Love Is and Is Not

Ah, love! What is love?

We must turn first to God’s Word, because it is Truth, and it says that God is love. Pay attention to what God says about love, because He is the Author of love, and He created us. His love – agape – is true love.

God is perfect; therefore, His love is perfect. He loves unconditionally: that means

  1. He loves you because He said He loves you (John 3.16) and God never lies.
  2. He loves you no matter what you do or don’t do.
  3. He loves you just as perfectly and unconditionally as He loves other people (so it’s no use comparing ourselves to anyone else and how we might think God must love them more because their life is prettier than mine).
  4. He loves you just as much as He loves Jesus.

Did you get that? God loves you just as much as He loves His only begotten Son, Jesus. How do I know that? Because God’s love is perfect, always. It’s always unconditional. It’s never less than any love He has for anyone or anything else. God loves you fully, with all He has and is. Because He is perfect, He cannot love less than fully perfect.

Unfortunately, we twist the meaning of love. We choose to think love is a feeling. Even if we think we’re showing love to another person, it doesn’t always work out, because we’re working from our own definition of love, not God’s love.

How do you love?

Many people think love is a warm fuzzy feeling. It’s not. Love is where you spend most of your time; it’s your priority. Even if someone thinks they hate themselves and are despicable, and cut themselves or think of suicide, they still love themselves most because that’s where they are spending their thoughts and their time and energy. It’s no coincidence that depressed people find meaning and joy when they start volunteer work: they learn how to think of others more than they think of themselves.

It is very important that you choose how you love, and how you perceive love, very wisely. Again, God is our model, our anchor.

A scenario: If the person you love does not love you and accept you, then, in your mind, you are not loved, you are not accepted; you are not lovable, you are not acceptable.

As much as I know it’s not healthy to be co-dependent, if someone I love doesn’t love me back, then (in my mind) I am totally unlovable: something is wrong with me, and I can’t fix it because the unlovable part of me is my person – who I am.

This is a tangled issue when it comes to family. A mother or father who does not love (or does not know how to show love to) a child is a tragic situation.

Be assured that God will show love to everyone, no matter the situation. He will bring His people.

God tells us to love one another. We can love because He first loved us. His agape is a pure, unconditional love. It involves forgiveness.

The healthiest One to be co-dependent with is God. He always loves me. He created me, and He created me in love. He knows my innermost thoughts, and nothing is hidden from Him. That’s why it is critical to put God first. My identity is in Christ, not in another person. He loves me, therefore I am lovable.

If love is a confusing issue for you, go first to God. Read His Word, speak with His loving Spirit, let Him speak to you.

And also remember to show God’s love to others every day. You never know when God is using you to show His love.

1 John 4.19 We love because He first loved us.

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Cold and Flu Remedies

ColdAndFluRemedies

I was immensely blessed to buy an Herbs and Essential Oils Ultimate Bundle a few years ago, which included online classes from various instructors. One of the most helpful of these was the Joybilee Farms “Joybilee Academy DIY Herbal Apothecary.” She has a website here: https://joybileefarm.com/ and I highly recommend anything she offers. I am on her e-mail list and her facebook page.

Colds and flu abound this time of year, and I paste, following, information directly from her course notebook concerning the different stages and different needs; along with recipes for teas. FYI, decoction is when you boil the ingredients, infusion is when you steep the ingredients (like making tea).

My first choice (other than growing my own or buying at a local store) for gathering ingredients is with VitaCost: https://www.vitacost.com/

My second choice is Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/

Other great sites include https://www.planttherapy.com , https://www.mountainroseherbs.com , https://www.frontiercoop.com , https://www.starwest-botanicals.com , and https://www.bulkapothecary.com .

Joybilee Farms Information:

The Five Stages of a Cold

Colds and flu seem to begin with those achy muscles, sometimes sneezing, or sore throat. Often these maladies can be headed off with some judicial use of herbal remedies like vitamin C, elderberry syrup, fire cider, or other common immune boosters. These can be taken hourly at the first sign of a cold or flu. Often that is all you need to overcome the virus. This lesson is about what to do when the immune system is weak, and the body succumbs.

At the point where taking elderberry or fire cider begins to make you feel worse instead of better, try these remedies.

Stage 1 Rest

At the first sign of a cold or flu the most important action is rest. Take the day off. Crawl into bed. Sleep. Think of a cold or the flu as a warning flag that you need more rest. Take antimicrobial mixtures like fire cider, vitamin C, and olive leaf tincture every hour.

Herbs to Support the body at the first sign of a cold or flu

Antimicrobial herbs – Fire Cider, oil of oregano, olive leaf tincture, garlic, onions, ginger, eucalyptus, peppermint,

Immune boosting herbs – echinacea, elderberry, astragalus, olive leaf, peppermint

Tea or hot infusions are the best ways to take herbs for a cold or flu. The fluids help with hydration and elimination. The moist heat helps with sinus congestion and sore throat.

Stage 2: The Hot/Dry Cold

In the second stage of a cold or flu, where there are aches and pains, chills and fever, sore throat, swollen glands, or plugged nose, cooling and moistening herbs are needed. At this stage elderberries and elderflowers help support the immune system. Elderberry prevents viruses from replicating in the body, and if used regularly at this stage of the cold, there is still the hope that the body will overcome the virus.

Try this herbal infusion to help when you are hot and dry.

Yield: 4 cups of herbal infusion

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon elderflowers (cool and slightly dry, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, diaphoretic)

1 teaspoon elderberries (cool and slightly dry, immune stimulant)

1 teaspoon mullein leaf (cool and moist, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, demulcent)

1 teaspoon red clover flowers (cool and moist, lymphatic)

½ teaspoon peppermint leaf (cool and dry, antimicrobial, antiviral, diaphoretic)

Directions:

Combine the herbs in the mesh tea strainer of a 27 ounce cast iron tea pot or tetsubin. Pour boiling water over the herbs. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drink liberally. If you want to make this ahead and package in single serving tea bags, each tea bag should have 1 teaspoon of herb. One teabag is enough for a single cup of herbal infusion.

Stage 3: The Hot/Moist Cold

In the third stage of a cold or flu the person feels feverish and damp. The nose is running. The cough is wet and productive. The mucus is profuse. There is a need for herbs that are cooling, drying, and toning.

Try this herbal infusion to help when you are hot and damp.

Yield: 4 cups of herbal infusion

Ingredients

1 teaspoon peppermint (cool and dry, diaphoretic, antiviral/antimicrobial)

1 teaspoon elderberry (cool and dry, immune stimulant)

1 teaspoon yarrow (cool and dry, diaphoretic, antiviral/microbial, anti-catarrhal)

½ teaspoon mullein leaf (cool and moist, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, demulcent)

½ teaspoon calendula (cool and dry, antimicrobial, lymphatic)

Directions:

Combine the herbs in the mesh tea strainer of a 27 ounce cast iron tea pot or tetsubin. Pour boiling water over the herbs. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drink liberally. If you want to make this ahead and package in single serving tea bags, each tea bag should have 1 teaspoon of herb. One teabag is enough for a single cup of herbal infusion. Drink this freely.

Stage 4 The Cold/Dry Cold

Yield: 4 cups

This herbal decoction will warm up the circulation and ease the dry, hacking cough. Since this herbal blend is made up of roots, it should be made as a decoction rather than an infusion.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon elecampane (warm and moist, diaphoretic, antimicrobial)

1 teaspoon echinacea root (cool and dry, immune stimulant, anti-catarrhal, antimicrobial, lymphatic)

½ teaspoon licorice (neutral and moist, expectorant, demulcent)

¼ teaspoon ginger powder (hot and dry, diaphoretic, antimicrobial)

Directions:

Simmer roots in 4 cups of boiling water for 20 minutes. Keep the pot covered. Strain and drink hot. If you want to make this ahead and package in single serving tea bags, each tea bag should have 1 teaspoon of herb. One teabag is enough for a single cup of herbal decoction.

Stage 5: The Cold/Moist Cold

This is the stage of cold where the fever is broken but there is lingering sinus issues, sneezing, coughing, and mucus. At this stage warming foods like chili peppers, cinnamon, ginger, and raw garlic help warm up the sinuses and dry up mucus. This is a good time to eat curry and Mexican food. Bitter, drying herbs make the best infusions to help expectorate mucus and calm the lingering cough.

Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients:

½ teaspoon thyme (warm and dry, diaphoretic, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, antimicrobial)

½ teaspoon sage (warm and dry, diaphoretic, antimicrobial, anti-catarrhal)

½ teaspoon calendula (cool and dry, antimicrobial, lymphatic)

½ teaspoon elderberry (cool and dry, immune stimulant)

A pinch cayenne (warm and dry, diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal, antimicrobial)

Directions:

Combine the herbs in the mesh tea strainer of a 27 ounce cast iron tea pot or tetsubin. Pour boiling water over the herbs. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drink liberally. If you want to make this ahead and package in single serving tea bags, each tea bag should have 1 teaspoon of herb. One teabag is enough for a single cup of herbal infusion. Drink this freely.

February: What’s on your Heart Tag

Thanks to Amy at A New Life (❤ !) for this nomination. Dollfaced Writer has created a tag where each month the theme is different but the tag continues each month. Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you to participate.
  2. Link back to the original post.
  3. Attach an image that inspires you regarding the month’s theme (or use the original).
  4. Talk about what this month’s theme means to you.
  5. Answer the questions.
  6. Nominate one or more people to participate.
  7. Enjoy the rest of your month

For February, our theme is called: What’s on Your Heart

What’s on my heart for February’s heart theme:

Love is a personal relationship; God is a personal God. Everything we do is personal because everyone we meet was put there for a purpose.

I’m using a picture of a dear lady, a wonderful friend, a sister in the Lord.

Rosie

Rosie went to be with her Lord last spring, and we all miss her so much. She is a picture, to me, of love. She had heart, and it was the heart of her Lord: she showed it to everyone, she took the risk of leaving herself open to hurt and rejection, and she took everything to God in prayer. What a joyful, peaceful, giving countenance she presented to all! Her eyes and her smile radiated God’s love.

The questions that go along with this tag:

  1. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes, I think it can happen. However, I also think people must be very careful with it, and not run away with the “feelings” of it.

  1. Do you believe in soulmates?

Yup. Anyone who is married has a soulmate, whether they are in tune with it or not.

  1. What’s the first thing you notice about a person?

The eyes and the smile (or lack of it). They work together.

  1. What’s your ideal date?

A great hike. This was the first date for my husband and me. It allows lots of time for talking without having to sit and look at each other the whole time; and you get to find out a few interesting things about another person on a hike, especially if it’s long.

  1. What traits do you look for in a friend/significant others?

Listening, following up, loyalty, consistency, integrity, agape love

  1. What are your thoughts on being friends with an ex?

Depends on what “being friends” entails.

  1. If you’re a believer, when did you give your heart to the Lord? If not, what in life keeps a bounce in your step?

I’ve always been able to characterize myself as an optimist. In fact, it almost kept me from the Lord: I really liked the way my life was going, and thought I was doing a pretty good job at it all by myself. I was going on 30 when God had a serious conversation with me. As always, His timing was perfect, because there were some Bad Things going on that I really needed Him for soon after.

I nominate the following to continue with the tag:

Ana https://momlifewithchiari.com/

Vickie https://vicklea.com/

Christy https://miraculoussmile.wordpress.com/

Maxine  https://heavensreef.wordpress.com/

Kathy https://atimetoshare.me/

My apologies if you’ve already been tagged for this. And, really no obligation to participate. This is only as the Spirit leads! 😊

Just Do It! — But First..

JustDoItButFirst

I like to make many of my own home remedies and products: skin salve and serum for my obnoxious issues; toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, cough suppressant, cold remedies, etc. This morning I made plans to mix up a few healthy items.

The thing is, I can never plan enough time to just whip something up. I go to begin one thing, BUT FIRST I have to do this other thing. My morning was filled with that. On my to-do list was: biscuits, smoothie, Vitamin C chews, elderberry syrup, skin serum, and skin salve.

The biscuits went okay; BUT FIRST I had to prepare the dough last night so it could ferment overnight.

I made my smoothie, BUT FIRST I had to make more of my smoothie powder that I had run out of (health stuff, like slippery elm bark, ashwagandha, flaxseed, stinging nettle leaves, etc – that’s stinging nettle leaf in my sink, that flittered down all over). (The smoothie was delicious, by the way – highlight of my morning.)

I needed honey for both the Vitamin C chews and the elderberry syrup, BUT FIRST I had to slowly liquefy it in a pan of simmering water.

The elderberries and hawthorn berries had to simmer in a pot of water, BUT FIRST I noticed that something had spattered on the burner. It looked like oil, hiding in the crevices, and I thought it likely not a good idea to heat that up. So I had to scrub that down.

I planned to make the skin remedies, BUT FIRST I had to wash and dry the empty containers.

In the middle of all this, somewhere, I quickly boiled some water to make a steam tent for my husband. (We’re praying this is the worst of his burgeoning cold, and we can nip it and calm it.)

In order to make the Vitamin C chews, I had to get the recipe, which is in my binder, but my binder had a few sheets of recipes on top of it. SO FIRST I had to collect and hole-punch and organize them into the binder.

I had my smoothie and biscuit breakfast, and got the chews and syrup made. But then it was time to leave for a meeting.

I’m back now, and taking a break to write. I’m planning to make my skin stuff later today.

Some time, I’d like to plan to do something, and THEN JUST DO IT. It hardly ever happens. Things always seem to pop up to get in the way of my goal, and everything always takes at least twice as long to accomplish as I think it should because other stuff gets in the way.

The idea to post about my morning occurred to me midway through my activities. I thought about how I would word different sequences, how to convey my impatience at the roadblocks. And then I was thinking that there has to be a point to my post here. I mean, I can’t just rant and put it out there, right? Don’t I have to make some deep spiritual connection, don’t I have to present a life lesson?

Nothing really occurred to me until after I was halfway through writing this, because I was all caught up in whining for a while.

But God. 😊

2 Peter 3.9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

I look at the world and I think surely it must be time; please, Lord, don’t let things get any worse. I can think that okay, let’s get ‘er dun, we are so ready, Lord! I’ve read the Plan, God laid out His goals (John 3.16), let’s aim, shoot, and be done with it.

God does have His plans, His goals, His purposes. He also has His ways. And His ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts (Isaiah 55.8). He will fulfill all His promises, He will come again to judge the living and the dead, He will wipe away every tear. BUT FIRST, He has His ways and His means and His timing, of which I have no idea, and for which I cannot plan.

All I can do is keep myself in the palm of His hand and trust in Him.

And have patience.

That They May Serve Me

God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt (told from Genesis 37 – Deuteronomy 34) is a picture of His deliverance of His people from sin and evil, to the Promised Land. The Israelites had traveled from Canaan to Egypt willingly, seeking nourishment and secure living. They had no idea that they were traveling into bondage. Sin is like that.

After that generation had passed away, the slavery started (we never know how our actions will affect our children). The Israelites were forced to serve the Egyptians. (We wonder how the Israelites accepted this – were they suddenly taken over? Was it a gradual occurrence? We may see many parallels in the Germans’ treatment of the Jewish people.)

Note that, either way, God’s people are serving. God designed us that way – all of us. We are designed to serve. As Joshua later stated: Choose you this day whom you will serve. We choose whom we serve: self (flesh), satan, others, or God.

God emphasized this in Exodus when He was preparing His people to go. What was the reason for going? In Exodus chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10, Moses and Aaron are directed to tell Pharaoh to let His people go, “that they may serve Me.” God recognized that His people were serving the wrong king. They were in slavery, in bondage, and miserable. God desired to free His people so that they may serve HIM. God knows that, in serving Him, we may live to our fullest joy and contentment.

If we are serving the wrong king, be it self, satan, or others, we are in bondage and making ourselves miserable (whether we know it or not).

“So that they may SERVE Me.” Yes, we must serve.

“So that they may serve ME.” Choose you this day whom you will serve.

 

Aaron Stretched: Lessons on Obedience and Humility

Ex 7. 20 Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded; in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials, Aaron raised the staff and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was turned to blood.

Ex 8.6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.

Ex 8.17 This they did, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, gnats came upon man and beast. All the dust of the earth turned into gnats throughout the land of Egypt.

We don’t know if Aaron saw a burning bush or heard an audible voice, as his brother, Moses, did; but Aaron obeyed the direction of God and joined Moses in leading the Exodus of God’s people from Egypt. Their first job was to show the power of God to Pharaoh. Aaron seemed to understand his position as a mouthpiece, a task which the brothers seemed to share, off and on. Aaron also got to share the raising and striking of hand and rod to produce powerful results.

Did Aaron always fully understand that the power behind these miracles was always, 100% God’s? Well, he did get pretty carried away when he made the golden calf while Moses was on the mountain. However, he also understood the value of humility. He and Moses perfected the art of falling on their faces before a righteous and terrible Almighty God (Numbers ch’s 14, 16, 20) on behalf of their people.

Aaron is an excellent example to us of the value of humble obedience. God told Moses to tell Aaron to stretch out his rod or hand over the river, over the waters, over the dust. Aaron simply obeyed, then stood back to witness God’s power and plan. He took part in and witnessed all the miracle plagues, and how God saved His people from them. He witnessed the parting of the Red Sea. He pleaded with God and witnessed God’s provision for a stiff-necked people.

Aaron obeyed. Aaron OBEYED. And look what he got to see! And do! He was not perfect, but he knew how to be a humble servant of his God. We can learn much from him.