Pouring out sweet freedom

Pr. 27:9:  “Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.” 
Having just spent the morning playing with essential oils, this verse about perfume delighting the heart certainly stands out for me.

And is it surprising that my reading in Acts this morning also speaks to this verse?  In Acts 15 we find that “certain men” came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren of Gentiles that unless they were circumcised, they could not be saved.

The teaching certainly caused many to become troubled and upset.  The apostles and elders then met to discuss the matter and were reminded that it was the Holy Spirit who acknowledged the Gentiles and not men themselves.  James recited the words God spoke through Amos that said that all mankind could seek the Lord, “Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name.”

The Holy Spirit did not call us to place burdens upon our fellow believers.  John 8:36 tells us that, “If the Son (Jesus) makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Just as ointment and perfume delight the heart, sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.  Those believers who had been troubled received a letter declaring that no excess burdens would be placed upon them.  Vs. 31 says, “When they read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement.”

Let’s make a pact that going forward we will allow the Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit’s job; and that our hearty counsel will not trouble our friends or add excess burdens upon them, but that the freedom that was given through Jesus Christ will be poured upon them like a healing ointment and the sweetest of all perfumes.

Hoping to delight some hearts,

jamie

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Do spiritual disciplines taste bitter to you?

Pr. 27:7:  “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”

Honey has never been on of my favorite things to eat.  I have tolerated it at times but have never consumed much.  The last 2 years have been very strange with my eating and tolerating of food.  Some days I am not able to eat anything.  Some days I can eat only crackers or maybe bread.  Other days I can eat as I desire.  It’s a day by day, and sometimes moment by moment journey.  There is no diagnosis for me, so I simply research and experiment.  Some of my research told me that raw honey may be a beneficial thing for me to ingest.

Last month, I was feeling rather awful and was having a spell of not being able to eat very much, so I finally bought a jar of raw honey.  This was my first experience with raw honey.  To this hungry girl, it honestly tasted like candy.  I was so delighted.  Not only might it help me, but it was so sweet and uplifting.  Something sweet that won’t cause me pain, and could possibly even help prevent it…what an amazing thing!  🙂

I remember those days before this strange sickness hit my body.  Remember how I said I didn’t consume much honey?  I could eat anything I wanted.  Why would I choose something I only barely enjoyed?  I was full of tastier food and didn’t need it.  Now that I am hungry, I will eat almost anything that won’t cause pain.  I drink papaya juice, green algae, hibiscus flowers, ginger root, and apple cider vinegar, and now eat honey.  It’s not that I enjoy all these things immensely.  I do this because it is what’s best for me.

I do believe our souls are the same way.  When we are full of our delights, we have no need for spiritual disciplines.  Making time for prayer seems silly.  (unless we need something, of course)  Making time for the Word seems like a drag.  We have so many more enjoyable things to do.  Making time for church seems like nonsense when we could sleep in, clean the house, mow the lawn, go to the lake, go to a ball game, head off to the beach, or make a trip to the park.  Making time for missions isn’t even on the radar.

But get hungry for God, and every “bitter” thing seems sweet.  When we finally come to our senses, and realize that life is no life at all without The Lord, we realize how sweet it is to have time for prayer.  There is nothing like spending time talking to our Father and allowing Him to speak into our hearts.  When we realize that spending time in the Word will arm us for battle and show us God’s will, we won’t go a day without it.  Why wait until we need God to be in His word?  We could prevent so many issues by preparing in advance for the trials we will face.  When the trials come, if we’ve been in the Word, we will already be prepared, sword in hand, and we will be victorious.

When we’re hungry for more of God, church isn’t even an option, it is a given.  Church becomes the time we long for, when we can worship with others, experience the presence of the sweet Holy Spirit, be stretched, taught and encouraged by Pastors, teachers, and friends, and it becomes the time when we’re refreshed while our armor is sharpened and polished.  Missions becomes what we long to do, to help God’s children because that’s His will and it will please Him, and because we desire that others can experience what we have.

Yes, to a hungry soul, every thing that seems bitter to those not seeking more of The Bread of Life, seems sweet.  If we’re too full of our selves, our desires, and the lusts and lies of this world, it will show as we turn our nose up at the precious things that could draw us closer to Christ.  Spiritual disciplines are the sweet thing, like honey, that won’t cause pain, and could possibly even prevent it.  What an amazing gift!  We do them, maybe at first, just because that’s what’s best for us.  Then we’re surprised and delighted at how sweet they really are.

Enjoy your honey.  🙂

jamie