Boldness and Faithfulness (A Devotional Thought Based on Daniel)

For the last several years, I have been really drawn to examples of boldness and courage. You could say that I am drawn to the Katniss Everdeen types (a.k.a. Hunger Games heroine), or to people like Rosa Parks, who stood up for her convictions and caused monumental change to ensue in the famous Southern bus boycotts by African-Americans who were tired of being treated as second-class citizens compared to Caucasians. I am also greatly inspired by the heroes and heroines of the Bible.

Two of my favorite people in the Bible are Joshua and Esther. However, another amazing individual in the Bible who epitomizes boldness and faithfulness to me is Daniel. In Daniel 6, it talks about how King Darius set up 120 satraps to be in charge of his kingdom, and there were three presidents over the satraps. Daniel was one of the 3 presidents (Amplified Bible, Daniel 6:1-2). Daniel was distinguished above the other presidents, and the King thought about setting Daniel in charge of the whole country. As you can imagine, this idea was not liked by the satraps and other presidents. They sought to bring accusations against Daniel, however they could not find fault in Daniel, because he was faithful (v. 3-4). Thus, they knew that the only way to accuse Daniel and have it stick was “concerning the law of his God.” Thus, they set-up King Darius to sign a royal statute that could not be changed, which was according to law of the Medes and Persians. Essentially, the statute that they convinced the King to sign elevated the king to a type of God-like status, where no one could “ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days.” The people could only petition King Darius during this time (v. 5-9).

Daniel was a faithful man who knew that the decree which was signed essentially prohibited him from worshipping his God as he always did. To worship his God meant one thing: death. If he followed his beliefs and his conscience, then he would be cast into a den of lions, as the statute specified. What did Daniel do in this situation? Did he give up his beliefs for thirty days? Did he hide in a closest when he prayed in order to not risk his life? No. Daniel was 100% aware of the consequences of his actions, and he still boldly and openly prayed and gave thanks to God three times a day JUST LIKE HE AWAYS HAD DONE (v. 10).

Daniel’s faith blows me away. He was BOLD. He was DEVOTED. He was FAITHFUL. He was CONSISTENT. He was NOT AFRAID.

So, what happens next? Of course, Daniel’s adversaries find Daniel praying. It was an action worthy of death in their eyes. They run to King Darius, remind him of the irrevocable decree, and point out that Daniel praying is like treason- it disregards the king and the decree. King Darius was distressed, and I imagine at this point he may have realized that this was a set-up to do away with Daniel. The King set his mind to deliver Daniel and even “labored until the sun went down to rescue him” (v. 11- 14). Because the law couldn’t be changed EVEN BY THE KING (which I find interesting, since the King was the one who initially MADE the law), King Darius unhappily commanded Daniel to be cast into the den of lions, but with the hope, “May your God, Whom you are serving continually, deliver you!” (v. 15-16).

Things are looking very grim for Daniel at this point. However, even in the darkest hour, God will shine through. That is a lesson for us all to remember. The next day, the king raced to the lion’s den, hoping that somehow Daniel would be spared by the “living God” who Daniel served continually. Daniel was alive, and he replied that God had sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that Daniel was unharmed (v. 19-22).

Whenever you are facing a tough time, or when you are tempted to give up on your faith, I hope that you remember about Daniel, and know that God loves you and will protect you in the storms of life.

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“Dreams are not Illegal”

DREAM!

Today as I was taking my office financial deposits to my university’s Cashier’s office, I passed a young woman with her daughter.  The woman was wearing a t-shirt that was quite awesome.  The t-shirt simply said “Dreams are not Illegal.”  Yes!  I love it!  While I am not where I expected to be at this point of my life on multiple levels, I really need to make sure that I do not give up on my dreams.  Sometimes our dreams take a beating in life.  I can relate to the Biblical scripture in Matthew that talks about the winds and storms beating on the house.  The house stood because it was founded on the rock.  I like that literally and spiritually.  Storms are tough.  I am not denying that.  But the simple message of that t-shirt was a beautiful reminder to me.  Dreams are so important and we have the freedom to dream big dreams.  We are only encumbered by our own doubts and when we let others (re: peers, co-workers, families, and society) talk us out of our dreams, belittle us, shame us, and essentially beat us down.  I am tired of that.  I am entitled to have dreams, and they can be as big as I want.  You are entitled to your dreams too!  Dreams are free!  They are not illegal, and we don’t need to sell ourselves short.  May we all dream big, and may the dying embers of dreams that we once held dear be re-ignited so that our passion does not die and along with it parts of our souls.

Love Quotes

English: Love heart

English: Love heart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I find quotes quite awesome, and some of the best quotes out there are love quotes.  Thus, I have culled together numerous love quotes from a couple of sources.  In particular, I am a fan of quotes by people that I admire, other poets/writers/thinkers, and spiritual resources.

To get it kick started, here is a spiritual quote from a recent Air1 verse of the day that I appreciate:

“Love each other with geniune affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” (Romans 12:10 NLT; www.air1.com)

Here is one of the quintessential, classic verses on love that is one of my favorites to read when I want to read about love.  I find it a high standard to attain to, and I often fall short.  These verses are from the Amplified Bible, which I find cool because it amplifies words and adds new facets of understanding and shades of meaning.

“Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  It is not conceited (arrogant or inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.  Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]….Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].  Love never fails…..” (I Corinthians 13:4-8, Amplified Bible)

These inspiring love quotes are gleaned from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_love.html

“A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.” ~Max Muller
“At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.” ~Plato
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu
“Do all things with love.” ~Og Mandino

“Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.” ~Leo Buscaglia

“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.” ~Albert Einstein

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” ~Mother Teresa

“Everything is clearer when you’re in love.” ~John Lennon
“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” ~Judy Garland
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” ~A. A. Milne

Just call me the Starbucks Promotion Girl (a.k.a. Now that’s my kind of Happy Hour, Frappuccino Style)

You can just call me the Starbucks Promotion Girl.  I absolutely LOVE Starbucks.

Here are some of the vast number of ways I am a fan of Starbucks:

1.  I register my Starbucks gift cards.  I love the Starbucks gift card free rewards program, and I am on the green star level currently where added syrups are FREE (If my middle name wasn’t Anne, then I think that it would be free.  LOL).

2.  My family knows that if they buy me a gift card for Christmas or my birthday, then one of the top gift cards is ALWAYS Starbucks.  I recently had a first for me- I reloaded my Starbucks gift card, because over time I had burned through the 3 or 4 gift cards that I had (like I said, everyone knows that I love Starbucks).  I reloaded the gift card with some money that I had gotten back on my tax return.  Strategically budgetted in, of course.  That is my financial situation, honestly, but all is well.

3.  Last week, I went with my friend to this Working Women’s Expo in my city where thousands of women attended.  I was largely going to find out about cool businesses and things in my area…..plus hopefully get some cool free stuff, too.  Beside playing a fun plinko game (that reminded me of the Price is Right), I also played a game at a dental table where you throw the ring toss on the toothbrush.  And, I missed all 3 times.  Very disappointing, but I am so glad that I found a new dentist, which is the reason that I went over to the table.  Anyways, the nice girl took sympathy on me, whipped out a prize, and it was a $5 Starbucks gift card.  That was a beautiful surprise!

Starbucks

Starbucks (Photo credit: Ivana Di Carlo)

4.  When I meet with friends, we often go to Starbucks.  Second, a Starbucks drive-through is close to where I live, which is quite dangerous for me, especially on my way home from work.  Third, at my old job, we used to sometimes have Saturday night Starbucks runs (since Starbucks was right down the street) where we would take employee orders, then one staff member would run out on a break and get all of us Starbucks. It was super fun, all of us were fans of Starbucks, and it made having to work Saturday nights (for the group of us that consistently had to work Saturday nights) much more fun.

5.  One day, I think that it would be cool to own stock in Starbucks.  In the future, when I have more disposeable income, it would be nice to invest in stocks and do more financial stewardship and investment.

6.  When I think of Heaven, one thing that I have pondered is what while Heaven be like?  It is so hard for the human mind to comprehend, you know.  I want to see my name written in the book of life.  I want to meet Jesus, and hear those words of honor “well done, my good and faithful servant.”  And, on a much less spiritual note, I have wondered random things about Heaven, like what we will do when we are not worshipping….i.e. will we do cool stuff, like fly?  I totally want to meet the saints of old, like Esther and Joshua, and I will be honored to meet people that I never got a chance to meet on earth, like Mother Teresa, who I would have loved to have met before she died.  And, I have wondered if we will eat in Heaven.  But, the Bible mentions eating around a table, so I think we will eat in Heaven.  So, one small slice of Heaven for me would be my own little Starbucks where everything is FREE.  Yeah, that would be super cool!

7.  I have the Starbucks app on my semi-new iPhone.  I believe that it is one of only five apps that I have downloaded so far.  It is in a select group of the best of the best of my favorite things.  I find the app quite helpful when you are looking for nutritional content of their drinks and food, when you are travelling and need to know where a Starbucks is, and hours of operation for Starbucks.  They even have this cool feature for the technically hip crowd where you do not have to actually FIND your Starbucks gift card to pay, but where you just scan the code for it.  Kind of cool.  My friend told me about that, and it seems quite convenient.

8.  Thus, as you can see, I LOVE STARBUCKS! !!  They should pay me to do promotion work for them, I would be quite passionate at it.  I find it FUNNY how I think I am going to write a short and sweet blog (for once), and this piece seemed to be the perfect one for that.  But, then somehow short and sweet turns into elaborate and detailed.  🙂

Some Last ThoughtsI would be remiss if I ended this blog and forgot to tell you that Starbucks is having a Half-Price Happy Hour Frappuccino Promotion beginning May 4, 2012 and lasting until May 13, 2012.  It is only from 3-5 pm.  That is definitely my kind of Happy Hour, and the only one that I am intested in, truth be told.  I tried to copy the code from the Starbucks website for their fun and hip video for this spectacular promotion.  The video showed the diversity of their frappuccinos, and it is a fun little clip.  For some reason, their code for the video didn’t work when you copy it, and also if you try to embed it to Word Press, then Starbucks asks for your blog and your password (which seems like a security issue to me, but I have never claimed to be a tech genius….but maybe I am missing something with the whole embed/post videos thing).  Anyways, check out the video on Starbucks official website if you have 30 seconds:

http://www.starbucks.com/

P.S.  Starbucks very recently debuted a new Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino that is quite good.  It has chocolate whipped cream and cookie crumbs.  Today, my thoughtful and cool co-worker, Molly, went on her lunch break and came back with 2 Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccinos.  She bought one for me in order to bless me, which was so sweet.  Neither of us were feeling that great today, so it made the day better and brighter.  Random acts of kindess are cool.  Here is a picture of the new Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino (Courtesy of the Starbucks Official Website):

One final note.

I am excited to be off work on a vacation day tomorrow.  Yay for having a three day weekend!  I have a list of home stuff to catch up on, but I also organized a friend group that is going to see a matinee showing of Marvel’s The Avengers tomorrow.  I have been eagerly waiting to go see The Avengers for months now, and this weekend it is opening in the American movie market.  It is supposed to be THE Blockbuster of the summer, and it has been smashing world records in the overseas market left and right, from what I hear (according to TheWrap.com and other internet sites).  I definitely like superhero movies (and action movies in general), and I am completely inspired by examples of bravery and courage in film and in life.  But, then of course, sometime between 3-5 pm, I plan to go to Starbucks for the Happy Hour.  Woohoo!!!