#FAITH: God’s Grace vs. Our Challenges

August 30, 2019

“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 before they obeyed Him. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:4-5) After that happened to them on the Day of 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 Christ.  I use the word in that sense when I tell people that the grace of Christ outweighs my challenges (especially as a bedfast quadriplegic.)

Paul was declaring 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 Paul uses in this verse: All grace – abounding grace – he repeats all of you – all sufficiency – in all things – abound unto every good work – always!  According to Paul we should all be able to make the claim that God’s grace outweighs our challenges.

Do you believe the grace of God can outweigh your challenges today?

Dick Woodward, 31 August 2012


#Faith: One Step at a Time

July 26, 2019

 “… I being in the way the Lord led me…” (Genesis 24:27)

When we discover the context of these words of Scripture we realize they are teaching us a principle of how God works in our lives. It is easier to steer a moving vehicle than one that is stationary.

God can sometimes steer us more easily when we are moving. That’s why we often will find that one step frequently leads to the next step when we have faith to be led by the Holy Spirit.

The words above were spoken by Abraham’s servant who was commissioned by Abraham to travel to the land of his people to find a wife for Isaac. As Abraham’s servant journals the events of his search, he writes that while he was in the way the Lord led him he encountered the family of Rebekah. When he met her he knew that his search had ended.

Committed followers of Christ were commissioned two thousand years ago to go to all nations and make disciples for Jesus Christ.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Like the servant of Abraham, as we embark on the adventure of obeying our great commission, we should expect that each step will lead to the next step.

We don’t always have to know where the road leads as long as we know it is the right road. While we are in the way our Lord has commissioned us to go, we must have the faith to take that first step. Then, one step at a time, expect God to lead us to the next step.

Dick Woodward, 28 July 2009


PENTECOST POWER: SOARING AS EAGLES

June 7, 2019

“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 with wings 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 Holy 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.

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


Spiritual Values: God First

November 6, 2018

“…but you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will come to you as a matter of course.” (Matthew 6:33 J. B. Philips translation)

The message of the entire Bible can be summed up in two words: “God First.” Over and over the bottom-line truth in a Psalm, the life of a Bible character, a parable, a metaphor, and a teaching of Jesus comes down to this simple concept: “God First.”

That is not easy. In fact, it is impossible without the Holy Spirit. (1Corinthians 12:3)

I was blessed to have a godly mother who often said to me: “If Jesus Christ is anything to you, then Jesus Christ is everything to you. Because until Jesus Christ is everything to you, Dick, He isn’t really anything to you.”

As I carefully studied the values of Jesus Christ, I realized that my mother had the Lord’s support when she brought my profession of faith to a verdict in this way.

Matthew 6:33 is the conclusion of a study given by Jesus regarding values. He taught that our hearts are where our treasures are. He also taught us where our treasures and our hearts ought to be by challenging us with questions like: “Where is your heart? What are your treasures? What is your life? What is your body?” and “Who is your master?”

The conclusion to this treatise on values is the declaration to seek God first. Think of a target with a bulls-eye surrounded by ten or twelve circles. According to Jesus, the bulls-eye of our priority target should be that our first value is God. We are to put God first. If we do that we have Christ’s promise that God will bless us with whatever else we need.

When we think about our values these two words should immediately surface in our hearts and minds: “God First.”

Dick Woodward, 09 November 2010


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 Peace & Patience: Love Waiting

June 8, 2018

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances may be.” (Philippians 4:11)

Paul prescribes patience as part of his prescription for peace. Throughout the history of the church, patience has always been considered a great virtue by spiritual heavyweights. Why is patience such an important virtue? For starters, patience is one of the nine fruit of the Spirit we find listed in the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

When the Holy Spirit lives in us, one way the Spirit manifests in us is through a supernatural quality of patience.

In the Bible we are continuously exhorted to “wait on the Lord.” In our relationship with God we might call patience “faith waiting.” Nothing will test or grow our faith like waiting. When we think God is not responding to our prayers it may be that what God is doing in us while we are waiting – like growing in us the virtue of patience – is more important than what we’re waiting for.

In our relationships with people, patience could be called “love waiting.” I have found that the Lord wants to grow two dimensions of patience in us: He wants to grow “vertical patience” by teaching us to have a faith that waits. And He is growing “horizontal patience” by teaching us that in relationships, love waits.

Love is the first and primary virtue through which the Holy Spirit wants to manifest God’s presence and peace in us.

While impatience is a peace thief, vertical and horizontal patience are supernatural, God-given virtues that can produce spiritual heavyweights – and maintain the peace of God in our experience of life.

Dick Woodward, 09 June 2009


Spiritual Fitness

May 29, 2018

“Exercise yourself toward godliness.  For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”  (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

Timothy was probably interested in physical fitness. If he lived in our culture he would be the type to join a gym and work out regularly. Paul agreed with Timothy that physical fitness was profitable, but he declared that godly fitness was more profitable. Paul reasoned that physical fitness improves the quality of our lives here and now, but godly fitness improves the quality of our eternal lives.

I am intrigued with this question: what is godly exercise? 

The word “godly” means “like God.”  What is God-like?  We are told in the Word that God is Spirit. (John 4:24)  To exercise ourselves toward godliness therefore means to submit to disciplines in the spiritual dimension that grow us spiritually.

We also read in the Scripture that God is love.  To exercise toward godliness means to commit ourselves to the love that is God.  At the heart of the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13), Paul passes the love of God through the prism of Holy Spirit inspiration and it comes out on the other side a cluster of 15 virtues. Godly exercise means intentionally pursuing what the 15 virtues are and what they look like when you apply them in all your relationships.

God is light.  Exercise yourself in this dimension of God-likeness by filling your mind, heart, and life with the truth (light) you find in God’s Word. Walking in that Light will profit you in this life and in the life to come.

Do you have a routine for spiritual fitness?

Dick Woodward, 18 October 2013