Seeing the Good:God’s Strength in Our Weakness

March 22, 2019

“Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see the good?” (Psalm 34:12)

When David was a fugitive from King Saul many other fugitives joined him hiding out in caves. About 400 who were in debt, in distress and discontent joined David. (1 Samuel 22:2) Psalm 34 gives us little summaries of sermons David preached to those fugitives and failures that eventually turned them into his mighty men.

David began by challenging them with questions like: “How many of you want to live? How long do you want to live? Do you want to live so you may see the good?”

When we are asked how long we want to live we almost never give a precise answer with a specific number of years, months, weeks and days. We just answer, “Many!”

In that culture “seeing the good” was an expression that meant a person was convinced there was something good in this life and they were going to find it. David preached that the Lord was the good thing they were seeking.

After telling them about the most humiliating and frightening experience of his life, David’s great battle cry to them was: “Magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together!”  (v. 3)

David identified with the weakness of these fugitive failures. He then preached that the greater their weakness the more they exalted the name of the God when God used them. Finding the strength of God in their weakness made them the mighty men of David God used in mighty ways.

Have you learned how to find God’s strength in your weakness?  Have you discovered how the greater your weaknesses – the more you can magnify the Lord?

Dick Woodward, 21 March 2013


At the Feet of Jesus

February 19, 2019

“… but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…”  (Luke 10:42)

Every time we meet Mary, the sister of Martha, she is at the feet of Jesus. The verse above describes her at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word. Martha is frustrated because Mary is attending the Bible study while she is doing all the serving. Jesus sides with Mary because she chose the number one priority that day.

In the 11th chapter of the Gospel of John the brother of these two sisters dies. When Jesus arrives too late to save their brother, both these sisters greet Him with the same words: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.”  However, when Mary spoke these words we read that she prostrated herself at his feet showing that she accepted His will.

In the next chapter Martha and Mary’s resurrected brother is the guest of honor at a banquet. Mary is once again there worshiping Jesus at His feet. She anointed His feet with perfume that was worth a year’s wages.

What would it mean if you worshiped Jesus with your annual income?

Mary is a great example for us as she is at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word, accepting His will, and worshiping Him. If we will not merely read our Bibles but hear Christ’s personal word to us at His feet when we do, we will find His will for our lives. If we continue to follow Mary’s example, we will be at the feet of Jesus accepting His will.

As we follow Mary’s example we will find ourselves worshiping Jesus forever with costly worship at His feet.

Dick Woodward, 19 February 2013


Improve Your Serve (for the Kingdom!)

November 30, 2018

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant…”  (Matthew 20:25-26)

The incident recorded in Matthew 20 (verses 20-28) precipitated by Mrs. Zebedee and her two sons, James and John, sets the stage for one the great teachings of Jesus Christ. We can assume these two ‘sons of thunder’ (the nickname the Lord game them), who were partners with Simon Peter in the ‘Zebedee Seafood Corporation,’ were obviously the instigators of their mother’s request that they be seated on the right and left of their Lord when He was crowned King. 

When the other apostles griped about this, Jesus called them together. In so many words, He told them the world plays the game of “over-under.” This is a world of credentials and status symbols that often say, “I am better than you” or “I am over and above you.”

Acknowledging that the secular world is like that, Jesus tells them not to play the world’s games. To paraphrase, Jesus says, “This is not to happen among you. If you want to be great in the Kingdom of God, you should join the ‘Order of the Towel’ – get a towel and basin, assume the position of a slave, and start washing feet.”  He uses Himself as an example when He says, “Even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:28) 

Remember how Jesus spent His last hours before He went to the cross, literally washing the feet of His disciples. There is no place in the church and body of Christ for the “over-under” philosophy of this world.

If you want to be great in the fellowship of Christ, you must improve your serve!

Dick Woodward, MBC New Testament Handbook, p.86


Watching & Listening (by Faith)

July 24, 2018

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like hinds’ feet, he makes me tread upon my high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

The Old Testament and New Testament history of the people of God has identified an undeniable reality: good and evil exist side by side. The names and faces of good and evil keep changing, but good and evil have always had a presence in this world. Although forces of evil have tried for thousands of years to destroy the people of God, God’s people still have a presence in this world, by faith.

The devotional application of Habakkuk’s prophesy is that we should build spiritual watchtowers today. When facing overwhelming problems, especially Job-like tragedies that nobody understands, watch and listen in your spiritual watchtower. While watching and listening, Habakkuk wants you to know God welcomes your questions.

While everyone else was looking and listening for the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, Habakkuk watched and listened for God. If we watch and listen for God today the way Habakkuk did, we will discover God is still speaking through men and women of faith.

When Habakkuk looked at his problems and circumstances, he sighed and despaired. When Habakkuk turned to God with his doubts and asked God questions, watching and listening for God’s answers, Habakkuk sang.

When you are overwhelmed with Babylon and Job-type challenges, go up in your spiritual watchtower so that you might:

  • Watch until you see God working in your life.
  • Listen until you hear God working in your life.
  • See, hear, and worship God Who is working in your life.

Like Habakkuk, ask God your questions. In God’s time and God’s own way, God will answer your questions – if you are listening!

Dick Woodward, MBC Old Testament Handbook (p.630-632)


Memorials of Gratitude

May 25, 2018

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…” (Philippians 1:3)

It is fitting in the United States of America that we set aside a day each year to memorialize our fallen warriors.  In the Old Testament God regularly commanded His chosen ones to erect memorials so they would never forget certain events on their journey of faith.  When we study those memorials we realize that God wanted them to remember miracles He performed for them. He never wanted them to forget significant spiritual datelines.  He often repeated for emphasis things He wanted them to remember.

Throughout the Old and New Testaments we therefore continuously hear the exhortation to remember!

Memorials are closely linked with the attitude of gratitude and the awful sin of ingratitude. On Memorial Day are you thankful for “The Greatest Generation” of the 1940s who saved us from an unthinkable future without freedom? Does your memorial of gratitude continue through those who fell in Korea, Vietnam and now in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Do you have spiritual memorial datelines for which you are grateful as you remember them before God?  Do you have a dateline of when you came to faith in what Christ did for you on the cross? Do you have spiritual datelines beyond that point of beginning your faith journey, when the risen Christ proved Himself to you in miraculous ways?  Do you have a dateline when He made you know what He wants you to do for Him? In the fulfillment of that vision has He brought significant people into your life to help you bring that vision into reality?

Then have a spiritual Memorial Day and be filled with grateful worship!

Dick Woodward, 31 May 2010


Worshiping God with Thanksgiving

November 21, 2017

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him…” (Psalm 100:4)

Psalm 100 is the definitive worship psalm that tells us what worship is, what we should experience when we worship, how to worship, what we know, and what the results should be because we worshipped.

According to David worship is coming before God’s presence, which is like having an audience with a King. Our approach to the presence of God begins at the gates of thanksgiving. This means that in a corporate worship service, or in our private closet worship, we are to begin our approach to the presence of God by passing through the gates of thanksgiving.

As I attempt to maintain my spiritual equilibrium as a bedfast quadriplegic, I get more spiritual mileage out of the therapy of thanksgiving than anything else. David has pointed me to the truth that when I begin thanking God, I soon find myself in the courts of praise coming into the presence of God with singing. In God’s presence, I know that He is God, I am His sheep and I live in His pasture. Then I’m told again that I should keep on thanking Him.

As a result of this worship experience, I know that God wants people in every land of this earth to know what it is to make joyful noises of worship in God’s presence. God also wants it to be known that His truth endures in all generations – not only in past generations.

To that end, God wants me to serve Him with gladness because I entered into His presence with thanksgiving.

Dick Woodward, 22 February 2012


Redeemed & Willing To Say So!

September 23, 2016

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy…” (Psalm 107:1-2)

Redemption means to get something back that has been lost.  It is similar in meaning to the word “rehabilitation” which essentially means “to invest again with dignity.”  Psalm 107 is a marvelous hymn of redemption.  Repeated at the end of each of the five stanzas is a refrain that those who have been redeemed by the Lord should step up and say so – gratefully giving thanks for the various ways in which we have been redeemed.

The psalmist profiles dimensions of redemption, ending each description with the charge that we thank the Lord for God’s goodness in redeeming us in this way.  God redeems us from our chaos when God finds us.  God then redeems us from our chains when God sets us free from our sins.

This is followed by the way God redeems us from our foolish and sinful choices.  The psalmist emphasizes our responsibility for bringing on the consequences of our sins.

The psalmist then describes the way God redeems us from our complacency by meeting us in our crises from which God redeems us when we are at our wits end and don’t know what to do.

Meditate on these levels of redemption.  Ask God to continuously redeem you in all these ways.  As you reflect on each individual dimension of redemption step up and join the redeemed of the Lord in grateful worship.

And say so…

Dick Woodward, 27 June 2012