Our True Self Worth Must Be Based On Christ

What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God. ~Eleanor Powell

"Oh Lord, I come before You today. Help me and strengthen me in each day that passes by. Help me Lord by renewing my mind. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I may perform what You have willed for me. Thank You Lord that I am a part of Your body. Thank You Lord for Your love and mercy. Thank You for Who You are. Thank You that when I feel unworthy, You make it known that You do not see me that way. That I am able to do things because of You. Thank You for always lending me Your hand and comforting me daily that You are truly with me, guiding me everyday as I walk my life's journey. Thank You for reassuring me that You are faithful to abide by me until I finish this journey. Help me Lord to not let go of Your hold on me. I love You Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

I had seen this video many times. Unfortunately, I never finished watching it. Today, as I asked the Lord what to post, I was led again to this video and to my surprise. Not only I wanted to share this to give you all a glimpse of what correctional nurses do, but when the video got to the part where they showed “Sue Smith”, this facility’s director, my jaw dropped to the ground with happiness. She was one of my classmates from Nursing School and prayed for her immediately. You just never know what the Lord plans for each day we live. But everything truly happens in His perfect time.

Not all of us are nurses. But do not underestimate what you are doing today for the Lord. Because all of our duties for Him counts! We are all a part of His working crew and every task we perform either at home or at our workplaces, has the purpose of reflecting His glory! A life committed to Him with renewed minds and our faith that mirrors the glory of Christ are what counts in all the jobs we do! God places us in strategic positions where His light needs to be reflected to those living in dark places. His love given to those needing it. His forgiveness shared to those who have not opened it. Christ is the treasure we bring to these workplaces wherever we are in all corners of this world. To God be the glory always!

“1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

3 As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.

6 God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. 7 If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously! If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

9 Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble and always be prayerful. “ - Romans 12:1-12 [Life Application Bible]

Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Revised and Expanded

Experiencing God: Music for Knowing and Doing the Will of God

Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Workbook)

One Greatest Promise

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” 
~ Proverbs 30:5 [ESV]

“Do you mind?” I asked my night charge nurse, “If I ask for a raise? I haven’t had one in a long time.”

“I already emailed C.,” she replied. “Give it about 1-2 pay periods and see if you’d get the raise.”

“I’ll make sure she got my email.”

4 pay periods had passed by. I have not noticed any increase with my hourly pay. I try not to whine too much. Because I’m always grateful that the Lord had brought me to this work place where the pay was still higher than what I used to make at the hospital. But the best part, was that my neck pain never got as severe as it was when I used to work in an Orthopedic setting at a major hospital. And all the other spiritual growth I obtain through those tough situations I face.
Still…Any small amount can help at this hard economic times.

I only tried to boldly ask at that time when she summoned me to her office and gave me an evaluation. Much to my surprise. Since I only work part-time and rarely get an evaluation of work performance because we are supposed to have worked 2,400 hours before an evaluation is due. It’s hard for me to accumulate that. It might take 3-4 years with the way I’m scheduled to work.

Broken promises hurt. It feels like a betrayal in a way when the words are not accomplished. Politicians lie. Sinners promise to not commit a sin or sins to God and end up doing them again. Couples who pledged a sacred vow, only to break it.

Keeping a promise reflects the condition of our inner selves. It’s either we are a man or woman of integrity or not. Honest or corrupt. Honorable or ignoble. God wants us to keep our promises when we make them.  Because when we give it to someone, it is as if we are also giving it unto the Lord. We are accountable for them.

“Or if they make a rash vow of any kind, whether its purpose is for good or bad, they will be considered guilty even if they were not fully aware of what they were doing at the time.” - Leviticus 5:4

I know that there’s only one greatest promise ever made and was kept and fulfilled. But it depends if a person will choose to receive this new life by faith. This promise that Christ alone saves us. This promise which is a guarantee that anyone who believes in what Jesus had done will live forever. God’s greatest promise…Will you accept it? Will you trust and believe in Him? God's promises never disappoint!

God's Promises For Every Day

Friends, pardon me if I am not able to visit you. Sometimes, I sporadically visit some when I get those precious minutes. I just want to let you all know I appreciate all of your encouraging comments. You are all a blessing to me from above and I treasure your friendship. I also want to let you know that I'm keeping all of you in my prayers daily because I know the Lord knows all of our needs and the conditions of our hearts. May the Lord bless you all and to Him be the glory always and forever. In all ages to come.

The Unqualified

“Bad news, Rcubes,” uttered the charge nurse, “There’s no one to pull the meds for the evening and bedtime doses. Do you mind doing everything?”

We have this multi-million dollar machine called CIPS. It was bought by the county to aid the LVN’s in cutting the amount of time it takes them to pull all the thousands of medications [just those in pill form] whenever each shift prepares for the inmates’ medications. It wasn’t a part of the RN’s jobs. But long time ago, when this was new, there was no one around to help us out to pull the meds one night. By the grace of God, anxious as I was to mess up something, I just kept pushing buttons and for some reason, figured out and I was able to pull the meds that night for the morning and noon doses.

Ever since, I had been volunteering if there is no one to pull the meds for the morning and noon doses only. No other nurses except the charge nurses and a few that are knowledgeable with computers, know how to do this particular task.

“Oh no!” exclaimed the day charge nurse. “I’m so short of staff and I don’t even have anyone to pull the evening and bedtime doses!” she exclaimed in despair.

“Did our charge nurse tell you? Don’t worry Nurse K., I already pulled all the doses for today!”

“You did?” “Thank you so much!!!” as she took a deep breath and let a sigh of relief.

Many people are impressed with those who are powerful, rich, beautiful, famous or those with great achievements and successes. But we forget that this world’s standard is not the same as that of God’s. Instead, He searches for those who are simple, ordinary humans who have a hunger and passion to seek His face and obey whatever He asks of them.

“Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Next time that you are faced with situations that you feel you are limited, never forget that the Spirit of the Lord in us is always encouraging each of us to put those thoughts aside that make us feel like quitting, those thoughts that make us feel powerless, those thoughts that make us feel that we are not capable of the tasks that He gives for His glory. That’s not how the heavenly Father sees us. He can turn the ordinary into “extra-ordinary”.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7

Come and join the “MARCH OF THE UNQUALIFIED”:

Stop The Tears [Spiritual Sundays]

Please visit Spiritual Sundays, a warm place to be in....With a sad heart, I ask that you please remember these precious children in your prayers. For their protection. And may we all stand up to fight child abuse. Any abuse is not right.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate." - (Psalms 127:3-5 ESV)

Inmate: “Awww…..It hurts!”

Me: “Sir, I haven’t even touched your shoulder yet. Honestly speaking, I can’t do anything for your pain. The doctor just saw you yesterday and had already given you something for pain.”

Inmate: “Motrin? Generic? Those are not gonna’ work!”

Me: “Did you use street drugs outside?”

Inmate: “No!!! What are you trying to say? I’m a Christian!!!”

Me: “[feeling a lump in my throat, no words wanted to come out…], I’m not trying to say anything. I’m asking you something specific regarding your medical background. I’m not sure why you answered me with your faith. You’re a Christian? [a mocking sound wanted to come out of my judgmental nature]”

Inmate: “Yes! That’s why I love my wife. And my child. I give them a kiss and a hug.”

Me: [No comment. The lump in my throat becoming bigger and harder to swallow, let alone fight my old, sinful nature. Of wanting to say something bad to him! Of wanting to curse! Of wanting to make his other arm hurt!”

You see, this inmate was put behind bars because he touted a fake firearm to the cops. So, he was chicken winged [when officers twist their arms behind them to prevent them from fighting back]. Ever since, he was complaining of severe pain on his left shoulder. The doctor already treated him, appropriate x-rays and medications were already given. But he remained complaining of “excruciating” [his own terms] pain on that upper extremity.

I have patience when I see manipulative inmates. Or those who try to milk the system. I sense their motives. I try to be slow to anger. Except, this time, upon checking his charges, I saw that he molested a 3-year old and a 14-year old also. I told my co-workers, I had to remain professional. But deep inside, I knew God wanted me to still grant him mercy and not be judgmental of his crimes. I silently prayed before his footsteps walked in, into the Infirmary’s metal door, escorted by their unit deputy.

He fixed the white sling as I told him to keep his left arm in a neutral position to lessen the pain. I advised for him to be patient as I would put him again on the doctor’s sick call this morning [Saturday].

Inmate: “Thank you.” He uttered with a smile. But I couldn’t look him straight into his eyes. I wasn’t afraid. I was wondering how many scared pairs of eyes ever looked into his and were begging for him to stop his abuse. He got up and started walking away from me as I didn’t acknowledge his thanks. With the least strength emanating from my throat, I managed to reply, “Sir, being a Christian means following Christ! It’s more than kissing or hugging your wife and child. It’s doing what Jesus wants you to do. And that is to do the right thing.”

I turned my back and went to the monitor where I was working and added him on the sick call list. I knew that encounter with predators like him, was not my first nor would it be the last. I softly uttered, “Lord, enough pain for these precious children of yours. I know You love them. No more tears for them. No more hurt. Stop their tears.”

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." - (Matthew 18:10 ESV)

What Fortress Are You Building?

Lord, I’m sorry for not giving You the time that I should. You’ve been there patiently waiting for me. Here I am, ignoring You. I’m sorry for the times I don’t feel like talking with You. Help me see Your abiding love. Help me draw nearer to You. Thank You for Your unconditional love. Thank You for Your endless forgiveness. Empower me Oh Lord to destroy any stronghold in my life that deters me from walking closer with You. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, I pray. Amen.

Good morning friends. These past days, I had been busy, doing routine things though. But felt like I didn’t have the desire to read His Word or just simply, spend time with Him. I have a lot of quiet times. I just couldn’t be still. And when I finally did, this is what the Lord had shown me: Fight…not with your might. But with My power…Look at these weapons created by inmates. Yes, they are very capable of secretly creating weapons. They hoard them in all unexpected places:

Through that video, I felt the Lord probing me, “Rosel, search and see for those strongholds in your life. But you are not going to fight with your own power but with Mine. Draw near Me and know Me intimately. Only then, you will discover the weapons I’m arming you with.”

Strongholds are any of our own human reasoning or ideas, values or designs raised up by this satanic world system. And those who oppose the knowledge of God [biblical view of grace, eternal values, etc]…Our weapons from the Lord are designed to tear down those strongholds or fortresses.

“3We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. 4We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the devil’s strongholds.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3,4

What are the strongholds in your life? We are given a choice to either use the world’s weapons or that of God’s. God’s weapons which include prayer, faith, hope, love, His Word and the Holy Spirit [in us] are powerful and effective. These weapons can break down any fortresses [any proud human arguments against God and the walls that satan builds to keep people from finding God].

I know that I love to spend time with God and the enemy will try anything to make me lose that desire. We may have that “Jericho” [Joshua 6:1-27] that stands in the way of our ability to possess our possessions in Christ, impending our spiritual progress. It could be a weak character, physical infirmity, or simply neglecting things of spiritual nature. But no matter how big or small this “Jericho” is in our lives, we must realize that victory in destroying them comes only through God’s plan of deliverance.

“But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its mighty weapons.” - Joshua 6:2. God reassured Joshua that Jericho was already delivered into his hands - the enemy was already defeated!

Let us build a fortress then, not of this world’s system, but of Christ. He will surely guide us and will be with us all the way. Just remain trusting in Him and desiring Him FIRST on top of everything and everyone. Glory to You Oh Lord!

“The Lord is my rock, my FORTRESS, and my savior, my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my STRONGHOLD. I will call on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, for he saves me from my enemies.” ~ Psalm 18:2,3 [emphasis is mine]…

Praising the Lord is one of the weapons we can start with to gain our victory. So, turn up your volume and if you have time, let us praise the Lord!

Be A Prisoner

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” ~ Galatians 3:28

[Notice when this inmate stated that his cellmate and him are both Christians on the 46th sec. mark].

Prisons are now becoming over-crowded with many types of races, backgrounds, and cultures. There is always a potential for big riots because of the many differences they have. Unity is not known. But when inmates like those two from that video turned to Christ, their hearts were changed. In spite of the differences they may have, but as followers of Christ, they have learned to accept those differences and start living in harmony, in confinement.

This whole world have inhabitants with many differences. Many are still blinded with the thought that their race is better than another. The truth is we are all the same. Created by One Creator. We may have all the differences in our color, the language that we speak, the way we live, but we are all the same. Equally loved by God.

We can all learn from Paul, who was physically imprisoned but in reality, stated he was actually a prisoner of Christ. The paradox of becoming a prisoner in Christ: chains are broken in all areas where there is captivity in your life. To become a prisoner of Christ, we must learn how to deny ourselves, seek God daily and pray earnestly.

“1As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. 2Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. 3Try your best to let God's Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. 4All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God's people. 5We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. 6There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us. 7Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. 8As the Scriptures say,
   "When he went up
   to the highest place,
   he led away many prisoners
   and gave gifts to people."
9When it says, "he went up," it means that Christ had been deep in the earth. 10This also means that the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so that he would fill the whole universe. 11Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, 12so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. 13This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. 14We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. 15Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head 16of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.” ~ Ephesians 4:1-16 [CEV]

Yes, we can all live in harmony, with unity, if we all learn to become a prisoner... Prisoner of Christ only!

"And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.' ~ Colossians 3:14

When The Rug Gets Pulled Under

Please go to Spiritual Sundays for many precious friends' encouraging posts. Be rejuvenated by Him through the written words of His children.

“Please…I need a mask now. I don’t want to house this inmate with others with him coughing like crazy,” I told one of my co-workers who was at the Infirmary while I was assigned at the prison’s Intake that night, screening arrestees, determining who was mentally and physically fit to stay in the jail that night.

She came after a what felt like forever 15 or 20 minutes. But she brought the wrong masks. She did not try to bring me the box of masks meant to be given for inmates. I wasn’t sure if she was not listening to  understood my instructions or not on the phone. But her help in a way, was not help at all. Her help made it worse because she wasted some precious time of bringing the wrong masks that with every minute that passed by, I started getting swamped with more newly-caught offenders. I saw the arresting officer with that coughing arrestee stood nearby, looking impatient with the waiting period she had to do.

I know many of my own family and friends who are being swamped with life’s trials. Seeing them standing on rugs that are being pulled from under them. Worst economy where my own 2 brothers lost their jobs, few friends and my son’s tennis coach facing possible lay-off, marriages failing and ending in divorces, financial difficulties up to the point of losing homes…Nothing is stable here in this world. Our stability only comes from knowing Christ. He is the Rock Who doesn’t change in this ever changing world.

“I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” ~ Luke 6:47-48 [NIV]

Directions for the Road Ahead: Stability in Change among Churches of Christ

Broken Vessel

“Pizza again?!” hollered my friend on the other end of the line.

“Yes…but this time because it was for a good cause,” I replied with a chuckle.

My son’s tennis team had a fund-raiser last night at one of the pizza places in our town. The budget is really tight this year because of our economy. My friend teased me because it seemed like I just had pizza the other day and then, she learned that I had some more last night. As soon as my husband came home, together with our son, we went there and had ordered the largest pizza to help out the team in whatever way.

My son, after eating a couple of slices, went out and stood by the door with the other teammates. They started handling out some flyers to let the people walking in that they needed help.

The coach came to the table where my hubby and I just got done eating our pieces. Sipping my rootbeer, he uttered, “Thank you guys for coming here and helping us out. Thank you for the donation you gave. It truly helps us and I just want you to know that some of the money, we give back to the boys who have potential and do well academically through scholarships.”

“That’s a great cause. Wish we can give you more,” I uttered.

As he turned to my husband, the coach continued, “Right now, it’s not looking good, too. There are 178 teachers facing a possible lay offs.” He sighed… “And I’m one of them.”

The rootbeer was suddenly hard to swallow as I heard his words. My husband and I looked at each other and we talked through those eyes, knowing that we needed to lift them up in our prayers.

“Coach,” we both said, “We’ll pray for everyone. This is really a tough economy. So unstable and a lot are hurting. But we hope that it won’t happen for you and other great teachers we have.”

He shook our hands as our son came to the table and got done helping out with the flyers. We all got up and said bye to the coach. And we shared the sad news with our son, though we knew it before during the initial meeting we had before they started playing tennis. But the news seemed becoming a reality now more than ever.

I didn’t need to eat pizza. Trying to live a healthier lifestyle. But our schools and tennis team are in great need. Whatever little money we had, we gave to help out. As we asked the Lord to bless it prior to giving it. And as my son handed the money to his coach, I thought about the boy who brought 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fishes who was in the big crowd, eager to hear about Jesus but the people were all hungry and had nothing to eat. Of how Jesus gave thanks to God and broke those bread and fishes and was able to feed the 5,000. There were even left overs! 12 baskets of bread and fishes! [John 6:1-14]

Of those times when Mary broke an alabaster jar containing an expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped it with her hair. Its content worth a year’s wages. How she demonstrated to give sacrificially to the One she loved so much. And no one felt that impact but Jesus Himself, that He wanted this act remembered forever. [Mark 14:3]

Of how God chose the way of brokenness in order to be used. [1 Corinthians 11:24 - “and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’”

Likewise we must chose the way of brokenness. [2 Corinthians 4:7 - “But this precious treasure - this light and power that now shine within us - is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies.”]

I looked at the left over 5 pieces of pizza. Served whole earlier. 2 slices for my husband, myself, my son and a teammate who sat next to my son, starving and had no money to buy. It is through breaking one whole thing, and sharing it that the power of God and His blessings are known. I want to be broken and spill a fragrant scent of worship like that alabaster jar.

Oh Lord, I don’t even know how to pray this morning. Knowing there are so many precious friends and family hurting. During this hard, economic times and also spiritually. Lord, You alone know their needs and I lift them up to You. Thank You for all the blessings that You give us, in return we are able to use to bless others. Remind me O Lord to be humble, knowing that the power and all the blessings are from You, not my own doing. Thank You Lord for the strength, the protection, the discernment and everything that You always give to us. Thank You for Who You are, God of love. Who gives us “wholeness” in our broken state. I love You Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

[Please pray for our teachers facing lay offs. And for many, many others hurting at this time. God bless you all.]

Have No Fear

“You had great shots. Just relax,” I told my son as he came out from one of the courts where they went against another school yesterday.

“I don’t know what it is, mom. I’m not sure if I’m a little nervous or what. I can’t focus,” he replied.

“It’s okay to be nervous. But being afraid is not. You are doing well but because of that feeling, it’s making you lose points. I know you’re always trying your best. That’s what matters,” I reassured him.

He was trying to avoid the previous wrong moves he did from the last game. Trying to place the ball on the other side where the opponent would have a hard time hitting it back. He succeeded with some, others, he failed. Rushing at times, the ball would hit the net.

The coach stood next to me and whispered, “I don’t know what it is with him. When he’s playing, it’s like he gets nervous or something. But during training and drills, he does so well.”

“He knows it coach,” I uttered. “He just needs to learn to relax and practice those hard moves that he needs to learn.”

“Good job!” I told him, as he opened the gate of the court where he played. He managed to smile at me despite just losing some valuable points. He went to the coach and I saw him had a good talk with my son. A few taps on his shoulder and my son came back to me.

“Don’t worry about it, Kristian,” as I smiled at him and gave him a middle “5”.

“Well, coach told me that he still would want me to play in the coming match on Thursday,” he said.

“Good. Because he sees that potential in you Kristian. Just relax. It’s okay whether you win or lose,” I added.

“Thanks, mom. I love you,” he whispered.

Are the balls hitting right in front of you? And you can’t seem to manage to hit the balls back and make a score? Are you nervous or are you afraid? Being nervous is okay. But the force that comes with it differs. Either it drives you to do your best and hit those winning moves. Or it paralyzes you with fear that you’re too afraid to move, too afraid to make mistakes.

Paul reminded Timothy that we have a spiritual enemy that does not want us to use our spiritual gifts for God. And he will try his best to stop you from using those gifts to use for His Kingdom. Satan doesn’t want us talking about Jesus. He doesn’t want us serving Jesus by telling others about Him. But do not be afraid! Fear is a spirit but you certainly can overcome it!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” -2 Timothy 1:7

It’s knowing God that will empower us. Proverbs 11:9 says, “Through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.” The more we receive God’s love, the lesser the hold of spirit of fear will have on us. “Perfect love casts out fear.” - 1John 4:18

I learn a lot watching my son’s tennis games. Knowing how every game is the same as the life I play. I know the trials pressure that comes. I know the team's God's expectations. I always remind my son. That in tennis, he will surely fare better if he focuses on having fun and improving his game, not on focusing to win. Winning is only a part of improving. But in the matches played in tennis and life, it is about staying happy even on losing those matches that matters. Knowing that we played well against a better opponent than winning a match in which we played poorly. It is learning how to be patient in every game. Freedom from fear comes from having faith. Because you can't have fear and faith at the same time.

In the matches of life, we must not live in fear but be conscious instead that God is within us, around us and over us. We need to remember that God Who is in us is greater than the spiritual enemy. And if God has already overcome the world, having Him in us, then, we surely are victorious because of Him. So, don’t bow down to fear. Live in victory!

“The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?” ~ Psalm 27:1

To Give Ears

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” ~ Robert McCloskey

Three of us were slumped on our chairs last night. Everyone, including the Clinic Deputy, were all exhausted, explaining things to her but nothing was working.

In between loud sobs, a young female inmate demanded for so many requests every 5 minutes. Her face pressed on that big glass partition wall in the waiting area. She came in complaining of vaginal bleeding. 5 minutes later, she also had depression. 5 minutes later, she was also dizzy. 5 minutes later, her head hurts. 5 minutes later, she asked:

“If I hit my head in the bathroom, will you guys send me to the hospital?”

I just walked in to start my shift. The charge nurse was exhausted dealing with her and gave me her chart. She requested me to check her vital signs, whenever I was ready. While complaining to the deputy, I summoned her in. She kept talking the whole time. I only talked to her when I needed to. And concentrated on the things I needed to assess for. Her pulse and blood pressure and everything else were all normal. She denied a history of mental problem. She was at the earliest stage of being pregnant and complained of severe vaginal bleeding.

I told her to go to one of the exam rooms. As I had the Deputy stood nearby but enough to give the inmate some privacy.

“Show me your pad!” I demanded.

“What?” she acted not sure what I meant.

“Lower your pants and show me the pad they gave you earlier. If you are bleeding, I want to see how much!” I added.

There were no blood clots. There was no sign of any fresh, massive bleeding.

She didn’t know what to say. She started whining again in front of me.

“Can I stay here and wait here?” she asked, pertaining to the rows of chairs in front of the exam rooms.

“I’m sorry. I can’t let you stay here. We only bring you here if you are being treated. For now, you need to go back to the waiting area until we know that you’re feeling better, then, we’ll send you back to your unit,” I explained.

And for the ensuing hours, she remained whining, sobbing, yelling, demanding for treatment as she is a “high-risk” pregnant. She wouldn’t listen to our reassurance, to our explanations of her plan of care. She ended up being brought to the Suicide Watch because she threatened to hurt herself by hitting her head.

It was mentally exhausting. To try to explain things to someone who just didn’t want to listen.

“Are you okay?” asked the Charge Nurse.

“I’m fine. Just tired,” I answered as she laughed and concurred she felt the same. But my mind was somewhere else. Of the times God must have been longing for me to learn to listen. Except that He does not feel exhausted with my behavior. He always longs. He patiently waits. He watches faithfully. He always listens to me. To my whining…But how often do I listen to Him?

How it must be frustrating also for others who just want us to listen to them. Sometimes, it’s even better not to give any advices but just to let them know that we truly care and love them. By lending a pair of ears. A shoulder to cry on. How precious it would be to learn the art of listening. Of being still and remaining focused on what someone has to say. For the ability to speak well contributes to a successful communication. But so it is with the ability to listen…

Enough for me talking here….Go ahead, friends, your turn to speak!!! I need to listen!

James 1:19 - “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”

Desire His Gift of Discernment

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

I slowly parked my car in one of the empty space I spotted in our staff’s parking last night. A slight gust of wind was blowing on and off, as a dust cloud twirled in one spot at times. I took a deep sigh after uttering a silent prayer. Feeling the covering of the Lord’s protection all around me before I entered the dark, evil place where I had been working, I was feeling strong in His power. Even before I set my feet into the prison’s door, I always asked for His gift of discernment. Knowing that I had no clue of what was to be expected.

Wisdom is His gift. But He gives it to those who earnestly seeks it. It takes effort to find it. Its path, exhausting. But when we do discover that true wisdom that comes from God, it’s very rewarding. Knowing that He is there to guide us in everything that we do.

“My child, listen to me and treasure my instructions. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight and understanding. Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly. He is their shield, protecting those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of justice and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just and fair, and you will know how to find the right course of action every time. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.”
~ Proverbs 2:1-11

Here is an example why I need to seek His gift of discernment with the line of work I’m in:

May you seek His gift of discernment.

Proverbs 3:5-8 - “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil. Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.”

Here’s a prayer for discernment [Vasily Drosdov Philaret; c.1780-1867]

“O Lord, I do not know what to ask You. You alone know my real needs, and You love me more than I ever know how to love. Enable me to discern my true needs which are hidden from me. I ask for neither cross nor consolation; I wait in patience for You. My heart is open to You. For Your great mercy’s sake, come to me and help me. Put Your mark on me and heal me, cast me down and raise me up. Silently, I adore Your holy will and Your inscrutable ways. I offer myself in sacrifice to You and put all my trust in You. I desire only to do Your will. Teach me how to pray and pray in me, yourself…”

In Jesus’ Name, I pray…[I added this]…..And all of us please say…..AMEN!!!

Please visit Spiritual Sundays for many, many encouraging posts. I'm going to take a nap for now friends and will visit you when I get refreshed. Be strong in the Lord's mighty power [Ephesians 6:10]

It's Okay To Lose...Because of Love...

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records 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 [NIV]

We tried to huddle together and avoided the heat of the sun. As my husband and I watched our son hit the tennis ball with his best might. He won the other day against another school. Yesterday, another school came to their school, to play.

It was a good game of exchanging skills learned from their daily practice and hard work. A kind of “hold-your-breath” moments where the game was so close. My son came out, sweating profusely and as he tried to replenish his waning energy with a sport drink, he gave me and my husband a hug and a kiss. He just lost. The opponent a much advanced player than he was.

“It’s okay. You did your best and you had some great shots!” my husband and I reassured him as we returned his gesture. He did. And we all knew it would always be a game of chance. It would always be a win or a lose. But my son knew. No matter what the outcome, his father and I would always be there for him. Because we love him. He was not worried about losing. He was more inspired to learn harder and eager to hear the mistakes he had. So, he could prevent himself from doing the same errors in the coming games ahead.

Like this life’s journey. The ups and downs of life. Where the way of accepting victories or losses matters. Either you’re a good sport or not. But knowing that there is a heavenly Father Who also watches the games we play and always reassures us no matter what the outcome helps us to endure. His faithful love truly changes our attitude in how we view this life’s wins or losses. Knowing how much He loves us all. Love is the greatest thing to have in our lives. All the positive attitudes are a result of it. Because God is love. He is the Author of love. And His kind of love has the power to heal broken hearts. It has the power to go beyond our limitations. It believes. It waits and welcomes no matter how many times you go astray. It always reassures and comforts when we seem to drown in life’s storms. It gives us immense joy knowing that His love accepts us for who we are. Yes, we are also created in His image because of love. Love after all, is truly the most powerful thing here. And we all desire to love and be loved. But we need to know and accept His kind of love before we can honestly love others: an unconditional love.

So, it’s okay to have losses sometimes. Because knowing He’s there with us, we can overcome. And we can strive harder next time a game or more comes. For in Him, we are already winners after all. His love never fails.

If you have some time, this is worth hearing God's outrageous love for all of us:

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to hurt you…,” she uttered on the other end of the line, “But the noodles didn’t taste good. They were kind of stale, I think.”

I barely knew her. We just started talking from work. Learning each other’s cultures and different customs, we hungered for more. Every night, our phones were busy. Learning more. Encouraging each other from the same frustrations we encountered at the hospital where we both worked. We started exchanging foods. I gave her some of the noodles I made. And when I asked her if she liked it, the words above were her answer.

You would think it would hurt the first time I heard that. But I knew then, I found an honest friend. Funny how back in elementary schools, or high schools or college days, how often I would say “this is my best friend.” Not realizing what a “best friend” truly meant. But as I entered many seasons in this life’s journey, going through many friendships, I had learned that it wasn’t having many friends that would make me feel fulfilled nor happy. I could only have one friend and that would mean everything to me. To find that rare friend who would be honest enough to tell me if I had lipstick on my teeth. Or that an outfit didn’t really look good on me. Not that she is being judgmental but knowing that she wants the best for me. That what hurts me hurts her. That what makes me happy makes her smile, too. It’s knowing that whether it’s the ups or downs of life I’m going through, I know she is there with me, never leaving my side. A true friend who cares enough to know if something is bothering me when my face and voice shows sadness or frustrations. A true friend who shared tears with me when I lost my parents. Yes, I know what it means now to say “I found my best friend”…“Actions speak louder than words,” she used to tell me many times. And I know now how true it is! Someone can say “I love you” yet does not show loving actions. Someone will say “I’ll be there for you” but really is nowhere when a crisis comes. Or how someone can easily ask “How are you?” but deep inside is not truly concerned.

That person who told me she didn’t like the noodles I gave is now my best friend. Best friend in this life where I have to weather so many storms, yet, she is there for me. I rejected her once by not acknowledging her extension to make friendships. “Actions speak louder than words.” She never gave up. Until she broke the barrier of mistrust I created in my heart from previous hurtful relationships in my life. Her actions were to continue to believe in me. She kept calling me, brushing off my ignorance. She kept believing that there is goodness in my heart. And if she gave up on my aloofness, I wouldn’t have known how much I would have lost.

God gives us special friends at a special time in our lives. That is another faith marker for me. That He gives us friends to encourage us, comfort us, accepts us no matter what flaws we have and who will believe in us, the way He does.

“Actions speak louder than words…” It’s all actions that Jesus did to prove how much He loves humanity. He spoke about a loving God, walking many miles to let hurting people know. He prayed. He healed. He performed miracles. He carried a heavy cross and gave His life to save us. “Actions speak louder than words.” It’s so easy to profess we are Christians. God demands obedience when we choose to follow Him. “Actions speak louder than words”…Walk the talk!

"17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." ~ 1John 3:17-18 [NIV]

Don't Become A Prey

“No greater mischief can happen to a Christian people than to have God’s Word taken from them and falsified, so that they no longer have it pure and clear. God grant that we and our descendants be not witnesses of such a calamity. Let us not lose the Bible, but with diligence, in fear and invocation of God, read and preach it.” ~ Martin Luther

Many newly-housed inmates, those who were jailed for the first time are facing a tough situation when those inmates who hold power inside the prison, know that they are preys. They will take advantage of the lack of knowledge of these newly-arrived inmates and demand for their money, service or anything they can obtain from them, for their own gain. Despite the tight security, these old timers are still able to get away with their ugly schemes.

How true it is too with our spiritual condition. We also face a spiritual predator and we can all be potential spiritual preys if we are not knowledgeable. For spiritual deception, we must learn to also fight back in a spiritual way.

“14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers. In the end they will get every it of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.” - 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

Not everyone who spoke positively about Jesus is from God. There are also spirituals con artists. Many talked about a Jesus who is a moral example, instead of being the Savior. Theirs is a works kind of religion. Some uses their authority to take advantage of believers, for their own gain.

Paul talked about his credentials to the Corinthians, not to brag about them, but to remind them that his authority came from the Lord and was to be used to serve them [2 Corinthians 4:5 -“We don’t go around preaching about ourselves; we preach Christ Jesus, the Lord. All we say about ourselves is that we are your servants because of what Jesus has done for us."] and help them become mature [2 Corinthians 10:8 - “I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But this authority is to build you up, not tear you down. And I will not be put to shame by having my work among you destroyed.”]

Let’s continue to read the Word so we can gain knowledge in this spiritual warfare we’re all in as believers of Christ. Don’t fall prey into the hands of spiritual predators…

Psalm 119:89 - “Forever, O Lord, your word stands firm in heaven.”

2 Peter 1:20-21 - “20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves 21 or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.”

2 Timothy 3:16, 17 - “16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. 17 It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.”

Read Ephesians 6 and be reminded that we have the Armor of God to use against our spiritual enemies.

Who Is Like The Lord?

“Buddha never claimed to be God. Moses never claimed to be Jehovah. Mohammed never claimed to be Allah. But Jesus claimed to be the true and living God. Buddha simply said, “I am a teacher in search of the truth.” Jesus said, “I am the truth.” Confucius said, “I never claimed to be holy.” Jesus said, “Who convicts me of sin?” Mohammed said, “Unless God throws his cloak of mercy over me, I have no hope.” Jesus said, “Unless you believe in me, you will die in your sins.” [Author Unknown].”

Three of us, female nurses, were the first to notice the loud commotion. Boom!!! The heavy, metal front door slammed against the wall as it was pushed open by two deputies escorting a young, male inmate at the wee hours of the morning.

“Take this handcuff, off! _____!” as he yelled, with profanities exploding from those young pair of lips. His face and eyes, red with anger…He claimed he needed to see the nurse because he had some rash on his arms. But the deputies alerted that he had been disrespectful ever since they started walking from their units and didn’t want to be handcuffed.

“Where’s the rash?” asked the charge nurse.

“On my arms! I told them already!” with an enraged answer every time.

“I don’t see anything!” replied the charge nurse.

“Well, why don’t you have them remove this handcuff and I’ll show you where the rash is!” he yelled back.

“Oh, no…no…no…They don’t need to…I can see there is no rash and if you think that something appears again, you can put a sick call…But at this time, I can’t do anything because I don’t see anything,” answered the charge nurse….

It doesn’t take a smart person to know that this inmate wanted to hurt someone. Most of all, anyone from staff. He was not under any influence that we knew of. There was no inmate we had seen that was like him in a long time. That man was just being a “smart aleck” wanting to prove something to custody staff.

Mary Magdalene was one of the female followers who was at Jesus’ crucifixion and was on her way that early Sunday morning to anoint Jesus’ dead body. But she discovered an empty tomb. Distraught, she thought someone had taken him away. That morning, she intended to honor and respect him. Mary was healed by Jesus by freeing her from 7 demons. As a response to the freedom she received, she became a faithful follower of Jesus. With her childlike faith, Jesus honored her by showing His resurrected body to her first and giving her the first message of His resurrection.

“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.” - John 20:17

At first, Mary’s grief over Jesus’ death blinded her and she didn’t immediately recognize Jesus. But when Jesus spoke her name, she did. Jesus is near all of us. He is calling your name. Can you, like Mary, regard Jesus as your Lord? Mary saw the empty tomb first before meeting the resurrected Christ. And when she did see him, she was filled with joy and told the disciples. We cannot meet Christ until we believe that He indeed is risen! As you seek for Jesus, empty your life and He is faithful to meet you there. Like what He promised, He will never leave you and will come to you. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, He will take that empty place in your heart. Only if you allow Him to.

Who is like the Lord Jesus who can rise from the dead? Jesus’ resurrection became the key to everything in Christianity. That empty tomb meant Christ is alive! He is indeed alive and He is in every believer today. And someday, He will return…

Jesus told a doubting Thomas, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” -John 20:29

A physical appearance would not make Jesus any more real to us than now. We have the Bible and testimonies of so many believers as proof. There is no one like Jesus…No one like the Lord can ever do what He did.

Inmates Praising the Lord:

Please visit Spiritual Sundays for many, many encouraging posts. God bless you all and Happy Resurrection Sunday to you all! Glory to God!

Follow Me

picture of my son's footprints during one of our vacations

I got done pulling the 1,000 something medications for the morning and noon doses, for all the inmates needing them that Sunday. The huge million-dollar worth machine just kept spewing them out. One by one, already wrapped in a special type of plastic wrapper, imprinted with the inmates’ names and the name and dosage of the medications. Feeling the pang of hunger after working non-stop, despite the quietness of the shift, I went on my break and savored the homemade sandwich I prepared, as I closed both doors of one room and turned off the light. I needed that solitude, to rejuvenate. To stretch and calm the achy muscles of my neck with a 13 year old injury from working in the hospital prior, that forever changed its function.

Freshened up, I went back to the Infirmary to find out that half of the lights were turned off. The quieter it appeared. Except the joyous laughter that erupted and broke the din of boredom. There, I found some co-workers, both from the medical and custody staff, enjoying each other. Sharing jokes, some, even flirting with each other. I felt out of place. I thought I could stay there. But I couldn’t enjoy it. I got up and went to our Pharmacy and stayed there until the tryst dissipated. I could not stand it that they all seemed working hard, only if the higher supervisor was present. And it was always sad to see that some of them were praised for working hard. When I knew it wasn’t true.

What happened thousands of years ago is no different than what is happening now. Many men started becoming Jesus’ disciples but they had a wrong perception that Jesus came as the promised Messiah Who would free them from Rome’s oppression. Sons of Zebedee, James and John, wanted honored places in it. But they didn’t realize, Jesus is not of this world. His Kingdom would be established not by conquering places nor building huge palaces. But instead, by changing the hearts and lives of men. They just didn’t get that. Until after Jesus resurrected.

“Teacher, we want you to do us a favor,” they asked Jesus.

“What is it?” Jesus asked.

“In your glorious Kingdom, we want to sit in places of honor next to you,” they said, “one at your right and the other at your left.”

But Jesus answered, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of sorrow I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?” [Mark 10:35-38].

Jesus didn’t mock their question. But He denied that request.

As darkness fell across the whole land when Jesus was crucified, there, as He was preparing to begin His Kingdom through His death, the places on his right and left were taken by two dying men - both criminals. One, who ended up believing in Him as Son of God.

Jesus is not after power-hungry followers. He explained that anyone who wants to truly follow Him must be prepared to suffer and die as He, Himself did. It is only by the way of the cross that we can get on the road to His Kingdom.

As His disciples today, we must deny ourselves, take His cross and follow Him. We must resist being on the limelight. God is the One Who helps us out with all the challenges we are to face. So, it is just right that He gets the full credit. Glory to God!

Matthew 10:38 - “If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.”

Lord, thank You for dying on the cross. Thank You for making a way for us, sinners, to reconnect with Father. Thank You that You never got out of this difficult trek You had to walk on when You were here. Thank You for suffering for us, a horrible way. But I know that you also suffered the ultimate suffering, when You took all of humanity's sins and You were spiritually separated from God. Lord, continue to mold me and change my heart, to conform to Yours. Thank You Lord for Your faithful and unconditional love. Thank You for gaining that victory on the cross and passing it on to those who believes in You. I love You Lord. All the glory belongs to You, Oh Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.


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].