At the Feet of Jesus

February 19, 2019

“… but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…”  (Luke 10:42)

Every time we meet Mary, the sister of Martha, she is at the feet of Jesus. The verse above describes her at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word. Martha is frustrated because Mary is attending the Bible study while she is doing all the serving. Jesus sides with Mary because she chose the number one priority that day.

In the 11th chapter of the Gospel of John the brother of these two sisters dies. When Jesus arrives too late to save their brother, both these sisters greet Him with the same words: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.”  However, when Mary spoke these words we read that she prostrated herself at his feet showing that she accepted His will.

In the next chapter Martha and Mary’s resurrected brother is the guest of honor at a banquet. Mary is once again there worshiping Jesus at His feet. She anointed His feet with perfume that was worth a year’s wages.

What would it mean if you worshiped Jesus with your annual income?

Mary is a great example for us as she is at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word, accepting His will, and worshiping Him. If we will not merely read our Bibles but hear Christ’s personal word to us at His feet when we do, we will find His will for our lives. If we continue to follow Mary’s example, we will be at the feet of Jesus accepting His will.

As we follow Mary’s example we will find ourselves worshiping Jesus forever with costly worship at His feet.

Dick Woodward, 19 February 2013


Faith vs. Giantology

February 8, 2019

“Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)

In the Old Testament book of Numbers we read that twelve Hebrew spies were sent into Canaan to determine the strength of the enemies they would face invading that land. Ten of the spies reported that, “The people in that land are such big and fierce looking giants they made us feel like grasshoppers. And the cities are mightily fortified with walls so thick they build houses on them!”

However, two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, reported that they had never seen such fruitful soil in their lives. They described how two men had to carry one cluster of grapes on a thick pole in Canaan.  Furthermore, they proclaimed that since they had the Lord with them they were well able to conquer the land of Canaan.

We might say the ten spies with the negative report were experts in “giantology” because they only saw the giants, while Caleb and Joshua saw the Lord. They had vision that the Lord was well able to give them the exceedingly fruitful land of Canaan.

When we “committee our way unto the Lord” and are challenged to take on a project that has great potential for being fruitful, but there are many obstacles and risks involved, we often have a split committee on a ten to two basis. Ten are experts on obstacles and risks involved in that project and two are like Caleb and Joshua.

When you are faced with challenges that involve risks but great potential for God, are you an expert in “giantology” or do you see the Lord?”

Dick Woodward, 11 February 2011


The Lord IS MY Shepherd

February 6, 2019

“The Lord is my Shepherd…”   (Psalm 23:1)

God created you and me to be men and women who make choices. God very much wants to be our Shepherd, but we must choose to make God our Shepherd.  We must deliberately choose to say, “baa!” and become one of the sheep of God’s pasture.

Can you declare the first five words of this great Shepherd Psalm as a personal confession of faith? Can you confess, “The Lord is my Shepherd?”

People touch me as they describe the way the Lord came into their lives, made them lie down and say, “baa!”  I am frequently concerned, however, when I fail to hear how that relationship is working in their lives today.

One of David’s most remarkable declarations in this psalm is that the blessings provided by his Shepherd-God are in place ‘all the days of my life.’

Be sure to make the observation that David’s great profession of faith is not, “The Lord was my Shepherd,” but that “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

When the Lord makes you lie down and confess, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” you are also confessing you are a sheep.

Sheep are completely helpless and hopeless without their shepherd.

Years ago I was out of bed at an early hour. When my wife asked why I was getting up at 4:30a.m., I told her what I read during my devotions: “When you wake up, get up, and when you get up, do something for God’s lambs.”  She responded, “baa!” (She was reminding that she and our five children are also God’s lambs.)

Psalm 23 is filled with sheep talk that shows us that God wants to hear every one of us say, “baa!”

Dick Woodward, from Psalm 23 Sheep Talk


The Beauty of Diversity

February 1, 2019

“If the whole body were an eye where would the sense of hearing be?”  (1Corinthians 12:17)

The story is told of a doctor who came out of the delivery room and told an expectant father, “I have some grave news for you. Your wife has given birth to a 7-pound eyeball.  And that’s not all. It’s blind!”

If you came home one night in the dark and found a 185 pound eyeball in the corner of your front porch, would that give you a rush of anxiety?

In the verse above the Apostle Paul uses an illustration like the illustrations I just shared. He does this in his inspired letter to the Corinthians because he wants to make a point: the beauty of diversity.

One of the fingerprints of the Church of Jesus Christ is that we celebrate diversity. Diversity in the body of Christ is to be celebrated rather than resolved. If two of us are exactly alike one of us is unnecessary. Some members of the First Church of Corinth were telling others they were not authentically spiritual unless they had the same spiritual gifts that they had.

Paul’s remedy for that kind of thinking was the metaphor of a body being just one member and not a body with the beauty of many diverse parts. Other members of the body of Christ have what you do not have and you have what they do not have – that means you need them and they need you.

The body of Christ is a team sport.  Are you willing to be a team player?  If so, step up and play your part.

Dick Woodward, 05 February 2013


Enduring Love: Sanctified Unselfishness

January 29, 2019

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; loves does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own…”  (I Corinthians 13:4-7)

The Greek words for “love suffers long” are often translated patience, but they actually prescribe a merciful, unconditional love – a love that does not avenge itself, even when it has the right and opportunity to do so. The Greek word for kindness means love is easy – easy to approach, easy to live with, sweet, good and does good things.

Love does not envy.” The Greek words Paul used here prescribe “an unselfish and unconditional commitment to another’s well-being.”

In other words: sanctified unselfishness.

Those applying this love are not only concerned about the welfare of the one they love, but they have made a deliberate and unconditional commitment to their happiness. Their love commitment is not, ‘I love me and I need you” or “You love me and so do I.” They are saying by their love actions, “I am fiercely committed to your well-being and happiness; my love for you is not based on, controlled, or even influenced by the ways you do, or do not, love me.”

Think of how critically this quality of love is needed when a spouse has Alzheimer’s disease, a stroke, accident, or illness.

The biggest problem in relationships can be summed up in one word: selfishness. Therefore, the greatest cure for relational problems can also be summarized in one word: unselfishness.

This love virtue of unselfishness is repeated for emphasis and listed between good manners and being unflappable, because Paul wants to underscore in our hearts that as conduits of the love of Christ:

Love does not seek its own (way.)” 

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love


Making A Difference

January 22, 2019

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you… for your fellowship in the gospel…” (Philippians 1:3-5)

As Paul begins his letter to the Philippians he uses a beautiful word when he writes: “your fellowship in the gospel.”  The basic meaning of fellowship is partnership, but Sam Shoemaker once paraphrased it as: “two fellows in the same ship.”

Years ago I met with a man on the threshold of coming to faith. He had many, many problems. I said to him, “There is a word you’re going to learn soon: ‘fellowship.’ It means ‘two fellows in the same ship.’

I want you to know that I am in the ship with you, Charlie!”

Taking a long drag on his cigarette, with tears in his eyes Charlie blew smoke in my face and said, “Well row, *bleep* it!”

Charlie was saying to me that he did not fully understand this new word but he wanted to know what difference it was going to make. Was I just going to take up room and rock the boat, or was I going to grab an oar and row with him?

I often said to others what I said to Charlie, but Charlie added to my understanding of this word. After Charlie, when I said these words I found myself asking, “What would it look like if I got in this person’s ship with them and rowed?”

When Jesus got in Peter’s little ship He surely made a difference. He filled Peter’s ship and his partner’s ship with fish. (Luke 5:1-11)

What difference does it make to others when you get in their ship with them? Think of the difference it could make because you are bringing Christ with you into their ship.

Dick Woodward, 22 January 2013


Tears & Sighs of Prayer

January 18, 2019

“I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.” (Isaiah 38:5)

Early in my ministry as a pastor I made a discovery about prayer. I came to the conclusion that we are praying even when we do not close our eyes, fold our hands, and bow our heads.

I discovered that prayer is the sincere desire of our souls no matter how we express it.

The sigh of a believer can be a prayer. When we come to the end of our hoarded resources and throw ourselves across a bed and sigh, or cry – that is also a prayer.

God sent the Prophet Isaiah to tell a sick King Hezekiah that he was going to die. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and cried. When God saw the tears of King Hezekiah, God sent Isaiah back to him with the message: “I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears.”

And God added 15 years to King Hezekiah’s life.

When we express the sincere desires of our souls, which are often too deep for words, in tears and sighs of despair – that is prayer God hears and answers. God has as much interaction with people in the waiting rooms of hospitals as God has in the sanctuaries of our churches.

Realizing your tears and sighs of despair are prescriptions for prayer, will you offer them to God as the prayers of your heart?

God will hear you.

Dick Woodward, 18 January 2011