Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Resisting What's Best

Photo by Pam Williams
“What’s wrong with Baxter?” my husband asked.  “He is limping. And he can’t jump up on the couch.”

An hour beforehand, the cat was fine. Now he was definitely favoring his right back foot. The problem only worsened overnight, so I made an appointment at a local animal hospital.

After a thorough physical exam and x-rays, the vet felt that Baxter had a tear or strain in his Achilles tendon. She recommended consulting a veterinary orthopedic surgeon and putting a soft cast on it in the meantime.

Have you ever tried putting a harness on a cat? Have your children ever dressed up your cat in a t-shirt or a doll dress? If you have, you know how they fight against it. That is exactly what Baxter did. He fought against the cast. He yowled, he hissed, and threw himself on the floor repeatedly. He dragged himself around with his front paws, laid on his side, and rolled over one way and then the other. He bit it, tried to run away from it, and stared at it while whacking his tail down as hard as he could on the kitchen floor. He reminded me of our children throwing a fit when they were toddlers. It was not a pretty sight.

It was also rather scary. I was sure he was going to further injure himself. I called the vet in a bit of a panic and the assistant came to the phone. “Pam, you must let that on Baxter’s leg. Do not remove it. He will adjust. It's for his best.”

She was right. After about two hours, Baxter calmed down and found he could do pretty much anything he needed to do, despite the despicable cast on his leg. He could even manage small leaps onto the furniture.

Jesus replied,
"But even more blessed
are all who hear the word of God
and put it into practice."
Luke 11:28

When it comes to obeying God, we often behave as self-destructively as Baxter. Although everything God asks of us is for our best and brings about spiritual growth and renewal, we stubbornly resist—giving all kinds of “lame” excuses:

  • We don’t want to forgive so easily—after all, that person hurt us!
  • We don’t want to give generously—we might need that item or that money ourselves someday!
  • We don’t want to totally commit—then we couldn't have fun!
  • We don’t want to avoid gossip—co-workers will think we are stuck up!
  • We don’t want to give up our favorite bad habits—we would just fail anyway.
  • We don’t want to enter full-time ministry now—our current jobs are much too lucrative. 

The list could go on and on.

What has God asked you to do that you are refusing to give in to? Are your reasons as weak as some of the ones I mentioned above? Consider the positive results of obedience—the healing, the joy, the deliverance, the integrity, the freedom from guilt, the adventure. What might appear to be as restrictive as Baxter’s cast, ultimately leads to our betterment.

Photo by Pam William


©2014 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

As A Hen

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 36:7

When I was a young girl my aunt raised chickens. I loved to help her, often sitting in the coop with the hens, hand feeding them. So Scriptures about chickens hold special significance for me.

I am not alone in my interest in chickens. Chickens are one of the most studied and researched species. I recently learned some interesting facts about chicks and hens from an article posted on entitled, “Normal Behaviors of Chickens in Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks”:

  • Chicks know their mother’s voice and can find her even when blindfolded. Hens will cluck in a certain way when danger is near. The chicks learn to run to her when they hear this sound.
  • Similarly, if a chick expresses distress, as soon as the mother hen hears it, she will quickly come to check on the chick.
  • Hens will shield chicks from heavy rain, intense heat, and extreme cold.
  • A mother hen will aggressively defend her young against other birds (even other hens who approach her nest) and will bravely fight off formidable creatures such as cats and foxes to protect her offspring.

How often I have wanted to gather your children together
as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings,
but you wouldn't let me.
Matthew 23:37

When Jesus likened himself to a hen, he painted a picture of a fierce defender and self-abasing shelter. Note the similarities:

  • Through His Word we can learn to recognize Jesus’ voice. In it He warns us of spiritual dangers and predators so we can recognize them and avoid them.
  • Through prayer, we lift our voices to Jesus, who hears and takes action.
  • When life pelts us with one thing after another, we can find rest and shelter in the arms of Jesus. He will not only help us shoulder our burdens, he will carry us.
  • Jesus never leaves us to fend for ourselves. He is always with us, defending us against the fiery arrows thrown by both our fellow humans and by Satan.
Do you feel alone with your problems? Are you overwhelmed? Do you need comfort or a hiding place? Psalm 91:1 says, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Will you let Jesus gather you under His mighty wings?


©2014 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Greeting Card Prayer Ministry

Around Christmas we read a post somewhere that suggested saving your Christmas cards and, after Christmas, selecting one each day and praying for the person who sent the card. We loved the idea and prayed for lots of relatives and friends all over the country as their Christmas card was pulled.

With Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and my birthday all occurring within the last few months, we have had quite an assortment of greeting cards arriving in the mail. We decided to continue the prayer card ministry we started with our Christmas cards.

It is exciting to see who we will be praying for each day. It brings a sense of closeness to that person as we reminisce about how our lives intertwined at some point along life’s road. And when we hit upon someone we know very well, we can pray for specific needs in their lives that we have been made aware of.

I don’t know who first suggested the idea, but I am very thankful God brought it to Dick’s and my attention and encouraged us to keep this prayer ministry going all year long. What huge blessings from such a simple action.

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy.”
Philippians 1:3-4

Be encouraged today, my friend!

©2014 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In Tune

Photo from Wikimedia

Psalm 125:4 “O LORD, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with You.”

“Ok, people! Tune up!” our music director, Mr. Spayd announced, raising his voice to be heard amid the random drum taps and rolls, stray runs, and cacophony of conversations filling the band room. Then he would play just one note.

I heard the phrase, “Tune up” hundreds of times during the eleven years I played in marching and concert bands. To get in tune, band members listened carefully to the one note, then tightened or relaxed their embouchures and lengthened or shortened particular parts on their instruments until they were in sync with the standard set by Mr. Spayd. He knew that if we tried to perform without tuning up, the discord would have caused our listeners to cover their ears with their hands and groan in dismay.

Psalm 125:4 speaks of those who hearts are “in tune” with God. Like the director in our band, God determines the one note, the one standard for being in tune with Him—faith.

Our hearts cannot be in tune with God until we have faith. “Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him.” Hebrews 11:6

Our faith in God must include faith in Jesus Christ. “By the free gift of God's grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free. God offered him, so that by his blood he should become the means by which people's sins are forgiven through their faith in him. God did this in order to demonstrate that he is righteous. In the past he was patient and overlooked people's sins; but in the present time he deals with their sins, in order to demonstrate his righteousness. In this way God shows that he himself is righteous and that he puts right everyone who believes in Jesus.” Romans 3:24-26

Have faith. It’s a simple standard available to everyone who wants their heart to beat in tune with the beat of God’s heart. Simple? Yes! Easy? Not always. It will take some adjustments on our part—trusting in Jesus for our goodness instead of ourselves, yielding control of lives to Him, and allowing His expectations to determine our actions. But the results are out of this world (I just couldn’t resist that one)—a heart in harmony with Jesus and a life directed by Him.

Have you tuned your heart to the Maestro of life?


©2014 Pamela D. Williams