Attacks on Paris

The horrific attacks in Paris, the “City of Love,” have claimed over a hundred lives with many injured. Many are angered, sad, or scared, but this heinous act is just a reminder of five things:

  1. The earth is controlled by Satan: “We know that we belong to God, but the whole world is under the power of the devil” (1 John 5:19, NLV)
  1. Because Satan controls the earth, there will be violence: “…the land is full of darkness and violence” (Psalm 74:20, NLT)
  1. We have to show the world that their hope lies in God: “Our hope comes from God… May your hope grow stronger by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NLV)
  1. We must pray for those who commit these acts of violence: “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44, NLT)
  1. We must never give up hope, even in the midst of tragedy: “Let us keep looking to Jesus. Our faith comes from Him…” (Hebrews 12:2, NLV)
Copyright © 2015 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Run with a purpose

For a while now I have known about my first half marathon run in January but I did not train for it like I should have. After getting back from my vacation in late October, it was difficult for me to get back into a routine.

I should have taken my training more seriously months ago—even training during my vacation, but I kept thinking that January was so far away and that I had a lot of time to prepare for it. Now we are nearing the end of November, which means that I only have a month and a half to train.

I thought about the Scripture verses that referenced running and training:

1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “All athletes are disciplined in their training… So I run with purpose in every step… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.”

Hebrews 12:1, “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Many times I do not take my spiritual training very seriously. I am lax in my Bible reading and prayer because I get busy with other things.

I am pressured to push myself and run now even when I don’t feel like running because I know when my race will take place, but I think I am not as serious in my spiritual training because there is no set day when Jesus will return:

“…be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him… Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matt 24:44, 42).

I think I have to change my mindset—I’m not just training for Christ’s return, I am currently in the race—I am being timed and I need to  finish strong.

Every waking moment is time on the spiritual track and I can’t stop or quit—I have to keep running. I now have a different understanding of Isaiah 40:28-31,

“The Lord is the everlasting God… He will not grow tired or weary… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… they will run and not grow weary.”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Hope and a future

A few days ago my son sent a sonogram picture of my unborn grandchild to me (this will be my fourth grandchild). 

Image

My son and daughter-in-law have come such a long way in their relationship. I thought about the first time I had seen my daughter-in-law. It was our first Sunday at the church.

As we waited for people to arrive for service, a small blonde-haired girl walked past us—she never looked up; her eyes were fixed on the ground as she went by. The first thought that came to my mind was, “She’d be perfect for my son… she’s his type.”

A little while after that they started to spend time together, but things didn’t work out between them—those things happen with teenagers.

A few years later, my son announced that he was going to ask a girl to marry him, but after buying the ring she ended the relationship. He was devastated so he came home to spend some time with us.

A couple of days after being home he told us that he was spending time with a friend. I found out later that he was seeing the small blonde-haired girl.

For the next year they maintained a long-distance relationship—she was at a college in her hometown, and he was at a school 100 miles away. Finally after his graduation, he gave up his apartment to move back home and they spent another year “hanging out” with one another.

After a fairy-tale engagement at Disney World, they were married on June 1, 2013. Now they are expecting their first baby.

When his first engagement fell through, I had sent a message to his ex-girlfriend: God has a plan and I know that He will give my son someone better.

Seeing the picture of my unborn grandchild gives me a new appreciation for Jeremiah 29:11, “”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”” God is good!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Marriage, forgiveness, and resources

I am teaching a “Marriage and Family” course online for a Christian college and I have discovered that there are so many people who are experiencing problems in their marriage. In my class of about 20 students, there are five who have experienced problems or are going through problems (half the class is not married).

I teach a “Marriage and Family” course in another Christian college.  Even in this class, people are saying that they are having problems in their marriage and the class helps them to see their marriage from a different perspective.  Some have even questioned whether they had rushed into getting a divorce.

The second college is planning on phasing out the course. It’s bad enough that it is only 3 weeks long (most courses are at least 5 weeks long), but now they are phasing it out.  This tells me that they really don’t care about marriages. If they really cared about the marriages of their students then they would have offered this course for a full five weeks, and expanded it to 6 weeks instead of phasing it out.

It is clear that Satan is attacking and destroying marriages. Marriage classes are badly needed—people need to understand that the majority of people experience communication problems, but that doesn’t mean the marriage is doomed to fail. People mess up—that doesn’t mean we walk away from the marriage.

Instead of getting mad and holding grudges, we need to forgive our spouse. The Bible has many Scripture verses about forgiveness.  For example, in Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus is asked this question: “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister [my spouse] who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus answers, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven” (The Message Bible). 

I don’t think we forgive people as much as God forgives us. I think this is especially true in marriages. Forgiveness is so important in a marriage. We are already aware that people aren’t perfect so why would we expect perfection from our spouse? The truth is, our spouse will disappoint us and our spouse may do something that makes us angry, but we need to forgive, especially when our spouse asks for forgiveness.

If you are having problems in your marriage then get some help. If you attend a church then get help from your pastor or clergy. There are organizations that can help too such as “Family Life” (http://www.familylife.com/find-help) — an “Event for Couples” is a great way to start the communication process. There are also counselors: http://www.aacc.net/resources/find-a-counselor/.

Don’t be deceived into thinking that getting a divorce will make things better.

I can’t do much about that one school that plans on phasing out their marriage class, but I can do my part by encouraging you to work on your marriage and then give you some resources that might help. Marriage is supposed to last a lifetime so try to make it work; and remember that all things are possible with God!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Hope

This morning, for some reason, I thought about a little story my mother had told me surrounding my birth. The military doctors had said that I would be born in late February, but then my mother met an old man who held her hand then touched her middle finger and said, “Your baby will be born between March 3rd and March 4th.” A little while later, my mother goes into labor and I was born at 12:01 am on March 4th.  

She always thought it was really incredible that the man was right. I think what would have been even more incredible is if the man had given her a whole list of what would happen in the future. I then thought about the Bible and how it is full of predictions of the future—many of them I can’t even fathom.

Sometimes I wonder why the man told my mother when I was going to be born—was it a way to distract her from God? Who was this man? All I know is that for the longest time my mother was consumed with horoscopes, “reading” cards, and interpreting dreams. She took me to see a witch doctor instead of a real doctor when I was a teenager and suffering from migraines.

As far as I know, my mother does not know really know Christ. I continue to pray for her and hope that God will open her eyes so she can learn to trust only Him.

The passages in James 1:5-8 come to my mind:

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do” (NLT).

Even though my mother has suffered many health problems, she is still alive. Perhaps God is being patient with her (2 Peter 3:9). I hope that one day she will tell me that she is a Christian and I can rejoice about it as the angels do (Luke 15:7). I have to pray and hold on to that hope.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Star Wars

I didn’t get very good sleep last night. I went to bed at midnight and it seemed like I woke up every 2 or 3 hours. I finally got out of bed at about 7:30. I was a little dizzy and very tired, but I forced myself to workout. My time and distance was not very good (6.5 miles in 77.37 min—6.2 miles in 73.59 min), but considering I didn’t want to work out in the first place I guess it was decent. When I was on the treadmill, struggling to jog, I looked over at the Star Wars DVD release poster on the wall (I can’t afford the original movie poster).

Image

I thought about the first time I saw Star Wars during opening week at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It was so exciting, especially since there were two storm troopers there (they were rarely seen back then). What a great memory from my childhood. Then I thought about all the terrible memories I had. Notice that I used the word “had” rather than “have”—even though they are bad memories the emotions that used to be tied to them are no longer there. One day, after praying for several years, I realized that I no longer felt sad or angry when I thought about my past. I came across these Scripture verses today:

“The young women will dance for joy… I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing… This is what the LORD says: ‘A cry is heard in Ramah— deep anguish and bitter weeping… Do not weep any longer… There is hope for your future,” says the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:13, 15-17, NLT).

God is so good!