Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day

Photo by Jay Janner
What are your memories of Memorial Day? Do they include parades and picnics? Did your family decorate the graves of loved ones with flowers and flags? Are community remembrance services still held at your local cemetery?

The photo of the Boy Scouts honoring the grave site of a veteran stirs bittersweet recollections of childhood Memorial Day traditions--playing hide and seek among the tombstones while my mom, aunt and grandmother spruced up our ancestors’ cemetery plots; downing hot dogs and chips and gulping soda at the family picnic; standing along Shirley Street, watching, and later marching in, the annual Memorial Day parade.

The formation included the high school band, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, the fire department, fraternal and veterans’ organizations, and area political figures. Ending at the cemetery, everyone gathered for a solemn service to remember those who had passed on, especially the men and women who gave their lives as members of the Armed Forces.

During high school, I endured the intense heat of standing for over an hour in a stiff-collared, wool-blend band uniform, while a long-winded speaker rambled on and on. Oblivious to the holiday’s significance, my thoughts were already at the Country Club pool that opened that day.

When sweat trickling down my back brought my attention to the event at hand, I made bets with myself about who would faint first. Someone always did. My husband’s home stood directly across the street from the cemetery and his father would set up a first aid stand on the sidewalk out front. Rarely did a year go by that his assistance wasn’t needed in some way--to clean up a child’s skinned knee, to break an ammonia capsule under the nose of an overheated majorette, or to offer a cold drink to a thirsty VFW member.

As a child, Memorial Day was simply the kickoff to a summer of family picnics and good times at the pool. Now that my dad, grandparents, and several aunts and uncles have gone to be with Jesus, the observance has become more meaningful. Although neither my husband nor I mark the holiday by decorating the granite monuments of our loved ones, we now understand and appreciate the benefit of remembering—remembering what those who have gone before us have taught us by their words, their example, and their sacrifices.

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tips for Praying without Ceasing

“Pray at all times.”  Ephesians 6:18

At a writers' conference I attended, Jerry Jenkins admited that praying constantly is tough. During an interview for a book, Jenkins flinched when he asked Billy Graham if he prayed without ceasing. Rev. Graham replied, “Yes. I’m praying right now, as I’m talking to you—praying that God will use this book; that He will get the glory.”

How can we, like Billy Graham, develop a lifestyle of prayer?

The following suggestions dramatically increased both my awareness of needs and the time I spend talking with God.

  • As soon as God reveals a need (thru TV, work, a prayer chain)
  • With, or at least for, friends or relatives facing a challenge
  • While driving by a church or other ministry location
  • When an emergency vehicle is seen or a siren heard
  • For co-workers or classmates while traveling to work or school
  • About the activities listed in the church bulletin and newsletter
  • Immediately when someone comes to mind
  • Lying in bed waiting for sleep
  • For fellow patients waiting in the doctor’s office
  • For those whose homes you pass while walking, running, or biking. (Thanks for this suggestion, Tyrean!)

Praying without ceasing isn’t really that hard after all!

Anyone have a tip that might help us pray at all times? I would love to hear about it in the comments section.


©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Psalm of Spring from A to Z

Pam Williams

Aconites say, “Spring is coming!”
Bumble bees begin their humming.
Crocus bloom in sunshine’s glory.
Dogwood blossoms tell Christ’s story

Earth awakes; the winter’s ended.
Frost subsides;
God’s hand’s extended
Here and there the plants are sprouting.
In the yards glad kids are shouting.

Johnny Jump-ups show their faces
Killdeers nest in stony places.
Lilac scents waft by so sweetly
Mountains change their looks completely.

New life births from Autumn’s ashes.
Over all, bright sunlight splashes.
Purple, white and yellow flowers
Quickly bloom when God sends showers.

Robins scold
Stray cats they’ve sighted.
Trees have buds! My heart’s delighted--
Underneath their wintry cover
Verdant green we’ll soon discover.

Witnessing God’s plan unfolding,
eXcellence in all He’s molding,
Yields our prayers of deep thanksgiving,
Zealous praise and zealous living.

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Swinging Bridge

Swinging Bridge

This swinging bridge resembles the one that spanned the creek near the tiny little town of Pogue, PA when I was a child. I treasure the memories my extended family made while vacationing in a couple of cabins in Pogue for a week during several summers.

We kids learned how to swim and fish, studied June bugs and huge crickets, discovered the importance of checking the outhouse for black snakes and spiders before entering, watched how to remove leeches that stuck to your legs if you wondered into certain areas of the creek, and savored the most delicious slices of potatoes ever fried on an old iron cookstove.

Most vividly, though, the photo reminds me of my Granny donning her bathing suit and walking out onto the swinging bridge to sunbathe. Unlike the sturdy hanging bridge in the photo, the one at Pogue was ancient and rickety. I watched in awe and admiration as she braved the swaying and buckling of the bridge, never grabbing frantically at the wire handrails or squealing in fright. She confidently spread out her towel, slathered her skin with baby oil, and stretched out on the worn boards.

My Granny was the coolest ever! Though she is now with Jesus, Granny continues to inspire and encourage me through my memories of the gutsy example that she set. No matter how shaky a situation might have been, just like her approach to the swinging bridge, she faced life with determination and courage.

“Be strong and courageous! Don't tremble or be terrified, because the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

What memories do you associate with a swinging or other type of bridge?


©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The WORD of GOD from A to Z

"Never compare this Book with other books.
Comparisons are dangerous.
Never think or say that this Book
contains the Word of God.
It is the Word of God.
It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in value, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in application, inspired in totality.
Read it through. Write it down.
Pray it in. Work it out.
And then pass it on.”
—Smith Wigglesworth

Like Wigglesworth, each one who has come to know and love God’s Word describes it in a multitude of ways, depending on our experiences. But how does the Bible describe itself? While studying Psalm 119, a 176-verse, alphabetical acrostic on God's Word, I created an alphabetical list of characteristics of the Word of God gleaned from Psalm 119:

GOD’s WORD . . .

Advises (24); is Awesome (161)
Blesses (2); is Broad (96); is Binding (144)
Comforts (52); is Certain (140)
Delights (77); is Dependable (138)
Endures (90); is Eternal (106); is Eye-opening (130)
Frees (45); is Fearsome (120); is Fair (138)
Governs (33); Guides (105); is Good (39)
Helps (175); is Hope-filled (44)
Instructs (31); Illuminates (105); is Insightful (169)
Judges (7) is Just (106); is Joyous (143)
Keeps (10); is Knowable (11)
Lasts (152); is Life-giving (50, 93)
Ministers (24, 162); is Miraculous (18)
Nourishes (20); Nurtures (29); is Near (98)
Offers (112); is Old (53)
Pleases (47); is Perfect (96); is Priceless (162)
Quenches (131)
Regulates (43); is Righteous (7); is Reliable (86)
Strengthens (175); is Sweet (103);
Teaches (29); is Trustworthy (86); is True (160)
Upholds (116); is Unforgettable (16)
Vitalizes (25); Vanquishes (133); is Valuable (72, 127)
Wisens (24); is Wonderful (18)
eXplains (130)
Yields (112); is Yours (4, 5, etc)
Zeroes in (37); is Zeal-inspiring (139)

God’s Word is a blessing! Open His Book today!
©2012 Pamela D. Williams