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Monday, March 20, 2006

Movie Star...Free Painting...2 days of prayer...

***Ok…once again…another unintentionally LONG post.  Sorry guys it is 5 pages in WORD but will look like a mile long on the blog because it’s all shoved into one thin column…but I reviewed it and reviewed it and I’m just not going to cut anything…so I hope you have the time to read it…if not…maybe tomorrow?  Hehehe…love you guys!  

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You know the Thai people can never tell that Jude is a boy!  No matter how much blue I put that boy in I am always asked “poo – ying ru poo – chai?”  (girl or boy) and I say every time “Poo – chai ka.  Whella farang siy sii faa luuk ben poo – chai ka” (He’s a boy.  When westerners put their children in blue they are usually boys…)  Educating about farang (western) ways – one Thai at a time!!!  Hehehe…  

It is amazing how our children are fussed over.  Just yesterday we had decided to get some ice cream and as we made our way to our seats the whole restaurant was oooing and ahhhing at our children.  Josiah was dodging “jops” left and right.  A jop is when someone reaches out and pinches you, sometimes hard sometimes not, but almost ALWAYS on your cheeks and almost ALWAYS more than once or twice.  

We finally sat down and a lady brought Josiah a highchair (in which he did not want to sit) but I put him there anyway – but on his way into the chair his back scraped up against the not so child friendly back of the highchair and started crying and screaming.  Now everyone was REALLY staring.  I held him and calmed him down and we commenced in ordering our ice cream while all eyes remained on us.  

I really have a new compassion for movie stars….really.  It must be horrible life for them at times.  Always being stared at…pictures being taken all the time…speaking of pictures being taken….so we order our ice cream and it comes out and I get baby Jude out of his seat so he can look around (he was fussing)…and at this time some people literally turn around in their seats to stare and watch us.  Periodically the waitresses passing by “jop” Josiah’s cheeks…which frustrates him to no end.   We’ve learned there is no purpose in trying to tell them not to because it’s like a drive by jopping – and if you tell one person there are still 4-5 others who will get their “jop” in before we’re able to utter a word.  So you have to understand that we have to help Josiah and teach him to deal with this frustration.  

Can you imagine sitting there…minding your own business and someone walks up and pinches your cheek and then you get back to eating and then yet another person comes by and gets the other cheek and so on and so on???  Sometimes they will take whatever he has and hold it away from him so that they can get a rise out of him…on purpose.  I know this usually unthinkable but in Thai culture it is COMPLETELY normal.  Children’s feelings are not held in very high regard at all.  We try to encourage him to show the love of God and teach him that these people think that he’s cute and that they are just being nice but he doesn’t always agree.  

I continue to eat my ice cream the best I can when I’m being stared at…Don’t get me wrong we get this all the time...and for the most part we are adjusted to it and fine with it…it brings TONS of open doors but it’s just that this particular time there were many more people than usual and none of them exercised the normal restraint about staring.  So I’m holding baby Jude on my lap while shoveling the ice cream in rather ungracefully when I look up and find that…NOT ONE…but TWO tables have their camera phones out and are snapping pictures of me and Jude.

*ooopsss…I missed my mouth….ice cream dribbles down my chin*  I’m thinking to myself….uhh….do I smile and pose for the picture or do I keep eating???  Which camera do I look at….?  What would they do if I made a funny face at the camera?  Would they care if I turned around and stared at them while they ate?  Man…what would Jesus do in this situation?  LOL!  Why can’t I just eat my ice cream in peace?!?!?!  Ahhh well…I just pray we don’t end up on someone’s website or hanging on someone’s wall…that would be weird…

I’m used to the pictures being taken of Josiah…and sometimes of me...but mostly just the kids.  The thing is that – this love of our white skin and curiosity about us is exactly why we have open doors into so many lives and homes.  So when it is hard sometimes I just remind myself of that.  Plus…as hard as it is sometimes with our privacy being stripped from us – we’re here for the Thai people and this is part of our life here.  God gives us the grace we need to embrace this attention and not let it get to us.

After we finished we headed back to the car but on the way there was some art hanging up (I LOVE looking at painting and artwork) so we stopped to look.  I was taking my time looking at each work of art and I came upon one that just caught my affections instantly!!!  I just couldn’t stop staring at it…!!  I LOVED THIS PAINTING!   I would walk away and then come back to it…walk away and then come back to get one last look and then it occurred to me that I had my camera with me.  In America you usually can never take pictures of paintings…but I thought I would ask.

So I walked over to the table and asked if I could take a picture and to my surprise they said yes!!  So I gleefully walked over and snapped a couple pictures of this painting.  The price tag read: 5,000 baht which is about $125 dollars…We’ll at least I could look at it on my computer!!!   That’s good enough for me.  So we began to walk off and a Thai guy approached me and started saying something – and I couldn’t quite understand it.  Katherine was there and we deduced that he was saying if you buy one you could get one free.   But we were wrong…what he was saying was so hard to believe that we thought “There is no way we are understanding him correctly”.

He said that he wanted to give me the painting!!!!  I was shocked and a little embarrassed – my face turned red a little bit.  Katherine and John were being practical and saying ‘what does he want in return?  Does he want your phone number…what?’  But it turned out there were no strings attached!!!  I would normally have not accepted something like this but I LOVED THIS PAINTING!  I found out that he was the creator of this work of art and he wanted to give it to me for free!?!  He must have seen me pace in front of it…leave and come back to it and then take pictures of it.  I can genuinely say I appreciate his art.  

Anyway, we left and I kept thinking he was going to run out after us wanting his painting back.  What a blessing – we do not have one thing hanging on our walls (well, except for a picture that John taped up of him and his sisters)…they are all bare and white…I specifically feel from God that I am not supposed to spend money on decorating our home but that the money that God gives us goes to our ‘real’ needs.  But now I have been blessed and have a beautiful work of art that I LOVE to hang on our wall!!!  I’m blessed!!

I took many pictures that night of downtown and some of the things that have become completely normal to us.  Hey…I know this is long…but I haven’t written in a long time and I have lots to say – plus I know my Mom will keep reading!  I miss you more than I can say and love you Mom!  

I know it’s been a while – but I just want to tell you that the 2 day prayer time was incredible!  There was one specific revelation that I had while praying after reading some from a book by John Wesley.  John Wesley was talking about the deceitfulness of man’s heart.  I personally grew up thinking that initially everyone starts out good and that at the root of everyone there is good…but truly I was wrong.  I had been told that man was inherently deceitful by my own husband but something in me just kept saying “That can’t be…men are good deep inside…”  John would tell me that the heart of man is evil and I would just keep telling myself this can’t be true.  

So I was reading about what John Wesley said and he points out over and over in the Bible where it says CLEARLY that the heart of man is evil and deceitful.  Jer. 17:9 That we have a sinful nature (which I knew) and at the root of it all…we are inherently evil.  That is why children must be taught to behave, obey, think of others and be nice.  Even at a young age children are selfish, lie, and usually think only of themselves.  It comes naturally…I’m sure even you could agree with that.  It just naturally comes to us to think of ourselves first.  

So anyway, I realized that we are as close to God as we choose to be.  I’ve always known this to be true but not to this extent.  I know so many people at home (I have been one of them) who constantly says: “I will spend more time with God when….(fill in the blank).”  Example:  I will spend more time with God when my children start back to school.  I will spend more time with God next week when I’m not so busy at work.  I will seek after God more when American Idol and my favorite tv shows aren’t on anymore (Hahaha – that one is real).  I will spend time with God in the mornings once I get more sleep.  I will go to church once things aren’t so hectic.  

I will make time for God in my day once I…blah blah blah.   There were even something’s in my life that I said that about “Once I leave for Thailand and am on the mission field….then….ect. ect…”  but I found that I had to make a decision to conquer those things in my life…that going onto the mission field was just an excuse I was giving myself to put off being disciplined and to live by the truth that I know.  

The truth is that our hearts have deceived us.  For the most part we think we would do these things to draw closer to our creator if these things happened but the truth is that if we really wanted to do these things…we would do them.  If our hearts were truly hungry for God and truly wanting to seek after him we would MAKE the time.  On the other side of that excuse there is usually another excuse waiting to delay you…with your complete compliance of course.  

I know many people who desire to live their lives for God – because they know Jesus died on the cross for their freedom from sin – but yet they keep making excuses and they live day by day trapped in the same patterns and same life – refusing to let go of what they want for their lives for what God wants for their lives.  So with that being said…what do we do we do when we realize our hearts have deceived us and we are in all reality putting God in our lives off with every excuse…we repent (turn away from whatever it is that is keeping us from going after God’s will for our lives) and seek after God as if He is the very air that you breathe.  

Is Jesus’ death on the cross – the ultimate sacrifice – not worthy of your life?  I want to ask some of you…do you really believe this religion that you claim???  Do you really believe in the God of the Bible?  Do you even know what Jesus really says in the Bible?  Not just what someone has told you or what you heard when you went to church the two times out of the year that you go but the true words of  Jesus!?!  

Not what you learned at bible camp when you were a child…the REAL words of God!  Do you believe that there is a God that at this very moment (as you read these words) is interested in your life and has a plan for your life…a God that really sent his ONLY SON (I have two of them) to suffer a horrible death on the cross and to take our sins once and for all as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  Do you really believe it?  

I want to challenge you to ask yourself genuinely “If I were to die today and come face to face with God…do I know that I have truly given my life to him?  Can I say that I know Jesus?”  The word of God says:  (Matthew 7)
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
So that right there tells us that religion and doing good things alone will NOT get us into heaven – We MUST know our Savior and putting into practice what he has told us in the Bible:

 24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

Is your hope built on the solid rock foundation of Jesus or a sandy foundation?  Are you putting into practice the things he has taught?  Are you actively seeking God by praying, reading the Bible…going to church?  I honestly didn’t intend on writing all this but apparently it is for someone reading – even if it is for one person it is worth it.  

I want to leave you with some scriptures…and this: if you find that you don’t KNOW Jesus and you aren’t living your life for God and you don’t know what the Bible says…pray to God right now…be real…speak from your heart…and open up His word and dive in…His word is life…and you will not be disappointed.  (I recommend starting in John).  If you do not have a bible at home or at your disposal: www.biblegateway.com  

  • "Jesus said to him, I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6).

  • "If we confess our sins, He is Faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9).

  • "For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

  • "If you love Me, keep My Commandments" (John 14:15).

  • "And by this we do know that we know Him, if we keep His Commandments" (1John 2:3).

  • "But who keeps His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know that we are in Him" (1John 2:5).

  • "Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Words" (John 14:23).

  • "If you keep My Commandments, you will abide in My love" (John 15:10).

  • "For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous" [literally, not burdensome] (1John 5:3).

  • "Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His Glory with exceeding Joy, to the Only Wise God our Saviour, be Glory and Majesty, Dominion and Power, both now and for ever. Amen"(Jude 24, 25).

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOw, that was really good, it was convicting, thanks, i will go pray about what you wrote right now!!
Blessings,
someone you dont know

Chris said...

Hello! My name is Chris and this is my first time writing to you. I just want to say GOD BLESS YOU ALL over there. Never be sorry for what God has given you to write for us. It can be a mile long! Thank you for your accounts over there and for the praise reports! God bless you and your family and I pray protection for all of you and your friends in JESUS NAME!!

The Blakes said...

Thank you for taking the time to write Chris and thank you for your encouraging words!! You made my day! May God bless you too!!!

Andy said...

Wonderful post. What your family is doing in Thailand is amazing - you can see what God's purpose is for your lives and to read about how your lives are aligned with His Will is inspiring. I was truly blessed by this post.

Stumbled on you through Elisa's blog, and I will be back to read more.