Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Exceedingly Abundantly

I knew something was amiss. “We need to take a few more pictures, Mrs. Williams. Then the doctor would like to talk to you.”

All I could pray was, “Help me, Lord! Don’t let it be anything serious.”

But, as it turned out, it was serious—triple negative, aggressive breast cancer.

God didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted—He did something even better. He taught me that I can trust Him. While I imagined a process riddled with fear, anxiety, and ghastly side effects, He brought me safely through with good health, a relationship with a team of compassionate doctors, and best of all, a story to share with others who are facing such a diagnosis. His answer was exceedingly abundantly above all that I asked or thought.

No matter whether our prayers are drawn-out and detailed or consist of nothing but the prayer I prayed in the imaging department, we have expectations of what a “good” answer will look like. What about when the outcome is NOT what we want? What about when the wisdom and excellence of His answer isn’t obvious?

Ephesians 3:20-21 assures us that no matter how well-intentioned our version of what God’s response to our prayers should be, His actual answer goes extraordinarily and lavishly beyond our wildest dreams.

Why? Scripture gives many reasons we can count on Ephesians 3:20-21:
  • God loves us. (1 John 3:1)
  • God has a plan. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • God knows what we need. (Matthew 6:8b)
  • God is generous. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
  • God is powerful. (Ephesians 1:19-20)
  • God is good. (Psalm 119:68)
  • God’s ways are wiser; His thoughts are higher. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

When we pray, we can be assured that we are heard, we are loved, we are answered—in ways far beyond what our human minds can imagine. Isaiah 45:3 says,
I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches.
I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.
Isaiah 45:3
 So, when God doesn’t respond to our prayers in the way that we expect, let’s remind ourselves that He is working on an even better outcome than we are capable of visualizing, and give Him the praise and glory He deserves—even when we can’t see it yet!

Be encouraged!

Your thoughts on my posts are always welcome. If you would like to comment, you can do so on Facebook, Google+, or via my contact link below.

©2018 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


As we turned the corner from the hallway into the kitchen, Dick and I stopped short. I snapped the photo you see above—and looked over at Dick, wide-eyed.

When the trustees at Grace United Methodist Church, Lewistown, (where we will move in June), said they “re-doing” the kitchen, I pictured freshly painted cabinets and new linoleum. However, the kitchen will be completely transformed, including removing a wall and replacing the floor, appliances, and cabinets! We can hardly wait to see the finished project!

Preparations are being made all over the house—refinishing hardwood floors, addressing a radon problem, updating bathrooms, and painting walls. Dick and I are so excited that we will get to enjoy all these wonderful improvements!

An undertaking of this magnitude takes vision and commitment. Dick and I applaud the people of Grace UMC for being willing to invest so much time, effort, and funds into making their parsonage a lovely home where anyone would be thrilled to live.

As I thumbed through the pictures on my phone that I had snapped of the house and considered all the many preparations being made, I wondered, What am I doing to prepare myself for ministry at Grace UMC? How am I clearing the way for new and exciting movements of God within Grace church and within me?

Contemplating these questions, I realized there are ways I can prepare for the transition:
  • Reflect on all the wonderful ways God has walked with us in previous churches
  • Pray for the church members, the leadership, Dick, our neighbors, and myself
  • Learn all I can about the church and the area where we are moving
  • Plan ways to connect with church members and neighbors
  • Anticipate exciting new ministry opportunities

 Interestingly enough, this same list works for church members as they prepare for a new pastor!
  • Reflect on all the wonderful ways God has walked with you under previous pastors
  • Pray for the church members, the leadership, the new pastor, and yourself
  • Learn all you can about the pastor and his/her family
  • Plan ways to connect with the pastor and his/her family
  • Anticipate exciting new ministry opportunities

 What would you add to this list? How would you prepare for a pastoral change?

Be encouraged!


Your thoughts on my posts are always welcome. If you would like to comment, you can do so on Facebook, Google+, or via my contact link below.

©2018 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

God's Love Tester

Valentine’s Day—a day to celebrate the love in our lives. The love Dick and I share is probably the greatest love possible between two human beings. It is rock-solid, yet as beautiful and tender as the petals of an African violet.

The love between my children and me, and between my mother and me, deepens daily, even though we no longer live under the same roof. It changes and matures as we all grow a little older and a lot wiser.

For me, the love of friends fills in the gaps when family is too far away—whether physically or emotionally. A cup of tea and a few minutes to chat can ease the ache in our hearts, relieve our anxieties, and bring healing laughter.

However, the greatest love offered to us is the love of God. His love is greater than the sum total of all the earthly loves we have ever received. His love is pure, unconditional, and eternal.

Remember the Love Tester arcade game at the amusement park? For a quarter we grabbed its metal handle and the machine would “sense” the level of our affection. An arrow on the meter would waver back and forth and then indicate if we were “Blah” or “On Fire”. If God put His hand on the Love Tester, the indicator would fly right off the machine!

In 1 Corinthians 13, God offers us His own tester for love, describing the characteristics of true love:
  • Love is patient and kind.
  • Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
  • Love does not demand its own way.
  • Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
  • Love is never glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth.
  • Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

 When we compare what is touted as “love” today to God’s standards for measuring love, it certainly doesn’t raise the indicator arrow very far. What is the key to loving as God would have us love?

It all starts with a relationship with Him. God craves a real connection with us; but, since God is holy and we are sinful, the separation between us is huge. The good news is that God loves us so much He made a way for us to bridge that gap. On the cross, Jesus took on our sins and bore the punishment for them that we deserved! We now can live in fellowship with God! As we grow and mature in our relationship with God, He will equip and empower us to love others with the same characteristics of love He spelled out for us in 1 Corinthians 13.

Want to make this the best Valentine’s Day ever? Begin a relationship with God today and He will fill your heart to overflowing with love.

Be encouraged!

Your thoughts on my posts are always welcome. If you would like to comment, you can do so on Facebook, Google+, or via my contact link below.

©2018 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

We're Moving!

Three little words that I have heard often in my marriage still stir up a myriad of emotions: “We are moving!”

Beginning July 1, 2018, Dick will become the pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Lewistown, PA. Lewistown is only 22 miles from Mt. Union, the town where Dick and I grew up. Many of my family members still live in the area, including my mom! So, I am elated!!!

At the same time, I am a bit nervous about getting to know so many new people, learning hundreds of names, familiarizing myself with the church’s ministries, establishing a new “normal”. Ambivalent feelings always accompany change.

As Dick and I anticipate starting a new appointment, I decided to remind myself of several Biblical promises that have held true for us over the years:

God always has a plan. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God is always with us. Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself will lead you and be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid."

God always has a purpose for me, a job for me to do. Ephesian 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

God always brings about good. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Perhaps you, too, are facing a big change—a move, a new job, parenthood—and are feeling the same excitement, anxiety, joy, uncertainty that I have been. Take a few moments to ponder the Scriptures and allow God’s Word to speak peace into your heart and mind.

I KNOW God’s got this move and He’s got whatever you are facing, too.

Be encouraged,

©2018 Pamela D. Williams

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