“No Mercy for Man Who Raped, Killed Six-Month-Old”

I saw this horrific story yesterday (http://www.local12.com/news/local/story/No-Mercy-For-Man-Who-Raped-Killed-Six-Month-Old/OziBllxxwEOLN0tzrrQ8ww.cspx) and it has haunted me all day and night. I suppose it’s because I have three granddaughters— the youngest just turned 8 months old. I kept thinking that it’s bad enough when people punch and beat a baby to death, but it adds another layer of wickedness when someone rapes one. When I saw the news article on my Facebook feed, it made me sick, sad, and angry all at the same time.

This wasn’t the first time that I have heard of this type of horrible act on a baby. Many years ago I saw a terrible report of an 11 week old baby that was raped by a woman’s boyfriend. I cried as I held my 11-month-old baby girl. Raping a baby is truly evil. How can anyone do such a thing?

The Bible tells us that the human heart is “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9) and from a person’s heart derives “evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22). The Bible also says “everyone has sinned” and “fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23).

We tend to categorize sins—torturing and murdering babies and animals is worse than lying or cheating, but all sins are equally wrong in God’s eyes—“For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws” (James 2:10).

The truth is, the man who committed such a heinous act on this baby, is no different than we were before God intervened in our lives; we may not have abused a baby, but we did other things— “Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:11).

I hope this man will turn to God and sincerely ask Him for forgiveness, then this baby’s death would not be in vain.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

An open letter to my Dad

Hi Dad!

I’ve been wanting to write this letter and thought that today would be a good day to write it. I know that once you divorced mom that things were so different—our family was no longer a unit, especially after she remarried. Even though we had a terrible time growing up in that environment, I don’t blame you for it and I don’t want you to feel like any of it was your fault because it wasn’t. I don’t know why things we experienced as children happened, but they happen because we live in a fallen world that’s full of sinners. I have given it all to God and He has healed me, and I think it has made me a stronger person.

Going to the PI when I was 15 was the best thing that could have happened to me. If I had never went and had you as an influence during my teenaged years then I think I would have been a totally different person—I wouldn’t be the kind who would try new things or see events from a positive perspective.

My house growing up was dark—it reminds me of when the Bible talks about being void of God. I wish I could have lived with you but mom would not have allowed it—at least I had a little bit of sunshine when I visited your home. I was able to express myself and feel safe.

I still remember when you played tennis with me and how you attended some of my soccer games and other events. It meant a lot to me.  It was during that time that I tried out for every sport and every club and activity at school—I never had the freedom to do any of that before, and whether or not I made it on a team didn’t matter it was just the experience of doing something new that I loved.  That desire to do new and exciting things has carried on into my adulthood. I owe all that to you.

Anyway, I am glad that God saved you because I look forward to spending eternity with you in Heaven. I am glad that God has blessed you with a loving and godly wife—you deserve happiness. I love you, Dad! Thank you for being in my life.

_______

Is there someone in your life that you want to thank? Bless them by sending a quick note of appreciation today.

Marriage

God made them male and female from the beginning of creation… the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together” (Mark 10:6, 8-9, NLT).

My husband and I are slowly approaching our 29th year of marriage (we just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary this past November). When I was working on my counseling degree I had to create a diagram of my “family of origin” and the relationships within that origin. It was like a snapshot of the marriages and divorces in my immediate family (parents and siblings). Surprisingly, I was the only one in my immediate family who had never been divorced.  Statistically, I should have already had a divorce— we were both married at the age of 19-years-old, I only knew my then future husband for only a few months, my parents were divorced when I was a young child, etc. So why am I still married?

I believe that God is the reason why my marriage has lasted this long. It was very difficult when we were first married because we hardly knew each other and we were so different, but as our relationship with God grew, so did our relationship with each other. It was still difficult but not to the degree it was when we were first married. I think the turning point in our marital relationship happened when I not only asked God to change my husband, but I also asked Him to change me.

Often a problem that occurs in the marriage is that there is a cycle of miscommunication and misunderstanding, but in order to move forward, it all has to end. I remember going several days without speaking, or speaking very little; and I also remember wanting to say “I’m sorry, let’s just move on,” but never saying it because I wanted my husband to say it first. The goal of an “argument” is not to be the “last man standing,” it is to hash out disagreements and come to a mutual solution.

I wish all marriages would flourish and last. I think if more people took the time to be truly intimate with their spouse (not necessarily in a sexual way), then it would lead to more open discussions. One way to start this type of intimacy is to read the Bible then pray together out loud. Sounds simple, but it really works. If both husband and wife really want to work on improving the marriage, and their whole heart is willing to do “whatever it takes,” then wholeheartedly read and pray together. It is also important to follow Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.  

If your marriage is still not improving then please see a real Christian counselor (one who actually incorporates the Bible into his/her counseling), then sincerely pray for God to change you and your marriage. God can do all things— nothing is impossible for Him. Remember it is not the world’s statistics that defines your marriage—it is God who defines it.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

My teaching philosophy

My church ministry calling is to counsel and teach people within the congregation and surrounding community.  I have gained valuable teaching experience through the public and private school system, through Sunday school and adult discipleship classes, facilitating on-campus classes and through online teaching.  The short-term goal is teaching a curriculum or subject, but the long-term goal is to help form and shape the vessel that God can use for His glory.

I feel that God is calling me to teach, mentor, and influence the next generation.  I find great satisfaction in teaching others from a Christ-centered perspective.  My desire is to help people grow in their relationship with Christ.  I see a need to help believers build a stronger understanding of what it means to be a Christian.  The advantage of a Christian education is that basic scholastic learning allows the learner to realize God’s general revelation, while the study of Christian doctrine exposes God’s special revelation to students.  I believe teaching in a Christ-centered environment is a more holistic educational approach.

Several Bible verses guide my teaching.  Colossians 3:23 reminds me that I must do my work for the Lord, while Ephesians 2:10 and John 15:16 tells me that through Christ, God has prepared me for the work that He has given me.  In order for me to be a good teacher, I must be faithful in both my growth in Christ (2 Peter 3:18; Micah 6:8) and my love for others (1 John 4:21; John 15:12).  As a Christian, I believe everything is “theological.”  Not only is my worldview a Christian one, but everything I see around me points to the Creator God.  For example, the “Great Man” theory of leadership claims that leaders are born, but this is only part of the explanation.  The Bible says that God gifts people with certain abilities (Romans 12:6), and “all things are from God” (1 Corinthians 11:12).  So, leaders are not simply born to be leaders, they are created by God with abilities to lead. 

I believe in all that we do, we should do it as if for the Lord (Col. 3:23).  My desire is to help people grow in their relationship with Christ.  I see a need to help believers build a stronger understanding of what it means to be a Christian.  The Bible should always be the starting point in teaching any subject matter, and the basis for which all facets of life is evaluated.  Christians should be encouraged to infuse their faith with their everyday life, and the role of Christian schools is to reinforce the Bible into one’s personal life philosophy and decision making.  Christianity is not only what the person does, but also what a person is.

I think everyone should have a personal philosophy– what drives you to do what you do, and how do you go about in doing it? So what is your personal philosophy?

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

A couple that prays together stays together

I am looking forward to our trip to Disney World later this month. It will be just my husband and me (we are both running a Disney 5K). 1984 was the last time we were in Disney by ourselves— for our honeymoon.

Image

I think I am looking forward to this trip because I get to spend some alone time with my husband.  I truly am happy to be married. I think our marriage is the strongest now than it has ever been in the past. What made the difference is that we read the Bible and pray together every day— something we’ve only been doing for a few months now.

I thought about the couples I interviewed for my dissertation, and how almost all of them said that their marriages were stronger because of their Bible reading and prayer time together (http://digital.library.sbts.edu/bitstream/handle/10392/3736/Trascritti_sbts_0207D_10064.pdf?sequence=1).

Bible reading and praying together was something that we had never really did before, but I am glad that we started. If you are married, then start reading the Bible and praying together— it will change your marriage.

Just do it

Fear is so powerful. It can stop us from saying what we ought to say or stop us from doing what we ought to do. I get very nervous when I have to speak in front of a large crowd.  Sometimes the fear makes it feel like my stomach is knotting up.

Yesterday, I was offered an onsite course to teach. The first reaction I had was fear.

Image

I thought about the many reasons why I should decline the offer— my voice quivers when I speak, I’m too much of an introvert, I really don’t like driving at night, etc.; plus my past experiences have not been very good. I was ready to send my email to decline the offer, but everything changed after we read Exodus this morning.

God wanted Moses to do something, “but Moses protested” (Exo 3:11 & 13), then “Moses protested again” (Exo 4:1); finally Moses, “pleaded with the Lord, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled’” (Exo 4:10).

God’s reply spoke to me, “Then the Lord asked Moses, ‘Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say’” (Exo 4:11-12).

Unlike Moses, I will not continue to protest God (Exo 4:13). I sent an email accepting the assignment. I have no idea how God will use me during those five weeks but I hope that He will be glorified.

What has God asked you to do? Stop protesting and do it!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

The Temple of God

My husband and I have been trying to watch what we eat—eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, and refraining from eating red meat, fatty foods, and fried foods. I never realized that eating fresh vegetables can be so satisfying!

Image

In the past year or so I have lost about 30 pounds. I want to take care of my body. I think what drives me to do this is 1 Corinthians 6:19— “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?”

Not only am I watching what I eat, but I am trying to exercise regularly—not because it’s the “in thing” to do, but because I don’t want to have health problems in the future. A couple years ago, my blood test showed that I was on the verge of getting high cholesterol, but my levels are normal now.

Healthy eating reminds me of Daniel 1:12 &15, “’Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,’ Daniel said…. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king.”

How are you taking care of God’s temple?

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

How smart are you?

In our reading of Job today, God challenges him. These words stuck out for me:

“Have you explored the springs from which the seas come?

Have you explored their depths?
Do you know where the gates of death are located?
Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
Do you realize the extent of the earth?” (Job 38:16-18)

Image

I thought about how some people have gone into space but no one can seem to go down to the bottom of the ocean… we think we know so much, but we really don’t know as much as we think we do.

Some people believe they are so intelligent, but they say that God does not exist. It makes me think about Isaiah 5:21, “What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.”

One of the most intelligent people in the Bible was the apostle Paul, and even he said, “…though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could… now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him” (Phil 3:4, 7-9).

How smart are you?

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Be steadfast

I ran today. I was hoping to run/jog about 9 miles. During my workout I kept thinking about the idea of being “steadfast.” I think of “steadfast” as sticking to something—even if you mess up, you keep going. First Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (NASB).

Even though the passage doesn’t refer to running, I can apply the basic principle—“be steadfast… knowing that your toil is not in vain”—to me this means, keep going… your hard work will result in something positive.  I applied the Scripture verse for running, but I can also use it for my Christian growth.  I have not become the Christian that I want to be yet. I might say something or do something that I will regret, but I have to give it to God and keep pressing forward.

Today I ran 10.25 miles—I read the Bible this morning and prayed.

005

Be steadfast in all that you do.

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Buttons

All of us have our “buttons”—things that make us react negatively. My “button” is feeling overwhelmed. This happens when I have too many things to do in a short amount of time. When I am overwhelmed, I get very grouchy; but even worse than that, I tend to get too busy for God.

One time I had seven classes I was teaching—I couldn’t remember which classes were starting their week or which ones were ending.  I wish I had remembered these passages from Psalm 46:10—“Be still and know that I am God.”

Image

Even in the midst of chaos and confusion, we need to talk to God. Only He can calm the storms in our life. How are you handling your “buttons”?

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti