Message of the Day: Be still, and know that I am God…!

No matter what troubles we meet, whether from earthquakes, floods or wars, the person who trusts in God is not overcome by them. He has an inner calmness, likened to a cool refreshing stream that flows gently from God. The Almighty is still in full control, and he gives strength to his people. God’s power can smash all opposition. Therefore, opponents should stop fighting against him and realize that he is the supreme God, the supreme ruler of the world (Psalm 46: 1-11).

To those who are brought down and destroyed, let us deeply reflect on the severity and goodness of our God. Let us remember that He is the Fountain of power, wisdom, justice, goodness, and truth. He shall be known among the nations as the God of goodness and salvation!

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: Diligence is Needed, All Must Strive!

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.“ (Matthew 7:13-14, NKJV)

There are two ways of life. One is the easy way of pleasing self which most choose and which leads to destruction. The other is the narrow way of denying self for Jesus’ sake, which leads to life (Matt. 7:13-14).

The path to heaven is narrow. It is not the “great highway” that people tread. Very few people go there. Here and there one may be seen – traveling in solitude. The way to death, on the other hand, is broad. Multitudes are in it. It is the great highway in which people go. They fall into it easily and without effort, and go without thought. If they wish to leave that and go by a narrow gate to the city, it would require effort and thought.

Diligence is needed to enter life. All must strive, to obtain it; and so narrow, unfrequented, and solitary is it, that a few find it.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: The Eternity and Immutability of God and the Brevity of Human Life

Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God
.”

For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night
.” (Psalm 90:2, 4, NKJV)

God alone is permanent and enduring, and therefore the only true security is found in him. Human life, by contrast, is short and uncertain, and is brought to an end as God decides and when he chooses. No matter how long a person lives, even a thousand years, the number of years is insignificant compared with the timelessness (Psalm 90:1-6)

Psalm 90:2 and remind us that first, there is one eternal and unchanging God; second, the brevity of human life.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: As We Understand more of Christ’s Love, We Grow to be more like Him

“…to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19, NKJV)

Paul believes that only by God’s grace could one as unworthy as he be given the work of taking the gospel to the Gentiles. He believes also that only by God’s power will he be fruitful in that work. God’s plan of uniting all believers in one church in and through Christ displays to people and to angels his great wisdom. This encourages Christians in their everyday lives, for if God is so wise and powerful, they know that they can enter into his presence at all times without fear or doubt. They therefore should not be discouraged, as some in Ephesus were when they heard that their apostle was in prison.

The one to whom Paul prays is the Father of all who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles. This one is the true Father. Everything in the universe has its origin in him. Even earthly fathers and their families exist only because there is a heavenly Father and his family. Let us ask our heavenly Father that we his children might be strengthened inwardly through allowing the Spirit of Christ within us to control us. As we understand more of Christ’s love, we will grow to be more like him in our lives (3:7-19).

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: By Christ’s Death Our Sins Are Taken Away

“…so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28, NKJV)

Levitical sacrifices were part of a material order and brought symbolic cleansing. Christ’s death is concerned with spiritual order and brings actual cleansing. The Levitical high priest entered the symbolic presence of God with the blood of a sacrificial animal, a ceremony that had to be repeated yearly. Christ entered God’s real presence on account of his own blood, and he did so only once. His death is sufficient to remove completely the sins of the whole world, past, present and future. (9:24-26)

People die once and face judgment. Christ died once and gained eternal salvation for those who trust in him. By his death we are forgiven; our sins are taken away. We will enjoy the fulness of our salvation when Christ reappears, coming out of the heavenly tabernacle to be with us for ever. (9:27-28)

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com

The Battle of Bangkusay, June 3, 1571

On June 3, 1571, Muslim warriors from Macabebe and Hagonoy, ancient communities north of Manila Bay controlling the mouth of Pampanga River (now part of the Provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan), riding in 40 ancient Southeast Asian colossal warboats called caracoas, fought the newly arrived Spanish invaders in Luzon led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Rajah Sulayman, Rajah Matanda, and Lakan Dula already sided with the Spaniards but were waiting for the result of the battle. Hundreds of Visayan tattooed warriors aided the Spaniards in this naval battle by the Manila Bay. A fierce battle ensued; unfortunately, the native forces did not withstand the Spanish Army’s might and owing to advanced firearms, the Spaniards emerged victorious. The leader of the combined native warriors was killed and the rest of his men escaped and fled. When the battle ended, the Macabebes and Manilan natives were forced to accept Spanish sovereignty. When peace was established, Legazpi resolved with the agreement of the captains and the religious to establish a city on the site of Manila.

As early as 1570, the Spanish forces headed by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi heard of news about a rich kingdom in the northern part of the Philippines.  Plans to conquer the said kingdom were immediately set and on 30 May 1570, an expedition consisted of 600 natives of the Visayan Islands and 120 Spaniards commanded by Martin de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo left Panay and headed to the northern part of the Philippines.

       Manila during the time was a flourishing Moslem kingdom under Rajah Sulayman.  It was situated in the south side of the mouth of the Pasig River and being defended by a wooden fort.  The area of Tondo, on the other hand was being ruled by Lakandula.

       When the Spaniards arrived in Manila, they were initially accepted by the natives and their leaders, but when Sulayman learned that friendship with the Spaniards meant vassalage, he and his followers became hostile.  An initial battle took place on May 24, 1570 where the natives were defeated and retreated.  On the other hand, the Spanish forces returned to Panay to report to Legazpi what they have discovered in the northern part of the islands.

      After a year, Legazpi headed the Second Conquest of Manila.  He left Panay with 27 vessels, 280 Spaniards and several hundred Visayan auxiliaries. On May 6 1571, Legazpi landed in Manila and took possession of the kingdom.  Three native chiefs, including Laya and Lakandula declared themselves friends of Spain, but Sulayman at first showed hesitation and appeared before Legazpi only in May 18 to make peace with the Spaniards.  The following week after his arrival, Legazpi released an edict in accordance to the king’s command that lands would be given to those who desire to settle in the City of Manila which he was founding in the name of His Majesty.  These events were followed by a short period of peace.  Soon enough, natives from other kingdoms/provinces insulted the Manilans by telling them that if the Spaniards would come to their place they would be received well in a battle.  These natives also tried to influence village leaders, and in a few days, the Manilans tried to wage a war against the Spaniards.  In a few days, thousands of warriors from Agonoy and Macabebe met in Tondo headed by a “brave youth” whose name was not mentioned (though accounts of Gregorio Zaide referred to him as Torik Sulayman, while other authors decided to maintain that it was Rajah Sulayman who headed the uncompromising natives from Bulacan and Pampanga and the other Manilans).  Whether the identified “Brave Youth” was Rajah Sulayman or Torik Sulayman, is not a big deal at all, what matters most was there was a 16th century native from the islands who led  a resistance against a formidable colonizer.  Several warriors from nearby provinces were said to reach Manila through an estuary known as Bankusay Channel.

        When the news about the coming of the warriors reached Legazpi, he ordered Lakandula to convince the uncompromising natives to cooperate with the Spaniards.  Unfortunately, the “brave youth” who headed the group vehemently refused and declared that he and his people would never be friends to the Castilians.

        When Legazpi learned about the incidence, he reckoned that he would not allow the said native warrior to find glory in challenging the Spain.  He ordered his man to prepare for a battle.  On June 3, 1571, the Spanish Forces embarked in search for native warriors in Bankusay.

The Battle of Bankusay remains to be historic and significant event in history, despite of the failure of the natives to expel the colonizers. It was the last or if not one of the last resistance of the natives of Manila against the Spaniards. The battle’s conclusion was deemed one of the major driving forces why Legazpi decided to establish the City of Manila.

Photo Credit: National Quincentennial Committee Facebook Page

The City of Manila leads the commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the Valor at Bangkusay today. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines will unveil a historical marker at Tondo, Manila in memory of the heroes and martyrs of this fateful event on June e, 1571. National Artists Carlos Quirino and Nick Joaquin memorialized the event as a special day in Philippine history as equally significant struggle of our ancestors against colonization. In 2011, the Province of Bulacan declared June 3 of every year as Araw ng mga Bayaning Bulakenyo. In 2016, NHCP recognized the unnamed commander of the armada in Macabebe, Pampanga by way of a historical marker. It, thus, corrected the misconception that Rajah Sulayman was the one martyred in the Battle of Bangkusay. Three years later, the Office of the President of the Philippines declared June 3 as special non-working holiday in Macabebe known as Aldo ning Macabebe (Macabebe Day). In 2021, the National Quincentennial Committee, through Proclamation No. 1128, s. 2021, included the 450th anniversary of the Valor at Bangkusay as one of the activities for the Year of Filipino Pre-Colonial Ancestors.

Sources:

San Agustin, Gaspar de.  “Conquistas delas Islas Filipinas.”  Manila: San Agustin  Museum, 1998.

“Relation of the Conquest of Luzon and other Islands, Manila 20 April 1572” The  Philippine Islands, Vol. VIII.

National Quincentennial Committee Facebook Page

nhcp.gov.ph

Message of the Day : God’s Sovereign Creative Power and Will

And God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind; and God saw that it was good.” (Gen. 1:21, NASB)

Countless years ago, God, by his sovereign power and will, created the universe. At first the earth was featureless and in darkness because of the mass of surrounding water, but as the thick clouds of water vapor began to lose their density, a hazy light came by day from invisible sun. As they lost further density, the surrounding clouds of vapor gradually rose from the earth, producing a clear distinction between the ocean’s surface below and the ceiling of heavy cloud overhead. Meanwhile the earth was drying and land became visible. Simpler forms of life began to appear. Various kinds of soil and climatic conditions produced various kinds of plants, which were so created as to continue producing further plants of their own kind (1:1-13).

The heavy cloud overhead, which had been becoming thinner and thinner, finally broke. The sun, moon, stars, previously hidden, now became clearly visible. Their effect upon the earth helped to produce a variety of weather and a pattern of annual seasons (1:14-19).

As God’s creative activity moved on, animal life began to appear, with creatures in the sea and creatures in the air, all of them suited to their environment (1:20-23). The Hebrew word underlying this phrase was used in Canaanite mythology to name a dreaded sea monster. He is often referred to figuratively in Old Testament poetry as one of God’s most powerful opponents. He is pictured as national (Babylon), or cosmic, and some take it as a reference to Egypt. Generally, it is understood as signifying whales, yet the original must be understood rather as a general than a particular term, comprising all the great aquatic animals, such as the various species of wales, the porpoise, the dolphin, the monoceros or norwal, and the shark.

In Genesis, however, the creatures of the sea are portrayed not as enemies to be feared but as part of God’s good creation to be appreciated. The “winged bird” refer to anything that flies, including insects.

God delights to show himself in little as well as in great things: hence he forms animals so minute that 30,000 can be contained in one drop of water; and others so great that they seem to require almost a whole sea to float in.

Sources:

Bible Gateway

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: A Restored Relationship between God and Humankind

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:2-4, NKJV)

In describing the state of things as it will be in eternity, John has to use the language of this world, for he has no other. He has to liken what he sees in the vision to things that his readers can see in the present world, for this is the only world they know. He has to use whatever language and illustrations he can find in an attempt to describe the spiritual quality of life in the eternal state.

John’s visions symbolize spiritual realities. They are not pictures of the physical characteristics of the new heaven and the new earth. In fact, he makes it clear that the future state of things is vastly different from the present. The heavenly city is not an improved version of the present earthly city. Life as we know it in the present world is to be completely replaced by a new order.

Usually God is pictured as dwelling in heaven and people as dwelling on earth. In the eternal state no such distinction exists, because God now dwells with his people in an order of life never before experienced. It is an order that is holy and beautiful, where God and his people live together in the closest fellowship. All this is possible because the effects of sin in the previous order have now been removed.

This is a dramatic image of restored unity and harmony between the Creator and what he has created. God himself comes to dwell on the earth with humankind. Sin and all its effects are removed. There is no more death or sickness or pain but only peace and harmony, because the relationship between God and humankind has been healed.

Sources:

Bartholomew, Craig G. And Goheen Michael W. The Drama of Scripture. Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004.

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: The Rapture: Our Glorious Hope!

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, NKJV)

Among the Thessalonians, some were worried that those in their church who had died would not share in the return of Christ and the final triumph of his kingdom. Paul assures them that they will share in his death and resurrection. Believers who have died, far from being at a disadvantage, will be raised to life first. Believers still alive will join them, and together they will meet Christ and be with him for ever.

This is the only place in the New Testament that a “rapture” (caught up) is clearly referred to. It is designated here as the immortalizing and glorifying of the bodies of the Christians alive on the earth when Jesus returns. Lack of need for the resurrection will necessitate such a change in their still-living but mortal bodies. Some believe that this will be secret, but Paul seems to be describing something open and public with loud voices and trumpet blast.

This is our glorious hope. We who are still alive when Jesus returns will be caught up with Him “in the clouds…and we will be with the Lord” forever!

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

Gundry, Robert H. A Survey of the New Testament. Third Edition. Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature, Inc., 2002.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: An Increased Dependence on God

In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me
?” (Psalm 56:4, NKJV)

Psalm 56:1-57:11 belong to the time when David fled to from Saul, first to the city of Gath, then to the cave of Adullam. David is in great distress in Gath, as he learns that certain people in the city are planning to kill him. The increased danger he faces drives him to an increased dependence on God.

We would always find in God that which was ground or basis for praise and dependence on him; and that which called for special praise in meditating on the divine character – He is an infinite Spirit, almighty and eternal.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: An Attitude of Humble Repentance

For I will bring them from the north
and from the distant corners of the earth.
I will not forget the blind and lame,
the expectant mothers and women in labor.
A great company will return
!” (Jeremiah 31:18, NLT)

God has not forgotten any of his people who have been driven into a harsh existence in distant countries. Those of both the northern kingdom Israel and the southern kingdom Judah will share in the restoration to the land of their ancestors. They will be reunited in a lad of renewed contentment and prosperity. They will join again in the national religious festivals at Jerusalem. (31:1-6)

The prophet pictures the joyous journey back to Palestine. Even the blind and the lame join in the long trek back, because God strengthens them and supplies their needs along the way. He cares for them as a father cares for his firstborn son. The God who scattered his people in many lands now gathers them. He releases them from the power of those who have held them captive. God will protect and care for his people, giving them agricultural prosperity, social contentment and religious satisfaction. (31:12-14)

When the people go into captivity there is weeping and mourning but God wants this to be replaced with rejoicing and hope. First, however, the people must acknowledge that they have sinned and that God has acted justly in punishing them. They pray to God in an attitude of humble repentance. They are now willing to take His yoke upon them but they have no power. They can only will and pray; and God, as their loving and merciful Father, forgives them. ( 31:15-20)

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

OMF Literature Inc.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15, NKJV)

Christians must be sincere and straightforward in everything they do. We must in particular have a loving care for our fellow members of Christ’s body. Besides being spiritually enthusiastic, we must work hard at developing qualities of perseverance and prayerfulness. We must also be generous in giving practical help to our fellow believers. These positive attitudes must be shown also towards those who are outside the church, even to persecutors. (12:9-16)

Let us take an active interest in the prosperity of others. Let it be a matter of rejoicing to us when we hear of the health, prosperity, or happiness of any brother. On the other hand, let our heart feel for the distressed and enter into their burdens.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com

National Flag Days

Proclamation No. 374 was issued on March 6, 1965 declaring May 28 as National Flag Day to commemorate the date the Philippine flag was unfurled after the Revolutionary Army defeated Spanish forces at the Battle of Alapan, Imus, Cavite in 1898. On May 23, 1994, Executive Order No. 79 was issued extending the period of celebrating National Flag Days from May 28 to June 12.

All Filipinos are encouraged to display the Philippine flag in all offices, agencies and instruments of government, business establishments, schools, and private homes throughout this period. This is to give respect and reverence to our symbol of national sovereignty and solidarity. The Philippine flag is the embodiment of all our country’s ideals, culture, and tradition.

For the history of the Philippine Flag, visit http://www.malacanang.gov.ph/history-of-the-philippine-flag/

Sources:

http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph

http://www.dilg.gov.ph

October 30, 1919, Flag Day was Declared by Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison

October 30, 1919, Flag Day was declared by Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison following the passage of Act No. 2827 of the Philippine Legislature restoring the use of the Filipino Flag.

From 1901-1907, the Philippine flag and other banners and emblems of the Katipunan continued to proliferate. In response, the Philippine Commission, dominated by Americans, passed Act No. 1697 or the Flag Law of 1907, which outlawed the display of the Philippine flag and replaced the country’s flag to the stars and stripes of the United States of America.

Under this Act (1696), displaying of the Philippine Flag during the American regime in any place was prohibited and it provided severe punishment for violators. The same law prohibited the playing of the national anthem.

It took 11 years until the Philippine Legislature, finally in the hands of elected Filipino representatives and senators, repealed the Flag Law, through the efforts of Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison, and reinstated the Philippine flag as the official standard of the nation.

Francis Burton Harrison (Photo Credit: http://www.britannica.com)

It was Governor General Harrison, who was sympathetic toward the Filipino cause, who urged the repeal of the Flag Law. On October 16, 1919, Senator Rafael Palma, taking the cue from Harrison’s message, sponsored a Senate bill scrapping the ban on the flag.

The bill repealing the Flag Law was approved and became Act No. 2871.

Harrison likewise issued Proclamation No. 18 setting aside October 30, 1919 as a public holiday in the Philippines to be known as “Flag Day”.

Since then, there have been other Flag Days such as May 28 and June 12. The latest is the observance of Flag Day on June 12 of every year in accordance with the proclamation issued by President Elpidio Quirino.

Marcela de Agoncillo (www.kahimyang.com)

The Philippine Flag, made in Hong Kong by Marcela de Agoncillo, assisted by daughter Lorenza Agoncillo Delfina Herboza, was officially hoisted while the Philippine National March was played in public on June 12, 1898 following General Emilio Aguinaldo’s declaration of Philippine Independence in Cavite el Viejo, now Kawit Cavite.

Sources:

http://www.malacanang.gov.ph

http://www.kahimyang.com

http://www.britannica.com

Message of the Day: The great design of the ministry is to bear witness to a dying world of the good news that God is merciful.

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24, NKJV)

From Troas Paul went by land to Assos, where he rejoined the rest of the party and sailed to Miletus. Since Miletus was only about fifty kilometers from Ephesus, Paul took the opportunity to call elders of the Ephesian church to come and meet him. He wanted to give them some final encouragement and pass on helpful warnings. (Acts 20:13-17) Paul’s opponents in Asia had probably been trying to turn the Christians against him. Therefore, he reminded the Ephesian elders of his tireless work in Ephesus and of the constant danger he faced from the Jews. (20:18-24)

Duty is of more importance than life; and when either duty or life is to be cheerfully surrendered. We should strive so to live that we will have nothing to regret when we lie on a bed of death. It is a glorious privilege to finish life with joy. It is most sad when the last hours are embittered with the reflection that life has been wasted. The only way in which life may be finished with joy is by meeting faithfully every duty, and encountering, as Paul did, every trial, with a constant desire to glorify God.

The great design of the ministry is to bear witness to a dying world of the good news that God is merciful, and that his favor may be made manifest to sinners. It matters little when, or where, or how we die in the discharge of our duty to God.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: God’s Unfailing Love and Faithfulness in His Covenant with Israel

I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love.
I will praise the Lord for all he has done.
I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel,
which he has granted according to his mercy and love
.” (Isaiah 63:7, NLT)

When Babylon made its last attack on Jerusalem (587 BCE), Edom joined in, taking wicked delight in helping to destroy the Israelite nation. Edom may be a symbol for all God’s enemies.

On seeing a person clothed in red approaching him from Edom, the prophet asks who it is. The person replies that he is the Lord, who punishes his enemies but saves his people. The prophet asks why his clothes are red, and receives the reply that they are red with the blood of slaughtered enemies. When God acts in his righteous anger, the blood of sinners runs freely over the earth, in much the same way as juice runs out of grapes when workers tread them in winepress. Since God alone is all-holy and all-powerful, he alone can carry out this judgment. The prophet’s prayer for God’s suffering people begins by recalling God’s great acts of love in the past. (Isaiah 63:1-7)

Yahweh had given them abundant cause of praise, notwithstanding the evils which they endured. This passage is a testament to God’s unfailing love and as he stood true to his covenant with Israel.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

OMF Literature Inc.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zodnervan, 1999.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: “Then I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be glad because he rescues me.” (Psalm 35:9, NLT)

Psalm 35 was written probably during the time of David’s flight from Saul. Much of his suffering during that time was because of the false accusations made against him by influential people in Saul’s court. Since David’s enemies have the ferocity of men in battle, David asks God to deal with them accordingly and fight against them as a warrior. He prays that they might be turned back, scattered and brought to ruin, for they have persecuted him without cause. God alone can defend him against his attackers. (Psalm 35:1-10)

There are times that we are confronted with an utmost danger of being destroyed by our enemies, then if we escape, it must be by the strong arm of the Lord; and to him shall the praise and glory. Our deliverance from the hand of our enemies may involve the necessity of their being cut off. What we rejoice in such a case, is not the destruction of others, but our own deliverance; and for this it can never be improper to give thanks.

Sources:

Bible Gateway

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: Get Along With One Another.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…” (Romans 12:10, NKJV)

In verse 9 Paul speaks of “love” which pertains to love for fellow Christians and probably also for fellowmen. A love that is true and without pretense. Context also shows that this love is more than just mere emotion but a dynamic love. In verse 10, he speaks of “brotherly love” or love within the family of God. Paul’s point here is that Christians should get along well with one another – an exhortation that applies to most of his letters.

We are exhorted to be sincere and straightforward in everything we do. We must in particular have a loving care for our fellow believers, having their best interest in mind. In order to do this, we must consider them as more important then ourselves (Phil. 2:3). This easier said then done, only a mind renewed by the Spirit (v.2) could possibly fathom and accomplish such an exhortation.

Let us work for the welfare of others, strive to show mutual respect, honor and kindness. Above all, let us promote the happiness of our faith communities!

Sources:

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Pres, 1993.

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

http://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.olivetree.com

Message of the Day: Please Others For Their Benefit. Christ Is Our Example!

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.” (Romans 15:2, NKJV)

Writers in the time of Paul commonly used examples to drive their points. Opponents do not usually challenge the example of a righteous teacher. Paul used the same argument with the ultimate and indisputable example for Christians – Christ.

Image courtesy of Olive Tree Bible Software

Christ came to do the will of the Father, not his own. He did not please Himself but voluntarily bore the sins of others. Throughout the Scriptures, as well as through the example of Christ, God encourages Christians to live in unity with one another.

If you are strong you must be sympathetic to those who are weak and not act to please yourself. Christ is our perfect example, he acted out of consideration for others, no matter what it cost him. Let this be our principle for each of us to follow in all our capacity to please other people and our fellow believers in Christ. We should do things for their edification not to please them just for popular favors but for their benefit.

Sources:

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: “…keep yourselves in the love of God, looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” (Jude 1:21, NASB)

The Christians are reminded of the words of the apostles. Years earlier they had warned that ungodly teachers would trouble the church, leading to people into sin and causing divisions. The way to avoid their evil influence is to learn more of the Christian truth, to be more sincere in prayer, to grow in devotion to God, to hate sin in all its forms, and to help those affected by the false teachers to find new life in God. (1:17-23)

We can keep ourselves in the love of God by building up ourselves on our most holy faith for without this we shall soon lose the love of God. We must also look for the mercy of the our Lord Jesus Christ to bring us to eternal life.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

OMF Literature

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6, KJV)

The teaching of the false teachers differs from that of Christ, and their conduct likewise differs. Their kind of teaching arises out of pride and creates argument, which in turn leads to suspicious thoughts and insulting talk about others. Paul knows that their real reason for setting themselves up as Christian teachers is to become rich. (6:3-5)

Christianity does make a person rich, but not in the way the false teachers think. Christians are rich when they learn to be satisfied with what they have, and are not always wanting more. The true wealth that we ought to pursue is religion, with a contented mind, because it promotes happiness than wealth can ever do, and this is what should be regarded as the great object of life.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Bible Gateway

http://www.bibegateway.com

Message of the Day: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

More than anything else, one should get wisdom and insight. The first step in getting wisdom is the desire for it. Once obtained, wisdom will bring into the life of the possessor a new measure of security, honour and beauty.

By living according to God’s wisdom, we will have true wisdom, and at the same time will be morally upright. We will not join in the evil deeds of those whose thoughts and actions are governed by the desire to do wrong. The more we do right, the better we will understand life; the more we do wrong, the more confused our understanding becomes. Consequently, our mistakes become more frequent and more disastrous. We must keep our heart and mind, our whole inner person, in a state of moral and spiritual good health. (Proverbs 4:1-23)

The King James Bible renders, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” It is indeed imperative that we keep our hearts “with all diligence” because it is the depository of all wisdom and the source of whatever affects life and character.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

OMF Literature

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: Christ Upholds the Universe and Preserves Cosmic Harmony

He existed before all things, and all things are held together in him.” (Colossians 1:17, CEB)

Paul corrects the the wrong ideas that had been taught. Christ is not some part-angelic being, but God himself. God is invisible, yet people can see him and know him in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God and therefore was not created. He existed before creation, and is superior to all created things. In fact, he himself is the Creator. He is the source and controller of all things, seen and unseen, including the world of angelic beings that false teachers liked to talk about. More than that, he is the goal of all creation’ all things exist for his glory.

Christ, through his infinite power upholds the universe and through his wisdom preserves the cosmic harmony. None could do this but one who is divine; and hence we see the reason why he is represented as the image of the invisible God.

Sources:

Bible Gateway

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: God’s Supreme Right and Power To Judge and Execute His Will

The Mighty One, God the Lord,
Has spoken and called the earth
From the rising of the sun to its going down
.” (Psalm 50:1, NKJV)

Psalm 50 is included in the group of Psalms (Psalms 49-53) that contrast proper and improper approaches to God – not to trust in wealth (49), but to bring sacrifices based on covenant loyalty (50), especially a penitent spirit (51), because God rejects the wicked (52) and exposes their folly (53).

In a scene that displays his awesome majesty, God commands the whole world to stand before his judgment throne. He is the righteous judge of all the peoples of the world, and his first call to judgment concerns his own people, Israel. (50:1-6) He is the true God, the Supreme Ruler of the universe. As such, he has the right and power to call the world to judgment and to execute his will.

Sources:

Bible Gateway

Fee, Gordon D. and Stuart, Douglas. How to Read the Bible Book by Book. A Guided Tour. Metro Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature, Inc., 2004

MySword forAndroid. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

http://www.bbilegateway.com

Message of the Day: God’s Awesome Sovereignty

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33, ESV)

In 9:1-11:36, Paul addressed the tension between God’s faithfulness and Jewish unfaithfulness and concludes this section of his epistle with a doxology. He bows in praise and wonder before God’s awesome sovereignty. He praises God’s wisdom in designing history as he has so that salvation would be available to all peoples. God is the source and director of human history, and all things – even the evil choices of sinful humans – would in the end glorify him and the rightness of his wisdom.

God’s sovereign choice, far from being unjust, has been the means of his mercy being extended to people of all nations. This display his unsearchable wisdom and causes his thankful people to give him praise and glory.

Sources:

Fee, Gordon D. & Stuart, Douglas. How to Read the Bible Book by Book. A Guided Tour. Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature, Inc., 2004.

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

MySword For Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

OMF Literature

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: Love Prepares Us to Meet Jesus

This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” (1 John 4:17, NIV)

We have increased confidence in God through our inward possession of the Holy Spirit and our outward acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of sinners. We know we live in God and that God lives in us. This new relationship with God enables us to practise love towards other people as Jesus Christ did. This gives us added confidence that we are saved eternally and need never fear God’s judgment. (4:13-18)

Love prepares us to appear with confidence before the judgment-seat. If we truly love God, we have nothing to fear in the day of judgment because “in this world we are like Jesus.” We resemble him and we are not alarmed at the prospect of meeting him.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

OMF Literature, Inc.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: God’s Great Mercy

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us
.” (Psalm 103:11-12, NKJV)

Realizing how easily people forget God, David reminds himself of the many blessings, physical and spiritual, that God has given him. Gratefully, he praises God for them all. Sin, sickness and the prospect of a hopeless death have been replaced by forgiveness, good health and a renewed enjoyment of life. The constant love of God for his people is seen in the history of Israel. He cares for the oppressed and shows mercy on sinners. (1-8)

If God acted only according to his justice, all sinners would perish. But to his justice he adds his mercy, by which sinners may be forgiven. (9-12) God’s mercy is great in forgiving our sins, in imparting grace, and in giving us support and consolation. He has put our sins entirely away, they are so removed that they cannot affect us anymore. We are safe from all condemnation for our sins, as if they had not been committed at all.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Bible Gateway

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: God, the Creator has Perfect Knowledge of Those He Created!

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well
.” (Psalm 139:13-14, NKJV)

God knows everything about us, what we do, what we think, where we go and what we say. Some may we feel helpless with this realization and still, some may be tempted to look some escape from such an overpowering presence, but no escape is possible. This may bring fear to rebels but it brings comfort to us who believe in God. Wherever we travel, God is with us. In darkness or in light, God sees us constantly.

Being the Creator, God has perfect knowledge of those he created. He knows our innermost thoughts as well as our physical characteristics, and has a detailed knowledge of our lives that are yet to be. Because of this we will not merely admire what is great and marvelous, but we will acknowledge God in a public manner as wise, and holy, and good, and is worthy of honor , love and gratitude.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: God is a long-suffering God!

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9, ESV)

Some people may wonder why there is such a delay before Christ’s return. The answer is that from God’s point of view there is no delay, since he does not view time according to human standards. Eternity is not time carried on and on indefinitely, but is an entirely different order of things. If there seems to be a delay from the human point of view, it is because God is waiting as long as possible, so that people might realize the seriousness of their sins and turn from them. (3:8-9)

The seeming delay should be regarded as a proof of his forbearance, and of his desire that all human beings should be saved. Every sinner should consider the fact that he is not cut down in his sins, not as a proof that God will not punish the wicked, but as a demonstration that he is now forbearing, and is willing that he should have an ample opportunity to obtain eternal life. God is a long-suffering God!

Sources:

Bible Gateway

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: Living In An Attitude of Reverential Trust In God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take
.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)

Obedience and loyalty to God, in addition to guaranteeing his favour produce the kind of life that most people acknowledge as honorable. If, instead of trusting in their own wisdom and ability, people live in an attitude of reverential trust in God, they can be assured that God will direct them in all their affairs. God will remove obstacles and lead them to their desired goals. (3:1-8)

If we are ever be mindful of God and serve him with a willing and faithful heart, He will remove the obstacles from our pathway and bring us to our appointed goal.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

OMF Literature, Inc.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

Message of the Day: Cherish and Cultivate the Graces Which the Spirit Produces

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:15, NKJV)

Efforts to keep the law cannot produce righteousness, because the sinful nature is so bad it cannot be cured, or even improved. It can only be condemned to destruction, and Christ did this by his death on the cross. When, however, believers live according to the power of the Spirit, they can develop in their lives the righteousness that the law aimed at but could not produce. The mind cannot be controlled at the same time by both the old sinful nature and the Spirit. One results in hostility to God, the other in peace. One leads to death, the other to life. (8:3-8).

Those that are after the Spirit are influenced and led by the Spirit. As we therefore, have devoted ourselves to the service of the Spirit, and have been brought under his influence, it was to be expected that we would make it our great and only object to cherish and cultivate the graces which that Spirit would produce.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

OMF Literature, Inc.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: We Are United With Christ, We Are Controlled By The Holy Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2, NKJV)

The reason that we can have victory through Christ is that the power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ is greater than the power of the old sinful nature. The downward pull of the sinful nature may be likened to the downward pull of the earth’s gravity. A stone thrown into the air will fall to the ground, because it has no life or power to overcome the force of gravity. A bird thrown into the air will fly away, because it has a living power that enables it to overcome the downward pull of the earth. It has a new life, life which is greater than the law of gravity. Likewise in Christ believers have a new upward force of the Spirit that is greater than the downward pull of the old sinful nature. (8:1-2)

We triumph over the sinful urges of the flesh because we are united with Christ, we are under the controlling power of the Holy Spirit, who is life-giving.

Sources:

Gundry, Robert H. A Survey of the New Testament. Third Edition. Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature, Inc., 2002.

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

The NKJV Bible

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

http://www.biblegateway.com

May 10, 1897, Andres Bonifacio was Executed for Being Guilty of Treason and Sedition

On May 10, 1897, Andres Bonifacio, the Father of the Philippine Revolution and founder of the Katipunan, and his brother Procopio were executed in the mountains of Maragondon, Cavite by General Emilio Aguinaldo’s men for being guilty of treason and sedition. This occurred after the death sentence was commuted to indefinite exile by Aguinaldo.

Andres Bonifacio was born November 30, 1863 in Tondo, Manila. He studied in a school under the supervision of Gillermo Osmeña of Cebu. The death of his parents forced him to stop formal schooling in order to fend for his three brothers and two sisters. Nonetheless, Bonifacio was known to be a wide reader of various books such as Jose Rizal’s Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Lives of the Presidents of the United States, International Law, the Penal and Civil Codes, among others. Known as the “Father of the Revolution,” he founded the Katipunan in 1892 and was one of the leaders of the armed revolt against the Spaniards.

Even before the Tejeros convention Andres Bonifacio had already been invited several times to visit Cavite in order to witness the achievements of the revolutionaries there and to mediate between the rival factions of the province – the Magdiwang and the Magdalo.

On March 22,1897, an assembly was called at Tejeros, Cavite. Bonifacio presided the conference to establish the Republic of the Philippines. In the election, Gen. Aguinaldo was elected President, Mariano Trias, Vice President, and Bonifacio as Secretary of the Interior.

Bonifacio, who acceded to the wish to establish a new government, was hurt and felt insulted when Daniel Tirona, one of Magdalo questioned his new position noting it was not proper for a person without a lawyer’s diploma to occupy it.

Hence, evoking his authority as the Supreme head of the Katipunan, he declared the proceedings void. The following day, March 23, Bonifacio and his followers met once more at the estate-house in Tejeros to officially reject and invalidate the elections that happened the previous day. For this purpose, the attendees affixed their signatures on a document called “Acta de Tejeros” which explicitly affirmed that the March 22 election was illegitimate and marred with fraud.

“Acta de Tejeros” (www.esquiremag.ph)

The following month, April 19, 1897, Bonifacio and his followers met again at an estate-house in Naik, Cavite to create another document that cemented their separation from Aguinaldo’s government – the “Acta de Naik” or the “Naik Military Agreement.” Aside from establishing an independent government, the agreement formed an army which was placed under the command of General Pio del Pilar, a Magdalo who defected to Banifacio’s group.

“Acta de Naik” (www.esquiremag.ph)

These developments led to the arrest of Bonifacio nad his brother Procopio in Limbon, Indang, Cavite. They were subjected to a court martial which which lasted from April 29 to May 4. On May 8, 1897, the judge of the military court, Gen. Baldomero Aguinaldo, recommended the verdict of death sentence for the Bonifacio brothers. President Emilio Aguinaldo commuted the punishment to exile but was persuaded by the likes of Gen. Mariano Noriel and Gen. Pio del Pilar, among others, to revert to the original verdict. The Bonifacio brothers were executed on the fateful day of May 10, 1897 at eh foot of Mt. Tala in Maragondon, Cavite.

Andres Bonifacio died at the age of 33.

Sources:

Camagay, Maria Luisa T., Ancheta, Jopol Alvin C. Bernal, Michael S. Guiang, Francisco Jayme Paolo A, Malban, Francis Justine M., and Ramos II, Dondy Pepito G. Unraveling the Past. Readings in Philippine History. Manila, Philippines: Vibal Group, Inc., 2018.

http://www.esquiremag.ph

http://www.kahimyang.com

http://www.xiaochua.net

Message of the Day: Salvation Produces Moral Purity and Good Works

“…who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14, NKJV)

We are saved only by God’s grace – that loving and merciful attitude of God that freely gives his immeasurable blessings to those who do not deserve them. When people accept the salvation that this grace brings, they learn that their most fitting response is to turn from their former sinful ways and follow the ways of God. They have a desire for holiness, and this desire is increased by their anticipation of Christ’s return (2:11-13).

Christ died not merely to save people from the penalty of sin, but to save them from all wickedness. He wants them to be pure in their everyday lives and eager to do good. Salvation involves the double work of redeeming us from guilt and judgment and of producing moral purity and helpful service to others.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

OMF Literature, Inc.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: A Woman of Noble Character

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10, NKJV)

Proverbs 31:10 is the start of a rather long pericope that ends in verse 31. In the Hebrew language, this section is an acrostic poem. Each of the poems twenty-two verses begins with a succeeding letter of the twenty-two-letter Hebrew alphabet.

From this verse up to the end of the chapter, we read about character of a woman of authentic value being laid down.

She is a virtuous woman, a woman of noble character, power, and strength full of mental energy. She is priceless! No amount of precious stones can match her value.

She is a good wife, her husband trusts in her and depends upon her. He is kind, clever at buying and selling, diligent, conscientious, and a good manager of the household. She is energetic and tireless, both in helping the family income and in carrying out household tasks. Though a good business-woman, she is not hard-hearted. Though careful in handling money, she is not miserly. She gives generous help to the poor and needy. (10-20)

In like manner this woman of noble character is generous towards her family. When making clothes she uses good cloth, so that all in her household look well dressed and, through her foresight, enjoy good protection when bad weather comes. The respect that people have for her husband is due in large measure to her. Through her wise words, kindness, consideration, diligence and reverence for God, the family is uplifted. Her children and her husband delight in her and the community at large honors her. (21031)

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

http://www.biblegateway.com

May 8, 1980, Ninoy Aquino was Allowed to Leave for a Coronary Bypass Surgery

On May 8, 1980, Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., a prominent journalist, politician and a staunch critic of the Marcos administration, was allowed to leave for the United States to undergo a coronary bypass surgery on recommendation of his doctors at the Philippine Heart Center where he was confined after suffering a heart attack in his prison cell in Fort Bonifacio. He was immediately transported to the center on the evening of May 5, 1980.

Ninoy Aquino in Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas (www.kahimyang.com).

According to Aquino’s Baylor doctors in Texas, who reviewed his hospital records from Manila, Aquino had had “progressive coronary insufficiency” for almost five months prior to admission. He experienced chest pains accompanied by shortness of breath during routine physical activities while he was in prison.

Senator Benigno Aquino, also known as “Ninoy”, was put through military trial, charged with multiple murder, illegal possession of firearms, and subversion. He was sentenced to death in November 1977 and endured seven years of incarceration before he was allowed to seek medical treatment in the United States for a heart condition.

In one of his speeches, he recounted his communication with the Marcos administration, before his sentence was commuted and allowed to leave:

No, if I cannot be operated in America, then bring me back to my cell, I told them (on May 6). The deputy minister of defense asked me: ‘Are you willing to write a letter to Marcos requesting to be brought to America?’ I said yes. And so, I wrote my letter Wednesday (May 7) to Mr. Marcos and made two covenants: that if I leave, I shall return, and two, that while in America, I should not speak out against his regime.

The next morning, May 8, the beautiful one (Imelda Marcos) ascended into my (hospital) suite. She talked to me … she was very nice. And then, all of a sudden, after one hour, she said, Would you like to go to America? Aba’y kako, sure. Sure! Oo, oo. Palayasin na niyo ‘ko, papuntahin niyo ako sa America. Sabi niya, there’s a plane leaving at 6 o’ clock. You can be in that plane. And so she ordered the foreign office to issue us passports. They called up the American embassy to get us the visas. At 2:30 in the afternoon, they brought me to my house …. They gave me 30 minutes to pack and take a shower. Then they brought me to the airport, put me in a 747, and out of the Philippines.”

On May 11, 1980, Ninoy was admitted under the care of a Filipino, Dr. Rolando Solis at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. A triple coronary bypass surgery was successfully performed by the late Dr. Ben F. Mitchel, then Baylor’s chief of cardiothoracic surgery on May 13.

Ninoy and his family rented an apartment in North Dallas where they stayed for the duration of his rehabilitation. They proceeded to live in an elegant two story brick house in the upper-class suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, near Boston, when Ninoy got a fellowship at Harvard University.

Aquino with reporters, moments before disembarking the China Air lines on August 21, 1983 (www.kahimyang.com)

After three years in exile, he returned to Manila, but was assassinated at the Manila International Airport (the airport now bears his name) while disembarking the China Air Lines plane he was on. His death would solidify the opposition to the Marcos dictatorship that would lead to the People Power Revolution of 1986 which put an end to the Marcos regime, and the installation of his widow, Corazon Aquino, into the presidency.

Sources:

http://www.kahimyang.com

http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph

Message of the Day: We Are God’s People, We Are Citizens of Heaven!

We, however, are citizens of heaven. We look forward to the Lord Jesus Christ coming from heaven as our Savior.” (Philippians 3:20, GW)

Image: olivetree.com

Jewish false teachers tried to make the Philippians keep laws; other false teachers said they could do as they liked. Paul warns the Philippians to believe neither. They will learn the standards of Christian behavior by following the example of Jesus and those who live like him. Those who allow themselves to follow the natural desires of their bodies and their minds are not disciples of Jesus Christ, but enemies. (3:17-19)

We are God’s people and we are interested in things of spiritual and heavenly value because we are citizens of heaven. We will be careful how we live, knowing that the body we have now is the body in which we will meet Christ. When that time comes, Christ will change our bodies to be like his. (3:20-21)

Sources:

Bible Gateway

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: Jesus’ Kingdom Shall Never Have An End!

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” (Luke 1:30-32, NKJV)

Mary was startled and puzzled when the angel told her that, though still a virgin, she would give birth to a son, and this son would be the promised Messiah. He would be in a unique sense God’s Son and his kingdom would be eternal. The angel told her not to be alarmed for he only comes to announce to her good tidings.

Jesus, the Messiah shall be distinguished or illustrious; great in power, in wisdom and dominion on earth and in heaven. He shall be called the Highest because He is exalted over all his creatures.

Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise to David that his throne will be forever. That is, there should not fail a man to sit on his throne. Jesus fulfilled it by being exalted to be the Prince, Savior, and the perpetual King of his people.

As such, Christ’s kingdom shall be eternal. Revolutions may destroy the kingdoms of the earth, but the powers and gates of hell and death shall never be able to destroy or injure the kingdom of Christ. His is the only dominion that shall never have an end.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: Security And Safety of Those Who Trust God

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust
.” (Psalms 91:1,2 NKJV)

Courtesy: olivetree.com

The psalm appears to have been used in temple worship in a time of danger. A lone singer or a temple worker (a priest or Levite) opens with a statement of the security and protection enjoyed by those who trust in God and live their lives constatnly in God’s presence.

Others suggest the psalm was written by David. If we accept David as the author, then the pestilence mentioned in 2 Samuel 24:13-15, will be the most probable of any special occasion to which the Psalm may refer.

2 Samuel 24 tells the narrative of the “illegal” census by David and its consequence. Israel’s increasing power and prosperity under David may have given David and his people feelings of self-praise, as if they, and not God, had been the cause of this growth. God saw that the time had come to awaken Israel to this sin. Therefore, God allowed Satan to suggest to David that he take a census of the people. David’s pride in his growing nation was apparently what made the suggestion seem such a good idea, but God was going to use the event to reveal that pride and punish it. The officials carried out the census first in the territory east of Jordan, then in the north of Canaan, and finally in the south.

Even before God acted in judgment, David’s conscience told him he had sinned. Through a prophet, God offered David a choice of one of three calamities as a punishment, but David chose rather to leave the decision with God and trust in his mercy. A plague broke out in Israel, physically weakening the nation that David thought was strong. Even Jerusalem, the city that David was so proud of, would have been destroyed had not God in his mercy stopped the plague.

Back to Psalm 91, the word “dwells” (Heb.) means ‘to remain’, to ‘stay’ or ‘to inhabit’ while to “abide” is ‘to lodge’ ‘to pass the night’ or ‘to lie all night.’ This gives us the notion of making the presence of God our habitation. We will stay there all day and when evening comes we will spend the night in the presence of God. For there we are covered with the cloud of his glory – the protection of the all-sufficient God.

We don’t just visit the presence of God once in a while or if there is a need to enter it. But we make it a lifestyle to remain there and enjoy the nearness of God. This is also a reminder that we should not rely on our achievements and strength, but to fully trust in the power of our Almighty God. We are admonished to constantly desire to be near to God, to make his presence our home so we will be secured from assaults and safe from every evil.

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: One Lord, One Religion!

And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be—
“The Lord is one,”
And His name one
.” (Zechariah 14:9)

Image courtesy of Olive Tree Bible Software.

God gives his people satisfaction and provision by altering the course of nature for their benefit. They lack nothing. God now establishes his throne in a restored and repopulated Jerusalem, from where he rules over the earth. Mountains around the city are flattened so that Jerusalem is lifted up in the eyes of all nations and Israel’s God is worshipped worldwide, he shall be King over the whole earth.

There shall in those days only one religion, and one form of religion. There shall not be many gods, and many lords. All mankind shall be of one religion, the essence of which is, “Thou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

http://www.biblegateway.com

June 28, 1848, Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonso Got Married

On June 28, 1848, Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonso, the parents of Dr. Jose Rizal, got married. Francisco was from Biñan, Laguna while Teodora was from Meisik, Tondo. They had 11 children, 2 boys and 9 girls.

Image courtesy of http://www.kahimyang.com

Francisco Mercado-Rizal, the patriarch, was a learned man, he went to College de San Jose in Manila and took up Latin and Philosophy. He was very successful farmer tending several important crops. Teodora Alonso-Realonda, his wife, also tended several businesses including a flour mill, a drugstore, and a store. On market day (tiangge) she would put up a sidewalk store. She also was a travelling saleswoman.

Teodora Alonzo, went to a well-known college for girls, the College of Santa Rosa. (Zaide & Zaide). Teodora had the means to sent her daughters to the best schools then, which were always religious. In his letter to his Austrian friend Blumentritt, Rizal said, “My mother is a woman of more than average education… Her father [Lorenzo Alberto Alonso], who was a deputy for the Philippines in the Cortes, was her teacher; her brother [the cuckolded Jose] was educated in Europe and spoke German, English, Spanish and French ; he was also a knight in the Order of Isabel the Catholic.” (Guerrero)

The couple were known for real honest-to-goodness hardwork, popular and respected from far and near. Their house was always open for guests who were treated sumptuously.

Sources:

http://www.nhcp.gov.ph

http://www.kahimyang.com

Message of the Day: Prepare for the Worst!

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25, NKJV)

Image courtesy of Olive Tree Bible Software.

Immediately after telling his disciples of his coming suffering and death, Jesus told them they had to be prepared for similar treatment. The cross was an instrument of violent and painful execution. Jesus describes what his followers must be ready for: if they follow him, they must be ready to face literal scorn and death, for we must follow to the Cross.

Whatever we lose in this world because of our devotion to Christ and his cause, we shall have amply made up to him in the eternal world. If we are bent on saving our life we will lose it. Jesus gave his life for us, he suffered and died. Now, let us ask ourselves, “What if we suffer the same fate? Well, we may not, but as followers of Jesus we must be prepared for the worst!

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

http://www.biblegateway.com

June 26, 1875, a Royal decree was issued authorizing the preparation of a general plan for a railroad in Luzon.

The history of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) actually started not on June 26, 1875, when the preparation of a general plan of a railroad on Luzon was authorized by virtue of a Royal Decree of King Alfonso XII of Spain. Don Eduardo Lopez Navarro, the Inspector of Public Works of the Philippine Islands, was required to submit a general plan for the establishment of a railroad line in the island of Luzon. After 5 months of conscientious study, he submitted the Memoria Sobre El Plan General de Ferocarilles en la Isla de Luzon.

Image courtesy of http://www.kahimyang.com

The PNR website and other sources stated that it happened on June 25, but the historical marker at Tutuban station which was installed in 1934 states that it was on June 26. This said decree was barely three years after the Cavity Mutiny, and the subsequent execution of the alleged brains of the mutiny, the priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, more known in history as Gomburza.

This first inkling of a nascent Filipino nationalism coincided more or less with the very first important geographic linking of small trading points in Luzon. And this, ironically, by royal decree of the colonial overlord, the last person to appreciate any restless sense of country in his subjects.

Five months after royal decree was issued, the public works inspector of the islands, Don Eduardo Lopez Navarro, submitted his plan. It was titled, Memoria Sobre el Plan General de Ferrocarriles en la Isla de Luzón, and was promptly approved. On June 1, 1887, a concession for the construction of a railway line from Manila to Dagupan was granted to Don Edmundo Sykes of the Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan.

For some reason, this concession is later transferred to a Don Carlos E. Bertodano on July 8, 1887, who represented the Manila Railroad Company, or MRRCo. At the end of the same month, a cornerstone was laid for the building the Tutuban Station and Filipino workers started the construction of the Manila-Dagupan railroad.

The projected system

  1. A line running north from Manila through the Provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan.
  2. A line running south from Manila and then along the Laguna de Bay shore eastwards through Tayabas, Camarines and Albay Provinces.
  3. A branch from line (2) on the Laguna de Bay shore to run almost due south to Batangas.

In 1890, the contractors failed and only the first section of 45 kilometers was opened to traffic on the 24th of March, 1891. Finally, on November 23, 1892, Governor-General Despujol in Tarlac in an energetic speech, declared that the first Philippine Railway, the Manila to Dagupan line is open to traffic.

Sources:

http://www.kahimyang.com

http://www.philippinetrains.fandom.com

http://www.pnr.gov.ph

http://www.sancarloscitypangasinan.gov.ph

Message of the Day: Those Who Trust in God Will Be Constantly Strengthened.

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint
.” (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV)

Image courtesy of Olive Tree Bible Software.

Since Yahweh created all and rules over all, the leaders of the nations are as powerless before him as ants or grasshoppers. They are as easily destroyed as dry grass. On the earth or in the heavens, God controls all (Isa. 40:25-26).

In view of all this, we need not become discouraged through thinking that God is either unwilling or unable to help us. He has not forgotten us, nor has he lost his power. Through him the weak can be strong. Those who trust in their own strength will fail, no matter how capable they may appear to be. But those who trust in God will be constantly strengthened by his power, which will lead them on victoriously (Isa. 40:30-31).

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

http://www.biblegateway.com

June 21, 1574, Felipe II of Spain, bestowed upon Manila the title of “Insigne y siempre leal Ciudad” (Distinguished and Ever Loyal City).”

On June 21, 1574, King Felipe II of Spain, bestowed upon Manila that of “Insigne y siempre leal Ciudad” (Distinguished and Ever Loyal City) and permitted the establishment of a new municipal office, and on Luzon the title of “Nuevo Reino de Castilla”(New Kingdom of Castilla).

Image courtesy of http://www.kahimyang.com

Two Royal Decrees

Bestowing Titles on Manila and Luzon

Don Phelipe, by the grace of God, etc.
Inasmuch as we have been informed by the council and by the judicial and executive departments of the city of Manila, in the island of Luzon of the West, that the citizens and inhabitants of the said city have served us with much faithfulness and loyalty, and have endured great hardships; and that, after the said island was discovered and pacified, and the said city founded therein, the governor, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (now defunct), in our name, gave to the latter the title and designation Ynsigne e siempre leal Cibdad, [“Distinguished and ever loyal City”], and to the said island of Luzon that of Nuevo Reyno de Castilla [“New Kingdom of Castilla”]; and inasmuch as supplication has been made to us, for the greater welfare of the said city and the perpetual remembrance of the services of its citizens, that we order the confirmation of the said title Insigne e siempre leal Cibdad de Manila, and to the said island of Luzon that of Nuevo Reyno de Castilla, and that it might be our will that they be so designated and named, or however else might be our pleasure: now therefore, we, after careful consideration of the above, and of the good and loyal services that the said city and its citizens have rendered us, do regard favorably the above supplication; and by the present we do confirm and approve, to the said city of Manila, the title Insigne e siempre leal Cibdad, given it, in our name, by the said governor, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi; and to the said island of Luzon, the said title and appellation Nuevo Reyno de Castilla. And we do consent that the said city of Manila bear forever the designation and title Insigne e siempre leal, and the said island of Luzon that of Nuevo Reyno de Castilla, which we, by this, our decree, grant as title and appellation, with leave and permission to be so designated and called as abovesaid, and to place the same on any or all documents that are drawn up and contracted, and on all letters that are written. And we do hereby order the same, under our hand and seal, and with the confirmation of my Council of the Indies. Given at Madrid on the twenty-first day of June, in the year one thousand five hundred and seventy-four.
I THE KING
[Endorsed: “Registered.”]

Granting to Manila the Office of Corredor de Lonxa for the Estates of the City

Don Felipe by the grace of God, etc.
Inasmuch as we are aware of the services which the city of Manila in the island of Luzon, entitled el nuevo Reyno de Castilla [“the new Kingdom of Castilla”], and its citizens and inhabitants, have rendered us; and considering our desire for its honorable increase and colonization: it is our pleasure to bestow upon the said city
of Manila, as we do, by this present, the office of corredor de Lonxa1 thereof, for the estates of the city, for such time, and no more, as may be our pleasure. And it is our wish that in said office be vested the jurisdiction and administration of the same according to and in such manner as our corredores de Lonxa have exercised and do exercise it, in the cities, towns, and villages of these our kingdoms and seigniories, as well as in those of our Indias, islands, and Tierra-Firme of the Ocean Sea; we will also that there be appointed for said office of corredor de Lonxa, the person or persons whom the city may see fit to appoint; and that the said person or persons through the said appointment, and by virtue of this, our decree, shall be authorized to enjoy and exercise the said office in all cases and matters pertaining to it, in such wise as the other corredores de Lonxa of the other cities, towns, and villages of these our kingdoms, and of our aforesaid Indias, enjoy and exercise it. And they shall enjoy the income and fees annexed and pertaining to the said office, provided that the income which said persons shall give each year be for the estates of said city, to be expended and distributed for the common welfare of the same, and not for any other thing—for which purpose we direct the present decree to be given, signed by my hand and countersigned by our secretary. Madrid, June twenty-one, one thousand five hundred and seventy-four.
Page 226
I THE KING
[Endorsed: “Registered.”]

These royal decrees confirmed these designations given to Luzon and Manila by the then Governor Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.

Sources:

http://www.gutenberg.org. Philippine Islands Vo. III, 1569-1576. Edited and annotated by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson with historical introduction and additional notes by Edward Gaylord Bourne.

http://www.kahimyang.com

Message of the Day: Life is Worth More than the World Itself.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36, NKJV)

Immediately after telling his disciples of his coming suffering and death, Jesus told them they had to be prepared for similar treatment. The cross was an instrument of violent and painful execution. To “take the cross” was to carry the horizontal beam of the cross out to the site of execution, generally past a jeering mob.

Image courtesy of Olive Tree Bible Software.

Jesus describes what each of us must be ready for: if we follow him, we must be ready to face literal scorn and death, for we must follow to the cross. As followers of Jesus we are to give our lives to him, and be obedient to him even if it leads to hardship, persecution and death. We will no longer rule our own lives, but will deny ourselves personal desires in order to please our Master. In sacrificing the life that puts self first, we will find the only true life.

Since life is worth more than the world itself, giving one’s life in this world to gain it in the world to come is a wise transaction. Those who live for themselves may gain what they want in this present age, they will lose the only life of lasting value, eternal life.

Sources:

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: Keep Up the Good Work!

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10, NKJV)

Ministered to the saints” probably refers to continuing financial help to the poor Christians in Jerusalem that Paul had initiated. When Jerusalem was attacked and surrounded, they fled and financial aid had to be sent elsewhere in Judea.

4f3e7128739e6ec44c328ca9bd300533
Image courtesy of Olive Tree Bible Software.

The Christians in Jerusalem had given us a great example of helping the needy fellow believers. Although some who received this epistle needed to warned, others had clearly shown by their transformed lives that they were genuine Christians.

By this we are encouraged to keep up our good work. We are not to lose heart or become lazy, but persevere to the end. (Hebrews 6:10-12)

Sources:

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Message of the Day: In Jesus We Can Overcome the World and have Peace!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NKJV)

After his resurrection Jesus would no longer need to speak to the disciples in figurative language, because the resurrection would give them a clearer view of the purpose of his mission. Also, no longer would they depend on Jesus to do their praying for them. They would learn to approach the Father personally and with confidence. Yet even this would be possible only because of who Jesus was and what he had done (John 16:25-28).

Image courtesy of Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2019.

The disciples’ faith was strengthened by Jesus’ words, but they did not realize that a few hours later their faith would be put to the test. Frightened and confused they would forsake their Lord in his final hours. But the lapse would only be temporary; through his victory, they also would triumph (John 16:29-33).

The contrast between “in me” and “in this world” and between “peace” and “tribulation” is very much obvious. “In me” (in Jesus) we may have peace. Peace here means security, safety or prosperity. While “in the world” we may have tribulation or distress or trouble. Before his death, Jesus affirmed His final victory.

Through Jesus’ triumph we can also overcome the world and experience peace in Him.

References:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2019.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

The Birth of Jose Rizal

Some facts about the birth of Jose Rizal

Today, June 19, 2021, is the 160th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal. A multi-talented illustrado, hero and martyr. As we commemorate his birth, let us look at some of the facts about his birth.

He has a bigger head disproportionate to his body

In his student memoirs, he wrote “I was born in Calamba on 19 June, 1861, between eleven and midnight, a few days before full moon. It was a Wednesday and my coming out in this vale of tears would have cost my mother her life had she not vowed to the Virgin of Antipolo to take me to her sanctuary by way of pilgrimage.” (Memoirs of A Student in Manila by P. Jacinto).

The difficulty was due to his big head. Dr. Mariano J. Garcia a retired professor of UPLB and UE said that a niece of barber Mang Ilyong Belan, named Aling Simeona vda. de Alibutud told him that Jose, his father Francisco Mercado Rizal, and elder brother Paciano used to have their haircut sessions with the popular barber at the Rizal ancestral house. It was during one of those haircut sessions that barber Tiyo Ilyong discovered that Jose Rizal has a bigger head that was disproportionate to the boy’s physique, prompting Paciano to advise Ute to do some workouts to gain body tone to match his big head. This prompted kuya Paciano to urge the young Rizal to do some workouts to gain body tone to match his big head. (http://conceptnewscentral.com)

The Young Rizal. Google Images/joserizal.com

Rizal’s family belonged to the Principalia

Rizal’s parents were illustrados, “that is to say, they could read and write and figure, they took newspapers and went to court and sometimes travelled abroad; they were of the principalia (Guerero), the ruling elite class, a middle class family. This new breed of middle class families was due to the shift in world economy. The old practice of mercantilism where trade was dictated by the monarch and wealth flows toward the throne of Spain. This resulted to the monopoly like the Galleon Trade between Manila and Acapulco, which began in 1565. However by the 18th and 19th centuries, there was shift towards laissez faire or free market trade. Countries were able to participate in trade. Because of this shift, the Philippines was officially opened to foreign trade by 1834. Foreign trade brought forth wealth for more people. “Spain’s adoption of the laissez-faire policy affected the Philippines in several ways. The result of greater participation in trade created a new middle class in the colony. With the new-found wealth, middle class families were able to send their children to acquire higher education which gave them perspectives on Spain’s treatment of the Philippines. Rizal’s family was one of those middle class families.” (Garcia, De Viana & Cruz).

Image: Google Images. A photograph of a principalia family from Argao, Cebu from the ca. 1890’s (filipinogenealogy.com, The Nation As Project by Paul Arvisu Dumol and Clement C. Cqmposano)

Rizal’s father Don Francisco Mercado, was a learned man. He went to College de San Jose in Manila and took up Latin and Philosophy. Francisco’s family, the Mercados, “had been originally merchants, as their surname, which in Spanish means market” (Guerrero). They moved from the Parian settlement in Manila to Biñan where Francisco was born. His father became the gobernadorcilllo of Biñan, Laguna.

In Rizal’s student memoirs, he described his father as “a model of fathers” (Zaide & Zaide). His mother, Doña Teodora Alonzo was born in Manila and went to a well-known college for girls, the College of Santa Rosa. (Zaide & Zaide). In his letter to his Austrian friend Blumentritt, Rizal said, “My mother is a woman of more than average education… Her father [Lorenzo Alberto Alonso], who was a deputy for the Philippines in the Cortes, was her teacher; her brother [the cuckolded Jose] was educated in Europe and spoke German, English, Spanish and French ; he was also a knight in the Order of Isabel the Catholic.” (Guerrero)

Image: Google Images/gutenberg.org. The family tree of Mercado Rizal family drawn by Rizal during his exile in Dapitan in 1896. (The Nation As Project by Paul Arvisu Dumol and Clement C. Camposano)

Calamba may not after all, a beautiful place

While the overall view of Calamba was picturesque due to the magnificent Mt. Makiling and Laguna de Bay, the place itself may be different. In his book, The First Filipino, Leon Ma. Guerrero talks about a certain John Foreman, an Englishman who lived in the Philippines at the time and in fact was often to talk about Rizal. According to him, “Kalamba is a very dreary town. The town hall was merely a sugar shed; the streets are always either muddy or dusty. There are three or four large houses of well- built exterior. The market, held on Fridays, is of considerable local importance, Filipinos coming there from great distances. The market-place is, however, always dirty and disorderly.”

Guerrero further states, “John Foreman might have thought Kalamba a very dreary town, its market-place “dirty and disorderly”, but the boy Jose was very happy there.”

References:

Dumol, Paul Arvisu and Camposano, Clement C. The Nation As Project. A New Reading of Jose Rizal’s Life and Works. Quezon City, Philippines: Vibal Group, Inc., 2018.

Garcia, Carlito D., De Viana, Augusto V., Cruz, Cynthia B. Rizal and the Development of Filipino Nationalism. A Textbook on the Life, Works, and Writings of our National Hero. Mandaluyong City: Philippines: Books Atbp. Publishing Corp., 2015.

Guerrro, Leon Ma. The First Filipino. A Biography of Josė Rizal. Manila: National Historical Commission, 1974

Zaide, Gregorio F. & Zaide Sonia M. Jose Rizal. Life, Works, and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist, and National Hero. Second Edition. Quezon City: Philippines, 2014.

http://conceptnewscentral.com

joserizal.com

filipinogenealogy.com

gutenberg.org

Karakol: An Expression of Faith and Culture

‘Religion and life are inseparable. Long before the Spanish colonizers came, Filipinos had been holding thanksgiving celebrations or festivals that are religious in nature. Hornedo tells us that this “native love for festification” was replaced with lavish fiesta celebration by the colonizers.’ This statement was part of our observations when we undertook a study of the Devotion to the Black Nazarene in Quiapo together with my two professors and two of my classmates (Bina Agong, George Capaque, Timoteo Gener, Ian Habionada, and Adonis Parian. Poverty, Religion and Culture in the Devotion to the Black Nazarene. The Church and Poverty in Asia. ATS & OMF Lit.: Philippines, 2008).

A Brass Band A Brass Band

In the province of Cavite and some other parts of Luzon, this fusion is evident in the traditional Karakol, a procession characterized by dancing in honor of a patron saint accompanied by a brass band or a pre-recorded audio mobile (Raas, S.V.D., Fr. Bernhard, Saenz-Mendoza, Fr. Virgilio and Laurora, Sr. Franzia).

Karakol - Street Dancing Karakol – Street Dancing

In the City of Imus, Cavite karakol is done on the 11th of October of each year, a day before the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar. Karakol 2015 4

According to Mr. Anthony Asuncion Astillero, the current adviser of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Imus Haligue, the City started to hold Karakol in 1980 under the leadership of  Mario Guttierez and Bert Sabale, Chapter President and Project Chairman respectively of Imus Haligue Jaycees (Now JCI Imus Haligue).

JCI Imus Haligue JCI Imus Haligue

This year, the City of Imus celebrated its 35 years of Karakol.

35 Years of Karakol in the City of Imus 35 Years of Karakol in the City of Imus

Mr. Anthony Astillero started his vow in 1990 when he was invited to join the karakol by JCI Imus Haligue. Since then he regularly participates in the yearly traditional karakol (Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rCq1-rEeaM for my interview of Mr. Anthony Asuncion Astillero).

Karakol is a form of folk Catholicism, the popular form of Cathlolicism practiced by many Filipinos. According to Segundo Galilea, “folk religiosity has a particular affinity with the poor because it is only in this level that people’s religiosity is consistent with their culture.” Its religious practices or behavior are identified closely with the cultural traditions of the people. These play a vital role in establishing the cultural identity and continuity of a local community (Bina Agong, George Capaque, Timoteo Gener, Ian Habionada, and Adonis Parian. Poverty, Religion and Culture in the Devotion to the Black Nazarene. The Church and Poverty in Asia. ATS & OMF Lit.: Philippines, 2008).

The practice of karakol may pose some questions from other religious denominations, but beyond this tradition is a genuine Filipino culture that has persisted throughout history. I think this matters most, beyond our religious differences, it is our culture that will bind us together as one nation, one people. We are all Filipinos regardless of religious affiliations.

This authentic Filipino culture is shared by all walks of life.

Karakol 2015 11

Represented by almost all sectors of society.

Karakol 2015 4

My online conversation with Mr. Anthony Astillero (via FB Messenger) revealed another aspect of the traditional karakol. Just like the Devotion to the Black Nazarene, devotees of Nana Pillar, (the name commonly used by the local folks referring to the statue of the patron saint, Our Lady of the Pillar) who regularly join the traditional karakol claim that their sicknesses have been healed and their prayer concerns are met. Mr. Astillero testified that his request for healing was granted when he joined the karakol, “ako po bilang naging taga Pangulo at project Chairman ng Karakol ay patuloy na namamanata sa taunan na karakol dahil ako na mismo ay nadinig ang aking kahilingan sa aking karamdaman noong September 27, 2007 na naka experience na pagdating ng October 11 ay bigla ako nagkaroon ng karagdagang kalakasan at natapos ang mahigit na 6 hours na pagsasayaw ng Nana Pillar sa Bayan ng Imus.” (I myself, as a former President and Project Chairman of Karakol continuously fulfills my vow in the yearly karakol because my requests regarding my illness was heard in Septmeber 27, 2007 that when October 11 came, I experienced a sudden surge of strength and was able to finish more than 6 hours of dancing the [image] of Nana Pillar around the town of Imus).

Faith is enhanced when people’s needs are met. “In popular religiosity, devotions play a major motivational role in religious practice. Devotions meet legitimate psychological, physical, social and cultural needs. They fulfill the “deepest yearnings of common Filipios” (Bina Agong, George Capaque, Timoteo Gener, Ian Habionada, and Adonis Parian. Poverty, Religion and Culture in the Devotion to the Black Nazarene. The Church and Poverty in Asia. ATS & OMF Lit.: Philippines, 2008).

It resonates with the character of Filipinos as social beings – people who long for solidarity, and the desire to connect with the powers that be through symbols and rituals such as karakol. Thus every time they express that faith by joining or supporting karakol that same faith is strengthened.

In the Bible there are instances where God honored people’s faith no matter how bizarre they may be, as long as it is directed towards Him. Some of them are the faith of the centurion in Matt. 8:8-12; the faith of the woman bleeding for twelve years in Matt. 9:20 and the miraculous healing ministry of Peter and Paul in Acts 5:15 and 19:12 respectively. In that sense devotees must not only focus on the patron saint or the ritual such as karakol but to God. They must first give importance to the celebration of the Eucharist where Christ is preached before going out into the streets.

I always believe that we Filipinos has a peculiar brand of religiosity, faith and culture. Something we can be proud of in this era of moral, political, and religious complacency. This is capsulated in the words of Mr. Anthony Astillero, “ipinagmamalaki ko ako ay isang Imusenyo…at naging parte ng makasaysayan na traditional na karakol.” (I’m proud to be an Imusenyo…and being part of the historical traditional karakol). Congratulations City of Imus for nurturing one of our distinct Filipino expression of faith and culture. Proud to be PINOY!

Special Thanks to Mr. Anthony Asuncion Astillero: JCI Adviser (incumbent), President JCI, 1998; National Vice President, 2001; National Chairman and Youth Leadership Excellence Award, 2006; National Executive Vice President, 2007; and National Nomination Committee, 2008.

Special thanks also to Mr. Arvin Obilla.

Click: Karakol 2020 (Motorcade)