Wednesday Devotional: God’s Love

What is your view of God? Is He a God of wrath? Or is He a God of love?

Ephesians 2:4-7 gives us a picture of who God is. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in  Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

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Sure, God is a God of wrath. If we are not His child, we are His enemy, but if we follow Him, He loves us and pours out His mercy on us. We cannot do anything to deserve His love, but He chooses to save us by grace through Jesus Christ! Thank you, Lord!

We do deserve God’s wrath, “But God” sends us Jesus, so that we can be united with God again in Heaven! The verses above tell us we are raised up and seated with Jesus in the heavenly places. This verse means we are citizens of heaven when we become a Christian! That is so amazing! So if we know we are citizens of of heaven, then we must live like it each and every day. We must live like we are living in heaven today.

Friends, it will take us all of eternity to understand just how much God loves us, and then, I’m not sure we will even be able to fully understand! This is how much He loves us!

If you are a Christian, and you see God as a wrathful God and not a loving God, search God’s Word for His promises for His children and see if you view changes.

God, thank you for loving me. Forgive me for not living a life like You love me. Radiate Your love through me. Help me to love others as you love me, and help me to always remember how much you love me. Thank you for saving me, God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

A short devotional about God's love for us!
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Birthday Gifts for a Fabulous 4 Year Old Girl

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My daughter’s birthday is coming up next month, so I have been looking into what to buy her. She is turning 4! Whoa! Where did the past 4 years go? She is fabulous, and I can’t wait to celebrate her 4th birthday!

Birthday Gift Ideas
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In our house, we buy gifts to celebrate the life of the child God has given us! Hooray! Thank you, God, for my beautiful little girl (who is not so little anymore)! I love just being able to celebrate how special this little girl is to me and her daddy and how amazing God made her!

#1 on the list is something she requested-a Barbie! Yes! I LOVED Barbies growing up, so I am so excited she asked for this item for her birthday! And, of course, I wanted to be the one who buys her 1st Barbie!

Here is just a simple Barbie for your Barbie lover. I will most likely be buying this Barbie for my sweetie’s 4 birthday!

I also loved the Holiday Barbies growing up, so this one would be great for a birthday gift, or even a Christmas present! She is absolutely stunning, as they all are!

Or this would be a fabulous birthday Barbie for your birthday girl! She is super cute too!

#2 Games! My daughter loves to play games, when I saw this game, I thought it would be perfect for her! This game is the Classic Candy Land game, but Disney Princess themed! So if your little Princess loves Candy Land and Princesses, this game is definitely for her! It looks like it is so much fun!

#3 a Bike. We recently got my daughter a bike, and she absolutely loves it. This bike would be a great birthday gift for your little love. This one is Pinkalicious, and it is really cute! This particular one is a 14 inch bike because my daughter is tall, and she would be able to grow into this one as well. This size bike is the one we bought for her, but there are also all sorts of cute 12 inch bikes out there if you think that would fit your daughter better. I also like this one because it seems pretty sturdy. What little girl won’t love a pink bike for her 4th birthday?

#4 Where’s Waldo? Type Books. These are oldies, but goodies! My daughter loves these type books, and we can spend so much time sitting together looking for Waldo. These books can be difficult, but they are still so much fun! We ended up losing these books in the past, so we hope to get some new ones soon!

#5 a themed Bed Set. My daughter is having a Hello Kitty party this year, so I couldn’t forget about something Hello Kitty in this post! This bed set comes with the comforter, bed skirt and pillow shams, but put it with some pink sheets and you have a super cute bed for a sweet 4 year old girl! The reviews for this one seem to be pretty good, and it seems like it would hold up pretty good. If you have a Hello Kitty fan in your life, like me, this gift would be great for her!

All of these would be great gifts for the fabulous 4 year old in your life!

If you have a 2 year old boy, don’t forget to check out my previous post on Birthday Gifts for the 2 Year Old Boy.

What did you get your 4 year old daughter for her birthday?

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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?

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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.'”

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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: He Knows Me

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!

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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

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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.


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Wednesday Devotional: Don’t Judge on Appearance

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.

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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.'”

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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. 

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Surviving the 3 Year Old Year

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)!

A Parents Survival Guide to the 3 Year Old Years
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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!

How di you survive Year 3?

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.

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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.”

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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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Why I Chose to Take My Kids Across the Ocean in a Speedboat

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.IMG_7781

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!

Speedboat trip
Phi Phi Island

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!

How do you raise your kids to be brave?

Why I took my kids across the ocean on a speedboat
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Wednesday Devotional: Prayers for You

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!

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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.”

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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.

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Missionary Life

If you are thinking about becoming a missionary, know missionaries or even have a preconceived notion of what it means to be a missionary, here are some things from a missionary you should know.

Know you will never change the world. We, as missionaries, 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. A foreign missionary is 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. Missionaries can be 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. As a missionary, 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. Missionaries 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. As a missionary family, 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. Missionaries 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.

What you Should Know About Missionary Life
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