Today's encouragement comes from Mark 9:14 & 15, which says this:
"And when [Jesus] came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him [Jesus], greeted Him."
These two verses well-illustrate a basic principle of life: where Jesus is not, people dispute and argue. Where Jesus is, people gather as one around Him. The disciples were pretty much helpless and punchless, as they tried to get something done (in Christ's absence).
And notice how suddenly the disciples lost their "star power," once the Messi-ah came on the scene. The church is God's only "colony" on earth—but we are only effective as Jesus is at the heart of everything we do.
[Puritan quote of the day: "God's will will be done upon us whether we do His will or not. There is no such thing as frustrating the Almighty.” —Jonathan Ed-wards, in his sermon entitled, "God Does What He Pleases"]