Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Satisfied Soul

What is worship? I can tell you it is more than 3 songs on Sunday, a prayer on Wednesday evening, and a random daily Bible verse reading. Worship is an intense longing for something or someone. It is urgent desire.

I love the words of Psalm 63, but notice the desperation phrased in verse 1.

O GOD, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You. (Ps 63:1 AMP)

"Earnestly," "thirsts," "longs," and "faint," these are strong words! The psalmist cries out, "My flesh longs to see Your power and glory, Lord." (v2) Then in he goes on to say, "My lips shall praise thee," and, "Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name." (v3-4)

He has chosen to worship.

But why? Why the longing? Why the intensity of desire? It is to come to the place of the soul described in verse 5.

My soul shall be satisfied...

Worship brings satisfaction to the soul. Satisfaction is complete contentment. It is total fulfillment of every need or want, rest and peace, joy and happiness. Satisfaction comes as the result of worship.

Through worship, I restore myself to the place God needs me to be, in surrender, and I restore God to the place He needs to be, in control. Any other arrangement will not work. If my decisions are higher than God's for me, then I will fail.

Worship is relationship and it is intimate. That is a new concept for some - intimacy with God. Yet Christ Himself prayed we'd be "one" with God as He was "one" with God. (Jn 17:22) This is unity! Just imagine where unity with God will take you!

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1Co 2:9)

I haven't even begun to grasp what God has prepared for me. What has God prepared for you? Satisfaction? Take the limits off of God, my friend, and worship.

FURTHER READING: Psalm 107:5-9

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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.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Put God in His Place

If ever a book needed to be read, A.W. Tozer's book, "The Pursuit of God," is it. I have never been so humbled by my humanity and more willing to change than I have when reading this book.

There is a section which I'd like to place here for you to read and meditate on. In it he speaks about our position with God, plainly stating that our satisfaction in life only comes when we have put God into the proper place.

"We must begin with God. We are right when and only when we stand in a right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far and so long as we stand in any other position."

"Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image...We can get a right start only by accepting God as He is and learning to love Him for what He is. As we go on to know Him better we shall find it a source of unspeakable joy that God is just what He is. Some of the most rapturous moments we know will be those we spend in reverent admiration of the Godhead. In those holy moments the very thought of change in Him will be to painful to endure."

"So let us begin with God. Back of all, above all, before all is God; first in sequential order, above in rank and station, exalted in dignity and honor. As the self-existent One He gave being to all things, and all things exist out of Him and for Him. 'Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power. for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.'"Link
A.W. Tozer's thoughts echo the Scriptures themselves. A passage in Isaiah 40 comes immediately to mind, which has been much in my thoughts lately.

Verse 19 queries:

To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?*
Then in verse 25 this is repeated.

To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
I find myself asking this question over and over again, and then today I saw a video where a gentleman put it all into perspective. We constantly strive to bring God down to our level. In everything we do, we want Him to conform to our thinking. He must make decisions we understand, within our realm of stature and ideas.

Yet what if we put God into the place He should be - exalted above all, not moldable to our frail human methods? What does it say in Isaiah 55:8-9?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Higher thoughts! Higher ways! Do we really want to serve a God who is unable, unwilling, and uncaring?

"But,' you say, "I don't understand why..."

That's just it though. We don't understand because He is so much HIGHER than we are. We must take the limitations off of God. We must remove the restrictions of our thinking. True freedom comes when we let go of ourselves and allow God to be God, when we restore Him to the place of honor and ability that no other can possibly hold.

We must begin with God, and we must end with God. We must daily, minute-by-minute be ever subordinate to Him, always aware He is greater than we are. He is wiser than we are. It is in this right placing of spiritual relationship that we will find happiness, joy, and success. Anything else is outside of His ability because it is our abilities.

The truth is, we will never be able to do what it is in God's place to do for us in the first place.

* Quoted Isaiah verses are from the Revised Standard Version.


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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.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In My Garden

Nothing makes me happier than time spent in my garden. Crouched in the grass or stooped in some awkward position, I seek for the most overlooked and neglected insects. Tiny damselflies float on the air like wisps of the wind.

Citrine Forktail Damselfly
Male Citrine Forktail Damselfly

Duckweed Firetail Damselflies
Duckweed Firetail Damselflies

In the garden, I surround myself with beautiful flowers and flashy insects, their colors lighting up my lens.

Black-eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan

Red Admiral Butterfly
Red Admiral Butterfly

American Painted Lady Butterfly
American Painted Lady Butterfly

Even the bees and wasps are welcome here to fly amongst the blossoms and seeds.

Polistes dorsalis Wasp
Polistes dorsalis Wasp

Milkweed Seeds
Fly Away, Milkweed Seeds

In the garden, I forget all my cares. Suddenly, nothing matters but sound and scent, light and life.

To view more photos from my garden, visit 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.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two New Steve's Digicams Blogs

There was some unforeseen delay in these being posted. Therefore, they have both appeared online at the same time. The articles are unrelated in topic. The first article entitled, "I Live My Life In Pictures," is my thoughts on photography as it affects me personally. The second article is on achieving sharpness in a photograph.

I Live My Life In Pictures

Sharpness

Take a read and leave me a comment!

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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.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

In the Missing

There are some things that happen which just beg to be written down, and for me, this is one of them. It is such a simple story really, but one I cannot shake out of my mind.

I was standing in line at the grocery store waiting my turn, when the elderly couple in front of me grabbed my attention. Since my grandparents passed away, this soft place has formed in my heart. I so miss my grandmother's hugs and long to hear my grandfather's voice. But you know how it goes. Time flows past, and though the memory of them remains, there are days where I don't think of them as much. Preoccupied with living, temporarily they fade from view. Until something startles me and it all comes flooding back.

Soft hands.
Warm voices.
Love.

There in the line ahead of me this couple, so apparently reliant on each other, set their items down for purchase. Their clothing was worn, patched and stained, yet comfortable and respectable. His wallet was held together with silver tape, but his money was neatly folded into a shiny gold clip.

The cashier spoke the price of their goods, some $20.87, and the husband slowly placed a $20 bill into the worker's outstretched hand. Here there was a pause as the cashier repeated the total price, followed by a brief moment of confusion as the older man attempted to take it all in. Shakily he unfolded his wallet and tried to count his change.

I felt my eyes well up. Inwardly, I was thinking I'd pay the 87 cents myself before I'd allow them to leave without what they came for. But the gentleman did have the rest of what he owed. Passing another $20 bill across the counter, he received his change and then slowly began putting his money back into the clip. I was content to just stand there and watch.

It didn't matter that it was taking too long or that he could have moved out the way. I didn't care because I was lost in the moment. I remembered my grandfather's face on one visit I made just before he passed, how happy he was to see me. He too had become consumed by age. No longer able to get around like before, we did our best to assist him.

The couple eventually left, she clinging to his arm, and again, I felt the tears come. I am left today with this memory and so many others of my own. There are happy ones and sad ones. I don't know who this couple was, if they have family who care for them or not. I like to think they do. But for me, it is that in this one moment their existence touched mine in the missing I felt for my own.

My grandmother's rose bush
Granny's Rose-EDIT

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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.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Life Full of Holes

My shirts get these little holes in them, always in the same location. For three years now I have searched for the source. Is it the washing machine? My laundry basket? What? The questions remain unanswered, and it frustrates me.

It's amazing how much time I have spent chasing down the cause of these holes. They steal my concentration. When I'm supposed to be doing a dozen different tasks, half of my brain power remains on these spots of empty space.

And they leave me with a quandary. Do I wear the shirts anyway? Should I repair them first or throw the shirts away? If I threw them all away, I think I'd have nothing left to wear. It's that bad. I have repaired some of them, not well, mind you. Afterward, the shirts are left looking like they have a weird fabric flaw, a sort-of lump. I comfort myself, saying no one notices. At least, that is my hope.

How trivial is it that I am consumed by these holes? Around me are tragedies of the greatest magnitudes: a friend's young child had an organ transplant, a relative's husband needs corrective surgery, countless people (unknown to me) have lost their homes to a massive tornado. Yet here I sit, distractedly looking for holes.

Sunday morning following the sermon, my pastor announced to the congregation "a time of worship." Our band began playing beautiful music, the words from the stage floated into the air, and I closed my eyes in gratitude to think of the Father. I love to worship. I live to worship. Yet when my eyes opened just a crack, in amazement I watched people filing out. Before he could even offer the blessing he speaks each Sunday, the greater portion had left, and following the blessing, they went like a flood until only twenty or so were left.

No time for worship?

So many things consume our lives. Like me, searching for holes, all those people had allowed circumstances to become a distraction - time for lunch, pick up the children, mow the yard, take a nap. Trivial items sent them out chasing their holes. When for a few minutes, the Father asked them to stay, to enter into His presence, to sit awhile, to talk with Him.

What all had failed to see was the benefits that come from those precious moments. It's not that my words help God. He doesn't need help. No, my words help me. God is pleased with faith, and time spent in worship reminds me of who He is. It builds my faith.

He is greater. He is higher. He is more than enough. Worship places God onto the throne of my heart and myself in surrender, where I need to be. Him larger. Me smaller. No longer am I out chasing holes. Instead, I dwell with God. I am quiet and can hear His voice. I come away so much stronger than I was when I entered.

I prayed today about those holes. In a moment of forgetfulness, I actually asked God to show me what I was doing to create them. How silly, empty, and vain. I see now it doesn't matter. If ten years from now, my shirts still contain holes, perhaps they serve only to remind me of this lesson.

I think I'll stop writing now and worship. For He is great. He is mighty. He is powerful. He is holy.

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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, May 1, 2011

The Top 5 Questions About My Book, "Fearless"

These are the questions I am most asked about my book, "Fearless."

Fearless-Cover-Front

1. How did you come around to writing a book?

The truth is, I didn't. The chapters of the book were individual blogs written to myself. They are my journal of revelations from God's Word that were on my heart at that time. I found writing them to be both a great way to remember the Lord's instructions to me and an immense form of healing. They were, in a way, my therapy.

The idea to put them into a book came to me after talking to other people with similar problems. I realized I could not be everywhere at once. I hate to see people struggle with something they can be free of, and the truths in the Word of God are, after all, available to anyone who believes. (Jn 1:7)

2. Why are you so open with your testimony?

I don't know exactly. I do remember years ago praying for boldness. The words of Acts 4:29 had spoken to my heart, and for a time, I prayed them earnestly. When I cried out to God for help in 2007, I didn't think of that prayer at all, but the first instruction God gave me was to stop hiding. I spent so much time trying to hide my problem from everyone. For me, being open brought great freedom. At first, I gave no thought to its impact on others. It was only later as so many people came to me with their brother or sister or friend who was in my shoes that I saw the need.

3. What one thing have you learned the most?

That not every step towards healing is easy. Renewing your mind to think differently is HARD. Doing those things I am afraid of doing is HARD. I remember one time telling my husband, "I either have to give up or get out of this house because sitting here is killing me." And it was. The indecision of fear was making me ill. To get over it, I knew I had to either stay home or get in the car. It was not an easy decision, but a necessary one. I always remember, when I am at that point, that giving in doesn't solve anything. Unless I am willing to step forward in the heat of the HARD moment, I will not remain free.

4. What has surprised you the most now that the book is in print?

I am constantly surprised. I was surprised when someone first wanted my autograph. That still seems a bit strange to me. This book is my failure and God's success. God really should sign it, if that were possible.

Also, I was not fully prepared for "the weight of the book." I failed to look at it from other peoples' perspectives. To me it was less a manual and more my personal thoughts. Suddenly, people were coming to me for advice. On the days when I am weakest, I ask myself how I could help anyone. Yet the truth is, it is not my words that are doing anything, it is God's Word. I am only the vessel He has chosen; my job is to be obedient. His Words are life and healing to the mind and flesh. (Pr 4:22)

5. What is most important to you about this book?

The testimonies I hear are so marvelous and I am grateful for every kind word. My heart for the book was not to sell millions of copies; I wanted it to be in the hands of those who needed it. Each time I hear someone tell me they passed their copy along to a friend, it makes me exceedingly happy. That was my desire. Panic attacks are such a silent, hidden problem, which no one talks about. It takes friends and family, church people and neighbors, stepping into the lives of those they know and offering prayer and support to facilitate healing. I would not be here if not for the efforts of those who love me.

To pick up a copy of the book, you can order through Amazon, or from Becky Combee Ministries, Inc.

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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.

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