Sweeter Than Honey

December 30, 2017
by JJ Ollerenshaw

Did you, like me, write your first letters on a slate with chalk? In Jesus' day, it is said that, as a reward, teachers in Hebrew synagogue schools would put honey on the slates of children doing well. They were then allowed to lick the honey off as the rabbi said:

Psalm 119:103 – How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (NIV)

Words have always been sweet to me. Books opened the door to adventure and much-loved characters. I progressed from Blyton to Bronte. My heroes were Horatio Hornblower and Allan Quatermain. I shivered with White Fang and dallied with Scarlett O'Hara. My imagination conjured up tales, and I filled notebooks with stories and ideas.

Introduced to the typewriter, I was forced to memorize the placement of the keys by means of a cloth tied about my neck, hiding my hands. After learning shorthand, I worked as a legal secretary in England and Canada. In those days, long documents were typed individually and sealed with warm red wax. I took pride in being able to type perfectly and quickly, and took pleasure in the beautiful old words.

When I began to read the Bible, I knew that I'd hit the motherlode. The Bible is fascinating for its word plays. I'm thrilled with battles, astonished by details, and captivated by the people. When I wonder, Did God really say that? the Holy Spirit helps me to understand the truth. Whatever version we use, the meaning is perfectly clear if we take the time to learn.

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NIV)

Today, formal business letters have been replaced by casual email, sometimes resulting in misunderstandings. What did we do for centuries before the telephone was invented? We wrote. Now, we have returned to the written word and added emoticons and symbols that could be considered similar to those penned by the Egyptians. We might use our thumbs or a stylus for texting, but is there any excuse for not being able to convey our thoughts accurately?

As a teen, I had a dozen pen pals all over the world. Now, I write encouraging letters to prisoners. My family enjoys a close relationship because we write regularly. Visiting them feels as if I'd never left. Relationships take time and effort, and the same is true with God. Writing and listening to Him provides us with the personal knowledge necessary for us to hear those precious words, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:21a NIV)

The blank pages of a notebook offer mystery, opportunity: the unknown. What will happen during the coming days, the approaching year? What will the Holy Spirit reveal to me? What will God teach me? How will He use me?

Socrates said, "The unexamined life isn't worth living." Why don't you make it a practice this coming year to meditate and write down your thoughts and prayers?

Prayer: Father, help us not to become lazy in our words or in our relationships. Help us to take the time to read, write, talk, and pray, that we might get to know You and others better. Help us to understand and appreciate Your Word. Amen.

About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <sandjollie@yahoo.com>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A wonderful New Year challenge, JJ. Have a Happy New Year.


    How perfect was your devotional this morning, JJ.
    Thank you.


    Thanks for sharing this devotional with us, JJ. Food for thought, for sure. Blessings,.


    Excellent JJ. We are of like mind when it comes to the thrill of the read and written word.
    Blessings.


    Interesting message. I never knew the background to Psalm 119: 103. Thanks for sharing.
    New Year’s Blessings to you and yours.


    Wow! What a wonderful teaching. I actually can’t think of what to say other than that your words have inspired me somehow! Thank you so much.


    This devotional spoke very encouragingly to my heart as I also love words. I am so thrilled God has led me to this means of sharing His wonder and glorifying His Name. it also thrills me the way He speaks to us individually and whispers His thoughts into our hearts so we can share them with others.
    Bless you.


    I do enjoy your messages and today’s had me saying ‘aha, same vintage….and a fellow Brit’!
    It also reminded me about how I used to keep a prayer journal, especially during our tough years through many moves and several countries when a year book of scripture reflections and wise words triggered daily reflections, which did so much to grow and strengthen my faith.
    Now my ‘wise words’ come through people like you writing Daily Devotionals….thank you! I might even resume my prayer journal.
    Wishing you all the very best for 2018
    Blessings.


    I learned typing and shorthand and my first job was in the province’s Attorney General’s office, so I know about those legal documents. I learned touch typing in the commercial course of a high school and was top speed typist. Who knew how useful that would be when computers came in.
    I too was fascinated and still am, with the Bible which I first encountered when I started to go to church in my late teens.
    Now I am a writer/editor and keep a hand written prayer journal
    for my conversations with God.
    So your devotional really resonates with me. It gave me much joy as it helped me reflect on how God has blessed my life.


    Yes, me too. As a teenager I memorized many Psalms and famous parts of the scripture and read the Bible from cover to cover every couple of years. My prof at seminary was stopped in mid-sentence when, asking me how I could find scriptures so quickly I replied that I had memorized the books of the Bible when I was 13. I have kept a diary since 1965 and also, a journal, writing morning and night. I wrote letters to older relatives regularly for years. Recently, I’ve picked up my fountain pen again to begin writing those letters. Different people this time but a letter means so much more. And hand-written is so rare these days. Now that I am disabled, things take twice as long to do but I am home a lot more and hope to begin again to write, this time, devotions and as you said, letters of encouragement. Blessings, and thanks for sharing!


    And a very happy new year!!


    Good morning. Thank you for your excellent and thought-provoking message! Words are important. Keep using yours to write your devotionals!
    Happy New Year! All the Best in 2018!


    Thank you for your excellent devotional and challenge to communicate. I have come to read the Word more and work on memorizing important texts in my 80’s than ever. I read the Daily Lectionary Readings as well as reading 5 Psalms and 1 Proverb every day starting on the 1st of the month. I also came across a commentary on read through the Bible in one year and plan to follow that in 2018. Happy New Year and thank you for your words.

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