#LOVE ONE ANOTHER!!

July 10, 2020

“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God Whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20)

Tradition tells us that the Apostle John escaped from the Isle of Patmos by swimming out to a ship that was bound for the city of Ephesus where he lived to a very old age and was buried. With white hair and a long white beard he was so feeble they had to carry him to the meetings.

While at the meetings he would bless those who attended and cry:

“Little children, love one another, little children, love one another!”

As we have seen in this chapter, John gives us ten reasons why we must love one another. One reason is that God is love and if we plug into the love God is we make contact with God, and as we become a conduit of God’s love God makes contact with us.

John gives us a second reason that if we say we love God and we hate our brother we are liars. Because if we do not love the brother we can see how can we love God Whom we cannot see?

His point is that it’s not easy to love God because we cannot hug a Spirit. There is an inseparable vertical and horizontal dimension of this love that God is.

These two dimensions form a cross.

We cannot say we love God if we do not love one another.

Dick Woodward, 09 July 2010


Conduits of God’s #Love

July 7, 2020

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him.” (1John 4:16)

In the epistle of First John, the apostle of Love is giving us ten reasons why we must love one another. Among those ten reasons is the one expressed above.

We must love one another because God is love and the person who loves in this way is living in God and God is living in that person.

One application of what he is writing is that when we plug into the love that God is, we live in God and God lives in us. In the 1950s I made a great discovery. As a social worker while responding to a night call at 3:00AM, I prayed a prayer like this:

“God, You say You are a special quality of love. I believe You are doing Your love thing where people are hurting. I’m now going to where hurting people are. When I get there please pass the love You are through me and address their pain.”

There were times when I prayed that prayer I thought I was being electrocuted with the love of God. I challenge you to accept the challenge of the Apostle John.

Go where the hurting people are with that prayer on your heart. When you become a conduit of God’s love, you will never be satisfied with anything less than having that experience again and again.

This is because as a conduit of the love of God you will experience Who, What and Where God is – and where you want to be for the rest of your life!

Dick Woodward, 06 July 2010


A Prayer for Peace (in times of crisis)

June 30, 2020

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  (John 14:27)

When I was in a very difficult situation, the prayer of Saint Francis had great meaning for me. I memorized it and prayed it every night for several months. I know you are very familiar with it but in case you don’t have a copy there, here it is:

 “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

Dick Woodward (email to his daughter, 2005)


#FAITH: Let the Redeemed SAY SO!

June 26, 2020

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy…” (Psalm 107:1-2)

Redemption means to get something back that has been lost. It is similar in meaning to the word “rehabilitation” which essentially means “to invest again with dignity.” The first words of Psalm 107’s marvelous hymn of redemption are quoted above. At the end of each of the five stanzas in this psalm, we are told that those who have been redeemed by the Lord should step up and say so.

Levels and dimensions of redemption are profiled in this psalm. Each description ends with the charge that we thank the Lord for His goodness in redeeming us in this way.

God redeems us from our chaos when He finds us. God then redeems us from our chains when He sets us free from our sins.

This is followed by the way God redeems us from our foolish and sinful choices. The psalmist emphasizes our responsibility for bringing on the consequences of our sins.

The psalmist then describes the way God redeems us from our complacency by meeting us in our crises from which He redeems us when we are at our wits end and don’t know what to do.

As you meditate on all these levels of redemption, ask God to continuously redeem you in all these ways. As you reflect on each individual dimension of redemption, step up and join the redeemed of the Lord in grateful worship.

And say so!

Dick Woodward, 27 June 2012


A Prayer for Comfort

June 19, 2020

“Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For He gives us comfort in our trials…” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Suffering can drive us to God in such a way that we make this discovery: God is here and God can comfort us.

When you undergo a life-threatening surgery and you, completely alone, are being placed under the bright lights, remember that God is the ultimate source of the greatest comfort you can experience in this lifetime.

As a pastor I have frequently heard believers say that God met them in a supernatural and intimate way while they were going through a medical crisis.

Many of us have known people we loved very much who are depressed and oppressed. They are nearly always alone and their pain is so intensely private they do not want any of the caring people in their lives to be with them.

Others believe their suffering is so personal they must place themselves in self-imposed solitary confinement. If that happens to you, I challenge you to make this great discovery: God is here, and God can comfort you.

Father of all mercy and comfort, make me know personally that You are the source of all comfort. Comfort me in my pain. When I feel alone and depressed, may I discover that You are here, You are real, and You can comfort me. 

I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Dick Woodward, from 30 Biblical Reasons Why God’s People Suffer


Misery vs. Peace & Joy

June 12, 2020

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

“While pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is optional.” These are the words of a man who lives every day with excruciating pain.

How can misery be optional for someone in agonizing pain? How do we explain Paul mentioning joy seventeen times in the short letter he wrote from prison to the Philippians?

Paul explains that for those who experience a relationship with the risen, living Christ there is peace and joy that are not controlled by our circumstances. The peace and joy Paul experienced could be called, “Peace that doesn’t make good sense” and “Happiness that doesn’t make good sense.”

According to Paul, the foundation of our peace and joy should be Jesus Himself. He therefore prescribed that we are to delight ourselves in Jesus and find our peace and joy in Him at all times.

What is your foundation for serenity and joy? If your foundation is the relationship with a loved one, do you realize there is no relationship with people here in this life that cannot be removed?

If your foundation is your health, youth, or athleticism, many thousands of people who had those foundations before age, illness, or injury destroyed them, will join me in warning you that they are fragile foundations for the peace and joy Paul is describing.

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Dick Woodward, 23 June 2009


Holy Spirit PATIENCE!!

June 9, 2020

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

Patience is part of Paul’s prescription for peace in Philippians. 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 of the ways 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 and 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 the virtue of patience in us – is more important than that for which we are waiting.

In our relationships with people, patience can 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” in us by teaching us to have a faith that waits. And He is growing “horizontal patience” in us by teaching us that in relationships, love waits.

Love is the first and primary virtue through which the Holy Spirit wants to express the life of Jesus Christ in us.

While impatience is a “peace thief,” vertical and horizontal patience are supernatural, God-given virtues that maintain the peace of God in our lives.

Dick Woodward, 09 June 2009


GOD: “Let’s Go to Ninevah!”

June 2, 2020

“…The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” (Jonah 3:1)

In the story Jonah tells us, he is not the hero. God is.

A paraphrased summary of Jonah’s truth looks something like this:

“When I went Nineveh, I was not agape love, but God was. I told the Lord, ‘I can’t love Ninevites, Lord.’ But God said to me, ‘I can, Jonah, so let’s go to Nineveh!’

I told the Lord, ‘I don’t want to go. I don’t want to love Ninevites, Lord!’

The Lord said to me, ‘I know that, Jonah. But, you see, I want to love Ninevites, so let’s go to Nineveh!’

When I went to Nineveh, I did not love Ninevites. When I was in the city of Nineveh, however, God loved the entire population of Nineveh through me.”

Miracle of miracles, God saved the entire population of Nineveh through the preaching of this prophet who hated the people God wanted to save.

…To be “prejudiced” means to “pre-judge.” Is God’s work through you being blocked because of your prejudice? Are there people with whom you do not share the Gospel because you have animosity toward them?

Or because they are above or below your level of education, wealth and social status? Do you fear apathy, ridicule, hostility or embarrassment?

Are you joining Jonah saying, “I will not?”

When are you going to let the love and power of Christ cut through your conscious and unconscious prejudice and say to God, “I will?”

It’s not a matter of what you can do, but of what God can do.

Faithfulness is your responsibility; fruitfulness is God’s responsibility.

Dick Woodward, Jonah Coming & Going: True Confessions of a Prophet

#Jonah #hope #love #peace #faith #inspiration #grace


God Loves You – and ME!

May 19, 2020

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

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 with the Holy Spirit, they are conduits of the love of Christ.

In two places Jesus tells us to ask, seek and knock continuously. (Luke 11:9-13 and Matthew 7:7-11) We should continuously ask God to make us conduits of His love. 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 loves 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


The Good Shepherd: #Faith and #Restoration

May 12, 2020

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness…” (Psalm 23:3)

In one of the most popular psalms written by King David, he shares the key to living and dying well in the opening statement. When we say (and believe) that the Lord is our shepherd, we can say we have green pastures, still waters, and the knowledge that the paths in which we are moving are the right paths for us.

This all happens when the Good Shepherd makes us lie down. But when we get up, the green pastures often turn brown and still waters are disturbed again.

That’s when David gives us a prescription for restoration: my Shepherd-God leads me in the paths of righteousness. The second time David writes ‘He leads me,’ he uses a different Hebrew word that means He drives me into the paths of righteousness, perhaps for some time, even years.

God then uses the discipline of those paths of righteousness to restore my soul.

The word rehabilitation in its Latin root means “to invest again with dignity.” It, too, is a prescription for restoration.

When we need restoration and rehabilitation we should not look for what’s cheap. God’s prescription for restoration in Psalm 23 is not cheap.

It takes time and it’s costly, but it works. It has worked for me and scores of others I know personally.

It can also work for you.

When you suffer great loss you can focus on what you have lost and be depressed, or you can focus on what you still have and be restored.

Are you willing to invest again with dignity?

Dick Woodward, 11 May 2010

#hope #peace #love #Psalm23 #faithfulness