What Would You Do?

I came across this article while opening a browser, “Why are we living in an age of anger – is it because of the 50-year rage cycle?” It is true—there seems to be a lot of angry people. A year ago while in Atlanta during “rush hour,” my husband tried to merge onto oncoming traffic. He basically had to force his way because no one would stop. One woman because so enraged that she lowered her window to shout profanity and other vulgarity at him. We were shocked, all I could say was, “Wow!” Her reaction was an “over-reaction.” We could have yelled back in return, but what good would that have done?  Maybe, several years ago, I might have leaned over my husband’s shoulder and respond negatively—honking the horn, shouting, etc., but I realized at that moment that I had changed.

I have heard the term, “being teachable”; to me this means that we are willing to change and improve–we don’t have to respond or behave a certain way, we can change. A Christian’s goal is to become more like Jesus. As we change our behavior, little by little, our personality (the essence of who we are) starts to change too. For instance, we start to love others rather than just loving ourselves, and we are more willing to forgive others.

If you are a Christian, how do you react in a stressful situation? What do you do when people yell profanities at you for no reason? 1 Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing…” (NIV).  How do you fare?

Copyright © 2018 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
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Get Up and Run!

My first half marathon was a little disappointing for me because my body crashed at mile 10 and I felt I could have made a much better time, but my time in subsequent runs kept getting worse. The one I ran last month was my worst, granted I wore shoes I usually don’t wear and it was cold and rainy and I had leg cramps during the run, but it discouraged me so much.

I didn’t want to run again because I had such a horrible experience, but about a couple of weeks afterwards, I realized that I couldn’t let that last run stop me from running—I had to keep going. Now I am learning how to run all over again, starting slowly and finding the joy in running.

I thought about how our Christian walk can falter— maybe we had a bad experience with someone at church and we stopped attending worship, maybe we had the intention of reading through the Bible in a year and after a few months we stopped— anything we wanted to do to grow but the opposite happened. Sure, we can “quit” but how is that beneficial?

There’s no coincidence that running and finishing the race is often mentioned in the Bible:

The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race… in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize… So run to win… run with purpose in every step… let us strip off every weight that slows us down… And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… They will run and not grow weary…

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize… on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless… I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race…” (Ecc 9:11, 1 Cor 9:24, 26, Hebrews 12:1, Isa 40:31, Phil 3:14, Phil 2:16, 2 Tim 4:7).

The New Year is fastly approaching— get up and run!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Personal mission

My husband and I was at a 5-day conference a couple of weeks ago. On one of the days we looked at the importance of a personal mission statement. I knew that it was important for a company to have a mission statement, but I didn’t realize that we should have our own mission statement too.

My mission statement (although I never referred to it as that before) was to, “help people grow in their relationship with Christ.” In fact, I discovered it was the first sentence in the “About Me” section of my blog site.

Recently, I was offered an online adjunct position with a secular college after an acquaintance referred me. I have taught part-time at several Christian colleges but this would be my first non-Christian school. I went through the three week training and was assigned my first class (it starts in mid-May).

The whole time that I was filling out my paperwork, going through training, and waiting on my class to start, I kept wondering what my purpose was in teaching there. I tried to convince myself that God opened this door and that I could “witness” to non-believers there, but something didn’t seem right to me.

Today I thought about my personal mission statement—“to help people grow in their relationship with Christ” and I realized that this school didn’t fit my mission statement.

Proverbs 4:25-27 says, “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes… Mark out a straight path for your feet… Don’t get sidetracked…” (NLT). Yes, it would be good to teach at another school, but if my main reason for teaching is to help people grow in their relationship with Christ, then this was not the right place to do that.

I wonder how many things we do that distract us from our personal mission—things we convince ourselves to do that turns into a distraction? We need less distraction in our lives.

What’s your personal mission?

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Affirmation

Sometimes God speaks through an email…

I have been teaching online classes for a few years now. Over the last few months I kept wondering if anything I did really mattered—maybe I should do something different, maybe I’m not as encouraging as I thought I was, maybe I’m just wasting my time, etc.

Today I received an email from one of my students from this past semester. She is graduating in May and she had to write a paper discussing the five classes that impacted her. My class was one of them— “I wanted you to have a copy you were such a big part of. I really enjoyed your online class.” I was so touched by the email and the paper because not only did I teach that class, but I also wrote it—picked out the books and created the assignments.

The student writes: “This was my one and only online class, and I was intimidated going into this type of learning environment. I found that I enjoyed the setting and learned more by doing more on my own. My instructor was Dr. Maria Trascritti (Dr. T.) I was challenged by her correction of my work.  It was constructive and helped me immensely…The seven step decision making process is important to my work now and the work I plan on doing in the future within the health care industry

I will be prompted to ask myself if the decisions I am making will impact others positively or negatively, who will benefit, and if what I decide will glorify God… One of the most memorable ethical situations that was brought to light while I was taking this course related to a scripture from Malachi 3:8 NLT, “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings.”

In the work place just as in church or charity if we are withholding, we are taking or stealing what rightfully belongs to the workplace.  When an employee is actively not doing what they know they should be doing it is the same as stealing if they are taking payment for the day’s work.”

I have always felt that if I could impact just one student, then all of this work is “worth it.” I am thankful to God that I was able to influence this student in such a positive way. God is good!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Keep improving!

Yesterday my husband and I ran a 5K—it was to benefit the local food bank. I was a little worried about it since I hadn’t ran this whole week— I was swamped with work (told a week or so ago to have 14 slide presentations completed before I leave for vacation, plus I had two courses I had to manage. I stayed up late almost every night to complete the work). All I could do was try my best.

I had little hope that I would exceed my time from the last 5K (31:12). I chose the fastest song I had and I played it repeatedly during the run. I remember feeling my lungs starting to burn and my legs began to feel heavy. People ran past me—an old man, a 9-year-old girl, an old woman, a guy with a stroller, and then a woman with a small dog. I felt so pathetic. I had no idea how fast (or slow) I was going, but I just kept going. 

I tried to remember the mistakes I did in my last run so that I wouldn’t do them again— I tried to use my abdominal muscles to pick up my legs, I kept my back straight, and I ran fast down the hills to make up for the time it took to “run” up the hills. Instead of focusing on how tired I was getting, I thought about my form and what I could do to improve it.

Finally, I came to the 3-mile point—the point where everyone “gives it their all,” but the problem was that I had already given it “my all” that whole time. As I got closer to the finish line, though, and I saw the time on the clock, I told myself that I needed to go faster— every second counts. I didn’t know my exact time when I actually crossed the finish line, but afterwards I saw my time— 29:30— my personal best.

This morning I realized that I was only 31 seconds away from clocking in at 28 minutes and some seconds.

There is always room for improvement. Even as a Christian, we never get to the point where we can say that we’ve “made it”— “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain… for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God” (Revelations 3:2, NASB); “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit…” (Romans 12:11, ESV). There is always something about our way of thinking or doing that can be changed, and there is always something about God that we can discover. Keep improving!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Mushrooms

A few days ago I noticed that there were mushrooms growing in our front yard. They were brownish in color and grew in clusters on the dead roots of a large oak tree we once had.

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I decided to pick them to see just how much mushrooms I had. Even though I did not pick all the mushrooms, I still had a grocery bag full of them.

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Someone suggested that we take them to the naturalists at our local park so that’s what we did the next day.

Unfortunately, when we arrived they said that the mushroom expert was no longer there. They looked online and in a book then determined that they were probably Honey Mushrooms, but since they were not “experts” they advised us to not eat them because some mushrooms look very similar to one another and it could really be poisonous.

I didn’t want to waste the mushrooms and asked if it would be a good idea to put them in our compost, but they said it would basically grow more mushrooms plus it would release lots of spores and we could get mushrooms on our lawn again and that it might actually harm some of the good trees in our yard.

I reluctantly threw them in the trashcan. I really wanted to eat them because then it would mean that their existence had some purpose but since no one could tell if these were “good” mushrooms, then they had to be thrown out.

I thought about Revelations 3:15-16, “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (NLT).

These Scripture verses also came to mind:

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven… On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’  But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me…’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

“Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me…’” (Luke 13:26-27).

I wondered if I was like those mushrooms—that no one can tell I am a “real” Christian. All of us basically look alike—who can really know for sure? I guess that’s why God is the “expert.”  Only He really knows the “real” Christians from those who are not.

So I guess the question is: Does God know I am a “real” Christian, and am I really a Christian? (Am I a “good mushroom”?)

All that matters is His opinion of me. I just want my heart to align with His, and that His thoughts become my thoughts. I want my eyes to see people and events as Jesus would. God, help me to be more like You and less like me. Help me to know that I am really Yours.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The Christian life

There have been times that I told people we are supposed to live like a Christian, but I never considered that maybe they had no idea what I meant. What does “living a Christian life” supposed to look like? Is it going to church every Sunday and reading your Bible every day?  I have heard people say that we have to sacrifice our time and go to church and then do ministry—is that what “living a Christian life” is about?

I think about the passages in Psalm 51:16-17, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (NLT).

I think God could care less about us sacrificing our time—what He really cares about is our motivation for going to church, doing ministry, reading our Bible, etc.  Does our heart truly desire to align with God’s? This is what living a Christian life is all about.  We do things not out of obligation, but because we love God, we want to please Him, and we want to be closer to Him. My personal prayer is that my heart will be broken every day so that God can reshape it.

What about you? What do you think it means to live a Christian life?

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti