The True Church

I think many Christians would agree that life can be difficult and that we will all struggle with something at one time or another, but often people do not realize that those “in the ministry” suffer from the same struggles.

To some degree, those in ministry suffer from depression, anxiety, fears, etc. Most times, people in ministry will not admit that they struggle because they are afraid of what people will think about them—that maybe they will think less of them.

The truth, though, is that there are people in the Bible who struggled—for example, Elijah the Prophet, and Paul the Apostle. Experiencing some of the struggles that people in the congregation encounters is a great way for those in ministry to connect. I think it also helps the congregation to realize that they are not the only ones struggling, and that just because they are struggling it doesn’t mean that they are less of a Christian.

We are told to “carry each other’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and to “encourage one another” (2 Thess 5:11). These Scriptural passages would not be in the Bible if personal struggles were not a part of our lives. So in our struggles, we should turn to one another for encouragement and support. We should also draw closer to God: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). We have to do both—draw closer to one another and to draw closer to God.

Perhaps if people were more open about their struggles and we supported one another through these struggles then we can have the True Church—“All the believers were one in heart and mind… And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all” (Acts 4:32-33).

Be the “True Church”!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

God’s protection

For some reason I thought about the times that God had kept me safe. I’ve done stupid things that could have ended tragically for me.

When I was 14-years-old, my friend convinced me to cut classes, so we did. We really had nothing to do so we just stood outside of the school. A “low-rider” car came by. The guy (who looked like he was in his late teens) said he needed a favor. He wanted us to ride in his car so that he could drive by his friends and show us off. We got into the car.

(I think about that episode in my life and I scream to myself, “Don’t get into that car—anything can happen to you! You can get kidnapped or killed. Don’t do it!!!”).

The guy drove us by a group of gang members then took us back to the school, by the grace of God.

Another stupid thing I did happened when I was 19-years-old. My husband and I had been married for only a couple of months. We were “out on the town” with his friend that night. My husband and I had some kind of disagreement so I left— just walked out of the building. It was dark out—hardly any stars in the sky. I didn’t know where to go so I walked along the Daytona Beach boardwalk until I came to an arcade.

I was playing a game when two scary looking men approached me. They kept talking to me and I kept trying to ignore them. I felt like they were going to do something harmful to me. They walked out of the door, but I thought they were probably waiting for me outside. I looked for another way out of the building. The door took me to the back street where there were very little street lights.

I walked back in the direction to where my husband and his friend would be. A car started to follow me. I walked a little faster and the car went a little faster too. Then the guy driving (who was looking straight ahead) said something to me that made no sense—“Are you gay?” I kept walking and he asked it again. The way he said it frightened me so much that I started to run. He quickly drove away, by the grace of God.

What was I thinking? Why would I walk down a dark street with no one around? That guy in the car could have kidnapped me and no one would know what happened because there would be no witnesses, or the two men in the arcade could have found me there. The most scary thing about that whole incident was that I was 6 weeks pregnant. Someone could have killed me and my baby.

Sometimes we do stupid things yet God protects us. I look back on those two events and think about how things could have ended so differently. I could have been another tragic statistic.

I look at my life today—four grown children, a son-in-law, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren. I don’t know why God has blessed me. I don’t know why He kept me safe even though I acted so carelessly, but I am so grateful that He did. Thank you, God!

2 Thessalonians 3:3 says, “…the Lord is faithful; he will … guard you from the evil one” (NLT).

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti