Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Being Transformed

Photo by Dick Williams
I am but a mere toddler in the field of gardening, but I love seeing the flowers I plant transform from seeds and seedlings into beautiful blooms. Their delicate blossoms and wonderful fragrance put a smile on my face every time. I tend to place my plants in areas where I can see them from our family room so I can enjoy their beauty and be daily reminded to water them.

Inevitably, among my flowers, weeds sprout up. Sometimes, when the plants first emerge from the ground, my untrained eyes can’t tell the weeds from the flowers.

As Christians, we are God’s flowers in the garden of the world. God plants us where it gives Him the most pleasure. But sometimes I am slow to bloom and can be hard to distinguish from those who are not following Jesus.

Photo by Pam Williams
In Romans 12:2, Paul warns, “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.” When we allow God to be the strongest influence in our lives, rather than the world around us, then we “will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”

How can we open ourselves to God’s transformation? Philippians 4:8-9 shares the key: “Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.”

Guarding our minds requires two steps. Like weeding the garden, keeping out what can negatively impact us is the first step. This varies to some degree by individual, but many of these “bad influences” are obvious. Second, like watering our plants, we need to take a proactive role in inputting what is good in God’s eyes by reading His Word, listening to Christian teaching (whether from teachers, preachers, writers, musicians, etc), and contemplating those things that are pure and lovely and honorable.

When we fill our minds with the things of God, they will take root and bring about positive change. Our thoughts, our words, and our actions will become more pleasing to God and our faith will grow and blossom. Don’t you think that puts a smile on God’s face?

Be encouraged!

 ©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Steeped in God's Word

I LOVE a cup of hot tea in the morning, steeped long, and sweetened with honey. No pale ale-colored swill for me; no mere dip of the bag into the water once or twice. I let the tea infuse the hot water for the maximum amount of time recommended for the richest flavor. I audibly sigh with contented pleasure at each sip of this delicious brew.

Steeping long in God’s Word helps me to mature as a Christian and to live so others thirst to know Him, too. Once a week, (perhaps in church), isn’t enough. Turning to His Word only when I am in a jam doesn’t meet my day-to-day need of time spent allowing Him to infuse my soul. In order to truly quench my thirst for more of Jesus and prepare me to offer others a taste of a relationship with Him, I require daily dunking in the waters of God’s Word.

I don’t want to be a flavorless Christian, undetectable among those who don’t know Jesus. I want my faith to be rich and full-bodied, appealing to others, and sweet to the Lord.

Psalms 19 and 119 expound on the innate qualities of God’s Word that can be ours by immersing ourselves in it, and allowing it to permeate our thoughts, our words, and our actions:
To refresh the soul
To impart wisdom
To give joy to the heart
To give light to the eyes
To strengthen the weary
To broaden understanding
To prevent shameful conduct
To light the path

God’s Word is true. I have tasted and I have seen that the Lord IS good. (Psalm 34:8) His Word can sweeten a bitter day better than the best honey I have ever stirred into a cup of tea. (Psalm 119:103) And I need every word God speaks in order to counteract the lies of this world. (Matthew 4:4)

Let me steep in Your word, Lord; let me steep till all of my life is flavored with Your presence.

Be encouraged!


©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Are You Thirsty?

A few months ago my husband and I visited his brother in El Paso, Texas. Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, El Paso is dry and mountainous. Water is a precious commodity that is used sparingly there and paid for dearly.

In contrast, there is water at every turn in our daughter’s home state of Minnesota. Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, Minnesota actually sports nearly 12,000 of these bodies of water. Though plentiful, water is still recognized as a valuable and protection-worthy resource.

We treasure water because it is essential to all forms of life. The human body is made up of 50-70% water. Water dissolves nutrients so they can be absorbed by the various organs. Our bodies cannot live without ingesting water.

There can be water all around us, but unless we drink it in, it does us no good. Water outside our bodies cannot sustain us.

Likewise, the soul cannot live without God. King David writes: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)

The problem is not that God isn’t around or isn’t enough. The problem is we fail to lift our cups to Him and allow Him to fill us with His presence. Or we try to fill our spiritual cups with the things this world offers. Matthew Henry advises, “The true Christian arises with a thirst after those comforts which the world cannot give, and has immediate recourse by prayer to the Fountain of the water of life.”

Are you spiritually thirsty? God says when we seek Him with all our heart we will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13) recommends contemplating God’s presence. “God is with me, but more, God is within me. Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence in my body, in my mind, in my heart, as I sit here, right now.” Fill my cup, Lord!


©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Move On

The other day while reading a devotional on, the Lord highlighted two little words that appear at the bottom of every page on the website’s devotionals—Move on.

These two little words speak volumes. While their placement at the bottom of each devotional page on SacredSpace is merely an aid to turning the page when ready, “move on” resounds throughout Scripture as God addresses His people:

  • Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now!”
  • Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me.’”
  • Luke 9:62 “Jesus said to him, ‘Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.’”
  • Philippians 3:13-14 “The one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.” 
  • Hebrews 5:12, 6:1 “There has been enough time for you to be teachers—yet you still need someone to teach you the first lessons of God's message . . . Let us go forward, then, to mature teaching . . .”
  • Hebrews 12:1-2 "Let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end."

Sometimes, I find it hard to move on. I get comfortable—in a routine, a place, a way of doing things—and resist change. However, throughout my life, God has called me to “move on”—to new places, new opportunities, new challenges, new ways of thinking—and the changes have always been good. I may not recognize the goodness for a while, but eventually I have that “Aha” moment when I put on my God-glasses and see things from His point of view.

Is God calling you to “move on” in some area of your life? What have you learned from obeying that call in the past?


And for all our UMC friends, no, this post does not mean we are moving this year! LOL!

 ©2016 Pamela D. Williams