The Helping Hand – Fall 2023




Law versus love; freedom versus license—it is the age old struggle for believers as we mature in our understanding of justification by faith instead of works. We understand it on one level as we are used to banging the drum for salvation by grace alone through faith alone. But on another level, there remains a part of us that expects some kind of reward for obedience. Our lessons this quarter consider the role of God’s Law as it relates to faith in Christ. The lessons focus on New Testament texts that radically reinterpret the significance of the Mosaic Law for those who love Christ and respond in faith. As one who fulfilled the whole Law, Jesus was able to show us how compassion is more important than a rigid interpretation of the Law. Later New Testament writings reinforce the gospel teaching that faith in Christ brings justification, while the Law, which we are unable to observe satisfactorily, does not. As followers of Christ we are still bound to fulfill the Law by keeping the commandment to love and to acknowledge that freedom from the Law does not equate to a permissive attitude toward sin.


Daily Bible Meditations

Trisha Gerstel, a wife and mother of two, committed her life to Christ in 2002. She is a member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Berlin, New York, where she provides support for several outreach ministries as well as the church’s online presence, and serves on the Advisory Board.

Denovia Mckenzie is a member of the Open Arms SDB church in Toronto, Canada. Her favourite verse in the Bible is John 15:5. She is pursuing a degree in English, Professional Writing and Communications and History.

Gabi Patz lives in Boulder, CO with her husband, Quin, and their cat, Percy. She works for a nonprofit called Work Options where she helps people facing unemployment. Gabi grew up in the SDB denomination and currently attends Pinewood Church in Boulder, CO. In her free time, she loves to run, hike, and read!.

Victoria Richards is a member of the Blue Mountain Seventh Day Baptist Church, Jamaica. She enjoys sharing the gospel through singing, writing poetry, and encouraging others.

Understanding and Living

David Fox has recently begun serving as Lead Pastor of the First Hopkinton SDB Church in Ashaway, Rhode Island. He is a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, and has served churches in Colorado, Georgia, and Ohio. He and his wife, Rachel, have two elementary-aged daughters, Elyse and Kathryn.

Chaplain (MAJ) Jerry Johnson has represented the Seventh Day Baptist denomination in the U.S. Army since 2004 and will be retiring in the spring of 2024 from his final tour as the Family Life Chaplain at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and is continuing in ministry as a mentor in the Doctor of Ministerial Leadership program at Columbia Biblical Seminary and School of Missions in South Carolina.

Jennifer Lewis-Berg is active in the Riverside SDB church and lives in Riverside, California with her husband, Kurt. She is a retired school counselor and music teacher.

Deryck Thomas has been in ministry for over 25 years and is cur-rently the Pastor of Agape SDB Church in Queens, NY. He has also pastored 3 churches in the Guyana SDB Conference.