Wednesday, January 28, 2015


photo from
Of the 13 houses Dick and I have lived in since we got married, my favorites all have a common denominator--a window over the kitchen sink. I love to gaze out at the world around me while I wash my hands or fill a pot with water or swirl the dishrag around in a bowl. It sounds unlikely but the view transports me from mundane tasks to inner peace and joy.

However, a problem recurs with windows over a sink—they get spotted easily. Water droplets, soap bubbles, food particles, and fingerprints all mar the glass and obscure my view. Every few days I must take a paper towel and a simple solution of warm water and white vinegar to wipe off the window and clear my view.

Kind of reminds me of a verse from the book of James:
“Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,
to keep oneself uncorrupted by the world.”

Other versions use the words unpolluted, unstained, undefiled, and unspotted—unspotted, like my kitchen window needs to be.

It’s easy for me to “un-spot” my window, but how do we keep our souls unspotted by the world? The Bible offers some good advice:

Be careful who we spend time with. Are our closest friends fellow believers? Are they trying to live for Jesus?
  • “Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God.” (Psalm 1:1)
  • “Bad companions ruin good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Be careful what we fill our thoughts with. Are the books and magazines we read reinforcing God’s values? Do the programs and movies we watch uphold God’s moral compass? Is the music we listen to uplifting?
  • “Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.” (Philippians 4:8)
  • “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Be careful of what takes priority. When was the last time we meditated on God’s Word? Or sat in silence listening for His voice? How long has it been since we attended church, Bible study, or a Christian fellowship group? Have overtime hours, sporting events, housework or entertainment taken priority? 
  • “Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you.” (Matthew 6:33)
  • “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (Proverbs 3:6)

What about when the window of our soul is already spotted with thoughts, words, and behaviors that are not pleasing to God? 1 John 1:9 says if we confess those things to God he will forgive them and cleanse us from them. A simple solution! Once we get our spiritual windows unspotted, we will discover the peace and joy that living for Jesus offers.

How do you keep yourself unstained by the world?

Be encouraged!

©2015 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Handling Trials

Photo from

“My friends, consider yourselves fortunate
when all kinds of trials come your way . . .”
James 1:2

Not too many of us look on trials as blessings—at least not in the moment “when”--
            your daughter is in the ER with breathing difficulties
            your employer informs you that your position has been terminated
            your father shows significant signs of Alzheimer’s
            your car breaks down on the Interstate
            your house has been on the market for two years
            you get a call from the school principal’s office about your son
you develop stomach flu while on vacation

These and a million other scenarios can frighten, anger, overwhelm, disgust, worry, and disappoint us. Seldom do trials initially illicit joy, praise, thanksgiving, or a sense of well-being.

So how do we reconcile with James 1:2? How do we live out God’s admonishment?

I found a few clues to finding the blessings of trials in the rest of James 1.

Trials can build endurance. (James 1:3) It’s true: “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.”
Trials can increase faith in God. (James 1:4) If He got you through this one, He will get you through the next.
Trials can forge wisdom. (James 1: 5) We learn from our experiences.
Trials can destroy doubts. (James 1:6) Nothing like a trial to show us that God IS with us!
Trials can make us happy! Really? How?

“Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

The key to these blessings in the face of trials is simply to remain faithful—to hold on tightly to God no matter how hard the wind blows or how violently the earth shakes or how many shoes the dog chews up!

How do you handle trials? Is it with hands of faithfulness? When have you reaped the blessings of a trial?

Be encouraged!

©2015 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's the Little Things

Photo by Pam Williams

Sometimes, it’s the little things that get to us.

I am currently hiding from the frigid temps by holing up in our toasty family room, creating bracelets from beads. It is such fun planning the patterns and colors. I love learning new techniques and tricks to incorporate in my craft.

Seed beads, however, the tiny ones used to encrust wedding dresses, shoe tops, etc, are my nemesis. Though others deftly manipulate them to fashion intricate cuff bracelets or spiral beaded necklaces, they give me a pain in the neck—literally!

When I try to work with seed beads I feel like I am all thumbs. They fly every which way, bouncing off my workspace onto the floor, down between the couch cushions, and within the folds of my shirt or pants. A project takes so many of them and they are tedious to string. I find myself rubbing the back of my neck to try to loosen the tensed muscles. These miniscule beads sap hours of time and concentration!

Sometimes the little things in life can get to me in the same way. I can spend hours fretting and stewing over a little thing—a chance word misspoken by a friend, what to serve for a meal with guests, searching for a misplaced item, how to admit I made a mistake, or any one of a number of similar situations that turn out to be just a tiny incident in the long run—like a single bead in a bracelet.

How should I handle these small irritants? How do I avoid ending up as frustrated as if I was working with seed beads?

Focus on the big picture. When a bracelet is done, its beauty overrides all the frustration wrought in creating it, so I try to keep that in mind while beading.

In life, small, mundane things can be loom large. I must constantly ask myself, “Have I lost sight of the goal?” (Philippians 3:17)

Re-evaluate. Some aspects of a bracelet pattern really matter—for instance, the number of beads you need. Other things, like bead colors, are flexible. However, when I focus on the inconsequential aspects of a project, I can drive myself nuts.

Sadly, I do the same thing in life. So when I feel frustrated over the little things, I need to decide “How important is this? Am I paying attention to what is worthwhile or worthless?” (Psalm 119:37)

Get help. I love it when someone shows me a tricky or technique. I can learn so much faster.

The same is true with challenges in life—we can learn from other believers how to handle the things that bug us.  (Proverbs 27:17)

How do the little things affect you? What has God taught you through the little things in life? I would love to hear about them in the comments section.


©2015 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fear Not

Do not be afraid—I will save you.
I have called you by name—you are mine.
When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you;
your troubles will not overwhelm you.
When you pass through fire, you will not be burned;
the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the holy God, who saves you. . .
I will give up whole nations to save your life,
because you are precious to me
and because I love you and give you honor.
Do not be afraid—I am with you!
Isaiah 43:1-5

I have wasted a good amount of time in fear—fear of things real and fear of things perceived; fear of everything from bugs to sickness to failure.

Fear is a robber. It steals our joy, our confidence, our excitement, and our courage, Fear ensnares our minds and paralyzes our limbs.

2 Timothy 1:7 says fear is not from God. Did you know that in His Word God tells us over 100 times not be afraid? He recognizes how fearful we can be and assures us over and over that our fear is unnecessary because He is with us.

When we are facing something scary—whether it’s a bat in the living room or medical test results or a rebellious teen—whatever that may be for me or for you, it is always easier, less terrifying if someone is with us.

The good news is that Someone is ALWAYS with us. God never leaves us to face our fears alone.

Do not be afraid—I am with you!
I am your God—let nothing terrify you!
I will make you strong and help you;
I will protect you and save you.
“Those who are angry with you
will know the shame of defeat.
Those who fight against you will die
and will disappear from the earth.
I am the Lord your God;
I strengthen you and tell you,
‘Do not be afraid; I will help you.’”
Isaiah 41:10-13

Do you struggle with fear? Reach out and take God’s hand. He is there, waiting to lend each of us His strength and support. God can overcome our fears and give us the joy, confidence, and courage we need to live life to the fullest.


©2015 Pamela D. Williams