In the face of worsening difficulties nowadays, how can we hold fast to our Church Of Christ membership?
THIS 10TH MAY 2022, we, the members of the Church Of Christ, commemorate the 136th birth anniversary of Brother Felix Y. Manalo, whom we firmly believe is God’s Messenger in these last days. We are ever-thankful to the Lord God for sending him to preach the pure gospel of salvation in our time.
As God’s Messenger, Brother Felix Manalo faithfully fulfilled the mission he received from Him even in the face of great odds. He helped people understand and accept God’s words, receive the true knowledge of the One true God and have faith in Him, and become members of the true Church who have the hope of salvation on Judgment Day.
And so, we will never put these precious blessings to waste nor will we let the labors of Brother Felix Manalo end in vain. We are determined to hold fast to our membership in the Church Of Christ and continue in our services to the Lord God. How can we do these in the face of many difficulties and troubles in life that we go through as we journey towards our salvation?
The One Who has the power to help
As God’s people, we are not alone. We have God with us.
The Bible teaches that “his power is to help those who believe him.” The power of the Lord God is “incredibly great” (Eph. 1:19 LB). It is God who has made the heavens and the earth by His great power (Jer. 23:17 English Standard Version). So, those who will receive God’s help are certainly fortunate. No matter how difficult things are, they will surely be victorious as long as they truly believe in Him and acknowledge His power.
Those who truly know and believe God “keep His commandments”
(I John 2:3 New King James Version). One of His commandments is to listen to His Son, Jesus Christ Whom He made as our Savior (Matt. 17:5; Acts 5:31). Christ’s instruction to anyone who wants to be saved by Him is to enter the sheepfold or flock, which is the Church Of Christ (John 10:9, 16; Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation). Thus, Christ assures Church Of Christ members that “whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (John 15:16 NKJV).
We, members of the Church Of Christ, are so fortunate. We have the right to ask for and receive God’s help because we not only say that we believe Him but we also prove it by remaining inside the true Church.
As Church Of Christ members, we have nothing to fear for “God is the one who protects us” and “causes us to be strong” (Ps. 46:1 Translation for Translators). So, even if calamities strike and different hardships come into our lives, there is no reason for us to grow weak.
The Bible also clarifies: “[the Lord], the commander of the armies of heaven, is with us” (Ps. 46:7 T4T).
The kind of faith required
Since by virtue of our being Church Of Christ members we receive God’s help, it is only right that we always pray to Him. That is why the Church Administration always reminds and encourages us to set our personal and family devotional prayers. However, for God to heed us and manifest His power, we must understand that as His people, we must have genuine faith in Him.
Genuine faith is not the kind that dissipates as one experiences hardships. Instead, as Christ reminds us, it is the kind of faith that “grows until [we] truly believe that God will do what [we] ask him to.” In having such a high level of faith, one “will be able to do anything!” (Matt. 17:20 T4T).
One who has genuine faith in the Lord God is “sure of what [he hopes] for” even though he does not “[physically] see” it (Heb. 11:1 Clarified King James Bible). If we are sure of what we hope for, we do not have any shadow of doubt, for doubt is the enemy of faith.
There are many biblical accounts of God’s servants who proved their genuine faith in Him. One of them was Abraham. “When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples” (Rom. 4:18 The Message).
Abraham was a hundred years old, and his wife, Sarah, besides being advanced in age was also barren. Yet, he “didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said” (Rom. 4:20-21 MSG).
There are many times when people lose hope as their problems pile up. And even though they have been doing their best to alleviate their situation, things still do not seem to get any better. At times, we, too, experience the same. However, like Abraham, we must not waver in our faith. As God’s servants in these last days, there is no room for hopelessness or any reservation. When things get worse, we can expect “that God would make good on what he had said.” Indeed, God has fulfilled and will continue to fulfill His promises to us. He will help us overcome all kinds of difficult situations. We must never think negatively, but instead firmly believe that God is more than capable of helping us.
How God manifests His help
The Bible records an instance in the life of Prophet Elijah, a messenger of the Lord God, concerning how the Lord manifests His help. For his sustenance, when “It had not rained for three-and-a-half years, and the famine was severe” (Luke 4:25 God’s Word), God sent Elijah to a widow at Zarephath (Luke 4:26 GW).
At first, the widow reasoned that she was supposed to prepare her and her son’s last meal, accepting that they would no longer have anything to eat afterwards. But upon hearing Elijah deliver God’s words that “The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before GOD sends rain on the land and ends [the] drought” (I Kings 17:14 MSG), she followed Elijah’s instruction because she faithfully believed that a messenger of God, spoke to her.
And indeed, God made the impossible happen:
“The jar of meal didn’t run out and the bottle of oil didn’t become empty: GOD’s promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it!” (I Kings 17:16 MSG).
We must realize how important it is to obey what God commands through the messengers He sends. Like what happened to the widow, if we obey God’s words taught by His messenger, we will also receive His help in our lives.
In our time, Church Of Christ members firmly believe that—as attested and proven by biblical prophecies—Brother Felix Manalo is God’s Messenger. He imparted to us God’s words, which is why we received true faith and understanding, and are now members of the true Church. Although he has passed away, God placed in the Church an Administration to which He gave the authority to continue teaching us His words (Col. 1:25) and, thus, guide us on the right path to salvation.
Hence, we must never stop uniting with the Church Administration; and we must never stop obeying God’s commandments that they teach us, especially during worship services. In our worship services, we not only receive God’s instructions but He also “opens doors to all his goodness” (Ps. 34:9 MSG).
A reminder during difficult times
Through the guidance of the Church Administration, may we always keep our faith and remain steadfast in our services to the Lord God. Although difficulties come, let us always keep in mind that we have the Lord God Who is always ready to help us overcome them all—this we should never doubt.
Let us continue obeying Him with all devotion. Let us keep His commands in our hearts and minds and live by them. And if ever we feel weak because of all the problems that pile up, let us remind ourselves:
“… don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! … He is my help! He is my God!” (Ps. 42:11 LB)