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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bee (photo by Mike Book)
This outstanding photo of a bee collecting nectar was taken by our friend Mike Book.  I am most impressed by the translucent wings!
(Note however that this is not a honeybee)
Click here for a larger sized photo.

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"Sweeter Than Honey!"

"The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward" (Psalm 19:9-11). "How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103).

Bee hivesYesterday we visited the Appalachian Apiary in western Maryland. An apiary is the formal name for a bee farm and our friend Dean has established an amazing operation over the last couple of years since acquiring a farm built over 200 years ago. As I walked over the farm with Dean he explained to me how it works. Essentially the house and barn sit between two large fields with bee hives. The bees will go out to the surrounding area up to a mile to collect nectar from flowering plants and then return to the hive to produce honey.

If you are like me when you consider bees you might first consider their God-given defense mechanism. I have been on the skin side of their sting several times and it sure isn't pleasant! However for me it's merely a pain followed by deep itching and a bit of swelling. For others the sting may trigger a dangerous anaphylactic reaction that is potentially deadly.

But when we think of bees we also consider honey. We recall a song sung years ago by Music Machine, "Bees make honey and it sure tastes good…" Neither Brooksyne nor I can remember how it goes after that, but it was based on the sixth fruit of the spirit, "Goodness".

Well, bees do make honey (although I would rather not dwell on the process as Dean explained it to me) and honey sure does taste good. In Biblical times with no availability of processed sugar honey was the standard for sweetness. The famous description of the Promised Land was, "a land flowing with milk and honey" (Leviticus 20:24).

Honey on toast!
The great thing about the Bible is the universality of the illustrations. I don't know this for sure but I suppose that regardless of where you live as you are reading this material you have bees and honey. David wrote today's Scripture some 3,000 years ago and he was from a part of the world far away from where most of us live. Yet we can experience what David experienced. In fact we enjoyed some sweet honey on warmly toasted bread as we prepared this message.

Both Psalm 19 and Psalm 119 are a wonderful extolling of the Word of God. David would have had far less of the written Word than we have today, since much of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament were not yet written. Yet he declared, "How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"  May we all have this same attitude concerning His Words as they apply to our lives. Consider this the next time you enjoy some honey!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, You bless those those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  The sweetness of Your Word is like honey in our mouth that reminds us of Your faithfulness, Your goodness and Your mercy that overflows into our lives as You forgive us of our sins and provide us with an abundant life.  Your Words are a sweet savor to our soul as we walk obediently according to Your Word.  Amen.

The Appalachian Apiary

Dean & Jill with Marilyn and children 7/22/09
We visited Dean & Jill yesterday on their Appalachian Apiary in western Maryland. They have an interesting story and a source of hope for all who wait for God to bring a marital mate into their lives. Dean was single in his early forties and Jill single in her mid thirties. They met in early 2005, married in September 2005, had their first child in July 2006 and now have three under three with twins on the way!  Dean's mother Marilyn is a friend we met through daily encouragement about eight years ago and of course is now a very thankful grandmother.

Appalachian Apiary
Dean operates the the apiary with scores of hives swarming with millions of bees. (The hives are in the foreground although at first glance it may look like a cemetery!)
I especially like the old bank barn with the ivy-covered stone wall.

Appalachian Apiary farmhouse
The family lives in this stone farmhouse built in 1790 and they feel that George Washington likely visited it since he was in that area and they are near a main road dating from that time. We shared a nice meal together ending with peach and cherry pies. We topped them off with homemade ice cream which was made not with sugar but honey!

Ester & Hilliard on gator
Ester had a great time with Hilliard.
The smokehouse is in the background.

Hyacinth Macaw
They have some interesting pets including this Hyacinth Macaw.

Smokehouse 7/22/09
The Weber family in front of the Smoke house enjoying the beautiful green farmland in Western Maryland.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Word Of God Speak"  Video  MercyMe

"Psalm 19:13,14"
Audio  From the Integrity Scripture Memory Series. (after opening page click on "play")

How bees make honey

If anyone can recall the rest of the song that has the line "Bees make honey and it sure tastes good" please let us know! We are both interested.

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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