#FAITH: Attitude Adjustments

August 23, 2019

“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.”

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 consistently challenge our mindsets 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.”  Sometimes we need to make attitude adjustments to get out of our pit fits.

There are other times when the best defense is a good offense. That is especially true when it comes to attitudes. Instead of erecting a strong defense of attitude adjustments, the better part of wisdom is to put in place a strong offense of God ordained positive attitudes that will lift 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, 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 – 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


#FAITH: Doing God’s Work (Now!)

August 16, 2019

“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. The night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4)

The Gospel of John gives us another window into the way Jesus felt about the works God wanted Him to do. According to this vision statement of Jesus He knew the reality that He had less than three years to do those works.

In 1956 the famous missionary Jim Elliot and his four colleagues were speared to death by the tribal people they were trying to reach with the Gospel. Jim was a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. About four years before he died, he wrote in his journal, “When it comes time to die, make sure all you have to do is die.”

We can’t understand how God decides the day of our deaths. We don’t know when our own finish line will come. But we should all live in such a way that when we come to the finish line of our lives there will be no unfinished business, no works our Heavenly Father assigned to us that we’ve left undone.

Do you have the magnificent obsession of Jesus to work the works God has assigned to you while it is day not knowing when the night is coming and you cannot work anymore?

Can you accept the challenge of being like Jesus in your attitude toward the works God wants you to do?

Dick Woodward, 18 August 2009


#FAITH: No Burning, No Shining

August 9, 2019

“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 the metaphors of Jesus 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 we are like branches and He is the Vine. As branches, if we are properly intersected with Him, we draw from Him the love force to be fruitful. Jesus 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 teachings we should not be surprised when we find ourselves burning our way through suffering that our brightest light for Christ yields the best fruit.

Like many others I thought I experienced my most fruitful years when I was able bodied and active. But I am joyfully surprised to discover that my most fruitful service for Christ has been as a bedfast 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 Bible studies on solar powered digital audio players.

Have you discovered there is no shining without burning?

Dick Woodward, 09 August 2013

Editor’s Note: The MBC has now been translated in more than 50 languages!


Will the real sinner please stand up?

July 30, 2019

…When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them.

Now which of them will love him more? (Luke 7:42)

Some of the greatest Christians were once the greatest sinners. As we read the seventh chapter of Luke (verses 36-50), we cannot help but think of The Confessions of Saint Augustine.  It is not necessary to sin much to love God – we should be careful not to give that impression. There is nothing good about sin.

It is true, however, that the truly repentant and contrite sinner can love much because he (or she) has been forgiven much. This was a driving force in the lives of King David, the Apostle Paul and Saint Augustine.

At issue here are the condescending thoughts of this Pharisee toward the woman who is washing Jesus’ feet. As he compares himself, the Pharisee is self-righteous. Like his colleague in Luke 18, he is looking upon this woman with an attitude, “I thank God I am not as other people are – sinners!”

The question of Jesus focuses this for him and for us. The Pharisee is the man forgiven the smaller debt, which means he saw his sin as a small thing. This teaching also focuses that the way we perceive ourselves has a profound effect upon how we perceive others.

Positively and negatively our self-image is a strong force in our interpersonal relationships.

The subtle message of Jesus to this Pharisee is that the real sinner at that luncheon was not the woman whose sin was obvious and known to everybody. Jesus’ message to her was the good news, that, because of her faith, her sins were forgiven.

When the real sinner stood up at that luncheon, however, he was a sinner named “Simon, the Pharisee.”

Dick Woodward, MBC New Testament Handbook (p.137)

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on us sinners.”


#Faith: One Step at a Time

July 26, 2019

 “… I being in the way the Lord led me…” (Genesis 24:27)

When we discover the context of these words of Scripture we realize they are teaching us a principle of how God works in our lives. It is easier to steer a moving vehicle than one that is stationary.

God can sometimes steer us more easily when we are moving. That’s why we often will find that one step frequently leads to the next step when we have faith to be led by the Holy Spirit.

The words above were spoken by Abraham’s servant who was commissioned by Abraham to travel to the land of his people to find a wife for Isaac. As Abraham’s servant journals the events of his search, he writes that while he was in the way the Lord led him he encountered the family of Rebekah. When he met her he knew that his search had ended.

Committed followers of Christ were commissioned two thousand years ago to go to all nations and make disciples for Jesus Christ.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Like the servant of Abraham, as we embark on the adventure of obeying our great commission, we should expect that each step will lead to the next step.

We don’t always have to know where the road leads as long as we know it is the right road. While we are in the way our Lord has commissioned us to go, we must have the faith to take that first step. Then, one step at a time, expect God to lead us to the next step.

Dick Woodward, 28 July 2009


A Prayer for the Valleys

July 19, 2019

“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 all the 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 individualized, personalized and attentive care. I believe You will give me mercy for my failures and the grace I need to help me 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 God to lead you through this life to unbroken fellowship 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


Highways for God

July 9, 2019

“Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Isaiah 40:4-5)

The essence of Isaiah’s great sermon is that when you build a highway you do four things: level mountains, fill valleys, straighten crooked places, and smooth out rough places.

Isaiah preached that God was coming into our world and when He did He was going to travel on the highway of the life of His Son. In that life the mountains of pride would be leveled, the empty spaces would be one hundred percent filled with the Holy Spirit, the crooked ways of sin would be perfectly straight, and rough places would be made smooth by the way He responded to them.

Just before Jesus parted with His apostles He told them that in the same way the Father sent Him into the world, He was sending them into the world. If His life was to be a highway on which God traveled into this world, our lives are also meant to be highways for God.

I challenge you to ask God to make your life a highway for Him to travel in this world.

If you have the courage to pray this way God’s bulldozers will start leveling your mountains of pride, the Holy Spirit will fill your empty spaces and straighten out your crooked ways of sin, and then give you the grace to smooth out the rough challenges that come into your life.

Dick Woodward, 06 July 2012