September 27, 2019
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” (James 1:19)
I once heard a quote that has haunted me for many years. Since misery loves company, I will afflict you with this statement:
“You are the master of the unspoken word. The spoken word is master of you.”
There are many such exhortations in the Proverbs, like this one: “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” (Proverbs 17:28) And this one: “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” (Proverbs 10:19)
The first stanza of the hymn “May the Mind of Christ My Savior” is my prayer every day. The prayer petition is this: “May the mind of Christ my savior live in me from day to day, by His love and power controlling, all I do and say.” (Lyrics, Katie Barclay Wilkinson)
One of my favorite mentors offended 1,500 people in 20 minutes when he spoke in the chapel service of his college. He decided that if he could make that many people mad in twenty minutes, maybe he could also do a lot of good with his mouth.
The hymn “Take My Life and Let it Be” (by Frances Ridley Havergal) prays, “Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.”
Obviously another great prayer to ask God every day when we are tempted to run our mouth before our brain is in gear. We certainly don’t want to have constipation of the mind and diarrhea of the mouth!
Dick Woodward, (email, 06 February 2003)
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Posted by Dick Woodward
October 23, 2018
“…we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand… Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 5:2-5)
Paul writes that God has given us access, by faith, to a quality of grace that makes it possible for us to stand for Christ in this world and live our lives glorifying God. Then he writes we should rejoice in our sufferings, because God sometimes uses suffering to force us to access grace.
There are levels and degrees of suffering we simply cannot endure without the grace of God. When our suffering drives us beyond the limits of any human resources we have within us, these times of severe testing become God’s opportunity to provide and prove grace to us.
A devout hymn writer expressed this truth this way:
“When we come to the end of our store of endurance.
When our strength has failed and the day is half done.
When we have exhausted our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving has only begun.
“His love has no limit. His grace has no measure.
His power has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite wisdom and mercy
He gives and He gives and He gives yet again.”
[“His Love Has No Limit” by Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932)]
Are you willing to let problems you cannot solve and suffering you cannot endure drive you to access God’s amazing grace today?
Dick Woodward, 23 October 2009
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Posted by Dick Woodward
July 26, 2017
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
After World War II, a devout woman named Corrie ten Boom told people all over the world how, in a Nazi concentration camp, God revealed this truth to her: “There is no pit so deep but what the love of God is deeper still.”
When the suffering of Job brought him to the bottom of a pit of despair, he received his great Messianic revelation: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:25-26)
In the third chapter of his Lamentations, Jeremiah received the same kind of revelation given Corrie ten Boom and Job. God made Jeremiah know this marvelous truth about the love of God when Jeremiah’s weeping bottomed out in his grotto: “I have never stopped loving the people of Judah!”
The unconditional love of God is taught from Genesis to Revelation. It is not won by a positive performance or lost by a negative performance. Meditating on God’s miraculous revelation to Jeremiah, I am deeply inspired that all the horror of the Babylonian conquest and captivity did not mean that God no longer loved the people of Judah.
Millions have affirmed this great truth singing the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” written by Thomas Obediah Chisholm.
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.”
Dick Woodward, Mini Bible College OT Handbook (p.501)
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Posted by Dick Woodward
December 27, 2013
“Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.” (Romans 8:28, J.B. Phillips)
“God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He fashions up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.
You fearful saints fresh courage take; the clouds you so much dread
Are rich with mercy and will break in blessings on your heads.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own Interpreter, and He will make it plain.”
If you ask me for my favorite hymn, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” by William Cowper is my answer. If you ask me for my favorite verse of Scripture I will point you to Romans 8:28 which summarizes my faith journey with Christ. As we approach the end of 2013 and cross the threshold into 2014 the combination of this verse of Scripture and the lines of this hymn express the thoughts of my head as I lay in my bed.
At this time of the year I like to look back with reflection, look in with a time of confession, and look ahead with resolution. Applying the three perspectives these words can reveal what God has done, what God is doing, and what God wants to do in our lives and in our world through us.
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Posted by Dick Woodward