A Joshua Man Needs a Rahab Girl (Devotional and personal thoughts)

A prayer that I prayed to God about eight years ago was my desire for a Joshua man.  Joshua of Biblical times was incredibly brave.  He was amazing.  He was full of faith in God and was not intimidated by circumstances.  And Joshua was one of only two spies sent into Canaan who thought the Israelites could do it, aka beat the Giants.  “Our God is bigger” could be his and Caleb’s battle cry.  And even Moses, who God used to deliver His people from bondage in Egypt, did not even make it to the Promised Land.  Moses displeased God when he struck a rock twice with his staff when God had commanded him to just speak to the rock (Numbers 20: 9-12).  But Joshua had the privilege to lead the Israelite people into the Promised Land after Moses died.  He obeyed God.  Wow!  What a powerful picture of a Godly man!  Joshua has long been one of the Godly men I admire most in the Bible.

You know what God spoke to my spirit when I prayed for a Joshua man?  God said, “A Joshua man is hard to find.”  Yes, I agree with that.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are many great, Godly guys out there today.  But Joshua is a higher standard than that, and his faith seems like the gold standard to me. Joshua’s faith moves me and that is what I am looking for relationally and romantically.  Sometimes I am tempted to compromise or it seems Joshua men don’t exist today who are still single (or who like me and ask me out), but I know that is not true.  I still hope to find my Joshua man, or better yet, to have him find me.

Recently I began thinking, “What does a Joshua man want?” Immediately I thought of Esther in the Bible.  She was beautiful and pure and brave.  She caught the eye of the King when hundreds of other women were competing with her to become Queen.  Her famous and familiar line, “And if I perish, I perish” will always be engraved in my mind as the upmost example of courage and bravery. But recently when I was thinking of Esther, I felt inferior.  She was so beautiful.  I struggle to relate.  I believe beauty ultimately comes from within, like Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  However I must admit that recently when I found some white hairs amidst my brown hair, I was mortified and most assuredly less than thrilled.  In my thirties, not only have several white hairs appeared, but my metabolism has been a significant challenge to me and it has slowed down.  Weight in my younger years was easily manageable and I stayed thin, but now weight can stubbornly refuse to budge in my hope to attain my desired goal weight.  This can hurt my self-esteem and cause discouragement.  I joined a gym last October, and while it has been baby steps, I have finally managed to lose around 9 pounds.  It has been a hard fought battle, but victory is sweet.  Along with weight challenges, I was also recently diagnosed with rosacea, which is a red face condition that can start in your thirties and can even cause puss filled pimples.  Yep, it can make me feel less than attractive.  At times it has caused my nose to even have red spots on the end, making me feel like Rudolph.  None of these things (white hairs, weight gain, and rosacea) help with seeing myself as desirable, especially in a look-obsessed world.  I’m slowly working on making amends with the aging process, but I definitely don’t want to let my self-esteem be wrapped up in my looks or what the number on the scale says today.

The main thing that I think about with Esther is her bravery.  I admired her because I wanted to be her.  Sometimes I feel like a timid little mouse, and many people don’t know that I was extremely shy as a child.  I was an avid reader and pretty quiet.  Even in high school, when I had a class and I was graded on verbal participation points, I had to force myself to raise my hand and talk.  I think I raised my hand to speak just twice, actually.  But I could nail it on a test when I was writing.  So, at the end of our grading period, I got 0 for participation points.  I was so shy and unassertive, I didn’t want to argue about the few times that I spoke in what was quite a long stretch of time.  I long to be brave, and I have seen growth exponentially in my shyness, but God is still working on me with courage and bravery.

But you know who I was just thinking about today who I can relate to?  Rahab.  Yes, I know, Rahab was prostitute, Even now, it seems that is how  she is always labelled.  But I want to point out that Rahab showed remarkable and exemplary bravery after leading a life where she messed up infinitely more than she got it right.  Her story is told in Joshua 2:1-24.  She definitely was not a pure woman.  And a prostitute would not be at the top of most people’s list for who should be in the lineage of Jesus.  But you know what?  She was redeemed when she made a bold choice to hide and save the lives of two Israelite spies who were hiding from Amorite pursuers. This was outstanding because Rahab was herself an Amorite, and she risked her own safety by harboring the two spies and committing treason against her own people.  This would have been punishable by death if she was caught.  Paul even gives Rahab a commendation for her faith in Hebrews 11:31, and she is the only woman besides Sarah who is listed as an example of faith in Hebrews 11 ( https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Rahab).  In BibleGateway.com, a keyword search for Rahab comes up with some thought-provoking things in the topical index, such as “hospitality>>instances of>>Rahab to the spies”, “hospitality>>rewarded>>Rahab’s”, “kindness>>instances of>>Rahab to the spies”, and “mercy>>instances of>>Joshua to Rahab” (https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Rahab&qs_version=NIV).

God chose Rahab to be an ancestor in the lineage of Jesus.  I can definitely relate to her.  Sometimes I mess up 80 times and get it right one time.  (Ok, I am being slightly melodramatic).  But God sees the one time I get it right.  And he sees my heart.  And he sees me as His daughter, and He views every time I get it right as a job well done.  Sometimes I beat myself up for my failures when God has already said, “You are forgiven” and “Jesus already paid the price.”  God wants me to move forward, but often I am too busy looking at my mistakes, lack of courage, or my faults.  Looking back keeps me from moving forward toward the Promised Land God has for me.  I’m guessing I am not the only one. What about your Promised Land?  What is keeping you from it?  Today as I was pondering what type of woman a Joshua man needs, I thought about how if I want a Joshua man, then I want to be the type of woman that he wants who is an ideal, beautiful counterpart for him.  I can relate to Rahab.  She made a lot of mistakes, but she got it right in the end with a beautiful story of courage and redemption and God’s love.  Please know that God loves you in spite of your faults, failures, and sin, and when you are tempted to throw stones at yourself due to your failures and times you mess up, know God wants you to put down the stones and He offers you His love, grace, and redemption in Jesus.

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.

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!!!