Let us declare before ourselves, “We are created in the image and likeness of God. As God is the God of faithfulness, we also must possess faithfulness.”
Faithfulness is one of the fruits of the Spirit of God that we must possess and cultivate especially in these trying times. It comes from within as a result of His presence in our lives. Numerous accounts in the Bible, even in our daily lives, prove how faithful our God is in fulfilling His promises. Remember the accounts of Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, and all others who have proven God’s faithfulness? During the time of Abraham, God promised him that he will be a father of many nations, and true enough, different nations can be traced from his loins. Joseph’s God-given dreams were fulfilled in his life as he became a key figure for the survival of God’s people during the years of drought and famine. He himself, though has experienced hardship and sufferings, had a first-hand experience of God’s faithfulness as his honor, integrity, and relationships were redeemed. Daniel, though in a foreign land, and whose life is on the edge for refusing to bow down before an idol, was spared from the mouth of the lion through God’s faithfulness, as it was written, “All the paths of the Lord are faithfulness and truth to those who comply with His covenant and His testimonies.”
As God’s children, let us examine the different areas that we must guard and apply faithfulness:
Looking back and reflecting in our lives, we can have a recount of God’s faithfulness. A recount where we can say, “God has not forsaken us,” “God responded as we called upon His name,” “God is faithful and true,” and “Great and beyond measure is His faithfulness!” Indeed, great is Thy faithfulness, oh God! (CGLG, CRFV)
One striking scene in a 2015 movie “Do You Believe?” where an old couple was having an emotional conversation. The wife asked her husband, “Where was God when we lost Cathleen?” They lost their one and only daughter years ago in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. For many years the couple was not able to move on from their loss. This paralyzed them from moving forward and allowed grief and disbelief to rule over them for years. In this scenario, they are facing the moment of truth to decide to believe again, let go of the pain of grief and let God take over.
The ongoing battle against this pandemic is getting so much intense that there is an increased rate of morbidity, mortality, suicide, and unemployment all over. We also find health workers and other front liners express their exhaustion due to surging number of COVID 19 cases in our nation. It is indeed another year of battle against this unseen enemy where we need to be stronger and firmer to what we believe to survive. When everything is out of our control, when everyone is under panic and exhaustion; when we ourselves suffer and are being affected by this ongoing battle, will we still believe or will we question like the wife asked? “Where is God?” Are we going to stop and give up? Our faith in ourselves, to others and to God determines the outcome of this worldwide battle. Will we lose or are we going to win?
Going back to the movie stated above, the husband answered his wife, “I will tell you where God was. He was asking that driver not to take another drink, begged the bar tender not to serve it to him, He is hoping that the driver would call the cab and do anything for him not to get behind that wheel but it was all over and He cried just like we did….belief is an action- it’s time for us to act, we got to get back up and start living again. I wanna do more with this time I’ve got…”
We might think that we are in the losing side in this battle because our unbelief blinds us from seeing God move in our midst. Our unbelief takes us away from our miracle. The author of Hebrews says that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. It is also defined as complete trust or confidence in someone or something. This situation where we are right now calls us back to have faith – to believe in ourselves, to believe in people and most specially, believe in the Sovereign God, whose ways are higher than our ways, whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts and whose plans are higher than our plans. This pandemic and its effect should not be the reason to stop us from believing. It should be the driving force that will strengthen our grip to ourselves, to others and to God. This is not the time for us to give up! It is the time for us to believe that we will overcome this crisis, as the common saying says, “This too shall pass.” Faith will always remind us that we are not alone in this battle. We have God whispering:
"My precious child, I love you and will never leave you. Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you."
Dictionary defines diligence as a careful or persistent work or effort while focus is defined as a point of concentration. This value therefor consists of two behavioral components that were put together as one. These are being diligent and staying focused. These varies in feature yet complementary by nature. One emphasizes methodology or manner of doing while the other highlights attentiveness to a certain goal or vision. When they become a constant practice, a lifestyle, or work ethics, it generates productivity characterized by excellence. It promotes not only quantitative but also qualitative type of work which is beneficial to all forms of endeavor. It induces profitability and marketability of work outputs. It is not only hitting the target but also giving the best service to the public. Along with the increase of production is customer or clientele satisfaction.
The observance of this value is a bit challenging during this pandemic. There are programs and projects that were listed at the annual plan by different government agencies or business entities that may not be implemented due to realignment of budget, business reverses, and other adverse effects of the existing crisis. Though these gigantic limitations are inevitable, everyone is still encouraged to remain diligent with focus by whatever means possible. The “Build, Build, Build” program of the present administration is one of the examples. There are already completions of the small-ticket projects in the past and the contractors or engineers are endeavoring to still accomplish the big-ticket projects that were put in place.
In view of the meaning of diligence with focus, it must be an established principle that any work began are meant to be accomplished. It is very unprofessional to see a work being started one after the other without finishing anything. Such sporadic way of doing things is opposed to the aim of ensuring high standard in public service and ease of doing business. It indicates double-mindedness or mental instability which destroys confidence or reliability towards the employee or worker concerned. It also perpetrates the negative idea of being “jack of all trades yet master of none” due to inconsistency and lack of expertise as a result of haphazard task.
One of the common teachings that we often hear from the trainings of the Council for the Restoration of Filipino Values is to be part of the finishing generation and not the finished generation. It connotes the attempt to fulfil a destiny and not to withdraw along the journey or from the line of battle. However, this sublime persuasion should also be applicable to the attitude of finishing any sort of endeavor rather leaving things undone. Learning this virtue should inspire us to reflect and assess our past and present undertakings. Did we do well in the execution of our functions? Are there tasks that need careful attention or has to be completed thoroughly? What is our usual response or reaction when we are faced with difficulties in the process? Do we find ways to solve the problem rather than simply abandoning our duties? Answering these questions will help us rate ourselves on how far have we gone in applying the value of diligence with focus. (NAS, CRFV)
Purity is a prerequisite for usefulness and effectiveness. A thing cannot be useful or become less effective if its nature was compromised or weakened. A gasoline, for example, cannot be used for the purpose for which it was intended if it was mixed with water or other chemicals. The same is true with a liquid detergent. Its effectiveness deteriorates if it was diluted with water. Applying the same principle in natural life, particularly in a work setting, a person who is impure cannot be fully used for which he or she is employed because his or her intentions may have been marred by other things that divert his or her attention. He or she may also become less effective for work as his or her focus and energy are now divided and infused into other concerns. Such impurity in whatever aspect makes himself or herself disqualified from remaining in employment as the future of the enterprise, institution, or agency is endangered with his or her presence.
As we just celebrated this Lenten season in remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ at the cross, all the more that we should be inspired to pursue purity in our mind and heart in order that His sacrifice will not be in vain. Based on Christian perspective, the works of Jesus Christ on the cross such as the shedding of His blood has cleansed us from all unrighteousness. It paved the way for us to be pure inside out. It gave us the capacity to turn away from evil and all forms of temptation. For this reason, we should not remain in our sins. Wrongful desires and corrupt motives should not have any part of our soul.
The benefits of purity are plain and simple. It is our best defense and makes us untouchable. It serves as our protection from false accusations. It also gives us a leverage for promotion as it cultivates the character trait of trustworthiness and reliability. It nurtures confidence from the management or from a superior in a workplace. Our blameless standpoint will make us cut above the rest as it is free from heavy loads and burdens that often derail us from forward and upward thrust. Finally, it produces physical wellness. Medical science is persuaded that bitterness, hatred, anger, and other types of negative emotion contaminates the soul and creates negative body reaction. According to some experts, negative emotion releases stress hormone that eventually weaken our immune system that makes our body more prone to illness.
On the other hand, purity in thoughts is also important to deal with as it is vital for success. The product of imagination affects our decision. What we think and believe in is what we pursue. As Winston Churchill said, the positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible. Nothing beats a pure mind if we are to climb the ladder of victory, otherwise, we surrender in the process. This makes us understand why Apostle Paul advised us in this manner: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things" (NAS, CRFV)
“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity."
In the olden days, in the nation of Israel, an invasion of locust and drought had devastated the land. They considered this as a nationwide calamity. Indeed, nationwide or worldwide calamity is not new to mankind just as the present crisis brought about by the COVID-19. Nations, such as the Philippines, were greatly affected and devastated by the virus. It did not only caused the loss of businesses or livelihood, mental sanity, and peace at home but also the loss of love ones. Statistics show that more than two million deaths worldwide was caused by the COVID-19 virus since last year.
With the extensive and overbearing negative effects of the pandemic around the globe, it seems impossible to realize healing upon a nation. On the contrary, we still have hope in God. He told us that if we humble ourselves before Him, pray, and turn from our wicked ways, He will hear from heaven and heal our land. If we rely on this promise of God, healing is still possible regardless of the amount of destruction. This happened to the nation of Israel in the past. We can read in the Scriptures that they were instructed to rend their heart and not their garments, return to the Lord their God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. In response, the people of Israel repented of their sins and consequently, there was healing in their land.
Repentance therefor is the key to unlock supernatural favor and abundant blessings of God. It prevents any impending judgment upon a nation. One of the perfect examples is the land of Nineveh written in the Scriptures. The land was about to be judged because of widespread wickedness. However, the judgment was averted because the people heeded the call for repentance.
Learning from the above example, repentance should not remain as a mere emotion or feeling of remorse. It should be coupled with action. After coming to our senses that we have sinned, we should decide to go back to God and live a holy life. It is only then that we can experience full restoration. It is not a matter of thought. It is an attitude of the heart. It is how we respond to the conviction of God in our lives. It is how we admit our mistakes and act accordingly.
Repentance is personal but its lasting effect is national. We may come up with scientific inventions but it may not go so far. The problem that we are facing now has gone beyond the domain of health. We must practice repentance if we are to aim full and complete recovery. Vaccination can heal us physically but only genuine repentance can heal us as a nation. (CD, CRFV)
The dictionary defines submission as “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.” Consequently, submitting means putting others before ourselves; it means not always doing what we want to do; it means putting God’s desires above our desires. In effect, we are being submissive in one way or another, even if it’s yielding to traffic laws, paying our taxes, agreeing to work certain hours, and observing COVID-19 health and safety protocols of physical distancing and wearing of face mask and face shield. Moreover, we are being submissive when our government asks us, as government employees, to do something in line with our work and we do it out of love and willingness.
In the story of Job, God said to him, “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way, prosperity will come to you.” Job was a man of integrity; he feared God and stayed away from evil. He had ten children and was a man of great wealth. Later, the Lord allowed Satan to afflict his family, properties, and eventually Job himself. Job grieved deeply but did not charge God with wrongdoing. In the same way, as hardships and problems in our workplace and family confront us, there is no need to murmur about them. Rather handle it without complaints, and humbly draw near and submit to God. The result will be the assurance of gaining the good that follows as God causes everything, bad or good, to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.
Elisabeth Elliot says, “One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy." We experience delight in our workplace and in the things that we do when we submit them to God, and in knowing that it is the thing He wants us to do and we do it all for his glory.
In implication, let us continue to submit to God our life, plans, dreams, and this pandemic and its effects through cordial prayer knowing that God knows best. Finally, as the Lord Jesus said in his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, may this be our confession after submitting to God our concerns, “Not my will, Lord, but yours be done.” (LCM, CRFV)
Equality stems from the fact that we are all created and born equal. We brought nothing in this world and will bring nothing after life here on earth. The situation only varies during lifetime. It is when one maneuvers the present phenomenon to his or her own advantage but at the expense of another. In a place where all of the same class are governed by the same set of rules, equality is subverted when one abuses his or her authority over another or exercises his or her rights to the prejudice of another. It also happens when one amasses wealth for selfish gain, thereby undermining the equal chance for progress and prosperity. The rich becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer.
The term equality, however, recognizes our distinct characteristics as individuals. It upholds our diverse cultures and backgrounds. It admits the fact that the environment may contribute to the uniqueness of our existence. Science says that man and woman are uniquely created physically. Orientations at home and the community we live in also make our tastes, activities, and preferences vary. Those who live in far flung areas or distant islands and forests may affect their direct access to modern technologies. These factors that amplify heterogeneity should not however deprive anyone from the basic requirements of justice and fairness. Equal rights, opportunities, and protection of the law shall always be accorded to citizens of a country.
In the Philippines, there are efforts of the government to level the playing field of every Filipino. Section 14, Article 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that the State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. Article 3, Chapter 1 of the Labor Code of the Philippines also states that the State shall afford protection to labor, promote full employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed and regulate the relations between workers and employers. The Salary Standardization Law of 2019 also declares the policy of the State which is to provide all government personnel a just and equitable compensation in accordance with the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. These are just among the numerous legislations that uphold equality as a core value in the country.
In the light of National Women’s Month Celebration, it is good to take this opportunity to ensure that women around us are not discriminated. Let us exert every effort to guarantee the welfare of women in our society and see to it that any sort of harassment against them shall be dealt with accordingly.
On one hand, if we are in public service, there should be equality of treatment to all our clientele in the performance of duty, giving of awards, grant of licenses or permits, and distribution of resources to beneficiaries of programs and projects. It is best achieve if justice is observed in the interpretation, implementation, and legislation of laws. (NAS, CRFV)
The word patriot signifies a person who loves his or her country and is ready to boldly support and defend it. In our country, we can find this likeness with our heroes who fought and defended our country from the tyranny and abuse of the rulers during their times. Even at the expense of their lives, they brought change and new order in our country resulting to the freedom that we are experiencing today.
If we examine our heroes and patriots around the world, what can we see as their common denominator? All have marks of selflessness. They did not just think of their welfare but primarily the welfare of others round about them. They are altruistic by the way they dedicated their lives without asking for anything in return from those who would benefit from it. They did not look for their personal gain. An athlete said, “A hero is not someone who does something courageous when he has nothing to lose and something to gain, but rather, he is the one who acts well when he has nothing to gain and everything to lose.” Selfless acts do not ask for anything in return, but desires the betterment of its recipient. Serving our nation, whether in public or private, do require selflessness. One who is selfless will not even think of putting the public or organizational funds in his or her own coffers, nor use it other than for its purpose. That is why laws have been placed so that those who do not know the thin line would have boundaries. Say for example the Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. It provides for commitment to public interest reminding us that people who work in the government must uphold the public interest over and above personal interest. Same is true for private corporations. Some private corporations do have their Code of Business Conduct and Ethics or Corporation Code of Conduct to uphold their ethical principles for the protection of the interests of both the company and its employees.
Being selfless is easy to say but only a few really captures its deep essence. As a great example of selflessness, let us look into a loving parent’s character. Have you heard of the story about the selfless father? During the time of famine, a father who was able to look for food divided the provision equally between him and his children. Because of hunger, his children immediately consumed their food and only his share was left on the table. His stomach was grumbling because he hadn’t eaten anything that day. But looking at his children still hungry, with love and pity, he took the bread and instead of eating it, distributed it to them. This is the selflessness we can see from loving parents. Who would not want to see their children in a better condition and successful? Or would a parent rather see them worn out, suffering, and being ridiculed by people? Loving parents look for the welfare of their children, and possibly give their best to them. This can only happen when true love is present. As the saying goes, true love is selfless. It is prepared to sacrifice.
Ultimately, we can always look at the best example - Jesus who selflessly gave his life so that each one of us could live our lives abundantly. To live in selflessness does not mean that we deprive ourselves of what is due us, but to embrace the principle of looking into the welfare of others and deeply caring for people who are in need, helpless, and lost. Delai Lama said, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” Joseph Campbell also said, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” The Holy Scriptures in Philippians encourages us also, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Selfless is a key to fulfill the second greatest commandment - to love others as ourselves. Jesus Christ laid His life so that we could walk on his example to love others - He laid his life for all humanity.
How about you? What are your stories of selflessness? (CGLG, CRFV)
“We must obey God rather than men.”
If punishment is around the corner, it is easier to obey. If there is a law, it is easier to command obedience. But what if there is neither punishment nor law to compel people to align their actions to what is morally and legally right? Rather, if faced with a situation where our conviction is challenged by the opinions of men or factual situations, how would we react?
There are three friends whose beliefs were challenged by the leader of the land, the king. Living in an era where there is a leader who can command whether they can live or die, their convictions were challenged when the king ordered all men to prostrate before his statue before his palace at the sound of a trumpet. Being officers of the court, there came a time when the trumpet sounded when the three friends were standing before the statue.
However, they chose to stand on what they believe in. Notwithstanding the fact that the announced penalty for disobedience was being burned inside a fiery furnace, they were ready to die for what they believe in. Enraged, the king, who saw the blunt disobedience of the three friends, ordered that the fiery furnace be heated seven times than its normal temperature. The friends were thrown there but they did not die. Instead, the king saw four people walking inside the fiery furnace and the fourth man looks like the “son of God.” He hurriedly called the friends to come out and explain what happened. In the end, they were promoted to high offices. Their disobedience to the king’s edict in order to obey the rules of their God catapulted them to positions of power.
Obedience to rules and regulations may result to either demotion or promotion. Generally, obedient workers do not experience punishments. Sometimes, they are promoted. Under a good type of leadership, this can help in the betterment of the operation of the office. But what if workers are placed under a bad type of leadership? Could their obedience lead to the betterment of the service they render or the oppression of the weak?
Often, disobedience to an order for the sake of standing for someone’s conviction can put someone to an uncomfortable situation; thus, only a few have the courage to obey their conviction and stand for what is right. Most just follow whatever is ordered without questioning or even looking at the morality or legality of the act. This is because it is easier to obey and avoid being put into hot water rather than stand for what is morally and legally right. But when will a system be fixed when everyone is just a Tom, Dick and Harry who have no bones to stand for what is right? Taking this in a wider scale, what will happen to a nation when all its people are crippled by fear to speak truth to power? (JBB, CRFV)
Have we been uncertain of what we are doing? Or did we ever question if what we’re doing is right or wrong? Doubted what to do and execute? Being unstable can affect our personal and corporate accomplishments. Whenever doubt sinks in to our system it causes our way towards our goal hazy and therefore unattainable.
Making decisions is part of our daily lives. Our actions determines our choices and decisions regardless if we were pressured or not. It’s either we do what is right or we do what is wrong. There are times that the pressure around us so intense that will motivate us to make crucial decisions and take necessary actions.
The effects of the current global pandemic has hit every aspect of our lives - individually or corporately. We are facing a pressing time where we need to constantly choose between righteousness and wickedness, between good and bad, and be able to survive.
Sadly, we have observed that some people started the race righteously but ended up taking the the opposite, allowing compromises. Yesterday they were crying for a graft-free society then we find them giving into corruption the next moment because of dire need. What are we really standing on? Are we going to change our purpose every time the situation change? Indecisive people tends to just follow the norm and just goes with the flow. They don’t have a stand about certain situations. When pressures sets in and we need to decide, will we keep on raising the banner of righteousness or will we let go and give up? Will we be decisive enough to stand firm on righteousness even if the majority does otherwise?
Just as what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said to King Nebuchadnezzar when they’ve been pressured to kneel and worship his image. They were aware of the consequences of their choice, yet they stood firm because they were 100% convinced that they are doing what should be done. They were decisive enough, they know their purpose and they’re willing to fight for it ‘til the end. As they uttered to the king,”If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if God does not, we want you to know, O king that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
Even if the right choices doesn’t always sit well with us, we must still hold firm to what we’re called for - we are called for righteousness! We should abstain from every form of evil because we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.
Decisiveness is knowing our purpose and being certain on our way towards its accomplishment. It is knowing our goal and being firm on it - uninfluenced by the changing standards and unaffected by the pressures in our environment. To be decisive means to be certain of who we are and what we are called to do. We are called to stand for righteousness, and we need to be certain of it ‘til the end. (MAT, CRFV)
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.