WISDOM

WISDOM

          Greetings! I have to admit that the new discipline of posting on my blog hasn’t really taken hold! I guess it takes time to create a new habit, so I will attempt to begin anew. All of you who read what I write, I thank you, and appreciate your patience and faithfulness…and perhaps a prayer once in a while that I will gain some diligence!

          I was reading a favorite psalm the other day, one which holds sweet praise and promise. Psalm 90; in my Bible titled “The prayer of Moses the man of God.” Enthralling words: “Lord You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or even You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:1-2. Somehow the solidity of that statement fills me with joy and comfort.

          Reading further I find Verse 12: “So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” From everlasting in creation to the numbering of our days, God remains, and maintains His presence as our dwelling place, and if we remain, the reward will be a heart of wisdom.

          For 2020 I chose the word “wisdom” as my “one perfect word” for the year! Who knew what this year would hold for all of us, and how much I would need that promised heart of wisdom. I once wrote a definition for wisdom…  “Wisdom is the bucket which we can lower into the well of knowledge God places in our souls, and use to water the earth around us.” Timothy Keller in his devotional, “God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life,’ says “Wisdom is not only for ‘deep thinkers.’ It is how you get through daily life.  Our wisdom will guide us as we grow in the knowledge and image of God’s Son Jesus, who is Wisdom itself.” But it is up to us to seek Him and daily explore His wisdom and truth.

          Oh, how we need this! More and more this year it becomes apparent that the knowledge of God that we gain through the scriptures fuels good decisions and wise counsel. Thus, I propose that we make Verse 17 our prayer. “And let the beauty of the LORD our God upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.” Amen and Amen.

Smiling Behind the Mask

October 2nd, 2020

          Greetings! I believe we can all agree that these times are strange. Fear rules; along with quarantines and social distancing…words that previously had no direct meaning in our lives. How quickly everything has changed!
          I have to admit that I really dislike wearing a mask. I do it, whenever I am around other people, but what I miss is not being able to see the expressions on people’s faces! So much of who I am (or was) depends on looking into eyes and sharing a smile. Oh, I still smile; but who sees, who knows? It feels like a crowd of robots, in a sense, faces covered, intent on completing the errands, and heading home, back to quarantine. I find it a bit disconcerting.
          But it also makes me wonder if this is not a reflection of how we often reacted before all this no-contact, 6 feet apartness, began to surface? Did we really ever see each other? Now that we can’t, I regret the non-ability to communicate. I hope that when masks aren’t an order, that we will remember how important it is for our expressions to be read by others; that we show our hearts in our smiles.
          You know, I still smile…behind my mask…and watch to see if others are smiling behind theirs? It will show, if it’s real, in the crinkling of our eyes. That’s what I watch for now. Because real joy can’t be hidden, even behind a mask, and I want my eyes to show the joy in my heart…even as I move my shopping cart 6 feet away!
           I trust that even with all the inconvenience, the anxiety, the uncertainty, that each one of you will know in the depth of your heart that our God is still on the throne. His smile penetrates the dissonance of our concern for the future, and assures us of His loving faithfulness.

The Secretary

This week I was looking through my collection of quotes (I do love them!), and was moved by a poem I had copied down, written by George Herbert, a 17th century Welsh-born poet and Anglican priest.  Just so you know, he is recognized as “one of the foremost British devotional lyricists”.  A very wise man!  Anyway, here is what I copied in my little book:

“Of all the creatures both in sea and land,
only to man Thou hast made known Thy ways,
and put the pen alone into his hand
and made him secretary of Thy praise.”

Think about that for a moment.  Of everything God has made, we humans alone have received His word, His story, so that we can know Him in a totally different way than the rest of creation.  I was a secretary all of my professional life, and so this struck a chord in my heart.  I am still a secretary!
          Now, though, I take dictation from my Heavenly Father, and do my best to be accurate in transcribing it!  A secretary of His praise.  What an honor!  A record keeper, one who is allowed into the inner sanctum of the holy place, to hear, in order to share, in a way, the desire of His heart.  I used to be so proud of my position, sitting in the place of secretary to the president. I made my position my identity.
           So, as I pondered these words of an ancient poet I was brought to a place of joyful thanksgiving, delighted to realize that now my identity is still my position…the only difference is that now my position is kneeling before Him in gratitude because I am His beloved child.  Yes, I will work for Him.  Yes, I will transcribe His words to my heart…guess what?  He can’t fire me!  This position is forever and ever, and I pray that from the pen He placed in my hand I will bring glory to Him. 

When I first began writing, from a heart that was slowly healing, I found this instruction in the book of Jeremiah 30:2, “Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying, ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words I have spoken to you.'”   I took it literally!   So, here’s the best news!  You all, too, are made secretaries of His praise!  Doesn’t that inspire you?  Think about it.  There is a pen in your hand, as well; how will you use it?  I’m not saying that we all must write a literal book, but we are all writing our story, one way or another, and we are all part of God’s story, with a place in that story just for us.  We are so privileged to be able to know Him, hear from Him, read His words to us, and we shouldn’t take our job lightly.  I hope this challenges your heart, as it has mine.   

Choice

May 24th Greetings! I have been away for a few days, in Oregon on a speaking tour, but combining it with visits to family. It was enjoyable all around. We put a lot of miles on the car and a lot of words spoken and heard! Really glad to be home, however. It’s been 2 weeks since I last wrote, so I hope all has gone well with you, and you are enjoying Spring…if in fact it has arrived wherever you are! I have been preparing for a sharing time in Winlock, Washington on June 8th, and am very much looking forward to that event, a Women’s Spring Breakfast. In the process of working on what I feel God would have me talk about to the women, I have been looking back through some of the segments of my book, “Signposts”, rediscovering some of the truths I have learned. One in particular stands out to me, the subject of “CHOICE”. It was part of my devotional readings as well this week, and when God puts a certain thought or truth before me more than once, I know there is something important for me to see. So here it is! These verses in Deuteronomy 30:19-20 reminded me. “1 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days;” And the importance of the choices we make zoomed to the forefront of my mind. After I was so sick earlier this year down in Arizona, someone said to me, “You have to choose to do what will bring you back to health; if you don’t choose to follow doctor’s orders, exercise and drink more water, basically you are choosing NOT to live.” It stunned me to look at my behavior in that way, but it is true. Thus, as I am pondering how to share this truth with the ladies next month, it strikes me that the way to succeed, the motive for all behavior and all service, the way to maintain a true and vital relationship with God is this: “Choose life…by loving the LORD your God.” And that is done by obeying Him and clinging to Him. Every step of our individual journeys is determined by our choices. We have been given, divinely, free will. We can choose our way, but we cannot choose the consequences. It is one or the other, blessing or cursing. And it is set before us every moment of our lives. What will we choose? It is a serious decision. And it is food for thought. See you next week. Love, Lois

COMMUNION

“…but their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” Luke 24:16

“Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him…: Luke 24:30

“And they told about the things that had happened on the road and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.” Luke 24:35

The Bread of Life was broken on Calvary. Torn beyond recognition, crumbled,that all might receive, all might know Him.

Two travelers on the road to Emmaus… eyes, formerly blinded as they walked with Him, were opened as the Bread of Life broke the loaf, and blessed it. The revelation does not come without the breaking.

And so it is in Jesus’ broken body that we can know Him, experience Him. Eyes blinded by unbelief, sadness and grief are opened as He reveals Himself in communion.

Receiving my own morsel of broken bread, opens my heart, and I am infused with a sweet knowledge of sacrifice and love, mercy and grace. It is Jesus, alive in me; This is the blessing… this communion.

© Lois Williams 

I’m BACK!

 I’m Ba-a-a-ck! At least I think I am! It’s unbelievable to me that I have let this means of communication with you lapse and avoided writing for so long. I hope that there are still a few of you who will read my rambling words, as I fully expect to return to faithful blogging, beginning now. I am not going to go into a bunch of excuses! The fact is that I let myself get too busy, too involved in too many things; and then I got sick. Very sick, and have been in the business of getting healthy again for the past couple of months. I will share details later, as time goes on, but wanted simply to say that God brought me to my knees once again. I am grateful that He loves me enough to chasten and correct me, even though often I question just what He is doing!

I found myself at the beginning one more time, hospitalized, and so weak I was unable to walk across the room. Five years ago it was the same thing, just a different reason! I had just completed my heart surgery and was starting a journey that I chronicled in my latest book, “Signposts”. Someone wisely suggested to me the other day, “Lois, I think you need to read your own book again!” The lessons I learned (or thought I had learned) needed to be revisited. And so, that’s what I am doing.

My hope is that, as I travel another path, you will come alongside and walk with me. On my end I promise to be faithful to share my thoughts and the insights I am receiving from my trip Guide! I am reveling in the truth that He does love me. In fact, my 2019 “Word for the Year” is “Beloved”. I truly need to absorb the fact that I AM His Beloved.

Oh, there is such joy in that! Please join me for the first few wobbling steps next week! Love, Lois

Great Faithfulness

October 10th

Greetings! You may or may not have noticed that I didn’t write a post last week. It’s been sort of a rocky road lately. Since I last wrote, I have had 2 ultra-sounds, a chest CT scan, an MRI, numerous blood draws and several doctor visits! Sort of staggering, huh?

At my September 12th checkup, the doctor found that I was anemic, and in trying to determine the cause for it, she scheduled the scan and ultrasound. All was okay except for an abnormality on my pancreas, so on to the gastroenterology clinic for an evaluation. Their recommendation was an MRCP, a specialized MRI on just the duct system in my body. This was vague and rather inconclusive so next week I will have an Ultra-Sound Upper Endoscopy test. Trying to figure out just what the problem is.

Many of you have been walking this path with me, but I am asking for your prayers, if you are not already praying! Obviously there is cause for concern, but I am choosing to live in hope and God has indeed been for me lately, “a very present help in trouble”. Psalm 46:10. I have felt His presence, His peace, in ways that are impossible to describe, but are filling me with the joy of the LORD. Scriptures and hymns are floating across my mind!

As my son reminded me when we shared with him what was going on, “Mom, you wrote a book about how you learned to walk in faith through difficulties. Now is the time to show that what you wrote is really true for you!” That brought me up short! What an opportunity to bring glory to my God.

So, speaking of my book! It is still available if you are interested. Just private message me for further information.

In the meantime, even though we don’t really know enough yet to be worried, still there is that stinging little fear that says, “What If?” So I ask for your faithful prayers that the voice of fear will be silenced, and that you will sing with me:

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
  “Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
2 Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

 

Until next time, with hope for a fixable diagnosis…Love, Lois

 

 

 

CONNECTIONS

September 24th

Sending my loving greetings! It’s been another of those whirlwind weeks! Good in so many ways, yet as I get older I notice my stamina sagging! I know I’m not alone, as I hear that in conversations so very often.

I returned last night from a retreat where I was privileged to present a breakout session based on my new book. It was such joy, not only to be able to do that, but also to connect again with friends I had made last year, and to find some extraordinary new friends! I want to tell you about them!

Following dinner the first night, I was walking back to my room. My hip was hurting…I know that’s because I am not used to walking up and down hills, over gravel paths, etc…, but as I limped down the hill I heard a voice asking, “Ma’am, can we help you to your room?” Two lovely ladies were approaching me, so I stopped and asked them “Why? Was I limping?” “Yes, you were, and we thought we could help you!” I hadn’t thought it was noticeable, but I was wrong. I asked them, “How were you going to help me?” and they replied, “Well, we would have picked you up and carried you if we had needed to!”

We all laughed, and began a conversation. How can it be that we can find a connection almost immediately sometimes? I learned a lot about them in just a few minutes, and we prayed together and hugged in a beautiful moment. My prayer was “Oh God, thank you for my limp!”

They may not have literally carried me, but they carried me emotionally. Encouraging me, wanting to be with me, always saving a place beside them and including me in their activities. One of the two had never been to a women’s retreat, or conference, and it was pure joy to watch her open up and bloom in learning and worship. As we said goodbye yesterday morning, there were tears and I know I have made some lifelong friends. I thank God; and I’m still wrapped in the memory of the precious fellowship we experienced.

I always treasure the connections I am blessed to make at women’s events. This year was no exception. Meeting up with other friends who welcomed me back with open arms, attended my breakout session, bought my books and prayed with and for me. We enjoyed meals together and promised to get together during the year!

So as I’ve been pondering about the people in our lives, I’d like to share something from my book; the segment called “Connections”. “I am deeply touched to consider how wonderful it is to explore with joy and thanksgiving the connections God sends our way. 1 Corinthians 12 talks a lot about the body of Christ and how we are all individuals, but yet a part of something so much greater. ‘For as the body is one and has many members but all ten members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 12:12. I also rejoice to read Verse 18, ‘But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.‘ These connections, these relationships, are not by accident and I am very grateful for what He has pleased to do for us.”

Last week I talked about how important it is for us to notice those around us, to offer assistance, to watch. Today I want to say to Carol and Donna, “Thank you for noticing me! You have blessed me with your loving attention.”

And to all of you who read my words, I thank you, because you do mean so much to me. May we keep on keeping on, in gratitude.

Love, Lois

“Are You A Noticer?”

September 16th

Greetings! Fall has arrived in earnest. But how beautiful the colors and how fun to get a sweatshirt from the closet and head out into a lovely cool autumn!

Are you a “Noticer?” I have often told my husband that if I wrote a book about him it would be called “The Noticer”. He seems to notice everything! Anything that is out of order, like telephone wires in an old Western movie, for instance. He will ask me, “What is wrong with this picture?” To which I answer, “I didn’t notice!” This question has been brought close to my thoughts over the past few days.

On our anniversary, September 10, we went out for breakfast. As we sat is the booth, 3 times people whom we knew walked by and did not notice us! Perhaps that seems a bit silly, but we are always looking around for someone we know to make a connection, hopefully. Of course we don’t go as far as to wave our arms and jump up and down! We looked at each other and chuckled that everyone is not like us and does not pay attention to their surroundings.

Then a gentleman we didn’t know stopped at our table and asked, “Guess who I got to see today?” Intrigued, we said, “Who?” thinking it was some celebrity. He answered, “You!” He then proceeded to have a conversation with us, congratulating us and sharing some of his life. We totally enjoyed the encounter! What an interesting way to open up dialogue.

This experience was close to my thoughts when I got home I opened my devotional for the day, the title being “Look Up”! Amazed at the way God gets my attention, my eyes watered to consider the truth of the Scripture in Luke 21:28: “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

            We have been studying prophecy and end times in our church’s small group, so this explains, perhaps, why I was so taken with this passage, following on the heels of our discussion on noticing things! I believe that “these things” mentioned in this passage have begun to happen, and it behooves us to lift our heads and notice!

There is great hope here. Our Redemption is coming, and our destiny is set, if we believe in Jesus’ and His sacrifice for us. Let us look around and see to what and where God is pointing.

Are you a noticer? I hope to become a better one! That’s all for this week. See you next week.

Love, Lois

Greetings After a Long Absence!

August 10th

Greetings after a long absence! I’m not sure if you have missed me, but I have definitely missed communicating with you. But we are now home and struggling to get back to the normal routine…if such a thing exists! You know what I mean. What is normal, anyway? The best definition I can come up with is living life out of familiar surroundings; e.g., our own bed, our own “stuff”, our usual tasks and events.

That being said, it seems to me that there is a mountain facing me, trying to reach that sense of “Aah, I’m really home.” There was such a rush getting ready to go on our trip that I came back to a lot of things that I had left undone. For instance, cleaning house! The morning we left I just kept singing to myself, “Let it go! Let it go!” The excitement of a new book and the details surrounding it distracted me, it seemed, from doing the things I normally do…at least the vacuuming! So coming home after a month, with a 12-inch stack of mail, laundry, the ubiquitous housework, etc., waiting, I have felt very overwhelmed. I know you all know that feeling! Don’t you?

But I want to tell you that God understands overwhelming! One of my favorite passages in Scripture is from Psalm 143:4-6, “Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart within me is distressed. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah. The word “Selah” means to pause and reflect at this point. How many times have I turned to these verses and realized that a lot of my frustration and overwhelmed-ness comes from the fact that my soul is simply longing for more of God; that to look back and see how He has been there for me over and over in the past, strengthening me, is the panacea for the staggering sense of duty and responsibilities calling me.

So I did pause and spend some time with Him the other day and He gave me such a feeling of His presence, and a word from His Word! My overwhelmed heart was overwhelmed in a different direction—that of joy and praise. I want to share that word with you. It is direct instruction for all of us who get caught up in the struggle of too much to do; who are exhausted and worn out. Hebrews 12:12-13 , (NLT): “So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” Today I marked out a straight path! Try it. Do what you can do, and let yourself relax and rest. Good advice! Of course, it is Scripture, after all!

Well, I guess I’m back in the saddle, so to speak! Asking for prayer, if you think of us, for Fred’s eye surgery on Tuesday, August 14th. And for God’s continuing to bless our book “Signposts” as He has been doing in great measure. I thank you for your support, and pray you find joyfully His direction for your journey as you go step by step, following Him.

Love you all. Till next time! Lois