Are there points in your day when you think, "Man, what is going ON in this world?! I always think about what 1 Peter 4:12 says, "Don’t think it strange when fiery trials come upon you." Basically, God is sovereign. He knows exactly what is going to happen. The world we live in says, "Make it happen." "You are in control of your destiny."


But God's ultimate aim is His own glory and name being made known.

He is just in all His dealings. He alone is righteous. Justice and righteousness belong to Him. It is of the utmost importance that HE receive all the glory due His name.

This justice and righteousness was displayed when He showed the worth of His glory in sending His Son to die so that He might pass over sins and justify the ungodly. This is the plan is now:

2 Corinthians 5:9 "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent (in the body), to be well pleasing to Him."

You may be hearing many speak about where we are in the timeline of eternity. We are living in extremely turbulent times. Here are God's thoughts on such things:

Psalms 2:1-12

“Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” But the One who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger He rebukes them, terrifying them with His fierce fury. For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.” The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today, I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.’” Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal Son, (the NKJV states - Kiss the Son) or He will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities— for His anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in Him!”

Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way.

God is jealous for his Son. “You shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14). His anger is kindled when the affection assigned for Him is given to another. The kiss here is the kiss of adoration and submission.

The time of playing games with God is over. If we love another more, we will perish. He will have no others above Him. He will be all or He will be our enemy. The safest place in the universe is at the feet of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. If we choose to turn from Him and put another in His rightful place, His wrath will be against us.

. . . for his wrath is quickly kindled.

The word quickly may not be the best here. The word can mean in a sense; suddenly. Repeatedly in the Bible, God is said to be “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). Not “quick to anger” but “slow to anger”. Psalm 2:12 means “His wrath can break out suddenly.” In other words don’t test His patience because it may run out and you be suddenly overtaken in wrath. If you continue kissing His creation and not His Son, suddenly you may experience His anger. Don’t presume God's long-suffering, mercy and grace will last forever.

So to “kiss the son” means to embrace discipline. 

We Americans are so rights-driven that we assume God owes us something. You know what? Newsflash: God owes you nothing. Your life is a gift. You have it on loan from God. It is His rightful due and our duty to joyfully serve Him while embracing correction when needed.

Proverbs 15:5

A fool despises his father’s instruction,

But he who receives correction is prudent.

So how should we now live in light of this?

Let's go back to what some are saying where we are in God's timeline of eternity. Many say we are living in the very last days, the end of the world as we know it. It's very dangerous when people say this. Why? Well, Jesus Himself warned of this.

Matthew 24:4-14; "What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come."

So, God really does have a plan. We just have to trust that.

I know these are scary times we're living in. It says many will grow cold to the faith. Sin will be rampant everywhere. BUT! The one who endures to the end will be saved. SEE? We have a job to do; preach the Good News that the Kingdom of God is here. Jesus is its King.

And He has it all under control.

Plenty if you have mine!

I have always hated my first name. Laurene never sounded right to me. It never sounded right to anyone else either. People who evidently didn’t understand it called me “Laverne, Doreen, Laurenia, Lavinia, or, my favorite, Laurence” When I complained to my parents it fell on deaf ears. My mother told me cheerfully my name came from a character in the movie “From Here to Eternity” I later found out that it was the name of the prostitute. Well, the actress won an academy award for it. It worked for her. Unfortunately, not for me.

I renamed myself “Laura” to try to avoid problems. When my father heard people call me that he ranted and raved like a lunatic. It didn’t stop me. I hated people telling me “That’s a funny name” after they snorted with laughter. I always felt it was said with a sneer. Or worst of all, calling me “Laurence”, which would send everyone into gales of glee. I graduated from an all-girls Catholic High School. I had to get my diploma reprinted. You guessed it. It said Laurence.

When I testily asked why my name was misspelled, I was told:

“Oh, we thought there was a mistake.”

I responded, “Did you notice that "female" is ticked off in the gender section?”

The worst time I ever had with my name was after I was married. I sent a resume for a High School Religion teacher position. I was so excited to get a reply to report for an interview. They sent it to “Mr. Laurene Corbino” I didn’t think anything of it. I thought the secretary probably typed it wrong. On the day of the interview, I was ready. I wore a professional outfit, that was chic, yet demure. After all, this was a prestigious Catholic boys’ high school (that shall go nameless). I needed to look sharp, intelligent, like a team player, God-savvy, etc. You get the picture.

As I sat down in the office waiting area, there were other people waiting for the Headmaster. As I covertly spied them, I realized I was the only woman there. “Boy, I must be good,” I thought gleefully. “I’m the only girl here. If I play my cards right, I can nail this.”

This job also included getting my PH. D for free because it was connected to a university, so I was determined to get it. And why not? I’m cute, smart, and witty. What’s not to love?

I was the last one called after all the others had been seen. I was ready. Saved the best for last, I cackled to myself. “Mr. Corbino?” the headmaster called, looking around the office. I stood up and walked over to him as I raised my hand to shake his, with a big smile on my face. He had a very weak grip, I thought.

“I’m sorry, who are you?” he asked, nonplussed. “I’m Mrs. Corbino,” I assured him. “I’m very happy to be here.”

“Where is your husband?” the Headmaster asked nervously. “He’s at work, sir,” I answered, beginning to get a sick feeling.

“He’s Chairman of the Music Department at St. Francis.”

“What is your name?” the Headmaster slowly asked, beginning to look gray. He was looking sicker than I did at this point. “Mrs. Laurene Corbino, but my friends call me Laura,” resisting the urge to ask if he wanted to be my friend. I guess he was no "Mr. Rogers". Actually, I think he was looking for a hole to jump in.

The poor man ushered me to his office and had me sit in a chair across from his desk. It was a nice office, all wood paneling. It made me think of Winston Churchill’s office. After a few minutes of smiling at each other, another Brother entered the office. “Sorry, I’m late,” he said breathlessly. He looked at me confused.

“I thought we had an interview with (looking at his folder), “Mr. Corbino.”

“This is Mrs. Corbino” the Headmaster explained testily.

“I thought it was with Mr. Corbino,” the Brother asked, looking at me, beginning to sweat. I have such an effect on men. They get chills meeting me.

“No. Husband -music teacher. Wife- religion teacher” I brightly said.

Brother shakily took a seat next to the Headmaster and then for the next few minutes we smiled at each other. My cheeks were ready to crack from all the smiling at this point. Finally, Headmaster broke the stalemate and wiping his face with a tissue said, “I think we have made a terrible error."

“Let me guess, you read my name wrong and thought I was a guy,” I finished for him. “You didn’t want a woman for this position."

“Would you like some tea?” The Brother asked to change the subject, reaching for the phone.

“Sure, feel free to put a blast of bourbon in yours,” I quipped. When I’m nervous, sass comes out of me. When the tea came, I cheerfully poured it, telling them I’ll be "mother." (Pays to watch old English movies.)

The Headmaster and Brother, who turned out to be the Chairman of Religion, just held their cups, weakly asking me questions. - I knew I should have added bourbon. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Look, lets end this,” I rose from my chair. “You didn’t expect me here, and I can’t bear to watch you guys suffer” I offered my hand to them with what dignity I had left. “Don’t worry, there’s an ice cream soda with my name on it waiting for me at Bloomingdales. That’s how I drown my sorrows."

After I closed the door, I heard screams coming from the office. I never knew religious people could curse like that. It sounded like the windows would shatter at any moment. I was knocked over as the secretary rushed past me to get in the office. Somehow, I think she was in trouble too. Well, my job was done. I caused enough havoc for the afternoon.

Sitting on the train home, I promised myself never to use “Laurene “again on resumes. I also realized something else. It’s not easy being me. I’m just too unique!

Laura certainly is unique! I love her story because it just goes to show that you never really should judge a book by not just it's cover but also, by it's name! She has been a faithful member of our church for many years. We have come to love her dearly and makes us laugh, frequently. She is married for 42 years to her husband and they have 2 adult sons and 1 grandchild, a sweet 14-month old just beginning to walk. Laura enjoys writing witty short stories for the Staten Island Advance, The Nursing Spectrum and has won the Rider's Digest 2019 award. A midwife for 35 years in Brooklyn, she delivered over 1,000 babies during that time.

  • Maria Goodwin

Recently, while doing a study on the Gospel of John, participants were asked the following questions about Jesus’ miracle at the Wedding at Cana: “Why do you think the Scriptures record this as Jesus’ first miracle?” and “What is the significance about turning water into wine?” I must confess, my first instinct was to say, “I have no idea” and move to the next question. But something made me stop and ponder this for a while. After some thought, the Holy Spirit began to open my eyes to the great significance in Jesus taking one substance and turning it into another. In this miracle, Jesus took water and changed the chemical composition so that it became wine. And not just any wine, but the best wine usually served at the beginning of wedding celebrations. When Jesus took one substance and changed it into a completely different substance he was showing us what he does with our lives when we accept him as Lord and Savior. Of course, Jesus loves and accepts us as the sinful people we are, but His love is too great to allow us to remain in our brokenness. We may start our journey with Christ as wounded and imperfect but over time, His mercy and correction change us into restored and healed followers who bear His image in the world. Paul echoes this teaching when he writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” Turning water into wine was just a shadow of what Jesus could and would do in the hearts and lives of His followers. Furthermore, while this was Jesus’ first miracle, His last earthly miracle was rising from the dead which demonstrates again a new creation. Among many things, Jesus’ resurrection shows us the new life that awaits us after our life on earth comes to an end. Death does not have a final say but is merely a necessary process we must face to enter into new life with Him in glory! Yes, Jesus came to restore, but He also came to bring the new... new life, new dreams, new hopes, and new promises.

This is particularly meaningful to me as I have grieved the loss of two close family members in the recent past. At times, the sorrow was overwhelming, but I sensed the Lord whispering to me in between all the tears that He longs to do something new in my life and have me make new memories. While this does not help me miss my family members any less, it does help me focus on Jesus and have hope for my future in Him. Friends, we no longer have to be bound by what we perceive to be inevitable or immense burdens to us or our circumstances because Jesus came to bring us new lives where He is King and Lord. What things of old do you still hold on to? Will you trust Him to bring the new when you let go of the old? Will you trust that He knows what is best and He wants to do a new thing in your life? If not, why not? Throughout the Gospels, Jesus not only promises but also demonstrates how He wants to bring new life to his followers. Stand on His promises and trust in His goodness. He will never let you down!

Maria Goodwin is a native New Yorker and has lived in various parts of NYC during her life. Presently, she resides in Staten Island, NY where she was born and raised. Maria works full-time as a Social Worker and has a Master’s degree from Columbia University. She has been married to Phillip for eight years and has two grown stepdaughters, one niece, three nephews, and one nephew in heaven. Currently, Maria is enrolled at the New York Institute for Biblical Studies which is located on the grounds of Calvary Chapel in Mariners Harbor, Staten Island.

© 2018 camille