Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Springtime Weeding

“Let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us.”
Hebrews 12:1

I admit I had noticed a week or two beforehand that the weeds were sprouting up. But it always seemed I was on my way to somewhere else when I saw them. I would think to myself, I need to pull these out. Of course, I never got around to it.

Ugh! When I finally found the time, the weeds were out of control! I worked fast and furiously yanking those prolific plants out of the ground. Some of them had wound their tendrils around plants 

I didn’t want pulled up. Others were determined to keep their roots firmly clenched in the dirt. Some took over whole sections between my bushes. I realized my job would have been a lot easier if I had addressed the problem when I first noticed it.

As I sat back on my haunches to rest my hands, God showed me that those weeds are very similar to sin. Sin is subtle in how it works its way in—a little lie here, a bit of gossip there. If not addressed, sin becomes a habit in our daily lives. If left unchecked, one sin can lead to another and another.

Scripture can open our eyes to sin in our lives. When we recognize it, God encourages us to confess our sins to Him (1 John 1:9), like yanking up weeds by the roots. God also tells us to confess our sins to a fellow believer (James 5:16). Then that person can pray for us and hold us accountable.

Sin, no matter what it is, needs to be admitted and addressed sooner rather than later. Let’s get those faith-choking weeds pulled before they overrun our spiritual gardens.


©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Singing in the Rain

Have you heard the amazing chorus singing in the mornings lately? At this time of year, I often hear the birds praising God at the top of their voices, just before dawn breaks. It is awe inspiring and humbling to listen to their unabashed joy.

Often in the New Testament, God makes references to the habit of birds as a way to teach us about Himself (Matthew 23:37), and about the Christian walk (Luke 12:24). He still draws my attention to the birds to communicate a valuable lesson to me.

Recently, despite pre-dawn raindrops falling on their heads, (couldn’t resist the musical reference), the birds in our trees were singing boldly and brightly—and with just as much zeal as if it the weather were clear and dry. Their enthusiasm pricked my conscience, making me ask myself, Do I praise God like that, even when the day begins less than stellar?

I wish I could say I do, but that would be a lie. Earlier this week I was preparing for a medical test I would have later in the day. As I gritted my teeth against nausea and forced myself to drink the salty grape-flavored liquid, I found it difficult to think praise-worthy thoughts.

Yet God’s Word says He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). Luke 19:40 tells us that if His disciples are quiet, even the rocks will cry out in praise!

That morning, like so many others, I heard the birds singing. I felt God nudging me to join them—to ponder the blessings of simply being alive, of God’s provision for all my needs, for the soul- cleansing power of His forgiveness—and to lift my voice in praise along with my feathered friends.

Each of us can offer a sacrifice of praise to God our Father—on those wonderful, joy-filled days when everything is going our way, AND on those challenging mornings that make us want to pull the covers back over our heads to avoid what awaits us that day.


P.S. The test went well and showed that God is keeping me healthy! Praise His name!

©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Spoiler Alert!

"Do not be afraid! Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." (Matthew 28:10)
“Galilee is the place where the disciples were first called, where everything began! The apostles were to return there, to the place where they were originally called. . . To return to Galilee means to . . . re-read everything—Jesus’ preaching, his miracles, the new community, the excitement and the defections, even the betrayal—to re-read everything starting from the end, which is a new beginning, from this supreme act of love.”
My husband always says, “We are Easter people! We know the end of the story—because of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, we win!”
Reading the Bible with this knowledge in mind can change our whole perspective on what we find there. That ultimate victory lies just beneath the surface of every word—even the accounts found in the Old Testament. Reading God’s Word, knowing that Jesus has delivered us from sin and death, allows us to see the love and hope ever-present throughout its pages.
For me, once I believed God’s Good News of salvation for my own self, the Bible became alive and active, just as God described it in Hebrews 4:12. Previously, when I had tried to read the Bible, I found it dry and confusing, bogged down with people, places, and events that seemed disconnected from the present.
Now, knowing the full story and the victory Jesus won for ALL of us, I can see the thread of salvation from Genesis to Revelation. The stories and lessons make sense because I can see how they lead up to the cross, making them totally relevant to my walk with Jesus.
How does the “spoiler alert” of knowing Jesus overcame sin and death, and lives today, affect your reading of God’s Word?

©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

It's Baa-ack!

Hair is one of the first things I notice. When chemotherapy caused me to lose ALL my locks last summer, I took it hard. It was like carrying a megaphone and announcing to the world that I had cancer. Sudden baldness was one more forfeiture in a series of physical and emotional losses to the dreaded disease.

Consequently, I found myself intensely interested in other people’s hair. As I observed the myriad of styles and colors, I realized G.I. short, Lady-Godiva long, or missing altogether could be equally attractive. Jet black, snow white, or sparrow brown with burgundy highlights can all be beautiful. Poker straight, corkscrew curly, or ocean wavy hair each have the potential to be chic.

I had worn my hair long and slightly wavy for 95% of my life, but now I started to reconsider. Hmmm, maybe losing my hair was a chance to try something new!

I am very happy to say that my hair is now over an inch long! My wig and hats have been retired! I kind of like this new, sassy-short look!

As I write this I am fully aware that hair really isn’t a big deal in the overall scope of life. After all, Scripture says, “Man looks at outward appearance but God looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) However, following all the terrible, terrifying things that a diagnosis of cancer brings, hair is a tangible sign that I am truly healing. It feels great, inside and out, to look in the mirror and see that my hair is coming back. (Doing a little happy dance right now!)

I thank God with my whole being for bringing me through this challenging time. It is only by His grace and the guidance of His hands that I am once again strong and healthy. Many thanks to each and every one of you who prayed for me. I needed you and you were there for me. If I can ever do the same for you, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Much love and many blessings!

©2016 Pamela D. Williams