Sweet Like Honey

our family's journal of God at work


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Some Thoughts About Beauty and Suffering in the World and Our Response

That there is beauty in this world demonstrates that there is something more than the ugliness and pain of this life. It is wrong to live an ugly, austere, depressed, ascetic life as a Chritian because we feel guilty over the suffering of others. The hope in our life gives hope to others. We should use our hope as a means of ministering to those who have none–always ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us–a hope we can only have from God.

We should embrace what is beautiful, true and good. Our lives should be characterized by these things, along with love. We should not, however, use these things to escape from the reality of a hurting world. We have hope of a better future and so we can look suffering and pain in the face without it shattering our faith–whether the suffering is ours or another’s–and we can reach out to others without despising them for their “lack” of beauty.

We know He makes all things beautiful in His time. We look forward to no more tears, pain and suffering. We have this as a sure hope, an anchor of our souls, and so we don’t have to grasp after it here and pretend nothing is amiss in our lives or the world. We can enjoy the beauty in this world and live with joy and hope, while at the same time accept that this world is also full of evil and suffering.

Because we are not escaping into beauty we can actively look for people who are hurting and extend hope and practical help to them. We can do this without feeling like a fake, because though the suffering is real, so is beauty and goodness and it is the goodness that will go on into eternity whereas the suffering will come to an end. Praise to the Lord.


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The Love of God

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made 
Were every stalk on earth a quill 
And every man a scribe by trade 
To write the love of God above 
Would drain the ocean dry 
Nor could the scroll contain the whole 
Tho stretched from sky to sky 

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forever more endure-the saints and angels song!

Fredrick Lehman “The Love of God” verse three and chorus


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Holding on with Confidence

During one of my baby’s feeding times in the early morning I was praying for a friend going through cancer treatment. Sometime in my prayer I said to the Lord something along the lines of “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” I have been through much with the Lord and I shouldn’t struggle with my faith because He has proven His faithfulness time and again, but the reality is that I am tempted to doubt just as much as anyone. When I woke up later in the morning the Lord reminded me of these passages in Hebrews and they encouraged me. The people Hebrews was written to had also suffered, and had faithfully endured, but at the time the letter was written they were being tempted to shrink back. So I am not alone in this temptation to shrink back, but I do not want to give in and I do not have to. The Lord is faithful! Let us keep pressing on in the Lord!

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. . . .

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,

Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay, but My righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. . . .And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.”
~Hebrews 10:19-25, 35-11:3, 6~

“But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. . . .Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time an dnow and forever. Amen.”

~Jude 20-21, 24-25~


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Herbs for Respiratory Health

Here is a list of the herbs we use, that work well for respiratory infections, both as anti-virals and anti-biotics, and to soothe the airways and expel mucous.

Pau d’arco Bark. I only use it for serious or tough to heal infections, but it is a very effective anti-biotic and anti-viral herb. It is also anti-fungal so it helps prevent intestinal flora imbalance that usually results from taking anti-biotics. It is a bark so should be prepared as a decoction, which is simply putting a couple tsps in a cup of water in a pot, bringing it to a boil and then simmering it on a lower temperature for about 15 minutes. I once had strep throat and the infection was not going away. After about a weak I decided to try the pau d’arco. After the first cup the white spots and pain diminished and within a couple days I was completely better.

Astragalus Root strengthens the immune system. Use as a decoction.

Wild Cherry Bark will stop a persistent cough while at the same time act as an expectorant, so it is a good combination. This would best be prepared as a decoction.

Garlic is specific for lung infections as the volitile oil is largely excreted via the lungs. Large amounts can cause nausea and raw is especially hard on the digestive system. But if you cut it up and leave it exposed to the air, you can cook it, say on some garlic toast, and it will retain its beneficial properties but be easier to digest.

Elder flower and Elder Berries are great for upper respiratory infections of both viral and bacterial types. The flowers can be made into a tea but the berries work best as a decoction.

Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, relaxing and anti-microbial and hydrating. It is really great for allergies too as it can calm symptoms of anaphylactic shock. Use as a tea. Teas are made by steeping about 2 tsp of the dried herb in 8 oz of water and steeping for 10-15 minutes.

Mullein Flower is an expectorant, demulcent (soothing), anti-inflammatory and excellent for a hard cough with soreness. Use as a tea. The leaves can also be used.

Plantain Leaf is expectorant, demulcent, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory. I like to mix mullein and plantain together. This combination is so wonderful for all the aches and pains associated with flues, coughs, infections, etc. I sometimes add supportive herbs but these two always take center stage in the mix. Use as a tea.

Nettle Leaf is a nutritive herb and it is very effective at strengthening the lungs, which can be weakened by infections. Restrengthening the lungs is very important because not doing so can make you more susceptible to infections in the future.

There are many other herbs that are anti-viral and antibiotic. Some of these include lemongrass and lemon balm. They taste wonderful too. Nutritive herbs are useful as well and I like to use rosehips, hibiscus, lemon peel, orange peel, roses, and chickweed in my tea mixes. Amla berry is loaded with vitamin C and can be added to your decoctions. Some people really enjoy peppermint.

My current tea mix includes plantain, mullein, roses, chamomile, chickweed, lemongrass, rosehips, hibiscus, nettles, lemon balm, elderflower and lemon peel. It tastes nice with some honey and helps keep everything draining well, which encourages healing, and is soothing, pain relieving, and anti-viral and antibacterial.

My current decoction mix I am making for my son has pau d-arco bark, amla berries, rosehips, elder berries and astragalus root.

Teas or tinctures made from these herbs can be drunk 3 x a day or diluted and drunk more often.

Lymphatic drainage massage is wonderful to use along with these herbs, plenty of fluids and lots of rest. Here is the link for some good lymphatic massage videos http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDEF532905455E4CD&feature=plcp

Avoid sugar and processed foods during sickness and when there are many illnesses going around. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and include some healthy fats in the diet such as organic butter, olive oil, coconut oil and cod liver oil. As you said, high vitamin A foods are very important. Organic grass fed beef is useful as well as yellow fruits and vegetables that you eat with some fat like butter. The fat converts beta-carotene into vitamin A.

When sick it is a good idea to eat only easy to digest foods. Avoid dairy if you can, as this can make the lymph system sluggish. Keep warm. Do footsoaks or baths with epsom salts or magnesium chloride flakes, or you can dissolve some in water (equal grams of flakes to equal ml of water) and massage into the body. This helps the body fight off the infection, stimulates the lymph system, and eases aches and pains. It helps rebuild the body’s mineral stores which usually becomes depleted during sickness.

It is a good idea to take strong probiotics during illness, or eat probiotic foods like saurkraut.

A good way to clear the lungs is to take a deep breath in through the nose and hold this air in your lungs for a few seconds and then cough. This should be done several times a day.

The key with all of these things is consistency.

I am thankful that God made all these plants for our blessing. And ultimately it is God who heals us.

Blessings!

Cassie


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Heart Change

It has become evident to me over the years that when my health is low I am more likely to give in to temptation to sin–especially in how I treat my children. One could say the enemy tempts more strongly when he sees we are weakened, and there is truth to that. But I think the real problem is that we rely on our own strength to “be good” more than we realize. When the thin veneer of our strength is stripped away we are left with what has always been barely hidden in our hearts–sinful attitudes. The Lord allows times of weakness so that we can see how desperately we need Him, and, when He also exposes our sin during these times, He gives us the opportunity to repent and seek Him for genuine heart change–not just “cover up”.

Needless to say, I will not be winning the “Mother of the Year” award. But I am thankful for the mercy of the Lord, His rebuke and correction, His cleansing and His changing work in my heart. And I am thankful for the forgiveness of my children. The Lord is good to give us times of weakness. His grace is sufficient and our weakness is not an excuse for sin.

Blessings!

Cassie


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Listening to God

My son and I were outside working in the garden. He was a little ways off. I called to him but he didn’t hear me, answer or come. I called again and still no response. A third time I said his name, much louder than before, and finally he heard me! He had been focused on something else and had not even heard the sound of my voice.

Sometimes it seems like God is not near or is not speaking to us. Could it be that we are so focused on the day to day tasks and distractions that we are not listening for His voice, while all the while He is calling our name and inviting us to draw near to Him? That seemed to be what He was saying to me through the experience with my son. I needed the reminder.

God doesn’t have favorites. He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Always when I draw near to God through His word and prayer He draws near to me and the fellowship is sweet. When I set aside time to sit with Him it seems that my ears stay tuned in to Him all day and the conversation carries into whatever tasks I need to accomplish. Why then do I sometimes go so long without listening to His voice?

I want to be like Samuel who said, “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.”


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Thank You

Dear Friends,

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts! I have not posted in a while and I am sorry about that. It has been a hard year since our baby was born, health wise, for me. But I am thankful to be getting better and to have more energy. Our baby has just turned one and is big and healthy!

As I have gotten stronger I’ve been able to add activities that I need to do or enjoy doing. The Lord is constantly surprising me with opportunities to use my skills, gifts and interests–starting at home and then out beyond home. Most things have come to me rather than me trying to get things started. I just have to praise the Lord because a year ago I was hardly even able to take a short walk or read to my children without being wiped out. I literally would fall asleep reading a book to them.

[This year I discovered I probably have an electrolyte wasting disorder, which is most likely the root cause of my other problems. Due to this I have a harder time dealing with toxins, and when I am exposed to them my body gets depleted to dangerously low levels of minerals. It can take a while to detox and rebuild mineral stores. Having a baby in the hospital set me back quite a lot, and I had some other exposures to chemicals that only added to the problem.]

Lately I have felt the urge to write again.
I want to be careful what I write here–words have a powerful influence and I am learning to be careful with mine–though I have not arrived at all, I want to grow in that area. I tend to feel strongly, react strongly and well, that has gotten me in trouble before. The Lord has blessed me with merciful friends! My journal is full of what the Lord is teaching ME but that doesn’t all need to go here.

The one thing I have sought to maintain even when I have to limit myself is time with the Lord. I am thankful for the forced concentration on the most important thing (Jesus)that I have had this past year. I am glad now to add the other things–but I don’t want to lose sight of my Savior. When you have energy you tend to want to get busy, you know? Not to mention the fact that I am easily distracted! Please pray for me to guard the early morning time against busyness!

Anyway, I want to continue to write what the Lord puts on my heart to share. Please pray that I will have discernment to know what those things are.

Blessings!
Cassie