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.
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].