January 1, 2014 through March 31, 2014 - Just a thought ...




February 24 - When a spouse chooses to spend more time away from home it is a warning. Rather than harass them about it, you may want to ask if you're doing what you can to make your house a place your husband or wife wants to come home to. For twenty-five years now my wife has made home somewhere I always want to be.




February 21 - "The 'sin' that is most destructive in your life right now is the one you are most defensive about." -Dr. Timothy Keller (Founder and pastor of New York's Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan).



February 19 -



February 17 - “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything You gave me.” -Erma Bombeck




February 14 - This is the fifth and final post on love and marriage. Is the following statement true: “If you really loved me you wouldn’t act that way”? While love should behave and respond a certain way, there are hindrances to full expressions of our love. Some of the most common are anger, pride and hurt feelings. You really can love someone and act in a manner that seemingly contradicts that love. We all don’t have the same standards, discipline and integrity, which results in how we handle our own thoughts. Your life will generally flow in the direction of your thoughts. Regardless of the popular trends in society, we must have a standard. If you frequently think about things like, what you’re entitled to, how unhappy you are, how unappreciated you feel, or how… (Fill in the blank), you might actually do something you come to regret later – even if you really do love someone. Many folks unknowingly violate love by engaging in intimate conversations with someone else. Stress is another common denominator in putting marriages in jeopardy of failure. It causes a “disconnect” at home and leads to behavior that is interpreted as “cold” and uncaring. This Valentine’s Day, don’t allow anger, pride, disappointments, stress or past failures to keep you from enjoying the full expression of love. It’s God’s gift to you and meant to be a source of great joy. Refuse to allow anyone or anything to steal that from you! The first step in finding your way back to true intimacy is to have a “real” and honest talk with the person you love – and don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.”



February 11 - This is the fourth post in a series on love and marriage. Forgiveness is something we all need at some point in our life. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.” When it comes to the special people in our life we must learn how to “cover” their short comings and failures or, as Benjamin Franklin said, “Keep your eyes…half shut.” If you want to help keep your relationships healthy you will have to master the art of forgiveness. When you forgive, but refuse to forget, the ultimate effect on your relationship is the same as not forgiving. Regardless of the circumstances, what is your goal in proving your point? If you want to prove that you are right, what you’re saying is that your partner is wrong. What kind of love does that? Love can grow or shrink. If you belittle, disrespect, disregard and dishonor someone enough, even the best of loving relationships can turn into the worst of nightmares. But if you nurture and guard it, love will grow and stand the test of time. Here’s a simple rule that will have great results: always seek to build up your partner – not break them down. Yes, you’ll be disappointed; you’ll have disagreements; you might even experience hurtful acts that you won’t know how to overcome…but forgiveness is a key to longevity in any relationship.




February 8 - This is the third post in a series on love and marriage leading up to Valentine's Day. Experts tell us that more than half of all marriages will fail. Other statistics indicate that one in three of all couples will experience the pain of infidelity. All of you know someone impacted by both divorce and or infidelity. If you're married to a cop of firefighter, you face an even tougher set of circumstances. Our First Responders are among the best trained in the world. Our Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement Agencies are professionals who are well equipped to handle whatever the job requires. However, there are fatal flaws in the system that result in the spouses and families being sacrificed on the altar of service. The attitude, mindset and behavior needed to survive on the streets and get our public service warriors back home safely is causing a huge disconnect in family life. In other words, while the training is necessary to be successful on the job, all too often, it's actually promoting failure at home. If you don't know what the problem is you cannot fix it. Family Training must become part of the culture. The same way you can be taught how to be a good cop or firefighter is the same way you can be taught how to be a good husband, father, wife or mother.



February 6 - For those old enough to remember "The Duke" (even if you aren't) his message is worth the 3 minutes of your time "What John Wayne wants for his daughter"




February 3 - This second post is part of a series on love and marriage leading up to Valentine's Day. Marriage is NOT an ultimate destination you arrive at, but a life-long journey you commit to traveling together with another person. This journey doesn't always have smooth roadways and sometimes the guiding lines become worn and faded. There are hills and curves, detours, pot holes and road construction. Although the weather isn't always optimal for traveling, too many couples exit prematurely and miss the reward of getting through the storm. Something else to be aware of: when you're driving on unfamiliar roads your attention and focus are at their highest level - because you don't want to lose your way. However, when driving the same route repeatedly you're more likely to be careless. Well, if you'll treat your marriage like an unfamiliar road, you'll never take each other for granted.


January 30 - We're just two weeks away from Valentine's Day. There are many misunderstandings pertaining to the subject of love and marriage. For example: If it's really "true love" doesn't it last forever no matter what? If you don't "feel" passion does it mean you're not in love any more? How can someone who claims to love me be so distant and cold? Spouses of Police Officers and Firefighters face marital challenges that many others do not. While there are unique dynamics for Emergency Service families, your marriage doesn't have to become a statistic. First Due Family will share some thoughts and insights over the next two weeks regarding love and marriage to help strengthen and encourage your relationships. Let me start this series of posts by saying this: It is NEVER too late if two people are willing to work through the problem. If you took your vows before God and asked Him to bless your marriage at the altar, then, in the hard times, you should return to the God who ordained matrimony as holy and seek His help now. Your marriage is worth it.


January 23 - "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great." (Unknown) If no one else believes in you, know that this pastor does. More importantly, God Himself believes in you!



January 20 - "The business of saving lives, protecting property and keeping the peace may be a Divine Call, but it is recognized and managed by men here on earth." (Pastor Gary Cortese, Chaplain) So, the level of professionalism, passion, integrity and service will vary from agency to agency. It's important to remember that as a First Responder you represent and serve a higher power!





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January 10 - Thank you to everyone who helped make me feel like the richest man in town last night at my "very surprised" Birthday party! I was truly blessed by all of the kind expressions of love. My wife and children certainly had me convinced that we were going to spend a quiet evening at home celebrating the big Five-0. I'd like to share the following reflections with you as I begin a new decade and season of my own life and ministry. We spend the earlier parts of life hurrying to the next milestone. Kids can hardly wait to turn Sweet Sixteen, then 18, and the big legal age of 21. At a certain point we start wondering what the big rush was?? It really starts to go faster the older we get; there is no turning back. I don't know what that magic number is, but one day you realize that life isn't about what you can get out of people but what you can put into them. While life isn't always one big party, it's vital to celebrate life and make a big deal over significant events. Eventually all you'll have left are the memories. What legacy are you creating? What memories will you leave behind? While I'm not perfect, and I fall very short of the high standard, I strive to leave people in better shape than I find them. I am committed to leaving you inspired and hopeful; challenged and changed; validated and valuable...because you matter. You are more important than things will ever be. Remember this, Jesus Christ didn't die for a single building, car, program or a dollar bill - He died for people. You can't take things to heaven, but you can take people with you!



January 7 - God’s promises are like the stars; the darker the night the brighter they shine. -David Nicholas


January 5 - Someone said that Forgiveness is to accept the fact that the past cannot change. Maybe it's time to let go and move on.


January 3 - "Great will be our astonishment in that day, and we shall then realize that it is not our works which remain, but the work which God wrought through us..."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer