Monthly Archives: September 2007

Honey from the rock

My post about Laodicea made me curious about all the scriptures that mention honey in the bible, so I pulled out my Strong’s and did a search on it.

I found this scripture and I liked it:

Deut 32:9-13 For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye… He made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock

I looked up the word ‘rock’ in this passage, it means ‘cliff, boulder, precipituous edge, fortress’ and it comes from a root word that means to cramp, confine, beset, besiege, bind (up), distress, fashion, fortify, inclose, lay siege…

I liked the verse because it reminded me to learn to ‘suck honey’ out of the circumstances in my life that make me feel cramped, confined, and besieged. There is always something sweet to be found in our hard places. Usually that sweet thing is the presence of Jesus himself, which satisfies our every need and desire.

When Samson was attacked by the lion (which is either a type of the devil or of Jesus in the scriptures…in this case the lion is attacking the man of God so it speaks of the devil) he overcame, and when he passed by some time later he found a honeycomb in the carcass. Out of his tribulation came sweetness!

Judges 14:14 Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.

Sometimes it seems as if our enemy is so strong, out to devour us, but when (not if 🙂 ) we prevail against him we find that the struggle has yielded both meat for our spiritual growth and the sweetness of Jesus’ dealings and fellowship in our lives. This is just the way it is. We seem to be destined to grow and become like Jesus not (as much) through our times of ease and contentment, (though those times can generate great moments of gratefulness and worship) but through our struggles.

I have resolved to ‘suck the honey out of my rock’ this week. I know his honey satisfies. 🙂

Psalms 81:16 …and with honey out of the rock I would have satisfied you.

Crumbs from the table

I have a teenager now. My oldest has shot past me in height (which doesn’t say much 🙂 ) and his voice has deepened so much that it sometimes catches me unawares. More than once, recently, I have overheard the kids talking and had a split-second moment of fuzzy-brained confusion. Who is that stranger talking to my kids? Oh, it is their brother. 😀

With the physical changes came all the typical signs of teenage-dom. Suddenly the boy is begging me to stay away from his lunch table and his friends when it is my turn to do duty in the lunchroom at school. It is just too embarassing to have mom hovering around you during lunch, y’know. He doesn’t trust me to buy clothes for him, because I won’t know what he likes anymore. Nothing I say is taken at face value anymore, and he questions everything.

In some ways I relish all the changes I see in my boy. It is a joy to see him become a person in his own right,  and I take great delight in his sense of humor and quirky comments about the world around him. I told him recently that, when he was around Jenna’s age, there was a time when I felt like I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He was going through such an amazing time of discovery and growth that I didn’t want to miss a thing. I feel the same way now.

But I digress. My boy is growing up, and all of a sudden I am not the center of his world anymore. He is pulling away and often I find myself feeling curiously side-lined as he slowly makes his own way into manhood. It is tough and sometimes I wonder whether I still have a special place in his heart.

He was a bit more chatty than usual today as I was running him home from the park, and we had one of those precious conversations that I have cherished through the years. My heart was full. I mean, y’all, my boy actually affirmed me…in a very small way but still. He told me that I was an alright mom and quite normal as far as homeschoolers go (whom he seems to think is quite a weird breed sometimes 😉 ). Watch out Applie, you have competition. LOL  

I was driving back to the park pondering how my heart had been so moved by a simple sentence uttered out of the mouth of my son. It was something so small, just a mere crumb from his table, but this side-lined mom gobbled it up with relish, and found it quite filling too.

And then I found myself tearing up as I thought about One that loves me dearly, but whom I tend to side-line all too often. So often I keep him waiting while I rush along doing my busy-life thing…

I turned my heart towards him in worship there in the car , and instantly he met with me. It was a small thing, yet my Jesus counted it precious enough to come and bless me with his presence.  It amazed me again that the God of the whole universe would treasure those little crumbs from my table just like I treasure the ones from my son’s. That I can actually bless his heart and make him rejoice over me just with a simple turning of my heart and a few words of praise.

Son 4:9 You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride; you have ravished my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.

The dog is fortunate…

…that i sent her outside today before I discovered her crime. Otherwise she might have suffered some consequences.

We have been fasting and praying for an upcoming conference at our church to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. All of us have been fasting in different ways (as the Lord leads), and my fast is from the time I wake up to the 5pm every day.

Anyway, I picked up some McDonalds for the boys today as a special treat since my house is depleted of groceries. (Going shopping tomorrow 😀 ) I ordered a simple cheeseburger for myself to enjoy when my fast was over.

I looked so forward to that stupid cheeseburger y’all. At 4:52 I unwrapped it and stared at it longingly, removing the pickle and setting it aside. (I don’t like pickles). OK…there are still eight minutes, I’d better go and do something else.

A few minutes after 5 I returned to the kitchen to enjoy my burger. I was confused for a while when I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t remember if the burger had travelled with me on my errands around the house or or not. Had I done my usual blonde, distracted-mommy thing, and left it somewhere? In the fridge? On the piano? In the bathroom? (anything is possible :D) At the computer?

Nope. I found the little yellow wrapper rug by the front door and I was going to scold the boys for leaving their trash around, when I noticed the pickle I had seperated from the burger a few minutes earlier. (the dog doesn’t like pickles either) It was then that the dog’s horrendous crime was discovered. Y’all, I honestly felt like…ahem…letting my foot connect with her rib-cage. It is a good thing she was outside already.

Every time I see her now I think of her as my hamburger-stealer. She has the sweetest face and it looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. Hah! I know better.

Things didn’t turn out too badly in the end. I had a tilapia fillet in the fridge that I fried up with some garlic-lemon-butter and I ate it with some flavored rice. Which was actually much nicer than the burger would have been. I am not even much of a burger fan, anyhow.

Laodicea

Twice recently, our pastor has mentioned the Laodicean church in his messages. Something sparked in me the first time, and when he mentioned it again tonight I thought I’d blog about it. 🙂

My thoughts are a bit of a muddle about this but I am hoping that clarity will come as I write, which is usually the case for me. So if this post seems a bit muddled you’ll know the clarity didn’t kick in like it was supposed to. Hehehe

The Laodicean church in Revelations is the one that Jesus says is neither hot nor cold but lukewarm, therefore he will spew it out of his mouth. He goes on to say that they see themselves as rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing, and that they are blissfully unaware that they are actually miserable, poor, blind and naked.

As sweet and redemptive as Jesus is, he offers the way out for their wretched condition:

Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

He goes on to say that as many as he loves he rebukes and chastens…can you hear the tenderness in his voice as he says that? He is completely motivated by love. His only desire is for them to repent and open the door on which he is knocking so that he could come in and have a real, face-to-face relationship with them.

The problem with the Laodicean church is that it has lived up to its name. Laodicea comes from a compound of two words, and if I can paraphrase what the two words mean together it goes something like this: “a people who are concerned with being judged right according to the customs and laws of the time.” It is a church whose primary focus is to show itself ‘right’ in the eyes of the prevailing culture, to be ‘cool’ and seeker-friendly, to create a good impression of itself in the eyes of others.

What is so wrong with that? There is nothing wrong with living the christian life to such an extent that it ‘provokes others to jealousy’ and makes them desire the kind of relationship with Jesus that you have. But if you are so focussed on people-pleasing that you become assimilated in the prevailing culture (and ours is very materialistic and success-driven), you have lost something. The message of the gospel becomes watered-down to a pep-talk about prosperity and being successful in everything you do, with Jesus as the means to achieve that.

There is so much more to the christian life than that! The crux of it all is that Jesus wants to be admitted to the inner sanctum of our lives where he wants to ‘sup’ with us, and have us ‘sup’ with him. When is the last time you have sat down and eaten at his table, and tasted the bread of his presence? (I am ashamed to say that I do not go to his table often enough.)

The deal with the Laodicean church (and humanity for that matter) is, that we seek out that which is comfortable, familiar, self-indulgent, and conformist. It is hard to go against the grain, to press into the deeper things of God, to change. Walking with Jesus requires that we are always going from strength to strength, from glory to glory. We constantly need to be willing to shed our old wineskins and put on the new, so that we can carry more of his character in our lives. Change does not come naturally for us, even though we have a deep-seated (and God-given) desire for it. It often means that we need to embrace our own cross and die to our own desires and inclinations.

The remedy for the Laodicaean church is to open the door to Jesus and his ways, and to allow his fire to bring forth his character (gold) in their lives. The way of Jesus is the way of self-denial. It is the place where we embrace the fiery trials that come our way, knowing that:

Rom 8:18 …the sufferings of this present time (fire) are not worthy to be compared with the glory (gold) which shall be revealed in us.

The suffering we go through has a purpose. It is all about us becoming something…a people who will carry his glory to those around us!

I was thinking about the scripture where Solomon says that:

Pro 27:7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

The Laodicean church is like the ‘full soul’ that is comfortable in its’ prowess, its’ success, its’ prosperity, and loathes the sweet things of Jesus’ presence. But those of us who are dissatified with our blindness, our nakedness, our wretched and miserable condition, are hungry for the things of God. Even the trails, the bitter times of suffering and dying to ourselves, are sweet, because we know that it brings us closer to Him!

I have said it before but it bears saying again…Paul talks about the fellowship of his suffering in the book of Phillipians. There is an intimacy with Jesus, a fellowship and a closeness, that can only be found in the place of our suffering. I have found time and time again that his persence is extra sweet and tender and precious in those times. Haven’t you?

Katie’s letter

For a recent spiritual retreat that my son went on, we collected letters of encouragement to him from important people in his life. They were all precious (the ones I read… 🙂 ). I haven’t managed to read them all but I read Katie’s because she told me to. 😀 I wanted to share it with you here.

Dear M.

I wanted to say just a few words about what I have seen in you the past several years. I see both your mother and your father in you. You resemble them both in looks and personality. I make that point only to say that you are NOT your mother or father. You are exquisitely unique!

You have some of the tender giftings that are your parents’, but God fit them before you were born in a way that pleased Him. Why? Because there will never be anyone quite like you, M.
God wanted it that way because he has a special plan for you. One only you are capable of.

God will bring people and places and things into your path. Jobs, blessings, lessons, all designed for one purpose. To make you something great! A man that has all the character of God in him. One who has all the best of his parents and more.

I know you will find this man, M. I know it because I know my God and his faithfulness. When I look on you in years to come, I will say to myself: “I knew it!”

A man will stand before me that reminds me of some people that I knew, but on second look he will look just like Jesus. A man of integrity and purpose. A man after God’s heart in everything he says, everything he does. This is you.

Getting from A to Z is a whirl-wind of things, people, laughter, tears, and all so unimportant compared to where you’re going. Don’t forget that, M, where you are going. Your destiny is overwhelming even to consider. You will be a man I will be proud to call friend, to call brother.

Keep yourself from the world, son. It will only try to steal that precious thing that is inside you, that IS you. Guard what God has begun and let him finish it. You will not be sorry! If you believe nothing else I ever say, you believe that.

Be strong, be different, be a real man of God!

(I know you will)

Love, Katie

Thought of the day

Macaroni-cheese-and-cinnamon…

…doesn’t taste all that bad. 😛

Of occupied dining room tables and botched meals

I had a discouraging day. Blah. The boys were home for the homeschooled portion of their school week (they go to a school where they are at school 3 days and home for two) and they managed to drag out the school day until now. It is 5.30 and we are not done. I am tired and feel like having a pity party. Ice cream anyone? Chocolate? Cheesecake?

I just called hubby. I told him (tearfully) that I was still in the same place in the house, doing the same thing that I was doing when he left for work this morning. Hence the reference to occupied dining room tables in the title. I am sick of my dining room right now, I am sick of school books, I am sick of my children’s draggy attitude. Writing this out is like medicine to me. 🙂

Anyhow, hubby gave the kids a pep talk over the phone and guess what…all of a sudden they are working! It is too late for me though….some of the lessons require me to actually teach the material but I have had it for the day. No sirree, the kids are on their own. I have better things to do…like blogging. 😀

My oldest (who HAS finished his work) obeyed his dad’s suggestion to the kids to come and give me a hug and apologise. He said: “Sorry for doing nothing” and explained that I can read into that sentence what I like. He means he either did nothing wrong, or nothing that I told him to do – he will let me be the judge of that. He’s such a sweet boy and it is a comfort to get one of his rare hugs with a joke thrown in.

I felt brave enough whilst all the schooling was going on to commence making a bulk amount of my yummy macaroni cheese for dinner and also for lunches. (That was early in the day, before the wheels came off.) I made an onion-garlic-tomato-basil-bacon sauce that I intend to alternate with the cheese sauce. During one of my distracted moments Jenna decided to help and poured the cinnamon-sugar mixture that the boy uses on his pancakes, over the cooling sauce. I tried to scoop out most of the cinnamon but the sauce still tastes funny. Macaroni cheese and cinnamon, anyone?

Well, there ya go. I feel better just blogging about it. Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully it won’t be as…um…interesting…as today was.