Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Palm Sunday Reflections

Photo Courtesy of SixthSiren

Palms trees cannot survive the climate where I live. We ship the leaves in for our Palm Sunday celebrations. Some years, we get the branched variety and other years, we order the single leaves. Occasionally our church buys the crosses crafted from palm leaves.
That long ago Palm Sunday when Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, the spectators lining the road waved palm fronds in honor and celebration of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. 

That peace came at great price, but it wasn’t the kind of peace the people of that day expected.

The Jews, like many of us today, were looking for peace on earth, for victory over cruel ruling powers. However, Romans 5:1 shares the better news that “we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”

The price of peace with God was Jesus’ humiliating crucifixion. “They nailed him to the cross,” Matthew tells us. (15:24).

John 20:25 speaks of the nail wounds in Jesus hands from the crucifixion, wounds that Thomas insisted on seeing in order to believe. When artists draw a picture of the hands of Jesus, our Savior, they often depict his pierced palms.

There’s that word again--palms—though this time we’re not talking about the evergreen variety. And yet, these palms truly signify victory and celebration—victory over sin; celebration over our restored peace with God—two great reasons to line the streets and shout “Hosanna!”

©2013 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ministering to Those Who Serve

Who ministers to those who serve? In response to this question, my husband is training to be a chaplain for the Pennsylvania State Police. Chaplains offer support and assistance to all PA State Police personnel and their families by encouraging, listening and comforting those facing spiritual issues or dealing with  physical illness or injury.

Dick will be good at it. God has gifted him with the communication skills, dedication, and faith in Jesus. His pastor’s heart extends far beyond the walls of the church he is serving.

What about us, those who aren’t trained or ordained? What do we do when presented with the opportunity to reach out to neighbors, friends and family who serve others, be it as police, fire fighters, emergency medical team members, pastors, military personnel , etc? We often feel ill-equipped and tongue-tied. After all, these people help others for a living. What could I possibly say or do that would be helpful to them?

Following a few simple guidelines can give us the confidence to reach out:

  • Show up.
  • Listen intentionally.
  • Ask, "What can I do to help?" Follow through.
  • When needed, punt. Refer them to professionals trained to help people experiencing such issues.
  • Reassure them God is with them, whether they feel it or not
  • Let them know you believe in them.
  • Go back later to check on them.

I am so proud of Dick and his willingness to serve the PA State Police. God will use him. And just maybe, with a few tips and a little push, He can use you and me, too.

©2013 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Connecting Unexpectedly

Key Rings available from Liz Brown

"May God, who gives this patience and encouragement,
help you live in complete harmony with each other,
as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus."
Romans 15:5

God is so cool. I needed a picture for a blog post and found one in a shop on So I emailed Liz Brown, the owner of bookmarksnrings, and asked if I could publish the picture on my blog. She readily agreed and shared that she enjoys reading inspirational posts and will be following my blog. We connected instantly.

I get so excited when God introduces me to a kindred spirit. Often it's apparent from the start that we complement one another, like peanut butter and jelly. It's a good, homey mix held together by the Bread of Life.

Don't you just love how God brings believers together in unexpected ways?

How has God brought a kindred spirit into your life in a way or a place you weren’t expecting to find one?

©2013 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Friendship--A Respite for the Soul

Prayer Notes by Cynthia

Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, in need of help carrying your burdens? Could you use a little encouragement?  God's Word encourages us to reap the harvest of friendship. Proverbs 17:17 says, “Friends always show their love. . .” 

A while back, several of my friends and I met at TranquilaTea, a tea room in Waynesboro, PA. We wanted to get to know each other better and to offer love and support to several among us who were starring in the role of “Caregiver”. This placid place proved perfect for our needs.

“Hospitalitea served here,” is more than signage at TranquilaTea. We were warmly welcomed and our waitress patiently answered our questions and helped us chose our pots of tea, encouraging us to linger, not rush, over our repast.

As we looked around the lovely rooms, everything that met our view prompted us to smile and enjoy one another’s company. As we basked in the calming ambiance, conversation ebb and flowed, punctuated by laughter. The transformation was palpable--shoulders relaxed, brows smoothed, and hands unclenched.

The afternoon turned out to be a respite for our souls. We found solace in sharing one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2) While nourishing our careworn spirits, this wonderful time together more securely bonded us both as friends and as sisters in Christ. After two restful hours we reluctantly parted company with promises of “till next time.”

©2013 Pamela D. Williams