Sunday, December 25, 2005

May this holiday season be the best yet
for you and those you love.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Law of sowing and reaping

“A man reaps what he sows”. (St. Paul, Galatians 6:7)

“Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” (Jesus, Matthew 7:1)

“Do not do to others what you would not like yourself.” (Confucius)

“Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith. Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify the latter for the same.” (Philippine Civil Code, Article 19 and 20)

These are different ways of expressing The Golden Rule. It is also called Law of the Harvest or Law of the Farm, and is one of the most important natural laws in the world.

Like the law of gravity, which no one on earth can avoid, the law of sowing and reaping governs everything we do or say even we do not believe it. A man can claim he doesn’t believe in the law of gravity but if he jumps off a ten-story window, his belief cannot save him. The same goes true with the law of sowing and reaping.

In fact, basic human laws follow this principle. A person who does wrong must be punished, while one who is hurt must be protected. We therefore have the law called lex talionis - "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, an arm for an arm, a life for a life” as found in Hebrew scripture My civil law professor, the late Haydee Yorac, used to tell us that “good faith is always rewarded and bad faith is always punished”..

With or without human laws, the law of sowing and reaping affects our lives, and there are three important things I would like to share about this.

One, the seed and the harvest are of the same kind. We all know that papaya seeds will bear papaya trees and fruits. Bringing this to our actions, if we shout at someone, he will instinctively respond to us the same way. Or someone who exploits people will, in one way or another, be exploited by others. A person who sows kindness reaps kindness. A bad decision will have bad consequences. And so on.

Two, after sometime, the harvest will be bigger than the seed. The seed is tiny but grows into a plant that is much, much bigger. If we plant good deeds, after sometime, we will harvest good results.

I recall my younger brother when he was new in his job. He worked as a medical representative, visiting doctors and hospitals to introduce the line of medicines assigned to him. He used to wake up at 5 a.m. every working day, prepare quietly for the day without any word of complaint, take the bus to work carrying two huge bags of medicine samples. He told me that he had no office space, but just found time to rest in between calls whenever he sits down waiting for the doctor. Because he was consistent and diligent in his work, he was promoted through the years and is now training manager of younger medical representatives in the same company, with all the benefits that come with the position.

If we go through bad times, it would be good to look at any past action we have done that could have been the seed for this. It is easy for people to blame God when they suffer bad experiences, but someone has wisely said: “Don’t make bad decisions and blame God for the consequences.” We have all made bad decisions at one time or another, and have experienced its effects. As we go through the harvest time, we can start planting good seed because after a while we will surely reap good results. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9)

Three, harvest is unavoidable. I think this is a very important principle. Nature gives us clear illustrations of how things work. I used to live in a subdivision in Cainta, Rizal – a very beautiful, quiet and green area when I was young. After 15 years or so, it became difficult to live there not only because of heavy traffic but also because of the floods that reached more than waist high and stranded all vehicles during the rainy season. The floods resulted from uncontrolled destruction of the forests in Antipolo, among others.

Given these three points about sowing and reaping, it is easy to be pessimistic about the future. But there is another way of looking at things, especially now that we are beginning a new year. Let’s take this as a starting point for planting good seed, so we can look forward to a good harvest later on.

May 2006 be the best year yet for you and your loved ones! Happy New Year!

(Published in THE SUN newspaper Hong Kong, January 2006)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Safety Tips for Women

This was forwarded to me by Ping G., and it's worth sharing:

We can now add to the list of victims the retired 77 yr. old TCU professor from Ft Worth whose body was found in Oklahoma --- and the 11 yr. old in Sarasota, FL. Because of these recent abductions in daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation.

This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children, everyone you know.After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. (DON'T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.

5. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

6. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

a) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.

b) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

c) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

7. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

8. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably ! in a zig-zag pattern!

9. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

10.Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night. Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby.

This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on America's Most Wanted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana. I'd like you to forward this to all the women you know. It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. I was going to send this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it onto them, as well. Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it's better to be safe than sorry.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

You may walk, run or crawl, but no matter what happens, keep on going

"The Christian walk becomes an uphill climb, the longer we are in the race. There are times when we run. Sometimes, we walk. When we get weary, we even crawl. That's all right, for no matter what happens, what's important is that we keep on going." This message, which I heard many Sundays ago in church, keeps coming back to me.

Sometimes I go up the mountain trail in Mui Wo, Lantau where I live.

I usually do what some hikers do --- walk fast for a bit, then stop to rest, and go on again. It was more difficult to start again after making a full stop, and there was even the tendency to slide back when the trail became steep.

But last Saturday morning, I decided to keep on going. On steep incline, I went slowly, even if I had to go little steps to maintain my breath. When I got tired, I looked at the top of the mountain - my goal - and went on and on and on. What victory there was in reaching my goal.

This has led me to reflect on my own human frailty. I have seen Christian leaders fall at a point when many think they have become stable in their walk. I believe no one is stable in one's walk, and we can only cling to the grace of Jesus day by day. The Christian life is not about counting points, or having merits or demerits. I believe it is all about the grace of God, and our appreciation of that. Grace means undeserved mercy, underserved gifts. Even each heartbeat, or each breath of life, is only because of the grace of God, not because of anything we have done.

And so I pray that my experience going to the top during that hike last Saturday morning will serve to remind me - in times of rough sailing - that there is a goal to aim for, and that is eternal life. And I pray that by God's grace, I could cling to Him until He takes me home.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Sunday, December 04, 2005


"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke, British statesman and philosopher (1729-1797)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Are you undergoing serious tests of faith and faithfulness?

Dear Friends,

Sometimes we go through serious tests of our faith in God and faithfulness in our commitments and relationships. A pastor said that the longer we go in our walk with God, the more cautious and prayerful we need to be, because the climb gets more difficult. There are times when we need RADICAL PRAYER to conquer severe tests. Prayer is radical when we believe that God can intervene and change things dramatically. Prayer is necessary when it is all we can do, when we cannot even rely on our own strength to conquer our emotions. God is good and gracious. He will take us through if we keep our eyes on Him.

"Do you not see that in a running competition all take part, but only one gets the reward? So let your minds be fixed on the reward. And every man who takes part in the sports has self-control in all things. Now they do it to get a crown which is of this world, but we for an eternal crown." (1 Corinthians 9:24)

Chato Olivas-Gallo