Brother Gary started his talk with series of questions. Is it possible to live by faith without expressing any Good deed?” Everyone answered, “No”. He asked another question, “Can I have faith in Jesus Christ without work?” Everyone answered, “No”. Last question is kind of debatable, and he asked, or just the opposite and more debatable, “Can I be saved by my work without faith?” Everyone answered, “No”. “Wow! So All of you answered correctly.” So he added, “Let us not continue this talk for you have known it already” (huwag nanatin ituloy ito kasi alam na ninyo).
Bro Gary talk is rooted on James 2:14-26. The letter of James says, “For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead”. Bro Gary asked the congregation about the composition of the body. He said that man is composed of body, soul and spirit. He further explained that the body is our world consciousness, the soul is our self-consciousness and the spirit is our God consciousness. Therefore, without the spirit, we are dead in the sight of God. Our Spirit is the one that tells us if what we are doing is good.
Saint James gives an example about Faith. He said, “What good is it if someone says he has faith and does not have work? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister have nothing to wear, has no food, for the day and one of you says to them, “Go in Peace, keep warm and eat well.” Saint James’ example is asking us on what should we do to show how faithful we are to God.
Bro Gary made an example of a family with a baby who is starving, has no clothing and is living in a place that is so cold. Are we just going to pray and tell them go, keep warm and eat well without doing anything? Is this the way a Godly people must react? Where is the love for our neighbors?
Bro. Gary remembered what Father Anthony explained regarding Faith. It is because of God’s love that He redeems His people. From the super natural realm (Gods place) of God, He sent his Only Begotten Son to a natural realm (which is the world) of human beings, a greatest and concrete example of love put into flesh. It is God’s desire to gather again His people because we are separated from Him. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin entered the world and separated us from communion with God. But since our God is loving God, He really wants to redeem His people back to His embrace. That’s the reason why our topic last month is about Love and now we have Faith.
If the Father who is in heaven shows His love for us, we, too, as His followers must do likewise. Is it only by Faith that we could be saved? Or do we need to show action to show our faithfulness to God?
In the example of Saint James, we see that a person needs something and we don’t do anything or react to them. We just say I will pray for you without giving what they need. Is this the way we should act?
In verse 17, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Bro. Garry again remembered about Fr. Anthony’s talk on faith which is also a communion. It should not be only ourselves; it should be all of us together. We must always be together with our Faith. It is not just us; it should be all of us together. To be together is also an action of Faith. We gather so that we could be in deeper relation with our God.
In verses 18 and 19, “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
The last part says that even the demon believed. If the demon believed that if we have faith, we must do action on it. What he does is that he makes us confuse and wants us not to do good things.
Bro. Garry asked, “How many of you experience that when you are sleeping, your alarm goes on and on which means it is time to go Church, but you still want to continue sleeping? The first alarm was over, then the second alarm starts. Then, you ask yourself if you are still going to Church. Finally, because you continue sleeping and don’t act when the alarm tells you so, you found yourselflate and ultimately you decided not to go to Church. This is an example on how this demon works in our lives. He said that he did experience it, so he is sharing to everyone. The act of Faith about going to Church is to have communion with God. He compared the act of communion on a burning charcoal, that a single charcoal won’t last long by itself, but if you combine charcoal together, they will have power; this is the act of being together, of worshiping and praising God. All of our prayers will be heard by God (tiyak yon) rest assured that God will give you what you ask for. All of our prayers will be heard by God and together will make our Faith stronger and we have the power to do good things. Our servant leader believes in it that’s the reason why he oftentimes says “tiyak yon”.
Another example of action with faith is Abraham himself. When God asked Abraham to bring his son Isaac and make an offering or a sacrifice to God. On the middle of the ritual offering God spoke to Abraham and said stop and don’t do it. God saw how righteous Abraham is, how strong his Faith is. Abraham followed and obeyed what God has instructed him to do, an act of faith, total surrender of his intellect t and will to God. To apply this to us, when we ask God for something, God says believe, when you pray for something; believe that you will receive it. When we ask for something in the name of Jesus, believe that it will be given unto you. Siksik liglig umaapaw pa!
Bro. Gary shared his experience on Act of Obedience. He said that he always goes vacation three to four times in a year, but in this past year he never went vacation. Maybe you will ask why. The reason is that he doesn’t listen; God is calling him to be the coordinator of El Shaddai. When Father Romil was still the spiritual director of the ministry (Gawain). He told Bro. Gary to be the coordinator of El Shaddai yet refused to listen. Ever since then when Bro. Gary refuses his calling, he experiences a struggled life. He compared his struggles to a sickness. When he got sick such as a head ache, he will just take medicines such as Tylenol to have relief. In the same way, when he was struggling, he will pray to God and ask God to remove all his struggles; but that’s not what God wants. God gives us trials; God gives us problems, Why? Because there is purpose. Saint James says, that be happy when you encounter these kind of trials. Because when we have trials they produce perseverance. When you have trials you become strong in faith. Also, your endurance becomes stronger and when we are having trials, we develop a steadfast faith. When we are in trials there is no such thing as spiritual time out. He said that when we are facing trials, we must listen to God and his revelation because God has a plan for us.
Here comes, a new spiritual director and an Election for coordinators of El Shaddai was seen to be necessary. Again, Bro. Gary was nominated and became the coordinator. He, then, shared to Father Romil the news that he is now the coordinator; Father Romil told him that it’s been for so long that calling of yours on that position, but you did not listen and obey. This time Bro. Gary submitted himself to God’s calling and realized that his entire struggles that he experienced are for him to be prepared for another journey of his life. He also realized that God is developing his perseverance, endurance and steadfast faith, so that he can endure all the trials and always be steadfast in every situation or challenges that come to the ministry of his calling.
We struggle and face trials in our life and we ask God why? We don’t realize that God has a plan for us. He wants us to act with our faith. God wants us to have confidence that in every action that we do, God is developing us to be righteous and holy, so we can inherit the Kingdom of God.
The El Shaddai community is inviting everyone who wants to experience the joy of praising God in charismatic form of worship. Join us every Sunday at 4:00-6:00PM at San Antonio Parish. Put God first. To God be the Glory.