Do Not Just Strive For Excellence

I stepped out to the Intake yard to get some fresh air and get rid of the burning sensation irritating my throat and my lungs. The deputies just used the pepper spray to cease the fist fights that occurred in one of the sobering cells which contained 5 drunk bodies.

The big fan didn’t help to dissipate the choking smell. It had spread more. As I warned newly-arrived Highway Patrol troopers bringing in another drunk arrestee. That man hit himself with the handcuffs on his wrists, acting strangely as blood alcohol level was drawn by the nurse in a separate room, meant for that purpose. There was no injury but he etched a mild abrasion on his mid-forehead. As he was overcome with the stinging pepper spray smell, he started coughing. He became combative to our Intake deputies. He was dragged to another cell, as his screaming voice echoed in all the corners of the prison’s Intake.

“Nurse!” hollered the Intake deputy. “We need you to check that guy acting out! He’s bleeding!”

“Bleeding? What did he do?” I queried.

“I’m not sure,” answered the deputy.

I brought my equipment to check his vital signs, only to be surprised with the sight of scattered pools of blood on the floor. The inmate’s left face was covered with dripping bright red blood. Getting saline and gauzes to clean him up, I didn’t even notice that I accidentally stepped on one of the red puddles and the sole of my shoe was covered with that man’s blood.

I cleaned his face well. There was no open laceration. No swelling. The abrasion he caused to himself earlier became visible. I knew something happened but I couldn’t prove what was done to make him cooperate.

The man became sober after 2 hours. He never complained of any pain. When I rechecked his mouth when he was more cooperative, there was no active bleeding. All of his teeth were intact.

I knew there were 5 deputies in that cell when I got there. I wasn’t accusing any of them that someone or most of them did this injury to this man. Because it was also possible that the man did this to himself since he already hit himself with the handcuffs earlier. It would be hard to prove something when there was no clear evidence.

Those deputies might have done their best to pacify a combative man. But even if they did an excellent job of doing so, I wondered if someone or some truly followed the protocols given them in handling such things?

Not all of us are called to be missionaries.We may not be a missionary, true, but we are all called to be His ambassadors. We are asked to be obedient to what He wants us to do for His Holy Name.

When we start with the work Christ started in each of us, there is a fine line between doing an excellent work and being obedient. We must be careful that when we are opting for excellence, we are not doing the work for our own benefits. We are to glorify Christ in everything that we say or do. The truth about Him and in Him should not be suppressed just to protect our work or life-style. If we claim we are God’s people, let’s reflect the way God is like in everything. Let us not strive for excellence but aim for obedience instead. And that’s what truly honors Him. To me, that is excellence!

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” - John 14:15

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” - Luke 6:46
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The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]

Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.

Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.

All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.

When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.

The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.

When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himself and ended up injuring his attacker severely.

[Source: NLT Bible ]:

We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.

“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14

Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].

Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.

Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.

Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].