If you were to describe your reputation as a leader, what words would you choose? What words would others choose? In the multitude of descriptions, would the word “Integrity” be one of them? A lack of integrity eats away at every good thing that is necessary for building a happy and healthy home. Integrity is the result of being honest about a set of morals you are upholding. Here are some thoughts to consider as you move forward with living a life of integrity.
One way to begin developing integrity in our relationships is doing what you say you will do. This sounds simple but like a church committee, we can fall into the old mindset of “when all is said and done, more is said than done.” Most relationships suffer because of a lack of “follow through” with commitments and promises. To make matter worst, we then make excuses to avoid taking responsibility. Remember that at some point or another, we all falter on our promises and commitments. However, these should be the exceptions and not the rule. When pride gets in the way and we act selfishly, sarcastically, and scar hearts. Tomorrow we will look at some of the impacts of this “excuse” based integrity.
Couples who turn to excuses for their lack of integrity quickly find the ground of trust they once enjoyed eroding beneath their feet. They are in no short supply of reasons for their shortcomings, infidelities, unkind words, impatience, and their selfishness. Like an attorney trying to convince the judge, the man or woman seek validation for their reasons. Without the full story, they can get their friends to support them, justify them, and cheer them on as they avoid accountability, and preserve their sense of pride, and rightness.
Because integrity is easier to disguise, it can only be measured by you. If you say you will do something but when it comes time to do it, you change your mind or bend the truth to get out of doing it, you have a situational based integrity. This means you will base your morals on the circumstance you are experiencing. If you want integrity that resembles a house of cards, choose this way. I want to warn you to watch out for the strong gusts of truth that blow through.
Have you ever felt like you were standing in a fire because of your Godly convictions? The fire, although intense, can be an integrity builder. The refining process for gold involves intense heat. Gold melts at a temperature of almost two thousand degrees Fahrenheit. That incredibly high temperature is required for gold to be ready to be used as it burns away all the dross (impurities). The life of integrity involves much the same process. Sometimes we are surprised when “bad things happen to good people.” yet James 1:2-4 tells us that fiery trials are part of God’s refining process for our lives. Remember, when integrity is tested by fire, it glows to become a beacon of truth for others to see.
Lastly, integrity is built or destroyed in the heart. Our heart feels something, then our mind thinks something, often resulting in our bodies doing something. It all starts in the heart. As an example, Matthew 15:18 states, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man”. In my marriage, I have come realize that I need to abide by a set of morals beyond my own cravings, desires, and impulses, in order for my marriage to thrive. Integrity is the fleshing out of what we truly love. When our first love is Jesus, those around us will have a deeper love from us and a life of integrity that takes our leadership to the next level.
CHAPLAIN (MAJ-ret) DANIEL MIDDLEBROOKS
Chaplain (MAJ-ret) Daniel Middlebrooks was born in Plant City, Florida on 19 July, 1966. After receiving his AA degree from Hillsborough Community College, he entered the Active Duty on 27 May, 1988 at FT. Jackson, SC and began his career as a 91J- Physical Therapy Technician for three years at Fox Army Hospital, Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL (1988-1991). In November 1988, Daniel surrendered to the call of the ministry and worked toward his BS degree at Athens State College, Athens, Alabama. He left the Active Duty, May 1991 and entered New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the National Guard Chaplain’s Candidate Program. He was endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention, commissioned as a 2nd LT in January 1992 and served with the HQ STARC until Jan 1994. He completed his MDIV in the summer of 1994 and was commissioned at a 1st LT, January 1994 and transferred to 769th Combat Engineers, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was later transferred to the 2-117 FA in Oneonta, Alabama.
Civilian Ministry Experience:
CH Middlebrooks served at Williams Blvd Baptist church from 1991-1995 as the Minister of Newlyweds, Minister of young Adults, Minister of Family Ministries and Interim Music Minister. He moved to Morgan City, AL and served as the Associate Pastor and New Building Construction Director from OCT 1995-June 1997. He served as the Senior Pastor for Hopewell Baptist Church, Plant City FL from Feb. 2013- March, 2017. He currently serves as the Command Chaplain for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and as the Chaplain for Plant City. His also volunteers as the chaplain of Plant City Fire Department and Hillsborough County School Board-Security Division. He is the President/CEO of R3 Care & Consulting, LLC and Chaplaincy Care, Inc.
Active Duty Chaplaincy/Military Experience:
He entered Active Duty again in June 1997 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served in the 626 FSB (97-98) and 1/502 IN BN(99-2000); Deputy 280th BSB CH (2000-02) and 1-26 IN , Schweinfurt, Germany (2002-03); 1st Recruiting Brigade as the OIC of the CH Recruiting team (2004-06);and 10th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Carson, CO (2007-10). He last served as the Chaplain’s Career Course Senior Course manager, instructor and developer/writer.
His military Schooling includes Chaplain Officer Basic Leaders Course (93), Chaplain Career Course (2003), USAREC Chaplain Recruiting Certification, CPE (2006), and ILE (2007), and the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School Faculty Development Training/Instructor Certification. CH Middlebrooks has deployed to MFO/Egypt (1999-00), Kosovo (2002), and Iraq (2008-09).
Awards: Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, The Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leave Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with one Silver and four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with one Silver and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star, GWOT, Humanitarian Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Oversee Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and MFO Medal. He earned his Air Assault Wings in 1997 and his Recruiter badge with three silver stars in 2006. He was awarded the distinguished Witherspoon Award from the OCCH and National Bible Association in 2010. He is married to the former Arienne Plyler of Brandon, Florida. They have two daughters, Erica (23) and Allison (18). Over the last 29 years of marriage, the Middlebrooks family has moved 19 times and understands what means to “Bloom where God plants you”.
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