Quarterly Journals
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Let’s Party!

“By the Grace of God I am what I am…” – 1 Corinthians 15:10 KJV

At a very young age we are taught by our parents what we need to know to make it in the world. We are taught to say ‘Please’, and ‘Thank You”. And we learn early, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” We’re taught that in order to have what we need, and want we must earn it. Go after it. Somewhere along the way we heard that there’s no gain without pain; and that God helps those who help themselves. Failure is almost the unpardonable sin; so much so, that we idolize success, and enough just is not enough. We take these life lessons, and we run with them until, one day we meet Jesus. The Bible often compares life to a walk, because life is a journey. We’re not just sitting still. We’re on the move, making our goals, and setting out to reach them. And when we finish those, we set a new set and go after them.

Throughout the New Testament we are told to walk in wisdom. Walk in love. Walk in light. Walk in Obedience. We’re told to walk as Jesus is not like the one we learn early on, and yet while different, both are important, but setting my own goals and going after them almost implies that I walk alone. But when walking like Jesus, we learn that we ought to walk alongside other people. When you walk alongside others, you learn more, than if you walk alone. You could be going in the wrong direction, and not know it; but someone walking with you is apt to recognize that you may have veered off the path and need to find the right direction. In spite of what we’ve been taught about the singleness of our goals everybody has a longing for belonging, because God made us for relationships. When we walk alongside other Christians in community, we find that longing satisfied. We find that God’s grace doesn’t play favorites.

Regardless of status, background, or the sins we have committed, God loves us. His grace is for everyone. As we go about our lives, whether we are in competition or not; whether we like one another or not, you will never set eyes on anyone who Jesus didn’t die for. The heart of Christianity is that when God sent His Son to dies on a cross, He did it for the best, and the worst of us. God the least and the greatest of us. He did it for you, and me; and for them, who you may think undeserving. But we’re saved by grace. God blesses us by grace. God teaches us by grace, and when we die, He takes us to Heaven by grace. It is through our walk with Jesus, that we learn that our very lives is the gift of God, by grace. We are not our own, and you can only receive grace by faith. In other words He gives us what we cannot work for. He gives us what we cannot earn. He gives us what we don’t deserve. Grace is much more than just how we come to Christ. Why? Because it is He that came for us, and not the other ways around. The Bible is very clear that everything we have is by the Grace of God. I read somewhere that the angels in Heaven have a party every time one person responds to the grace of God. Whatever I am now it is all because God poured out such kindness and grace upon me (1 Corinthians 15:10a).

 

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon



The Trial of Your Faith

Have you ever truly been tested in your faith? I mean really tested…I’m talking about those times when you really wanted to quit…believing?…and even question if you truly believed at all, that which you have come to know about God; and that which He Himself has revealed, and that which you have become so staunch about because you know it to be true. Have you ever questioned the validity of His right to rule? Have you ever felt like you had the better solution, and just maybe He was not getting it right? Have you ever just not wanted to go? Or do what He says, because you felt unsure about the direction He was taking you in?

 

This year I have been tested in my faith, in a way that I really still find difficult to understand. This year, I have almost doubted, and struggled with where I fit in; and if my faith is strong enough. This year, I have waivered, and slowed down, and almost quit. Certainly wanting to quit. But not knowing what, having full knowledge of who God is. I don’t know if I am alone in this. My guess is that maybe you have had these struggles to; and that I am in good company. I have questioned what I know, and I don’t know what I don’t know. And for that reason, I kind’a wanted out. It’s so funny…when things are going great, and we are Happy in the Lord, we just take it for granted that the Lord loves us, and wants His best for us, and we receive it well. But in those times, when he is testing us, and things are really very difficult we are forced to wonder, “If He Love Me, then Why…”. And what I have come to find out by many experiences, personal and otherwise, is that there is not always an answer. At least not one we are willing to accept.

So I have come to this conclusion: In those times when I have struggled with the trial of my faith, I recall all the times that he has delivered me before; those times when I didn’t think I would make it. Those times when I didn’t know what to think; what to do; where to go, or who to call; and it was in those times that I found myself at the mercy of His feet, and begged Him to “Help Me”! Needless to say, it was in those times that I found myself getting up, and getting on – even when I really had no desire to do so.

Indeed, He tries us because He loves us, and more, and more I am convinced that His tests are to prove Himself to us – as if what He has already done is not enough. I am sorry that I have failed the tests so many times and I am sorry that I can’t say I will pass the next one. But I am confident that no matter what the test, he is always available, and I can throw myself at the Mercy of His Feet. And when I find myself getting up, I will know that He has done the lifting, not me.

 

Submitted Deaconess Irene Gardon