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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 !

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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.  

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Keeping My Gaze Forward

My kids have told me that I have adult ADD because I get easily distracted.  I dislike hate how I sometimes allow things of this world or memories of my past draw me away from the things of God.  

 gaze

I desire to honor the LORD with not only my actions, but also with my thoughts.  I often wonder if the Apostle Paul was tormented by his past.  If he did, he didn’t allow his prior persecution of Christians to hinder his serving the LORD.   Philippians 3:12-21 shows how he pressed forward:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.  Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.  For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

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Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace.  Thank You for loving me even when I sometimes gaze back.  Please forgive how I get distracted with the things of this world and help me to keep my eyes focused on You and Your work here.  Please guide me, Holy Spirit, and correct me when my mind wanders.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, so You will be glorified.  Amen. 

Being a Good Mother-in-Law


I married my husband at 21 and became a Christian at age 33.  I
never had a Christian mentor and could have used the help of an older Christian sister when my mother passed away when I was 42.   As I revisited the story of Ruth, I realized I want to be a better Christian mentor to my own daughter, daughter-in-law and to other Christian young women.

  If you’re unfamiliar with Ruth and Naomi’s story in the book of Ruth, Naomi had been a widow for 10 years when both of her married sons passed away.  Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem and since both of Naomi’s daughter-in-laws were Moabites,  Ruth instructs the childless younger women to return to the homes of their own people.  Orpah does, but Ruth insists on staying with Naomi:

 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”  But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
Ruth 1:15-18 (ESV)

Each time I read Ruth, I wonder what made Ruth decide to stay with her mother-in-law.   Was it her kindness?  Was she just feeling sorry for her?   Had Naomi been such a good mother-in-law that Ruth desired to go with her instead of going back to her Moabite people?

  I would only want to go with a woman who was kind and upright. As a child/teenager there was so much turmoil in my own family, so I didn’t have good examples.  I married into a Christian family, but I’ve only seen favoritism and badmouthing of ex-daughter-laws which made me bitter.  Rereading Ruth has shown me the kind of mother-in-law I would like to be and how God has directed me to be.

Titus 2:3-5 shows the responsibilities of females in the church body:

Titus 2

Here’s my list of rules for mother-in-laws.  Please feel free to share any advice/rules that have helped you in your mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship.

1. Pray for your daughter-in-law.
2. Always call ahead before visiting.
3. Do not be intrusive.
Don’t call too much, visit too much or do things without asking.
4. Don’t be critical of your daughter-in-law.
How she raises her children, keeps her house, her cooking, etc. is her business.
5. NEVER criticize your daughter-in-law to your son or other family members.
6. Do not gossip about your daughter-in-law.
7. Don’t show favoritism – this includes your own children, grandchildren, and other daughter-in-laws.
8. NEVER tell your grandchildren that their mom or dad is wrong.
9. Love and praise your daughter-in-law.
10. Do kind things for your daughter-in-law.
11. Always include your daughter-in-law.  Schedule special times with her, other daughter-in-law(s) and your daughter(s). Going out to eat or getting coffee together, a simple day of baking, getting manicures, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
12. If your son divorces, be kind to your daughter-in-law, especially if there are children. She will ALWAYS be the mother of your son’s children. NEVER talk badly about an ex-daughter-in-law, especially in front of your grandchildren.

 

No Bake Cookies and Christian Love

  It was 34 years ago that I first tried a No Bake Cookie.

 

 Chocolate-No-Bake-Cookies_11674


I was single, overseas, and living in Air Force barracks. When a coworker’s wife made them for him to share at work, I asked for the recipe. It was the first recipe that someone ever wrote out for me. This couple also happened to be some of the first true Christians I met.

From the ages of 15 to 21, I could have been called a “wild child”. Even though I ran and worked out, I also smoked cigarettes and drank heavily. Very heavily. I lived a very wicked lifestyle and everyone I worked with knew it.

One professing Christian told me that women shouldn’t be in the military. He also told me how his wife stayed home, never wore pants, and only listened to the radio. Sure — like that was going to give me a desire to become a Christian.

Thankfully, God continued to put nonjudgmental people in my path who shared His love in kind and thoughtful ways. They did not put down my sinful lifestyle. They didn’t comment on my filthy language. They showed me Christ’s love in caring actions and the way that they lived their lives.

 I’ve used that cookie recipe numerous times. I’ve made them for my own family. I’ve made multiple batches for youth group events. I’ve taken plates of them to new neighbors, sick friends, and new moms. I make them for the kids I work with at school.

I rewrote that recipe on a card because the original became wrinkled and stained from use.  Every time I take the recipe card out, I think of that loving Christian wife who made cookies for her husband’s coworkers, how the LORD used those cookies to soften my heart, and I thank Him for that loving act so many years ago.  As I made a batch of  No Bake Cookies tonight, I thanked the LORD for allowing me to serve Him and will do so every time I make them.    

No more fluff

  Fluff (noun)
1. light, downy particles, as of cotton.
2. a soft, light, downy mass: “a fluff of summer clouds”
3. something of no consequence: “This book is pure fluff, but was fun to read.”

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When I think of fluff, this is the very first thing that comes to my mind:

 fluff

Oh so sweet, oh so gooey marshmallow creme.
On a peanut butter sandwich it is wonderfully delicious,
but the creme (and the white bread) are totally worthless for you nutritionally.

When
I quit all forms of structured ministry last year, I gained more time to make meals for people and had more time to encourage others.  When I stopped reading fiction and discontinued online Christian book studies, I was able to read through the Bible twice.  When I gave up white sugar and white flour, I began reading food labels more and started eating a healthier diet. When I took apps off my Ipad and didn’t get on Facebook so much, I found more time to go the gym and refound my love of exercise.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he was writing in response to the sinful things that were going on in Corinth.  The below Scripture reminds us that even though we have freedom in Christ, not everything is constructive or beneficial:

1 Corinth 10-23

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 I love living life more purposefully.  By removing some fluff,  I feel like I’m not wasting the precious resource of time and I’m definitely not as stressed.   I also feel like the things I’m doing are more intentional, and because I’m not overly busy I am able to listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting.  This week I put in an application for a month long mission trip.  Please pray for me if this is God’s will I will be accepted. 

Teaching each other through fellowship and NOT programs


I became a Christian at age 33 and
never had a Christian mentor.  When my mother passed away, I really could have used the help of an older Christian sister to help me then and to also hold me accountable in my spiritual growth. Titus 2 shows the responsibilities of church members, with verses 3-5 directed to females:

Titus 2
I believe many Christians have become too busy for real relationships.

Most churches are not hurting for programs.  With so many activities during the week, there are great needs in the church for workers and leaders.  I have witnessed how many churches put people in teaching positions and even leadership roles way too early in their Christian walk.  I have also noticed that there are many people within the church body who do not believe that we each have responsibilities within the church — their actions, of course, contradicting Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.  I have also seen many give up serving in the church when their families are grown or even stop attending when life gets difficult.

 I am so VERY thankful for my current church home, Grace Family Fellowship. We are a reformed, family-integrated church that desires to walk in obedience to the Scriptures alone, and we align our families and our church in this same manner.  We believe that the leadership of the father in the home is paramount to the instruction of the family (and NOT the youth pastor or children’s minister), and that fellowship of the church is needed in order to have true accountability. We believe accountability begins with proper delivery of God’s Word through expository preaching. 

I now have more time for relationships with both older and younger women. I enjoy visiting with the younger women in my church, and I sometimes bring meals to give them a break from cooking.  These younger gals in my church are teaching me so much as I observe their obedience to the LORD in their actions, the way they allow their husbands to be the head of their households, and especially in the ways they work with their children — these young women do not expect the church to teach their children.  They also do not have their children in every extra-curricular activity like so many families do today.

So how are things done in your church?  Do you have so many programs available that you have little time for authentic fellowship with other believers?  Do you find yourself totally exhausted from all the volunteer work that you do?  Have you ever been mentored, or are you currently mentoring a young believer?  Do you have time for real relationships — not just reaching out to friends on the Internet?