Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Elephant Tracks

“Be sure that as long as you live you never forget what you have seen. . .
You yourselves have seen everything that the Lord your God did for you.
He showed you his power and strength. . .
The Lord showed you all this so that you would
know that He is God.”
Deuteronomy 4:9, 34-35

How could the Israelites forget? Deuteronomy 4 lists many wonders and miracles the Lord did for their nation. Yet, they constantly needed reminded of the amazing things God had done for them.

However, as I read this chapter, I recognized myself. How quickly I take for granted what God has done for me—saved me from sin, walked with me, taught me His ways and guided me along the path of life. How easily I forget, allowing the passing of time to lessen their significance—just like the Israelites.

But in the same loving manner that God cared for the Israelites, He is merciful to me. He sends me reminders—a song that takes me back to a special spiritual moment, an early morning walk filled with the sights and sounds of what only God could have created, a Scripture that leaps off the page and pierces my heart, the welcoming arms of a grandchild.

For my friend, Walter Woods, it is a hollow in a wooden altar where the craftsman missed the nail and made “elephant tracks” in the wood with the hammer. When Walter gave his life to Jesus, he filled those “tracks” with his tears. Now, every time he goes to that altar to pray, he kneels where the “elephant tracks” are forever indented in the wood.

And suddenly, Walter remembers how Jesus has changed his life.

Isn’t it amazing how, in a nanosecond, a simple thing can flood our minds with thoughts of what God has done for us and ours, turning our hearts toward Him?

What is God’s response? Deuteronomy 4:29-31 encourages us: “You will look for the Lord your God. And if you look for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. . . You will come back to the Lord your God and obey him. The Lord your God is a merciful God! He will not leave you or destroy you.”

God welcomes us. . . He forgives us. . . He reminds us all over again of His constant presence and unfailing love.

Today, let’s intentionally reflect on all that God has done for us, on how far He has brought us, and how very different and good our lives are because of His loving hand at work in us. Let’s remind ourselves of how God has changed not just our circumstances, but our very beings, molding and shaping us, transforming us inwardly so we can understand and accept what God wants for us. (Romans 12:2)

What are your “elephant tracks”?

Be encouraged!

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


The Lands at Hillside Farms

God once said, “Let light shine out of the darkness!”
And this is the same God who made His light shine in our hearts
to let us know that His own divine greatness is seen in the face of Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6)

The light gradually penetrates the darkness while I sit quietly in our family room, enjoying my daily, much-needed devotional moments, before the busyness of life intrudes. Each time I look up from my reading and gaze out our sliding glass doors, I notice I can see the awakening world a little more clearly. The sun, ever so steadily and slowly, is brightening the day.

The unfolding of Your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
(Psalm 119:130)

I love my early, early morning tête-à-têtes with Jesus. As I read God’s Word and talk with Him about it, incorporating some insights from the writings of my fellow Christians, I gain a better understanding both of Jesus and of how He wants me to live out what He is teaching me during our times together. Like the sun slowly drawing back the curtain of night, the Son patiently and faithfully opens my spiritual eyes to His presence and His truth. Understanding dawns; I can better navigate my day.

For You light my lamp;
The LORD my God illumines my darkness.
(Psalm 18:28)

New insights dawn each time I read a passage. I have read through the entire Bible repeatedly. Yet God continually gives me fresh insight into His Word. What I learned the last time I read a verse is now added to and adjusted by new perceptions God reveals. How to apply God’s instructions grows clearer. New truths are brought to light from the pages of God’s time-worn book.

God’s word is alive and working.
It is sharper than the sharpest sword
and cuts all the way into us.
It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined.
God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones.
It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.
(Hebrews 4:12)

Be encouraged!

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Raising the Strong-Willed

Raising strong-willed children can make you want to run away from home at times. Both my kids were typical strong-willed children whose endless litany of “whys” would have tried the patience of Job and whose tireless arguments could outwit a lawyer and wear down a judge.

Strong -willed kids move at their own pace. As a kindergartener, Seth took an hour to eat half a sandwich and as a teen, Erin needed two hours to get her make-up on—all while my husband and I chomped at the bit to GET MOVING!!!

Strong-willed children like to make their own rules and often ignore warnings they don’t want to hear. These characteristics certainly made for some stormy times with our kids over the years. By the grace and guidance of God, we all survived those growing pains with no one being arrested.J

But the truth is, I wouldn’t want our kids to be any other way.

God has coalesced and congealed those strong-willed traits that challenged my husband and I while raising our kids, into admirable, enviable qualities in our son and daughter. Seth and Erin have become responsible, independent, caring adults. They step up to the plate and do whatever needs done—even when what needs done is difficult or unpleasant. They make the hard decisions, they brave the backlash of going against what’s popular, and they know what needs to take priority in life. Their backbone of faith in God guides and comforts them. I thank the LORD that they are resourceful, courageous, and compassionate individuals—and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

Are you raising a strong-willed child and wondering at times, Can a parent run away from home? Be encouraged. God created your child with His purposes in mind. (Ephesian 2:10) He has wonderful, prosperous plans for your budding philosopher, amateur lawyer and pint-sized arbitrator. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Be encouraged!

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sunshine and Son Shine

At my first sight of the waves rolling into shore, I started running. Anticipation bubbled up inside and spilled out in delighted laughter as I raced toward the water. Although the sea temperature was only 30°F, and the wind chill lowered the real feel of the air to the mid 40’s, I still loved every minute we spent at Virginia Beach this past weekend.

Even bundled up in my winter coat with my hood tied tight, I could still feel the sun warming the sand beneath my feet and penetrating my outerwear. Despite the chilly temps, the seagulls flocked in to grab bits of bread from my fingers, one of my favorite things to do when at the beach. Braving the cold, my granddaughter River and I chased the receding waters looking for shells, gifts of the sea left behind by the sub-freezing waves.

The joy of being at the beach overcame Winter’s efforts to squelch our enthusiasm. What an uplifting time spent with family at one of our favorite places.

Life has its share of “winters”—challenges that buffet our confidence, chill our hope, and freeze us with fear. However, when we walk with Jesus, the Son, we can anchor our faith in Him (Proverbs 3:5), not ourselves. He assures us of His constant presence (Matthew 28:20), restoring our hope. He helps us overcome our fears (2 Timothy 1:7), assuring us that with Him beside us, we can move through, over or around whatever trials we encounter. The joy of living in a relationship with Jesus can delight our hearts and warm our souls, even in the midst of life’s “winters”. 

Are you walking with Jesus? How does your relationship with Him bring you “Son Shine”?

Be encouraged!

©2017 Pamela D. Williams