I appreciate this video about things people say to singles who are Christian. Unfortunately, singles are often marginalized or forgotten by churches and a wide spectrum of society, which is not cool. Many of the things in this video have been heard by myself and my Christian friends. While the video is related to Christians, some of the things mentioned are universal.
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.
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!
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 Thoughts– I 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:
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!!!
The Poky Little Puppy was one of my favorite Little Golden Books as a child. I was an avid reader and an animal lover, and somehow I could intrinsically relate to the Poky Little Puppy. Not that I am a puppy, mind you, just in case you are wondering……although I must point out that the Poky Little Puppy was a bit more adventuresome than I. He had a perchance for adventure, and an independent spirit. He liked to do his own thing, too. However, he was not the most obedient puppy, and was kind of a rule-breaker. Alright, he WAS a rule breaker. Eventually it caught up to him in the end. I myself am not a rule breaker. Some people disregard rules and law, however I am one who has respect for rules, law, and authority. However, I do think it is important to observe the “spirit of the law” and to not be legalistic…..and there are cases of civil rights or civil disobedience too, but that is not what I am talking about here.
Actually, as I am reflecting on it, and wishing that I knew where my copy of this classic book is, I am thinking that perhaps the Poky Little Puppy was not so much of a rule breaker as an adventurer who did not follow the crowd of his sibling-puppies. He DID eat all of the dessert that was supposed to be for all of his siblings who got in trouble though, which is not the best sharing atttude and actually kind of gluttonous. However, I am not one to point the finger at someone with a sweet tooth by any means….desserts are a weakness of mine. And, I relate to the Poky Little Puppy with his “pokyness.” I am sure that is not a word, but it works for my meaning and point here. He kind of meandered about, was misunderstood, but yet he knew the
adventure he was on even if no one else got it. I think that is cool. Life is not always about following the crowd either, and some of the world’s greatest thinkers, like Einstein, may have not always been understood on the road to their adventures and their dreams. Dreams are important.
In the case of the Poky Little Puppy, I think his adventure was good in many ways, but he chose a course of action that was not good (eating the dessert that was meant to be shared with his siblings), In that way, I think he was disobedient from what his mother wanted for him.
Obedience and Disobedience is an interesting topic. Sometimes things are not always black and white, such as life. The other day I read an interesting devotional thought from a Christian woman who often challenges me by the name of Joyce Meyer. Her devotion that I read the other day is called “Testing the Motive of the Heart”, which is based on Genesis 22:1-3. This is the story of when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. That story is hard to understand, and I do not claim to have all the answers or to be a Bible scholar. However, I do enjoy reading the Bible and often I have things that I observe while reading. I want to share a few observations and insights that I had while reading this scripture and Joyce’s devotion.
First, I noticed that God pointedly stressed that Isaac was Abraham’s son and that he loved him when God said for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. When God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, that doesn’t really make sense in a lot of ways. Why would God ask Abraham to kill his own son? That sounds so outside of the character of God and God’s love. I personally do not think God would have allowed Abraham to kill Isaac. This sacrificial situation does make me think of God and God’s son, Jesus. Many people today doubt that Jesus existed, that Jesus was God’s son, and a plethora of doubts. I do believe in Jesus, and honestly I believe that He died and was resurrected as a Savior for human-kind. It is hard to cognitively process how a Father could allow His Son to die in order for a world’s salvation, but I am convinced of this truth no matter if the world tries its best to convince me otherwise.
Another question I have with Abraham and Isaac is this: was what God asked Abraham to do an obedience test? Genesis 22:1 says God tested Abraham, so I think that this is the case. One fact that stood out to me on the day that Abraham planned to sacrifice Isaac was that Abraham got up EARLY, saddled his donkey, split the wood for the burnt offering, and began the trip to Moriah where God had told him to go. God didn’t even say to leave early, however Abraham did so. I can’t imagine rising early when you know the horrible event ahead, as Abraham did. Personally, I am not an early riser, and leaving early for the most horrific thing one can imagine really hits me over the head. Abraham was NOT a dawdler, as I myself often am, as well as the Poky Little Puppy (Author’s random side note: dawdling is not always a bad thing). Abraham was amazingly obedient to God, even though I am sure he did not understand WHY God would ask him to sacrifice his son. Although it is important to note that in the end Abraham was stopped from sacrificing Isaac by an Angel of God (Genesis 22:11-12) and a ram was provided as a substitute sacrifice.
Finally, I want to close by making a plug for Joyce Meyer. Many people either really love or really hate her, and honestly I am glad that I gave her a chance. I find her insightful and earnest, and some of her books have encouraged me when I have been in a darker place or struggling with various issues. If you are interested in reading a devotion by Joyce Meyer, here is a link to one that I read recently that is thought-provoking and interesting (but note that it is not the devotion that is referenced in this blog).