Author Archives: sweetwilliams

About sweetwilliams

I love God. I see His beauty all around me, in the people He has blessed me to be around and the places He has blessed me to be. I will try to capture the tiniest part of that beauty here through my experiences and my photographs. Hope you enjoy! ~Michelle

Is There a God?

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This is the question of many, many hearts.  Is there a God?  I can say for sure without a doubt there is a God.  I met Him, literally met Him (you can read about it here) one day at a park and my life will never be the same.  Reading the bible the other day, as is my daily routine, I came across two scriptures that jumped out at me concerning this topic of whether or not there is a God.

Romans 1:18-20 says:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being  understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

(italics mine)

Seems to me the verdict is this:  God says here,  I am in all things.  There is no way that you can look around and see the beauty, the variety, the brilliance of things made and doubt that it is I who made them.

I once heard someone liken the following:  To deny we were created by God would be like stumbling upon a magnificent painting (think Leonardo da Vinci) and believing the painting created itself.  Everything made has a creator.  And as magnificent a painter as Leonardo was, how much more magnificent are we?  Moving, breathing, thinking, creatures.  Creatures with a creator.  Just stop and think about the the human eye and its complexities, or one blood cell and all the work it does.  How could this not be God’s masterpiece?

The other scripture that stuck out was Psalm 19:1-4 which states the following:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Below are some snapshots of “The heavens declar[ing] the glory of God; the skies proclaim[ing] the work of his hands.”

Outside my back door in California, MD.

Greenwell State Park in Hollywood, MD.

Previous 3 are more from outside my back door in California, MD.

Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Southern Maryland.

Los Angeles, California.

Pacific Ocean, Redondo Beach, CA.

Redondo Beach, CA.

Outside my back door in California, MD.

Greenwell State Park in Hollywood, MD.

Solomons Island in Maryland.

And so is God ;o)                                     Photo taken somewhere in North Carolina.

Doubting God’s Love?

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John 15:13 says: Greater love has no one than this:  to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

If you have ever doubted God’s love like I have, this is for you. 

I am working through the last few days of my Beth Moore study, Jesus the One and Only, and I am right in the middle of Jesus’s betrayal by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane.  What really struck me this time through Matthew, was how Jesus responded to Judas during the betrayel.  As described in Matthew 26, Judas kisses Jesus as a signal that He is the one to be arrested.  Jesus, knowing all along that Judas would betray Him and now in the thick of that betrayal says to Judas: “Do what you came for, friend.” (Matthew 26:50)

Jesus knew Judas was the catalyst to the cross.  The same cross that caused Jesus’s “soul [to be] overhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38)  Yet in the midst of it all Jesus calls Judas friend!  I can barely wrap my head around that.  Even as Judas was betraying Jesus, he used the term friend, showing love and endearment toward His betrayer.  In this new light, I am certain that God never stops loving us.  No matter what we have done, He says . . .

Folks, we deserve to go to hell with Judas. To sin is to be an enemy of God.  Yet, because of the cross, we are considered His friend, whom He died for.  By not accepting the cross, we can choose hell, as Judas chose.  But I don’t think that even then, God ever stops loving us.  The fact that He called Judas friend (after his choice had been made), showed the love He felt for him still. 

Like the Apostle Paul, I too “am [now] convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. {Romans 8:38-39}

The Perfect Girl

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How I long to be the perfect girl, with the perfect hair, and the perfect teeth, and oh I could go on and on. How many countless hours have you spent looking in the mirror thinking “if only . . .” Of course I am speaking to the ladies. We are the ones so quick to pick ourselves apart.

As I have grown in my relationship with the Lord, I have come to realize that complaining about how I look, is complaining about God’s design. He made me fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:14)!

I do not want to be like the Israelites and live in the desert for the rest of my life grumbling against God! If only you had made me better.  If only you had made me differently.  Like the Israelites’ complaints: “If only we had stayed in Egypt! If only we had died out here!” Steps from entering the Promise Land and all they wanted was to go back into slavery. Back into bondage!  They had been made free by God, but they would rather die in the desert than enter the Promise Land, because they didn’t trust God and His design (Numbers 14).

I have been made free through my Savior’s death on a cross. Every time I grumble about my imperfections, I am going back into the bondage I was freed from! Back into the desert. If that is where I am going to be, what was the point of His death?  I want to live in the land flowing with milk and honey.  Amen?

If I am going to do this, I must stand guard against the one who prowls like a lion.   1 Peter 5:8: Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Satan will not have a hold on this girl!  He won’t trick me into thinking the desert is better than freedom.

:: Lord help me to love myself as you do!  Help me to know and trust you more each day.  Help me to know that each hair on my head is just so (Matthew 10:30), according to your wonderous design.  Help me to hold these truths close to my heart.  Help ladies everywhere to also know these truths ::

Peace

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My mother-in-law gave me a devotional called Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah Young. Sarah writes from Jesus’ perspective, as if He were talking to the reader.  She bases her writing on biblical principles.

Her writing on February 10th, I find to be true time and time again in my life: “Because I am omnipotent, I am able to bend time and events in your favor. You will find that you can accomplish more in less time, after you have given yourself to Me in rich communion.”

When I take time to spend with the Lord, I find myself getting so much done in so little time. When I don’t spend this time “in rich communion,” I find myself anxious and getting frustrated as it seems nothing goes my way. There have been many times that I have skipped my daily bible reading or neglected to spend time with God, only to realize later on that my day was a total waste.

Today I got back into my Jesus the One and Only Beth Moore study, and I felt overwhelming peace. The previous two days, I had skipped it. Those days I found myself anxious, worried, and short-termpered. Today, after spending time with the Lord, I took things as they came, wasn’t anxious, and felt true peace.  It also felt good to catch up with my best friend.

I realized two things today.  The first is that God does and has bent time in my favor before (on many occasions actually).  The other is this:  On the days when I take the time to spend with the Lord, I notice a difference.  The difference is that while I am spending time with Him, He is equipping me for all I need and all that will come my way.  By tuning into the Author of my faith, I am able to focus on what is important for me to do that moment, that day, and not worry about anything else.

“. . . man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” –Deuteronomy 8:3

::God, help me to always put a higher importance on spending time with You and Your Word than anything else in life. I find myself logging time on social media networks eagerly, yet I scimp when it comes to spending time with you. Ignite a passion in me for your word. Thank you for the peace you have given me today::

~Michelle

Perfect Love

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I read the cutest church sign today for Valentine’s Day.  It read:  BE MINE  –God

That’s all he ever asks of us.  We definitely make out on the deal.

I see the benefits of God’s perfect love in the following: 

Sending His Son to die on the cross for me, giving me Neil as a husband, blessing me with two perfect boys, answering my prayers, not answering my prayers, Him listening to me, never leaving me, always providing everything I need, healing me, giving me amazing friends, protecting me, giving me grace all the time even though I don’t deserve it, Him teaching me, opening my eyes and ears, showing me His beauty, the quirky things about me that make me ME, creating me in His image, creating this beautiful world we live in, giving me an encouraging word when I need one, God’s people being His hands and feet, forgiveness, mothers, heaven, the changing of the seasons, babies, and laughter.  

All of this He has given me and more, but there is nothing that I have to give Him, except for all of me.   

Happy Valentine’s Day God. Thank You that I am yours!

Let the Light Shine

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I think my heart breaks more for those that go through this life without a relationship with Jesus, because I didn’t always have one.  I didn’t grow up knowing my Savior in a personal way.  Not knowing my Savior meant I did not truly know God.  I think coming to the Lord later in life, gives me a deep appreciation for all He has done and brought to my life.  I look at my life, before and after, and I see black and white, no shades of gray.  It was dark before, and now it is full of light.   

 Before I had given my life to God, things didn’t seem all that bad, but I was never fully happy.  I never felt . . . free.    That’s a good word to describe it.  John 8:32.  Now I am free, and God equips me each day for what is in store.  Those without this freedom, have no idea what they are missing!

Like my Pastor, Rob McNutt at Faith Bible Church said this past Sunday:  “Becoming a Christian doesn’t make life easier, but it makes it better.” I agree!

Jesus said: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed . . .”  –Luke 4:18

143

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143=numerical I (1) LOVE (4) YOU (3)

I remember the day I first fell in love with the Lord. The sun was shining, and I had set up camp on my old blanket I keep in the trunk of my car (cause you never know when the need to just sit on a blanket will arise). I had my One Year Bible and a copy of The Purpose Driven Life , I dubbed “The Green Book,” by Rick Warren.

I cannot remember if I was in The Word or in “The Green Book” when it happened, but I literally fell head over heels in love with God. It was the highest high I have ever felt, but I was completely sober. It was mid-day at a park mind you. And it was like the secrets of heaven were spoken to my heart. I cannot explain it in words. It was out-of-body, and I will never be the same.

In that moment, I felt so much love, I could hardly stand it! I wanted to shout from the rooftops. I knew I never wanted to be out from underneath God’s wonderful grace again. I couldn’t believe that the Creator of the universe loved me so much that He allowed His son to die for me. I couldn’t believe that Jesus loved me so much that He was faithful enough to go through with it. And I couldn’t believe that the Holy Spirit was pursuing me all that time. I couldn’t believe that God loved me in the same way I loved my child–even more! That was unreal to me! And I had done nothing but run away from Him and hurt Him. I felt bad for running all that time, not accepting what He had done for me, but there was so much love inside of me in that moment that shame took the backseat. God didn’t allow the devil to ruin this love story. It was like God Himself was hugging me (I could imagine His hugs feeling that good). It was like He was hugging me and saying “It’s okay. I know all of you. I know everything you have ever done or thought, good and bad, and I love you just the same. I am happy you are here with me, and I no longer have to chase you.”

Now trust me when I say, there is nothing special about me. I believe the only reason I experienced this was because I was seeking Him with my whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13). I wanted to know who He was, and He revealed that to me. We are all free to do that at any time. And He is more than willing to run to all that do.

Later, when I heard the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), I completely related with to the son.  I was the same in that I wanted all the privilege of being God’s child, but I wanted to go my own way. When I realized I would never be complete without being with Him, I came back. When I did finally come back, He didn’t throw my shame in my face, He didn’t scold me, and He didn’t go around telling others what a disgrace I had been. He ran to me. ME! With open arms. He threw His arms around me and then threw me a huge party with all the angels in heaven!  Sweet!

“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” –Luke 15:7

I believe I felt a little bit of that in the park that day!

So what’s 143 got to do with it? Well, when I was a teen, we used pagers, yes pagers instead of cell phones (gasp), and 143 stood for “I love you.” Over the years I have always noticed these three numbers together, and I would think to myself “I love you”–to no one in particular. It was just engraved in my brain. Ever since I have returned to my Heavenly Father, I see those numbers and am reminded that He is looking down on me saying, “Michelle, I LOVE YOU.” I LOVE HIM too. 143