Recently I changed the theme of my website here at BethJones.net, including the header to a beautiful sunflower. I love sunflowers. One reason is that they track the sun as the earth moves during the day. They always face the light. Even as sunflowers follow the sun and the light, may you and I as believers follow the Son and the Light of Life, Jesus Christ.
When recording my podcast today, I found out some amazing facts about sunflowers from MentalFloss.com:
Sunflowers were cultivated in North America as far back as 3000 BCE for food, medicine, dye, and oil;
They were brought to Russia for Royalty. Tsar Peter the Great was so fascinated by the sunny flowers that he saw in the Netherlands that he took some back to Russia;
By the 19th century the flowers had become so popular there, that Russia was planting 2 million acres a year;
Sunflowers need 6 to 8 hours a sun a day, and more is even better;
Flower buds and blossoms track the sun as the earth moves during the day; mature flowers remain facing east;
Sunflowers have a history of healing. Cherokee Indians used them to treat kidneys. Dakotas used them to sooth chest pain and pulmonary trouble;
Each sunflower is actually thousands of little flowers;
The heads, once empty of sunflower seeds, can be used for scrubbing pads to clean.
Each one of these facts are symbolic spiritually and could be a teaching lesson. We need the light of Christ (the flowers following the sunlight). Jesus is our healer and we have His healing power in us to heal and do miracles in Jesus’ name (sunflowers having healing qualities). God told us to multiply, fill the earth, and make disciples (each sunflower being thousands of flowers). The Word of God and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from our sins (the sunflower head being a cleaning pad). Interesting!
Sunflowers have many seeds. The Bible has a lot to say about seeds and sowing. In Luke 8:4-15, Jesus teaches about the farmer scattering seed.
I encourage you to read this passage and ask God what type of soil your heart has:
The soil where the seed was stepped on and the birds have come to take away the seed (the devil stealing the seed of God’s word to keep you from believing and obeying it)?
The rocky soil that caused the soil to die, because you aren’t deeply rooted in God’s word and temptation causes you to fall away from your faith?
The soil that has thorns which are the cares, riches, and pleasures of this world, choking out the word?
Or fertile soil where the seed grows and produces an abundant harvest of righteousness?
You can listen to my podcast on this topic here and subscribe at Podbean or on Itunes.
“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not known which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”–Ecclesiastes 11:6, ESV
Today, after nearly a YEAR of waiting, I got my hair done–yay! (Colored, blonde highlights, and trim) I feel like a new woman! The Bible says a woman’s hair is her glory. (1 Corinthians 11:15) I believe it! Although hair isn’t everything (it’s the heart that counts), it affects a woman so much when her hair doesn’t look good. I now feel so much more attractive and better about myself.
This appointment was to reward myself for my hard work, writing the last book God told me to write,Metamorphosis: Transformed From Despair to Hope (for sale at Amazon here). Whenever you meet a goal, you should reward yourself for your accomplishment! Make sure it’s something that you love. Today, mine was getting my hair done and eating Mexican!
I enjoy chatting with my hairdresser, Yvette at The Y Factor, in Butler, MO, where I live. She’s an outgoing, friendly Sanguine red-head who talks and laughs a lot. She’s also successful and very knowledgeable about business, so I like talking with her for success ideas.
Afterward, my husband Ray and I went to eat at El Charro, the Mexican restaurant here in town, for me to get my chips and salsa fix (I’m addicted!). I hadn’t eaten lunch today, so I was hungry. I told Ray that I felt like I could eat a horse! He said out of the side of his mouth that he’d be sure to keep me steered clear of any pastures.
My cat Natalya acted like she hadn’t seen me in years after I was gone today. Ray said while I was at the hair salon, she sat at the back door, staring at it and meowing, until she finally resigned herself that I wasn’t coming home for awhile and climbed into bed with him as he tried to sleep, following his work shift. She was glad to see me when I came home. (It’s nice to be so loved!)
She is a very needy cat. I constantly pet her! She’s so sweet, cute, and funny, and she makes me laugh.
She is now in my office, occasionally meowing at me, so in a little while I need to get off here and pay attention to her and pet her!
“Time spent with a cat is never wasted.” –Colette (author, Gigi)
Over the last couple of days, I’ve been working on my website theme to include a sunflower header. I’ve changed the website frequently yesterday and today. Whenever I get bored, restless, discouraged, or some other intense emotion, I start changing my website theme. I become intently dissatisfied and then obsessed.
As I ate my chips and salsa today, I talked to Ray non-stop about my website and business. He patiently listened and watched me devour my food. Then he wisely told me that people don’t really care how pretty a website is; they are simply looking for good content and a variety of interesting things you can offer them. So true! (But I still like pretty websites!)
This is a new responsive, minimalist WordPress theme called “Freedom.” Do you like it?
My goal this year is to begin studying marketing for my speaking and books and do whatever else God wants me to do. I want to be aligned with His purpose for my life and follow Jesus. What about you?
“Following Christ isn’t something that can be done halfheartedly or on the side. It is not a label we can display when it is useful. It must be central to everything we do and are.” –Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed By a Relentless God
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”–1 Corinthians 13:1-3, The Message
What do you think of when you hear the word “love”?
You love Jesus.
You love your spouse, your kids, your sister, and your friends.
You love Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream.
You don’t love bad hair days, gaining back the 15 pounds you lost last year walking and jogging, new wrinkles showing up in the mirror, catty women, and drama.
As I sit here writing at my laptop with an iced coffee, pondering the meaning of the word love, I realize that I so often fail to hit the mark, God’s way.In fact, much more often I’m like that creaking rusty gate in the above-mentioned passage in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Squeak, squeak. Rust corrodes and destroys. (Wince.)
Without God’s love in my heart, the Bible says that I’m getting nowhere. Bankrupt. Not a pretty thought.
Sometimes I think that maybe I have a heart of ice. Ray has sometimes called me la belle dames sans merci–the beautiful woman without mercy. It is the name of an English ballad by poet John Keats, considered a classic with numerous interpretations.
In the poem, there’s a bleak wintry landscape and a broken knight. The beautiful lady is a femme fatale who attracts lovers only to destroy them with her supernatural powers. She destroys because it’s her nature to destroy. Not exactly a compliment from my husband, although I like when he calls me beautiful!
No, I don’t want to be a femme fatale. I don’t want to hate anyone, either. God is love, and I am called by Him to love others, too. (1 John 4:8)
I want to be a woman of love, and yet even as I type this, I think, “Do I really? Am I willing to do what God requires of me to unconditionally love Him and others? Or am I too comfortable in my own skin of apathy, or even worse, of hate?
Hate is such an ugly word, isn’t it? Certainly not one with which a Christian–a Christ believer and follower–should be associated. And yet, I confess it out loud, now to the entire world.
I struggle with feeling hatred sometimes. I have for my entire life. I especially struggle with it at times in anger toward my husband Ray (and I can think of a few other people right now, too! And just so you know, Ray has struggled with feeling hatred toward me at times, too!)
Former first lady Barbara Bush recounted a time when Ruth Graham, wife of world-renown evangelist Billy Graham, was asked by a writer if she had ever considered divorce.“Divorce? No. Murder, yes.”
Maybe you can’t relate to me or Ruth Graham at all. I commend you for having a happy, free heart oozing over with God’s unconditional, reckless love and you having your life way more together than me.
You might even question if I am really a true Christian if I feel hate. Am I the only Christian who battles the sin of hatred?
No. Recently when Ray and I were in a marriage counseling session, the Christian therapist told me about a recent situation where she and a loved one were arguing loudly in her home, and she felt hatred for this family member.
Did she stay stuck in the sinful stew of hatred in her heart? No. This gifted, anointed Christian therapist decided instead to leave the house, drive off [fast] in her car, and go get a large Diet Coke at Sonic to chill out for awhile. She came back home and they talked about it again more calmly now, reconciling.
I admit that I felt secretly relieved when she told me this story! So, I’m not alone in this struggle! It’s a human dilemma.
The Bible addresses hatred in many verses. Some examples are:
1 John 4:20
1 John 3:15
1 John 2:9
What’s interesting is that the audience for most of these passages are Christian believers!
How do you overcome this evil weapon of hatred if you struggle with it, too?
Come to God. God is love. He is the One who can and will teach you how to love others.
Repent of the sin of hatred. Satan, who is God’s and our enemy, wants you to hate God, other people, and yourself. Ask God’s forgiveness for the hatred.
Ask God to fill you with His agape (unconditional) love and for victory in the situation.
Choose to forgive the person for how he or she hurt, angered, or offended you. If needed, ask forgiveness of the person you are struggling with hating if you have sinned against him or her.
Spend time daily reading and meditating on the Bible, praying, worshipping, and in fellowship with other Christian believers to help you in your walk. You are not alone.
I’m now writing a new non-fiction book: Metamorphosis: Transformed From Hate to Love, which will be available for sale soon at Amazon as an eBook. If you subscribe to my personal mailing list here at BethJones.net, you’ll be first to hear about its release. This is the beautiful cover for the eBook:
Just sign up at the top of the page on the right-hand side with your name and email, and confirm your subscription. You’ll also get a free gift when you sign up!