GOD IS GREATER

I’ve read James 1:2-3 several times before, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow,” but I never really understood what it meant until now.

Our family is under major attack—it feels like the gates of hell have opened and Satan’s minions are in full force, but even though we are going through these trying times we know that God is greater. In fact, we are now even closer to God than we were several days ago.

I believe that there is a spiritual battle taking place in our churches, and some of our loved ones have been taken captive by the enemy, “We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).

With the strongest conviction I have ever had, I keep shouting within my being, “GOD IS GREATER!” Those who are spiritually dead in Him can be raised from the dead— dry bones can live again. Those who have shut their eyes, ears, and heart to God can again see, hear, and know Him. No one is too far lost that he/she cannot be found by Him.

We need to pray, “It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons… to knock down the devil’s strongholds… Pray in the Spirit at all times… Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers…” (2 Cor 10:3-4, Eph 6:18).

I don’t know what you are encountering today, but know that you are not alone: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life… Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you… Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Matt 6:25, Isa 41:10, Joshua 1:9).

GOD IS GREATER!!!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Sanctuary

“The Walking Dead” is a show on AMC that has become very popular over the past few seasons. I’m not sure what the appeal of it is for everyone, but I think for some, it makes them think about how they would survive if “life as we know it” suddenly changed and people had to constantly look for shelter and food to stay alive.

The show has its share of excitement and plot twists. Throughout the series viewers are left with a feeling of uneasiness. The main characters often meet “bad people” who want to rob or kill them, or they have to fight off “walkers” that try to attack them. In this season the home they had was destroyed, and in their haste to leave, the group was scattered and separated.

In the latest episode (season 4, episode 14) the splinter group of two adults, two children, and a baby find a house in the “middle of nowhere.” There’s food, water, and gas for cooking. The group was contemplating living there, but then something tragic happens (the ending took viewers by surprise). The splinter group decides to leave in order to find a sanctuary known as “Terminus.”

It would be terrible to live in a world where there is no justice and people have no real peace. The truth is, our circumstances are very similar in “real life.” We live in a world where tragic things happen all the time. Sometimes people do cruel and terrible things to others and there seems to be no justice. Some people live in fear and have no peace. People want to find “sanctuary.”

In the midst of all these horrible things, God is the refuge for all. In Him people can find peace, justice, strength, and life. God is like that house in the middle of “nowhere” but His shelter is permanent—a fortified fortress, an everlasting sanctuary.

If you want to “survive” and truly live, then turn to God. “The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to Him and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10, NLT).

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Words…

I came across a handout from Roberts University entitled, “Behind the Strengths Are Potential Weaknesses.”  

Each strength had a “potential weakness;” for instance, the strength, “Trusting,” had “Gullible” as the potential weakness. For “Persevering,” the weakness was “Stubborn.” “Smothering” was the potential weakness for “Caring.” The list had numerous words and pairings.

The list made me think about how some people can take our well-meaning words and turn them into something terrible. This happened to me a couple of years ago. Someone had taken my email out of context and accused me of demeaning her.

The incident made me realize that I had to read my words from the receiver’s perspective, but I also had to not take things out of context when I see people’s email or hear things that they might have said about me. I have to trust that what was written or said was not done out of spite.

This is how arguments are started—one person thinks the other said something hurtful, but instead of getting clarification, the person retaliates.

We are supposed to think of others as being “better than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3) so this means that we need to think the best about them—we can’t assume that they would intentionally hurt us, especially if they are a loved one or a close friend.

Before we started to communicate better, my husband and I would get in an argument because we took words and actions in the wrong way. For example, my husband would have a bad day and say something “snappy” and instead of me reacting in a positive way, I would snap back because I would take his words personally. This only escalated things.

Now when he has a bad day and says something “snappy,” I would ask him in a soft tone of voice, “What’s wrong? Is everything ok?” The Amplified Bible explains it this way, “Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone” (Colossians 4:6).

The point is, we need to believe that our loved one is “for us” instead of “against us”—we need to think of our loved ones in a positive way instead of a negative way. We have to believe that even when they “snap” at us, that they are not intending to hurt us, but that they are saying these things because they are hurt.

Romans 12:10, 17-18 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other… Never pay back evil with more evil… Do all that you can to live in peace” (NLT).

Copyright © 2013 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

Strength

I’m reading through Isaiah and came across this Scripture verse that had given me much encouragement in the past—“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Many years ago I was in a situation where I felt much hostility from people who were my superiors. I was being falsely accused and pressured into recanting something that I had said.

Although my husband was very supportive, it still seemed like a very lonely and depressing time for me. God’s Word was a comfort. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are not alone; and even though we feel scared, we need to know that we have nothing to fear.  

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God gives “strength to the powerless” and “power to the weak” (Isa 40:29).

What kind of opposition are you going through? Think about Isaiah 41:10 and give it to God!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Never give up

After reading our Bible this morning I went downstairs to work out. As I was running on the treadmill I kept constant watch on my time, pace, and distance. When I found myself slowing down, I would adjust the pace; and when I got tired and felt like quitting, I would grab the handles and keep going.

It reminded me of God and His Word. The Bible helps us to gauge our progress in our Christian walk— how are we compared to those mentioned in its pages? Are we following the good examples or the bad ones? Ephesians 5:8 declares, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!”

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What do we do when we feel like giving up—do we grab onto God (like I grabbed the handles of the treadmill to keep me going) or do we just fall to the ground? Joshua 23:8 says, “…cling tightly to the LORD your God…” Psalm 46:1 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Finally, 2 Corinthians 4:1 states, “…since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.”

If you haven’t been reading the Bible or turning to God for help, then I urge you to start today.

Copyright © 2013 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!