Setbacks or Cutbacks?

August 7, 2018

“… every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”  (John 15:2)

My mentor Ray Stedman loved to tell the story about the famous violinist Paganini. As a brilliant violinist and superb showman, he liked to attach a sharp razor to his wrist. At the right moment he would cut one of the strings on his violin. As the string popped the audience would gasp, but the most famous violinist in the world would keep playing. Paganini did this dramatically until he only had one string left on his violin. He would then play the entire concerto on that one string as a violin virtuoso.

Ray’s application was that God sometimes likes to cut back our strings and play the concertos of our lives on one string. This brings great glory to God because people can’t believe that as we experience cutbacks our concertos continue to play with even more beautiful sounds.

My precious wife has lost the use of her left arm and years ago I lost the use of all four limbs. But the concerto of our lives and ministry continues to be more fruitful than it has ever been which brings great glory to God who is the One orchestrating the concerto of our lives.

The explanation of Jesus is that He is a Vine and we are branches related to Him. When we are fruitful because of that alignment He cuts us back to make us more fruitful.

Is it possible events in your life that you consider setbacks are actually cutbacks of your loving Lord and Savior who wants your life to be fruitful in the heavenly dimension?

Dick Woodward, 14 August 2012


Glorious Music

December 9, 2014

After last week’s post regarding how music expresses the inexpressible, today we are taking a time-out from the written word to enjoy words put to glorious music.  My father loved music! With speakers wired all over our home in Va. Beach, he roused us to the table every morning @ 6:15a.m. blasting the theme from “Rocky” by the Boston Pops. He & Mama so loved to sing hymns.  They would memorize all the verses & go over the words together, checking them in a file he used on his voice-activated computer, before singing them together with gusto.

Papa especially loved this time of year filled with carols. The Williamsburg Community Chapel piped in the amazing Christmas concert every year by video-feed for my parents to watch. He kept a picture of the WCC Choir singing Fairest Lord Jesus in pride of place in our living room.  (It was a no-brainer including that one during his Memorial Celebration.)

We also recorded many Christmas concerts during the holiday season.  The other night we watched his annual favorite, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and heard them sing the glorious “From Heaven on High” by Felix Mendelssohn (from his “Weihnachtslied.)  Be blessed to listen!


Expressing the Inexpressible

December 5, 2014

“And they sang a new song…” (Revelation 5:9)

 Have you ever wondered why God gave us the miracle of music?  We find a clue in the Old Testament book of Chronicles where David divided the Levite priests into courses of four thousand: “four thousand praised the Lord with musical instruments, ‘which I made,’ said David, ‘for giving praise’.” (1Chronicles 23:5)

There are times when we have a need to express the inexpressible.  When we are infatuated with love we often give each other nicknames.  I had an old girlfriend in California I forgot to tell my wife about when I married her in Virginia.  I called that girl “Punky” and she called me “Hunky.” We had written letters to each other using those nicknames.  One evening during the third month of our marriage when I came in from work my wife called me “Hunky darling!” How I wished I had burned those letters. We invent nicknames because we are trying to express the inexpressible.*

The greatest need we ever have to express the inexpressible is when we enter into the divine presence of Almighty God.  In the last book of the Bible, we read that when a door opens into heaven we find every creature in heaven worshiping a Lamb on the throne of heaven.  For that occasion they are given a new song because the need to express the inexpressible will be so very great. I can’t wait to hear what that new song will sound like!

For believers the purpose of music has been, will be, and is now to express inexpressible praise to God.  Whether it is in a congregation with a choir, or a worship group leading a large congregation, or in your private prayer closet let music express the inexpressible for you.

 Dick Woodward, 17 July 2011

*Editors Note:  After 56 yrs of marriage (& counting), Dick still calls Ginny his “Angel Face” and she calls him her “Angel Pie.”    (written on 17 July 2011)  An addendum today, Papa & Mama kept calling each other Angel Face & Angel Pie until he went to glory… : )