I love this picture! Do you know why, besides the fact she is my beautiful little girl who is the sweetest person I’ve ever known? Because it reminds me that God has good plans for us and dreams really do come true!
Through the entire time I suffered Celiac, I thought I was going to die, especially those first four years starting in 2012. From 2017 until now it has gotten a lot better. I didn’t think I would ever be able to do anything again, let alone travel out of state and go on vacation.
My wife and I had not been on a vacation in 13 years, and for the last 6 and a half of those years I have been suffering Celiac. We met in college at the University of Northern Colorado. I graduated in 2000 and she graduated in 2002. After that we moved to the south metro Denver area and within a couple years we started a family. We ran two businesses together for years, one of which is my wife’s piano studio that she still operates today. We became very busy very fast, then the disease, then no vacations.
This summer was different! I was finally well enough to travel, so in June we went big on a trip to San Diego, California. They are just over the Rockies from us. What’s up Cali!
We rented a beautiful home in the hills above San Diego that is owned by an Ophthalmologist. The neighborhood was very close to the border with Mexico and we could see into Tijuana from the house. We also had views of the ocean and downtown San Diego. It was incredible after all of my years of suffering. The avocados and organic chicken are delicious out there too! They have so many gluten free options as well.
Did I mention it had a pool, and palm trees and the ocean breeze was incredible! Yes, it was paradise, especially after a long winter in Colorado! My point is not to boast. It is to speak of God’s faithfulness to me and my family.
I thought I was done for, dead, over, see ya later, but God had other plans! Instead I was at the beach with my wife to watch our children splashing in the ocean for the first time. I was visiting cool places like the Midway ship, the San Diego Zoo, the Safari Park, and Sea World. I was witnessing my children having dreams fulfilled and the magic in their eyes was beautiful!
My little girl has wanted to swim with dolphins since she was 4 years old. She is 10, and the Lord fulfilled that dream for her! I am so grateful to God for that, thank you Jesus!
There is a paradise waiting for us as well! We are all stuck here in the valley of the shadow of death and we all suffer in different ways, but be encouraged, there is hope! God has plans for us that we cannot even imagine, and an expensive vacation to California doesn’t even come close to describing how awesome Heaven is going to be. You are going to want to be there for eternity, trust me!
“However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9
“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.”
There is hope! God is answering your prayers. Give it time. He is working in His timing, which is nothing like our timing. He loves us and He knows what we need. His timing is perfect. I just want to testify to that!
God bless you all! Jesus truly does love you!
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
We have lions where we live. No, not African lions. We have 150 pound Colorado mountain lions. They are beautiful, elusive, stealthy, and very, very deadly. Just look at those eyes! He will kill you if he gets the chance. Happens a lot here. All it takes is for one runner or biker to go out on the wrong trail at the wrong time too early in the morning, and they are breakfast. This lion may have been responsible for attacking a 5 year old boy near Aspen, CO. His mother saved him. It is a reality most people have to deal with here, and we take measures to defend ourselves.
We don’t live in the mountains, but we are very close to the foothills of the front range of the Rockies and we are just up the street from a big canyon. Our neighborhood sits up in the rolling hills above our town. Our house is at 6,115 feet. It feels a lot like the foothills out here. Even the driving is a bit like mountain driving. We have a stream and woods surrounding us, and there are a lot of deer, rabbits, coyotes, fox, mice, snakes, and other critters out here. The lions love it! We even get black bears coming through sometimes.
Recently, we received a warning on the NextDoor App. If you are not familiar with that app, it is a way for people in the same neighborhood and town to stay connected. People send out warnings, updates, news, and the local police department posts information too.
At the beginning of the summer, when school was about to end, a woman posted a frantic warning about spotting a mountain lion. She had been jogging early that morning (not wise in lion country), and she witnessed a few deer dart out of the woods at full speed next to the High School just outside our neighborhood. There are several elementary schools and a middle school close by too. Behind the deer, was a full grown mountain lion giving full chase! The lady immediately went home, and posted the warning. We have lived here for 12 years, so that kind of news was not new to us. The local elementary schools have had to shut down recess and bring the kids inside many times because a lion was spotted watching the kids from a distance.
That chase happened only a few hundred yards from our home. Gives you that warm fuzzy feeling doesn’t it? Look at that big cat’s eyes again. He is not messing around. He is hungry, and he doesn’t care about your feelings, your life, or your loved ones. He wants to eat, and he is designed perfectly for killing.
How do we live like that, you might ask? How do we let our kids play outside? Aren’t we afraid? All great questions, and reasonable. We are able to live with the lions because we take wise measures to defend ourselves. They have powerful jaws full of sharp teeth and strong paws with razor sharp claws. When I take my kids to the park, I pack a .45 with a spare mag. Those are my claws and teeth.
I received professional training in my 20s from a man who spent 25 years training SWAT teams. He was great! He was an old gunny guy and it was like military training! He was yelling and everything. I had a great time. Before I was diagnosed with Celiac, I was considering being a police officer. The disease ruined that chance, but I am forever grateful for the training I received. My wife and kids have an elite body guard who also happens to roll with angels too.
People might say, but preacher Ryan, you have the protection of angels. Why do you pack heat? Yes, my family has angels protecting us, but the Bible also says not to test God. If I am going to hike on the trails and visit the parks around here, then I need to do my part in protecting my family too. I’m not going to walk around naive in lion country, and I wouldn’t recommend you do either.
I do what the mountain lion would do. I protect my young, and I will do it to the point of my death if necessary. I know some people hate guns. If you live in Colorado, it is legal to own firearms, open carry them on your hip like the Wild West (except in Denver), or even conceal carry (with a special license). We also have the “Make My Day” law here. I am not going to get into the politics of guns. I live in Colorado, I am trained, we have lions, I have kids, I carry for them, and it’s that simple. My wife is from Alaska. Everybody carries heat up there! We are tough rugged mountain people for Christ, feel me? Love always protects (1 Corinthians 13:7).
The Bible tells us we have an enemy who is like a lion too, and he wants to kill us.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
His name is Satan, also known as Lucifer. The Bible also tells us that we need armor and weapons to defend ourselves against him. These are not weapons of the earthly kind like my .45, no, these are spiritual weapons from our Heavenly Father.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
When I am with my kids at the park, I stand close by them ready to defend them at a moment’s notice. I pay attention to the wind and the smells in the air. You won’t hear a mountain lion coming like you will with a bear. I have encountered lions twice in the mountains. They are incredibly stealthy! I pay attention to my surroundings and watch my kids intently. I am not afraid. I am alert, I have what I need to defend my family, and I am ready to fight for them. Nobody is going to hurt my wife and kids, not even a big lion!
God wants us to stand ready against our enemy the devil too. He wants us to strap up and take a stand! Listen to how Paul says it, continuing in Ephesians:
“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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Did you hear that? How many of the evil one’s flaming arrows can you extinguish through faith? That’s right, ALL of them! What kind of faith can do that?! Only faith in Jesus Christ folks.
When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you defeat Satan and this world. You are taken out of this world and set apart for God, and the evil one no longer has hold over you through the fear of death. You defeat death and you are made righteous through the Blood of Jesus. You are filled with the Holy Spirit and given Holy Armor to defeat the evil one and all of his attacks!
Remember, we have an enemy and we need our weapons and armor. Be alert, be ready, and pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of requests! Take it seriously, and train. Sharpen your sword and shine your shield. This is a battleground, not a playground.
One more thing. Don’t ever forget, our Lord Jesus is a Lion too, and He is much more powerful than the evil one! Jesus is Lord!
Grace and peace to you all!
“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
It is a little after 5 a.m. here in Colorado. I have been up since 3:30. Why? Because of Celiac Disease again. Over the last week I have been going through another Cachexia episode. I’ve bottomed out again and I’m back at 135 pounds. It doesn’t feel good…at all.
You know what though? I’m down in my office typing this post and this disease is not stopping me! The reason for that is that I have had so many consecutive days of suffering (every day since 1-6-12) that God has trained me to keep my mind in the right place. Otherwise, quite simply, I would lose my mind suffering this crazy disease!
People talk a lot about positive thinking, but that can only get you so far. It might work for a little while to think about a vacation you want to go on, or something else you are working towards, but that won’t sustain you when real trouble comes knocking at your door. When your life is flipped upside down and body slammed and you are left crumpled on the floor.
I rise up in victory because my mind is not on earthly things. Everything here is broken and temporary. Through my suffering the Lord has trained me to push through suffering and completely fix my eyes on Him. If I don’t, then the suffering can get the best of me.
Without the Holy Spirit I wouldn’t have the proper power to fight this. Through the Holy Spirit, God gives me absolutely everything I need to be victorious over the dragon that is Celiac Disease. I can slay him with a single blow and just keep moving on. Does he rise up and attack me again? Yep, we fight everyday. Sometimes he gets some pretty good licks in, but every day, no matter what, I win, and I have that victory through the blood of Jesus!
What struggles or suffering are you dealing with today? Did you start your day like me in pain right after you opened your eyes? Give it to God today! Fix your eyes on Jesus who suffered so horrifically for our salvation. Give Him your pain. Give Him your trials. He will carry them for you. He longs to comfort you and give you peace.
Be encouraged and take heart, Jesus is alive!
Bless you all!
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hello Everyone! I just created a free book promotion for my book on Amazon. It will start tomorrow (or tonight really) 8-16-18 at Midnight Pacific Time. It ends at 11:59 p.m. PT 8-20-18. Amazon only lets you do 5 days for a free book promo. I would have done more!
I just want everyone to have a chance to read my testimony for free! During those 5 days you can go to Amazon and download my eBook for free. I encourage you to do that, and please tell your friends and family too! You don’t need a Kindle device to read the eBook. Amazon has the awesome and free Kindle App, which turns your device into a Kindle reader. I have it on my PC and my Android phone. It’s cool! The books look great on there too with great readability. Very easy app to use too.
If you’ve ever wanted to know if the spiritual realm is real, then you should read my book! You will learn about angels, demons, the Holy Spirit, and that miracles still happen today because Jesus is alive!!! Yes, God exists, and He loves us!
I pray my story is a blessing to you and it helps you understand just how much God loves you! Set the dates and be sure to grab your free copy before time runs out!
I would love to hear what readers think of my book. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments about it!
Bless you all!
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”
I just want to take a minute and thank everyone who has followed my blog and hooked me up with such encouraging comments! I have only had my blog going for a few days now, but I have already met amazing people from all over the world. I’ve had hits from Russia, India, Ireland, the U.K., the Philippines, and of course a bunch from right here at home in the USA. All of you are beautiful souls and I appreciate you all! It is awesome how all of our writing crosses through boundaries and barriers and reaches out into the whole world! Praise God we get to live in this time!
I am feeling very grateful to God, and I just want to share that vibe with you! The best way I can think of to do that is through music. Whatever you have going on today, I pray that this vibe will lift you up and you will be encouraged in the power of the Lord!
I want to stand in the gap and pray for everyone right now.
“Lord Jesus, thank you for loving us! I am asking that you lift up and encourage every single person who reads this! Bless those who are hurting Lord. Heal their wounds and comfort them. Lift up our hearts Lord, so that we overflow with joy in the power of your Holy Spirit! I cast out the evil one away from my homies, the ones who know you and the ones who don’t! Protect them, keep them safe in your Mighty Arms of love, and let your love wash over them! In Your Holy Name Lord Jesus, Amen!”
Check out these YouTube links to some great Holy Spirit filled music, and just vibe with me! This is what my peace and joy from Jesus feels like! Peace to you all, enjoy!
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.”
In Isaiah 53:5 the prophet Isaiah prophesies about the coming Messiah:
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.”
I want to focus on this one verse for a moment. Think about Jesus. Think about what the ancient Romans did to Him when they beat Him with lashed whips with sharp stones embedded in the leather. It wasn’t just a whip. It would grab a hold of the flesh and tear with every strike! Think about how they sunk a crown of thorns into his head. Those were not little thorns either. They were huge 3 to 4 inch spikes! Think about how they drove thick metal spikes through His hands and feet to hang Him on a cross, which was a death reserved for criminals. Jesus was despised and rejected by men. The account of His death is even recorded in ancient Roman documents, and He died like that for us. For you, for me, for everyone!
He was also a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. That seems strange, doesn’t it? Why would the Son of God be sad and suffering? Wouldn’t He have the joy and power of God inside and be happy all the time? Not quite, let me explain.
Jesus felt sorrow because of what He saw on the earth. The sin, the hurt, the disease, the hatred, and the rebellion against God. He had sorrow because He cares for us deeply.
Sometimes the things in this world are extremely depressing and they cause deep sorrow. We have watched for years here in America as one mass shooting after another has happened in some of the most vulnerable and unthinkable places. We see people in other countries suffering not even having access to clean water. We see homeless on our streets. The sorrowful list goes on.
Those types of things should bring sorrow because through that we can impact change! I live in America, born and raised. It is not lost on me that not everyone in the world gets to enjoy the things I do here. It bothers me that some people are born into situations that seem impossible to overcome while others are born into freedom and peace. Why was I born smack in the middle of the U.S.A. and not in the middle of the Congo? My soul could have just as easily been given to another family.
All I know is that God has a plan for each one of us, we are all made in His image, and He wants us to help each other! All the suffering I see makes me feel the same sorrow because I have the same Holy Spirit inside of me that Jesus does.
What are we supposed to do with that sorrow though? Just sit around feeling depressed doing nothing about it? No, not at all! We get up, form ministries, and start serving the Lord and doing the exact same things He did while He was on earth. We serve, we give our time, we give our money, we pray, and we reach out to a hurting world!
Godly sorrow leads to great positive change and justice! It also leads to repentance.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow leads to death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”
2 Corinthians 7:10-11
Jesus didn’t walk this earth oblivious to the pain around Him. No, He embraced it. He was a man familiar with suffering. Not just His Own, but ours too. He took our suffering into Himself and He experienced it fully. He also took all of our sins upon Himself and experienced death and hell for us, so we don’t have to!
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
Just like Jesus, I will not just sit around. I will not ignore the plight of those that are suffering. We are commanded by God to love people. That is the entire point of the Bible. God is love. He wants us to love!
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:16
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-18
This is not about guilt trips. This is about love. If you feel that sorrow and you want to do something about it, cruise over to my Great Ministries page, and take a look at how Jesus is moving in power through His followers still today! They are all financially accountable ministries my wife and I support.
Christian sorrow should not be taboo at all like it is in many churches. Do we have joy in the Holy Spirit? Of course we do! That will always be there flowing inside of us like a mighty river. We also feel the Lord’s sorrow at times, so use it for His glory and help people like He did.
God bless you all!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I want to confess more things to everyone. I am not ever going to be a phony! You have found a preacher who knows how sinful he is and how much he needs Jesus. Like TobyMac said back when he was with D.C. Talk, “Everyday I realize I’m still a man in need of a Savior.” Man-O-man is that so true!
If you have been following my blog, then you know that I have Celiac Disease. I have already covered much of that. What I want to tell you is how angry I was during many of the years of my suffering since 2012. I also want to explain how I arrived where I am today much healthier and stronger with a published book on Amazon, and a blog where I write about God with joy again.
It was three years into the disease, and I was still hurting real bad. I thought after the first year, “surely this will end soon.” I was wrong. My bones, muscles, and spine burned and ached from being so thin. I would vomit at random times (3 a.m. was always fun), I would have massive blood sugar drops, and don’t even get me started about how many times I had to go #2. That went on a lot in years 3 and 4 of the suffering. I was eating gluten free and I also had cut out dairy, soy, and eggs, but my body was detoxing itself and I was still excreting dead intestinal tissue at times.
I was praying and crying out to God for healing, but it just wasn’t happening. Many nights I would be laying on the floor shivering and shaking in a cold sweat after vomiting and having diarrhea at the same time (yes, I would be on the pot with a trash can in front of me at 2 or 3 a.m., and I did that many times for many years). I thought I was going to live like that for the rest of my life!
I became disillusioned with God, myself, and life itself. I became so angry that I wanted to wrestle God! That’s right. I wanted to go man to God and I didn’t care if He killed me! I wanted to beat my chest and yell up at the sky, and that is exactly what I did at times. What I didn’t know and still can’t seem to wrap my mind around is how lovingly He dealt with me during that time.
At times, after watching all the mass shootings and all the crazy turmoil around the world, my suffering would spill over and I would say things like, “YOU DON’T CARE GOD! Sitting up there on your throne looking down on us, just sitting there watching us suffer! You don’t care!”
Another one which was filled with mockery as I pumped my fist and pointed towards the sky was, “You sure must like your throne because you just sit there doing nothing!” I know, it is awful, but I am being open with you about my fight with God.
At times the pain and anguish were so bad that I would call out for God to kill me. “Just kill me Lord please,” was a common prayer in years 3 and 4. I couldn’t take it anymore and I just wanted to go home and be with Jesus. I would tell Him, “Am I your child or not?! I have served you for over 20 years, where are you now?!”
I thought God was done with me, and He was setting me aside. What He was really doing was comforting me, building me up, and healing me in His perfect timing. God is so very faithful to us!
One set of questions in particular really drove me nuts, and I had many conversations with God about it. I would ask Him with anger, “Why did you create any of us at all? What is the point of it all? Were you lonely? Why did you make it the way you made it?”
This whole struggle played out from about 2014 to 2017. When I was diagnosed on 1-6-2012 I weighed 128 pounds. I am 6 foot 1 inch tall, so I looked like skinny walking death. It was horrific. We thought for sure I had cancer. I had gone to doctors for gut pain for 10 years leading up to my diagnosis. None of them ever mentioned Celiac Disease or asked about gluten.
It wasn’t until I met a wonderful Nutritionist Doctor from Denver that I was correctly diagnosed. I love you Dr. Darby, thank you! She told me I was starving to death because of a damaged small intestine. She advised me to immediately go gluten free, and my new life as a Celiac began.
I was 33 years old with two young kids and a wife to support and I got taken out hard! I couldn’t work. We had to close one of our businesses. It completely changed our lives!
What made me more angry than anything was when we found out our kids also have Celiac Disease. Around the same time I was diagnosed my daughter started showing signs of it. She was only 4 or 5 at the time. She was having awful stools, gut pain, and her hair started falling out. We immediately went gluten free, and she was immediately better. Our son is two years younger than his sister, so we caught it early enough in him that he didn’t suffer at all. I thank God we caught the disease before it damaged their small intestines.
Celiac is a genetic auto immune disorder, so I passed it to my kids. I was very angry about that. I would tell God, “Use somebody else Lord, please, leave me alone.” I would yell up at him about all the crazy supernatural things I have lived through, and ask Him why I had to go through all that.
I thought for sure God would smite me. Even though I know He is loving and good and forgiving, I still thought in the back of my mind that He would surely strike me down after all I had said to Him. Surely I had pushed Him too far.
Not at all. You know what God did instead? He wrestled with me, disciplined me, and cared for me in love. He let me vent and pour out my heart to Him. He let me struggle and twist and turn and try to remove myself from His loving bear hug. He let me pump my fist, beat my chest, and yell up at Heaven…and He didn’t strike me down.
He loved me instead! He answered me and told me He created me and all of us and all of this because He wants us to experience being loved and loving others for all eternity with Him in Heaven! He showed me how much He cared from the outpouring of love and support I received from family and friends. My children would write me notes saying they loved me and telling me to not give up. He lifted me up and showed me a better way to eat and live, so I could heal quicker. He cleansed my body of toxins and now I eat better than I ever have (100% Organic, 100% NON-GMO, and 100% Gluten Free baby!) He told me to write my testimony and publish it, so I did and He empowered me to get it done. He told me to start a blog and minister to people telling them everything that He has done for me, and here I am doing just that!
He also showed me that the sin and evil we see in this world is not because of Him. He is on His throne and He is in control. He also gave us free will, and we are living in a fallen world, and satan is very real. The Bible is clear that the world will be in a state of utter chaos in the end, and we most definitely need a Savior. The Lord already provided us a way out, and that way is Jesus. He cared so much that He left Heaven and His throne to die for us!
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!”
Above all God showed me that I am His, and nothing can ever, ever, ever snatch me out of His hand. I glorify God, honor God, love God, and respect God because He is worthy of that glory, honor, love, and respect. I came through my time of need with a deeper understanding and appreciation of who God is and how He loves, and I am going to keep telling people about Him until my very last breath on this earth. I no longer pray, “Use somebody else Lord.” I pray in Holy Spirit power, “Here I am Lord, use me!”
In all of my anger, I never stopped believing, I always called on Jesus, and I always asked for the Lord to fill me with the Holy Spirit. The Lord even continued to use me to share the Gospel during that time! Jesus has all authority here in my house and over my life, and He always will!
Believe me, those memories I have of the angels in 1998, and how Jesus was with me when I stopped breathing in 2012 have given me great strength through my time of suffering! I love you Lord! Thank you for saving me and forgiving me so many times!
He will forgive you too. Give him your whole heart today. Are you angry at God? Good! That’s a start because you already believe that He exists enough to be mad at Him! Open up your heart, be honest, and wrestle Him if you have to. I promise you will end up wrapped in His love forever!
Bless you all!
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”