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Sunday, April 9, 2023

I AM the Resurrection

"Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;"- John 11:25

There is something so special about being a link in the chain of survival. Throughout a career, first responders get to witness the miracle of life through many life-saving emergency interventions. Seeing the immediate effects of D50, Narcan, CPR, and defibrillation snatch a patient from the grips of the grim reaper is invigorating. It's why we do what we do.

The reality is that no matter how good our efforts are some, if not most, will die. The bigger reality is that death is almost undefeated. All but one man have remained dead. Death has only suffered one loss. Jesus made some bold claims about Himself before He raised Lazarus from the dead. I AM the Resurrection. Wow. He proved that He is able to defeat death in raising his friend. Poor Lazarus would die a second time. But Jesus also predicted his death and resurrection. After being beaten and tortured beyond recognition, He died from shock and asphyxiation at the hands of the coldest killers of His time. Three days later, He rose again by His own power fully conquering sin and the grave! His resurrection was the ultimate blow to our old nemesis, death. 

The Resurrection is the power of Christ to transform lives now. Believing in Jesus will breathe new life into your weary soul. The same power that rose Jesus from the dead is able to transform your life into something wonderful that is full of purpose and meaning. He resurrects our peace, hope, joy, love, contentment, and so much more. He resurrects broken marriages and relationships. He gives us hope for something better, and He promises that though this body may die, our soul will live forever with Him. 

May the LORD Bless You and Keep You,

Sunday, March 26, 2023

The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." -John 10:11
"Making grabs" is the ultimate goal when going to "Jobtown." Risking one's life for the survival of another is a necessity of the calling. It is what you sign up for. It is what shepherds take an oath to do. Shepherds put themselves in harm's way to protect others. 

Our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, lived a perfect sinless life. He willingly endured terrible suffering and a horrific, excruciating death on our behalf. He stood between us and the wrath of God, bearing the punishment for our sins on His body so that we might be forgiven. He is "the" Good Shepherd. As such, He promises to protect us in the darkest of circumstances. With Him on our side, we are able to say, "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil(Psalm 23:4)" because He is always with us. 

Even shepherds need a shepherd. Doing the job you do, seeing the things you see, struggling with the temptations and ghosts you face, you need a shepherd. I need a shepherd. We all need a shepherd. Men and women who lead from the front with courage and conviction and who are willing to fight for their subordinates are worthy of earning a following. Jesus is the perfect example of a shepherd worth following. 
May the LORD Bless You and Keep You!

Sunday, March 19, 2023

I AM the Door

"So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep."
Nine times out of ten, we are rushing through the front door to fight fire. We know doors. We know how to breach them, chock them, and control them depending on the situation. Almost all of us have an uncanny need to notice all points of entry and egress in almost any room or building. We look for exit signs that will lead us to unseen doors of egress in case of an emergency. When things get hairy, visibility is at zero, and the heat is rising, a door of egress is a wonderful welcomed find. 

Jesus says that He is the "door "to the sheep pen. As His sheep, we go through Him to find safety, salvation, protection, and rest. In the same way, we go out through Him to pasture where sheep graze for food and water. Throughout our lives and in our careers we will walk through many doors in hopes of finding all the things that can be found in Jesus. Often, we search door after door seeking meaning and purpose. 

In order for us to have true peace, purpose, provision, protection, and rest(which we all so desperately need), we must go through Him. He is the God who provides all of our needs. Some of us need a door out of the mess, hurts, and pains of our lives. That way is also through Jesus, the One who loved you enough to die for you. He is the doorway to life. 
May the LORD Bless You and Keep You,

Sunday, March 12, 2023

I AM the Light of the World

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." -John 8:12

Lights, LED lights, in particular, are essential accessories to every apparatus and bunker gear ensemble. I have a light attached to my helmet and bunker coat. When I remember, I grab a larger one to carry. The lights illuminate our paths and expose both obstacles and objectives equally. They allow us to maneuver through the dark and often help in smoke-filled atmospheres. They assist us in finding others and in being found.
Light effortlessly overcomes darkness. A single candle can be seen from over a mile away. When one is lost in a dark environment, just a flicker of light can bring about immense hope. Jesus, the Light of the World, has imparted His light to all of His followers. In Matthew 5, Jesus says that we are also "the light of the world" who are to let our "light shine before men" so that they may "see" our "good deeds" and "glorify our Father in Heaven." 

Just as first responders must go into dark places to save victims, Christians are to exist in this dark world bringing their light with them everywhere they go. We don't run from the darkness, we run to it, causing His light, to chase the darkness away. Every kind word and act shines His light. Every time we show mercy and grace, especially to those who don't deserve it, His light shines. Each shift worked to the best of your ability and for His glory, shines light. When we love our spouses and children as ourselves, His light shines. When we share His story and His love, His light shines. Let His light shine through you so that the darkness would flee and hope would prevail. 
May the LORD Bless You and Keep You,

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

I AM the Bread of Life

"Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
     Ah the Firehouse dinner table. So many stories shared. All of the world's problems solved. Many snowflakes offended. Relationships forged. And, Some of the best meals in town served. Magic happens as men and women "break bread" together around that table. Our time around the table is just as important to us as our time spent training and on the fire ground. We return to it time and time again because it is sacred to us.
     The term breaking bread is a Biblical one. It has its roots embedded in the practices of the early Christian Church in which they shared not only meals together, but "the" meal together: the body(bread) and blood(wine) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said that He is the Bread of Life. Just as a good firehouse meal and fellowship nourish us, so too does communion with Him. It provides us with nourishment, life, and satisfaction to our weary souls.
     When you find yourself distant from God and life seems devoid of joy, purpose, and meaning, it is time for you to go to the Bread of Life. He can be found in the Words of that Bible that is collecting dust on your end table, at the church in your neighborhood that you've been absent from, with your friends who are believers that you haven't made time for, or in that simple conversation(prayer) with Him that you've been avoiding. Spending time with Him is more important than the time we spend around the firehouse table. I guarantee you won't regret it.
 May the LORD Bless You and Keep You,

Photo Credit: IG @delgadokustoms

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Smooth Bump Bump

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

Smokey, low visibility, high chaos situations can leave any firefighter disoriented in any type of building. When you need to evacuate in a hurry, you stay calm and trust your training. If you are an engine company, you are told to stay on the line and follow it out. This is easier said than done. When seconds count, finding a hoseline and knowing how to get out is of utmost importance. The mnemonic "smooth bump bump to the pump" or "smooth way out" can help you identify by feeling the couplings, your path to safety.   

Oftentimes, the paths we are to take in life, are hard to decipher. Our lives can be full of life-altering major decisions: what to do after high school, which career path to take, who to date/marry, which neighborhood to build in, which church to join, whether or not to take that promotional exam, to stay at your current job or not, when is the right time to retire... The uncertainty of the future can bring unwanted stress and anxiety. Maybe our lives are plagued by bad decisions. These bad decisions lead to indecision, and we feel stuck. Even when you can't trust yourself, you can trust in Him. Trusting and submitting to Him and His plan for your life is all you need to get back on the right path. He will never let you down, and He will never steer you wrong. More than you can trust yourself and your training, you can trust Jesus. 


Sunday, May 16, 2021

I Can Do All Things

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13
Philippians 4:13 is one of the most memorized and misunderstood scriptures of all time. Steph has it on his shoes, and many have it tattooed on their bodies. Who doesn't want to believe that God will give us the ability to dunk a basketball, bench 500 pounds, be the baddest firefighter to walk the planet, or break any other barrier out there? It's easy to take this verse alone and believe we can accomplish any feat. After all, it says I can do all things, and all things means all things, doesn't it?

If we're not careful, we can all fall into the trap of taking one verse, making it stand alone, and assigning meaning to it. It is the Holy Scriptures that give us and life meaning, not the other way around. When reading scripture, context is everything. The funny thing about Biblical context is that it is never set in present day western society, and it is never solely about us. It might be for us, but if we want to understand God and His Word, then we must know the historical and literary context.

Paul wrote this letter to a church he founded in Philippi from jail while awaiting trial with execution looming over his head. In the verses leading up to 4:13, Paul says, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." He then says, "I can do all things..."

The "all things" Paul is referring to is really about being content. Contentment is being satisfied with your life no matter your circumstances. Its focus is a state of mind, not a physical ability. It is wanting and being grateful for what you have. The trap of this world is to want more and/or think your life would be better if only... Paul is able to be content in jail, where he doesn't have the freedom, people, and things he is accustomed to. He knows that knowing Jesus is the most important thing in the world, and that is enough for Him. Knowing he is loved and forgiven by the God of the Universe has allowed him to be free from the discontentment and restlessness that plagues so many of us. He is able to be grateful for God's amazing grace and mercy. When we focus on God and His goodness, He can give us the power to have joy and peace of mind in every situation, even if the world is falling apart around us. 

May the LORD bless you and keep you!