Archives

Tasting Truth

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”   Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

I am reading Taste for Truth and it has been a very enlightening journey.   Instead of using a specific diet plan or digging into the reasons why people overeat, this study focuses on the boundaries we may need and the renewing of the mind in order to gain freedom from the control of food.

I started drinking at age 15.  By age 18, I was using alcohol daily to cope with my home life.  I liked the way alcohol made me feel and how it made me more outgoing.

I continued drinking in my early to mid-20’s, but quit a couple of years before I became a mom.  I didn’t enjoy hangovers and had started to take notice of coworkers, family and friends whose lives were out of control because of alcohol or drug abuse.  I am one of the fortunate rare people who could stop using alcohol without support and have had less than 10 beers over the last 30 years.

Sometime in my late-20’s, I replaced my alcohol usage with food.  Unlike alcohol or drugs, our bodies need food so overeating is the acceptable addiction in our society.  I ate when my stress level went up because I took on too many volunteer positions.  Like many people, I often ate too much at celebrations.  My overeating was the most out of control when I had to deal with stressful family situations.

One particular time was the last time I saw my father.  My siblings and I were were physically, mentally and verbally abused by this man, so visiting him was extremely nerve-racking for me.  I hadn’t seen him in over 20 years, but my sister and I had to visit him before cancer took his life so we could ensure that our grandmother was taken care of.  I had a strong urge to get a drink after leaving his house, but thankfully my sister was doing the driving and wouldn’t allow it (thanks, Little Sis  ❤ ).  Instead of alcohol,  we both self-medicated with pasta and cannoli.   I can look back on that event now and realize that using food wasn’t any different than using booze.

day-23-tft

We have an enemy who wants to use our weaknesses so we are ineffective for the Lord’s work.  Through this study, I realized that I have spent more time overeating than renewing my mind.  By renewing my mind, this was my very first Thanksgiving that I DID NOT overeat and I feel I finally have gained control over food!!  Thank you, Jesus!!! 

If your story is similar and would like to learn how to break free from the stronghold of overeating, I will be leading an online study of Taste for Truth  beginning on January 2nd – February 24, 2017.  There is a companion book, I Deserve a Donut that is available in paperback, a Kindle version, and even an iPhone or android app (I purchased the Kindle version of Taste for Truth and the iPhone app of I Deserve a Donut for under $10).  You can click on the links to the books to look inside them and/or read the reviews.  The online study will take place in a secret Facebook group where only the members will be able to read your posts.  Feel free to email me at plewing@hotmail.com if you have any questions or visit http://barbraveling.com/  for more information on the author and her books.

Advertisements

Acting Like New Creations

When I first became a Christian 22 years ago, the LORD changed many things in me.  The first thing to go was my potty mouth.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I often used the LORD’s name in vain and used many vulgar words.

Many other things changed in my life as I read the Bible and studied with other believers.  My anger disappeared as did my gossiping.  I was calmer with my children and enjoyed life more.  Sure there were struggles and I continue to have struggles, but staying in His Word gives me the desire to turn away from my old life.

Professing Christians are allowing more and more of the world in.  I have been in churches where couples who are living together are allowed to teach Sunday school.  I have a Christian friend who told me that she wouldn’t wait for remarriage to sleep with someone.  Many of my friends have adult children or grandchildren who are turning away from the ways of God and living sinful life-styles.

In 1 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul wrote about this very issue and what we’re supposed to do with Christians who continue to sin:

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
1 Corinthians 5:11-12 (ESV)

Believers should be new creations.  This doesn’t mean that we now have freedom to keep on sinning or that we won’t sin — it means we strive to be more like Christ.  If we truly love Him and say we are His, we will turn away from our sin.

butterfly !

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Heavenly Father, thank You for being a Wonderful Creator!!  Thank You for all You’ve created on this planet in order for us to live and for Your amazing beauty around us!! Thank You for Your sweet, sweet fellowship.  Thank You for each new day to serve You.  Father, please forgive me when I sin and please show me areas of my life that I need to change.  Please show me, Holy Spirit, how to be a new creation.   Please guide me to lovingly help Christian friends/family who have gone back to old ways.  In Jesus’ precious name I pray, for God’s glory.  Amen.  

My New Adventure

In August my daughter and I took our first (and last!) cruise. I had heard from so many how awesome cruising is, so I used my free air travel points and found a half-price special on Royal Caribbean 4-day cruise in the Bahamas. While the staff and service was impeccable, it was our trip to Nassau that opened my eyes. I thought I had done enough research on Nassau, and chose to tour the island using a local taxi service that drove us around for 3 ½ hours. I knew about Haiti’s poverty from the mission trips friends and family members had taken, but all the information I had read about Nassau did NOT prepare me for the poverty there. While one half of the island is filled with gorgeous luxury hotels and giant vacation homes, the other half has small shacks where most Bahamians live.

We chose to NOT drive by Atlantis and also did NOT shop in the designer gift shops that are all within walking distance from the port. We ate conch at a local restaurant and tried to find locally crafted items to purchase to help locals. We found that most of the items being sold were factory made bracelets and bags from China. We purchased some conch shells sold out of a fisherman’s boat.

I came home with a heavy heart wanting to do more to help people get out of poverty. I knew I could save money by doing without things like the occasional manicure and shop more at Goodwill, but I wanted to do more than just donate money.  A friend sold beautiful handmade jewelry made by women from around the world, so I started asking more questions. These items are made by small groups of artisans who are working their way out of poverty and desperate circumstances including slums, sweatshops, and the sex trade. They live all over the world: Haiti, Uganda, Guatemala, Costa Rica, India and Cambodia… even here in the United States! These women don’t want charity, they want opportunity!  I made my first purchase in August and was DELIGHTED with the quality and beauty of my purchases!!

On September 11th I signed up to become a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope.  I am not doing this to make money for myself.  I am giving back ALL my commissions from Trades of Hope. The proceeds from my first Trades of Hope party went towards the travel expenses of a single Army mom so she can see her son graduate from Boot Camp.

My October commissions will go to Organization of Autism Research.
Click here to shop my Trades of Hope party to benefit autism research

Pat's blue

My November  commissions will be used to buy rice and beans for students in Haiti at Christmas.  Click here to shop my Trades of Hope party for rice & beans for Haitian students

haiti riceIf you’ve looked at some of Trades of Hope’s items and are thinking to yourself, “Hey, I could have my own party just by purchasing Christmas gifts”, you CAN do that!! All you need to do is purchase at least $150 to start earning hostess awards — at $150 you’ll get $15 host dollars to spend and then you can also purchase one item at ½ off. If one of your friends or family members confirms another party, you’ll earn another ½ price item!!  Just let me know below if you’d like more information.  Your party will have a triple purpose: helping the artisans, helping autism research or Haitian students, and then helping you with holiday shopping!!

Personal Party

Relax — but DON’T be lax

 I have been doing really well following my diet plan and exercising.  We have gone away twice this summer, and I planned ahead by packing healthy snacks.  I used my fitbit and would log on to my account to check my stats — if I was close to 10,000 steps, I would find a walking trail and go for another 20-30 minute walk. 

 Last week we came back from a 5 day DC trip.  When I weighed in the next morning — I FREAKED because I was 5 pounds heavier!! I could NOT imagine why — I had brought healthy snacks, I chose healthy menu options at the restaurants we ate at, I drank plenty of water, and I walked A LOT (one day over 15,000 steps according to my fitbit).

 I really, really looked back at what I ate and sadly remembered: the 3 bites of cheesecake that I didn’t count (or maybe it was 4 or 5?), the roll with butter that I didn’t write down (wait, I ate 2!), the handful(s) of my husband’s peanuts that I failed to add to myfitnesspal, the piece of my daughter’s chocolate bar that I forgot about, and the handfuls of her gluten free granola I neglected to add either!!  Ugh….and what about that small double chocolate gelato I ate after we had toured DC all day?  How did I do this?

When we go on vacation, we relax and get lax.
The bottom line is that I let my guard down.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I am very happy to report that I was able to get back on my diet.
I exercised and lost that 5 pounds plus .4 more in a week.

 By letting my guard down I ate things I shouldn’t have.  When we let our spiritual guard down, there are far worse effects than just gaining 5 pounds:  we become apathetic to the things going on around us, our prayer life suffers, we stop going to church, we cuss, we start looking at our coworkers of the opposite sex, we watch shows we shouldn’t, etc.

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

 Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful season of summer.  Thank You for allowing us time to relax and time to spend with our families.  Thank You for the beauty of this planet!  Holy Spirit, please remind us to not let our guards down while we’re relaxing and enjoying our vacation times.  Please convict us when we get lax in our spiritual disciplines and encourage us to stay firm in our faith.  Thank You for forgiving us when we fail You and thank You for pointing us back in the right direction.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.

May the TRUE Force be with you!!

May 4th is considered the unofficial holiday by most Star Wars fans to celebrate
the franchise’s film series, books and culture. The date ‘May the 4th’ sounds similar
to the series’ popular phrase – “May the Force be with you”, which is why many
fans will post on their Facebook pages, “May the fourth be with you.”

 

star-wars


~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ ~  ~ ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The Bible is very clear about evil (darkness) and good (light):

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20 (NIV)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ ~  ~ ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


We all have a choice: to either follow evil in our own selfish desires or to follow Jesus.
No matter how hard I want to “be good”, I always mess up because I will never measure up to Jesus. I must choose DAILY to follow Him, asking for His guidance in my struggles with the sin of this world (such as anger, unforgiveness to those who hurt me, overeating, etc.) and His forgiveness when I fail.  1 John 1:5-10 confirms that we can NOT claim to be His and then continue to walk in the darkness:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son,
purifies us from all sin.

  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned,
we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

 

Emotional Triggers

Emotional Triggers

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Since the last P31 study, Satan has been attacking me with my childhood and things that I did before I became a Christian.  I withdrew from some activities to really dig into God’s Word.  With the LORD’s help, He showed me how to deflect those arrows.  Then a few weeks ago I was invited to my 35 year high school reunion.

As I started to connect with former classmates, I felt led to apologize to two people.  The first one was very gracious and we started messaging. The other was fairly nice in the first reply, but I found it odd that my apology wasn’t accepted.  In the second reply, I was told that I needed to “let go of the past”.

I was a bit hurt at first, but then quickly realized there was truth in what this person said…truth I desperately needed to hear.

The host of the reunion started posting photographs from the yearbook.  None of me, of course, because I was not athletic, not popular, not much of anything — just a teenager trying to survive.  I could feel the ungodly emotions start to come back: fear, anxiety, shame, and anger. When a “hangover picnic” was added to reunion page, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to delete myself from the reunion page (I am an alcoholic).

Even though I am no longer the person I was 35 years ago, the photos were bringing back emotional triggers that use to make me want to overeat.  By deleting myself from the reunion page, I removed myself from the source of my temptations: the temptation to keep looking back at my past, the temptation of wishing for a childhood that I didn’t have and the temptation to eat to fill the void from both.

In the past, I ate when I’ve been hurt. I ate when I was scared. I ate when I was angry.  I ate when I was lonely. I ate when I was sad.  I ate when I was ashamed.  When you’re a broken person with a very broken past, it’s easy to find excuses to overeat.

This time, I did not eat — I dove into God’s Word, allowing His Truth to saturate my mind instead of the lies I was hearing.  Instead of feeling sad for the childhood that I did not have, I choose to be THANKFUL for what I DO have!!

Forget

In chapter 14 of Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst writes how we need to deal with our emotional triggers.  I am doing this, and instead of thinking on these hard things from my past, I’m following Lisa’s advice by “parking my mind in a better spot” (page 141):

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

Determination

determination

Determination: a quality that makes you continue trying to do
or achieve something that is difficult.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I just finished reading Leviticus in my Bible reading plan. The subheadings in Leviticus 26 are “Blessings for Obedience” and “Punishments for Disobedience”.  In this chapter, God warns the Israelites what would happen if they did not follow His commands:

“…and if your break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, I will punish you.” Leviticus 26:15-16a (NLT)

Fast forward through the books of Kings, and we read that God allowed the Israelites to be conquered and put in Babylonian captivity because of their rebellion to Him and their sins of idolatry. 

I have also suffered the consequences for my own sin of disobedience — I have a broken-down and overweight body because I have not cared for it the way I should have. I have overeaten and the weight I’ve put on has added stress to my very arthritic spine and joints. Some of the arthritis that ravages my body may have been caused by my over-indulgence of wheat products (I’ve read that gluten causes an inflammatory response).

My weight-loss struggle IS punishment for my own sin! Simply put — I overate and no one made me do it.  There may have been some psychological and/or spiritual reasons for my overeating, but I am still the one who made the bad choices through the years.

But — I have DETERMINATION to:

1. First and foremost, be obedient to God;
2. Eat only appropriate portions of food;
3. Remove all sugar, gluten, and dairy from my diet;
4. Exercise as much as my body will allow me to;
5. Keep track of my food intake and exercise;
6. Stay accountable with my sisters in Christ;
7. Get healthier so I may be used by the LORD!

In chapter 5 of Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst writes: “We were made for victory. Sometimes we just have to find our way to that truth.” (page 49)

The truth is that I was NOT made to be a slave to the sin of over-eating!!  I am determined to serve ONLY God and NOT the cravings of this world because I was made for more!! What are you determined to do?