#FAITH : A RECIPE FOR REST

November 5, 2019

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus loves to give invitations. He addresses this one to people who are loaded with problems and are working themselves to exhaustion trying to solve their problems. Jesus promises that if we come to Him, He will give us rest. If you look closely at this invitation He is inviting us to come to Him and learn about His heart, His burden, and His yoke. It is what we learn from Him that will lead us to rest.

Jesus wants burdened people to learn that His burden is light, His heart is humble, and His yoke is easy. There is a sense in which Jesus had the weight of the world on His shoulders and yet He claimed that His burden was light.

His burden was light because He let His Father carry the load.

The most important part of His recipe for rest is what Jesus wants us to learn about His yoke. A yoke is not a burden. It is an instrument that makes it possible to bear a burden. When a cart is piled high with cargo it is the yoke that makes it possible for an ox to pull a great load with ease.

It is the yoke of Jesus that shows us how to pull our heavy burdens of life.The yoke of Jesus is that He let His Father carry the burdens. We take His yoke upon us when we let the Holy Spirit carry the load.

Dick Woodward, 05 November 2013


#FAITH: Reality Contact

November 1, 2019

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)

A long time ago I lunched every week with a friend on Mondays. I’d always ask him, “How are you, Skip?”

“Great, wonderful, marvelous and tremendous!” he’d answer. Always!

On many Mondays I’d not had a good weekend and life was not great, wonderful, marvelous and tremendous for me. But this guy was always emphatically optimistic. After this pattern continued for some time, one Monday I asked him, “Tell me something. If everything wasn’t great, wonderful, marvelous and tremendous, how would you answer my question?”

“Oh, I’d probably lie to you,” he responded.

I then decided to rephrase my question. I asked, “How are you, really, Skip?” He worked with a group of people who emphasized memorizing a Scripture verse of the week. “Frankly, if you really want to know,” he said, “My verse of the week is, ‘Hang it on your beak, freak!’”

We then had some honest conversation, what I call “Reality Contact.”

What James had in mind is that if we are honest with each other we will be burdened to pray for each other. As a result of mutual prayers for one another we will be healed. If when we meet together we are not honest, we will not pray for each other and the mutual healing will not happen.

One translation reads that our honest prayers will explode with power!

We should have this kind of relationship with a believer we trust, but we are missing something important if we do not have “Reality Contact” with someone.

Do you have that kind of relationship with anyone?

Dick Woodward, 01 November 2011


#FAITH: God’s Unconditional Love

October 29, 2019

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)

After writing his prophecy that moved scholars to label him “The Weeping Prophet,” Jeremiah adds a short postscript to fifty-two chapters of weeping. That postscript is called “Lamentations,” which means “Weepings.”

You need to know why Jeremiah is weeping to appreciate his writings. He is weeping about the Babylonian massacre and captivity of God’s chosen people. For years he warned the people of God that unless they repented this awful tragedy would happen. As he writes Lamentations he has been permitted to remain in the land of Judah.

Sitting in his grotto he laments all the tragic things that have now happened.

In the midst of his deepest expressions of sorrow and sadness he suddenly breaks forth with the verses quoted above. These verses tell us clearly that what God revealed to Jeremiah in his darkest hour was that God never stopped loving His chosen people.

A providential wonder of prophecy is that Jeremiah’s grotto where he wrote these Lamentations was on top of a hill called “Golgatha.” This means that God gave Jeremiah this wonderful prophecy of God’s unconditional love for God’s chosen people throughout the tragedy Jeremiah was lamenting on the very spot where centuries later God would pour out God’s unconditional love for the whole world.

Dick Woodward, 28 October 2009


#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


Walking By #FAITH

October 18, 2019

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8, 9)

“A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? (Proverbs 20:24)

When God spoke through the prophet Isaiah God told us there is as much difference between the way God thinks and does things and the way we think and do things as the heavens are high above the earth. Building on that revelation the wisest man who ever lived proposed a logical question: if God is directing the steps of a person how can that person always expect to understand the way they are going?

As a God-passionate person, doing your best to follow the guidance of the Lord, have you ever found yourself completely baffled and blown away by inexplicable happenings like the sudden death of a loved one or other tragedies? When we put the two Scriptures quoted above side by side we should expect there to be times when we simply do not understand what God is up to.

Moses explained that what he called the “secret things” belong to the Lord but the things God wants us to do God has made very clear. (Deuteronomy 29:29) That means there are secret things God is keeping secret, so nobody can explain them.

These verses considered together are telling us that while we walk with God we should not expect to understand everything. If we understood everything we would eliminate the need for faith.

We walk by faith.

Dick Woodward, 19 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