Happy Independence Day

Photo by Ryan, Venice Beach Fireworks show

To all my friends and family here in the United States, Happy Independence Day! I am publishing this late because we just got back from enjoying the best fireworks show I’ve ever seen. I waited to write a post, so I could add pictures and video from the show. They launched the fireworks from the jetty near Venice Beach, and we were standing right next to the launch site. We had a front row view, and we could feel the explosions in our chests. It was a beautiful and powerful display of Patriotic love for our country and we had a great time.

Our country is 245 years old today, and Americans all across America are celebrating freedom with joy in our hearts. As a nation, we are not perfect and we have many sins we need to repent from. We are also divided on many issues, and we desperately need God’s love and healing to flow through us all. Despite our problems, we as believers are called to love our neighbor. This whole country is our neighbor, and I love this country with all my heart.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:37-40

May we never give up on loving each other and praying for our country. You cannot love your neighbor if you hate your country. We can hate the sinful direction many in our country are pushing for, but that is not the direction everyone wants. Always love our country and never give up praying that the Lord will lead many more to repentance. Never give up praying for righteousness and healing to spread through our land.

This is still a country full of God’s mercy and blessings, and He still loves us. We are still a free people, and we must fight the good fight to remain free and honor all those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Never give up standing up for righteousness, truth, and holiness. Never give up standing strong in God’s Holy Word. Nothing is impossible for God, and He can and will unleash great blessings on our nation as we seek Him and turn from sin.

As I watched the awesome fireworks show tonight, my heart swelled with love for my country, and I was reminded that we still have plenty of fight left in us to make things right. Keep preaching the Gospel, keep loving your neighbor, and keep standing strong in God’s truth. May His love never grow cold in our hearts. May it always burn brightly for His glory!

Check out this video from the finale of the show. I pray it encourages you to love our country and be thankful for the great freedom we enjoy every day.

Video by Ryan, Fireworks finale

God bless America, and may America bless God!

Grace and peace to you all!

20 Years Of Marriage

Photo by Ryan, Our kids enjoying Venice Beach

Today is a very special day to my wife and I. 20 years ago, on June 23, 2001, we said our vows before God, family, and friends, and became one in marriage at a small chapel in Denver. Two decades is a long time, and we are still together today because Jesus has been the center of our marriage and our first love from the very beginning. We give all the glory to God and give Him praise for blessing our relationship, giving us two beautiful kids, and keeping our marriage strong in His love.

We have been through many trials and troubles together, and we have had hard times in our marriage too. It has not been a perfect journey, but the Lord has been so faithful to us. I can’t stress enough that we are still together after 20 years all because of Jesus. It is because of His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness that we are able to stand firm together in love.

After two decades of marriage, I can say with all my heart that to have a successful marriage we must love and forgive each other as Jesus loves and forgives us. We take 1 Corinthians 13 very seriously, and we pray to love each like that every day. We even have those verses in framed art hanging on the wall in our living room, and we read them daily.

Those verses are the definition of what love truly is. We have not lived out those verses perfectly, but God’s Word and our faith in Jesus are the foundation of how we strive to love each other. After 20 years of marriage, I can also admit that marriage is not easy. There are many challenges married couples face, and we must always be aware of the attacks of the enemy. The evil one seeks to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus defeated him at the cross. We rely on Jesus to protect and bless our family, and we stand victorious because of Him.

My wife has stood by me through the darkest and most painful years of my life. She never gave up on me when I faltered and was unbearable to be with, and I am so thankful for her love and friendship. We have many beautiful and wonderful memories together too, and I am forever grateful the Lord brought us together. We have been together since the days of our youth in college, and we look forward to many more years together as we raise our kids, and walk as one in the Lord.

Thank You, Jesus, for all You have done for us! Please keep our eyes fixed on You, protect our marriage, and may we always love You first.

Happy Anniversary, honey! I love you with all my heart!

Grace and peace to you all.

Happy Father’s Day 2021

Photo by Ryan, Venice Beach

Hello friends and family, and God bless you all. I haven’t written a post in awhile. I am still dealing with health issues and a broken heart. My visit with the surgeon a couple weeks ago was disappointing. I will be getting a second opinion soon. My options for surgery are not looking good, and I am praying about what to do. I also had to decline the job offer due to continued suffering and fatigue, which has been discouraging. Despite all of this, I wanted to take a moment to wish my Dad and all the Dads out there a very Happy Father’s Day.

Our family has been relaxing together today. We might go to the beach to watch the sunset tonight, then go to our favorite ice cream shop in town. I can’t eat dairy, buy I always enjoy taking my wife and kids out for ice cream. It makes me happy to see them happy.

If you are a stay at home Dad who is suffering a chronic illness like me, please don’t ever give up. Keep on loving your family and caring for them the best you can. You are loved and needed, and being a father is a great purpose and honor in life. We might not be able to do certain things other Dads can do, but we are here for our families and we can love them and care for them with all our hearts.

God is our best example of a loving Father, and when we believe in Jesus we are filled with the Holy Spirit to love like He loves us. The Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. He has compassion on us and He will always take good care of us. May we always press on and love like He loves us.

“He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.” -Proverbs 14:26

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” -Psalm 103:13

To my Dad, thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for your discipline and guidance, and teaching me to live with integrity and honesty. Thank you for your strong work ethic and perseverance, and thank you for never giving up on me through all the mistakes I’ve made. I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

Grace and peace to all the fathers out there. Have a blessed Father’s Day.

Grace and peace to you all.

Prayer Request For Healing

Photo by Ryan

Hello friends and family, and God bless you all. This post will be a simple request for prayer. I am not doing well. I feel deeply fatigued and I am completely exhausted from dealing with years of suffering. To all of you who know Jesus, please pray for my healing.

I was supposed to start my new job today, but I had to call my employer last week and explain the health problems I am suffering. Thankfully, he was very kind, understanding, and compassionate, and he moved my start date to June 28th. I am very thankful to God that I still have the job, and I pray for the strength to start at that time.

I will be seeing a surgeon doctor on Thursday because I have been bleeding heavily while going #2. It has been extremely discouraging, and my heart feels broken. It has also been very shocking to see the large amount of blood that pours out at times, and I am in pain. I have been crying out to God for mercy and healing, and praying I don’t have something worse like cancer.

The fatigue has been unbearable, and I barely have enough energy to function throughout the day. Most of you know that I have been suffering from Celiac Disease and Cachexia since 2012. I also had emergency gallbladder surgery on April 7th this year. I am utterly worn out, and I need the Lord’s deep healing to flow through my body. I feel like I am slowly dying, and I am desperately clinging to the Lord trying to hang on.

Just like the photo above, I can still see God’s promises and blessings through the storm, but they are blurry and my heart is filled with sorrow. I have also been struggling with a deep homesickness and hopelessness. I just keep trusting that He has a greater purpose in all of this suffering, and He will bring good out of it and glorify His Name. Please pray the Lord will encourage my heart and fill me with His joy. Please also pray for blessing and strength for my wife and kids.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

The Lord did not promise us an easy life free from suffering. He promised that in this world we would have trouble, but to take heart because He has overcome the world. Even in my brokenness, I rejoice that I have overcome the world through my faith in Jesus, and I trust in Him to see me through this. I also trust that Jesus will never leave me nor forsake me, nothing can snatch me out of His hand, and nothing can separate me from His love.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -Jesus speaking in John 16:33

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” -Jesus speaking in John 10:27-30

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, please lift me up in prayer to the Lord. I am hurting, I am tired, I am broken, and I need His healing touch. Thank you for praying for me. Thank You, Jesus, for your love, mercy, and grace. May Your will be done, Lord.

Grace and peace to you all.

Remember Those Who Gave It All

Today is Memorial Day here in America. It is a federal holiday to honor all of our brave soldiers who have died fighting for our freedom. All of our soldiers have my utmost respect for their service, bravery, and sacrifice, and my prayers are with all of you who have lost those you love to the battles of war.

May every American never forget the heavy price that has been paid for our freedom. May we always lift up the families who bear the weight of that burden, and offer them the love, support, and prayer they deserve. As Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” May we always remember those brave souls who laid down their lives, so we could live free.

We know what love is because Jesus laid down His life to save our souls. To lay down our lives for each other is true love, and all of our fallen soldiers proved that love on the battlefield. May we all live with that love and courage burning brightly in our hearts, and love each other and our country deeply.

Grace and peace to all the military families. Grace and peace to America. Grace and peace to you all.

Preaching Truth At The Beach

Photo by Ryan, Sunset, Venice Beach, FL

It was a beautiful night last night, so our family went to Venice Beach to watch the sunset. As we watched the sun dip into the ocean, three people carrying flags came walking up the beach right by us. I ended up talking with them and sharing encouraging fellowship as they were fellow believers in Jesus, and the flags they carried gave Jesus glory and preached the truth regarding the current culture war we are in. It was very refreshing meeting them and seeing the bold flags they carried for all to see. May their courage inspire us to be bold for Jesus and never give up.

All photos by Ryan

When I introduced myself, I let them know that I loved their flags and thanked them. I also let them know about my blog and asked if I could feature them in a post. They agreed and gave me permission to do so. We talked about Colorado and why we left, and the current state of our country and how sad it is that so many liberal states are no longer free. The brother carrying the “Impeach Biden” flag asked if I believed Christians should be more involved in politics. I said yes, and told him I speak the truth about all the issues and I take heat because of it, even from other believers.

I told him we came to Florida because we wanted to live in free America. He said it is crazy that we’ve come to the point in our country where we have states that are not free, and people are having to leave those states to find freedom. I agreed. We also talked about their “JESUS IS KING” flag, and had a good conversation about keeping Him number one and giving Him glory. There were a lot of people at the beach and we talked about all of this openly. Many people were taking pictures of their flags, and stopping to show their appreciation with a word of encouragement and gratitude. It was awesome.

It was so encouraging seeing these two brothers and the sister standing up boldly for Jesus. It was also encouraging seeing so many people show their support for the flags they carried. It would have been very different if Florida was a liberal state. Flags standing against Biden, socialism, and abortion, along with flags standing up for Jesus, faith, America, and police are not welcome in liberal dominated states. In fact, carrying those flags could get you killed in a place like New York City, L.A., or even Denver now.

Meeting them last night reminded me that no matter how dark it looks in this country, we must keep fighting the good fight and never give up. We must take a stand, defend right over wrong, and preach the truth. We cannot let those in power continue to call good evil and evil good as they defile and degrade our country with their immorality and lies. They are not God and they will never beat God. No matter how much they boast and gloat over God, His church, and His Word, the Lord will be victorious and give His people the final victory. That victory was sealed in the Blood of Jesus at the cross, and nothing can ever change that eternal truth.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” -Jesus speaking in John 3:16

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” -1 John 5:1-5

To my new friends from the beach, if you are reading this, thank you for standing firm. It was truly a pleasure meeting you and sharing sweet fellowship with you. My heart was encouraged and inspired by your faith in Jesus and your Patriotic love for our country. I pray the Lord blesses and protects you all as you serve Him, and He anoints your every step with favor as you preach the truth to this dark world.

Always remember, Jesus is King over this world, and He is coming soon!

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 28:18-20

Grace and peace to you all!

God Is So Good

Photo by Ryan, Florida Sunset

Hello friends and family, and God bless you all. This post brings good news regarding the trouble we have been dealing with. God has moved in power on our behalf, and we are giving Him all the praise and glory! The Lord truly has good plans for us and He is so good!

If you read my post “Leaning On Jesus,” then you know my wife suffered discrimination, persecution, and false accusations at her job recently. I can tell you now that she was unjustly forced to resign, and we were faced with both of us being unemployed after just buying a new house. It has been hurtful and stressful, but we trusted that the Lord would provide, and He did.

Since my gallbladder surgery, I have been feeling much better, so I applied for several jobs. Most of you know I have been fighting Celiac Disease since 2012, and I have not worked a normal full-time job for many years. I wasn’t sure how employers would respond to my resume, but I updated it and created a profile on Indeed. After praying and committing it to the Lord, I started applying for jobs. I applied to 4 jobs, and within a couple days I received a call from my top choice offering me an interview.

The interview was last Thursday and it went perfectly. It was a group interview where I answered questions from the manager and 2 other team leaders at the same time. The Lord really blessed it and all of them liked my resume and my answers. After the interview the manager spoke with me privately and let me know that he wanted to hire me, but he just needed to wait for corporate to clear my background and credit checks. I am very happy to report that he called me this morning and officially offered me the full-time position! Thank You, Jesus!!

God is so good to us, and He deserves all the praise, glory, and honor! Thank you to all of you who prayed for us! Just a short time after my wife was forced out of her job, the Lord has provided a new hope and future for us. It is also enough to cover all our bills on my salary alone, praise God!

I will be a sales representative for a really cool company that helps inventors fulfill their dreams and bring their ideas to market. I am so thankful to be able to provide for my family again! It is something I have been praying for since being diagnosed with Celiac 9 years ago! God is so good and faithful!

My wife has also had 2 great interviews, and one of the schools told her they will hire her once she takes and passes a particular state exam she needs for her Florida teaching license. Thankfully, now that I have a job, the pressure has been lifted off my wife and she can have more time to find a teaching position she really wants. She is looking forward to a much needed and well deserved break spending time with our kids this summer.

We are so excited and blessed by this new opportunity and all that God has planned for us. God cares for His people so much and we are truly at rest under the shadow of His wings. He is our great provider and He has never let us down! He vindicates us and lifts us up, and we glorify His Holy Name, amen!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

The Lord has prospered us and delivered us from harm, and we will not be losing any income from the unjust attack on my wife. God has rescued us from our troubles as He has faithfully done so many times before, and we bless and praise His Holy Name! May His will be done, and may our lives always be used for His glory! Thank You, Lord, for knowing the plans you have for us! Thank You for Your grace, mercy, and love! You are so good to us, Lord! May Your Name be glorified forever!

Grace and peace to you all!

Happy Mother’s Day 2021

Photo by Ryan, Siesta Key Beach

Today is a special day to honor all the mothers in the world. With all of my heart I want to wish my Mom, my wife, my sister, and all the moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!

My wife wanted to go to the beach for Mother’s Day, so yesterday we went to beautiful Siesta Key Beach. It was a gorgeous day and we had a great time relaxing on the beach, and playing in the Gulf. This morning we listened to an excellent sermon at church given by our Pastor and his wife. They talked about God’s design for marriage and family (Ephesians 5:22-33, 6:1-4), and the peace we receive when we submit to God’s will in that. Serving each other in love is crucial to a healthy family, and it is beautiful when a mother and father honor God and do His will.

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” -Proverbs 31:28-30

I’m posting this later in the afternoon because I’ve been installing our new curtains in the living room. Our daughter helped me, and it turned out very nice. The beach trip and new curtains were perfect gifts for my wife this year. She has worked so hard and she has been through a lot this year. Despite our current troubles, we are thankful for God’s blessings on this Mother’s Day weekend.

I want to thank my wife for all she does for our family. You are a blessing to me and the kids, and I love you forever and ever!

I also want to thank my Mom for all she has done for me and all the love she has shown me and our whole family. Thank you for always being there for me, Mom. I love you forever and ever too!

Take care of your moms, and love them with all of your heart!

Grace and peace to you all!

Leaning On Jesus

Photo by Ryan, Florida Sunset

Hello friends and family, and God bless you all. It has been awhile since my last blog post because we have been busy moving into our new home. It has been bittersweet due to a challenging trial regarding my wife’s job, but we are standing strong in Jesus, and leaning on Him fully as we put our trust in Him to see us through this. Although this trouble has been very hurtful and discouraging to our family, we trust that God is in control and He will never leave us nor forsake us. We are thankful to be in our new home in our new town, and we pray for the Lord’s will to be done.

I cannot give details at this time, but I can say my wife has experienced false accusations, persecution, and discrimination, and we are dealing with the fallout from all of it. All we can do is trust in the Lord and lean on Him and His understanding. The Lord has a purpose in all of this, and we know He will help us and bless us.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6

The photo above was taken in our new neighborhood near the community pool. The Lord spoke that verse from Proverbs to my heart as the sun was setting. The storm is raging all around us and my heart felt broken, but the Lord spoke a word of calm and comfort through the turmoil. He is with us, He is in control, and He will make our paths straight.

Thank you for praying for us. Our family needs to be lifted up to Jesus. May His will be done and may His Name be glorified in our lives.

Grace and peace to you all.

Honor Your Father & Mother

Photo by my daughter, Sunset, Venice Beach, FL, 4-16-21

Hello friends and family, and God bless you all. It is a little after 4 a.m. Sunday morning here in Florida. It has been a blessed week, and I am recovering well from surgery. My Mom has been visiting since last Sunday, and it has been such a great blessing to have her here. She flew out from Illinois to help take care of me, and it has been very refreshing and encouraging spending time with her. Thank you, Mom. I love you!

God’s Word, the Bible, admonishes us to honor our father and mother. It is a command that comes with a blessing. In a time where the love of most is growing cold, may God’s love shine through us even brighter. May we always love our parents, honor them, and lift them up in prayer. It is such a blessing to be surrounded by those we love. Never take that blessing for granted.

“Honor your father and mother–which is the first commandment with a promise–“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” -Ephesians 6:2-3

Even at my age of 42, it is still so comforting to spend time with my Mom. It had been several years since I had seen her, and it was so good to hug her again. For those of you who live close to your parents, I encourage you to visit them often. Time goes so fast. It has been a week already, and we are driving my Mom back to the airport today. I wish she could stay longer.

If your parents are right down the street, never take that for granted. Go see them today. Love them, encourage them, and give them a big hug. Take full advantage of that blessing, and be a blessing to them every day.

My Mom loves spending time outdoors and visiting new places. She had never watched the sunset from a beach before, so we took her to Venice Beach on Friday night. It was a beautiful evening, and the Lord displayed a glorious sunset for us. It is one of my favorite memories now that I will cherish forever.

Photo by Ryan, Our kids enjoying playing on the beach as the sunset began

Thank You, Lord, for such a beautiful time with my family. You are truly amazing, Lord, and I give You praise! Blessing be upon my parents. Blessing be upon your parents. May we always bless the Lord, and bless our parents!

I love you, Mom! Thank you for being here for me. I love you too, Dad. I wish you could have visited too, but I know you are working hard, and teaching high school is a lot of responsibility. We are praying for you and asking God to heal your high blood pressure. To my brothers and sisters in Christ, prayers for my Dad are appreciated.

Love, honor, and respect your father and mother well. This will go well with you in life, and you will be blessed and be a blessing.

Grace and peace to you all!