Snarling dogFor God hath not given us the Spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7


Our rescue dog, Ginger, seems to dislike men. She barks ferociously, while wagging her tail in circles, whenever a man comes to our door. One day, a landscaper came to give us a bid, and when he stepped through our front door, Ginger took it upon herself to let him know that was not okay with her. She grabbed his pant leg and tore the knee right out. The man looked at me as if I had just shot his grandmother. I grabbed my wallet and gave him all the cash I had to buy a new pair of jeans. Later, our vet told me that Ginger most likely behaved this way out of fear, not aggression. After that incident, my husband and I have made an effort to make sure Ginger feels safe when people come to the door. While one of us answers the door, the other holds her tight until she calms down. Only then is she allowed to investigate the visitor. So far, this procedure has worked well.
Fear causes strange reactions in both animals and people. The words in today’s Scripture passage remind us that fear can paralyze us or make us react in anger or aggression, preventing us from accessing God’s power, love and self-control. The key word in this passage is “Spirit.” At Pentecost, the Spirit was poured upon the new Christians as a gift from the Father and the Son (Acts 2). This Spirit lives within us and allows us to remember all the things God wants us to know (1 Corinthians 2:12). It is the Spirit Who enables us to have the “mind” of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and to conquer fear in this earthly life (2 Timothy 1:7). We truly hold the power, love and sanity (sound mind) of Christ when we allow the Spirit to direct our path.


Just as Ginger reacts aggressively when she is really just afraid, we can easily become defensive or even antagonistic in uncomfortable situations. The antidote to this behavior is to ask the Spirit to guide us into behavior that honors God and keeps us in perfect peace.


Spirit of Perfect Peace, hold us tight when we are fearful. Fill us with Your power, love and sanity. Amen


Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has worked with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and war veterans.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .


TrippingThe other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Luke 7:49


It was a comedy of errors. I never imagined the outcome at my local hardware store buying two bags of compost for my garden. The young man who helped me told me it was his first day. It took us some time to even find the compost, not where one might have imagined. The new clerk loaded the two bags onto my shopping cart—not in my cart, but draped over the front of it, making it difficult to steer. I didn’t want to make him feel bad, but after I had paid for my two items, I did ask him to help me load the bags into my vehicle. Off we went to the parking lot, which I soon realized was in very bad repair. I was pushing the cart when suddenly the front wheel hit a nasty pothole. I tried unsuccessfully to push the cart forward, and then the strangest thing occurred. As if in slow motion, the cart took on a personality of its own and literally flipped into midair, crashing onto the tarmac with me still holding fast to the bar. Up I went along with the cart. Down I came as my hands let go, ungracefully stumbling across several feet of the lot. The driver of a car slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting me, and finally—finally, still seemingly in slow motion, I crashed onto my knees and pitched forward, catching myself with one hand to keep from planting my face into the asphalt. My dignity was more damaged than my body. It was a miracle I did not break any bones.


In church this morning, we sang “There’s A Wideness In God’s Mercy.” A line of the song brought back the memory of my fall: “Tis not all we owe Jesus; it is something more than all: greater good because of evil, larger mercy through the fall.” God was merciful when I fell that day, saving me from injury. And He is also merciful when I am in the middle of sinning, being there even as He watches me fall from His grace.


Savior God, thank You for watching over me even while I sin. Keep me safe from self-inflicted harm when I do not follow Your path. Amen


SwitchboardLet us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16


The telephone was invented in 1876, but wasn’t of much use to people until the central switching system came along, allowing many phones to be connected to each other. Wikipedia reports that early in 1878, the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company began hiring young boys as telephone operators. But the boys did not display much courtesy, patience, or helpfulness. Thus, on September 1, 1878, Emma Nutt became the first of many women operators. Comedian Lilly Tomlin immortalized the female switchboard operator with her portrayal of Ernestine on Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh In” television show during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Tomlin’s “One ringey-dingey…” bit cracked us all up for years.


Most telephone subscribers in the mid-20th century were connected by “party lines,” which cost less than individual service. During World War II, “party lines” were often the only available service, especially in rural areas. Different rings—for example, one long and three short rings—identified a call for a specific customer. My parents told how everyone up and down the line knew everyone else’s business, and when one ring sounded, many more than that customer listened in. There wasn’t much privacy with a “party line!” Thank goodness private lines eventually became more readily available! Now, of course, we each have a private cell phone glued to our heads, but we use these phones in public often—so everyone hears our conversations anyway. As my father would have said, “What goes around comes around!”


Our conversations with God are private. God hears everything we say and knows everything we think. But we can “approach God with freedom and confidence” through our faith in Him (Ephesians 3:12). We do not need a human priest, as in Old Testament times, to access God. Jesus Who was “fully human in every way” became our “high priest in service to God” (Hebrews 2:17). And Jesus is not so high and mighty that He “is unable to empathize with our weaknesses,” but He experienced temptation just as we do (Hebrews 4:15).  “One ringey-dingey” gets God every time, and He is always on the line.


Father, we thank You that we always have a private line to talk with You! Amen


Meg Corrigan is a Christian author, speaker, trainer, and a sexual assault survivor. In addition to this blog, Corrigan has published three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child (a memoir which chronicles her childhood with an alcoholic mother, and her miraculous rescue from the hands of an armed rapist who intended to end her life); Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist (a novel based on the years Corrigan spent playing drums for a Hawaiian show band); and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian (a Christian devotional book comprised of the daily blogs written in 2015). Corrigan’s books are available through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or through Amazon.com . Corrigan may be contacted via her website or in the comments section of the blog.


Solomon and Queen of ShebaGive Your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. 1 Kings 3:9


Solomon was being groomed by his father, King David, to succeed him as king of all Israel. When he was still a youngster, Solomon had a visit from the Lord in a dream. “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you,” the Lord said (1 Kings 3:5). Solomon didn’t hesitate. He told the Lord, “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties…So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (vs.7, 9). What a noble young fellow he was, asking not for wealth and untold blessings, but for wisdom! The Lord was so pleased with Solomon’s request that He gave the young man not only wisdom, but also “what (he had) not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in (his) lifetime (he would) have no equal among kings” (v. 13). It appeared he would be wise enough to know what to do with all that wealth and honor.


Not so fast! Solomon may have been a special kinda guy in God’s eyes, but he was still very human. Among other treasures, he amassed for himself “seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines” (1 Kings 11:13). What?!? Where was all his wisdom when he was collecting “royal birth” arm candy? And how could he possible…um…spend quality time with that many wives, not to mention the concubines? This supposedly wise leader broke several of God’s instructions for kings: no excess of horses, wives, or wordly possessions (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). His wicked wives even enticed him to offer sacrifices to a foreign god that required “detestable” acts (1 Kings 11:7-8).


How like Solomon I am! The Lord has given me many gifts and talents for my use to in glorifying Him. But sometimes I begin to think these gifts were all my own doing. Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated man to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Like Solomon, I sometimes need a reminder to abandon my human desires and return to giving all the glory to God.


God of grace and wonder, save me from my own human inclination to think I can run my life without You! Amen


Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. Books can be purchased through her website, http://www.MegCorrigan.com or through Amazon.com.