CALL ME ISRAEL

JacobJacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak….Then he said, “Let me go….” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Genesis 32:24, 26-28

 

Jacob wrestled with “a man” on the banks of a river on his way back to Canaan. Various interpretations of this story portray the “man” as an angel, a prophetic vision, the Christ, or even God the Father. Jacob prevailed in this wrestling match, which seems unlikely to happen if the “man” were God. But prevail he does, and then this “man” asks Jacob his name. When Jacob tells him, the “man” tells Jacob his name is now to be “Israel” (which literally means “contends with God). Jacob then believes that he has “seen God face to face, and yet (his) life is preserved.”

 

This story reminds me about all the times, mostly in the middle of the night, when I have “contended with God.” When sleep evades me, my thoughts often turn to the things in my life that do not seem fair or right. I discuss these things with God, often with tears and silent rage. “Why did a twelve-year old girl at our church have to die?” “What can I do to help my four-year old great-granddaughter with her delayed speech when I live so far away?” “How can I stop using swear words when I get angry?” “How can I stop getting angry?” “When will I be able to balance my checkbook and clean out my closets?” Usually, I end up making peace with God for the moment, and then I sing myself to sleep. I almost never feel that I have “prevailed” in my struggles with God, not because He is stronger than I am, but because He is more patient and forgiving than I am. His grace has always allowed me to commune with Him through prayer. I eventually come to a place where I accept that seeking His will is a better choice than my continuing to complain.

 

Lord, You showed us through Jacob that it’s okay to “wrestle” with You. Thank You for loving us even then. 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 .

BEST HOPES, WORST FEARS

WorryDo not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Look at the birds of the air….your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:25-34

 

I have always said my spiritual gift is worrying. Being raised by an alcoholic mother and co-dependent father, I grew up assuming the worst would always happen in my life because that’s all I ever knew. I’m working to grow and change, and I want to share some things I’ve learned.

 

Matthew 6:25-34 was one of the verses my husband and I used in our marriage ceremony. The passage reminds me that it is human nature to worry some of the time, so I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. But Jesus is saying that God cares even for the little birds in the sky, so why would we doubt that He cares for each of us? Yes, bad things happen in life, but our faith will and does sustain us, even in the worst of times. A friend said recently that, when a bird lands on the highest branch of a tree, the bird doesn’t trust the branch; he trusts his wings. And another friend, who happens to be a retired biology teacher, added that a bird’s wings are porous so they can be both light and strong. A third friend added that our attitudes and perceptions are “an inside job.” In other words, it’s not the branches in life that we trust; it’s our own wings—the strength we possess inside—that keeps us afloat.

 

Mark Twain once said, “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, and some of them actually happened.” Worry must be viewed as a tremendous waste of time. If we worry in advance, we tell ourselves, we will somehow be more prepared if something bad does happen. But our best hope is just as likely to occur as our worst fear. We would do well to think, “What is the most productive thing I can do at this moment?” In the words of A.J. Cronin, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its strength.”

 

Lord, when I start to worry, remind me of those birds You care so much for and strengthen my wings of faith. 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 .

TELL YOUR HEART

Open Heart Surgery 2Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring My name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel.” Acts 9:13-15

 

Musicians Phillips, Craig and Dean recorded a song in 2012 called “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again.” The song was inspired by a heart surgeon who was attempting to massage a heart to make it beat again following open heart surgery. The heart wouldn’t start, and more measures did not help. The surgeon finally did the most incredible thing: he knelt next to the patient, removed his mask, and spoke directly into her ear. “Miss Johnson,” he said, “This is your surgeon. The operation went perfectly. Your heart has been repaired. Now tell your heart to beat again.” The heart began to beat immediately.

 

This story reminds me of Saul’s conversion. A zealous Jew who did not believe Jesus was the son of God, Saul was on his way to Damascus, with written authority to arrest and even kill followers of Christ. But Christ met Saul on the road, asking him “Why are you persecuting me?” Then Christ caused Saul to lose his sight (Acts 9:109). He had to be led into Damascus, but Christ had more surprises for him. A righteous man named Ananias saw a vision from the Lord telling him he was to find Saul and teach him about the risen Christ. Ananias objected strenuously because he feared Saul’s wrath against Christ’s followers. But the Lord insisted that Saul (later called Paul) was the one He had chosen to carry Christ’s name and message to the people (Acts 9:13-15). Ananias met with Paul, and “immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored” (Acts 9:18). The Lord could have given back Paul’s sight and shown him all he needed to learn. But like the heart surgeon speaking gently to his patient, the Lord chose a person to bring Paul into the wonderful light of Christ’s love and forgiveness.

 

Lord, thank You for the people in our lives who bring us healing and hope with their words and their faith. 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. Meg has written a Christian devotional blog for several years that has been read in over 40 countries by 9000 people. A compilation of blogs, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, was published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she has hopes of completing by Christmas, 2020. Her first book, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, is a memoir about her childhood with an alcoholic mother and a co-dependent father. The book also chronicles Meg’s astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding rapist, a tragedy turned holy, a powerful message of hope in her darkest hour. Meg is a retired college counselor and former social worker. Meg enjoys 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 and her husband Patrick play and sing in the contemporary worship band at their church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. She also volunteers 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 .

DANCING WITH RATTLESNAKES

rattlesnake

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Make me to know Your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in Your truth, and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all day long. Psalm 25:4-5

 

When I was young, I had a “bomb proof” horse named Lito. Nothing bothered that little horse; she never fussed or bucked or reared up or even tried to nip me. She was as trustworthy as the day is long, but I didn’t really appreciate her until one day my friend and I were riding on a trail in the Colorado mountains near where we lived. I was enjoying the smooth gate Lito always delivered, until suddenly, she did a “Boot Skootin’ Boogie” sideways for about ten yards, into the grass and brush off the trail. I started to scold her when my friend said, “Look! There is a rattler crossing the path where she was!” Sure enough, Lito had dodged a true disaster without dumping me off her back in the process. A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake was slithering across the gravel into the grass. Since rattlers always travel in pairs, my friend and I reigned our horses in a different direction to avoid both the snakes. And I gave Lito an extra measure of grain that evening in appreciation for her quick and safe reaction.

 

How many times in my life has God intervened when I didn’t even realize I was in danger, or that I was about to make a foolish choice with dire consequences? I can think of dozens, beginning with God’s mighty rescue when I narrowly escaped with my life from the hands of a gun-wielding rapist. Throughout my days, God has steered me away from opportunities that might have looked good from the outside but would likely have been disastrous if I had chosen the wrong path. Potential job opportunities that fell apart, boyfriends that were obviously not a good fit for me, purchases that I didn’t make, and on and on. Time after time, God has been there to divert me from metaphorical rattlesnakes in my path (often traveling in pairs!).

 

Psalm 25 is a testimony to the wisdom of following God’s path. The psalmist asks God to make known the truest ways to follow, and the wisdom that only God can impart.

 

Sweet Lord, save us from rattlesnakes and wayward ways. 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 .

TOLERANCE FOR AMBIGUITY

Tolerance for AmbiguityWho is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to Me. Job 38:2-3

 

In my master’s program for counseling, we studied “tolerance for ambiguity,” or the ability to manage uncertainty in which an outcome is unknown. Life is full of situations when we are not certain what will happen. A 2018 study at Brown University found that people who can handle uncertainty are more likely to trust others and cooperate in seeking solutions to problems. This makes sense because trusting others means we have to take a risk that what they say to us is true and what they say they will do, they will do. This trust allows us to work with others to solve problems, within our families or work or church. Embarking on group projects automatically means we don’t know the exact outcome, But sometimes the outcome can be much more than we expected or hoped for.

 

A case study in tolerance for ambiguity is the Bible story of Job. Psychology Today Magazine columnist Dr. Mark Banschick has an interesting commentary on how Job, a man with faith, health, wealth, wisdom, and a large and close family experiences numerous undeserved traumas. The book opens with God telling Satan what a good man Job is. Satan challenges God that surely Job will not maintain his faith if he loses everything. God says, “You’re on,” and the tragedy begins. Job loses livestock, possessions, family, his own health and much more…but he never once denounces God. Then Job’s “friends” arrive. They argue, “You must have sinned (really bad),” “There’s a grand plan (and you don’t know it),” “You’re really mad at God (so admit it).” But still Job persists in his faith. He asks God what’s going on, and God answers him loud and clear. In fact, in Chapter 38, God wallops Job: “Who do you think you are? YOU didn’t create the universe and set the world in motion!” Job might have been terrified of God’s judgment, but what this faithful, good man saw was that God cared enough to come down and be with Job in his sorrow and pain. And that’s what He does for all of us when we experience trauma.

 

Almighty God, we thank You that you comfort us when we are afflicted and traumatized. 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 .

GONE!

Etch A SketchHe will again have compassion upon us: He will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19

An Etch A Sketch is a mechanical drawing toy that has a thick, flat gray screen in a red plastic frame. According to Wikipedia.com, “There are two white knobs on the front of the frame in the lower corners. Twisting the knobs moves a stylus that displaces aluminum powder on the back of the screen, leaving a solid line. The knobs create lineographic images. The left control moves the stylus horizontally, and the right one moves it vertically. The Etch A Sketch was introduced near the peak of the (post-World War II) Baby Boom on 12 July 1960 for $2.99 (equivalent to $26 in 2019). It went on to sell 600,000 units that year and is one of the best-known toys of that era. In 1998, it was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Etch A Sketch to its Century of Toys List, a roll call commemorating the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century. The Etch A Sketch has since sold over 100 million units world-wide.” I think the most fun thing about the Etch A Sketch is that, when you make a mistake or you are tired of looking at one creation, you can invert the entire toy and all the aluminum powder disappears from the screen. You can then start a new design as if the old one never existed.

I like to think about the forgiveness we have with God as an eternal Etch A Sketch toy. When we repent of our sin, when we come to God to say we are sorry and we are ready to begin again, He always tips us upside down and allows our sin to fall out. Like with the Etch A Sketch, we can remember the designs—or the sins—we create after they have been forgiven by God. But Micah says God will “cast all of our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). Some theologians refer to God’s complete absolution of our sins as a “sea of forgetfulness.” God forgets and our sins are just…gone!

 

Lord of Life, thank You that You grant us new mercies every morning! 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 .

PROMISED LAND

House in South Missouri Cropped (2)Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the Lord promised….” Numbers 14:40

 

I think I own some land near Crocker, Missouri. My grandfather, Walter Rollins, was most likely suffering with undiagnosed bipolar disorder when he purchased a farm in 1919, sight unseen, in a remote area of the Ozark Mountains. Walter made poor decisions while he was in the more manic phase of his illness. On one of his infrequent visits home, he instructed my grandmother, Birdie Mae, to take the last three of their eight children (including my mother) and move to the place at Crocker, transporting their meager livestock by train. Walter would meet them there. They moved; Walter never came. My mother’s youngest brother always told me the pasture there was so steep the horses fell right out of it. The dwelling on the property was a ramshackle cabin (pictured above) barely fit for inhabitance, with no source of water for miles. My mother and her siblings drove their cattle several miles weekly to bring back water for the livestock, but the animals were so thirsty upon returning that they drank all the water at once. Living off the land was nearly impossible. With Walter missing, Birdie Mae couldn’t even try to sell the property. Eventually, my grandmother telegraphed her oldest son who came and brought the family to Kirksville, Missouri with him. He bought a large home for my grandmother which she ran as a boarding home for college students until her death of breast cancer in 1937. Walter and Birdie Mae did not live together after her move to Kirksville.

 

My grandfather had trouble keeping his promises. God’s promise to the Israelites that they would inherit the “promised land” of Canaan was a promise He intended to keep. Moses sent twelve spies to Canaan for forty days, but only two gave a favorable report upon their return, in essence doubting God’s promise. Because of their doubt, God sent the people to wander for forty years in the desert—one year for each day the spies spent in Canaan! By the time the Israelites did enter Canaan, most of the wandering generation had died. It was a hard lesson that God does keep His promises!

 

Lord, give me faith to trust Your enduring promises! 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 .

FIRST CHURCH OF THE SINS OF THE FATHERS

Dysfunctional FamilyI, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 20:5-6

 

I know a wise and compassionate young man whom I will can Ben, who was raised in a household of horrors. His father drank non-stop and was cruel to his wife and children. The mother tried to raise her children the best way she knew how but failed because of her own fears, anxieties, and poor behavior. Ben remembered his grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins all seemingly caught up in a sick family dynamic that never improved, leading Ben to eventually become addicted to alcohol and drugs himself. Thankfully, Ben saw the light as a young man, went through drug and alcohol treatment, and began attending Alcoholics Anonymous on a regular basis. He said it was as if his family had forced him to “wear a dirty suit,” and he no longer wanted to do that. It was necessary for him to separate completely from his family of origin in order to survive.

 

Ben’s situation reminds of the passages in the Bible which say in several ways, “the sins of the fathers are visited on the children to the third and fourth generation.” Ben’s family certainly seems to fit this description. But neither Ben nor I believe children are destined to turn out like their wayward parents. Ben and I broke the pattern. We both decided, for a variety of reasons, not to live as our parents had lived. Ben’s situation was far worse than mine, and I admire this young man greatly for the courage it took for him to change his life.

 

But does God really mean he will “punish the children for the sin of the parent?” In today’s Scripture, Exodus 20:5-6, the next few words are critical: “of those who hate Me.” Ben and I were able to seek our “Higher Power,” and we admitted we were powerless without Him. We chose to love and trust God and we are now reaping His “love to a thousand generations.”

 

Lord, I’m so glad to know You and to know Ben and others who have chosen You instead of death and destruction! 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 .

AN ASTONISHING THING

Jesus Healing the Bling Man“Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but He does listen to One Who worships Him and obeys His will.” John 9:30

 

It’s as if this blind man cannot contain his joy at having his sight restored. Some are saying this cannot be the same man who was so recently blind, begging for alms at the temple doors. “Hey, it’s really me!” he proclaims (v. 11). Later, the religious leaders question him too and he repeats his story. But it is the Sabbath, the leaders cried, so this Jesus must be of Satan because no one who believes in God and heals on the Sabbath (vs. 14-15). And they even bring in the man’s parents, but the story still doesn’t change. “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind,” he proclaims. “If this (Jesus) were not from God, he could do nothing” (v. 32).

 

I imagine John Newton reading this passage when he penned his beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Newton was an 18th century British slave trader who had a soul reckoning during a violent storm off the coast of Ireland. When the ship miraculously landed safely, Newton took that as a sign from God. His conversion came slowly following such a dramatic event. He eventually renounced his occupation and wrote the pamphlet Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade. “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me,” Newton said, “that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.” His efforts eventually led to the British Parliament outlawing slavery in 1811. Newton wrote many hymns, the most famous one, now known as “Amazing Grace,” in 1779.

 

When John Newton, a cruel and heartless slave trader, thought his end was near, “an astonishing thing” happened. In the words that echo those of the man born blind in Jesus’ time, Newton wrote, “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Newton, the same man who took freedom from so many African men, women and children, was moved by God to help end the slave trade in England.

 

Jesus, You can make “an astonishing thing” happen in the lives of those who believe in You! 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, to the delight of all who read her work and hear her speak. 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but He does listen to One Who worships Him and obeys His will.” John 9:30

 

It’s as if this blind man cannot contain his joy at having his sight restored. Some are saying this cannot be the same man who was so recently blind, begging for alms at the temple doors. “Hey, it’s really me!” he proclaims (v. 11). Later, the religious leaders question him too and he repeats his story. But it is the Sabbath, the leaders cried, so this Jesus must be of Satan because no one who believes in God and heals on the Sabbath (vs. 14-15). And they even bring in the man’s parents, but the story still doesn’t change. “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind,” he proclaims. “If this (Jesus) were not from God, he could do nothing” (v. 32).

 

I imagine John Newton reading this passage when he penned his beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Newton was an 18th century British slave trader who had a soul reckoning during a violent storm off the coast of Ireland. When the ship miraculously landed safely, Newton took that as a sign from God. His conversion came slowly following such a dramatic event. He eventually renounced his occupation and wrote the pamphlet Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade. “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me,” Newton said, “that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.” His efforts eventually led to the British Parliament outlawing slavery in 1811. Newton wrote many hymns, the most famous one, now known as “Amazing Grace,” in 1779.

 

When John Newton, a cruel and heartless slave trader, thought his end was near, “an astonishing thing” happened. In the words that echo those of the man born blind in Jesus’ time, Newton wrote, “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Newton, the same man who took freedom from so many African men, women and children, was moved by God to help end the slave trade in England.

 

Jesus, You can make “an astonishing thing” happen in the lives of those who believe in You! Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but He does listen to One Who worships Him and obeys His will.” John 9:30

 

It’s as if this blind man cannot contain his joy at having his sight restored. Some are saying this cannot be the same man who was so recently blind, begging for alms at the temple doors. “Hey, it’s really me!” he proclaims (v. 11). Later, the religious leaders question him too and he repeats his story. But it is the Sabbath, the leaders cried, so this Jesus must be of Satan because no one who believes in God and heals on the Sabbath (vs. 14-15). And they even bring in the man’s parents, but the story still doesn’t change. “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind,” he proclaims. “If this (Jesus) were not from God, he could do nothing” (v. 32).

 

I imagine John Newton reading this passage when he penned his beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Newton was an 18th century British slave trader who had a soul reckoning during a violent storm off the coast of Ireland. When the ship miraculously landed safely, Newton took that as a sign from God. His conversion came slowly following such a dramatic event. He eventually renounced his occupation and wrote the pamphlet Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade. “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me,” Newton said, “that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.” His efforts eventually led to the British Parliament outlawing slavery in 1811. Newton wrote many hymns, the most famous one, now known as “Amazing Grace,” in 1779.

 

When John Newton, a cruel and heartless slave trader, thought his end was near, “an astonishing thing” happened. In the words that echo those of the man born blind in Jesus’ time, Newton wrote, “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Newton, the same man who took freedom from so many African men, women and children, was moved by God to help end the slave trade in England.

 

Jesus, You can make “an astonishing thing” happen in the lives of those who believe in You! Amen

 

 

POLITICAL PRISONERS

Jerusulem During Christ's LifeIn Him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:15-16

 

Most of us overlook the importance of the occupation of the Romans in Israel during the life of Christ. The Roman emperor Caesar appeared to hold complete power over the citizens of Israel, including the Man Jesus. The Jewish leaders had made their peace with the Romans and were able to direct the activities of their church only at the whim and the will of the Roman emperor and his designated officers. We don’t often consider the political climate during Christ’s life on earth and how that environment impacted his crucifixion. Think about Pilate’s custom of releasing one prisoner at the request of the Jewish people during their Passover celebration. Pilate must have thought he was being such a benevolent leader, to allow a benevolent departure from his iron-handed rule. But Pilate got a real surprise when the Jewish people demanded that he release Barabbas, a known rebel leader, instead of the mild-mannered and clearly innocent Jesus. Pilate answered to Caesar and Caesar believed he alone was god.

 

In the first chapter of Colossians, Paul makes it clear that Caesar was no god. The one true God is Christ, above “thrones or dominions or rulers or powers” (v. 16). Caesar was a fraud, a paper tiger, a puffed-up politician who ruled his empire without mercy or compassion. His empire, too, was phony. When Caesar died, another man took his place.

 

We can embrace many kinds of empires in this world. We can be loyal to politicians, parties, positions and philosophies. We can pledge our allegiance to the darker things of this world, and we can give up meaningful lifestyles for crippling addictions and bad habits and poor judgement. But nothing in this world will ever come close to the power and majesty of the reign of Jesus Christ. He is reality. He bears the full glory of the King of the universe, and He will be with us forever. “In Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17), and He will keep us in His careful care throughout eternity.

 

Lord of the Universe, we thank You that You are above all the powers of the earth and under the earth. 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