a short letter he wrote from prison?

For those who experience and express the fruit of the Holy Spirit, who have a relationship with the risen, living Christ, there is a joy that is not controlled by circumstances.

The peace Paul experienced and prescribes for you and me can be called the peace that doesn’t make good sense.  It is a peace that “transcends all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) The joy of which Paul writes can be called the happiness that doesn’t make good sense.  This is true because this peace and joy are the fruit and evidence of the Spirit Who lives in us and they are not controlled by our circumstances.  What is the foundation of that joy? According to Paul, that foundation is the Lord.  We are to delight ourselves in the Lord and find our joy in Him at all times.

What is the foundation of your serenity and joy? If it’s your spouse, children or special human being with whom you have a relationship, then the foundation of your serenity is very fragile. There is no relationship on earth you cannot lose.

If the foundation of your serenity and joy is your health and athleticism, I bear witness to the sad reality that you have an extremely fragile foundation for your peace and happiness. Thousands of people, who had a physical orientation around which their lives revolved before illness or injury destroyed that foundation, will join me in warning you that health, athleticism and youth are fragile foundations for joy and happiness.

Jesus commended Mary when her sister Martha was upset because she chose to sit at His feet and hear His Word rather than help with dinner preparations. With much love for Martha, Jesus said, “Mary has chosen the good part that will never be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

When Paul writes his words about joy, he agrees with what Jesus told Martha about Mary, and he directs us here to a foundation for serenity and joy that is not fragile:  “Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in Him at all times.”

Like Mary, you should prioritize a regular structured time in the Word of God before you enter into the rush and whirlwind of another day in the marketplace.  Time in the Word is like sitting at the feet of Jesus.  The communion with Him you can experience will never be taken away from you.  It will set your sail for whatever adverse winds may blow against you that day.

Dick Woodward, Marketplace Disciples (p. 188-190)


LOVE ONE ANOTHER!!!!!

August 2, 2016

“And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1John 4:21)

In this love chapter of the Bible, John gives us 10 reasons we must love.  His last reason is that we have been given a commandment by Jesus that we are to love one another.  When Jesus was about to leave the apostles by way of His death on the cross, He gave the apostles this New Commandment.

Jesus explained in that same setting that this would only be possible because He was sending the Holy Spirit.  He used a word for the Holy Spirit that means: “One who comes alongside of you and attaches Himself to you for the purpose of assisting you.”

In our culture the concept of a commandment is lost for many people because we are so democratic in our values.  The closest we come to understanding the meaning of this word is in our military training.  When my youngest brother was in training for the Marines the order was given that the smoking lamp was out – which meant no smoking.  In defiance he lighted a cigarette.  His Marine drill instructor ordered him to bury that cigarette in a grave six feet deep.

When he reported to the drill instructor all covered with mud and sweat, the instructor asked if he had buried the cigarette pointing north and south or east and west?  When he wasn’t sure he was told that he had to do it again the next day and make sure it pointed north and south.  The next time the no smoking order was given do you think he lighted another cigarette?

Do you get the full weight of the commandment that we must love one another?

Dick Woodward, 06 August 2010


Spiritual Compass: Trust and Obey

July 12, 2016

“…the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts 5:32)

The purpose of a compass is not just to give us knowledge about where we are when we are lost but to also guide us into the way we need to go.  If you think about it – a compass is worthless if we do not comply with what our compass shows us.

In the Gospels Jesus introduces the apostles to the Holy Spirit.  He tells them (& us) that the Holy Spirit will guide them into all truth.  He calls the Holy Spirit the “Paraclete.”  This word means: “One who comes along side us and attaches to us for the purpose of assisting us.”

Jesus tells us that if we love Him and keep His commandments He will ask the Father to give us the Holy Spirit (John 14: 15, 16).  So many believers miss this.  The operative word when it comes to implementing salvation is “believe.” But the operative word when it comes to knowing God through the Holy Spirit is “obey.”

In profound simplicity the hymn writer expressed it this way: “But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay.  For the favor He shows and the joy He bestows are for them who will trust and obey.  Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”

Jesus said it even more simply and profoundly when He offered this invitation: “Follow Me and I will make you.” (Matthew 4:19)

Are you willing to comply with what your spiritual compass shows you?

Dick Woodward, 06 October 2012


Pentecost Power: An Eagle Perspective

May 13, 2016

“He gives power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increases strength… But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up up with wings as as eagles.  They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:31)

When the power of Pentecost came upon the apostles, there was a noise like a mighty rushing wind. As we read how the apostles received the power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and then began implementing the Great Commission of Jesus against great persecution, we should think of the eagle leaping off its nest directly into adverse winds to rise and soar above the storm enveloping its nest.

As you see in your mind’s eye the eagle sitting on the side of its nest, waiting for the velocity of the wind to become strong, you have a metaphor that allegorizes an important expression found many times in the Old Testament: “Wait on the Lord.”

It means we are not to go charging ahead without clear direction from the Lord.  We are to wait on the Lord. We are exhorted  to follow the example of an eagle by waiting until the wind of the Spirit is there to direct, support and empower us.

Then we should follow the eagle’s example and take the leap of faith off our nests directly into the adversity that is challenging us. As the power of the Holy Spirit drives us with a great thrust into the strong winds of a storm, the energizing unction of the Holy Spirit will give us the spiritual aerodynamics we need to lift up and soar over the storm.

Dick Woodward, from As Eagles: How to be an Eagle Disciple


Waiting on the Lord

February 19, 2016

“They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.  They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

We must learn from the eagle how to access the wind of the Holy Spirit the way the eagle trusts the wind currents. We must learn the difference between what we can do and what only God can do.  We must have faith to wait on the Lord until He empowers and enables us to do what He desires.

I have summarized waiting on the Lord in my ‘Four Spiritual Secrets’: I’m not, but He is; I can’t, but He can; I don’t want to, but He want to; and I didn’t, but He did.’  These spiritual secrets affirm that it is not a matter of who we are, but Who God is; it’s not a matter of what we can do, but what He can do; it’s not a matter of what we want, but what He wants.  If these first three secrets are in place, we will know the joy of one day looking back and affirming it was not a matter of what we did, but what God did through us.

When I first began learning these spiritual secrets, I’d say, “I can’t, but He can.” Then, as a mover and shaker, I’d look at my watch, “I’ll give Him five minutes, and if He doesn’t, I will!”  It took 40 years and a bush to teach Moses how to wait on the Lord, and it has taken 40 years for me to learn how to wait on the Lord the way and eagle waits on the wind.

I call the unique experience of Jacob, described in Genesis 32, the “Cripple Crown Blessing.” God had to cripple Jacob before He could crown him with His blessing.  After all, when a man is crippled, what else can he do but wait on the Lord?

I identify with Jacob’s experience because I received from the Lord my greatest anointing after a crippling disease put me in a wheelchair in 1983. My crippling made it possible to do what God had called me to do for 45 years.

In Romans 12, Paul says, “Let him who teaches give all that he has to his teaching.” As a pastor of a large church, I found that hard to implement.  As a consequence of my ‘cripple crown blessing,’ however, I give all to my teaching which is now nurturing believers in 24* languages all around the world.

Waiting on the Lord was not my style until my illness forced me to learn why an eagle sits on the side of its nest and waits until the wind currents are strong enough to soar over the winds of a storm.

Dick Woodward, As Eagles: How to Be an Eagle Disciple

Editor’s Note: The MBC has now been translated into 36 languages. Currently over 52,500 small groups are using solar powered audio players to study the Bible in their languages. 


God Loves You!!

January 29, 2016

“…and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”   (John 17:23)

I learned from studying psychology that we are all a great network of needs.  From the Bible I learned that God is love. His Son, Jesus, was ‘God with skin on.’  Love was the most mesmerizing dynamic of His life on this earth.  The people who met Jesus were loved as they had never been loved before.

We are also designed to be ‘God with skin on.’  The Holy Spirit can be described as Love Incarnate: the love of God with skin on, yours and mine. Love is the primary fruit of the Spirit and evidence of the Spirit’s residence in us.  When people are filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit, they are always conduits of the love of Christ.

We should all ask God to make us conduits of His love. We should also ask to experience the love of God. In two places Jesus tells us to ask, seek and knock continuously with perseverance.  (Luke 11:9-13; Matthew 7:7-11)  Jesus described knowing God at a deeper level when He gave us this teaching.  When that happens we will not only be conduits of God’s love, we will know that God loves us by experiencing His love in our hearts.

Do you know and believe that God loves you?  Many people don’t feel worthy of being loved by anybody – not even God.  When someone says, “I love you,” a negative tape begins to play that says, “No, you don’t.  If you really knew me you wouldn’t!”

The two beautiful Gospel words mercy and grace declare that God does not love us if and when we are worthy, because He loves us even while we are sinners.  (Romans 5:6-10)

Jesus prayed that those who make up the Church would live in such a way that this world of hurting people will know and believe God loves them as much as He loves His only begotten Son.  If you do not know that God loves you, then we who are part of the Church have failed you. God does love you!

…Because by the grace and mercy of God, I know that He loves me.

Dick Woodward, from Happiness That Doesn’t Make Good Sense