by: Nathaniel A. Saquiban
For the past three years, the Philippines has been shaken by the health and economic crisis that transpired coupled with the sudden increase of oil prices as a result of the arm conflict in the western world. Weathering against these troubles takes a strong leadership to lead this country out from this dark era. This nation is weary of leaders whose only agenda is to serve their personal interest. This country is in need of statesmen and stateswomen, more than mere politicians. As James Freeman Clarke, an American theologian and writer, said, “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman of the next generation”.
It is a fact that some vie for promotion for fame and personal aggrandizement. This gives them a wrong perspective of leadership. They consider it as a position rather than a function. This drives them to kill their opponents in the election arena, cheat during the conduct of election, or do everything it takes, by hooks or by crooks, in order to achieve their desired positions. Only few wanted to become leaders in order to serve the public well. The moment they acquired the position, they do not function appropriately.
An ideal type of leadership is arrayed with esteemed characteristics. It appears prestigious and highly enticing but behind the colourful and admirable appearances are serious and crucial tasks. This makes leadership a value because of the responsibilities and sacrifices that go with it. Leadership is tough. Heavy loads are upon those who assume such functions. Accountability is attached in every decision that a leader makes especially in critical situations. Their decisions signal movement of operation. Without leaders who decide, the subordinates are at a loss. They are prepared to take the risks or answer for the consequences of their actions.
Moreover, any flaw, lapse, or mistake committed by a subordinate may make a leader liable under the principle of “respondeat superior” where an employer may be held responsible for the actions of his employees, when the actions are performed in the course of employment. The same is true with parents over their children’s actions or teachers over their students’ conduct under the principle of vicarious liability where the parents or teachers are held responsible of the damages caused by their children or students under their watch.
Leaders are also expected to lead by example or to model what they teach. Many eyes are looking at them and many lives are depending on them. If they fail, others may fail too; but if they succeed, others may also succeed. As a result, they cannot misbehave. They are expected to be dependable and reliable. They are obliged to perform accordingly. They cannot afford to relax or let their guards down. As they overcome one obstacle after another, their skills are honed and they grow into maturity. Leaders of this kind bring an entire generation into their destiny. As they assume their posts, they become the answer to prevailing problems of society.
The challenge now is – are we ready to be the leaders that this nation is looking for? The Philippines awaits us.
by: Atty. Carolina Lim-Gamban
Last May 1, we, together with more than eighty (80) countries, have celebrated the International Workers’ Day also known as Labor Day. Annually we celebrate this to honor and recognize the economic and social significance of our workforce, regardless of the type of employment or type of employees. But why do we need to celebrate and value work? For six days in a row, God continually worked on creation, and it was good. Imagine the intricacies of His creation and we, too, are wowed by what we can see in nature. It was excellently done and carefully considered. From its beauty, complexity, and accuracy, we can see that God values work, and as men and women created in His image and likeness, we too, ought to value work and workmanship.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left us a wonderful quote that will make us embrace and honor work, no matter what the job is. He said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” It is indeed true that no work is insignificant as long as it uplifts humanity. Whether we are in blue-collar jobs or white-collar jobs, we must put love in our craft in order to excellently achieve every day’s targets and goals. Regardless if it’s physical or mental work, it must reflect the excellent spirit given to us.
There are many benefits of valuing work. When we value work, there’s peace and joy within us because we know that we have done our part the best we can. It invites praise and commendation, not only because a target or goal has been met, but because its execution is way beyond expectation. It brings wealth when our clients or customers always come back to avail our services or buy the products we sell because they know it is of high quality. When we value work, we become conduits to provide for the needs of our family, our friends, and even other people. Last but never the least, putting premium to our work glorifies God and will bring eventual glory as we offer the works of our hands to our Creator and Master.
Let us not belittle our work nor take it for granted. Let every work have a mark of thanksgiving to God, and surely it will all be done with gladness in our hearts. Our labor is not in vain as we offer our work as a pleasing aroma before Him. Whatever we do, we do it for the glory of God. For we know that as we work with all our hearts, as if we are working for God, we will receive our inheritance from Him as our reward.
by: Keren May B. Busaing
To remain untarnished and without blemish in this world where the war between good and evil is constantly taking place, is it even possible? This may be the most ideal picture we would paint if we ever try to delve deep into the value of purity. Ideal it is, but such painting is not necessarily what we wish to challenge for each and everyone to accomplish.
In the history of mankind, Jesus Christ was the only man who ever lived in complete purity. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth - one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. For we may have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
Having said these, we hope to have established the perfect ground to build the value of purity. A state of humble acknowledgment of our humanity and at the same time, hopeful in working out a better version of ourselves according to the example of Jesus. Without judgment on our past and condemnation to the twists and thorns ahead of us, we are being encouraged to go through whatever process by keeping our hearts pure. In this long and winding journey of life, it is by the purity of our minds, thoughts, actions, and intentions that we can consciously work out the value of purity. We may stumble along the way and it creates a clot to the ideal picture we painted earlier, but the point is we will always find our way to the right path by consistently working out the value of purity.
Moreover, pure intents and thoughts does not always equate to the purest courses of action. We may have pure intentions, but there are times that our expression is not necessarily right or sometimes, it can be misunderstood by others. If we choose to see or measure purity by consciously addressing all the misunderstandings or whitening the clots on our painting, the journey will be much longer and tiresome. The standards will always vary since misunderstandings are subjective and people have different opinions. We can never please everyone and it is not our goal to let everyone conclude that we are pure. We only need to decide to keep our hearts and intentions pure, open our hearts and minds to corrections, and prepare to move forward in humility.
To the pure, all things are pure. Let this become our mantra. In the midst of all the chaos and deceitfulness of our surroundings including the accusations that may be hurled against us, this mentality can restore and keep our inner peace. Our purity is our best defense and as long as we consciously work it out along with humility, it will always protect us. Humility is important because we cannot deceive ourselves and proclaim purity all the time without being open to possible corrections. We are allowed to stumble and fall and get up and continue operating in purity. That is the very essence of purity.
From this point onwards, let us decide to walk our life’s journey in purity. Let us take it in peace, enjoy the walk, anticipate to overcome the challenges, be forgiving of ourselves for some mistakes, and do all these in love. If we want a specific pattern to imitate, the life of Jesus Christ is always the best example. His life story is not a secret and resources are always accessible.
Let us take that first step and enjoy the journey!
by: Dr. Laurence C. Mascay
More than 2,000 years ago in the garden of Gethsemane in Israel, a Man in agony prayed earnestly, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. He said, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine”. Jesus made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant and selflessly humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death for the sake of the people He came to save. Indeed, the embodiment of selflessness humanity should emulate for a better world.
A human being due to his fallen nature is egocentric - self-centered and thinking only of himself to the extent of degrading and taking advantage of others and disregarding their feelings and worth. The challenge for us today is to level up our way of living from the human nature of selfishness to the new nature of selflessness or “the quality of caring more about what other people need and want than about what you yourself need and want.”
Billy Graham said, “Only God can give us a selfless love for others, as the Holy Spirit changes us from within. This is one reason we must receive Christ, for apart from His Spirit we can never be freed from the chains of selfishness, jealousy, and indifference. Will others see Christ's love in your life today?" Selflessness is experiencing God’s love and goodness and selflessly extending it to others or paying it forward. Selflessness is putting others’ well-being or benefits first than ours. In a deeper sense, however, selflessness is putting God first. Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.” Consequently, the J.O.Y. of selflessness is Jesus, Others, You.
In implication, to be selfless, in practical ways, is to be patient, kind, and not envy others or boast to them. A selfless person does not dishonor people, he is not self-seeking, he is not easily angered and he keeps no record of wrong. Furthermore, to be selfless is to let God work in us and through us for His name’s sake and glory. Such virtues and acts of selflessness seem tough to live with yet by the help of God we can practice them before our family, neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Finally, as we choose to live in selflessness the joy of the Lord is our strength, and God’s favor is our portion.
by: Jesus V. Sison
“Dedicate yourself to what gives your life true meaning and purpose; make a positive difference in someone’s life.” ― Roy T. Bennett
We desire that this pandemic with all its associated ordeals will come to an end. We are holding on to our hope for a better future. As we endure to confront the COVID-19 crisis, we look for ways to do our specific roles and bring change for the better through our combined efforts. No matter what, either short or even long terms, optimism always thumps pessimism. All it takes is “DEDICATION” towards each other and dedication to what we are supposed to accomplish in moving forward to beat this horrible illness in whatever way we are able to help.
The dictionary defines dedication as the willingness to give a lot of time and energy to something because it is important; or it is also a ceremony in which something is formally opened or made available to the public. Regardless of the definition and the use of words, it is the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose. In essence, it means that we have committed to someone, to something and to a certain purpose in life.
Dedication is a single-minded focus on something we decide on. It is a commitment we make towards achieving a goal. As a result of that dedication, we are willing to sacrifice almost everything in our lives. Many of us devote our time, money, resources, and even entire lives towards a goal we are dedicated to. It takes no special insight to see that excellent performance that results in numerous accomplishments requires skills and the virtuous perfection of our talents. Our sense of marvel at extraordinary feats is because of wholehearted dedication to combinations of work, disciplined lifestyle, praiseworthy attributes and commitment to God who causes all things to prosper. Dedication is important because it helps us to keep going no matter how tough the job or risky the task may be. We stick by the principles and ethics of how we work through thick and thin, overcoming adversities and hardships that may arise. We’ll never quit. As long as we are steadfast to our assignment and what we are doing, we will always find a reason to enthusiastically accomplish it. When we keep on discovering reasons to move forward, we will eventually find success and meaning in life through all the things we do including the people we work with and work for. We always hear about how we must be dedicated to whatever our task is, especially when it comes to work as it will eventually lead to our achievements. We also establish an impactful difference in the lives of others through our works’ fruitfulness. From this, we can also say that dedication is laying our lives for the sake of a cause or an assignment to be fulfilled. We set aside our weaknesses including our selfishness for the greater good.
This brings us to the other aspect of dedication. Dedication is committing and setting apart a thing, a place or even our lives for a greater purpose.
The dedication of the temple that King Solomon built was one of the momentous events Israel did as a kingdom. The whole nation gathered as one and the people chose to cleanse their ways from wickedness and offered the temple to God. After all the prayers and dedication proceedings, God answered with fire from heaven acknowledging their prayers and sacrifices. They were assured by God that when heavens are shut and drought sets in the land or there are destructive devourers or deadly pestilence lurking in the nation; once they humble themselves to pray, diligently seek His presence and turn from their wicked ways; God Himself will hear their prayers, forgive their sins and heal their land. Every time the people present themselves before the dedicated temple, God is attentive to every prayer. In like manner, when we dedicate our lives and bodies to God as a living sacrifice, being His temple, we are guaranteed that He will fulfill His promise that when we call to Him, He will answer us. He will recognize every sacrifice made and will reward them accordingly.
As lovers of God, we dedicate our lives for the sake of this beloved nation. We commit our ways to live and walk in Spirituality, Patriotism, Integrity and Excellence. For the transformation of our society and rebuilding of the nation, we devote ourselves to grow maturely in stature adhering both to the laws of God and of the land. We have set ourselves apart to faithfully honor God in all the things we do. We consecrate ourselves to uplift the welfare of our fellow people and of the nation. Believing that our talents, skills and knowledge are divinely imparted in us, empowering us into bringing the nation to its destiny. With selflessness, we will dutifully fulfill the work entrusted to us. Having all of these in our lives, we are undoubtedly made to change the nation, making possible her healing, restoration and redemption. God is faithful and true, everything dedicated to Him will prosper and flourish according to His good pleasure.
by: Ame-Phil O. Saquiban
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely.”
Probably by now we have read several write-ups on how to start the year right. Most likely we have responded by contemplating on specific areas we would like to work on to achieve success or become a better version of ourselves. Perhaps others have taken it further by owning up to mistakes, taking responsibility for past actions and making efforts to restore broken relationships and trust. Being true to your values is a good start to nurture integrity.
Integrity comes from the Latin word ‘integer’, which means whole and complete. We can then say that a person living in integrity gives no room to duplicity and hypocrisy. Hence, one walks with honesty and upholds moral principles consistently whether alone or not. Regardless of circumstance, integrity drives us to make our thoughts, words and actions congruent to our values. For instance, we say we value excellence yet our most recent report clearly reflects a haphazardly done job. If we consider ourselves as a person with integrity, we will take responsibility for the lapses in the report without justifying or blaming and initiate action to produce an excellent output. In doing so, the importance we give to our values is not just in words but also in deeds. That makes integrity a lived experience and not a mere concept.
A sense of wholeness and completeness within is developed as we continue to live by the values and principles we confess to stand for. In every compromise we make, whether big or small, we move a step farther away from living in integrity. Most of the time compromises are followed by cover-up, lies, manipulation and a lot more to mask the real score. While we may get what we want by wrongful means, we are constantly haunted by our conscience or internally disturbed by fear of being caught. Deep within our hearts, we know that we did something wrong that hardly keeps us from experiencing real wholeness. Indeed, any departure from the truth puts us in a volatile position but when we walk in integrity, we walk securely.
Living in integrity is not perfection. It is a daily intentional and deliberate choice to be on the side of truth and make our thoughts, intentions, words and actions congruent to our values and principles. In the event that we deviate, be quick to repent and do what is right. For a better 2022 notwithstanding the current pandemic, nurture the value of integrity and experience wholeness within and in relating with your family, the workplace and community.
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: 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.