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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The Time Is Now

None of us can ever “get right” with God on our own. Sometimes people will hear the gospel and say, “I’m not ready to accept Jesus right now because I need to clean myself up first,” but that day never comes.

It reminds me of what Jesus said to the Pharisees: “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matt 23:26, NIV). The Pharisees were busy trying to look or act a certain way, but their hearts had not been changed by God– “Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness” (Luke 11:35, NLT).

God wants a willing spirit– we come to Him and ask Him to change us– that’s how we become “right” with Him. The time is now. “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2, NLT).

Copyright © 2017 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Choices

One of my classes has a discussion about “free will.” It made me think about how out of all of God’s earthly creations, humans are unique because we have free will, and we have the ability to think and to rationalize. My cats cannot accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, and no matter how smart dolphins or certain primates might be, they cannot be a follower of Christ. We are the only ones made in the image of God and we are the only ones who can be called “the children of God” (Matt 5:9). Since we have free will, we can choose how we respond to a life circumstance– we can praise God even when things are not so good, or we can “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). We can choose to follow God or not (Josh 24:15). The choice is ours. What do you choose?

The phone call

This evening I received a voice message from my brother who I haven’t heard from in over three years. I didn’t answer the call because I didn’t recognize the number and I thought it was a marketing company.

His voice was shaky. He mentioned, “Mom,” and that’s when I called him. I didn’t even bother listening to the rest of his message.

He told me that my mother was in the hospital with pneumonia and that she had asked for him to see her. Apparently my stepfather died about four or five days ago. I’m not sure if her illness has anything to do with her grief.

My emotions are mixed.

My mother married my stepfather when I was 9 years old. Soon after, my stepfather started to molest us. I remember only bits and pieces. One of the strongest memories I had was when my mother said I couldn’t lock the door to my bedroom at night anymore because it “wasn’t safe.” I had a deep feeling of dread, fear, and panic.

For the longest time, I waited for my stepfather to die (he was about 20 years older than my mother). He never did, but then I moved on with my life. I got married and had a family of my own.

I had a literal distant relationship with my mother and stepfather—they lived in California and I lived in Florida. After a few years, they moved to the Philippines. Throughout my nearly 30 years of marriage I only saw my mother three times.

After I had become a Christian, I wanted my mother and even my stepfather to know Christ. I didn’t want revenge and I wasn’t waiting for him to die. In fact, I had hoped that I would hear him say that he had asked God for forgiveness and that he was a believer and a follower of Christ.

With Christmas cards and other mail, we would send them gospel tracts. About a year ago we sent them the “Jesus movie” and my mother said that my stepfather constantly watched it. I am hoping that it changed him.

My mother had always been resistant in hearing about Jesus. She told me several years ago on her last visit to Florida, that she didn’t need Jesus. I’m not sure if she still felt that way. As much as I could, I tried to tell her about Jesus’ love and how my life has changed because of Him.

I am not sure if my mother will recover from her illness. My father said that he will check on her today after the funeral of my stepmother’s mother. I am hoping that I will have one more opportunity to talk to her about God.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Slimy sponges

While doing the stack of dishes this morning, I got to the very bottom of the sink and saw several sponges that were slimy and dirty. In the past, I would just throw them away but today I thought I would do something different.

I turned the hot water on and waited for it to get really hot then I sprayed each one down. I watched as the dirt and grim slowly disappeared. Afterwards it was like I had new sponges.

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Today is Good Friday. When I was in fifth grade, attending a parochial school, I had no idea why “Good Friday” was “good.” How could the day they killed Jesus be good? It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized why this day is “good.”

In 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 and 17, it says, “Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life… This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (NLT).

Jesus died so that I can be a new person—I was sentenced to die but He took my place and died for me. I have a new identity now because the old one died with Him. I was like those old and slimy sponges that needed to be thrown away, but God cleaned me:

“…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, NLT).

I am celebrating the life that God has given me through Jesus’ death on the cross. On Sunday, I will celebrate the day when Jesus conquered death.

Happy Good Friday!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Deep waters

When we were in Hawaii, we spent a lot of time snorkeling in the tide pools behind our rental home. The tide pools looked rather shallow with calm waters. Even when I was sitting on the edge of the pools, it looked like the water was only a couple feet deep. 

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It wasn’t until I put on my goggles that I realized just how deep the water really was. In some places it was about 25 feet deep. I tried to stay close to the edges because I don’t know how to swim (I can float but I don’t know how to get my head out of the water without “drowning”). By being close to the edge, I can stand up if anything happened (leaking snorkeling gear, fogged goggles, etc.).

One time I decided to go farther out but still stayed close to the edges. After a little while, I climbed on a rock, looked around, and realized that I had ventured a good distance from the house. My husband found me and suggested that I go out towards the other side. I told him that as long as I had the rock edges then I would be fine.

I followed the rocks going in the other direction, then all of a sudden the rocks ended and I found myself in very deep water (about 15 feet deep). I frantically looked around for the rocks I had followed but I couldn’t find them. I started to panic—what if my snorkeling gear “messed up,” what was I supposed to do?

I saw my husband and he started to snorkel next to me. I wanted to hold onto him because I was afraid, so I tried to get his attention but since I couldn’t yell to him, he just kept going. I tried not to look down, but I did and I started to feel the pounding of my heart getting stronger (even now as I think about it, my heart starts to pound against my chest). I felt like I was going to hyperventilate. I had nothing in between me and that deep water—no security—no rocks to stand on.

I tried to hold my breath thinking that if I could keep the air in my lungs then I could float better, but the distance between where I was and where I had to go was too far. I took shallow breaths, praying for God to just get me through to the other side. As I waded towards the rocks at the distance, I pushed out the images of me sinking to the bottom. I tried to focus my eyes ahead of me instead of below me.

When I finally made it to “shore,” I felt shaky. The scary experience somehow reminded me of Matthew 14:29-30, “…Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!””

I realized two things: (1) God is the only Person we can rely on—when we are in scary or deep situations in life, only He can help us, and (2) We can’t let things distract us.

Peter was fine as long as he focused on Jesus, but the second he looked around, he became scared. When I was trying to get to the edge of the tide pool, I had to keep looking forward—I couldn’t look down, behind, or sideways; I had to focus and look straight ahead.

The point is, no matter what you are going through, keep your eyes on Jesus and keep going forward. Don’t let the past or the things going on in your life distract you from focusing on God.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The only way

A couple of days ago, I mentioned Dr. Bill Cutrer in a blog (https://drtfoodforthought.com/2013/07/11/work-things-out/). It was not the first time I had shared his name; in fact, in March 2013, I had sent Dr. Cutrer an email sharing one of my blog entries in which I briefly wrote about him (https://drtfoodforthought.com/2013/03/25/commitment/). His response,

Delighted to hear from you, I remember you and Fran, and a daughter along the way that came our way… lovely blog, glad you are honoring your Lord, your commitment and working to picture the love of Christ for His Bride through your marriage. Dr. C

Today I heard that Dr. C passed away early this morning. As far as I know, Dr. Cutrer was healthy so his death is sudden and unexpected.

The school where he taught said he and his wife had plans to meet their children and grandchildren at the beach, but instead they are preparing for his funeral.

I am reminded of James 4:14, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (NLT).

None of us know the exact day or time when we will die, but all of us will die one day—“The same destiny overtakes all… no one knows when their hour will come” (Ecc 9:3, 12).

Do you know where you will go when you die?

There is a heaven and there is a hell, whether or not you believe it, both exist and we go to either one or the other when we die.

I used to think that being “good” or doing good things would get me into heaven, but it doesn’t work that way—it doesn’t matter what we do or how much good we do in this world, it will not get us into heaven.

The Bible tells us that there is only one way to God (who is in heaven)—through Jesus Christ, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Why only Jesus? Because He is different than any other prophet that existed before, during, and after Him. It is explained this way,

“…consider that no one else has done what Jesus has done.  No one else has risen from the dead, calmed storms, raised others from the dead, and fulfilled numerous prophecies, etc.  Though some may have claimed to be able to do one or two of these things, none have done all the things Christ has done as well as claim divinity.  Since Christ has done all of these things and since He claims to be God in flesh, then it is logical to believe what He has said… that He is the only way” (http://carm.org/questions/skeptics-ask/why-jesus-only-way-heavengod).

Everyone will die—don’t you want to know how to really get to heaven?

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti