The Valley Of Decision
The smell of smoke seemed to have been seeping through the vent up on the ceiling, as I entered the “sick call requests” from inmates in the computer for that morning.
“Code Red!,” blared over the radio. [It means any movement was not allowed anywhere in the facility except for the deputies if they were needed to go to a particular place].
“All available deputies! Please 87 [meet] B blocks! Riot in B blocks!”
B block’s tv was perched up high in one corner of the unit. The news was being shown and one inmate wanted the deputy to change the channel to something that he wanted to watch. The request was denied.
That inmate became belligerent and with a razor blade from his shaver, managed to pull it out in an instant. He unloosened one socket and exposed some wiring. Rubbing it with some pieces of paper, smoke billowed until a small fire became visible. As other inmates saw what he did, feeling the excitement of adrenaline, of power, of control, other inmates joined in.
Not long after, most of the housed inmates started yelling profanities, trashing whatever their hands could lay on, destroying any property that belonged to the county’s jail: beds were torn, styrofoam cups were strewn all over, papers were thrown into the air and some were fed into the small fire that made it grew a little bit more. More smoke filled the block, until it found its way through the vent which was also connected to the jail’s medical clinic. Others started throwing feces and urine outside the bars, thinking that doing so would prevent any deputies from approaching their unit.
The order was given for them to stay on their designated beds or they would face an even tougher punishment, as some other deputies started showing up within a matter of seconds, some donned with anti-riot gears. Pepper sprays were released into the atmosphere of that block, temporarily halting the dangerous revelry and stopping the rioters from doing any further damage. The painful mists caused a bad sting to their eyes and a burning sensation to their inner throats, that breathing made it harder for some.
Soon after, everyone was under control and was put on a “lockdown”. They were kept in their individual cells as some hidden bars came down and separated each man from each other. The bars prevented the on-going riot and served as a protection for the custody staff.
Every participants knew they were in deeper trouble this time. They were being filmed by one deputy so that there was a solid evidence of “who did what”. The once strong display of unity in causing troubles was now replaced with fear of the known consequences of what they just did. The loud, proud mouths were sealed, as beads of sweats started appearing on their brows and foreheads. Some attempted to utter their apologetic remarks. But too late! Most of them were in it! Those that didn’t participate would be spared. But the ones who rioted would be punished “big time”.
Like the inmates in trouble awaiting their punishment, Joel also described the same situation where there was a lot of people waiting in the “valley of decision” or “judgment”…
“Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. It is there that the day of the Lord will soon arrive.” - Joel 3:14
All of us will face judgment. The dead, the living and even those that are yet to be born. Has someone warned you about the consequences of your sins? Would you rather continue living in your own rioting with your wanton manners or would you rather stay put and listen to the One Who told you to stop living that wanton kind of life and surrender to Him?
Yes, you may continue the rioting but if I were you, I wouldn’t wait until I get to that “valley of decision.” For Someone is recording our rioting and it would be too late to say “I’m sorry” by then.
And the punishment will be “big”….
The Attacker (5/15/09)
The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies.
Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.
Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.
All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.
When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.
The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.
When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.
[Source: Life Application Bible]:
We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.
“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14
Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].
Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.
Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.
Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].