The rains of life

rain
rain. Image source: Google

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” (John Updike)

Today has been another rainy day in Butler, Missouri (a suburb of Kansas City).

As I got my hair cut and highlighted at my hairdresser Yvette’s salon, The Y Factor Hair and Nail Salon, I looked out her store’s big, front window with the twinkling, colored lights at the rain pouring down. It’s been raining a lot lately here in Missouri. 

In the Bible, rain is often associated with God’s blessing. A few verses about rain are:

“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the LORD, have created it.” (Isaiah 45:8)

“He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside.” (Job 5:10)

“Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.” (Joel 2:23)

Too much rain can be a curse, though, such as when the great flood came, killing everyone and everything on earth, except for faithful Noah and his family.

 For forty days the roaring floods prevailed, covering the ground and lifting the boat high above the earth. As the water rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely upon it;  until finally the water covered all the high mountains under the whole heaven, standing twenty-two feet and more above the highest peaks.  And all living things upon the earth perished—birds, domestic and wild animals, and reptiles and all mankind— everything that breathed and lived upon dry land.  All existence on the earth was blotted out—man and animals alike, and reptiles and birds. God destroyed them all, leaving only Noah alive, and those with him in the boat.  And the water covered the earth 150 days. God didn’t forget about Noah and all the animals in the boat.” (Genesis 7:17-24 – 8:1, TLB)

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Into each life some rain must fall.”

In this life we face troubles.

  • Marriage problems;
  • Relationship conflicts;
  • Disobedient children;
  • Financial crises;
  • Problems at work;
  • Health issues;
  • Ministry struggles;
  • and much more. 

But through it all, the “rains of life,” God never leaves us or forsakes us. The sun (the SON) will shine again. 

Jesus Christ oil painting
Jesus Christ oil painting

 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4, NASB)

 

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Stay awake and be ready

Me in "Stay Strong" T-shirt
Me in “Stay Strong” T-shirt

 

messy mom bun
messy mom bun

It’s Saturday night and as I sit here writing in my messy mom bun, grey “Stay Strong” T-shirt, and black yoga pants, waiting on my pepperoni pizza to be delivered (special $10 coupon), the world seems a little too quiet and uncertain tonight.

My office window at dusk
My office window at dusk

My husband Ray is at work, one of his ambulance calls today being a child getting into a toxic substance. (I prayed for the child’s healing.) Although they are saved, our own grown children are God knows where, doing God knows what. I pray daily for them and our grandchildren. Too many temptations are out there in the world, and Satan is way too subtle and evil. He goes about like a lion seeking to destroy our lives. 

Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too.” (1 Peter 5:8-9, TLB)

When you read the terrifying, hopeless, and sad news headlines today, you can see Biblical prophecy coming to pass before your eyes. While we don’t know the exact date, Jesus said that we would know His return is near, just as we know summer is near when the fig tree’s twigs get tender and the leaves come out. (Matthew 24:32-50) He is coming back soon.

Jesus coming
Jesus coming
Image source: Google

Lots of people are having Rapture dreams. There’s so many videos on YouTube now about the Rapture.

We need to be ready for Jesus’ coming. If you are not already saved, I invite you to ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior. All you need to do is pray and ask God to forgive you of your sins (no matter what sin you have committed), and receive Jesus as your Savior. You will then be filled and sealed with the Holy Spirit; your name will be written forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life and you will live and co-reign with God forever. 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”–Romans 10:9-10, NIV

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”–Acts 2:38, ESV

“The one who conquers will thus be dressed in white garments and I will by no means blot out his name from the book of life, but I will acknowledge his name before my Father and before his angels.”–Revelation 3:5

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”–Matthew 24:42-44, ESV

The Hands of a Woman
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***My book, The Hands of a Woman: Everyday Women in Everyday Battles, shares about the spiritual battles that you and I are facing each day as Jesus’ return grows closer, and how we can overcome our trials through faith in Jesus Christ. You can find out more about this book of 8 women’s powerful stories here.

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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.

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