4th Condition for Peace: Do the Right Thing!

May 16, 2017

“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”  (Philippians 4:9)

How can we maintain the peace of God in our lives, especially when facing life’s storms? Paul’s fourth condition for the peace of God is simply to do all the right things. Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) According to Jesus and Paul, if we put God first, let God show us the right things to do and get on with doing it, God will provide what we need.

Sometimes the “peace thief” robbing us is the hard reality that we are not doing what is right. The author of Psalm 4 cannot sleep because he is struggling with hard choices. He can do the right thing, but if he does, he doesn’t see how he will make it through his crisis. He can do the expedient thing – that is what almost everybody does – and what he decides to do. But that is why he cannot sleep.

In the middle of the night, the Lord makes him know he is to make whatever sacrifices he must to do what is right, trusting God to see him through the consequences. “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 4:5) After resolving the dichotomy over what is expedient and what is right, his insomnia and anxiety are converted into peace because the peace of God and the God of peace are with him.

We often don’t see how we’ll survive if we do the right thing, but Paul and Jesus both say,

“Do the right thing(s)!”

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Peace


Asking, Seeking, Knocking

September 13, 2016

‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

Jesus taught that we are to be God passionate people (Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10.) We are to ask, seek and knock.  Seeking is intense asking and knocking is intense seeking.  Jesus attached a tremendous promise to this teaching.  He promised that everyone who asks will receive, everyone who seeks will find, and everyone who knocks will find himself or herself standing before an open door.

Jesus was referring to our individual pursuit of God in prayer.  When people take this seriously and pursue God in the context of a sincere prayer life, they often describe their pursuit of God by gesturing upward.  My own personal pursuit of God was greatly helped by a short poem:

“I sought my soul but my soul I could not see.
I sought my God but my God eluded me.
I met my neighbor and I found all three.”

In one of His great discourses Jesus provided a basis for this when He taught that when we describe our pursuit of a deeper relationship with Him, we should not only gesture upward but stretch out our arms horizontally.  We should do this because we find Jesus when we give a cup of cold water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, provide clothing to the naked, take in a lonely stranger and visit the sick and those in prison.

When these words of Jesus take on human flesh they look like Mother Teresa.  What would these words look like if they took on your mortal flesh?

Dick Woodward, 03 April 2011


Storm Survival: Applied Belief

September 2, 2016

“Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”  (Matthew 7:26)

Jesus is clearly teaching that if we base our belief system on His teachings we will weather the storms of this life. When a counselor is disputing the belief system of a depressed person, a favorite disputation question is: “What are you telling yourself about the fact that you lost your job that has you so depressed?” That is the question you should ask yourself when you are experiencing emotional consequences like depression.

The medical director of a large mental hospital for the state of Virginia told me the purpose of psychiatry is to find the unconscious explanation for the conscious behavior of people.  He lamented the hard reality that so often today the psychiatrist is a pharmacologist who medicates a patient’s depression without ever getting to the cause of the depression.

The word “psychiatry” means “the healing of the soul.” Was there ever a greater healer of the soul than Jesus?    I believe that the values and the teachings of Jesus will give us the healthiest belief system for living as we pass through this world.

However, it is critically important that we implement that belief system as we respond to storms we encounter.  In this era we have gone bonkers over knowledge.  According to Jesus, it is not the knowledge of His teaching but the application of that belief system that builds the house that survives the storms.

Dick Woodward, 12 October 2012


Burning into the Light of Christ

July 27, 2016

“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 our Lord’s metaphors 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 there is no such thing as a fruitless disciple.  We are like branches and He is the Vine.  As branches, if we are properly intersected with Jesus, we can draw from Him the life force to be fruitful.  He 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 very clear teachings we should not be surprised when we find ourselves burning through suffering that our brightest light for Christ yields the best fruit.

Like many others I thought my most fruitful years were when I was able bodied and active.  But I have been joyfully surprised to discover that my most fruitful service for Christ has been as a bed fast 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 our Scripture studies on solar powered digital audio players I call “God pods.”

Have you discovered there is no shining without burning?

Dick Woodward, 09 August 2013


‘Stinkin Thinkin’ vs. Beatitude-based Attitudes

October 17, 2014

“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.”  (Matthew 6:22-23)

 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 will consistently challenge our mindset 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.”  The two letters “AA” represent many things, but let them remind you to make regular Attitude Adjustments when needed.

There are times when the best defense is a good offense.  That is especially true when it comes to attitudes.  Instead of erecting strong defensive attitudes, the better part of wisdom is to put in place a strong offense of God ordained attitudes that will raise 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 as 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 known as 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


Spiritual Secrets & Glorious Realities

August 22, 2014

“…  And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.” (Colossians 1:27 NLT)

The most important teaching in the New Testament is that Jesus Christ died for our sins.  The most dynamic teaching in the New Testament is that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and He lives in us.  According to the Apostle Paul, the glorious reality that the risen Christ lives in us gives us the assurance that we can glorify God.

To glorify God means to do that which pleases God.  At the end of His perfect life Jesus made the statement, “I have glorified You on the earth.  I have finished the work You gave me to do.” (John 17:4)  In one of His most profound metaphors, Jesus taught that it is possible for us to be at one with Him the way a branch is at one with a Vine.  (John 15:1-16)

It is only because I am in Him and He is in me, like a branch is in a Vine, that I can hope and pray to come to the end of my life exclaiming, “I have glorified You on the earth.  I have finished the work You gave me to do.”

This means the Risen Christ is a Vine looking for branches today.  Are you willing to be one of those branches?  When you become one, or if you already are a branch, are you finding and finishing the work He wants you to do for Him that glorifies His Father God?

Dick Woodward, 24 May 2010


Prayer Partnering with God

July 1, 2014

Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven...”  Matthew 6:9-13)

The message of the Bible frequently sifts down to just two words: God first. From Genesis to Revelation, the bottom line interpretation and application of the commandments, character studies, allegories, parables, psalms, sermons, Gospels, Epistles and teachings of Jesus is simply “God first.”  The prayer Jesus taught us begins with that God-first emphasis when He instructs us to begin by asking God that His name, the essence of Who and what He is, might be honored and reverenced…

Prayer is not a matter of us persuading God to do our will. The very essence of prayer is an alignment between our wills and the will of God. Prayer is not a matter of us making God our partner and taking God into our plans.  Prayer is a matter of God making us His partners and taking us into His plans…

We are not to come into our prayer closets, or corporate worship, with a ‘shopping list’ and send God on errands for us.  When we pray, we should come into the presence of God with a blank sheet of paper and ask God to send us on errands for Him.  We should be like soldiers reporting for duty to their Commander in Chief.

Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Prayer