May 1, 2015
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:9-10)
As Jesus profiles what makes a disciple salty light and His solution to the problems and the problem people of this world, He declares that they will be peacemakers who get persecuted in His fourth pair of Beatitudes.
A synonym for “peacemakers” is “reconcilers.” Paul writes (in Second Corinthians 5:13-6:2), that every believer who has been reconciled to God through Christ is now committed to the message and the ministry of reconciliation. Today many people are alienated from God, from themselves, and from other people. The acute need today, therefore, is for reconciliation. To quote a theologian, who was interpreting the passage referenced above, “It is the will of the Reconciler that the reconciled are to be the vehicles of reconciliation in the lives of the un-reconciled.”
Since reconcilers go where the conflict is happening they are often in great danger. Such is the case with disciples who are living the fourth pair of Beatitudes. You would think that if a person had the eight blessed attitudes in their lives others would gather around him or her and sing, “For he’s (or she’s) a jolly good fellow!” But the opposite is often true. They attack and persecute such a person.
The reason being when they meet such a person they have two choices: They can realize that this is what I should be like, or they can attack that person and try to prove that they’re really not what they appear to be. Those who are the salt of the earth irritate and burn the moral sores of those who are lost.
So let me ask you, two men (people) in a pew, which one are you?
Dick Woodward, 16 April 2010
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Posted by Dick Woodward
October 17, 2014
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:22-23)
The way we see things can be the difference between a life filled with light and happiness, and a life filled with darkness, unhappiness and depression. Jesus and the entire Word of God will consistently challenge our mindset and show us how we should see things.
Have you as a believer ever found yourself in a funk and realized that you needed to have an attitude adjustment? I certainly have. I have learned there are times when an attitude adjustment can pull me out of what I label a “pit fit.” The two letters “AA” represent many things, but let them remind you to make regular Attitude Adjustments when needed.
There are times when the best defense is a good offense. That is especially true when it comes to attitudes. Instead of erecting strong defensive attitudes, the better part of wisdom is to put in place a strong offense of God ordained attitudes that will raise us above the devastating effects of “stinkin thinkin.”
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught us that if we want to be part of His solution as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we must begin by having eight attitude adjustments. In your Bible turn to Chapter Five of the Gospel of Matthew and study closely what we call the eight blessed attitudes known as the beatitudes of Jesus.
When you understand and apply them they will make your life the light of the world!
Dick Woodward, 25 August 2011
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Posted by Dick Woodward
August 9, 2013
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
The applications of our Lord’s metaphors are almost endless. One application to the metaphor above is that for our candle to give light it must be consumed. Unlighted candles are not consumed, but the candles that shine are the candles that burn. There is no shining without burning.
In another great metaphor Jesus told us there is no such thing as a fruitless disciple of His. We are like branches and He is the Vine. As branches, if we are properly intersected with Him, we can draw from Him the life force to be fruitful. He promised if we are plugged into Him and are fruitful we will be cut back and pruned to be made more fruitful. Cutbacks and pruning can really hurt. They can come in the form of suffering but they improve the quality and the quantity of our fruit.
In light of these very clear teachings we should not be surprised when we find ourselves burning through suffering that our brightest light for Christ yields the best fruit.
Like many others I thought my most fruitful years were when I was able bodied and active. But I have been joyfully surprised to discover that my most fruitful service for Christ has been as a bed fast quadriplegic. Using voice activated computer software from my bed, 782 Bible studies have been produced and are being heard in 31 languages in 60 countries. Worldwide more than 45,000 small groups are listening to our studies on solar powered digital audio players I call “God pods.”
Have you discovered there is no shining without burning?
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Posted by Dick Woodward
May 22, 2012
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)
An attractive young lady was returning from a church meeting at a late hour. When she stopped at a traffic light, a large “eighteen-wheeler” truck was in the next lane. As the light changed and she pulled away, the large truck “tailgated” her car while blinking its lights and blowing its loud air horn.
She was very frightened and increased her speed as she drove out of the city limits toward the farmhouse where she lived with her parents. The huge truck followed her all the way, blinking its lights and blowing its horn. She turned into a long dirt road that led to her home. The truck followed her as she drove right up to the porch of the house. When she frantically popped open her door to run for the house, the back door of her car suddenly opened and a man with a large knife bolted for the woods.
When she stopped for that light, the truck driver saw the man crouching behind her front seat with a knife in his hand. Realizing that she was going to be attacked as soon as she drove into the country, the truck driver was determined to save her from that tragedy.
Sometimes, our suffering and limitations seem like that eighteen-wheeler bearing down on us. Actually, however, that suffering can be a vehicle of our loving God, purging out of our lives the evil one who is determined to ruin us. This is what our Lord was profiling when He instructed us in the disciple’s prayer to pray that we might be delivered from the evil one.
Can you meet yourself in this story?
Editor’s Note: Dick Woodward (my Papa) recently returned from a hospitalization & has recovered nicely (thanks be to God!!) He is now getting back into his normal schedule (blog writing inclusive.) We appreciate your continued prayers as we give thanks – Life is a Gift!!
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Posted by Dick Woodward