God's Loving Mercy and Grace
By: Mary Jean Marquez
My first church service of 2016, at my amazing church of 20 years, was revolutionary for me. God never ceases to amaze me with His divine seasonal intervention in my life. I experienced two powerful "aha moments" that magnified God's intervening Mercy and Grace that have always followed me, and how vitally important His Church has been in my life. The first one came to me as my Pastor taught on Jacob's dream of the ladder in the book of Genesis, and the second one came when he shared one of his Pastor friend's testimony of God's intervention in her life as a child.
My Pastor's teaching that morning was similar to past teachings I've heard, but this morning was extra special because it was the first church service of the new year with my family, and I had been preparing with an expectant heart in prayer/praise/worship to be renewed and re-energized in my spirit and life. I was also happily excited to plant our first tithe seed of this new year, and I know the combination of it all made a huge difference in my heart clearly receiving that morning, taking me to another spiritual level of understanding, as I believed for. I know that God is preparing my heart and His Church for greater works on this Earth.
My first "aha moment" came as Pastor taught out of the book of Genesis chapter 28, where Jacob had the dream of a ladder that was set on Earth with it's top reaching heaven, and God's Angels were ascending and descending on it. When Jacob awoke he had the revelation of the place he was at, calling it God's house-the Church, being a gateway to heaven. It was at this moment that I spiritually saw and understood, more than ever, the powerful magnitude of the Church-God's House being the gateway to heaven, that I had not clearly perceived prior. Since becoming a Christian over 25 years ago, I've known the importance of Church in order for people to grow, renew their minds to live better lives, fellowship, eternal salvation...but never had I seen the church as the gateway to heaven so undeniably clear. It is crystal clear of the importance for The Church of Jesus Christ to thrive and grow on the Earth, as it is the gateway for God's people to heaven, and to teach people to live healthy abundant lives while on the Earth.
My second "aha moment" came when Pastor shared Pastor Bobby Houston's testimony of being raised in a Godless home; a home that did not believe in God. She had a little girlfriend that invited her to church one morning, and that was the beginning of great change, and a life knowing God's love leading many others to that powerful revelation. As Pastor shared this, I felt tingles going up and down my body that I had not felt in a long time at church, as I my spirit related so deeply with her testimony. My mind was triggered taking me back to a childhood memory that I had not thought of in a very long time. It was so surreal!
The neighborhood I lived in as a child was very poor...and there was a piece of property near where I lived that was used as a dumping ground and dangerously dirty. Some of the other children and I would play there, because there was nowhere else for us to go and no parental or adult supervision. In this particular memory I picked up a dirty used needle/syringe I found thrown, and as I stared at it in wonder, a person approached me and asked if my friends and I wanted to go to church; I can't remember if it was a male/female or the age, but I thank God it was not a crazy person as there were lots of those in that neighborhood. There was a little church nearby up on a hill, and we were always being invited to go by different people and we never did, but on this particular morning I did go. I remember sitting in a little room with other kids being taught some stories out of a book (The Bible), but I had no idea what in the world this person was saying, however I remember being interested and intently listening. The one thing I liked about that place was that I was at peace, something I was not used to or understood. I did return several times because it was somewhere to go instead of the dirty field, it was away from my chaotic home, and they would feed us a little food. That's the last I remember of that little church and those people, because we were always moving. Perhaps they were my angels. I do know it was all God sent for me, and was the beginning of my spiritual journey.
This teaching and memory helped me realize that God's Mercy and Grace have always followed me throughout my life. That is just one memory of many, where God has intervened in my life, and I thank Him for always being present in every season. I am eternally thankful to God for His Church and the people He has sent to help me in my life's journey. I in turn desire to help others in their life's journey as God leads.
Know that God's loving Mercy and Grace follows you all the days of your life, and will never stop because He loves you! Find a good Bible teaching Church to set yourself in and grow in His Love!
"In my life's reflection, my conclusion is that God is the Lord of the past, present and future!" -Mary Jean Marquez
With great Godly Love,
Mary Jean Marquez