Looking Beyond One's Physical Appearance


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“None are more unjust in their judgments of others than those who have a high opinion of themselves.” – Charles Spurgeon   

Has it ever happened to you? That when you are dressed up plain, not wearing any make-up in a grocery store or anywhere else, people try not to pay attention and look maybe with disgust sometimes? I tried that once when I went grocery shopping. Wearing just old shirts with faded pants, I’m also the type not to wear make-up. Just apply slight powder that won’t be enough to cover my age spots and other facial discolorations. No one offered any help, even not say anything. Some of the workers bumped with me accidentally and not even say anything.

Then…I dressed up with a blouse that showed a better figure. Pressed the same powder on my face but this time, hid the age spots first with those miraculous liquids that matched my skin tone. Then put some reddish hue on my lips. Barely walking into the grocery’s door, I heard a lot of greetings.

"Hello..."
“Good morning…”

“How are you today?” coupled with a welcoming smiles absent on the previous time.

It just proved to me that we are quick to judge others. We are quick to put labels on a person based on their physical appearances.

Thousands of years ago, there was nothing beautiful or majestic with a man’s appearance. Nothing to attract others to him. He was despised and rejected- - a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. And people turned their backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and people did not care.” (Isaiah 53:2-3,NLT).

His Name is Jesus!

People wanted to kill him and though he didn’t commit any crimes, what people never realized was that his coming was all a part of God’s plan because he would carry our weaknesses, our sorrows, the death from our sins! He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped and we were healed! (Isaiah 53:4-5,NLT).

What was true then is still true today! Many still reject and don’t believe what Jesus had done on the cross.
But his death on the cross was not the ending. He came back to life on the 3rd day and that was a victory over the sting of death, over Satan and his forces! And eternal life is what He promised to those who will put their trust on Him…

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.” – Romans 8:11 (NLT)

 “10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” – Isaiah 53:10-12 (NIV)

I Mow The Lawn

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35 (NIV)

I enjoy mowing our yards. We used to have someone come over and did it for us until I told my husband I truly enjoyed doing that. That was my exercise in a way! He cautioned me so as not to hurt my neck (I had an old injury) and he would rather do the chore but I insisted, telling him that as long as I wouldn’t carry heavy things, I was only pushing the mower, not carry it, so my neck should be fine.

At times that my husband is so busy at work like this past week where they have been concentrating on arresting criminals, I want to do that for him knowing how he is. Despite his exhaustion, he never complains about doing some of the household chores, including mowing the yards.

So, this morning, there I was on a beautiful sunny day mowing the front yard first. I was almost done when a man parked his truck across the street and slowly approached me. Working in the prison, I learned how to be wary at all times so though I wasn’t looking up, I could sense his presence coming toward where I was and prepared myself for whatever that man would do or say. Until…I saw his shadow right in front of me and then, I looked up.

the flyer from the man
He greeted me a “Good Morning” and asked me if I needed help with any landscaping or any yard projects. I smiled at him and told him I would be glad to get a card from him if he had any because I was enjoying this chore at this time and didn’t have any projects on hand. But I promised him that I would call him if my husband and I decided we could use some help. He smiled and appreciated my response and willingness to be interrupted with my half-done work. He handed me a green flyer as he said “Thank you” and left. I knew he saw me saved his flyer in the garage. He waved at me as I returned to the task. I did, too and wished him a “Good day.”

I looked back at what I had mowed, looked ahead at the areas I still needed to do while avoiding the palm trees and other things I shouldn’t touch. I started the engine and with remaining strength, I pushed the mower and finished the whole yard.

“Thank You, Lord for giving me the strength to finish my mowing the lawn,” I prayed quietly.

As I rested and the thought of my on-going battle at work came to mind, people there had tried desperately to intimidate me and boldly had shown me their power to scare me and hoped that I would quit my job as a Correctional Nurse. I looked back at those times and knew that it was all a part of His plan, not theirs. I still didn’t have a clue on what lies ahead but it was His hand that quickly reached out to me at that time of need and any other needs. He provided me the strength that I would need to learn how to endure, be patient, and most of all, to continue to love despite the hate, the rejection, and other hurtful devices these people put in my way.

"Thank You, Lord for the strength You give me as I patiently wait for You...

And like my mowing to help out my hard-working husband can be my service to God, so it is with God making me a nurse in the prison to help the inmates and the staff's needs as well...I am not done. I will mow week after weeks, and my job as a Correctional Nurse is still not completely over because I will still work there for as long as He wants me to.I just pray that God will help me discern those circumstances or the people He puts in my path as my opportunity to serve. For Him...

I took a gulp of cold water and folded away the green flyer. I knew…I wouldn’t need that. For a very long time…
the yard after I mowed it




May this song inspire each of us to not be weary in doing good...("And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." - Galatians 6:9)

In My Own Little World (Matthew West)



Lyrics:

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I've never gone hungry or always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket shoes on my feet
In my own little world, population: me

I try to stay awake through the Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give 'til it hurts
and I turn off the news when I don't like what I see
it's easy to do when it's population: me

What if there's a bigger picture
what if I'm missing out
What if there's a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world

Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
Outside the car, saw a sign, said "Help this homeless widow"
Just above this sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, "God, what have I been doing?"

So I rolled down my window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
in my own little world there's population: two

What if there's a bigger picture
what if I'm missing out
What if there's a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world
Start breaking my heart for what breaks Yours
give me open hands and open doors
put Your light in my eyes and let me see
that my own little world is not about me

Help Us Do The Right Thing

I saw the red lights from the brakes lit up as this car moved forward cautiously from our slightly sloped driveway. The night has not woken up yet from its deep slumber.

Few minutes ago, I held the driver of that car’s hands. Feeling the roughness from the hands that worked hard daily, we joined hands in our daily morning prayer. I mumbled as if I had memorized his prayer and synchronized with his utterances. I never failed when these familiar whispers filled the family room’s corners:

“Help us to do the right thing…”

That was my husband. Rough hands that rounded up criminals at the wee hours of each morning.

“Change your prayers,” I remember once telling him (How quick of me to criticize thinking that his prayer was redundant!). Only to give him an apology much later…

It’s because I should have respected his petition. And that is his ultimate request each time. For God to help us do the right thing. Looking around, that’s what’s lacking it seems. People are not choosing to do the right thing.

This morning’s prayer was different. I echoed his petition loudly from my heart and was becoming my heart’s cry, too…

If people from work would do the right thing, I wouldn’t have this battle that I had been in regarding my position for over a year now.

If people from the government would do the right thing, we wouldn’t have difficulty choosing the best candidate to lead this nation or any local and national part of the government knowing each candidate if doing the right thing, will not utter promises that sound empty.

If people from different backgrounds would only do the right thing, we wouldn’t hear about hate crimes.

If people would only do the right thing, there would be happier families, solid marriages, kids growing up with respect and love for God and others.

If people would only do the right thing, we wouldn’t know what ‘bullying’ means. What rape means. What abuse means.

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Overcrowding in every prisons wouldn't be a problem if each of those incarcerated individuals had done one thing: TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

If people choose to do the right thing, the first step is to “pray, seek God’s face and turn from wicked ways” and God promised to hear from heaven and forgive the people’s sins and restore their land.

And with each coming day, I will never get tired whispering in prayers as I join my husband to ask God to help us do the right thing. I dare not ask my husband to change that prayer for that is the daily battles we all  face: our own decision-making. May God increase my sorrow, to hate the sins the way He hates them, and my spirit to strive for the righteousness that He wants because He is a Holy God.

How awesome it would be if my hands get calloused by folding them in prayers incessantly as I ask God to help my family and I to always help us do the right thing. Daily. Even as we are facing huge mountains of trials. And that is my prayer for each and every one of you.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Nerds!

My son was to present yesterday for their French Class regarding the career they were interested in. A little challenging as they needed to speak in French, as understandable. He enjoyed anything with Graphic Design. He currently helps his Graphic Design teacher in teaching other students or classes. He makes shirt designs and prints them himself. He designs logos and had helped a business owner changed his ad in a newspaper using the ad he did himself.

He was well-prepared except the teacher was not able to be there yesterday. So, he had to do it all over again tomorrow, Friday. He wanted to make a lasting impression by wearing a special t-shirt his teacher had given him as a gift for him helping the teacher out in many ways.

It is a dark blue shirt with a golden word printed that says: “Graphic Designer(d)

my son's t-shirt

His aim was not only to talk about something he loves to do but he wants to show a sample of the t-shirt printing they do in their own class.

“Nerd…”

What’s being good like striving to become a good student is labeled as “nerd” in today’s society. What’s being different by choosing morality vs. evil things is being labeled as “nerds” today. When a person does not go with the flow of the things of this world, it’s being called as “nerd”.

But God is calling us to become “Nerds”…Different…Set apart…

He is calling us believers to become “HOLY!”

14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
- 1 Peter 1:14-16 (NIV)



“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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 12:1 (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)



“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)


He Makes A Way

I am feeling bummed out right now after reading an email from work regarding the schedule I gave for my next availability. Let’s just say our spiritual enemies are truly trying their best in any way possible to steal the peace and joy in my heart. If nothing is happening to make my faith waver and if they see contentment in my heart, there has to be another thing or way that comes out that tries to always turn my world upside down.

But…I refuse to listen…This waiting period from God’s hands I know will reveal a much bigger purpose. This is a time of learning to endure, persevere, be strengthened and be drawn to His power and love. There are times when it is hard. It’s not because I don’t believe in Him but because I want to see justice stop some of the people from work abusing their authorities with the way they execute plans: to make themselves prosper more and to make others below them miserable.

I admit I’m tired. I can still be impatient with this battle I had been in for a little over a year now. But no matter what happens, even if I don’t know what the future holds…I trust that God will give me a way here in this desert.

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“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19

Would you please pray for me? I appreciate your visit and encouragement. God bless you all.

Father, at times that I feel so weak and vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks, remind me of the power that comes from You. Thank You for providing us with Your weapons for this battle is not mine but Yours. I ask of You to continue to mold me and draw me ever nearer to You. No matter what happens, I have this hope that never perishes because of what Jesus had done. Thank You Father for Your unconditional love. Please remove any obstacles in my path that hinders me from seeing that way You are providing for me. Please continue to guide me with Your divine wisdom and grant Your gift of discernment. Help me, Oh God to always readily forgive those who hurt me the way You have forgiven me many times.Thank You for Your everlasting kindness. Thank You that because of Your faithful promise, I know that “no weapon turned against me will succeed and that I will silence every voice raised up accusing me(Isa.54:17).” Thank You for Jesus’ righteousness that cover me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Faces I See...

Anxiety’ requested help because he was having trouble breathing and was having chest pain. No! That was not his name. That was what I saw on his face as I heard slight wheezing on his right lung and the inhaler he was allowed to keep did not ease the tightness he felt as he took in some breaths in his unit. I gave him a Med Nebulizer right away as he kept complaining about his chest pain.

“Relax!” I told him.

“Your airway problem is more a priority to me than your chest pain. Try to breathe in as much of that steam if possible.”

“But…”

“Relax! Trust me!”

It was a concern if he was having chest pain. Not that I ignored that complaint because it was also a dangerous situation if he was having true heart problems at the same time. As I was listening to his lung sounds with my stethoscope, I asked him at the same time to point where his chest pain was. He pointed to the far right of his abdominal area. He denied having gallbladder problems that he knew of. Except he had beans for dinner and just had 2 bites.

The breathing treatment helped him right away. The wheezes that I heard were not detected anymore by the sensitive end of my stethoscope. I motioned for him to go inside an Exam Room and requested for him to remove his shirt.

“Oh…I’m embarrassed,” he shyly uttered.

“Why?”

“Because I’m fat and you’re gonna’ see that!”

“Sir, I’m not here to make fun of you. I’m here to help you with any medical problem. If you want to be sure that there is no problem with your heart, EKG is the only way that I can do to determine that.”

He laid on the table as I applied the sticky stuff (leads) and connected the wirings pertaining to those leads. His EKG reading returned normal. He breathed a sigh of relief.

“What’s your last name?” I asked.

“Freeman…”he replied wondering as he knew I already knew since I was holding his chart.

“If you’re a “Free Man”, what are you doing here?”

He didn’t answer. He laughed instead. So hard. I saw ‘Anxiety’ left. It was precious and what I was hoping for. Even for a minute. It mattered to me. Because we were in a place where Anxiety ruled.

“Thank you, Ma’am…I feel so much better…” I gave him his yellow pass as the Infirmary Deputy looked at him and asked him if he was ready to go back to his unit. He calmly received the yellow note and walked away slowly. Without ‘Anxiety’. At least for that moment…


Working behind the prison walls is always hectic. So many faces I encounter. There is ‘Depression’, ‘Fear’, ‘Worry’, ‘Jealousy’, 'Anger', 'Rebellion' and the worst one I see is ‘Pride’. These are the things that cover the inmates and co-workers’ faces. These are the veils that hinder them from seeing clearly. These are the same things that help erect the unseen walls and imprison their hearts and serve as barriers to see the true freedom that Christ offers and brings. Such veils can only be removed by believing and trusting completely in Christ.

You know we’ve been there before. You know we had those faces. We had those veils. “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18,NLT)

We have true transformations as our veils are removed. A work in progress that only the Holy Spirit does. The inner change occurs when we continue to follow His leading and knowing more about Jesus. And when we apply what we know about Jesus with the way we live our lives, we become mirrors instead. Mirrors that reflect God’s glory.

“7 The law that brought death was written in words on stone. It came with God's glory, which made Moses' face so bright that the Israelites could not continue to look at it. But that glory later disappeared.8 So surely the new way that brings the Spirit has even more glory.9 If the law that judged people guilty of sin had glory, surely the new way that makes people right with God has much greater glory.10 That old law had glory, but it really loses its glory when it is compared to the much greater glory of this new way.11 If that law which disappeared came with glory, then this new way which continues forever has much greater glory.” – 2 Corinthians 3:7-11 (NCV)

Don't Cancel Jesus

The dying Jesus is the evidence of God's anger toward sin; but the living Jesus is the proof of God's love and forgiveness.  ~Lorenz Eifert


“The supervisor decided she wouldn’t need you on Friday (today) as she would have 2 other nurses working with her already,” the email read from the person doing our staff’s schedule.

Fridays are usually hectic in the prison. Bins are laden with mountain-high pile of charts where the doctors’ orders need to be transcribed. In between that, inmates come in requesting to be seen where some of them do not follow the process of sick call and just want immediate treatment right away. Even if it is just a minor cold. Sometimes, it’s hard as time is taken away from those who have true emergencies.

It was not the supervisor’s fault. I cancelled my scheduled availability today for PM shift. I just wanted to work from 8pm-12 midnight as they also allow 4 or even 6 hours of work to help out. For personal reason. I wanted some time away from another particular supervisor who got involved with my battle to remain working part time. She should not have a part but she had a history of intimidating other nurses who were either fired or resigned on their own long ago. I wasn’t surprised with the way she rushed to intimidate me also, frighten me and other actions to force me to quit. Except…I never did. Until they got exhausted with their evil plans. I don’t want to see her at this time. I know she might not value the help I give (and the other hard-working nurses, too she intimidated). But one doesn’t realize the value until it becomes lost.

We can’t right all the wrongs. I know I can’t change her. Nor anyone else not only at my workplace but those who surround me. I see people who are so vocal about changing the world. But what’s sad…they don’t see that the change needs to start within themselves. Like me. I used to be proud. Of my accomplishments that I thought I did on my own. Until Jesus found me. He is the One Who alone can transform anyone’s hard heart to be softened and be likened in His ways. Nothing or no one else can.

Only Jesus…

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.” – Ezekiel 36:26, 27 (NIV)

And though it seems true that the supervisor who cancelled my offer of 4 hours of work won’t need my help because she has other nurses, if one of them calls in sick or the day turns out to be very busy, their number won’t be enough to tackle the work load, they usually end up calling me if I am able to go in.

Jesus had offered Himself to help us. To save us from our sins. How quickly we brush Him off and think that we don’t need Him. We get so caught up with the things of this world that we don’t even hear Him calling our hearts to change. We may all differ from our backgrounds: color, culture, beliefs… The truth is…Jesus doesn’t need us….

But we all need Jesus….

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23 (ESV)

It’s not about what a man can do but it is about what was done for him that saves him. Don’t cancel Jesus in your life…

“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)

The Song

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." - Psalm 28:7 (NIV)

“I think it’s legit…” the Infirmary Deputy uttered. They just had a change of shift so all he knew about the inmate I was keeping in the waiting area was that I wanted to observe him if he was truly confused. He was hit by another inmate and just came back from the hospital after treatment. They didn’t find any fractures or severe damages in ER after x-rays and other tests. He was answering appropriately when I was taking his blood pressure but when it was time to send him back to his unit, he started acting as if he didn’t know where to go.

“It’s hard to say at this point,” I told the previous Deputy, “Either he’s faking it or he could be starting with some symptoms if there was any injury overlooked in ER.”

“I feel like he’s scared to go back so let’s just keep him here for now.”

“You know what,” the Deputy replied, “We don’t change their cells anymore so maybe you’re right that he’s afraid to go back to the same situation, to the same cellmate or whoever hit him in his unit.”

“How come they don’t get switched around now…Is it because of our problem with overcrowding?”

“Yup…”

So, he was quiet. He was watching t.v. silently despite his left eyelid almost shut closed. He used the bathroom and seemed like he knew where he was. He seemed calm in the Clinic being a different environment than that of his unit. I thought I heard him humming at one point as there was a song being played from the t.v. monitor hoisted up in one corner. Until…as I was doing something to help out the P.A., the Charge Nurse called me and told me that someone had let him out from the Clinic and the control bubbles found him wandering all over the hallways without any direction. One unit deputy brought him back to the Clinic and when I asked him where he went, he told me that someone had let him out and told him to go back to his unit. I asked if he knew where his unit was and that was when he got quiet again as if he didn’t know what to say.

“It’s legit…” “He is confused,” the Deputy assessed on his own. I knew he didn’t want to keep the inmate any longer in the waiting area because he needed to watch him, too, for as long as we kept him there. While the inmate was patient to wait, he wasn’t… I was granted by the Charge Nurse to go ahead and just keep him overnight in our Special Medical Unit until he was to see our doctor in the morning. The inmate’s face lit up but remained calm. I knew he was comforted when he heard that he didn’t need to go to his unit. At least, for another 24 hours. And he hummed…Softly as being whisked away by the Deputy.

Waiting is always a hard process. For whatever each of us go through, waiting seems to be always involved and is crucial as a factor to determine how we react with any situation in front of us. But those who trust in God will discover that His grace is enough for our weaknesses. His power is enough to strengthen even though we are unworthy. Even Jesus went through agony in the garden before his crucifixion. But He waited patiently despite the ordeal that was to happen. He prayed. He waited for the Father’s timing. Not His. When God’s grace, love and mercy replace the sorrows and any burdens in a person’s heart, God’s gift of joy helps one overcome any circumstances that even through tears and heavy burdens, the heart can still sing…To praise God Who is quick to help out and save those who trust and hope in Him.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” – Psalm 40:3 (NIV)



My Father….Our Father….Who wrote a song of love first for us to hear and know His love for us…



The Father's Song

I have heard so many songs
Listened to a thousand tongues
But there is one
That sounds above them all

The Father’s song
The Father’s love
You sung it over me and for eternity
It’s written on my heart

CHORUS:

Heaven’s perfect melody
The Creator’s symphony
You are singing over me
The Father’s song
Heaven’s perfect mystery
The king of love has sent for me
And now you’re singing over me
The Father’s song

I have heard so many songs
Listened to a thousand tongues
But there is one
That sounds above them all
[Sounds above them all]

The Father’s song
The Father’s love
You sung it over me and for eternity
It’s written on my heart

CHORUS

It’s Heaven’s perfect mystery
The king of love has sent for me
And now you’re singing over me
The Father’s song

The Father’s song
The Father’s love
You sung it over me and for eternity
It’s written on my heart
[It’s written on my heart]

The Father’s song
The Father’s love
You sung it over me and for eternity
It’s written on my heart
It’s written on my heart
You sing it over me
Father

Doubting Can Be A Good Thing

I was assigned to orient a new Per Diem nurse last night when I went to work. The orientee got a call from one of the units and had requested if nurses could go there to assess two female inmates who got into a minor scuffle. I offered a deal with her as we started dashing out into the hallway that led to that unit. I asked her if she wanted to take one and I would assess the other so she could start honing her skills without me always breathing on her neck. She willingly agreed, enthused with so many incidents happening that would help her learn more in the prison setting.

They were “cellies” (cellmates). Different background and color. The orientee assessed the first one that the deputy brought to a small clinic in their unit. She was visibly very upset and angry. First time in prison. So angry because her release was approaching and she didn’t want any trouble. She wouldn’t stop talking and not listening at times to the deputy when she was asked to “shut up”...No obvious injuries. I advised the orientee to tell her anyway to request a sick call in case some symptoms would surface few days later. She kept crying while talking in a loud voice, looking at me directly in the eye, wanting me to believe that she didn’t start the fight. I kept silent as I was not in the position to relate anything about custody issues.

The second one was brought in (my turn). She was calm. Haggard-looking. Started whining that it was the other girl who hit her first that her tooth became loose. She lifted her upper lip and started pushing the only 2 teeth remaining on the upper gum. One was swaying back and forth. I asked if she had a history of using illegal drugs. She admitted that she did. Heavily. I told the deputy that there were very minor scratches on her right wrist and left side of her nose. I wouldn’t consider the loose tooth as injury.

When the inmates were brought back to a holding cell, the deputy and 2 of us were left in the tiny clinic. The other nurse asked me who I thought was saying the truth. I said the first one. She was surprised at first to hear my answer because there was no obvious injury with that lady she saw. She wanted to know why I chose her.

The inmate you saw was visibly upset. When something was done that violated your space or your privacy, I think I would be so upset. She was obviously bigger than the other one. If she truly hit the inmate I saw, there would be a bigger injury than those minor scratches I noted. Who knew? That inmate could have just scratched herself. There were nothing on her hands, too that if we saw redness or swelling or something, we would know, she was the one who hit the other lady. She was upset because she didn’t want to have any problems here that she didn’t even want to file a charge because she just wanted to be released and go home. The other woman I saw was calm. She was a heavy Meth user that all of her teeth were recessed to her gums except those 2 remaining teeth. One was loose but there was no bleeding and she was not even in pain when she was showing us and started moving it back and forth. If she truly got hit, there would be some swelling, bleeding, something that would tell us that something landed on that part of her face. It seemed like she wanted to have her cellmate be in trouble.

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The other nurse who perhaps, doubted my response saw a different light when I got done talking. She agreed. She forgot. There were always 2 sides to a story. But her doubting was a good reaction, too. It made her want to know the truth. In prison, not everything was told was the truth. 

Thomas, Jesus’ disciple didn’t want to believe that Jesus rose from the dead and didn’t want to believe until he saw the nail wounds in Jesus’ hands and feet, be able to put his fingers into them, and place his hand into the wound in Jesus’ side (John20:25). He was named “doubting Thomas” because of that and was applied to those who are slow in knowing Jesus as the Savior. But Thomas was the one who also said to die with Jesus despite the dangers known of being with Jesus when He was about to go to Jerusalem (John 11:16). He was loyal to Jesus.

I struggled with my faith at one point in my life’s journey. I think we all do the same. Doubting in God can be a good thing only if it encourages a person to get an answer and find the answer and decide from there. Doubts can sharpen the mind. Doubts can lead into seeking and finding the truth…

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” –John 20:27, 28 (NIV)



Nails In Your Hands (Mercy Me)

(CHORUS A)
The nails in your hands
The nail in your feet,
They tell me how much you love me
The thorns in your brow,
They tell me how, you bore so much shame to love me.

(CHORUS B)

And when the heavens pass away,
All your scars will still remain,
And forever they will say,
How much you love me.

Forever my love
Forever my heart
Forever my life is yours
Forever my love
Forever my heart
Forever my life is yours
its yours

Big And Small Wounds

"Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."
- Isaiah 53:4,5 (NIV)

Time seemed slow as I took a few steps discovering each room in my house. Different sizes…Some were huge spaces. Others were cramped up. But all of their sights brought me worries. Pain. Suppressed memories that came back to life again. A minor thud somewhere outside woke me up as I still lingered that vision. The house was my heart. The rooms were the many scars brought upon by events. By people. Some hurt a little. Others hurt a lot. I found myself praying as my eyes opened to the darkness of the night. My scars and some fresh wounds in my heart were being met by the scars He endured on the cross. His scars reminding me of His mercy, love and grace.

Father, I lift up all of Your children to never lose hope and be able to overcome life’s sorrows and burdens that wound their hearts and some already living with painful scars. Lord, I pray for Your healing and help Your children always remember that what scarred Your hands and feet became the wounds of victory! Thank You Lord for Your unconditional love, mercy and grace. All the glory belong to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Chocolate Bunnies

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“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” – Psalm 16:11 (NIV) 


This morning, a memory came back to mind as I sat down reading His Word. My family and I were looking for a Bible based church locally. A cousin we had not seen contacted us out of the blue and had informed us that they had been going to this Christian church nearby and had invited us to visit one of their services.

We agreed because we wanted to see her and her family we had not seen in a while. We met the pastor and the church family. It was a great time of singing and praising together as the Resurrection of Jesus was being celebrated that day. We loved what we saw from the start until…

We told them we needed to go. They asked us to stay because they always had a “pot-luck”. I heard the pastor turned to my son and said, “You don’t want to stay? C’mon…Go out there in the yard. We will have egg hunting. You don’t want those Easter bunnies chocolates?”

As a new believer, there was something in my heart that said a big “No!” Trying not to criticize and prayed for Him to help us with our decisions, I heard my son replied to the pastor, “No! Thank you. I don’t like it.”

The pastor I was sure had good intentions. He wanted us to stick around and get to know each other more. But as new believers, that was a crucial lesson that my family and I encountered. There was a barrier that formed in our hearts at that moment. A red flag sort of went up and so…we decided not to join that church.

Those bunnies…Open them up. I hear a lot of kids get so excited to see them around Easter time. There are huge ones. But when they are opened, the innocent ones exclaim, “There’s nothing inside!”

And that’s how our lives are without Jesus…Empty…Hollow….Accomplish nothing…

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 (NLT)

What a disappointment it is for a child to see “nothing” inside that chocolate bunny! People never stop searching for the true meaning in their lives. The more they try, the more they find little or no satisfaction. It’s because there is no happiness when a life is lived without God.

“What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.” – Ecclesiastes 1:3-8 (NIV)

And that’s what we miss…To search for Jesus first. He is the One Who gives wisdom, knowledge, and true joy. His love is the one that cures the emptiness we all have in our hearts. We all go searching for many roads to find the ones that lead to happiness and satisfaction that often elude us. Most of the time, such roads often end up in disappointments, loneliness, regrets, bitterness, and failures. Some of us are able to see a particular narrow, bumpy road that we avoid without realizing that’s the only one that offers the path toward eternal life, hope and true joy.

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
– Matthew 7:14 (NIV)


The Tiles That Buckled Up

My husband was all good to go, bag by the door, shoes on early this morning. To his work...I got a cup of coffee I just brewed and had put it down on the countertop so I could say goodbye to him when I saw him down on the floor, with his head way low, close to the ground and trying to spot "something..."

Being my husband that I knew for many years now who loved to clean and fix things right away, I uttered, "Please...Don't tell me you're gonna' mop the floor now if there's a spot?" I jokingly teased. Silence. He kept surveilling the floor in front of him, like...right under me...

my husband fixing the floor tiles that bubbled up
And lo and behold! As I followed his observant vision, I saw the floor tiles right below me that looked like they bubbled up and it was not obvious if not for the bright kitchen light.

"Is our home warranty expired?" was the first question I asked him knowing it might need some work. He said it was. So...He ended up calling in sick and wanted to fix them himself which trait I was thankful for because that saved us a lot of money. I heard him sighed.

My battle from my workplace had been used by the Lord to train me to always draw nearer to Him. Where the people from higher positions meant to end my career, the Lord had turned it into a blessing. If I was contented before, I learned to be more contented as He proved countless times about His provisions. Never too early. Never too late. Everything from Him was truly the best gift. Always in His perfect time. And still is...

Looking at my husband's frustration why things like that happened unexpectedly, I thanked God that He was quick to remind us to not worry and this small problem not be used by the spiritual enemy to dampen both of our spirits. So, there we were, praying about it and committing what needed to be done under His guidance.

It is unavoidable for all of us to go under different amount and kinds of pressures here in this world. But God's Word is here to tell us how to avoid them and even gain victory. It is a matter of trusting His Word, believing in what He can do for us and obeying what His Word says.

My battle is going on for over a year now with the help I pursued still without an accurate date. But with a lot of time on my hands that  I'm home and not able to work, God is the One Who allows me to have that amount of time so I can learn and discover that "what I put into my heart is what will also come out." If I don't trust in Him and just make my heart heavy with worries, my blood pressure goes up and anger seeps in which is not pleasing to God in the first place.

My Spirit screamed "No!" to worries and "No!" to making my husband and I react in a negative way. I know better not to have our peace and joy be stolen...No!!! Because He is in our hearts. He is in us!!! That's the truth!!!

"'I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove savage beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country."            -Leviticus 26:6 (NIV)

By the way, thanks be to God, the floor tiles did not crack. My husband just needed to clean the underlying pieces of dirt underneath and re-grout. I pray...that the peace from Jesus will find its way in every cracks and crevices of our hearts and replace every worry residing there. That is how we overcome life's pressure...Only with Jesus...

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27 (NIV)

The Beautiful Church

 3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
 5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
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 7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”- Haggai 1:3-11 (NIV)

“Oh, no!!! I’m not going in there!” I warned my friend when I chose to go with her to Whole Foods yesterday. Despite being tired, I needed a few items. Grocery shopping, as simple as it was, was something we both treasure. We both enjoyed it. And so was eating out. Except…I had geared myself more to opt for better options when it comes to eating. Like consuming lesser salt, lesser or no sugar, lesser fat. Not that I don’t crave for “junk foods” sometimes. But I started thinking, it felt like a waste of money to buy and eat those with so little benefits to sustain my physical needs. That Whole Foods market was so close to this cupcake shop. Of course, with the wintry weather we were experiencing yesterday, people from different ages were already in a long line, marveling at the sweet aroma and the beautiful cupcakes behind the glass counters.

There I saw this lady, sitting comfortable on a wooden bench outside. Jerking her legs as if to aid in keeping herself warm from gusty, cold winds as her arms were neatly folded across her abdomen. I didn’t want to look at those bad cupcakes…So, I ended up turning to her direction and she was looking away.

“Hello…” I softly uttered.

“Too cold today, isn’t it?”

“Oh, hi!” she responded a little surprised I noticed her.

“I know…Weird weather…”

“Those cupcakes look so good…But I better not go in…” I continued.

“Me, too…I didn’t want to come here but my son wanted to get a few for his friend’s birthday. I haven’t been in this area. I live from the southern part…”

“I see. Well…I used to live in this county but my husband and I moved long time ago. Though far, this is the nearest Whole Foods where I could go. I didn’t mind driving down here because I always go with my friend…” I shared.

“Sorry to ask you,” she interrupted.

“Is that church a Mormon church?”

“I think it is.”

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

“It had been here for so many years now. Being close to the freeway, the steeples are the first things that will catch anyone’s eye.” I replied.

She started sharing about her job being a Pharmacy Tech in a particular drug store and how hard it was. I told her how I used to work in a well-known hospital in that area and had asked her if she tried applying there, just to see if there would be a relief for her in her heart without giving up the work that she loved doing. Her face lit up and with a smile she uttered, “That’s what I was thinking before you talked with me! Thank you for telling me. I’ll go and try to apply sometime…”

With our conversation that lasted for 5 minutes, we both had shared a lot of information with each other. Interrupted when my friend came out from the shop beaming with a soft smile as she held a small box filled with the favorite flavors of those cupcakes. She was surprised to see me chatting with the lady knowing how usually, I was a quiet type.

“Have a good day and I wish you the best when you try to apply at the hospital!” I formally ended our conversation.

She gave me a huge smile but short with words as if she was still hungry for more conversation.

“Bye and thank you,” she finally said, jerking her legs harder as a blast of chilly air hit all around us.

I looked at that tall tower from the church the lady asked about. So beautiful outside but I wondered how it looked like inside. I kept staring at it and reminded me how this past week, as I read His Word, I came a lot with rebuilding the temple for the Lord until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Sometimes, the knowledge from Him is too much for me to take.

“Just something easy Lord but a simple truth,” I often asked Him. “Always lead me in Your truth…”

The setting sun’s rays hit the very top of the steeple and what a marvelous sight it was as the freeway started getting clogged up with people hurrying to go home, probably had hit the road many times that they didn't even pay attention to that soft, gold-like glow from the church. I saw myself in my rear view mirror in the car as my friend and I were both eating the rice bowls we got for dinner. This body that now is His temple that I better work hard to start rebuilding it, keeping it at its best until He returns. Because I want to be beautiful not only outside, but especially inside so His light in me will shine and prayerfully reaches those who work so hard to keep their houses nice looking but forgetting to build the true temple of God. Their hearts.

Time is short…Before the gate closes…
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