Tag Archives: hope

Lay down my life – am I ready?

I have read several posts from fellow firefighters over the last couple months about “laying down my life” and “being willing to give it all” for the sake of someone else.  This is a popular theme among first responders.  While it’s not in the fine print, it’s an underlying thought that we all know is there.  The more I read these memes and posts, the more God has laid a burden on my heart to share the truth that should be paramount in that decision to “lay it all down”.  Are we ready?  I’m not asking if we are ready to give our life as in, “will I consciously choose my brother, sister’s or patient’s well-being over mine?”  Honestly, no one knows that answer until it is asked of them.  But the question I am asking is – Are you ready for what happens after you make that choice?

There are no guarantees in life.  There is no way to know where we are on God’s timetable.  As an ordinary human being the Bible paints an urgent picture to be “right with God”.  To make a decision, while we still can, for Jesus Christ.  James 4:13-15 paints a solid picture about the brevity of life and the need to live on purpose.  Now listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to this city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say,”If it is the Lords’ will, we will live and do this or that.”  It doesn’t get much clearer than that.  We don’t know.  Life is short.  It really is.  While we can’t live just for today or tomorrow, we certainly can’t put off decisions and actions thinking there will be time later.

My post, today, is directed at those that I serve with in first responder world.  It’s open for anyone and everyone, but those men and women are on my heart today.  I challenge you this – are you ready for what happens after you so bravely lay down your life?  Have you made a decision to trust Jesus with your eternal life?  If you haven’t made the choice, or if you have no idea what I’m talking about, I challenge you today to read on.

We are not perfect.  God is.  We do not measure up to His standard – which is perfection.  We can’t be with Him because we are imperfect sinners.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10).  This is hard to digest, because we can’t imagine in our mind that laying down are life wouldn’t be enough.  Can’t we become righteous for paying the ultimate sacrifice?  According to God’s word, we can’t save enough people, we can’t give enough, we can’t do anything enough to become acceptable to God.

Where did sin come from?  Why was I born this way?  Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.  We are descendants of the first created being – Adam.  He sinned, and His perfection ended.  From that moment it was in his DNA and passed on to each generation.  The result of that sin is simple – death.  Adam and Eve were created to live forever, but God wants us to choose Him, so he gave them a choice.  Their choice had an outcome.  They chose to disobey God’s direction, and live for themselves, and their outcome was life that ultimately ends in death.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23).  Don’t miss the last part.  God didn’t create us to kill us.  He created us to be with Him.  That was the original design and it was perfect.  God doesn’t throw away His design, so He made a way.  That gift was His way that we can be together when our time here is up.

God shows us His never-ending mercy and love by giving the ultimate gift – Jesus Christ.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Christ came to this world for one purpose: to save us.  As a first responder, maybe you can relate in some way to that.  Maybe that is exactly why you chose to serve – to save.

God demonstrated his love by giving us Jesus who would live the life we couldn’t and die the death we deserved to satisfy the penalty that is rightly ours.  To show that his payment was sufficient, God raised Jesus up, giving him victory over death.  He put one requirement out there to get this free gift – believe.  That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)  God requires that we put our trust in what Christ did as the payment necessary for our sin.  In accepting that He is the payment, we also must believe that God accepted that payment on our behalf.

Worried about your past?  Don’t be. This gift has no prerequisites.  There is nothing we can do other than believe.  For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13).  It’s out there for everyone.  We just have to accept it.

Remember, we don’t know when God will call our name and our life will be over – here.  We, as first responders, have signed up to help others at all costs, even death.  While you may, so bravely, hold that commitment in your heart, I beg you to do it with the assurance that you have trusted Christ as your savior.

Thank you God, for America

Friday, January 20, 2017 was historic.  It was another chapter for the history books.  Not so much about “who” but about what.  Once again, in the midst of insane protests and chaos that has the world captivated, we demonstrated how we, Americans, rise up each and every time.   The peaceful transfer of power was demonstrated for all to see.

I want to take a few moments today and reflect.  This is the fifth time (that I can remember) watching this awesome event, and yes, each time it’s awesome and inspiring.  Though my candidate may not always be on that platform, I still find myself praising my God for blessing me and this nation.  I was born in the greatest land on earth.  Why is it the greatest?  Because we are free.  Free the way God intended man to be.  Free to choose, free to love, free to serve.  Many will argue that our freedoms are an illusion, but I truly believe we enjoy the most freedom of any other nation or people.  Because of that freedom, I can freely choose to worship God in the most intimate way.  Thank you Lord for that blessing.

When big events happen, I am a social reader.  I find reactions very interesting.  Yesterday was a day full of many mixed reactions.  There are many questions up in the air. Will he be a good leader?   Will he change from his past ways and views towards women, minorities, etc.?  Will he spend all his time trying to undo what his predecessor did?  Will he finally begin to restore a true national pride?  So many questions that really have no answer, just speculation at this point.  That’s what made reading some of the reactions so heart-breaking.  So many people expressed deep sadness, deep fear.  These people lamented that they knew exactly what this guy was going to do, and we were all headed for repression, despair, and divisiveness.  How do we know that?

God knew from the very beginning of us that we would worry.  There are many passages that specifically address human worry.  One of my favorites, that fit so well yesterday, is “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 NIV).  I also enjoy and find comfort in, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).  What great comfort – in Jesus Christ.  I can think of no better time in anyone’s life to draw closer to God and learn to walk in faith in Him than when you are anxious and worried about something that is out of your control.

Many people may be worried about what President Trump is going to do, going to let happen, going to set as precedent and so forth.  But let’s turn to God with our fear and put our worries on Him and look to the future with optimism.  Who knows what the future holds.[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding – Proverbs 3:5[/pullquote]  The same God that we pray to for comfort when we are scared is the same God that, in His divine wisdom, allows world leaders to rise to power. He has this and will use President Trump just as He used President Obama.  I’ll admit, I shared many of the worries and fears that people are going through, 8 years ago.  Some of what I feared came to pass, but so much of it didn’t.  Be optimistic and look to the future for your opportunity to be involved.  If the past 8 years have taught us nothing, it should have taught us this, we need to learn to love. Not just because we’re American, or one party versus another, but because Jesus commanded it.  He said there is nothing greater than love.  We are to love one another and serve one another.

I will pray for President Trump just as I prayed for President Obama.  I will respect the office even when I don’t agree with the holder.  I will find comfort, regardless of the situation, in a God that has all of this in the palm of His hand.  Today is a new day.  How will you love those around you and serve them for His glory?

Father, thank you for blessing me by allowing me to call this home.  Thank you for giving me the best environment to find you and serve you, freely.  Forgive me for not doing it more and without hesitation.  I pray for our leaders.  I pray for President Trump and his family. I pray he will look to you for influence and direction as he leads our nation.  I pray for your comfort and peace to be on those that are in you, but worried.  I pray for the hearts of those that don’t know you, that in their despair and worry, they would open their hearts and find peace in you.  In your name I pray – Amen.