Sorry to miss last Wednesday’s post. I had some things going on, and honestly was just too exhausted to get something up. I missed you all though!
Today’s verse is one I really need to be focusing on right now. In the middle of this crazy thing we call life, this verse is a great reminder. I hope it helps you out in some way too!
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15
I love that Jesus said he knows us just as God the Father knew Him. Think about it…Jesus the Son of God, who was there from the very beginning with God, when God created everything, Jesus was there. When God started to reveal His plan for saving His children, Jesus was there. When God flooded the Earth, Jesus was there. The relationship between Jesus and God is the closest relationship ever possible. We truly can’t even grasp how close the Trinity are together in Their knowledge of one another.
So this statement Jesus makes is such an amazing statement! He is telling you that He knows you intimately. He is telling you that He will always be with you. He is telling you that He understands your problems, and He knows the solution! Wow! Let this fact sink in for a minute!
For me, it’s so refreshing to know that Jesus knows us. He knows when we are going through a rough patch. He knows when we are down. He knows when we are afraid. He knows each one of us intimately!
So we must take all our problems, worries and difficulties to Him in prayer. He is there for us and He has the answers to everything we are going through. Don’t put your trust, faith and hope in anything else, put it in the Great and Almighty God!
God, thank you for knowing me and still loving me. Forgive me for taking this for granted. Pour out your love on me daily. Help me to remember that you know and love me intimately. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Like I wrote in last week’s Wednesday Devotional, Beauty Isn’t Everything. A person’s appearance doesn’t display what’s in their heart! Someone can have the most beautiful body, but the ugliest attitude. Another person might dress like a slob, but have the most amazing personality.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'”
In today’s world, we often lift up the most masculine man or the most beautiful woman, but God is telling us these things are meaningless to him. We idolize the strongest, toughest, fastest men there are, but if their heart is not pure, God will reject them. Women look at other women, who have the skinniest, tallest, most tone bodies and strive to look like them, but God does not see us the way we view each other. Self-image consumes men and women of our age.
But God only thinks about our inner beauty! Thank you, Lord! He doesn’t worry about what we look like on the outside; He only cares about whats in our hearts!
Outward appearance will not predict whether or not one will obey the Lord, but the actions from his heart are the only true measures of his obedience to God.
It is natural for us to judge people outwardly, but we need not be so quick to judge them in this flesh.
This week, try to stop judging people so harshly by what we can merely see of them on the outside. Begin to look into their heart before putting them on a platform or pushing them off a cliff. God is the only judge of the heart, so let’s begin to view others as God would view them.
God, thank you for looking at my heart instead of my outward appearance. Forgive me for judging people based on superficial standards. Help me begin to look inward to people’s hearts instead of merely at their outward appearance. Help me to notice the good works you have placed in them and help me to be encouraging. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Parenting is hard and there is no manual to tell us how to do it! You always here about the terrible twos, but how about those though 3 year old years that follow? Year 3 is hard too! Here are some tips to survive raising a 3 year old (and can help with 2 year olds too)!
Routine is key. Not only does routine help children learn about time and developing healthy habits, it also gives them a sense of security.
Help you children by developing a morning routine and a bedtime routine. Have structured meals where they know what to expect and when to expect it. Have a consistent childcare routine, so they will feel secure with whoever they are with or have structured playdates, so the child is aware of the schedule. Routines do not have to be boring. You can schedule a family movie night, like we do each week or pick a date night for your son once a week.
Routines do not have to be bland to promote consistency, but they do establish security and safety in children’s lives.
Always have snacks! I admit it…today I forgot snacks! Big mistake! As soon as we arrived at our destination, I heard, “Mommy, I want a snack!” Oops! Mom Fail!
Physically, toddlers’ stomachs are smaller, so they cannot eat enough food at regular mealtimes, so snacks are important to make sure they get enough food throughout the day. They provide them with the healthy energy they need to make it through the day. Let’s face it, no one wants a hangry kiddo! They are absolutely no fun!
However, don’t just give your kids any kind of snack under the sun though; make sure you are giving them a healthy snack to replenish their energy and promote good eating habits. This can also be a good time to introduce new foods to your child because they can choose whether or not they want it.
Like I mentioned above, snack time is part of our routine. My kiddos get a snack in the morning and after their nap in the afternoon. They expect it, and they enjoy it!
Let them sleep. Research shows that 3 year olds need 10-13 hours of sleep. Sleep helps your child’s body be able to physically grow. Research has also been linked to children lacking sleep becoming overweight because often when they are not sleeping, we offer them something to eat. Sleep also helps your child’s body to fight off germs. It can reduce accidents and injuries because when a child is more rested, he is more alert, and less prone to injury.
Show them you love them. Physical touch is a way we tell our children you love them. We can tell them and we can show them by snuggling them and giving them hugs.
Hugs are even an important part of discipline. Giving your child a hug after you have disciplined him doesn’t tell him his behavior is okay (he will realize it is not because of the discipline), but it shows him that no matter what he does, you will always love him.
Surviving the 3 Year Old Year can be quite challenging, but by surviving it, you will build a stronger relationship with your little sweetie, and it will all be worth it in the end!
If you turn on the television, you are immediately whacked in the face with the world’s view of appearance. From advertisements with skinny women, weight loss products, to how to grow longer eyelashes. You name it, and someone on TV will tell you what you need to do to become a more beautiful you.
However, despite all these ads and other people’s opinions of what beauty really is, deep down we know that beauty isn’t everything. Beauty doesn’t give you a good attitude. It doesn’t make you any less prone to death. It doesn’t save you from hell. Outer beauty is not the same thing as inner beauty.
Beauty is also fleeting, meaning it will not last forever. Watch out because those wrinkles are coming, and like it or not, that body will eventually start sag!
Proverbs 31:30 tells us, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
God looks at our inner person, and we need to be doing the same. We need to do the same for ourselves and start looking at the inside of others.
The world tells us to focus on our outward appearance, but we need to spend our time focusing on our innards. We can spend all the time we want to in the gym getting skinny and spending all our money on the most beautiful makeup we can afford, but none of that really matters because one day it will all vanish! We won’t be able to take it to the grave with us. Should we exercise to stay healthy? Sure! Is it okay to wear makeup? Yes! However, God is looking at our heart, not our figure or our made-up face! He is looking for a relationship with us. He already knows what we look like because He created us, but He wants us to know Him more and more! He wants us to seek His face!
Let’s be women who fear the Lord and not women who fear the judgment of others. Let’s make our hearts confident in God. Let’s be content in the body and life that God has given us.
Our faith in God is what makes us beautiful, not some ever changing worldly status. God desires our faith even when we believe no one desires our outward beauty. God thinks we are beautiful because He created us in His image. True beauty comes from running hard after God. So lace up your running shoes of faith and start running hard after God!
God, thank you for making me beautifully in Your image! Forgive me for forgetting this fact too often! Radiate your beauty inside me, so it pours out onto others. Help me to notice my beauty every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For another take on this topic check out this link too!
If you missed last week’s Wednesday Devotional, don’t forget to check it out here!
Okay, you got me, I chose to take my children in the middle of the ocean by speedboat to go to one of the most beautiful island destinations in the world. Nope that’s not the reason! Even though the beautiful island and crystal clear ocean were an added bonus! But no! Going to a new beautiful destination is not the reason I chose to go on a speeding boat across the open ocean!
The first reason I chose to take my children across the ocean was because I want to raise brave, fearless kids. (Read my husband’s take on that topic here.) I want them to know they can do things that might seem scary, and I want to model it for them. We went swimming in the ocean, which my daughter was not too fond of, but she did it! She overcame her fear and went in the water with Mommy! I want them to learn how to face their fears and handle scary situations in the future by helping them do it now. When I encourage them to handle their fears while I, or my husband, walk along side them, they learn how to face their fears at a much younger age allowing them to continue to do it as they get older.
My husband and I are both are very comfortable with water. Our kids are around water often. We knew the safety factors as well as the risk factors present with taking our children out into the open water on a speedboat, and we believed we could handle the situation and our children could too. We prepped them before the trip and talked to them about being brave even if it was a little scary, and they both did so great!
Another reason I decided to take my children across the open ocean on a speedboat was for experience. Some of my favorite memories from growing up are traveling with my family and the many experiences I was able to be exposed to growing up. There aren’t many children that can say they have been able to do things our children have already gotten to do either. On this trip, we went snorkeling, which was an amazing experience for my kiddos, and they loved it! They were so brave to look into the water at the fish and were not afraid of the fish at all! This experience was an amazing one for them!
The last and most important reason I chose to take my children on a speedboat across the open ocean was to teach them about trusting God. Our faith lies within God. We know He knows the number of days we have on this earth, and we cannot be scared or worry about those days. Going across the ocean also allows us to show our children the vastness of God’s creation as we travel across the ocean showing them how big the ocean and the sky that God created are. We can also tell them God made the waves and is in control of them. We teach them to not fear because God will keep us safe and protect us. Just tonight in the car, our daughter was telling us how God keeps us safe and protects us! Our children are learning these things not just because we tell them, but because they are experiencing it!
Don’t get me wrong, I prayed while we were on that boat! I prayed for my children to be brave, for the waves to be calm and for us to have a safe trip. Traveling across the ocean on a speedboat with my 2 little loves was a bit anxiety provoking, but I know my God is a big God and He is in control of everything.
We had a great trip and we got to see a new piece of God’s beautiful earth!
Hi! I am so glad you are joining me for this Wednesday’s Devotional! I am excited about this one because I am doing something a little different today! I hope you enjoy!
Colossians 1:3-8 says, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing -as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.”
In Colossians, Paul is writing to fellow believers encouraging them to continue to grow in their faith, thanking God for the growth they have and praying growth will continue to happen among them.
So today, I am going to do something a little different, instead of sharing something with you, I am going to share how I am praying in light of reading these verses.
Today, I am praying for you, who is reading this right now, thanking God for you. I am praying that you will understand God has a plan and a purpose for your life.
I am praying for you if you are not a Christian, that you will come to understand who God is, and He will change your life! I am praying you will begin to search for information about this God and Jesus that I am writing about.
I thank God for those of you reading this who already know Him. I thank Him for saving you. I thank Him for your faithfulness to Him. I thank God you are sharing your faith with others. I thank God you are searching out answers to the questions you have about your faith in order to grow stronger in Him.
I thank God that He protects us from false Christianity, and He gives us guidance on Biblical truths.
Thank You God for the people You have placed in each of our lives, who told us about You! Thank You for the people You send all over the world to share Your love with people who would otherwise have no chance of hearing it. Thank You for growing your kingdom because of the bold soles who are faithful to going where You send them.
God, I pray for the many people in Thailand, where I live, that they would be able to hear the Word of God and believe it!
I thank God for heaven! Thank You, God, that we will be able to live with you in heaven for eternity, and we are not forever thrown into an unimaginable, heart wrenching hell that we so deserve! Thank You for Jesus and Your gift of grace.
God, thank you for the many people you have placed in my life. Thank you for those who taught me about the Gospel and those who continue to teach me. Thank you for those you entrust me with to teach the Gospel. Forgive me for not always being intentional in teaching the Gospel to the people You place in my path. You deserve all the credit and thanksgiving for everyone who believe in You. Use me as a tool to share Your love to those You place in my path. Give me the eyes to see the people you put in my path. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now I want to ask you to join me in praying for those God is laying on your heart right now? Maybe it is a friend? Maybe it is a group of people? Thank God for the people He has placed in your life and for giving you eternity with Him.
Know you will never change the world. We all think we are going to go into a country and start to see hundreds of people come to follow Jesus. We think we are going to make a huge difference. If you think you can change the world, then you already have your priorities all out of sorts. Only Jesus can change the world! We are merely his tools that he has called to be faithful to His plan.
Know you will not become a superhero. Foreign missionaries are no greater than the people living in the town they were born in and sharing the Gospel there. I believe we are all missionaries no matter where we live. If we are a Christian, the Great Commission calls us to “GO” where ever we are. Sometimes we get labeled as these super Christians when the reality is that we fight sin everyday just like everyone else.
Know you can’t do it better than the locals. You don’t really know what is best for a country you haven’t lived in for your entire life. Americans like to think we know what is best, and we can carry out the best strategy, but just because it works for Americans in America does not mean it works exactly the same way in every country. We are so arrogant to walk into a country and think we can change this and change that without even thinking of the cultural expectations and norms we know nothing about! We are incapable of fixing other people or other cultures. Throwing money at people and problems are not the best solutions to sharing the Gospel. We must listen to the locals and work with them in order to understand how to be effective in sharing the Gospel with them. Is this hard? Of course, I am American too! But the more I live overseas, the more I can see the value in this lesson time and time again.
Know it will not be easy. You will miss family. You will miss certain foods. (Sorry, but Thai food is not my favorite!) It will be hard living here because people back “home” will not fully understand your life here. This new life will shape you in ways others may not be able to understand. Your friends lives back “home” will move forward, which will make visits hard too! Sometimes this can seem like you have been forgotten by others too! You might also feel lonely living in a foreign country. You will miss out on things back “home” too-birthdays, family get togethers, weddings, funerals.Cultural differences are hard to integrate when moving to another country. You might even have to learn a new language, and trust me, in adulthood, this is not easy! It can also be hard to find the place where you fit in. The conditions you live in might not be what you are used to. Our kiddos have to share a room because we live in an apartment. Ministries will not go exactly as you envision them. Your heart might break at the poverty you see as you try to process what you can do to overcome this problem, even though you know you never will be able to do so. Your children’s lives will be difficult and this will be difficult to watch. You will have to raise funds for you whole family to live on. There will be many tears.
Know flexibility is not an option. We go in with a certain mindset, a certain strategy, and then we get slapped in the face. Nothing goes the way we think it will, our strategies and methodologies maybe don’t work like we think they should. If you want to fail and become miserable then just keeping trying to push that round peg into that square hole. We must be flexible because change will happen, over and over again. If you are unwilling to change, then damage will be done.
Know you might not find friends like you have at “home”. Never assume that you and your mission team will become best friends. This was a hard lesson I had to learn. For some this works out and for others it does not. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some great friends here in BKK, but starting at square one in adulthood building friendships is hard! You come to a new country, with a different culture and different stresses, and you might not have any friends to turn to help you. It can be difficult, it can be lonely, and it can be stressful.
Know financial stability is not a given. We live on support given to us by other people. Missionaries walk by faith that God will provide for them financially and sometimes that doesn’t meet the expectation one has in mind. Missionaries need money to survive just like any other Joe out there. Take it from me, missionaries hate asking for money. We struggle with being judged for raising funds, how we use our money and we are judgmental of ourselves for the same guilt-ridden reasons. It might seem like a walk in the park to live off of other people’s donations, but trust me, it is not!
Know you will never be the same again. “Home” is not home. You basically don’t have a real home, where you live is a foreign culture to your own but you have already left your culture. People living at “home” will never understand all that you have been through. They have not seen what you have seen, experienced what you have experienced. Then when you try to explain it to them they either don’t understand or just don’t care. In your new country you will make friends, and then before you know it it will be their time to leave to return to the States or go somewhere else. You will grow accustomed to the rats, cockroaches and mosquitos. I know I have! Your version of life will never be the same. When you return back to your family after living overseas for a year, you will not be the same person. Change is unavoidable living overseas.
This scripture is a tough one, so let’s dive right into it! There is also so much packed into this short passage, so read Luke 6:27-31 below.
“But I say to you who hear, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from the one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
These verses start out with a BANG! It starts by saying, I should do good to those who hate me! Wait a minute…I have to be nice to those who HATE me? He is not just saying that I don’t have to hate them back, refuse to retaliate and just ignore them; He is calling us to do GOOD things toward them. Seriously? Yes, seriously, but He doesn’t just stop there…
After He tells us to “do good to those who hate” us, then He tells us to “bless those who curse” us. A blessing is giving God’s favor to another person. But doesn’t it really feel much better for us to ask for God to bless or have favor on a person, rather than heap burning coals on their head? If we really think about it, I think our answer would almost always be “Yes.”
But wait…He is still not done yet…He asks us to pray for those who mistreat us. Pray for them that their attitude would change and they would repent from their sin. Okay, that might be a little easier.
Still He keeps going…if someone slaps you in the face, you should turn to them the other one! Okay, that might be one of the most radical things I have ever been asked to do. If someone slaps me in the face, the last thing I would want to do is turn to the other side and let them do it again! However, Jesus isn’t necessarily talking about a true slap in the face, but in Biblical days, a slap in the face was an act of insulting another person. This illustration is used to tell us if someone insults us, we should not retaliate or insult them back. It is basically saying, if someone insults you, just do not respond. Okay, now that it is broken down in that way, I think I can handle it a little better. Bite my tongue. Got it!
There is still more…He says if someone takes your clothes, give them more. We must give to others even if they are mistreating us. It is hard to give to people who mistreat us, but Jesus is telling us not only to give, but to give even more than what they take from you.
Then, He says give to everyone who asks, and if they take something from you, don’t ask for it back. How do I give to everyone who asks? This scriptures seems to say this, but when we cross reference it with other scriptures, we see that we are to give to those who ask, but not those who do not work for themselves. This passage also shows us to live above worldly standards, so when someone asks for something from you, we should not turn around and ask for something just because we have given something. We should place less value on possessions, so if someone asks for something from us, we would not be so concerned with getting them back.
One final thing these scriptures tell us is to do to others as you would want them to do to you. It’s much more than not doing something if we don’t want someone to do to us. We have to go beyond this thought and do nice things for others as opposed to simply refraining from doing negative things to them. You want to be treated nicely, right? Lovingly? You wouldn’t just settle for someone not treating you negatively, would you? You would want them to care for you and love you instead of just existing in your space not giving any niceness and love back to you. To take it a step further, we are called to make the first move. We cannot just sit back passively waiting for people to “do unto us”. We have to be proactive in doing to others.
This is what Jesus calls us to do-Love God & Love Others. So let’s get busy loving others by doing good to them, praying for others, biting our tongues, giving generously and showing an unmistakable Christ-like love.
God, thank you for loving me. Forgive me for not loving others the way I should. Pour out your love for others through me. Help me to give my love generously to others. Help me to pray for others even when I don’t want to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Welcome to this week’s Wednesday Devotional! I’m glad your here! Today, we will look at Romans 12:9-10.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
What does brotherly affection mean? Let’s take a closer look at it. Affection means to
It is attaching oneself like family
It is the emotion of giving one’s love to another above all else
It is an intentional act of serving others
It is emotionally giving to others spiritually
It is having hope and faith in others
It is fervently praying for others
And it is sharing what you have with those who need it
We are to love one another like we are family and pour out our emotions both mentally and spiritually all over each other. We are to serve others and hope the best for them. We are to be praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ and sharing what we have with them when they are in need.
Think about how you love your family. Do you love them based on conditions? No, you love them because you are family. When a family member messes up, you still love them. You aren’t surprised when they disappoint you, so you keep on loving. We realize our family will likely let us down now and again, but we love them through those times. However, we tend not to view our Christian brothers and sisters as we view our biological brothers and sisters. We get all caught up in our emotions and write off our spiritual brothers and sisters as quick as we can turn around after they hurt or disappoint us forgetting we are all a part of the family of Christ. We all have our weak spots, and we will all stumble from time to time because we are not perfect, but we have to turn the other cheek like we do when our family member falls short of the expectations we place on them.
In these moments, when we are let down, we need to pick up our brothers and sisters instead of cutting them out. We need to serve them and show them a Christlike and brotherly attitude as opposed to writing them off as unworthy and not worth the fight. We are a family, and we should be building each other up spiritually as opposed to running in the other direction abandoning our relationships with one another.
This world is tough enough to live in with the non-Christians and nominal Christians tearing down our faith. We as a church, worldwide, need to be standing together and having hope and faith in one another. We need to pray for our Christian friends around the world to stand firm to care for each other with an unimaginable brotherly love.
My point is, we should not be assuming the worst in people. We should grant them the same grace we grant our biological brothers and sisters when they mess up. Let’s begin to give others the benefit of the doubt because wouldn’t we want the same in return?
What would it look like if we began to look at the best in people rather than the worst?
What would it look like if we began to praise others face to face rather than tearing them down behind their back?
What would it look like if we begin to go to others for clarification in a misunderstanding rather than assuming a false (often negative) judgment about them?
What would it look like if we began to bite our tongue instead of letting harsh words come out of our mouths?
What would it look like if we began to think about others feelings and not just our own?
We, as Christians, need to take seriously honor, respect and value for others. If we begin to take this seriously, we will only glorify the beauty of the cross even more.
God, thank you for the families you have placed us in. Forgive me for taking advantage of my family and the friendships you have provided me with. Pour out your love through me on every relationship in my life. Help me to treat others in the same way I want to be treated. Help me to love others in the same way you love me. Help me to learn to serve others before serving myself. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Parents have a serious grasp on what it means to be selfless, am I right? We get up in the middle of the night to feed our kids. We rearrange our entire house when they start walking to keep them from bumping into things. We play endless hours of catch because they love it. We risk our own lives to teach them how to drive! We sit for hours at practices and games to watch them play the game they love. We shell out loads of money when they want to go to college. We know selflessness.
If selflessness with our children comes so easily and naturally, why is it so hard in our other relationships? Why do we raise ourselves up to be higher than others? Why can we not be humble in the God given talents we have been given? Why are we not lifting others up more signifcantly than we are?
We as Christians are supposed to be making less of us and more of Christ-this is humility. When we pursue Jesus and pursue to be more Christlike, we will become selfless, and we will raise others up above us by thinking more often of others and less often of ourselves.
We need to start viewing other people as more important than ourselves. We need to look out for their interests rather than simply our own. That’s what Jesus did, right? He died for me and for you! That is the most selfless acts I can think of EVER!
Do you look out for the interests of others? Do you ask them how they are spiritually? Do you ask them about their marriage? Do you know how things are going at their job? Do you know how to pray for them? Do you want them to succeed?
If we can make these actions happen, what a difference we could make in the world! Think about how different your life would look to others if we simply looked out for the interest of others.
God, thank you for Jesus’ example of what it looks like to be selfless. Forgive me for putting others above myself. Help me to put others’ interest above my own. Help me to want others to succeed even more than I want myself to succeed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.