Monday, August 12, 2019

I Am The Remnant

Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left [of the prophets], and they are seeking my life.” But what is God’s response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too then, at the present time there has come to be a remnant [a small believing minority] according to God’s gracious choice. (Rm 11:2-5 AMP)

There is only a remnant of anything because the majority has turned away. The apostle Paul predicts this in 1 Thessalonians 2:3. The devil is the deceiver. It is his job to steal the Word of God from our lips and replace it with secular humanism, with ungodly principles, with compromise. To give us excuses for why we don’t read the Bible, listen to the Holy Spirit, and spend time in prayer. And having not read it, having forgotten God’s Words to us, our vision of Christ and the power of God grows dim. (Rev 12:9; Mt 13:22)

It takes dedication to be a Christian, in the true sense of the word. A follower of Christ. Someone who places His principles first place every minute of every day. It’s a lifestyle. Even greater, it’s an active position.

My nature regarding most repairs at home is to pass them off on someone else. “Honey, the car is doing this thing,” and my husband investigates, calls someone, and has the repairs made. I didn’t have to do anything at all. But in the last few years, I’ve had to learn to handle things on my own. I’ve called about the well, the septic, and innumerable car repairs. Frankly, it’s uncomfortable. I’d much rather let him do it.

But, here’s my point, that repair requires me to take action.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

You cannot sit on the couch and be a Christian. Otherwise, the very thing that drew you to Christ, that caused you to pray the prayer of salvation, will grow cold. By not pursuing your faith, by not growing and exercising it, you will start to listen to the devil’s voice in the world instead. There is no middle ground. You are on one side or the other. (Mt 24:12)

Just as it is written [in Scripture], “God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear, [a spiritual apathy that has continued] to this very day.” (Rm 11:8 AMP)

Thinking of this nation, Christians have chosen passivity. But there, again, is no middle ground. The Bible says to pray for our leaders (and complaints are not prayers). Have you done that? Or are you letting some other more fanatical Christian do that? Meanwhile, you will sit on the couch and let the circumstances you dislike pass by, making a powerless protest.

Doing nothing is doing something, just not with the results you want.

I heard a prophet say that God saw the prayers of a remnant in this nation and is honoring them in this present age. That’s a marvelous thought. And a concerning one. Because what if I wasn’t in that remnant? What if I was sitting on my couch doing nothing? What if I passed this duty off onto someone else because she looks stronger than I am?

She studied the Word. She applied its principles. She saw the power of God in it to work in her behalf. She realized she was a part of something that could change the world. Sitting around wasn’t an option. She believed, and therefore she spoke. (2Co 4:13)

We believe and speak. We disregard. We mock. We make fun of. Or we gripe and curse. Same thing.

But now I am speaking to you…in the hope of somehow making my fellow countrymen jealous [by stirring them up so that they will seek the truth] and perhaps save some of them. (Rm 11:13 AMP)

Our words are powerful, and they change things either positively or negatively. We can encourage and bless, or we can tear down and destroy. Another place without a middle ground. You will always be doing one or the other. (Jas 3:10)

We cannot dislike the end results of our passivity, of our negative speech, when we reaped exactly what we have sown. (Mk 11:23; Gal 6:7)

Image by Mark Thomas from Pixabay

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you…were grafted in among them to share with them the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast over the [broken] branches and exalt yourself at their expense. (Rm 11:17-18 AMP)

We are meant, as Christians, to offer mercy. To walk in grace. To be humble. To pursue peace and holiness. We are meant to mend, to bind, to heal. We are Christ’s representatives on earth. And that isn’t a badge we wear while we act how we want. It is a behavior we learn by studying the Word every day, by doing what Jesus would do, whether that’s throwing out the moneychangers or praying for lepers.

Someone will not find God without our efforts, and God will not have a place in this nation without our actions. Our leaders will not make godly decisions until we stop and pray for them. Unless we become serious, active, motivated Christians, unless we become part of the remnant, we will have no excuse for why things stay the same.

But if we’ll dedicate ourselves to the things of faith, if we’ll swallow that retort we wanted to make, if we’ll stop and pray when it’s been a long day and we’re tired, if we’ll slow down and help someone, though it’s inconvenient, if we’ll do something for God, then He will change it. God will change us. God will change them. It’s that simple.

Jesus replied, “Have faith in God [constantly]. (Mk 11:24 AMP)

My Prayer:  “Heavenly Father, today I pray for President Donald J. Trump. That you will protect him physically, strengthen him mentally, and guide him spiritually. I pray you surround him with godly people who guide him into godly wisdom. That he sees the truth of your Word and operates effectively in it for this nation. I pray that those who stand against your operation in this government will fall away, that deception will be show for what it is, and darkness will come to light. I pray that the people of this nation will see it and become united. One nation, under God, indivisible.”

Suzanne D. Williams, Author

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Peace and Holiness

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:  (Hebrews 12:14)

Perhaps I am just growing older, or perhaps I’ve dipped my toe into a tiny puddle of wisdom, but more and more, I turn away from things that don’t please God. Not simply certain television programs, but also circumstances and people that have sent me in a negative direction.

I find myself walking well out of my way to pursue integrity and holiness.

I’ve learned that often comes down to the simple tasks. Putting things back where they belong at the grocery store is one example. Ask anyone in my family, and I’m the person walking a box of cereal back to aisle 7.

“Now, how does that show holiness?” you ask.

Image by badski007 from Pixabay

Well, someone at the store went through the trouble to set that item where it belonged. You moved it, thinking you would buy it. By setting it down wherever you are at, you leave them to pick up after you and do the task twice. Holiness, or excellence, asks you to do it yourself.

I always tell myself I need the exercise. I sit all the time, writing, and am amazed how much time has passed, so I take every opportunity to do what I am able. And here’s the important part—without complaint.

That is another example of holiness. I’m still working on not shouting at cars while driving. But at home, I’ve learned to prefer my daughter and my spouse over myself. Sure, sometimes, I want the last bite, but then again, if they eat it, then I won’t have to and, especially if it’s dessert, I don’t really need more sugar. Plus, they’re happy, and now, I don’t have to throw the item out.

Holiness and peace go hand-in-hand, in that manner. Holiness always prefers the other person. It gives. It forgives. It exercises self-control. I like The Passion Translation of version of Hebrews 12:14. “In every relationship be swift to choose peace over competition, and run swiftly toward holiness.” The J.B. Phillips translation says, “Let it be your ambition to live at peace with all men and to achieve holiness.”

Choose peace over competition. Make peace and holiness your ambition. That makes it a 24-7 rule. We must do it all the time, in everything.

Image by TréVoy Kelly from Pixabay

Contrary to what you might think, being a peaceful, holy person is a position of strength. It takes a lot sometimes to not give into what you want to do. I have found, though, the more I practice at it, the more successful I am. The less I seek to get my way, the more God gives me the desire of my heart anyway. Oh, maybe not right at that moment, but later on, someone does something kind for me that I did not expect.

I’m happier at home as well. There are less opportunities for strife, simply because I don’t see them anymore. What I see is another opportunity to walk after Christ, to bear holy fruit, and show eternal life to those in my sphere of influence. That is far more valuable.

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Rm 6:22)

Suzanne D. Williams, Author

Monday, June 17, 2019

Dead Man Walking

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)

I picked up the weight of the world and carried it on my shoulders. Depression. Anxiety. Confusion. Deceit. Everything done to man and done by man has become part of me. I am bitter, unhappy, unkind.

I saw sin and ran after it, giving into temptations painted gaudy colors, juggling them alongside a revised version of morality. Righteousness is adaptable. What was wrong, isn’t. What wasn’t acceptable, is.

Let’s change the rules to gild the new pro forma. Everything fits if you cram yourself into it far enough. You need only close your eyes and ignore any unusual discomfort. It’ll disappear after a while.

Might as well enjoy ourselves while a silent God reclines on His throne, twiddling His thumbs.

Except everything I’ve gained is a mirage, and this freedom I’ve embraced smells a lot like death. Looks a lot like prison bars. A tiny cell. A putrid rat hole with a bucket for a latrine and grave clothes to wrap myself in.

By kicking at the walls around me, I’ve broken my spirit. By closing my eyes, I’ve rolled in the filth of condemnation. But it felt good. But it looked good. But they said I could. But they called it “love.”

But God is deaf and dumb and stupid.

My fist raised, I shake it at the sky, unable to see further than the ceiling. “God, if you’re out there, why didn’t you stop me, pull me back, rein me in?”

I want an answer, a clash, a thunderclap. Lightning and wind carrying the voice of the Almighty. I feel justified in my accusations.

But instead, the door opens and the guards lead me out. Dead man walking.

Bloodied pride, injured feelings, every guilt and immorality I’ve renamed is open for display, and there in front of me, at the end of the path, stands my execution.

This is the end. I blew it. I am regretful. I look up, my throat tight, prepared to accept my fate.

I startle. This cross has been used already. Someone died here and bled out on the ground beneath my feet. Worse, He carried the weight of my actions on His shoulders.

Repentant. Weakened through willful starvation, I fall, face forward, in the muck. I have that Man’s blood on me now, in my eyes, my ears. It’s coating my hands.

My airways close. My heartbeat stops. I lie inert, unmoving.

Yet, there falls a gentle rain, washing my failures away. A heavenly wind blows, filling my lungs again. My eyes open to a golden future, a new beginning.

I died. But I live. As a new man. My hand in His, the Savior who died for me, my feet guided by His loving Words onto a prosperous path toward a celestial tomorrow.

Suzanne D. Williams, Author

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Things I Learned From My Mother

Note to Readers: I originally wrote this in 2017, but it is even more true today. I love my mom. She is my biggest spiritual and personal influence.

My favorite "Mom" pic

Use the good china.

I have nothing against paper plates and plastic forks … Oh wait, yes, I do. My mother never uses them. If she invites you over for hamburgers, she uses porcelain plates, silverware, and stemmed glasses. The food is always served in decorative bowls. She has cabinets full of them in every size and for every reason from pickle dishes to large glass trays.

Guests are worth the time for you to wash things afterward, and they’re happier because you’ve made the effort.

Buy gifts. And don’t be cheap.

She has a card for everything, keeps a cabinet full of them. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays where it’s required, she will send you one. She has a running account at the florist where they know her by name. Generosity is part of her nature, and if, for some reason, she’s roped into spending more than she has planned, she never complains. Giving is important and the heart behind it of the most value.

People are wrong.

When I was girl, I’d come home, quoting things I’d heard at school, and she’d look me in the eye and say, “They’re wrong.”

That mentality solved so many situations in my life. Because, the fact is, a lot of people nowadays are just plain wrong. Not everything goes. The rules are there for a reason and not meant to be broken or changed. Rules make you a better person, a freer one.

At the same time, she always says:

It’s okay to be different.

Her saying was, “If it’s immoral or illegal,” don’t do it.

This means, I can hate watermelon and refuse to drink coffee. Neither one are illegal or immoral. I can prefer to stay home and refuse to leave home after dark. Conversely, you can sleep in and stay out late and eat all the melons you desire.

It’s okay to be unique and bad to condemn others for things that aren’t against God’s Word.

Be thankful for everything, no matter how small.

Even if you hate it. She’s eaten more meals she didn’t like (Fish!) and not said a word crosswise. She prepares dishes for her guests that she won’t eat.

She writes thank you cards for gifts she’s given and reciprocates in kind. Being thankful is an important part of being a good guest and a good person. Always appreciate other people’s efforts. This seed of kindness will multiply back to you one hundred fold.

Lower your voice.

Use your inside voice. There’s no need to yell. In fact, though I fail at this one regularly, she doesn’t raise her voice ever. I can’t recall hearing her shout, unless she was calling my dad in from his woodworking shop.

Politeness is cool.

Say please and thank you and excuse me. Don’t blow your nose at the dining room table. Clean up after yourself in the kitchen or the bathroom. If you are renting a room on vacation or staying with friends, always leave the place better than it was when you arrived.

The biggest key to politeness is to always consider the other person first.

Refuse to take offense and be sure to walk in forgiveness. Hate and anger only lead to bitterness, and bitterness will cancel out your faith.

Apologize even if it isn’t your fault.

It is most important to walk in peace. The Bible says to “seek peace” to “pursue it”. That means, even when you know the other person was in error. If your refusal to say “I’m sorry” fosters strife, then it is your job to apologize and correct it. (Ps 34:14)

Keep your word.

Sometimes this means not making promises in the first place. Other times, it means doing things you’ve changed your mind about, but an honorable person will “swear to their own hurt” and follow through. (Ps 15:4)

Most of all:

Stand up for what you believe.

Never compromise to fit in, and always tell the truth. Lying will get you nowhere. And God is able and willing to take care of you in the first place. Nothing in this world is worth turning aside from your faith.

Suzanne D. Williams, Author

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Ultimate Display of Love

[Pilate] went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. (Jn 19:9)

He stood accused of a crime He didn’t commit, condemned already in the court of public opinion. Social networks, media giants, townspeople, soldiers, even religious leaders bought into the lies that’d been told about Him and turned violent in their hate. Riots broke out. Protests, screamed by angry voices. Those who’d stood by Him, hours ago, denied they even knew His name.

Punished unjustly and dragged, once more, before the judge, He was given a chance to offer a belated defense.

Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? (Jn 19:10)

This was His moment, His comeuppance. Here, He’d deny the allegations and give proof of His lineage. He’d tell how He’d descended from kings, from great fathers in the faith. With fire in His eyes, He’d show them who they were messing with, and the crowd, currently clamoring for His life, would fall eternally silent.

We want a Savior with a sword in His hand, leading a massive army, but pressed to the wall, whipped until He bled, His garments torn, His name mocked, Jesus said nothing at all until Pilate flexed His government muscles. Commentaries agree that Pilate’s question was authoritative.

You refuse to speak to me? (CJB)

Jesus put him in his place. “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.” (Jn 19:11) He knew His life served a greater purpose than any selfish defense. That the victory He would have would come through humility. Through sacrifice.

He knew the power of His Words, that anything He spoke would come to pass. He’d explained this, many times in His ministry. (Mk 11:24) This spiritual principle came into play at its greatest, facing the cross. Whatever He might have said to protect Himself would have undone the display of love that sent Him forward toward a cruel death and a glorious triumph.

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Php 2:8)

He didn’t take offense. He didn’t cast judgment. He didn’t make excuses or complain. He didn’t describe Himself and state His qualifications for being there. He didn’t even reply to Pilate’s question with something as simple as where He came from. Given the chance to save Himself, He didn’t talk at all. Because His words had already been spoken. His prayers made for you and me. (Jn 17) At that moment, “for the joy that was set before him [He] endured the cross, despising the shame.” (Heb 12:2)

To bring us into a New Covenant, a better Covenant, with better promises, and complete, whole, salvation. (Heb 8:6) Because He loved the world that much.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. (Heb 12:3)

Also:  Read my devotional this month at Crossreads, "Things Unspoken."

Suzanne D. Williams, Author

Friday, March 15, 2019

Be Different

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  (Ps 1:1)

We have not given this passage enough weight. It’s less “don’t make fun of him,” although it can mean that, and more, “don’t become one of them.” I like what the Barnes Commentary says:

We have here, then, a beautiful double gradation or climax, in the nouns and verbs of this verse, indicating successive stages of character. There is, first, casual walking with the wicked, or accidentally falling into their company; there is then a more deliberate inclination for their society, indicated by a voluntary putting of oneself in places where they usually congregate, and standing to wait for them; and then there is a deliberate and settled purpose of associating with them, or of becoming permanently one of them, by regularly sitting among them. (

Ouch. That opens up a whole new idea. Doesn’t it?

Very rarely does anyone walk a straight, godly path and deliberately make a 180-degree turn and do something exceedingly wicked. Most of the time, it’s a slow descent. You pace yourself alongside and what your ungodly, unrighteous friends do becomes palatable. You make excuses to be there. Perhaps, you say you are “ministering” to them when, all the while, by standing, by sitting down, you change and now no one can see Christ in you at all.

Still, I think we don’t get the importance of this. It isn’t serious enough in our hearts.

Every place we go, every day, is a choice to walk after God or after the devil. Every emotion we give into, the curse word we shouldn’t have said but did, the anger we let loose on some passing driver who cut in front of us, our impatience in line at the grocery store … so many opportunities rise to look like everyone else.

But looking different, looking like the light of the gospel shines in us, takes work. Persistence. Determination. Spine.

And it’s a New Testament command.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Co 6:14-18)

Come out and be separate. That’s part one. Stop associating with sinners. At your job, in your family, at school, when you vote. Warning:  When you separate yourselves, people won’t understand it. They’ll even make fun of it. And I’m not saying to be rude or unkind. We are to walk in love even with our enemies, but they should know why we’ve chosen not to be there, even if it’s unspoken. They see our choice to not go along, to stay home or do something else, not as condemnation (It is the Holy Spirit that convicts) but in the spirit of the love of God that makes us different. (Mt 5:44; Lk 6:27,35)

Touch not the unclean thing. Here’s part two that we’ve overlooked, and it goes hand-in-hand with part one. You can’t “come out and be separate” while clinging to what’s unclean, ungodly, and impure. And lest you think that sounds too religious, Paul gives several extensive lists of impure things, ranging from strife and jealousy to sexual sins.

Galatians 5:19-21
Romans 1:29-32
Colossians 3:5-8
1 Timothy 6:4-5

And he follows them with the same thought. We are different.

Galatians 5:22-23:  “But the spiritual nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Colossians 3:10:  “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”

1 Timothy 6:6:  “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

The passage in Romans 2 is poignant on this issue. Paul tells them, point blank, “You boast in the law while breaking the law and the name of God is dishonored through you.” (Rm 2:23-24) We are not under Old Testament law, of course, but we should never despise the grace of God with our behavior.

Similarly, Matthew 5:13-14 calls us the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are cautioned to stay salty and to keep our lights lit. Let everyone know whose you are. That’s what it comes down to. Shine bright enough that everyone sees your good life, your kind character, as coming from God. And walk cautiously so that you stay that way. (Eph 5:15)

Deliberately, on purpose, with intent, be different. Be God’s kid.

>>Note: Don't miss my devotional in this month's Becky Combee Ministries, Inc., newsletter. "The Joy To Come" <<

Suzanne D. Williams, Author

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Unique, Marvelous Me

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Ps 139:14)

There is no one like me. No one with my quirks and eccentricities. No one who reacts to pressure the way I do. No one who leaps at the joys that most excite me.

No one who remembers what I remember in the way I remember it. My lemonade bedroom, with its pink and yellow plaid curtains. The scary oak leaves that scratched on the glass at night and kept me awake. The trips to my grandmother’s house, the stories we shared, the chocolate bars, the giggles. No one laid under the Christmas tree, the way I did, and imagined the ornaments came to life.

Suzanne D. Williams, Author

There’s no one who attended classes at school exactly the same way I did. Oh, others were there, but they didn’t ride my bus and follow my schedule, trace my footsteps each day. No one held the same jobs I had in the same order for the same length of time. No one wore my wedding dress and walked the aisle in my shoes, nor became a mom to a beautiful daughter on the day, the hour, in the place I did.

I am unique, what makes me happy is totally mine. What upsets me, that’s mine, too, and in God’s eyes, everything that makes up “me” is marvelous.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10)

I am also a work in progress. Every day that passes, every week, every month, every year, I struggle less with the things that used to trip me up. “Christ in me” is ever at work to clean out the junk and fill those wasted places with His presence, His wisdom. (Gal 2:20)

This gives me hope – that what bothers me today will be less tomorrow and even less the day after that. That, eventually, it won’t bother me at all. I will get angry less. I won’t give into frustration so often. I will pray more, praise continually, and become the best “me” possible.

Unique, marvelous me.

Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases him, and he gives you the power to do it. (Php 2:13 ERV)

I don’t walk through life alone. When I fail, I don’t have to stay in that place of defeat. God loves and cherishes, He delights in, what He’s created. He delights in mercy. He gives grace for grace. (Pr 3:12; Mic 7:18; Jn 1:16) He helps me grow stronger, think purer, act kinder. To rejoice in my peculiarities as wonderful and precious. To overcome those that aren’t.

I’m not alone either. When God created Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, King David, the apostle John … Every man or woman that has lived on this earth is just as rare and one-of-a-kind. He designed tall people and short people, people with blonde hair, red hair, small feet. He created Asians, Argentinians, and Aleutians. He made her love music, him excel at art. Jane enjoys cooking, James adores fast cars.

Suzanne D. Williams, Author

He made football fans, baseball players, Marines, fishermen, financial experts, real estate professionals, drama teachers, auto repairmen, fashion designers, sales clerks, boat captains. For all the careers and interests in the world, the things I like, the things I don’t, God has someone who fits right in, a life that’s not like mine. But totally perfect for them.

I don’t have to understand it. I should never judge it. I should always pray they’ll be the best at it. And wear my heart on my sleeve in gratitude that He made me – me. The daughter of a Bible teacher and a water department manager, sister to a mechanical engineer, granddaughter to a music minister, and a couple who sold vegetables. Me, a girl who writes books, love dachshunds, and takes pictures.

How marvelous is that?

Suzanne D. Williams, Author