Can I Give You Anything?

"We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." - 1 John 5:19(ESV)

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:2 (ESV)

"Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." - James 4:14 (ESV)

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." - Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)

"And everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” - John 11:26 (ESV)

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." - John 5:24 (ESV) +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

She was one of those night nurses I used to work with. Being placed on a Per Diem status, I hardly saw her. Until Friday night…

“Hey, Rcubes! Good to see ya!”

“Hey Nurse H.! Good to see you, too. What’s up with you?” I returned.

“Remember when I told you about my son having his back surgery? It will happen this Tuesday…”

“Oh, yes! I’ve never forgotten. I know it must be worrisome for him to have this surgery but I hope that he will get relief from his back pain.”

“Can I help you with anything, Nurse H.? Can I give you anything?”

She moved her head side to side implying a “No” answer. But somehow, deep inside, I knew she was thinking about something. A few seconds that felt like eternity went by as she kept looking at me, eye to eye, still thinking…

“I don’t need anything, Rcubes…Just “prayers please…”

Her request pierced my heart. I felt her worries and her heartaches as a mother. How easily I forgot…

“That there comes a time in a person’s life, not only when facing life’s adversities, but even with a day to day routine, we discover that we are limited as humans.”

“Sure!” came my loud response as I whispered if she would like the two of us to pray together at that moment. A smile wrinkled her mouth as she accepted. We both went to seclusion in one of our exam rooms. I could see her excitement as she drew the curtain to give us some privacy as I went to one corner and turned down the lights in the room. We both sighed. We both closed our eyes. I had seen her cue that she was not comfortable giving me her hands. That was okay…Prayers did not need special words. Prayers did not need rituals…Prayers were the cries of one’s heart. I felt her defeat building up in her heart. But I also felt her increasing faith and reliance on God Who knew it all.

I led the prayer. She remained quiet. I wasn’t sure if she was praying but I kept pleading not only for her son, but also for her and the whole family. I knew the toll it would take not only on the person having surgery, but also for the rest of the family members who would be her son’s support. As I ended my prayers “in Jesus’ Name. Amen,” I opened my eyes only to feel slightly embarrassed that she still had her eyes closed and her lips mumbling so faintly. Tears formed in the corners of her eyelids. I bowed my head and closed my eyes again. This was a sacred moment coming from a person who chose to believe and I dared not to interrupt…

We both opened our eyes after that. She hugged me tightly and thanked me. I reminded her I was not the one hearing her cries. It was God. He was the One Who deserved all her thanks.

The smile I saw earlier remained on her face. As we both joined the working medical crew inside the Clinic, I heard her laughing as one started joking around. How foolish of me to think that I could really help her with anything! When in reality, it was only God Who could give everything. She needed Jesus. I did, too. Even after accepting His gift of grace and forgiveness...



Friends, while you're here, do you mind if you can drop a prayer for Nurse H. and her son, C. who's having a back surgery tomorrow in the morning? Thank you...God bless you all.

No Matter What

“Give it about 60 more days,” uttered the lady on the phone…

“60?” I asked.

“Ma’am, if I had waited this long, 60 days is nothing…”

She laughed softly, as if amused by the strength and in the way those words were stated to her ears.

“I understand,” she replied…

I had been waiting for some help I needed to fight the decisions made for me by some people who sat on higher positions from my work. They were determined to end my career because I did not and could not obey their demands. It had been a little over a year now since my battle began. My working hours were reduced. I was placed on a shift that I never wanted but worked it as I couldn’t do anything at that time but waited for this help. I knew the process would be long. It could be exhausting. Evidenced by many before me who failed to state their cases. Known by others that those people either chose to quit or just accepted their fate of leaving Correctional Nursing. Slapped with wrong motives, unfair treatments, and abuse of power.

I wanted to take the same route at first. But when I asked in prayers, I was reminded that any trial that came in my journey, even this one, was never unnoticed by the Highest Authority.

There is no trial that never goes through His hands!

And I chose to believe. If I learned patience before, this process made me learn patience even more. It was tough. But at the same time, my heart and mind were like branches being pruned to be prepared for another season. I was hungry for His quick justice. Except…The answer might not come quick.

Knowing how God brought me from the hospital when I hurt my neck in 1997 and how He placed me in a Correctional setting and blessed me tremendously both physically and spiritually, I knew I must trust. No matter what the outcome would be.. I would always choose to believe that He has the best reasons why things happened. Even with those not so nice ones. This trial that I thought would be hard to overcome as if a big mountain on my path was nothing compared to the Mountain Who granted me and anyone who believed His victory!

"You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." – Matthew 17:20 (NLT)

I thank God I have a Mediator through Christ in every trial that comes my way. I know justice will come. Not in my time. In God’s perfect time…

“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” – 2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV)

Lord, thank You for Your grace and mercy. I know that I can't do anything with my own strength. I thank You that through trials, You remind me to depend on You more and completely put my trust in no one but You. I know that I don't see things clearly and I don't see the whole picture. Grant me Lord Your eyes that I may see things the way You see them. Give me Your heart that readily forgives so I may be able to forgive those who hurt me. Thank You Lord for Your provisions despite the hardship these people tried to inflict me with. Thank You for reminding me through Your Word that no matter what people plan, it is You Who always direct my steps. I praise You Lord. And I ask that You also strengthen my family, friends, and blogging friends and help us all with all the trials we are facing. Please protect us. Empower us with Your Spirit. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

The Empty Seats

I had been busy these past few days helping a sick friend. Since driving to places made it difficult for her, I volunteered to drive her and brought her to her doctor. It was a beautiful morning that day with the temperature being comfortable though the sun was shining so brightly. I dropped her off by the Clinic’s front door and veered to find a spot in the middle of the lot.

rows of empty seats in a doctor's office
As I followed to enter the medical office, I was greeted by a surprising silence. All of the seats were empty except for the one being occupied by my friend as she waited for the nurse to call her. Working at the hospital for many years in the past, I knew that must be a welcoming break for the staff working in that facility. Even their phones were extremely idle.

I took out a piece of paper and pen from my purse I intentionally brought with me since I anticipated the usual long waits in any doctor’s visits. I thought of writing about anything that came to mind to just “kill the time”, so to speak.

Nothing. At each passing minute, my attention was distracted by those empty seats. I did not know why. I had a mixed feeling. That those empty seats meant a lot. It could mean that some patients were healed. Or maybe others were still going through whatever diagnoses were found out and caused them some symptoms. I wanted to be ecstatic. But I knew there was something deceiving with those rows upon rows of empty seats. They would always be there. Waiting if not for the old patients, welcoming the new, anxious ones.

As I tried to scribble, the front door opened wide. In came a family of three with a baby. Followed by a mother and young son. Then, a female teen-ager toting her big purse. One after another, the seats started to be filled. Then I heard the receptionists answered the phone lines. One after another.

“Are you okay?” asked my friend I didn’t even notice already had come out after seeing her doctor.

“Done already? Wow! That was quick!”

As she made another follow-up appointment, I looked around and confirmed that those empty seats were deceiving. Being empty did not mean it was a quiet day for the staff. Being empty did not mean that patients were doing well, in fact, more came in, looking nervous.

The Bible warns for us not to “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” – Ephesians 5:6 (ESV)

Sins abound around us. Not all things that appear harmless will benefit us. A lot of “too good to be true” promises are spoken. Some things may appear innocent but in reality, those things are not pleasing to God. They are all deceiving. They are all empty.

However, there is an empty seat reserved by God for each of us. The seat of surrender. He wants us to make that appointment to see Him and for us to empty ourselves. That is the only way for our sickness to be healed. For our uncleanness to be clean. For our unrighteousness to become righteous. For our hopelessness to become hopeful. For our weaknesses to become strength. For our weariness to find comfort. All because of Jesus.

"Empty me, Oh Lord..."


Planting Seeds

 "You cannot hold on to anything good. You must be continually giving - and getting. You cannot hold on to your seed. You must sow it - and reap anew. You cannot hold on to riches. You must use them and get other riches in return." ~ Robert Collier


I had written about visiting my uncle and his family I had not seen since 1986 few days ago. Together with my son, we had a fun time reminiscing fun moments, neglecting the things that either dampened the growth of love within the family like when him and my father were involved in a court battle over a piece of land or other things that caused divisions among them. I was so glad that I listened to the prompting of the Spirit days before the anticipated visit of mine. Our reunion became our source of healing the past, buried wounds. Tears of joy washed away the many injuries inflicted in each other’s hearts, brought about by a court battle from the older generation and putting up walls of isolation between them (siblings of my father), in which, some of my cousins chose to be involved.

Tonight, it would be their turn to come over to our house and I invited them for dinner. You betcha! I had been preparing what foods to make and making a list ahead of time.

I went earlier to Trader Joe’s and I thought of getting some fruits for desserts, instead of cakes and other sweets to have a healthier option, knowing my uncle had a history of stroke, yet he was doing well with less-noticeable aftermath.

“The cherries and grapes are very sweet!” That was my text message to my husband who was still at work.

Sometimes, I’m surprised how some fruits are so sweet even if it may not be their season. I know my guests will love them. And I’m not sure if my husband will make me save those seeds again. He always wants me to save some seeds if we happen to get sweet fruits to see if they will grow in our backyard.

But in the back of my mind, our dinner tonight I know will not be about food. It is a continuation of our renewal and mending broken relationships. It is with the hope that we all will further get healed in this special get-together. My cousins are flying on Sunday, back to Australia and God knows when we will see each other again.

As my battle from workplace has not even begun and as they lessened my working hours in the prison, this trial became an advantage instead. With the more time I gained on my hands as things at work changed, priorities in my heart needed to change. God showed me during my painful moments that I actually never lose any position at work. He blessed me instead with more time for my family and He made me truly consider the steps I’m taking in this journey to gear toward healing, hope and restoration. And it starts with my own family.

As much as He knows how much I love to share my stories from work and relate it with my faith in Him to make others know Him through my posts, He is showing me little by little that though the Bible says that the “harvest is plenty,” He is reminding me that I will not be able to harvest any if I don’t start planting any seeds. What seeds?

So, as I see my uncle’s family again, I would love to start planting love where there is hate, joy where there is sadness and despair, peace for any chaotic mem’ries that might surface, etc…I know our time together will end up sweeter than those fruits because whatever springs from love comes from God. It is His greatest attribute after all. It is His doing not mine...

The Smiling Inmate

I observed the older female inmate who happened to be the cellmate of the other crying, younger inmate that my co-worker was assessing. She had a weird smile on her face as if she was having fun to hear what was going on, after the unit deputy called the Infirmary regarding the crying inmate who just slipped on the floor.

Photo Credit
“There was a puddle of water and I slipped,” she complained, pointing to her right hip that landed first but no one witnessed except the cellmate who remained quiet but just smiling the entire time. The deputy glanced at me and as if her eyes were talking, thought her complained was out of the norm as there was no visible water on the floor. Except…

I started looking down all over and under the bottom bunk of the 2-tiered beds. On the farther right side below it by its metal legs, I saw a rolled-up blanket that seemed to have been used to dry up the floor and next to it was a visibly, noticeable remaining amount that was still not completely dried up.

The other nurse started taking blood pressure on the moaning inmate. The deputy was a little surprised that I went up a little closer to the other inmate and asked her some questions.

“Did you see her fall?”

She just smiled.

“Was the floor wet earlier before we came?”

She smiled then replied, “Oh yeah! There were rats coming from this (as she pointed to the wall that did not have any holes or any vents) so I started pouring water to drown them.” A light just turned on as the deputy and the other nurse started listening to our conversation. I grabbed her ID clipped on her left, upper pocket of her orange shirt and wrote down her own booking number so I could check if she was already being seen by our Mental Health Services.

“Did you have any history of a mental health problem?” I added.

As if with a proud tone of voice, she hollered, “Yeah…I’m bipolar!”

There were no obvious signs of physical injuries sustained on the other inmate who fell. Looking afraid and sort of relieved that we discovered her cellmate’s unusual behavior, she started complaining, “I knew there was something wrong with her.”

I motioned for the deputy and the other nurse to step out of the tiny cell and recommended to the deputy that no other inmate be housed together with the smiling inmate. We asked if the inmate who fell could be moved to another cell, for her safety and peace of mind. Fortunately, the cell next door was empty and the resident on the bottom bunk was a pregnant inmate. We helped the hurt inmate gathered her belongings on the top bunk and she immediately was transferred to the other cell.

As my co-worker and I had gone back to the Infirmary, we looked at the smiling inmate’s charge and not surprised at all to see that she was jailed for “faking an emergency.” She was already being given Psychiatric medications. We advised the unit and we were all relieved that no other harmful injuries were caused by her.

This world we live in is like a big prison, full of people with different colors, beliefs, cultures, speaking different languages and because of our differences, we cannot predict someone’s behavior will always agree with what we believe in. Lots of people around us are hurting and no matter how much their values and opinions differ from us, we are all the same when it comes to feeling loved and accepted and be respected.

Next time a heart-broken person comes along, remember that he or she is the same…Wanting to be loved…Wanting to be respected…Wanting  to be sympathized with…Wanting to be respected and sometimes, comforted…

"So once again, I, the LORD All-Powerful, tell you, "See that justice is done and be kind and merciful to one another!" - Zechariah 7:8-9 (CEV)

Tears

I wiped my fogging up lenses and put it back on again and confirmed that the man before me who was cleaning a car in their garage was my uncle I hadn’t seen since 1986. The aged face…The movement of his hands as he continued to clean the car’s windows mimicked that of his brother’s…My father who had been gone since 2007. I decided to get out of our just-parked car and told my son that I would go ahead and ran up to him. He didn’t recognize me at first but I already hugged him tight like a bear’s grab which wouldn’t let go. And tears flowed from us. Tears of healing and joy.

Several years ago, my father and him were involved in a court battle over a piece of land from their parents. My father got involved in order to fight not for his share but for the nephew and nieces he had from their oldest brother. The fight took long and the sad part was my uncle’s kids got involved, too. My siblings and I didn’t. We knew we shouldn’t.

“D wants to see you,” my cousin called my cell phone out of the blue. For many years, I welcomed her into our old home and then with them getting involved in the court battle, she stopped visiting us. I never understood as I welcomed and opened my home to her as if she was my own sibling. Situations like that ended up hurting us. Not only her. But many others we treated with love and acceptance ended up hurting us in the end. Her phone call raised my husband’s cautious level. I understood where he was coming from. He didn’t want me to get hurt anymore.

But forgiveness was a must. I knew that if I professed I was a Christian, letting His love penetrate the wounds could only be possible if I start “letting go of any offenses” and if I wanted to conform to Jesus’ likeness. I shouldn’t say “I am a Christian” if my footsteps would not go toward the directions where Jesus’ were leading. If my footsteps would go the other way, it would be better for me not to say anything.

I never mentioned the court battle that occurred without any resolve. Our laughter were deafening as I joked around so much as my cousins and my uncle and auntie enjoyed and perhaps were baffled how much I had changed from being a quiet, naïve little girl into what they were seeing and hearing over lots of foods they prepared and some which I brought. My son enjoyed his time meeting my extended family and it felt like we all had known each other for many years.

As we wrapped up our conversation and hugged my uncle again and took some moments to take pictures, tears flowed again from my eyes. Suddenly, I felt that my being funny was the same spirit that my earthly father had and was known for. His brother. He must have sensed my father’s love and presence through me. My cousins and my uncle and auntie must sense the love also that came from our heavenly Father Who loved us all. They must know that it required an extra-ordinary effort for me and my son to visit them despite what happened from yesterday’s ugly memories but it was possible to break that and start creating more loving and warm ones.

“I love you, uncle. I will visit you again and again and I want you to know that you can come to our house anytime and see us,” I whispered to his now slightly deaf ears. He hugged me tighter and didn’t say anything but I saw tears flowed, too from his eyes. And they felt good. They were tears of healing. They were tears of joy.

Because forgiveness frees…Forgiveness breaks heavy chains…Forgiveness heals even the deepest wounds…Forgiveness forgets the scarred hearts and wants to start anew with a new heart…Forgiveness is first received and shared. Forgiveness comes from Jesus’ scarred hands. Scarred as all the sins were nailed on that wooden cross as He opened His arms and in His death, welcomed all with those spread arms. But the best thing was that He lived…Because love is eternal. His love that does not go with outward circumstances but remains joyful and accepting.

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"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (TNIV)

Father, thank You for Your love and forgiveness. Thank You for my son and I's wonderful time of healing old family wounds yesterday and breaking down walls that separated us for many years. Thank You for the prompting of Your Spirit to look beyond the outward circumstances and letting Your love guide and lead us in that path of forgiveness. I ask that You please touch many hearts today and may You open up their hearts and minds in able for them to see the path that leads to the Cross. May they come to know Your love and forgiveness through Jesus, Your Son. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

I Don't Know His Name...Only His Choice

" 41 "I don't need praise from people. 42 But I know you—I know that you don't have God's love in you.43 I have come from my Father and speak for him, but you don't accept me. But when another person comes, speaking only for himself, you will accept him.44 You try to get praise from each other, but you do not try to get the praise that comes from the only God. So how can you believe?" ~ John 5:41-44 (NCV)



Scanning the list of items I needed to get yesterday from Trader Joe’s, I grabbed a couple of cartons of eggs and as I turned saw a familiar stance. I still didn’t know his name but I thought of beating him first in saying “Hello.”

Crouched on the floor as he stocked some more dairy items, I tapped his right shoulder.

“Hi! Happy New Year to you!”

A little surprised at first, he finally showed his warm smile and greeted me back with enthusiasm.

When our short exchange of communication ended, I waved and left him still stocking all those items on the bottom shelf.

“Have a nice day!” I hollered. Without mentioning his name.

It all started this way.

I love shopping at Trader Joe’s. Oftentimes, I make my list every week and try to get the items that I just need for our family’s weekly meals. Until one time, I heard…

“Hi Angie! How are you today?” he greeted as I was taking some bananas. He had a smile the whole time.

I looked around me. The other shoppers were a little too far from where I was and where he was glancing.

I smiled back at him. He stopped smiling and the expression was replaced with a kind that seemed to wonder. Wonder why I never said “Hello” back but just a smile.

With the following trip early one morning, I was examining some frozen fishes from the freezer when I heard the familiar voice yelling, “Hi Angie! How are you?”

I looked up to see it was “him” again. I smiled back. Then he got quiet again.

On the third trip, with my cart filled with all the grocery items I needed from my list that day, I happened to spot an empty line for a cash register.

“Hi Angie! Did you get everything you need today?”

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It was “him” ringing the shoppers’ items.

I started laughing softly much to his surprise.

“I’m so sorry.” I started apologizing as I continued to laugh.

“You always say “Hi” to me and I always just smiled at you because I wasn’t sure who you were referring to every time. I’m not “Angie”. My name is “R.”

He joined my laughter with his.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I thought you were Angie. From now on, I won’t say a name. I’ll just say ‘Hello’.”

“That’s okay. You know one thing?”

“The most important thing is that you never fail to say “Hi” not only to me but to anyone who enter the doors. Thank you.” I uttered as he handed me the long receipt of what I just paid for.

I don’t know his name even today as I type this story. But I know the choice he makes when it comes to shoppers at that Trader Joe’s. He chooses to always give them a warm smile as he greets each and every one and he always asks if we need anything else.

As we closed the door to 2011 and welcome the very first day of another year, it is the choices we have to make each day in 2012 that will determine the outcome by the end of this year. One can be wise in making the right choices and be infants for those evil things. That is...if he or she chooses to...What's on your list for 2012?
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