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The Year of Amazing Grace

The Year of Amazing Grace

“God’s grace goes ahead of us, is with us, and will stay with us. God is and will always be in charge.” In this article, Bishop Juray Mora and his wife, Deah, share the reality of God’s grace in one of history’s most difficult years.

 

It is a fact that 2020 is unlike any other year. What is your most important realization this year?

Bishop Juray: For me, the truth of God’s character, grace, faithfulness, and even His promises are all discovered in a time of trials and testing. When you are in the middle of challenging situations, you discover that His words are true. During this chaotic and uncertain time, we all went back to seeking our peace in God. When this was just starting, the numbers all looked bad. It seemed like everything was just getting worse, and everywhere you look, people were fearful. It was at this time that we learned to go back to God to seek His presence and find our hope in Him.

Deah: There are actually so many realizations this year. I think God removed all the unnecessary things that we considered necessary. This year we went back to the basics and realized that the beauty of His promise is found in the simplicity of life. God is our fortress and His word is our foundation.

 

What are you most thankful for in 2020? How did your family cope with all the challenges and changes you experienced this year? How did all these change you as a person and as a family? 

Bishop Juray: I’m thankful for my time with my family. When our kids were young, we lived in the province and we did most things together. Life was simpler in the province. When we moved to Manila and as the kids grew older, their schedule started dominating our schedule. But because of this pandemic, we went back to doing things together as a family. We would have our prayer and devotional time together. We got to finish our conversations because no one was in a hurry to go anywhere else. This season really brought the importance of relationships to surface.

Deah: There was a period of adjustment. We have six children, and five of them still live with us at home. Being a big family confined in a limited space, it may sometimes feel like your personal space was invaded. Needless to say, quarrels erupted every now and then. This season exposed what God wanted to deal with in each of our hearts. It forced us to deal with them and run to God. He used this to draw us closer to Him. Because time was redirected to family, our relationships with one another also grew. My kids learned to adjust, tolerate, and be gracious with each other. They also expressed how thankful they were for our devotional time, which we get to do more regularly now. Even my son, who got married in January, also joins us online. It was fun to see the kids play online games, learn new skills, and do several things together. God really maximized this season and each of us experienced Him in a new and greater way.

 

We started 2020 with a declaration that we will see God’s amazing grace. Looking back, what new thing did you learn about God’s amazing grace? What is something new you learned or experienced about who God is?

Bishop Juray: We saw how God’s grace had gone ahead of us. From the start of the year, my family experienced challenges one after the other. A day before the lockdown, God’s provision poured in. It was completely unexpected. My son, who just got married, left the country where they had their honeymoon a day before lockdown was declared. In the midst of this pandemic, we experienced the grace of God. His grace goes ahead of us, is with us, and will stay with us. The challenge is really on our end. Are we going to believe Him and His promises? My wife and I agreed that we will choose to be in faith and build our faith. We went back to God’s word and spent time in prayer all the more. I also told my family that we need to push back against fear. In these very uncertain times, we see fear all around us. As people of God we know that fear, other than fear of Him, will not produce anything good. We have to choose to trust God for what’s ahead and be in faith.

Deah: God showed me that He has been the same. He was just as in charge before the pandemic as He is now. God used this year to put me in situations where I can trust Him more. It’s just like being a bummer lamb before its shepherd. Bummer lambs are rejected lambs. Their mothers, for whatever reason, did not take care of them. The shepherds feed them through bottles. They form a special bond with their shepherds. This year taught me to depend on God the way a bummer lamb would depend on a shepherd in order to stay alive.

 

Some say that things will never really go back to how they were before. How can we continue to declare God’s unchanging love and amazing grace in a world that has just gone through major changes?

Bishop Juray: Change constantly happens in our lives. We can live through the changes as long as our values stay the same. These values will dictate what we will treasure and what we will, in turn, protect. No matter what happens around us, if we can keep strong relationships with our friends, family, and God, we would be able to adjust by the grace of God. That is something we can keep on declaring. We can speak about God’s supernatural power. As people of God, I hope that we would continue to declare the miracles we experienced this year, that this would be part of our “new normal.”

Deah: We declare what the word of God says, not what society says. We know that the word never changes, but the power of the word causes change. As believers, we can and should continue to declare that. In any situation, God’s word is the only true source of power and hope.

 

Bishop Juray serves in the Bishops Council of Victory. He has been married to Deah for almost 30 years. They are blessed with six children who are pursuing God’s plans and purposes for their lives.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews on topics related to our sermon series.

 

 

Fighting Life’s Battles with God

Fighting Life’s Battles with God

We are never alone. God is with us as we face all our trials, and He will give us all that we need to endure. Here is a story of a woman who declared God’s power and faithfulness as she continues to battle with cancer. 

 

In December 2019, two days before Christmas, I had a stroke. By God’s sovereign hand, it was accidentally discovered that my stroke was caused by a malignant tumor that was growing in my ovary. There was no other option but to go through a very complicated and dangerous surgical procedure.

The doctors seemed afraid to do it. They explained all the possible scenarios and made me sign a waiver. Days leading to the surgery, they kept asking me if I was ready. I just kept saying what I know to be true—God is with me. That gave me the boldness to also reassure them that God would be with them as they performed the operation. On January 14, less than a month after my stroke, I went under the knife. Because the tumor was deeply embedded in my body and the doctors were trying to make sure I would not lose any internal organ, my supposedly five-hour operation lasted thirteen hours. The tumor ruptured, and a procedure, which would require another operation by August, had to be performed. The whole thing was nerve-wracking—not only for the doctors and everyone in the operating room, but also for my loved ones who were waiting outside and praying for a miracle. God answered our prayers, and the operation was a success. But with it came the confirmation that I had stage 3 ovarian cancer. I had to go through chemotherapy.

Two days after the operation, my cardiologist suddenly thought of checking if I had blood clots in the lower part of my body. And although no one was explaining what was happening, I knew that he had seen something serious as doctors and nurses started running in and out of my room. To make the long story short, I had to endure a very painful procedure to stop large blood clots from moving up in my body and causing either another stroke or a heart attack. Because I had to be awake and I could only take a certain dosage of anesthesia due to my recent surgery, I was under a tremendous amount of pain. I was screaming my prayers and declaring God’s power over my body the whole time. Even if the procedure was extremely painful and physically draining, I knew that God was at work. He was the one who guided my doctors to check for the blood clots, and He gave me the physical and emotional strength I needed to go through that moment.

In February, just weeks after this ordeal, I started chemotherapy, which lasted for five months. While going through all this, I couldn’t help but think about my only son, Nathan, who is ten years old. Like any other parent, the thought of leaving him at a very young age broke my heart. I cried before God and asked Him to extend my life so that I can see Nathan grow up and fulfill his purpose in Him. While I was praying, pictures of books flashed in my mind. Nathan loves to read. What I saw were not the books in his collection, but college books. I took that as a promise, an assurance from God that He had heard my prayers and that He would heal me. Then I read a passage about Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:5: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.” I’ve held on to those words ever since. The truth that God knows what I’m going through and that He is with me gave me so much peace and drove away all my fears.

That was why when I felt extreme pain in my stomach sometime in July and doctors said that my symptoms and CT scan showed there was another tumor, I was certain it wasn’t a tumor. I kept reminding myself that God had given me a promise. He had already healed me. I had to undergo another surgery, but the doctors were also recommending chemotherapy, which would start as soon as a tumor was seen during the operation. God’s peace guided me to make the right decision. Fully convinced that I wouldn’t need it, I said no. While I lay unconscious on the operating bed, the doctors, in their amazement, kept telling me that God had answered my prayers. They couldn’t wait for me to wake up to tell me the good news: there was no tumor! They just had to untangle some adhesions that had formed in my intestines.

At a time when it seemed wise to avoid hospitals, I had to return at least once a month. After a stroke, two surgeries, and five months of chemotherapy, it seems surreal that right now, I’m in the comfort of my home and enjoying quality time with my husband and son.

People in the hospital called me a fighter. They were so amazed at how I held on to my faith, how I declared God’s goodness and power, and how I remained in high spirits while I was going through everything. They wondered how I could be so sure that God had healed me, but I really cannot take credit for any of that. It was God’s amazing grace that sustained me and enabled me to fight. He gave me the strength, courage, and wisdom I needed to go through this difficult time. I can fight because I know I’m not alone; God is with me. With God by my side, I am assured of victory. I can declare His healing over my body because He promised it, and He is always faithful to fulfill His promises.

In difficult and seemingly hopeless situations, we should run to God all the more. His grace is more than enough to sustain us. He will carry us through.

. . . fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

 

Hazel and her husband are active Victory group leaders in Victory Katipunan. Her final operation, which was originally scheduled in August, was moved to November to give her body time to recover from everything that has happened. They are in faith that it will be her last operation and that she will be declared cancer free.

Amazing Grace: Midyear Prayer and Fasting 2020

Amazing Grace: Midyear Prayer and Fasting 2020

Our need for God’s amazing grace is evident now more than ever. On July 7–9, we will come together as a church to seek God and persevere in prayer as we ask Him to heal our land.

Every year, we have been dedicating the first weeks of January and July to prayer, fasting, and consecration. To help us study God’s word during the midyear fast, we have uploaded our devotionals online. You may access them here. You may also check YouVersion and the Victory app. Our Morning Worship & Prayer videos on Victory’s Facebook page will continue to be available.

We hope that the above resources will help unite our church in praying and fasting together and in experiencing and discovering God’s amazing grace. Together, let us believe for God’s grace to change every life, family, and nation. We’re excited to encounter Him and His grace in new ways as we pray and fast as a church!

Amazing Grace Series

Amazing Grace Series

There is no better way to start the year than to come to God and reflect on His grace. As we look forward to what God will do in and through us this year, let us remember His goodness and grace through our new series, Amazing Grace.

God’s grace affects every area of our lives, including our behavior and our relationship with Him. As we seek God, may we be expectant of the amazing things that He will do in and through us this year.

Below are the topics for our upcoming sermon series:

  • Week 1: Justifying Grace
  • Week 2: Sufficient Grace
  • Week 3: Sanctifying Grace
  • Week 4: Enriching Grace
  • Week 5: Inviting Grace

Through this series, may we all have a deeper understanding and appreciation of God’s amazing and life-transforming grace.

See you at our worship services in Metro Manila or at any of our churches across the Philippines!