Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Masterpieces

God has been brushing the landscape
with his beautiful colors . . .

. . . and shapes this Spring.

His creativity astounds me.

The evidence of His hand
surrounds us on all sides.


I praise Him for
He is the greatest Artist . . .

. . . and the most gifted Sculptor!

I just had to share a few of His masterpieces . . . 

from around our area
of Pennsylvania.


Blessings,
Pam

©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Choices



The path our life takes is determined simply—by our choices. Sometimes choices, like whether to go to church this morning or not, seem small and insignificant but have long-reaching, even eternal, consequences. Others appear dramatic and life-changing at the point of decision, like what to major in at college, but later prove to be merely passing scenery when we look back along the path our lives have taken.

So how do we know which decisions are the important ones? Often we only find that out in hindsight. So what do we do? How can we insure that we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing?

We can choose to put our trust in Jesus. It is the one choice that will affect all our other choices. When we choose to follow Jesus, to put our faith in Him both as our Savior from all our sins and failures, and as the Lord of our lives, He breathes His Holy Spirit into us. From that moment on, we have a Guide to help us make good choices, to direct us along the best path—if we will just listen and obey.

For that first choice, the choice to trust Jesus, leads to daily choices of whether to follow Him or not. He doesn’t make us robots or even well-trained dogs that obey automatically. He continues to give us freedom of choice—in the big decisions and in the tiny ones.

God’s greatest desire is what is best for us, but he doesn’t force it on us. We must decide if we trust Him enough to obey Him. But how can we know for sure what choice is God’s choice?

In Confirmation classes my husband teaches that in the United Methodist Church, there is a principle called the Wesley Quadrilateral. John Wesley believed the core of the Christian faith is illuminated for the believer by (1) Scripture, (2) tradition, (3) reason, and (4) experience.

“Scripture is considered the primary source and standard for Christian doctrine. Tradition is the witness of development and growth of the faith in the past. Experience is the individual's understanding and appropriating of the faith in the light of his or her own life. Reason is the discerning and cogent thought an individual Christian brings to bear on the Christian faith.” (Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press.)

It seems to me that Wesley’s Quadrilateral is a great avenue that the Holy Spirit can use to speak to us about our choices. When we cover each of these areas with intentional, focused prayer, we can rest assured that God is guiding our choices.

Blessings!
Pam

©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Time and a Season


There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
. . . a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak. . .
(--from Ecclesiastes 3)

I received an email from a friend whose husband Ron was gravely ill. In it Bette shared a tale of God’s mysterious ways.

Following Ron’s diagnosis of ALS, the congregational care minister from Bette's church took a prayer shawl to Bette as a reminder of both God’s love and the love of the congregation. When it was handed to her, Bette stared at the shawl in disbelief.

It seems that 55 years ago Bette had started to knit a sweater. It was finished except for one arm from the elbow down. Life had intervened and Bette put the project away, hoping to finish it someday.

Over half a century later, when she and her husband were preparing to move, she gave the unfinished sweater to her church’s Quilt-Knit-Crochet group so they could use the yarn to make a shawl for the church’s prayer shawl ministry.

As Gail, the congregational care minister from Bette’s church prepared to visit with Bette, she went to the closet where the prayer shawls are stored and picked out one. Unbeknownst to Gail, it was the shawl made from the yarn of Bette’s unfinished sweater.

“I know now why I never completed it,” Bette wrote. “It wasn’t meant to be a sweater; it was to be my prayer shawl. Throughout Ron’s illness, God has been so amazing, providing just what we need, just when we need it—even yarn, bought in 1959, for a prayer shawl we would need in 2014.”

Yes, Bette, God IS amazing! His timing and provision never cease to fill me with awe; His thoughtful expressions of love continue to astound me.

“Because Your loving kindness is better than life,
my lips shall praise You.”
Ps 63:3

Blessings!
Pam

©2016 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Dangers of Assumptions

Assumptions usually get us into trouble. Many of us understand the pitfalls of assuming all too well. We hear part of a conversation and our insecure little minds assume it is about us. We witness an altercation in the grocery store between a parent and child and assume the parent is short-tempered. We tune in and out of the pastor’s sermon and then brood over something we assume he meant, when that wasn’t his point at all.

In my own life, the results of making assumptions have run the gamut from mild embarrassment to neglect of an important task. Recently we were visiting at my mom’s and had taken our cat, Watson along. At one point we were all outside, including the cat. Dick decided to go back indoors.

Can you see what is really pictured in this stereogram?
When you can, post what you see in the comments section!
Have fun!
Mom and I were chatting about her flowers and watching my great-niece play in the grass. The recycling truck lumbered down the front street and suddenly Watson came flying around the house. I assumed Dick had taken him indoors with him. Dick assumed we were keeping an eye on Watson. Turned out, Watson was wondering off in an unfamiliar neighborhood!

Other times, my assumptions had more serious consequences. Assuming a teen would be a good babysitter simply because she attended our church, showed poor judgment on my part. I found out later that she not only didn’t change our son’s dirty diapers during the four hours we were gone, but enjoyed half a bottle of wine while supposedly being “on the job”. We found her sound asleep when we got home! Next time, I never made that kind of assumption again; I made sure I asked other parents whom they recommended for a sitter.

The Bible shares many stories of God’s followers ending up in trouble because they assumed. Sarah assumed she was too old to bear a son and encouraged her husband to have a child with her handmaiden; The Hebrews assumed God had forgotten them and Moses wasn’t coming back to lead them when they built the golden calf; the people of Jesus’ day rejected him because they assumed their Messiah would overthrow the Roman government.

God’s Word offers lots of good advice about assumptions:
·       “Don’t assume that you know it all.” Proverbs 3:7
·       “Don't jump to conclusions - there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.” Proverbs 25:8
·       “Don't shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think.” Proverbs 29:20
·       “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19

It’s easy to fall prey to our assumptions, but next time we are tempted to jump to conclusions, let’s remember Proverbs 3:5:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Never rely on what you think you know.

Blessings!
Pam

©2016 Pamela D. Williams