by: Dr. Laurence Mascay
During the American colonial period, Francisco Santiago, the “Father of Kundiman Art Song,” composed “Pilipinas Kong Mahal” or “Philippines my Philippines” in the English text by Prescott Jernegan. It is believed that Santiago composed it to portray his patriotism. Evidently, the song highly depicts a patriotic message every Filipino, in all generations, is challenged to imbibe and live by. The lyrics say:
Ang bayan ko’y tanging ikaw
Pilipinas kong mahal
Ang puso ko at buhay man
Sa iyo’y ibibigay
Tungkulin ko’y gagampanan
Na lagi kang paglingkuran
Ang laya mo’y babantayan
Pilipinas kong hirang
Patriotism is defined as “love of country and caring for the welfare of the people.” While a patriot is someone who loves, supports, and defends his country of birth. Many Filipinos claim to love the Philippines. And love should be expressed both in words and action. It does not mean, however, we have to fight and die for the Philippines just like our great heroes did in the past. By constantly exercising simple acts of service we display love to our county. John Devine said, “Patriotic talk is no proof of patriotism. Anyone can wave a flag. The real patriot lives his patriotism in everything he does.”
Consequently, we are to continuously highly prioritize the purchase of locally made products; we are to boost by word of mouth the beautiful 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 constantly abide with the law especially in the observance of traffic rules, no littering policy, paying of proper taxes, and now the practice of COVID-19 minimum health standards such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks; As government officials and employees, we are not to 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.
Furthermore, we are to be proud and grateful for being a Filipino and of the Philippines for it is what the Sovereign God made us be. 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”. Finally, patriotism is love shown in words and action for our native land - the Philippines our Philippines.
by Micah Tecne
This month is indeed a season of celebration to us as individuals, family and a nation. It is a season where we remember and rejoice of what the Almighty God has given us as the greatest gift - Jesus Christ. It is a time where we hear laughter, singing and dancing, we see fireworks; we prepare for gift giving and other means of rejoicing. We usually emphasize that Jesus is indeed the reason for this season, the reason to rejoice and give praise. Sadly, with the worldwide pandemic and the devastation brought by typhoon Odette, many lost properties and love ones. Some are trying to revive and restore what can be restored. Many may struggle from frustration and disappointment, asking the Almighty why he allowed this. Is there still a reason to rejoice and celebrate?
It is often said that problems and trials make one strong. But we cannot deny the fact that when we are in the situation where everything is breaking apart and we feel that there is no one to run to or feel that God is not moving, we tend to let these negative thoughts consume us. When this happens, we sometimes find ourselves having no reason to rejoice in this time of the year and no reason to praise and worship the One who gave us the greatest gift of all.
A true story in the early times talks about Paul and Silas who were falsely accused, stripped, beaten with rods and brought to prison with chains and stocks fastened on their feet. They were struggling physically, emotionally and mentally. But about midnight they prayed and sang hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains became loose.
This story reminds us that praising and worshipping God is beyond how we feel and circumstance we are in. It is building an altar for God in our hearts. An attitude of the heart that reflects our faith in Him that He is able to carry us through in every season. That someone sovereign is indeed above what we feel and face right now. It is a declaration of who God is, believing that He will manifest His strong presence and power over us and our circumstances.
A song written by Don Moen entitled “I Will Sing” reminds us that we may feel that God seemed so far away that we cannot already pray because we do not know what to say or where to start. But as He gives us grace: I will sing, I will praise Even in my darkest hour Through the sorrow and the pain I will sing, I will praise, Lift my hands to honor You because Your word is true, I will sing As we remember the scene in the birth of Jesus when a great company of heavenly host appeared in front of the shepherds praising God saying “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” Let this also be a reminder for us that we can still rejoice by praising and worshipping God because His peace and favor still rests on us.
by: Nathaniel A. Saquiban
The value of thankfulness and gratefulness is timely for this yuletide season. Simply thinking of this topic reminds us of the things that we ought to thank God for. Thus, before we enter 2022, let us just think of the blessings that we received throughout the year. They do not only come in the form of finances or material wealth but protection, deliverance from danger, healing from sickness, physical, mental, and emotional strength, and more.
Thankfulness and gratefulness govern the conduct of the recipient and the giver. The recipient will put value on the things he or she receives by handling the gift with due care. On one hand, the giver will be delighted to give more because of the appropriate responses he or she receives from the recipient of gifts, kind treatment, or favor. On the contrary, if the recipient acts with obvious ungratefulness or misconduct, he or she may be censured by the other. In the Philippines, such misdemeanor is frown upon which can be the subject of disinheritance or increase in penalty for a crime committed.
Is there anything to thank God for? The answer is a big “YES”. It is extant from what He has done for us. While we were sinners, He came to save us. The obvious ungratefulness is evident upon those who live in the early days. Those whom Jesus had miraculously healed, delivered from sickness, diseases, and demonic possession, fed when hungry, and protected from storms or disasters were the same people who cried “crucify Him!” However, even with opportunity to judge, He did not condemn the world but repaid evil with love. He chose to take upon Him the sufferings instead of us so that we can be saved. He could have evaded the pains and death of the crucifixion but with due regard to the salvation of humanity, He chose not to obey His own will and personal wishes.
Today, we celebrate Christmas in remembrance of the coming of salvation of the world. We could have remained in sin and disastrous state, destined to curses and eternal damnation, if not for the sacrifice of One on the cross and subsequent resurrection. As a result, we have hope for healing and life everlasting. There is indeed enough reason to be thankful and grateful.
In this time of pandemic, we do not have the right to blame God for the existing economic and health crisis. Instead, take this opportunity to call upon Him and draw closer to Him. We do not have time to remain in our desperate state. God has given us the capacity and capability to rise from our situation. With the value of thankfulness and gratefulness, it will help us become buoyant and look beyond the negative circumstances. It will give us a better perspective of the challenging situations by focusing our attention to their beneficial effects rather than their hapless impact. If we do this, the chance to get better is greater.
Be thankful at all times.
by Keren May B. Busaing
These days, we’ve been bombarded with too many words in many different forms such as reporting, describing and reacting to the still ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We barely had the time to process the first piece of information before another came. We initially thought that our situation would get better after a few months then we can resume to how we used to. It’s almost, if not more than 2 years already and we have started to accept that we will never return to our old ways. In fact, we are beginning to embrace the inescapable reality and concept of the ‘new normal’.
In the midst of all these, one constant and timeless element that influence our responses is the quality of the words we read and hear. We see how words reverberate, i.e., a piece of news and how it is being relayed from one source to the next. Information, whether true or false, is being released from every available channel. It is clear that this avalanche of words has affected the people and the society in ways beyond simple bumps but complete turn-around.
As men and women called to be advocates of righteousness, we are designed to stay above and beyond these present difficulties. And one major thing that we cannot do away with is being a mouthpiece of God. We become an extension of Him - in words, actions, and deeds. Again, in the midst of all the words being spoken, the only sure truth is God’s Word and who else other than us shall proclaim them?
As we remain diligent in drawing from God, we shall become the accurate source of truth regarding our present situation. There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. In mustering our tongue, we have filled our hearts and minds with words that shall bring life and healing, encouragement, and direction to the people. Beyond the medications, aids and assistance that we can easily give, the power of positive words is way more powerful in touching the lives of the people. In fact, these powerful declarations usually manifest in the natural, as it is often said that blessings and curses can both manifest in the natural or physical when they are spoken. Remember that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
In light of these, let us choose to become the one who speaks abundant life by taming our tongue. Our mouth cannot become an avenue for both life and death, good and evil. Let us also learn the skill of shutting our mouths. We don’t have to say something every time. There’s a perfect time for everything. We must also build our vocabulary with quality words and truths that build and edify.
Here are few nuggets of wisdom from which we can draw inspiration in speaking positive words over our current situation – the fact is many are sick and are not physically well, but the truth is God is our healer; the fact is many are financially struggling, but the truth is God provides; another fact is many are hungry, but the truth is God is the Bread of Life; and many more.
Finally, let us be rooted deeply in God’s Word and become a wellspring of life. Let this be our weapon to touch the lives of the people around us. Let us desire to possess the power to speak life that can magnanimously translate to the natural; desire to have the power to counter every negative word or that comes against which is the truth; desire to subdue the tongue and build wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Let us desire to become the person who knows God and become His mouthpiece. By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.
by: Jesus V. Sison
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond
The year of the Lord 2021 is drawing to a close. For almost 2 years now, COVID -19 pandemic brought about distress among the members of our society due to massive losses in terms of health - either mental or physical or spiritual or a combination of any of the three, livelihoods suffered, resources dwindled and even lives succumbed to it. Such losses resulted to frustrations, disappointments and fear of uncertainty. There are moments of loneliness as stressful adversarial consequences affected all sectors of the society. Many are giving up and losing hope as they set their thoughts of a bleak future. Positivity and optimism are almost hard to perceive.
As the mantra, “we heal as one”, for national recovery cries, we believe that this pandemic is not our destiny. We still see a glorious future anchored on this blessed and living hope that is in Christ Jesus. We have confidence that the promise of the Almighty God of a peaceful, progressive, prosperous and successful tomorrow will be fulfilled. For this, we rise together to be an inspiration and catalyst to impact the society that shall be stirred to be cohesively one in overcoming adversities. We also trust that opportunities to gain and recover can be achieved that will make every individual regain confidence and morale to live their lives once again as God designed them to be.
We then therefore, appeal to every person to live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called. Regardless of our different political views, positions in the government or private sector, gender, age, ethnic background and social status in life; we are to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior. We are to practice a life that expresses gratitude to God for our salvation during these times. We must start to honor one another as we clothed ourselves with all humility and in doing so, we forsake self-righteousness. It is also essential that we live in gentleness by means of maintaining self-control with patience, selfless love and bearing with one another. In doing all of the above actions, we are making every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We are putting forth an honest effort to observe that each individual is working together to make our aspirations and dreams of a wonderful future truly and wholly successful.
Knowing that God’s hands have made and fashioned every person in intricate unity, the human body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ and in Him, we must be one. Our healthy human body is harmoniously working together. Every body part is complementing each other and not competing or destroying any part. So, must we as a family and as a Nation.
Therefore if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ as there certainly is in abundance, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship that we share in the Spirit, if there is any great depth of affection and compassion, Altogether, let us make a complete and joyful holiday and holy-day season looking forward to a glorious future by being of the same mind, having the same love toward one another, knitted together in spirit, intent on one purpose and living a life that reflects our faith and spreads the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ. Let’s not do anything from selfishness or empty conceit through factional motives, or strife, but with an attitude of humility, being neither arrogant nor self-righteous, regard others as more important than ourselves, then we indeed and in deed “heal as one because of the One who is at work in us.”
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.