Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Is THIS Your Plan, Lord?

The Old Testament account of Joseph’s life demonstrates a New Testament scripture that is quoted quite frequently. Beginning in Genesis 37 and ending with chapter 50, Joseph’s story tells how God can work together ALL things for the good of those who love Him—those whom He has called according to His plan. (Romans 8:28)

Out of jealousy, Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery. He is then re-sold to an Egyptian ruler, who has him jailed on false accusations. While imprisoned, he helps out a fellow inmate, who then forgets all about Joseph once he is released.

However, God used all of these trials and tribulations to bring about good, not just for Joseph but for the entire region and for his own brothers who had sold him off! God placed Joseph in a position of power for this specific purpose.

Did Joseph enjoy the process of getting to that place in his life? I highly doubt it. Slavery is full of pain and fear and hard work. Prison is no better. Despite Joseph following hard after God and doing his best at whatever he was asked to do, he still endured suffering. Even just the separation from 11 brothers and his father would have weighed heavily on his heart.

I really doubt he could see God’s hand at work at the time his brother’s sold him as a slave. I find it hard to believe he would recognize God intervening when he was falsely accused and thrown in prison. But he remained faithful to God.

It is difficult, when we are facing a challenge or traversing a rough road that seems to only lead further into adversity, to realize God has a plan and is working it out. It is only when we come out on the other side that we even begin to see a faint shadow of the path God has mapped out for us.

When we find it difficult to see God at work in our lives, how do we remain faithful?

Psalm 63:1-2 says we go to church and look for Him there. We hope to hear stories there of how God has brought others through.
O God, you are my God. At dawn I search for you. My soul thirsts for you. My body longs for you in a dry, parched land where there is no water. So I look for you in the holy place to see your power and your glory.

Job 9:4 reminds us not to blame God, despite how bleak things may look.
You, my God, are wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against You and prospered?

Hosea 6:1 invites us to turn back to God, to acknowledge His presence and power and plan.
Let’s return to the Lord. Even though he has torn us to pieces, he will heal us. Even though he has wounded us, he will bandage our wounds.

God is trustworthy. Joseph’s life illustrates this so vividly—and so do our lives. We may be in the midst of a challenge that makes us question God or even doubt His goodness, but, if we draw close to God, He will use even these difficulties to bring about His good.

Be encouraged!

P.S. I needed this post as much as anyone. Please pray for my husband, Dick. He fell on black ice and hit his head hard on our driveway yesterday. CT scan showed no concussion, but he has two staples in the back of his head and a rip roaring headache and neck pain. Prayers greatly appreciated.

©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gray Days

Photo by Bob Daveant

Winter has set in with its chilly, gray days overcast by gloomy clouds that blend in with the branches of barren trees. Too many days in a row like this tend to get me down. Recently, God encouraged me through these words by Margaret Silf:

“Perhaps the presence of gray can invite us into solitude, offering time and space for reflection. . . It can open the gateway to a whole spectrum of subtle colors that we never expected to find hiding in the gray . . . a kind word resonates gently through our day; a time of reflection draws us into deeper reaches of ourselves; a good book opens up vistas, invisible in the brighter light.”

I gaze out our sliding glass doors as I mull over Margaret’s words and God sends me a vivid picture of just what Margaret is sharing. A brilliant red cardinal alights on the leafless branch of a dormant tree. In other seasons, the proliferation of colorful leaves would make him difficult to see. But on this monochrome day, I can’t miss spotting the cardinal—a sight that takes my breath away, a bright gift revealed by the colorlessness of the day.

Likewise it sometimes takes a gray day for me to become aware of the glorious, tingling presence of God all around and within me. The vibrancy and busyness of life, like the recent Christmas season, can make it difficult to find time for God. Instead, it is in unhurried, contemplative moments when I can reflect and say, “Ah! Yes! I see You, Lord!”

Maybe winter isn’t so gloomy after all!

“Indeed, the fountain of life is with you. In your light we see light.” Psalm 36:9


©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

He Loves Me, Too!

Photo by Pam Williams

I cringed at the crash, tinkle and crunch of glass hitting the stone floor. “I’m soooo sorry!” the young woman exclaimed.

It was a phrase I had heard several times in the busy weeks leading up to Christmas. Customers swamped the tiny store where I work and occasionally an elbow connected with a shelf or a rambunctious child bumped into a display. Accidents happened. Lately our recycled wine-bottle soy candles were the unfortunate casualties—and they aren’t cheap.

We salvaged the wax from the shards of glass in the hopes of re-using it somehow.  We are a non-profit and try very hard to embody the idea of sustainable conservation—re-use, re-cycle, re-claim, up-cycle, living green, waste not-want not. Three naked globs now lined our window sill at the store. As I lay in bed Sunday night I asked God to show us how we could re-coup our losses on the candles.

Monday my husband and I were wandering through a local flea market and I came across three new mini baking dishes with cute little snowmen on them at a ridiculously low price. Immediately an idea came to mind for recycling the broken candles. I scooped up the dishes and headed for home.

After doing a bit of research I found that soy wax would melt at 170 degrees. So I cut the wax up, carefully reserving the wicks, and filled each little loaf pan. I placed them on a cookie sheet and slid them into my oven, which was preheated to 170 degrees. I watched them closely, since wax has a very low flashpoint. In a short time the wax melted and filled the dishes, and I had three lovely candles that we can now sell at the store! Thanks, Lord!

We sometimes think we shouldn’t bother God with the small stuff. I beg to differ. Just the other day, I discovered a $20 bill had gone through the washer and dryer. I laid it aside and then later, I couldn’t find it. So that night I asked God to show me where it was. About 5:00 AM our cat woke me up. (He was hungry and I am a softie.) I went downstairs to feed him and as soon as I walked into the kitchen I knew exactly where that money was. I went and checked and yep, there is was! I did a little happy dance and went back to bed.

I could go on and on with examples from my own life of God’s hand at work in circumstances that some might feel I shouldn’t even be bringing to His attention. But these little acts of kindness God does for me builds up my faith so that when the big things come—like surgery, cancer, loss of a loved one—my trust in Him is strong enough to face them. It reminds me of a song I learned in Sunday school as a child that still offers comfort to me at 62:

By Maria and Solomon Straub

God sees the little sparrow fall,
It meets His tender view;
If God so loves the little birds,
I know He loves me, too.

Refrain: He loves me, too, He loves me, too,
I know He loves me, too;
Because He loves the little things,
I know He loves me, too.

He paints the lily of the field,
Perfumes each lily bell;
If He so loves the little flow’rs,
I know He loves me well. Refrain

God made the little birds and flow’rs,
And all things large and small;
He’ll not forget his little ones,
I know He loves them all. Refrain

“You are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

In what large or small way has God shown His love for you today?


©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Take One Step

Empowerment Queen

I’ve always agreed with the old adage, “There’s no need to re-invent the wheel.” So when I came across this post by Vinita Hampton Wright on, I decided to share it with you just as it is. It offers good suggestions for making a difference in this New Year we have just begun.

“Rather than compose elaborate resolutions for the year to come, simply do today, in some small way, what you intend to do all year:
·         Say “Thank you” to at least one person
·         Make one healthy choice about your body—food or drink or rest or motion.
·         Do one generous act, big or small.
·         Say “yes” to the day’s gifts.
·         Get quiet for five minutes, just to be still.
·         Let one person know that you appreciate him or her.
·         Do one creative act, big or small.
·         Allow yourself to consider what someone else is going through.
·         Do one thing well and with full attention.
·         Open your arms - and your heart - to God.
If you do it today, you can do it again, and again.”
By Vinita Hampton Wright on dotMagis, the blog of


2016 Pamela D. Williams