Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Apple of God's Eye

“I have trouble getting my eyes to focus to read, sew, or make my bead bracelets, even with my progressive lenses. I often think my glasses are smudged, and I feel like I need brighter light,” I complained to the eye doctor.

“That’s because you have the beginnings of cataracts in both eyes. Cataracts cloud the normally clear lens of your eye and distorts the light that comes through the pupil—the opening in the direct center of the eye,” explained the ophthalmologist.

The pupil is one of the most important parts of the eye, allowing light to enter the eye, beginning the process of sight. The pupils of our eyes are vital to our ability to see. We instinctively protect them by closing our eyelids when anything foreign tries to enter the eye.

Zechariah 2:8 and Psalm 17:8 both describe God’s children as the “apple”—the pupil—of God’s eye. Just as the pupils of our eyes are vital to us, God places great importance on us—we are vital to Him. He protects us, cares for us, guards us, and treasures us.

It’s too bad we see ourselves that way and don’t believe God does either. In The Tempest of God, Iain Matthew writes that, while we may never say it in so many words, when we think poorly of ourselves, whom God considers the apple of His eye, we devalue ourselves and cease to believe that we are a necessary component to God.

Feeling insignificant and unworthy limits us by keeping us from stepping out in faith. It quenches those nudges from the Spirit that want to direct us into new areas of service and ministry. Several scriptures reveal the real truth—each of us matters to God and He considers every person of vital importance.
  • I am precious to God and He loves me. (Isaiah 43:4)
  • I am valuable to God. (Matthew 6:26)
  • I am God’s handiwork, created to carry out His purposes. (Ephesians 2:10)
  • It was God’s will to create me and give me life. (Revelation 4:11)

 Next time we think what we do or who we are is inconsequential, let’s ask God to purge those wrong and deceitful thoughts from our hearts and minds so we can step out in faith.

Be encouraged!

©2018 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Skate Key

Have you ever worn metal roller skates that you strapped onto your shoes? As a kid in the early 1960’s, I spent many happy hours winging my way along the walk at the side of our house. I didn’t visit an official rollerskating rink till I was in 10th or 11th grade.

Our metal skates were nothing fancy, just a bare-bones framework. A metal clamp gripped the toes of our shoes, two metal plates formed the platform for the soles, and a metal “heel”, with a leather strap laced through it, buckled the back to your ankle.

Whole families of kids with different shoe sizes could take turns using the same pair of skates—they were completely adjustable! The toe clamps expanded and contracted, the sole platform shortened or lengthened, and the heel strap could be loosened or tightened.

However, accomplishing all these wonderful adjustments required a “skate key”. A hexagonal loop at the top of the metal key was used to turn the nut that adjusted the length of the skate. The other end fit on the pin that tightened the toe grips.

After rolling over cement sidewalks, with the rhythmic ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk of the wheels hitting the cracks, the fittings would loosen with the repetitive jarring. If not taken care of, the parts of the skates would slip and slid or even fall off. I had my fair share of twisted ankles, skinned knees and scraped palms. Having my skate key handy for periodic adjustments assured a long and safe time skating.

As we go through life, there are times when we are like a skate that needs adjusting. Difficult circumstances, challenging situations, and our own poor choices tend to rattle us to the point that we wonder if we can keep going. Every day jars and shakes us till we feel like we are teetering precariously on ill-fitting skates.

The good news is there is a Key that can help us. Jesus has promised to be with us through every moment. (Matthew 28:20) He is the key to wisdom, strength, endurance, direction and forgiveness—and He makes it all available to us when we chose to walk (or skate) with Him through life’s ups and downs.

Adjusting a loose skate requires one to stop and apply the key. Likewise, recognizing and implementing needed changes in our lives can only happen when we cease struggling and take the time to connect with Jesus, allowing Him to guide, chasten, encourage, and comfort us.

I have found that in just ten to fifteen minutes of quiet time before I launch into my day, Jesus can alter my perspective, tighten my resolve, and adjust my priorities. Then I can skate through life, knowing He is with me always.

Be encouraged!

©2018 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Why Go To Church?

“Why are these people in church?” the pastor wondered.

From the distracted, unsmiling faces of those sitting in the pews, it appeared they would rather be in bed, sleeping; at the river, fishing; at the outlets, shopping; at a restaurant, eating; at home, watching TV, or on the golf course.

So, why are we in church? What is our motivation?

Is it guilt? We’re supposed to be in church, right? Fear? Won’t God get mad if I don’t attend? Habit? I’ve been going to church since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Why change now? Expectations? What would people think of me if I didn’t show up? Obligations? Who will take up the offering, work the nursery, or run the sound system if I skip out?

Hmmmm. . . not the best motivations for attending church.

God’s Word offers great reasons to gather with other Christians. Obedience: “Don’t give up meeting together.” (Hebrews 10:25a) Joy: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’" (Psalm 122:1) Thankfulness: “Open to me the gates of the Temple; I will go in and give thanks to the Lord!” (Psalm 118:19; Encouragement: “Come and listen, all who honor God, and I will tell you what he has done for me.” (Psalm 66:16) Knowledge: “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom [Christ] gives.” (Colossians 3:16)

From time to time my husband, who is a pastor, reminds our congregation that what we bring to church determines what take away from it. This coming Sunday, will you join me in exchanging guilt for obedience, joy for fear, thankfulness for habit, encouragement for expectations, and knowledge for obligations? Let us echo David in Psalm 122:1 saying, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the Lord's house.’”

Be encouraged!

©2018 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


“I pray that your love will keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgment, so that you will be able to choose what is best. Then you will be free from all impurity and blame on the Day of Christ.” Philippians 1:9-10

Recently separated from her husband, our daughter moved with her two sons to an apartment last weekend. The move was necessary but not something any of them really wanted. Emotional tension stressed all of them.

While Erin hoped to get all the physical stuff done quickly so she and the boys could begin to establish their new “normal”, it just wasn’t happening. Weather, work schedules, and a myriad of other unexpected happenings caused frustrating delays. Along with a mixture of anxiety, determination and defeat, Erin could feel her impatience rising.

So, rather than continue pushing, and risk losing her temper (or the boys losing theirs), she went to Walmart and bought a badminton set. For the next hour, she and the boys occupied one of the nearby tennis courts, swatting a plastic birdie back and forth. None of them were very good at it—which made it all the more fun as they laughed and joked over their lack of skills. It was the best thing she could have done. It brought balance back to their lives, giving them hope that, amidst this painful season, there could still be good times.

Isn’t balance what we all need in our lives—to somehow equalize opposing tendencies? Like a seesaw in a playground, with a child of the same weight on each side, we must balance work with leisure, personal freedom with obedience, indulgence with temperance, solitude with community, faith with works, tradition with relevance, etc. However, reaching that goal can be a challenge. At times we all feel off-kilter. How do we attain that illusive balance?

We can start with God’s Word. Scriptures offer guidance on every topic. Luke 10:38-42 gives us God’s perspective on priorities. James 1:5 is God’s prescription for gaining wisdom. Mark 12:29-31 offers guidance in how best to love. Luke 12 provides us with God’s view of earthly possessions. And those are just a few of the thousands of helpful verses in the Bible.

Looking for some practical applications of Biblical principles? Marina McCoy, in her article, Five Tips for Discerning Balance in a Busy Life, shares down-to-earth recommendations for finding healthy equilibrium.

Be encouraged! We can obtain balance!

©2018 Pamela D. Williams