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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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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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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Oasis in the Desert

Only You can satisfy my soul
Only You can satisfy my soul
So I draw near to You

You are the well that never runs dry
Living Water flow

All I have to do is ask
And seek You with my heart
All I have to do is draw near to You
And drink, deep

I will search until I find You
No more chasing mirages in the sand
You are like a stream in the desert
Life coming forth in a barren land

You are the Rock that gives water
Life to those who know the secret of this place
You are Treasure waiting to be found
Buried beneath the surface

Green trees grow here
Planted in Your word
Thank you for the green trees that drew me here
I will stay—make me a green tree too

Across the desert people wander
How can I keep this water to myself
So many dying of thirst
Chasing empty promises

Picture an oasis in the desert
What draws you there?
How do you know it is not like the mirages you have followed before?
It is the signs of life—green everywhere

What do people need?
Do they need us to be like mirages to draw them to Christ?
Or do they need us to be green trees
Planted deep in the Lord?

They already know the mirages are empty
Who are we fooling by disguising Christ as those?
We are only making fools of ourselves
And leading them nowhere

Do you know the secret of the wilderness?
Have you met the Savior there?
He is calling all His people
Come drink, again and again
Turn away from distraction

Plant your life in the living water of the Word
Let the Spirit teach You
If you stay connected to the Water
He can send you anywhere
To be like a green tree planted in the desert
Pointing to the Source of life—Jesus Christ

Let all who are thirsty, come
The water is here
Let all who are empty, come
You will be filled

Jesus is the Living Water
The Bread of Life
Nothing satisfies like Him
Come to Jesus

Come for the first time
Or come again
The water is deep
The water is wide
There is no end