Month: July 2016

Wednesday Devotional: Putting Others First

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. 

 

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Raising Children in Faith

If you follow my blog, which I hope you do, you know I am a woman married to a pastor, with a spunky little girl and her silly brother living in Bangkok trying to share God’s love with anyone who will listen! So to say we raise our spunksters in an environment filled with faith might even be an understatement! They are my 1st and foremost mission field!

I love Jesus, so I teach my sillies about Jesus because I want them to love him too! However, I also teach them to remember they don’t have to be perfect because no one, except Jesus, can ever be perfect! I teach them we are different. We live in a culture that is less than 1% Christian, so I don’t want them to grow up to believe Christianity is the only thing out there-and I know it’s not because we see Buddhism everywhere here. We always talk about other cultures and why the people here are visiting shrines and celebrate holidays that we do not. Ultimately, I want them to choose Christianity, not because I tell them to, but because, they know in their heart, Jesus is the only thing that can save them! So every time we talk about other cultures, we also talk about Christ. I want them to know it is okay to be different, to love Jesus and to stand up for what they believe in always!

My husband and my #1 goal in raising our children is to teach them to love God and love others. They don’t always get it right, and neither do we for that matter, but we try with all of our might to teach them this principle. We pray for them everyday that they will grow up loving God and loving people, and in the meantime, we try to teach them this idea everyday by example, activities and by correcting them. Through our actions, our children can see Christ’s love coming out of us. Through activities, we can teach them how to love others. Trough correction, we can teach them what not loving others looks like also. They also see us actively talking about Christ’s love with others, so we are not only directly teaching them, but indirectly teaching them. They can also see our love for Christ in the conversations we have with others. They also learn it is okay to talk about God with their friends because we aren’t ashamed to do so.

I also don’t depend on my church to teach my children. Yes, I plan our curriculum at the church, and sometimes I teach their class, but ultimately, it is my job to teach them about Jesus everyday. It will be the same when I send my children to school. It is not the school’s responsibility to teach my children everything they ever need to know about life and growing up or even to fully educate them on all matters. It is ultimately my job to oversee what they are learning and help them navigate through this life, and the same goes to their spiritual learning as well.

So, mamas and daddies, I am encouraging you to raise your children up in faith. Raise them to withstand the outside influences of this crazy world we are living in today. I am not telling you to shelter them, quite the opposite, actually, but be involved in their spiritual maturity raising them up in a faith they can stand strong in forever.

Wednesday Devotional: Petitioning God

In light of all the heavy things going on in the world right now, especially the “Black Lives Matter” vs. “All Lives Matter” vs “Police Lives Matter” vs “{Insert whatever you like} Lives Matter” (which I am not weighing in on), I thought this would be a good verse to look at this week. 

1 Timothy 2:1-2 are great verses to teach us about prayer. Let’s take a look at them before we start. 

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intersessions and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” ~1 Timothy 1:1-2

I think we should start by looking at some of the keywords in this verse.

Supplication means to ask for something or a petition for something.  

Prayer is being in communication with God.

Intercession refers to making requests on behalf of others. 

Thanksgiving is a way to give gratitude and be grateful to God.

The verses say we should be in communication with asking for our needs, asking for others needs, but not forgetting to be grateful for the things God has already given us. The Bible tells us we should do this for ALL PEOPLE and on behalf of ALL PEOPLE! This is whom we should pray for-all people! It is easy to pray for ourselves, for our family and for our friends, but the Bible is telling us to pray for everyone! This way of prayer includes the people we are in conflict with, people who are different than us and those who are leading us that we wish would just outright go away! We need to be praying for that annoying coworker and that girl that just won’t let go of the situation that happened last year when you accidentally said something you shouldn’t have said, even though you have apologized for it, and she still won’t let it go. 

Yes, it is easy to pray to God to continue to grow up your Christian friends, but what about your non-Christian friends? Are you praying for them? Are you praying fervently for your pastors to lead the church and flee from impure actions that we repeatedly shake our heads about? Are you spending all your time complaining about who the next President of the United States will be or are you praying for the state of our country and praying for whoever comes into office to lead well? Are you praying for the leaders of your country to make moral decisions that benefit the entire country instead of themselves or the elite few?

Let’s not forget to thank God for the people he has placed in our lives also! Take it a step further and thank God for those in our lives that make it difficult. God is sovereign, right? Give thanks for our leaders, even when we don’t agree with them. Thank God for specifically putting them in the position they are in. God knows what He is doing, even when we cannot grasp it. Thank God for the peaceful states our nations are in currently. 

Maybe it is time we step down off of our Christian high horses and do what God has called us to do, myself included. If we change our prayer life to a Biblical praying perspective, it could potentially save lives, churches, communities, our countries and our world. Prayer is powerful because God listens, and He answers our prayers when we believe He will. 

So, I ask you what changes do you need to make in your prayer life?

God, thank you for allowing us to have open communication with you. Forgive me for not using it in the way you have instructed me to do so. Pour out your love to those I pray for. Help me to remember to not only pray for those who are close to me, but to pray for those I often don’t want to pray for. God, I believe You will answer my prayers when I ask you. Thank you for loving me that much. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

 

Addressing Issues With Others

*I am so excited to start this new series and share it with you all! Please check back here every Wednesday for a weekly Wednesday Devotional! *

It is often hard to address issues we have with other people, even when those other people are our Christian brothers and sisters. However, the Bible is very clear in Matthew 18:15-20 that we must go to our brothers and sisters and address the issues.

Here is the verse laid out for you:

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” ~Matthew 18:15-20

These verses are intended to prohibit gossip and misunderstandings between the church body from happening. They are intended to bring unity among the body of Christ, instead of leaving holes and empty relationships.

Isn’t it easier for us to simply ignore a situation and stop talking to another person rather than going to them and addressing a tough issue? However, by addressing the issue, it allows us to build a stronger relationship with the other individual. It builds trust and promotes communication skills. It allows us to understand another person and their point of view and past experiences and soften our own hearts toward them. It furthers discipleship and provides an example of how we should live our lives according to the Bible.

Providing 2 or 3 witnesses as described in verse 16, relates to the verse in Deuteronomy 19:15, where the 2 or 3 provide a witness to the offense as to not wrongly accuse someone. Verse 16 sets up verse 17, where it states that if a person chooses to not repent, then, he or she should be treated as someone who rebels against God and should be thought of as an unbeliever and excluded from the church’s fellowship. Wow! These are seriously powerful words!

Jesus is all about unifying his body of believers, so He wants to make this clear, even in these situations, and He reminds us He will always be present in these situations.

Chances are you have issues that need to be addressed with others, and what an impact it can make on your life, your relationships with others and, most importantly, your relationship with God if you choose to talk about it with the other person. So who do you need to go to address these issues with?

Let me close with a prayer:

God, thank you for the many relationships you have placed in my life. Forgive me for allowing misunderstandings and gossip to get in the way of my relationships with others and my relationship with You. Help me to be bold in addressing these situations in my life. Help me to have the courage to go to those I know I need to address tough issues with. I long to unify relationships in order to glorify You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

 

 

Birthday Gifts for the 2 Year Old Boy

So my little man is turning 2 years old this month, so as I was doing some research on what to get him for a “big gift”, I thought I would share some gift ideas I found for 2 Year Old Birthday Boys!

Here in Bangkok, we are right smack dab in the middle of rainy season, so little man needs a raincoat. What little person doesn’t like wearing a raincoat or rain boots in the rain? Anyway, I was thinking a super cool raincoat like a superhero one. Check out this cute Batman Raincoat! His cuteness is sure to be enhanced by this heroic raincoat. I will be looking for my little guy something similar to this one!

We were talking recently with my daughter and son about what kind of activities they wanted to play when they get older, and my son said he wanted to play basketball, so here is one of the best selling Basketball Goal out there all the little guys will love! This one even grows with your son as he gets older, so it will grow with him and last a while. These type of toys are also great with developing motor skills and hand eye coordination for the littles.

My nieces and nephews had a train they rode that my daughter used for her 2nd birthday party, so if you have space big enough for this Train, it will be a hit for your little dude! And of course, this one is Thomas! You can also buy extra tracks to go along with this one, and it can be used indoors or outdoors. It can also go off the tracks, so you can ride it around the house, the neighborhood, park or wherever your little guy’s heart desires! It is also Fisher Price, so you can be assured that it will be dependable.

For sure, this Truck needs to be on your summer wish list or birthday list for you little boy! This truck is a new take on a classic toy car. This one is also good quality because it is Little Tikes brand.

This toy needs to be on your summer wish list or your little man’s birthday list for next summer. This cute little Lawnmower will have your little guy helping out in the yard and keeping him occupied while daddy (or mommy) is cutting the grass! It’s got many cool features too, such as a pull starter like a real push mower!

Here is another classic, and everyone loves a Slide, including my son. If you have a big enough space it can even be used indoors, and of course outdoors too. It folds up easily making it easy to carry, so if you have enough space inside or in your garage, you can use it when it is hot, cold, in the rain or when the sun is shining!

Tunnels are also such a fun toy for tots too! We use these in our Preschool Class at church and all the kids absolutely love it! Tunnels are so good at creating imaginative play for toddlers as well. These are nice too because they can fold up small for storage, but pop right out when you want to play with them with no assembly required! The price on this one is great too!

Sand and water tables are also great gifts for the little guys. They provide endless entertainment. My children love anything to do with water, and if you add sand, it is an extra bonus! The table mentioned above, comes with an umbrella too, which makes it great for outdoor use, and it also comes with additional toys!

Every boy needs a Car Play Mat! It, too, can provide continued fun for your little guy! We already have one of these, and my son loves it! This mat can also be used for learning about cars, neighborhoods, sharing, resecting others and many other lessons as well!

Since I have a daughter, we have tons of baby dolls in our house, so my son, wanting to be like his big sister, sometimes wants to play with her babies. We have this Boy Doll that makes it much more bearable for my husband to allow him to play with dolls. His name is “FuFu” in our house. If you have a little dude that wants to be just like his sister or just likes to play with dolls, this is a good option for the little guys! In addition to the clothing, it comes with a velcro diaper and a magnetic pacifier, which both my son and daughter love! This would be a great gift from mom, dad, grandparents or even friends!

Okay, this one may be more for mom, but maybe your little man might love it too! A Toy Chest to put all of his new cars, balls and other toys he receives for birthday gifts in, and it could probably even hold some of those new big toys he gets too! It is also nice because it has 2 smaller storage bins underneath to hold some of the smaller toys your little man may have. The price on this one is pretty reasonable as well.

He is also going to need a new Backpack to carry around all of his new toys. My son really loves backpacks and dogs, so this one is super cute for that dog loving boy in your life too! I love the Skip Hop brand also because there things are so durable!

I hope you find this useful in your quest for finding the perfect gift for the 2 year old guy in your life!

What is your best gift idea for the littles in your life?

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*This post contains affiliate links. You can see my Disclosure Statement here.

 

 

Feeling Thankful

I know I have done a post like this one in the past, but I think it is so important to remember the things we are thankful for and not take them for granted.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Christian or non-Christian, it is always good to remember what you are grateful for  in order to appreciate everything in this beautiful life.

After spending a week at an orphanage a few weeks ago in a village outside of Bangkok, I have continued to think about all the things I am thankful for. They had limited running water to save money, the did not have hot water to shower with, and we slept on mattresses on the floor with mosquito nets to keep out the mosquitos. None of these things truly bother me, but it does make me thankful for all the things I do have.

Anyway, here is the short list of the things I am thankful for:

  • The Bible that teaches me God’s truth and how to apply it in my life
  • Our church-here in Bangkok, in America and in Brussels
  • Those that serve in our church here at LifePoint BKK
  • The lovely ladies who make our Women’s Ministry so enjoyable
  • Our leaders-of America, of Thailand, of our church-both here and in America (no matter your opinion of them, they are still so brave to stand up and lead despite the many harsh criticisms they often receive, especially in America-let’s pray for them, shall we?)
  • Our supporters, who allow us to live and do ministry in this beautiful country
  • My husband to do this crazy journey with
  • Our family
  • Our friends both near and far
  • My funny kiddos
  • My family’s health-thankfully our family is healthy with no health issues
  • Other bloggers, who make this blogging journey a little easier and much more fun
  • Western food in Thailand (Thank you, God!)
  • Laughter, especially my kids
  • Internet to be able to talk to our family and friends across the ocean
  • Fruit-it just tastes so good
  • Hot water-I love a H-O-T-T shower
  • A comfy bed to sleep in at night
  • Running water to cook, wash and flush (all important things to me!)
  • Electricity that runs 24/7 (we did not have reliable electricity in Haiti), so that I can stay in contact with my family & blog

What are some things you are thankful for in the crazy, beautiful mess we call life?

My Boba and a Warning for Forward Facing Baby Wearing

I am not like a huge activist for baby wearing or anything like that, it is just truly what has made my life easier living here in Bangkok. Traveling around Bangkok with 2 littles in tow can present quite a challenge sometimes. I previously posted about our methods of transportation here, and since little miss can walk, I typically carry my son everywhere we go. It is so much easier to carry him than let him walk. We have lived in Bangkok about 18 months, and since that time, he has pretty much been in a carrier everywhere we go, but those days are coming to an end, and I am starting to grieve the loss of my Boba and carrying my little man!

Anyway, I wanted to share with you just how awesome the Boba is since I have been using it religiously since my son was about 6 months old-like there are rarely days that go by without me using it.

It is great for littles and bigs alike. My son will be 2 years old next month, and I still carry him all the time! For the littles it comes with a hood that you can strap above their head to keep their head in place, to keep them hidden from germs and to make it dark so they can sleep! The Boba also gives you Organic teething pads that you can unsnap and throw in the washing machine that are easy to clean as opposed to having to throw your whole carrier in the washing machine! They also send you a carrying bag, but I have never used it!

It is also nice because it seems to be lightweight and breathable. It is HOT in Bangkok, and my son and I both don’t mind wearing it all over town. It is comfortable too. There are days, when we explored the city, that I would wear my son for hours because he was too little to walk.

carrier
Baby wearing on the back.

I LOVE this baby carrier and would recommend it to anyone! My husband even wears it quite comfortably when he carriers my son too!

Check out all the details of how to get your Boba here.

I also wanted to share with you about forward facing baby wearing because I think it is so important, and many people don’t even know there is anything wrong with it. Please, please, please make sure you are wearing your baby correctly. With a Boba, and all other baby carriers, you can wear your child on the front or on your back. But NEVER wear your baby forward facing! Boba warns you to not do this because it is unsafe. I see so many women in Bangkok doing this, so if you are reading this and you wear your baby forward facing, please STOP.

Here are some reasons why I am asking you to stop wearing your babies forward facing:

  1. I beg you, please do not forward face your child in a carrier if he has no neck and head control! There is no neck or head support for a forward facing baby. Even when the child of any age sleeps in a forward facing position there is no neck or head support for this child.
  2. If your child is forward facing, their legs are not supported. If their legs are not supported correctly, it could interfere with their hip development.
  3. A child facing forward in carrier also has stress on his back. Since the child has nothing to hold on to while facing forward, it places all the pressure on his spine.
  4. Forward facing can also be overstimulating for children. A child who is facing toward his mother or father can take in the world at his own pace because he can hide his eyes and his ears when he needs to, but a baby that is facing forward does not always have this opportunity. This fact can cause the child to be overwhelmed and even fussy.
  5. You cannot see the child, so you are unaware of the external cues he is giving you. Wearing a child facing toward you also allows for more social stimulation for him and allows him to learn more because you can interact with him more efficiently. It also allows you to have eye contact with one another. Who doesn’t love having eye contact, especially babies? If they are forward facing it is also more difficult to see if they have spit up or are chocking on something as well.
  6. It is much more difficult for the person wearing the child. Naturally a child facing you wants to lean into you to be supported, but if the child is facing away from you, it makes it much more challenging to carry, which could also be causing you back strain or possibly a back injury.

Please don’t hear me shaming you if you wear your baby this way. Studies have shown that wearing babies in forward facing carriers is not the best option, and I just want to present you with the most accurate information I can.

*This post contains affiliate links. You can see my Disclosure Statement here.