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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.
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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].