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.  

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.  

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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.

 

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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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.

 

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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.    

The One Reason I Quit Teaching

elonaschreiner

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September means apples, bulletin boards, foliage, name tags, a new class and everything else about going back-to-school! After over thirty years of starting the fall in a classroom, as a student or teacher, I decided to take a break this year. I taught for thirteen years all over Oregon, and it was not an easy decision to take a year off from teaching. We moved from Oregon to Texas and I knew that now was the time to step back. It’s now been two months since school started for the rest of my world, and I have had time reflect upon the decision to change careers. I can now articulate the many things I miss about teaching and the one thing that I do not.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. There were moments when I saw myself as a lawyer, a rodeo cowgirl, a photojournalist, a…

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