Tag Archives: flashover

In One Moment

Many of us complain through our joys rather than celebrate them…

We fail to realize that our lives are but mere moments…

And it’s up to us to either live with remorse or cherish them…

In one moment, we stand before God at an altar…

In one moment, we cannot believe that our marriage has faltered…

In one moment, we hold a precious new born child…

In one moment, we are signing papers over differences that can’t be reconciled…

In one moment, we are pious and preaching at others…

In one moment, we are found guilty of the same sin we condemned our fellow brothers…

In one moment, we are living a dream, perfect and serene…

In one moment, we are found wanting, our nightmare has erased our dream…

In one moment, we have a family, a job, and all that we could ask for…

In one moment, we are hiding in an alley, shivering in the cold suffering from our own personal disaster…

In one moment, we are saving others, making a difference every day…

In one moment, we are staring down the barrel of a gun wondering if there is another way…

In one moment, we are comforting others with counsel and guidance…

In one moment, we are refusing our own advice lost in our own personal bias…

In one moment, we are healthy and we take it for granted…

In one moment, we are disease stricken, hopeless, and abandoned….

In one moment, our lives can suddenly change…

Yet we often take these moments for granted, failing to realize they will never be had again…

This all comes back to a garden where we lived in perfect fellowship…

We had it all, yet we longed for more even though there was only one prohibition…

Rather than focus on what we have, we pondered that one refusal…

The decision to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…

From this day on we have been spiraling downward, hell bent on having it our way…

Yet what we failed to realize is that God warned us yet we did it anyway…

We chose to decide what is good and what is evil based on our own decisions…

We chose to invalidate morality, condemn accountability, and justify our own sins…

The collateral damage since that day is plain for every eye to see…

Failed marriages, rampant violence, and even the killing of our own unborn children…

All neatly justified, elaborately explained, by society’s freedom from religion…

We rip God from the very pages of our history as to say to Him, You are not welcome here…

Yet we welcome and encourage His word to the incarcerated as it calms the violence and fear…

We scream at those who follow Christ, you are hateful and intolerant of our views…

While they serve the least, feed the hungry, and struggle with their own demons in their pews…

We lash out at those who say there is only one way to God through Christ….

While in reality, our doctrine loses its explanatory power at the end of our lives…

For only then as the thief on the cross realized at the last moment…

Only Jesus Christ can save us from our sins and his precious blood made for our atonement…

Sadly, many of us realize this one moment too late…

Our death bed conversion never occurs as we enter the brimstone lake…

We weep and we gnash our teeth in the darkness but our cries are not heard…

For in our one moment, we chose to ignore the voice of our Savior and Lord…

We chose our moments to be defined by our own righteousness that fell far too short…

We chose to justify our sinful lifestyles only to be found guilty in the highest of courts…

We thought we would stand and give God our explanation…

Yet we fell silent, on our knees, and confessed our lack of His salvation…

But this story doesn’t have to end this way for all of humanity…

For God sent His Son to save the world from this terrible calamity…

If we would but accept His gift and confess our sinful heart…
He will give us a new heart, a new mind, and a brand new start…

This is the promise from God that cannot be broken…

His word will not return void and we are free to be one of His chosen…

Will we accept this freedom in Christ this treasured gift that He gave?

His blood, His sacrifice, was given so all may be saved?

It is a gift that must be received for our relationship to be restored…

It costs us nothing but our submission to the One Jesus Christ Our Lord…

He gave it all so that we may live…

In our one moment, what will we choose to give?

God Bless,

Andy J. Starnes

 

 

 

The Shortest & Most Powerful Verse

The Shortest & Most Powerful Verse:

“Jesus wept” (John 11:35)

As firefighters, we don’t like to admit that we often hurt. Not just a physical pain from our work but an inner torment. We often push down the emotions from the things we see, the struggles in our own lives, and the stress we experience. Then in one moment, we erupt as if our emotional pressure relief valve gives up. The tears come and they fall like rain. Perhaps, in this moment we could take the time to remember that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ also shed tears.

Jesus experienced the same emotions that you and I feel. Every one of us has shed tears, tears of joy, and tears of sadness.  We will face trying times and some of these moments will seem impossible for us to deal with.  And as a follower of Christ, the more that we work for Him, the higher position we rise to, the greater the opposition we will face. It is a certainty that has been foretold by Jesus and lived out by Him and all of those who have followed Him.

“If you want to be my follower you must love Me more than your own father & mother, wife, and children, brothers, sisters-yes more than your own life.” (Luke 14:26)

In John 15:18-25 Jesus predicts our coming persecutions:

18 “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.20 Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master. ’If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. 21 But they will do all these things to you on account of My name, because they don’t know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin.  Now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 The one who hates Me also hates My Father. 24 If I had not done the works among them that no one else has done, they would not have sin. Now they have seen and hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened so that the statement written in their scripture might be fulfilled: They hated Me for no reason.

Many of us have fallen away when we have suffered for the sake of Christ but we must remember the words in 1 Peter 4:12-19.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory. If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler. But if anyone suffers as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?

 

And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty,

What will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

So those who suffer according to God’s will should, while doing what is good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator.”

Every person that we can read about in the Bible struggled, suffered, and wept. Yet, do we realize there is such a thing as tears of joy. The actual chemical composition of tears of sadness and tears of joy are actually different. So when we feel the emotions flood our hearts let us not suppress them let us embrace them and remember:

God counts every one of our tears:

“Thou numberest my wanderings: Put thou my tears into thy bottle; Are they not in thy book?” Psalm 56:8

God Himself has shed tears:

“Jesus wept” John 11:35

God will wipe away our tears:

“4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away. “(Revelation 21:4)

The tears of joy and sadness in life will come but let them fall knowing that God the Father counts every one, God the Son has shed tears, and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes one day. We can take comfort Jesus was “made in every respect like us, His brothers and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since He himself has gone through suffering and testing, He is able to help us when we are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:17-18)

We are to remember that this world is the training grounds for heaven. We are made for a higher purpose, predestined for good works, and He will use all things to work together for our good and His glory if we will yet trust in Him. Hold the line, don’t let stop fighting the fires of your life, and remember He is with us though it all.

God Bless,

Andy J. Starnes

Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries

 

 

Out of the Flames-Jarret Keith Testimonial

We thank our brother Jarret Keith for courageously sharing his testimony with all of us. Read on for encouragement:

There have been some recent occurrences that have changed my life and I feel the need to share it with all of you. I have recently decided to accept Jesus into my heart again. I accepted him into my heart before and strayed away from the word of God. But this past Friday I was at work at the Fire Dept. Several things occurred that day that really made me mad, upset me, and disgusted me.

That night A broadcast network called CBN happened to be on, so I watched. During the show they talked about several different things, those things they talked about just happened to be everything that happened that day….that’s not coincidence! The Lord reached out grabbed me and shook me through that show.

At the end of the show, the host made this comment, “If there is anyone that doesn’t know Jesus or knows him but needs to let him back into their hearts, please pray with me now and repeat after me.” I did, and it felt like the whole world lifted off my shoulders! I let him back in! (This is the part that gets interesting.) As I said earlier I have asked him to come into my heart before, done right for a little while, then I would get back on the same path I’d been on. (And no not drugs, just attitude, temper, my mouth and not following God and doing what he expects of me.)

This past Monday, I was on shift at the Fire Dept around 1:10 in the afternoon on Monday we were toned out to a structure fire. We arrived on scene and from the outside looked like we could go inside, make a good interior attack and knock it down. Myself and my Lt. put our air packs on and stretched a line to the door and popped the door open. As the door swung open black smoke that banked all the way to the floor started flowing out. As I made entry into the house on the nozzle, I got about half way across the living room and something wasn’t right, it was just too hot, my instincts were telling me to get out (or was it my instincts? Could it have been something or someone else.) I told my Lt. to back out, something wasn’t right and it was too hot. As I came out of the door we sat and watched the smoke for a few seconds to come up with a new game plan.

All of a sudden, about 20 seconds after we backed out a flash-over occurred. the Fire came towards the door and rolled right over the top of mine and my Lt’s head. Jesus had surrounded us with his loving arms and shielded us from that flash-over. Also where the fire was at in that house would have taken us about that long if not a little longer to get to it. If we had kept going and not backed out I would probably not be writing this post right now. We would have been caught right in the middle of the flash-over. Myself and my Lt. are blessed we did not keep going. I firmly believe that what happened Monday was the Lord giving me an example. I feel with all my heart that when that happened he was telling me, “This is why you need me, this is what I can do for you, this is how I can protect you, this is why you do not need to stray away from me again.” I firmly believe he reached out to me on that Friday through the host of a Christian network and then Monday showed me why I need him in my life and my heart through that fire when the flash-over occurred. God gave me another chance and this is where my new life begins!

If this story has inspired you and you would like to know more about how to receive Christ as your savior email us at bringingbackbrotherhood@gmail.com

God Bless,

Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries

Modern Firefighter Behavior

The fire service is filled with information about modern fire behavior these days. Have we considered the importance of understanding the modern firefighter’s behavior?

Do we recognize the signs of a hurting brother or sister?

Coming alongside another who is hurting takes one of understanding. It requires empathy over sympathy for the injured party to confide or open up to us. In other words, we have to be able to relate. Simply put, Firefighters feel comfortable talking with other firefighters.

The moment of adversity, tragedy, or conflict that we face is not solved by another who can come along side us. It is eased by the comfort of those who have faced this before. Anyone who is married understands that if their wife comes to them with a problem, most of the time she doesn’t want them to solve it; she wants her husband to listen to her and show that he cares.

We as firefighters, come along side others in their moment of crisis with a unique perspective. We have probably seen it, been through it, or experienced this moment in a variety of ways: personally, professionally, or from a support role.

Whether we realize it or not: We are the “hands and feet of Jesus” in a world that often doesn’t care about others.

We show up and help our “neighbors”. Thus this principle and innate drive to serve should compel us to help our brothers and sisters who are struggling.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

We have to practice the principles of situational awareness in our own fire stations and lives. We must be vigilant to the cues or signs of a co-worker who is struggling.

Consider this:

If we are driving back to the station from a call and see a house on fire we don’t keep driving; we take action and go to work. We can apply the same principles of reading smoke to reading our co-workers.

We learn that in reading smoke that turbulent smoke is indicative of high heat, high pressure/velocity that can lead to thermal insult quickly. If we are around a co-worker who has signs of turbulent behavior, it shouldn’t surprise us when we hear of some tragic circumstance later.

We are taught to read the building, read the smoke, understand critical fire ground factors, and to continuously monitor conditions as we apply our strategy and tactics. This same concept can apply to our co-workers and family.

We are the best judge of our family’s health because we know them better than anyone else.

If we see signs of instability, withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, making unsafe or dangerous decisions, then we should speak up. Don’t crawl past fire! Put it out. Let us take our loved one or co-worker aside and tell them that we care. As a firefighter responds to a call for help, we should respond to the call for help from our brothers and sisters around us.

God Bless,

Andrew Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood MInistries

Available? The value of Divine Appointments:

Have you ever been interrupted? Have you ever thought “I just don’t have time for this right now?” Has someone called, showed up, or caused a change in your schedule because of their urgent need? As firefighters, we stop what we are doing to answer the call of “an unscheduled appointment.” Yet when our loved ones interrupt us we seem to forget that we are still servants to our fellow man: on and off duty.

Consider this:

Most of the ministry of Jesus was through interruptions. As He was on His way great crowds would follow Him, people would reach out to touch him, people would bring their children to Him, and each time He would bless, heal, and feed them.

What can we learn from this? We are often too focused on the destination and often miss the blessing of the journey. How many opportunities to help or impact someones life have we missed because we were so focused on ‘just getting there.’

Ministering like Jesus means being available to others despite our schedule. The number one enemy of ministry is busy-ness. We were created and saved to make a difference and this occurs by God’s appointments.

“Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” James 1:22

A friend of mine recently thanked me after a phone conversation where he was sharing some very painful personal trials. He said, “I called someone in the church that said they could help me and the minute I started talking I felt as if he was trying to get off the phone.”

I began to understand that at that moment God had taught me a very powerful lesson. I didn’t fix my friend’s problem nor did I have the means or abilities to provide a solution. Ministering to others requires that we be available and that we are vulnerable. Neither of these is convenient or comfortable but they require a sacrifice of our time and our heart.

Are we willing to give of our-self so that others may know of His love?

We must decide which is more important?

Our schedule or His?

A completed to-do list or a changed life?

Think about it…

When it comes to making a difference; no appointment should be necessary.

Impending Flashover

As firefighters, we are trained to recognize the signs of an impending flashover. Rapidly increasing temperatures, a non-tenable environment, thick turbulent smoke and then it happens…

Consider the imagery. A firefighter under significant stress begins to rapidly change their behavior, they become difficult to be around or remove themselves from any form of camaraderie, and any attempt to go near them is met with turbulent angry behavior.

This is a warning. This individual is lashing out at you not because of something you did. It is a desperate cry for help and it is sent the only way we know how. We will literally watch our lives burn down around us before we call for help. Our pride can be our greatest demon. Are we going to wait until our fellow firefighters call out of desperation?

“Before they call, I will answer. While they are yet speaking, I will hear” Isaiah 65:24

As in a fire we must read the smoke, continually size-up our fellow firefighters, and watch for signs of impending problems. We pride ourselves in responding to others in need but often our greatest opportunity to make a save stands right next to us in our fire house.

Don’t miss the opportunity to save a life! We share this with you because we did. A close friend, who was always the happiest guy you had ever met, started to show signs of a problem. One day, we asked him how he was doing and he frowned and shook his head. Not a big deal for most individuals but for him it was completely out of character.

The look in his eyes when he spoke is an image that still lingers in our mind to this day. The following day, he committed suicide.

We share this story with you in hopes that each of us will look around the room and realize this: We are all that we have. We are a family and families take care of each other. Look after each other and take this calling seriously. We are our brother’s keeper.

The research paints a scary picture for the fire service if we fail to respond to this problem. We have all experienced and witnessed the pain. Firefighters are in desperate need of encouragement. This journey to bringing back brotherhood begins with us.

Will we be an agent of change?

Will we choose to encourage when no one else will?

Our prayer is that each of us will accept the call.

20140625-131117-47477694.jpg