Grow in faith, strong
and firm in the truth

Ordination of new ministers
Commemoration of milestone anniversaries
North Diversion, Quezon City, Philippines
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THE MEMBERS of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) were all the more spiritually edified on September 1, 2023 when Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the Executive Minister of the Church, officiated a worship service at the Local Congregation of North Diversion, Ecclesiastical District of CAMANAVA in the Philippines. On the said occasion, the attendees received biblical guidance from the preaching of the Executive Minister. Also, 34 ministerial workers received ordination to become ministers of the gospel—another milestone of the Church.

Brethren around the world who commemorated the milestone anniversaries of their local congregations attended via videoconferencing. Brother Eduardo Manalo exhorted the faithful that true Christians in these last days need to make sure that they acquire the qualities needed to ensure salvation before the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Executive Minister reminded that members of the true Church should live in obedience to God. In this way, they would grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth that was taught to them so as not to loosen their grip on their divine election.

Brother Bedanio L. Ubaldo led the opening prayer. Brother Romer D. Galang led the closing prayer after the Executive Minister’s preaching. The oath-taking of the ordinands was led by Brother Bienvenido C. Santiago. Brother Arnel R. Canicosa then led the prayer after the laying on of hands by the Executive Minister. The prayer for the voluntary offerings was led by Brother Ernesto V. Suratos, and Brother Angelo Eraño V. Manalo said the benediction.

Taking God seriously
North Diversion, Metro Manila
By Rechel Jemiera

Many people today prioritize their jobs, personal affairs, or studies to achieve a better future and cope with the pace of the world. Realizing that life gets harder as time goes on, others tend to only focus their effort on working just to get through the day. They fall into the mistake of taking God for granted and fail to recognize the importance of worshiping and serving Him.

As for Church Of Christ members, including those in the Local Congregation of North Diversion, Ecclesiastical District of CAMANAVA, there is certainly nothing more important than attending worship services and fulfilling their duties to God. It is not that they do not experience hardships and worries in life like the rest of the world; they also do. They were taught that as true Christians, they should not allow anything to hinder them from worshiping God even if it entails tremendous effort and sacrifice.

As a choir member, Brother Jay Pulusan strives to always choose to put God first in his life. “I firmly hold on to God’s promises, even if life is hard. I know that I will never falter because God will always be present in my life, as long as I obey and serve Him wholeheartedly,” he said, as he recalled how he was tested in the faith. Back then, he used to work at a company with a shifting schedule. He made sure that his work would not affect his Church duties.

It got to a point when Brother Jay was no longer allowed to change schedules and he was made to choose between his job and his Church duty. He narrated, “I really needed the job because my wife was pregnant then.” But for Brother Jay, his Church duty is his commitment to God. Others mocked him by saying that he would not gain any money from performing in the Church choir. However, this did not deter him from decisively making the right choice. “I said to myself, being a choir member is very important for me. No matter what happens I will never relinquish my Church duties.”

Brother Jay was reminded of such moments in his life when the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo Manalo, preached God’s words.

“We were taught that it will be very difficult to be a Christian these days because many people are not living in holiness and have become selfish, blasphemous, and ungrateful. Our Executive Minister reminds us that we need to continue living in accordance with God’s will and our faith must grow more with the truth,” Brother Jay said.

Through God’s grace, Brother Jay found a job that did not hinder his Church duty. He saw it as a blessing when he was entrusted to become the assistant choir leader in the local congregation. He attested, “I have faith that when we are sincere and serious in fulfilling our Church duties to God, He will be glorified, thus leading to blessings in our life that are far more than we expected.”

Another biblical point in the Executive Minister’s sermon was about taking God seriously. Brother Eduardo Manalo taught Church members that when asking God for their needs through prayers, they ought to firmly believe in, trust in, and rely on what He can do for them. God will give them the unyielding strength they need in times of chaos and trials.

“I took God seriously when I obeyed His commands by leaving my former religion and joining the true Church Of Christ,” said Brother Romeo Pelonia, a deacon, who is a former Catholic and former El Shaddai member. In 2008, he decided to attend a Bible study in the Church Of Christ, with the intention of finding errors in the teachings it upholds. He narrated, “I felt hurt at first, because everything I heard was contrary to my beliefs. I began to doubt the teachings in my former religion. I got absorbed in wanting to know the truth that I also did my own study to compare the doctrines.”

Eventually, God made it clear to Brother Romeo that all the teachings in the Church Of Christ are purely biblical. With God’s help, he was baptized inside the true Church. “I always strive to make it known to the Almighty Father that I am serious in obeying all of His teachings. I also take my Church duty of being a deacon seriously by doing my best to fulfill what I took oath for. I make it known to my family and friends that I sincerely want them to join the Church Of Christ, so that they will fully understand that doing so is necessary to receive salvation on Judgment Day,” he affirmed.

How to get through the hardest of times
Iloilo City, Iloilo
By Renelyn Genialope

It was in September 1948, 75 years ago, when the Local Congregation of Iloilo City was established. As Church Of Christ members in Iloilo rejoiced and celebrated this milestone anniversary, Sister Madoline Jayme, a deaconess, was teary-eyed as she looked back at her life for the past 67 years of being a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. Through the help of God, she was able to overcome different challenges but what she will never forget was the most painful ordeal she had experienced.

Despite difficult situations, Sister Madoline and her family worked hard to sustain their needs. Sadly, her husband passed away in January 1990 and thus began her arduous task of being a single parent to care for her eight children. “Walo sila kabilog sang napatay si tatay nila. Siling ko anhon ko ni sila pagpakaon? Sang ulihi nangamuyo ako sa Dios, indi man pagtogti nga maglalain kabataan ko sa ulihi. Indi ako sini kasarang kung ako lang. Sa imo naga pangayo ako sang bulig [There were eight of them when their father passed away. I often asked myself, ‘How can I feed them?’ I often prayed to God, ‘Please do not let my children be miserable in the future. I cannot do it all by myself.’ I begged for His help],” she narrated.

Completely entrusting their lives to God, Sister Madoline and her children moved on with their lives. She said, “Gintudlu-an ko ang akon mga anak nga ang matuod nga nagasalig kag nagatuo sa Dios indi Niya gid pagpabay-an. Pirmi ko ginatudlo sa ila nga wala imposible sa Dios. Ang pamatuod sini napadako ko sila nga tanan sa akon kaugalingon nga indi napabay-an ang akong katungdanan [I taught my children to firmly believe that God never abandons His faithful servants who entrust and completely surrender themselves to Him. I always tell them that nothing is impossible with God. The proof is how I was able to raise all of them by myself without ever relinquishing my Church duty].” She said that prayer was the only reason she and her family are alive and well today.

Sister Madoline’s testimony, among others, is reminiscent of the biblical teachings that Brother Eduardo Manalo delivered. Church members are taught that when life becomes heavy and full of trouble, God’s servants should not fret but instead pray.

In fact, this was also what Brother Marlon Diaz Sr., a deacon, remembered always doing together with his family despite life’s ups-and-downs. He said, “Nagapasalamat kami sa Dios kay waay gid nag bag-o ang amon tagipusuon tungod sa iya mga tudlo [We thank God because He never allowed our feelings to change from what we have learned in His teachings].” When poverty struck him because of financial woes, he neither blamed God nor fell to depression but instead welcomed hardships as part of his sojourn. He taught his family to pray fervently and grasp firmly their divine election by faithfully obeying God’s commandments.

Thankful for being able to move forward during hard times, Brother Marlon is exuberant for the blessings that God has in store for them. Their means of living became stable, his three sons decided to enter the holy ministry, and he continues fulfilling his duty as one of the head deacons in their local congregation. He said, “Tanan nga ini sabat sa pangamuyo sa Dios. Kag ginatudlo ni Utod Eduardo Manalo halin sa Biblia nga mangin isug kita sa pagsunod sa pulong sang Dios agud hatagan kita kusog sa tanan nga kalalat-an [All these are answered prayers from God. As what Brother Eduardo Manalo taught from the Bible, we should be brave in obeying God’s commands because this gives us strength to get through the hardest of times].”