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

After God’s Own Heart

  I’m heartbroken as I read this morning on Facebook that yet another
Christian friend is going to vote for the female candidate.  

If we are reading God’s Word, we have the answers to EVERYTHING in how we should live: from dating, marriage, raising our children, dealing with sin, etc.

 path

King Saul chose to do things his own way.  Through the prophet Samuel, God told Saul that due to his disobedience he would be replaced by a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  When we fast forward to 1 Samuel 28, we find Saul consulting a medium and is told why the LORD had turned away from him and the consequences he would face “because you did not obey the voice of the Lord” (1 Samuel 28:18).

Americans love our country, but do we love it more than God?  If we truly love God, why are so willing to choose leaders who believe it’s okay to kill the unborn?

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

 Heavenly Father, I praise You as the One True God!!  You alone appoint kings and leaders.  Father, I lift the United States to You.  Please bring us to our knees to seek Your face and Your wisdom in choosing the leaders You desire for this country and in our local elections.  Please show me how to lovingly respond to Christian friends and family who don’t follow Your Word.  Please correct us and forgive us as You corrected and forgave King David in his sin.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen. 

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.”

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

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.

 

Being a better soldier in 2016

 We’ve had a lot of family turmoil the last few weeks all stemming from a divorce that took place over 8 years ago. There is now a very complicated custody battle. While we refuse to take sides, my husband and I have corrected family members who are not being biblical in their actions. This divorce occurred because a man was unfaithful to his wife and his mistress was unfaithful to her husband. The husband is now seeking full custody of his children from his first marriage and wanting his first wife to pay child support. Family members are saying unkind things about other family members, and frankly, we’re saddened by the un-Christlike attitudes we’re seeing.

In all this, I’ve been studying faithfulness and realized I have not been a “good soldier” in my faithfulness to the LORD.  I am refocusing on my faithfulness in 2016:

 “So then, you, my son, be empowered by the grace that comes from the Messiah Yeshua. And the things you heard from me, which were supported by many witnesses, these things commit to faithful people, such as will be competent to teach others also. Accept your share in suffering disgrace as a good soldier of the Messiah Yeshua.”  2 Timothy 2:1-3 (Complete Jewish Bible)

““But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control.”
Galatians 5:22-23a (ESV)

fruit of the spirit

I’m dedicating 2016 as my year of faithfulness: faithful in studying His Word, faithful to my husband, faithful to my family, faithful to my church family, faithful in ministry to the ladies I serve at Trades of Hope, and faithful in taking care of my body.

Praying you have a blessed Christmas season and a joyous 2016!!

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 grey areas

I’ve have been shocked by the number of Christian women who have read Fifty Shades of Grey or who will be watching the movie when it comes out next week.

The other day, a Christian fitness blogger posted how most Christian women would be upset if they found out that their husbands read or watched porn. He then asked why is it okay for women to read it?  While most women agreed with his post, I was surprised at how quite a few women tried to justify their reading this book, with several actually calling it a love story.  Some women were even getting upset that other Christians were judging them — one woman shared how her pastor had written on her Facebook page after she posted something about Fifty Shades of Grey, and how he was no longer her pastor.

This morning I read another post that started off on how one of the nation’s leading Christian publishers conducted a survey asking Christian women to name the most influential book they had read in the past year.  They found that a startling number of women said Fifty Shades of Grey was their favorite book of the year.    

I had never heard of this book until a two years ago.  A 10th grade student asked me, “What are you reading? Fifty Shades of Grey?”  I politely told him no, asked him if he really wanted to know what I was reading, and when he said “Yes”, I told him that I was reading the Bible on my Ipad.  Of course, when I got home I immediately Googled what this book was — I was floored that a student would even ask me this question!  We had a few subs who were reading it during our DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time, and many in the student body were reading it, too, so I guess that’s why this student thought it was okay for him to ask me this.

This book is pornography. If we call ourselves Christians, we are to hold each other accountable.  This is where we get it wrong — we are not to judge those outside the church:

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV)

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 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 5:9-13 (ESV)

There’s many scriptures on sexual immorality, warning us to stay away from it.  I’ve actually stopped reading any fiction at all because when I started reading books the students were reading (Divergent is one), I was disgusted at how writers are adding in underage, premarital sex to their books.  I believe this is exactly why today’s teens are lacking modesty  — if you could hear the conversations I overhear at school, you would be embarrassed.  I feel that this is because of books/movies/music that have themes like Fifty Shades of Grey.  Parents need to be better role models for their kids by not reading it themselves, and by also taking the time to read what their children are reading.