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Bunker Up - Part 4

"Bunker Up - Part 4"

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

- Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)

One of my most favorite studies is on putting on the “full armor of God.” A little over six years ago, I wrote an eight-week series on these verses from Ephesians. I wanted to re-work them a little and re-present them in our now-monthly format. So, rather than taking eight months, we will look at these verses over a four month period. This is the fourth installment of the series. If you missed the first three, check out the STRESS RELIEF archives.

This month, we will look at two more things: “The White Helmet” and “Offensive or Defensive Attack.”

We have been studying the above verses and learning about GOD’s personal protective gear. The SOG for Life, The Bible, calls this PPE ‘the whole armor of GOD.’ Today, we will look at the “helmet of salvation” and the “sword of the spirit.”

First - “The helmet.” 

Some of the more memorable times I have had on a fireground as a Chaplain happened when I would show up on scene when one of my favorite captains was there. You see, he couldn’t stand to see a clean helmet… especially when my Chaplain’s white helmet was new. Every time he would see me on scene, he would grab my helmet, walk over to some charred area and rub my helmet in the soot! He would come back and hand me my helmet with a big smile on his face.

The funniest instance was during salvage and overhaul on a house fire. The origin had been in the kitchen. Cans of food had exploded everywhere due to the fire. Well, my buddy grabbed my helmet, as usual, and disappeared inside the smoking ruins. When he came back, the top of my helmet was covered in soot… and bits of creamed corn! It was hilarious. Now, when he sees me, he simply asks, “Got any corn?”

The helmet is one of the most recognizable features of modern-day bunker gear. When something thinks, “what is a fireman?,” I believe two images immediately pop into mind - a big red truck and a firefighter’s helmet. And, the helmet has been part of our history of the fire service… think about the tall, leather helmets like the one worn by Benjamin Franklin.

There are all sorts of helmets… for firefighters, bikers, skateboarders, military… well, the list goes on. The helmet is designed to protect our brain… our mind. You have read it and heard it on the news following an accident, “If they had only been wearing a helmet.”

I believe that is exactly what the “helmet of salvation” is for… to protect our mind from the thoughts that our enemy throws at us. Thoughts like; “you’re never going to fall in love” or ” you’ve been too bad a person for CHRIST to love you.” The devil bombards your mind with every distraction he can come up with to keep you away from a relationship with GOD. But, we can put on our “helmet of salvation” - our promise from GOD that our REAL CHIEF provided for our salvation by dying on the cross for us. We can never be “good enough” or “earn our way” into Heaven. Only when we cry out to GOD and ask forgiveness and accept HIS free gift of salvation can we “put on” our helmet… the “ultimate white helmet” of the salvation HE made available to us.

Next, let’s look at the “Sword of the Spirit.”

You might remember that the pieces of armor, the PPE of GOD, have, for the most part, been defensive equipment. Just like in the fire service - our helmets, bunker gear, boots, gloves, air packs… are all designed to protect us. But, our REAL CHIEF also issues us a “hoseline” called the “sword of the SPIRIT, which is the word of GOD - the Bible.”

A hoseline, as you know, can be used both offensively - to “slay” the fire - and defensively- a fog pattern - to keep the “the enemy” off of you. Well, so it is with GOD’s hoseline for us… HIS Word. The Scriptures can be used to keep evil, our real enemy, at bay. The Word of GOD is also used as a weapon to fight the spiritual battle that rages on in each of our lives.

Our REAL CHIEF knew this… you might remember that early in HIS ministry on earth, HE was out in the desert and our enemy, Satan, went on the attack by tempting CHRIST. Here is what happened;

"After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ “

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: `He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ “

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ “

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” (Matthew 4:2-11 NIV)

Notice that each time the devil would strike with his sword of lies, our REAL CHIEF struck back with Scripture… with the Word of GOD. Notice, too, that the enemy even knows Scripture and tries to use that against JESUS. But, our LORD stuck back with THE SWORD. Can you see the sparks flying and the hear the clang of the swords in this battle?

We have been equipped, fellow soldiers. Well equipped. We now have the most powerful weapon known - HIS Word. Study this weapon. Get to the point where it is studied daily. Become proficient in its’ use.

So, brothers and sisters of the badge and of the faith. Put on ALL of your gear. Put on the “whole armor of GOD.” Then, we will be prepared to stand…

…On HIS Shift,

Chaplain Skip

Copyright © 2012 Chaplain Skip Straus and Emergency Ministries.

Don’t forget to send your prayer request, praise reports, etc. -  http://www.emergencychaplain.org/forum 

Make a secure online donation with PayPal!   http://www.emergencychaplain.org/donations.htm 

Some needs that you could help provide;

Prayer - pray for us and those we serve on a daily basis.

Contributions - we are specifically seeking monthly contributors to stand with us.

2012 Year to date Stats as of Aug 26th: 

Total Contacts      - 2521

Total Hrs Worked  - 2705

Total Hrs On Call   - 9348

Miles Driven       - 20108

"Bunker Up - Part III"

"Bunker Up - Part 3"

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
- Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)

One of my most favorite studies is on putting on the “full armor of God.” A little over six years ago, I wrote an eight-week series on these verses from Ephesians. I wanted to re-work them a little and re-present them in our now-monthly format. So, rather than taking eight months, we will look at these verses over a four month period. This is the third installment of the series. If you missed the first, check out the STRESS RELIEF archives.

This month, we will look at two more things: “GOD’s Bunker Boots” and “Fog Pattern.”

We have been studying the above verses and learning about GOD’s personal protective gear. The SOG for Life, The Bible, calls this PPE ‘the whole armor of GOD.’ Today, we will look at the “footwear” and the “shield.”

First - “The footware.” Let me ask you something - When you are on shift and you actually get time to sleep, do you get your gear ready to go before the tones drop? For instance, do you pull the legs of your bunker pants down over your boots, so that all you have to do is stick your feet in, stand up and pull the pants up? You can easily slip your suspenders on. And, just that quick you are down the pole and headed to the apparatus.

Well, in the verses known as “The Great Commission,” our REAL CHIEF says this, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 - NIV).

The Apostle Paul instructs a young preacher by the name of Timothy, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (2Timothy 4:2 - NIV).

All of these verses teach us this… we are to be ready at all times (our feet ‘fitted with readiness’) to tell others the good news (‘the Gospel of peace’) about our REAL CHIEF. That doesn’t mean you talk religion. That doesn’t mean you have to be an ordained preacher. What it very simply means is this: tell them about a relationship - tell someone how you came to know CHRIST… tell them how HE died for you and for them… tell them how you have accepted HIM as your REAL CHIEF, that you have turned your life over to HIM and HE, in turn, has given you eternal life!

Next, let’s look at the “Shield of Faith.”

We need the protection in our line of work, don’t we? That’s why we wear all the gear that we do. We also can use water as a shield. We use water to protect nearby structures… thus establishing a ‘shield’ from the flames of the original fire structure. And, I want you to notice something from our verse for this week; our shield extinguishes “the flames!”

The particular piece of armor we are talking about is the ‘shield of faith.’ So what is this? Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) defines it well; “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Faith, then, is “knowing,” not just ‘believing.’ Does that make sense? In other words, I don’t just believe that GOD loves me… I KNOW that HE loves me. It is that faith, therefore, that protects us from the ‘flaming arrows’ that Satan ‘shoots’ at us. And, what are those ‘flaming arrows?’

Satan’s arrows could be things like - doubt, lies, wasted time, greed, excuses and hate.

This should tell us a couple of things. First, the enemy is “always on the prowl.” Satan is looking to destroy you anyway he can. He wants you back. So, he uses all the ‘flaming arrows’ in his quiver of deceit to fire at you. But, the good news is that we have a powerful piece of armor to protect us.. our shield of faith.

Slip on “GOD’s bunker boots” of peace, take up your shield of faith and go and “rescue others from the flames” as you serve…

…On HIS Shift,
Chaplain Skip

Copyright © 2012 Chaplain Skip Straus and Emergency Ministries.


Don’t forget to send your prayer request, praise reports, etc. -  http://www.emergencychaplain.org/forum

Make a secure online donation with PayPal!   http://www.emergencychaplain.org/donations.htm

Bunker Up - Part II

"Bunker Up - Part 2"

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
- Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)

One of my most favorite studies is on putting on the “full armor of God.” A little over six years ago, I wrote an eight-week series on these verses from Ephesians. I wanted to re-work them a little and re-present them in our now-monthly format. So, rather than taking eight months, we will look at these verses over a four month period. This is the second installment of the series. If you missed the first, check out the STRESS RELIEF archives.

This month, we will look at two things: “Truth” and “A Healthy Heart.”

We have been studying the above verses and learning about GOD’s personal protective gear. The SOG for Life, The Bible, calls this PPE ‘the whole armor of GOD.’ Today, we will look at the “belt of truth” and the “breastplate of righteousness.”

First - “The Belt of Truth.” Have you ever tried pulling up your bunker pants without suspenders on? They don’t stay up very well, do they? So, if you were to say, try to walk into a fire without your suspenders on, you could very well trip over your own fallen bunker pants. The results could be pretty disastrous, couldn’t they?

In some versions of the Bible, the “belt of truth” is called “girding up your loins with truth.” I liked what an author, Steve Hall, wrote about this particular piece of GOD’s armor for us…

"While Satan, his demons, and men are liars and deceivers, God speaks only truth. When we gird up our loins with truth, we are protected from one of Satan’s most effective weapons: discouragement through lies. He attempts to deceive us, confuse us, blind us, keep us in a state of ignorance, and persuade us to trust “experience” or “emotion” or “common sense” or “human philosophy” or “logical reasoning”, etc. instead of God’s Word. He specializes in creating misunderstanding, faulty perceptions, misconceptions, and misleading circumstances in order to keep us defeated and discouraged. The Belt of Truth enables us to overcome all this.

Of course, there are many ways that the enemy attempts to deceive us. But there are a few areas which seem to be especially critical. If he can deceive us into having a faulty understanding of our sin, of God, of our identity as believers, of the power available to us, or of the value of prayer, we’re in trouble.

When I put on the belt of truth, I take some time in prayer to speak these truths back to God. I think He is pleased when I sort of “remind myself” of these truths in His presence. As I do this, the enemy’s attempts to deceive me in these areas tends to wither away.

In order to put on the belt of truth, you may want to start by praying something like this: Father, thank You that Your Word is Truth (John 17:7); that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17 and 15:26); and that Jesus is the Way, The Truth and the Life (John 14:6).” - © 2000 Steve Hall (steve@aboundingjoy.com). Quoted by Permission

The belt of truth, then is a defensive piece of armor that is very important in defending ourselves from the attacks of the enemy.

Next, let’s look at the “Breastplate of Righteousness.”

According to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the following statistics illustrate the importance of wearing body armor to the entire law enforcement community and beyond. From 1973 through January 1, 2001, a total of 2,500 “saves” were attributed to the use of body armor. Fifty-eight percent of these saves were connected with felonious assaults and 42 percent with accidents, such as car crashes. Forty percent of the felonious assaults involved firearms, 12 percent represented cutting or slashing assaults, and 6 percent involved other types of assaults.***

Body armor saves lives. Our REAL CHIEF knows it. That is why HE includes it in HIS list of available armor. But, just what is the ‘breastplate of righteousness?’

The breastplate of those days was a metal and/or leather piece of armor held in place by leather straps. It only covered the front of a soldier. When attacked, soldiers would often form a circle, facing out, so as to protect each other’s backs. Novel concept, huh?

We know that the breastplate is designed to protect the chest of the wearer. But what about the ‘righteousness?’ There are 230 uses of the word in the NIV Bible. We can find some definition of the word in those verses. For instance, Genesis 15:6 says, “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” So, believing the Word of GOD is righteousness. Deuteronomy 6:25 says “And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” Therefore, believing the Bible and obeying GOD’s commandments are our righteousness.

So, what our REAL CHIEF is telling us is this; when we believe every word of Scripture… when we believe and obey the commandments of GOD, we are putting on the breastplate of righteousness. And what does that piece of armor protect? Our heart! Who would be wanting to attack the heart of a believer? The enemy, Satan, of course.

So, protect your heart, fellow soldiers. Strap on that breastplate. Put on the whole armor of GOD.

Take a stand, fellow warriors, as we serve together…

…On HIS Shift,
Chaplain Skip

Copyright © 2012 Chaplain Skip Straus and Emergency Ministries.

***U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Justice Programs - National Institute of Justice
Selection and Application Guide to Personal Body Armor - NIJ Guide 100–01
November 2001


Don’t forget to send your prayer request, praise reports, etc. -  http://www.emergencychaplain.org/forum

Make a secure online donation with PayPal!   http://www.emergencychaplain.org/donations.htm

Emergency Ministries is a non-profit organization under IRS code 501.c.3 
PO Box 9121 * Spring TX 77387-9121

Bunker Up

"Bunker Up"

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
- Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)

One of the most favorite studies I have done is on the “full armor of God.” A little over six weeks ago, I wrote an eight-week series on these verses from Ephesians.

I wanted to re-work them a little and represent them in our now-monthly format. So, rather than taking eight months, we will look at these verse over a four month period.

So, this month, we will look at two things: “Bunkering Up” and “Taking a Stand.”

Every shift we work, every call we make - we put on protective gear. You know the term ‘bunker up.’ In other words, “put your gear on… we’re goin’ in.”

Well, did you know that our REAL CHIEF issues PPE, also? That’s right - GOD’s personal protective gear. The SOG for Life (The Bible) calls this PPE ‘the whole armor of GOD.’ Let’s talk about this Holy gear. This article, let’s talk about putting on the “whole armor.”

We wear helmets, which have cushioned inserts, chinstraps, neck protectors and face shields. We wear a turnout coat that has a liner. We wear turnout pants that have a liner. Even suspenders have a purpose… the alternative is that we would be tripping over our bunker pants. We wear rubber or leather boots. The boots, themselves, have protective properties… they keep our feet dry, they are tall to keep embers and water out, and they have steel toe and shank protectors. We wear fire gloves to protect our hands and fingers. We wear nomex hoods and “Reed” hoods. We wear air packs. At EMS scenes, we wear rubber gloves and sometimes goggles and masks. On Hazmat incidents, crews wear specialized suits.

The point is this; we are in a business where all of it must be worn all of the time. By that, I mean, you wouldn’t go into a working fire wearing everything except your boots, would you? Or everything except your gloves? Or your helmet? You get my point.

And, so it is with our GOD-given PPE. We must learn to use each and every piece every time we go out to serve.

'Taking a stand,' I believe, is something that comes from training, from knowledge and from our REAL CHIEF. By that, I mean that I believe that having the courage to take a stand comes from HIM. I'll give you an example. Think back to when you first started. You went to your very first working fire. You were scared to death. But, you didn't back down. You 'stood your ground,' just as you were trained to do in the academy… you faced the enemy. And, by putting on all of your PPE and your using your nozzle, you defeated the enemy - fire. The more times you have repeated that scenario, the more courage you have developed… the more confident in GOD you become to attack the situation.

Thus it is with our verses this week. GOD teaches us to put on all of our armor and then to take our stand. Then, HE says, to “stand firm.” This applies if we are fighting a structure or we are doing battle with the flames of Satan. We are to take a stand with courage. With conviction. With HIM.

Matthew 14:27 - But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

1 Corinthians 16:13 - Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

That courage that comes from GOD is recognizable by others. Acts 4:13 says - When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

And, finally, where does that strength, that ability to take a stand, come from? From CHRIST, of course. Perhaps this is best summed up in Psalm 23:4 - Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Take a stand, fellow warriors, as we serve together…

…On HIS Shift,
Chaplain Skip

Copyright © 2012 Chaplain Skip Straus and Emergency Ministries.

Don’t forget to send your prayer request, praise reports, etc. -  http://www.emergencychaplain.org/forum

Make a secure online donation with PayPal!   http://www.emergencychaplain.org/donations.htm

Some needs that you could help provide;
Prayer - pray for us and those we serve on a daily basis.
Contributions - we are specifically seeking monthly contributors to stand with us.

Emergency Ministries is a non-profit organization under IRS code 501.c.3 
PO Box 9121 * Spring TX 77387-9121
713.510.4911

New CPR?

"New CPR?"

"…snatch others from the fire and save them."
- Jude 23(a) (NIV)

Who do you “snatch others from the fire and save them?” Why with CPR, of course!

How would you like to learn a form of CPR that works every time? This “new” CPR stands for: Christ Provides Resuscitation!!! That’s right. GOD wants to be your REAL CHIEF. Moreover, when you accept HIM as such, you will have been “revived.” You are “resuscitated” into an eternal life.

When you look at the SOG for life, there are a few times where this special CPR was performed: In 1Kings -“…some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.” “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed.” Then he leans over the boy 3 times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him! The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.”

In Acts, Chapter 20, we read about a “trauma code” from a fall… “Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.”

In John 11, we read the story of Lazarus -who was sick. “Lord, the one you love is sick.”  Later, we read…”On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Then we read the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” You see, our REAL CHIEF teaches us another important lesson here… its okay to cry when a loved one, a friend dies and you also see others around you hurting. SO, our REAL CHIEF approaches the tomb… “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”  After our REAL CHIEF said that, he called out, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out…”

Notice that in all three cases it was “spiritual CPR” that restored life to the widow’s son, to Eutychus and to Lazarus. Our REAL CHIEF said that HE wanted his disciples to see that HE could restore life…. That HE performs CPR that is guaranteed to work.

Now, how can YOU perform spiritual CPR? Remember, it’s “CHRIST PROVIDES RESUSCITATION”. It is our REAL CHIEF who actually performs the CPR. So, what is your part in it? Your part is to tell others about how accepting GOD as your REAL CHIEF has resuscitated your dead heart into a heart that beats for others as you serve…

…On HIS Shift,
Chaplain Skip

Copyright © 2012 Chaplain Skip Straus and Emergency Ministries.

Don’t forget to send your prayer request, praise reports, etc. -  http://www.emergencychaplain.org/forum

Make a secure online donation with PayPal!   http://www.emergencychaplain.org/donations.htm

Interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bF-ohFSQF0

Rescue Squad

March 30, 2012
"Rescue Squad"
”’…for I am with you to rescue and save you.’ declares the LORD.”

- Jeremiah 15:20(b) (NIV)

I believe that only two groups of people can really understand what a Rescue Squad does - those who serve on a squad and those they save.

Sure, others, especially fire/EMS folks, understand what rescue teams do - in a generalized sense. But, unless you have been there, done that, you don’t understand the amount of training, expertise and courage it takes to perform specialized rescue… such as; high-angle, low-angle, trench and structural collapse.

I believe a victim might understand, because they knew where they were and the life-or-death circumstance they were involved in. After all, they were the ones who saw the light on the helmet of a rescuer coming towards them in their darkest hour and heard a calming voice say to them, “I am with the rescue team. We are going to get you out of here.”

In our deepest, darkest hour… when we are in the midst of; a divorce, a death in the family, a financial crisis, a child has turned to drugs - when we need to be pulled from despair, all we have to do is send out a call to THE Rescue Squad. That call is prayer. That call is petition to the RESCUE CHIEF of all creation - to GOD. “Please, help me through this, LORD!” is the cry.

The answer? Well, the answer is the verse for this month - GOD says, “I am here.” THE RESCUE CHIEF says to you, “…I am with you to rescue and save you!” What a relief.

Are you buried in the darkness and feel as though everything is collapsing around you? Are you so full of despair because of something tragic in life? RESCUE ONE is standing by and waiting for your call. And when you do make that call, can’t you imagine seeing the “Light of the world” (see John 9:5) coming towards you in your dark tunnel of desperation? What a relief.

My prayer is that each one of you realize the power to save that our REAL CHIEF has in store for you. And, all you have to do is ask! Ask HIM to become the REAL CHIEF in your life. Ask HIM to teach you how to “snatch others from the fire and save them.” (Jude, verse 23(a)NIV)  HE will teach you. HE loves that you are serving…

…On HIS Shift,
Chaplain Skip

Copyright © 2012 Chaplain Skip Straus and Emergency Ministries.

Don’t forget to send your prayer request, praise reports, etc. -  http://www.emergencychaplain.org/forum

Make a secure online donation with PayPal!   http://www.emergencychaplain.org/donations.htm

Going In

February 26, 2012
"Going In"

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

FDNY firefighter Mike Kehoe was interviewed by a British newspaper (The Mirror) shortly after 9-11.01. He said to the reporter, “Our job was to get up to the floor where the plane had actually hit to reach people there and that’s what we were determined to do.” He says: “As we were going up, people were saying, ‘Good luck’, ‘lots of luck’ and things like that. Sure I was frightened – but I was just doing my job and wish we could have done more.”

In our verse this month, we look at the courage that our REAL CHIEF gave Joshua. Joshua was Moses’ aide… his deputy Chief, if you will. You might remember that when Moses’ died, our REAL CHIEF spoke to Joshua and put him in command of taking the Israelites into the Promised Land.

Joshua was selected from his own tribe (Ephraim) when the 12 spies were sent into Canaan to look over the land. Only Joshua and Caleb (who represented the tribe of Judah) were ready to follow God’s will and take immediate possession of the land (see Numbers 14:26-34), though all the others said things like, “Oh, no, our enemy is too big… or too many.” Joshua was ready to “get after it.” Why? In the face of overwhelming odds, why attack?

Let’s try to look at it this way. Let’s say you and your crew are first-in at a working structure fire. It is a one story frame building with heavy smoke and flames visible. As your crew begins stretching line, a lady runs up to you, “Hurry, my family is still inside!” You advise dispatch that there are confirmed reports of people trapped and you lead your team into a blazing inferno of a wooden home, knowing the danger… knowing the difficulties. And why did you enter that house? Because lives were at stake. It’s the old saying, “Risk little to save little, risk a lot to save a lot.” You entered that house because of your willingness to serve and because GOD has given you the desire and the training to “run in when the roaches are running out.”

GOD gives us the courage and strength to do what we do. And HE gives us a promise - that HE will be with us wherever we go! Knowing that helps promote that courage doesn’t it? I mean, don’t we find ourselves actually liking the adrenaline rush of facing danger?

Those of you who know me or read my articles know that my hobby is scuba diving. In particular, I love diving with sharks. When people learn this, I get asked all the time, “Why in the world do you like scuba diving with sharks? Aren’t you scared?” Well, duh! hehehe… that’s part of the reason that I love it… the adrenaline rush. I have also been rock climbing and skydiving.

But, at least for me, scuba diving has been excellent stress relief. Now, I won’t even pretend to tell you that shark diving is great stress relief and you should do it. It’s most definitely not for everyone. But, what I can tell you is that I thrive on the strength and fortitude that I believe GOD has given me to have gone into fires, into tenements, into “the hood” and into the ocean.

Breath this prayer with me - Thank You, LORD, for instilling in me a desire to serve… a desire to go into danger as others flee… a desire to serve others. Thank You for Your promise that You will be the Incident Commander on the firegrounds of my life.

I love watching our REAL CHIEF at work around us and I love serving alongside you…

…On HIS Shift,
Chaplain Skip

Copyright © 2012 Chaplain Skip Straus and Emergency Ministries.

Don’t forget to send your prayer request, praise reports, etc. - http://www.emergencychaplain.org/forum

Make a secure online donation with PayPal! http://www.emergencychaplain.org/donations.htm

Some needs that you could help provide;
Prayer - pray for us and those we serve on a daily basis.
Contributions - we are specifically seeking monthly contributors to stand with us.

"Enlarge Our Territory"

January 30, 2012

"Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!" - 1 Chronicles 4:10(a) (NIV)

Cindy and I moved to the town where we live in back in 1995. The population was about 24,000. It was a quiet, “master-planned” community. There was hardly any traffic. Oh, and there were two volunteer fire stations.

Growth came quickly. Today, the population increases so often that they don’t even bother putting up the signs anymore and that master-planned community is now a “township” and we are at about 120,000. With that growth, we saw the volunteers eventually give way to a career staff. And, the department just built Station #8. It makes me wonder if someone in that department prayed the prayer that Jabez prayed to GOD, “enlarge my territory?”

But, what territory was Jabez asking of GOD? Was it more land to farm? Was it material possessions at all? I don’t believe so. Jabez asked GOD to, first of all, bless him. He knew that without GOD’s blessing, nothing would happen. And, I believe that the territory he was seeking was an area and/or sphere of influence that he could use that would bring glory to our REAL CHIEF.

Bruce Wilkinson, author of the book about Jabez’s prayer called, appropriately enough, “The Prayer of Jabez,” challenges us to “Attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed…unless God steps in!”

Emergency Ministries, we believe, has done just that. We started a little over thirteen years ago seeking GOD’s blessing to allow us to serve some of the fire departments in our county. And, we began praying that prayer of Jabez… enlarge our territory!

Three years ago, our Board’s “Strategic Planning Committee” believed and prayed that we would be serving agencies in eight counties in Southeast Texas. As of last Saturday, we now serve agencies in twenty-five counties across the state of Texas. Then, yesterday at our Board Meeting, we announced that GOD really is enlarging our territory… we are launching Emergency Ministries in Minnesota, as well!

We could never have done this without GOD’s blessing. And, we were moved by the advice of two Christian authors… Bruce Wilkinson who challenged us to attempt something that would, in human terms, fail. And, Henry Blackaby, who relates this story in his book, “Experiencing God” - “I asked them to explain. They said, ‘Well, when we set the budget, we set the budget on the basis of what we believe we can do. It does not reflect that we expect God to do anything.’ ‘Hmmm,’ I said. ‘Then how do you feel we ought to set the budget?’ They said, ‘First, we ought to determine all that God wants to do through us. Second, we need to put down what that will cost. Then we need to divide the budget goal into three categories: (1) what we plan to do through our tithes; (2) what others have promised to do; (3) what we must depend on God to do.’ As a church we prayed and decided God wanted us to use this approach to budgeting. We did not try to dream our own dreams for God. We had to be absolutely sure God was leading us to do the things we put in the budget. Then we listed what that would cost. We listed what we thought our people would give and what others had said they would give. The difference between what we could reasonably expect to receive and the total was what we would ask God to provide. The big question was: What is our operating budget? By faith we adopted the grand total as our operating budget.” He continues writing, “The budget of our church normally would have been $74,000. The budget we set was $164,000. We pledged to pray daily that God would meet our needs. Any money that came in that we did not anticipate we credited to God. At the end of the year we had received $172,000. God taught our church a lesson in faith that radically changed us all.”

So, we set our operating budget based on a figure that only GOD could bring in… almost double of last year’s contributions. We are praying for this and ask that you join us on this adventure as we watch GOD enlarge our territory - our ability to influence and affect the lives of everyday heroes across this country and, with HIM, across the globe.

I love watching our REAL CHIEF at work around us and I love serving alongside you…

…On HIS Shift,
Chaplain Skip

Copyright © 2012 Chaplain Skip Straus and Emergency Ministries.

Don’t forget to send your prayer request, praise reports, etc. - http://www.emergencychaplain.org/forum

Make a secure online donation with PayPal! http://www.emergencychaplain.org/donations.htm

Some needs that you could help provide;
Prayer - pray for us and those we serve on a daily basis.
Contributions - we are specifically seeking monthly contributors to stand with us.


Emergency Ministries is a non-profit organization under IRS code 501.c.3 
PO Box 9121 * Spring TX 77387-9121 
713.510.4911