Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Only Way To Prosperity

The normal dream of any man is to prosper in life. For this reason, some pursue professional courses like medicine, law, engineering and such other courses which they believe will enable them to earn more money in the hope that if they have an abundance of money or if they become wealthy, they will become prosperous in life. To many people acquiring a degree in education is the key to material prosperity.

Our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, pursued a medical degree in Spain, then a progressive country in the world. Was he a prosperous man? Yes and no. Yes, because he enjoys the title of being the national hero of the Philippines. No, because he was not able to build a business empire where he could be wealthy materially like that of the Ayalas, Aranetas, Cojuancos, Madrigals, etc. He was not able to build a hospital or even a medical clinic of his own. His only outstanding accomplishment on historical record as a medical doctor was his successful operation of the cataract of his own mother. Of course, there is no dispute that he ignited and revolutionized the Filipino people to obtain their independence from the Spanish regime, and through his extraordinary talent in writing he authored two wonderful books. The Noli Me Tangere and the El Filibusterismo in which he exposed the abuses of the Spanish government particularly the clergy who were then the powerful forces in government, which eventually led to the overthrow of this foreign power. Had he organized a Foundation to pursue and manage the gain of his writing talent even after his demise, Rizal and his heirs or successors-in-interest would be very rich in royalty of his writing talent but not as a Doctor of Medicine, or by his educational achievements.

The Bible relates to us a man who prospered not only materially, politically, socially and spiritually – the man JOSEPH of the Old Testament. The Bible tells us, “ And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man, …” (Gen. 39:2 KJV). The Bible continues, “Because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.” (Gen. 39:23 KJV).

Who makes us to prosper? The LORD God Almighty. How? The LORD must be with us. Thus, the Bible instructs us, In Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all the things you have need of shall be added unto you.” It continues, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and Only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. This is true prosperity, not only materially, physically or socially, but more importantly SPIRITUALLY which is ETERNALLY - - and it is forever.

The question to ask is: How do we seek God? Pray and read the Bible. Memorize important passages which will automatically come to our mind when the need arises. Hear the Word of God from “Men of God” who teaches and preaches the WORD of God without adulteration, and do what the Word says or instructs. In other words, be a follower or disciple of Jesus (God in person) in thoughts, in words and in deeds. This is very difficult to do - - to be Christlike, but it is the only way to be successful and prosperous and a guarantee that our name will be written in the book of life (Rev. 20:12 & 15 KJV) like our specimen character Joseph of the Old Testament. Surely, the name of Joseph is not only written in the Bible but also in the Book of Life.
But before that, Joseph underwent hardships and sacrifices, physically, emotionally and spiritually - - almost unbearable, if not for the grace of God upon him. He did not give up but rather went through trials patiently with the various testing of his faith and in his life, such as his being persecuted by his own blood brothers and imprisoned though he was innocent and guiltless. So, like Joseph, let God be with us and be our Shepherd; let us be patient, don’t give up. God will never leave us nor forsake us (Joshua 1:5; Heb. 13:5). Add to these characteristics, diligence which according to Solomon, the wisest man whoever lived said, “The hand of the diligent maketh rich; but the slothful (lazy) become poor” (Prov. 10:4 KJV), and he added, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor” (Prov. 12:24 NIV). The only way to have eternal prosperity, materially and spiritually and to be with Jesus (God in the flesh) in earth and in heaven is to follow the way - as Jesus has declared “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (to heaven) except through me” (John 14:6 NIV).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Retirement in God's Service

 Retirement is always associated with old age. It usually means physical decline and weakness, loneliness, and a retreat to inactivity. Some retired people just sit and think, and sit and think. . . and sometimes just sit. That’s getting old in the worst way – – ceasing to live before one dies.

In Philippine setting, the retirement for the military and police is fifty-five or thirty years service whichever comes first. This is rather too young an age to retire. But considering the nature of work of soldiers and policemen, studies show that this is just the right age for them to retire. Many military men who use their common sense and are smart especially those who graduated from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), apply to become executives of large corporations and earn and enjoy more their life after their retirement.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur was already a retired General of the US Army serving as the head of West Point Military Academy, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt recalled him to active duty during World War II. Thereafter, having proved his genius as a military commander both in World War II and in the Korean War in the 50’s, he served in various capacities in the U.S. government, the last of which was his assignment in Japan as the Occupation Military Commander of that country to whom the emperor of Japan reports. He rebuilt Japan economically. The industrial economic success and stability of Japan today is an eloquent proof of the genius of Gen. MacArthur even in his old age. He was compulsorily retired by President Harry S. Truman at age 74 due to conflict of strategy in handling the Communist expansionism in the world. He served well the U.S. government for fifty-two years!

History records that many people made some of their greatest contributions to society after the age of sixty five. The Earl of Halsburg, for example, was 90 when he began preparing a 20-volume revision of English law; Goethe wrote Faust at 82. Galileo made his greatest discovery when he was 73. Sir Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of England at the age of 77.

On the religious world, at 69, the respected missionary Hudson Taylor, was still vigorously working on the mission field, opening up new territories in Indochina. In Old Testament times, when Caleb was 85, he took the stronghold of the giants (Josh. 14:10-15). Moses, the acclaimed great leader of Bible times was eighty years old when he was commissioned by God to liberate the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt, then the World Power of all nations of the known world. He served for forty years until the Lord took him at age 120 and buried him with God’s own hands (Deut. 34:6).

God never intends for us to retire from spiritual activity at an early age. Instead the Bible tells us:

12 The righteous (believer) will flourish like a palm tree,  they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit (souls or spiritual fruit) in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,”
(Ps. 92:12-14 NIV)

Even as Jesus kept the “best wine” for the last at the wedding in Cana (John 2:10), so God seeks to gather the most luscious clusters of the fruit of the Spirit from the fully ripened harvest of our lives. The best of life is yet to come in our old age!

We can be sure God would not keep us on this work-a-day world of tears and joy if He did not have a worthwhile ministry for us to accomplish like in the case of Moses, Joshua, Abraham and the other great men-servants of “God (Jesus in person) who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). So let us keep on serving the Lord! Remember, the older we become, we acquire valuable experiences in life. “Experience is the best teacher”. Be like Moses, serve until God himself retires us.

It is worth quoting the adage favorite of Capt. Remy Celeste, our oldest FGBMFI member, “Age is a matter of the mind; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I Talked With God

 It is a rare privilege for anyone to be able to talk to, and have a handshake, with the highest official of our land or country.

When I was a new lawyer, a bosom friend and client, and the son-in-law of then Governor Paciano Bangoy of Davao Province when Davao was yet a single province, invited me to the Governor’s residence so I can meet my “idol,” the 1939 lawyer-bar topnotcher whose 98% grade is unsurpassed up to this day, who was then the Senate President and who was campaigning for the Presidency of the Philippines, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. I was excited beyond words could express to meet him personally. Being accompanied by the son-in-law of the Governor, breaking protocol, I was brought directly to Senate President Marcos. In his golden baritone voice, as I was introduced to, and had a handshake with him, he said to me, “How are you?” Oh, the indescribable joy in my heart, especially because he was subsequently elected President by a landslide vote.

In my later years as an active practitioner, in my capacity as President and later Chairman of the Board of the most prestigious organization of businessmen, professionals and politicians in Davao City, the Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industry, now with more than 500 members, I have had handshakes with the succeeding Presidents of the Philippines, like President Joseph Estrada, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, except, perhaps by pure coincidence, the incumbent one, President Noynoy Aquino and his late mother, President Corazon C. Aquino.

But the privilege of having a handshake or talking to the President of our country is nothing. While I know them as all of us know them, I am sure, they don’t remember having handshake with me or me having talked to them, should, by God’s grace, we meet later in heaven.

But everyday, morning, noontime, evening, every and any moment, I can always talk to God in prayer. There is no protocol with God. We do not need anyone else to introduce us to Him or any special occasion to talk to our God as He himself taught us, we can directly pray, “Our Father which art in heaven…” Then, we can proceed to ask and tell him anything, and according to His perfect will, what we ask for will be granted to us as gift without spending a single cent. And we can do this anywhere at anytime. Only “Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and the door shall be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). And God remembers us because the Scripture says, “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30). That is how sharp the memory of our God! Imagine, God knows even the number of our hairs! How wonderful! But are we availing of this wonderful opportunity and privilege of talking to God (Jesus Christ in the flesh) personally any moment everyday? Let us do so for our own good and for the glory of God.

What makes it more wonderful is that we do not have to be a professional, businessman, wealthy, high politician, brilliant, or a friend to someone close to God. Any one can talk to God through prayer. “The Spirit and the bride (Jesus Christ) say, “Come’, And let him who hears say, ‘Come’ Whoever is thirsty of (God, the Love of God), let him come, and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17 NIV).