Learning To Be Contented

"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:19

I knew right away at first glance that she was not lying. Constantly rubbing her upper stomach area, she kept complaining of burning pain that just wouldn't go away. She just wanted help to make her more comfortable. Not in a demanding way. More of a pleasant request, allowing me to intervene to the best of my ability.

I gave her a white concoction of 3 medications that usually treat any epigastric discomfort. With complete submission, she downed it despite the awful taste that coated her tongue as soon as the liquid touched her mouth. She quickly flushed the medication with a small cup of water I gave with it. Few minutes later, I saw her grimacing more and seemed to be in distress. Yet, she never came up to the window to demand to be sent to the hospital.

I loved helping those kind of inmates. They were the kind that never abused the system. They were the ones who seemed to be contented with the kind of treatment they were getting, despite the delay, or inadequate relief for their suffering.

I phoned the on-call physician and relating with him the symptoms I noted on my own, at first, he didn't want me to send the inmate to the ER. But he changed his mind when I kept telling him that she looked more in distress. He gave me a "go" signal. No rush. Just with our transportation deputy.

With tears falling down on her cheeks, she thanked me and breathed a sigh of relief when I informed her that she was going to see the doctor. She uttered a soft but warm "thank you" and sat back down on one of the plastic chairs and quietly rubbed her stomach. I knew she would be patient to wait for the deputy but I reassured her. She thanked me for my kind gesture. Little did she know, I was the one who should thank her for her contentment. By seeing her not whine and tried to endure and be contented with all the efforts I did, she reminded me of Paul, the apostle. The man in love with Jesus who learned to be satisfied through all circumstances that he faced.

"How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn't have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ Who gives me the strength I need." - Philippians 4:10-13
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Oh Lord, with us living in this world full of discontent: discontent with laborious or low paying jobs, discontent with spouses, discontent with our looks, and I can go on and on, please help us learn contentment, the way Paul discovered it. Help us to have confidence and strength that comes from You. Help us to remain trusting in only You. That is the only way to be contented no matter what is going on around us. Thank You Lord for all of Your provisions. Please forgive me for the times that I have complained and was just focused on the gifts, instead of You, the Giver. Thank You Lord for always being merciful, for Your faithful love and grace. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

By the way, that inmate came back all smiling and felt much better after the doctor gave her something stronger for pain. She was diagnosed with gallstones. Then, we went from there and knew what advices to give her prior to sending her back to her unit. And our jail doctor would see her again for a follow up treatment.
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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].