WORLD PEACE

World Peace FlagsI urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

 

World Peace? How is it possible to imagine that in today’s world? According to worldpopulationsreview.com, “As of 2018, there are…a total of fifty nations that have a dictator or authoritarian regime ruling the nation to this day. Europe is home to one.., while three…can be found in Latin America and South America…,eight…in Asia, seven in the Eurasian region of the world, and twelve…from the northern parts of Africa to the Middle East.” And worldatlas.com reports Syria is the most war-torn country in the world, followed by Iraq and Afghanistan; other countries experiencing “war” (including threats from other nations, civil unrest, gang and drug conflicts, etc.) today include Ukraine, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, and Central African Republic. Many other nations are dealing with ongoing political partisanship, the rise of hate groups, and religious and human rights battles among their populace. The concept of world peace seems further away than it did even a decade ago.

 

1 Timothy above among our daily readings for today. I remembered that Jesus came into this world during a time of political and civil unrest. At the time of Christ’s birth, Israel was an occupied nation, under the strong arm of the Roman government. The Romans, in concert with the Jewish religious leaders of the day, executed Jesus on false charges. The Romans were still in power when Paul’s protégé Timothy was a leader in the Christian church at Ephesus (now modern Turkey). Paul urged Timothy to pray “for kings and all those in authority” in the hope that these prayers would bring “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” It’s hard to think of strong-arm governments like the Roman Empire allowing the people to live “peaceful and quiet lives!” Indeed, the Romans sought to keep the people in line!

 

Paul’s admonitions apply today as well. We must continue to pray that world leaders will take their responsibilities seriously. We can pray fervently that leaders who see themselves above their people will have a change of heart and move towards compassion for others.

 

Lord, heal this broken world, we pray! Bring all nations into “peaceful and quiet lives.” Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

JOSEPH, STEP-PARENT

JOSEPHBut while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

 

Our Gospel lesson last Sunday morning was from Matthew 1, specifically about Joseph and his reaction to the news that his fiancé was suddenly, questionably with child. Joseph is conflicted: he is a kind man, not wishing to bring shame and even abuse on the young woman he thought he loved. But he believes he should—must—“dismiss her quietly” and move on with his own life. He knows this child that Mary carries is not his. He wants to believe her, but her story is just too preposterous! How would things go if another man suddenly came forth and claims the child as his? Imagine Joseph’s surprise when an angel of the Lord comes to him in a dream and says, “No, Joseph, you must not let Mary go! Her Child was conceived by God’s Holy Spirit, and He is coming to save the world.”

 

Some refer to Joseph as Jesus’ “foster father.” Being a step-parent myself, I must take issue with that designation. A foster parent only takes a child for a short time, presumably until a “forever family” is found for the youngster. But Joseph did, in fact, take Mary as his lawfully wedded wife, which in my book clearly makes him a step-father. I’ve never born any children, but instead, I collect other people’s kids. I married two different men who had daughters, so I became all three of their step-mothers. And I can tell you that the love and devotion I have for these three step-children, and my one adopted daughter could not be any more real if I had carried them each for nine months and brought them into this world. Joseph was signing up for the long haul, and so was I. Step-parenting is a unique relationship, but every bit as poignant as bearing natural children.

 

Jesus, You know the blessing of having Joseph choose to marry and support Your mother. Bless all non-traditional families this special season! Amen

 

Merry Christmas Mary Joseph Jesus

A LITTLE LOVE

charliebrownchristmasjpgBut the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

 

Even the producers were sure it would be a flop. They went through with it only because they had already publicized it. On December 9, 1965, CBS aired “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” in spite of just about everyone’s belief that the show could not succeed. Everyone, that is, except the American public, forty-five percent of whom watched the show that night. The program eventually won an Emmy and a Peabody, and it has been broadcast every Christmas season since. Why was the show so successful, when pitiful Charlie Brown started out depressed about Christmas? He blamed himself, telling Linus “there must be something wrong with me,” and he laments the behavior of the entire Peanuts gang. Snoopy has entered his doghouse in a Christmas decoration contest with a cash prize. Lucy wants more than “stupid toys or clothes or a bicycle” for gifts; she wants “real estate.” Sally writes to ask Santa to “make it easy on yourself, just send money.” “Christmas is a big commercial racket,” Lucy declares.

 

Peanuts creator, Charles Schultz, insisted that the film include the next scene, Linus reciting the Gospel of Luke’s Nativity Story. The producers thought the move was risky because “religion” didn’t seem to mix with cartoons. But Schultz won out. “If we don’t do it, who else can?” he said. Charlie Brown loses his melancholy but fails again trying to decorate his miserable little tree. The entire Peanuts gang has a change of heart when they see Charlie so discouraged. Linus says, “Maybe (the tree) just needs a little love.” They come together to adorn the little tree with all the ornaments they can find. Charlie’s heart is changed too, and the cartoon’s creator, Schultz, again shows that his little characters, while flawed, really aren’t so bad. They all just need a little love.

 

Precious Jesus, You came to us as an innocent Child, to see us in our flawed and sinful situations. Thank You for changing our hearts and understanding that we too just need a little love. Amen

 

Both candid and humorous, insightful and ponderous, Meg Blaine Corrigan’s memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, takes the reader through her chaotic childhood with an alcoholic mother and enabling father to a violent assault that nearly ended her life. She populates her tale with vivid descriptions of her parents, other influential adults, the attacker, and her disastrous first marriage. But this story has a happy ending, when Meg finds solace in a God she didn’t think she’d ever believe in, when He gently helps her heal from her past lives and move into the best times of her life. Meg has also written a novel, Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, about said first marriage, as well as a Christian devotional, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, comprised of blogs from this site. Stay tuned for sequels to her last two books! All of her works may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

ASHAMED

Greta ThunbergThe earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it. Psalm 24:1

 

Greta Thunberg arrived on the climate crisis scene like a meteor crashing into the earth—the fragile earth that she is trying desperately to protect. The sixteen-year-old Swedish environmental activist is pleading with the adults throughout the world to do all they can to reverse the effects of human-induced climate change that multiple experts claim will begin ruining the planet before Greta herself is an adult. Speaking at the United Nations climate action summit earlier this year, an emotional Thunberg accused members of ignoring the science behind the climate crisis, saying, “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth—how dare you!”

 

Some continue to call the climate crisis a “hoax.” But the science is overwhelmingly compelling.

A 2018 report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program says a 100% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 must be achieved to avoid irreversible climate disaster. Melting icecaps are causing water levels to rise across the planet. Longer and harder droughts are being experienced, as are more frequent and violent forest and brush fires. Heat waves are one of the most common causes of death from natural disasters, in spite of climate change-induced stronger hurricanes, tornadoes, snowfall, hail storms and sandstorms. My husband and I recently installed a residential solar power system on the roof of our home, a simple and obvious way individuals and businesses can combat the ruination of the planet. But “climate deniers” continue to turn a blind eye to what humans are doing to cause these problems and what we must do to turn things around before it’s too late.

 

The Bible says God will reckon with those who destroy the earth because of selfish interest and refusal to believe the situation is critical (Revelations 11). Abusing the earth to make a profit, as Greta Thunberg has charged, is not the solution. We must care for and about each other, and for the great God-given blessings the earth has bestowed upon us.

 

Lord, You have warned us that Your wrath will come for those destroying the earth (Revelations 11:18). Let us be counted as those who honor Your great gift of life and our beautiful place to live. 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 over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

 

THE BATTLE STILL RAGES

Traumatized SoldierHave I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

 

When I was a child, my family visited my mother’s brother Norvel and his wife Mabel. Norvel had been an American soldier in Germany during World War I. During trench combat, he was one of many soldiers exposed to “mustard gas,” a toxic chemical used liberally by all the “antagonistic” nations during that way, including Germany. Although the use of chemicals in warfare had been banned worldwide in 1899 and 1907, the practice killed and wounded 1.3 million allied soldiers during World War I. Besides coping with lung problems, Norvel also experienced “shell shock”—now called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—from the psychological wounds of war. Aunt Mabel scolded her husband when he tried to talk to us about what happened to him. “We don’t talk about the war,” she said.

 

Fortunately for our veterans, nations throughout the world have come a long way in the understanding of and treatment for both medical and psychological combat experiences. The symptoms haven’t changed: my Uncle Norvel and many other veterans past and present carry the scars of war with them every day. It is commonly accepted today that the path to recovery from trauma is to talk about one’s feelings, sometimes—but not always—recounting the exact atrocities that occurred. How sad for my uncle and countless others past and present who have not been allowed or felt comfortable speaking about the unspeakable.

 

It has been said that courage is not the absence of fear; courage is fear that has said its prayers. The Old Testament recounts many tales of fierce battles fought by the people of God. They were never promised that the battles would be easy, but they were given Someone to turn to when the situation seemed unbearable. As long as flawed human beings live at odds with each other in this world, there will be conflict. But God promises to be with us through any battles we face. He will uphold us with His righteous hand. The victory belongs to the Lord.

 

Heavenly Father, on this and all Veteran’s Day, stir us to give thanks for the brave men and women who fight to preserve freedom and justice in this world. 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 over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

WHY DOESN’T SHE JUST LEAVE?

The Battered DoorHusbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, so that she may be holy and without blemish….husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:25, 27-28

 

A friend’s Facebook post reminded me of my long-ago job as a county social worker helping victims of domestic violence. Rarely did one of these victims—mostly women—leave her partner; rarer still did she have money to hire an attorney. I often accompanied the woman to court, to face her batterer and his attorney. I was an advocate, not a legal representative, and I was raked over the coals in those courtrooms. One of the most frequent questions asked by the man’s attorney was, “If it was so bad, why didn’t she leave a long time ago?” The complex answer to that question was the subject of my friend’s Facebook post, written by a woman named Rachel Smith:

 

Because he has her so brainwashed that it’s all her fault…she’s no good to anyone…no one will want her or love her…there’s no way she can possibly make it on her own. She thinks that if she just tries harder…if she’s a better wife and a better mom maybe he will be happy with her and wouldn’t get so angry. And maybe he will be the same sweet, charming man that he was when they first met. He has her convinced that if she leaves, he will hurt or kill her or her family. He has threatened to tell the judge she is a bad mom and she will lose her kids and never see them again. He has taken away her money and convinced her that she cannot make it on her own financially and she will always need him.

 

More people are concerned with why women stay in abusive relationships than why men are abusing women. Unless you’ve been in an abusive relationship people have no idea how hard it is to escape. Abusers fool those outside the home because they usually only abuse those inside the home.

They need your support. They need your love. They do not need your judgement.

 

Jesus, You said husbands and wives are to be subject to one another out of reverence to You. Help us end domestic violence throughout the world. Amen

 

OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THESE VICTIMS DID NOT ASK TO BE ABUSED. REMEMBER TOO THAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A FAMILY DISEASE AND A SYSTEMIC PROBLEM IN OUR NATION AND IN OUR WORLD.

JUSTICE

JusticeHe will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory. Matthew 12:20

 

Jeffrey Epstein is dead. This week the billionaire American financier, indicted on numerous charges for running an international child sex trafficking ring, was found dead in his jail cell by apparent suicide. His victims thought this was their last best hope of obtaining justice for his kidnapping, rape, and “sale” of possibly hundreds of underaged girls.  Now, his co-conspirators (some female) and other men named in the court proceedings are shouting for joy, believing Epstein’s death will give them a pass from a similar fate to his. His victims may try to bring civil charges, but it won’t be quite the same without the monster in the courtroom, facing his victims.

 

What is to be said of justice that never comes? Of peace of mind that is ripped from the survivors’ hands and hearts? Of a real sense of closure lost to the winds of fate? Our indwelling sense of right and wrong says offenders should be punished and victims protected. Deuteronomy 3:4 says The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He. His justice is compared to a plumb line, ever straight, never faltering (Isaiah 28:17).

 

There is no perversion of justice with the Lord our God (2 Chronicles 19:7). But human actions are never as “straight” and pure as God’s plumb line. Somewhere, in this broken world, survivors of trauma induced at the hands of others must come to grips with the fact that justice is not always assured, peace is not always promised. We are left to figure out what justice might look like, in the absence of perfect law, perfect courts, perfect circumstances. As a survivor of sexual violence never brought to justice, I have learned a hard lesson, but a good one: sometimes justice is just knowing that God believes us, feels our pain, collects our tears in a bottle, and tells us, “Keep going, My child, you are precious in My sight and for that reason alone, you must keep going.”

 

God of Justice, hold close to You those who never see justice in this world. Help them know Your justice prevails in the end. Amen

THE BIBLE IN A BOX

Bible In A BoxBut when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” Mark 10:14

 

Our super-creative pastor and youth director embarked on a project last year that had them scrambling every Sunday morning. A simple, empty cardboard shoe box was given to a different child to take home each Sunday for several weeks. The instructions were simple: each child was to place something in the box that was meaningful to him or her and bring the box back to church the following Sunday. One non-negotiable rule: the “something” could not be alive or formerly alive! Each Sunday during the children’s sermon, the pastor and the youth director took turns opening the box and preaching a short sermon on what was inside. When a boy brought in his favorite action character, the message was about how Jesus is always “in action” in our lives, watching over us and directing us on safe and sensible paths (Psalm 119:105). A girl’s collection of leaves and twigs brought a lesson in how God wants us to care for all the living things on our beautiful planet (Genesis 1:26,28). Twin brothers each placed very different items in the box the same week: a photo of their grandpa who had just passed away, and some crayons. These items brought to mind that their grandpa was now in heaven which is even more beautiful and colorful than our home here on earth (John 14:1-4).

 

Adults often don’t give children credit for the things they understand. We hold kids to a specific curriculum for religious education, from Sunday school through confirmation and beyond. We might do better to simply present a passage of Scripture and then listen as they tell us what it means to them. We might be pleasantly surprised what we would hear. Over the years, the vast majority of our confirmands have expressed a firm grasp on what it means to be a Christian. I am always encouraged to realize that we will have a new generation of believers to carry God’s sacred Word to the world when we are gone.

 

Lord, watch over our youth and help them in their faith struggles. They are the bright and shining future of our church. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

 

NO MORE SNATCHING

My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of My hand. John 10:27-28

 

Members of the temple leadership asked Jesus if He was really the Messiah. “Jesus answered, ‘The works that I do in My Father’s name testify to Me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to My sheep.’” The leaders couldn’t understand what He was saying because they did not “belong” to Him. They were “Messiah deniers,” in today’s vernacular. They had seen the miracles Jesus had performed, and they had heard his crystal-clear interpretations of ancient Scripture, but they would not humble themselves to believe that Jesus was the Christ, Who had been foretold in the very Scriptures He now quoted with magnificent authority.

 

As a survivor of a brutal sexual assault at gunpoint—an incident which nearly cost me my life—I am shaken to the core when I hear or read about “sexual violence deniers.” A legislator stated that a woman’s body “shuts down during a true rape,” preventing pregnancy. Arguments have abounded about women “asking for it,” and “men who can’t help themselves.” A talk show host recently opined that women have abortions so they are free to party on a tropical island. My own home state of Minnesota took until 2015 to pass a law that correctly labels sex trafficked minors as victims, not perpetrators. Survivors of sexual violence can tell you that (a) she/he did not ask for it, (b) was not a willing participant, and (c) lives with the trauma from the horrible experience for the rest of her/his life. Women who become pregnant as a result of sexual violence pay double, triple, many times over, regardless of the outcome of that pregnancy.

 

Sexual violence is a global problem which is not going away unless and until “deniers” start hearing the voices of the living survivors as we speak for ourselves and for those of us who did not get to come home. Jesus says those who know Him will not be “snatched” from His loving embrace. His sheep “know” His voice, the voice of peace and love and compassion. All we can ask is for deniers to just listen.

 

Lord, we know we live in a broken and hurting world. We ask that Your voice will be heard throughout the globe, and that we will end sexual violence of all types soon. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

HUMANITARIAN. CHRIST. US.

Kids In CagesBlessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3

 

Here’s the thing: I feel totally helpless. I watch the news night after night, and some days there is coverage of the unconscionable treatment of migrant children at the southern border of the United States. But most often now, other news cycles dominate the airwaves and we’re “moving on.” I can’t get those images out of my head. As surely as there is a God in heaven, can we agree that this isn’t right? Whether you belong to the Republican or Democratic party, the Coffee party, or the Friday night party, can we just agree: this needs fixing now? Could any person in his right mind take his own child or grandchild—the younger the better—and place her in a cage with a Mylar blanket for a bed on a cement floor, with only the absolute barest of necessities, with perhaps well-meaning but overworked and way understaffed adults to take care of her, to hear the visiting pediatricians’ and child psychologists’ warnings about the enduring emotional and psychological damage these conditions are doing to this child—and not be on his knees with sorrow and compassion in five minutes? Would any person who is not a complete sociopathic lunatic think that this is the way to deal with the global migrant crisis?  Does the color of a person’s skin really make the cut for why these children—and their parents, for that matter—should have to endure these conditions for even one minute? I believe the vast majority know the answer to that question. In our heart of hearts, we know.

 

Then why aren’t all of us totally outraged? Why aren’t we listening? Why aren’t we contacting our people in Washington? Why aren’t we doing more than “sending thots and prayers?” Jesus said, “Go.” He didn’t say watch the news, and say, “Ain’t it awful?” He said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). The word “therefore” refers back to all that Christ taught. “Teach all nations” means there are NO EXCLUSIONS to those we are called to serve. That includes each child and adult, no matter the nation or color or creed. So go. Go.

 

Healer of All Nations, we implore You to light the path for this nation to work together to solve this migrant crisis now. Amen

 

To locate your Congressional Representatives and Senators in any state in the USA, use this link: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members

 

Special Note: The Lord woke me up at 4:30 a.m. this morning to write this blog. He’s been telling me to do it for weeks—maybe months—and He finally got my attention by putting Matthew 28:19 on a loop tape in my brain, 24/7, for a couple of weeks. It didn’t “click” until this morning. Lesson learned: I need to stop and listen to what God is telling me!