Crossroads

“More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.” ~ Woody Allen


I glanced at the monitor in front of me, my eyes glued to the female inmate’s age: “26”.

“So young,” I whispered to myself. “How can she have chest pains if she doesn’t have any history?”

I heard the female side's metal door opened. The female deputy escorting this young inmate, with her wrists handcuffed to her back, as her keys dangled from her pant's pockets. Taking little steps, the young, long-haired woman kept looking on the floor and couldn’t maintain a good eye contact.  I immediately took her vital signs as I kept probing on possible causes why she would have chest pains. Motioning her to the exam room #1, two of us made her lay down on the exam table and put the EKG leads. She wasn’t talking as much. Embarrassed and could not imagine she was in the jail.

“Listen,” I softly approached her as the last EKG lead was placed in one of her legs, “tell me now if you’re using drugs. Or I can’t help you. You have your choice to remain quiet about everything. But that would limit me from doing the best care we could possibly give you.”

Stuttering and with a tone of shyness, she started giving her history. That 3 days ago, she was driving her car with her boyfriend. When suddenly, flashes of bright lights shone behind them that came from a cop’s car. In a crucial, frightening seconds, they started fighting as to how they could get rid of a small bag of methamphetamines on board. She already had a previous arrest and was on parole. Her boyfriend: 1st time to be caught if arrested. He made her swallow that bag. To get rid of evidence. Despite her protest. She ended up being brought to the hospital. But after her treatment, this time, she was booked in the jail.

“Sorry. I never told you. I’ve been using meth, on and off, for 10 years now,” a bead of tear crept up in one corner of her eyes. "I also had an abortion, 3 weeks ago,my third," she added choking in between.

“Thank you,” I looked at her and managed to lock a good eye contact this time. “Now, I know why you’re having chest pains.”

Immediately, I asked for an ambulance so she could be treated at the county’s ER. Transferred to the EMT’s guerney, she bowed her head really low as the escorting deputy put a shackle on her left foot.

“Oh, my gosh! I can’t believe it. This is not happening,” she mumbled. “Will you cover my foot with something, deputy so the shackle can’t be seen?” she requested.

“Yeah, I’ll try to cover it with something. But you know what? You did this to yourself. If you don’t stop now, you are gonna’ die young,” he warned but with intention to remind her to not destroy herself with her bad drug habit.

“I know…I know…” as she tried to wipe the tears that fell. “Thank you, nurse,” she uttered as she was more comfortable looking into my eyes now. The guerney disappeared. I knew I would see her again.

God loves His creation: humans. Created in His image. Out of His love, He already had marked a right path of living way before. But people refuse to take that path. Oftentimes, going their own way instead. All of us face that decision, that crossroad: to choose God’s right way or to follow that path which we think we like. If we choose the latter, we are often misled. There is no peace. There is no contentment. It is only when we choose God’s path that we are able to find rest for our souls. Let us not be ripped off by this world. There is always time to go back to that right path…

“This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.” 
- Jeremiah 6:16 [NIV]





Father, this is your post, not mine. I pray that You speak to those who will happen to come by. Imprisoned by drug abuse, alcohol abuse, prostitution, and other self-destructive ways. Lord, I ask for Your intervention in their lives. For them to come to know You first. So their blindness can be removed. And that they will be able to see that path that leads to You. Father, help us. Those Who already know You and tasted Your love. Help us remain strong and not stray away from this path You had marked for us. Help us to not look in other directions but maintain our focus, to be straight...only on Jesus. Thank You Lord for the path You have created for us. The rest that awaits for our weary souls when we finish our journey. But the best of all, is to see You waiting there with Your open arms and to be with You forever. I love You Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

We Are Free

I can’t believe it had been 20 years now, since I said goodbye to my husband, who was my boyfriend at that time, and was in the USS Missouri, off to go to the Persian Gulf War.



Lots of mixed emotions and thoughts swirled in my mind. But more of questions. Of “what if’s”. Of fears. Of sadness. Of tears. Many days went by with only prayers sustaining me with strength and hope. That one day. He would come back and return here safe. And by the grace of God, he did return. Unharmed. But a changed man. Changed by a torpedo that almost hit their carrier. Intercepted by an ally.
Changed by the many sleepless nights he was on alert, along with other comrades to watch for mines scattered in the vast, open sea. Changed by the letters we exchanged that got piled up as delivery wouldn’t be that easy. Their locations, most of the time, unknown. Changed by the tomahawks fired towards the enemy.




Changed by the many, many days that turned into months and years that we were physically apart.

He is not working with the US Navy anymore. But he continues to work to fight against terrorism. To you, my hubby, I give you my sincerest gratitude for all the sacrifice you did. Not only for your family but for all of us who enjoys this freedom we have. And my “thank you” to all of you who are serving in the military. For those of you, their families, who sacrificed also. To let go of a soldier to a mission with no time frame. It is not easy. But through their sacrifices, we remain free. May we remain honoring those who had given their lives because they never compromised. And because of that...we are free.

While many do not support war, sometimes, war is necessary to keep sinful people away from harming those innocent ones. War is indeed terrible. But sometimes, it is necessary to prevent greater evil. As Christians, the most important thing we can do is to pray for those serving in the military, those who fight against terrorism, and also for their families. Their spouses. Their children. Their parents. Whose hearts end up with a big hole every time a soldier leaves on a mission. Let’s pray for their safety. For God’s wisdom to guide our leaders.

“...a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” - Ecc.3:8

May God bless all of you who sacrifice your life to preserve our freedom!!!

I'm Saved...Now What?

It was one of those urgent sick calls we pulled from the pile of sick call requests from inmates. The words written complained of bleeding nose and that he was hearing voices. I glanced at my watch and realized I still had an hour before my shift was over last Sunday morning. I told the charge nurse, I would see the man.

He sat down in front of me, coughing and complaining of pain on the right side of face. I didn’t see any bloody nose. I touched his right cheek and it was slightly tender. He complained of on and off headaches. He admitted hearing voices but he said he wasn’t suicidal. That he only added it so he could be seen right away.

“That’s okay. Because I feel you have sinus infection if your right face have been hurting and you have headaches sometimes. You’re fortunate. Because our doctor came in early. I would go see her if I needed to give you some antibiotics.”

He let out a soft sigh and softly uttered, “Thank you, Ma’am. I appreciate your help and for not getting upset with me.”

The doctor did recommend antibiotics to be taken for 10 days and a nasal spray to aid with his congestion. I gave him all the instructions.

“Do you drink water? If you do, how much?” I probed.

“Ah….Mmmmm…”he paused.

“Just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ Sir.”

“I do. But just a little.”

“Okay. From now on, if you’re not throwing up, try to drink lots of water to help you with your healing. It will loosen up those phlegm so you can cough it up. And that will prevent you from getting dehydrated. That’s okay if you can’t eat but the water is a must.”

“Yes. Okay…”

“Also, once you start these antibiotics, it’s very important that even if you are feeling better, you must continue and finish everything that I am giving you. Okay? If you feel like you‘re not improving, you can always put a sick call so we can recheck you.”

He got up and kept thanking me. It took me 20 minutes so I gave a little sigh myself that I had a little time left to chart in my notes.

We are once like that man before coming to Christ. Day in, day out. Congested with the things of this world. We fight hard. Except we use our own limited strength until we bleed. Yet, accomplished nothing. The hearts…always left with a gnawing emptiness and feeling of less worth and dissatisfaction. Not knowing that the Living Water is available, we never drank enough. Have you committed your life to Christ? Have you been drinking the Living Water?

Christ did not promise a good, rich life when we accept Him into our hearts. He is not of this world. Our highest accomplishments will not matter. Our riches and possessions will not matter. Our hope and trust on someone or something except Christ will not matter. We must continue once we start having Him as Lord in our lives. Because in our weakness, He will give us the strength. In our lack of knowledge, He will give His wisdom. When feeling afraid, He replaces that with courage. We must strive to keep improving. To know more about Jesus. To know more about God. “4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:4-5 [NIV]

But being saved does not end there. We are given a mission to share the Good News to those who haven’t heard about it. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” - Matthew 28:19. This is the whole design of Christ’s commission. We are to teach. We are to make disciples. It is not about me doing ministry in the prison. It is not about our highest accomplishments that will matter. It is not about the prized possessions we have that will matter. It is all about the Lord Jesus. Our mission as His children is to share His gift of forgiveness. That will matter. Because God wants all to be saved…We are to plant the seeds. Yet, He is the One Who will nurture. Who will make them grow, not us. There is no second, no hour, no day that the Lord will not be there for His children. 

So, how are we investing our time? Day. After. Day. We are saved. Now what? We are God's eyes. His hands. His mouth. His ears. His touch. May God bless you and empower you!

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.’ - 2 Thessalonians 3:5



Glory be to You Oh Lord forever and ever. In all ages to come. Thank You Lord for Your grace and mercy, Your faithful love that endures forever. Thank You for loving us first. Guide us with Your divine wisdom Oh Lord, to give us discernment and protect us. Give us the boldness Lord to share Your wonderful gift of salvation to those who are still wandering lost and whose roads will cross ours. Help us lead them to the only, narrow road that leads to eternal life. And may their hearts and minds be opened up to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Praise the Lord with me: [offenders singing at Indiana State Prison]:

Prayers Are Vital

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” ~ Dorothy Bernard   
majestichelmetofsalvation2722005-2.jpg Prayer Warrior image by chateekat_bucket
Photo Credit
As a part of being an employee at the Sheriff’s Correctional facilities, everyone is required to know the radio codes and be able to know how to use them. They are vital to each other’s communication. Especially during dangerous situations, radios are the fastest way to transmit a message if there’s a riot and deputies or medical staff’s help are needed.

I was nervous to listen to the traffic when I was newly hired. Memorizing each code night by night to get more familiar. Learning how to work the radio and be able to send a message or respond to calls. I’m sorry that I can’t disclose the meaning of some codes here. I used to joke around that I could use it [the radio], as my weapon if an inmate tried something with me. But I knew then, it wouldn’t be funny during critical situations.

Radio messages were able to summon more deputies and controlled fights among inmates. Ambulances were called on life-threatening situations by medical staff exchanging radio communication. They even could use it to alert if anyone would be willing to stay if they happened to be short of staff on a particular day.

I knew everyone’s messages were being relayed from a central transmitter location. I thought how neat technology was. That it would only take a few seconds and people’s radio calls were heard all over the facility, though the messages were going to that central location first.

How true it is with our prayers! How vital prayer life is to us as followers of Christ. They go to Him, the center of it all, and the answers come back to us, prayer warriors.

I like Don Piper’s preaching and I found one where he described this about prayer:





Oh Lord, I don’t feel the passion to pray sometimes. Help me Holy Spirit to give all my heart to you as I send out my prayers. What are beautiful prayers if they don’t come with my heart? I just want to thank You tonight that You are in the midst of us, listening to our petitions. I just want to glorify Your Holy Name. We are nothing without You, oh Lord. Please help me become strong in this area of my life. I know that I am in a battle and I am defenseless without You. I thank You Oh Lord knowing that because of my trust and faith in You, You have shared Your victory with me. Thank You for Your protection Lord. Thank You for loving me unconditionally. Thank You for Your power and might that You give us when we seek them. Help me Lord to remain standing. Our Father….How grateful I am that because of Jesus, I can go to Your throne of grace boldly and call You “my Abba, my Father…”Thank You Lord, the One Who is in heaven. Glory be Your Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done….on earth as it is in heaven…In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” ~ John 14:13

I Broke The Policy

Romans 10:4 [61 kb]
I was the Intake Nurse long time ago. My charts that needed to be opened for those arrestees who had a medical or psychiatric problems were piling up in front of me. As I started getting to work, I was almost startled though the voice was soft. It broke through the brief solitude I had which gave me time to catch up with my charting.

“Ma’am, can I ask you for some Motrin? My tooth hurts!” bravely queried an inmate worker. He and the other worker wearing blue uniforms. They usually could be found in one corner of the Intake on the male side. Awaiting for the deputies to call them if they needed help to have something cleaned up or to pass meals during “chow times”. They sort of the errand runners for us. For medical staff, they often would get empty charts as we needed them. Or they would pick up a wheel chair or other equipment stored in our Infirmary.

“You know you need to put a sick call, right?” I replied. That was the rule. That no medications would be given to any inmate, not unless it was through a sick call when the nurse could evaluate them.

He lowered his head and pivoted to head back to the corner where he was.

“Wait! I didn’t say I wouldn’t give you any yet, right?” I added.

His face lit up. But at the same time, a little grimace was also shown.

“Are you sure you’re okay to work?”

“I think I can handle it Ma’am. I just need to try if the Motrin can help me until I finish this shift.”

I grabbed a handful of packets of Motrin after determining he didn’t have any drug allergy. His right hand, cupped and waiting for the meds to be dropped. He had a little wry smile this time.

“Sir, I’m giving you some to make you comfortable because you’re at work. But if your toothache doesn’t get better, please put a sick call. So, the nurse can determine if you need to see our dentist.”

“Thank you so much, Ma’am,” he replied with gratitude. He disappeared from where he was standing. A few minutes later, he came back and emptied my big trash can becoming full with papers and other forms of trash.

“Thank you, Sir! I appreciate your help,” I told him.

I sat there with my achy neck after finishing the charts. I started thinking…”Was I wrong on giving him that packets of Motrin because it just wasn’t allowed if not through a sick call? That meant I broke the policy?” But I strongly felt it wasn’t about breaking the policy. It was about helping someone who was in pain. And this thought came over me that brought me comfort:

That Jesus healed a crippled man on a Sabbath, where the Pharisees were just waiting for that opportunity to attack him and his ministry. Blinded by their own self-righteousness and oral laws with the intention of keeping God’s commandments, they failed to see the real meaning behind God’s laws.

“No work is allowed on Sabbath! Healing is work!” they accused Jesus.

Jesus knew their hearts…with hardness. So he asked if it was lawful to do good or evil on Sabbath, to save a life or destroy? None of the Pharisees could answer. Are there still Pharisees today? I believe so. We are like them when we build those walls around us, to separate us from sinners. Thinking that what we do is right in the sight of God. But those walls are the same walls that separated us from what God truly wants from us. What defiles us is what is in our hearts.

Oh, Lord...help us to be more like Jesus everyday. Mold our hearts. Remove the things that impede my spiritual growth. Forgive me for my sins. In Jesus' precious Name. Amen.



Self-righteousness: Our Greatest Danger

How Far Can You Go?

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“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
-CTStudd                                                                          

“So, what am I gonna’ do now, huh?” asked a ticked-off male inmate, still groggy from being waken up at almost midnight.

“The deputy said that they are going to put me on discipline because I was upset and talked back to them when they woke me up and told me that you guys needed me for blood pressure check. My blood pressure is fine. C’mon!”

I just walked in to start my shift last Saturday night. Upon seeing the evening nurse got up from her seat to take vital signs on 2 male inmates, I volunteered to get the other one so she could go home on time.

“Why so late?” I queried.

“Well, our charge nurse wanted it done. Just following her order Rcubes,” she replied.

I tapped on the same nurse’s shoulder, as she heard the inmate’s complaint to me.

“Will you please tell the charge nurse about this?” I requested. She just smiled at me and proceeded to go inside the Infirmary where the charge nurse’s desk was.

The man has a long history of alcohol abuse. Without alcohol upon incarceration, he was prone to withdrawal symptoms that could be life threatening. He was being given medications to help combat the tremors but has the effect of making him sleepy.

I could reply with 2 different versions. Human way, I would have been upset because he was not being grateful to the care being given when he probably had a lot of sleepless nights outside the prison walls anyway, consuming alcohol until the wee hours of each morning.

But the Spirit reminded me. His ways higher than mine. His thoughts higher than mine.

“Sir, I could see where you’re coming from. I’m sorry that your sleep was interrupted. But we just wanted to make sure that you won’t have those dangerous symptoms. I am not sure if I can prevent this. Because when things get busy, whoever has the opportunity to take your vital signs will have to do it. But it must be done and the results be shown to our doctor. I would let my charge nurse know. If it’s possible to have it done before bedtime. I can’t promise. I can only try.”

“I’m sorry, Ma’am. I wasn’t upset with you. I understand you guys have to do this. But please. I would appreciate it if they can’t interrupt my sleep. I haven’t slept. Thank you.”

He got up with droopy shoulders, his orange uniform wrinkled in different places as if donned in a hurry.

I could feel for him. Despite the crimes they committed, inmates were given that right to have a straight sleep. That was a law. They must be allowed to have an uninterrupted sleep. So little sacrifice for me to try to let the charge nurse know. But it was worth a try.

How far can we go to make things better for others? How far can we make sacrifices to help someone in need? No one. Nobody. Can ever do what God has done. To save us sinners. He sacrificed His one and only Son. To save humanity.

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face so that he will not hear.” - Isaiah 59:2


“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8


“God made the one who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.” - 2 Corinthians 5:21


“For this is the way God loved the world: he gave his one and only Son that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18 The one who believes in Him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” - John 3:16-18

Hardened

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“Hardening of the heart ages people more quickly than hardening of the arteries.” ~ [think exist]

“I tell you now! You can’t have it your way!” yelled the deputy to a belligerent, young male inmate escorted by one deputy. More deputies were summoned over the radio as this inmate started fighting with one deputy who was escorting him from their unit to bring him to the Clinic and be evaluated.

“No, Ma’am! But these deputies will make me do it!” he blurted out to me when I asked him if he wanted to hurt himself.

“She’s just trying to help you! Answer her appropriately!” a cutting remark from one of the deputies wove in through our conversation.

“I’ll see if I can give you something to help you sleep like what you requested. But I’m sorry that I can’t give you any psych meds. Not until the psychiatrist has evaluated you and ordered something specific, the nurses cannot give you anything related to your mental health condition. I just want to request for you to be patient because I would try to have someone from Mental Health Services see you sooner!” my eyes trying to have a contact with his. His head remained looking down on the floor, only to look up when he wanted to say something in between or tried to free his wrists from the handcuff behind his back.

“You’re always patient. Thank you,” whispered one deputy.

“Because getting angry at him will not help in anyway. Thank you,” I replied.

How could I respond with anger? Knowing that he had a history of ingesting 2 bags of heroin and was treated at the hospital. He was fortunate to remain alive. He was one of those who was always in and out of jail for drug violations. Growing marijuana. Selling other drugs. Robbing places to sustain this ill habit. I could imagine the judge warning him many times to change. But trapped in this dangerous vice, he chose to not listen. His heart became callous to good advices.

Strong conviction for God’s Word lacks nowadays among many people. Many are doing things based on what is right on their own eyes. “Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him.” - Ephesians 4:18-19. As believers, we can’t do anything to change a blind person and with a hardened heart. That is the work of the Spirit. “My job was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God, not we, who made it grow. The ones who do the planting or watering aren‘t important, but God is important because he is the one who makes the seed grow.” - 1 Corinthians 3:6,7.

“Apollos watered…” It is allowing a person to see Christ through us. Through our actions. We are here to plant and water. But we must leave the “growing part” to God. It is frustrating to share the Good News to someone with a hardened heart. But we must persevere. Let’s start with examining where our own hearts are… [Matthew 6:21 - “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.”]

Which pot are you when the seeds [Word of God] got planted in you?



13This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' - Matthew 13: 13-15 [Parable of the Sower]

Sowing the Seed: Evangelism Stories for Children

Divine Nature - Sowing the Seeds of Faith & Scripture Study

Onions

Linking this with Spiritual Sundays. Please visit this warm place if you want to be rejuvenated and encouraged by friends. Thank you to sisters Charlotte and Ginger for hosting this place.

                                                               Different Kinds of Onions


“Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.”
~ Carl Sandburg

Tears started flowing. As I removed my eyeglasses and started squinting my eyes from the burn I felt immediately after. I started feeling better yesterday, Thursday. No more nagging cough. No more box of tissues nearby.

“Why don’t you rest?” queried my hubby.

“Because you know me, I can’t sit around.”

He was concerned because I never rested the entire week that I was sick. I had been thanking God for giving me the strength that He sustained me with. That I was able to clean, cook, wash dirty clothes.

I always try to make something early for dinner. I made a sour broth with the beef I had in the freezer. Because it was easy to make. Just chop up tomatoes, onions and added the veggies I had in the freezer. I didn’t want to waste any.I wanted to use the lemons I bought the other day.

I was chopping up those onions when I felt the stinging, tangy scent that wafted under my nostrils. I was thankful it didn’t become a “crying fest”.

Onions remind me of us. How we all look different. How some can produce mild or others, strong aromas. Same aromas that give the taste or flavor of what is being cooked.



“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 [NIV]

In Christ Alone

The New Vision and Self-renewal Through Faith in Jesus Christ

This Is Not My Home

[photo credit:http://caligulaversusnero.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/allergy.jpg]

"Seaside sunset, silver linings round the clouds
Birds fly, singing, making such a joyful sound.
Thoughts of heaven somehow seem to fill my mind,
But I can't even imagine , what it is I'm gonna' find..."

I’ve been being bothered by my sinus allergy since last week. The minor sniffling turned into congestion, coughs and sleepless nights. For those of you who suffer from year-round rhinitis, you understand what I mean. Having the box of tissues nearby, one box after another. Trying to hydrate your body with fluids even if you feel like you’re drowning. Making some tea even if you’re a java lover. Things like that.

So, I ended up visiting my primary physician and almost got treated, too for dementia. God blessed me with a 2 pm appointment when I called and tried to set up an appointment 2 days ago. Someone canceled and with my excitement, I was quick to accept that slot. Only to realize that I had a child to pick up from school at 2:30p.m. I found myself calling my doctor’s office back to apologize for being “demented”. I could hear a good laughter from the other end of the line. Maybe the lady needed that laugh, so, she okayed me to go there immediately and that they would see me right away. Even better! Thank You Lord!

I was given some antibiotics and some cough medicine to clear me up. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t complaining about coughing knowing it is good for you because your body is trying to clear up your air passages. But with the aging process, comes the lesser energy and the muscles from the chest just used mainly for breathing started to ache when over-used with such a strenuous work that comes from coughing.

So, sometimes, I long for what awaits as most of you know, that we don’t belong in this place. But in the meantime, I am just grateful for friends like you who are always quick to bend your knees and fold your hands together and plead for a divine intervention for a forgetful, coughing middle-aged woman like me. I just want to thank you and thank the Lord for His wonderful promise of being in a mansion with Him someday. His faithful love and faithful promise keeps me going on despite my body starting to break down, part by part, piece by piece….knowing that someday, there will be no more pain…No more tears…No more coughing…No more shame…No more dementia…No more worrying….

"I can't wait to go to heaven, when You'll wipe away my tears,
In six days You created everything,
But You've been working on Heaven for two thousand years..."

[The quoted lines were part of Keith Green's song titled "I Can't Wait To Get To Heaven". This is what he said before singing the song: "You know, I look around at the world and I see all the beauty that God made. I see the forest and the trees and all the things. And says in the Bible that He made them is six days and I don't know if they're a literal six days or not. Scientists would say no, some theologians would say yes. But I know that Jesus Christ has been preparing a home for me and for some of you, for two thousand years. And if the world took six days and that home two thousand years, hey man, this is like living in a garbage can compared to what's going on up there."

So, next time that you see a body part or parts being dragged lower by gravity, or a strand of white hair or a few sticking out from the rest of your hair, feel aching joints, feel like drowning in seas of worries and fears, remember....this is not my home. This is not your home....because of what Christ had done.

"13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."
- Hebrews 11:13-16 [NIV]

Who Are You Listening To?

               Prayer is when you talk to God;meditation is when you listen to God. ~ Diana Robinson


I was a new nurse 10 years ago in a correctional setting. I had noticed how easier the job was compared to what I did at the hospital. No more lifting patients. No more putting extremities back on CPM’s [Complete Passive Movement Machine] after the patients’ total knee replacements. No more turning of post-op patients side to side at least every 2 hours to prevent skin breakdown. Not that I hated those as an Orthopedic nurse. But because I couldn’t do it anymore after sustaining a neck injury in 1997, after lifting a patient who just had a back surgery. Despite me being aware of using good body mechanics, my neck was injured.

“Don’t work with Nurse P.,” warned one of the new co-workers. “He’s grumpy and just hard to work with,” she added in a whisper.

That was what stood out after being oriented in a few weeks. The job was not hard. It was the people. People who loved to back stab others and in their presence, lauded them with praises. People who loved to see someone messed up and was so sure to talk about it when it occurred. People who always checked for what kind of phones co-workers were using. Brand names of purses. Expensive watches. The kind of cars they drove. The kind of life they lived outside. Interested to know if a co-worker was divorced. That they were having problems with not only with their mates but with kids if they had kids. Those were the obvious things I saw, heard, sensed and experienced.

“Thanks for your warning,” I replied. “But I prefer to form my own opinion of people. I would rather meet them and be able to work with them.”

So I did. With Nurse P. And he was a great co-worker. We worked harmoniously. We were a great team when we had man downs. We finished early with our morning sick calls because we split the work. There was no whining. Whoever was available and could, one of us would just do the work. And we earned more than what we were making, pay period to pay period. We earned respect. Toward each other. Nurse P. had been retired. And I was glad that I never listened to that damaging warning.

How about you? Who are you listening to? Are you listening to this world’s point of views? Or are you listening to God?

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
~ John 10:27-28[NIV]



Rend Not Your Clothes...But Your Heart

"Beloved, if any unholiness exists in the nature, it is not there by the consent of the Spirit of God. If unholiness is in your life it is because your soul is giving consent to it, and you are retaining it. Let it go. Cast it out and let God have His way in your life." --John G. Lake

He came so restless. The charge nurse asked me to evaluate this young, newly incarcerated male. His upper extremities were showing slight tremors, when our medication nurse made a round in his unit.

“I take like 30 pills of Vicodin [a narcotic] a day, Ma’am. And yes, I also drink lots of alcohol everyday and snort heroin.” His gaze was not steady, combing every corners of the Infirmary. His arms hanging on to his clothing as if he wanted to tear them.

“Relax, Sir. I know it’s difficult. But if you keep moving your left arm, the blood pressure cuff will not stop pumping and it’s gonna’ hurt you,” I softly warned.

“Awww….Okay. Okay….I’m trying,” he responded with very rapid sighs.

I started him on two protocols: one for opiate withdrawal and the other for alcohol withdrawal. I was allowed to give him certain medications based on those. To his relief.

“Sir,” I repeated, “Relax. Okay? Try to. Stop pulling on your clothes.”

“Thank you, Ma’am. I’ll try.”

“These medications will help control your shaking, the runs, nausea and vomiting and at night, you would be given something to help you sleep. It would be brought to where you are housed by the medication nurses.”

The rapid footsteps left the Infirmary. His face managed to paint a grateful smile that something was done. But that “fix” was only temporary. He knew that. Change must come from him. Deep inside.

God wants our hearts. From our hearts come both the good and the bad things. If given to Him with true repentance, the bad things go. Like being purged. It is not an easy process. God did not guarantee an easy life with Him. But it would be worth it. For a life with Christ is liberating. Our sins forgiven when we truly repent. Let us stop pulling on our clothes, trying to make choices. Just choose for one. The only way. The only truth. The only life.

“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” ~ Joel 2:13 [NIV]

The Best Gift

A warning that it is long. I posted this for my own heart, missing my mom this Mother’s Day. My mother had passed away on December 2000 after having a massive stroke. This was an excerpt from what I had written about her back in September 10, 2001. Her life’s story I had shared with my then, alive father and my other 5 siblings and close friends…My mother did accept the Lord into her heart before passing away.

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~Honoré de Balzac"

“Maha…..Maha…O-oooo…O-oooo….” Those were the last words that came out of my mother’s mouth on December 28, 2000. They might not mean anything to someone else, but because I knew my mother well, I knew that she was trying to fight her aphasia so she could utter the words “I love you and yes…yes….” those words spoken in our native dialect.

That was a desperate moment for her, trying to cling to this valuable life that she had known for 69 years. That was a moment when I was also trying to help her win the tug-o’-war, of life against death, as we conversed over the phone. No matter how many worlds apart, we could try. That was a moment when all of the memories we shared together which took many years to be created, flashed back in a matter of only a few, precious remaining seconds. I had a feeling at that time that it was a memory with my mother that was about to end.

My vision was blurry, blinded by the tears that constantly flowed down my cheeks, as I reassured my mother of the possible strength she could still have. At the same time, I was praying and asking God to make her well: for me, for my brothers, for our families, but especially for my dearest father, who loved her so much. Being a Catholic with ardent passion for praising God daily, my mother’s faith was what I needed to combine with mine, so I could ask for a miracle that only God would approve of.

I love to write but at that time, I was at a profound loss for words as I talked [for an imminent last moment] with my mother, whose physical and emotional pain I couldn’t and wouldn’t imagine. I kept telling her “we love you very much”, like a broken record as my voice tried to be in a normal range, despite the choking sensation I had and as I tried to make the big lump in my throat disappear. I spoke about the un-said “thank you’s” that were long overdue. The thank you’s for all the sacrifices she had done to give us, her children, all the good things in life: education, love, faith in God and just for being an understanding, always forgiving and accepting mother to us.

Suddenly, the rest of her words became more incomprehensible as the aphasia affected her more. It must have taken so much strength out of her to convey all of her thoughts and feelings but at the same time, she must be frustrated that nothing came out right from her effort to communicate with me. But that period of misunderstanding was the most understood one -  a feeling of love that was mutually shared, even without words, we both felt that. As mother and daughter, that was the best sharing we had in this lifetime. We. Just. Knew.

God, how I prayed…”Dear God, please take away the pain that my mother is feeling. Give her more strength and courage as she tries to fight this stroke that suddenly hit her. The stroke that came like a thief in the night--without warning! The stroke that robs her of her joyous smiles and echoing laugher. The stroke that caused a slurred speech and made her “I love you’s” incomprehensible. She was a very special gift You gave to our family. If living more for her would mean physical suffering and pain, then, give us the courage instead, to have the readiness and acceptance to let her go. To accept her imminent return to You. Even if it would mean losing the best gift given to us, whose lots of lives she touched throughout her lifetime. Dear God, please give her peace and turn our trial for Your glory.”

The best gift in life doesn’t have to be a dream vacation, lots of money, living the good life, and other material things our mortal souls crave for. The best gift in life is love - - the kind that my mother shared and taught us. The best gift was learning to love and to sacrifice for someone you love, being there during the ups and downs of life. It was a pretty gift wrapped with a golden bow. When we, her children, her husband, other loved ones and friends opened that gift, it was full of memories, of triumphs and losses, of laughter and tears, of joys and sorrows, of broken hearts and mended wounds. It was the kind of gift that wouldn’t get lost. It didn’t need an occasion to be worn. It wouldn’t break and just required our hearts for storage. That will always be the BEST GIFT we could treasure forever…..the Lord’s gift of my mother and her love to us….

"29There are many good women, but you are the best!"
30Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away,
but a woman who honors the LORD deserves to be praised" ~ Proverbs 31:29-30 [CEV]

Happy Mother's Day

Posting this early as I haven't been feeling well [allergy] and want to wish all of you great moms out there and those who are like mothers because of their loving, nurturing ways a "Happy Mother's Day"!


“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.” ~Mildred B. Vermont

Hope flew away the moment you had gone
Away from the bustle of this world and placed behind bars
Predicament that roused your doubts and fears
Pretending that moment would not last
Yet years would go by, the price you had to pay

Many crimes like webs snatched your feet
One final act, the flooding light illuminated your ill behavior
Taken with handcuffs, swallowed by the metal doors
Here you would feel regrets and time wasted for many seasons
Except it was too late, too many heartaches
Reserved for your children whose mother’s love was stolen from them
Sad but you never thought of their needs but only of yourself

Dreaming behind those cold walls…but won’t change a thing
A child’s tear would always flow, a child’s heart would be in pain
Yearning for a mother’s love, like a puzzle now, has many missing pieces

~rcubes 5/6/10 2030hrs.

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
~ Proverbs 14:1




Remembering the incarcerated mothers whose children also lost so much ~ their mother’s love.

Lord, You’re the only One Who can change people’s hearts. I lift up these mothers that You will instill that change in their hearts by knowing Your love and forgiveness first. I ask that You bless their children left behind at home or at foster care. Please comfort them. May each of them have that precious time to be with their mother, not only on Mother’s Day but for the remaining days of their lives. And for this Mother’s Day, I ask that you bless all the mothers and all the women who have the nurturing nature that blesses those around them. Thank You Lord for giving us this special gift of having mothers. The ones who gave life to us. The ones who guided us and instilled those seeds of faith in us. I pray Oh Lord for Your love to mend those broken hearts between children and irresponsible mothers. Thank You for giving me one of the best mothers in this world who willingly sacrificed everything to give her family the best in everything. May I be like my own mother who I dearly miss, with my own child. Loving. Forgiving. Accepting. And always sharing about You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

He Never Sleeps

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” (Psalm 103:2-5)


“How come you didn’t put a sick call?” I asked the ill-looking male inmate who was complaining of sore throat and difficulty breathing for 4 days.

“I did, few days ago, Ma’am.”

“No! I have your sick call slip here. It was only put in today.”

He didn’t know what to say. He knew that only life-threatening cases were usually seen at night.

“My point, Sir, was for you not to wait for so long the moment you didn’t feel good. Because nursing staff is here 24/7, even if the doctor is not available at night. We can help you to the best we can. Before something gets worse.”

“I’m sorry, Ma’am.”

“No! Don’t say sorry. It’s just hard to treat something that gets so worse when it could have been prevented.” “Now, say ‘ahhhh!” I had a hard time putting his tongue down with a depressor. Through the difficulty, I was surprised to see his throat.

I was taken aback to see how big his tonsils were. No wonder he was having difficulty breathing because he had “kissing tonsils”. It could be life threatening at times if they indeed get so swollen and could block his airway. I didn’t waste any minute. Immediately, I contacted the on-call physician. He gave me orders to give medications to reduce the swelling right away and started him on some antibiotics. 10 minutes later, the swelling had gone down a little bit. But I wasn’t still satisfied. I still put him in our doctor’s sick call that morning thinking that he might need a shot of antibiotics, aside from the pill form.

“Thank you, Ma’am,” he uttered with relief. “I’m starting to swallow and could feel the difference.”

“That’s why we’re here. Remember, we are here 24/7. Next time something goes wrong, don’t wait too long to be seen either by nurses or doctor.”

That night when I returned to work, I noticed our jail doctor did add a shot of antibiotics and he agreed with the other medications I already had issued to the inmate.

This Monday, the pollen had been high and the gusty winds just made it worse for allergy sufferers like me. Last night, I barely slept because I started coughing though I wasn’t as congested as I used to. I still thanked the Lord that my allergy was not as bad anymore as it used to be. I thanked Him knowing that I could seek Him because He was and is available 24/7.

Our God never sleeps and I know that He is always available to comfort us.



Pardon me my friends if I haven’t been able to visit you lately. But I pray for the Lord to bless you all and grant your hearts’ desires according to His will.

I Choose To Hope

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." ~ Psalm 43:5

“Nurse! Just send me back to my unit if you guys are not going to do anything! I will just file a grievance,” an irate female inmate yelled through the glass window.

She had been waiting in the Infirmary for hours before I got there that night. Yet, she was just seen by the jail doctor the previous day and earlier that day and many other times. She always complained of her heart hurting. That she needed to go to the hospital because of her heart condition. So upset that she was not seen by the cardiologist.

“Ma’am,” I approached the window as the charge nurse felt exhausted dealing with her. “I also had spoken with you earlier. I told you that the reason why they kept you so long here was because you kept complaining of chest pain. We did the EKG. It was normal. I called you in and took your vital signs and I showed you, that everything was normal. I just need you to understand that we can’t do anything at this point because there was no abnormal findings even when the doctor had seen you earlier. It doesn’t mean we don’t believe you. We are aware of your congenital heart problem. But you need to understand that it is a process when we refer you to the cardiologist. There is nothing life threatening that is happening right now with you and you had this condition since you were little.”

She didn’t know what to say. With those thousands of words that came out from me, I was feeling exhausted, too. And I only had dealt with her for an hour.

“You don’t understand. I need to go to the hospital! I need a cardiologist now!” she demanded.

“I would not keep repeating my explanations. We do understand that it is frustrating on your part. But you need to be patient. When a specific date and time comes back to us from the Cardiology department, they will just get you from your unit and bring you to the hospital,” I added.

She reached out her right hand below the glass partition window. I handed her yellow pass so she could go back to her unit. Shaking her head softly, feeling as if she had no more power to demand all she had wanted done her way, she surrendered. Her steps slowly retraced her prints she left earlier when she first walked in. Back to her cell.

“Lord! Lord! Why are our prayers not answered?” How often I demand God to explain things to me, too and when things don’t go the way I want it to go in my life. When my prayers seem unanswered as I see others and I struggling for physical healing, for provision of needs, for freedom from being imprisoned with many, many bondages. “Why God when You have the power to do so?” When He is truly bigger than any of these things! Often I see myself in complete surrender. That’s what needs to happen most of the time. To give me time to reflect on His true nature. That He is a God of love. That despite the circumstances around me, He is the One Who has the control not me. That I still must choose to have joy in my heart despite the trials and heartaches. That I must still choose to have hope despite things looking bleak at times. Because these awful times are what drive me to surrender to Him. And in those quiet times, in those quiet places, that’s where He usually meets me and softly explains to my heart the plans in my life. That it is a process. Not my way. But His. That there is Someone Who always intercedes for me. And I know, my prayers are being heard. Mine and yours. Yes, I must choose to hope Lord. I choose to still hope…Knowing Christ did die for me. Knowing Your plans give me hope and a future.

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." ~ Titus 2:11-14

Teamwork

Please head over to Spiritual Sundays and soak yourself up with encouraging posts. Thank you sisters Charlotte and Ginger for hosting.


“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 [ESV]


It was chaotic last night. There were many unscheduled sick calls my co-workers and I saw. There were man downs. As piles of charts with doctor’s orders were waiting to be entered in the computer. The Intake Nurse called “SOS!” So, after my break, I went there to help her out.

But out of all that craziness, it was still manageable. Because every one was willing to put their best to accomplish the tasks that we needed to do. It might be a chaotic night. But with a great teamwork, it did not seem it was.

With teamwork, the inefficiency becomes efficient. There is harmony. There is focus. There is one vision. There is willingness to do a sacrifice. All toward achieving one mission. That’s how it must be in our Christian walk.

I just wanted to share this neat video. Because of hard work and teamwork, these people did a beautiful thing together:


“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:13 [ESV]
All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.



Encouragers

The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]


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].

Friends