flower

Sonflower: Follow the Son

photo credit: Emonne Markland

A few Sundays ago, while walking with my daughter, I came across a field of beautiful sunflowers. I’ve always loved this unique type of flower and was so excited to get a snapshot up close, which is pictured above. I gazed at how beautifully they stand tall and erect, facing high to the sky. Later that evening, I decided to post one of my photos to Instagram and include a fun fact about sunflowers. As I began to review various facts, I was fascinated by the interesting characteristics of this beautiful creation. It is believed that the name “sunflower” is connected to both it’s look and behavior. When you look at a sunflower, you can see how it resembles the sun: a large, circular head and bright, yellow petals (which are actually individual flowers) encircling the center. However, the most fascinating fact about the sunflower is found in a process called heliotropism.

Heliotropism is the process in which a sunflower follows and faces the sun’s position in the sky. In the morning when the sun comes up, its head points East towards to sunrise. During the day, there are cells in the stem of the sunflower that cause its stem to tilt the sunflower’s head to receive the maximum amount of sunlight, tracking the movement of the sun throughout the day. At evening time, the sunflower’s head faces West towards the sunset, causing the sunflower to follow a 180 degree turn every day from sunrise to sunset. In the evening after the sun goes down, the sunflower goes back to its original position facing the East, awaiting the rising of the sun and is ready to follow the sun’s path again. After going into full bloom, the sunflower ceases its heliotropism behavior and stays in an East-facing position.

For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing would He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11 AMP)

They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. (Psalm 34:5 NKJV)

Truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun. (Ecclesiastes 11:7 NKJV)

As children of the Light, we can learn so much from the beautiful sunflower as she silently teaches us to follow her example. Just as the sunflower follows and faces the sun from sunrise to sunset, we must constantly keep our focus on the Son and follow His path. As we do this, we receive the power and energy from on high to continue to grow and bloom into all that God has for us. This past Spring, I did a post entitled "Bloom" and another entitled "The Whisper of Spring" where I discussed the beauty of Springtime and how God is bringing us into a season of freshness, beauty, high achievement and development. This summer, let's be encouraged by the story of the sunflower, a beautiful summer blossom, and continue to allow our lives to bloom. Let's follow the example of the sunflower and become flowers of the Son, Sonflowers who constantly keep our eyes fixed on Him and are empowered in His presence. When we look to Him, we are able to throw off the head-lowering countenance of shame and lift our heads high as we reflect the beautiful light of the Son and shine brightly in a dark world.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)

Emonne Markland

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Bloom

Bloom: a state or time of beauty, freshness and vigor; a state of high development or achievement; to mature into achievement of one's potential; to flourish in youthful beauty, freshness or excellence; to shine out; glow

 

A number of weeks ago, the word “bloom” sprang up in my heart. Given the fact that I absolutely love doing word studies, I immediately began to search high and low for the various definitions of bloom and the scriptures associated with it. I even preached a message on it at my church! Over the last few weeks, a new joy and hope for this Spring began to rise up in my heart. As you know from my previous post, I absolutely love Spring. But this study of the word "bloom" and what the Bible has to say about Spring has given me a new-found love for the season. There is so much goodness packed into this five-letter word that is rarely used outside of Springtime and often overlooked. I truly believe that our Heavenly Father is speaking in the midst of this season, and through this simple yet profound word. My sisters, my friends, it is officially time to bloom. It’s time to arise from our sleep, as a seed rests in the darkness of winter below the ground, and spring forth into the newness that God has for us.

“For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.” Is. 61:11 MSG

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This past weekend, we celebrated the beautiful sacrifice of Jesus' death on the cross and His glorious resurrection. As a result of His life, death and resurrection, righteousness and praise have sprung forth throughout the world as people of all nations have received Him by faith. In other words, because He rose, we can arise! Because He bloomed, we can bloom!

This Spring, I am full of expectation for God to move in a great way in our lives and resurrect some things that have lay dormant. As my mom says in her book, Pray-ers Bear Fruit, "without a death, there can be no resurrection". Maybe you have been in a dry season for a while and it seems like God's voice has been a faint whisper, or maybe even silent. Maybe you've experienced the death of a dream and feel like there is no hope for a new beginning. Maybe you're in a relationship that is struggling to survive and you feel like the love is long gone. Oh, my sister, Jesus is about to resurrect your situation. He is fully aware of and well able to raise up that dead situation in your life and breathe a new life into it this season. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Build your faith through the Word. Don't believe the enemy's report. Believe the report of the Lord! He has positioned you for a miracle this season! We are about to see things that we've never seen before, do things we've never done before and go places we've never gone before.

Get ready to shine. Get ready to spring forth. Get ready to glow. Get ready to bloom.

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Emonne Markland

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