August 18, 2017
“Teach us to count our days, that we may gain a wise heart.” (Psalm 90:12)
“Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (NLT)
According to Moses, we should realize that life is like a game of Monopoly. Each year we begin with the same amount of currency: 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week and 8,760 hours for the year. We often hear the remark: “I haven’t got time for that!” This implies that we are not given the same amount of time. It would be more accurate to say: “I don’t value that activity enough to spend some of my time in that way.”
Dictionaries tell us a value is “that quality of any certain thing by which it is determined by us to be more or less important, useful, profitable and therefore desirable.” We all have a set of values. We spend our time on the things we consider important, useful, profitable and desirable.
When we ask God to teach us how to spend our time He will challenge us to consider the values of Jesus Christ. One of the many reasons Jesus became flesh and lived among us for 33 years was to show us how to live. He did that by presenting us with a set of values. As we read the four Gospels and follow Jesus every time He models and teaches a value, that spiritual discipline will revolutionize the way we spend our time.
I challenge you to ask God, “How should I spend my time?” I also challenge you to let the values of Christ revolutionize the way you spend your time.
Dick Woodward, 03 January 2014
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Posted by Dick Woodward
July 19, 2016
“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5-6)
The ancient inspired hymn writer is describing a father who is sowing seeds his family desperately needs because they are hungry. As a provider he knows that if he does not plant these seeds, there will be no food for them and they will starve to death. He therefore sows these precious seeds with tears streaming down his face.
The Holy Spirit leads the author to a beautiful application after he paints this solemn picture for us: sometimes when we are suffering to the point of tears, those tears are precious seeds our heavenly Father is sowing in the soil of our suffering. When that is the case, we will doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing the fruitful results of our suffering with us.
This is a truth that is often shared in the Bible. Sometimes suffering is not the setback it appears to be. It is rather the cutback of our Heavenly Father who is like a divine vineyard keeper. He cuts us back to increase the quality and the quantity of the fruit our life is yielding for Him.
I sometimes think God is more real and works more effectively in the lives of people in waiting rooms outside the operating theaters of our hospitals than He does in the sanctuaries of our churches. God does not waste our sorrows and we should not waste them either.
Listen to the wisdom of the hymn writer when he tells us our tears are precious seeds that will ultimately rejoice our hearts.
Dick Woodward, 15 February 2013
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Posted by Dick Woodward
September 12, 2013
“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness…” (Psalm 23: 3)
What is considered by some to be the greatest chapter in the Bible is the best description ever written of what the relationship of a human being with God can be. I call this psalm “Sheep Talk” because it’s like a sheep is telling us what a great Shepherd he has. The opening statement of the sheep is the key to the relationship. When the Lord is his Shepherd he has multiple blessings. According to the second verse this relationship is established when his Shepherd makes him lie down. When he gets up again he loses those blessings.
He is telling us this has happened and he needs a spiritual comeback. The prescription for his comeback is that his Shepherd leads him in the paths of righteousness. This is the second time he uses the word “leads.” His Shepherd not only leads him beside still waters but when he needs restoration he is led in the paths of righteousness. The second time he uses this word it is a Hebrew word for “drives me” into what is right.
By application, when we need a comeback we should not seek a cheap one. We should cooperate with our Shepherd as He drives us into the paths of what is right, perhaps for several years, until He restores our soul. I personally experienced this kind of comeback in the early eighties that lasted nearly a decade.
Rick Warren said “We’re all in recovery. What do you think the word ‘salvation’ means?” Do you need a spiritual comeback? Don’t look for a cheap one. Ask God to show you the paths of righteousness that will restore your soul.
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Posted by Dick Woodward
September 12, 2012
“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion…” (PSALM 103: 2 – 4 NIV)
The Old Testament people of God sang from the Psalms when they worshiped God. When they worshiped, sometimes they talked to God about God. Sometimes they talked to God about people, usually their own life. And sometimes they were not talking to God at all, they were talking to people about God: praising, praying, and preaching.
When we read the psalms we should always ask ourselves, “To whom was the author speaking and about whom was he speaking?”
The verses quoted above are from a psalm of prayer. But the strange thing is there is no petition in this prayer. The verb “to pray” literally means to ask. So we are not really looking at a prayer psalm but a psalm of praise and thanksgiving. The Psalmist’s soul is so full all he wants to do is praise the Lord in grateful worship.
What an example for us to pray with no “gimme” in our prayer. Does your soul ever get so full that all you want to do is thank the Lord for all His blessings? He begins by thanking God for his salvation. In the Gospels Jesus heals ten lepers and only one comes back to thank Him. Jesus asked the question “Where are the nine?”
Are you one of the 90% who never thank the Lord for redeeming your life from the pit of sin? Or do you want to be part of the 10% who thank the Lord for their salvation in grateful worship?
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Posted by Dick Woodward