Archive for the ‘Daily Devotion’ Category

Why do we need to protect children’s rights?  Find the answer by reading this collection of quotes from people who have shown exemplary efforts to protect them.

1. It is an act of compassion that each of us must practice as citizens of this world.

“Great persons are able to do great kindnesses.” -Miguel de Cervantes

“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.” -George Bernard Shaw

In my life time, I learned that  indifference- the opposite of compassion and empathy- is one of the reasons in making this world poor, lonely and unsafe to live. The lack of compassion to others causes suffering or even death to some.

We hear news of children who become victims of abuses like ending up as sex slaves, or being raped or even being murdered. These happen because of people’s indifference. Adults, whom children are expecting to protect them, do not perform their responsibilities. Sad truth is, these people whom they trust and respect are mostly the same who fail children’s expectations and are causing their mishap.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion…” -The Apostle Paul (Col 3:12)

The Word is clear: we must clothe ourselves with compassion. It is indeed, greatness too to practice kindness especially to the little ones, the helpless and the vulnerable.

We should also remember that no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted (Aesop) since this always makes a difference- it blesses both the  receiver and the giver (Barbara de Angelis). Compassion does not only brings comfort to the receiver but also happiness to the giver. Quoting the Dalai Lama, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

What peaceful and happy world this could be if everyone is compassionate especially to children!

2. No one else will protect the children except the adults whom they depend on.

 “We’ve got to work to save our children and do it with full respect for the fact that if we don’t no one else is going to do it.”  -Dorothy Height

“I speak for those children who cannot speak for themselves, children who have absolutely nothing but their courage and their smiles, their wits and their dreams.” -Audrey Hepburn

Children whose brain is like a sponge, ready to soak up everything it touches, remember everything- the good and the bad ones that they experience in life. For these very reason, adults must be extra careful in teaching them or setting as an examples since young people see their parents, family, friends, teachers and sports or activity coaches as largely positive influences in their lives. What adults say or do to children leaves remarkable impact on how they will eventually turn as adolescents in  the long run: a child abused today can become social deviant tomorrow, or the child well taught today can become a great leader in the future.

3. This world we borrow from our children. Therefore, it is our moral obligation to make this earth a peaceful, healthy and safe place for them to live.

“We are the ancestors of our grandchildren. We look after them, just as our ancestors look after us. We aren’t here for ourselves. We are here for each other and  for the children of our grandchildren.” -Roy Sesana

We must recognize that children have vital role in nation-building; that we should promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, psychological and social well-being (Philippine Constitution, Article II, Section 13); that we should guarantee the fundamental rights of every child from all forms of neglect, cruelty and other conditions  prejudicial to their developments (RA No. 9775, Section 2A).

4. Just like women, men, senior citizens, physically challenged, and indigenous culture, a child has rights, too.

“A child, like all other human beings, has inalienable rights.” -Lucrecia Mott

If we recognize that just like other human beings, children have inalienable rights too, it would be easier for adults to respect each child. That respect would somehow lead to hearing their voices  and taking action after hearing them. This is important especially in issues and concerns of the young generation. It is vital that their opinion matters. It is equally necessary that we support and extend help during their dire needs.

5. As adults of this generation, we must set good examples to children so that they may grow their faith in humanity and become great examples, too later.

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6

 “Our generation has inherited an incredibly beautiful world from our parents and they from their parents.                            It is in our hands whether our children and their children inherit the same world.” -Richard Branson 

“Help us show children around the world that we can make a difference together.” -Bradley Whitford

In this real world, there are no super heroes to protect the abused children; only parents, teachers, friends and other support groups. When fear is prevalent, we only have each other to comfort; when there is slavery and abuses, again, we only have the rest of us to fight against these.

Why is it important that adults set good examples to children? So that they become the best persons they can be when they grow old. And why it is important that children  should grow their faith in humanity? Because if they don’t that will be the end of a better start for a brighter future.

6. If we speak in behalf of our children, we represent the same issues of humanity.

“…in serving the best interests of the children, we serve the best interest of all humanity.” -Carol Bellany

Have you heard the story of Ellah Joy Pique, a 6 year old victim in Cebu, who was kidnapped and later murdered? Police considers the angle of pedophilia and child pornography for her death. Her body was wrapped in white cloth, tied with wires and thrown in a cliff back in 2011. Many grief, showed support and up to now, are seeking justice for her death. Her story made her issue their issue, too. Now, many had been fighting to stop this cruelty from ever happening again not only to other children but to general public as well.

 7. If we keep blind to abuses, keep silent to suffering and keep indifferent to death  of morality, we are the same as the greedy, murderers and evil doers because we encourage them, not stop them from their  works.

“If we don’t stand up for children then we don’t stand for much”. -Marian Wright Edelman

“When the lives and the rights of children are at stake, there  must be no silent witnesses.” -Carol Bellamy

A meaningful quote from Elie Wiesel elaborating why indifference is an epitome of evil: The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death. 

This means that if we fail to care, we succeed the evil works. When we fail to expose the abusers because we don’t care for the victims,  then we are one of the accomplices. In the environment where hostility resides, we should take sides since at all times, neutrality benefits the oppressor and not the victims (Elie Wiesel).

 8. The way we treat our children reflects our moral system. 

“It was once said that the moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of their life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” -Hubert Humphey

“Children reflects the quality of life… when our children are happy, then we are better as human beings.”                                   -Whoopi Goldberg

A beautiful quote also from Mahatma Gandhi which states that a nation’s greatness is tested by how it treats its weakest members, like the children, the elderly, the sick, the needy and the handicapped. So true especially for democratic society where the people’s voices should be heard since they are the ones who choose their  leaders through their votes. Although, children may not yet cast their numbers during election, it is equally important that their general welfare are taken care of.

9. Children are our future.

“There can be no global security without respect for children. We have to be more than just observers of children’s suffering; we have to be partners with them in their struggles.” -Landon Pearson

If we want to leave a better place for our children and grandchildren, we must teach and show today’s children concern: we must uphold their self- esteem, teach them right values of life, protect their general rights and provide them the same responsibility to make the world a beautiful, peaceful, healthy, and safe place to inhabit, one generation at a time.

10. As people who believe in Jesus Christ, we cannot be like Him if we don’t show compassion to others especially to children.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me, to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea”. -Jesus warns. Found in Matthew 18: 2-6

We must protect the rights of children not only because it is our moral obligation to do so as cosmopolitans but also as a children of the Divine creator. We must be compassionate, just as our Father is compassionate to us (Luke 6:36).

Sources:

http://www.topbibleverses.com

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/news/view/20110401-328729/Police-seek-hold-departure-order-against-Cebuana-and–British-boyfriend

http://gervacio.wordpress.com/tag/crime/

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Elie_Wiesel

http://www.betterworld.net/quotes/children-quotes-4.htm

http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/kindnessquotes.htm

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/indifference_2.html

http://www.chanrobles.com/philsupremelaw1.htm

Author’s Note:

This article is part of the author’s speech in an Anti- Child Pornography Forum on March 11, 2012 at Brgy. San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City, Philippines.

“If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly,  if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever”
Jeremiah 7:5-7 (NIV)

Yesterday, our group head sent message to all our email subscribers about the look of our newly changed signage in the head office; the response of the employees was positive- many of whom expressed appreciation and even congratulated the team behind the work. 

Our company for the past few years went the ups and downs of the stiff competition in the banking industry; the turn over of the new management this year faces overwhelming expectation from the clients, shareholders, and employees. Everyone is hoping for a better leadership style, new innovation, better products and more quality service.

“A change of sign is a sign of change”, this has been the outcry of the new management since the last three months when they conceptualized for the rebranding; hence, a change in the signage is one step in fulfilling more improvements coming in the next few months.

Today’s Scripture teaches us that there is reward in sincere changes that we do. But take note that it’s about positive change, too. If we ponder Jeremiah 7:5-7, it is specific about changing our ways and actions without compromising our good relationship with people around us particularly the strangers, orphans, and widows; also, when we keep peace, and do not worship idols we will receive life as well as salvation.

 “Only change doesn’t change” quote to some is a cliche; but whatever change we want to have either in career or life in general, recognizing that change is part of growth, then we will be able to appreciate more to change- for the better.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for all changes that happen in my everyday life- for new people I meet and for new challenges, thank you.

Today, I surrender to You all my worries, doubts and fear; let all Your will be done. All these I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

“Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this by adding goodness, understanding, self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others and love. If you keep growing in this way, it will show that what you know about our Lord Jesus Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful. But if you don’t grow, you are like someone who is nearsighted or blind, and you have forgotten that your past sins are forgiven.”-2 Peter 1: 5-9

Yesterday was busy day for me. In the morning, I attended bible study, praise and worship, and cell meeting. After that, I immediately went to a meeting with a human right’s group to volunteer as part of their secretariat. I came home late last night and during my prayer I ask Him “How can I be able to handle all the responsibilities assigned to me, then?” I am aspiring to become cell leader this year, and assigned to assist in launching the newsletter of this HR group, aside from other tasks and volunteer activities I am currently into.

My devotion for today was perfect. He gave answer to my prayer immediately. I believe He wants to teach me that I should have FAITH  more in Him so that I may be able to accomplish these tasks.

God was really good, He did not tell me only that I should have faith but also He showed me the ways how can I improve it. These are the following:

1. By adding goodness, concern for others and love

Having the responsibility to work for a human rights organization will open the doors of opportunity me serving the needy, therefore, adding goodness to my daily life routine. When I assist in lending paralegal assistance to those who were victims of human rights violation, I am not only providing comfort to them but also I am learning during the entire process of their experience.

2.  By adding understanding

Aside from that the experience is the best teacher, immersing myself to reality will expand my understanding of the situation I and people around me, situated in. By learning what the problems are will be able to open my eyes to see and do something for possible solutions that I can offer even in my simplest way.

3. By adding self control

Because I have to do more multi tasking in a very limited time and resources, I am being taught today that I should have more self-control. Self control in a way of finance and time management and my relationship with other people. I should control how I spend my money so I can use it in more quality things; on how I manage my time so I can do more the important and urgent matters; and finally, to control my emotion in dealing with different people and situations.

4. By adding patience

When sometimes we don’t get easily the result we want to have but we should have it because there were other important  assignments we should spend more time to, will really cause us to be impatient. Lack of time management and procrastination sometimes are also hindrances to achieve positive results. But thanks to today’s Gospel message that I should add more patience into my life now that I have more accountabilities. Doing a lot of multi tasking is mostly exhausting but truly, patience is a virtue.

5. Devotion to God

This is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned yesterday during our bible study and cell meeting. After Ate Aileen had discussed the Four U’s in Doing the Campus Revolution task: 1. Utang Na Loob Kay Jesus Christ 2. Unahin Si Jesus Christ Sa Buhay Natin 3. Ugnayan Kay Jesus Christ and 4. Umani Tayo Para sa Panginoon, I learned that everyday should be devoted to spending time learning, wanting, needing and loving God more so we can share His greatness to others and eventually win souls so that they may also be saved.

PRAYER:

Thank you  for your Words, today. Thank you for showing me how can I further increase my faith in You. And thank you for giving me more opportunities to fullfil my destiny- that is to be of your humble servant by serving Your people for your glory and honor. All these I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

“You are like salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on.

You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay of pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.”- Matthew 5:13-16

June 18, 2011. This day was life changing! I attended the G12 Campus Revolution in Cuneta, Astrodome to witness a consolidation of different churches in the Philippines with one goal: to reach out to campus students, evangelise to them the good news and to make disciples out of them.

I have realised that the opportunity to attend actitivities like the G12 Campus Revolution is not just coincidence. I remember what Pastor B.O.M.B told us yesterday, “Dapat magkaroon tayo ng utang na loob sa Panginoon” (We should realise that we owe everything to God that’s why we should be thankful). To be chosen to serve Him is an honor. So I should not let this opportunity to pass. There were many souls in the field- campuses, offices, communities that are thirsty for the Word of the Lord, and it is really about time to harvest them for His Kingdom’s glory and honor. This year, our Church will focus on campuses because it truly believes that our future leaders are there, we change their values system, we move the world. Having the generation of leaders that are worshipping, loving and have great faith in God will make this nation great in the future!

Today’s Gospel teaches us that like salt, we must serve our life’s purpose- that is, to evangelise and disciple. And we should shine as lamp in a lampstand where everyone can see. As children of God, we must share the good news of salvation to other people as well, especially to our loved ones. So that we may fill heaven’s kingdom of great men and women that include us and the people we care about! =)

PRAYER:

Lord, give me the courage and the wisdom so that I may live my life’s purpose for You. I know I am imperfect and nothing compared to You, but because You have chosen me, I do believe that I can do great things that will give honor to Your name. Guide me so that I may truly serve You. Let Your will be done always. I accept You as my Saviour, please choose also people around me- family, friends and loved ones, so that they may also be saved and rest in heaven for eternity. All these I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today, May 16, 2011, six days before the public debate about Reproductive Health (RH) Bill will be set on national television. This controversial bill has divided the nation- those who were pro and anti have already presented their sides: Iglesia Ni Cristo has come out with its decision  in support of the RH  Bill. Government officials (e.g. Duterte), celebrities (e.g. Dingdong Dantes and Lea Salonga), academic professors (e.g. UP and Ateneo), ex- Cabinet members, and P-Noy, himself, was also in favour of the said bill. While the Catholic Church and other Christian sectors stood firm against it.

Upon reading blogs, news and other sources of information about RH bill, I have come out a position paper- to go against it. I have realised that this has many loopholes and lawmakers must be very careful in pursuing for its passage. That any supporter must also look the other side of the coin and think the many possibilities that will happen if this bill will become a law.

But before I make hasty generalisation about my arguments for ten reasons why this should be killed; let us first take a glimpse of the RH bill- its history and contents.

The bill entitled AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A COMPREHENSIVE POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, AND POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES is a consolidation bill of House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, Iloilo Representative Janette Garin, Muntinlupa City Representative Rodolfo Biazon, Iloilo Representative Augusto Syjuco Jr., Akbayan Party list Representatives Arlene Bag-o and Walden Bello, and Gabriela Party list Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana De Jesus.

And to read the full content of the law, please click here:

http://filipinosforlife.com/2011/03/10/15th-congress-house-bill-4244-full-text-final-consolidated-rh-bill-hb-4244/

After reading and analysing every sections of this bill, then I come out with my personal stand about this issue. Below are my arguments:

 1.    It violates our Constitutional rights;

  1.1.  If we read Section 28 (e) of this bill, that says, “Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act” as included as a prohibited act, it shows clear violation of our FREEDOM OF SPEECH (Bill of Rights, Article III, Section 4 of 1987 Constitution). Isn’t harsh to have any one who will express objections to this bill be subjected to penalties? Silencing its critics is a violation of our Constitution. We are in a democratic country with already the existence of laws against libel and defamation, so why need for the provision of this kind of bill?

 1.2.  Section 21 that states below, forces employers to provide the reproductive health care services to their employees. This is again a violation of the Constitution since employers have not given any choice whether the distribution of these contraceptives may be against their conscience or religion.  

SEC. 21. Employers’ Responsibilities. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall ensure that employers respect the reproductive rights of workers. Consistent with the intent of Article 134 of the Labor Code, employers with more than 200 employees shall provide reproductive health services to ALL employees in their own respective health facilities. Those with less than 200 workers shall enter into partnerships with hospitals, health facilities, and/or health professionals in their areas for the delivery of reproductive health services.

Employers shall furnish in writing the following information to all employees and applicants:

(a) The medical and health benefits which workers are entitled to, including maternity and paternity leave benefits and the availability of family planning services;

(b) The reproductive health hazards associated with work, including hazards that may affect their reproductive functions especially pregnant women; and

(c) The availability of health facilities for workers.

Employers are obliged to monitor pregnant working employees among their workforce and ensure that they are provided paid half-day prenatal medical leaves for each month of the pregnancy period that the pregnant employee is employed in their company or organization. These paid pre-natal medical leaves shall be reimbursable from the Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), as the case may be.

1.3.  Section 28 that states below, eliminates any choice for conscientious objectors and makes no room for their legitimate concerns. This means, doctors and health workers are forced to dispense contraceptives and other contraceptive devices and methods; if they refuse, they must refer another person who will dispense such things. If people will not cooperate as what is stated in the given provisions, they will be imprisoned for one to six months and will pay for a fine amounting to P10,000.00 to P50,000.00!

SEC. 28. Prohibited Acts. The following acts are prohibited:

(a) Any healthcare service provider, whether public or private, who shall:

(1) Knowingly withhold information or restrict the dissemination thereof, and/or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health, including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods;

(2) Refuse to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of third party consent or authorization. In case of married persons, the mutual consent of the spouses shall be preferred. However in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail. In the case of abused minors where parents and/or other family members are the respondent, accused or convicted perpetrators as certified by the proper prosecutorial office or court, no prior parental consent shall be necessary; and

(3) Refuse to extend health care services and information on account of the person’s marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, or nature of work; Provided, That, the conscientious objection of a healthcare service provider based on his/her ethical or religious beliefs shall be respected; however, the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another healthcare service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible who is willing to provide the requisite information and services; Provided, further, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in RA 8344 penalizing the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency and serious cases.

(b) Any public official who, personally or through a subordinate, prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning; or forces, coerces or induces any person to use such services.

(c) Any employer or his representative who shall require an employee or applicant, as a condition for employment or continued employment, to undergo sterilization or use or not use any family planning method; neither shall pregnancy be a ground for non-hiring or termination of employment.

(d) Any person who shall falsify a certificate of compliance as required in Section 15 of this Act; and

(e) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.

SEC. 29. Penalties. Any violation of this Act or commission of the foregoing prohibited acts shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine of Ten Thousand (P 10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P 50,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the competent court; Provided That, if the offender is a public official or employee, he or she shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service and forfeiture of retirement benefits. If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration.

If the employer will not provide condoms to their employees because they politically (and religiously) believe that this act is a responsibility of the government; or the doctors and health providers themselves, will we punish them of imprisonment and fine? If so, both of the above sections are in clear violation of Article III, Section 18 (1) of our Constitution that says, “No person shall be detained solely by reason of his political beliefs and aspirations.”

1.4. The distribution of contraceptives violates Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution that says,

“Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”

Our fundamental law recognizes that human life must be protected from the moment of conception, therefore, contraceptives that causes early chemical abortion is clearly unconstitutional.

2.    The Law of Void for Vagueness Doctrine applies;

If we search for this doctrine, we will find that it is about a law principle that says a given statute is void and unenforceable if it is too vague for the average citizen to understand (e.g. cannot generally determine what are regulated, what conduct is prohibited, or what punishment may be imposed.)

Going back to the sections of this law particularly Section 20 that states below,

SEC. 20. Ideal Family Size. The State shall assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development and encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size. Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children.

It poses many questions that will linger on the minds of an average citizen making the bill, itself, vague. How will the State assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development?

There are many ambiguous terms present in this section like desired family size, responsible parenthood and sustainable development- these are all subjective terms. What if my desired family size is 12? Was it sustainable? Am I a responsible parent for having 12 children? And how did this bill come out with two children as an ideal family size? Why 2 not 1 or 3 or 4? What if the parents want more children?

And Section 21 that states below,

SEC. 21. Employers’ Responsibilities. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall ensure that employers respect the reproductive rights of workers. Consistent with the intent of Article 134 of the Labor Code, employers with more than 200 employees shall provide reproductive health services to all employees in their own respective health facilities. Those with less than 200 workers shall enter into partnerships with hospitals, health facilities, and/or health professionals in their areas for the delivery of reproductive health services.

Employers shall furnish in writing the following information to all employees and applicants:

(a) The medical and health benefits which workers are entitled to, including maternity and paternity leave benefits and the availability of family planning services;

(b) The reproductive health hazards associated with work, including hazards that may affect their reproductive functions especially pregnant women; and

(c) The availability of health facilities for workers.

Employers are obliged to monitor pregnant working employees among their workforce and ensure that they are provided paid half-day prenatal medical leaves for each month of the pregnancy period that the pregnant employee is employed in their company or organization. These paid pre-natal medical leaves shall be reimbursable from the Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), as the case may be.

Section 21 obliges employers to provide for the medical and health benefits of the workers. What if the employer cannot provide for the expenses of the employees, will they be penalised? In this bill, yes, they will. How about the carinderia owners and other unorganised establishments? Yes, they will also. Because employers with less than 200 employees shall provide for the same health services to their workforce.

Application of the Doctrine: This doctrine protects the individuals’ right to due process and whenever violators were apprehended, they will not be punished because the law is vague in the first place. Hence, making it useless at all. Implementing RH Bill in the future will be a chaos. 

 3.  RH bill is amoral

There is a difference between the terms amoral and immoral. “Amoral” means the inability to know the difference between right and wrong while immoral goes against the tenets of the society. Below are some reasons why this is amoral.

 3.1. It makes the purpose of sex vague.

Why people have sex? Pleasure? Medium to express love? To make children? People have different opinions regarding this question. And I respect that. For me, RH bill is amoral because it makes people confuse which act is good or bad. I just remember my conversation with our janitor- Ka Oca during one of our lunch breaks. I asked him,

 “Sir, Oca. If I were to give you condom, will you use it?”

 Sir Oca’s answer was,

 “It depends. If I will have to make sex with other women, of course I will use condom. But if I have to make love with my wife, I will not.”

 I asked him again why he will not use it to his wife. And his answer was,

 “Because I am confident that my wife is clean.”

You see. My point is, giving out free condoms creates amorality. Because people learns to like what they think is good for them and to dislike what is they think bad for them. Is this the choice we want? How can we be free to do something that is wrong from the beginning?

I just do not understand it: people promotes condom so that they may not get STDs. But how come Sir Oca thought that he will be using condom to other women but not to his wife? Was using condom makes men 100% safe from STDs or women from getting pregnant? I think, this bill further promotes adultery, concubinage, dishonesty and disloyalty. By giving out condom, we are opening ideas for our men to use it- not to their wives but for other women.

And another point, I asked Sir Oca,

 “Aside from you are sure your wife is clean, why you would not use condom during your make love?”

 And his answer was simple.

 “Hassle. Condom is rubber. It lessens pleasure.”

You see. We are so altruistic about giving out free condoms. We are so concerned about over population. About people getting STDs. But, are we really sure if these condoms will be used every time they make sex? Because we are so generous, how many times will we provide our men these free condoms? Once a week? Twice a week? Three times a day?

I remember this joke during one of our class lectures.

Community organizers (CO) gave free condoms to this rural area. The organizers were so concern about deforestation and over population; because people were poor and have no other source of income ,they tend to cut trees just to sustain their living. So, to save the trees, flora and fauna of the place, they have given out free seminars about family planning.

After some time, COs got the result, their study showed that women were still getting pregnant! Worried and somehow frustrated, one of the COs asked one of the men:

“Did you not learn anything from us?”

The man said, “About what? About using condom? I thought this condom should be placed on my finger while having sex with my wife!”

You see. It’s just the same as in teaching sex education to our children especially during their crucial years of growing up. Instead of letting teachers discuss about the birds and the bees openly with their other classmates, why not parents do so? Isn’t children will learn better with 1:1 ratio than 1:50 (teacher:students)?

Also, RH bill promotes amorality because it confuses children from right and wrong. Are we going to teach them that it is OK to have sex but be sure to wear condom? If I will be a parent some day, of course, I will not allow my children to learn about sex at their very young age! Why grade 5? Why not high school?

Also, by doing so, it destroys the essence or purpose of sex. Before, I remember my mom told me that it is improper for men to touch any part of my body not until he becomes my husband. But now, we are going to teach them that these things are normal, proper and usual thing to do as long as we care or love the other person? Or just feel the want to do it just to satisfy one’s desire? Sigh.

3.2. It pushes reproductive health to become “right” but to whose rights’ expense? The big question here is- who is going to pay the price? We protect the rights of the poor but we are compromising the rights of the health and medical sectors as well as the employers.

I have few more questions:

Is it right to protect the rights of the poor?

But, is it right to increase our taxes so that we may provide these poor their reproductive health rights?

Is it right to compel our employers to pay for our FREE healthcare services?

But, is it also right to imprison them and fine them for not able to comply with the law because their fund is insufficient?

Is it right to protect women’s reproductive health rights by giving them more choices of family planning methods?

But, is it also right if most of the companies will hire fewer women in their industry because they cannot comply with the law?

 3.3. It confuses people whether contraceptives are abortifacients or not.  Whether using them prevents or encourages abortion. Whether these are medicines or causing diseases. In short, it confuses people whether the act of using contraceptives is right or wrong.

This time I am asking you a favor- to use the internet’s search engine and find yourself the effects of using contraceptives.

I have done my research and found out that others who are using IUDs have become prone to yeast infection, lost sex drive, experience lower back pain, had heavier menstrual flow, acne break out, migraine, cramps, depression, mood swings, etc.

The Church is against RH bill not ONLY because it is concerned in protecting women’s rights but also in preventing the future negative effects of these contraceptives on them if these were not strictly controlled and monitored. The Church believes that contraceptives may cause, inflict or encourage abortion. It is normal for them to react on this issue because it is their duty to check and balance or to weigh things on matters that will affect the lives of the people especially affecting their moral values. On my opinion, I am glad that the Church is challenging this bill, because through this we are able to see different sides of the story; and eventually, we will learn, improve and produce better laws in the future.

I would like to quote former Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz who warned about passing this Reproductive Health Bill into law. He said in an interview,

“What is the Church doing? The Church is trying to maintain the values system of the Filipino people. With the values system gone, look at what is happening to us? Let us be responsible and not to do shortcut because it does not bring good results.”

 4. It claims as a panacea to issues like over population and poverty. Well, in fact, it gives promises and false hopes. RH bill will not solve these problems. And over population is not the SOLE cause of poverty but only ONE of its FEW causes that needs to be addressed ALSO;

Who am I to say that this bill is not the panacea to over population and poverty? I am just an ordinary citizen of this country, without any legislative or executive power to implement what is best for my people. But I spare you few more minutes of your time to further read my arguments based on LOGIC, EXPERIENCE and WISDOM I acquired from reading, hearing people’s opinions and basically knowledge I learned from the university- including law school.

I do volunteer works and I am actively serving the urban poor communities (where I also belong) by giving my time for them. For the past few years of organising people, I learned that poverty has many causes : 1. Macroeconomic issues 2. Unemployment issues 3. Unchecked population growth 4. Problems in the agriculture and forestry sector 5. Governance concerns 6. Armed conflict and 7. Disability.

To further discuss these seven direct causes of poverty kindly read on:

4.1. Macroeconomic issues

I am not an economist but I have subject about this and I learned that economic growth is important in determining or alleviating poverty; that poverty decreases when the growth rate of average family income is higher than the inflation rate. Our economy has not been high enough because of some mismanagement and other external shocks we experience (like El Nino, frequent typhoon visits, lack of investor confidence, etc). Also, it is because we are faced with fiscal deficit, public sector debt, poor investment climate since the Asian financial crisis, and gradual loss of international competitiveness.

4.2. Unemployment issues

I talk with people who were farmers and laborers and for them who have children, they see labor as an important asset of the poor. Like my uncle, who works in the rice field, his children were his assistants in managing their source of income.

By experience and dealing with people from different walks of life, I learned that unemployment and underemployment determines poverty. For this country to alleviate poverty, jobs must be accessible! And must provide adequate income for every worker! We cannot say that people who have more children are poorer because for them, their children are the ones who will give them source of income. The question here should be: what kind of job we will be employed and how much we will earn?

A study conducted by ADB in the Philippines have shown that the basic problem of the poor is not so much lack of employment as the low incomes derived from employment. This has to do with both low wage rates and the phenomenon of underemployment (Source: Chapter 6: Causes of Poverty in thePhilippines, page 93).

4.3. Unchecked population growth  

You see, I recognise that population is also one of the causes of poverty. But I would like to quote ADB’s study about this issue:

“The population (of the Philippines) is projected to reach 111 million by 2015. Population growth in and of itself is NOT a PROBLEM  IF resources are available to COPE with the additional people requiring public services, employment, housing, and so on. But in a country where the budget is already stretched and where poverty is HIGH to BEGIN with, population growth BECOMES a MAJOR issue.” (Check this link:

http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/Poverty-in-the-Philippines/chap6.pdf)

4.4. Problems in the agriculture and forestry sector

We know that thePhilippinesis an agricultural sector but again the irony is: the farmers who produce our food were the poorest. In this country, the agriculture and forestry sector are overlooked. The promises of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the land reform agendas that have been adopted by successive administrations, not much has been achieved. The land ownership was still concentrated on the hands of the few elites. There is rampant forest degradation, denudation and ecological imbalance. If the land that is the source of food and our resources are mismanaged, how do we expect this country to become rich?

4.5. Governance concerns

In 1986, we ousted a dictator because we want democracy- freedom to choose what is best for our people. Over the years, there are still senses of disappointments over our leaders in their ability to address the needs of the society especially the poor. Corruption increases poverty because of reduced economic growth; biased tax systems and the use of wealth by people with self interests that lobby government for policies that will encourage greater income and will acquire assets in favour of the rich and well connected. Also, our government has inability to collect sufficient revenues. And lastly, we have weak judiciary that contributes to the weaknesses and inefficiency of our State.

4.6. Armed conflict

We know that conflicts result to deaths, disablement and displacement. There is more likely greater loss of breadwinners; disruption of basic services; destruction of transport system and general collapse of the affected community. Conflict has negative impacts to all forms of capital- financial, social, natural and physical.Mindanaofor example faces major poverty challenge. Armed conflict causes poverty, and vice-versa, poverty also produces conflict.

4.7. Disability

Just like the causal relationship of conflict and poverty, disability and poverty is also bi-directional. Poverty causes disability and disability causes poverty (not all disability is caused by poverty but poor people are most likely to have poor health, poor living conditions, and dangerous working conditions.)

5. No one is restricting our choice for the use of modern natural and artificial methods of family planning. But with the passage of RH Bill, government will have the power to REGULATE the business, medical and education sectors;

If the government through the Philhealth will pay for the reproductive health services of the people especially the poor, and the employers will pay for their workers, then we are giving the government the right to regulate or to control the prices of the RH services.                                          

This bill if ever enacted will pose negative impacts in our individual rights and freedom because the government will have more power to regulate the business, medical and education sectors.

This proposal is worst than Martial Law where it seeks to penalise employers, doctors, health care providers, educators or teachers, government officials and even ordinary person who will fail to comply with the bill and will maliciously engage in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.

6. It is a stupid way of spending tax payers’ money;

Our government will be compelled to levy additional taxes or borrow more money from foreign sources so that it may deliver its promises. It is a stupid way of spending our money to distribute something that we were not sure if these condoms and contraceptives will be used by the poor or the recipient community; or whether these free products will be truly delivered.

Our taxes can go extra miles- we cannot just waste it on something that is unimportant. Giving out condoms and contraceptives as many times I argue is not a solution to the problem of over population and poverty. Again, there are other causes that must take into consideration such as macroeconomic, unemployment, governance, conflict issues, etc.

7. It is prone to corruption;

I have little faith in the ability of our corrupt government officials to IMPLEMENT this bill. I remember Dr. Juan M. Pulhin, my professor from UPLB, during the discussion of poverty in our major class. He said that,

“It is so sad that in this country we have good laws but the problem lies in the implementation.”

I am so worried that despite the promises and claims of the RH Bill to curb national overpopulation, these government officials were incompetent and inefficient in implementing its rules and regulations. I believe that some corrupt officials cannot be trusted- that they will not really deliver the reproductive health services. Instead, they will enjoy huge amount of money for their own good; that the budget, which is allocated for the poor and women will be spent for their own pleasure.

The Department of Health has set aside four hundred million of pesos just to purchase these natural and artificial means of family planning including two million condoms to be distributed next year. Great sums of money, huh?!

There is lobby money behind this. Companies who will win as a bidder to provide for the condoms and contraceptives, without taking into consideration if recipients would eventually use these, will also hit a jackpot!

8. Through RH Bill, instead of teaching every Filipino family about “responsible parenthood”, we are teaching our people, especially the poor, to be dependent to the government (including business and health sectors) who will supply their condoms, contraceptives and other RH services;

What is responsible parenthood? I think, a separate article should be written to further discuss this. But as a gist and in relation to this bill, I believe that it will teach the other way around.

Instead of making couples as responsible in rearing their family, this bill will teach them, particularly the poor,  to be dependent to the government (including business and health sectors) in providing their RH services.

Responsible Parenthood should educate couples how to become prepared in facing challenges of being future parents NOT to spoon-feed them or provide FREE RH services in expense of the tax payers’ money. Poor parents to become responsible must have good jobs to start with- with decent income to sustain the needs of their family members NOT to provide them CONDOMS and CONTRACEPTIVES, which are temporary solutions to the over population problem.

9. The LAW must PROTECT the freedom and NOT REGULATE it; and

It is not the role of the government to redistribute wealth so to help the poor. Social justice can never be achieved if there are some people’s rights that are to be ignored and violated. Remember, the law must protect our freedom but not regulate it. In this case, the rights of the employers, educators, doctors and health workers will be compensated if it will be mandatory for them to provide free RH services and products to the poor. Again, if the carinderia owner cannot provide for the ligation of his employee because of insufficient fund, will he be penalised? If this bill is enacted, yes, he will be liable. If this is the case, this Act will violate the freedom of the employers since the government will regulate the reproductive health rights of the employees instead of protecting it ONLY.

10. RH Bill will cause much higher prices of commodities and health care products in the Philippines because businesses and hospitals will be compelled to offset the reproductive health care expenses that they are going to pay for their workers.

I am against RH bill because this will cause higher prices in the commodities and services by forcing the medical sector and all the employers to provide for free reproductive health care services, supplies and devices to all workers, more particularly women workers (See Section 17 of this bill). If the government will deliver free services to the poor, then to whom they will get the money from? it is from our taxes, of course.

We want to lessen population by giving free condoms and contraceptives (and other reproductive health services) to the poor but to the expense of increasing our taxes and having higher prices of commodities as a result? I think this bill is stupid.

SUMMARY:

                 RH BILL IS EVIL AND STUPID HENCE SHOULD BE KILLED

Yes, we can help the poor all we want. But we cannot be charitable by getting money from other people through taxes and by having the business, health and education sectors under state control in the name of helping the marginalised sector of the society.

If the government is really sincere in helping curbing out poverty, it must work its ways on how to INCREASE THE AVERAGE FAMILY INCOME OF EVERY FILIPINOS, instead, and NOT in WASTING our TAXES to buy CONDOMS and CONTRACEPTIVES! Why the government can’t focus in PROVIDING JOBS for its PEOPLE? INCREASE INVESTORS’ TRUST? AND INCREASE ITS COMPETITIVENESS IN THE WORLD MARKET?

I am a licensed forester and I learned from my professors during my college years about their frustrations on how the government has overlooked the agriculture and forestry sectors in terms of curbing poverty in this country using our available rich and diverse resources.

UNLESS lawmakers will GUARANTEE NO CORRUPTION and it WILL ALLEVIATE POVERTY in a drastic way, will I believe that they were sincere in their intentions to help the poor. For now, forgive me, but I believe this bill is EVIL and STUPID.

I believe that there is a large amount of lobbying money behind this. That this will encourage immorality, abortion, corruption, will legalise stealing money from the tax payers and will violate our constitutional rights- the main reasons why this bill is EVIL!

It is STUPID because 1. It is just a waste of our money (to distribute condoms and contraceptives without assurance that recipients will use these) and 2. It makes us believe that by giving out these for free and also by teaching our Grade 5 students about sex education will solve our country’s problem of over population and poverty.

RH Bill is evil and stupid, the main reason why this should be killed! We have existing good laws that only proper implementation is needed. If we are really concerned about the welfare of the poor (and women), why we don’t provide them DECENT JOBS with GOOD SALARIES? Why not go after big fishes and collect their taxes so that we may have higher revenues? Why not protect our FORESTS (oceans, and others with ecological importance)? Why not manage our lands well, and distribute them properly (not only in the ownership of the few elites) so that we may increase our resources? Why not implement MORAL RECOVERY PROGRAM, instead?

Let us stop war in Mindanao! Let us provide the poor with greater access to basic services! Let us educate our people but not by teaching sex education to our young children!

The poor does not NEED RH BILL! We don’t need this to be well informed! We can maintain the status quo without this!

If RH Bill is killed, we will still have access to every promises lawmakers used in this bill to DECEIVE the people. What do I mean? We can still enjoy the freedom of choice we want: there will still be promotion and protection of gender equality; protection of the elements of the reproductive health care and ensure massive and sustained information drive on responsible parenthood.

How do I say this? Because, today, for example, are malls prevented to build breastfeeding areas in their establishments? If we want to buy condoms and pills over the counters, is there any one or any thing preventing us from doing this? If adolescents would want to know about safe sex, do they have access?

My point is: Without RH Bill, we still have the choice! But with the passage of this bill, it will REGULATE OUR FREEDOM (far from protecting it!) The law will force every employer including doctors and health workers to give condoms and contraceptives!  The law will penalise those who will not comply! They will punish every individual who will engage in disinformation about this bill! Sex education will be included in the academic curriculum of our students at very young age! Our taxes and prices of commodities will increase because they will give free condoms and contraceptives to people without consideration if recipients will use these! RH Bill violates our FREEDOM OF SPEECH and RELIGION. It is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! All of these are reasons why this bill is stupid and evil.

And one more thing, I believe RH Bill is evil because it attacks the weaknesses of the Church instead of focusing in giving answers to the questions that will encourage improvements in our future laws. Satan enjoys seeing his opponent being dragged down; he is like a roaring lion that prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow. Satan uses encouraging words but deep down is a hidden intention- evil intention.

SATAN IS THE FATHER OF ALL LIES

Last night, I am discussing this RH bill with my cousin and my boyfriend. But before I go to sleep, I really was alarmed how people were deceived by its promises. I never felt so compelled about writing something such as this article. I felt that there is this need to oppose the bill- in my own way (which is writing). So, I prayed that God may give me the wisdom and the courage to write about  this issue.

Every time I am confused, depressed, and enthusiastic about something or before I make any important decisions in my life, I do pray and ask for His message. I believe that His message was written in the Bible- that any answer to my prayer is found in its pages.

After I prayed, I flipped over the pages of the Bible and this particular verse in John struck me:

“But you are exactly what your father does.”

“Don’t accuse us of having someone else as our father!” they said. “We just have one father, and he is God.”

“Jesus answered: If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and only from him. He sent me. I did not come on my own. Why can’t you understand what I am talking about? Can’t you stand to hear what I am saying? Your father is the devil, and you do exactly what he wants. He has always been a murderer and a liar. There is nothing truthful about him. He speaks on his own, and everything he says is a lie. Not only is he a liar himself, but he is also the father of all lies. Every thing I have told you is true, and you still refuse to have faith in me. Can any of you accuse me of sin? If you cannot, why won’t you have faith in me? After all, I am telling you the truth. Anyone who belongs to God will listen to his message. But you refuse to listen, because you don’t belong to God.”- John 8: 41-47

I would like to quote one of the intelligent bloggers (aka jlocute) I read online. This is in relation to the topic that Satan is a great deceiver and many have led astray because of his use of deceiving and encouraging words.

“We are really at the end of time era. These are all Satan’s works. We should be aware how he works. As he said, ‘I pretend to love men in order to destroy them; serve them in order to ruin them; deceive them and help them in order to pervert them and draw them into these my hellish regions.’”

To continue, jlocute emphasized that,

“People have been persuaded by the devil that they are entitled to have sex when they choose, rejecting any unwanted life that may result. The enemy may tell (us): ‘that God is too demanding and unreasonable. If we distributed more condoms, we would not have disease or the need to abort babies. And that it is God’s fault (if our population booms or poverty prevails) because God’s Church is against the use of condoms’.”

For jlocute,

“Sexual intercourse, by its nature and intent is potentially (a) life giving act. This is God’s version. (But) the enemy’s version is that sex can be closed to give life and used for physical pleasure only. Enemy’s version of sex is selfish, emotionally dangerous and bad for humanity. The enemy offers an answer to this too, and led souls to avoid consequences by offering widespread contraception and abortion. Both men and women are now told that sinful sexual behaviours are allowable and acceptable. God intends that a man and woman enter a blessed union (through marriage) and then share their sexuality with one another. (Using this bill) the devil is mocking God because he depicts God’s purpose. He is laughing because many led astray on this sin.”

Last night I also prayed that He may give me enough time so that I may write article opposing RH Bill just like this; and just this morning, my immediate boss sent me a message that he will be on leave today. God has answered my prayer. He has not just given me few hours to write about this article; He gave me whole day of business work to finish this! Is any one can explain to me how the bible verse and time to write this article incidence were so appropriate? I believe there is really a reason why these coincidences happened.

I have read and heard about the arguments of the Pro RH Bill. Again, forgive me, because I already had decided- I am against it because I believe this violates the law of men and is against the will of God. So to speak.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

 Most of my arguments came from this site. So, please consider visiting this link:  http://fvdb.wordpress.com/ The author has very good insights.

I suggest you also check my references below. Thank you so much for taking time reading this article.

“But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
2 Corinthians 11:14 (NLT)

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.”
– Naguib Mahfouz

 “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”
Mother Teresa

“The biggest obstacle was mixing abortion with overpopulation. These are two things that have nothing to do with each other. ”
Jacques Yves Cousteau

References:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/overpopulation.html#ixzz1MV2rSYdM
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/poverty.html#ixzz1MV2RcX9e

http://worddoodling.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/3000-words-to-pwn-you/

http://fvdb.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/rh-bill/#comment-9744

http://aristogeek.wordpress.com/    

http://fightrhbill.blogspot.com/2009/06/its-time-to-kill-bill-5043.html

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleid=481421

http://alfi.org.ph/home/index.php/2008/10/hb-5043-is-like-the-forbidden-apple-in-the-garden-of-eden/

http://www.phnix.net/HB5043_coercive01.pdf

http://www.thelaw.com/dictionary/VOID.html          

http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/Poverty-in-the-Philippines/chap6.pdf

http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/Poverty-Philippines-Causes-Constraints-Opportunities/Poverty-Philippines-Causes-Constraints-Opportunities.pdf#page=19

http://filipinasinshowbiz.com/index/2011/04/08/rh-bill-gets-support-from-dingdong-dantes/

www.gmanews.tv/story/218626/nation/iglesia-ni-cristo-supportsrhbill

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=672157&publicationSubCategoryId=63

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2011/03/23/over-200-academics-ex-cabinet-members-support-rh-bill-146520

http://wiki.lawcenter.ph/index.php?title=House_Bill_4244_(15th_Congress)

http://www.pngoc.org/manifesto_of_support_for_the_rp-rh_bill.html                 

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/185986/survey-more-than-a-third-of-voters-prefer-bets-who-support-rh-bill

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/279761/advocates-overjoyed-pnoys-prorh-stance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reproductive_Health_Bill_(Philippines)          

http://oppositeofapathy.wordpress.com/tag/reproductive-health-bill/       

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Birth-Control-Contraception-/Copper-IUD-side-effects/show/160039

http://filipinosforlife.com/2011/03/10/15th-congress-house-bill-4244-full-text-final-consolidated-rh-bill-hb-4244/

www.topbibleverses.com

Youth Bible. Global Edition. Holy Bible Contemporary English Version. United Bible Societies. 2004.

“If our faith is strong, we should be patient with the Lord’s followers whose faith is weak. We should try to please them instead of ourselves. We should think of their good and try to help them by doing what pleases them. Even Christ did not try to please Himself.” – Romans 15:1-3

Because of the tsunami and radiation issues in Japan, many speculations have arisen. People have reacted in news and gave their own opinions about what was happening. If you click this link:

http://ph.yfittopostblog.com/2011/03/11/several-ph-provinces-under-tsunami-alert-after-japan-quake/#

 you will find a discussion page where people commented about related topics such as why a loving God would allow bad things to happen to good people.

A certain Paolo O pointed out that:

“WHERE IS YOUR GOD WHEN THINGS LIKE THIS HAPPEN??? Same as the 9/11, World Wars, Poverty in Africa. Inequality in this system that puts the whole world into the brink of discussion through massive consumerism. WAKE UP.”

Jeffrey, another reader responded to him and written:

“Ask yourself first where you are when things like this haven’t happened yet. Have you even remembered God for a while? Oh yeah of course, I’m sorry, I’m mistaken, ‘you have other god’!!!

And Paolo O replied to Jeffrey:

“No, the point is, why would this even have to happen, this is not man-made, if he’s the God that divides the Red Sea, why can’t he stop the earthquake? Whatever”.

Another reader shared her opinion. She was Stryker_2011 (I knew she was a girl because she was my officemate and she was the one who shared about the discussion thread):

“My GOD has and is always around. You’re just not really looking into…maybe even feel-less that you can’t sense HIS CALLING to YOU! MY GOD really is a GOD of love, even to your kind of thoughts, but then people like your kind of thoughts is what keeps this ball of destructions rolling… thus, GOD has to teach us, HIS rebels, lessons, with rough edges to awaken before it’s really too late, much too late, til there will not be a single option left, even to crawl! So watch out, little rebel…”

Paolo O responded to Stryker_2011’s comment:

“God of love that lets people perish, good or bad, in the most brutal way. Yep, thats love alright.”

Honestly, I was disturbed to Paolo’s arguments (as well as others’-you can follow the thread in the link I mentioned above) and was challenged to answer. I discussed about the thread with my churchmate and asked him how we will respond. I told him that we should be very careful because it was written in the Bible that:

“Welcome all the Lord’s followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don’t criticise them for having beliefs that are different from yours.”- Romans 14:1-2

As Christians, we understood that these questions are essential in our learning process. When the right time comes (in the end it was a fight between good and evil), it is necessary that we are equipped with memory verses (memorised Bible passages) so that when someone questions our faith we will be able to answer (or enlighten the person somehow).

Last night, before I went to sleep, I prayed for understanding. I asked God the same question,

“If You are loving, why would You allow suffering to happen even to good people?”

I read my Bible and it was written:

“Day and night I went without sleep, trying to understand what goes on this world. I saw everything God does, and I realized that no one can really understand what happens. We may be very wise, but no matter how much we try or how much we claim to know, we cannot understand it all.”-Ecclesiastes 8: 16-17

WISDOM FROM PEOPLE AND OWN EXPERIENCES

1. BLIND GRANDFATHER

This morning, when I was preparing for work, I remembered my grandfather. He was now 82 yrs old and was blinded due to severe cataract. Last year, I visited Gubat, Sorsogon (our province where my grandfather lives); I asked Papay (Bicol term for grand father) why he was still a happy person despite his situation. He said that he was happy because God loves him; that He allows suffering to happen in his life. I told him I do not understand. Papay shared to me the following arguments I will never forget:

A. That this life is temporary. We are not yet home. Our home is in heaven that’s why we feel pain and suffering on this earth. It is on our home that we feel security, peace and joy that is everlasting.

B. That he has lost his eyesight but he has his other body parts that still works well- his hearing, sense of touch and memory were still working great! It’s just like about the attitude: how we will look a glass- half empty or half filled- is really up to us. The blessings are just around. It depends on how we appreciate them.

2. A LAY MINISTER WHOSE WIFE DIED WITH CANCER

Our high school valedictorian’s parents are active servants of the Catholic Church. During the wake of John Quiring’s mom, his father who was a lay minister that time, gave the one of the most inspiring speeches I ever heard. He said that his family was comforted about Mrs. Racquel’s death. They all knew that their loved one was already with the Lord and continuously guiding them. That God loves her so much that He wants to be with her in the home called heaven.

3. I SUFFERED MINOR CASE OF TUBERCULOSIS

Last year, I was diagnosed with minor case of tuberculosis. I never smoke. I live a healthy lifestyle but I still caught up the ailment. I asked my doctor how I was able to acquire it. He said, it is caused by my exposure to environment or people who have this. So, I have my parents x-rayed as well (they were negative, thank God). I took six months of treatment and now, I am totally healed without any mark of the scars on my lungs.

What I learned from the experience is that, I was blessed because I am surrounded with caring and loving people; they never discriminated me and I never felt I was sick then.

4. AN EMAIL ABOUT JESUS

Last February 22, 2011, I received a forwarded email about Jesus that was written:

“If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a Healer?

If you never had to pray, How would you know that I am a Deliverer?

If you never had a trial, how could you call yourself an overcomer?

If you never felt sadness, How would you know that I am a Comforter?

If you never made a mistake, How would you know that I am a forgiver?

If you knew all, How would you know that I will answer your questions?

If you never were in trouble, How would you know that I will come to your rescue?

If you never were broken, Then how would you know that I can make you whole?

If you never had a problem,How would you know that I can solve them?

If you never had any suffering, Then how would you know what I went through? 

If you never went through the fire, Then how would you become pure?

If I gave you all things, How would you appreciate them?

If I never corrected you, How would you know that I love you?

If you had all power, Then how would you learn to depend on me?

If your life was perfect, Then what would you need me for?

Love, Jesus.”

In this email, I was reminded how can we understand what Jesus went through when we will not also experience suffering?

5. AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD RETREAT EXPERIENCE LAST FEBRUARY 24-26, 2011

During our Encounter with God Retreat last month, participants watched video how Jesus was brutally treated before his crucifixion. I cried while watching because I can feel the pain and His suffering.

That time I thought, why people would be so cruel to Jesus when He did good things for them- he healed them and shared them the good news.

That Jesus don’t deserve such maltreatment. He was God but because of His obedience to His Father and humility, instead of questioning His Father why he endures suffering, He instead prayed to forgive people since they do not know what they are doing.

Jesus was so humble that despite being the Son of God, He lets His Father’s will done.

Today, I learned that we should be just like Christ. Humble and obedient. That despite being wise and have everything any one can hope for, we should remain the virtue of humility. I have friends who were once atheists but because they learned to be humble, they now appreciate salvation through Christ’s.

6. THE VALUE OF DISCIPLESHIP AND PRAYER

It was written:

“In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:4

As Christians, we should share to others the value of salvation. We do not want ourselves to be saved only. Of course, we want our loved ones to experience also the greatness and goodness of our God. We were blessed because the Holy Spirit is within us but we have the responsibility to share it with others.

For unbelievers, let us not persecute them. Instead, we should pray for their enlightenment. I believe God works in us in His own mysterious ways. That when we pray from our heart, He gives answer to it.

Sometimes, we think God does not care about us- we did not know that the blessings were just around, we just fail to see it.

GOING BACK TO THE COMMENT THREAD

I like Hoefler posted in the comment thread; he written:

“I understand you don’t believe that there is God. May I ask why? Did u try to read the Bible? I know u don’t believe that there is God so I expect u to say ” u did not read the Bible”. But if you try to read the Bible especially in Matthew 24: 1-51 and read as well the Revelation the whole book and try to look on what had happen around the world. U will know why we believe that there is God. U might say that the Bible is written by human only but those man who wrote the Bible they were inspired by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit, the Son Jesus Christ and God the Father is ONE. If God does not exist how this people (writer of the Bible) know what will happen in the future, mind you the Bible was written long,long before this things happen. May the Lord touch your heart and gives you the wisdom and understanding of the Holy Spirit so may you understand why God has to let this things happen to humanity. It’s because of our sinful nature and only by His grace we can reconcile with Him. God bless you.”

Hoefler is right. If we have questions to God, we must pray to Him and read His Words through the Bible.

My grandfather never read the book Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren; he did not hear any pastors’ talking about our life’s purpose, but Papay has the same wisdom these people have. He learned the same by reading the Bible during his young age. Papay may be suffering from his old age and blindness but because of what He has learned through reading the Bible his faith has grown deep- the main reason why he never question, “why a loving God would allow sufferings or bad things to happen to good people?” Instead, he provided me the answer, enlightened me and shared to me the wonderful good news about God’s goodness.

PRAYER:

Thank you for our suffering that builds our character; for problems that make us wiser, stronger and better person; for challenges that let us know who are our true friends in times of dire needs; and for sickness that reminds us to take good care of our body more.

Thank you for Your gift of salvation through Christ’s suffering- He died for us so that we may be saved from our sins. And thank you for the wisdom coming from people around us and from our own experiences that taught us about things that You want us to learn in response to our prayers.

Today, all the honor and glory we give to You. Let all Your will be done, always. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” -Psalm 119:105

Yesterday, I attended Greenpeace Volunteers’ Photography training. Gigi, our trainor taught us the basics of it: history, concepts of aperture, shutterspeed, ISO, depth-of-field, types of cameras, things to consider in taking photos, editing tips and some useful websites (including shops and magazines) we can use as resources. We also took photos to apply what we have learnt on that day.

She also emphasized the importance of reading our manuals so that we may fully explore other functions of our cameras. Honestly, I am using our company DSLR for one year in taking our event photos but I haven’t read its manual yet. So tomorrow, the first thing I will do is to borrow the Nikon D5000 manual from my boss and further study its basic operation.

PRAYER:

Just like new photographers who need to read their camera manuals so that they may understand and work better; people must also consult their life manual- the Bible.

Today, You teaches us the wisdom of reading the Bible since it contains Your words that will guide us in living this life like Christ. Thank you for the revelation that your words will keep us perform our purpose- to fear God and keep his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13) and become better Christians.

All these I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen