July 1, 2012 through September 30, 2012

 

September 25 - However dark the valley you walk through you are not alone. Ever. Most of us claim to believe in God but when we hurt it can seem like He's no where to be found. Those of us who have faith and consider ourselves Believers are not exempt from trying circumstances. But we are assured victory over every difficulty. Don't let go. Don't lose hope. Don't lose sight of the fact that God is bigger than anything you will ever face. If no one else is praying for you, know that I am.

 

September 21 - Are you excited about serving the public? Do you love what you're doing? Is it still the greatest job in the world? A seasoned police officer helped put it all in perspective when he said that the things he learned in the classroom were different from the way things were on the street. If you're not careful you can become disillusioned and confused. Before long you've lost the passion and aren't so sure of your purpose any more. Eventually you're just going through the motions. Many things in life are like that - but saving lives and protecting property shouldn't be one of them. Tragically, however, that's exactly what happens far too often. Stay Real by being honest with yourself and a trusted friend, such as a Chaplain. Then you can Stay Healthy which enables you to Stay Safe and come back home as a whole person at the end of each and every tour. Don't live another day without passion!

 

September 17 - If you're married and having intimate conversations with someone other than your spouse you are playing on a slippery slope. Feelings and emotions can get confusing when you wear a uniform. Some folks are very comfortable sharing personal information with you because you represent authority, power and order. What members of the opposite sex share with you is their business. What you decide to share with them is your family's business - because you're putting them at risk. A caring and strong male authority figure is very appealing to a woman. A woman who doesn't criticize but admires what you do as a Firefighter or Police Officer is very tempting to a man. Keeping your head clear and maintaining the proper perspective is a full-time job! You cannot do this alone. You must have checks and balances as well as the right type of influences to counteract the affects of pride and ego. You can start by establishing a set of personal rules that you will not violate, then find someone to hold you accountable.

 

September 11 - September 11 will forever hold special meaning in history. Many of us promised to NEVER FORGET what happened and the ultimate sacrifice made by so many. I hope we never do. FDNY Chaplain Father Judge is vicitim #0001. The image of his lifeless body being carried away from Ground Zero is one of the most poignant captured that day. He perished while kneeling beside a Firefighter to administer last rites, after removing his helmet Father Judge was struck in the head by falling debris. Throughout history evil has been clashing with everyone and everything. God has always raised up a standard to stand between heaven and hell, light and darkness, death and life. That a Fire Department Chaplain should be the first official recorded sacrifice in this eternal struggle is very moving and thought provoking. Firefighters, EMS, and Police Officers are that standard - the God Ordained Standard. But we must not forget that this standard isn't complete without the spiritual leaders in our department structure.

 

September 8 - Family. That's what it's all about. It's why we come home on the holiday; travel great distances to see; work hard to provide for; why we do all the things we do - to take care of our family. Firefighters and Police Officers become part of an extended family. We all need accountability but we want a place to belong. Family is a place to belong. It's where you are safe, valued and nurtured. Family is the glue that holds the fabric of our society together. With all of the other things we look after and deposit into don't forget about your family...because at the end of the journey they're really all that matters!

 

August 28 - What is Greatness? A man is called Great because he can hit a baseball over a wall. A person who can entertain us or move our emotions is called Great. A savvy entrepreneur achieves Greatness because of monetary success. You can attain Greatness by saving lives, facing death and doing the job you were hired to do. Is that Greatness? Let me remind you that being Great to your family starts with being there. Greatness means coming home at the end of your shift. Your sons and daughters need you more than your benefits. By the way, what good is posturing for retirement by working excessive overtime and side jobs if you never reach retirement?

 

 

August 24 - Someone wisely observed that political correctness is the Achillles Tendon of our great nation. So here is the un-politically correct perspective of the job of saving lives and protecting property: It is a good work and it is God's work. It is a high and noble call with it's foundation firmly established in Divine Authority. However, although the commission to save lives, keep the peace, and protect property is Divine in origin it is still very much human in application. This simple truth is often misunderstood and misrepresented. Next time you report for your tour of duty and you put on that uniform remember that you are God's representative serving in a "ministry" that few can. Many are called but few are chosen! God Bless You.

 

 

August 19 - The burden and responsibility of command is not always easy. You can always count on one thing: It truly is lonely at the top. You might have natural talents and abilities that made you a good fit for the job but there are two things you must never stop doing. First, never stop developing the leader within you and second, never stop believing in the leader within you. Why? Because the day will come when you will be stretched to your limit; when you will be forced to stand alone. At that moment you haven't got a friend in the world. No one else sees what you're seeing. No one else seems to believe in you and they sure don't care what you're feeling. That's when you really feel the burden of command. It is your defining moment. Lives depend on you. You do have what it takes. Stand firm in your God-ordained authority and be who you be!

 

 

August 16 - All couples marry intending to be happy but few are prepared with the right tools to realize this happiness. Your marriage or relationship may have been made in heaven but it requires maintenance here on earth. If your love is to be fulfilling and go the distance you need serious adjustments to your thinking, solid commitment, hard work and something Benjamin Franklin warned us about, "Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards." Why? Because there are no perfect people this side of heaven. It's just a matter of time before you're disappointed or hurt by someone you love. Love has to be blind to an extent. While we need rules and boundaries we must learn to forgive. Although there are circumstances requiring more than a Post on Facebook, forgiveness is vital to every healthy relationship. I promise you this: you forfeit your future by refusing to let go of the past.

 

 

August 13 - Everyone has a breaking point. There are no exceptions. Firefighters and Police Officers have to find ways to deal with incredible stress and still function on the job. However, studies and statistics show that the job is taking a toll on our public servants. Alcohol abuse and problems at home are the most common symptoms. There are ways to combat the effects of stress but you have to be willing to hear the truth about yourself. First, and foremost, you are human with feelings and emotions like everyone else. If you lose touch with who you are as a person you'll short-circuit a healthy emotional flow which will lead to feeling "dead" inside. Second, you cannot stay "on" all the time. You have to shut the "switch" off to prevent burn-out. Working too much over-time or too many side jobs puts you and your family at greater risk for relationship failure. And, finally, the job you do is not just a job but a Divine call. If you're not in tune with The One who called you then you're a full bubble off of center!

 

 

August 10 - It's great to be inspired. It's awesome to be inspiring. Olympic medals aren't given to fourth place - but we can still be inspired by their commitment and hard work (just making it to the Olympics is no small thing). We live in a performance driven world. Natural talent, ability, beauty and accomplishments are celebrated and exploited. While it's important to recognize and reward certain behavior we must remember that heroic-like actions happen every day and are not acknowleged. To the candidate who successfully made it through the testing process but withdrew because their spouse couldn't "live that life;" to the husband or wife who stays faithful in spite of confusing emotions and unclear boundaries; to the frustrated and tired officer who continues to give 110 percent to the job; to the families of our public servants who are left alone on holidays and have to share their mom or dad with the whole world - I salute you and applaud you! Thank you for all of the things that are never noticed and recognized. Thank you for setting an example in commitment, sacrifice and honor.

 

 

August 7 - It's not IF a crisis comes in life but WHEN. The definition of a crisis varies from person to person and so does our ability to successfully navigate through hard times. Firefighters, Paramedics and Police Officers train continually so that their response to a crisis on the job will be what the community needs. So what kind of training do you practice for your personal life? Communication, conflict resolution, parenting, developing and maintaining relationships, personal integrity and mental/emotional/spiritual health all take work. Real life skills are taught and practiced. Don't neglect this important area of public service.

 

 

August 4 - Our true test of character isn't found in lack but in abundance. What happens once you've "arrived" and achieved your goals, reached the top and accumulated all the "stuff" you want? There are things we must do to stay grounded and real. One simple test to help determine if your head is too big to fit through the door is whether or not you're still teachable and touchable? When you're through learning you're through.

 

 

July 31 - Someone once said that it seemed like half the world lived on fear and the other half lived in it. What are you afraid of? People are afraid of the dark, afraid of losing someone; they fear disease and sickness, they're fearful of not having enough or of not finding the right one to love. The list goes on and on. One thing you should never be afraid of is failure. He who never fails has never tried. Failure is not optional but inevitable. It's going to happen on some level at some time. You might fail to save that life, or catch that criminal, or prevent that disaster. Half of you are going to fail at a marriage. But DON'T QUIT TRYING. There is absolutely no shame in falling down - but you will regret not getting back up...again and again.

 

 

July 28 - Are you contributing to the erosion of your own family? Let me encourage you to do a little self-check: Are you treating strangers better than you treat your spouse and children? Do you have time for everyone else? Don't abuse the faithful to accomodate the casual. Your family is your first priority and they deserve your very best. When families have to settle for left-overs year after year they will begin to resent you and lose respect for you. With all of the certifications and accomplishments you'll achieve throughout your career do you know which one will matter most at the end of you life? ..... How you treated your family.

 

 

July 23 - Is it possible to follow your spiritual convictions while serving the public? It's not only possible but vital. A few mis-informed (and mis-guided) people decided that the separation between church and state meant that you can't practice your faith on the job. However, the Founding Fathers of our nation never meant for God to be expelled from Government.  How you pray and practice your faith is your business. That you do so is everyone's business. The community you serve and protect needs you on top of your game each and every shift. You can have an advantage by being sharp on three levels: spirit, soul and body. Remember that you are a spirit with a human soul and you live in a physical body. You need 3-dimensional rehab because you are a 3-dimensional being.

 

 

July 20 - Whenever tragedy strikes there's one question that always gets asked: "Why does God allow this?" First of all, we spend a great deal of time and resources in our country accomodating the "un-silent minority" who want to expel God out of everything and call it the separation of church and state. How's that working for us?
Second, the consequences for human actions aren't waived because we think they should be. We always reap what we sow - good or bad. And finally, we must remember that evil exists in this world. A healthy soul and spirit is your best defense against the darkness. God is always speaking. The real question is are you listening?

 

 

July 13th - In my nearly twenty-five years of serving families as a Minister, Pastor and Chaplain I’ve been able to help many people with many issues. But what people have wished for the most is the one thing I have never been able to do – and that is to turn the clock back to give people a chance to do things differently. Time simply cannot be turned back. It only moves forward.

That’s why I developed this list of things you shouldn’t do if there are special people in your life that you love and who love you. Follow these and your regrets will be minimized as the clock of your life rapidly moves on.

THINGS YOU SHOULDN'T DO

You Shouldn’t miss an opportunity to say I Love You

You Shouldn’t let the sun go down while you’re angry

You Shouldn’t forget to buckle your seatbelt

You Shouldn’t say things you don’t really mean

You Shouldn’t text while you drive

You Shouldn’t assume they’ll be around tomorrow

You Shouldn’t hesitate to forgive

You Shouldn’t hold back the tears

You Shouldn’t dwell on a bad thought

You Shouldn’t spend time complaining

You Shouldn’t stop kissing your spouse

You Shouldn’t look for greener pastures

You Shouldn’t stop trying

You Shouldn’t smoke

You Shouldn’t give up on your dreams

You Shouldn’t live in the past

You Shouldn’t skip the vacation

You Shouldn’t drink and drive

 

 

July 10th - While there are unique challenges for Law Enforcement and Fire Service families there are three things you should remember in order to have a happy home:

1) Husbands should remember that if you don't love your wife someone else will;

2) Wives should remember that if you keep your husband in the dog house long enough eventually he will end up in the cat house;

3) Absence does not make the heart grow fonder - you just learn to live life without your spouse being around.

 

 

July 7th - Regret is a heavy load to bear. We cannot go back and change what was but we can start living today and adjust what will be. It's time to stop using the past as an excuse and get free from the burden of yesterday!

July 3rd - The greatest battlefield known to man is not across the world on a distant shore but sits right on top of our shoulders. Your own thoughts can destroy anything and everything you've worked for. So, be careful of what you allow yourself to think on for your thoughts become words. Your words become actions. Your actions become habits. Your habits become character. Your character becomes destiny.