I only got 10 minutes left to make it on time to the start of my shift.
9 minutes…I veered to the left carefully. At long last! I had made it to the alley-like road that led to the correctional facility I had been working in, for 9 years now. The outside yards were vast, barren and sometimes, little jack rabbits would dash in front of your car that would make you slam on your brakes as the darkness of the night covered the place. Trees were scattered on both sides of these front yards but there was a great clearance of space around the perimeter of the jail. Fortunately, the air was calm. Otherwise, a big hurl of dust and little stones could be hitting my windshield and the windows all around the car, obscuring my visibility sometimes.
8 minutes…Still slowly making my way toward the facility, instead of the usual police cars, three shadows of young males emerged on the left side of this road, happily walking away from the facility. Walking with shoulders brushing against each other’s, their denim jackets put over their shoulders and one wrapped around his waist, I could see their wide grins as the soft light from a nearby lamp post shone on their faces. Some tattoos were visible on their arms and even faces. One was bald, by choice I assumed. They were just released from the facility. Their happiness seemed to linger all over their atmosphere.
7 minutes…This newly-found freedom by these three men seemed to be a looming cause of celebration as their excited steps kept walking toward the bus station at one end outside that road I was driving on. One looked one more time behind him, as if to say “goodbye” to three thousand something inmates still locked up.
6 minutes…The shorter man on the right side was trying to see and was checking out who I was but unable to succeed as my car was tinted really dark on all sides. I could see them well but they couldn’t see me. I felt like they wanted to scream, “We are free! You won’t see us anymore!” And I was only responding to them through prayers that I was hoping that they wouldn’t commit anymore crimes so that they won’t be arrested and be brought back to the facility but instead be useful kind of citizens and not take their “freedom” for granted.
5 minutes...Seven swaying, graceful, tall palm trees met my gaze. One more turn and I was close to our staff parking. The correctional facility was now in full view as the chain link fence surrounded the perimeter and cameras were put strategically on some spots to monitor the place 24/7. The tiny windows were visible and only those little windows were the source of light for the people still incarcerated. The lawns around were kept green despite the drought we had been experiencing. Sprinklers were slowly spraying water all over. These lawns were mowed by some inmate workers. The flowers they planted and maintained. It looked beautiful, contrary to what was behind these thick walls.
4 minutes…The electronic gate swung open as I swiped my entry card. I thanked God for always giving me a parking close to the little entry gates, where staff walked in and out. It felt as if a specific spot was always reserved for me as I arrived.
3 minutes…I hurried my steps after opening the main door. I still had to walk through three controlled gates and be let in by those who controlled the doors. The older lady greeted me from the “Main Control” as she recognized me, wearing my usual badge, with my hands clutching my clear purse.
2 minutes…I was still walking but in deep thoughts, I prayed: “Lord, those three men I saw were very happy to walk away with their newly-found freedom. But here inside, three thousand more are left behind. Lord, I thank You for the new freedom I found in You. Thank You for the freedom that You give to those who believes in You. Because You want us to be free, You opted to die on the cross, to save us. Thank You that when we believe in what You have done, You promised Your gift of eternal life. Lord, I know that it will be a celebration like we haven’t known before when we leave this world . But it’s hard to look back and know that there are thousands more who are going to be left behind. Lord, plant the “seeds of faith” in their hearts for You are the Author of faith. And by having that, I pray that they will end up choosing to place their trust in You.
Lord, and for those of us who are already “free”, may we be filled with Your Holy Spirit that we don’t go back to the slavery [sins] we were in before. May we not take our “freedom” for granted because the cost was priceless. And that cost was “up on that wooden cross”. Thank You Lord for Your love and mercy. I love You.”
1 minute…the Infirmary Deputy waved at me as his left hand turned the knob that opened the double door going to the Clinic.
0 minute…The charge nurse and the rest of the staff greeted me. The PM shift nurses breathed a sigh of relief as my arrival and the other night shift crew, was a sign for them that their work was done. I was ready to face whoever the Lord would put in my way…By His grace, I’d be okay.
Even when morning shift comes, I can’t breathe a sigh of relief. For I know my work doesn’t stop there. My work is already marked long ago and only by His grace, it will be completed. And the countdowns will keep going on, as long as there are still many who are alive but spiritually dead. I must share about this freedom that Jesus freely gives. For the countdown will end, either when He returns or physical death comes to someone. The question remains – “Are you ready to face an eternal punishment or be saved and live forever with One True God?”
60 minutes…59…58…"You choose"…57…56….55….
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 himself and ended up injuring his attacker severely.
[Source: NLT 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].