Dear Christians: Calm Down About Starbucks’ Red Cup (By my Friend Emily Gehman)

My friend Emily Gehman weighs in on the Starbucks cup thing over at Shattered Magazine and emilygehman.com.

Yeah. What SHE said… And here’s what she said—>>>

Dear Christians: Calm Down About Starbucks’ Red Cup

This just in: Christians now offended by the color red.

Wait, what?

As I scrolled through my newsfeed, I thought for a moment I was seeing headlines from The Onion, a satirical news website. So I clicked some titles and scrolled up and down just to make sure that I wasn’t falling for another one of The Onion‘s somewhat believable, yet untrue stories. Nope. Not The Onion.

And, terrified, I realized that I’m now living in a world where I mistake real news for being The Onion news, not the other way around.

[Warning: Tongue-in-cheek ahead.]

Shocked and horrified, I read that Starbucks now hates Christmas and Christians and Jesus. Why? Because (dun dun DUN) their 2015 holiday red cup design is devoid of anything related to Christmas or holidays, except for, of course, being the color red. When finally my eyes were accosted to behold this horrific slam to Christians, I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was true; the new holiday cup is the color red. Clearly, CLEARLY, this is an attempt to wipe Christmas and Christians off the face of the earth.

[End tongue-in-cheek.]

My mouth hung agape at the news articles I was reading about how Christians are enraged at a simple red cardboard cup. I did some digging, to make sure I wasn’t reading an Onion story, proving again my disbelief of the newest thing Christians are supposed to hate and I suppose, boycott. (NOPE.) Allow me to point out a few things, in no particular order, we (Christians) should consider before we cry “blasphemy!”

To see the rest of this AWESOME article, click >here<

https://shatteredmagazine.net/dear-christians-calm-down-about-starbucks-red-cup/

Advertisements

Invalid Password-Access Denied

If you’re anything like me, you get the password wrong at least once before you’re granted entrance—

Username:

Password:

We peck something onto the keyboard from our scrambled memories, and the red words of doom appear, “Invalid Password. Access Denied.”

Just like that, we find ourselves Shut Out…Rejected…Disapproved.

There are so many other ways that we receive the same message in our daily lives—

Didn’t get the job…Unwanted

Didn’t get the guy…Unloved

Failed a test…Unacceptable

Wronged a loved one…Unworthy

It’s natural for us to want to “measure up.” We desire to be valued, loved, and we want so much to fit in. But the many things that preclude us from the acceptance we so desperately seek only proves that when it’s left up to us, we fall short.

We’re only human, after all.

BUT GOD.

As our inadequacies pile up faster than smelly garbage lining the block in Brooklyn on trash day (trust me that’s a LOT of stinkin’ trash), we can come to only one conclusion: We are needy, sinful people. And we’re frantically looking for ways to fill the void so we can feel whole.

But what if we could BE whole?

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ… Ephesians 2:4-5

The big things of this life are no comparison to our biggest problem on the scale of eternity. Apart from a saving work of Jesus Christ in us, we face judgment and wrath. Our greatest need of validation and acceptance is that with God Almighty.

As we look around at all the other areas that have us pan-fried in failure, we can trust this: God does NOT fail. NOT EVER.

And He knows us completely. He knows our perishable frame, and God knows what we need most— Him and His acceptance of us.

We can never attain that acceptance on our own, and I am honestly thankful for that. I’ve seen my track record. I’m really not that awesome when it is all said and done, BUT GOD

God made a way for us to have restored fellowship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. In Christ we are all the things we desire to be before our gracious Heavenly Father:

Wanted

Loved

Accepted

Worthy

And the best part?

There’s no password or secret handshake with God. Just FAITH. It comes on the basis of God Himself and the perfect atoning sacrifice He provided on our behalf. So it NEVER. FALLS. SHORT.

14267049560mjh9

Access Granted

In Christ we are validated in the kingdom of God. And that matters more than any, anything on this earth. Because we can rest in Christ’s work, we can also embrace our failings and short comings knowing this—

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 9-10

Defeat ushers in thankfulness for the eternal victory that will never be lost. We aren’t validated by our failures or even our successes. Eyes fixed on validation rather than the One Who validates miss out on the spectacular view faith has to offer. The hope we have in Christ is strengthened in our weaknesses.

Because God is the guarantor of this promise, we never have to worry about how it will turn out. And since God also initiated it, we don’t have to do anything to attain it. Acceptance through Jesus is offered to us freely by faith—it’s not in a “password protected” area in our world.

And if that is ALL I ever have, if I never succeed at anything and everything falls apart, His word, His kingdom, and His Glory will stand forever.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2

Four Ways to Prepare for The End of The World As We Know it…Just in case

Is the end of the world coming? Like, the actual apocalypse?

Or just the end of an age?

Or is war, pestilence and famine on the horizon…Or WHAT?

Is it just me, or have you noticed that tension is building all over the world? And I don’t just mean all of our junk in the U.S.—like Planned Parenthood, Sex Trafficking, and the fact that our economy is tanking and also, our government might shut down next month…

Or what about all the crazy stuff abroad—like all of the countries that are pretty mad at us right now, or the fact that some scientists thought it would be cool to open a portal that could bridge our world with “other dimensions.” (A.K.A. the spirit world as some believe-just Google CERN or check out this video for some info:

apocalypse2a

I honestly don’t have a clue as to what is headed our way, but let’s start with a thought you may not have had yet:

If you haven’t already begun, start to prepare. And make haste.

Our ears and eyes must be open during this time, listening to the all whispers that are slowly and steadily becoming a roar. Nobody fully knows what is coming, but many believe something is coming.

Head in The Sand

I admit I am the first to turn a blind eye to the horrors on the news and social media. But with all the ominous details stacking up about so, so many things that can lead to disaster—all at once—I simply had to make myself look.

Because of this Molotov cocktail of events, I have decided to prepare physically. As I’ve tried to stock pile the resources I might need to weather a tough season of life, I keep coming up with one conclusion:

No matter how much water, food or medicine I buy, IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH.

I feel so awkward going into the store buying way more water and toilet paper than I actually need in order to store up for a disaster than I can’t see coming.

Which is why I began to think, maybe I am “stock piling” the WRONG THING.

So, from me to you, here are four practical things you can do to prepare physically and spiritually for “the end of the world,” or the end of the age, or whatever is coming your way—even if that happens to be a beautiful day when everything “goes right.”

  1. Watch and Pray. And pray, pray, pray some more.

I’m praying differently these days. As I look around, the things that normally give me pleasure seem more like distractions from what is really important. With all this talk about the end of the world, few are acting like they really believe it is coming. While I don’t know what’s coming, I do know this—whatever my future holds, I need to be in close communion with the One who holds it.

But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)

  1. Stock-pile the Word.

I realized how stinkin’ spoiled rotten we are with our little bible apps and technology hacks. I don’t know as much of the Bible as I’d like because I can always Google a verse or whatever. But what about times when I can’t have access to those things? I will be thrown into the lion’s den of spiritual drought. So, I am on a mission to gather verses—solid meat to feed me when times get rough, when I can’t just scroll through my phone to find a verse.

I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:12b)

  1. Gather some supplies as the Lord leads.

My husband decided to buy a little extra stuff, and we saw our purchase as an investment. We figured we will use it in our house even if there is no emergency. We didn’t get a ton, but we did something. And like I said, no matter how much we could amass it will never, ever be enough. That is God’s job. He alone wants to be our “enough,” and it is supplied through HIS power, not “stuff.”

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter1:2-4)

  1. Make sure your faith is solely resting in Jesus Christ. (Last and certainly not least)

There is no greater peace in such a time as this than knowing you are signed, sealed and DELIVERED from the wrath of God! And that one day, you will be able to joy in Heaven worshipping the God who created you, and the Savior who redeemed you!

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)

If you don’t know Jesus, it’s not the end of the world…yet.

Here’s a little video by Matt Chandler explaining our need for Jesus Christ. Faith alone in Christ alone saves us from the wrath to come.

And some thoughts from Francis Chan:

apocalypse1

 

Both photos found at Morguefile

STOP Trying to Fix Junk On Your Own-Three Tips on Fixing Problems For Good

**DISCLAIMER**
*As you read this, filter it as a conversation I am having with myself. I am sticking my finger in my own face, and you get to listen in. 
Stop it. Stop trying to fix yourself on your own And stop trying to fix others. You can’t fix what’s really broken without Jesus. Puh-leeeze gurl, if you tried to fix your biggest problem by yourself, you would do nothing but slap a one-way ticket to the lake of fire into the palm of your hand. So get a grip.

Let’s look at this logically. You have been doing the same things over and over again, and you’re still a struggling, hot mess. How’s that workin’ out for you?

Maybe it’s time to change. To really change–for good.

Repeat after me:

I can’t do this alone.

I can’t muster up what it takes to fix what is wrong in me or in someone else.

I can never heal without help–Never.

That last one…it gets you stuck. But you have to face facts. News Flash: You can’t heal without help. So forget doing it all alone out of your head right now. Pull it out of your ear (c’mon, P-U-L-L), ball it up in a big crunchy wad of trash and throw. it. on. the. fire.

garbage
Don’t laugh. Just do it. Mime out the process. Watch that thing burn.

Where do we go from here?

1. Seek the Lord. Meet Him in His word and on your knees. Only wisdom from above will destroy the folly from the pit. If we are stuck in a sinful pattern that is ruling and reigning in us, we have to run for the treasures of the One True King. (your word is truth verse)

2. Seek help in wise counsel. Don’t think you can just talk it out over and over again. Don’t think a conversation you could set on “auto play” in your mind is really getting you anywhere. Talk is cheap, but change is priceless. Involving a wise person of the word to walk your journey with you will build in accountability and an objective voice. Instead of you nailing the other person (or yourself), your wise friend can peg you both. And admit you need that. If you are stuck in the same sin over and over again, something’s gotta give. Let someone give you a helping hand.

3. Submit yourself to God. Once you’ve heard all the answers start doing it. Do it because He is the important One. To continue in sin glorifies us, not God.

Now, just do it. Swallow your pride-or better yet, or spit-ball it onto the fire with that other wad of garbage that was holding you back. Do what it takes to be the change you want to see.

Even if it means you are the only one who is following Jesus–especially then.

End rant on self. And if it helped you at all, Praise the Lord!!

Photo Credit:
http://mrg.bz/ljBczm

Four Life Altering Words – And Giveaway! Win Dance with Jesus by Susan B Mead!

Thank you Susan for the honor of sharing your book, Dance With Jesus, From Grief to Grace and allowing me to help celebrate your son’s life this month!

Susan B. Mead has gone from “grief to grace” after suffering such loss with the help of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Susan took the pen to paper to share her uniquely written story in order to share the comfort of God with those around her. It is a great resource filled with probing questions and scriptures helpful for working out our faith through the corridors of healing.

And you have the chance to win a copy today!

Leave a comment below with either your thoughts or simply the words “Enter Me” to have your name put in the pot for the drawing! I will announce the winner on Tuesday!

Now, for those Four Life altering Words…

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24, ESV

In a whirlwind three children have grown from babies who had to be fed, carried and diapered into three kids with opinions, wills and maturing identities.

As their lives flash before my eyes, so does my own. My mind flickers to visions of days when I still had my mom with me and also my mother in law and both grandmothers. Life truly is a vapor.

Those Words…

The words deeply impacting my mind have come from blogs and posts in various places. As I began to see them repeatedly, I had to sit up and take note each time these powerful words invaded my thoughts again:

“For The Last Time.”

There are floods of simple yet meaningful things we do every day with people we love yet, we never know when we are doing something for the last time with them. This revelation made me stop to think through the implications of how I may not have the chance to do something again—or UNDO it.

Death Stops Us in Our Tracks

Nothing sobers-up our drunken man-centered world view more than death. Death is a sure-fire segway to a “For The Last Time” scenario to unfold. How convicting!

I even had a dream (actually a bonafide nightmare to be honest…) that I thought was 100% REAL in the moments before my eyes awoke to reality. I am usually completely aware that I am dreaming, but not this time.

Here’s my “dream:”

I was standing in the street surrounded by a large crowd of people, anxiously awaiting for the announcement of the winner of the $200,000.

“Christy Pearce,” the announcer boomed, “You are the winner of two hundred thousand dollars!”

“Yay! I WON! WOO-HOO!” I thought.

I glanced down and noticed my three year old son standing at my side. He was looking super dapper in his sweet little khakis and vest. His little brown eyes were peeping at me from underneath a ball cap.

Suddenly, a trailer carrying a boat backed up to our location.

We were invited onto the boat crowded with people. The boat traveled through town in an eccentric Tim Burton style parade to celebrate my big win.

Christmas tunes played ushering on the strange parade, though it was summer. I saw inordinate light displays as we went down the street, but the bulbs didn’t light up.

“Well, it IS June after all. They must be unplugged,” I reasoned.

The road dead-ended into a river, and we were promptly floating on it. But true to dream form, the scene changed. Instead of me and my son standing in the same crowded boat, the people were no longer with us. It was just the two of us in a boat alone.

Samuel was at the stern and I was at the bow. The only vest he was wearing was that cute little man-style vest. Not the kind of vest he really needed.

Doing what curious three year olds do best, he was trying to lean off the back of that boat to touch the water.

I gently asked him to come see me.

In a moment, the strange scene reverted to horror as he turned away from me saying, “No. I want to be by myself.”

As soon as the last word escaped his lips, his sweet little boy frame plunged into the water.

I immediately thought, “JUMP IN!” But no one saw us. I was watching him sink into disappearance as I thought “Scream for help, then JUMP IN!”

But the words wouldn’t come out.

My body was frozen.

And as I was experiencing real pain and fear and anguish in that dream, my last thought before I awoke was:

“I can’t save him.”

But this was only a dream. I realize there are so many other Mommies who in some way this is a reality from which they never wake. My heart breaks for them. But stay with me so I can share what I learned from all of this.

Reflecting on the words “For The Last Time,” and how they apply to this life many things come to mind, but the biggest is this—

We suddenly go from living to legacy and whatever we do might really be the last time we ever do it.

Legacy. My mind screeches to a halt at the thought.

What will I leave behind for my children, husband, family and friends?

What will I do “For The Last Time” when they see me, never to been seen alive again?

My hope and prayer by God’s grace is that I will have been a reminder of Christ’s love to them in word and in deed.

And that I’ll never forget to give big hugs and let them know how important they are to me and to God…on the day the Lord wills “For The Last Time.”

So, what does a zip line, teen camp and Exodus 4:12-13 have in common??

In preparation for our annual teen camp this year, I couldn’t get away from this memory…

Have you ever been embarrassed for the name of Jesus?

I HAVE!
Check this out…

camp

I had the privilege of doing a guest post for Wendy van Eyck of ilovedevotionals.com.

So what does a zip line, teen camp and Exodus 4:12-13 have in common?

Exodus 4:12-13
“Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”
Thanks, but NO. I never even wanted to do this anyway.
It had come to this–the only way off this stupid obstacle course was a stinking ZIP LINE. Well, just go ahead and chop my head off, because I’d rather DIE than take that leap.
END. OF. STORY.
Well, not really. The highlight of the Youth Retreat weekend was the gospel, but there was one “special’ event on the schedule-a “Recreation Area.” What I didn’t know was that we were about to risk life and limb 50 feet up in the air…

View original post 37 more words

HE Speaks at She Speaks… Serving Jesus isn’t That Glamourous—A Call to Bust Down Rank

nail polish

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

We She Speaks girls all wanna make God’s name famous. We really, really do.

But if you are like me, we might also want to be the girl on the other side of the booming blog with an enormous platform, or ON the platform at the mic.

Be so very, very careful sisters…if you listen closely as you say the phrase “Make God’s name famous,” we can caught up in the subtleties of US.

First of all, God’s name has already stood the test of time without our influence. He’s totally got His own fame amongst the nations under control. That was His plan all along.

And us? As long as we are human, we aren’t immune from corruption. We have to fight to be centered on God’s plans instead of our own. The second we let our guard down, our flesh will be up to something.

Wave the White Flag

And thankfully, God was up to something in me at She Speaks. No matter what message or teaching I heard, God delivered a personal message tailor made just for me. It was simply, “SURRENDER.”

There are so many applications of how this can look in my life and I am sorting through it all. But when I considered my reasons for attending this conference, I had to sit up and take notice. When looked around the room, I saw literally hundreds of beautiful women with whom I shared the same goal:

To do something BIG for God.

Thinking that concept over caused something to hit me. And I’ve gotta share it! I’m not gonna lie, God busted my thinking down a few ranks.

I had to ask myself,

What is it exactly to do something BIG for God Almighty who does EVERYTHING for me?

Okay, confession time. I walked into that conference thinking I was going to meet the right people that would usher in some “break” for me to get speaking engagements and writing opportunities. So far, that hasn’t happened. I thought I might get a book deal. Negative on that one too. I thought I would learn that one break through piece of info that would send my platform from belly up to soaring. Wrong again.

The same word comes through every thought again and again…SURRENDER.

And that was it. I knew it at the first session I had with Whitney Capps. I had to surrender my desires. That meant I had to overhaul what it means for me to serve in the kingdom of God in a “BIG” way.

And it ain’t a glamourous picture either. At least, not what I envisioned my dream to be.

Not everyone can work for Proverbs 31 ministries and be on the speaker team. Not everyone can lead women in droves. Not everyone can be the one speaking from the stage or writing to the masses.

But.

Everyone with the God of Everything living in them can do Anything for Him.

Even scrub toilets and wipe snot off of tiny cheeks in the nursery.

MY “Best Yes”

The “sticky statement” that stuck with me from the conference was this:

“Would you do it for one?”

We need people in the trenches doing hand to hand combat for Jesus—opening our mouths for the audience of one. Would I be willing to serve God if that is all it ever turned out to be?

My answer had to be “yes”—it was my very best yes. And I knew it. I knew it had to be because Christ went back for the one sheep. Once upon a time I was “the one,” and praise God that someone didn’t find it menial to come for me in Jesus name. If he hadn’t shared the gospel with me I don’t know where I would be today. Probably not darkening a door at She Speaks.

You see, I didn’t get saved at a women’s conference or retreat. I got saved when one person took me aside and shared the gospel with me. This memory and the thought of so many who remain incognito to the world made me realize that I had to lay down the gauntlet of sparkling dreams. It may not be in God’s plan for me to have opportunities like Lysa or Whitney.

I just need to share the hope within me with those in need whenever and wherever the Spirit leads.

I had to stop trying to glamourize what it means to serve God. I mean, it’s only reasonable to go hard for Him after all He’s done for me, right?

But most of all:

I’ve gotta be willing to be the one who will go for the one.

All on the altar. All hopes and dreams laid aside…

Complete surrender.

Now is the time

The breath that’s in us is for the right now moments—not the pie in the sky moments that may or may not ever arrive. The gospel is what people need now. Not later if I get the opportunity to share it from behind a microphone with an audience with many who are likely saved anyway.

Those of us who are waiting for the “right time” to move forward in ministry need not wait any longer:

“As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says,

“At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

I take comfort in knowing that every detail has already been ordained in God’s plans for us.

Just keep walking and seeking Him.

He promised He will direct our paths. Whether those paths lead to the masses,

or to the one…