Trick and Threat!

I visited my friend yesterday. Two of her next-door neighbors were busy up on the roof putting up some spotlight to highlight what they had displayed in front of their gravel lawn. Some figures mimicking ghosts and other scary things. I looked around and saw others with spider webs dangling from the front arches of their entry yards. One black figure stood out among the front yards with glowing eyes which got even more creepy as the sun went down. A real black cat gazed from a distance as it kept staring at the glowing eyes but immovable figure. Candies were out as we decided to go to a nearby Target store.

“Wow!” my friend exclaimed… “The candy aisles were emptied out!”

People get busy when Halloween comes. They love to follow this old tradition. Just because… Even if many of them do not understand the origin.

“Trick or treat!” is what comes out from the mouths who love to go door to door and expect candies to be handed over to their bags, as they wear different costumes. Parents watching from a distance to keep an eye on their little ones hungry to get more candies or treats and hoping for their bags to be filled with goodies.

As my family and I accepted the Lord Jesus, this tradition was one among the things He wanted us to purge as we prayed for Him to show us things in our lives that would never please Him. I don’t remember how long now but we never turn on the front light to give a cue that we are not interested to participate in this tradition. It’s not these people’s fault. It is their lack of knowledge.

“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” – Hosea 4:6 (NIV)

As believers we are not to compromise with what we believe in. We are to please God not men.  Jesus said that no one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).

Some things we allow in our lives that may seem harmless or insignificant may not be necessary true in our spiritual lives. In its truest sense, it could be disastrous!

“Trick or treat?”

No…thank you… It is “trick and threat!” A real threat to one’s soul…

“Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28 (NLT)

Lord, empower us with your Spirit and give us Your gift of discernment. Help us see things through Your eyes. Help us remove things that hinder our walk with You. Help us get rid of things that do not please You. Please open people's hearts and minds for them to know the truth that comes from You. As for us who have already been found by You, may we draw nearer to You and know more things about You. Thank You Lord for Your love, mercy and grace. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

The New Bed

 13 All these great people died in faith. They did not get the things that God promised his people, but they saw them coming far in the future and were glad. They said they were like visitors and strangers on earth.14 When people say such things, they show they are looking for a country that will be their own.15 If they had been thinking about the country they had left, they could have gone back.16 But they were waiting for a better country—a heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared a city for them.” – Hebrews 11:13-16 (NCV)

My son got sick since Tuesday. Typical. Seasonal allergy that bogged him down when the Santa Ana winds visited the canyon passes and the valleys, accompanied with the dropping humidity. From what we learned from his past seasonal attacks, he learned well to prepare well-ahead by trying to increase his fluid intake as he could tolerate and by taking his organic allergy pills.

“Rest! As soon as you get done studying,” I cautioned as the clock almost hit 10:30 p.m.. It was not his fault. He had been taking advanced classes that required a lot of studying and perseverance on his part. He always tried his best to finish everything on time, sometimes, ahead of time.

I slowly pushed the door to his bedroom quietly when I heard him coughed a little bit in the middle of the night.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, Mom. I’m fine,” he sleepily replied.

As a watchful mother, you could not help but notice everything even in the dark slightly illuminated by the nightlight in one corner of his room.

“Oh my!” I exclaimed in my mind. As my son went back to sleep, I noticed how much he had grown and did not really fit right on the length of his bed anymore. Either he bent his knees to be accommodated by the warmth of his bed or he must had learned to lie down on a slanting position on his back so his legs could fit and not hit the bars at both ends of his day bed. Yes…unconsciously. But…He never complained to me or my husband nor had asked if he could get another bed.

“Please get the bed today!” I requested my husband and thanks be to God that it happened to be yesterday, Saturday, when he was off from work and could make that run.

My patient and always supportive husband took his time to go to a far store to get the bed for our son and when he got home, patiently assembled the parts.

“Why are you smiling?” I asked my son as I covered him with a lighter blanket last night.

“Thanks, Mom and Dad…Ahhh…It feels so good,” he replied. “I could stretch my legs now.”

my son's new bed
In the middle of the night, as I checked upon him with now lessening coughs, I saw how comfortable he was, hugging his pillow, his new bed even had given him a wider space to make his turns side to side and was longer than his height. Height that kept growing seasons upon seasons. No matter how short or tall he might be, he was after all my child that I love so much...

I kissed his head and softly caressed his hair. I always learned something from my son. From his discomfort, he taught me how it should be in this life’s journey: to never complain and just keep pressing on because we all long for that rest. Eternal rest that the Lord provides to those who truly love and obey Him. He is our watchful Father Who always wants the best for us. Eternal Father Who loves us all first.

“Thank You Lord for everything…” I whispered as I made my way back to my bed carefully, finding my old steps aided with scattered night lights. I glanced at the stars through the windows, visible and so beautiful up on the dark skies as if Abba Father had left those night lights for me to give me reassurance of following His steps despite the darkness surrounding me in this life’s journey. Until I return and find that eternal comfort I always longed for.

"6 So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. 7 So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:    “Today when you hear his voice,
      don’t harden your hearts.” - Hebrews 4:6-7 (NLT)

Walk The Talk!

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.  
~Mother Teresa

“Why are you here? That’s not an emergency!” exclaimed one of the nurses inside the Clinic as I prepared the vital sign machine prior to letting the female inmate walked in so I could assess her further.

“You know that’s not an emergency! That could have waited until tomorrow!” she yelled at me as she saw my shadow emerging behind the door.

“It might not be an emergency but it necessitated to be examined! Like now!” I replied.

“No, it’s not! Who sent her down here?”

“Is that important to know? I was the one who got the phone call from the unit and it was me who decided to see this inmate. Why are you upset about it anyway? I’m the one seeing her?”

I glanced at the Charge Nurse who was keeping quiet, minding her own business as she heard the two of us argued. It wasn’t the right time for me to go up to her. The female inmate holding her right hand heard everything because she was just right behind me. With a worried look and concerned about what she heard, she worried more about being charged $3.00, the amount they had to pay if they requested to be seen by the medical staff.

“Nurse, am I gonna’ be charged?”

“Don’t worry about it! Just relax,” I reassured.

That particular female inmate was just treated for some abscess few days prior to that time she was in front of me. She was barely done taking her full course of a 7-days worth antibiotics issued to her by the doctor. She worked in the prison’s laundry and that day, she noticed her 5th finger on her right hand getting inflamed and red by the knuckle area. The deputy from their unit got concerned and had asked me if I didn’t mind seeing her to make sure that the infection was not spreading.

“Keep taking the antibiotics they gave you if they are helping with what you had before,” I uttered softly.

“This looks more like a local irritation maybe from soap or some other substance you deal with in laundry. I want you to start paying attention to see if there’s anything in particular that you come across with in laundry that aggravates this every time. If you do, or any time your symptom worsens, you can always ask to be seen anyway,” I explained.

Giving her some topical medication for a possible allergy with instruction, I gave her yellow pass and called her concerned deputy.

I saw the other nurse who got upset just stepped out to go get something to drink from our Dining Area, away from the Clinic. I approached the Charge Nurse and had asked her if she heard everything and I told her that was a very inappropriate action on that nurse’s part to talk about everything where the inmate could hear our conversation, too. She told me to relax and just do what I needed to do. I gathered her lack of interest to say something to that nurse.

“I did what I had to do. I took care of the inmate’s problem despite her being against that.”

“I’m surprised to see her be upset like that. There were times when she overly-cared for others which I knew did not need any special attention,” I added.

In a little higher volume, I told the Charge Nurse, “By the way, I am relaxed!”

Like what I always believe in: “Actions speak louder than words…”

In other words, “Walk the talk!!!”

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23 (NIV)

Just a little laugh but may we be serious in loving others without hypocrisy!

Bench Therapy

"1 In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you did against God.2 Yes, in the past you lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. 3 In the past all of us lived like them, trying to please our sinful selves and doing all the things our bodies and minds wanted. We should have suffered God's anger because we were sinful by nature. We were the same as all other people.

4 But God's mercy is great, and he loved us very much.5 Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God's grace.6 And he raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens. He did this for those in Christ Jesus7 so that for all future time he could show the very great riches of his grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus.8 I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God.9 It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it.10 God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing." - Ephesians 2:1-10 (NCV)

“You want me to see him?” I asked the Charge Nurse after seeing a very young male inmate watching t.v. from the cold metal bench where he was sitting.

The unit called prior to his arrival. They said that this inmate was complaining of chest pain.

Words do get passed around. Inmates are aware of the magic word.

“Chest pain!”

They know when to use that because they know that this medical condition can never be denied to be evaluated. They know that they can immediately see the medical staff even if that is not the true symptom.

Just like him…With his young face, slightly disheveled curly hair and his expression seemed lost. I could see him looking at the t.v. monitor but his thoughts were flying somewhere else. Perhaps, tracing back what brought him to the prison in the first place. Perhaps, regretting why he did a crime in the first place. Yet, he might also seem proud and consider that his trophy instead.

“He’s only 19! Give us a break! He can wait there for as long as he wants to!” answered the Charge Nurse.

“We are so busy right now and his situation doesn’t even need any attention. Let him wait!” she added.

I could see where the Charge Nurse was coming from. We usually called that “bench therapy” where we let the inmates who did not have any true medical emergencies wait and wait. And wait. And wait. Until they realized it was not really comfortable to be waiting in the Clinic. For nothing.

Coming from outside, living a dysfunctional life, finding hope in wrong places, seeking temporary pleasures from different ill ways, looking for love that they had no clue what it was like in the first place if they had not tasted a true kind of love, seeking attention that they wanted as most of the time, they were probably rejected by many and that would always be the behavior they knew in order to get what they wanted. How could they find hope, how could they change for the better if no one gave them a chance? Or at least someone would give them the benefit of the doubt?

I looked again and saw the frustration from his tired and impatient face. But he couldn’t do anything. He knew he would get in trouble even if he tried to speak or say something against what was told.

I often wondered. When was it the right time to give the “bench therapy” or not? Giving it to someone with a heart hungry to be loved, to be respected despite the age, young or old, might not be the best answer to every situation. It was more like punitive.

"You may go back to your unit now!" yelled the Charge Nurse after hours and hours she made the inmate waited.

My heart sank. I did not make the decision. But I knew I did not even try to offer my help. I felt helpless as I was told to do my work and not see him. But in the back of my mind, I knew I was letting go of a soul who might be desperate for help. A different kind of help. His heart was hurting to be loved and be accepted. The way I once was. The state in which Jesus found me and instead of giving me a bench therapy, He led me to the foot of His cross and immediately made it known how much He loved me and cared for me. He poured his love unconditionally into my empty heart. He made His love overflowed but with the last command for me not to go back to my old ways. His command was for me to "share His gift of love with others who don't know Him."

The young man's footsteps were long gone in the long, silent corridor. But his demand was still very much audible that I just started praying for him. And for me. I needed His continued guidance and forgiveness...

No Reason Not To Trust

                                 "His love endures forever..."

Turning on my headlights as the clock glowed at almost midnight from my car's dashboard last Friday when I went to work, I dialed the illuminated numbers on my cell phone before leaving my parking spot. I talked to the Intake Nurse (who I used to work with a lot on night shifts) that night who I rarely saw anymore since the people I battled with, had changed my position from regular to a Per Diem or only as needed.

“Are you gonna’ be okay? Don’t you worry,” she reassured when I tried to give her an apology for not being able to speak with her when she called me earlier at work.

“I was seeing an inmate at that time, so…Sorry!”

“It’s okay. I know. Because I’m busy right now here, too,” she reassured me.

“Worry? No! I’m not worried anymore, Nurse P. I trust that the Lord Who put me in this position has everything covered for me. What’s hard for Him to do?”

She didn’t know what to say next. Either I sounded too confident or she perceived my answer to be unrealistic?

“That’s good. Hope to see you again!” she ended as I told her that I would let her go knowing that she had to go back to work and needed to screen more in-coming arrestees coming out from the police’s squad cars, parked inside the prison yard.

“Hey! Take care, okay?”

“I will see you again,” I replied.

The person in Charge of all of the medical staff had made a big change with everyone’s schedule now. He decided to pull back some of the nurses from the other prisons, leaving no room for the Per Diem’s to have availability and be able to work. In a couple of weeks, I was not on schedule as I saw that they would be well-staffed at the main prison where I usually worked.

It didn’t surprise me. I knew it was coming because he was desperate to show that he would always have the power to do that. He wanted to make it known that when people disagreed with his decisions, they would have to pay, whether to be assigned in a place or shift they were known not to like or they would not have a place at all. Since December, God allowed me to discern this person’s heart. His evil ways. There were days at first that I wanted to call it “quits”. But God questioned me “Why?”

In the following days of each month, God had shown me his endless faithfulness and the truth in His promises. Through His Word he reminded me that He was and will always be with me as I went through this battle. He made it known in my heart that if He was there during the good times of my life, much more at the down times.

He reminded me constantly that “I have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from me.  I might be hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor.4:7-9;NIV)

I have no reason not to trust God Who gave His only Son to save humanity. What is there that is hard for Him to give? I don't even deserve any of His blessings. But He loves not only me. But all of us...

Thank You Lord for Your love and mercy. I put my trust on You alone knowing that You are the One Who has plans that give us hope and a future. Glory be to You!

What is Psalm 118 all about? It's having confidence in God's eternal love. His love never changes in the midst of changing situations. It gives us security. It's recognizing Jesus in the midst of life's storms. That's why I changed my blog header this morning. I wanted to be reminded of His love and grace. Day. After. Day. May you always leave encouraged not by me, but by Him. God bless.

A Glimpse Of Joy

I rarely saw that smile from my friend's face. The kind that dimpled the corner of her mouth and made her eyes shone brighter. Over a cup of coffee, actually, many more cups followed, we both savored the ordered huge breakfasts from the menu. Typical conversations were put out on the table about work, about others' insensitivity, about life.

Hers was not easy. Losing her only sibling, she gave her life caring for her nephews and her mother. She often thought how unlucky she was. A person with a good heart but rejected by many, she never understood why. All she wanted was to be accepted and be loved. Despite the circumstances surrounding her, she remained respectful of others, she remained forgiving, and she continued to love with all the best she could give.

"I'm starving!" I told her as we sat on the table given to us after I picked her up and had invited her to have breakfast with me.

She smiled. I loved seeing those smiles. Knowing that even for brief moments, I was hoping she would forget all the cares in this world. I wanted to let her know that someone cared for her and truly loved her. I wanted to let her know that she was not alone in her struggles. After all, I was only sharing what I had received from Someone Who also loved and cared for me.

We joked around while eating,seeing more smiles that made her weary face even more beautiful.

"How come you're not touching this waffle? I thought we'd share?" she asked me.

"I'm full. I know you liked those that's why I ordered them for you."

"But you said you're starving!" she probed.

"I was..." then I got quiet.

I got lost to thinking that my true hunger was not coming from my stomach. My true hunger was coming from my heart. I wanted to see more moments like these. I wanted to see her happy. I wanted to see those precious, rare smiles on her face. To see it gave me a glimpse of joy knowing that it was a true, heartfelt kind of smile that was hard to surface when someone went through and still is going through very tough times.

Joy that is a gift only from God.

Then I knew she was okay because she also has a piece of heaven in her heart despite her difficult journey.

"Want more coffee?" interrupted the server.

"Please..." I requested.

I glanced quickly at her face and saw her smiled again as she uttered, "Gee! Is that your 3rd cup?"

I smiled back at her. If only she knew...I could have more cups of coffee if only to stall time as it was, to freeze the moment and to see her forget about her worries and see those joy-coated smiles the way it should be. The truth was that it was how God wanted and meant it to be...Because God loved us all first...

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." - 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

Lord, help me to have more compassion towards others the way You do. Help me respond to situations and trials in Your ways, not mine. Remind me not to be concerned with the burden that comes from life's trials knowing that none of them are bigger than You. God of possible. God Who is able. Lord, please bless my loved ones and friends and my blogging friends. I know You know each heart's needs. But I want to thank You Lord for everything that You have done for us. Thank You for Your compassion and mercy. May many more turn to You, humble their hearts and accept You as their Lord. Father, thank You for giving us a piece of heaven in our hearts through Jesus. Thank You for Your gift of joy that soothes us, that calms us as we face turbulent life's storms. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Just Musing

“7 “Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 15 Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.” – 2 Kings:7-15 (NIV)

Solomon loved God but was offering sacrifices on places not specified by God. God’s clear instructions where to offer people’s sacrifice for Him was clear to prevent people from organizing their own methods of worship and from allowing pagan practices to creep into their worship. Solomon offered thousands of burnt offerings in a place not specified by God and though he loved God, what he did was a sin. He sought for God’s help and God indeed granted him the wisdom he asked for but not during the time of his sacrifices but at night in his dream. God heard his prayer but did not condone his sacrifices.

I am hungry like Solomon…Hungry for the things of God. I know God will never fail to meet me when I seek Him. The question is… “Am I a pleasing sacrifice to Him?”

As I reflected on His words…these surfaced in my heart:

~All people need “home improvement”…but it all starts in their hearts.

~You know that song “Stairway to Heaven”? That’s true. Only through Jesus Christ. Except it’s FREE. Not like in the song where the lady is buying a stairway to heaven. The cost: My sins. Your sins.

~Some people are quick to lop off the prospering branches from others’ trees without realizing they’re sitting on the branch they are trying to chop off.

~Narrow is the pathway that leads to life…How can one fit in with a big head in the first place?

~People worry so much about how much is in their retirement funds. We forget about our spiritual bank accounts.

~So many debates about the problems with illegal immigration when in reality we are all aliens in this world.

~One dancer realized it is “popularity” that makes someone win in “Dancing With The Stars” not a great performance. Do both even matter?

~Christians are said to be “set apart”…Set apart because God has set you apart for a divine purpose not to put walls around you.

~If everyone truly understands that God promised that He will sustain us as we age, will the cosmetic procedures lessen?

~One can’t claim to be a Christian and still be jealous of what others have. That means one is not satisfied with what God has given him.

hungry for more of You...

"Wisdom begins with respect for the Lord;
those who obey his orders have good understanding.
He should be praised forever." - Psalm 111:10 (NCV)

Don't Give Up Nor Give In

“Nurse Rcubes, she said that she fell again from the bunk and hit her head,” explained a female deputy on the other line.

“Just send her down here (to the Clinic). Better be safe than be sorry,” I replied.

“Thank you.”

She was walking in a rushed pace. Everyone was talking about this specific inmate who fell few days ago from her bunk and literally hit her face flat on the floor. She was already seen and treated by another nurse. I kept reviewing her medical record to know more about her.

“Just give me ‘Tylenol’, Ma’am and I’ll be fine,” she demanded when I started taking her blood pressure and pulse.

Motioning for her to go back to the waiting area after taking the vital signs, she kept demanding for the Tylenol. Protecting myself first from her unpredictable behavior was my concern, despite the Infirmary Deputy being there close to us. In the waiting area, unable to touch any of the medical staff especially me, I summoned for her to get closer to the glass window so I could start probing and explaining at the same time.

“What happened to the 10 packets of Tylenol that was just given to you by the nurse yesterday?”

(I was surrounded by some co-workers, feeling sorry for this inmate as they thought how gruesome she appeared with very black and bluish areas around her eyes, and a small bump protruding from the left side of her forehead.)

She was caught off-guard. She didn’t expect that I would know something about her. Stuttering a bit, she replied, “Well, my ‘bunkie’ (cellmate) took it from me and she left today.”

“You know that when you are given medications, it’s understood that they are for you, not meant to be shared nor to be given to those who don’t need it. If they are stolen, you should have told your deputy.”

(Some of my co-workers could not believe that I was not going to give her any pain medications. To them, she looked horrible). I went up to the Charge Nurse and told her that this inmate did not have a new injury. She was already given medications and that she was using this injury to keep coming every other day as recorded in her medical records, demanding for ‘Tylenol’, as I flipped the pages of her records. The Charge Nurse agreed and started dialing the phone to let her unit know about her manipulative behavior. The co-workers who were puzzled started to see the situation the way I saw it. They stopped listening to my conversation with the inmate.

She started pacing, going in circles in the small waiting area, her bluish face attracting anyone who walked in into the Clinic. Mumbling to herself, she paused then started pounding on the glass window, demanding for the Tylenol and for her to be sent back to her unit.

“No!” (the Charge Nurse hollered).

“We are going to keep you so we can continue to observe you. Just relax!”

(Keeping them in the waiting area makes them to think next time around that they can’t always get what they want especially if there is no true medical emergency).

She wept a little bit. She stopped. She paced. She tried to see if anyone was looking. She didn’t know she was being observed despite her own surveillance. Calming a bit, she laid down on the green mattress given to her and stopped whining.

Photo Credit
From the Bible, Daniel also made enemies at work because he kept doing a good job. People were upset and jealous that they tried to find anything to criticize Daniel. When they couldn’t find any, they attacked his faith. (Please read Daniel 6). But Daniel’s response was to continue to trust in God and rely more on Him. His enemies had a difficult time finding legitimate charges against him.

As I go through this battle against powerful people at work, Daniel inspires me to continue to put my 100% trust on the Lord. Like Daniel’s prayers, it is not interrupted by any of human threats but more of time pressure.Daniel had a well-disciplined prayer life and kept praying three times a day. Prayers are indeed vital to us as believers as it is our lifeline to God.

Because of Daniel's unwavering faith, even unbelievers witnessed his consistency.

I knew at that time that my co-workers were not agreeing with the way I handled the situation at first. But I didn’t want to give up and give in to that kind of pressure. As I always pray for God’s gift of discernment, it is not my own knowledge that always saves me. It is His. God has the power these unbelievers know nothing about. Only God provides for everything that we need. No matter what situations or trials we are facing, it is not impossible to remain joyful and peaceful because God provides those when we continue to rely on Him alone. So, let us not give in nor give up to pressures from trials or from anyone who sees situations in a different angle compared to our vision, knowing that there is nothing impossible with the God we serve.

King Darius was elated that God saved Daniel from the mouths of the lions, so elated that he made it known to his people:

“ 26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
   “For he is the living God
   and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
   his dominion will never end.
27 He rescues and he saves;
   he performs signs and wonders
   in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
   from the power of the lions.”  -
Daniel 6:26-27 (NIV)

The Wrong Label

I never noticed the label on this honeydew when I chose this particular one at the grocery aisle. I only noticed the wrong label when I decided to cut up the sweet, firm flesh to be the healthier option for our after dinner dessert. I recognized the fruit so well among the other fruits that I did not even pay attention to the wrong label it had.

Label says "spaghetti squash"

But I know it is a "honeydew"...sweet honeydew...

Wrong label…That’s what I had been going through in this difficult battle I had been in at my workplace.

Where others say I’m disabled, God says, “You’re able…”

When they think I am guilty, God knows “I’m not guilty.”

When they are sure that I am weak and powerless, God says, “You can do everything because of Christ.”

When most of them tell me, “It’s impossible…”, God is quick to say otherwise, “Nothing is impossible.”

When they accuse me of lying, God says, “I know the truth.”

When they rush to end my career by making plans, God is the One Who directs all the steps.

When they want to see me suffer, God gives me His gift of joy, peace and abundant blessings.

Wrong labels…They don’t matter to God. It is what is in our hearts that He sees and what matters the most to Him.

“7But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." – 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)

I'm Truly Fine

One of the supervisors has not seen me for a while as I was put on a forced leave, then was changed into a position that meant just being “an extra help” when there would be a need in the prison staff.

“How are you?” she asked me when I already had greeted her when she was getting a report from another supervisor who loved to intimidate those weaker ones and was responded with coldly.

But I never let those responses bother me anymore knowing that I didn’t lose anything by greeting them and trying to pay respect for their ill behaviors.

“I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

So simple of a question but that kind of question penetrated my heart and my mind with a searing pain knowing that she wanted a different response from me. She wanted to know if I was suffering after I started my battle with them.

“Lord, help me…” I softly whispered as my lips opened and closed, not obvious to the people working with me that day.

Her question could have easily toppled me and could have added insult to an already huge injury they inflicted deep within me. I had been remaining quiet, hoarding a stash of physical and spiritual weapons they didn’t know I had.

But I must admit….her intimidating question bothered me. Day. After. Day.  Why?

Because it was the same tactic that our spiritual enemies always used:


It sounded like she was concerned for me when deep inside she was not… That was the reason anyway why I was battling these people in power. They never cared to know the truth and depended on their own wisdom.

“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”-2 Cor.11:14 (ESV)

But the reasoning of this proud world…the foolish wisdom it knows…exalting itself…These would be the same reasons that would make itself crumble down…for it never sees the Light of the World, His wisdom and thoughts that are truly higher than ours...Power or force would never mean anything to God. A clear conscience, humbleness and knowing and accepting the truth that He is the only Truth, the only Way and the only Life is what matters…A life dedicated to follow Christ’s footsteps might seem feeble to this world yet in reality was mighty because of what Christ had already done on the cross!

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Cor. 10:5 (NIV)

Because of Christ, no matter what happens around me, I have this hope that never perishes.

“There are so many, countless things in my life that are far more worth than even worrying about this battle I’m in…” I thought to myself. “And I’m so grateful….” “So grateful…”

11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. 12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” – Ephesians 1:11-14 (NLT)

“Yes, I’m truly fine…” I uttered firmly. She remained quiet after that…

By the way, thank you friends for keeping me in your prayers. The battle is still going on but it is the Lord Who comforts me and strengthens me. I know that He is always in control no matter what they plan. So, all the praise and glory to the One Who deserves it all! Love you all in Christ.

It's The Power Thing

“It’s the ‘power’ thing…”exclaimed some of the upset co-workers. One emotion I gathered from them with the now seldom hours I had been working with them in the prison since being given a hard time regarding my request to remain working part-time.

They were husband and wife who were both seated in the highest positions in our ladder. The husband got the highest position when the previous Nursing Manager left and immediately, his wife took over the position he vacated. They said it was temporary at first. Around that time, he made changes with the Night Nurses’ schedule. No one got affected but mine. His wife dealt and got involved with the plan regarding my request. All the accusing lies she also used as a basis to give me a hard time in order for me to quit on my own. It had been going on since December. But by God’s grace, I hang on. They accused me of lies, intimidating me by even putting me on a forced leave. They tried to use all of tactics to scare me in every way possible. I held tighter to God’s hands. Nothing happened. The pain I had to endure strengthened me more instead. It had increased my faith instead. It proved that trusting completely in His plan would never fail. Even in the worst scenarios, God proved to me many times, He was and will always be in control.

A memo was put out by the husband a month ago, informing everyone that his wife would take the position under him. A lot of people got upset and knew it wasn’t right. Some went to a specific committee that dealt with that kind of problem: conflict of interest.

Around that time, I wasn’t working as I was put on a leave and was not given a position by the same woman. Next thing I knew, she was not the Nursing Supervisor anymore, though she kept her other position. Hearsay now was many nurses were being moved around in our facilities, lots of swapping which would make some happy but others, angry. They couldn’t understand the Manager’s plans but they couldn’t do anything as he could do that and they were thinking it was all a retaliation for not agreeing with him, installing his spouse as our Supervisor.

All their pains happened to me first. I was the first to taste how evil “pride” could be if allowed to grow in one’s heart. It never saw any compromise. It only saw its own needs and plans. It felt good to see others get hurt instead of helping them out at times of needs. It always was right and never was wrong. It felt righteous when it was not. None of these changes surprised me as I foresaw way before what they wanted to do: total control and power. If someone did not agree, that person would not be liked at all. That was just how it worked.

I never agreed. I knew the consequences. The worries and fear I gave instead to His scarred hands. To the One Who always saves!

The plans those couple and others in position did with my position would never stop me from trusting all the more with the One, the only One Who has the true power. His power is just. His power is righteous. His anger is righteous, yet He is quick to forgive and love and His ways are without bias!


He is calling all of us through His whispers, to allow us to see His just power and His gift of grace. Any walls of Jericho we allowed to grow in our hearts would never please Him. May His whispers, may His calling make the walls in your heart crumble.

16God is wonderful and glorious. I pray that his Spirit will make you become strong followers 17and that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. Stand firm and be deeply rooted in his love. 18I pray that you and all of God's people will understand what is called wide or long or high or deep. [b] 19I want you to know all about Christ's love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is. 20-21I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:16-21 (CEV)

The Important Piece Of Clothing

There was so much to learn when I started this venture of becoming a Correctional Nurse 11 years ago. Aside from our policies and protocols, it also required learning about inmates’ behaviors. The colors of clothing they wore typically identified the severity of the crimes they had committed. It took a long time before I got so familiar with the meaning of the incarcerated individuals’ colored clothing.

I’m always cautious when dealing with those “Red Suiters” we called them. They are usually known for trying to escape at any opportunity they could find, sometimes with the intention to be successful at any cost including harming staff.

“Green” is more a protection for those who committed sexual abuse against others or for those who held positions outside like lawyers, law enforcement officers or perhaps, well-known by others who are potential targets by any predators lurking in the prison, ready to pounce on their target for intention to hurt and even to kill.

“Gold uniforms” are given to those who have history of mental health problems. Not only they are beneficial to themselves but to staff as well, since dealing with them will require a different mode of communication.

“Blue” uniforms are for those who work in and out the prison walls. Some are found cleaning the floors. Some out in the yard, keeping the lawns well-manicured, the bushes well-trimmed and other troubles that need repairs. Some are in the kitchen, alternating shifts, learning to get orders and serve. Some are out in the laundry, washing the uniforms inmates wear. The skills they learn are to their advantage if they want to look at them that way so they have something to use to keep them productive when they get released.

And us, as medical providers are required to always wear a white lab coat. That sets us apart from the uniformed deputies all over the place.

Properly identifying the crimes and knowing the felons’ backgrounds help in classifying the inmates on who to put together which prevents any potential fights and riots.

I’m sure it takes a lot of knowledge for the deputies who work in Classification to do that, all for the sake of peace and quiet during times of incarceration.

As Christians, we are also required to put on a special clothing.


For God is love…

Lord, search the closet of my heart and remove any clothing that does not please you. Please fill and cover my heart with the garment of love that comes from You: sacrificial, powerful, pure, proven, protective, always ready to forgive others, unconditional and limitless. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”
- Colossians 3:14 (NLT)

My Neighbor Bob

"If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.
- James 2:8 (NIV)

I contemplated on mowing the lawn this morning prior to the future forecast of rainshowers the following day. In fact, it was supposed to be until Thursday.

Pausing only to wipe the sweat that dripped from my brows, I kept on sweeping and gathering the leaves and the other traces of grass that was scattered on the sidewalk. Suddenly, behind my back, a familiar sound of footsteps caused by the shoes being dragged heavily on the curb caught my attention.

“Oh, Hi Bob!” I exclaimed.

“Good morning,” I added as I waved my right hand up in the air with him nodding at my direction to acknowledge my greeting.

“How are you?” he asked me back.

With a slight boyish smile as he kept chewing his gum, he uttered, “There’re also some leaves that need to be swept in front of my house…” His way of joking around with me whenever he sees me cleaning in the front yard.

“I surely will be right over as soon as I get done here!” I replied smiling back at him.

“Well, you have a great day!” we both wished each other in unison.

I went back to finishing my task as I heard the footsteps lessened and Bob’s shadow becoming smaller as he walked away. I enjoyed short conversations with him since I met him from the first day. Through those short encounters we had, I always learned a little bit more about Bob.

A very old man, happy with the way his life had been despite the trials he had gone through from the past. When I see every line on his forehead, it reminds me when he was a war veteran. He only lives with his wife now, with his kids all grown-up and are on different States. His wife, most of the time felt weak that he had been walking alone. He has a house in Arizona but he told me that he preferred to live in California because he favored the climate.

“I’ve seen it all. I’ve done it all. And now, I’m just contented with walking everyday. This is my exercise. You’ll see me walking here and there,” he warned me once.

“I think that’s great. You are stronger than me I think because you always tell me how far you’ve gone and though I’m cleaning here in front of our house, I have not walked farther than you do…”

Reflecting and knowing how his experiences have made him a better person he is today, a much accomplished man yet contented with just simple things, I started hoping to be like him.

“Anytime, I’m ready…” he warns me again…pertaining to dying.

“I’ve seen it all. I’ve done it all. I’m happy…God is good.”

“He is, isn’t He? I’m grateful, too for God, Bob.”

I know I’ll see Bob again and even if I miss him during his early morning walks as I’m brewing my coffee inside the house and not ready to go out in the front yet, he taught me so much about life’s journey.

That like him, I can also go farther and go for longer distances as long as I have FAITH and BELIEF. As long as anyone has faith, Jesus always meets us there on the road we are walking on. He is faithful to walk right beside us in this life’s journey all the way. And where is Jesus….there’s our true Home.

I haven’t seen it all. I haven’t done it all. But because I believe and trust in Jesus, I am contented that no matter what goes on in front of this road I’m walking on, I shouldn't be moved. There will be bumps. There will be rain storms. But anytime… “I’m ready.”  And how I long to be with Jesus knowing in His place, there’s no more pain, no more tears, no more shame…

one of my encounters with Bob
I glanced at Bob’s disappearing shadow and uttered a soft “Thank You…”

Thank you Lord for having me meet my neighbor Bob.
All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.