Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hooked on the iPhone

Not so long ago I wondered, “Why do so many people have cell phones? When would I ever use one?”

Now I don’t know what I’d do without mine!

Two years ago my husband, son, and daughter-in-law couldn’t wait to get to the AT&T store to pick-up their iPhones. I pooh-poohed it off when they asked me if I wanted one, assuring them my old Pantech flip phone was quite adequate.

Then I noticed a friend reading the newspaper on her iPhone. That was cool. My husband used his iPhone to take a picture of our granddaughter at the park. How convenient! When I watched my friend, Bruce read his Bible from his iPhone, I was hooked. I was ready to move into the world of smart phones—for a number of reasons.

I love to read—novels, articles, blogs, the newspaper, etc. While on Amazon, I noticed a “Kindle for iPhone” app. I downloaded it and a bunch of free e-books and have danced with delight that I can now read anywhere, anytime. When my husband comes to bed and I want to continue reading, there is no need to leave the light on. My iPhone backlights the book I am reading. And I can turn the page with just a slight tap of my finger!

Since I rarely carry a purse, pocketing my cell phone AND a camera was cumbersome. But many times I missed capturing a particularly stunning flower or blossoming tree while I was taking my daily constitutional. Now I not only can whip out my iPhone and snap the shot, I can send it to my husband for him to enjoy, too! Even better, with FaceTime, I can see as well as talk with our grandkids!

These days I not only can read my Bible on my iPhone, I can search for a Scripture when I don’t recall the reference or make a note of the text to study for next week’s Sunday school lesson. With my iPhone I can go online to reserve a table at a local restaurant for our Christian writers’ group. Isn’t it amazing how God can use anything and everything to accomplish his purposes?

I agree with Lisa Miller’s comments in her Newsweek article, “Is That a Bible in Your Pocket?” Miller says, “By putting your favorite Bible verses next to your calorie counter and your Global Positioning System, you integrate religious practice with the rest of your life. Religious apps may seem to represent modernity run amok, but they can bring holiness back into our lives where it belongs. . . Apps put Scripture literally into the pockets of the people.”

I am very thankful that the iPhone not only connects me with my loved ones, but also to God and His Word.

Special thanks to my husband, Dick for patiently and gently persuading me to purchase my iPhone. He knows me so well.

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Who We Are in Jesus

Who We Are in Jesus

Remember my friends, Cheryl and Frank Andreus? I told you about them a while back in a post entitled “Shouldering Others’ Burdens”. Frank was diagnosed with a rare, treatment-resistant form of multiple myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow) last year about this time. At the beginning of October 2011, Frank underwent an autologous stem cell transplant that put the cancer in remission. Usually remission from a stem cell transplant lasts for one to five years. February 6th Frank found out his cancer is no longer in remission.

The Andreus’ news caught many of us who are friends and church family off guard, but was especially sobering for Cheryl and Frank and their children and grandchildren. Please remember them in your prayers.

At times like these, when trials seem like more than we can handle, each of us needs a reminder of who we are as Christians. If you are going through a tough time, speak these truths aloud and let the Holy Spirit infuse your soul with them. If a friend is facing challenges, pass the list along to them.

  • I am the spice of life. (Matthew 5:13)
  • I am a light for the world. (Matthew 5:14)
  • I am Jesus’ friend. (John 15:15)
  • I am loved by God. (1 Thessalonians 1:4)
  • I am God’s son/daughter and heir. (Romans 8:17)
  • I am a temple for God’s Spirit. (I Corinthians 3:16)
  • I am an important part of Christ’s body. (I Corinthians 12:26-27)
  • I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • I am God’s handiwork, created for a purpose. (Ephesians 2:10)
  • I am able to do all things. (Philippians 4:13)
  • I am never alone. (Hebrews 13:5)
  • I am cared for by God. (1 Peter 1:7)
  • I am forgiven. (1 John 1:9)
  • I am heard by God. (1 John 5:14)

I would love to add Scriptures to the list that tells us even more about who we are in Jesus. If you have a suggestion, please leave it in the comments section.

A friend of God,

 ©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hold me, Lord!

Psalm 119:117 “Hold me, and I will be safe.”

Morning is my absolute favorite time of day. I awaken really early and spend some time with Jesus. Then I crawl back into bed beside my husband and whisper, “Hold me.”

Despite being sleepy, he willingly wraps his arms around me and cradles me close till we are like two spoons nestled together in our silverware drawer. I never grow tired of the feeling of complete trust and security that pours over me at that moment.

Anytime I ask Dick to hold me, he immediately drops what he is doing and pulls me into a gently firm and empowering hug. Sometimes, I am simply overly tired at that moment and need to feel the strength of his arms. Other times I am hurting so badly, whether it is physically or emotionally, that all I want is to be encircled by the balm of his love.

My writers’ group, First Writes, is working our way through Psalm 119. For the first time in the many years that I have been reading God’s Word, verse 117 leaped out at me as though it were printed in bold and highlighted in yellow. As I read the words, I immediately experienced the same intensely comforting peace, support and protection that I feel when I snuggle in beside Dick in the morning.

Like a light bulb going on, I suddenly realized that knowing Jesus as my Savior encircles me with greater love, power, and tenderness than even Dick can offer! I can say to God at any time, “Hold me!” And He will. All the tension, fears, and anxieties that grip me evaporate in God’s strong, yet tender embrace.

What a beautiful picture God has painted of His love with just two little words—Hold me!

Enjoying God’s bear hug,

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Dedication

Valerie, Melvin, and baby Michelle

Dedications and baptisms touch my grandmotherly heart. As I witness this ceremony, I fervently pray for the seed planted during that moment to take root and grow.

I was privileged to be present when Valerie and Melvin, a young couple formerly from Africa, presented their three-month-old daughter to God. On the big day, little Michelle, dressed all in white, resembled an angel. Her mother looked so beautiful and her dad so handsome clad in their native attire. Most importantly, Valerie’s and Melvin’s commitment to Christ (and to Michelle) lit up their faces.

That devotion to Jesus wasn’t in my husband Dick’s and my eyes on the day, thirty-five years earlier, when we dedicated our son.

On that Sunday, Dick and I were simply following the example of generations before us. For us, it was a commitment to bring our son to church. However, unlike Valerie and Melvin, we didn’t know Jesus as Savior ourselves and had no idea that this was a vow to help our son grasp God’s plan of salvation. I’m sure the pastor explained this to us, but Dick and I were very good at being religious (in fact, we even fooled ourselves!) when in reality we didn’t “get it” at all.

Thankfully, God, in his everlasting mercy and grace, offered us the opportunity to come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord while our children were very young. We now understand that the real importance of this sacrament is the dedication of the parents to raise their child in the ways of God.

I don’t think Dick and I are the only ones who have kept this tradition without understanding its true meaning. And, I am sure that not all the parents who dedicate their children (or baptize, them, depending on your practice) are as committed to Jesus Christ as Valerie and Melvin.

Will you join me in praying that each and every parent who presents their child to God in your church will know Jesus as Savior and Lord, that they will understand who they are dedicating in this ceremony and will truly comprehend what they are promising? I really feel this small effort on our part can effect great change in the lives of many.

Be blessed!

 ©2012 Pamela D. Williams