A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAPLAIN | A Quest for Excellence
BY JEFF KRUITHOFF
Many of you are reading this article in the comfort of your homes or office as the winter weather storms around you. As I was writing this in mid-November, storms of crisis were happening globally, affecting many of our National Academy members. My heart was literally breaking over the after effects of Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael, the homicides of police officers in Florence South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia followed by the mass homicide in Thousand Oaks California followed quickly by the devastating fires also in that state. These events have deeply affected National Academy members in our Country while at the same time National Academy members in the small island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands were recovering from the devastating Super Typhoon Yutu that struck that island with winds of over 180 MPH. I was so proud as your National FBINAA Office with the assistance of the FBINAA Charitable Foundation and several of our faith friends and partners rallied to ensure the communities affected by these incidents were provided physical, emotional and spiritual support during these most difficult times.
These events have forever solidified in my mind the benefit of FBINAA membership as we took many opportunities to assist our fellow members experiencing a crisis. It also caused me to better understand that we are all here on earth for a wonderful purpose and the act of supporting others is part of the purpose.
We have been discussing a faith walk of SOLITUDE, SCRIPTURE, SUPPORT, SERVICE, and SIGNIFICANT EVENTS as a “Quest for Excellence” in our visits together. Last issue we talked about scripture and hopefully learned some interesting facts about the Bible. This issue I wanted to further explore the importance of taking time on a regular basis and spending it reading the bible.
When I was a young police officer, one of my training officers told me to always stop the first violator you saw during your shift. He said you do not have to issue a citation at the end of the stop, but that action will set the tone for your shift. If you overlook the first violation you will many times find yourself at the end of the shift without any traffic enforcement. I found that advice to be so true as I progressed through my patrol career. Reading the bible is no different. Take the first opportunity you have in the day to spend a few moments in solitude and reading the bible. If you pass on that time, you will many times find yourself at the end of the day not having taken the time to spend a few moments in either solitude or reading the bible.
Improving ourselves always takes concentration and discipline. Both of these self-control measures present lifelong challenges as the distractions of work, family, friends, and life struggles get in the way. Ironically, spending time in scripture will ease the stress of these distractions and lead to a more peaceful life. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 says “There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way…. Every word of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another – showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.” MSG
But at the same time an important lesson to take away is to make sure our scripture reading does not become superficial and routine. Skimming over the text, and reading when noises abound around us, will not be very useful to us. Try these simple steps.
SHUT OUT DISTRACTIONS – Put away the cell phone, close the door, and find a place that does not allow you to hear the ding of an incoming phone call. I find reading a physical bible rather than my phone version allows me to completely remove myself from temptations that come to distract me.
READ WITH DELIBERATE INTENTION – The scripture contains some wonderful stories, but don’t read the bible in its entirety expecting a story. Instead, use the stories in the bible to teach you an important lesson. I read a devotion every day by Mr. Tim Hetzner from Lutheran Church Charities. This organization and its K-9 Comfort Dogs are a great faith friend of our National Academy family. They respond all over the nation to National Academy members and their departments and communities that are experiencing a crisis. In a devotion earlier this fall, Mr. Hetzner observed that scripture is like a field of flowers and our reading of scripture should not be like a butterfly that flies quickly from flower to flower. Instead, our scripture reading must be like a bee that hesitates over each flower, taking the time to suck all of the nectar from the flower. I just loved this analogy, because it is so true when reading scripture.
READ IN A CONSISTENT PLACE AND TIME – All habits have consistency to them. Become a morning reader, or a lunch time reader, but make it the same whenever you can. My wife has an incredible workout ethic for both physical fitness and spiritual fitness. Most mornings, she is up early to exercise and spend time in solitude. Whether on vacation or home, this is part of her daily routine. When she is not working, the exercise is followed by regular bible study and solitude in a quiet place. My ethic is not quite as strong, and quite frankly, my habits are not as entrenched. I have used several methods like setting a reminder alarm but still struggle for a good routine. I have found that the consistency builds over time, but you must always work at it.
CONCENTRATE ON ALL YOU DO – Don’t make the habit of deliberate concentration only when you are reading scripture. Make deliberate concentration something in all you do. When talking to a co-worker give them your undivided attention. When in a meeting, take notes and concentrate on all aspects of the issue being discussed. When you are writing an email or text give it your full attention. When you find yourself approaching every encounter, project, or issue, give it 100%. This habit will cause your life to become deliberate concentration to everything you are doing. As a result, your interactions with others, your bible study, your input into projects will all improve as you strive for excellence.
Remember Psalm 119:129, “Every word you give me is a miracle word … Break open your words, let the sun shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning.” MSG
Until next time, God Bless and feel free to contact me at any time.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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