Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Simple Life

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Jesus spoke the above words during a debate with the Pharisees over the healing of a man blind from birth. These religious scholars effectively took something Jesus meant to be simple and through their mental reasoning made it very complicated. Verse 16 of chapter 9 even tells us their questionings created "division" amongst the people.

Yet in the midst of the confusion, the blind man himself offered his own simple point of view.
...one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. (John 9:25)
So often, we do what I call "thinking to much." God wants us just to trust Him. Complete trust is, after all, the definition of faith. The Bible tells us faith is believing in those things you can't see yet. (Hebrews 11:1,3) The analogy is always made of a child expecting a visit from their grandmother. If grandma says she is coming, from that moment on the child in his mind sees her walking through the door. Well, most often instead of laying our trust on Jesus, we try to figure out the solution to our particular situation. We try to help God out.

Looking back at our foundation scripture, John 10:10, we see two very simple thoughts Jesus made. First, He tells us there is a thief and defines what the thief's purpose is. Second, He utters the statement, "I am come to give abundant life."

Whenever I find myself with my back against the wall, take, for instance, this past week when I was very ill, I ask myself one simple question, "Did that bring me abundant life? Or did it steal, kill, and destroy?" and I know the answer immediately. It didn't bring me abundance of life; it destroyed my health and stole from my time. Being sick didn't give me any sudden brilliance of thought. Instead, my mind was tired and my body couldn't get off the couch.

Deuteronomy 30:19 states, "I [God] have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." This is again just so very simple. If this event in my life brought destruction to me, then it was not God. God's choice for mankind was life and blessing. It's like man was given a multiple choice quiz, but the answer has already been supplied.

Stop for a second and notice too the end of the verse, "that thou and they seed may live." It is not just that my choice of life and blessing affects myself. But my decision to walk in God's life, affects my daughter as well! Wow!

It all comes down to this - God is a good God, a God of peace, prosperity, and full salvation. Jesus came to give life, and abundant life at that. Anything else is a product of the thief, and it is my choice not to participate with the thief. I choose life! I choose blessing! It's all so very, very simple.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Green

Here are a few pictures that remind me of the color green.

Scene by the Stream, Anna Ruby Falls, Georgia
Scene By The Stream, Anna Ruby Falls, Georgia

Chinese Fan Palm, Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, Florida
Chinese Fan Palm, Bok Tower Gardens

Female Leopard Frog
Female Leopard Frog

Holding Hands
Holding Hands

Stases, Elephant Ear
Stases, Elephant Ear

For more of my photography, visit my Webshots.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Vacation Photos in a Video

I created this video over the weekend. It gives you a short walk through some of the places and things I saw on my family vacation last November. We visited the Western North Carolina area. If you'd like to read my daily vacation journal, email me at scw1217@yahoo.com, and I'll send it your way.

The full set of photographs can be seen at my Webshots.

Appalachia 2009


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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Endurance


But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13)
When we think of endurance, we usually take it to mean "hang in there". Dictionary.com even defines it as "bearing pain, hardships." However, "to endure" as given in the Word is much more than that. Notice what it says in Matthew 24. God's endurance brings salvation!

But give attention to yourselves, for fear that your hearts become over-full of the pleasures of food and wine, and the cares of this life, (Luke 21:34 BBE)
Lately, I have felt like I was "over-full" of cares. Having lost all interest in my normal pursuits, I just seem to want to let life drift me by. More than once I have asked God, "What's wrong with me?" In Mark 4, I find the answer. Here, Jesus was telling the parable of the seed and the sower. After describing different types of soil, Jesus gives the reaction of the seed to each.
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. (Mark 4:16-17)
Very plainly, I have let the garden of my life become full of stones. I equate each these stones to various troubles. Perhaps one is a particular worry and another an offense. Knowingly or unknowingly, I have placed each stone, each care, on top of what was good soil until my seeds can no longer take root, not being able to find the depth they need.
When my husband and I built our house, a load of dirt was trucked in to fill around the foundation. As this dirt was spread, it could be immediately seen that it was full of hand-sized white rocks. There were rocks everywhere! Well, after we had moved in, my husband became determined to plant some grass. We were both tired of being surrounded by bare soil. But he knew that first he'd have to remove the rocks. I can tell you many a day was spent digging and scratching those rocks out of the soil! He worked very hard to remove as many as possible because he knew the grass would not grow where the rocks were.

In a similar manner is the soil of our heart. We usually want to skip over clearing the soil, planting the grass, and even watering it with the Word, and get right to having the field of grass. But having a nice lawn requires endurance! Plants will not grow without proper care. A good gardener does anything that will promote the health of the plants. He endures expecting good results.

Yet still, endurance is even better that! James 5:11 says, "Behold, we count them happy which endure..." Wow! Endurance is not sitting by while "the cares of this life" begin to choke us and we just put up with it all. (Matthew 13:22) No, while we endure, we are happy, and in the end we are delivered, protected, healed, and preserved. (G4982, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance) That is a far better definition of endurance!

My House
My House



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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Review: A Land Remembered

A Land Remembered
by Patrick D. Smith

Photobucket

I have read a lot of books, and I have read several books set in Florida. But I have never read a book that caused me to mourn for the land as much as this one.

As a native Floridian, I have always felt keenly when the wild places around me were disturbed. I can remember watching a cypress swamp become a high school and a live oak wood turn into a drainage pond. Both times I was sad for the loss of what once was. I remember thinking that so few would remember.

The plot line of this book tells the story of a family of "crackers" who carved out their life in the wilds of Florida, selling cows, raising oranges, and eventually farming. However, the book itself is about much more than that. The author, Patrick D. Smith, manages to describe in fantastic detail what my home state, what Florida, was probably like.

He begins at the end of the American Civil War and tracks the changes that weather, railroads, and greed bring. With his descriptions I pictured the vastness of it all - how immense the state must have felt as they drove cattle for days and days across seemingly endless fields, forests, and swamps and what an amazing multitude of wildlife must have existed. He weaves into the story the damage of progress and time in a manner which becomes as important to the story as the characters themselves. The heart of this story is about how human decisions can change or save those things around them, and at its core is the value of love, family, and memories.

If I have ever loved the land here, I love it more now, having read this book. Though the lives of the characters and the ending of the book turn tremendously sad, if you are interested in Florida's history at all, then I highly recommend it for reading.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Faces From The Past

I went to visit with my 90-year-old grandmother yesterday. She is bedridden, unable to walk. As she lay there, I held her frail hand and read her my Christmas story. If you have not read it, you can do so at Pix-N-Pens. It is a story from her life as much as from mine. Silently, her eyes closed she lay there, listening. At times I thought she might be asleep. But when I had finished the story, she spoke and said, "That is the best Christmas gift...better than a $100 dollar bill." Her words will always remain precious to me.

Seeing and talking to her brought back to my mind some historic images I acquired from her. I'll not bore you with the long details of my grandfather's life, but he was adopted at a young age and these people are from his adopted family. Why is it old images are so interesting? I feel like I could sit and gaze into these faces and somehow glean something.

Elbert Grimes (son of Laurence), Rob Roy Combee (son of Alf), Morgan Combee (son of Hampton), Ed

Sitting there at my grandmother's side and reading her that story is a moment in my life I will always remember. I am so pleased if my words were able to bring back any of her beloved memories. For right now, I think that is really what life is all about - It is in creating moments today so that you can relive their memories later.

The Combee Gang

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Story Saturdays

This month's FREE BOOK to email subscribers will be a recent release under my pen name, Josephine McCutcheon . This is a line of swee...