The Pain of Suicide & The Power of Encouragement

The Pain of Suicide & The Power of Encouragement

“Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you. So carve your name on hearts and not on marble.” – C.H. Spurgeon

Too often, people go through their lives failing to see their value. Their perspective is clouded by pain, circumstances, or a lack of encouragement.

Words of encouragement cost us nothing yet they can make lifelong impacts on others.

Some people are appreciated more while they are alive but never truly realize their significance & the impact they have made in others lives.

It is our job to tell them every day how important they are: Christ died for them. That alone makes them priceless.

Sadly, most of us get caught up in the busy-ness of life and don’t take the time to share a little encouragement.

The world sees peace as an absence of conflict. In Jesus, we have peace during the storm. This is the hope that is within us. That no matter the difficulty we should take comfort in knowing that He has “overcome the world”

When God touches your life, don’t be afraid to share this wonderful event with everyone. Don’t dismiss it! Share It!

We are in fellowship with one another to “mutually encourage one another”, “carry each others burdens”, and to “love one another”.

“For God did not send His Son to condemn the world but to save it”
John 3:17

Remember:

You are priceless to God. So take the time and share the message of His love and encouragement today.

It costs us nothing but the dividends that it pays are eternal. One kind word, a hug, a smile, or a phone call just to say hello may be the difference between someone choosing to live life rather than to end it.

Let us not dismiss the power of encouragement. Pass it on!

Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries

“Restoring the Hearts of Firefighters”

The Search for the Abandoned Soul:

As Firefighters we are often so focused on training and our duty to the public that we often miss the greatest opportunity to make a difference that lies right in front of us:

Our brothers and sisters in the fire house.

We have the duty and privilege to share God’s good news with ourselves and our brothers in the fire station. Our fellow firefighters need encouragement and help as well.

Romans 5:8 says “God demonstrated His great love in this: while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”

As a firefighter we took an oath to lay down our life, if necessary, to save someone else’s. We will not know the day, the hour, or the person if this time ever comes.

We can only train ourselves: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to prepare ourselves to save another’s life. Yet God has already made the rescue of all mankind; rather than waiting on the firefighters to arrive to save us all we must do is make the greatest 911 call ever made.

Consider this concept:

God sent His son to die for us before we ever recognized our sinfulness or our need for Him.

When someone calls 911 they are crying out to us for our help. Out of our great love for our fellow man we respond willing to risk our life for someone we may have never met.

God provided for us before we ever called for His help. “Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)

It was His plan to redeem us from the very beginning:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His son to condemn the world but to save it.” (John 3:16-17)

We are all born with a need for God, and it is only through Jesus that this can be fulfilled. Let Jesus come to our rescue today. May we all place our hope in Him and our future is secured. It is as simple as ABC

Admit that we need help: God I am a sinner and I need help.

Believe: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for our sins, and on the third day He rose from the dead defeating the power of sin and death.

Confess: Dear God, I confess my sins to you and I accept the gift of forgiveness by accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Please walk with me, guide me, and keep me on the path to a closer walk with Thee.

If you have prayed this prayer, we ask that you would contact us. We would love to follow up with you and assist you on the wonderful journey of walking with Jesus.

It is our hope and our mission that every firefighter will come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood
Founder
Starnesandrew1@gmail.com

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Choose to respond rather than react:

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger” Proverbs 15:1

It is a challenge to hold our tongue in the face of this world’s cruel language. We must remember that true power lies in our words. We can heal from physical wounds much faster than from hurtful words that wound us deeply.

With a word, a man can declare war.

With a word, a individual can commit adultery.

With a word, one can commit their life to another.

With a word, an individual can inspire.

With a word, someone can lift your spirits or destroy them.

It doesn’t take long for us to realize the reason why we carry hurts from our past. Hurtful words seem to echo in our minds, but that is not where God wants us to dwell. The devil wants you to remain in your pain and focus more on your hurt than your possibilities.

I have seen more good done by those who choose to forgive, love in spite of their pain, and share their stories with others. I have also struggled more with this discipline than any other.

How can one individual forgive great injustice and speak love in the face of hate?

The answer is not of ourselves. We were forgiven much thus we are to be forgiving people.

We have great power given to us from above. We carry the power of life and death in our words. With this power we can build up or tear down. With this same power we can destroy our very own soul.

God’s word is full of encouragement. Let us choose to move past the bitterness and share the good word! Sometimes all someone needs is a smile, a kind word, or a gesture of compassion that may make the difference in their day.

By God’s grace we all can make that difference. Let’s all pray for the strength and the wisdom to speak the words the world needs to hear.

#Brotherhood yet we fail to forgive?

#Brotherhood yet we fail to forgive one another? We withhold the greatest gift:

“While we were yet sinners Christ died for us” Romans 5:8

In life, we are often wounded deeply by individuals and even more so by those close to us. These events lead us to feel bitter, hurt, and justified in feeling anger towards them. We even go as far as condemning them.

The great contradiction in the fire service is that we are willing to lay down our lives for a complete stranger but we refuse to forgive a fellow firefighter that we work with.

Take a moment and look at forgiveness from another perspective.

What if we caused someone great harm?

What if we went out of our way to persecute, ridicule, condemn and falsely accuse this person?

And our actions ultimately lead to their death. Would we feel that we deserve their forgiveness?

Consider the life of Jesus:

Jesus led a life of love, teaching, and healing everywhere He went. He committed no wrongs yet others condemned Him because of His message. It made them feel uncomfortable and exposed their sinful ways. So what did they do?

They falsely accused Him, paid witnesses to lie about Him in a trial, and then He was tortured, ridiculed. and He was made to carry the very thing He would be killed on for a half mile.

When we think of every face in the crowd that were shouting “crucify Him” and suddenly we see our own face staring back at us.

We often ridicule and say bad things about others who make us feel uncomfortable by their good works. We look for chinks on their armor because we feel inferior. When they mess up; we call them hypocrites and gloat at their misfortune.

We then tear others down at their expense to make us feel better. Yet, we call ourselves good and some of us even claim to be Christians. It is our bad example that causes many non-believers to reject Christianity.
Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 15;

“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Matthew 15:8-9

“How are we to share the love of God if our own methods aren’t loving?” (Ravi Zacharias)

Are we truly “loving one another?”

Jesus chose to die for us even though “we were sinners.” He forgave us and He even goes a step farther. He wants a close and personal relationship with each of us!

When we take a new look at the cross and realize that our sin put Him there…We don’t feel worthy of forgiveness. Yet, He forgave us.

So let us take a look back at our own lives for a moment from the perspective of Jesus:

Despite those who have wronged us, hurt us, and betrayed us we now can realize that we need to Forgive them for we have been forgiven much.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each another, just as in Christ, God forgave you” Ephesians 4:32

If we fail to forgive others when we ourselves have been forgiven so great a debt; we are actually condemning ourselves.

Jesus said “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14

As Christians, we must forgive and show God’s love to others no matter how difficult. For if we fail to do so we are actually leading others away from Christ and condemning ourselves.

Let’s speak the truth in love and live out our beliefs by forgiving others as Christ forgave us.

As firefighters, shouldn’t we already understand this principle? He has written it upon our hearts.

Firefighters -Do not grow weary!

“So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs, and mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet so that those who follow you, though weak and lame, will not fall and hurt themselves but become strong.” (Hebrews 12: 12)

Those that have been in the fire service a few years understand the weariness that can easily overtake a firefighter’s heart. This year, we have already lost too many of our brothers and sisters in the line of duty. Anyone that has lost a brother or sister is never the same…

It has a profound effect upon us. It causes a flood of emotions ranging from anger, grief, all the way to guilt and regret. Those that are left behind in this world often carry an invisible burden that can crush their souls.

In the midst of tragedy, there is hope: A hope that comes from above and from the fellowship of one another.

We can take comfort in the strength of our beliefs and lean hard upon the strong shoulders of our brothers. We must remember that we didn’t just promise to carry one another out of a fire. We made the promise to carry our brothers through the crisis of life

When their back is broken from the weight of emotion…We will be there to bear their load.

When their heart has been darkened by the fiery trials…We will fire up the flames of encouragement.

When they have lost hope and see no way out…We will deploy the Rapid Intervention Crew of brotherhood.

When all seems lost…The fire service shines the light from within us to guide our brothers home.

Ask yourself this:

Where does such strength, encouragement, brotherhood, and hope come from?

Does it come from some inner resolve?

Does it come from the culture we cherish?

The strength that we draw upon is not from ourselves. It comes from the long cherished belief that God has called us to serve our fellow citizens and one another. This compelling drive that all firefighters seem to share is given to us from God Himself.

He has taken the weak and made them strong. He has said “Where two or more are gathered I am in their midst.”

He has said “Greater love has no one than this than one who lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)”

Firefighters are always together and daily lay down their lives for each other in service, sacrifice, and most importantly out of brotherhood.

God has said that we are to “love one another, as I have loved you.” So when we struggle and our legs become weak; may we fall to our knees and lift our voice to him. He will hear the cries of our heart. He will strengthen us. And remember we are not meant to carry the burdens of life alone.

“You have not because you ask not. (James 4:2)” Let us call out to our brothers and sisters and let them be our servant too.

Enabler or Encourager?

#Firefighters -Enabler or Encourager?

“Brothers if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently, but watch yourself or you also may be tempted” Galatians 6:1

Have you ever felt the weight of another’s burden?

Have you ever tried out of compassion to help someone by shouldering their load?

How did it make you feel when that person fell back into their old troublesome ways as soon as you stopped helping them?

Where is the line between being a compassionate servant and a naive enabler?

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ” Galatians 6:9

As firefighters we are used to stepping in and carrying the burden of another but are we missing the point of this verse?

There are times when we are to lend a hand and there are times we should not.

But we should always be willing to offer them our heart.

The pain of watching someone you love fail is a heavy burden but the pain of them never learning from it can be a lifelong disaster.

God disciplines those that He loves just as parents discipline their children out of love. It is not punishment as it is a correcting loving guidance that brings us back to the right path often with a few scrapes and bruises to remember it by.

Consider this:

The removal of adversity doesn’t make someone’s life easier, it makes yours harder.

By taking ownership of their problems, they will never have any, and will continually be at your doorstep pleading for help.

We learn as toddlers how to walk. We wobble, fall, and shed a few tears.

Do our parents react angrily that we have fallen? No, they rejoice when we rise up and take another step in the right direction towards them.

The Application:

As we face the next opportunity to help someone let us pause long enough to ask:

1) Are we fixing a short term(acute) need or a long term(chronic) need?

2) Are their physical needs met? Food, shelter, clothing, etc. if not do not withhold from them if this is in your power to do so. We seldom can focus on resolving our issues if we are homeless, hungry, and cold.

3) Is anyone teaching/mentoring them through their struggle? Are we getting in the way of that process?

4) Will my actions (however well intended) help or hinder them in their journey?

We are all called to love, serve, and lead but we must remember that we may be getting in the way of the moment this person needs to experience.

Do not take this as advice not to help others. It is not the intent of this writing to stop anyone from helping another but rather the opposite.

If we all would put more thought and prayer into our “helping” of others we may find ourselves helping them in ways we never dreamed possible.

Let us help one another grow through hard times not merely remove them altogether. Adversity is a necessary process for growth; let us come along side of others and help them grow.

#Firefighters Are You Ready to Respond:

Have you ever reached a point in your life where you struggled with defining your purpose?

Have you struggled with an inner longing that you cannot describe?

Firefighters understand the innate desire to answer the call. Their heart compels them to serve even when others walk away.

Have you ever wondered why this is so?

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10

This is your time. God has preordained good works for those who love Him.

As you serve others, look at each moment as a divine opportunity. An opportunity to make a difference in others.

God has a purpose, a direction, and the power for you to accomplish this calling.

Choose to accept the call, submit to His leadership, and be ready to respond.

For the harvest is great but the workers are few.

Are you ready?