A Message for Fathers: Faithfulness

June 14, 2019

“…To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”  (Luke 1:17)

When the birth of one of the greatest prophets ever born of woman was prophesied, it was predicted that as he prepared the way for the Messiah to come into this world he would do so by exhorting fathers to prioritize their relationship with their children. By application the challenging truth is that the way of the Lord in the lives of children is prepared when fathers are faithful in their responsibility toward them.

One example of this reality is when our Lord taught His disciples how to pray, He instructed us to address God as “Our Father.” What images come into the minds of people when we address God in this way? Our relationships to our earthly fathers can strongly influence the way we perceive our heavenly Father.

As a pastor I have had parishioners say to me in private, “When I address God as my father I experience a spiritual short circuit.” When I asked them to tell me about their earthly father I often heard a story about a very dysfunctional father/child relationship.

Professional Christian clinical psychologists and psychiatrists strongly reinforce the hard reality of the influence fathers have on the lives of their children. This profound truth from the life and ministry of John the Baptist is confirmed in millions of lives every day.

As we in America celebrate “Father’s Day” this Sunday, may the vision statement that was prophesied for John the Baptist raise awareness in all of us who are fathers of the solemn mission objective we have been assigned by God when He made us fathers.

Dick Woodward, 20 June 2010


A Prayer for Comfort

June 11, 2019

“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 great discovery:

God is here and God can comfort us.

There is supernatural quality of comfort that can be found in simply knowing God. 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.

Many of us have known people we love 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 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 pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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


God’s Faithfulness (amidst our Lamentations)

June 3, 2019

“He has filled me with bitterness…my soul is bereft of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is… But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.”  (Lamentations 3: 15, 16, 22-23)

When Jeremiah gets to his darkest hour, he receives a revelation of hope and salvation. Just like Job when suffering brought him to the bottom of despair’s pit and he received this Messianic revelation:

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last upon 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 to Job. After World War II, 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.” 

This is the same truth God revealed to Jeremiah. God made Jeremiah know the truth about His unconditional love that is taught from Genesis to Revelation: God’s love is not won by a positive performance or lost by a negative performance.

Reading the Lamentations, I am deeply touched and inspired meditating upon God’s revelation to Jeremiah, that all the horror of the Babylonian conquest and captivity did not mean that God no longer loved the people of Judah…

Another awesome possibility is that as Jeremiah received his revelation weeping in his grotto on that hill of Golgotha, he could have been sitting on the very spot God was going to pour out His love on the whole world.

Dick Woodward, Mini Bible College Old Testament Handbook, (pp. 500-501)

Editor’s Note: After the horrendous shooting last Friday in Virginia Beach, my prayers & love are with all those touched by this senseless violence. My father served as a pastor in Virginia Beach for over 20 years. In times like these, I know he would reiterate Corrie ten Boom’s sentiment: God’s love is deeper than the darkest times we encounter.


#FAITH: HOPE & (ENDURING) LOVE

May 17, 2019

“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.”  (I Corinthians 13:7-8, J.B. Phillips)

We read in the book of Hebrews: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) The inspired author of the great faith chapter claims that the object of faith is unseen, and faith gives substance to our hope that the object of our faith exists.

In other words, faith puts a foundation under our hope.

When faith cannot place a foundation under our hope for the ones we love, all we can do is hope for them. According to the love hymn of Paul (I Corinthians 13) the one applying the love of Christ will hope for them.

Love joyfully awaits for the fulfillment of what it prayerfully desires, imagines, dreams and hopes concerning the potential of the ones we love.

When Paul writes, “Love endures all things,” he means love perseveres while it awaits the fulfillment of what it hopes and believes to see in the lives of the ones being loved. The Greek word translated as ‘endurance’ is ‘hupomone.” It is a combination of two Greek words, ‘to abide’ and ‘under,’ whatever is required to love someone.

This is especially important when we love a person who is not responding to our loving, positive reinforcement. This quality of loving perseverance equips believers to love and pray for loved ones in their addictions to alcohol, chemical substances, pornography, gambling, eating disorders and the seemingly endless list of compulsive habits.

These ‘chains’ of the evil one can only be broken with supernatural assistance from God, often using, as conduits, those who love with the love of Christ that hopes, believes, and endures all things.

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love


#Faith: What are You?

May 3, 2019

“… He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas (which is translated ‘Peter.’)   (John 1:42)

When Jesus first met Peter, his name was Simon and his life was characterized by instability.  Yet Jesus gave him the nickname “Peter,” which means “rock” andstability.”

In Matthew 16 we have an intriguing interview between Jesus and Peter. Jesus had done the “who are you?” question in reverse. He asked the apostles, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter came up with the right answer. The Lord then said in so many words, “You’re not that smart Peter. That answer really didn’t come from you. It came from My Father.”

In this interview Jesus was telling Peter who and what Peter was, and what he was being called to be. In the Gospels Peter’s life is recorded like an unstable spiritual roller coaster. But after Jesus called Peter a ‘rock’ for three years and after Peter experienced Pentecost, we read in Acts that this unstable man became the rock-like, stable leader of the New Testament Church.

When you read the Gospels and Acts, you realize Jesus was convincing Peter of what he could become because he had come to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Do you hear the voice of the Christ Who lives in your heart trying to give you His answer to this question, “What are you?”

Is Jesus making you know what you can become and do for Him since He has made you a new creation? Is Jesus making you know what He can equip you to become as He is calling you and revealing what He wants you to be and do for him?

Dick Woodward, A Spiritual Compass (p. 71-72)


#Jesus: A Friend of Sinners

April 30, 2019

“When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” He said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”  (Luke 19:5)

When Jesus came face to face with the greatest sinner in Jericho, He knew him and called him by name. He then invited himself to spend the entire day in the house of His sinner friend. This chapter tells us elsewhere that Jesus was only passing through Jericho. He was extremely popular at this time and His walk through Jericho was like a parade with the sides of the street crowded with people wanting to get a glimpse of the famous Rabbi from Galilee.

We might imagine that the religious leaders would like to have entertained Jesus for lunch. To everyone’s shock and amazement Jesus declares that He will spend His one day in Jericho with the greatest sinner there. Publicans were hated in that day because they collected taxes for the Romans from their fellow Jews.

Zacchaeus as chief of the publicans had become very wealthy in that position.

We are told nothing of what Jesus and Zacchaeus discussed that day, but at the end of the day as they come out of the house this sinner announces that he will give half of his money to the poor. And with the other half he will restore 400% of everything he has taken from people unjustly.

One scholar put an interesting spin on this story when he suggested that Zacchaeus was the publican in the previous chapter of Luke who prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!

Do you know any sinners by name?  Are you a friend of sinners?

Dick Woodward, 01 May 2011


Holy Week: The Absolute Eternal Value

April 16, 2019

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Have you discovered that, to the authors of the four Gospels, Easter is far more important than Christmas? Of the 89 combined Gospel chapters, 4 chapters cover the birth and first 30 years Jesus lived, while 27 chapters cover the last week He lived.

Why is the last week Jesus lived so important?

The obvious answer is during that week Jesus died and was raised from the dead. Have you ever wondered why the apostles changed their day of worship from the Sabbath (seventh) Day to the first day of the week? If you read carefully, they never call Sunday the “Sabbath.” They call it “The Lord’s Day” because that was the day Jesus rose from the dead.  Every Sunday the Church gathers for worship is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, because on the first day of the week Jesus demonstrated the absolute eternal value.

This is the greatest and most important eternal value: Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead for our salvation. The Good News is that when Jesus died on the cross, God laid on His only beloved Son all the chastisement we rebellious human beings deserve for our sins. In this way, God exercised His perfect justice while also expressing His perfect love.

The beloved Apostle John points to the cross and says: “Here is love. Not that we love God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1-2)

Isaiah showed us how to confess this eternal value when he wrote: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

…Do you believe you are included in the first and last ‘all’ of this verse?

Dick Woodward, In Step with Eternal Values