~ Oswald Chambers
“But I’m sick Ma’am,” uttered an inmate worker during an unexpected sick call request. He usually worked 12 hours in the kitchen, preparing foods. Just like others. He thought I would give him a chrono [medical note] for a few days “off-work” status.
“Sorry Sir,” I softly replied. “I heard your physical complaints but I couldn’t find any physical symptoms that would back up your claims. I am not ignoring your request. But how can I put you off of work when all of your vital signs are normal? You’ve been saying you have a cold. But your tonsils and throat are fine. There are no redness.” And the other symptoms I didn’t elaborate explaining. Knowing that they could potentially mimic those symptoms and fake their illness more.
Working for 10 years now in the prison, I have learned the inmate workers’ tactics of pretending to be sick. So they don’t have to work. They don’t want to work. At least, some of them. But not all of them. They are not willing to give their best to learn something that will make them proud. Or make them change their behavior as a result of doing a hard work. So, I have been careful to give “off-work” status.
When it comes to giving, lots of Christians struggle when it comes to “tithing”. While some churches over-emphasize it, others do not want to listen to the biblical exhortations about making this special offering for the Lord.
We are to give as we are able. It may mean giving more or giving less than the 10% we know of. Each one of us should seek the Lord for His wisdom as we participate in tithing or how much to give. [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 to him.”]
Offerings should be given with pure motives and with an attitude of worship to God and as service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” - 2 Corinthians 9:7
So…question is…are you willing to tithe or you’re too tight?
What the people were thinking during offering in a church:
1st man: “Hmm…10% of $455=$45 & 50 cents. But I only have $46 in cash. I wonder if I could take my change in the basket.”
Lady in blue: “God, You’ve been so good to me. Thank You for Your provision in my life.”
Lady in red: “Where does all this money go? Shouldn’t the pastors know that we need softer toilet paper in the bathroom? I think that instead of giving money this week, I’ll buy the toilet paper that I like and give it to the church.”
Woman in black [after the girl]: “Lord, You know my needs. I give this in faith. Please cover my debts and make my car lasts a long time.”
Man with striped tie: “Since I sent my money to that television evangelist this week, I’ll count that as my tithe.”
Girl in pink top: “Lord gave me a dollar and I got to put it in!... Why do we do that anyway?”
Man with brown tie: “As soon as I get out of debt, I’ll start tithing.”
Woman in blue top: “10%? Where does that come from? What happens if I only get 5%? No way! That’s too high!”
Old man in pink shirt: “God, I know You see how much money I’ll give. I hope this pastor will appreciate it.”
Woman in black & white top: “Okay God! You know I’m giving more than the usual 10% this week. So, next week, I’m keeping it all.”
Man in blue shirt: “I cleaned the sanctuary this week. That’s worth about $50. What do you know? That’s 10% of what I make. I’m covered.”
Please visit Spiritual Sundays for other encouraging posts. It is always great to reflect on His love and to see what He is doing in each of His children's hearts. God bless you all.
Years ago, my life long dream was to become an architect. I passed the college entrance exam in this university, known to be the top school back home. It was hard to get in. As excited as I was, my excitement died down instantly when my mom brought me to a dorm where I was supposed to live and which was very near to the school, run by nuns. Hearing all the strict rules doused my dream that wanted to go past beyond drawing on “Etch-A-Sketch” and lots of scribbling with different kinds of coloring materials.
That time was wasted. I ended up not taking Architecture as paperworks and opportunity to study here in USA happened. My second choice was to become a doctor. I love studying the effects of illnesses in a person’s body and even more so, to be involved in the healing process. Medicine would seem forever to take and costly. God opened a way. I became a nurse.
To make a long story short, I had been working in an Orthopedic part of a major hospital for almost 10 years. Until a neck injury occurred [did it? Or that was God’s way of bringing me to another place] and the severity of pain just made it impossible to stay any longer. He opened another road. One that led to Correctional Nursing. I have been working here in this facility for 10 years now. Today! Yes, today marks my 10th year as a prison nurse.
What about my dream of becoming an architect? God did grant it in my heart still. For since He found me, I have been working to improve my spiritual house. But even better. As He partnered with me. Yes, God is the Master Architect. You know Him. He only built the universe! Piece of cake for my Boss! The neat thing? He is also the Supplier of all that I need. You know, to build my life, redo my intentions and desires.
So being a nurse now? I don’t mind. Because I still get to do my first love of being an architect. I still draw plans. As long as I commit all of them with Him, nothing will go wrong [Proverbs 3:5,6]. I use Him as my foundation [Ephesians 2:20]. I can choose strong materials to make my house strong and sturdy against all the bad elements [Ephesians 6:10- “Be strong in the Lord’s mighty power”.]
I have the Master Architect available to help me out 24/7. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing. I know I am not limited now to what I want to do. Knowing that through Christ, I can do everything! [Philippians 4:13].
Psalm 127:1 - Except The LORD build The House, they labour in vain that build it: except The Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
I Corinthians 3:11 - For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
I’ve been busy this week. Monday started with me going to our county court house to serve in jury duty. The judge excused me, for which I was thankful to the Lord as it would be difficult for me to serve at this time.
Then, my child joined the try-out session for their school’s tennis so we’re hoping and praying that he would be selected. But only if the Lord wills that for him. He told me the other morning that whether he would be selected or not, it would be okay for him. Because he knows that the Lord’s direction would prevail in everything that he does. Glory to God for His wisdom!
So, day to day, I would wait for him until the training is over late in the afternoon, while I’ve been running errands in a fast pace the entire morning. Yesterday, I checked the pantry and noted that our bread supply was running low. So, off to the grocery store I went and bought some.
As I was waking up early this morning [or maybe I should have said, “as the Lord was waking me up this morning…”], the Lord’s prayer was playing in my mind:
“Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name
Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven…” This part stuck out to my brain receptors the most:
“Give us our DAILY BREAD”…
As I did my devotion this early morning, I know most of you already know what it means to have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. But He is inviting us everyday to eat the “DAILY BREAD”. Jesus did not come to introduce a new religion. He came to tell about God’s love for mankind. That is you and me! He wants us to eat.
Jesus said again, “I assure you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. But those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them at the last day. For my flesh is the true food, and my blood is the true drink. All who eat my flesh and drink my blood remain in me, and I in them. I live by the power of the living Father who sent bread from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever and not die as your ancestors did, even though they ate the manna.” [John 6:53-58].
Yes, Jesus has been inviting us to eat the living bread. It means accepting Christ into our lives and to become united with him. We are united by believing in his death [the sacrifice of his flesh] and resurrection. And also by devoting ourselves to living as he requires. It depends on the teaching of the Holy Spirit and trusting Him for His power. How do we know what He wants? Get a daily dose by reading His Word [Bible]. "I have not gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured up the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." -Job 23:12 [ASV]
Jesus’ life has to become our own. So stop eating the physical bread. “Give us our daily bread, O Lord”…And He did…He gave mankind the spiritual bread from heaven that satisfies completely and leads to eternal life.
Wow! And my eyebrows were perhaps arched high as I looked at the prices of the bread now in the bread aisle…Expensive! For a day’s worth of being sustained with energy for just a day or few days. Compared to the heavenly bread which is for FREE and its sustenance lasts eternally.
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in me will never thirst.” [John 6:35].
Jesus wants you [us] to eat!
On a personal note, I want to thank you all who come here and leave your footprints. I just want to let you know that I appreciate and read everything you had written down and I'm keeping them so sometimes, when I need encouragement, I go back and read them again. It's great to see you bro. Ike and Keystone who both have great godly wisdom to share! And so, most of you do, too. All my praise and thanks to the One Who makes this blogging possible! To God be the glory forever and ever. In all ages to come. I pray for the Lord to bless you all and continue to mold our hearts into His likeness. Daily. Please feel free to leave a comment. Because we become a blessing to each other. When I don't reply, just know, I do pay attention to each of the wisdom you all have to share. It's awesome! Love to you all in Christ.
“IUB”…Intrauterine bleeding…That was the diagnosis that came back with this 40 something female inmate sitting on the chair in front of me, as I read her chart and treatment records that came from ER. She had missed her monthly periods for many months and started having abdominal pain. From the ultrasound, the doctors saw a tiny cyst inside her uterus.
“Drink lots of water, Ma’am,” I advised. “So you won’t get dehydrated. You were bleeding a lot earlier.”
“When will I see the doctor again?”
“Soon. You just need to be patient,” I reassured.
“Well, when is that?” she queried with an impatient tone.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry. When I told you “soon”, you need to trust me. Because here, we are not supposed to give you a specific time or hour or date. But when I say “soon”, it does happen. The reason you are not told is because of security purposes. I hope you understand,” I answered patiently.
“Okay. I know it’s true. But I am still having pain.” [She pointed to her lower abdominal area].
“I’m so sorry that you are still uncomfortable. Just be patient. You will be seen and I will do my best that it’s the soonest available time,” I added.
That’s the truth in the jail. Most inmates know that when they are told that the medical doctors will see them for follow-ups, that will occur. Except, having so many inmates who have gone to ER’s and other bad medical conditions, the doctors are always busy. Day to day, a list is generated for only a certain amount of patients. And the severity of their condition is assessed prior to being seen. The sicker they are, the higher they go up that list. They know that truth but they are not willing to wait. Some of them become disrespectful to staff, saying many bad things that are not necessary. Some fake their medical emergencies just to be seen right away. To their dismay. Because the nursing staff and the doctors would still be able to recognize the severity of their illnesses because of the symptoms that are manifested.
We, believers, have received that TRUTH. But living in this world, there are so many false teachings that surround us. It is a hard work to be able to be patient and to be able to pay careful attention to His Truth. It means fully listening to what His Word says. But the most important thing to do is to follow what He wants.
We all know Jesus is the truth as so many eyewitnesses had handed down this truth to us. We might have not seen the Doctor in the flesh but we know that we will see Him because of all the eyewitness accounts recorded in the Bible.
Long time ago, Jesus said this to Thomas: “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” [John 20:29]
Our faith must always point to Christ. Be patient. That is the truth. For those who believe will see the Doctor. We don’t know when. But it will occur.
“So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” -Hebrews 2:1
“What makes us think that we can escape if we are indifferent to this great salvation that was announced by the Lord Jesus himself? It was passed on to us by those who heard him speak, and God verified the message by signs and wonders and various miracles and by giving gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose to do so.” -Hebrews 2:3
This ad is funny…But not fun when the rise of number of women incarcerated continues to be on the rise since the 80’s. Most of them have drug convictions or violations. Look at these stats [source: Women's Prison Association]:
~ Over 200,00 women are in prison and jail in United States. More than 1 million women are under criminal justice supervision
There were 115,779 women incarcerated in either state or federal prisons at midyear 2008
• The average daily adult female jail population at midyear 2008 was 99,175
• At year end 2007, there were 987,427 women on probation, representing 23% of the total probation population.
• Women represented 12% of the parole population (98,923 women) in 2007
The number of women in prison has grown by over 800% in the past three decades
• The female prison population grew by 832% from 1977 to 2007. The male prison population grew 416% during the same time period
• Oklahoma has the highest female imprisonment rate at 134 per 100,000 women. Massachusetts has the lowest rate of female imprisonment at 13 per 100,000 women
Two thirds of women in prison are there for non-violent offenses, many for drug-related crimes.
• Twenty-eight percent of women in state prison at year end 2005 were sentenced for drug offenses. Property offenses accounted for another 28% of the female state prison population.
Together, property and drug crimes – non-violent offenses – make up nearly 2/3 of the population of women in prison. At yearend 2005, 35% of women in prison were convicted of violent offenses
• Over 2.5 million women were arrested in 2007, accounting for nearly a quarter of all arrests. The arrests of women increased nearly seven percent from 1998 to 2007
• In the five-year period from 2003 to 2007, arrests of women for drug violations increased 29%, compared to 15% for men
Remember them in your prayers and ask God to transform the lives of these inmates, both women and men.
Change in our hearts only comes from the Lord. Nothing or no one else can.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 - “26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” [NIV]
1 Peter 3:8-10 - “8Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” [NIV]
Luke 6:35- “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” [NIV]
Stingball grenades are used to stop huge prison riots. It looks like a hand-held grenade and has 180 rubber pellets inside that can travel up to 50 feet from the area where it was detonated. When discharged, it produces a loud sound, a bright flash of light and sends those pellets everywhere to stun the rioting inmates.
I had seen the power of this non-lethal weapon used for many years in prisons. One night, out in the prison yard, obscured from inmates, the Sergeant demonstrated different kinds of forces and non-lethal weapons used to stop prison riots to us, the medical staff. Even when we were far, the sound it produced was scary, the light was surprising and blinding as it was thrown in the darkness of the night. And the medical staff huddled together… Frozen! Stunned! Afraid!
Sin had brought a lot of complications into our lives. Because of it, we, too, have a fight that goes on. Everyday. It starts with our decision-making. When we fall into sins’ traps, obviously, that’s when we make the wrong decisions. The Holy Spirit is here to convince the world of its sin. It comes like that stingball. When It hits you, of course, it hurts. Because He wants to bring you and I to repentance. He lets us know about God’s righteousness to anyone who believes.
John 16:8 - “And when he comes, he will convince the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.”
He also disciplines His children. Sometimes, even those who had previously surrendered to His Lordship still fall back to their old, ugly habits. But He comes in a big surprise like a stingball to stun or stop someone from being trapped again. The only thing that matters is how that person will accept the Holy Spirit’s conviction and discipline.
It is not enjoyable to feel the sting from God’s discipline. We can either accept it with resignation, or with self-pity thinking that we don’t deserve it, or even with anger and resentment toward God, or perhaps gratefully? The last one is the right response. When we learn to endure, it produces righteousness in the end. God does this because He loves us.
Hebrews 12:4-11: [NIV]
4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
And the beauty that comes from the sting of the Holy Spirit? It doesn’t kill anyone. Instead, it offers a gift of eternal life and righteousness!
[photo credit: bhigear.com]
A loud-mouthed man walked in with the cops to be screened. As I motioned for him to sit down so I could start screening him, he started stating that he had a history of 3 heart attacks.
“You did?” I repeated. “And last time you had it?”
“About 2 years ago.” What he said next silenced the Intake Nurse and I.
“I know how to get what I want. Just go man down,” he said smiling. [Meaning fake a medical emergency if he wanted medications or even just to be brought to the hospital].
We believed that. Knowing that deep in the nurses’ hearts, even if inmates were just manipulating the system, we had no choice but to give our utmost care. We shouldn’t judge but just do the best to treat any symptoms.
I finished all the questions, preventing myself from saying something that would be inappropriate. But I couldn't help but gave him an advice, as he got up to be booked:
“Don’t be so sure that they won’t know you’re faking a man down. When medical staff determines that it was fake, you will get in a deeper trouble.”
“Oh no! I won’t,” he answered with a wide grin. Deep inside, I knew he didn’t mean that. Because he knew what to do whenever he wanted something. He was in and out of the prison system that he learned many things that went on.
But one thing he didn’t know. In my charting as I opened a medical chart for him, I put an “alert” by writing what he just told me:
“Inmate stated that ‘It’s easy to get what he wants. Just go man down!”
Because when that time comes, medical staff would be more ready when this very same man would fake an emergency or not. We might not know. But the vital signs do not lie. He might fake a chest pain. But the EKG readings won’t lie. Xrays result would not lie.
He thought he was smart. He thought he could outsmart the medical staff. I was hoping he took me seriously and would think again.
Think again…That‘s what we must do when we evaluate our faith or belief in God. We can‘t outsmart Him. “For His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” [Isaiah 55:8,9]. He knows our weaknesses. He knows our limitations. He sees everything. But He loves us and cares so much for us that even though He knows what‘s going on in our lives, He wants us to still seek Him and lay out everything on His feet. For He wants to help us as we submit ourselves in prayers, with a repentant heart, with a broken spirit. If we are full of pride, how can His love and grace fill us? We need to be empty in order for God to fill us. We need to show our reverential fear to God.
We must stop living a self-centered life. We must stop believing we are god or we have other gods that can’t help us. [Psalm 14:1 - “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God”. They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” -NIV].
Galatians 6:7 - “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows”. -NIV
Think again…Are we truly smart or actually “fools”?
“I’m going home on the 28th,” whispered the diabetic inmate who had been incarcerated for a long time. She has type 1 diabetes, meaning she used insulin to control her blood sugar. Despite the numerous accuchecks or checking her blood sugar level with a needle and giving insulin shots, she still wasn’t comfortable giving her own insulin shots to herself.
“Take care of yourself, especially your diabetes,” I replied. “Because you only have one life so don’t take it for granted.”
As I was talking with her, there was another female diabetic who came earlier prior to her. Not related to her diabetes, I kept her in the Clinic and scheduled for the jail doctor to be seen that morning. I noticed some weakness with the way she was walking when she came in. So I decided to have the jail doctor to evaluate her further.
Then, all of a sudden, I heard....
“Excuse me…Can you give me my shot?” asked this female inmate awaiting her anticipated freedom to the other sick inmate.
“Oh, no!” I exclaimed. “Don’t do that! I don’t want her getting poked with the needle that is not hers! Just try it! If you’re going home, you might as well keep practicing now so you can get used to it,” I added.
“Well, can she just help me out, even for once now?” she asked with a little bit of annoyance in her voice.
“No!” I firmly answered.
She wasn’t happy yet had no choice but to comply. It took her a long time to uncap the needle and slowly pushed the insulin under her skin on one of her arms. She gave the needle back to me when she got finished.
“See? You did great!” I hollered to reassure her. She didn’t say anything but just returned my compliment with a smile. She took her pass and went out the metal door to go back to her unit.
Witnessing is a matter of life and death. We witness in different ways. Through compassion or kindness. Sometimes, we might use tougher words when we are snatching them away from going to a fiery destination. We are to hate sins but we must witness with love to those who are still lost.
When finding a common ground, we must be careful not to fall into compromises. Our footings must be secure and safe. We must influence them for Christ instead of us, being influenced to sin. “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’”…[Matthew 5:37]
“20Dear friends, keep building on the foundation of your most holy faith, as the Holy Spirit helps you to pray. 21And keep in step with God's love, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to show how kind he is by giving you eternal life. 22Be helpful to all who may have doubts. 23Rescue any who need to be saved, as you would rescue someone from a fire. Then with fear in your own hearts, have mercy on everyone who needs it. But hate even the clothes of those who have been made dirty by their filthy deeds.” ~ Jude 1:20-23 [CEV]
At some point in this life’s road we are walking on, we come to realize our inadequacy to deal with whatever trials come our way. We will realize sometime that the things we have achieved won’t even satisfy our desires nor meet our expectations.
There is always a void. Emptiness is just there. Be careful when you ask for directions how to get to heaven. There is only one way…Only through Jesus…
Proverbs 14:12 - “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
1 Peter 3:18 - “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
You can head to that right direction wherever you are, whoever you are. Whatever you have done. Simply put your faith in Jesus. There is no magic prayer. Just believe in your heart and pray this simple prayer:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You alone as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” - Romans 10:13
"That if you confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." - Romans 10:9
If you prayed this prayer, congratulations on finding the right direction!!! Read the Bible and know more about His love. Join a Bible believing church so you may be encouraged in your faith. God bless.
For other encouraging posts, please go to Spiritual Sundays...
This is for all of you....because that's what I pray for you...[Please silence my playlist]:
"I'm eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other." - Romans 1:12
1 John 2:15 17- "15Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. 17And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever.
Receiving the true message of Gospel doesn't stop to just receiving Jesus as our guarantee that we won't go to hell. Jesus is not just a "fire insurance". If we have enough faith to just buy that "fire insurance" policy, then we are missing the true meaning of God's grace.
You see, our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ has so many wonderful promises that we can enjoy while we are still here, living on this planet. He never said that our lives here would come easy or without challenges but He did say that what is impossible with man, is not with God" [Mark 10:27].
As men, we are prone to brag about the things or accomplishments we have done or achieved. But God makes it clear that eternity has nothing to do with that. It is not about what we have done for Him but what He had done for us that bring us to do "good works"...
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no on e can boast. For we are God's workmanship , created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." [Ephesians 2:8-10].
We don't have to wait until we die and go to heaven to enjoy His promise of eternal life. Amidst the trials here, we can still enjoy living our lives for Jesus said that He came here to give us life, and have it to the full. [John10:10].
Our personal relationship doesn't stop receiving Him in our hearts. God's desire is an everyday, on-going relationship with us. He wants to equip us with things that we can use to withstand the arrows of our spiritual enemies.
To me, not only Jesus provides a FIRE INSURANCE, He also gives us HEALTH INSURANCE, LIFE INSURANCE. He is the GREATEST PROVIDER for our financial needs. He is the ULTIMATE PROTECTION against unseen enemies. He is our GUIDANCE in this life's journey when we are lost.
This video is funny. But your choice about your eternal destination is not. It is a real deal! There are only 2 eternal destinations. Where do you want to go? "Heaven or hell?" To me, I would rather enjoy His presence with me now here while on earth and not want to miss His grace. My life's journey is more meaningful now, that I am following the Savior's footsteps. I used to wander like you. But I used to end up with frustrations and feeling empty, despite my own victories. I used to even doubt like you about His existence. But doing so did not take me anywhere. For life apart from Christ is NOTHING. [John 15: 1-8]
"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." - Matthew 10:39 [NIV]
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." -Matthew 10:28 [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
[Please silence my playlist]:
As Christians, many of us claim that we have God on our side. But have we asked ourselves if we are on “God’s side?” How many of us are truly controlled by Jesus Christ? It’s easier said than done. For I, myself, need the constant confession of my own improvisations of things that do not glorify Him. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that the Holy Spirit is quick to give me a “surprise shakedown”. Which catches me off-guard.
The secret of an abundant life is to allow Jesus Christ to control our lives. Through His Holy Spirit living within us. When you realize that you have sinned, confess them immediately and thank God for His forgiveness. But you must continue to walk in fellowship with God. As you pray, examine your hearts. Do you honestly want Jesus to control your life? If not, ask God to change your heart.
When the Holy Spirit catches you with a big surprise, list the areas of your life that you believe should be under His control. Ask God to show you the ways to bring these areas under His control.
1 Corinthians 2:11 - “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” [NIV]
Galatians 5:16-24 - “16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” [NIV]
“No! I don’t use drugs nor alcohol. I’m having chest pain, I tell you!!!” an angry female inmate told my coworker who was trying to ask her questions and take her vital signs. She was wheeled on a guerney by their unit deputy, as she complained that she was too weak to even walk. Prior to coming down to the Infirmary, we looked at her records. She was arrested for forging documents to obtain narcotics.
“Listen!” with a higher tone and firmer voice, I spoke as I got in front of her. “You don’t need to talk to her like that. The reason why she was asking you all those, they were all important so we could figure out why you are feeling awful. When we find out the real cause, it’s easier for us to treat you. Why don‘t you let us do our jobs? Let us have control of this probing so we can get to the bottom of your discomfort…” She remained disrespectful to the other nurse. I grabbed her medical chart and continued to deal with her.
“But I told her! I was having chest pains since last night,” as she yelled again. I motioned for the deputy not to say anything and I would take care of it as it was more verbal disrespect she was showing at that time. He sensed my request and remained quiet while he stood nearby.
After asking many important questions, with her showing her on and off disgust with the way I was asking her about her medical and mental history, I ended with, “Do you have a history of being scared of tight spaces or even panic attacks?”
Pause…She looked at me and was about to yell in exasperation. But I looked at her eye to eye and determined for her not to yell at me. Softly, she answered, “Yes, Ma’am.”
“Okay! There you go! I want you to try to relax! You’re not dying, though I know it feels that way for you. Take a couple of deep breaths for me. Don’t you think that if I saw anything abnormal like with your blood pressure, I wouldn’t be wasting my time talking with you? See this? [as I pointed at the oxygen monitor]…Your oxygen in your blood is 99%. That’s a great number,” I explained. “But to make sure that there is nothing going on in your heart, I will do an EKG anyway, okay?”
“Thank you, Ma’am,” as a more mellowed demeanor was displayed now by her. On the exam table, she appeared more calm. Her 2 EKG readings both returned with normal results. I showed it to her. I told her I would still refer her to our mental health services so she could be treated for her panic attacks. She stopped whining, got up and stated that she felt better then.
We get emotional, too. But if not saturated with His truths, we get so panicky and just won’t let Him take control of our lives. Paul said in Romans 12:1,2 - “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.”
Presenting our bodies mean we have to give all of ourselves to God. Our hearts, minds, thoughts, attitudes…Let us give up control of these and offer it to God. Let Him be the One to control. How? By the renewing of our minds. A daily cleansing from His Word will remove all those worldly wisdom and be replaced by His true wisdom. Where the mind goes, the will and emotions follow.
True worship is not just about the things we do in church and open praise. It is the acknowledgement of God and all His power and glory in everything that we do. The highest form is obedience to Him and His Word. We must know Him and not remain ignorant.
Thank You seems so inadequate, our hearts are overflowing here at the Oldham's. We are so beyond grateful for the precious heart blessings we are receiving from the blogging community. Your prayers, cards, financial gifts, phone calls, concern, precious friendship, and love, are more than appreciated. Each night, your names are lifted up high toward heaven, we are thanking God for all of you. You will never know how very, very much you all mean to us. Thanks for cheering my lovebug on towards his healing. We remain diligent in our preparing for his miracle, and God still rules. Be blessed my friends, you are all dearly loved and appreciated.
at Saturday, January 09, 2010
To learn more about sister Denise and DH, please read the post down below. God bless.
As you all know, Shortybear's (Denise) Lovebug (Eddie) has some serious health issues that started on December 23rd. Check her blog if you need more info, and also my post here.
Denise will fill you in on Eddie and her love for him and the Lord. If you haven't read her post from today, it's beautiful! What she won't tell you is about their great financial need right now. That's where I come in. She and Eddie have given me permission to share their need with you.
Denise has been there for all of us, the pray and encourage. Now we are blessed to be able to help them during this extremely difficult time.
Here's what's going on right now:
Because of her own health issues, Denise is unable to work or drive. She has never collected disability because Eddie's income was always more than the maximum allowed by Social Security.
Right now they have no income. Eddie is on short term disability until January 14, then he will be re-evaluated.That's only approximately $230. The doctors have already said he would not be able to go back to his previous job because they say he will not regain filling in his legs and left arm. So, more than likely they will declare him permanently disabled.
Eddie can not drive a car in his present condition. So, his mother takes them to all of his physical therapy appointments, which are 5 days a week. Each appointment has a $25 co-pay - that's $125 a week.
Eddie desires to work, but he will need to finish his physical rehab and then go on to vocational rehab.
They have no money! They were able to pay their rent and utilities for the month, but they have nothing else left. They have a car payment of $343.75 due January 14th, after that, they will be late.
Here's the plan to help them financially:
Some have already sent me money and I've forwarded it on to them this week (a total of $200). Thank you so much!
Denise Walden (Samaritan Women) and I will be hosting a blog that will contain a PayPal Donate Now button. When we have the bank account and paypal account open next week sometime, we will be able to say under all of our buttons, "To Donate Now click here" and it will take everyone right to the page.
In the meantime, they need money NOW! If you can send a gift of any amount, contact me and I will give you their mailing address so you can send a financial gift of any size and/or card. Even $10 will make a difference.
Think of creative ways to promote this on your blog. I'm asking our blog community to sustain them for several months until they get on their feet with various sources of income.
Remember, they need:
Car payment for this month
Rent for February
Utilities for February
Phone for this month
$125 a week (minimum) for co-pay for Physical Therapy and doctor visits.
I will be going to see them next week. I'm 3 hours away. During that time, I'll help her with whatever she needs, take her to Department of Human Services to see what kinds of assistance are out there to help them right now (if she hasn't been there by then).
If any of you all live within an hour or two of Chattanooga, TN and can give her a hand, please let her know. When this happened, they were in the process of looking for a new church, so there's not the local support there for them like they need.
How to pray:
Complete healing for Eddie. He's suffering from a cord compression.
Denise's health. She's so focused on him, I'm afraid she's not taking proper care of herself.
Emotional well being. They are pretty discouraged.
Wisdom for the doctors
Peace and acceptance of His will for their lives.
"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." James 5:13-15
“Be quiet!” a command flooded the whole hallway that emanated from hidden speakers. To the surprise of the inmate workers. They didn’t know that all of their movements were being watched, their conversations being listened to. A sudden silence ensued. They kept marching toward the units where they were housed. It was just the footsteps that reverberated. Nothing else.
I know that there is Someone Who sees me and my thoughts, too. 24/7. I love Psalm 139. Why? Because God knows all about us. We cannot hide from Him. He made us.
1*LORD, when you look at me you know all about me.
2You know when I sit down. And you know when I get up. You understand what I am thinking about (even when you are) far away.
3You see when I go (somewhere). And you see when I stay (at home).You remember everything that I do!
4For example, before I say a word, *LORD, you know all about it.
5You are all round me, in front (of me) and behind (me). You have put your *hand upon me.
6What you know (about me) is *wonderful. I cannot understand it. It is so high that I cannot climb up to it.
7Where can I go from your *Spirit? How can I run away from you?
8If I went up to *heaven, you would be there. If I went down to *Sheol, you would be there also.
9If I went: ·to where the sun rises (in the east)
·to the other side of the sea (in the west)
10your hand would be there. It would be my guide. Your right hand would give me help.
11If I say:
·I am sure that *darkness will hide me
·or, the light round me will change into night,
12*darkness and light are the same to you!
*Darkness is not dark to you.
The night shines as bright as the day (to you).
13But you, you made every part of me. You made me grow in my mother’s *womb.
14I *praise you for the *mysterious and *wonderful way that you made me. I know very well that everything that you made is *wonderful.
15(Nothing) hid my body from you when I was growing in a secret place. This happened deep in the earth.
16Your eyes saw my body growing. Before I had lived one day, you wrote in your book how long I should live for!
17You have so many ideas, God. They are so difficult for me to understand.
18If I could count them all, there would be more than the *grains of sand (by the side of the sea). I would have to live (as long) as you to count them all!
19God, I hope that you will kill the *wicked (people)! And go away from me you *men of blood (murderers).
20They are your enemies. They say bad things about you that are not true.
21Do I *hate them that hate you, *LORD? Do I really hate them that attack you?
22(Yes) I do hate them, I really hate them. I think of them as my enemies.
23Look at me, God. And know (what is in) my *heart. Look into my mind and know my thoughts.
24See if I am doing anything bad that might hurt me.
And lead me in the old ways.
I am glad that we can’t out-run God. Because that means that we are always in His care. God’s mercy truly runs deep. Thank You Lord!
[Please silence my playlist if you want to listen to this beautiful song]:
One unit deputy called me and asked for a nurse to evaluate 2 inmates who just had a fight. I didn’t go into details why these 2 cellies [cell mates] fought. As I waited in a small clinic inside that unit, the man approached me, escorted by the deputy. His blood was dripping like a faucet. I found a laceration from his mid-forehead. I controlled his bleeding before I noticed the other injuries. He had scattered scratches on his torso. His left eye, circled with a dark halo. He sat quietly in front of me, the whole time. He was in a somber mood. I planned to send him to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment.
As the deputy kept him in a holding cell, he brought out the other inmate involved. Smiling sheepishly, I could feel his arrogance as he sat in front of me.
“Did you get hit?”
“Nope! I think I only had these fingers broken. That’s about it,” he answered, still smiling wide and holding his head high. [He stated that to make us know that he felt good that he hit the other guy bad!].
“No, they’re not broken!” I answered. [There were only mild swelling, as a result of him, hitting the other inmates, perhaps non-stop and hard]. He only had 1 minor scratch on his back but he didn’t have any other injuries. Not like the battered man.
“You can take him now, deputy,” I uttered. “Just put a sick call request if anything comes up,” I told that inmate.
“I’m fine,” he answered with his head so high as he turned it briefly toward the other man being kept in a nearby holding cell.
What did that inmate's pride gain for himself? He would definitely get more days or even months added to his sentence. He might gain power when this news about this fight would reach by hearsay to other inmates. But would everyone be scared of him just because he was unscathed? He would be inviting other inmates, hungry for power, to strike him in the end.
Having arrogance in our hearts can be deceiving. He thinks that he is indestructible. The truth is we are all mortals. We all get hurt. Our strength diminishes. Power does not offer the best security.
Like when we defy God’s commandments. We are being proud. That will bring us nowhere. We may feel good about doing whatever we want to do. But take heed of deceiving ourselves as to our souls! Don’t be fools who grants favor to an earthly prince. While you throw yourself out of God’s favor.
Let us not fear pride in others. But let us fear pride in OURSELVES.
Proverbs 16:18 - “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Jeremiah 49:16 - “As for the terror of you, The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, O you who live in the clefts of the rock, who occupy the height of the hill. Though you make your nest as high as an eagle's, I will bring you down from there," declares the LORD.
Swiping my electronic key to open the metal door in our staff parking, I heard someone hollered from the back, “Hey Rcubes! They just had a code blue there earlier!”
Glancing to where the greeting came from, I saw my co-worker who worked PM shift waving at me, on her way home.
The air was clear when I got to the jail‘s Infirmary. There were no more traces of what had transpired earlier during PM shift. The county’s Homicide Unit just got done, so I heard. The flow of adrenaline could still be felt as all the nursing staff was gathered, conversing about this incident.
He was a young man. His life spent on long-time abuse of illegal drugs. He came down to the Clinic after having chest pains. They occurred after he did some “burpies” [prison exercise]. He was very restless as one nurse initiated the EKG. But during the procedure, he started having a seizure and just stopped breathing. Chaos followed. But with those trained hands, precision was important as the game of tug of war began. Tug between life and death. The jail’s doctor was still there. He started the chest compressions as others initiated the IV, and other things they could do to revive this precious life. To no avail.
“Tragic,” one sighed. “He’s still young.”
As the last PM nurse walked out with weary steps, ready to retire to his bed, another shift took over. Ours. Ready for whatever would come our way. Ready to revive any who would go into cardiac arrest. Because that is the nurse’s first and foremost goal. To save. A life.
Tragic as it was to lose that young man’s life, it was even a greater tragedy to lose a soul who did not know God’s gift of forgiveness. That is the greatest human tragedy. To die not knowing Jesus. Because death is inevitable. We all know that. It will come to all of us like a thief in the night. We will all die. We don’t know when. But what happens when we do? The Bible speaks about two eternal destination: heaven and hell. How do we know where we are heading to?
Jesus said, “I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.” [John 3:3]
“The truth is no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven.” [John 3:5,6].
“And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” - Romans 10:15
We, who were revived before by our Savior must return the favor to those needing His salvation. It is a part of our calling to share what we know about Jesus. The Lord had forgiven our sins when we accepted His gift of salvation. He even took us out of “Egypt” [bondage or slavery], then what now? We are granted His promise of an eternal life. So, what do we do as we wait and long for our heavenly home? God loves all of us. He wants all men to be saved.
But let us first keep the true faith. Let’s study it and know it well so we are not defeated by ignorance. Let this faith make us pour our hearts out in prayers, draw nearer to His Word and manifest with our rich, good deeds. Then, we can teach and share the Healing Power of Salvation from Jesus to those needing it, before they face their own tragic, untimely death.
“But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself seriously - take God seriously.” [Micah 6:8; The Message]
Jesus saying: "Trust me and be relieved. I will deliver you."..."Then, why are you just standing still without stretching your hand to them?"
His trembling hands were resting on the arm part of the wheelchair. He was just brought to the county’s ER because of his chest pain. Upon arrival, he changed his mind and signed an “AMA” [against medical advice]. Those same hands that committed big robberries and other crimes were now weakened by his cancer that metastasized all over his body organs.
Nearby, an upset deputy who took his time to escort him to the ambulance, carefully removed the chains around his ankles, with his gloved hands. Same hands that would be ready to protect the staff from disrespectful inmates.
Nurses were busy typing with their weary hands. Both of them obviously upset why this inmate refused the treatment when they knew that he was very fragile when it came to his health.
I took a box of tissue with my tired hands, too. Tired from helping our medical secretaries with paperworks that were piling up for them. I took a few, thin tissues and gave it to this inmate to wipe out the tears slowly forming in his blurry eyes.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am. I had to sign an AMA. I didn’t want to miss my first visit today,” he softly uttered.
“You have the right to refuse, Sir,” I replied. “It’s just hard because there is no doctor here around this time. That’s why they needed to send you to ER.” “I’ll have our jail doctor see you in the morning.”
He slowly pushed the wheels forward with his aged hands. Trying to have the same rhythm to make the wheelchair go faster. Until the big metal door closed behind him...
Our hands tell so much about us. They tell life’s adventures. They gain victories. They cause failures. They help. They create. They bless.
It is known that we can live for 40 days without food, 3 days without water, and 8 minutes without air. But we cannot live one second without hope. When the disciples heard that Jesus died, fear replaced their hope. Until Jesus came back - alive from the dead! And He comforted them by showing His hands and feet. Thomas missed the resurrection and would not believe if he wouldn’t see and feel [John 20:25]. But a week later, Jesus appeared again and Thomas was there in that room. And Jesus said [John 20:27]:
“Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
And Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord, my God!” [John 20:28]
Hope…that never dies…is on Jesus’ hands… "Just believe!"
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].