A Man of Sorrows

Psalm 19

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.”

John 19:30

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.”

Jesus speaking in Matthew 11:28-30

Sunset (2) 12-8-16

 

 

Wrestling God

Team Jesus Knight

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!”

Philippians 2:8

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.”

Hebrews 4:14-16

baptised
That’s me getting baptized over 20 years ago!  The guy in shorts to my left is my long time and great friend Willie.  He got baptized first.  It was awesome getting baptized together!
baptised1
Baptized into the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! It was fall and I was freezing!

 

Daddy

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Daddy.  I hear that a lot, and I absolutely love it!  Why?  Because it has given me the blessed honor of having God’s perspective on how He loves His children.  It has helped me see clearly how He loves and forgives us.  It has also helped me understand, respect, and appreciate His discipline.  I love and respect God for being such a great Father!

My kids are young (10 and 8), so I usually hear “Daddy” in reference to something my beautiful kids need.  Daddy can you help me?  Or Daddy, can I have a snack?  Something along those lines.  Every time, I answer and come to their aid.

There is nothing like how my kids say “Thank you Daddy” on Christmas morning!  I love giving my kids gifts.  It is so awesome to see their faces and watch them run around the room with excitement!  Their gratitude and joy is so overwhelming that I just laugh and keep telling them to open more presents!  It brings me great joy to see my children happy.

Sometimes, I hear “Daddy!!!” when my children are scared.  That usually happens when they see a big spider in the house.  I always know because there is a certain tone of extreme urgency in their voices when it is a spider.  When I hear that, I go running to them in protector mode.  We get some pretty big wolf spiders here sometimes.  I just had one the other day in the garage as big as a silver dollar!  I should have taken a picture for the blog, but I just killed that sucker instead.  You would have killed a spider the size of a field mouse too!  They are fast and they can jump crazy high!  I have fought them for 12 years here.  I am Daddy, spider warrior!

There are other times when I hear “Daddy” in a sad tone behind tears.  When I hear that tone, I put away my spider armor, and I go into teddy bear Daddy mode.  Like when my little girl just needs a hug after a stressful day at school.  When I hear “Daddy” spoken in that way I just want to comfort them and hold them.

My wife and I have also had to suffer seeing our son at Children’s Hospital for 2 days and 2 nights due to a broken left arm he suffered falling off the monkey bars at school.  He was only in Kindergarten.  We ended up getting the best surgeon in the country because it was a stage three break.  At stage four they amputate because they can’t fix breaks that bad.  It was real bad.  He fell from way too high up.  I was mad at the school for even letting him climb on it.  The way my son said, “Hi Daddy” after waking up from surgery in the recovery room is something I hope to never have to hear again.  They saved his arm and he has full normal use of it, praise God!  No, I didn’t sue the school.  I could have, but I’m not like that.  I forgive them as Jesus forgives me.

I hear “I love you Daddy” a lot too!  That line right there is something every father should cherish.  If you are a father, God made you a man for a reason and He has given you the divine responsibility to love your children as He does.  That is not easy, and you are going to need the Holy Spirit, but we can do it with God!

Fatherhood is such a deep responsibility and magnificent honor!  I could never love as perfectly as God does, but through the Holy Spirit I strive to love my kids in a way that points them to God.

There are times where my children need firmer discipline than other times as well.  Like when my 8 year old son goes off the rails and pushes his older sister because he got too competitive while playing.  My tone of voice has to be more serious and his discipline more firm to show him that attacking girls is absolutely out of the question…even if it is your big sister.  I always forgive right away though, and use it as a chance to teach him the right way and build him up to do the right thing next time.  I do that because that is how the Lord loves me and my heart responds by loving my son the same way.

I have made my mistakes believe me.  There have been times when I lost my temper, and I was the one doing the repenting.  There is nothing like a good back seat argument between siblings in the truck on a hot day!  I am not a perfect father, but I strive to be the best representation of their Heavenly Father that I can be.  Where I fail, I ask for forgiveness and learn from it, and the lesson is never wasted.  Don’t ever be afraid to say sorry to your kids.  When you mess up, admit it, apologize, and move on in grace.

Our Heavenly Father is listening to us at all times.  He hears our requests, our cries for help when we are scared, and our gratitude.  He hears our sorrow when we are sad and He cares and wants to comfort us.  He hears us when we are broken and we need to be put back together, and He never leaves the bedside of our suffering.  He also hears our praises and our songs to Him.  He hears when we tell Him “I love you Lord!”, and He cherishes us.  He loves giving us gifts and He enjoys us!  The Bible says God made us in His image, so I always picture God as a giant man.  I can picture Him smiling at us right now.  He loves His children so much!

I just want you to know that.  You have a Daddy in Heaven who loves you!  He is not like your earthly father whoever that might have been.  He is perfect in His love, and He wants you to be with Him where He is at the end of your life.  He made that happen when He died for you on the cross.  All you have to do is accept that gift and fall into the arms of your Father in Heaven.

Our Heavenly Father is always listening.  What do you need to talk about with Him today?  Whatever you might need or whatever you need to say, He will always be listening in love.

Grace and peace to you all!

Never forsake verse

 

 

 

 

Dropping In

Ryan boarding Feb 2000

That’s me dropping in on Parsenn Bowl at Winter Park Resort (on the Mary Jane side)…back in February of 2000, 18 years ago!  We call it “The Bowl.”  Winter Park is a great ski town.  My Uncle and Aunt used to own a bed and breakfast up there called “The Bear Paw Inn.”  The top of Parsenn Bowl is above treeline at 12,000 feet and it is for lack of a better term, totally rad!  When you hop off the lift and ride off to the side, you immediately see the huge panoramic view from the rim of the peak that spreads out like a big beautiful bowl filled with snow.  It is breathtaking, intimidating, and absolutely perfect!

Just about every rider up there, pauses for a moment to breathe, think, and pick their line before they drop in.  This is crucial because at the bottom of the mountain is a forest of trees that you have to navigate through.  What I love is that you can drop in anywhere!  It is wild, free, and exhilarating!

Believing in God can feel like that too.  It is scary for people to let go of their lives and trust God.  It can feel a lot like standing at the top of a 12,000 foot peak with a board strapped to your feet looking straight down wondering if you made the right choice!  Wondering if you can navigate the obstacles and make it through safely.

At the time of that picture I was 21 years young (I’m 40 now) and just a few months away from graduating from the University of Northern Colorado.  I had accepted Jesus in the beginning of my freshman year in 1996, and I ended up preaching and ministering on campus for the next four years (glory to God!).  I was a Senior looking to start my new life with the love of my life.  I also hadn’t been a snowboarder very long.

That’s right.  I dropped into Parsenn Bowl with no helmet and very little experience.  Probably not my smartest move.  It was real windy at the top and it looked a lot bigger once we got up there for sure.  I had to sit for awhile and pray before I dropped in.  Before that, all I had done were some big blue runs.

Accepting Christ was like that for me too.  I didn’t know much about Him when I accepted Him.  I just knew I wanted to be delivered from the evil that terrorized our family for four years, I wanted to be forgiven, and I wanted to go to Heaven.  I was only 18 when I accepted Jesus.  I didn’t have some deep Biblical knowledge.  I was introduced to Him by two great Christian guys who shared the Gospel with me, and I received that message into my heart and decided to drop into God and accept Jesus by faith.

Encountering Jesus and the Holy Spirit was much more exhilarating than Parsenn Bowl though!  Look, I know hearing about Jesus can be weird.  I remember what it felt like to be an unbeliever and hear somebody talking about Jesus.  It would make me feel angry, embarrassed, and I would cringe.  I know taking that step of faith can feel just like dropping in on a huge run you’ve never done before.  Believe me when I say, it is worth it!

I’m no Shaun White, but I ended up “rippin’ it up” that day, and I had the run of my life!  My walk with Jesus has felt the same way!  There have been plenty of obstacles and challenges to navigate, and at times I have struggled, but God always picked me back up, and I have had some great faith runs too.

Were there times that I got hurt snowboarding after that?  Sure, I cracked my head real good at Copper Mountain a couple years before my Celiac diagnosis in 2012.  I suffered a concussion, and it was painful.  I didn’t stop snowboarding though.  I kept practicing, got better, pressed on, and had perfect powder days yet again.

Getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease shook my life and my family’s life to the core.  It changed everything for us.  I suffered terrible life altering pain.  In the beginning of it, my wife had to help me eat and do things because I couldn’t stand and walk on my own.  We thought I had cancer, but it was Celiac, and it almost killed me.

The disease severely damaged my small intestine, which left me with another condition called Cachexia.  It is known as Wasting Syndrome.  I can only get up to around 140-145 pounds tops, and then I lose about 10 pounds over a weeks time.  After that, I gain the weight again, then the process repeats.  This happens every few weeks every month like clockwork.  It’s due to the damaged villi in the lining of my small intestine.  When those go, humans can’t absorb nutrients properly.  My Celiac is under control through the gluten free lifestyle, but once the villi are gone, they are gone.  The damage has been done.  I know God can heal me, but for now the thorn remains.  I praise Him for the healing He did give me.  I’m here and alive and telling the world about Him, and I am grateful for that!

I didn’t stop believing in God because I was diagnosed with a disease just like I didn’t stop snowboarding because I had a bad crash.  No, I pressed into God even harder!  My faith has grown tremendously during the last six and a half years of suffering, and I am so grateful for God’s love and mercy!  It’s not His fault I have Celiac Disease.  It’s just part of the fall.  I have been carried by the Lord in my time of need and I trust Him and His love for me.

Some of you are standing at the edge of the bowl and you are not sure this Jesus thing is for you.  My best advice is, drop in and enjoy the ride!

God bless you all!

Romans 10:9-10

“That if you confess, “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.”

Rad Colorado Art

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Harvest Time

 

Fall time is approaching slowly, but steadily.  It has been a hot summer here in Colorado!  We had fires in the mountains all summer, and some of them are still burning!  Fortunately, the cool winds of change are coming down from the Rockies at night signaling the first peek at fall.  Rain and snow will be coming soon.  It’s harvest time!

We have lived in our current home for 12 years.  I planted a small peach tree when we first moved in, and now it is full grown.  It is a beautiful tree and Colorado is well known for growing great peaches.  The Western Slope has some of the best peaches in the world!

Our peach tree had not fruited peaches for several years.  One big problem we have with the weather here is our crazy springtime!  In April and May, we can get nasty snow storms and freezing temperatures just as all the plants are trying to wake up from winter and bloom.  Many times, it will be warm and sunny and the peach tree will have buds and it will be doing great, then we get a heavy slushy snow with plunging temps, and boom, no peaches.  The tree goes into shock and won’t produce fruit that year.

This summer was different!  We received a bunch of nice humid moisture from the storms in the Gulf of Mexico that brought much needed rain and humidity to our dry high desert plain climate.  For about a week we could smell the moisture in the air and feel it on our skin, and that is not something we usually get.

All the plants loved it, especially the peach tree, and it responded by producing fruit!  We were all so excited that a bad storm didn’t shock the tree again!  It was beautiful!

There is something very gratifying about working your land and producing something valuable for your family.  Caring for your plants, tending to them, watering them, defending them, and protecting them as they grow is a labor of love.  Sometimes I have to prune branches that didn’t make it and are holding the tree back.  Other times I have to prune it to give it shape and make it stronger.  However, the tree remains.  Even when it stopped producing fruit for years, I still kept it and our family enjoyed its presence, shade, and natural beauty.  I still cared for it and prayed it would produce fruit.

God loves us like that.  Sometimes He has to prune us, discipline us, and make us better.  Sometimes that hurts, but God knows it is for our good, and He does it out of perfect love.  Once you are His by believing in Jesus, He will never leave you nor forsake you.  God knows what we need.  We do not have to beg.  He knows our hearts.  We cannot pretend.  He loves us perfectly, and that perfect love drives out fear.

1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear.”

Permanently engraved

Are you a Christian who is feeling disheartened or in shock?  If so, welcome to the club!  We have all felt that way at times!  Walking with Jesus and pursuing holiness in a world full of sin is not easy, and that is an understatement!  I want to encourage you…God has not given up on you!

You might be in a season of pruning or discipline from the Lord, or maybe something happened to you that has you in a state of shock, but take heart, He is with you, He is working on you, and He loves you!  You will produce fruit again just like my peach tree!  Keep walking with the Lord.  Listen to His soft whisper.  Make your heart known to Him in prayer.  He knows exactly what you need, and He cares for you.

Don’t give up, keep going, and give the fight to God!  It is hard being a Christian in this world.  Remember, it was harder for Jesus first.  He knows our struggle and He is with us!  I encourage you to lean into Jesus.  He will show you the way to go every time!

God bless you all!

In John 15:3-5, Jesus tells his disciples:

“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Ephesians 2:19-22

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Bowl of peaches
Callahan family pure organic non-GMO peaches!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

 

Real Talk

Nothing is impossible

I posted a pretty long piece this morning titled “Heart Poured Out.”  What I did this morning was share my testimony of how and why I came to believe in Jesus.  I am writing this as an addition to that post in order to expand on a few things.

This site is not about me or for my glory.  This blog is to bring fame and glory to Jesus Christ by telling people what He has done for me.  I know my testimony is strange.  I know when somebody talks about angels and demons that person is going to look crazy.  Look, I know.  I was the ultimate unbeliever, very worldly, and I used to hate Christians.  All I can do is tell people the truth of what I know, and hope and pray that people listen.  I can’t force you to accept Christ and I can’t make you listen.  What I can do though is serve God with my whole heart and tell people openly and honestly about the supernatural events I have lived through…and not just me, but what my whole family lived through (Dad, Mom, and my younger sister).  My hope is it will help you make the best decision you could ever make regarding your eternal soul.

What would people rather I do, not tell them?  What would you do?  What if you had moved into a house haunted by a demon when you were 13 years old and had to live with it all through your High School years?  Would you tell anybody, or would you hide it out of fear of rejection and ridicule?  Nobody wants to look crazy, right?  What if you had accepted Jesus your freshman year of college, and you had defeated the demon in the power of the Holy Spirit?  What would you do if angels rescued you from a violent man?  What would you do if you had stopped breathing at age 33 and Jesus saved you yet again?  Would you tell anybody then?  I sure hope so, and that is exactly why I wrote my book (One Man’s Very Strange Supernatural Life) and started this blog!  That all happened to me and more, so I have devoted my life to Christ and I tell people.

Not telling people is like watching a man drowning and doing nothing to help save the man’s life.  What kind of person would I be if I kept what I know about the spiritual realm and Jesus to myself?  I would be just like the coward who does nothing to help the drowning man.  The world is drowning, and I have the life raft.  I’m trying to help save you!

The Lord told his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20:

“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.”

That verse is called the Great Commission and that is exactly what I have been doing since I met and received Jesus in 1996.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and He told us to share the Gospel and spread it to all nations.  I am obeying the Lord, trying to help the lost, and I am not ashamed of Jesus (Romans 1:16).

Ephesians 6:12 explains perfectly what is really going on in this crazy world.

“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.”

That means our struggle is not against each other.  It is against real evil on earth!  Satan, a.k.a Lucifer, really was the lead angel of music, he really did get kicked out of Heaven when he rebelled and fought God, and He and his army of demons (fallen angels) are still here on earth.  I know, I used to think it was a bunch of bologna too, but it’s not!  That is why we need God!  We absolutely need Jesus and the Holy Spirit or we are naked and weak before evil.  We need Holy Armor to be protected and to be able to defeat those spiritual forces of evil.  That is not some metaphor folks.  There are actual demons on earth and they attack people, invade homes, and invade people too.  I’m not trying to scare you, but if it does it should if you don’t know the Lord.

You understand that just because you might not believe in something, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or isn’t real, right?  I didn’t believe in it either…until my family moved into a haunted house and we were terrorized for four years poltergeist style.  That is what led me to Jesus.  It wasn’t until I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior that I had the power to overcome evil.  It wasn’t until I read the Bible that I found the answers to what we had lived through.  I didn’t want anything to do with Jesus or church or any of it up until that point.

The real enemy is the evil one!  I listened to Satan’s lies for years, and all he ever tried to do was kill me!

In John 10:10 Jesus says,

“The thief  comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

1 Peter 5:8 warns us,

“Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Jesus defeated the evil one when He died on that cross and He defeated sin and death too.  The Power of Jesus is still here today.  It is available to you at anytime.  All you have to do is repent and receive Him.  He will receive you as His own and forgive you just like He did for me.  You will also be empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome sin and evil.  It is so awesome that my writing couldn’t even hope to capture that power in the most perfect prose!

God bless you all, and remember, nothing is impossible with God!

Hebrews 1:14

“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”

Titus 2:11

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”

Sunset (2) 1-3-17

 

 

 

Sunday Morning Forgiveness

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View from our kitchen window. That is Pike’s Peak! The line “purple mountain majesties” from the famous song “America the Beautiful” is because of that mountain! In 1893 Katharine Lee Bates visited Colorado, and she found her inspiration for that song on top of Pike’s Peak! The song was actually originally a poem titled Pike’s Peak. I never take for granted the inspiration right outside my window!

It is Sunday morning here in America!  It’s a big day today!  Why?  Just because it’s Sunday!  It’s a morning for pancakes, waffles, and bacon (mmmm bacon)!  It’s a day for family and rest!  I love Sunday!

All across America Pastors are getting ready to preach their sermons and millions of Americans are getting their families together for church.  I am praying for you Pastors!  Don’t forget to pray for your Pastors, they need it too!

It’s also the early start of fall right now, which means the start of football season!  No, not the world cup “bend it like Beckham” kind of football (although I like that too).  I’m talking head cracking, bone crushing American football!  Sunday used to be a time when we would all come together.  Together for church and together for football.  Republican, Democrat, rich, poor, white, black, cop, civilian, it didn’t matter!  Fire up that grill and let’s watch some football!  I know, I know, a lot of people in America are mad at the football players right now.  Not many people watched the games last year.  It got crazy on all sides.  Folks, please listen, we must move forward together as a country in peace.  We have all had our say and everyone knows where everybody stands on every single issue we could have ever talked about in politics, and we will continue our individual and collective struggles until Kingdom come.  Politics in this country swings on a fickle pendulum.  It goes left, it goes right, and sometimes it kind of swings in the middle.  Politics in America is like the weather.  If you don’t like it at the moment, don’t worry, it will soon change.

So, please, for the sake of everything good and right in this land, let us respect each other’s differences and viewpoints and move forward together.  From my Christian perspective, what is the alternative?  Hate?  That is an awful choice, and we all know it.  When all is said and done, men are still going to play football despite the risk of CTE brain injury, people are still going to watch football despite kneeling players, and players are still going to kneel even though the owners forbid it.

I don’t respect somebody disrespecting my country’s flag or any other country’s flag for that matter (there are better ways to prove your point), but I do respect their right to do it.  That is America folks!  We can disagree, and we can blog about it, write about it, preach about it, protest about it, and say whatever we want to say and I love that!  There will be people you don’t agree with.  I say this with all love, we have to learn to get over it.  I call it strong fellowship like when you have an argument with a loved one.  It hurts, but as long as we learn from each other and respect each other, then real change can come through mutually beneficial understanding, and life will get better.  There has been a lot of good that has come out of the last several years of real strong fellowship we have been having in this country.  People are awake and listening to all types of issues they never knew about before on all sides.  That is the beauty of freedom.

People have their right to free speech here, and I love that!  I am a writer.  I can’t imagine living in a country where I didn’t have the freedom to speak my mind!  Take note of that Google, Facebook, and all the other big tech companies, and stop trying to censor people you don’t agree with!  You will never take our right to speak freely without fear!  The human heart is unstoppable with all its passion, desire, and wildness!  Even if they killed the internet, people would start printing presses in their basements and the truth would still get out!  Amen.

Why am I writing about Sunday, church, football, and free speech?  Bit heavy for a Sunday morning, I know.  Well, I have been up since 4 a.m. due to issues with Celiac Disease and I have been praying and thinking a lot since then.  Our country is broken right now.  It has been for quite some time.  I love my country deeply.  I was born in the Heartland near the Mississippi River where Huck Finn floated down for miles on his wooden raft, and the humidity is so thick you can spoon it right out of the sky.  I am a country boy at heart!  I grew up in Littleton, CO though near Santa Fe and Littleton Blvd.  I had friends of every color and religion.  I even had a friend who was from Native Aztec lineage, and I even knew some gang members.  The schools were tough and I grew up learning to earn and show respect.

It hurts my heart to see my country so angry and hurting.  It hurts to see the constant hate baiting comments recycled 24 hours a day non stop through our media networks.  Most of it is not true, and only serves to fire up whichever side it is written for, but I digress.  What is my point here?

My point is that we all desperately need forgiveness.  We need to forgive each other, and that is not easy to do for most human beings no matter what race, color, creed, or religion you are.  The number one thing that has helped me be forgiving more than any other thing in life is one simple verse from the Bible.  The Book of Ephesians is a letter from Paul to the church at Ephesus, which was an ancient Greek city.  Paul is writing the believers there to encourage them in their faith and give them wise advice on how to live a righteous life and be imitators of God.  In chapter 4 verse 32 Paul writes, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

That verse stops me dead cold every time!  “Just as in Christ God forgave you.”  That is how much we are to forgive!  It doesn’t say forgive if you feel like it, or if it is easy.  He says to forgive like Jesus does!

Let me help put this into perspective by explaining how Jesus forgave us and what He had to do to make that happen.  This is one of my favorite sections of scripture and it is fitting for this fine Sunday morning:

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:6-11

Intense huh?  What that means is that God came down to earth and made Himself a man, His Son Jesus.  Yes, I know that is weird.  How can somebody be two people at once?  Well, the simple answer is because He is God and all things are possible with Him (Matthew 19:26).  Also, it’s not just two in one, but three in one, the trinity.  Don’t forget about the Holy Spirit.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together and are all part of who God is.  God literally came to earth to die for us, so we could be with Him forever in Heaven.  That is how much He forgives and loves us!

Let’s dive a bit deeper into God’s forgiving character.

1 John 1:9

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

 

Hebrews 8:12

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember there sins no more.”

 

Ephesians 1:7

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

 

Psalm 103:10-12

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

So, what do we learn about God’s character and how He forgives?  If we ask for forgiveness, he will forgive us and purify us completely.  He will remember our sins no more (1 Corinthians 13:5 reminds us He keeps no record of wrongs too).  He lavishes us with grace as he forgives us and we are redeemed.  Finally, He removes our sins from us completely and we are completely forgiven!

Next time somebody wrongs you or you wrong somebody else, remember how much we all need forgiveness.  Let this Sunday morning be a morning of forgiveness.  Tell shame to pipe down!  Tell regret to go home!  Today is today.  It is not yesterday and it is not tomorrow.  Take a deep breath.  You know what that really is?  A fresh start, a new beginning, and another chance!  Don’t waste it being bitter.  Our time goes way too fast down here for that.

Here’s to Sunday morning sermons and Sunday afternoon Football, and here’s to forgiveness for everyone!  Cheers!

Bless you all!

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

John 1:29