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

 

 

WHAT BACK DOOR?

what back doorI pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-18

 

Recently, I was asked to participate in a group about groups. A number of folks apparently stood out as potential leaders for small groups at our church, and the pastor invited us to spend six Wednesday evenings together discussing what small group leadership looked like to us. During one of the initial meetings, the topic of shrinking attendance at all mainstream Christian churches in the United States came up. Someone said, “We need to close the back door so people won’t leave.” I wasn’t sure if that was meant as a joke or not. Perhaps I’m not the person to ask about closing the back door.

 

You see, I’m a “new” Christian. I only accepted Christ as my personal Savior forty-four years ago, when I was twenty-eight, so I don’t consider myself a “life-long” Christian. I didn’t grow up in the church. I never had parents or grandparents or pastors or Sunday school teachers who tried to “raise me right.” I didn’t go through confirmation until I was almost twenty-nine, long after my teenaged-self thought I knew more about life than church could teach me, for heaven’s sake! You see, I’m still excited about church, and I have no intention of leaving, by the back door or the front door or the window. I’m here for the long haul. They are stuck with me, warts and all.

 

So I can’t get into a discussion of “closing the back door” to retain current members or ensure new members stay. All we have to do is get them so excited about Christ that they won’t leave. Ever. If there is anything I will have to say about it, I plan to share my faith in a way that gets other people excited too. God doesn’t want us perfect. He just wants us excited to know Him.

 

Lord, I pray that each member of our church…“may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” 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

GUARD MY TONGUE, LORD!

Watch Your TongueI said, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will keep a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.” Psalm 39:1

 

Okay, I will admit, by mouth gets the better of me sometimes. I’m improving as I age, but once in a while, I say things that I really shouldn’t have or didn’t mean to. Then they are just out there and I have to live with the consequences. Sometimes it’s just embarrassing, but occasionally, it’s downright painful. I am usually my own worst critic, and most of the time amends are made and things are fine. But we can’t take back the words we say very easily, and in spite of the old saying, words do hurt. Ask David. He talks about the tongue and his lips and his words on numerous occasions in the Psalms. Sometimes he says he’s watching himself around those who are “wicked,” as in Psalm 39:1. But other times, he takes full responsibility for his actions: “While I mused, the fire burned;  then I spoke with my tongue” (Psalm 39:3).

 

James has pointed words to say about the tongue too, describing it as “a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!” (James 3:5). He continues: “And the tongue is a fire…placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell” (v. 6). And James says, “no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (v. 7). Who among us can win with such a wicked thing in our mouths?

 

I heard a wonderful saying recently about when to speak: “Does it need to be said? Does it need to be said now? Does it need to be said by me?” Surely these are words to abide by! In fact, I can just imagine Jesus whispering them in my ear. If, when my little fiery tongue is ready to lash out and make a fool of me, I could slow my mind long enough to repeat these three questions to myself, things would go much better.

 

Patient Lord, help me ask myself these important questions before I open my mouth! 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 .

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

GRAMBULANCE

ambulance “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

 

Do you have (or had) a grandmother or grandfather to whom you turned for comfort in tough times? I never knew any of my grandparents. But I know many folks who remember at least one grandma or grandpa always being there to listen, to give hugs, to spend undistracted time with them when they were young. In our modern society, grandparents may move to senior housing rather than live with relatives. Families live far and wide today, making daily contact with older relatives impossible. But if you were or are one of the lucky ones, to have frequent contact with elder family members who care about you, you are blessed with a wealth of wisdom and problem-solving ability developed over many years. Although your parents care about you too, they are often caught up in keeping you safe and out of trouble—plus they are usually busy with work or other life activities. Your grandparents can, in many ways, provide you with some of the most honest and accurate information about life that you are able to get—and they love doing that!

 

As a grandmother and a great-grandmother myself, I’ve tried to be that special resource person to my grandkids. In fact, I even coined a word to describe what an active grandparent can be. Grambulance, a combination of the words “gramma” or “grampa” and “ambulance,” describes the special relationships young people have with their older family members. Like an ambulance, a grandparent is often available as soon as you need them. You can call or text them and they can often answer right away. They are filled with “equipment” to help you survive a broken heart or a bad grade or even your parents’ arguments or separation or divorce. Grandparents have seen and heard and done a lot in their lives, and they’ve learned how to handle tough situations. They also shepherded your own parents through some of the same crises you are now encountering; and experience is an excellent teacher. “Grambulances” may not have lights and sirens, but they are a rolling source of emergency measures to help you whenever you need them.

 

Lord, help us to see the wisdom in our older relatives! They love us as You do and are there to help us! 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 .

SPILLING THE BEANS

Embarrassed-womanWise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the Child who has been born King of the Jews?”…(Herod) sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the Child; and when you have found Him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay Him homage.” Matthew 2:1-2, 8

 

Have you ever inadvertently said or done something that you should not have? As a young adult, it seemed I frequently found myself talking to someone I felt I could trust, only to hear later that what I said had been repeated to my embarrassment. I learned from those experiences to be more careful with sharing what was on my mind! I’ve also committed some of those egregious faux pas like asking a woman with a large belly when her baby is due, only to find out that was not the reason for her sizeable tummy! And I once stubbornly tried get into a car that looked like mine, turning to see a woman giving me an icy stare while holding her cell phone aloft as if to call the police. These little embarrassments may cause us momentary horror, but we can usually recover from them with time and gentle self-talk.

 

Epiphany brings the arrival of the Wise Men. Did these Eastern Kings who came to find the baby Jesus have any clue that King Herod was less than thrilled at their report about the newborn “king of the Jews?” They didn’t realize that their innocent question about how to find the Child Whose star they had followed was about to set off an international incident with fatal repercussions for all the children under two in the area (Matthew 2:16-18). I’m certain these Wise Men meant no harm; they were mesmerized by the Christ Star and what ancient texts had foretold about Him (v. 6). Herod was a cunning and cruel king and he took advantage of the men from the East. He wanted this new Baby out of his life and his kingdom. But God would prevail: Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, and the Wise Men were also warned to leave the area without letting Herod know where the Child was (vs. 12-15).

 

Sovereign Lord, we thank You that Your plans are perfect and evil humans cannot change their course. 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

RESTING GRINCH FACE

grinch1.0A cheerful heart is a good medicine,  but a downcast spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

 

We’ve all met them. They seem to be everywhere during the Christmas season. Some people just can’t get into the mood for Christ’s birth, no matter what anyone says to them. If you wish them a Merry Christmas, they scowl at you or just turn and walk away. They suck the energy right out of the office Christmas party, and they haunt family gatherings. They won’t tell us what’s bothering them, or what has set them off. They aren’t happy about it being Christmas and they are going to try hard to make the rest of us unhappy too.

 

What do we do about people who spend the entire Advent season wearing a “resting Grinch face?” We can try to console them, engage them in a positive conversation about something, anything! Maybe they have bad memories of Christmas past. I know a woman whose parents were divorced whose only childhood memories of Christmas were about being shuffled from one parent’s home to the other, with little time to enjoy or appreciate either side of the family. Others may associate Christ’s birth with their own feelings of inadequacy or shame or guilt. Grieving for the loss of a loved one, a job, one’s health, or a relationship can add to the holiday blues. Some folks are genuinely turned off by the commercialization of this sacred occasion (count me among them!). And still more people dread being alone on Christmas because there isn’t a single person with whom they can plan to spend the holiday.

 

The “resting Grinch faces” of the world need our understanding and compassion, not our judgement. Holiday blues are different from mental illness, but short-term mental health problems can lead to clinical anxiety and depression. One of the best ways to help people who are unhappy during the Holidays is to include them in our lives and our activities. We may need to remain vigilant and be patient. The season is short, but Christ came not to condemn us but to offer us peace and healing. He would want us to keep that uppermost in our minds.

 

Child of Wonder, You came to us when the world was hurting, just as it is now. Help us spread the light of Your love now and all year long. 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 .

GREAT LEADERS BUILD BRIDGES

Christ Bridge to GodFor it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 23:8-9

 

When I accepted Christ as my personal savior, I was twenty-nine years old. I had not attended church regularly in my life; I knew nothing about the Bible and what it meant. But my sister had once given me a King James version of God’s Word, and I discovered that I could suddenly read and understand the text somewhat. Knowing I needed much more understanding, I enrolled in a weeks-long course called the Bethel Series, which used graphic illustrations to help those in the class remember what various Scripture passages meant. The one I remember the most clearly to this day is the illustration of the cross of Christ bridging the gap between humankind (me) and sin (also me), leading to reunion and reconciliation with God.

 

I soon began to understand that (a) by my very nature as a human being, I am a sinner, falling short of God’s glory, and (b) I didn’t need to do anything because Christ’s death on the cross had already bridged the gap between me and God. His cross stood for Grace, the unearned, unmerited forgiveness of my faults, shortcomings, stupid behavior, and all the rest that I thought was a permanent stain on my life. Gone. Just like that. And after several decades of following Christ, I am still gob smacked that, in spite of my continued “humanness,” the Lord’s mercies are new every morning.

 

Over the years, I have realized how inexplicably intertwined my career path of social work and counseling have been with my faith walk. I have always been an empath, showing heartfelt compassion and caring for those I met in my life. But being a practicing Christian deepened the meaning behind that concern for others and filled in the cracks with renewed purpose. And in all my work years, I could clearly see that effective leaders—including myself—build bridges to connect people. How else, I asked myself often, would we ever get “unstuck” without the bridges? It had worked for me in a simple introductory religion class, and it works for all of us.

 

Jesus, strengthen us to follow Your example and create bridges to wholeness for others. 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 .

WHERE TO SEND YOUR DEMONS

Demom pigsWhen the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. Luke 8:33

Last Sunday, our pastor, Andy Evenson, preached on Luke 8:25-39, the story of Jesus casting out demons from a man who walked around naked and lived in the tombs in the area of Gerasenes opposite Galilee. When Jesus asked the man’s name, he said “Legion” because there were so many demons inside him. The demons begged Jesus to send them into a nearby herd of swine. The poor pigs were so traumatized by the demons that they stampeded over a steep embankment, plunged into the lake and were drowned. Before last Sunday, I always thought how mad the pig owners must have been that Jesus just gave up their pigs that way. But Pastor Andy explained that the Jewish people thought pigs were unclean animals, so they probably weren’t bothered by their demise at all.

But here’s the most important point of the story: when the newly demon-free man asked Jesus if he could come with Him, Jesus answered, “Return to your home and declare how much God has done for you” (verse 39). I would like to think I “outran” the old demons in my life—the things I did and said and thought before I got to know Jesus—and I’d rather not think about them. But here Jesus is saying we should remain in the places demons had us on the run—the tombs of our old sinful life—and make sure all the people who “knew us when” we committed all those sins could see clearly what God has done to make our lives so much better. Well. Who knew?

Pastor Andy made another really good point in his sermon: in today’s world, we might wish Jesus would cast demons into something seemingly useless, such as mosquitos. I’d like to watch all of them rush into an abyss, never to be seen again. While we’re at it, let’s send demons into robocalls, slow internet, spam email, single socks in the wash (the “hose zone”), you fill-in-the-blanks. If Jesus could banish a legion of demons into some pigs, think what He could do with our everyday annoyances!

God of Great and Tiny Things, rid us of useless sins and small exasperations. 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

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

THE JELLINEK CURVE

JellinekCurve860x655No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but…He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Alcoholism is a progressive disease. Dr. E.M. Jellinek studied alcoholism, addiction and mental health continuously from the 1930’suntil his death in 1963. Thanks to Jellinek’s acute interest in the personal drinking histories of many subjects, the doctor sought to educate the public about the gradual descent into oblivion that chronic alcoholics experience. His “Jellinek Curve” illustrates these deteriorating alcoholic behaviors, as well as the corresponding healthy behaviors when an alcoholic chooses sobriety. It is no coincidence that the “Curve” shows a beginning, a descent into the bottom of the curve, and a not-so-easy climb back out of the depths of addiction.

 

Chronic addictive behaviors, including alcohol and drug addiction as well as gambling, overeating, spending, sexual deviances, and many other obsessions, are indeed diseases (a condition that prevents the mind and body from working normally), and they are progressive (becoming increasingly worse without intervention to stop the process). But one hallmark of these compulsions is that recovery begins with a conscious choice to change. When I read 1 Corinthians 10:13, I am always struck by my own shortcomings. The passage brings me up short when I realize that I can, with God’s help, resist any and all temptations that befall me. I am not chemically dependent, but I have loved and lived with and lost more alcoholics than I care to remember. And I know it is not so easy for them to accept God’s help to end the cycle of addiction.

 

Does 1 Corinthians 10:13 apply to addictions? Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill W. said men and women who abuse substances “have not only been mentally and physically ill, (they) have been spiritually sick.” Many of the most successful addiction treatment programs include faith and spirituality. Clearly, an addicted person needs a profound change of thinking about herself to achieve sobriety, and one time-honored path to positive self-awareness is faith in God. As with any major life transition, support from friends, family, and society—including our faith communities—can improve the journey away from addiction.

 

Healing Lord, touch those with addictions where they need Your help. Restore them to wholeness. 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 .