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Wednesday Devotional: We Are His

Going off of the post from last Wednesday, He Knows You, we will look in Isaiah today, which tells us that God created us, formed us, redeemed us and calls us by name. If this statement doesn’t prove He knows us, I’m not sure what does?

Isaiah 43:1 says, But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'”

We do not have to be afraid because God knows us by name. He is our Comforter and He cares for us. He is for us and He loves us.

We should fear the Lord because we sin, but because we have been redeemed by Him, we no longer need to be afraid. Jesus fulfilled his promise to buy us back with the payment of His own body. He made up for our sins. He exchanged His life for our salvation! We are His! By grace He chose us! By grace He saved us! By grace He called us back to Himself. By grace He forgave us! We are His, friends!

God, thank you for choosing me! Forgive me of my sins. Remind me daily You call me by name. Help me to never forget of your redemptive love You pour over me daily. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Wednesday Devotional: Beauty Isn’t Everything

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!

 

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Living the Missionary Life: What you need to know.

What to Know About Missionary Life

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.

Jesus is Lord

Jesus is Lord. Do you know what that means? As stated by Webster, lord is a person who has authority, control or power over others. So do you give Jesus the authority over your life? Do you give Him control or do you take control over your life? Do you give Jesus power when you are making decisions?

If you were to die today, would Jesus know you? I’m not talking about “know you” like you know your child’s teacher or the girl that bags your groceries at the store, but does Jesus know who you are? Does he know your vulnerabilities, your heart, your being? Do you allow Him to know you intimately?

Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples, obviously held Jesus at a pretty high regard, or he would have never followed Him as fervently as he did, but in the Bible, Judas never called Jesus his Lord. We can see this play out as Judas betrays Jesus and turns him over to the authorities, who later beat and kill Jesus, but Judas never gave his life to Jesus. He saw Jesus as Rabbi or teacher, but not as Lord. So do you see Jesus as a teacher or do you see Him as your Lord?