Daily Spiritual Vitamins

May 29, 2015

“…  As newborn babes, earnestly desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby…” (1 Peter 2:2)

If babies do not receive breast milk, or their formula, they will not survive.  Peter is writing that “spiritual babies” should very earnestly desire the pure milk of God’s Word that they may grow.  When he writes this he uses Greek words that mean they should go after the Word the way babies go after the nipple, knowing their sustenance and growth depend on the nourishment they are receiving at their mother’s breast.

In addition to the Word of God there are other spiritual vitamins that provide spiritual nutrition.  Whether we are new in the faith, or have been walking with God for many years, we need spiritual vitamins like prayer, worship, fellowship with other believers, and a relationship with the risen, living Christ.  We also need to find and cultivate the works of service for which we have been saved.

Although the Apostle Paul emphatically writes that we are not saved BY good works he also writes emphatically that we are saved FOR good works (Ephesians 2: 8-10).  Serving the Lord and bringing forth the fruit that lasts is a vitamin we critically need for the growth and development of our faith.  Jesus taught that God will start answering our prayers when we understand this (John 15:16).

Having visited both the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea I observed the beauty of the Sea of Galilee which has an outlet, and the Dead Sea which has no outlet.  It is like that with us.  If we do not have the outlet of service, that makes us fruitful, we are stagnant and do not grow.

Are you getting your daily spiritual vitamins?

Dick Woodward, 05 November 2011


The Word of God & God’s Purpose

May 26, 2015

My Word… will achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

In a marvelous chapter taken from the prophesy of the one called “The prince of the prophets,” Isaiah tells us why he preached the Word of God.  Earlier in this chapter he proclaimed that there is as much difference between the way we think and act and how God thinks and acts as the heavens are high above the earth.  He tells us he preached the Word of God because God’s Word can bring about an alignment between the way God thinks and acts and the way people think and act.

There is a strong emphasis in Scriptures on the importance of our will being in alignment with the will of God.  Jesus made his greatest prayer when He sweat drops of blood and prayed, “Not My will but Your will be done.” He taught His disciples and us to pray, “Your will be done in earth (or in their earthen vessels), as it is in heaven.”

The Word of God frequently describes the struggle between God and men like Moses, Job, Jonah, and many others who finally submit their will to the will of God  – and the will of God is done in and through them on earth as it is in heaven.  When God declares through Isaiah that His Word will not return to Him without accomplishing the purpose for which He sent it, I am convinced that this is the purpose God had in mind.

When you read, study and hear the Word of God proclaimed, will you let God accomplish this purpose for the Word of God?  Will you let the Word of God bring about an alignment between your will and the will of God?

Dick Woodward, 28 September 2010


A Prescription for Burnout

January 30, 2015

“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory.  And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11)

Jesus goes to a wedding and when they run out of wine, He creates more wine. In addition to the record of a miracle, this story is a formula for regeneration and a prescription for renewal.  There is tired and there is tired of.  Disciples of Jesus not only get tired – they get tired of.  We call this “burnout.”

I’m convinced this first miracle presents a prescription for burnout.  If you are experiencing the need of renewal consider this prescription.  Mary tells Jesus they have no wine.  Since wine is a symbol of joy in the Bible let this represent your confession that you need renewal because you are tired of, dry, and burned out.

Then block out some time to fill your human vessel with the Word of God as symbolized by the vessels being filled with water.  While you are filling up on the Word of God do whatever the Holy Spirit tells you to do.  Then realize that your renewal is not just to give you an experience, it is for the benefit of those God wants to touch and bless using you as His channel.

Let these four principles we learn from this miracle that first brought glory to Jesus and faith to His disciples bring renewal to you as you serve Jesus.  Our Lord often invited His apostles to come apart and rest awhile.  If you don’t come apart to rest at times and take this prescription of Jesus for your burnout – you will come apart.

Let Jesus turn your water into wine. 

Dick Woodward, 16 November 2011


A Christmas Challenge (all year long!)

December 19, 2014

“So the Word became human and made his home among us…And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”  (John 1:14 NLT)

God became human and made His home among us so we could see and not just read what He wrote in the 39 books of the Old Testament.  We should find a Christmas challenge in the words of the Apostle Paul which tell us “… that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2Corinthians 4:11).

One of the reasons God did Christmas was because He felt that a written Word was not enough.  He wanted us to see as well as read His Word to us.  Everything Jesus was, said, and did was one great spoken Word from God to you and me (John 1: 1, 14, 18).

It is the plan of God that unbelievers in this world today should see as well as read His Word through your mortal flesh and mine.  That truth, which is clearly articulated by the Apostle Paul, moved me to make an important decision in my ministry as a Bible pastor/teacher.  In the early sixties I was praying about accepting an opportunity presented to me to be a radio Bible teacher.  Those words of Paul were used by God to direct me to be the pastor of a church where people could see as well as hear the Word of God in my mortal flesh.

“We’re writing a Gospel a chapter each day by things that we do and things that we say.  Men read what we write whether faithless or true.  Say, what is the Gospel according to you?”

That should be our Christmas challenge all year long.

Dick Woodward, 16 December 2011


The Word of God and Life

October 29, 2013

“… that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

This Scripture is an excerpt from one of the greatest sermons of Moses.  Moses preached that the more we understand the Word of God, the more we understand life.  And the more we experience life, the more we understand the Word of God.  The two throw light upon each other.

After studying the Word of God in the classroom for seven years I took a job as a social worker.  While being on call every night for a year I not only learned a lot about life, I greatly deepened my understanding and appreciation of the Word of God.

For example, we are told in the first Psalm that one of the greatest blessings of the blessed man is that he does not stand in the way of the sinner.  As a pastor having picked up the pieces with sinners for many years I know that the way of the sinner is very hard indeed.

I have also enjoyed the benefits and blessings personally and with many others that are the result of building life on the teachings and the value systems of the Bible.  We who build our lives on the Word of God are not only saved from sin but for a life that is rich with meaning and fulfillment.  We live lives that are filled with meaning and a sense of accomplishment in this life and in the life to come.

Experience is a convincing teacher.  That’s why our loving God will make us know that the Word of God shows us how to live.


Some Truth about Truth

May 14, 2013

“Am I therefore become your enemy,  because I tell you the truth?”  (Galatians 4:16)

We can be a philosopher and love truth.  We can be a sincere seeker after truth and never find the truth we seek.  According to Jesus when we come to know the truth by relationship, He himself will make us free (John 8: 30-36).

Jesus said in a prayer to His Father: “Thy Word is truth.” (John 17: 17)  This means we should read the Bible as a lover and seeker of truth.  Jesus made the claim that His teaching is the truth of God (John 7: 17).  He even told us how we can prove that claim.  The doing leads to the knowing. If we will personally do what He teaches we will know that His teaching cannot be the teaching of a man.  It has to be the teaching of God.

There are times when we can devastate people with the truth.  There are also times when the truth can cut through the denial of people and set them free from problems that are isolating them from reality and destroying them.  It is then that we must speak the truth in love and ask if we have become their enemy for doing so.

When we are facing those kinds of challenges we must pray that: “God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves” (2 Timothy 2: 25).  To repent means to think again and have a change of mind will and direction.

May your search for truth not only end but begin with the One who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one can come to the Father except through me.”    (John 14:6).

 

 


A Prescription for Learning the Word of God

July 20, 2012

“… that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”   (Deuteronomy 8:3)

These words are taken from one of the great sermons Moses preached after the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt just before they invaded the land of Canaan.  They had wandered in a terrible wilderness for 40 years in which they suffered every imaginable hardship.  In this sermon God tells them through Moses that He was using all that suffering to make them know every word that He has ever spoken.

By devotional and personal application we can realize that this is one of the ways we learn the Word of God today.  God is our Mentor and He does His most effective mentoring when we are in difficult places.  While facing crises and challenges that overwhelm us God makes us know His Word.  Every adversity God permits or directs into our lives is redemptive and is an opportunity for us to let God make us know His Word.

God is fiercely committed to the proposition that we are going to grow spiritually into perfection or completeness and maturity.  The first chapter of the letter of James informs us that God’s trials should not be treated like intruders but welcomed as friends because they are sent from God.  He does this because He wants us to be perfect or complete and lacking nothing.  Jesus told us to be perfect even as our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

So when those tough times come sit up and pay attention.  God has come to the front of the classroom and He is about to teach us His Word.