Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tougher Than We Realize

art by Denise A. Wells

We Christians are tougher than we realize. Three weeks ago, my cousin’s son Jeremy and his wife Roxanne delivered their second daughter, Lilly, who was born with CDH, congenital diaphragmatic hernia. You can read more about this condition on my post entitled, Lilly.

In the weeks since her birth, Lilly has undergone several procedures to help her lungs and heart function more efficiently with less stress and effort. She has steadily progressed. This week Lilly underwent surgery for repair of the hernia. Your continued prayers for this little warrior are greatly appreciated.

The struggles that Roxanne and Jeremy have faced would bring a prize fighter to his knees—Roxanne’s diagnosis of gastroparesis just months after their wedding, loss of their first-born to CDH, job loss for Roxanne, a complete job change for Jeremy, and a major move. Add to that the challenge of having a second child born with CDH and you have a recipe for STRESS, in all caps!

And yet, they soldier on, giving praise to God for carrying them through. Their life reminds me a lot of what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.”

Most of us won’t face that kind of intense and concentrated troubles in our entire lifetime. This young couple has dealt with all of this in just over two years. They are a shining example of faith that has been refined by fire. Please join me in praying for Roxanne and Jeremy, and for their precious Lilly.

Lord Jesus, strengthen Roxanne and Jeremy and Lilly by your Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in them as they open the door and invite You in. We ask that with both feet planted firmly on love, they’ll be able to take in with all Your followers the extravagant dimensions of Your love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of You, Lord God. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Be encouraged!

©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What's Your Gut Tell You?

My daughter asked me a thought-provoking question. How does God speak to you? In my women’s fellowship group one person talks about how God speaks to her through dreams. That hasn’t been my experience. How does He speak to you, Momma?

Good question, Erin. God speaks to me in a variety of ways. Often it is in whispers. In order for me to hear Him, I need to follow Psalm 37:7, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Sometimes those whispers take the voice of a trusted Christian friend, sometimes on the wings of prayer, and sometimes from a Scripture echoing through my mind.

God’s spoken to others in whispers:

1 Kings 19: 11-15 Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.” A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. . . God said, “Go back the way you came through the desert to Damascus.

Matthew 10:27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!

Isaiah 30:21 Your ears will hear sweet words behind you (sounds like a whisper to me): “Go this way. There is your path; this is how you should go” whenever you must decide whether to turn to the right or the left.

Often, God takes His God-sized neon marker and highlights a passage, a sentence, or sometimes just a phrase from His Word. Parts I have read over and over in the past suddenly jump off the page, and almost shout at me.

Like David, I find Scripture is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105) Like a flashlight in the night, that Light often shows me things I would have stumbled over in the darkness on my own.

God’s Word is alive and active and cuts to the chase. (Hebrews 4:12) I may flounder around in ambivalence, but a search inside The Book soon clarifies things.

After all, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Thankfully, even when my Bible isn’t handy, the Holy Spirit helps me to remember what Jesus has told me. (John 14:26)

And sometimes, God simply speaks to me through peace. I have to let go of what I want, of what I “know”, and simply trust.

When I have correctly discerned how God wants me to act or react, I have a peace that passes all understanding, a peace that guards my heart and mind. (Philippians 4:7)

Agent Gibbs (on NCIS) says his “gut” tells him things. I know what he means. When I am unsure of something, my stomach does this roiling, tightening, near-nausea thing—quite unpleasant. It’s often a red flag for me, urging me to use caution, to seek God before acting or speaking. Colossians 3:15 advises us to let the peace that Christ gives guide us in the decisions we make.

I often hear this verse singing in my head, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Any words of advice for my daughter? (I am not sure I have my comments problem fixed. If not, please share your thoughts either on my Facebook page or through Google +.)

Be encouraged!

©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Reflections of God

photo by Pam Williams
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image,
make them reflecting our nature.”
Genesis 1:26 (The Message)

It was all so perfect in the beginning. Adam and Eve had everything, including a nature like God’s. Then came “The Fall”, (and I don’t mean the season of Autumn). All humanity now lives under the influence of sin.

Since that time, human nature no longer reflects God's nature. It takes a life-changing experience with Jesus to bring our sinful human nature under God’s influence. Galatians 5:24-25 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; He must also control our lives.”

God’s Word says that when we wholeheartedly trust in Jesus we receive His Spirit and gradually become more and more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).

When I look at other believers, I CAN see something of the nature of God! What I have learned about God from other Christians? Quite a lot, actually!

God shows intense compassion and heart-felt empathy.
God gets fiercely angry yet offers infinite patience.
God displays awesome creativity and mind-boggling intelligence.
God gives unconditional love and unending understanding.
God possesses infinite wisdom and soul-bearing insight.
God is completely sincere and reliably dependable.
God draws us in close and is eternally present.

Proverbs 27:17 reminds us, "People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron." Let's consider today what our words and actions are teaching others about God.

Be encouraged!

©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


CDH, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, is a birth defect that I never heard of till about 18 months ago. CDH occurs when the diaphragm does not form properly and some or all parts of the abdominal organs (stomach, spleen, intestine and/or liver) move into the chest, affecting the development of the lungs and heart.

A week ago my cousin Jeremy and his wife Roxanne delivered their second daughter, Lilly. Lilly has CDH and is fighting a hard battle. Sadly, her older sister, Briella, born with CDH one year ago, lived just 45 minutes. Doctors say there is only a 2% chance CDH happens more than once in a family. And yet, it has. We covet your prayers for Lilly, Roxanne, and Jeremy.

Lilly is responding well to ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation), a procedure that uses a machine to take over the work of the lungs and sometimes the heart. This past weekend she was more alert and wiggly, stretching her legs out, opening and closing her hand, holding on to her mommy’s finger. Her vitals, blood work, and EEG are good. She got her hair washed and had oral care with her mommy's milk!

Lilly’s family is full of hope for this little one. They believe in the power of prayer and the love of God, as do we. Each day is a gift for which we thank God. Lilly will be facing major surgeries and uphill battles in the future. I can’t even imagine the stress and strain on her parents.

Dick and I know from experience what a difference prayer makes when going through trials and challenges. Please join us in fervent prayer for Lilly, Roxanne, and Jeremy, and a chorus of praise for the One who loves her most.

“You are helping us by praying for us.” 2 Corinthians 1:11

Be encouraged!

©2016 Pamela D. Williams