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

 

 

GREAT GRATITUDE

Little Girl PrayingSing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. Psalm 147:7

 

Writer and television host Ben Stein once said, “Be grateful….It’s the only reliable get-rich-quick scheme.” This is a good reminder for me, not because I have made an exhaustive search of “get-rich-quick schemes,” but because I don’t trust anyone or anybody who tells me I can get rich quick! I’ve certainly had my share of moments when I thought, “Money isn’t everything…but I’d sure like to have some, just to check that premise out!” I’m a creative person, and I appreciate beautiful things: clothes, jewelry, houses, furniture, cars, food, you name it! But I am grateful that I don’t have the kind of money or lifestyle where I can purchase any thing I want any time I want. Getting rich just to get rich seems like an awful waste of time!

 

Instead, tonight I’m thinking of all the things for which I am grateful that don’t cost a lot of money. I’m grateful for this fifteen-year-old computer that still lets me type my devotional posts. I’m grateful for the friend who helped me set up my devotional blog (almost) for free, and I’m certainly grateful that I know how to post on my blog (at my age). I’m grateful every day for the ideas God gives me for my devotions. He has never let me down, when I wrote a blog a day a few years ago, and still now when I write one a week. The snippets of Scripture or quotes from people like Ben Stein have me scrambling to get them down before I forget them. Sometimes all I get down is a word or a phrase, but I’m grateful it’s enough to go back and expand on that idea. The process makes me read things more carefully and notice the world around me more fully than I would if I wasn’t always writing about my world. What a blessing to view everything I see, hear and read as potential material for a special devotional! To think I could be stumbling through this world not noticing all the “little” things that really are not so “little” after all.

 

Lord of All Good Gifts, I’m grateful that I have my senses—seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling, and even caring about the world You have provided around me! 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 .

CRY ME A RIVER

Tears_Macro_Female_face-1200x628-FacebookYou keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 NLT

 

According to Wikipedia, “Tears are a clear liquid secreted by the lacrimal glands (tear gland) found in the eyes of all land mammals (except for goats and rabbits). Their functions include lubricating the eyes (basal tears), removing irritants (reflex tears), and aiding the immune system.” The American Academy of Pediatrics says that babies “cry” a lot, but they don’t produce tears until they are seven or eight months old. Women cry on average almost twice as often as men, but this may be due to societal acceptance of women who shed tears over men. In fact, the Latin name for “cry baby,” or someone who tears up frequently, is lachrimist, and can refer to either gender.

 

Crying can be good for you, because it releases oxytocin and endorphins, chemicals that make us feel better. I am not typically a crier, but when I get started, it’s hard to stop. And the littlest things can choke me up, like a Hallmark card commercial, or a sweet animal video, or just some random kid in the neighborhood doing something caring for another kid or (better yet) an adult.

 

Christians have often called this earthly life a “valley of tears.” Even though we believe in a gracious and loving God, and we place our hope in His ability to lift us up from the woes of this present life, we also grieve and feel sorrow and hurt throughout our worldly journey. And although we may often feel like our pain is of no consequence to those around us, not one twinge of discomfort escapes God’s watchful eye. Psalm 121:4 says God “neither sleeps nor slumbers,” but He keeps watch over us at all times. The image in Psalm 56:8 of God caring enough to collect each of sorrow-(and joy-)filled tears in a bottle is of great comfort to me. It reminds me that, though my weeping may not seem productive to me, God values those experiences as much as he does my greatest earthly successes. So go ahead, cry a river! God will still love you!

 

God of Tender Mercies, You treasure my tears enough to preserve them in a heavenly bottle. I am humbled and grateful for Your love and concern. Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Hear 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. Corrigan lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .

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

OVERWHELMING DEBT

Woman managing the debtLet no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

 

In today’s world of uncertain medical coverage and greedy health providers, an entire family’s resources can be threatened or wiped out by one catastrophic illness. Just ask the 472 families across Arkansas and Texas who recently found out that their medical bills of hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars were being paid off by a church in a state a thousand miles from them. A Lord of Life Church member in Brooklyn Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, told his pastor about “RIP Medical Debt,” a non-profit led by two former debt collectors familiar with the health industry. RIP buys debt from hospitals and providers with funds donated from celebrities, churches, and other organizations. The debt is bought up for pennies on the dollar, so even modest donations can eliminate a huge debt for those who have no other way to pay their medical bills. Lord of Life Church raised $15,000 in the fall of 2019, enough to pay off $1.6 million in medical debt! So why didn’t they use the money in their (my) home state of Minnesota? Well, state protections in Minnesota limit the purchase of debt. Undaunted, Lord of Life decided it would still use the money to help people in some of the poorer parts of our nation; hence, the gifts went towards medical bills for families in two southern states. (The church has plans to raise more money to help locals with medical debt.)

 

In Romans 13:8, the Apostle Paul speaks of our compelling responsibility to love others, thereby fulfilling the second part of Christ’s Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40: Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ‘This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”). How can mere mortals love with that much surety and abandon? By never doubting the power of God to direct our efforts to the right person in the right place at the right time!

 

Giver of All Good Gifts, open our hands and hearts and help us to love with surety and abandon. Amen

 

For more information about the RIP Medical Debt program, or to make a donation, go to: https://ripmedicaldebt.org/

 

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

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 .

EMPATHS

Father comforts a sad child. Problems in the familyContinue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3

 

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a novel about a successful cattle rancher who suddenly “wakes up” to the animals on his ranch. This seemingly seasoned rancher discovers he feels the pain of the animals he raises and sells, rendering him no longer able to conduct “business as usual” on his ranch. His relationship with a young mother and her troubled teenaged son provides more opportunities for the rancher to experience his profound empathy towards both animals and people, completely changing his approach to life and the animals and people he cares about.

 

While reading The Wake Up, I had an epiphany of my own. With over thirty years as a professional counselor, I have always been a “soft heart,” caring a great deal for the students and clients I have worked with. And as an adult child of an alcoholic mother, I have often accepted the role of caretaker in personal relationships, even when that may not be my healthiest role. This book made me realize how much emotion I often invest in concern about people I don’t even know and may never meet. When I see the news about natural disasters, I am often moved to tears with compassion over how much the people and animals are suffering. It nearly does me in to see images of victims of mass shootings, racial hatred, child abuse—and the list goes on and on.

 

It is not lost on my that Jesus was—and is—an empath too. He labored in prayer for His disciples and all of His followers, and even included those persecuting Him and ultimately executing Him in His petitions for forgiveness. The disciples and the Apostle Paul emulated Christ’s compassion; Paul’s letters are mostly passionate pleas for peace and wellbeing for those whose paths he had crossed. It comforts me to know that Jesus bears my burdens too, including the weight of my concern for those whose lives are filled with trouble. I’m not sure I could live in this broken, sorrow-filled world without the grace and love of my Savior to see me through.

 

Jesus, You said there would be trouble in this world, but thank You for overcoming the world! 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 .

BY FAITH

Fifty DollarsBy faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

 

As a counselor in the two-year college system in my home state of Minnesota, I encountered many students who were down on their luck. I kept a $50 bill of my own money in my desk and loaned it to countless students during my time in that position. I told each one of the students who used the loan that they were on their honor to return the money to me when they were able. No one broke the agreement for nearly a decades. And then one day, the $50 was gone. For good. I do not remember who did not return the money to me; it didn’t matter. Circumstances prevented that person from keeping a promise to me. I just hope that the person did some good for someone else along her or his path in life. I had put faith in more students than I ever thought would keep the “loan” going, and everyone—but the last one—had kept the promise.

 

Hebrews 11 recounts many people God asked to trust him, to obey him “by faith.” The chapter is like the “Cliff Notes” of Old Testament saints who did God’s bidding because they had confidence in His everlasting goodness. From Abel to Enoch to Noah to Abraham and Sarah, “all of these people were still living by faith when they died.” (v. 13). How great a faith must it have taken for them to persevere and continue on God’s path even though they would never see the final results of His plan! We must believe that God has a purpose for each of us, no matter how small and insignificant our daily contribution may seem.

 

Each of the students who borrowed that $50 bill did not let the next student in need down. Each returned that money, in essence passing the loan on to someone else. Disappointing as it may have seemed that one final student did not pay the loan back, the faith of the others was passed on countless times. Can we trust daily that God will reward our obedience to Him?

 

Lord, inspire us as You did the saints of old, to trust and obey You daily! 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 .