Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Looking Forward

Why won't this ring come off this tub no matter what I scrub it with? Exhausted, I sat down on the floor and cradled my head in my hands. I just can’t do this.

New to ministry, my husband and I had just moved into our first parsonage, where we found toadstools growing around the commode, four inches of standing water in the basement, space heaters that whooshed the hair off Dick’s forearm when he lit them, and iodine-flavored water from a shallow well.

Remembering that move is kind of scary in light of the fact that Dick and I are preparing to move to our next parsonage in a couple of months.

Yet, at that same home, God laid His healing hand on me, 15 youth committed their lives to God during a retreat, four friends honed their Bible knowledge, Dick and I laughed over cups of mint tea and chocolate chip cookies while warming our feet with the leftover heat from baking, and best of all, we got to know Jesus there, after praying together that He would come into our home.

Yes, we never know what we might encounter when change is thrust upon us, but Dick and I have found that God is always, always faithful and works everything out for our good. No wonder we are excited and looking forward to what lies ahead!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

©2013 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Caught in a Whirlwind

Recently we learned that we will be moving in November. This news has plunged me full speed into a whirlwind of activity—sorting, planning, scheduling, cleaning, packing, and on and on.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What's in Your Closet?

Where did all this stuff come from?” I mumble to myself.

In preparation for moving I have been going through our closets, sorting out “stuff”. It’s only been four years since we moved the last time, but somehow things pile up—faceless picture frames, ugly ties, no-longer-used suitcases, unwieldy lamps—my list could go on and on.

by Pinkpollyanna
Most of this stuff is relegated to the closet so that it is “out of sight, out of mind”. I’m not sure why we didn’t just discard it instead. Guess we didn’t want to deal with it at the time. Or perhaps it was a gift from someone and we wanted to avoid hurting their feelings by getting rid of it too soon. Or maybe we thought we would find it useful later on. Who knows?

The process reminds me of a Christian song from the 70’s by Mickey and Becky Moore called “Closet Spaces”.
I’m cleaning out all the closet spaces,
I’m dusting down the rooms,
Purifying my heart and soul
For the coming of the Bridegroom.
Don’t know when He’ll come,
It might be tomorrow.
Don’t know when He’ll come,
It might be today.
All I know is that I want to be ready,
I want to be ready
When He steps forth
To take His bride away.
Anyday, I know He’s coming.

Our spiritual closets are a lot like our physical closets. We hide our jealousy of another’s accomplishments; we temporarily shove aside anger over unmet expectations; we nurse hurts from misperceived slights; we harbor unwholesome thoughts about others. The list is long and highly personalized. And the longer these things remain in our spiritual closet the more sin-filled feelings they gather—like dust settling over unused items on a shelf.

God’s Word has much to say about cleaning out out spiritual closets:
  • Ezekial 31:18 “Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.”
  • Ephesians 4:31 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
  • James 1:21 “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”
  • 1 Peter 2:1 “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”
Oy! That’s a daunting task--rather like organizing for a move! Thankfully, God’s Word also offers us encouraging news:
  • 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
  • Micah 7:18 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.”
  • Luke 18:27 “What is impossible with men is possible with God."
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
What’s in your spiritual closet? Is it time for a “Fall” cleanup? Praise God for His amazing mercy and grace offered freely, just for believing.

Anybody have a spare trashbag?

©2013 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Cancer of Worry

Photo by Anita Patterson
Worry is like cancer. It eats away at vital parts of our being.

Cancer multiplies quickly—and so does worry. What starts as a single, fearful thought becomes a niggling concern.  The niggling concern goes round and round in our minds gathering other anxious thoughts.

Gradually the spinning fears form a vortex of worry that sucks all our thoughts into itself. By definition, a vortex is a region where the flow spins about an imaginary axis. How true of worry also—it seldom is based in reality; instead it stems from our imagination!

Left untreated, cancer spreads and invades other organs and systems in the body. The results of unchecked worry are paralyzing fear, insomnia, stomach distress, high blood pressure, and unproductivity.

The treatments for cancer all aim to eradicate cancer cells from the body:
Radical surgery to remove the source
Radiation to shrink and destroy tumors
Chemotherapy to kill and prevent and the reproduction of cancer cells

The “treatments” to deliver us from worry sound very similar:
Pray—pray so the God can remove the source of worry
Read God’s Word—to shrink the lies swirling through our minds and to flood our thoughts with truth
Talk with faith-filled friends—to stop the thoughts and prevent them from proliferating

Scripture has much to say about worry:

Psalm 37:8 Don't give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble.

Ecclesiastes 11:10 Don't let anything worry you or cause you pain.

Daniel 10:19 He said, "God loves you, so don't let anything worry you or frighten you."

Matthew 6:34 So do not worry about tomorrow . . . There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.

Philippians 4:6 Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart.

All of these scriptures are commands,--do not worry! So, UNlike cancer, worry is an act of disobedience--a sin. Praise God for 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

©2013 Pamela D. Williams