There he was, a middle-aged man, with slightly reddish eyes but the red streak across his forehead stood out more. He was very upset!
“Aaarrggghhhh!” he screamed as he stomped his feet on the cold ground inside the “Sobering” cell. He stopped when he saw me, the LVN, and the 3 deputies with us nearing the big glass window where he was. He sat still, stopped screaming and stomping. I could sense he was drunk but still was coherent enough to know what was going on.
The deputy slowly opened the heavy, metal door. 2 of them went inside first to determine if it was safe for me and the other nurse to talk with him and check his vital signs. He was cooperating at that time.
I took his radial pulse. “120 beats per minute”. He denied using street drugs. I could hear his deep, loud sigh, an angry kind of rhythm, as he stared at the cop who arrested him. I had the LVN took his blood pressure. “160/90,” she stated as she glanced at me, waiting for my signal that I would not accept the inmate for a racy pulse and high BP. But not yet.
“You need to calm down!” I commanded to the man.
“Can’t you see? I’m trying to calm down! Aaaaarrrr…” he replied with an angry tone and took another penetrating glare toward the arresting cop.
“How can you calm down when you remained angry this whole time? Just answer me. Why were you arrested?” as I raised my voice slightly higher but with a respectful way.
No answer…For 1 minute…He let out 2 long, deep breaths.
“More,” I told him. And more deep breaths, he did…Still. No answer. Then, I turned to the LVN and requested for her to take his BP again. “140/88,” she said smiling at me. She couldn’t believe that his BP would become lower in a matter of few minutes.
“Give me his health screen paper, Officer. Let me sign it, so you can book him now.”
“Thank you so much, Ma’am,” he replied with an obvious expression of relief that he didn’t need to bring his arrestee to our main prison. And the man remained still. He was not hitting his head anymore. He was quiet and appeared to be contemplating the answer to the question I posed.
He was caught driving drunk. I don’t know how many times. Yet, every time he is arrested, he gets angry. But he caused this to himself. Year after year, he is trapped in that same habit.
How is it different with our New Year’s Resolutions? We try to improve things in our lives, year after year, only to become angry and disappointed as nothing new happened around December time. We put out the best goals we can think of and become determined to complete them. Still. We fail. Then, we’re angry.
Let’s stop resisting the Authority. When He finds us, don’t get angry at Him. He just wants the best for you. He doesn’t want you to get hurt. And as for us who had yielded to His power before, we still fall into sin. We become proud of the things we have accomplished. Forgetting it was not our strength that did that. But His grace. How far have we, believers or non-believers, have turned away from the Authority wanting us to be successful?
There is this NUMBER 1 resolution that we must aim for: To turn back to God, repent for our sins and walk humbly with Him, not only for this year, but for the rest of our lives. We are all familiar with this verse:
2 Chronicles 7:14 - “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”
But have you read verse 15-16?
15 - “I will listen to every prayer made in this place, 16for I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be my home forever. My eyes and my heart will always be here.”
Let’s all stop resisting the Authority. Sit still. Contemplate on humbling ourselves by admitting our sins, praying to God for His forgiveness and seeking Him continually and turn away from our sinful behavior. This is the best goal we can all achieve, not only for the year 2010 but for the rest of our lives.
Because true repentance is beyond all these words. It is changed behavior.
Friends, the Lord brought this to mind, many hours after I had already posted this[added at 0815 hrs.]:
33But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides." ~ Matthew 6:33; AMP.
A whiff of freezing cold air entered the small Intake area when 2 police officers brought in a drunk male arrestee. Speaking in another language, the same officer interpreted for me. He just answered “no” to all of the questions I asked if he had any mental or medical problems. It was to determine if he was medically or mentally fit to stay in the jail.
He approached a nearby wall to be searched by our prison's deputies for any dangerous things like drugs or weapons. I stopped our deputies right there because if I didn’t want to admit that arrestee, their search would be useless. The officers and our own deputies were amazed and were all wondering why I did that.
I asked the interpreting officer to continue to interpret for me.
“Pull up your right pant leg!,” I ordered.
Intoxicated, he could barely understand my command on top of the language barrier between us. As his breathing was let out and alcohol reeked in that tiny space. He ended up kneeling down on the floor to remain stable and slightly pulled the pant leg up. His black sock was knee-high…He got back up again as the officers’ eyebrows were still raised and with confused look painted on their faces, kept staring at me, but seemed to be hesitant to question my actions.
“No, sir! Get back down and pull up your pant leg and pull down your sock!” I commanded again.
As he struggled to prevent from falling, he slowly lowered his right leg sock. A draining abscess or wound emerged into everyone’s view. The tissues around it was very red, swollen and some tissues were already turning black. This meant he has a massive infection going on, on that leg.
“Eewww…What was that?”, asked one of our deputies, as the arresting officers both let out a deep breath. They both knew what it meant. I wouldn’t accept their arrestee. They needed to bring him now to the county’s hospital to be treated before bringing him back to the county’s main correctional facility, not to the one I was working in that night.
The deputies working with me smiled at me and asked, “How did you know that nurse? That was awesome!”
“It’s a gut feeling,” I answered as I went back to the prison’s Clinic.
"Thank you, Ma'am," uttered one of the police officer.
"You're welcome and please stay safe out there," I hollered back.
A gut feeling…Learned by years of experience. To see beyond what is obscure. We need discernment, too in our spiritual walks. But it is important that we must judge or discern things properly. In everything that we do, it’s clear that we must judge properly even before we act. That’s where discernment comes. I pray the Lord will give us all, His children discernment so that we can become effective in whatever ministry we are assigned with. We must be willing to ask, wait, listen to Him so we can gain discernment. Then we can know what God also has willed for us.
James 1:5 - “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given unto him.”
Isaiah 11:2-3 - “The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord - and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears.”
1Corinthians 6:2-3 - “Do you not know that God’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge the trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”
Smiling, she softly answered, “Oh! Thank you so much! That’s so sweet of you. And Merry Christmas to you, too.”
That was the last time I saw her that night. As she was scheduled to go home at the wee ours of the morning as soon as she got done passing her medications to the inmates. She was just helping the shortage they had from the PM shift that day.
Until….that day I became anxious somewhat when I found out that I needed to float to another facility where I had not worked in a long time. I remembered a few responsibilities. But some slowly slipped away as I wasn’t scheduled there most of the time.
Feeling a little better after your prayers were lifted up [thank you friends and awesome intercessors!], my heart was anticipating a night of unexpected busyness, of emergencies that might occur at any time, of arresting officers who would get upset with me when I couldn’t admit the arrestees they would bring into this facility with a major medical or mental issue, knowing that it was mainly for Federal inmates.
My worried look was sensed by the PM nurse I was relieving. She was upset, too as she was ordered to float when she was already working at the main facility, when the scheduled nurse had called in sick. She didn’t know the facility well. I did, except it was just a matter of remembering things. Not a few. Lots.
“Hi” a soft greeting cut through our conversation. I turned to where the upbeat voice came from to see who that one was. It was B! The LVN I just met and had given a small gift!
“Oh, hi B!” I exclaimed. “I’m so grateful you’re here. But when I called the charge nurse prior to coming here, she told me you’re leaving early though.”
“Not anymore!” she quickly replied. “It’s you working tonight and I’d rather stay here with you if you need help!” she added.
I called the charge nurse. And because she knew that I was always flexible and always tried to be productive, she granted the LVN’s request to add few more hours even though it would be overtime. This financial mess also affected the county’s budget. So they are always careful to grant overtime hours. It wasn’t only 1 or 2 hours. It was until the morning, 6:30 a.m. to be exact. Which meant I had somebody working with me, until the day shift LVN arrived! Glory to God!
My anxiety was fully gone by now as I uttered a silent “thank You” in my mind. The night was quiet except for occasional interruption from their small Intake as I screened arrestees. I refused 2 but the officers never got upset. They accepted my decisions without any complaints. Not typical for tired officers wanting their arrestees to be booked right away so they could leave sooner.
The day shift nurse arrived on time. 6:30a.m. Because it was different there. They would start early so they could leave early. Everything was prepared for her. We were happy to see each other because we worked for a while before and both of us got hired the same time, 9 years ago.
“Go!” she commanded. “You’re done! Go home and rest now. Thank you for filling in,” she stated.
“Are you sure?” I replied.
“Yes! Go home! You always do extra here and that is enough,” she said smiling.
I accepted the offer. The heavy metal door popped open. It felt so great to be able to get done with my work, thinking it would be a nightmare. That was wrong for me to do! The cold air hit against my face. But I felt a certain warmth around me. A loving protection that had surrounded me all night long.
I started the car’s engine as I caught myself praying: “Thank You Lord. Forgive me for not trusting completely in You. I magnified my worries, instead of magnifying You. I thank You for answering my prayers. I thank You for all of my precious friends and prayer intercessors You placed in my life. Their friendship has been a great blessing, Lord. But I ask that You bless them back. Because of their prayers, I became strong. Because of their love, I remained unafraid. Because of their intercession, You came in the midst of us! And that’s what made it all possible…Because You are our Shield! Our Refuge! Thank You Lord for reminding me to trust in You 100% this night. I love You Lord!”
I hit the freeway, enjoying the gray skies. But in the nearby horizon, a few rays of the sun was peeking through. How easily I had forgotten… That we have this Light that is inside of us, no matter what time of day, no matter what the season…The Light that reminds us to stay strong despite the raging storms we face. The Light that makes us joyful no matter what circumstances we are surrounded with. The Light that is hungry to be reflected to those living in dark places. The Light that guides when we are lost. The Light that doesn’t end…He is here…Inside in each of His children…In our midst when we gather together. He is here…
Whenever I see sunbeams coming through clouds, it always looks to me like God shining himself down onto us. The thing about sunbeams is they're always there even though we can't always see them. Same with God. ~Adeline Cullen Ray
Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to God for a faith lift. ~Author Unknown
How easy it was to utter the words at that time. It was all about the excitement of making a final commitment with our relationship. Of making it legal. Of making it official…forever and ever…AMEN!!!
But when we both started this special union, it was living those words, of reading between the lines that makes our marriage works. However, I think something is missing with that traditional vow…It’s only a marriage united by God’s love that makes a couple’s relationship thrive. Why? Because love describes Who God is and how He feels about us. That He desires to be with us and have an eternal union with us. When we take action to love Him, that’s when we discover how much He loves us!
To my partner, my God-given love in this difficult trek, thank you so much for loving me unconditionally. For being the best husband who always supports me, who is always beside me, for richer or for poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, as we both continue to love and cherish, until death do us part….I love you! I thank God for His gift of marriage and I thank Him that He gave you to me. For being and always giving your best as a father to our son. Oh, and the product of our love? He is turning 15 two days from now. Happy Birthday to our son who is so sweet, loves to read His Word and tries to etch them in his heart. Who is funny, loving, strives to always give his best. One who loves designing cars in his computer. One who excels in his studies. Yet, he knows, that it is the pursuit of inner beauty that matters in living this life in this world. Dad and I love you very much!
The three of us, after accepting God’s love and forgiveness, found that we don’t have to be beautiful or rich or famous to become virtuous. Because knowing God leads to increased happiness and fulfillment. Going after the intangibles brings that true satisfaction and lasting benefits.
But along this life’s journey, we walk on so many valleys. So, as I celebrate our 18th anniversary, I also celebrate my mother’s passing away 9 years ago. Celebrate…yes…because when I discovered the Lord’s promise of eternal life, same with my mother, I knew I had the best reason to celebrate instead of mourn. The moment she entered the portal of death, only meant the beginning of eternal life. In that I rejoice!
"38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 8:38-39 [NIV].
Lord, thank You for Your being You. Thank You for Your greatest attribute You had shown and given to us: L-O-V-E. That is our souls’ greatest need. Your love brings security and calms us. Thank You for all the wonderful relationships You have given us as we continue to walk this life’s journey. Let Your love binds us all ever so strong. Thank You for Your promise of eternal life. Thank You that You made it possible for us to be reunited with You through Jesus, Your One and only Son. To You be the glory, forever and ever, for all ages to come! Please bless Your children’s marriages and keep us safe from the evil one. Please bless our parents, to those who don’t know You, please open their hearts and minds to accept Your proposal for an eternal union. Please give them strength and protect them. Please bless our children. Keep them safe and away from evil. Give them discernment Oh Lord, especially in this world racing for physical perfection, instead of knowing You and the beautiful changes You create, inside out. Thank You Lord! I love You! ‘Til death do us part….Because of the wonderful Name of Jesus and what He had done. Amen.”
[Please silence my playlist to listen to this wonderful song]:
ETERNITY - by Brian Doerksen
I will be yours, you will be mine
Together in eternity
Our hearts of love will be entwined
Together in eternity
Forever in eternity
No more tears of pain in our eyes
No more fear or shame
For we will be with you
Yes, we will be with you
We will worship, we will worship you Forever
I, I can hear Him saying (I can hear Him saying)
No more (no more), no more (no more), No more tears
No more tears, no more pain
No more fear, no more shame
No more tears, no more pain
No more fear, no more shame
Nothing will never come between us, oh, nothing
I can hear Him saying
Nothing will never come between us
Oh, I can hear Him saying
Nothing will never come between us
Nothing will never come between us
We will worship, we will worship You forever (4x)
As I’m typing this, I am closely listening to incoming phone calls from my work.
I woke up with 2 messages flashing in our answering machine. They were from the day charge nurse at our main facility [where I usually work]. She was wondering if I could float to another facility, because I could get to go home at 6:30 in the morning, instead of the usual 8:00 a.m. Sounded so good! But the catch? I needed to be there at 6:30 p.m. tonight which I couldn’t work to avoid hurting my neck [a result of the neck injury I sustained in 1997]. I was the only one working 8 hours among the rest of the staff.
Another down side…I haven’t been there in a long time. I might remember a few things. But it wouldn’t be comfortable.
I called my work. She was disappointed I couldn’t go early. But she advised me to wait for her calls. In case, she still needed to send me to cover that facility for the night.
“That’s fine. Thanks,” as I hang up and a little uneasiness started within me. Not of fear. More of uncertainties of what to do in case something comes up kind of thing. And I know more likely, I would be floating, as no one else would want to.
“18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20 [ESV]. [emphasis was mine].
Isn’t that His command? To “GO”…But some choose to stay within the church and be confined only in that place. No one wants to get out of their “comfort zone” and be willing to reflect His light in the darkness. To share the Good News to those who haven’t heard about it.
Lord, I’m feeling anxious to go to my work tonight. But by Your grace, Your protection and guidance, I will go! Just like the way You want me to share You with those who hasn’t known or acknowledged You. Forgive me for those times that I want to just stay in my “comfort zone” and not be wiling to suffer for Your glory.
Update: Yes, I got that call that I'm floating tonight. Please pray for me, precious friends and Intercessors. Thanks to all of you and God bless.
“What happened?” I queried.
“I was practicing my karate chops this morning, Ma’am, when I woke up. I swung pretty hard and accidentally hit the metal frame of the bunk bed. I hit it so hard that my right hand feels so much pain. I’m scared to move it so I have this book to make it just rest on top,” he softly answered.
“I can see that, the moment you walked in. But…I don’t see any deformity nor swelling. There is also no bruising. So, I hope that it’s good,” I answered as I carefully palpated the radial pulse to make sure there was a good circulation flowing to the right hand. There was.
“Sir, since there’s no doctor at this time, I’m going to wrap your hand with a special dressing to support it and make it not move as much. It may hurt you as I do so. But when I get done, you will feel relief,” I reassured.
“Do what you have to do, Ma’am. I think it’s broken,” he said.
“I don’t think it is. I can’t tell you the symptoms when there is a fracture. But to be on the safe side, I will still put you for the doctor and it will be up to him to order an x-ray,” I uttered. [I don’t disclose symptoms to inmates because sometimes, they tend to come back and fake the severity of their illnesses or injuries and they start saying the symptoms if they are told].
After using an Ace-wrap bandage and giving him something for pain, he slowly got up…
“Thank you, Ma’am. Ahhh. You’re right, it does feel better. But I'm still gonna' use this book,” he replied as he smiled.
“Hope you feel better…I know you need the doctor if it is broken,” I responded.
We all practice our “karate chops”, too [self-reliance] but when we break our will as we face many trials, that’s when we realize we need the “Doctor” and we become totally dependent of Him. It seems like when God has a greater plan for a person, the greater the brokenness that occurs. The apostle Paul both endured great power along with great brokenness. But he never said that his “brokenness” was a punishment nor a failure. He asserted that his sufferings were a result of his service to Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:5 ~ “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” [ESV]
Blessings go with brokenness? That’s hard to take! How can we feel blessed while being broken at the same time? But all the pain, all the hurt brought about by a loss of loved ones, of divorce, of being trapped in substance abuse, of being financially broken, bring about that potential to discover the richness in living that otherwise, we would never know. It is through brokenness that we experience God’s greatest blessings…
It is only through brokenness that God’s power works in us. Our self-reliance is replaced with His desires and good intentions for us.
In the end, we discover spiritual maturity, a deeper relationship with God, His divine wisdom, more power to minister to others, strength, peace, etc…etc…
Lord, I’m broken!!! Ahhh…But You’re right. I feel better…Because of my brokenness, Your healing and restoration come forth…
Let us stop fixing our "brokenness" in our own terms. Let's bring it to Christ...
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 [NIV]
Give the Best Gift you can give to yourself and others...Jesus. He is love. For God is love.
His love and grace can break any barrier. Can bring light to the darkest places. Can wipe sorrows with joys. Can change ashes to beauty. Can bring life to what is dead.
This is the only change we all can believe in...Nothing else...
Praying that you all will have the most meaningful celebration of Love this year. May God bless and protect us all.
Free To Be Me
Shorty Bear's Place
Prayers Go Up, Blessings Come Down
Eddie has had a stroke and is in hospital under observation. They were unable to get the stroke medication in time. So far they have done a CAT scan and a MRI and other test are being awaiting . His leg is effected. He is able to speak. This is written at 9:30 p.m. TN timeHe is in Memorial Hospital Chattanooga TN. She is alone so if any friends are able please cons ider coming to her side. He is being moved to room momentarily.
“Oh, Ms. R. I don’t know why you keep getting upset when you already know for a while now that our doctor had specifically ordered for nurses not to give your insulin if your food is not there yet in your unit. You know that your insulin works within minutes. We don’t want your blood sugar to bottom out. That’s very risky to give it to you. Yes, we’re doing it now, because all the diabetics come to be tested at this time and yours is not an exception,” I answered.
She went to one of the plastic chairs inside the waiting area and still with a sour face, tried to focus on the morning news being shown from the tv set.
“Just wait…patiently. As soon as I hear that your chow is on its way to your unit, I will give your shot right away and will send you back to your unit, okay?”
Not wanting to smile, she let out a forced, “Thank you, Ma’am”….
This morning, as I was waking up, it seemed as if the Lord was etching the word “wait” in my heart. As I try to gather my thoughts now and as I consult the Lord about this, I found asking myself on “why is it always hard for us to wait?”
Our hearts often always seem to be crying in agony. We feel oppressed. Rejected. Constrained. We yearn for freedom and provision. We pray for miracles and wait. We pray for a spouse, a job, for healing, for wisdom, for ministry and other things. Sometimes, we think the spiritual enemy is tempting us. True at times but sometimes, it may be God testing us for He wants for us to draw nearer to Him.
Waiting is a crucial step. As we face a mountain of trials, our weaknesses emerge. And at this point, our hearts become desperate, our faith is proven and our hope is purified.
Just like that helpless inmate waiting for my “call”, waiting upon the Lord are those times when we have limited or no resources even, no answers, no directions. We are most of the time, confused, poor, broken-hearted and limited. But if we live by confidence with our own sources and abilities, won’t we become self-confident? What glory will it bring to God?
Yes, waiting is hard but in this process, God enables us to depend on Him so that we may know and realize that it’s only Him Who does wonderful things in our lives.
Waiting upon God…Protects us…Deepens our trust in Him…Forces us to seek His ways…Brings Him the most glory…
…“but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31
Let us patiently wait then….But look Who’s been waiting patiently, too for us to draw nearer to Him:
This is a song the Lord gave me on December 5, 2003. This is what I wrote that day:
Lord, even though there are so many traditions that make people celebrate Christmas in different ways, there is only one, true meaning of Christmas - when You came to save all mankind from the wrath of the Father. You did this out of love for us.
Thank You Lord for Your unfailing love. Matthew 1:23 - “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a Son and they shall call Him ‘Immanuel’, which is translated ‘God with us’.”
Long ago in a lowly manger
A Son was born, He was the Redeemer
His Name was to be Immanuel
God with us, until today
Jesus, Who sets us free from sins
Son of God, Who came to Bethlehem
Crucified but He rose again
His Spirit dwells within…until He returns…
Do we celebrate Christmas because it's a tradition or others expect us to? But Christmas is about Jesus...We must speak of Jesus, love Jesus, sing unto Jesus...
Lord, with Your strength, help us to worship You in Spirit and in Truth. Help me to keep my eyes on You and help me to be a loving and compassionate witness of Your love and grace to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
The middle-aged inmate walked in, clutching his stomach. Prior to his arrival, the unit called and said that he was having trouble breathing. But the unit where he came from was far from the Infirmary. If he made it all the way down to the Clinic with steady gait, all of us knew, he wasn’t having trouble breathing at all.
He sat there, appearing like he was sobbing. But when he thought no one was there [he didn’t know we were observing him], he sat calmly on the bench and watched the tv, hoisted up in a corner of one of the walls.
The charge nurse summoned him to come to the big glass window.
“What’s wrong?”, she asked.
“Ma’am, I’m having a severe stomach pain,” he replied with his eyes closed.
“Open your eyes!” yelled the charge nurse. To which he opened his eyes immediately.
He didn’t know, right there, we already knew that he wasn’t in pain. Because if he was not able to open his eyes, then, he was truly having a big discomfort. We noticed, too that his complaint changed from having shortness of breath to stomach pain then. He had a history of heroin abuse.
“I am looking at you,” he uttered. But his eyelids kept opening and closing.
“Just open your eyes so you can see! There is no bright light that can hurt your vision,” commanded the charge nurse.
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means God with us.” ~ Matthew 1:23 [NIV]
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” ~ John 3:16,17 [NIV]
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6 [NIV]
“Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:2 [AMP]
When Moses had a meeting with God inside a tent, God told him that he wouldn’t be able to look at His face and live [Exodus 33:20]. So, same with us. None of us are able to see God, first, because sins separate us from Him and that none of our own efforts can restore that broken relationship we have with Him. Man’s religions can not make us go to heaven and be with God. God knows we are hurting but we are walking in this life’s journey with eyes closed. And that’s what He did…He gave the Best Gift to mankind so we can be saved. God’s love came down to earth. This is the reason we must rejoice, not only on Christmas Day but in every day of our lives.
This Christmas, open your eyes so you can see that Gift! God sent His Son Jesus as the Light that we are able to look at. If only we open our eyes and focus on Jesus. Focus on the reason why he came here to live with men. Focus on his ways to be our example of how to be and who to be, not anyone else on earth. Focus on his death on the cross. Focus on his resurrection.
Yes, we are that reason why God sent Jesus...Because He loves us all.
Still, with the darkness of the night, it would still be hard to identify people’s faces as they entered the prison walls.
So, we must show our ID’s in order for them to recognize us at a glance. I always had my ID badge clipped to my scrub uniform, always in plain sight.
One time, I remember that I had a co-worker who, despite wearing a scrubs outfit, needed to summon someone from the Clinic to identify him and made sure that he was one of the medical staff, before he could be let in. He was upset but there was no reason for him to do so. “A rule is a rule” that everyone needed to comply to.
How awesome it is that we also have ID’s in Christ! That when we invite Him into our hearts, we become new creations. [2 Corinthians 5:17]. I am feeling ecstatic reading some of them today:
[Life Application Bible]:
“We are justified.” - Romans 3:24
“No condemnation awaits us.” - Romans 8:1
“We are set free from the law of sin and death.” - Romans 8:2
“We are sanctified [made holy] in Jesus Christ.” - 1 Corinthians 1:2
“We are pure and holy in Christ.” - 1 Corinthians 1:30
“We will be made alive at the resurrection.” - 1 Corinthians 15:22
“We are made right with God.” - 2 Corinthians 5:21
“We are one in Christ with all other believers.” - Galatians 3:28
“We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” - Ephesians 1:3
“We are holy and without fault.” - Ephesians 1:4
“We are adopted as God’s children.” - Ephesians 1:5,6
“We are marked as belonging to God by the Holy Spirit.” - Ephesians 1:13
“We have been raised up to sit with Christ in the heavenly realms.” - Ephesians 2:6
“We share in the promise through Christ.” - Ephesians 3:6
“We can come with freedom and confidence into God’s presence.” - Ephesians 3:12
“We are set free from our sinful nature.” - Colossians 2:11
“We will have eternal glory.” - 2 Timothy 2:10
Those are only a few….There are many more....Thanks be to Jesus.
How about you, what’s your identity?
I have received Your gift of grace long time ago. Help me share that with others who are walking beside me. Please make them hear Your voice. Please help them make You see. Help us not be distracted with the things this world offers. Because they do not last. It’s You Who give those gifts that are not temporary.
With so many bumps on this road we are walking on, You are always quick to lend us a helping hand. You pick us up when we fall. You nurse our bruises and wounds. You mend our broken hearts. You wipe away our tears. You hug us and comfort us when we are hurting.
Today, I want to thank You Lord. I want to say “I love You with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength and with all my mind.” Because no one else deserves that but You. Thank You Lord for loving me [us] first. Thank You for coming here to make the Father’s love known. Thank You for the hope that You bring, the restoration and the healing. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
Please silence my playlist:
“I can’t…Lord, please take me now,” he mumbled under his breath but those words had audibly reached my sense of hearing. Trying to mask his pain, he seldom spoke of the severity of pain from his abdomen he had to endure. My father was dying from colon cancer. The year was 2007.
His prayers remained constant. A constant pleading to have his journey be halted. By the Hands of his Creator. Silence. His eyes closed and his breathing became more normal. As if he fell into a deep sleep, my brothers and I were just huddled close to him. We were like little kids buying more time to cling to our father. Holding him, hugging him, kissing him. As our hearts already had holes that fit the size of our dearest mother, 7 years prior to that, were again preparing to be broken.
Suddenly, his eyes opened and with a soft voice strengthened by his love for us, he spoke, “It’s okay now. I can wait. We go in groups and my group is next.”
“Dad, are you okay? What’s my name?” came out the nurse in me, assessing him for his orientation.
“Rosel! You’re Rosel! Yes, I’m okay. I told you, I can wait now. The Lord will get me when it’s okay with Him. But He told me, that we must learn to forgive. Because when we don’t, that’s why it takes us a long time to go to His place,” he uttered with his remaining strength.
His mind was very clear. And whatever he said might have been from a dream. But there was a truth into that statement. For the Lord did want us to learn to forgive.
My father was a joker. And despite being on bedrest the whole time, he managed to joke around with all of us. He was in good spirits. He accepted the Lord in the year 2003. And the depression he had gone through after half of his heart departed [my mother], was replaced by the joy that came from knowing His Savior. He loved helping others. He loved sharing whatever things he had to those who were in need.
If not for Jesus, I knew then, my brothers and I wouldn’t have comfort and peace. Because of His promise of eternal life to those who would believe in Him, we had that heavenly hope of being reunited, first with Jesus, and then, with our loving parents and other lost loved ones who accepted Jesus in their hearts.
I kissed my father and put my mouth near his ear, “I love you dad. Be patient and wait for the Lord.”
He turned his head to where I was and answered, “I love you. I want you and your brothers to know that I love you all so much. I’ll wait. Because God knows the perfect time.” He closed his eyes. And I knew, the waiting had begun. But it was all worth the wait…”
My eyes shed some tears...of mixed emotions: tears of knowing how much would be missed and tears of joy knowing we had a great reunion to look forward to...
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going." ~ John 14:1-4
Sunday again...How fast this week had gone by. After the busyness, the hustle and bustle of life, let us take some time to pause and bask in His presence. The One Who deserves our attention, our time. Come and join me in this special place of warm friendship, of love, and of unity that comes from the Savior's love. Thank you sisters Charlotte and Ginger for hosting this place.
I responded to a man down on the female side. A young female was down on the floor, right by the doorway of her tiny cell, as her cellmate seemed to be so worried for her. She was complaining of dizziness and had been throwing up for 3 days. She was just booked on that same day her symptoms appeared.
Her vital signs were all normal as I tried probing more. Her story was not making sense at all, as one story led to another that didn’t have to do with what she related in the first place. I knew she was lying.
“Get up!” I softly ordered.
“Ma’am, she’s dizzy,” answered the cell mate.
“Ma’am, with all due respect and I understand your concern, but let me just speak to her, okay?” I replied.
“Butt out!” yelled the female deputy to the cellie [cell mate].
“Okay. Get up and I want you to go to that nearby table,” I commanded again.
She got up fast and walked steadily. Then, pretended again that she was about to faint.
“Listen,” I said, “Stop it! If you want me to be able to help you, cut this out!” this time I spoke with a firmer voice. “Tell me what I need to know, not what you want to say!”
“Ma’am, I was using too much of my Norco that the doctor gave me for my back pain. I started using more and more everyday. Like 90 pills maybe a day?”
“Any other street drugs you use or used before?” I queried.
“No,” as she held her abdomen and complained again of wanting to throw up.
“Let me repeat my question…Any other drugs you used prior to coming here?”
“Yes. I used meth, too. But only a little bit,” she replied.
“I’m sending you to the hospital but there is no emergency. You are having withdrawal symptoms from the drugs you abused. It’s normal that you will have stomach aches, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and sometimes, chest pain or other pains in your body. When you come back, I will start you on some medications that will also help you be relieved of these symptoms,” I explained.
“Thank you, Ma’am,” she softly mumbled.
“Now, get up and walk! Because I know you can! You need to get out of this segment so you can wait for the deputy who will bring you to the hospital in the waiting area.”
Without any complaints, she did get up and walked without any difficulty.
The deputy smiled at me and wondered, “How did you know nurse that she was lying?”
“Thank God…I just know,” I smiled back.
Four friends brought a paralyzed man on a mat to be healed by Jesus. Since it was so crowded, they dug through the clay roof above Jesus’ head as he preached. Then, lowered the man in front of him. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the sick man that his sins were forgiven. Of course, there were religious teachers who thought what Jesus did was blasphemy to God.
But Jesus was not blaspheming. His claim to be the Son of God was true. So he told these religious teachers, “Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up, pick up your mat and walk?’ And because he wanted to prove his authority on earth to forgive sins, he told the sick man, “Stand up, take your mat and go on home, because you are healed!”
Jesus’ words still ring true today. Because of our faith, Jesus had already forgiven our sins when we believed and had called on him. But it doesn’t stop there. We are not to be paralyzed with our walk with Him.
Arise…Walk…That’s God’s call for actions. Turn and live…That is our powerful testimony of spiritual healing for His glory: that we are able to get up from whatever afflictions that made us unable to move and now, can walk!
That’s Who Jesus is…The Comforter. He loves to comfort the hurting ones. He loves to heal the sick ones. He gives freedom for the oppressed. We all have fallen into different abyss of despair. But Jesus has been reaching out his hand to save each one of us. It’s just a matter of trusting him and reaching back to his outstretched arms.
Enough of self-denials. Of lies. Of selfishness. So, what are you waiting for? Grab His hands, stand up and walk!!!”
[photo credit: ourpreciouslamb.wordpress.com]
For more of the inspiring posts from many who took on the $10 challenge initiated by Brother Billy Coffey, please visit here and you might as well hang out for a while to get to know more about this man who writes about things he had learned from his own life and spiritual journeys.
I was discussing with my husband my desire to donate anything to nearby food banks as there are so many hurting people at this economic times. He was all for it because he knew and had seen the truth in what I said.
Whatever we want to share, the money we will use to buy them is from the Lord in the first place. How can we keep something that is just lent to us by the Giver of all good things.
The $10 hidden under my ID and badge and a few one dollar bills were still there, waiting for opportunity for whatever use it would come its way. To help out someone in need.
That same night, as I got on line, I received an email from our pastor and here was what it said [I made the names anonymous to protect them]:
“Hey RBC Family,
This is from R R…..w...--- On Thu, 12/10/09, r…..firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
From: r….email@example.com Subject: homeless
Date: Thursday, December 10, 2009, 8:31 PM
a lot of the homeless are asking for can food. can or will you ask the body to see if they can fill this need? thank you”
I knew right then that it was that opportunity that I could do for the Lord. So, this morning, I hurriedly went to the nearby store and got some canned soups. I also saw some tuna that came with the crackers, so I grabbed a few, thinking it would go great with the soup. These might be a temporary help, but at least, would be enough to satiate the pang of hunger. On cold days like these especially.
When we bring these food to our church, I don’t know who will benefit from them. But that’s not important because there are so many people hurting, both physically and much more, spiritually.
I pray that when those cold hands scoop the warm soup into their thirsty mouths and eat the little bit of solid protein and carbohydrates to help with their gnawing hunger, that they would say “thank You” to the One Who made everything possible. And most of all, in the midst of their trials of not having a home to live in, may they open their hearts to Jesus Who wants to make a home in all of our hearts. That would be the greatest Gift they could give to themselves.
Romans 10:13 ~ for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." [NIV]
Revelation 3:20 ~ “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” [NIV]
After getting my report from the PM shift nurse, I proceeded to check the inmates in Suicide Watch cells. There were a few of them gathered in one cell, donned with grayish robes, Velcro-strapped on shoulders, to keep them warm. One was separated because of his unusual behavior. He kept pacing in that tiny cell, but was calm.
The safety cells were also occupied. These were the cells in nearest proximity to the Intake Nurse’s tiny clinic because whoever was placed there needed a closer monitoring as they were more dangerous than the ones just professing their desires to hurt themselves. The ones in the safety cells had actually done something like kick the windows or doors hard with any parts of their bodies, usually their fists or heads, cut their wrists or arms and other bizarre things.
As I partially opened the tiny metal window and turned the light inside the cell brighter, a face was pressed already, so close against the glass window with a flat affect. It gave me a creepy feeling. His breathing causing the window to fog up a little bit. His naked body not minding the cold, bare cell. He was placed there the day before when he started kicking the Suicide Watch’s windows really hard, with both of his fists, and sometimes, his head. Fortunately, he didn’t sustain any lacerations nor contusions.
I offered water to which he accepted. Opening the tiny, horizontal window in the middle of that metal door, I slipped in a small plastic cup with water, which he immediately took in one big gulp, three times. I reassured him to just try to be patient and sleep until the Psychiatrist showed up that morning to talk with him. There was no response. His face remained emotion-less. He slowly sat down on the floor. But remained calm for me.
I tried to check up on him as often as I could, in between my screening of newly-arrived arrestees on both the male and female side. Not including the radio calls I had to attend to and the telephone calls that took some of my time if officers from other jails had questions.
I turned up the light switch on the wall and opened the metal window. His eyes were right there against the glass window. This time, he started banging on the metal door. Loud. Strong. Louder. Stronger.
“Stop banging on the door!” I commanded to him.
“Give me my meds! Give me my meds!” he responded with a child-like kind of whiny voice.
“I’m sorry Mr. T. But it’s not time yet. It’s way too early. It’s only 4 o’clock in the morning and we can’t give it to you for another 4 or 5 hours,” I softly answered, hoping that his banging on the door would cease. I didn’t want him to be placed on the safety chair. To be strapped. To prevent himself from inflicting injuries to himself.
“No! Give me my meds!” this time he demanded more.
“No!.. If you don’t stop banging on the door, I have no choice but to place you on that safety chair and I don’t want you to go there as much as possible,” I uttered with a firm voice.
The banging stopped as one deputy hovered nearby. Pressing his face again against the glass window, he said, “You sound like my mom! Stop playing games with me. Stop playing jokes with me!”
“I’m not playing any games nor jokes with you. I’m here to help you. I’m telling you about the rule here. And you know that because you were there yesterday when you kept banging the glass window. I thought you wanted to get out of this cell? If you do, then, you must stop hurting yourself. Don’t bang the door or the window! Just be patient and wait for the doctor…”
His cold, penetrating stare followed my every move. But I met those stares with mine and I was sure not to back down. Because I wasn’t playing games and I wanted him to know that. If my gaze wouldn’t meet his, that would mean, I was not sincere. Either that, I would appear as if I was afraid of him, which I was not.
I wanted him to get well. I didn’t want him to be strapped on the safety chair if it could be prevented. Because it wasn’t fun to have that kind of restrictions. Even worse, he would be given a big dose of a combo of calming meds. To lessen his agitation. I didn’t want him to be so drowsy that by the time the psychiatrist would come, he wouldn’t be able to speak with him and voice out his concerns.
The naked body retreated away from the window. His head bowed low. Slowly, he sat down on the floor and then, laid down. He stopped banging the big metal door. But he requested two things:
“Open the window a little bit so I can see...and leave the light on,” he softly stated.
“Of course,” I reassured.
And my mind wandered as I sat down inside the clinic…And took me to those times when I was in that cell before…As I struggled with my own faith when I went through a trial or a suffering. Or when I relied on material things instead of on God, the Physician. Or when I would wait for answers to come and the waiting seemed forever.
Bearing too much pain, and nowhere to go to, I resorted to trusting Him despite my doubts and even if I didn’t understand.
But somehow, I met Him somewhere, sometime by His grace through faith. And the doubts I had, even if real, led me back to a greater faith in Christ, the Physician, as seasons came and went.
I found out much later, that this faith that saves did not come from any philosophical arguments…It is His gift.
For there was no other place for me to go to…but to cast myself into His mercy. And knowing at that time that as I waited and trusted in Jesus…that would be the only way that I could be set free.
And so for everyone else in every safety cells…feeling hopeless, wanting medications to numb their pain. There is nothing else you can do but to believe and wait and trust…For these are matters of faith.
The LVN’s just got done checking the sugar levels of the female diabetics. Except on the weekends, their chow [any meal; at that time, it was breakfast] usually would come late.
There was a particular order from the prison’s doctor not to give this one female’s insulin as it usually worked within minutes after being given. A potentially risky dose if that inmate had no food available yet. Assuming that the chow cart was on its way to her unit, the LVN went ahead and gave her morning insulin dose.
Helping the LVN’s with accuchecks on weekends that I worked, I got more familiar with each inmate on the female side. I knew that even Graham crackers would not be enough to maintain the sugar level in that particular inmate.
“She’d be alright,” one LVN uttered.
“No,” I firmly stated. “I know her. She is always our mandown even if you give her Graham crackers.”
My co-workers echoed a voice in unison: one that is not of concern. Looking at the clock on one side of the wall, they were sure that breakfast would arrive in her unit.
Except for me. I knew it wasn’t okay. Even if the chow cart arrived, it would still take a few minutes before it could be given to her. For there were so many inmates housed in one particular segment.
I had a few one dollar bills and one $10 bill tucked under my badge and ID usually concealed in my right pocket. This was meant for my morning “mocha” that always kept me awake with my long drive from work to home.
Except…I couldn’t use that available money to give to this inmate. That would be against the prison’s policy. And there was no way for her to be able to use money to buy anything to eat. They are not allowed to carry any money. They usually have funds in their accounts.
“Call her back!” I commanded the LVN who gave the insulin a little early. To the amazement of others who just didn’t want to deal with it. Except for the charge nurse who glanced at me and softly nodded in agreement. I went to our refrigerator and tried to find a "diabetic snack" tucked in one of the shelves.
Half-way from the hall, the inmate made a u-turn and headed back to the Clinic. When she arrived, I explained that I wanted to give her something to eat so that her sugar level would not bottom out even if the chow cart came late in her unit. I saw a sigh of relief. Her worn-down look managed to paint a wry smile.
I warmed up some slices of white bread and a packet of peanut butter. The bag also had an orange and a small carton of milk. I gave everything to her. She kept thanking me.
I felt good. Not for myself. But I felt good for Him. The One Who fed me when I was hungry. The One Who gave me the Living Water when I was thirsty. The One Who gave me eternal life when I was already dead.
This is what the $10 challenge is about. As Christians, we must not retreat from this secular world and associate only with Christians. We feel like retreating from all the immorality, or the violence, or evil that surround us. There is nothing wrong with that. Except we must realize that Jesus prayed for us not to be taken “out of this world” but that we would be protected from the evil one while ministering to others in this world. We need to allow our light to shine before others. We need to reflect the Light. We need to let our salt give flavor to those who surround us.
Jesus came to make God’s Name and love be known. He wanted us to know that we are loved and that God wanted to fill us with His love.
Jesus said we are His glory [John 17:10]. And God’s glory means the revelation of His character and presence.
So, whether you have a $10 bill or not, I’m sure the Lord will guide you where you can shine your light. And if one small light can be seen against the darkness, can you imagine if there are many, many lights glowing in this dark world? All because of that $10 or a simple act of unconditional love and kindness. To God be the glory!
Please head over to Brother Billy to read more about this challenge or even to join in.
Dried blood oozed from the left side of his forehead. As a large amount of it was visible on a white washcloth he used to put pressure on that wound with his slightly, trembling hand.
As I cleansed the wound, I already knew it needed to be sutured. Having no doctor in the facility during the night, he needed to be brought by the deputy to the county’s ER. I applied a clean gauze to keep the pressure on and to keep the wound dry and clean.
He didn’t remember much. He just remembered waking up, as a couple of deputies were assisting him to rise up from the cold floor where he had fallen. He complained of slight dizziness. His crime was committing an injury to his spouse.
Inside the prison, despite being violators of varying kinds of crimes, some inmates just don’t like those who commit abuses: physical abuse and sexual abuse, especially with children. They are ready to hit those offenders [if known], even to the point of killing them.
The jail’s classification system always try their best to put inmates into those housing where there would be lesser complications with other cellies [cell mates]. But sometimes, no matter how careful they are, there would always be someone who will find out and then, tell others. They are known as “snitchers”.
[photo credit: dlibrary.acu.edu.ac]
There were 3 religious societies of Judaism in Jesus’ times: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. The Pharisees were often the most influential and vocal among them.
The name “Pharisee” in Hebrew means separatists, or separated ones. They were known as chasidim, meaning loyal to God or loved of God. But the irony of it…they made themselves the most bitter, and deadly opponents of Jesus Christ and His message.
The Pharisees, perhaps, meant to obey God, but eventually they became so devoted and extremist in very limited parts of the Law [plus whatever they added to it]. Doing so, they became blind to the Messiah when Jesus was in their very midst. They saw His miracles, they heard His Words. But instead of receiving it with joy, they did all they could do to stop him.
To the point of killing Jesus because He truthfully claimed to be the Son of God. They were the snitchers in Jesus’ time!
Self-righteousness is not righteousness. God’s true people are to live according to His Word, not just to a certain part that is convenient or to one’s own liking.
"How many observe Christ's birthday! How few his precepts!O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments."~Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1757
For those of us who are going through the valleys of illnesses, I ask that You bring healing, comfort and strength, Oh Lord.
For us who are walking in the valleys of confusion, bring clarity to our minds and hearts knowing that You are not God of confusion.
For those of us thirsty, help us remember Lord that You are the Living Water we need to draw refreshment from.
For those of us who are weak, help us remember that we can do everything through Christ. He is the One Who gives us the strength.
Lord, for those who are lost and just keep wandering in the valleys, please open their hearts and minds and make them realize that You have been offering Your gift of forgiveness and deliverance. That in that darkness, You are the Light.
When we don’t know where to go, remind us to cling ever nearer to Your Word. We have this map from You for You are the light unto our feet.
For those of us who are in deep needs, remind us that You are the Greatest Provider.
When we feel alone, help us feel Your faithful love and remind us about Your wonderful promises. Give us, weary travelers, the unity that comes from Your unfathomable love.
And for those of us shedding tears as we remember the loved ones we lost, help us remember that wonderful promise of eternal life for those of us who believe in Jesus. Please help us share our journeys, no matter how difficult, starting with our families, friends and others who come across our paths. Give us the boldness to share the Good News.
Thank You Lord that You are there at the top, looking down upon us. Thank You for Your love and mercy. Thank You for giving us the encouragement when we are battered from being in the valleys for so long. Thank You for the hope that You give us that when we know You intimately, we know that valleys are just temporary places of refinement. That as we start going up toward the top, may we emerge pure, stronger and refined! I love You Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Please silence my playlist:
Please visit Spiritual Sundays for encouraging posts. God bless you all.
A pair of green eyes were watching me intently as I took his vital signs. The deputy was nearby to guard me. There was something odd about him. He answered appropriately when I asked him questions, yet, his behavior would go from silence to an instant giggling at times. He just came back from the hospital and got treated for a smashed nose and his odd behavior, as a result of substance abuse.
Prior to him being sent to the hospital for evaluation and treatment, two deputies wheeled the guerney where he was strapped. His nose was bloody and kept on bleeding. He wasn’t sure what happened. The deputies warned us that he was spitting on them earlier. And that they saw him hit the door of his cell.
I grabbed a few 4x4 gauze sponges and put pressure on the bridge of his nose. He slid down a bit but the deputies didn’t want to remove the handcuffs for our protection. It was difficult to obtain his blood pressure, as the sensitive machine sensed every bit of his restlessness. He was arrested for assaulting a police officer. His drug test came back positive for marijuana use.
Medical marijuana is a sensitive issue. As it helps a lot of terminally-ill patients, there is also a big chance that it would be openly abused by the wrong crowd. Though it has been being abused before, especially by younger generations. Some people don’t think that marijuana can harm someone.
But marijuana’s side effects can be as simple as an increased appetite to a more complicated medical condition like lung cancer. It can cause a toxic psychosis, which perhaps, explained what that young man I treated was going through. Users can have hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of self-identification.
Marijuana can wreak havoc in the brain when used habitually. The ability to learn, remember and adapt to changes may be impaired. It may cause depression that makes the person use it more, to obtain a quick fix…
Those green eyes kept staring at me, but I didn’t want to provoke any unwanted attention. I shied away, but with a firm voice, I told him what would be done for him, though every word I uttered seemed to have just gone out his other ear. I didn’t let his constant giggling annoy me. I just knew. It was wiser for me to not notice that behavior.
He was escorted back to the unit. Half an hour later, the deputies in that unit were requesting for the medical staff to put this 18 year old man, with unpredictable and unusual behavior to be re-housed for a psychiatric evaluation. It was just risky to house him with some inmates. Either he would hurt someone, or he’d be the one to get beaten up.
Those green eyes…So beautiful. But deep inside. Were unable to see.
Christians are to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us.
Does that include our bodies? I think so…For using drugs destroy the health: physically, mentally and emotionally.
What’s your take on “medical marijuana?”
“Good morning,” I greeted the female inmate worker yesterday morning. I had not seen an inmate worker in a very long time, inside our Clinic.
Long ago, a unit would send one worker to help maintain the cleanliness inside the busy Infirmary. They emptied trash bags, mopped the floors, cleaned the restrooms, or put some paperworks together and other things that didn’t disclose any valuable information to them.
She slightly paused. A middle-aged woman, dressed up in dark blue uniform. Her eyes with dark circles around them, revealing her being up all night. Her left hand holding a big plastic bag as her gloved right hand was picking up trash from all the bins inside the Clinic. She was picking up the trash from a bin near me, when I spoke with her. She was not expecting someone to talk with her. As conversations with staff was usually not allowed, not unless it was necessary.
“Good morning,” I repeated.
“Good morning, Ma’am,” as she managed to put a wry smile on her weary face.
“I haven’t seen anyone come here and clean the Clinic. Thank you for picking up our trash,” I uttered.
The smile grew wider, with a sense of relief and appreciation for being noticed, she replied back, “You’re welcome. I don’t know but they told me to come here today.”
“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “Thanks again anyway and you try to have a good day.”
“No, thank you, Ma’am. Have a good day, too,” she answered as she took her steps to go out the door, leading to the female side of the Clinic.
Yes, she was an inmate. Yet, she worked inside the prison as told. She was up working all night and just did what she was supposed to do. She might not like it at times, but she still followed what was assigned to her, knowing that it would help her, too if she didn’t cause any problems.
It would never be easy to be known as an “inmate”. But at least she tried. To improve herself. To do her task well. To obey. Even if it means that at times, her effort might not be noticed nor be praised. But when her review comes, her actions and attitudes at work, would be brought up and be determined as a cause for her being released early, a nice possibility. How sad it would be, for those who never wanted to obey. For those who didn’t want to follow what must be done.
As a Christian, we may be insulted as being such. Labeled as such as if it is a horrible thing to be. Faced with suffering, the only way to go is to feel privileged of being called by His wonderful Name, instead. We don’t need to seek out to suffer but we must also not try to avoid it. Instead, we must keep on doing what is right whether or not it brings suffering.
It is not shameful to be a Christian, especially to suffer for being one. And when our own review comes, it begins with His children. If we, Christians must be judged, how terrible it would be for those who have never believed! [1 Peter 4:17].
“So, if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.” ~ 1Peter4:19
Please visit Spiritual Sundays for other encouraging posts and even to join if you want to. This is a special place hosted by sisters Ginger and Charlotte where you can be rejuvenated with God's love and wisdom.
I woke up early yesterday. My body was just used to having that self, built-in alarm, that roused me at every 3 or 4 am. I did my devotion at that time. As the dawn ended, and the tiny rays of the bright sun peeked through the lingering darkness of the night, I started cooking.
Out of the blue, my husband and son and I just agreed to go near the ocean and whatever I would cook, we’d take and enjoy lunch there.
Sometimes, this family is like that. We don’t plan. Sometimes, it’s better that way for us, having 3 different schedules sometimes to make it agree with each other’s at times. But with all our plans, there is always the 4th Person involved, Who happens to always have time though for us.
We all felt renewed yesterday. A feeling of gratitude just blanketed the Rcubes’ household. I had my hubby read Psalm 100 out loud after we prayed together. He is so good! The Lord is so good. All the time.
So, I peeled sweet potatoes as I boiled some wild rice and stuck the small piece of prime rib in the oven, the size which was enough for the three of us. As I started brewing coffee in the pot and made a heavy breakfast of potato hash browns and cracked eggs on top. The toaster was busy accommodating 4 slices that day at the same time. Let’s say in about 3 hours, I had the prime rib cut up in slices, gravy packed. With the side dishes of sweet potatoes sweetened with brown sugar and butter and wild rice with corn.
My husband, the whole time, readied the small RV we have. I love Roadtreks. Just the perfect size for us and it consumes gas like an SUV. [Attention: This is not a paid advertisement].
My son started preparing all the drinks and the other gadgets we needed.
With everyone working, we made it possible to leave the house by 9:30am.
The road was busy, filled with different kinds of vehicles trying to perhaps make it to their Thanksgiving lunch or dinner with their loved ones in another destination. We got to our favorite spot in no time. The wind was still. The skies were so blue and clear! The water was still. The little boats were docked in their slips, slightly dancing rhythmically with the little waves that occasionally rocked them. Some people were walking. Others were biking. Oh what a calming, peaceful place to be and enjoy His goodness!
After a few hours of enjoying everything we prepared, we decided to go home a little early. We took the back roads as we neared our place. It was fun to see the other things we otherwise, would have missed if we didn’t take that opportunity to see and slow down with this pace of everyday living.
As my husband parked the RV, he saw me sweeping the leaves in the front yard and called out loud, “Thank God! If we didn’t go out, I wouldn’t have discovered that the hose connected to the sewer line had a big hole now and would need to be replaced.”
This was a big help for us because we were planning to take a trip next month. Can you imagine the big mess if my hubby didn’t discover that problem? “Thank God is just right!”
I loved that I heard him spoke with gratefulness despite that minor problem he encountered. Because that would always be the right attitude to have. To be thankful no matter what circumstances we’re in. Whether we are faced with sicknesses, even death, financial problems, losing our homes, divorce, losing loved ones…..We, as Christians, learn to endure. Our view must be focused toward God and with the eye of developing godliness.
Because that’s what our God says. We are not to tough it out through life because that’s the good thing to do, nor are we called to perseverance just to save face, to avoid embarrassment, or to escape ridicule.
We are called to endurance so that we can follow God, show trust in God, draw near to God, imitate God, please no one but God and reflect God to others.
So, this day post-Thanksgiving, may we all remain joyful and thankful because we are all called to a relationship with God. We are called to conform to the character of God. We are called to walk with God as Christ did. We are called to live by the power of God!
Psalm 95:6-7 -”Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God.”
[Please silence my playlist first...]
“Can’t stuff this?” Yes, you can be…
In this competitive world, nobody wants to be a loser! Same with Jesus, He wants us all to be winners! Yes, it’s true! We all can be “winners” in Christ, not “turkeys!”…Just repent for your sins, trust in Him and make Him Lord of your life. Just mean this prayer with all of your heart and pray it out loud:
“Dear God in heaven, I know that I have sinned against You and ask for Your forgiveness. I do believe that Jesus Christ died as payment for my sins. I believe He rose again to prove He is able to save. I place my faith in Him alone to save me. I now receive Him as my personal Savior. From now on, please help me to turn from my sin and live a life pleasing to You. I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
If you sincerely prayed this, congratulations to you for being a winner in Christ! But it doesn’t stop there. Join a church who glorifies no one but only Jesus. So you can be more knowledgeable about His true and faithful love for you. Read the Bible.
The song was singing “can’t stuff this!” Yes…don’t stuff yourself anymore with worldly things but stuff yourself with things of Christ!
“Be filled with the Spirit!” - Ephesians 5:18
Some of the “turkeys” who became WINNERS in Christ:
~ Paul - converted through a light and the voice of Jesus; became a Christian missionary and theologian [his story is in the Book of Acts and he was the one who wrote letters to different churches].
~ Augustine - converted through a voice and reading Romans 13:13-14 “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
~John Bunyan - converted through waking dreams - “A voice did suddenly dart from heaven into my soul, which said, ‘Will you leave your sins and go to heaven, or have your sins and go to hell?’… “Oh, me thought, Christ! Christ! There was nothing but Christ that was before my eyes…Now Christ was all; all my wisdom, all my righteousness, all my sanctification and all my redemption.”
~ Blaise Pascal - converted through a spiritual experience of God.
And there are many, many more!!! So, do you want to be a WINNER or a TURKEY?
Oh, Lord in heaven, thank You for making me be a winner in Jesus. If He didn’t die on that cross, I would forever be a “turkey” with no sense of hope, of freedom, of true love, of everything that Your love offers. I pray that many more “turkeys” out there will come to know Your faithful love and gift of forgiveness and may their hearts be opened and choose to become winners in Christ. Let it start with my own loved ones, who are getting filled with all the empty stuffing this world offers.
Help them Lord to yield their lives to Jesus and be stuffed with the Holy Spirit instead.
Remove any unwanted seasonings in me, except salt that with that distinct flavor, people around me can taste Your everlasting kindness and faithful and true love.
I love You Lord. Thank You for being Who You are. Thank You for Your unconditional love. Thank You for making me feel worthy living this life and as I wait to go home to Yours. I love You Lord! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Happy Thanksgiving you all! God bless you abundantly!
"When a Christian shuns fellowship with other
Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the
Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil
shouts for joy." ~ Corrie Ten Boom
The unit deputy sent him to the Clinic, complaining of feeling like he just had a stroke. But he was able to walk in that long passageway. He came in, complaining of left arm pain, some headache on his right side of head.
As the other nurse allowed him to sit to be evaluated, he asked me to go along with him. I helped the other nurse by taking the patient’s vital signs so he could just concentrate on asking him questions regarding his medical and mental health. This was a big, muscular guy, his sculpted chest visible through the orange prison uniform.
All of a sudden, his eyes welled up with tears.
“Why are you crying?” asked the other nurse.
“I don’t know. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I’m not an emotional kind of guy and my eyes just got watery just like that. I got scared. This was something new,” he replied.
But listening to him and watching his eyes turned red and weepy, I sensed something else. I didn’t say anything yet and out of respect, just let the other nurse did his thing.
All the vital signs were normal, except for a racy pulse. Despite the lack of chest pain, both of us decided to do an EKG to make sure that there was nothing going on with this inmate’s heart. 2 recorded readings came back normal.
He sat up, still with concerned look. This time, I interrogated him after the other nurse allowed me to.
“Sir, there is something you are not telling us. You have been denying any medical or mental problems so there is no reason why your eyes would weep just like that. I saw that worried look in your eyes. Is there anything at home or in your unit bothering you?” I softly queried.
“Ma’am, I told you. I have no problems from home. Everything is okay and in my unit. I’m a tough guy! I’m a Christian!” he firmly stated.
“You’re a Christian?” I asked…”Then, pray!”
I usually don’t mention spiritual things in front of co-workers but this time, as the inmate initiated it, I felt the need as I prayed in my mind for the Lord’s guidance:
“If you are undergoing spiritual attacks, pray! There is nothing to be afraid of,” I calmly replied as the deputy and the other nurse just laughed it off.
The inmate said, “Ma’am, I have no demons!”
“I didn’t say you’re possessed or something. But you were the one who initiated it by saying you’re a Christian. If you are a true follower of Christ, then, you must know that demons are all around us, trying to scare you, intimidate you, and stop anything good you want to do,” I continued. “Pray!” I repeated.
He grew silent but still didn’t want to say if there was anything bothering him. There was nothing else we could do. As he got up and left to go back to his unit, the worrisome look on that face came back all over again.
“I’ll call you guys again. If this happens. I’m scared,” he uttered.
As the other nurse and I went back inside the clinic and spoke with the charge nurse, the other nurse had this to say:
“I don’t know about nurse Rcubes, I was just more on the physical symptoms. But every time she would talk to him and asked him questions, he calmed down. But when I started asking him, he became more agitated.”
“There is something he’s not telling us,” I added. “I just know it. I can’t forget that fearful, weepy eyes. He is a big guy and to see him get teary like that, there was just something eating his heart out.”
This inmate was incarcerated many, many times for burglary, rape, and use of controlled substances. Trapped in that habit of using illegal substances, it drove him to steal to provide for that need. His minds not in the right state, drove him to commit more crimes like rape and physical abuse to his spouse.
In the prison, other inmates don’t like those who commit child abuse or other abuses like spousal abuse. When they hear that someone comes in with those kinds of acts, they wait for an opportunity to hurt and even kill that inmate.
I can only wonder what is eating that man’s heart. But he is up against two possible enemies: humans and spiritual.
“Pray” like what I told him. Was all I could do at that moment.
How about you? What is eating your heart out? Turn to God and PRAY!
The Attacker (5/15/09)
The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies.
Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.
Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.
All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.
When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.
The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.
When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.
[Source: Life Application Bible]:
We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.
“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14
Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].
Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.
Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.
Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].