Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Rough Start

2019 has had a rough start for our family. My mom spent five days in the hospital with heart problems. Then my Aunt Jan suffered a heart attack and needed stents. This past weekend Dick spent 23 hours in the hospital with intense pain from a pinched nerve in his neck—pain that hasn’t really let up while he undergoes further assessments.

On top of all of these health challenges, add frigid weather with snow squalls. Although our temps only dropped slightly below zero, it created many closings and cancelations. However, at my daughter’s, the high for Thursday was -35 with windchills of -52!!! In the words of my grandson, “This is just insane!”

February couldn’t come soon enough. Waiting in hospital rooms and doctor’s offices for test results or some sort of treatment gets old quickly. Even with jigsaw puzzles, computer games, and movie channels, waiting for the snow to stop or the temperature to rise in order to get out of the house wears thin.

Most of us don’t do waiting very well—not in any realm. We get impatient at the seemingly snails’ pace of progress in many things in life. We pray for God to act, NOW. However, Scripture encourages us to above all, trust in the slow work of God.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)

The Bible is full of people who had to wait. An article at gives us some insight into waiting on God: “At times, God’s delays produced more glory for Him and a greater miracle for us to witness, as when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead rather than healing his sickness (John 11:1-44). Sometimes God’s delays were merciful, giving people an opportunity to repent before judgment (2 Peter 3:3-13). Sometimes God’s delays strengthened the faith of His people while they waited. Other times the delays increased or tested their perseverance in following Him. (Exodus) Still other times the reason for the delays remained a mystery. But God’s slowness to act never meant He wasn’t going to.”

So, here’s hoping February brings warmer temps, improved health, and a better perspective on waiting! Thankfully, my mom and aunt are doing well now. Prayers for Dick are appreciated.

Be encouraged!

©2019 Pamela D. Williams
Comments welcome via Facebook or

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Unwanted Gifts

Hunger . . . thirst . . . Would you believe they are gifts?

Few of us would consider hunger and thirst welcome benefits. Yet, without hunger, we wouldn’t eat. And when we don’t eat, we get weaker and weaker. Just ask the cancer patient who is going through chemotherapy and is struggling to get by that metallic taste that most foods seem to have. It can be a real challenge for them to eat enough to nourish their good cells while the chemo destroys the bad.

What about thirst? How can a dry, parched throat be a gift? The truth is, if we don’t keep hydrated, our bodies lose fluids very quickly, threatening our lives. Doctors and nutritionists constantly emphasize our need to drink plenty of water, not only to keep hydrated but to flush out impurities in our systems.

As I thought about these physical “gifts” that are usually considered negative, I realized there are similar spiritual “gifts”. Jesus considered hunger and thirst for God's approval a blessing. (Matthew 5:6) Feelings like emptiness and guilt can “gift” us with the recognition of our spiritual needs—allowing us to bring about change necessary to our spiritual health.

Emptiness, for example, can lead us to a relationship with Jesus. In 1670, Blaise Pascal published his book, Pensées, which was a defense of the Christian religion. In that book, he has a quote: “What else does this craving . . . proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? . . . This infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God himself.”

We’ve all felt the benefits of guilt. Sometimes it is instantaneous. As soon as the nasty words are out of our mouths, we realize what or how we spoke, and can apologize on the spot. Other times guilt nags at us, causing us to pause and reflect. In doing so, we give God the opportunity to heighten our awareness of sin and bring about repentance.

Of course, both physical and spiritual “gifts’ like these, when over-abundantly present, can become (or indicate) deeper, underlying problems. But in our everyday lives, God can use what seem to us to be unwanted “gifts”, in just the right amount, as truly helpful favors.

What unwelcome “gifts” is God using in your life right now?

Be encouraged!

©2019 Pamela D. Williams
Comments welcome via Facebook

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

This, Too, Shall Pass

“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: ‘And this, too, shall pass away.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!” ~ Abraham Lincoln

A phrase from 2 Corinthians 4:18 offers the same sentiment: “What can be seen lasts only for a time. . .”

In other words, this, too, shall pass.

No earthly situation or circumstance is forever. While in the midst of trials and suffering, we can be assured that one day, sooner or later, things will change. Likewise, we cannot depend on wealth, prestige, or good health—for these things also are temporary.

But what if we looked at ourselves and our situation in this moment, whether it is challenging or uplifting, and realized God has allowed us to be exactly where we are for a purpose? In Esther chapter 4, Mordecai asks Esther, “Who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

What if we are where we are, “for such a time as this”? Is there an assignment from God in our trying situation? Is there something we can accomplish for Him only by going through the fires we are facing?

Has God given us a favored position so that we can better serve Him and reach people with the gospel of Jesus? How can we put our influence, our resources, our gifts and talents to work for God?

We are where we are “for such a time as this.” Let us grasp this moment for Jesus, see our situation as a divine assignment “for such a time as this”, and search for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity God is offering, for, “this, too, shall pass.”

P.S. There IS one thing that never passes away, one thing that is for today and always—God’s loving presence with us. When we accept the forgiveness He offers us through Jesus, we can be assured that God will work all things for our good.

Be encouraged!

©2019 Pamela D. Williams
Comments welcome via Facebook

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

I Don't Have A Problem!

Mom: “What did that nurse say about me going home?”
Me: “You mean you didn’t hear her??? You acted like you did.”
Mom: “Well, these dumb hearing aids keep chiming; the batteries need changed again!”
Me: “Mom, you need to tell the doctors and nurses you are having trouble hearing. Otherwise, they assume you hear just fine.”
Mom (with chin up and arms crossed): “I do hear just fine!”

Conversations similar to this one, are very common with my 86-year-old mother. The last few years she has experienced drastic hearing loss. Hearing aids help, but only to a certain degree—and only if the batteries are fresh. Otherwise, they act more like stuffing cotton in her ears, muffling the little hearing she does have left.

Mom gets very perturbed at us when we even hint that she isn’t hearing well. I don’t think she realizes just how bad her hearing is, or that it is out of concern for her that we keep asking about it. She consistently denies the problem.

Sadly, when it comes to matters of the Spirit, I can be just like my mom. I sometimes don’t realize how bad the problem is. And even when it is gently pointed out to me, I deny it.

Like the time I looked over the shoulder of a lady with whom I was “discussing” a situation and found Dick grimacing while giving me the “Cut-throat” sign to stop. After the lady left, Dick told me I bordered on rude with her. I denied it—until later when God showed me Dick was absolutely right and I needed to admit my sinful attitude.

Until we acknowledge a problem, it can’t be remedied. Proverbs 15: 31-32 says, “If you pay attention when you are corrected, you are wise. If you refuse to learn, you are hurting yourself.”

Until we confess a sin, it will fester. Proverbs 28:13 tells us “He who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.”

David voices wisdom we need to learn: “Then I confessed my sins to you; I did not conceal my wrongdoings. I decided to confess them to you, and you forgave all my sins.” (Psalm 32:5)

When we have a spiritual problem moldering, 1 John 1:9 reminds us that, if we confess our sins, God will forgive them and cleanse us from all wrongdoing. Let's start addressing the sins we struggle with instead of turning a deaf ear to the warning bells God rings along the way.

Be encouraged!

©2019 Pamela D. Williams
Comments welcome via Facebook

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Getting Out the Stain

I thought the travel cup was empty. I found out differently when I tried to open the car door with it in my hand. The cup tilted over and coffee ran down my hand into my sleeve, staining my white shirt.

I was on my way to a party at my sister’s house and had stopped to pick up my mom. I quickly ran into mom’s and tried blotting out the coffee with some dish soap, water, and a tea towel. I finally gave up, thinking I could just wash it when I got home.

Later that evening, when I took the shirt out of the washing machine and examined the sleeve, the stain was still noticeable. Thankfully, because it was white, I could soak it in some bleach and it was good as new.

Verses one and two of Psalm 51 speak of removing another kind of stain—the stain of sin in our lives.
“Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.”

Sin is a stain we can’t remove on our own. Just like my efforts to remove the coffee stains from my shirt required something stronger—bleach, sin requires more than our own feeble attempts to “make things right”, to “wipe the slate clean”. God must intervene. And He has. When His Son, Jesus died on the cross, it was in payment for our forgiveness; it is the solution that removes our sin. 1 John 1:7 and 9 tell us that the blood of Jesus washes us clean and purifies us from all unrighteousness.

As we begin a new year, many of us are wishing we could wipe away past wrongs and failures, and promising to improve situations and circumstances in our lives. If we want a fresh start, God offers us the best resolution—put our faith in Jesus as our Savior and Deliverer from sin. It’s a great way to start this new year—with a new life lead by God.

Be encouraged!

©2019 Pamela D. Williams
Comments welcome via Facebook