No Excuses From Working

The sun slowly rose on the eastern skies. One by one, the imprisoned bodies woke up and gave themselves a stretch and yawned. Donning themselves with blue uniforms, they started getting ready to be sent for work in different areas of the prisons.

Lined up neatly in a row, by two’s, several marched ahead to go to the bakeries to bake the loaves of bread that would feed the entire jail population for the following days to come. Freshly-baked aroma filled the air and woke up those not working and who stayed behind in their cells.

Some went to the kitchen to make some meals, some of them to serve the custody and medical staff in the dining area where they could learn some etiquettes in taking the staff’s orders and the manner they would serve the ordered food. Others would start making big batches of food for those incarcerated. Hot oatmeals were stirred in a big pot, soups were boiling, chickens and vegetables were cut up for a particular menu and individual trays were readied that would go to different housing during “chow times” [meals].

The garage was busy with the inmates learning how to fix cars, painting them, restoring the engine parts.

The laundry area was noisy with the busy washing machines, full of heavy loads of prisoners’ uniforms. As the dryers joined in with the rhythmic din, some inmate workers were already folding some dried clothes, arranging them in neat piles on a big bin.

Some were outside, clearing the tall weeds, mowing the lawn, putting fertilizers on the beautiful landscape they had created days before.

Others could be found in the Bridge [central part of the jail] where they would maintain the cleanliness or help the staff with some errands within the facility.

Still, some others, feeling lazy would put in a sick call request, hoping that the facility nurse would give them a few days off from their work. There were so many lame excuses but they didn’t know that it would be hard to get a valid off-work status, as jail nurses were always keen in detecting their needs or symptoms noted.

Yes, these broken lives are kept busy and by rehabilitation, hopefully will make them useful when they are released. This process gives them a new life to stay away from society‘s illness: drugs, alcohol, rape, robberies and other forms of crimes. With the skills learned, they can become more productive.

As Christians, previously broken and restored by the saving power of Jesus, we must not stop, too and be useful for the Lord. I think, sometimes, it’s easier to make excuses from witnessing with those people around us needing to hear the Good News. But there is a continual “harvest” that waits to be reaped.

And yes, we do this witnessing because it produces a joy of working for Him. It is a joy to see when new believers come to Christ.

Jesus said, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, Who sent Me, and from finishing His work. Do you think the work of harvesting will not begin until the summer ends four months from now? Look around you! Vast fields are ripening all around us and are ready now for the harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One person plants and someone else harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and you will gather the harvest.” - John 4:34-38.

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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 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].