by: Nathaniel A. Saquiban
Due to the adverse effects of the pandemic and the effects of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, it appears to some that we have entered into a VUCA World. VUCA is an acronym to describe or to reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations based from the leadership theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus. In other way of saying, VUCA world is a chaotic world. Such kind of environment directly or indirectly affects human activities. It alters the usual way of living of people. Incidentally, it constrains the pursuit for excellence in various fields of endeavor. Even the strong may become weak and even the diligent may be slackened due to these hostile incidents.
One of the ways to survive the existing phenomena is to practice the value of diligence with focus. As the famous proverb states, “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich”. It is having a hardworking spirit, persistency, and industriousness without being dissuaded by all forms of difficulty. It is the ability to pursue desired goals in life at any cost. It is being totally consumed by the vision for success amidst of deterrent circumstances. It is aiming a glorious destiny even contrary situations kept bombarding. This aggressive attitude is easier said than done. Only the extraordinary can make it.
We, Filipinos, naturally possess this fighting spirit. We are known for our resiliency and diligence. We are oftentimes struck by natural disasters and calamities but we always rise-up from the occasion. We usually do not accept our misfortune. We do something out of our desperate state. This is the reason why many of us have gone abroad looking for better opportunities and higher earnings. We sacrifice our affections with our family members in order to earn a living. We do everything that needs to be done to alleviate our financial and social status. While there may be few who are sluggish, it is not our general character trait. We normally fight for survival and do not settle for less.
During the peak of the pandemic, admittedly, we were immobilized. Our productivity was limited and our purchasing power was reduced. Businesses and other means of livelihood were closed. However, a lot of us still managed to find ways and shift to other gainful undertakings. Diligence coupled with creativity is the key.
Other than being diligent, we also need to stay focus. We have a vision to realize by year 2040. According to National Economic Development Authority, “Vision 2040” are the set of goals identified by the public, for themselves, their children, their community, and the country. They came from the sovereign Filipino people and not from single individual, thus, they should be respected, honored, and fulfilled. The implementing body should not be sidetracked by the changing administration and minor political clashes. Each leaders may have priority programs and projects but those established by the masses should not be altered. Neither should the subordinates be unduly influenced by political figures.
We should therefore keep holding on to our dreams and aspirations for a better future. It is in our hands and we can do something. We should not be affected by the negative turn of events. Our passion should remain alive. Most importantly, we should stay diligent and focused.
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; Jesus V. Sison
“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?”
March 26, 2022, it was a sunny Saturday morning. A young man called the attention of his father pointing that there were 4 bees flying around inside his room. The father addressed his son’s concern by capturing the four bees and releasing them outside the house. All the while, both father and son were comfortably doing their planned business for the whole day. Little did they know, when they arrived home, they were surprised that a colony of bees had already built their hive inside the son’s room. How could they build such hive in a short period of time?
The fact, bees of a bee colony form a well-coordinated unit. Every single bee out of the thousands of honey bees, efficiently contributes to the survival of this “superorganism”. The optimized division of tasks and collaboration of the bees is a unique survival strategy Every bee knows what to do and in sync to the whole system.
The above anecdote strongly suggests the demonstration of the power of cooperative processes between species involved in mutualistic interactions. It promotes the results of collaborative actions. It inspires the exploration of a similar role for soft interactions between firms and businesses in societies, or individuals with others. Indeed cooperative processes are emerging as powerful mechanism to drive change, building, innovation and maintain diversity and stability in a broad array of structures. As to ecology, there is the emergence of cooperative processes as a powerful paradigm
The latest in a series of global issues both the pandemic and war on Ukraine have highlighted the importance of cooperation particularly international cooperation. Nations and governments were moved to harness their strengths and contribute for the sake of peace, tranquility and protection of human rights. There were massive movements of human resources and logistics. International cooperation displayed in grand form. The point is, our ability to cooperate successfully isn’t something which just happens automatically. It entails values and attitudes. Values and attitudes play a fundamental role in creating the right conditions for cooperation on shared global challenges. In a multifaceted and intricately connected world, effective action rests on relationships and networks that have been built over time on strong foundations. Cooperation happens if there is mutual trust, respect and understanding. Drawing on the global experience, values are extremely useful and are important to people and their priorities for international cooperation at a time of crisis. The framework as to sensitivity to cultural considerations are vital for relationships and international cooperation. A research showed that organizations that include families, different agencies have gained trust when they were seen as being respectful, open-minded and valuing difference in their engagement with each other, communities and organizations.
The power of model-ship and example is crucial, too. How far a person, institution or country appears to behave in line with their professed values. How they typically practice their core beliefs will affect the level of others’ trust in them. Values are important elements of the concept of cooperation. And cooperation is a power that effectively, efficiently and speedily accomplish planned things or projects. Cooperation enhances the ability to influence and persuade others to work harmoniously through selflessness and the power of attraction rather than coercion.
We have much to learn from realizing that the competitive processes and progressions that take such a pre-eminent role in our lives, lead to minor advantages. Instead, the real supremacy for innovation and major leaps forward rests with cooperation and collaborative processes. We have, in conclusion, much to learn from observing the bees.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
by: Carol Donaal
In the Scriptures, we can read that God is calling all men and women to return to Him as early as in the days of old. He is summoning every one of us to return to Him and consequently, He will return to us. Commentaries say that this is more of an encouragement rather than a command. However, history tells us that the result is not praiseworthy. Only few were fully sincere in their desire to serve God, thus, the need to remind the people to repent of their sins with all their heart and mind.
Such past response to God’s call for repentance looks surprising because “God returning to us” is a great privilege in itself. There is only the need to comply with His condition – to return to Him first. In our days, we should be grateful. Giving us the opportunity to go back to our original state of a blessed life is something that should not be taken for granted.
Looking into the nature of repentance, it is more than an outward remorseful act. Instead, it is the conscious willingness decision of both the heart and mind to start anew with the God whom we love and serve. It is allowing the Lord to help us be free from our sins and finally making restitution to the wrongs committed.
A. W. Tozer, a spiritual mentor, said that “repentance is a gateway into God and into His heart”. We should therefore enter into that gate that we can have complete recovery. At the end of the day, it is all for our own sake.
The following are among the reasons why repentance is a must:
a. It will save us from the penalty of sin, thereby, keeping us away from troubles;
b. It will restore us back to a life of abundance, protection, and favor;
c. It will lead us towards the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives.
It is notable that Jesus laid down His life for us so that we can totally go back to His original design. It shows how much He is interested in redeeming us and made our reparation much easier. We need not to flagellate ourselves. Ganelyn Condie, a motivational speaker quoted “Repentance is not a whip we use to beat ourselves up with – it is a loving reunion back to God.”
God indeed cares. We should be inspired to humble ourselves before Him, recognize our shortcomings, that we will not be judged. We also need to acknowledge the fact that our repentance has a great impact for the salvation of many. It is not only for our personal salvation but for the healing of our land. It bears repeating to state God’s promise: “If My people will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and heal their land”.
We should therefore choose to go back to God by having a genuine repentance. It is a total turn around where the old has gone and the new has become. The benefits are beyond words can express. This is the time to respond to His invitation. If we hear His voice, let us not harden our hearts. Today is the day of salvation.
by: Atty. Carolina Lim-Gamban
Nobody is exempted from submitting to one another. From any level of relationship, submissiveness is the key to a peaceful and harmonious union or fellowship. It is subjecting one’s self in humility to the governing authorities. It is a trait where one is willing to yield to the will of another out of love, respect, and honor.
Submit Ourselves to God
When confronted by temptations, submitting ourselves to God helps us resist the devil, even wickedness. At some point, because of the different pressures and circumstances we are facing, we are tempted to do something which may be immoral, illegal, or even below the set standard. When confronted with these, it is important to have a conscious choice to submit first to God by asking if what we will do pleases Him or not. In another way, we can also ask ourselves or reflect, “Will my conscience be clean if I do this thing?” If the answer is in the negative, resist and submit ourselves to Him in prayer, in humility, asking for the strength and will to overcome.
Submit to the Laws of the Land
Many of the problems in our nation can be solved if only everyone submits to the laws of the land. If you are a public official or employee, know by heart the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and Employees enshrined in Republic Act No. 6713, and be careful not to violate any of the provisions of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Rep. Act No. 3019) nor commit the administrative offenses enumerated in the Rules of Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RACCS). As public servants worthy of emulation, we must be the first to submit to the laws of the land. As citizens of this nation, show our love for this nation by submitting to the laws of our land and take proactive measures to make this nation a better place to live in not only for ourselves but for the future generations.
Submit to the Authorities in the Workplace
In the workplace, we can show our submissiveness by first following the rules and regulations. Submit one to another by respecting and encouraging one another. Count others more significant and look not only on our own interest, but more so, the interest of others. Care for one another, love one another. Subordinates submit to the lawful and humane orders of the superiors, while the superiors look after the morale and welfare of the subordinates. As superiors, we must also remember that we are accountable to God for our actions and dealings with our subordinates, and we must be reminded that God is also our Superior and we must submit to Him and His laws, first and foremost.
Submit to One Another at Home
As the smallest social unit, peace at home can be maintained if every member of the family submits to one another in love, respect, and honor. Husbands and wives must submit to one another by subjecting themselves to love one another especially in their times of weakness, to confer to each other every family decision, and by sharing with each other the responsibilities and obligations at home. Respect begets respect and each must conduct themselves worthy of their call as spouses and parents at home. It is but right that children, especially those who have not yet reached the age of emancipation, submit to their parents by asking permission, advice, and counsel. Parents, in return, must care, nurture, and teach their children in the right way they should go because that is the will of God to which parents should yield and fulfill.
Submissiveness is a key for us to have excellent relationships – with God, with our fellow citizens, and with our family. As we submit one to another in perfect love, we can be sure that peace will rule in reign in every place we tread upon.
by; Ame-Phil O. Saquiban
In the Philippines, the government is replete with programs and projects to uphold the value of equality especially in terms of sex and age. It made a point that male and female have equal rights and opportunities in terms of employment, livelihood, and access to public grants. There are laws crafted for the protection and benefits of the vulnerable sectors of society specifically the elderlies, the children, and the women such as the Senior Citizens Act, the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children, the Magna Carta for Women, and the Act Providing Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination. There is a National Women’s Month Celebration but there is no National Men’s Month Celebration. The maternity leave is now expanded to 105 days in the advent of the Expanded Maternity Leave law while the paternity leave remained seven (7) days. This reflects the extra sensitivity of the authorities of the plight of women who may be put to disadvantage if not given attention to.
Further, the law that apparently discriminates women is being sought to be amended particularly the law on concubinage and adultery under the Revised Penal Code. The law places a greater burden upon married women than men due to the differences in the elements of the crimes, the evidentiary proof required, and the penalties imposed upon the offenders. This is in pursuance to Article 2, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution which states that “The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men”.
The abovementioned facts are just among the actions taken by the State to ensure equality in terms of gender and age. However, there are other areas in life that equality should be made applicable. Among others is the living status of people. The bigger the disparity in terms of income bracket, the greater the variations of social classes and the more difficult the life will be to the less privileged. The rich becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer. The strong becomes stronger and the weak becomes weaker. The government, nonetheless, is not oblivious to this phenomenon. New laws on taxation were passed in order to give tax exemption to low income earner. Tuition fee in tertiary grade was also given for free in state universities and colleges in order to uplift the lives of those below poverty line. Moreover, the State through the social welfare department endeavors to provide subsidy to the indigent populace.
Well said! The Republic is doing its part. However, every individual member of society should do his or her part especially those in the position of leadership, both in public and private sector. If those in higher echelon will not abuse their authority and will not undermine the rights of others, avoiding selfish gain at the expense of others, equality is best achieve in the Philippines. While there are existing mechanisms in place to level the playing field, each and every Filipino should continue to observe justice and fairness in their conduct. As the Philippine Civil Code states, “every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith”. Until this provision of the law is observed completely, the underprivileged will always remain at the mercy of those who have means. This should come to an end. As citizens of this country, we should be participants in realizing equality by subduing ourselves from exploiting others’ welfare.
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: Micah A. Tecne
The general concept of obedience is related to hearing or hearkening to a higher authority. Three of the action words that are associated to obedience are hearing, listening, and trusting. In our daily lives we hear two different voices, it can either be the righteous one or the wicked one. In our daily choices, who we listen to matters because it can either make us or break us.
Throughout history, we saw some stories of kings and rulers who yielded to wicked advice, and brought them and their nations, condemnation and eventually their downfall. Tragic results happen when we trust the wrong voice. The voice that we trust is the ones that we follow so we are encouraged to be more cautious who and what we listen to. We need to discern whether these advice or counsels are righteous or not. If we want to accurately build our lives, our homes, our agencies, and our nation, then we need to listen, trust, and follow righteous counsel. Following the righteous voice brings righteous decisions that will eventually bring righteous results.
When we trust the voice that counsels us, we submit to it and obey it. As Jesus emphasized the relationship between a shepherd and his flock. The shepherd goes ahead to guide and direct his flock to guide them because they are prone to wander and be endangered. His sheep follow him because they know his voice. We cannot deny the fact that our minds are limited and we need people to give us advice and direction. The Almighty has provided us the means and will lead us to the people who will direct us. May we listen, trust, and obey His ways knowing that His plans and ways are higher than ours. Let us dot us do this with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding, in all our ways submit to Him and He will make our paths straight.
Sometimes we tend to compromise righteousness in order to please the crowd and gain the favor of men. But we are encouraged to listen to the right voice. We shall know this because there is an inner peace, confirming and assuring us that we are doing what is right. One of the characters in the movie God’s Not Dead 2 said, “I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God”. Our obedience to the Righteous Voice will bring us to a safe place that no one else can. By the end of the day, the choice would be ours, will we choose to obey the righteous voice or the wicked one?
by: Nathaniel A. Saquiban
The value of decisiveness is applicable in all areas of life. One of which is the seizure of opportunity that suddenly occurred. The failure to lay hold of it or pursue it may create adverse consequences to the person entitled to it. It can be a loss of profit or benefit supposed to be received. As it is written, a double minded person cannot expect to receive anything because he or she is unstable.
Another application is in the area of productivity. Decisiveness makes a person accomplish more in a day by immediately starting a lawful activity rather than taking time on waiting for stimulus or a good mood. It will also discard unnecessary apprehensions that are baseless and speculative.
Decisiveness, however, should also be applied in the area of righteousness. One who decided to change for the better must remain as such and pursue excellence all the way through. As it was said, “no one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”. There are only two options. It is either wickedness or holiness, darkness or light and no one should live at midpoint. A person who lives in between the two options is considered indecisive. The person is not even considered fit for godly service as he or she cannot achieve progressive change. That person always go back to his or her old way of living or dark past.
The story of the prodigal son illustrates this subject. The son asked his share or portion in the family estate, went to a distant land, and pursued extravagant life. He wasted all that he had by lustful and luxurious living. When he ran out of wealth, he became impoverished, hungry, and found himself eating rotten foods that pigs eat where he was admitted to work. He then realized how fortunate he was at his father’s home which he did not value. He came to his senses, repented before God, and decided to travel back home. At that moment, he already anticipated what would be the reaction of his father and probably his brother and the servants of his father. However, he was determined and decisive. He said to himself, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.’” So he arose and came to his father and there he was restored to his original state which he never expected.
How many of us who wanted to follow such example? That once we decided to change, we are determined to fulfil it at any cost. That at one divine encounter, there is a total turning around from evil ways. In life, we often receive wake-up calls, reminders, or warnings from God in order to direct us towards righteousness. It could be challenges and problems that enlighten us of our shortcomings. Sometimes, it is in the form of a sermon, teaching, or discourse of the truth in a values restoration seminar, training, or symposia. Oftentimes some are enthusiastic and energetic to start reformative actions within themselves and to their workplaces but quickly lose such enthusiasm or energy soon thereafter. This should not be the case. Once we decided to carry out transformation, first to ourselves, then to others, we should adhere to it without any reservation.
by: Keren May B. Busaing
Accountability is a value we often demand from people in position - those with authority such as high-level executives or managers, religious leaders, teachers, politicians and more. While it is true that such is expected from them, let us delve deeper into this value and realize that accountability is a requirement from all of us, regardless of who we are and what position we hold. It doesn’t even matter how many people there are above and below us. We are to be accountable towards each other.
From this realization, we are about to understand that accountability, whether in small or visible ways, must become an integral part of our day to day lives. It is a manifestation of the integrity that we are admonished to uphold. Being accountable in small things leads to consistency, which, in the long run, results in us being dependable and trustworthy.
How, then, exactly can we incorporate accountability in our lives? Firstly, we have to see that in every action or decision we take, which is an everyday occurrence, there will always be reactions, effects, and results. A good result with great intentions may fail in the area of accountability depending on the method/s we choose to take. Accountability in this case will require us to be very conscious and aware of everything and everyone that is involved in the accomplishment of our goals. It is a condition where we operate beyond ourselves and consider others.
Before we move further, let us take a look at why we have to be accountable. Accountability, with all its concepts and ideologies, will ultimately be among what is in question when we stand before God. We have to be accountable with the people he surrounded us with (lest their blood will be on our heads); to the resources entrusted to us; and to the assignment/s He tasked us to accomplish. We have to account for all these things before Him and even before our fellowmen. So yes, accountability is indeed necessary for us to bear in our consciousness and to build within our innermost being.
Moving forward, let us nurture the value of accountability by making a conscious decision bound in righteousness every time. Let us take action based on sound judgment and readiness to stand before God and before men. Being able to look them in the eye and face the consequences of our actions. Be willing to learn and be corrected while being at peace knowing that we are motivated by love for God and for others. We have to make decisions that we can carry through to the end and take responsibility for every reaction and result it triggers.
Applying this to our current battle with the Covid 19 pandemic, how was the value of accountability exercised? Let’s take a look at this morning, when we walk out our door, what decisions and precautions have we translated into action, knowing fully well that we will be among other people? Vaccinated or not, how did we exercise accountability? Apart from taking all precautions not to be infected, let us take the notch higher by doing so because we can’t be the carrier to infect others. This is not a campaign to get vaccinated against Covid. This is just a reminder for us to be accountable for whatever decision we choose to take. For the unvaccinated, we have to understand that the risks are higher and we must choose to stand by our decision by exercising all precautions. Same goes with those who are vaccinated, we must exercise the same level of precaution as those who are unvaccinated. We cannot think that it is unnecessary, as this very thought is already a show of failure in the area of accountability. If we cannot do it for ourselves, let us at least do it for the benefit of others. Social distancing? Let’s decide to keep that distance even if no one else is looking. Relaxed protocols? It’s up to us to still exercise what is not being imposed upon us. Again, in everything and in every way, let us decide based on the premise of accountability.
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.