Jesus In Us: Inspired Art Galleries

November 3, 2017

“So the Word became human and made his home among us.” (John 1:14)

The Gospel of John is like an inspired art gallery with every chapter a room filled with beautiful portraits of Jesus Christ hanging on the walls. The portrait in the first room is that of Jesus as the Word that became human to make His home among us.

If you want to communicate a great idea wrap it in a person. God does that all the way through the Bible. God communicates the concept of faith by wrapping it in the person of Abraham. God tells us what grace is by wrapping that beautiful concept in the person of Jacob.

What does it mean when we are told that Jesus is the Word?  A word is the vehicle of a thought. When I want to communicate thoughts that are in my mind to your mind, I use words as vehicles of my thoughts. God had ‘Thought’ that God wanted to express to this world. Jesus was like a beautiful comprehensive Word that expressed the Thought of God to this world – to you and to me.

Our loving Heavenly Father decided that an inspired written Word was not enough. He wanted us to see His expressed thought in human flesh and blood. He therefore became human and made His home with us so we could see and experience His expressed thought toward us.

The Word not only made His home among us through Jesus – He wants to make His home in us.  If He has done that for you, what great ideas does He want to communicate to others by wrapping them in your life?

Dick Woodward, 10 November 2011


How Are You, REALLY?

October 31, 2017

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)

A long time ago when I lunched with a friend on Mondays, I always asked him, “How are you, Skip?”

“Great, wonderful, marvelous and tremendous!” he’d answer.  Always.

Many Mondays I’d not had a good weekend and life was not great, wonderful, marvelous, and tremendous for me. But this guy was always emphatically optimistic. After this pattern continued for some time, one Monday I asked him, “Tell me something. If everything wasn’t great, wonderful, marvelous, and tremendous, how would you answer my question?”

“Oh, I’d probably lie to you,” he responded.

I decided to rephrase my question. I asked, “How are you, really, Skip?”

He worked with a group of people who emphasized Scripture memory and they all memorized a verse each week.  “Frankly, if you really want to know,” he said, “My verse of the week is, ‘Hang it on your beak, freak!’” We then had some honest conversation, what I call reality contact.

This is what James had in mind – if we are honest with each other we will be burdened to pray for each other. If we’re not honest when we meet together, we will not pray for each other honestly. One translation reads that our honest prayers will explode with power!

We should have this kind of reality contact with a believer we trust.

How are you, really?

Dick Woodward, 01 November 2011


A Prayer for Our Valleys

October 27, 2017

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”  (Psalm 23:4-5)

In your dark valleys, learn to pray in this manner:

“As I enter this valley, Lord, I will not be paralyzed by fear, because I believe You are with me. Your ability to protect me and lead me through this valley is a comfort to me. I know that in the darkest and scariest part of this valley, in the middle of life threatening danger, You will spread a table of provision for me.

I am trusting You completely to anoint me with the oil of Your personalized, attentive care. I believe you will give me mercy for my failures and the grace I need to help in my time of need. You will also pursue me with Your goodness, unconditional love and acceptance, when I wander away from Your loving care.”

Finally, thank your Good Shepherd-God that you can trust Him to lead you through this life to unbroken fellowship with Him forever in Heaven: to the green pastures that never turn brown, the still waters that never become disturbed, and the cup that never empties.

Offer this prayer to “the God of peace, Who brought up from the dead that great Shepherd of sheep, Who through the blood of the everlasting covenant, can make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”  (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Dick Woodward, from Psalm 23 Sheep Talk


Keeping Our Eyes On Jesus

October 13, 2017

 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

When the ultimate terminal illness comes to an eagle, it climbs to the highest possible elevation and looks into the sun for an entire day. When the sun goes down that evening, the eagle dies.

Have you ever seen an eagle disciple of Jesus Christ die? I first started believing the Gospel when I watched my mother die. She died looking right into the Son. Our godly pastor, who had seen scores of saintly ones go home, said he never had seen anything like what he witnessed with us that night.

At the age of 49, my mother left behind six daughters, five sons and a husband. She spent the last two hours of her life with us, but she was already in heaven. She was talking to Jesus. She often said she never had any peace. We had a little house of thirteen hundred square feet with 13 people living in it, so you can understand why she had precious little peace and quiet. In those last hours she kept saying, “Oh, this peace, this peace!” Several times she started to share something but said, “I can’t tell you about that.”

The Apostle Paul described something similar in 2 Corinthians 12, when he tells us he was caught up into the third heaven, saw many things, but said essentially, “I can’t tell you about that.”

I believed intellectually at my mother’s death when I was 14, but I did not become a disciple of Jesus Christ for several years. I delayed my decision because I knew believing involved commitment. I knew this because my mother had said to me:

“If Jesus Christ is anything to you, Dick, He is everything to you. Because, until Jesus is everything to you, He isn’t really anything to you.”

My life changed forever because she lived and died as an eagle disciple of Jesus Christ. Those closest to us may also become believers as they see us live and die with our eyes on Jesus Christ.

Dick Woodward, As Eagles: How to Be an Eagle Disciple


Forgiveness: 10 Critical Words

September 29, 2017

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”  (Matthew 6:12)

In the communication that flows between a husband and wife there are ten critical words that often must be spoken. These ten words have saved marriages and the lack of them has dissolved marriages.

The ten words are: “I was wrong.  I am sorry.  Will you forgive me?” And they critically need this ten-word response: “You were wrong. I was hurt. But I forgive you.”

Some people will never say the words: “I was wrong.” They will never say: “I am sorry.” And they certainly would never ask for forgiveness. They would rather live alone for the rest of their lives than say these ten critical words. It may be their pride prevents them or perhaps they are driven by the myth of their own perfection. But these words can make the difference between marriage and living alone.

It is hard to imagine an unforgiving authentic disciple of Jesus Christ when the Disciple’s Prayer instructs us to forgive as we have been forgiven or we invalidate our own forgiveness. (Matthew 6:8-15) According to most translations of the Disciple’s Prayer, we are actually asking our Lord to forgive us as we have already forgiven those who have sinned against us.

Can you say these ten critical words?

“I was wrong. I am sorry. Will you forgive me?”

Dick Woodward, 25 September 2012

Editor’s Note: Singletons out there are not off the hook, as this teaching can also be applied to family and friendships – maintaining healthy relationships all around vs. being alone in ‘perfect’ aloneness.


We Need Each Other!

September 22, 2017

“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him… a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote that we were not meant to fight our battles alone. We need community. Jesus told us that He is present where two or three of us get together in His name. (Matthew 18:20) Jesus was not consoling us for poor attendance at a prayer meeting. He was giving us a prescription for an intentional dynamic we call a small group.

For nearly the first 300 years of Church history it was illegal to be a Christian. That forced the Church to meet in small house churches. In large mega churches today, often the only way to have meaningful interaction with other believers is to meet in small groups. All over the world the Church is again meeting in small house churches as in the beginning 2,000 years ago.

Perhaps this is what Solomon meant when he wrote that a threefold cord is not easily broken. A cord of three strands is not only strong – when cord number one is you, cord number two is another believer, and cord number three is God – you have a cord that is not quickly broken.

The Old Testament calls this “Hesed.” The New Testament calls this concept of community “fellowship” and “koinonia.”  When you are part of that threefold cord you are “wrapped in a bundle of life with the Lord your God.”  (I Samuel 25:29 Berkeley)

Have you personally discovered one of the greatest dynamics in the Bible? Or do you believe you don’t need anybody because you can handle anything that comes your way alone?

Dick Woodward, 22 September 2012


Prayer for Peace

August 15, 2017

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  (John 14:27)

When I was in a very difficult situation, the prayer of Saint Francis had great meaning for me.  I memorized it and prayed it every night for several months. I know you are very familiar with it but in case you don’t have a copy there, here it is:

 “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console: to be understood, as to understand: to be loved as to love: for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”   Saint Francis of Assisi

Dick Woodward (email, 05 March 2005)

Editor’s Note: This was Dick Woodward’s favorite photo, used in all his books & booklets (ICMers will definitely remember how much he liked it!) Circa 1987, it was taken during the blog-posting-elf’s graduation from The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, when Papa was still getting out and about in his Amigo. Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Charlottesville, our state, and our country: where there is hatred, may we always sow the love of Jesus Christ.