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ORRIN MORRIS: Use oil from the giant sunflower for a healthy alternative

I believe that Almighty God is to be known by one word above all others. That word is more comprehensive than terms like Almighty, Creator, Judge, Law Giver, Comforter, Redeemer and Eternal Father.

That word is Love. 1 John 4:8 says, "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."

All the other terms are magnified by the full meaning of love. God's might is the opposite of ruthless dictators who accumulate power to force people into slavery. God created the universe for the pleasure of all people.

The terms "Judge" and "Law Giver" reflect God's desire that we love Him and our neighbor (Matthew 5:44-45, Matthew 22:37-38, et. al.). The terms Comforter, Redeemer and Eternal Father are more easily seen in terms of love, except when the image of father is distorted by an abusive earthly father.

As we grow in our understanding that God is exclusively motivated by love toward us, the natural response is gratitude and praise. The many sunflowers in nature do model what should be our response to the Son of God.

Psalm 113:3 prompts believers by saying, "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised."

GIANT SUNFLOWER

Helianthus giganteus

Note the Latin term giganteus. It means big and so it is appropriate since the giant sunflower may grow to 10 or 12 feet tall. Further, the flower head may measure 12 or more inches across. When the seeds start to form, the weight steadily increases until the head bows over so that the rotation from dawn to dusk no longer occurs.

Some varieties of sunflower have two or more blooms per stalk, but not this variety. The stem, covered with stiff hairs, may measure 1 inch in diameter with a very sturdy root system. Leaves measure up to 12 inches. They are hairy on the underside and along the center vein on the top of the leaf.

I once had a neighbor who planted at least one row of these sunflowers along with a row of okra each year. Now these were not short rows. They were as long as a football field and it was rare to see him not chewing on a sunflower seed.

As noted in last week's column on the common sunflower, the oil from the seeds is an excellent replacement for transfat oils used in food preparation.

May your understanding of the Heavenly Father's love cause you to respond with a righteousness that reflects the values taught by his son Jesus. As you mature in this journey, may you be like the sunflower expressing gratitude and praise from dawn to dusk.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. A two-volume book of the nearly 280 wildflower columns is available for sale and can be ordered by calling 770-929-3697 or 404-824-9142 or email odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com.