Wednesday, September 26, 2018

In the Shadow

As I sat on the back porch very early one morning, I caught a glimpse of something moving in the shadows near our fence. Fearful that a skunk might be wandering nearby, I froze and prayed it would go the other way. To my dismay, the creature crept closer and closer. Once it entered the dim glow of light from inside our house I realized that it was just a stray cat who regularly frequented the neighborhood.

Shadows can be creepy. On a windy night, shadows seem to reach long, frightening fingers across the bedroom wall. When tramping through a wooded area, rustlings in the shadows make us move quickly to a brighter area. Walking down a street lined with shadows cast by gas lamps and dim porch lights, makes us check behind us frequently and hurry along.

In unfamiliar surroundings, things seem to lurk in the shadows. Those with sinister motives can wait in the shadows for unsuspecting victims. Even in our own house, if I get up at night to get a drink or go to the bathroom, I always find it a bit disconcerting when our cat silently appears out of the shadows.

We often view shadows as threatening, but God’s Word puts shadows in a different light: “People take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings.” (Psalm 36:7) Because you are my help, Lord, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 63:7)In the shadow of your wings, I find protection . . .” (Psalm 57:1) “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1) “Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.” (Isaiah 32:2) “In the shadow of his hand God hid me . . .” (Isaiah 49:2)

Illness, failed relationships, financial ruin, wayward children, loss of a loved one, and any one of myriads of other ominous situations can make us feel as though we are walking through menacing shadows. When we place ourselves, not in the scary, threatening shadows of the world, but in the comforting and loving shadows of our heavenly Father’s wings, we find refuge, joy, love, protection, rest, and shelter.

Be encouraged!

©2018 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


What is a “worrywart”? There has long been an erroneous belief that warts are caused by worry and stress. A worrywart is someone who worries needlessly, often without justifiable reasons. Been there; done that.

Worry plagues many of us—overwhelming us one moment and manageable the next. Some years ago, I decided to look at what the Bible has to say about worry. Worry is not a new problem. In Psalm 55 David admits, “I am worn out by my worries.” Isn’t that so true? Worry is exhausting!

Luke 10:38-42 tells of a time Jesus visited Mary and Martha. Wrapped up in housework and cooking, Martha wants everything to be just right for Jesus. I can relate to that! Don’t we do the very same things when company comes to our house?

I remember when our church invited a gospel group to sing at both the morning and evening Sunday services. Members were asked to host the various singers during the hours between the services. My husband Dick and I volunteered and the day before their arrival I vacuumed, dusted, organized and scrubbed. I nagged my husband and children to keep it tidied up.

That Sunday during church, I mentally went over my “to do” list for the noon meal. I rushed home after the benediction and frantically added last minute touches to the meal.

However, between laughing and talking, we were barely aware of what we were eating. Afterwards, Dick took the guys for a walk in the woods. Hours later they tracked through the living room with mud on their shoes, oblivious to my nice clean carpet.

I worried and nagged for nothing! I lost out on a good message at church, ran myself ragged, and no one even peeked into my nice clean bathroom or cared what we ate for lunch! I certainly didn’t get revived, I exhausted myself! Like Martha, my priorities were misplaced.

Martha got all worked up cooking and cleaning, when all Jesus really wanted was her devotion to Him. He pointed out that her priorities were wrong: “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

How do we overcome worry? Mary and Martha reveal the first step: 1) Look to Jesus to find out what is really important.

Steps two and three are found in Philippians 4:6-7. 2) Pray: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need.

And 3) Give thanks to God for all he has done. Instead of going over and over a problem, list what we are thankful for. Then God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand, will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus.

Be encouraged!

©2018 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hot Tempers

“If we’re going to ‘discuss’ this issue when Erin gets home, we better put the windows down,” my husband said, only half teasing. When our daughter’s quick temper ramped up, her volume often raised accordingly.

It doesn’t take long for a disagreement with someone who has a short fuse to spiral into an argument. Hot-tempered people tend to jump to conclusions, rush to have their say, and don’t consider the consequences of their words or actions.

Do you have a hot-tempered person in your life? Could you use a little help in dealing with them? Here are three tips I have found to help me keep my cool:

LISTEN RATHER THAN REACT. Proverbs 15:8 says, “Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.” Sometimes I am so caught up in trying to get a word in edgewise, I don’t really hear the person. Intentionally and tolerantly giving my attention can prevent arguments from escalating.

ZIP THE LIP. It is very tempting to counter thoughtless, hostile behavior with an equally hasty and negative response. So, when an encounter heats up, I try to swallow my words and remain silent. (Though I am not always successful.) “After all, even fools may be thought wise and intelligent if they stay quiet and keep their mouths shut." (Proverbs 17:28).

CALL FOR A TIME OUT. Very often a short-tempered person will go from aggravation over minor irritants to bigger issues that somehow end up being the other person’s fault. At such times, it is easy to get into an argument. However, I have discovered it is best to call for a time out, explaining that, although we need to try to understand each other’s concerns, we both need to be in a calmer frame of mind to be able to do that. “The start of an argument is like the first break in a dam; stop it before it goes any further.” (Proverbs 17:14)

Though not easy to implement, these simple suggestions, along with the intervention of the Holy Spirit, have helped me to deal with hot-tempered people in a more Christ-like way. Thank God for the power of prayer!

Be encouraged!


©2018 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


“That little girl looks so much like my great-niece, Kenzie,” I thought to myself as a little blonde cutie sidled into the row in front of me at church. When she climbed up on the pew and turned around to face me, I realized it actually was her and blurted out, “Why, Kenzie! What are you doing here? How did you get here?” 

 She reached out her little four-year-old arms for me to pick her up and then pointed across the church to her mom, dad, and Nanny. What a delightful surprise! During the time of greeting, she and I joined the rest of her family. I felt like doing a little happy dance!

Most of you are aware that Dick and I moved in June. For the first time in over 40 years we are within 25 miles of where we both grew up. My mom, my siblings, my aunt, and a myriad of my cousins (my dad had 10 siblings), as well as quite a few of Dick’s cousins still live near our hometown. The last three Sunday mornings we have found relatives sitting in the pews. We have had various family members over for meals and have enjoyed three family picnics in the last six weeks! I am very happy to be able to get together with all these loved ones after so many years.

But physical family isn’t the only blessing God showered on us by bringing us to Lewistown. Our church family, Grace UMC, has welcomed us with open arms. Though we have been here only a short time, we have found many kindred spirits. Each gathering, whether large or small, is filled with laughter, love, and a sense of belonging. People are open, down-to-earth, and filled with love for God and one another. Just as we can follow our physical family connections back to a common ancestor, it is evident that we share a common ancestry with our Christian brothers and sisters at Grace UMC—a bloodline that leads back to the blood of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Lord of us all.

Dick and I feel like we have come “home” in so many ways.

God knew what Dick and I needed—and He knows your needs, too. (Matthew 6:8) We are so thankful for His plans that far exceeded our own. (Proverbs 16:9) We can always trust Him to bring about what is best. (Jeremiah 29:13).

Be encouraged!

©2018 Pamela D. Williams