Just A Summer Reminder

Water is H2O, hydrogen two parts, oxygen one, but there is also a third thing, that makes water and nobody knows what that is.
~ D.H. LAWRENCE (1885-1930), Pansies, 1929

This is not my usual post. Just a friendly summer reminder... With the intense heat we had from the past days and I know some areas where you are also had suffered from the summer heat, do not forget to hydrate yourself with WATER. Dehydration is a bad thing to happen in your body. Be careful that you don’t keep drinking too much iced teas, alcoholic drinks or sodas. They are diuretics and will actually do more harm than good.

Water is essential and so it is with the history of mankind. And His…Have a blessed weekend to all of you. Thinking about you all in thoughts and prayers. Thank you for yours.

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

—John 7:37-38

Don't Be A Statistic

“What is wrong with me?” asked this young female inmate sitting in front of me as she straightened her left arm so I could apply the blood pressure cuff. Her tears in little beads slowly flowed down on each of her cheeks.

“Do you drink heavily?” I queried.

“No!” she loudly denied.

“How about illegal drugs?”

“Mmmm…” Pause….”Only marijuana, Ma’am,” she softly whispered.

I looked again at the prescribed medications started when she first came in to the prison’s Intake. I counted about 5 different kinds, the usual medications given as allowed by our protocol. All for those having alcohol withdrawal symptoms. I was hesitant to give it at first. After she denied heavy alcohol use.

The Intake Nurse who happened to screen her the previous night, fortunately, was working with me that night in the Infirmary. I approached her and asked her if she could recall anything about this crying, young inmate.

“Rcubes,” she responded right away, after seeing her through the glass windows, “She was so wasted when she came in to the prison last night. They brought her first at the hospital and she was shaking.”

“Thanks. That’s all I need to know.”

I gave this crying inmate a handful of pills and a small cup of water.

“Here…These are being given to you because of the symptoms you showed last night. You were heavily intoxicated and were shaking when you got here at the jail,” I explained.

More tears fell…She didn’t refuse. She cupped her right, slightly quivering hand. She knew she drank alcohol. But she denied that. She just turned 21. And the fun of using alcohol made it more legal for that age. Except, she was being succumbed to a deadly habit. Subtly. Taking her like a hostage. Taking her farther away from freedom she once knew.

I watched her slowly traced her heavy steps back to her unit. Her head bent down. Still not sure what was wrong with her. It was her first time in the jail. She tasted the harsh environment. Of being locked up for a few days. To live in a tiny cell with another female unknown to her. Where violence could erupt at any moment.

Another one young life. Being wasted in the process. Alcohol. Drugs. Prostitution. Robbery. Pregnancy. These are the unfamiliar roads she decided to take. These roads that distract someone with a goal in life and entangle them and make them live a life that is empty. Barren. Dry. Unproductive.

As I saw the last bit of her shadow, I could only pray. For her to see the Light in this dark place she was in. For her to get out of that unfamiliar road and be focused toward one goal. Of seeing straight and knowing the only Truth. The only Way. The only Life.

"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." - Proverbs 3:5,6

"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." - Proverbs 2:2-6

"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 2:9-11

Listen To Me

“God whispers in our pleasures, but shouts in our pain.” - C.S.Lewis

“But I don’t like to do this! I have told everyone here that I’m not diabetic! I’m not on meds! I’m not on anything!” uttered this obviously upset female inmate. When her turn came to do her blood sugar check, she started going off, while the others before her were efficient in doing their own and receiving the morning insulin doses and sat right back to the chairs in the waiting area.

I didn’t expect that from her. I had seen her before as I always tried to help the LVN’s do the morning accuchecks on the female side. So they could just concentrate on the male side, being that there was a big number. I didn’t want our attention distracted, much more so with the Infirmary Deputy, that I always volunteered to take care of the female diabetics.

She continued to complain and whine loudly, as if I had caused her all the troubles. I wasn’t saying anything the whole time and just let her do the ranting at the beginning. The big glass partition window, almost fogging up with her breath of anger every second that passed by. Almost out of breath and breathing fires through her nostrils, she smeared the Accucheck machine with her blood.

“That’s not the first time she did that, Ma’am!” whispered one disgusted inmate. The rest who saw what she had done did not want to use the same machine fearing they might catch something from the blood-smeared tiny machine.

“Listen to me!” I spoke with a slightly higher tone of voice and didn’t allow her to cut me off the entire time, as I waved at the nearby deputy, giving her a signal that I got it and did not need her help at that time yet.

“You don’t have to come here screaming at the top of your lungs when the nursing staff is just trying to help you. We won’t force you to do your accuchecks if that’s what you want. When you first came in here at this jail, your sugar was way high, that’s why the nurse who saw you started this to monitor you.”

“Here!” I continued, “Just sign this piece of paper and you won’t need to come down here and act this way, smearing our machine with your blood, when you know many use this. As long as you’re aware that we’re not going to be responsible if anything happens with you when your blood sugar either goes way high or way low, then, just sign this. Even up to the point of death as a consequence since we wouldn‘t be able to check your blood sugar!”

She was visibly wanting to interrupt me but something held her back. At that time, I wearily remained quiet but constantly looked at her eye to eye. She tried to avoid my eye contact. She paused. Smokes stopped coming out of her nostrils by that time. She must have started weighing in the word “consequence” when I said it loudly. She got quiet and proceeded to do her accucheck anyway. I had heard, she came with the rest of the group, day to day ever since.

I wonder how many times I ranted in front of Him. Of the way I like to run things in my life when obviously He’s the only One Who has the control. Why doesn’t it sink in sometimes? And every time I reach the limit and try to meet Him and question Him, He doesn’t come with a roaring Voice. He never meets me with any surprises. He remains quiet most of the time. But in that silence, that’s how I know He’s there. He’s giving me that opportunity to be quiet myself. To learn to be still. To be able to listen. To be able to trust. To be able to believe. So I can know more things about Him. He lets me think over what “consequences” will happen if I don’t go His way. He lets me think things through. That just because I think I’m right doesn’t mean I am. He knows best…And I know being my loving heavenly Father, He always wants the best for His children. Even if it would hurt at times. Yes…in that silence, in that quiet place, that’s where I feel His presence the most. And He's inviting all to "Listen to Me!"

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” ~ John 10:27

Kill Him

He sat there, staring at the wall, mumbling a lot that was incomprehensible whenever we would pass by. His white hair covered his head, thinning, his hands shaking, and his steps slightly wobbly as he tried to wander here and there.

“Aren’t you gonna’ bring him to Unit 15[special unit where they housed the mentally ill and those with special health needs]?” I asked the deputy who just brought this elderly inmate from the hospital. He appeared tired and wanting to not just take care of him anymore. As two other younger deputies joined him in echoing their frustration on what to do with this guy.

He was not capable of caring for himself. He soiled his pants most of the time and wet it, too. Our prison was not designed to do bedside nursing. So there was no choice but to send him to the county’s hospital where there was a jail ward.

“I don’t understand!” a teeny female voice that came from one of the deputies broke the silence and weariness. “Why don’t you guys just prepare that injection….you know…..” she didn’t finish her statement as no one was saying anything and didn’t expect her to say that.

I stared at her, eye to eye as she was trying to say to give this man a lethal form of injection as he seemed incapable of doing anything anymore. She stopped mid-sentence as she saw me with penetrating stares through her blue eyes. She didn’t feel my agreement with what she just uttered.

But life is precious. Only One gave it, made it, formed it. Wouldn’t it be His right to take it away, too? In His own, perfect time. For us, humans to think that we must have this right to die, knowing how we can’t trust our ways of reasoning, just doesn’t seem right nor fitting.

I saw it in my own father’s suffering. When he was dying and was laying there on his bed for a couple of weeks. The colon cancer invaded his strength, the excruciating pain he must feel that made him beg, day in, day out, for the Maker to take him home. But through it all, people who came to visit him, saw the joy in his eyes, despite the suffering he was in. He made people cried. Not with sorrow. But with tears of joy and happiness as he shared what He knew about the Maker. About His blessings in his life. Neighbors were wondering why my brothers and I were laughing out loud everyday, when my father was dying. It was because my father never stopped telling funny stories. He said “I love you” to each of us, his children in countless times.

I knew then at that point, God used that painful trial my family and I had to go through to bring others to Christ. He used my father’s faith to make people see that He was there, sustaining us all with His strength and peace and joy to overcome this painful transition of my father from life to death. Or was it?

As Christians, we are given this hope of eternal life by our Lord. Death then, is not the end. It’s only the beginning of eternal life. No more pain. No more tears. No more suffering. Only in His presence.

Euthanasia can be a difficult issue. But we all know that death is inevitable. Noone wants to suffer but God does use those sufferings for His purposes.

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.” - Ecclesiastes 7:14

“Not only so , but we also rejoice in sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance…” - Romans 5:3

The Stealer

Photo Credit
“Put your hands up and lean your hands against the wall!” yelled the deputy, after gloving his hands. He was upset when one of the LVN’s called him after seeing that this particular inmate wove his right hand through the thick, glass partition window. Through different sizes of boxed gloves and tried to reach for a pen. He was still holding the pen when the LVN, sitting from where he was, suddenly looked up and caught him.

“I was just going to write something!” the inmate tried to make a plea to the taller deputy who started searching for his pockets and started checking his body orifices.

“I don’t know what else he took “profanity” …….!”yelled the charge nurse. “You are supposed to only take your blood sugar and not help yourself with things around here!” she added.

Who wouldn’t be angry with this inmate? When he knew the rules that they were not allowed to have any pens. They can be made into a potential, harmful weapon if it ends up with their hands.

Most of the nurses were yelling profanities against him. As I watched the deputy and saw him found a few graham crackers from him. They were not harmful. But the problem was his blood sugar level that morning was normal. And he wasn’t given graham crackers at all.

This inmate knew he was in deep trouble. Either he would be put on discipline where he would be housed alone for a certain amount of days or his sentence would be a little longer. Or both.

It’s easy to see ourselves justifiably angry against sins. Against someone else’s sins. But we must speak against sins in the spirit of humility. Oftentimes, the sins we see in others are the same sins that have taken place in us. How often have I witnessed a “gossiper” at work, upset and critical of others who gossip about him/her?

We deal with thousands of inmates. All there because they committed crimes. Murder. Rape. Stealing. Abuse. And many other evil things. They are living their lives devoid of God’s knowledge.

“When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should have never been done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. They are fully aware of God’s death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.” - Romans 1:28-32

We can never think that in God’s silence, it’s okay to do these sins and get away with them. God is a merciful God Who is being patient and is holding back His judgment so we can turn away from our sins. As Christians, we must ask the Lord to search our hearts so that He can heal them and help us turn away from doing those things that do not please Him. I’m not perfect like you. But we must continue to learn more about Him in order for us to be victorious. To be holy like our Holy God.


Life's Purpose

I just got done dispensing the meds this Sunday morning from a huge machine that spewed thousands of pills for the inmates’ morning and noon doses. As I went back to the Clinic, I overheard a conversation between 2 of my co-workers with the Sergeant who loved talking to these two specific nurses.

“So, when are you retiring?” asked one to the Sergeant.

“In about 7 ½ months,” he replied as he sat comfortably,  slightly leaning back on the chair.

“Wow!” exclaimed the other. “What are you gonna’ do then?”

“I think if given choices, I would still work somewhere…I can’t imagine myself just doing nothing after having a good time seeing places. You know, maybe work part time. Just to give a purpose into my life,” he responded confidently.

All night, they talked about his plans to see this place or do that thing. I sat there quietly. Just helped the staff assistant who stayed overtime for 4 hours to help the Clinic with piling paper works.

The Sergeant’s word “life’s purpose” cut so deep into my mind. I started wondering if all of them there knew what life’s purpose mean. As I started to evaluate my own knowledge right then, my mind busy working. To be a nurse? To be a mom? Oh how my mind wandered to many possibilities of life’s adventures! But as I sought His leading, the imagination was not about me anymore. It headed down to knowing how God made each of us and everything here [1 John 1:3]. We surely can’t be proud of anything because everything came from Him. We all exist because God made us all. All my life’s goals and achievements I did and continue to achieve because of the talents He gave me [us] in the first place. We are made to worship and obey God. The way Jesus did. He gave His life on the cross to fulfill the Father’s will. So we may live. And as we accept Him into our hearts, a purpose was planted: that is….. To seek Him first so we can know more things of God and then… to bring others to Christ.

“And so we keep on praying for you, that our God will make you worthy of the life to which he called you. And we pray that God, by his power, will fulfill all your good intentions and faithful deeds. Then everyone will give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus because of you, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the undeserved favor of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.” - 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Struggling Here

I'm linking this post at Spiritual Sundays. Please visit this warm place hosted by sisters Ginger and Charlotte.

So, I talked about this female inmate from my previous post “Cut Off” [see prior post below] of how she complained all night long about her back pain. But she was in for committing robbery. After dealing with her at Intake on Friday night, I wasn’t surprised to see her again the following night at the Infirmary, wanting the same attention. She wanted to be given higher doses of pain medications, faking every movement as she rose from her mattress.

Don’t think of me as always being kind. Because that night, I was being mean. I made fun of her whining with my co-workers, copying her and to my co-workers delight. I knew I had enough of her excuses. But having a bad night from Intake dealing with her up to the following day was not a good excuse in the eyes of the Lord.

Many animals change their colors to adapt to their environment. It’s their way of fitting in. The Lord brought to my mind and heart about what I did [making fun of that female inmate]. That was my conviction from the Lord this week. That I should continue to work on becoming a “new nature” because I’m already His child. His light in this dark world. That I am not to conform to this world. That I represent Him in anything I say, think or do.

That I don’t need to fit in in my workplace though I’m surrounded by corruption, sins, evil spirits. I don’t need to adapt to this situation because I have His freedom. I don’t need to survive. The Lord is my life and hope and everything put together. He is not of this world.

I had visited some blogging friends this morning and they also talked about not “conforming to this world.” I knew the Lord was not done with His convictions on me as I read every precious posts.  “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” [Psalm 139:7]

I’m not kind! I’m not always nice! I am still struggling with every step I take to finish this race for Him.

Oh Lord, thank You by revealing these things that do not please You, that otherwise, will just go unnoticed. Thank You that Your Spirit searches out everything and exposes these ill behaviors or ways we do, that do not glorify You. Help me Oh Lord to continue to grow in Your ways. Like Jesus. Please forgive me for my sins. Purify us Lord. Help me to be transformed by You, instead of being conformed to this world.In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

“What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Cut Off

“You’ve been mean to me ever since I got here!” screamed one female, heavy set inmate in front of the female deputy. Her torso bent midway, with her right hand supporting her weight as she leaned on the deputy’s desk.

I just gave her some Motrin for her complaint of back pain and a small cup of water.

“Don’t you dare spill that cup of water on my desk!” exclaimed the deputy. As she saw the inmate put down the plastic cup with her unstable stance.

If anyone saw this moment, they would truly believe the inmate. That this deputy had no heart. That she was a plain evil person. But it wasn’t true. I came on to start my shift that night. Unable to get report from the evening shift nurse, I got a little background from the same deputy.

I saw this inmate first on the floor, moaning and crying, not wanting to talk with the nurse or the deputy. Complaining of back pain and screaming every time the staff asked her if she could share a little bit about herself so we could attend to her needs. But she remained just that. Moaning and crying all night long. Until she was called to be processed. And the deputy called me and requested if I could give her something for pain because she found out that she had been abusing many types of narcotics. And that was what she was in for. Committing robbery perhaps, to sustain that habit.

The following night, I was not surprised to see her inside the female waiting area in the Infirmary. She was doing the same thing. Moaning and crying and pretending that she could not get up when staff was present. But some of us [including myself] had witnessed she was able to get up and go to the bathroom without any problem when she thought that no one was looking.

We are used to this kind of game. Some inmates play games, pretending that their conditions are really bad that they can’t be incarcerated. They wanted to be free. Despite the crimes they committed. They exaggerate symptoms thinking it will earn them a free pass,  an easy way out. So they think….But it doesn’t work that way. You can’t be free without acknowledging the mistakes you have done. Freedom is always available. But there is always a cut off…Only to those willing to accept responsibility for those mistakes and learn from them are able to recognize the worth of becoming free. To feel sorry and not do these same crimes, mistakes, hurt, sins…

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." - Matthew 4:17

"I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." - Luke 13:3

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,..." - Acts 3:19

No repentance, no forgiveness...

No forgiveness, no salvation...

Prayer For The City

I remember hearing this song when my oldest brother from Denmark shared this song with me and aside from the beautiful melody, I fell in love with the lyrics which is so vital for us to do. I just want to share this song with you all and may you remember to "incessantly pray."

My brother gave me this special gift, a limited edition from the Oslo Gospel Choir and I love to listen to this anytime of the day. Thank You Lord.

This is the best version I found in you tube:

Prayer For The City

C                       G
We open our hearts
Am                                   F
And our lives to You O God
Dm                         C          Am
Create within us a servant part
              F                             G
So that we can show Your love

C                                      G
Where all hope has been lost
Am                                   F
Let Your Spirit bring new life
 Dm                               C Am
To those in need bring prosperity
                              F                          G
Where there's darkness shine Your light

 F       G              Em             Am
We pray for the city we live in
 F       G                 C              Am
We pray that our sins be forgiven
 F              G               Am          F
Do Your will right here as in heaven
 C                 F          G        C
Father, we call on Your Name

           F                    C
We pray for our children
           F                     C
We pray for our leaders
            F                   C
We pray for our families
          Am          D           G
Oh, bless us Lord we pray

Addendum: Sorry, I was going to post the guitar chords but I couldn't find the copy I had [for you JBR and others out there who knows how to play the guitar. I'll come back if I find it]     :)

@ 0935 hrs: After searching desperately, I found the chords!  God showed it to me! Yay! Thank You Lord. I added it, simple but truly a beautiful song. I hope you all like it.

I Am A Coward

I printed out a new copy of upcoming schedule. Only to have a little worry set in as I saw that I would be working at the prison’s Intake at least every other Friday, starting August.

Now, I’m that kind of a worker who is flexible. I don’t mind going there or anywhere else in the jail, even float to other facilities. But it’s just that it’s the busiest place inside the prison and that, as an Intake Nurse, you’re just by yourself. While if assigned at the Infirmary, at least, there are always a few nurses. Not that they are not going to help but still, it’s only the Intake Nurse’s sole responsibility to oversee the male and female side. Aside from screening all the arrestees who come in fresh from the streets, the Intake Nurse has the responsibility to check all those who are in Suicide Watch and all those drunk bodies, in many sobering cells. Fights are possible when many bodies end up in one cell, as their minds or consciousness are altered with the effects of many illegal substances and alcohol. Paired with that are many telephone calls from many local cities’ police department who wants the Intake Nurse’s “go signal” whether their arrestees can stay in the local jails or need to be transported to our main jail, since we have the nurses there, 24/7. The jail doctor comes every morning ‘til evening daily.

When the Lord took me out of my comfort zone many years ago [Orthopedic in a prominent hospital], and brought me here and gave me many unknown challenges, it was still His provision that made me survive the evilness in this place. Working as a correctional nurse goes beyond the physical symptoms. The spiritual battle here is real. Many unseen spirits tormenting those preys that otherwise, have no knowledge of this battle in the spiritual realm. I am grateful that the Lord had prepared me way earlier before putting me in this assignment.

You would think that I am comfortable now that I had been there for 10 years. But each night, there is always a new challenge. So, sometimes, I feel like I’m more like Jonah more than Isaiah. So, as you are here now, reading this, may I ask a favor to include me in your prayers for the Lord’s guidance, protection, wisdom, discernment and strength as I perform this upcoming task at Intake?

Isaiah 6:8 [53 kb]

Lord, I am a coward when it comes to not knowing what is about to happen. I don’t want to take Your leading for granted, knowing that You are bringing me to a more challenging task. But doing so, I am grateful that You chose me. Then I know that You can trust me better as I perform these bigger duties. I want to make that commitment to You Oh Lord, to be Your instrument in everything that I say and do. Empower me Oh Lord with Your strength and might and fill me with the Holy Spirit. Whenever You ask “Whom should I send as a messenger to My people? Who will go for us?”, help me Lord to be confident and courageous and be bold like Isaiah and reply to You: “Lord, I’ll go! Send me…” [Isaiah 6:8]…Please forgive me for all my sins, and cleanse me. Yes, Lord, I am a coward and inadequate…that is on my own…But with You, it is a different story. Thank You for Your grace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." - 1 Cor.15:10

The Blood

Photo Credit
Despite the busyness last Friday night at Intake, I would always try to make time to check the mentally ill inmate locked up in safety cell 1. His cell was visible from the nurse’s door. Only a few steps away. Prior to starting my shift, I saw his naked body lying on the cold floor. I heard he had been there for 2 weeks. The psych doctor hasn’t moved him back into the unit that housed the mentally ill patients. He kept banging his head the other day until he sustained a gash on his forehead. He sustained a big wound also on his left, upper arm. Because of his potential severe threat to his own safety, he became a regular resident of that cold cell.

My neck was getting tired at around 5 o’clock in the morning. I got up and decided to check again on Mr. V. I was barely nearing his cell, when I saw blood being smeared with his index finger from the top of the small glass window, going downward. The only window we used to check up on him.

“Deputy!” I yelled, as I saw the Intake deputies busy processing the arrestees, getting their booking photos and fingerprints.

“Please come and I need to see Mr. V. now. He just smeared some blood on his window.”

One deputy quickly came and turned up the light inside the cell brighter.

“Come closer V!” he yelled.

I wanted to make sure that he was not actively bleeding anywhere. I looked at his old gash on his forehead. It was intact. I couldn’t find any other visible wounds.

“Raise your left arm higher!” I commanded. To which he followed. The wound was more red. And appeared slightly raw. From visible marks of picking and scratching with his nails. But it was not actively bleeding. He managed to pick on it one time and get enough blood to smear his cell’s window.

I tried to communicate that it was not a good thing for him to do. If he wanted to get out of that cell. I wasn’t sure how much of my words would penetrate his understanding. But somehow he did. He remained quiet and didn’t do this behavior again.

I noticed how the deputies were not interested anymore and not even concerned when I called to their attention. I think they had grown tired because he had been doing this behavior for a while. Not that they didn’t care. But being the busiest night that day, they were non-stop processing the many bodies that were brought in from the streets.

His smearing of the blood might not be noticed anymore. But the smearing of blood thousands of years ago was significant back in Moses’ time. In preparation for the Israelites’ exit from Egypt, God brought down plagues on the Egyptians, the 10th plague being the killing of every firstborn males of the Egyptians. But the Hebrews were instructed to mark their doorposts with the blood of a spring lamb. Upon seeing this, the Spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, sparing the lives of the firstborns of the Israelites, His people. It was known as “Passover” in Jewish holidays.

It is the story of redemption. That’s how God chose to buy us back or save us from our sins. He offered His only Son in exchange for us. The life of a young lamb was sacrificed to save the sinner’s life. When Jesus came, he substituted his perfect life for our sinful ways! He is our Redeemer! He is The Lamb!

Jesus blood was smeared on the cross. And if you recognize the deadly consequences of sins and want to be saved from them, all you need to do is trust and accept Jesus’ gift of eternal life. He already paid for our sins. Even if you are busy with the mundane things of life, you have to make time and take notice. Jesus’ sacrifice made animal sacrifice no longer necessary… He redeemed us all by His death on the cross!!! Glory be to God!

“Remove this wicked person from among you so that you can stay pure. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not by eating the old bread of wickedness and evil, but by eating the new bread of purity and truth.” ~ 1 Corinthians 5:7-8

The Deepest Wounds

“My wife poked my eye!” he replied with a raising anger on his face when I asked him why it was red and the upper eyelid puffy.

I was busy last night. Screening one body after another at the prison’s Intake where the arresting officers were lined up at times, waiting for me to call their arrestee [s]. My only rest was when the Female Side would also call me in between if there were female arrestees with medical or mental health problems who were brought in.

He had a “buzz cut.” His muscular appearance told me that he must be like them, serving in the military. His face, appeared haggard despite the young age. I asked him if there was any medical issue with him.

“Yeah, my right knee was blown up when I was in Afghanistan,” he added.

I took a look at his right knee. It was not swollen nor deformed. But inside, he related about the pain that sometimes would be intolerable. That he was scheduled to go see their doctor again this Monday, the 12th for an MRI. Despite my reservation to speak with friendliness, I looked at him with so much gratitude for the service he had done and is still doing.

The pain on his right knee did not seem to bother him when I was screening him. It was more of the argument and the physical altercation that had occurred between him and his wife that night that made him angry. He was arrested for injuring his spouse, perhaps, hitting her back after she poked his eye.

“Sir, I will have you see our doctor if they end up booking you in. So that the treatment for your knee can continue.”

He got up. He was tall. Well-built. He didn’t smell like alcohol. He was appropriate so I knew he was not under the influence of any substance. I didn’t see any visible scars. His steps were close to normal. But his right leg with a slight limitation with every stride. But I knew at that time, that it was his deepest wounds that hurt him the most. A broken and bleeding heart marred by a collapsing marriage. Only time could tell. If it would ever heal.

The Bible teaches us to continue to do good despite being wronged, when our usual initial reaction is to get even. Jesus taught about keeping the desire not to keep score but to love and forgive.

An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth….” It was not for personal revenge in Moses’ times. It was to limit revenge. And God did the same thing. “Wounds for wounds…” The atoning work of death on the cross was done and fulfilled to help those deepest, unseen wounds heal…

“But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed!” ~ Isaiah 53:5

Yes, Jesus’ suffering resulted to forgiveness and is made available to all wounded people. Yes...all of humanity.

By His Wounds [Mac Powell]

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

We are healed by Your sacrifice
And the life that You gave
We are healed for You paid the price
By Your grace we are saved
We are saved

He was pierced for our transgressions
And crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

We are healed by Your sacrifice
And the life that You gave
We are healed for You paid the price
By Your grace we are saved
We are saved

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed
And by His wounds, by His wounds

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

For more uplifting posts, please visit Spiritual Sundays, a special place where special friends gather. Thanks to sisters Charlotte and Ginger.

Crossing Over

I haven’t seen this nurse in a while. For a few weeks. I heard that her grandmother got ill, struck by the dreaded stroke. She had to take some time off and off she went to visit her in the hospital.

Last Saturday night, there she was sitting in front of the computer. I approached her and said my “hello” as her saddened face lit up and returned the gesture. Her eyes, visibly puffy and red from crying.

“How are you? How’s your grandma?” I asked one after another, with excitement upon seeing her back.

“She passed away,” she replied.

“I’m so sorry,” I uttered softly as I approached her and gave her a hug. All night long, she talked about her experiences with her at the hospital. While the rest of her family came from different locations and once again, they were re-united with their ill grandma. She related how her grandma’s fear of dying turned into a peaceful one as she felt everyone from her family surrounded her. The horrible symptoms of stroke limiting her but she managed to say “goodbye”, though some of them, she couldn’t recognize. Of how she was trying to fight sleepiness, to attend to her grandma’s needs. So hard, she said. But it was all worth it at the end.

“I’m glad you had some time to be with her.”

“Yes, Rcubes! Me, too. I was able to do things for her and she was able to tell us what she wanted. It was a good feeling even though it was hard in a way.”

How true it is for all of us! How limited we are when we are trapped or confined because of life’s pressures. Life’s trials. It is a predicament no one wants to get into. But it happens. It is unavoidable. Like that stroke.

But there is Someone Who is there beside us. The One Who took His people out of Egypt using Moses to bring His people into the Promised Land. The Israelites trapped between the mountains and the sea and being pursued by Egypt’s army, He was the One Who opened up a path through the vast waters of the Red Sea with a strong east wind. So that His people could walk through on dry ground to the other side. And as the last Israelite had crossed over, the waters rushed back over the Egyptian chariots and swept them all away. The current wiping out the entire army of Egypt. [Exodus14:15-31]

We, too must pass through the parted waters. It is not an easy feat to see two walls of divided water in each of our sides. But we must continue to trust. To believe. To have faith. In Him. Alone. He is bringing us safely to the other side. Whenever we are trapped in a situation where there seems to be no escape, if the Lord did that miracle and parted the waters, what would be hard for Him to open up a path for us so we can escape? God can surely open up a way!

For now, as we continue to pass through this difficult trek, we are being given that chance to believe and trust in Him, no matter what circumstances we are in. Stepping on many bumps along this life's road, we can just turn our heads into the left of us or to the right of us. So we can be reminded of Whose breath holds those walls of water beside us. Don't miss those miracles being done now as we walk. They are the reminders of  God's love and faithfulness. His strength and power that will enable us to make it through.

Yes, this life's journey is not easy. We are passing through a purification process. One step closer to the Promised Land, one step away from Egypt [world]. Because when we cross over, we will leave behind us all of this world's cares and riches. Just like Moses and God’s people, we will sing their song of deliverance on the other side:

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
he has thrown both horse and rider into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my victory.
He is my God, and I will praise him;
he is my father’s God, and I will exalt him!

The Lord is a warrior;
Yes, the Lord is his name!…” ~ Exodus 15:1-3

It Was A Tactic

“Deputy…it was…just….a…court…ah…you know….. 'tactic!'” whispered the tall, heavy set woman through the big, window glass partition that separated her from me and the Infirmary deputy.

“Ahhh! There you go! Tactic? What do you mean? You lied thinking that it would make the judge feel sorry for you so you can’t be here?” replied the deputy, in a louder tone.

“Guess what? I’m going to write what you just told me in front of your jacket when you go to court so the judge will know!”

She looked slightly nervous after that short conversation. She was refusing her morning accucheck earlier with me. After hearing the deputy, she took the tiny needle I offered and poked her finger and decided to check her blood sugar. Without saying anything. As if she was thinking what to do then when she had to face the judge.

Few days ago, she walked into the jail, claiming she was pregnant. When she first got to Intake, the Intake Nurse couldn’t get a urine sample to test her for pregnancy because she refused and said that she was not able to provide a sample at that time. As nurses had no choice but follow the protocols to keep the health care going. The nurse started her on pregnant diet where she would get an extra meal at night, that others would not get, except the insulin-dependent diabetics. A yellow band was placed on her left wrist to identify her as “pregnant” for those urgent needs or medical emergencies. She was placed on prenatal vitamins daily, which she swallowed every time it was given to her. She was given a special housing, on a bottom bunk, bottom tier, which was hard to find nowadays as more sickly inmates were being booked in.

Until the follow-up care during nursing sick call came.

“Will you please send Miss C. so I can test her if she’s really pregnant?” requested one of the LVN’s to the unit’s bubble [control].

“Oh yeah! She is sooooo big! Ready to pop anytime!” answered the one who took her phone call.

But the test was negative. A blood draw was done. It was negative. All the things being given to her were taken away from her. Because the result was clear. She was not pregnant!!!

That was what she was trying to explain to the deputy that morning. It was her tactic to lie, thinking that being in such a state would make the judge change his/her mind and give her compassion so that she would not spend her days in the jail for the crime she committed. But with her lying, she then knew, her sentence would be longer….

As true followers of the Lord, we don’t have to think about many tactics to change the Judge’s decision on our wrongdoings. He knows. Period. We can’t hide anything from Him. Our actions should be filled with light, not darkness. We are His light’s reflectors. So it is important that we must avoid the deeds of evil.

“Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds.” ~ Ephesians 5:10-13

We don’t need to lie to win God’s favor. He is God of compassion. He is God of love. He is God of mercy. He is God of grace. His great love for us led Him to sacrifice His Son. So we can live. Like children who imitate their parents, that’s the key. We must follow God’s example in everything that we do [Ephesians 5:1]….

Lord, help me to seek You first. Help me to start my day with You. Help me to end my day with You. Help me to know Your things Lord because I know that every time I discover one thing from You, I am deprived of the things of this world. And You don't belong here. As Your children, we don't belong here. Thank You Lord for everything that You have done. And continue to do for me [us]. Help me draw nearer to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Coming Together

“Nurse Rcubes, do you mind going inside our med room to see the deputy there with a question?” asked one of our LVN’s.

“Sure. What’s wrong?” I asked.

“You’ll see. Someone else was talking to him already. But I want your opinion,” she replied.

He was at the prime of his life, maybe early 20’s. Sitting on one of the chairs, I saw him lifting up his pant’s legs, baring his shin area and near the ankles to 4 pairs of nursing staff’s eyes. The fifth which was mine.

“I was out hunting couple of days ago. They just appeared like that. But they don’t itch or anything,” he explained with a slight anxiety that I sensed.

He had a few scattered red bumps on those areas. They didn’t look like bug bites to me. No one was saying anything except most of them told him that it must be a kind of bug bite. But because he wasn’t itching, they didn’t want to give him any cream for allergy or itching.

“Go to ER!” my suggestion cutting through that period of short silence.

“Why ER?” questioned the other nurse.

“Just because….” I replied. “They don’t look like bites to me. But I wouldn’t wait to see your primary doctor for things like that. It’s better that a doctor who might have seen something like that would know the cause of your bumps right away and can appropriately order the necessary blood works.”

The young, robust deputy grew quieter. I thought I saw him tried to swallow as if there was a big lump in his throat. His anxious face becoming more apparent. He got up and thanked all of us. I saw him walked as if he was dragging his legs.

“I hope you feel better,” I hollered as I let him out of the Infirmary.

The LVN who called me grabbed my arm when he was gone. She pulled me into a vacant examination room and started relating a story, as if it was a secret.

“Nurse Rcubes…He had cancer [I purposely didn’t want to disclose the kind] and was already treated. He was so afraid to come and ask us about what we thought of those rashes. That’s why I called you. No one seemed to know but I wanted your opinion, too. Now, he is more afraid that it had come back. You’re the only one who told him to go to ER. And that validated what he was feeling.” she kept going on and on.

“Oh, no!” I exclaimed. “I hope I didn’t scare him by saying that.”

“No! Don’t worry about it. He actually was thanking you. It was like you gave him the push to see the doctor sooner. Because it was like he was in denial.”

“You know why I said that?” “It was just a gut feeling. Now, I’m sad for him. To know his condition. He is too young. But I will keep him in my prayers,” I uttered as I ended our secret conversation.

Current update: Deputy S. is now out on a medical leave. It was confirmed that his cancer came back and on stage 4. Some deputies started making fund raising by selling t-shirts and other events. I bought 3 t-shirts but gave extra money for their cost. I wished I could have given him more. Knowing he needs a lot of financial help. He is a newly-hired deputy. He doesn’t have a lot of sick time. And now, he can’t even go to work. A lot of money was raised immediately. That’s what I heard this weekend when I went to work. We are all hurting for him. Because it’s like a big family. When one deputy or staff is hurting, everybody feels that pain. But for the one who is suffering the most, we can show that we share their pain. Through prayers or any help we can extend, to be able to reach out to their needs, even if they are not asking for help, will surely lighten their load.

How true it is with Christ’s family. His body. Us! By coming together, our trials seem to be lighter. The one suffering can be comforted to know that he/she is not alone in overcoming any trial. God has started a specific work in each of us. How beautiful it is to see if we are all working together in harmony, working together for His glory! United in God’s love. United in Christ's love.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” ~ Psalm 133:1

Please pray for Deputy S. for the Lord’s miraculous healing to cover him. And the most important of all, for him to know and accept God’s gift of salvation. The Lord knows his needs. Thank you all for always encouraging me. I am blessed to have met you all and I pray for the Lord to bless you more. Even in this blogging community, it is a wonderful experience to have met wonderful friends/brothers/sisters like you. Wonderful when we are united in His love. Glory to God for His faithfulness and all the blessings He gives us.

True Freedom

Sorry friends if I haven’t been visiting you all in a while. I took a break and just enjoyed some precious time with my family. I also sought the Lord as sometimes, I felt lagging with my walk with Him. I knew it was time for me to get that needed break and let Him rejuvenate me.

As I go back to work tonight, back to the darkness that goes on day in, day out behind those thick prison walls, I am reminded of this precious air of freedom I enjoy here outside. What a great way to remember July 4, Independence Day, than to think about the gift of freedom Jesus had given us. Freedom that is not confined in a space. Nor short-lived. Freedom that can not be divided. Freedom that cannot be taken away once we accept it. Freedom that makes us see the truth that we do not belong to this world. To realize that truth that we have brothers and sisters inside the prison system. That we have brothers and sisters facing death in those dangerous nations when they preach the Good News to those who haven’t heard about the Lord Jesus. That we are all children of God and must be living in unity instead of having divisions among His body.

“So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” - Galatians 5:1

Christ indeed set us free! But not to do whatever we want because that makes us go back into slavery to our selfish desires. Instead, we must live unselfishly.

This past vacation my family and I had, we wanted to go to those favorite places we loved. Like camping by the beaches. Kayaking. We even planned to go to Ronald Reagan’s library. But we didn’t have those opportunity. However, we were filled with unexplainable joy just by being together.

It was because we enjoy more than what we know here in USA: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc…We enjoy the true freedom that comes from Christ alone: freedom from sin, freedom from its eternal consequences, freedom from hopelessness and despair and freedom from death.

I truly admired and liked the way President Ronald Reagan had led this nation during his term. He came in when the economy was not at its best. But he was able to overcome all those challenges and showed his great leader ability, though he was an actor. I didn’t see him as an actor. I didn’t see him as a president. I saw him as a man of God, who always revealed his trust and faith in One God and Who made him to be who he was at that time: a great president! God bless you all and may you remember what Christ had done for each of us not only on July 4, but in everyday of our lives. To God be the glory!

All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.