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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.

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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.

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.  

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.

 

Don’t keep Jesus in the manger

  When we lived in Utah, one cold night I came home from work at 10:30 pm to find my entire neighborhood searching with flashlights and calling out my daughter’s name (she was three-years-old at the time). I frantically ran into our house to find that she had gotten out of bed at 9:30 pm to look for me — my husband had been outside cleaning his company vehicle and sent her back in the house. When he went inside a few moments later to tuck her back in bed, he couldn’t find her and asked a neighbor to stay with our son while he searched for her. The neighbor then called other neighbors to form a search party.

Thankfully, I found her in the bathroom under her pink blankie, hidden in between the tub and commode. I had only been involved in the search for less than 10 minutes, but my knees literally gave out from under me and I fell to the ground when I found her. I was emotionally and physically drained from the adrenaline rush, and one VERY, VERY thankful mama.

I wonder if this is how Mary and Joseph felt when they found Jesus after he was missing for 3 days. I also wonder if they had been busy with life and the raising of Jesus that they had forgotten Who their son was. Were the visits from the angels, shepherds and wise men a distant memory? Had they lost sight of Simeon’s blessing? Or were they terrified because they had lost the Son of God?

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 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Luke 2:41 – 52 (ESV)

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 As you begin to put your Christmas decorations away,
please don’t lose sight of the significance of Jesus’ birth.
Don’t keep Jesus in the manger.

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No Bake Cookies and Christian Love

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

 

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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.