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.
by: Jesus V. Sison, CRFV Deputy National Director
“I solemnly pledge my life to you”- King Charles III, September 2022, as His Majesty the King pledged to serve with loyalty, respect and love.
When the news broke out that the Queen of the United Kingdom passed on to eternity, words honoring her majesty’s legacy swirled around the world. Tributes were poured and the nations came together in unity. Anti-monarchy sentiments and oppositions were laid aside to rest. It was a moment of reflection. What was astounding is that every person is saying the same thing to honor a person who lived an extraordinary life. Words that honor are words of honor because a person has honor. This week’s article and value focus on Word of Honor will give us a new perspective of what it is.
For most of us if not all, word of honor is always defined as fulfillment of our promises and every uttered word must be pursued whatever it takes or how painful it is to fulfill. It is with an attitude where we lay aside our own agenda and interests to accomplish a task or complete a promise. However, when we talk about this value, it should never be separated from the person. A person who fulfills his/ her word is honorable. We will then be considered as men and women of honor when we value and crown our words with it. Honor values the importance of status and repute in maintaining one’s place in society. It is conscious in maintaining respect for the community or organization one belongs to. In this sense, honor provides a pattern and template for establishing social interactions- how we communicate and how we conduct ourselves, and hence, as a culture, it may be functional to cancel a norm that do not value and endorse honor.
Words should not be empty where there’s too much promises made and yet unfulfilled or half-fulfilled. Words should not use for flattery to win a heart or allegiance. Instead, words must infuse hope for the future because they inspire. Words are to be relied on like a sturdy rock that we could stand upon and be unshaken. In a time of uncertainty and adversity, such words bring alignment and refreshing to one’s soul. They will easily encourage the people to rise and rally for a given-cause or assignment. These words are inspiring and dependable for they are crowned with honor. They are so because the person who uttered them is known to be as principled and upright.
How to be an honorable person whose words are reliable?
When our only desire is to have all of God in our life and to glorify Him with our words and actions, then our lives will be lived honorably. We must first become part of who God. In other words, we reflect and manifest His character and nature through the values we espouse. This will in turn make us honorable before God and before the people. We must also become part of what God is doing. We put God at the center of all things as we invoke His will upon us. Our words and actions will in turn become totally guided and motivated with sincerity, integrity and uprightness- this is honorable.
In the hour of most radiant triumphs or darkest challenges, we must remember God who has accounted us fit and honorable to be His instruments of righteousness and stewards of resources. As we understand that the place and power are ours as His gift and trusteeship for His glory, individually and collectively, we should solemnly pledge our live throughout the remaining time the Almighty God grants us to live honorably, serve wholeheartedly and love unconditionally. This is pledging our life to God, to the country and to the people we vowed to love, serve and protect. This pledge and promise are crowned with honor and valued with sincerity to be fulfilled in our lifetime.
As Christmas season is fast approaching and the cool breeze of December is slowly being experienced, many people started preparing for the season of giving. Some goes to department stores, grocery stores, and other similar shops and started collecting some stuff to be wrapped as gifts to their love ones and relatives. This is a very good culture and practice because it expresses love for one another. It brings reconciliation as well as it forges closer and intimate relationship.
We do such practice because of the great love our Father Almighty has for us by sending His only begotten Son. We rejoice because of the very One we celebrate - Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior of mankind. Finally, He was born for our salvation. He too modeled the value of charity. He willingly gave and offered His life as a sacrifice for the redemption of the whole world. He gave all and without reservation. He did not withhold any. It was not meagerly but lavishly because it took the shedding of His blood to save us even when we are far from Him because of our sins.
The question is – do we do gift giving only during Christmas season and only to our love ones and relatives? How about those whom we do not know? Charity must be a constant practice to all of us. It is not determined by time and season but a lifestyle. It is a value or attitude that every time somebody is in need, we must be ready to help to any extent possible. We must have a helping hand especially in times of crisis.
For the past pandemic, we have exemplified this value. We gathered our resources and gave to any member of the community. There is a drive inside us to extend assistance because of love and compassion. Somebody started a spark and everybody got stirred to do the same. All of a sudden, community pantries were held in different parts of the Philippines. We considered others as part of our lives because they are our fellow countrymen.
This attitude must go on and it should not cease even if we are now in our new normal. Simply because our nation oftentimes struck, not only by pandemic or epidemic, but other types of crisis and disasters. Typhoons pass through our country and recently, there were families who lost their homes and properties due to the recent 7.3 earthquake that shook the province of Abra and the neighboring provinces. Our generosity should continue to manifest that others may at least be relieved from their desperate situation.
Consequently, we should stop every sort of greed and selfishness. We should not let our fellowmen continue to suffer due to wrongful transactions at the expense of the government to the destruction of lives of the future generation. Such is not being a true Filipino. Let us not lose sight of our culture and heritage – the “bayanihan” system where we voluntarily give our time, efforts, and talents in order to help our fellow citizens when we are needed the most. The practice of sharing to our neighbors what we have cooked at home and other good practices that depict the value of charity should be enriched and perpetuated.
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.