To Boycott or Not – What to do with Target? – and 6 Guiding Principles to Consider

To Boycott or Not. SmellingCoffee.com What to do with Target?

To Boycott or Not. SmellingCoffee.com What to do with Target?

I’m sure you’ve seen and read and heard it all… and those who are believers in Jesus Christ are finding themselves on both sides of this “Targeted” issue. Before I share what God has given me, if you aren’t caught up, read these two short articles:

Read this article from the American Family Association – AFA.net

And then read this – for another side of things3 Missional Truths to Consider Before Boycotting Target by TheAaronWilson.com.

As I have prayed and pondered, I hesitantly but obediently feel led to add my voice to the millions of others speaking out on this subject. Hesitantly, because in reality, I don’t feel like have the time or mental energy to take on another battle right now. But who ever does? There will never be a “right time to do the right thing” will there?

But first, I want to share some principles gleaned over the years of reluctantly obeying and taking some public stands and to participate in a number of “boycotts” as salt and light in this ever darkening world.

Oh how I pray that you’ll hear and receive this offered humbly from my heart.  While I have dedicated my life to the position that we are to be about sharing the Light and Love of Jesus Christ, a “boycott” of this Target nature isn’t exactly about that. It’s about asking the businesses (where we invest our dollars) to remain neutral in the culture war. Just neutral. That’s all.

If we boycotted every business or person because they weren’t Christ-honoring… well… we’d never buy, sell, go, or do anything anymore, would we? (We’d probably have to boycott ourselves, too!)

We don’t boycott simply because the Gospel needs to be made known. Though it definitely does. We boycott because as a collective of people in a noisy noisy world, it’s the one way our voices will reach the decision makers of these corporations. However, unless a large enough group of people commit to stand together, what TheArronWilson.com wrote in his article will happen, and the boycott will be more than ineffective… it will be hurtful.

“If all Targets in the South dropped topline sales 3% next month due to Christian boycotts, guess what would happen? Front line employees would get their hours cut to compensate for those stores’ bottom-line figures until things blow over. Do you think a CEO is sweating his six-digit bonus over a 3% decline in a certain cluster of stores for a quarter? Not at all.

But I’ll tell you who does suffer. The single mom or college kid paying his tuition by working the late shift at Target…”    TheAaronWilson.com

So what are we to do?

May I offer what I’ve learned so far?
6 Guiding Principles when considering joining a boycott.  SmellingCoffee.com

1. First of all, we must pray for discernment and strength. Seek the Lord instead of getting caught up in the media frenzy. Ask God what He would have for YOU to do. James 1:5 tells us that if we ask for wisdom, God will give it, and give it in great amounts!

We can’t, nor should, join every boycott going on in the world – even those offered by wonderful people and organizations. But we MUST take a stand when the Lord calls us to rise up in His name.

2. When we DO take that stand, as Christ followers, we must do it in humility and in a way that honors Jesus Christ. Oh the damage we do when we don’t act and react in love. Col. 3:12-17 instructs us in this, especially vs 17.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”  (Col. 3:17, NLT)

3. As we are taking the stand, we must humbly let the people (both local and headquarters) know why. This is important. If we simply stop shopping or eating at a certain place, and a boycott is going on, dots may be connected. But if we will take the extra few minutes to send an email or make a call, those taking notice of the difference the boycott is making will chalk up our absences to “the cause.” This gives our voices weight in the matter. And our {kind and humble} voices DO make a difference.

4. We must commit to be in it for the long haul. A boycott isn’t an easy, quick fix. Trust me. I’ve participated in my share of them, some lasting years! It will cost us (and our families). We will all of a sudden find ourselves with offers and temptations to go, shop, eat, etc. and we’ll have to make that decision over and over again to say, “No, and this is why.” But every time we {humbly and kindly} add, “this is why,” we continue to spread the message of the boycott, and maybe others will be influenced, maybe others will stand, maybe others’ hearts will be changed… and maybe even a door will be opened for the Gospel to be shared.

It will be tempting to fizzle out, give in, and secretly sneak in and shop, eat, etc. when the media buzz dies down. Many will. This is when step one comes back into play. IF we have sought God’s wisdom and discernment, and IF God is the one who has called us to the boycott, and IF He has not released us from it, then our marching orders are from Him to continue on until He changes His instructions. Right? This is how we can press on until the end, when very few others remain in the fight. It will be hard. Just know this from the beginning, and be prepared to stick with it through the strength of the Lord!

5. Know that boycotts ARE effective! I’ve had the privilege to be called to participate in some over the years where when these businesses have seen (through their bottom line) that enough people were serious and willing to put their “money where their mouth is” they purposefully altered policy, wording, and/or switched gears back to neutral.

Neutral. That’s all we’re asking for.

6. When the boycott is over or suspended (and this is just as important) – we must THANK the business, both on the local and corporate level. Again, in humility and with a Christ-like spirit, we need to use our words and our pocketbooks to show these places that we will support them as long as they remain neutral in this culture war. The hope is that enough people have stood firm throughout the boycott, so that once the corporation agrees to the boycott’s terms, an increase in sales will be quickly noticed.

SmellingCoffee.com:divider
Now, as for me and my money and Target… as much as it pains me to do it… I will be signing the AFA petition today, contacting the corporate office, and breaking up with my beloved store. UNTIL they stop allowing any man who dresses as a woman to enter the ladies restroom, I will let my {humble and Christ-like} voice be heard through my words and dollars. Thanks to the apps and website, we’re never too far away from Target, though the nearest store is two hours north of us and it’s always one of the first stops on our list when we hit a town that has one.  Sadly, until a policy change occurs, it’s off the list.

 

Dear Target,

I will miss you, but as soon as you revert your policy, I promise I’ll be back!!!

Jennifer

 

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:17 (NLT)

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Throwback Thursday: What ARE You Doing, Lord?

When you don't understand what God is doing. SmellingCoffee.com

I was having sweet conversation with a friend last night when she reminded me of this blog post from six years ago.   It’s a question we often ask (or at least think to ourselves) and I’ve been blessed and encouraged by re-reading the timeless answer God gave.  We rarely understand all that God is doing… So I’m praying that today God will bless and encourage you, too, as you read continue trusting His heart of love for you, especially when you don’t understand His answers (or lack thereof) to the What and Why questions that may plague your present.

SmellingCoffee.com:dividerPost from March 2010:   “What are You Doing, Lord?”

Have you ever asked God this question?  I find that it’s often on my heart and mind these days.  And today, the Lord sweetly revealed part of the answer to that lingering ponder.

On Friday, the Lord gifted me with a day in the presence of a group of women who have faithfully loved and served Him for many years. Even though they wouldn’t call themselves by this name, many were what you and I would call “Spiritual Giants”. God called some of these ladies to blaze a Bible Study and Ministry trail that has impacted millions of lives. And others He called to quietly serve Him behind the scenes. All of these dear women are just living life, one day at a time, faithfully serving God right where He has placed them.

Every story shared, whether at the podium or around the luncheon table had the same theme: God’s faithfulness and goodness, and His blessings poured on us in, through, and sometimes because of our trials. These are just a few of the life situations that surfaced through casual conversation during the day:

  • A single mom of two sons, who never expected to find herself in this position
  • A mother of a precious seven year old son battling cancer
  • The mom of a daughter, who instead of celebrating an engagement right now is grieving an unexpected break up
  • A mother whose son and family has been looking for a job for over 16 months
  • A wife and mom who survived breast cancer
  • A woman whose husband had been without fulltime employment for 4 years
  • Several moms whose hearts are desperate for their children to stay on God’s path
  • And then there is us… unemployed, uninsured, and completely unaware of what next week holds.

Every story spoke of a trial, but each was told with an Undaunting JOY in the Lord and the assurance of His faithfulness and love. Through laughter and tears, we rejoiced in the Lord and in the awareness of His presence over, in, and around our lives.

I awoke with these beautiful women on my mind this morning, and as I thanked God for their joy, I just had to ask Him:
“What are you doing, Lord?
What are you doing in each of these difficult situations?
What are you doing in these lives?
What are you doing in our lives?”

Then I thought about you. You precious friends whose lives intersect with mine on the blogosphere. I thought about what I’m aware of that many of you are dealing with. And I realized that I don’t even know a fraction of the whole of it. So I wondered the same thing to the Lord about you, “What are you doing?”

This is the answer He brought to my mind and heart:

“I’m teaching my children to trust Me. I’m teaching all of you to look ONLY to me. For your answers. For your lives. Because I love you, I’m drawing all of you to My side so that you will learn to joyfully walk hand in hand with Me for the rest of your earthly lives. I’m teaching my children that I AM, and there is no other, and that nothing can separate you from my love… no matter what!”

God knows our tender, earthly frames, and remembers that we are but dust. None of these trials that seem to overtake us have taken Him by surprise. God knows how wearisome it is to be troubled about tomorrow, so He tells us NOT to worry, and He teaches us to trust in Him and His love for us in that Romans 8:37-39 kind of way.

Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, or angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39 (Amp)

Oswald Chambers had this to say about this passage and subject:

The bedrock of our Christian faith is the unmerited, fathomless marvel of the love of God exhibited on the Cross of Calvary, a love we never can and never shall merit. Paul says this is the reason we are more than conquerors in all these things, super-victors, with a joy we would not have but for the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.”

Then he goes on to say one of my all-time favorite Oswald Chambers quotes:

The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things – tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors through Him IN all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them.

The saint never knows the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but BECAUSE of it… Undaunted radiance is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can alter. The experiences of life, terrible or monotonous, are impotent to touch the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

My Utmost for His Highest, March 7th

Undaunted Joy – that’s us, friends…. It’s what the Lord, because of His love for us, is working in each of our lives… not in spite of our circumstances, but because of them… if we will trust Him.

When I need an extra dose of “Trust, Peace, and Joy” for the day, I wear this neclace.  It’s message reminds me of the women I fellowshipped with.  It reminds me of many of you:

When we Trust God, we have His Peace.  And when we have His Peace, we have Joy!

And that’s what the Lord is doing.  It’s  good enough answer for me!  How about for you?  :-)

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Pressing On in the Climb Through God’s Word – Especially When It’s Hard

Pressing on in the Climb through God's Word - especially when it's hard. SmellingCoffee.com

Hi everyone! If we are Instagram or Twitter friends, you’ll know that I’ve been on a trip with my mom to visit my sister and her family out in Castle Rock, Colorado. We just got back after being gone for 10 days – and had the sweetest of times. Though it was hard to leave my dear hubby, Abi, and Zoe (the dog), it was a wonderful time with family that we miss terribly on this side of the Mississippi River.

 

Now, you Northern-and/or/athletic-friends aren’t going to think this any of this next part is so special, but to this indorsy-flat-landed-Delta girl these next two things I’m about to say deserve a rip-roaring Whoo-Hoo from me – and there IS a spiritual point about discipleship (and some encouragement to those of you who would wish your love ones were more “into the Word”) on the last one, I promise! 😉

1. It snowed! Yay!!!!! And it was B.EA.U.T.I.F.U.L!!!!!!!!! We arrived shortly after they had gone through a blizzard, and though snow was still piled over a foot high on the ground, many people were wearing short sleeved shirts, shorts, and no jackets. No kidding! The sun had warmed everything up so much that they were walking around in a live oxymoron. Snow and shorts all at the same time. Kinda’ the best of both worlds! 😉 {They don’t have the humidity we have, so their cold isn’t a bitter cold like ours is – so when it’s 50 degrees out there, it’s warm. It’s crazy – that’s really what it is! Crazy and wonderful!}

The family took us up to Devil’s Thumb Ranch and Resort for a few days on a vacation and it snowed charmingly for us each day we were there. They graciously offered me the chance to learn to ski, and I seriously considered it… even attempted to make myself want to do it… but no matter how hard I tried to muster up the desire to add “go skiing” to my bucket list so I could cross it off, I just plain didn’t want to do it. It took a while for me to be ok with myself over that. But then an entire afternoon in the spa {thanks to a treat for Mom, Bec, and me from my brother-in-law, Bill} remedied any lingering regrets over a missed skiing opportunity.  Whew!

2. I did climb up the “Castle Rock” – So, I didn’t ski, but I did want to walk up a trail climb something. That’s more than doing nothing. Right? I loathe to say it, but I’m not an exercising kind of gal. It’s my goal to become one, I’m just not there yet. Right now, my main “sport” is hunting…  As in Hunting Bargains in the Clearance Aisles.  So this was climbing thing was quite huge for me. (But if my little nephew could do it, I figured I could, too!) My sister planned the outing, provided the equipment needed, encouraged me that I could do it… kept me strengthened along the trail… waited on me when I needed to rest… and celebrated with me when I made it to the top!

This was the picture before going up.

Before the Climb. SmellingCoffee.com

This is what we climbed – The Castle Rock (and my darling nephew, Crawford):

Castle Rock. SmellingCoffee.com

And this is the view from the top. :-)

View from the top of Castle Rock. SmellingCoffee.comIsn’t it beautiful?

This is the victory picture!!

After the Climb. SmellingCoffee.com

And this picture was taken seconds after the victory picture. HaHa! I was trying to catch my breath while trying not to throw up all at the same time.

The Unseen Parts of Victory. SmellingCoffee.comAnd I realized that this, too, this catching of the breath and sick to the stomach sensation, this is also part of a victory.  It’s often the natural result of pressing on and doing what’s hard, even when everything inside is begging to quit.

I didn’t put that one on Instagram, but maybe I should have.

See, that was a hard climb for me.

Others were zipping up and down right past us. But my body was screaming for me to stop. My heart was racing, the altitude was squeezing my lungs closed, my legs were turning to jello, and I had been slowing down the rest of our group (which consisted of my sister, her friend and their two kindergartners – which was making me consider feeling quite inadequate, btw.). They were Castle Rock natives who had done this before, many times. Me? I was brand new at all of it, and totally feeling every inch out of my element.

However, once I got to the top and made it back down, I felt a HUGE sense of accomplishment and victory. In fact, right before we left my sister’s house for this little adventure, I almost backed out… almost opting for another cup of coffee and/or maybe a little nap. But she wouldn’t let me – she encouraged me to go on with our plans, and I’m so glad.

SmellingCoffee.com:divider

This whole experience made me think of what it must feel like for someone who walks into a Bible study for the first time… or a church service… or picks up the Scriptures for the first time… or someone who is thinking about it, wanting to do it, but is vacillating between that and another cup of coffee or a nap (or whatever else it is that is preferred over the harder thing). I’m thinking of the person to whom studying the Bible is totally out of their element, whose heart may begin to race, lungs squeeze tight, and legs weaken like jello when they walk into a scenario where they must join the natives in opening the Word.

The fear of slowing down the group or appearing to be the weakest or most ignorant is real, and I’m afraid that it’s what might be keeping some (especially men?) from pressing on and upwards in Bible study.

What do you think?  Could something like this be keeping YOU from pressing on in the climb through God’s Word?  Could the enemy be using fear and intimidation to keep you, your husband, or loved one from opening the Scriptures and staying in them  when things become difficult to hear or understand?

So what can we do? Just like my sister did with and for me and our climb:

1. We can pray for ourselves and our loved ones to have a true hunger and thirst for the Word of God that nothing else will satisfy.

O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 (NLT)

 

2. We can commit to Bible Study, and/or invite our loved ones to join us in Bible Study. Whether it’s in a formal group, small group, or a one-on-one situation, if you are in a study, or are willing to open the Word with someone, invite him/her/them to join you and keep pressing on.

If you are not currently studying the Word yourself, this link will help you get started, then ask God to lead you to someone who will open the Word with you, encourage you, and hold you accountable.

May we never tire
of doing what is good and right
before our Lord
because in His season
we shall bring in a great harvest
if we can just persist.
Galatians 6:9 (VOICE)

 

3. If we are the ones encouraging someone else in the Word, we can provide what they need to make it to their first goal – to their first finish line. There is something invigorating about holding a finished Bible study or journal of notes from a section of Scripture studied. Whether through providing equipment, help, encouragement to press on, and/or grace to rest, we can be by their side cheering them along the way and giving them the gentle push needed to keep continuing on to achieving their next goals along their path of spiritual growth.

 

4. We can celebrate spiritual milestones together because soon, not only will we be an encouragement to them, they will become to us one who presses us to keep on keeping on, growing in our own walks with the Lord as we dig deeper into the depths of His Word.

Know what this is really called? Discipleship. It’s been going on for centuries – where one believer who has strength in a certain area comes alongside another believer encouraging accountability and growth. It’s what we all should be doing.

Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going.
He always keeps his word.
Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love
and helping out,
not avoiding worshiping together as some do
but spurring each other on,
especially as we see the big Day approaching.  
Hebrews 10:23-25 (Message)
The rewards are spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, and eternal!

Study this Book of Instruction continually.
Meditate on it day and night
so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.
Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
Joshua 1:8 (NLT)

Who can you pray for and encourage today to join you in climbing uphill in God’s Word?

Who needs a gentle push to choose this adventure in Scripture over another cup of coffee or a nap?  Is it you, my friend?  Then join me in making this beautiful Psalm-prayer the cry of your heart.  God will be faithful to His Word. :-)

Psalm 119:37 SmellingCoffee.com

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16 Years Ago Today – The Day The Lord Healed Me

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I still can hardly think of it without my eyes growing heavy with grateful tears, and my pleas lifting to the Lord on behalf of those longing to have a similar story…      Why me? I still wonder. Only God knows, and I remain humbly in awe.      Today I’m on a trip […]

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It’s After Easter… Now What?

It's After Easter.... Now What? How to grow in your new Easter-found faith. SmellingCoffee.com

So, the grave was empty –  Praise the Lord!  Death no longer has the victory! Jesus has conquered the grave forever!  Satan and his minions have no authority over those who belong to Christ Jesus!!! A men!!!  The enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus… He came so that we might have real and […]

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What Easter Means to Me {An Original Poem}

What Easter Means To Me. An original poem by SmellingCoffee.com

  What Easter Means to Me A fresh start. A clean heart. Forgiven pasts. True Love that lasts. A Holy embrace. A face to Face. Man’s Peace restored forevermore. Love far and wide – for me, His bride. The Savior Divine, forever mine. No longer blind, now Christ I see. That’s what Easter means to […]

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Thoughts on This Silent Saturday

The Lord awoke me with these thoughts four years ago, and I typed them because I can type faster than I can write. I thought these were meant for my prayer journal only, but as He often does, God’s plans trumped mine. So I offered them here. Raw. Unedited. Straight from my heart to the […]

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7 Miracles of Good Friday

The Seven Miracles of Good Friday. SmellingCoffee.com

  A blessed Good Friday to you, my friends! What are you doing today to wrap your minds and hearts around this tragedy-turned-beauty we celebrate today? Me? I will continue to soak in the scriptures of Jesus’ last week and try to keep an attitude of gratitude for the intense mercy and love that Jesus […]

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