When I was a child…

I remember when I was about 3 years old, the neighbor’s little boy liked me (I think he was about 4 years old). One time he came over and knocked on the door to see if I wanted to play outside with him. I opened the door and said to him, “I only like boys who have black hair like my daddy,” then I shut the door.

When I think about that episode, I feel so badly for that little boy. Did he run home to his mother in tears? Was he emotionally crushed? There is a saying, “Out of the mouth of babes…,” meaning kids will say anything without considering the feelings of others— they can say things that might seem harsh or even “cruel” even though that is not their intention.

Some adults never grow out of this phase. They say things about people or to people without thinking about how their words will be received. The sad part is that some who do this are claiming to be Christians. The Bible is clear about how we should use our words: “Let your conversation be always full of grace…” (Colossians 4:6). In Hebrews 3:13 it says, “…encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today”…”

Before any words come out of our mouths, we should ask ourselves this question: “Will my words build up or tear down?” If it is to “tear down” someone then bite your tongue and keep silent. If it is meant to build the person up, then be sure you say it with love (“…speak the truth in love…,” Ephesians 4:15).

There’s no reason why anyone should say hurtful things about people or to say hurtful things about them “behind their backs.” Ephesians 4:29 and 31 reminds us, “…Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them… Get rid of all … harsh words…” (NLT).

It’s not always easy to keep quiet or to say helpful things. I find that when I am overly tired or when I haven’t been reading God’s Word like I should, then I am more likely to say things that I will regret, but that is not an excuse.

No matter how tired or spiritually dry I am, I still need to have self-control—I can’t just say anything that comes into my mind, especially with words that will hurt someone else: “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). All of us have to grow up.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Too busy

For the past few months, we have been trying to be “healthy.” I started to run because it was a good way to get a cardio workout plus I could lose some weight. Lately, I haven’t been able to run as much as I did. I can’t seem to find the time. I was able to run yesterday, but it had been nearly two weeks since I last ran.  

Even though I have added “boot camp” classes once a week to my schedule, I am still not losing any weight. I think it’s because my exercise is inconsistent. I used to run every other day, but now I am happy to get just two runs during the week and often I only get only one short run.

I guess it’s the same way with my spiritual walk. Sometimes it seems that my growth is stagnant. Often it’s hard to find the time to read my Bible or to pray earnestly to God. I find myself getting distracted with other things, and life in general seems so busy.

Could it be that I am investing my time on worthless things? Could it be that I am just not managing my time properly?

I know that if I took the time to exercise on a regular basis then I would see the results that I want. In the same way, if I were to be intentional in my reading of God’s Word and in my communication with Him on a daily basis then I would have more calmness in my spirit. When life gets hectic and chaotic, that calmness would positively impact me and everything around me.

It seems everything stems from our relationship with God. If our relationship with Him is fragmented, then our life in general will be fragmented.

In Psalm 37:23-24 it says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (NLT).

I need to build upon my relationship with God then everything else will fall into place, and even when I am going through the “storms of life,” I will still experience peace. 

I think I should make it a priority to strengthen my relationship with God, then maybe as time permits, I can expand my exercise time. Exercise can improve my body, but God’s Word will improve my whole being.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Exercise and God’s Word

I was able to run for the second time since my tonsillectomy a couple of days ago (I plan on running for the third time tonight). My recuperation was supposed to be two weeks, but I thought it would be better to wait another week before running again.

Prior to my surgery, I was able to maintain a certain plan of what I ate and when I would eat it, but slowly during my recovery time, I noticed that I would eat more or eat things that I usually would not eat.

For example, during my third week of post op, I had slow cooked spare ribs in spaghetti sauce—I’m not supposed to have meat or tomato sauce since I have GERD, but I told myself that I would just take my medication if I had a problem. Then I ate chicken almost every day with quarts of rice pudding.

Now that I’m resuming my workout routine, I realized that it’s easier for me to resist certain foods when I am exercising than when I am not— I’m certainly not eating as much as I had over the previous three weeks.  

It seemed that when I was disciplined in working out (prior to the tonsillectomy) then I was able to have self-control over the types of food or the amount of food that I would eat; but when I did not work out (like during the post-op time) then it was more difficult for me to maintain good eating habits.

I think the same principle applies in our Christian walk— when we stay focused on God’s Word then we have more strength to resist temptations, to endure the “buttons” that Satan pushes, and to overlook distractions that can keep us from living like a true believer in Christ. 

I can handle situations differently when I am “in the Word”—my attitude is better and things don’t bother me as much. My thoughts are more positive and I have more patience. I can even stop myself from saying things that I will regret later.

James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you…” (NLT). “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things… ” (1 Cor 9:25); Proverbs 3:6 has, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT). So true!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Faith and assurance

Last night I dreamed that our little dog, Pongo, who is almost 18-years-old, collapsed and died as I was letting him out of the front door. I woke up and looked over at him to see if he was still alive and he was!

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We had a another dog that died after he was hit by a car– he was 5 years old. I remember my kids asking if he had gone to heaven. I didn’t know the answer.

Many years later I took a class taught by Dr. Peter Gentry and he said he believed that when Christ returns that He would redeem all of creation—this included our cats, dogs, and other pets. I remember telling my children what he said. They were so happy to know that they would see Poochie again.

Sometimes when I think about Heaven, I wonder in my mind if it’s really true. I know what it says in the Bible:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me [Jesus]. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going” (John 14:1-4, NLT).

My mind can’t really comprehend it. I admit, I try to fathom the “New Heaven” and the “New Earth” mentioned in Isaiah 65:17 and Revelation 21:1, but I can’t even picture such an incredible thing.

I think this is why it’s so important for me to have faith in God’s Word— to believe in my heart that what He is telling me is really the truth. In Hebrews 11:1 it says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (NLT). I need to hold onto that.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The schemes of the devil

Satan has a way of discouraging us. It seems to happen when we are in the process of drawing closer to God. Sometimes the devil discourages us by using other “Christians” to accuse us of not being a real Christian. I had this type of encounter recently and it bothered me. I had to think about what would make someone say such a thing when it is not true. I came across several Scripture verses that seemed to give me the answer.

In John 8:44 it says, “…He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (NIV).

Ephesians 6:11-12 reminds us that the devil schemes against us, “…For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (NIV).

So the bottom line is that Satan wants to destroy Christians (John 10:10), and he tells us lies to discourage us. I went to sleep thinking about this false accusation and my first thought this morning was about this accusation. I think it is time that I stop letting lies distract me from thinking about God.  It is Sunday morning and it’s time to “put on the full armor of God” and also to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph 6:10, 16).

Thank you, God, for your Words of encouragement!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Tired

Have you ever been so tired that you couldn’t think straight? That’s how I feel today. We watched our 6-month-old granddaughter, and because she is teething she kept waking up during the night. Since we had a lot of errands to run, we couldn’t sleep in this morning.

I thought about Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (NLT).

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Sometimes we are just so exhausted that all we want to do is just stay in bed but we can’t. We have to work, take the kids to school, go to that meeting, or run errands— we need to do life. Isn’t that when we should look to God for strength?

Although I only had about three hours of sleep, I didn’t feel as tired as I thought I would. God is good and His Word is true!