#FAITH : A Prescription for Worship

October 15, 2019

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing …Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him, bless His name! For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100)

If you read Psalm One Hundred you will find that David has given us a universal prescription for worship. He begins by prescribing that people in all the lands of the earth should make joyful sounds of worship in God’s presence. He concludes by prescribing that those who worship know that God’s truth endures in all generations.

This brief prescription for worship tells us what worship is: it is to come before the presence of God. It tells us how to worship: it is like having an audience with a Heavenly King. To have an audience we must pass through gates of thanksgiving which are followed by corridors of praise.

The doors that open into the presence of the King are the doors of singing.

As we worship in the presence of the Heavenly King there are certain things we know. We know He is God and we know we are His. We are His little sheep who live in His pasture. We know He is good, His mercy and unconditional love is everlasting, and His truth endures.

David prescribes the result of worship: We should serve the Lord with gladness until people in all the lands of the earth in every generation make joyful sounds of worship in the presence of God.

Dick Woodward, 22 June 2007


Prayer: God First

July 5, 2019

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 parables, commandments, character studies, allegories, psalms, sermons, Gospels, Epistles and teachings of Jesus Christ is simply “God first.”

The prayer Jesus taught us begins with that God-first emphasis when Jesus 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.

Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Prayer


Spiritual Memorials (on Memorial Day!)

May 27, 2019

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

It is fitting that we in the United States of America set aside one day each year to memorialize our fallen warriors. In the Old Testament God regularly commanded the Israelites 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. God never wanted them to forget significant spiritual datelines. 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,” who in the first half of the 1940s saved us from an unthinkable future without freedom and throughout decades of the Cold War from more of the same? Does your memorial 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


#FAITH: Praying with a God-First Mindset

April 26, 2019

…For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”  (Matthew 6:13)

[In the Disciples Prayer] Our Lord teaches us to begin our prayers with a God first mindset and conclude our prayers with that same focus. We begin our prayers looking through the grid: “Your name be reverenced, Your Kingdom come,” and “Your will be done (in earth and) on earth, just as it is willed and done in heaven.”

We are to conclude our prayers the same way.

Jesus wants us to conclude our prayers by making this commitment to our Heavenly Father: Yours is the Kingdom.”  By this confession, He means for us to pledge to God that the results of our Heavenly Father’s continuously answering our prayers will always belong to Him.

As we face challenges of life every day, we should be poor in spirit enough to confess that we need the power of God: Yours is the power.”  When I have entered into a challenging day, I have confessed this over and over in my journey of faith and ministry by saying, “I can’t, but He can.”

Finally, we are to conclude our prayers by confessing: “Yours is the glory.”  When we apply this third providential benediction, we are simply confessing, “Because I didn’t but God did, all the glory goes to Him.” Jesus prescribes that we conclude our prayers every time we pray by making this solemn commitment to God: The glory for everything that happens in my life because You have answered my prayer(s), will always go to You.”

The essence of this benediction is:  “Because the power always comes from You, the result will always belong to You, and the glory will always go to You.”

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Prayer


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