Being The Same

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“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” – Romans 1:12 (NLT)    

It felt like I was dragging bags of cement as I took a step, one at a time from the moment I arrived in the Prison Staff’s parking lot. The graceful swaying of palm trees greeted me, the usual way it welcomed me when I got hired 11 years ago. The lawns were lush and green despite the almost triple digit heat and the humid air swirling around. I was taking my time. I did not want to rush. How deceiving this place was, I thought to myself. So beautiful outside. But full of suffering inside.

Everybody was surprised to see me and most were thrilled to see me back. I was cautious yet responded to their “hello’s” with eagerness. I might not like some of them who I felt were not sincere, but that was just the right thing to do: “To respond in loving ways, whether I liked them or not.” That was being etched in my heart from these past days where I was on a leave and was not able to go to work because of some people’s decisions.

There were only 2 of us scheduled for the evening shift. I had met him before and though I knew he was a new grad, I knew he was a great nurse and had adapted quickly to this setting.  The quiet night I was praying for turned out to be a very chaotic one and a very challenging shift for him and I. We were running the whole time, for the first 5 or 6 hours, only taking sips of water in-between and couldn’t even take a break. I managed to gobble a banana the fastest way I had eaten it and I saw him took a few, quick bites of Graham crackers and then, we both heard another “mandown” over the radio where the deputy advised that the inmate was unconscious, or so it seemed. I was in the middle of sending one female, pregnant inmate who was having a vaginal bleed to the hospital and dropped everything and offered my help to him. Off, we both ran the fastest pace we ever knew down the long, far hallways. Our sweats dripping from our brows but we both never complained. We just did what we needed to do.

“Octopus!” I yelled out to one of the medical secretaries talking on the phone, getting the inmate’s booking number requesting to be seen, as she was trying to grab the other phone behind her in the middle of that conversation.

She gave me a puzzled look why I called her that, only to laugh when she got done on the phone, realizing why I did. She knew I called her that because all of her arms were trying to reach all the in-coming what felt like thousands of phone calls, to help us out. She knew we were both tired and still were not done.

“Thank you,” I whispered to her.

“I’m so glad you came in early to help us out. I don’t know what we would have done without you.”

“Rcubes, I feel bad for you and Z. You guys are non-stop! What a bad night!”

“No! It’s okay…”

Again, her brows met with a confused look.

“Because I can have a busy night and have 3 or 4 nurses but if they are lazy, it’s no use. I know I’m working with a great nurse even though he’s new. We’ll manage.”

“That’s true,” she finally agreed.

And indeed, as I savored my dinner I brought from home, slumped on a wheeled, soft chair in the break room, I tried to gather my remaining strength just to finish that dinner. At that time, it had grown much calmer and that nurse and I finished dealing with all the emergencies and other problems.

“Put your feet up on the other chair!” yelled that medical secretary when she passed by to grab a cup of coffee.

“I’m fine now,” I replied smiling and feeling much relieved to weather that storm.

We’re all in this!!! How true it is with us, as believers, serving the One and only True God, weathering the storms of life as we share the same faith, sharing same suffering and comforts because of Christ. As we all go through different kinds of trials, I’m thinking of you through prayers but I also want to thank you for encouraging me and continuing to lift me up also in your petitions. Because of our Lord Jesus, our faith blesses us all, finding joy and having gratitude instead, as we all wait for what is to come: “eternal life with God” where there is true REST.

“Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” – Philippians 2:2 (NIV)
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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].