WHAT DOES GOD WANT NOW?

Words We Need NowHe has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

 

Today, we are living in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. My husband and I are retired; the “social distancing” and “sheltering-in-place” have not been as disruptive to our daily lives as they have to the lives of our children and grandchildren and many others. We pray for several family members who are on the front lines of this crisis—medical care providers and others performing essential tasks. But just yesterday, my husband asked me, “What do you think God wants us to think about this pandemic? What does He want us to know now?” Some thoughts we voiced to each other were: “The whole world is in this together.” “Shared suffering requires us to be vulnerable, to let the suffering of others impact us in a personal way.” “God wants us to pay attention to what’s important in life.”

 

As we shared our thoughts and said some prayers for those closest to our hearts, I remembered the simple admonition from the prophet Micah: “What does God require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” These words did seem simple a couple of weeks ago. But as we are being asked not to interact with others in our communities, workplaces, shops, restaurants—how are we supposed to show justice and mercy to others?

 

I’ve heard it said that only two paths lead us to a personal relationship with God: the path of love and the path of suffering. If most of us are honest with ourselves, those paths may have been intertwined throughout our faith journey, because loving something or someone deeply almost always involves some pain. The concepts in Micah’s challenge, “justice” and “mercy,” both arise from some passion to help someone outside of ourselves. That passion cannot be pain-free; but it is love that carries us through the pain to do our best to provide the help needed.

 

Great God, hear our anguished prayers! Bless and sustain those on the front lines of this battle. Stir the rest of us to support them with prayers and words and deeds of encouragement as we are able. 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

 

MERCY, ABIDE IN ME

Mercy Abide In MeHave mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Psalm 51:1

 

“But I’m not a sinner,” I said to her. “I have never murdered anyone or robbed a bank.” My best friend and college roommate was shoving a religious tract under my nose while telling me about her “conversion” to Christianity. I wanted none of it. I was certain I did not need anything from God. At the ripe old age of twenty-six, I had not realized—yet—what that little incident on a mountain in Colorado the year before had really meant. Yeah, that time when God literally delivered me from the hands of a crazed rapist wielding a gun and a huge chain with which he intended to secure me to a tree in a remote forest. When I cried out to a God I didn’t even believe in, the man crumbled to the ground and then fled, most probably sparing me a slow death on the forest floor where no one would have found me.

 

Still, by the time Jan caught up with me, I wasn’t ready to admit that I needed God. My life was out of control, but I didn’t even recognize that either. St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) admonished, “For the most part, all (our) trials and disturbances come from our not understanding ourselves.” What a loaded statement! But I had just completed a master’s degree in counseling, further proof that I didn’t need any help figuring out life’s complexities. Perhaps failure to admit we need God’s grace is “the sin against the Holy Spirit” the Apostle Paul spoke about in Ephesians 4:30. What could be more offensive to our Lord than for us to reject His everlasting love, compassion, and forgiveness for us? But that’s exactly what I did. Until one day I didn’t.

 

Finally, grace broke through and I began to change. I no longer fought to block God’s loving energy from flooding into my entire being. And—miraculously—I began to understand myself through the lens of God’s mighty mercy. Letting God love me revealed how to love others. And, more importantly, when I saw what God loved in me, I was able to love myself.

 

All-Loving God, You see in me what I can be in Your eyes. Thank You for Your grace. 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 .

FIRE AND RAIN

Fire and RainIn my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3

 

A couple of nights ago, I was writing in our study, and I heard the familiar strains of James Taylor singing “I’ve Seen Fire and I’ve Seen Rain.” I followed the sound to our living room where my husband was watching a recent taping of Taylor performing the iconic song he wrote in 1968. According to Wikipedia.org, Taylor was twenty years old at the time, just returning from London where he had recorded his first album. The lyrics tell of him learning about the suicide of his childhood friend named Suzanne, while he himself was in a deep depression and heavily into drug use. Taylor entered a drug and mental health rehab program and completed the song while he was there. He has clearly stated over the years that his treatment program was a life saver.

 

I am about the same age as Taylor, and “Fire and Rain” had a profound effect on me. About the time it was released, I was working as a resident assistant in a dormitory at the University of Denver. A fellow “RA” took her own life in the dorm across from mine. I remember so clearly watching out my window when the paramedics came and could not gain entry to her apartment. By the time they got her door opened, it was too late. It was the first of very few of my peers who had died. I did not know Christ and I was suddenly terrified of the whole idea of death.

 

Fast forward several years to when I laid my life down for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What a difference knowing Him has made! I no longer fear death because I know that Jesus conquered that ugly foe for us. I do not know what James Taylor’s religious views are, but when he wrote, “I always thought I’d see you again” about his friend Suzanne, I hope he now knows that he will.

 

Precious Jesus, thank You for Your saving grace that assures us of eternal life. 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 .

COME TO HIM AND REST

 

Jesus with Kneeling Womanby Guest Blogger Nikki Abramson

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

 

When health strikes against you, it is easy to want to fight back, to do it yourself. This is at least the case for me. This past year I struggled with the diagnosis of a rare form of intestine cancer. At the young age of 33, having cancer is not easy; at any age cancer is not easy. It took me a long time to surrender to God, to know that He could and is able to help me. I was so exhausted from going to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what I had and how to get help. The only option was an extensive surgery and with my pre-existing conditions, it would present more complications than I would ever know, or we could ever plan for. I had more hospitalizations than we ever thought. I was in the hospital every other month, once for 25 days. It broke me. As I laid there, I heard Him say to me as I was so weary ‘come to me and I will give you rest.’ It was then I realized I had tried to do it all on my own. I didn’t fully trust that He could help me in the midst of my pain and anguish.

 

God can and will help you in your greatest need. Reach out and call to Him. When I was so desperate and I had nothing left, that is when He spoke. When have you needed to rest? It is easy to go, go, and go. Matthew 11:28-30 is a great reminder to us that if we come to Him, He will give us the rest that we need in whatever form that looks like.

 

Dear God, help us to remember to come to You, to trust You, that when we come to You, You will give us rest. We often are so weary and burdened with our daily lives, our struggles, our to-do lists. Help us to say no when we need to. Help us to rest when we need to. Help us to come to You and to rest as our lives are so burdened by the struggles of our daily needs. Help us to lay them at the cross. In Your Name, Amen

 

Nikki Abramson is an author, actor, educator, director, teaching artist, and speaker. She has written two books: I Choose Hope-Overcoming Challenges through Faith and Positivity and Hope for Today as well as contributed to five anthologies. She co-wrote a play ‘No Limits’ and ‘Beyond Limits’ based upon being a woman of color and the challenges of having a chronic illness. She teaches and directs acting. For more information go to www.nikkiabramson.com

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 .

WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

Wolf in Sheep's ClothingAnd you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

 

At a training seminar on child safety recently, I sat next to a woman who had just returned from missionary work in war-torn Syria. She told me how surprised she was to return to the United States and listen to national news broadcasts here. She had forgotten how sensationalistic our news programs were. In Syria, she said, the news was delivered with solemnity and very little drama, which she found refreshing. I would agree. I long for the days when newscasters like Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley reported in a straight-forward and honest fashion, without shoving microphones into traumatized people’s faces asking, “How did you feel when…?” Our national discourse has become sharper and more divisive in recent years, and it doesn’t appear to be likely to improve any time soon. The internet, for all the good things it brings us, has also made it harder to know what is true and what is a lie.  We must be careful to examine what we hear and read and be wise about what we take away from all sources available to us. The old saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” But what we “stand for” to begin with must be based on the truth and not some twisted spin on reality.

 

Jesus warned against “false prophets,” people who “will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive…even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). So even practicing Christians—the elect—with strong faith in God can become confused. Jesus added to His warning, “See, I have told you ahead of time” (v. 25). We as Christians have no excuse not to heed Christ’s warning: it is up to us to listen to the Spirit as He helps us discern the truth in this life (1 Corinthians 2:14). Albert Einstein said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” We will overcome the darkness of lies and false teaching by shining the light of Christ into the midst of that darkness. We must stand firm in our faith and seek God’s wisdom over that of questionable sources.

 

Jesus, You are our true Redeemer. Walk with us in the light of Your wisdom and justice. Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Learn the details of her astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding attacker and how she walked off that mountain. Hers is a story of tragedy turned holy, a journey of sorrow and healing, a powerful message of hope in the darkest hour. In her memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, Meg credits her resilience to the grace of God. She is also the author of Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, tales based on her years as a drummer in a Hawaiian show band; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, released this month. Meg is a retired college counselor, author, speaker, trainer and sexual assault survivor. She speaks to churches, civic groups, college students, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel, as well as youth in juvenile facilities. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and a great-grandchild on the way. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

Ocean LinerPeace I leave with You, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

 

On the brink of another year, what does it mean to have peace in your life? In John 14, Jesus’ words are difficult for the disciples to understand. Jesus says He is going away, not what these men want to hear. But He also says He will return, and even more puzzling, that God will send the Holy Spirit—the Comforter—to help them. The disciples are not comforted; they want Jesus to stay. His words leave them uneasy and restless.

 

What the men don’t grasp is that Jesus is always with them, even when they cannot see or touch or hear Him. He has already inhabited their beings, and though they are fearful, they will soon be emboldened to carry His message far and wide. They will start a movement still with us today: the church that our Lord Jesus asked them to inaugurate. Before their own earthly deaths, they will know the promise of eternal life is theirs. It is well with their souls.

 

Composer Horatio Spafford wrote one of the church’s most beloved songs, “It Is Well With My Soul” (often called “When Peace Like a River”) in 1876. One would think he penned these beautiful words when he was praising God for his many blessings. But nothing could be further from the truth. After losing a two-year-old son in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Spafford sent his wife and four daughters ahead on the Ville de Havre steamship for a European vacation. He delayed joining them until some business could be attended to. The ship sank, with only his wife surviving. Aboard a second ship, on his way to meet his grieving wife, Stafford wrote the words to the song as he passed by the place where the ill-fated vessel had sunk. At the lowest point in his life, he proclaimed that, with God, “It Is Well With My Soul.”

 

Jesus, You know our human situation can be dire and dismal. We praise You for dwelling in our hearts and providing peace and comfort all year long. 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 .

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.