The Hole

I felt sleepiness taking control of my tired body, as I was praying, "Lord, fan the flames in my heart for You..." Nearing the door that led to dream land, I felt a sudden stirring in my spirit, that roused me. I felt an urgency to pray. To pray for someone. To pray about something. That I didn't know. I became antsy. To the point that I felt a surge of creepiness. Of like an impending doom in a spiritual realm.

"Lord, help me..."

Until something was recalled in my memory. It happened at work last night. Few hours after I arrived and preparing to volunteer to pull the medications from that million-dollar worth machine that would prepare all the inmates' medications for the morning and noontime doses, I received that call. There was a female inmate complaining of chest pain. "Send her down," I uttered, as I pulled out my own stethoscope from my transparent bag.
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She sat there quietly. Reviewing her medical chart, I read she had some mental health issue. She was placed on suicide watch before. But there was no record of any cardiac related problem. Her vital signs were normal. She admitted to a history of anxiety. Despite feeling the certainty that she wasn't having a heart attack, I made her lay down on the exam table and explained that I needed to do an EKG. A thin curtain divided us from the sharp observation of the Clinic Deputy to give her a little privacy. There it was. An eerie stare from her that followed my every moves. Stare that didn't scare me. But penetrated my spirit feeling that she was in deep trouble. That there was another source of this chest pain. The EKG reading came back normal.

I motioned for her to go back to the waiting area. Contemplating on whether I was going to violate some personal zones, I decided to ask her anyway through the thick glass partition window:

"Why are your eyes red? Like you just cried? Is there something bothering you?"

I asked her already those questions during my initial assessment. To which she denied. Except this time, coupled with that weird stare, she looked at me directly in the eyes and answered, "Yes."

"Another cellie [inmate sharing cell with her]?"

"No, Ma'am."


She shook her head "no."

"Well then, how can I help you? Because you don't have true heart problems. What's eating in your heart is what's causing your pains," I explained.

She avoided my direct eye contact this time. Softly, she whispered, "I'll be okay, Ma'am." Then, she requested for her yellow pass so she could go back to her unit. Back to the hole that was making her anxious and stressed out every time.

Realizing I needed to pray for this woman, despite the whole day that had passed by, I did. I felt better after asking the Lord to intervene for whatever needs or problems she was going through. The impending doom sensation was replaced with calmness. And 2 Timothy 1:6 suddenly flashed in my mind. I didn't know what it was. So, I got up and took my Bible:

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you."

Here, Paul was encouraging Timothy to persevere as he was ordained to start a ministry. He received special gifts of the Spirit to make him be able to serve the church. He didn't need to obtain new gifts. He just needed to hang on to the truth and to use those gifts to step boldly in faith and share the Good News.

Like Timothy, we are all given different gifts by the Spirit. May we be all sensitive to the needs of others around us and be able to share His gift of salvation boldly. God will enable us and strengthen us only if we are willing to be His instruments in bringing the Good News to those who are still lost. May we be that sturdy kind of ropes that God sends down to those who have fallen and remain to be in a hole. Like when we used to be...

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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].