Love anyway

Valentine's Day Image source: Google
Valentine’s Day
Image source: Google

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. The other day when I was eating chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant, I heard a man griping to his (male) friend that Valentine’s Day is “just a made-up holiday to force men to buy flowers and candy for their girlfriends or wives.” In my head, I was thinking, “Actually, no, it’s a perfect opportunity for a man to show his wife how very much he loves her!”

In my recent blog post on love, I shared how God has called us as Christian believers to love as He loves–not to hate. 

The way we learn to love God, others, and ourselves is by spending time in the presence of the One who is the epitomy of love–God. God is love. (1 John 4:3) By praying. Worshipping and praising Him. Meditating on His Word, the Bible. Having fellowship with other believers. Operating in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Crucifying our flesh daily. (Romans 6:6) Repenting of sin. (Acts 3:19)

God’s anointing–the presence of His Holy Spirit–teaches us all things, including love. (1 John 2:27) 

Jesus at well with woman
Jesus at well with woman

I guess it’s easy for God to love because, well, He’s God! But what about us mere humans, we who are fragile jars of clay, so prone to sinning and who eventually return to the dust from which God made us? (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)

Asian woman praying
Asian woman praying

Let’s face it. Some people are not easy to love. In fact, sometimes they are downright unloveable. 

They can be:

  • Rude.
  • Hateful.
  • Mean.
  • Spiteful.
  • Harsh.
  • Cruel.
  • Arrogant.
  • Indifferent.

And let’s face it; you and I can be very unloveable, too. 

Unhappy couple
Unhappy couple

What to do with these kind of people?

You and I make an intentional choice to love anyway. 

Jesus on the cross
Jesus on the cross

The way God does with you and me. He loves and gives first. The way Jesus looked down at those who crucified Him and mocked Him and said, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 22:34, International Standard Bible)

Jesus DIED for them, the same as He did for you and me! Love lays down one’s life and prays for others–even those who hate and despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)

couple holding hands
couple holding hands

Love is a decision. Love is an action. Love is a verb. 

Is it easy? NO! I really struggle with this at times. I constantly have to ask God to help me to love others the way He does. (Sometimes this is hardest to do in your own family!)

Is it what God desires for you and me, to be vessels of His unconditional (agape) love? YES!

*******

eBook cover
eBook cover

I’m writing a new book now, Metamorphosis: Transformed From Hate to Love. 

If you sign up with your name and email address for my personal mailing list, you’ll be first to hear about its release for sale for your Kindle on Amazon. You’ll also get a free gift when you sign up. 

Just sign up at the top of the page on the right hand side.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

A butterfly experience

Recently I went on a spontaneous, overnight road trip to the Japanese Stroll Garden in Springfield, MO, to see a waterfall. While there, I visited the Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House, which is part of the botanical center,  and where you can see native butterflies lay eggs, caterpillars feeding, chrysalises in camouflage, and butterflies.

The house is not very big, but is light and airy, and the butterflies and the moths fly freely around you as you enter. It’s a delightful and curious place, much like Alice’s Wonderland or the fairy Tinker Bell’s Pixie Hollow, where hundreds of fairies live, and the golden, glitter-like pixie dust flows from the Pixie Dust tree. 

Butterfly House
Butterfly House

Butterflies are special creatures. To me, they are a symbol of what happens to us as believers: a transformation into a completely new person saved by faith in Christ, much like the caterpillar transforms into the beautiful butterfly.

In fact, a yellow butterfly, drawn by our anointed artist daughter Leah, was the logo/symbol for my Released women’s conference several years ago.

Daffodil-butterfly-copyright-2013-leah-jones
Daffodil-butterfly-copyright-2013-Leah-Jones

Also, one of my books has a butterfly on its cover, Metamorphosis: From Fear to Faith.

Metamorphosis: Transformed from Fear to Faith
my butterfly book at Amazon

I had never seen butterflies up so close before as I did at the Butterfly House. Dr. Bill Roston and his assistants are very knowledgeable about butterflies and moths, and are happy to answer your questions.  They showed me numerous chrysalis, the pupal stage of butterfly development where the mysterious and miraculous transformation takes place.

Dr. Bill's assistant
Dr. Bill’s assistant

Dr. Roston’s assistant corrected me that butterflies do not have cocoons, but chrysalis, which are the hardened body of a butterfly pupa. Moths have cocoons, an external structure constructed by larvae to protect themselves during the pupal stage. Here are some of the butterflies’ chrysalis below.

Chrysalis
Chrysalis

 

butterflies
butterflies

Dr. Bill showed me how a butterfly had landed on his finger, and explained it was using its long, straw-like tongue to eat the salt from his skin. He invited me over and then gently moved the butterfly to my finger. I’ve never had this happen to me before, and was so happy! I wish I’d gotten a picture, but I didn’t want the butterfly to fly away!

Dr. Bill with the butterfly on his finger
Dr. Bill with the butterfly on his finger

He told me how a butterfly has a very short life span, and usually lives only about a month, depending on the species, the size, and what time of year it became an adult. The smallest butterflies you see feasting on flowers in your yard only live about one week! Mourning Cloaks, some tropical Heliconians, and Monarchs are some of the only butterflies that have an average life span of about nine months.

Monarchs hibernating Image source: http://www.thebutterflysite.com/butterfly-migration.shtml
Monarchs hibernating
Image source: http://www.thebutterflysite.com/butterfly-migration.shtml

Monarch and other butterflies migrate south and west, because they are cold-blooded and can’t handle the cold winters so they have to fly somewhere warmer. They need to stay where their food source is; if there’s winter and there’s no flowers, they don’t  survive. Some have been discovered to migrate 3,000 miles each fall from Canada to Mexico and vice versa. (But it’s a one-way trip for the butterfly!)

The center had a cute caterpillar-butterfly playground; it looked so cute and fun for kids to play on, and I wish I had our kids and our grandkids with me!

caterpillar-butterfly playground
caterpillar-butterfly playground

 

butterfly playground
butterfly playground

Right after the Butterfly House, there are lily gardens, the varied colors like precious jewels. I thought our daughter Leah would enjoy this, as she likes lilies.

lily garden
lily garden

 

red lily
red lily

 

orange tiger lily
orange tiger lily

There is a peaceful lake at the center. I was thankful for a clear, sunny day, driving there and back.

Lake at the Botanical Center, Springfield, MO
Lake at the Botanical Center, Springfield, MO

After the lake is the waterfall. It is man-made, but still beautiful. It is so peaceful there, and I stayed awhile, thanking God for this highlight of my trip.

waterfall
waterfall

Next was a pretty rose trellis, which reminded me of one of our family’s favorite movies, The Secret Garden.

rose trellis
rose trellis

 

rose
rose

I’ll continue blogging about my trip this week. I hope you’ve enjoyed the pics. It was SO fun, and I can’t wait to go back there soon, this time taking my husband Ray with me. (He was in Texas visiting his mom when I went on this trip.)

Where do you want to go this summer? What do you want to do? Leave your comments below.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

What are you afraid of? Video invitation to my call January 28

What are you afraid of? I’ve taken an informal survey on Facebook asking this question and the answers vary from fear of death to fear of bridges. Whatever your fear is, God is bigger and more powerful. Jesus came to give you peace.

Watch my video  at the link on YouTube below for an invitation to my free telecall on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 10 AM Central Time (11 AM Eastern Time, 8 AM Pacific Time), where we’ll be discussing this topic and you’ll be encouraged to conquer your fear: Fearless: Be Set Free From Fear.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail