by: Micah A. Tecne
In this world that is full of disturbance, chaos and tribulations, who would not want to be delivered from it? To have the freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions? Oh, when we can lie asleep with nothing to worry of. To have a moment where we feel safe and quiet. A moment of tranquility. Having peace, lasting peace.
We can temporarily have it by building structures with strong foundations, inspiring calm environments, choosing calm and perfect people, pursuing fame, wealth and power and other sources of peace that we can think of. We can attain them all but again, it is just temporary. One that may last for some time but it will eventually end. We hear stories of wealthy, famous, and powerful people who fell into severe depression and worst, some have taken their own lives thinking that they will finally rest in peace. We find buildings constructed by skilled and prominent builders break and fall. We see beautiful and calm places where we find safety destroyed by calamity. Wealth, power and fame can be lost overnight. This is the sad reality about relying from the wrong sources of lasting peace, security and refuge. Temporary sources bring temporary peace. These sources are counterfeit authors of peace.
The one and only Author of peace is He who can bring us to the safest and calmest place. For He is not the author of confusion but of peace. He is the Lord of peace the source of it at all times. Having Him is having peace. A comforting voice telling us in times of chaos and disturbance to not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to Him. For in Him we can both lie down in peace, and sleep; for He alone makes us dwell in safety.”
Who is the author of our peace in this turbulent world? If were pursuing peace from temporary sources at all cost in the past, will we also be willing to pursue its authentic source? Knowing that the peace that He can give us is the peace that the world cannot give, it’s the peace that the world cannot understand.
We cannot deny the fact that bad circumstances, people and emotions are present but peace is also in our reach. The Almighty God is present as He promised that in me Him we may have peace. In the world we will have tribulation. But take heart; He has overcome the world.” If we want peace, we are going to be needing Him. Who in this world does not want peace?
by: Mr. Nathaniel A. Saquiban
As the Christmas season is closely approaching, everyone can feel the spirit of joy in the air. There is a sense of excitement in every heart to welcome the happiest season of the year. Happiest because it is known as the holiday season where family members from different parts of the Philippines and abroad take their holidays, gather together, and get to see each other over some food preparations. It is also a time when relatives and friends fellowship with one another. There is a festivity everywhere. Town plazas, gardens, and tourist destinations are arrayed with Christmas decorations and lights where residents and tourists congregate and enjoy the surroundings.
It is a joyful time of the year, a time of celebration, a time of gift-giving. It is a traditional practice that was handed down from generation to generation since the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world to which even the non-Christians subscribed and celebrate the same. We rejoice because salvation has come to the world at last. No longer that the world will be doomed to destruction as redemption has finally arrived to all mankind. This brings joy to all of us more than anything in this world. It is a gladness from God that the world cannot give because of the feeling of a glorious hope for a better future. That hope is the hope for eternal life as people are reconciled back to God. Christmas season, thus, is commonly considered a time of reconciliation, a time to love and forgive one another.
Joyfulness, however, should not be seasonal and neither should only be during Christmas season. Joyfulness should be an everyday disposition. It should not even be inspired or impelled by outside factors but rather by internal factors. It is sustained by the work of God resulting to inner gladness rather than the effects of earthly entertainment. It is viewed as lasting in nature rather than temporary. Humor, on the other hand, is normally an attitude, behavior, or personality. It is the ability to be comical or funny or the ability to create a joyful atmosphere. It is the ability to generate laughter or smiles to other people. It is conveyed by actions, reactions, facial expressions, or words such as funny stories or verbal responses.
Humor and joyfulness, compounded as one, is not only a character or personality. It is a value which is very vital for teamwork and unity. It is an essential ingredient to boost the morale of employees in a working environment. It gives a light atmosphere conducive for labor. It subdues all forms of heaviness caused by challenges in life. It is the ability to become resilient over negative circumstances, thereby, producing excellence in the workplace, both in the conduct of personnel and their corresponding outputs. The ability to be humorous and joyful signifies the fact that the person concerned is unaffected by adverse situations. That person is above and not beneath, head and not the tail, over and not under his or her present problems. Let us therefore nurture the value of humor and joyfulness because it is instrumental for efficient and effective performance of duties and responsibilities in any fields of endeavor.
Building Strong Cohesive Communities; Establishing Order in the Society with Promotion of Common Good
Jesus V. Sison, PTRP, CRFV Deputy National Director
Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
It was early in the morning as fishermen are about to return from the sea to mend their nets after toiling all night without catching any fish. Suddenly, Jesus, the Good Master appeared along the shore and directed them to launch their nets on the right side of their boats. It was a miracle of catching an enormous number of fishes and yet the nets won’t break. After having their breakfast with the Master, He asked one of the fishermen if he loves Him more than all the bounty and great things they witnessed that day. The obvious answer was “Yes, You know I love You.” With that, a command was given to feed the lambs and the sheep. God Himself desired that every person experience His miracles, for every human being was designed to be blessed and not be cursed; created to take care of the creation and to bring in order. In doing so, He blessed and provided for everyone but with a stern reminder that men and women everywhere must take care of others. Blessed to be a blessing, strengthened to strengthen, loved to love, cared for to take care of others.
In interconnected and cohesive communities, societal order is established because people trust each other, helps one another, able to work together, feel part of a communal identity and practice shared values to generate a common good. Even among multicultural societies, once members of that society lay aside selfish ambitions that are detrimental to relationships; as they shut down greedy motives and self-serving intentions; instead, respect, honor and think of how to make or help others be better-off, promotion of common good becomes evident. In turn, these societies tend to be more contented, happier, more progressive and peaceful.
Moreover, promotion of common good leads us to have meaningful lives and become fulfilled individuals as it is "the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily" . Thus, we have to rediscover who we are, our vocation as citizens and our respective roles in our community. The value of the common good, to which every facet of social life must be associated stems from the dignity, unity and equality of all people. In rediscovering who we are and what is our purpose, common good teaches us to seek what’s best for everyone, beginning with the last, the least, the lost, the most vulnerable, the marginalized and the most forgotten.
Common good does not consist in the simple sum and contribution of the particular goods and materials of each person. It also includes actions and ideas that is oriented to bring about progress of other people. Actions that are voluntary, not demanded and generous engagement of a citizen in social interchange. Common good consequently calls that all must participate, each according to his position and role. This responsibility is integral in the dignity of the human person. Simple acts are achieved first of all by taking charge of the areas for which one assumes personal responsibility: by taking care of his/her own family, by conscientious work in his/her workplace, and so forth, the man and/or the woman participates in the good of others and of community. It therefore results to order in our society that is “founded on truth, built up in justice, and animated by love".
When the Lord Jesus Christ taught people to love their neighbors as themselves and treat others as they would be treated, He was teaching people to seek the Common Good.
When Saint Paul said, “Do not seek your own personal interests alone, but also the interests of others,” he was teaching the Common Good.
When Saint John said, “Since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another,” he was teaching the Common Good.
When Jesus, our Lord and Savior said, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me,” He was inviting us to seek the Common Good.
Common good is not about pulling down individuality or suppressing divergence, but recognizing the importance of interconnectivity and social bonds for the flourishing of every citizen. It includes the appreciation of the value in citizens coming together to carefully ponder on the meaning of a just and humane society. When we encourage civically-minded, active and responsible citizenship in the ideals of the common good, we find fulfillment as human beings.
In the midst of flourishing individualistic, self-indulgent, egotistic and meritocratic forms of human success, an emphasis on the common good can help restore social order as there will be trust, justness, sincerity, dignity, respect, mutuality, service to others, and humility.
As this message came to prophet Zechariah from the Almighty God: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other. We then loved one another and lived to promote common good.
The increasing crime rate in some areas in the Philippines reflects not only the lack of fear before authorities but also the lack of fear of God. It is surprising that some people are unafraid to commit crimes in broad daylight and even in the presence of law enforcers. The Scriptures tell us not to be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. It shows that those who are perpetrators of crimes are mindful only of the temporary punishment that a court of law may impose. They have forgotten the God who is the Judge of all with the power to punish disobedience eternally.
It is not an excuse that these people have not known God. All people have conscience where the light of God goes. This will help them distinguish right from wrong even without knowing fully the penal laws. The consciousness of God as a judge other than as compassionate and merciful must be strongly active in one’s heart and mind. This will lead any one to render reverence to God Almighty. It will create a holy fear that will serve as a guide how a person conducts himself or herself. It will avoid a person from misbehaving. Just as a people render respect to earthly kings, so with the King of kings. If we can lie prostrate before a royal family on earth, so with Him, the Creator of heaven and earth.
In the Philippines, we are aware of the fact that we are oftentimes visited by typhoons, earthquakes, and other calamities. Some say that these catastrophes are unavoidable due to the location of the country beside the Pacific Ocean. Others say that these are caused by climate change. However, we believe that nothing happens on earth unless God permits. From this standpoint that these circumstances were known as force majeure or acts of God. If we recognize that these are wake-up call of God, we will decide to reform. It is just sad to think that people are heedless to these great awakening that they remain stubborn. They remain steadfast in their wicked ways and unmoved by the consequential effects of their wrongful acts.
People of this kind even wish that their place be declared under state of calamity as they are after the rehabilitation funds and donation that will be released to their areas. They kept constructing infrastructure projects that are substandard unaffected by the resulting number of casualties and damages when disaster comes. This type of people should not be envied as they are walking in a slippery path. They may be enriched today but destruction awaits them. The wickedness of the wicked will come to an end but God will establish the just. The call of God for repentance never changed. If we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways, He will hear from heaven and heal our land. We must not lose sight of Him who is calling us to live a holy life. We must have reverence and fear of God before it is too late.
by: Atty. Carolina Lim-Gamban
Have you recently looked at the mirror and wondered if there is someone who look like you? Although there is possibility, the chance is slim. Even twins sharing the same DNA have their differences physically and even in character. Looking at it intrinsically and extrinsically, no two persons are exactly the same as we are created uniquely by God. The Scripture says, we are “wonderfully and fearfully made” even in our mother’s womb. Just as God has created beautiful and wonderful creations, we too, have the capacity to create and invent great and original things.
Many of the things we use today were invented and discovered in the 20th century. The knowledge and science of the past became a springboard for the present’s creations. What more can be created or invented in the future in today’s advanced technology? Cellular phones brought people closer despite the great distance geographically. Induction stoves allowed us to cook food using electromagnetic field and no longer through fire. Just recently, an electric flying car was flown in Dubai which left many in awe. These are just some of the great creations and inventions which are products of creativity through bright ideas and inspiration. However, even though we have this innate ability to create, invent, and innovate, there are others who do not give the due respect and honor for the original creators, inventors, authors, or the like. They were imitated or copied without due recognition. Their so-called Intellectual Property rights are violated.
Intellectual property refers to the creation of the mind and this can be an invention, a design, a brand name, or literary and artistic works. The law protects the owners of the intellectual property through patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Patent is an exclusive right granted for a new, inventive, and useful products. This allows the inventor to exclude others from making, using, or selling the product of his invention during the period of the patent; or they can permit others to use on certain terms; or they can sell their invention rights to others. Trademark is either a word, a group of words, sign, symbol, or logo that distinguishes goods or services from others. It protects the brand identity and also prevents others from using or exploiting the mark in any way. Copyright on the other hand, protects the owner and gives them exclusive right to use or authorize others to use their original works such as literary, scientific, and artistic works.
As people beautifully and wonderfully created by God, we should not infringe the intellectual properties of others. As it has been said, give recognition and honor to whom recognition and honor is due. In literary works, make sure to properly cite original authors or source of the content. For inventions and artistic works, pay the price to access or use the product. Do not tamper or imitate others’ trademarks, instead, have your own unique and distinguishing mark.
You don’t need to be a copycat. Be a trendsetter, as they say. Originality comes when we are so inspired and this happens if we tap on the Source of creativity – God, and surely, amazing ideas will come as wisdom and creativity flows.
by: Nathaniel A. Saquiban
An object that is clear and light can pass through it is called transparent. But if that object is cloudy and dirty, it suppresses the light from coming through it. The same is true in our life. If our life is clear from all forms of wickedness, people can see through our life. Nothing is hidden from them. They can identify that we are genuine in our expression of love and affection. On the contrary, if our life is dim, people cannot see the whole picture of who we are. Chances are they have reservations in their dealings with us. We cannot gain their trust and confidence.
From the above standpoint, we can determine how important a life that is open book to anyone. It is a powerful weapon that refutes all forms of doubt to a person’s life. It is a life that is clean and blameless. It is a life of integrity. Consequently, people who are transparent have the stature, right, and authority to correct any wrongdoing. They are look up to in high esteem and their lives are vouched by others. They set the example as they model a proper lifestyle.
While having a transparent life may be easy to some, it is quite hard to others. Nonetheless, this is encouraged the moment a person enters into public service. In public service, a public life and private life are intertwined because a person is still known as public servant even in his or her private life. Thus, he or she cannot misbehave in private life simply because it is his or her private life. He or she should not forbid the authorities from inquiry or investigation about his or her private life if it has a connection with his or her public function such as the use of public funds for private purpose.
The government, for its part, is doing its best to observe transparency in public service. All national government agencies are required to maintain a transparency seal on their official websites. Also, the Constitution itself is replete with provisions that uphold the value of transparency. It declared that the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest, subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law. It also guarantees the right of the people to information on matters of public concern. It is at this premise that the Freedom of Information Bill was drafted, pursuance to the principle that public records or documents are accessible to the public.
Being transparent to the public is being accountable to the public. The public has the right to be informed because it is their taxes paid that are being spent in public expenditures. It is also the exercise of their right of suffrage that is being exploited in the performance of public function by an elective official. They put the public official into leadership, thus, their right to know how their leaders are functioning. We, therefore, should not hide anything from our people. Barangays should continue conduct general assembly. Local government units should continually observe full public disclosure. Government agencies should keep the practice of holding public consultation.
by: Dr. Laurence Mascay
During the late 1890s, a blogger wrote, the Americans brought with them their technology, machinery, and other equipment when they came to the Philippines. Since their tools were better and more advanced than what Filipinos used the latter felt inferior with their bolos, hand axes, and simple carts. As a result, until today, Filipinos looked up to foreign products as far better than locally made ones. Consequently, a dilemma we have been dealing with but could be gradually outdone as national pride defined as “being proud of our own country and proud of ourselves for being from this country” is heartily lived out.
The fallacious notion of Philippine-made goods as low-class or poor in quality and foreign products as high-class ought to be obliterated from our thinking. It is a mere colonial mentality. Thus, set our mind that local goods are excellent as well. In fact, there are tons of things Filipinos have to be proud of. We possess excellent traits such as being diligent, respectful, flexible, hospitable, and skilled which other nations admired us. Besides, the Philippines is blessed with varied and world-renowned rich natural resources and wonders like the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Banaue Rice Terraces, Chocolate Hills of Bohol, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Mayon Volcano, Hundred Islands, and much more which we are grateful and proud of.
In simple and doable implications we are to highly prioritize the purchase of locally made goods; we are to boost by word of mouth the beauteous aspects of the Philippines particularly to foreign acquaintances; we are not to demean the Philippines in comparison to the countries we visited; we are to incessantly abide with the law, especially in the observance of traffic rules, no littering policy, and paying of proper taxes; as government officials and employees we are not to steal and misuse government funds rather utilize it to its lawful allocations for the well-being of our constituents, and we are not to abuse our natural resources rather enrich it and be good stewards. Finally, we are to be content, proud, and grateful for being Filipino and of the Philippines for it is what the Sovereign God made us to be. As the Scripture says, “from one human being he created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live”.
by: Micah A. Tecne
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Man was created in the image of his Creator. Most of us might think that it was the physical image that the latter is talking about but as we go deeper to, we will see that such is not solely the case. We shall realize our real identity - we men and women who were created uniquely in a special way to fulfill a greater purpose. In this fallen world where SIN (Selfish Interest Nature) is prevalent, most of us are so much concerned about maintaining or protecting our good image, causing some to compromise and embrace hypocrisy to please the world.
With the influence of the social media where pretensions and cover ups are common and is now becoming the norm, we are always tempted to boost our pride by yielding to the patterns of the system of this world. We follow the directions of what is seemingly normal which actually brings us farther from the original image that we have been created. Image that exudes godliness and holiness.
For us to be able to genuinely pursue and advocate our godly and holy identity, we need to have an encounter and receive the divine revelation of who our Creator is. His image is the same image that humans should possess - the capacity for reason, morality, language, personality, and purpose. In particular, the ability to use morality and spirituality are unique to human beings among God's creations on earth. Like God, we would possess the capacity to experience and understand love, truth, and beauty.
The moment the first man and woman fell into disobedience, it altered the holy image of God in us. Apostle Paul said that there is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It is indeed through His grace that we are able to manifest His image of godliness and holiness.
The image of God in us is innate and it is a condition where we are able to uphold righteousness. It is a state of being godly and holy. We are able to discern and shun away from wickedness. Thus we do not need to pretend to be holy and godly just to please any man in all our dealings.
We cannot deny the fact that our pursuit of godliness and holiness is a normal struggle because of the sinful nature in us but God’s grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in weakness. The image that we will be living for will determine our eternal destiny. Will we uphold an image of wickedness, compromise and pursue the approval of men? Or will we pursue to be distinct and uphold the image of righteousness by making every effort to pursue godliness and holiness? Today is the day to take back our identity. For we are men and women of distinction. We are called to be godly and holy.
by: Nathaniel A. Saquiban
Did we ever witness a person who is intellectually equipped but still fails in some practical matters in life? Have we seen a person struggling and missed a lot of opportunities due to wrong choices and actions made? On the other hand, have we seen people who are not learned or highly educated but they are prospering and doing well in their life? Sometimes, it is not what we know and how much we know but how we live with what we know. What makes the difference? It is wisdom.
According to Oxford Dictionary, wisdom is the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment. But how can we have good judgment so we can make sound decision and action? First, it is by living a righteous life because it will help us make the right decision. As it is written, one who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. Second, it is by acknowledging God in our lives admitting that we can do nothing apart from Him. It is leaning not on our own understanding but instead acknowledging God in all our ways so that He may direct our path. This goes with the Scripture that tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. If we fear God, necessarily, we obey divine and natural laws that leads us into accurate decisions.
It is no surprise that Solomon asked for wisdom rather than worldly wealth or riches in this world prior to his appointment as king because wisdom secures. It leads to proper management of resources that keeps us stable rather than being destroyed by deceitfulness of riches. It saves a person from unnecessary costs because of lesser errors as it inspires the person concerned to make a thorough analysis or study of a present situation before acting on something. It enables one to foresee things and anticipate in advance any untoward incidents. By way of wisdom, one does not recklessly gamble his or her future.
In the Philippines, especially in the provinces, the elderlies are given much respect and members of society listen to them. It is more than a culture or tradition. It is because people believe that they gained wisdom through their learning or lessons taken from their experiences, whether positive or negative. It does not mean, however, that we need to reach an old age first before we attain wisdom. It simply means that people of wisdom have greater edge to lead and guide others and their words have authority. They are esteemed because they live an honorable life.
Leaders therefore must be endued with wisdom. They should not only be brilliant or mentally competent but wise because wise people are righteous people. They avoid penalties by choosing what is right. They have the capacity to lead because they are critical thinkers and problem solvers. Such are needed in our time. Let us be the wise leaders who are forces to be reckoned with. The nation awaits us.
by: Keren May B. Busaing
Could a short, five-letter word, trust, mean more than the number of its letters? While the word is pretty much everywhere, its concept familiar to most of us, could there be more to it than what we perceive right this very moment?
Trust is very much familiar to most if not all of us. We apply it and its principle almost in every opportunity that we come across. It is utilized in almost every aspect of our lives - be it personal, professional, and even in the commercial system, trust is a key principle to build on.
Before we delve deeper into the different facets of trust, let us first establish its core foundation. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. While our understanding of trust might be correct and related courses of action doable, it is important to be founded deeper by acknowledging the author of trust which is God Himself. He is trust - His ways, His plans and His designs are perfect. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
The moment we find ourselves fully trusting God and His plans, we will begin to operate accurately, exercising trust in every applicable circumstance in our lives. Such is the core and actually the first facet of trust - God is trust and trustworthy. In this angle, we understand trust from the perspective of what we give. We give our trust to God and His ways. In the course of fulfilling His purposes, we may come across many obstacles and the measure of trust we can give Him will define the measure of victory that we can win.
The second facet of trust is what we become. We become trustworthy. As the God we serve is trustworthy, we become trustworthy. No one who says he is trusting God shall end up not being worthy of trust. Guided by the norms and standards of God, the way we do things and the very things we accomplish are according to God’s ultimate design. God can trust us to execute His will, the people around us will trust us to do the right things, and even the entire creation will trust and respond to us. Trust will now become a doable and practical virtue that can be embedded in our nature, ready to naturally manifest whenever it is applicable.
Finding ourselves worthy of trust, we then become living examples or models for others to follow. This is the third facet, we become the definition of trust and others will find it easy to become like us. The guidelines are clear and its principles realistic. It is not an out-of-this-world concept that only a few can attain. We must be able to live out the value of trust so that we can influence others to do the same.
Finally, trust will become a norm. How wonderful it is to face every corner and every aspect of our lives trustfully. Whether we look to the right or to the left, we remain at peace because trust is thriving strongly. That even in the midst of the challenges, obstacles, and occasional mistakes, trust will be found.
This week, as we reflect deeper in the value of trust, let it become our desire to be founded strongly by trusting the entirety of God’s ultimate and eternal plan. For He knows the plans He has for us - to prosper and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. If we are seeking the secret to a good, peaceful and purpose-driven life, trusting God is the key. Let the cycle of trust be made manifest through us, its fullness and fruits be realized in our lifetime.
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.