Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Blessed People

graphic from Grace Apostolic Church.
God draws a line between His people and the world. “In the Old Testament, God wanted the recognizable difference between Israel and the world to be physical [as in, the plaques did not fall on God’s people]. In the New Testament, He wants that difference to be spiritual. . . We must focus on spiritual blessings to be the difference between us and the world.” (2/2/15)

As I prayed through the Quiet Walk daily devotion on February 2nd, God nudged me to answer the question, “How have you been spiritually blessed?” It didn’t take long for answers to rise to the surface:

  • I have forgiveness, full and free, because of the love of sacrifice of Jesus.
  • I have a husband who is my soul mate and friend, whose heart beats as one with mine.
  • I have seen my children turn their hearts toward God.
  • As a pastor’s wife, I am daily surrounded by those who are seeking God.
  • I know Whom I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.
  • I have been given the gift of writing to share God’s truths with others.
  • I am connected with family, friends, co-workers, and writers who know and love God and who share what He is doing in their lives.

 The Bible repeats over and over that God’s people are a spiritually blessed people: 
  • Psalm 2:12 “Blessed are those who put their trust in God.”
  • Psalm 146:5 “Blessed is he whose hope is in the LORD.”
  • Psalm 144:15 “Blessed is the people whose God is the LORD.”

 In what ways has God made a distinction between you and the world? How have you been spiritually blessed?

Be encouraged!

 ©2015 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Seeking Direction

Photo from

Then all the army leaders came with people of every class and said to me, “Please do what we ask you! Pray to the Lord our God for us. Pray for all of us who have survived. Once there were many of us; but now only a few of us are left, as you can see. Pray that the Lord our God will show us the way we should go and what we should do.

I answered, “Very well, then. I will pray to the Lord our God, just as you have asked, and whatever he says, I will tell you. I will not keep back anything from you.”

Then they said to me, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not obey all the commands that the Lord our God gives you for us. Whether it pleases us or not, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are asking you to pray. All will go well with us if we obey him.”
Ten days later the Lord spoke to me. . .                  Jeremiah 42:1-7

“What do you want me to do, Lord? Show me the way!”

Most of us have prayed that prayer at one time or another. The passage from Jeremiah 42:1-7 offers three simple requirements for seeking God’s direction.
  • Be willing to ask others to pray with us.
  • Be willing to obey whether God’s answer pleases us or not.
  • Be willing to wait on the answer.

When we are in search of God’s direction do we meet these requirements? Or do we keep our struggle to ourselves, promise to obey IF things go our way, and/or become impatient and attempt to guess or rush God’s answer?

I have to admit, I haven't always followed those three simple guidelines. I remember one time in particular when Dick and I were foster parents. We had three foster children under the age of eight, plus our six-year-old son. The oldest began physically beating up on his sister and on our son. Dick and I both wanted to ask the agency to find the child a different home but felt so guilty. We didn’t want to ask others to pray for fear that they would tell us we had to stick it out. We didn’t want to pray “Your will, Lord, not ours,” for the same reason. And we needed an answer yesterday, not sometime.

Finally, we just couldn’t deal with the situation any longer. We asked for prayer and surprisingly saw sighs of relief on the faces of those we approached. “Thank God you have realized this placement is not good for any of you!”

We surrendered the outcome to God and He answered—quickly and clearly. Our experience echoes the truths found in Jeremiah 42.

Are you in turmoil over where God is leading? Ask others to pray, surrendered your will to His, and wait. God will answer. He will lead.

Be encouraged!


©2015 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Seeds of Faith

Photo by Stephen Ray

“Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn't deep. But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants. But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty.”
Matthew 13:3-8

Which seed am I? As I read the parable of the sower, I realized that at one time or another my faith has been like each of those seeds.

In elementary school I went over to the fire hall after school on Wednesdays for Good News Club. I remember signing a “decision” card (like the one in the photo) saying I “received Christ” on a particular date. To be truthful, I had no idea what that meant and therefore never followed through on it. At that time my faith was like the seed that the birds immediately ate up.

As a teenager, I attended Confirmation classes for three years, and was immersed in the folk mass movement of the late sixties. However, I kept my faith on the surface, never allowing it to really sink in. The seeds of faith planted during those years never really took root.

What are the weeds of my life that choke out faith? Material possessions can sap my time and energy—houses require cleaning, clothes must be washed, meals need prepared, computers and phones entail upgrades, etc, etc.

Relationship drama can get a strangle hold on me—drama between co-workers, family members, friends, church members, team players, etc.

And then there are my emotional needs that crowd in—the need to be accepted, to be liked, to be needed, to be wanted, to be affirmed, to be appreciated, to be recognized.
If I let them, these things can squeeze the life out of my relationship with God.

But many seeds of faith have taken root and grown and produced more seeds. There is nothing quite as exciting as sharing Christ with another person and seeing their faith take root. When God uses me to scatter seeds of faith in someone else’s soul, it is such an awesome experience. It feeds and waters my own faith.

We can all sow seeds of faith—in conversations, in teaching situations, in blog posts, in letters and cards—the opportunities are endless.

Where do you see yourself in Jesus’ parable of the sower? In what ways has God led you to sow seeds of faith?

Be encouraged!

©2015 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Trust Fall

Remember the old Trust Fall exercise from youth fellowship? A Trust Fall involves one partner standing in front of the other, both facing the same direction. The person in front makes his body stiff and purposely falls backwards. When he falls, the one behind him gently catches him and lowers him to the ground.

It’s not easy being the front person. You have to trust that the person behind you is strong enough, big enough, and cares enough to catch you. A hefty adult could never trust a puny six year old. A 6’4” football player wouldn’t trust my husband’s 4’9” grandmother.

Sometimes, when we come up against problems and challenges in life, we feel like our troubles are as big as a sumo wrestler—and our God is the size of a little leaguer. We find ourselves thinking, No one can change this situation. Nothing will help.

However, the Bible tells us differently:
  • My God shall supply all my needs. (Philippians 4:19)
  • He who is in you [God] is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
  • Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we depend on the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7)
  • God, by His power working within us, is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, (Ephesians 3:20)
  • But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
  • Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:35-37)

 And that is just a small smattering of the scriptures that reassure us of God’s love, God’s power, and God’s strength. Rather than seeing our troubles lumbering toward us like T.J. Barnes of the NY Jets, let’s remember we can trust God and not be terrified by our problems, for the LORD our God, who is among us, is great and awesome. (Deuteronomy 7:21)

Be encouraged, my friend!

©2015 Pamela D. Williams