Sweet Like Honey

our family's journal of God at work

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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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If You Love Me

I’ve been pondering over 1 Corinthians 8:3: “But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”  It is an easily overlooked verse in the context of conscience regarding whether or not to eat meat offered to idols (a common problem in those days since most everyone had idol worshiping friends).  Some were using their knowledge that idols are nothing and eating this meat without thinking about others in their church family who did not have faith to do so.  Their knowledge had puffed them up.  Paul, for the sake of love, declared he would rather not eat the meat, even though he knew there was but ONE TRUE GOD, than offend a brother in Christ.  Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies, says Paul.  He returns to this thought in chapter 13.  The Corinthians were putting knowledge and spiritual gifts above love, but Paul says that these things are those that will remain: faith, hope and love; and the greatest is love.

It isn’t that knowledge is unimportant.  In 2 Peter 1:3-11 Peter wrote:

3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to [3] his own glory and excellence, [4] 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, [5] and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities [6] are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, [7] be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Notice that all of the qualities we are to add to our faith, including knowledge, lead to love.  And knowledge is not only facts, doctrine and Bible knowledge, though it includes that.  In this passage and several others knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is stressed.  Paul frequently prays for believers to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ’.

To grow in knowledge of a person, or a subject or a skill involves time spent with that person, or reading about the subject, or practicing the skill.  Generally, the more time we spend with someone the more we grow to love them.  This is how it is with Jesus.  We have to spend time with Him in His word and in prayer, enjoying the fellowship of His Spirit, so that we will really love Him with our whole being.  Knowledge leads to love and love leads to obedience from the heart.

Jesus said, ‘If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”  That is, the law of love written on our hearts by the Spirit.  This isn’t a list of things to follow.  You have probably noticed that the commands given in the New Testament letters are commands having to do with love.  We can DO all the right things, but if we are not motivated by love for God and people all our DOING is useless.  We can KNOW all things, but if our knowing is not grounded in love we will only be arrogant.

I’ve always read this statement of Jesus’ and taken it as a command, but as I was meditating on it yesterday the Lord spoke to my heart these thoughts:

“If you love Me you WILL keep My commandments, for they will be a delight to you.  My commandments are not burdensome; my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  If you love Me, I will know you and I will lead you in the way you should go.  I will hold you by My mighty right hand.  If you love Me you will come to sit at my feet and learn of Me and I will give you My own strength to follow Me.  My word and My ways you will love–My people You will love–The lost and the poor you will love–If you love ME.”

The Lord knows those who love, fear and honor Him, see Malachi 3:16-18.  When trying to figure out what to do in a situation we can go to our Savior and ask Him for wisdom.  We have our own ‘meat offered to idols’ to deal with and questions about each step of our walk with Him.  He will lead us and His leading will fulfill the law of love.  We each must do this for ourselves instead of patterning ourselves after other people.  Others may give a good example, but we should seek His counsel before we follow it.  It may not be what He wants us to do.

Our friend Bernard just wrote this blog post.  I commend it to you.  He carries this theme out further than I have here.

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The New Baby

The New Baby by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery.  Here is a soul to train for God, and the body in which it dwells is worth all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant.  I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ’s name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation, my other darlings had left me.  Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother’s heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her life-long prayers!

My new baby!  An answer to 5 years of prayer — Hannah, here only a few days old.

Laura and Hannah–Hannah is now 3 months old.

Sarah and Hannah

Hannah’s Fan Club — Matthew, Christopher, Sarah and Laura


All in a Day’s Work

The children and I set out yesterday on a full day of errands. It was hot, we didn’t pack any food and it took much longer than I thought it would. Along the way everything seemed to go wrong. I tried to find my sister’s new house to drop off a gift and couldn’t find it, even though I’d been to that neighborhood before.

I gave up and went to get a lab slip from my doctor (this is the reason I went to FWB for my errands instead of shopping here) only to get in and find out it was the beginning of the lunch hour. We stayed in the waiting area for a while because the children had immediately gotten out the doctor’s photo albums of the children he’d delivered (used to be an ob now just does gyn) and they were loudly exclaiming over all the babies. I let them have their fun and finally left to try to find my sister’s house and failed again, so we went shopping for our trip and Carol’s return home.

Everything went fine in Office Depot. This is where we met the pioneer lady (see post below). The thought occurred to me that God uses our delays to get us to the right spot at the right time, and that we never know what effect short interactions with strangers might have on them and us.

Next stop, Publix. As we walked in the door I started feeling lopsided and realized that a strap on a “personal clothing item” had broken! Talk about feeling self-conscious! I still had to shop for two households in that state.

We rushed to the bathroom for a pit stop and there was a woman in there who asked us if we homeschooled. We told her yes and she said she was doing that this year too. It sounded like it was her first year so I quickly encouraged her that it was a great and good thing, and that was it. But as I said before, she may have needed just such encouragement and there we were in the bathroom to give it at the appointed time. I might have talked longer but we were desperate for that pit stop and Laura wanted me to come in the stall with her so that’s all I had time to say.

I normally enjoy shopping with the children, but yesterday they were hungry and didn’t have as much self-control. They weren’t being bad, just really REALLY loud. They read EVERYTHING at the top of their lungs and got excited about anything they saw. I already felt like I wanted to crawl into a hole so it was a bit overwhelming to feel like we were drawing even more attention to ourselves. I prayed quickly, “Lord, I need your Spirit! Fill me.” We managed to maneuver two loud, laughing carts around the store and get everything on the list and I didn’t yell at anyone. That was God’s grace!

The crackers I needed were on a top shelf so I had to stand on tip toe to get them. I grabbed the first box and then was trying to decide if I wanted the same kind which was very far back on the shelf or another kind. I had just decided on the other kind when a man came over and asked, “Need some help shorty?” I think he thought I was offended when I said, “No, thank you, I was going to get this one.” He apologized and I said it was okay. Anyway, it was funny to me. No stranger has ever called me shorty before.

At the checkout, the cashier commented to the bagger that I had bought everything organic and then she turned to me and said, “You would die if you knew what I heard on the news about organic.” I just smiled and I could tell she was disappointed that I hadn’t taken her bait (She didn’t know she would have gotten an earful on the subject if I had! Why do people believe everything they hear on the news anyway?). A few minutes later she said, “There’s nothing wrong with it, don’t get me wrong.” She was then really confused when she scanned Carol’s groceries and found that all of them were conventional!

At last we were out of the store and after we loaded groceries in the car we pretended to be the cart collectors and ended up with a caravan of four carts. We made a train with them, with our hands as connectors, and the kids thought that was fun.

Back to the Dr.’s office we went. I told the receptionist I was there for my lab slip and she looked really confused. She looked for it, couldn’t find it, and went to talk to the nurse. She came back a few minutes later and told me the nurse had mailed it to me! She had called me the day before and told me to come get it. The receptionist made me a copy of it anyway.

Next we went to CVS for some travel containers and then I determined that I would find my sister’s house. Her birthday was in July and I wanted her to have her b-day present before October! This time the directions made perfect sense to me and I found it without trouble. Of course! God’s timing is perfect and doesn’t often match mine.

When we got home and checked the mail, there was the lab slip from the doctor. I had almost called them to ask if they could mail it as they usually do, but I hadn’t. Apparently it was a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing and only God knows all the reasons we had to go to FWB, because other than dropping off the gift I could have done all my errands at home in a lot less time.

To top it all off we made a quick dinner and then went to Carol’s house with Rob to clean, sort, and file. Our friend Nancy came and gave the house a thorough cleaning with the children while Rob and I sorted through giant piles of important and unimportant papers and filed what needed saved. Several hours later we came home, had a second dinner and then crashed into bed.

It was a long day, but God was present with us and we all had peace. I am thankful that He gives us what we need when we ask Him to.

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This is the God we serve

Exodus 34:5-7

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, [1] forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”


Apples and Carrots

We accidentally discovered that if you put carrots with cut apples or pears that the carrots keep the cut fruit from oxidizing.

We took a bag of cut apples and carrots with us on our trip to my parents’. We ate most of the apples out of it but there was one piece left, along with some carrots–after almost two weeks the apple piece was as white and fresh as when we’d first cut it.

Rob takes his food with him to work everyday, so he did an experiment yesterday. He put half of his carrots in the bag of apple slices and half in the bag of pear slices–both the apples and pears were really nice when it was time to eat them. I’m sure you know how quickly pears normally turn brown and mushy once they are cut.

I’m not sure what the science is behind this, but thought it might be a helpful bit of information for someone else.