FROM THE START of the new year, news are everywhere about impending wars between or among nations, erupting volcanoes, strong earthquakes, devastating floods, forest fires, and dreaded diseases. These have caused numerous deaths to humans and animals alike and the destruction of many properties. In addition, these unusual events have brought panic, anxiety, and fear to people across the world.
This is the reason Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) members have been taught not to be surprised by and afraid of what is happening around them. On January 18, 2020, during his pastoral visit to the Local Congregation of Sampaloc, Ecclesiastical District of Manila, the Executive Minister of the Church, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, reminded the brethren that life in this world is not going to get any easier. So as not to be affected by this, especially in their services to God, he emphasized to them that they must be courageous to face hindrances and challenges in life whatever they may be.
This characteristic is what Sister Vanessa Matibag, choir member and Children’s Worship Service (CWS) president, strives to uphold. “The unusual things and events that we are experiencing today are nothing new to us, members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. As what the Church Administration always teaches us, these have already been prophesied long before our time,” she said. Sister Vanessa firmly believes the Bible’s forewarning that the end of the world is near and so is the day of salvation. That is why “instead of being alarmed and anxious of the troubles we encounter every day, we must be joyful,” she said.
For some people, courage is only having the ability to contend with danger, without fear. But for true Christians, courage, as taught by the Executive Minister, is also having peace of mind in the midst of trials, for they have faith in what God can do for His people.
As a member of the Church for 51 years now, Brother Reginald Khia, deacon and CWS teacher, copes with life’s difficulties and dangers through prayer. “It is a very effective weapon we have as servants of God. We can not be saved by our riches or what we have achieved in this life when trouble comes. Much worse, these will not save us on Judgment Day,” he said. Thus, Brother Reginald shows his bravery by having complete confidence in God. “I am not afraid since God is on my side, guiding me. He is Almighty.” By always fulfilling all of God’s commandments, Brother Reginald is confident that he will be victorious against all odds.
That is how God helps His faithful children who completely put their trust in Him. As long as He sees that His servants have the courage to uphold their services to Him, He will hear their prayers. Sister Flordeliza Masadao, deaconess and finance officer, can also attest to this. “I am merely human. I easily get distracted and affected by various problems in life. I am sometimes stressed out with what’s happening around us,” she said. But learning from what the Church Administration taught, she overcomes the challenges in life with a joyful heart because she trusts that God will hear her prayers. She added, “For as long as I don’t forsake my Church duties, but instead courageously strive to worship and glorify God no matter what happens, He will always be there to take care of me and my family.”
Young Church members are more exposed to the temptations of this world. Everyday, Brother Kyle Vincent Dalida, choir member and Binhi congregation president, encounters people who prioritize things of this world and worldly pleasures. However, because of his courage to obey God’s commands and to live a life that is righteous, he has been able to fight for his faith despite the temptations. He receives the promised help of God whenever he prays for it. “Leading the youth members in our congregation is not an easy task. But I want to be a good example for them because I also want them to experience and feel God’s love to His servants who are striving to be brave despite the condition of this world today,” he expressed.
With everything that is happening today, the Lord God is the only One Whom faithful members of the Church Of Christ can rely on. He is their source of strength and courage, thus, there is no reason for them to be afraid of anything, even life’s most difficult situations.