PERFECT PEACE: Christ in YOU!

May 13, 2022

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

The prophet Isaiah wrote of a state of perfect peace in which God can continuously keep us. He also wrote that this state of perfect peace is based on two important conditions: we must keep our minds centered on God, and we must trust God. This peace is supernatural because it’s a peace we can have even when circumstances of our lives are chaotic.

Jesus promised that He gives His followers peace the world will never understand because it comes from Him and is ours even in the middle of the storms of life. The early followers of Jesus Christ were persecuted (as many continue to be today.) Suffering unimaginable cruelty at the hands of their persecutors many died peacefully because they had the peace of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul believed in this peace. In one chapter of one of his letters (Philippians 4) he listed twelve conditions on which this peace is based. In another letter Paul described this peace as the fruit of the reality that the Holy Spirit lives in authentic disciples of Jesus. (Galatians 5:22-23)

“Christ in you” is the foundation on which all conditions of this peace are built. (Colossians 1:27)  Looking at Paul’s twelve conditions for the peace of Christ, there is something to believe and Someone to receive when you become a follower of Jesus Christ.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

Dick Woodward, (15 May 2009)


The Good Shepherd & RESTORATION

May 10, 2022

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness…” (Psalm 23:3)

In one of the most popular psalms written by King David, he shares the key to living and dying well in his opening statement. When we say (and believe) that the Lord is our shepherd, we can say we have green pastures, still waters, and the knowledge that the paths in which we are moving are the right paths for us.

This all happens when the Good Shepherd makes us lie down. But when we get up, the green pastures often turn brown and still waters are disturbed again.

That’s when David gives us a prescription for restoration: my Shepherd-God leads me in the paths of righteousness. The second time David writes ‘He leads me,’ he uses a different Hebrew word that means He drives me into the paths of righteousness, perhaps for some time, even years. God then uses the discipline of those paths of righteousness to restore my soul.

The word rehabilitation in its Latin root means “to invest again with dignity.” It, too, is a prescription for restoration. When we need restoration and rehabilitation we should not look for what’s cheap. God’s prescription for restoration in Psalm 23 is not cheap. It takes time and it’s costly, but it works. It has worked for me and scores of others I know personally.

It can also work for you. When you suffer great loss you can focus on what you have lost and be depressed, or you can focus on what you still have and be restored.

Are you willing to invest again with dignity?

Dick Woodward, 11 May 2010


Waiting on the Lord

May 6, 2022

“They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

We must learn the difference between what we can do and what only God can do. We must have faith to wait on our Heavenly Father until He empowers and enables us to do what He desires.

I have summarized waiting on the Lord in Four Spiritual Secrets: I’m not, but He is; I can’t, but He can; I don’t want to, but He wants to; and I didn’t, but He did.’ 

These spiritual secrets affirm that it is not a matter of who we are, but Who God is; it’s not a matter of what we can do, but what God can do; it’s not a matter of what we want, but what God wants. If these first three secrets are in place, we will know the joy of one day looking back and affirming it was not a matter of what we did, but what God did through us.

When I first began learning these spiritual secrets, I’d say, “I can’t, but He can.” Then, as a mover and shaker, I’d look at my watch, “I’ll give God five minutes, and if He doesn’t, I will!”

It took 40 years and a bush to teach Moses how to wait on the Lord, and it has taken 40 years for me to learn how to wait on the Lord the way an eagle waits on the wind.

Waiting on the Lord was not my style until my (quadriplegia) illness forced me to learn why an eagle sits on the side of its nest and waits until the wind currents are strong enough to soar over the winds of a storm.

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


Morning Time with God!

May 3, 2022

“Let me hear of Your steadfast love in the morning, for in You I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.”  (Psalm 143:8)

Early every morning the eagle preens its feathers for more than an hour. Sitting on the side of its nest, the eagle passes each feather through its mouth, something like steam cleaning while depositing a liquid that makes its feathers water repellent.

This is important because eagles fish by diving under the water. The fluid deposited on their feathers also locks them together to improve their aerodynamics.  Whether an eagle is planning to fish or not, every morning for an hour they sit on the side of their nest and preen. They are not primping, they are preening – a very prudent preparation.

Like you and me, eagles never know what challenges they may face on any given day. Therefore, they preen in preparation for every possible challenge each day may hold.

Do you wake up holy in the morning? Before you’ve had your coffee? It’s possible for spiritual people to wake up holy, but if we’re honest we will concede that most of the time we don’t wake up that way.

It is very important to make a good beginning each day. When we consider the eagle’s daily practice of early morning preening, we are challenged to begin every day of our lives with spiritual preparation.

Have you preened your spirit with God’s help this morning?

Dick Woodward, (As Eagles: How to be an Eagle Disciple)


Sharing the Gospel

April 29, 2022

“I want to remind you of the gospel…which you received and on which you have taken your stand… that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day.” (I Corinthians 15:1-4)

Since most evangelism takes place today in the marketplace, it is imperative that we understand how to articulate the Gospel. A first step in that direction is realizing the Holy Spirit is the Evangelist and we are merely conduits through whom the Holy Spirit works.

When Jesus stayed up late with Nicodemus, the first words of Nicodemus were: “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do the works that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2) Jesus earned his hearing with Nicodemus by what he had seen Him do. Likewise, we must also earn our hearing with people.

This begins with our understanding that what we do demonstrates what we believe. All the rest is just religious talk. People are not interested in our religious talk unless they are impressed by what they see us do and are favorably impacted by what we are. It’s as if Nicodemus was saying he was impressed with what he had seen Jesus do, so he had come to hear the religious talk of Jesus. We deceive ourselves if we think it’s not that way today.

What I’m calling religious talk is our theological explanation of what we believe and why we believe it. This can be a negative if we overwhelm people with our theology. Many secular people don’t understand our complicated theological terms. Whether positive or negative, people will not be interested if they are not impressed with who and what we are and the things we do.

When we earn our hearing by the grace of God, the Gospel is simply two facts about Jesus Christ: He died for our sins and He rose again from the dead, just as the Old Testament Scriptures said He would and the New Testament Scriptures tell us He did.

There is something to believe and Someone to receive.

Dick Woodward, Marketplace Disciples


Still Waters: God at Work

April 26, 2022

“He leads me beside the still waters.”  (Psalm 23:2)

Most people associate the still waters of David’s Shepherd Psalm with peace. However, if you research sheep you will find when they drink from a stream of water that stream must be as still as a mirror or the water will go up their snouts. An authentic application of this still water metaphor means our great Shepherd leads us to places just suited for us.

In 1979 I resigned as pastor of a large church in a big city and accepted a call to a small church that had just begun in a small town. After being in the small church for a year I went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota due to the onset of debilitating symptoms. After nearly a month of studies, the doctor who directed my program misread my file. Thinking I was still in the large church, when he gave the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis he told me I needed to go to a small church in a small town. I told him that for a year I had already been in a small church in a small town. I was to learn to be fulfilled with doing less and doing it better.

As my symptoms persisted and confined me to a wheelchair, a group of friends helped build a house that accommodated my physical challenges. One made a beautiful stained glass window by the entrance with these two words: “Still Waters.” These words have not just been a label for my home the past 26 years but also my ministry – in this location by God’s grace I have accomplished my most fruitful work for the Kingdom, most as a bedfast quadriplegic.

“Still Waters” – can you write these two words across what God is doing in your life right now?

Dick Woodward, 20 April 2012


Psalm 19: God’s Revelatory Sermons

April 22, 2022

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge…The Law of the Lord is perfect… Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19: 1-2, 7, 14)

In Psalm 19 David writes that every day and every night God is preaching a sermon through the heavenly bodies. The text of that sermon is the glory of God. The “firmament” and space in which those bodies exist are also preaching sermons.

Space preaches to us about the infinite size of God.

His thoughts then turn to the “Special Revelation” of God. That’s what the theologians call the “Word of God” and David calls the “Law of God.” David is impressed and impresses us with what the Word of God can do: The Word can convert the soul, enlighten the eyes and make wise the simple.

The Word can rejoice the heart, and since the Word is true and righteous altogether it will endure forever. So will the one whose soul has been converted by the Word of God. As David meditates on what the Word can do, he claims that the Word is more to be desired than much pure gold.

Having reflected on what we might call Natural Revelation” and “Biblical Revelation” David next guides us to consider “Personal Revelation.” His thought is that God’s revelation through nature is magnificent and beautiful. God’s revelation through Scripture is miraculous and perfect. But what about God’s revelation through God’s people like you and me?

Dick Woodward, 26 April 2010


When You Don’t Know What To Do

April 19, 2022

“We don’t know what to do but our eyes are on You.”  (2 Chronicles 20:12)

No matter how gifted we may be, sooner or later we will hit a wall of crisis where we simply do not know what to do. The Scripture above is taken from a historical context when the people of God were overwhelmingly outnumbered and they simply did not know what to do.

James wrote that when we do not know what to do we should ask God for the wisdom we confess we do not have. (James 1:5) He promises us that God will not hold back but will provide a truckload of wisdom for us.

Years ago I received a telephone call from my youngest daughter when she was a first year student at the University of Virginia. With many tears she informed me that she had fallen down a flight of stairs and was sure she had broken her back. At the hospital the doctors discovered mononucleosis and seriously infected tonsils that needed to be removed. She concluded her litany: “Finals begin tomorrow and I just don’t know what to do, Daddy!”

Frankly, I was touched that my intelligent young daughter believed that if she could just share her litany of woes with me and tap into the vast resources of my wisdom, I would tell her what to do when she did not know what to do.

According to James that is the way we make our heavenly Father feel when we come to Him overwhelmed with problems and tell Him we don’t know what to do. That’s why a good way to begin some days is:

“Lord, I don’t know what to do but my eyes are on you!”

Dick Woodward, 16 April 2013


Good Friday Good News

April 15, 2022

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”(Isaiah 53:6)

If you want to know what is good about Good Friday the verse from Isaiah quoted above will tell you. This verse describes with great clarity the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross when it begins and ends with the same word.

That word is “all.”

The verse begins with what we may call “the bad news.” Isaiah tells us that all of us are like little sheep and have gone astray. We have turned every single one of us to our own way. If you want to know the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, agree that you are included in that first ‘all.’

The ‘all’ with which this verse concludes is what we can call “the good news.” Isaiah tells us that the penalty for all the things we have done after turning to our own ways has been laid on Him (meaning Jesus.)

I don’t know about you, but for me that is very, very good news! If you and I confess we are included in the first and the last ‘all’ in this great verse, then we know what we need to know and we have done what we need to do to turn our bad news into good news.

And we know what is good about Good Friday.

If you want to make this Friday of Holy Week a Good Friday, believe what Isaiah has written:

“The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  

Dick Woodward, 02 April 2010


Holy Week: In Step with Eternal Values

April 12, 2022

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Have you discovered that, to the authors of the four Gospels, Easter is far more important than Christmas? Of the 89 combined Gospel chapters, 4 chapters cover the birth and first 30 years Jesus lived, while 27 chapters cover the last week He lived.

Why is the last week Jesus lived so important?

The obvious answer is during that week Jesus died and was raised from the dead. Have you ever wondered why the apostles changed their day of worship from the Sabbath (seventh) Day to the first day of the week? If you read carefully, they never call Sunday the “Sabbath.” They call it “The Lord’s Day” because that was the day Jesus rose from the dead.  Every Sunday the Church gathers for worship is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, because on the first day of the week Jesus demonstrated the absolute eternal value.

This is the greatest and most important eternal value: Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead for our salvation. The Good News is that when Jesus died on the cross, God laid on His only beloved Son all the chastisement we rebellious human beings deserve for our sins. In this way, God exercised His perfect justice while also expressing His perfect love.

The beloved Apostle John points to the cross and says: “Here is love. Not that we love God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1-2)

Isaiah showed us how to confess this eternal value when he wrote: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

…Do you believe you are included in the first and last ‘all’ of this verse?

Dick Woodward, In Step with Eternal Values