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
May 11, 2018
“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.” (Psalm 128:1-3)
When you meditate on this Scripture that describes the role and function of a wife and mother, you can paraphrase observations this way: a mother is a man-maker. She is like a fruitful vine in the heart of her husband’s home. To borrow a metaphor from the beginning of the Bible, she is a completer whose passion is to see that her husband becomes all our Creator designed him to be (just as her husband is a completer to ensure she is all our Creator designed her to be.)
She is a people-maker because she gives him children who are like fruitful plants around his table. Many people would like to put a period after the fourth word of this psalm and say that everyone is blessed or happy, but that is not the way the psalm reads. The blessing on this man is because he meets certain conditions: he walks in the ways of God.
The other verses of the psalm tell us this is how God blesses and impacts the world. God finds a blessed man, joins him to a blessed woman and gives them blessed children. They impact Zion – the spiritual community – and this family unit fruitfully impacts the city and the country.
A mother is at the heart of this great strategy of God. What a great and noble calling!
Rise up and call your mother blessed this Sunday!
Dick Woodward, 07 May 2011
December 20, 2016
“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low; the crooked places straight, and the rough places smooth… I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight.” (Isaiah 40:4; 42:16)
The following is from a tribute given by one of Dick Woodward’s granddaughters, Jessey, at his Memorial Celebration…
“I’d like to share an email I got from my grandfather when I was 20:
‘I can’t begin to tell you how much I love you. I’m supposed to be something of a wordsmith, but words fail me as I try to find words that adequately express the love your grandmother and I have for you. How I would love to sit down with you and hear what our Father God is making you know about your future.’
And then his famous closing line: ‘Great Gobs of Agape, Your Granddaddy.’
My whole life he’s been loving me just like that – over the top kind of love that’s for me exactly as I am at that moment. He loved me and it had nothing to do with what I’d done or who I was becoming. He just loved me like crazy.
And with that he had this huge excitement for my future which shined like a light in the dark. That light helped me to climb mountains and do hard things that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
As I’ve been thinking about it, I’ve realized – isn’t that just like Jesus? He loves us with great gobs of agape just as we are right now, and He shines in our lives, and with His light we climb God-sized mountains.”
Jessey Woodward Davenport, 15 March 2014
June 17, 2016
“…To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’” (Luke 1:17)
When the Old Testament prophet Malachi prophesied the birth of John the Baptist, he predicted he would prepare the way of the Messiah by exhorting fathers to prioritize their relationships with their children. The challenging truth by application is that the way of the Lord in the lives of children is prepared when fathers are faithful in their responsibility toward their children.
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 our minds 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’ve had parishioners say to me in private, “When I address God as my father I experience a spiritual short circuit.” When asked to tell 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 profound influence fathers have in the lives of their children. The profound truth that was focused when the life and ministry of John the Baptist was profiled is confirmed in millions of lives every day.
As we in America call this Sunday “Father’s Day,” 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
January 7, 2014
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6: 6, 7 NKJV)
Have you discovered that parenting is emphasized in the Bible? The Bible mentions mothers more than 300 times. Since God assigns the spiritual nurture of children primarily to fathers, the Bible mentions fathers more than 1,400 times. Children are mentioned just under 6,000 times, which shows how important they are to God.
This teaching method of Moses in Deuteronomy rests on four foundations. The first one is responsibility. Moses gives the responsibility for the education of children to parents. There are 8,760 hours in a year. Since children receive about thirty minutes of instruction in the average Sunday school class, if that is their only source of spiritual education, they are only spending .02% (one-fifth of one percent) of their time being spiritually nurtured. If you send them to a Christian School they still spend 87.3% of their time with you. Can you see why Moses gave this responsibility to parents?
The second foundation is revelation. We are to teach the revealed Word of God to our children. The third foundation is relationship. You cannot apply this teaching method without having a relationship with your children. The fourth foundation is reality. These words must dwell in your heart and life before you teach them to your children. Your children will remember your example far more than your teaching.
Is your parenting built squarely on these four solid foundations?