The Miracle of the Church

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, 
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 
Matthew 16:18 ESV

That afternoon, I sat with my shotgun in hand, waiting and watching to catch the perpetrator of the recent crimes, but the sly fellow never appeared. Nevertheless, by morning the evidence of his skullduggery was again on display, and my zucchini squash plants lay in ruins. Mr. Groundhog never showed his head, but the evidence of his deeds was a clear reminder that a mere garden fence would not keep him at bay. Yet, I did not give up on our vegetable patch. I replanted and strengthened the fence and was delighted to discover that though the zucchini crop was a bust, we reaped tomatoes, peppers and green beans in abundance that year. In the same way, when we grow spiritually fatigued, discouraged and disillusioned by scandal among church leaders, fellow church members, or ourselves, we must not give in to despair. Instead, remember that attacks are not a sign of defeat. Rather, the impact of our spiritual garden attacker does not, will not and has never destroyed the success of all the crops.

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After all, it would be no miracle if God’s church grew unimpeded throughout the centuries because all Christians were perfect. The miracle is that, in spite of our glaring shortcomings, scandals and weaknesses, God has continued to build His church, and after two thousand years she remains alive and well. Each time the enemy has broken through the garden fence, God in mercy knelt down and went to work in His garden. He didn’t tell Peter He needed a perfect church to build His Kingdom. Instead, God’s promise was that by the miracle of His grace, He would rebuild the garden fence, replant the damaged rows and in the end reap an abundant harvest that no power of hell could ever destroy!

Quiet Sunday Thoughts – Abiding in Jesus

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; 
for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5 ESV

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Just as a branch must continue to remain a part of a tree through all four seasons, so we must remain by faith in Christ. He calls us to continue believing in, trusting and relying on Him through Winters of difficulties, Springtimes of change, and long hot summers of hard work to come to the Fall harvest full of fruit. If you are feeling unworthy or like a failure in your walk with Jesus today, know that this fruitfulness that doesn’t depend on your successes, abilities or strengths. In fact, God takes great delight in our weakness, because it brings us to depend entirely on Jesus! He promises that if we remain in Him, then He will see to it that at the harvest time which He has chosen, that we will be filled with much fruit! Have a blessed Sunday all!

Footprints of Mercy and Grace

Are goodness and mercy the things that I seek
From Jesus my Shepherd today?
His emerald- green pastures and quiet pure streams
That encourage and guide in His way

And when I look back at the trail of the past
And those who are following me
Will they discover a Christ who is kind
And whose gentleness sets others free?

Or in my hurry while running so fast
Have I trampled hearts in my race?
Oh, that I would walk so that others could see
His footsteps of mercy and grace!

His goodness and mercy shall follow me
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever
Psalm 23:6 KJV

Footprints of Mercy and Grace by Peter Caligiuri
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