October 10, 2017
“… All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)
I find it intriguing to know that in little genes that cannot be seen with the naked eye the genetic heritage of a human being is determined: how high heads will be from the sidewalk, eye color, hair color, the capacity for intellectual gifts, athleticism, and even mannerisms are all wrapped up in microscopic genes.
David – a great warrior, king, man after the heart of God and hymn writer – tells us in Psalm 139 that before we existed as genes God determined the days we will live on this planet. The Living Bible Paraphrase reads that “before we existed God had an agenda for every day we are to live on this earth.”
A few years ago my wife and I woke up one morning and prayed together that if our agenda for the day did not agree with God’s agenda, we were willing to be preempted. Later that day while having lunch with our pastor son, I realized I was having a heart attack. As the paramedics rolled me on a stretcher out our back door to the ambulance, I said to my wife, “Looks like we’re being preempted big time!”
Thankfully, the doctors turned things around before it became a full-blown heart attack. However, that experience gave my wife and me a perspective we will never forget. There is God’s agenda and there is our agenda for every day we live. How should this truth impact the way we plan our agendas each day?
Are we willing to be preempted by God’s agenda every day?
Dick Woodward, 01 October 2010
March 28, 2017
“Only let us live up to the truth we now have.” (Philippians 3:16 LB)
The Apostle Paul had a conversion experience on the road to Damascus. He often shared the details of that experience as we find in the third chapter of his letter to the Church at Philippi. It was as if his accounting books were turned upside down: what had been in his gain column was now in his loss column and vice versa.
After his accounting books had been turned upside down (or we might say right side up), his ambitions totally changed in the gain column. He wanted to tackle the purposes for which the risen Christ had tackled him. Now he only wanted to know Christ and the high calling of God to which Christ was leading him.
Paul claims he has not attained all these things in his new gain column, but he has learned a principle about knowing the will of God: if we want to know the will of God we must live up to the light and truth God has given us at any given time on our faith journey.
We can take away from this a prescription for guidance. If we want to see further ahead into the will of God for our lives, we should move ahead into the will of God just as far as we can see. Like driving at night across country we can move ahead into the 100 yards of light our headlights give us, that leads us from coast to coast one mile at a time.
When we live up to the light we have, God gives us more light.
Dick Woodward, 08 January 2011
January 27, 2015
“So he said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’” (Acts 9:6 NKJV)
Two Men named Marx and Engels authored The Communist Manifesto. For years after their book was written the membership in the Communist Party was meager. Then a man named Lenin appeared on the scene and wrote a very short pamphlet entitled: “What Is to Be Done?” His thesis was that if you read the book authored by Marx and Engels and then look at the world, what do you think should be done by those who truly believe what they wrote? Until the collapse of the “Iron Curtain” there were a billion people under the control of the Communist Party.
During the height of The Cold War, I was obsessed with this question: As a devout follower of Jesus Christ why not write a short booklet entitled ‘What Is to Be Done?’ by those who read and believe the Bible and then look at the world? After asking many of the spiritual heavyweights I met this question, the best answer came from a man I highly respected. He told me that no one person could write that booklet for everyone. Each individual disciple of Jesus needs to write his own booklet by asking the question the Apostle Paul asked the risen Christ on the road to Damascus.
“Lord, what do you want me to do?”
The way we each receive the answers to that question from the Lord can become our personal vision and marching orders for what we are to do. Sadly, so many followers of Jesus do not have a vision of what Christ wants them to do.
I challenge you to ask the risen Christ, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
Dick Woodward, 24 January 2010
September 30, 2014
“…You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly…” (James 4:3)
A consultant told me that much of the time, even though he is paid large fees, his clients do not want his consultation. They simply want him to affirm what they have already decided to do. At the heart of counseling session, a woman once said, “Don’t confuse me with Scriptures, Pastor. My mind is made up!” Knowing the will of God is often made difficult by our own wills. It’s out of reach because we have our agendas in place when we come to God seeking His will. If our minds are set like concrete before we converse with God regarding His will for our lives, we are not really seeking His will when we pray and open His Word. We are actually asking God to bless our will, our agenda and the way we have decided to go.
James tells us that when we pray, we ask and do not receive because our asking is flawed by our self-willed agendas. To seek and know the will of God we must be completely open to whatever the will of God may be. Our prayer and commitment must be in the spirit of the familiar metaphor, “You are the Sculptor, I am the clay. Mold me and make me according to Your will. I am ready to accept Your will as passively as clay in the hands of a Sculptor.”
There are at least two reasons why you must be open and unbiased as you seek to know God’s will. One reason we learn from Isaiah: the ways and thoughts of God are as different from our ways and thoughts as the heavens are high above the earth. Another is that we become a totally new creation when we are born again.
It is tragically possible for you to miss the will of God for your life because you do not have the faith to believe that God can make you a new creation in Christ. Your extraordinary potential as a new creation is one reason why you must be completely open and unbiased. Seeking the will of God with your mind already made up could rob you of the will of God for your life… God loves you too much to let you live a life that is only a fragment of the life He has planned for you.”
Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Guidance