Advent

My very favorite Advent poem.  May it bless you, too, and cause you to remember that the Advent, or waiting time, has a beautiful result…God with us.

 

EMMANUEL

Emmanuel. God with us.
Do we look for Him?
Blithely we sing, “Joy to the World,
The Lord is come…”
He is here…can you see Him?
Are our eyes, bright with expectancy,
only met with shiny tinsel and colored lights…
reflecting the gaiety of the season,
rejecting the Joy of the season? 

  1. God with us.
    Do we listen for Him?
    Reverently we sing “Silent Night, Holy Night…”
    He is here…do you hear Him?
    Are our ears, alert for new sounds,
    only met with hollow laughter, empty cheer…
    echoing the songs of the season,
    deaf to the gentle voice of the Son of the season?
  2. God with us.
    Do we reach for Him?
    Happily we sing, “O, Come Let Us Adore Him…”
    He is here…do you want to touch Him?
    Are our hands, busy with preparations,
    only met with packages to wrap, deeds to be done…
    tying the bows of the season,
    empty without the Gift of the season? 

Cease your labor for a moment;
lower the volume of the sounds.
Open eyes of understanding…
and be aware that He has come.
His hands reach out, He sweetly speaks,
“I am here, both Gift and Giver”.
Can you see Him?
Do you hear Him?
Will you trust Him?
He is here.
God with us.
Emmanuel 

© Lois Williams

 

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Song in the Night

Music speaks to me.  The melodies and lyrics move me…some of the secular songs remind me of my youth and bring back memories!  But I am most in tune now with songs of praise and the lyrics in the old hymns.  It was with great joy that I read the verse that headlines the meditation below.  Another way that God shows His love to me.  Hope you enjoy!#3 Graphic Heart Chords

NIGHT SONG 

“The Lord will send His faithful love by day,
His song will be with me in the night—
a prayer to the God of my life.”
Psalm 42:8

 

Sometimes, in the dark stillness
after midnight, I will waken with a song
of praise playing in my ear.
I wonder, when I hear a snippet of a hymn
strummed in my heart or words of
worship pouring through my mind,
what God has just done in me.
Because He must have spoken,
or I wouldn’t be so filled with His presence. 

Perhaps He’s unsnarled
a tangled skein of concern…
or shown my heart a new concept
of Himself that my conscious mind
could not conceive.

Yet, deep at the core of my being
He’s revealed His heart to me
and I am restored and awash in His love.

 That love carries me in the daytime
when I am awake and responding
on a cognizant level;
but with the night song,
His tender lullaby wraps my soul in joy. 

I lift my prayer of praise to You, Father,
sing on!

© Lois Williams sDg   

Reprinted from “Heart Chords”, XulonPress, 2009, P. 154

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HEAVEN

I’ve been thinking about heaven a lot lately.  Walking through the pain of loss with friends has made me more and more aware of the fragility of our lives; and drawn me closer to the vibrant hope that we who believe in Jesus share.  When we lived at a camp as caretakers some years ago, we struggled with moles in the grass; it seemed nothing would dislodge those pesky animals.  But I found a purpose!  An illustration for my own life that rang with memories and joy.  I hope you will enjoy it, and feel your own heart lifted in expectation of Jesus’ glorious appearing!

When I Go HomeHEAVEN

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”  Titus 2:11-13 (NIV)

My lawn,
a frustrating series of dirt mounds
produced by burrowing creatures who dwell
in the darkness below;
the piles the only evidence of
infrequent surfacing for air.
I am irritated by their ugly presence,
but God speaks a lesson to my heart,
as another picture fills my mind
and I am once again a little girl
happily playing outside,
the grass cool between my bare toes.

As the shining sun begins
to dip over the hill,
I hear the call from Daddy
to come home for dinner,
and I run and leap into his arms
to be carried to the table.

I don’t want to tunnel through this life,
seeing only the darkness surrounding me.
I want my days to be filled
with childlike expectancy,
my ears alert for God’s voice.

And though my feet still touch the grass of earth,
may my hands be raised toward heaven,
ready to be lifted in my Father’s arms
and be carried home to dinner.

Lois Williams

Raft Island Bridge

Reprinted from “Psalms From the Pathway” by Lois Williams, XulonPress, 2003, p. 114

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FOUNDATION

100_6092BEDROCK 

“And you shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:32  (NKJV)

Bedrock, solid rock beneath
the soil and superficial stones,
a foundation.

God’s bedrock is truth,
and He calls me to stand upon it,
to know it, to walk in it.

But I think, in our society today,
truth is sort of a misty concept,
becoming fuzzy and fudged, and,
I have to admit, easy to ignore.

Jesus said knowing the truth
would set me free.
Maybe the fact that I sometimes
feel bound and stifled is that the chains
are of my own making;
that I have indulged in
some deceitful behavior,
some dishonesty,
not told the whole truth,
not walked entirely upright,
excusing myself because it seemed
j
ust a little deviation,
a small sidestep.

I do want to be free.

What is the truth that I need to know?
It is that I am loved.
Loved by the God of the Universe…
my Creator Who IS truth.
When that fact becomes burned
into my brain, into the very core of me,
there comes a freedom to live, to love;
a willingness to trust,
a longing to walk with the One Who
holds my hand and will never let it go.

And everything else falls into place.

©   Lois Williams

Reprinted from “Heart Chords”, Xulon Press, 2009, page 140

 

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LIBERTY

     Fourth of July!  Celebrations, picnics, time off work, baseball, apple pie; everything American, capped off by the highlight of each event–the fireworks!  We always look forward to the sun going down, and with full tummies and tired bodies we settle into position to watch.  To exclaim, “Wow”!  “Look at that”!, and become a child again, filled with wonder as each year the displays grow in uniqueness and pyrotechnic skill.

     Fourth of July.  There’s always a pulse-quickening delight that accompanies the thought.  The time when we gather to celebrate our freedom.  For a moment all differences are cast aside and we simply revel in patriotism.  But let’s not ever forget the sacrifices that were made to buy that freedom, sacrifices that are still being made; and even more vivid for those of us who are Christ-followers, the sacrifice of Jesus that bought our eternal freedom.

I’m reposting the following from July 2013, because we cannot be reminded often enough.

Fireworks Spectacular

FLASHES OF FREEDOM 

Empty, inky sky
above;
eager, expectant crowds
below…
faces lifted,
breathless,
the celebration to begin.

Aloft,
the colors sparkle;
red, blue and dazzling white.
An expected boom,
somehow startling,
foretells cascading
showers of light.

From hearts
that are free…
each glowing burst
evokes a grateful shout
of joy
for precious, blood-bought
liberty.

100_0508

©   Lois Williams

“Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
John 8:33

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High Upon A Rock

100_3078UPLIFTED

“For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion;
in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.”
Psalm 27:5, 6

I come to Your Word this morning,
feeling troubled by the enemies of discouragement,
defeat and despair,
and find this touch of Your love on my heart.

Even though I feel surrounded by my enemies
the truth is that being hidden in God’s secret place
is a much closer, intimate surrounding.
It is also protection.

Set high upon a rock, He places my head above
those enemies, uplifted, providing a totally different view.
Through the dark night of my recent journey,
God has held me, hidden me, hoisted me up to the Rock.
Using the prayers of so many people,
when I have been unable to pray,
I have felt the Presence of His surrounding care.

Therefore I will sing praises to Him,
with gratitude for the dedicated ones who have been
the uplifting force of prayer. 

Because I know, now, how the psalmist could sing.
What a ringing affirmation of incredible belief
in God’s promises!

May my heart echo this song forever!

© Lois Williams 

 

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Father’s Day

Rev. Walter Bryen

Rev. Walter Bryen

      When I was young I ran away…perhaps not physically, but certainly emotionally and spiritually…from my dad and from God.  Then God took him home to heaven before I had the chance to let him know that I had turned my life back to the path he had always desired for me.   I kept some of his letters and when I reread them after so many years, I discovered that, no matter how far I ran, his love for me was constant.  Just like God’s love for us, welcoming and sure and perfect. So I celebrate Father’s Day today with thanksgiving and joy in my heart.  Thank you, Daddy!  Thank You, Heavenly Father!

ALWAYS, IN ALL WAYS

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying
‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love;
therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee’.”
Jeremiah 31:3

I opened a faded envelope today,
its contents torn and worn from many readings.
All I have left of my father, of his person,
are these few letters, penned after I had left home,
rebellious, running,
my face turned to my imagined freedom,
my back to the rules.

So I take these precious scraps of paper,
letting my eyes alight on his final words to me
“I love you always, in all ways, Daddy”.

I weep to think he never knew that I returned,
repentant,
and found my Heavenly Father’s arms opened wide,
His beloved words
“I love you always, in all ways”
signed in the blood drops of His Son
on His letter of reconciliation to me.

Lois Williams

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AWARE

Hem of His Garment     The story of the woman with the issue of blood who was healed by Jesus as she touched the hem of His garment has a special meaning to me now.  As I read the account in Mark 5:25-31, I am blessed to remember that Jesus can supply the same healing to me as I trust Him, and in faith, believe.

MY TOUCH, HIS TOUCH 

 “Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him
that they might just touch the hem of His garment.
And as many as touched Him were made well.”
Mark 6:56 

I’m discovering you don’t have to reach
very high to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.
In the dregs of pain and misery,
desperate for healing, and flat on the floor,
you can still reach it.

Perhaps that is why this story is included in scripture,
letting us know that to reach out and touch…
to feel the place where faith meets power…brings healing.
It is not the hem of the garment;
it is the faith that stretched out the hand.

Even in a crowd He is tuned to the seeking soul.
So close, less than a breath away,
He senses the slightest reaching movement
and power goes out from Him.
He is so aware of our pain.

My touch is one of faith,
His touch is one of power, mercy, grace
and unfathomable love.
Why, oh why, do I wait so long,
exhausting all other possibilities,
to seek His compassion and healing?

It just takes my simple touch of faith,
to be met by an outpouring of all that He is,
i
n His unimaginably incredible touch! 

©  Lois Williams

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The Wonder of it All

It is Memorial Day weekend.  I completely understand that this holiday is meant to commemorate all those who gave their lives in service to our country.  We definitely need to remember this, and bring honor where honor is due; and so I give grateful praise to God for each and every person who bravely marched into battle and gave their all for our freedom.

However, today I want to consider another memorial, and remember my friend Sharon.  Yesterday was her memorial service, the celebration of her life; and I was honored to be asked to give her eulogy. I am still pretty weak from my recent surgery, but I was happy that God strengthened me to do it.  As part of the service we sang one of her favorite songs, “The Wonder of it All”, written by George Beverly Shea.  It touched me so deeply I felt that I wanted to share it with you, and not post one of my meditations for a change!  Thinking of Sharon and all she meant to me, and how every day she lived out her joy in her Savior brought me to tears; and the wonder of it all.  I sing from my heart the incredible truth that these lyrics embody.  My prayer is that you all can sing this with me.

THE WONDER OF IT ALL

VERSE 1
There’s the wonder of sunset at evening
The wondrous sunrise I see
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that God loves me

VERSE 2
There’s the wonder of spring time and harvest
The sky, the stars, the sun
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that’s only begun

CHORUS
The wonder of it all
The wonder of it all
Just to think that God loves me
Oh the wonder of it all
The wonder of it all
Just to think that God loves me

“In all their affliction He was afflicted….in His love and in His pity He redeemed them.”  Isaiah 63:9

Amen.  Hallelujah!

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PAUSING…

100_5593     Right now I’m on an enforced rest.  Trying to heal; trying to follow the doctor’s orders so that I can get on with my life.  There are a lot of adjustments to make and some I’m sort of rebellious in making; accepting new limitations, at least for now!  So as I was thinking about what to post this week, I kept pondering on this poem, one of my favorites, and truly realizing the truth of what it means to obey the pause, musing on what has happened, yet looking forward to what God has planned.  Selah, a word that is filled with meaning, especially now.  Hope you enjoy this.

SELAH

“I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works and consider
what your hands have done.  I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.   Selah.”
Psalm 143:5-6 

In scripture, used many times in the Psalms,
there is a word that we often brush past.
It is “Selah”.
Intrigued, I wanted to discover
what it means, why it is there.
And what I learned brings me to a place
of wonder and delight. 

Most translators agree that it indicates a pause,
a rest in a music score,
while the notes just played linger in the ear,
and ready the senses to listen to the next.
The Psalms are the songs of God’s people,
so it occurs to me that He has a reason
to call for a lull, to ask us to ponder
what we have just heard, and intensify our desire
to hear the next notes of His composition.

How fitting, then, to read once again the
verses above before the Selah,
and hold those thoughts in abeyance,
musing on His wonderful works,
what His hands have done;
and in response heighten our anticipation
for what is ahead.

The rests, the pauses, in music are as integral
to the composition as the notes themselves,
adding intensity and drama to its whole.
I am finding so much beauty in the “Selahs”
God is placing in my life, thirsting times,
respite and reflection times,
and I vow never to pass by this word in scripture
without contemplating His message to me.

Before my Conductor raises His baton,
my heart breathes,
“Amen.  So be it, Lord.”

Selah. 

©  Lois Williams

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