Using God’s Love Lenses

January 31, 2017

“…And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13:13)

How does love fit into the trio of lasting qualities Paul writes of? The Apostle John answered the question for us when he wrote: “God is love and he who dwells in love dwells in God and God dwells in him.” (I John 4;16) When we dwell in the love Paul prescribed (in I Corinthians 13), we dwell in God, and God dwells in us.

By application, this means when we go where the hurting people are, as God’s love is passing through us and addressing their pain, we are touching God and God is touching us.  Since the agape love passing through us is God, we are dwelling in God and God is dwelling in us while God’s love is passing through us.

Jesus gave us love perspective when He exhorted the apostles to look up before they look on the fields that are ripe for harvest. (John 4:35) The Lord was focusing on two perspectives we must master as His authentic disciples. Before we look around and relate to the people who intersect our lives every day, we are to look up, and then look at them. We should see them through the same love lenses God uses when God sees them.  If we do, we will never see anyone we cannot love.

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love


Ministering Comfort

January 15, 2016

“…  who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2Corinthians 1:4)

They say an evangelist is “one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.”  Paul is telling us in this Scripture passage that a minister of comfort is “one hurting heart telling another hurting heart where the Comfort is.” According to Paul, every time you enter into a deeper level of suffering God gives you a diploma you can frame and hang on your wall of credentials.

Captured during the Vietnam War, Jeremiah Denton spent 7 years of solitary confinement in Hanoi.  Alone in that cell he made an amazing discovery: God was there and God Himself comforted him.  Have you entered into a level of suffering that was deep enough for you to make that same discovery?  If you have, then you are a qualified minister of comfort and you can tell other hurting hearts where the Comfort is.

As a pastor for just under six decades I have made a discovery.  The best one to comfort a parent who has lost a child is a parent who has lost a child; and the best one to comfort the person who has lost a spouse is someone who has lost a spouse – when those who have suffered these losses have been comforted by God Himself.  The same is true for women who have had mastectomies, those who are going through divorce, battling cancer and every other shade and grade of suffering.

When God Himself has comforted you in your deepest levels of suffering are you willing to reach outside yourself and become a qualified minister of comfort?

Dick Woodward, 17 June 2010


Garden Spots: the genesis of this blog

June 2, 2014

As some of you faithful readers know, Dick Woodward needed a bit of help posting this blog. He couldn’t move anything (not even to wipe his nose) so he did all of his writing through a voice-activated computer, often painstakingly spelling out each word.  He wrote thousands of pages this way: books, Bible-study guides, pamphlets & many treasured emails to friends, family & fellow Kingdom laborers around the globe including the Editor, (a.k.a. the “Blog Posting Elf.”)

Let’s take a time-out to meet this Editor/Elf:  Virginia Woodward, Dick’s daughter, who worked many years overseas before coming home to help him. During a serious health crisis right after my return we thought Papa only had 6 months to live, but that was eight years ago – thanks be to God for the gift of life!

As an ardent reader of daily devotional books I encouraged Papa to compile his own daily book of what he called “Garden Spots” – places in the Scripture to take spiritual pause, meditating in the garden of God’s eternal truths.  Five, almost six years ago we started this blog with help from M.K. Sizemore & others toward that goal: compiling 365 blog entries that could eventually be used in a daily “Garden Spots” devotional book.  Before Papa died in March, we had posted over 400 of his blogs.

It’s taken awhile for the Blog Posting Elf to flex grieving editing muscles again.  Every week I encouraged Papa to meet his blog deadlines – usually Tuesdays & Fridays.  He would write-speak his first draft in Microsoft Word, then send it to my email for review & editing.  We then sat together in front of his big computer screen to wordsmith the final version (often with spirited editing discussions) before the Elf cut & pasted it into a blog post. Those were precious times amidst his busy schedule of appointments and all that clamored for his attention.

Now, although my father is gone, his faith-filled example and words are still with us. Many words, painstakingly spoken-typed, in many places – printed in books and pamphlets through the ministry of ICM & the Mini-Bible College, on this blog, in emails – and his spoken words that remain in our hearts & memories (& also through ICM’s audio compilations.)  By continuing this blog, I pray that Papa’s “Garden Spots” will continue to get you, dear readers, into the Word of God and more of the Word of God into you.  He always said, “the whole Word for the whole world.” That begins with each one of us as we apply the Word of God in our daily lives.

“When the sun finally drops below the horizon in the early evening, evidence of its work remains for some time. The skies continue to glow for a full hour after its departure.  In the same way, when a good or a great person’s life comes to its final sunset, the skies of this world are illuminated until long after he is out of view. Such a person does not die from this world, for when he departs he leaves much of himself behind–and being dead, he still speaks.”      Henry Ward Beecher  (Streams in the Desert.)
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Let’s keep listening to my father, Dick Woodward, as we encounter his Garden Spots together each week on this blog.
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grace, peace & spiritual Garden Spots
Virginia Woodward
(The Editor & Blog Posting Elf)