Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Narrow Path

Ricketts Glen
photo by Pam Williams

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)

The path looked precarious, a sheer drop to a stony stream bed on one side, and a damp rock wall covered with moss on the other. However, I had been told that the beauty of what lay ahead warranted traversing this narrow strip. But would it, really? Was I willing to take the necessary risky steps to find the promised treasure for myself?

After carefully winding my way around the rocky outcropping, I heard the rushing of water and looked up. A breath-taking waterfall—far more beautiful than the words of others could describe—cascaded from tier to tier. I sucked in my breath at the awesome sight. Yes, it was definitely worth the risk.



Aren’t the steps that lead to salvation a lot like walking along that skinny pathway—requiring us to take steps that might seem pretty risky at the time? Asking us to place our faith in Someone we can’t even see?

"Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14)


Yet, those of us who have made the journey know that the promise is true—there is a better life waiting. With salvation comes the priceless treasure and awesome beauty of a real and loving relationship with God.

Is it worth the risks—losing face, friendships, relationships, familiar habits or whatever else holds us back? Yes! Most definitely! Like the unexpected and breathtaking beauty of the waterfall, life with Jesus holds so much more goodness, love and grace than we can ever dream of.

“No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard,
        and no mind has imagined
            the things that God has prepared
                for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9


Blessings!
Pam
 ©2014 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Giving Up Everything

Photo by Andre Scarrio from Morguefile.com
  • Abraham left family and homeland in obedience to God.
  • Elisha left his family, his work, and his home to go with Elijah and serve God. 1 Kings 19
  • Peter and Andrew dropped their nets, left their father, and went with Jesus to learn from Him.
  • Likewise, James and John left family and life-long occupations to follow Jesus and serve God.
  • Paul left his religious order and his family to answer the call of Christ on his life.

God’s call always requires us to give our all. What that may necessitate will be different in the details for you than it has been for me, but in every case it demands a heart willing to do, to go, to say, to share, to think and to give up EVERYTHING for Jesus.

Romans 12:1-2
So then, my friends, because of God's great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. 2 Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.

Over the years God’s call on my own life has varied. When Dick and I first entered pastoral ministry, God’s call took away close proximity to family, the dream of owning our own home, and a substantial income as an employee of the state.

When God called me to rely on Jesus’ death on the cross for my sins, I had to swallow hard and give up trusting in my own efforts as a means to please God and earn a place a Heaven.

Looking back over the many years since the day I placed my trust in Jesus reveals a constant need for re-dedication and further purification of my attitudes, my words, and my actions. I have had to continue to place myself in the purifying flame of God’s presence in order for God to temper and shape me after His will.

While offering ourselves totally to God does require sacrifice, knowing His will--what is good, perfect, and pleasing to Him--is worth any personal cost.

What has offering your life as a “living sacrifice” involved for you? I would love to hear your story! J

Blessings!
Pam

©2014 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Love in a Smile

Photo by Bethany Shoemaker of Kenzie Smiles Photography
The past month may have exhausted my creativity and energy, but it has increased the love in my life—not only my love for my grandchildren, but the very real assurance that I am loved.

It floods over me through a simple smile shared with my older grandson. Neither of us has to say anything at all. His smile says, “I love you, Nana. I want to be here with you.”

My smile says, “I love you, Kodey. I am so glad you are mine.”

Jesus asked us to love one another. Can that love be expressed, like Kodey’s love for me, in a simple smile? Can the minor effort of extending the muscles around our mouths into a genuine smile pass on God’s love to whomever we meet, without saying a word?

I think smiling can, especially in this hurried, preoccupied, inattentive world that we navigate each day. Give everyone you meet a simple smile, then stop back and share what happened.

“And now I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
If you have love for one another,
then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
John 13: 34-35

Blessings!
Pam

©2014 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Have you tried a cleanse?

Photo from Bing.com
Have you tried a “Cleanse”? Many people advocate plans and products to detoxify our bodies as a means of losing weight and gaining energy. I’ve never tried one so I can’t speak to their effectiveness. However, I have experienced a spiritual cleanse.

Just as harmful substances like pesticides, microbes, and mercury, disinfectants, deodorizers, and toxic gasses can enter our bodies and cause physical illnesses and disorders, sin—in all its varied forms--clogs our souls and destroys relationships.

Unlike the many cleanses suggested to purge and purify the systems of our bodies, Jesus is the one and only option God offers to cleanse us spiritually:

  • I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
  • We can be saved only by the power of the one named Jesus and not by any other person. (Acts 4:12)
  • Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that, freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. (1 Peter 2:24)
  • Jesus cleanses us from every sin. (1 John 1:7)
  • God is faithful . . . and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong. (1 John 1:9)
  • Jesus came to take away our sins. (1 John 3:5)

 While the jury is still out on which is the best physical cleanse, God has made “the cleanse” for sin very clear—trust in Jesus. Have you tried the cleanse that is FREE, has no expiration date, and is 100% guaranteed?

Blessings,
Pam

©2014 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Independence Day

Sometimes the real reason our nation celebrates on July 4th is shrouded behind a smokescreen of pyrotechnics and barbecues. In reality, freedom is a hard-won gift for which even fireworks, picnics, and parades fail to show proper appreciation.

However, the independence we experience when we put our trust in Jesus far exceeds even the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the USA. In the moment of salvation we are set free from a far more insidiously enslaving master—sin.

  • “Because you belong to Jesus, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. “ Romans 8:2
  • “Christ has freed us so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom. Therefore, be firm [in this freedom], and don't become slaves again.” Galatians 5:1 

We are free from the power of all sin—gossip, worry, prejudice, lust—whatever enslaves us!

But are we living that freedom with the abandon that we live in liberty within the United States? Or are we still serving pride, fear, hate, and selfishness?

“So if the Son sets you free,
you will be absolutely free.”
John 8:36

Will you pray with me for an Independence Day within our hearts?

“Lord, you created me to live in freedom. Mostly I take this gift for granted. Inspire me to live in the freedom you intended, with a heart untroubled and with complete trust in You. Amen”—SacredSpace.ie

Blessings!
Pam

©2014 Pamela D. Williams