Brothers

Proverbs 17 verse 17

I love that verse!  My 1984 NIV Bible says it this way:

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Proverbs 17:17

The book of Proverbs was written by Solomon who was the son of David.  It is a divinely inspired God-breathed book of wisdom on how to live a righteous life.  God gave Solomon this wisdom, and God empowered him to write it.

This is the beginning description in the first chapter:

“The Proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for attaining wisdom and discipline;

for understanding words of insight;

for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,

doing what is right and just and fair;

for giving prudence to the simple,

knowledge and discretion to the young.”

Proverbs 1:1-4

You can see how important it is to read the Book of Proverbs.  I want to live a life like that, so I read it a lot.  Just one of the many wise pieces of advice in the book is the one above about friends and brothers.  I didn’t grow up with brothers.  I have a younger sister, so I was the protective older brother.  Yep, don’t mess with my sister, you got it!

When I received Jesus is when I found my brothers, that is, my spiritual brothers in Christ.  I had a bunch of them in college, I have a bunch at church, and I have brothers all over the world that I am meeting for the first time through this blog!  One of those brothers lives across the pond from me in the U.K.

He is a strong believer in Jesus and has a mind that can tackle philosophical issues with great intelligence.  His writing is superb and his knowledge base in the Bible is strong and sound.  We met through my blog, and through email we agreed to read each other’s work.  Today I read a 27 page piece he did on a very deep theological question regarding free will and God, and he downloaded my book through my free book promo going on right now on Amazon.

Side note: If you have not had a chance to get your free copy of my eBook, you still have a chance!  The free promotion will end on Monday 8-20-18 at 11:59 p.m. PT.  Get your free copy of “One Man’s Very Strange Supernatural life” today!

Okay, back to brothers.  This gentleman, who was once unknown to me my entire 40 years on this earth, is now my brother.  We were always brothers in Christ.  We just never had the chance to meet before.  I’ve only known him for a few days and we have emailed a few times back and forth, but he is my brother nonetheless.  He is my brother through Jesus and we have the same Holy Spirit inside of us.

My brother is wrestling with some deep theological questions right now that many Christians would probably not even dare to ask.  I commend him for asking such tough questions.  I myself have asked God hard questions (see my post “Wrestling God“).  He has conflicts and questions regarding the Omnipresence of God, the essence of the Trinity, and free will.  Yes, heavy stuff.  Like I said, he is one smart dude!

He and I agree on the core doctrine of our faith, which is that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.  We just do not agree on the answers to the specific questions he is asking, but he is my brother, so I want to listen and give a perspective that hopefully helps him in someway.  If anything, talking with someone who cares is at least encouraging even if we don’t agree.  That is what brothers do.  When your brother needs help, the Bible is clear, the wisest thing to do is be there for him.  Whether you agree on theological issues or not.

I have many of the same questions and those questions, although different, do not make us any better than the other.  We both love Jesus.  We both have strong knowledge of the Bible built on years of hard study and dedication.  We both are filled with the Holy Spirit because of Jesus, and we are both just as saved as the other.

I am saying this because it was awesome how he and I could talk about deep issues that we disagreed on, and we treated each other with the utmost respect and dignity while doing it.  Brother, if you are reading this, you are a true Christian gentleman in every sense of the word.  I look forward to reading more of your work!

You know what else is cool?!  He has had some of the same supernatural experiences that I have had!  I loved that!  It makes me feel less lonely in the crazy things I have lived through.  He didn’t think I was crazy or weird.  He knows its true because he has experienced God in much the same way!  So awesome!  Isn’t it great when you find somebody who understands?  It really is!

If you are a Christian or somebody who has had encounters with the spiritual realm, I would love to talk with you!  I know what it is like to carry those kind of memories!  You are not alone!

Be there for your brothers and sisters today, and I’m not just talking siblings.  My brother and I both lived out Proverbs 17:17 today, and it was great!  Thanks for getting my book brother, enjoy!  Your essay was written in the humility and love of our Lord Jesus, bless you!

Be respectful to each other, be loving to each other (the 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love),  help each other, and learn from each other.  Above all, like Proverbs says, love at all times and be there for each other!

Grace and Peace to you all!

P.S.

Be sure to grab your free copy of my book!  If you have any questions or would like to talk with me about it, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father.  Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

1 Timothy 5:1-2

IMGP1447
The Callahan Fam at Daniel’s Park, Castle Rock, Colorado

 

 

 

 

The Roman’s Road

Roman Road Donnas Aosta Italia
Ancient Roman Road, Donnas, Aosta, Italia

I have always liked history.  It was one of my favorite classes in school.  It is fascinating to learn about how people from other times lived.  Take the Romans for example.  It is simply amazing that the roads the ancient Romans built are still there today!  It is an incredible feat of craftsmanship that has stood the test of time.  The ancient Romans were a people of skill and brutality.  They helped advance Western Civilization, and many of the things we know and enjoy today were because of the Romans.  The Romans also took thick metal spikes and drove them through the hands and feet of Jesus when they nailed him to a gnarly wooden cross.  Like I said, skilled and brutal.

I know many of you might not ever step foot in a church on Sunday.  That’s okay, I get it!  Church can be weird and uncomfortable for people.  I know.  You would have never found me in church before I knew Christ!  Ever since I came to Jesus, He has always used me outside the church walls, so let me take you to church today…ancient style!  Let’s do it like Jesus did chillin’ outside in the fresh air where the people were at.

I’d like you to walk with me down the Roman’s Road today.  No, not the ancient stone road you see above.  The road I’m talking about is a spiritual one.  It doesn’t lead to what was once ancient Rome or Gual or anywhere else their beautiful roads carried travelers.  Even better!  It leads you to Heaven!

The Apostle Paul bravely proclaimed the Gospel in Rome.  His letter to the believers in Rome can be found in the Book of Romans in the Holy Bible.  Within the divinely inspired pages of that letter, Paul clearly defines who needs to be saved, why we need to be saved, how we can get saved, how we receive that gift of salvation, and what the end result is.  Saved from what?  From sin and our approaching deaths, that’s what!

Let’s take that walk shall we?

Who needs to be saved?  Well, all of us do!

Romans 3:10-11

“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.”

Romans 3:23

“..for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Why do we need to be saved?

Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death..”

How did God save us?

Romans 5:8

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

How do we receive this gift of salvation?

Romans 10:9-10

“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.”

verses 11-13

“As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 6:23 (full verse)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What is the end result of this gift of salvation?

Romans 5:1-2

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 8:1

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:38-39

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, 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.”

That’s it, we’re here!  I love the Roman’s Road.  It is strong and it has stood the test of time!  Even after all this time following Jesus, I still enjoy walking through those verses and soaking in all the wisdom they offer!

Did you like outside church today?  Those verses sting a bit, don’t they?  They are supposed to.  God’s Word is living and active, and He is leading you toward repentance.  Better the sting of God’s Word now, then the sting of eternity without Him!

I pray you take heed of those words today.  Walk the road again if you need to.  Open your heart to God.  He will take you by the hand and lead you gently down the road…all the way to Heaven.

If anyone would like to pray to receive that free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ, or you have any questions, or need prayer, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  If you are in the Denver area, I will baptize you myself if you would like!

Take a look at that ancient road of wisdom again, and let it lead you home!

Grace and Peace to you all!

Roman Road to Gaul

 

 

 

 

 

Who is the Holy Spirit?

33 things the Holy Spirit does

The fast answer to that question is that the Holy Spirit is One with the Father and the Son, so the Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit.  He is here on earth, and we can have access to Him!  Incredible and a bit nutty sounding I know, but it is true!

God uses His Holy Spirit on earth to do many things, which you can read about in the poster above.  I encourage you to look through all of those verses.  You will come away with a deep understanding and appreciation of Who the Holy Spirit is, and if He does not dwell within you yet, you are going to want Him to!

The main thing God’s Holy Spirit does for us is, well, make us holy.  Before I came to Jesus I could not even conceive of how anybody could be holy or even act holy.  I had no idea the kind of power God gives us access to before I knew Christ!

Before I got saved, I thought Christians were a bunch of phonies.  I thought they were just self righteous people that wanted to act good and pretend to be holy for whatever reason.  I did not understand that God’s Holy Spirit actually indwells in every single believer in Jesus Christ and empowers them to actually be holy!  My anniversary of accepting Christ is in October (’96), and after almost 22 years, I sure know that power now though!

If you are an unbeliever right now like I was back in the early 90s, I know this sounds nuts to you.  Believe me, I know.  Read my post “Heart Poured Out” and “Wrestling God.”  I know believing in God and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior sounds crazy!  To the world it is absolute madness!

I am here to tell you as a former hard partying unbeliever that it is not madness at all.  It is joy and peace and the fear of death is conquered!  The Holy Spirit is so beautiful I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is!  The river of joy that flows within my soul is constant and steady even through the worst storms of my life.

Think about what I am telling you for a moment.  As I sit here writing this, God’s Holy Spirit is inside of me.  He is inside a lot of us throughout the whole world!  He is empowering me to preach to you this very moment, and I absolutely would not be here doing this if it wasn’t for Him!  Do you think a guy who loved drinking, partying, and chasing girls just gives that up and starts preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then keeps preaching it for 22 years!  No way!  I have the Holy Spirit of God inside of me because I repented of my sin and accepted Christ in 1996!

You have access to the Holy Spirit and God’s power too!  He will empower you to be holy.  He will change your heart and set you free from the fear of death.  He will give you power over sin and death!  Repent and believe today!  None of us know which day will be our last.

“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.”

Romans 10:9

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:13-16

20180609_103947
View of La Jolla Shores Beach from the Birch Aquarium back deck in San Diego, CA

 

 

 

Faith

1 Corinthians 2 verse 5

I will be talking about faith in this post, but first I want to thank all of you who have downloaded my book (which is my testimony of how I came to faith in Jesus).  Many of you have taken me up on my free book offer, thank you!  I hope you are enjoying it and it is encouraging to you!  If you have any questions or would like to talk with me about it, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  I would love that!  My free book promotion is active  until 11:59 p.m. PT on Monday 8-20-18.  Be sure to grab your free copy of “One Man’s Very Strange Supernatural Life” soon!

Okay, back to faith.  I have often asked myself, “would you have accepted Christ if you had not lived in a haunted house?”  I really don’t know.  Probably not at the time I did as a freshman in college.  I was real worldly and I liked to party.  I was definitely scared of death before I knew Christ and I had a gut feeling that Heaven and hell were real.  I didn’t want to die and I wanted to know how to get to Heaven, so maybe I would have accepted Christ in time.  Living with a demon sure did speed up my decision making process though, I know that!  I believe God has a plan for all of us (Jeremiah 29:11-13), so if I was destined to preach the Gospel, nothing was ever going to stop that.

I love the above verse.  This is the complete section of scripture that verse comes from as quoted from the 1984 NIV (Thompson Chain-Reference) Bible I use:

“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”

1 Corinthians 2:4-5

That is all I know too folks!  I did not grow up as a Christian, and I never went to church.  My family lived with a demon in our house for 4 years when I was in high school, and when I went to college I met Jesus and He saved me and my whole family from that darkness!  I went from hating Christians and never believing to having absolute faith in Christ because of God’s power, and I have been following Jesus ever since!

If you read my book, then you know that my life continued to be strange and supernatural after I accepted Christ.  No, there were no more demons.  Jesus took care of that.  I had two very dramatic experiences in 1998 and one in 2012 that strengthened my faith to a point where I know without a doubt that anything is possible with God, and I mean anything!  If you read about what the Lord did for me when I stopped breathing on 4-28-2012, then you know what I mean!

Another question that I asked myself and God for years is simply, “Why me?”  Why did our family move into that house?  Why did God choose to open my eyes to angels in 1998?  Then, when I thought everything supernatural had calmed down, I stop breathing in 2012 and God does a mighty miracle in the Holy Spirit to save me!  “Why does this keep happening to me?!”

I don’t have an answer for why, so I stopped asking it.  It doesn’t matter anymore.  It all happened, and it happened to me and my family.  This is my life and these are my memories, and that’s just the way it is.  One answer I do have is that I am supposed to tell people.  God has made that clear to me, and He has empowered me to do it!

No matter how crazy it makes me look, no matter what it does to my name, I don’t care.  It is not about my name.  I gave that up a long time ago!  It is about the Name of Jesus.  Ryan never died for your sins and I never will.  Jesus Christ died to forgive your sins, and no one else ever has or ever will.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, period.  My greatest purpose is to make that known to the world.

My faith does not rest in the wisdom of men, but on God’s power!  With everything I have gone through, do you think it bothers me if somebody hates me for being a Christian or they think I’m stupid?  I know the Gospel is foolishness to the world.  I have had people call me a fool for believing.  I used to think the same thing, and I had fun making fun of Christians before I knew Christ.  I didn’t understand that I had that hatred in my heart for believers in Jesus because I was part of the spirit of the world, which is Satan’s spirit.  I didn’t understand I needed to be saved.  No, it doesn’t bother me and it won’t stop me either.  I am one of God’s soldiers in an ancient spiritual war and I am fighting it in God’s power.

With what God has revealed to me and with everything that has happened, I know 100% that Jesus Christ is Lord and that everything in the Bible is true!  It doesn’t matter what the realm of men say to me about it.  Mock me, hate me, even kill me.  I am still going to proclaim Jesus is Lord and tell the world about Him!

How could I not?!  God rescued me from real darkness and real evil, then He surrounded me with light and love and tended to me with angels.  Then after a 14 year break from supernatural events, my crazy supernatural life continued when He gave me my breath back and let me live in 2012!  Do you think He did all those things for me, so that I would hide away and keep the knowledge to myself?  No way!  He commands us to speak the truth and share the Gospel with the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20).

These events changed the course of my life, and that is why I am here today preaching to the world.  God let me live and gave me breath back, so I could use that breath for His glory!  He wants me to share it with the world to help people believe.  He knows it is hard.  I know it is hard.  Why did this happen to me and not you?  I don’t know, but we can at least learn from each other and help each other.  I want you to know Heaven is real, and I want you to be there, and most importantly, so does God!  You don’t have to live through the torment of a haunted house to realize that!  Learn from my experiences instead.

Most of us have never had to live through the terror of a real haunted house.  There is nothing funny about Halloween to me.  Those scary movies Hollywood makes are disgusting (as are most of their movies), and they don’t know what they are messing with.  They don’t even have the Holy Spirit, and they are making movies about demons.  They don’t know what they are messing with folks!  Those fallen spirits are incomparably stronger than us if we don’t have Jesus.  With Jesus though, you can overcome any evil!

Let your faith rest on God’s power.  The Lord still does miracles!  Angels still help and rescue people just like they did in the Bible.  Believers in Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit can still cast out demons (I know, I did it once!).  And Jesus Christ is still alive and well moving in power among us today!  People, hear me, that is exciting!

I know it’s hard to believe and lay down your life to Jesus.  I hope what I have gone through will help make that easier.  God loves you so much that He died for you.  He does not want you to perish.  He wants all of us to come to eternal life!  Isn’t that great news today?!  You have a Creator, He loves you, and He wants to be with you!  Mind blower!  Your sins are already forgiven in Jesus.  He paid the price for you.  All you need to do is receive that gift and that forgiveness is yours!  You can have that right now.  Let salvation and peace be yours today!

I love you all in Christ!  Grace and peace to you!

“For I resolved to nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

1 Corinthians 2:2

“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.”

Romans 10:9

Acts 4 verse 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lions

Hunting lion

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.”

Ephesians 6:10-12

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.”

Ephesians 6:13-18

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.”

Romans 10:9-10

Armor of God

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

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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!
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Baptized into the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! It was fall and I was freezing!

 

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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