Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Reality of A Dream

I stopped hard in my tracks when I came to this little place on my early morning run. I stopped and I stared and the more I focused on what I was looking at the more clearly I heard it.
The voice inside my spirit was asking, "What do you see?"
I had been going through a very difficult season in my life and it I was in this season I found myself questioning my value to God and to those who were the closest to me. I gauged their responses, actions, and expressions of affection toward me as the indicator of my personal worth and value to them and living FOR approval had reached it's destructive end. I was in an emotional hole with no visible means of escape. I functioned well outwardly, but internally I was fractured and in pain. I was staying in the home of some friends and had decided to go for an early morning run. It was dark when I left the house, and being gifted with a terrible sense of direction, I quickly became lost.
They say that the best way to get found is to realize you are lost and I could not agree more because it was in getting lost that I fully realized that I had been found.
I was pouring my heart out to God and asking if He was aware of me and my needs of affirmation, value, love, adequacy, and worth when He opened my eyes to what you are about to read.
"...for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." ~ Luke 11:8b

It was at this spot where God stopped me in my tracks and began to pour into my heart a glimpse of an understanding of His love for me. When I looked out on the still lake I saw heaven reflected on earth. God made us to see His love for us plainly and clearly and I sat down on the bench above and just wept while He began to flood my mind with verse after verse of scripture describing His love for me. He specifically directed my attention to The Song of Solomon.

I had grown up in church and had never read anything from this book because it was chocked full of confusing passages and story lines with verses that dealt with graphic depictions of things I was never allowed to ask about growing up.

I began to read and re-read the eight chapters of this book with an intense desire for God to show me why this book made it into the Bible out of all of the books that did not. What was it that He wanted us to know through this little eight chapter story of a king and a shepherd girl?

What He showed me was that this book was NOT about marriage nor was this book NOT about sex although it contains both. This book was about relationship. This book showed me that God was NOT interested in me living FOR Him, but rather He was interested in me living FROM Him.


I began to consume this book and found myself writing down wave after wave of thoughts. Every verse contained an incredible wealth of value in the establishing of my worth in Him.

You see most of us go to God asking Him to meet a need in our life and what we really want is for Him to meet that need through another source. We ask for a job because we are looking for security. We ask Him to magically transform the thinking of our spouse so we can feel loved and what we are really in need of is our source of value and love to be found in God. I went out to the beach with my spiral bound notebook, a pen, and my bible and began to write out page after page of the love, value, adequacy, and worth that God was showing me.

What would each verse sound like if you were to read it as an actual love letter from God? There were 90 verses and my notebook quickly turned into 90 individual love letters from God to me. The more I would mediate on those letters the stronger my understanding of my identity and value to God became. As this grew, the other relationships began to change because I began to see how unfair I had been in expecting those relationships to complete in me what only God could.

I typed up the notebook into a manuscript because if this changed my life in writing it, it would also change a life in reading it.

What had started as just a notepad of love notes for God developed into a 90 day Journey of God's expressed desire for our hearts. In 90 days, the God of the universe won my heart's understanding of His love for me.

It took God seven days to create the world and the life contained on it and 90 days for me to wrap my mind around His relentless and fanatically consistent love for me.

I suppose this is why the Apostle Paul tells the church in the 3rd chapter of Ephesians  if they could truly understand one thing it should be just how much God truly loved them as individuals. I truly believe we could make it through ANYTHING if we could grasp how much God really loves us.

God took the manuscript and directed it to the attention of a publisher who has a passion for the Lord named Carla R. Cannon. God set that appointment into motion, provided her the ability to see the vision God had placed in my spirit for this book, and used her gifts to help bring this stack of love letters to the form of a beautiful 90 day devotional / journal.

The money needed to publish this book was provided through so many avenues that looking back it is absolutely astounding. I looked at what was needed to bring this to life and what I had to work with and literally, GOD DID IT!

Many of you readers sent money to put towards this project, and those closest to me took whatever steps they needed to take to support me in this.

The book takes you on a 90 day journey. This is key because the journey is not so much about you becoming anything. It is about un-becoming everything that isn't really who God made you to be so you can be who God meant for you to be in the first place.


During this 90 day journey He uses the powerful message of this simple song to reveal to your heart that every path you have taken in your life (Good or bad) has indeed led you to the level of awareness that you have of God's presence in your life right now.

He has always been about relationship with you.

The book will be available on August 28th from the brand new website: www.danielstombaugh.com  & on Amazon

(The new website will offer this book, along with other resources to help strengthen, inspire, and encourage you on your climb)

I am beyond ecstatic to offer this labor of love to you and I know God is going to use this as a tool to help people fall in love with Jesus!
Thank you for every read, post share, word of encouragement, and dollar of support that you have given to partner with me in bringing this dream to life!
Climbing with you,


Friday, July 24, 2015

The Story of Daniel: In Pursuit of Purpose (Pt 1)

I love the story of Daniel.

I will just be up front about this and say, I never really paid much attention to this book other than to read the "Big three" events:

 1) Daniel in the lions den
2) The here boys in the furnace
3) Telling the king about his dream.

I have never really paid too much attention to the rest of the book because of the prophecy portion of this book. I have never really cared much for end time prophecy and a portion of this book deals with end time prophecy. I have never really cared much for it because I don’t plan on being there. So for the longest time I would just read the story of Daniel in the Lion’s den, Shadrach, Messach, and Abendego and move on. I found no interest in the prophecy side of things until just this week.

You see when we read the story of Daniel, what I see standing out so clearly is something that we often forget and that is the importance of a human life. The title of this book says so much! "The Book of Daniel".

This is Daniel’s story.

I think one of the things that hit me when I read this book again was the fact that I truly was reading someone’s story. Every twist and turn of events was fully fashioned to allow Daniel the opportunity to become the person he was created to be.

Each of us have a story and each of us have lived through a series of events which make us the people that we are today.
We have what Daniel did not. We have his whole story and we know what is going to happen next in his life as we read.
We know the lions don’t eat him and we know that two kings come to Christ because of Daniel, so I think what is amazing to me as I read this story is to see how Daniel responded and reacted in the moment to the situations that he came to on his journey.

Two Words stand out to me in the story of Daniel and they are:


1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.  2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.  3. determination; resoluteness.

1. to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, etc.; chase.  2. to follow close upon; go with 3. to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish (an end, object, purpose, etc.).
4. to proceed in accordance with (a method, plan, etc.).  5. to carry on or continue (a course of action, a train of thought, an inquiry, studies, etc.).

I was reading in Daniel chapter 2 and saw something that made me stop and slow down for a bit, but In order to understand chapter two, we need to understand chapter one and in order to understand chapter one, we need to go back to our interest in prophecy.

In 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar becomes the king of Babylon. As the declaration was being spread through the streets of Babylon there was also an announcement being declared through the streets of Judah. One was in given in anticipation of better times, while the other was given in dread of terrible times.
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” ~ Jeremiah 25:8-11  

This message was given in Daniel’s city and in those days, liked or not, the message delivered by the prophets went everywhere and anywhere they were told to speak it because the prophets were God's chosen method of speaking to the nation. Daniel would have been sixteen years of age at this time and there is no doubt he was aware of the mindset of his people and the state of his country. He saw the open defiance to God and the arrogant mindset displayed toward things that were right.
The prophesy also went on to say that those who resisted the invasion would be slaughtered and those who behaved wisely would be spared for the purpose of re-building and restoration.
The attacks came and they were savage, brutal, and true to prophecy, but as with any allowed circumstance in our lives, “Response determines future.”
Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about. So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king's garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him. Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him. And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah. Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.” ~ Jeremiah 52: 1-11
Daniel’s story begins recording in 603 B.C. and two years later, the gates to his home town are kicked in.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.” ~ Daniel 1:1-2
Daniel was taken prisoner, ripped from his life, and what Daniel chose to do in response to a given revelation of God’s word in his life was absolutely amazing.

How many times do we react by what we see over what God says?

What God says, ALWAYS trumps what we see!
When you read other accounts of the captivity of Judah, what you find is that the idea of being captive was not received well. There were small uprisings and rebellions that took place between Judah and Babylon and it would be very easy for a young man to fall in with the mindsets around him. It happens all the time and to people much older than 16. We get frustrated and angry and act out of the frustration of what we feel IN THE MOMENT. This is why we have the phrase "I'm sorry" today.

Daniel chose to do something really extraordinary. In the face of grumbling, complaining and expressed bitterness, Daniel chose to cling to the purpose that he was aware of.

The prophesy also went on to say that those who resisted the invasion would be slaughtered and those who behaved wisely would be spared for the purpose of re-building and restoration.


Daniel chose to look past all of the angry cries of defiance to a GOD ALLOWED judgment from those in captivity with him and begin to actively pursue his purpose. Sometimes it is necessary in our pursuit of purpose to put some measures of separation between us and those who do not have a full understanding of our purpose.

I'm not speaking of those who have an opinion opposite of our own about employment or ideas. I am speaking of those who would actively seek to stop your purpose in life.
We long to find acceptance and value to those we travel with and unfortunately, there are times where we choose acceptance over purpose. Toxic people will seek to oppose your purpose through their words more than actions and if you allow yourself to take your eyes off of your purpose to focus on their words, you can find yourself looking for reasons to abandoned your purpose.

You will set yourself back years by continuing to allow those who attack your purpose into your circles of influential voices and you must pay attention to what the voices of your circle of influence are saying.

Sometime ago I came into our bedroom at the house and my wife had pulled every outfit out of the closet and laid them on the bed in one massive pile. Beside that massive pile was one solitary outfit. I asked what was going on and she pointed to the single outfit and said, "This outfit makes me feel pretty, smart, sexy, and glad to be the person that I am and I am going through my clothes, item by item, asking if it makes me feel the same as this outfit. If it does, it stays. If not, it goes." I adopted that into my own life and began going through everything I owned and asking this simple question, "Does this bring me joy?" If not, then no matter how sentimental of a feeling it invoked, it was gone. I felt immediate freedom! The question seems so simple to ask, but it is powerful in it's answer. So the question should be asked of every relationship that we would allow into our circle of influence. "Does this person push me toward my purpose?"

When you are in pursuit of your purpose, you may not know what is coming on your path ahead, but you will begin to be able to discern the voices that propel you into that purpose. When I began to focus intensely on my purpose, what I discovered was that my voices of influence circles needed to change. While the people in those circles are valuable to me, I needed to move them from the circle of influence. My Face book feed had to change and my relationships began to shift in their levels of influence. When you focus on your purpose, God Himself will begin to move people in and out of your life and you need to expect change to take place. 

This will not always be easy because you want people you love to be a part of your journey and you will even make yourself ill trying to keep them when in fact God is moving them out of your way. Please be aware of movement in the circles of those around you.


Daniel had a story and Daniel was aware of his purpose. No, I do not believe that he knew if he would survive what the next day would bring, but he most certainly was aware of the prophecy. He was aware that there would be a group taken into captivity. He knew, as he walked, that he was part of that group.

He knew of the prophesy that certain people would be carried away and when he was gathered up for the exile trip, he saw how he was part of the prophecy. He did not know what would happen to him ultimately but he did know the purpose that was given to those being carried away. He was being carried away and God was going to restore Judah eventually. He knew that God would use everything that was done with Daniel’s group to bring that restoration about.

Daniel knew that Nebuchadnezzar's days were numbered and that while he was a captive in the palace, he was responsible to show those around him God’s power.

And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.” ~ Jeremiah 25:12-14

Sometimes the only light we see is what is believed in the heart and it is in that light we make our way to the next step. One at a time if need be.  When you get a fixed understanding of your purpose it will stretch your mind and a mind that is stretched by a new understanding or experience can never go back to it's old dimensions.

Daniel pursued his purpose with tenacity because no matter what lay before him, he knew that God was going to use the actions of those in captivity to bring about a restoration of relationship between God and His people.  Your purpose here is vital because God will allow you to display Himself to those around you to bring restoration of those who are held captive!

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." ~ Luke 4:18-20

Jesus came to die in order to empower us to live this passage out! While Jesus walked the earth it was able to be accomplished through Him. When He ascended to Heaven, His Spirit descended to live within us. Instead of one against a blinded world mindset it has now become millions against a blinded world mindset.

Pursue your purpose and stay tuned to the next several posts as we look into the story of Daniel and his pursuit of purpose!

Climbing with you,

*If this post encouraged you, give this one a look! "Who built this furnace anyway?"

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Issue that Changed Everything

I love comic books.

I always have and I guess the appeal for me began when I was a kid, because as a kid it is very easy to feel like an outsider and the comic books were all about outsiders who were truly special once you got to know them.

Haven't we all felt that way at one point in our lives?

I do not hide the fact that I am a purist Superman fan but my introduction to superhero comic books was ushered in through "The Amazing Spider man".

I was able to identify a lot with Peter Parker and so it was no surprise that these were the stories that I gravitated to as a kid. I think the image of Mary Jane standing in the doorway of Aunt May's house saying, "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot." was permanently embedded in my  ten year old mind and the bar was officially raised.

I mean, who wouldn't want to be able to swing through the canyons of sky scrapers in New York City or swoop in and save the fabulous Mary Jane or the stunning Gwen Stacey from certain doom only to be rewarded with a kiss? It was magic and I think that reading these stories as a boy is what helped me develop an ability to write and convey thoughts the way that I do. Mental pictures created by written captions.

I recently introduced my nine year old son to the collected works of Spider man and began to pass along the comic books (In correct issue order) that I had, and have enjoyed watching him experience what I did at his age.

Dinner time conversations have become full of theory, speculation, and friendly debates on the plots and story lines that I remember (And forgot) and it is really fun for me to see him enjoy it.

I found the separate issues had been reprinted in combined book form so reading entire story lines is now possible. Each book contains twenty issues in chronological order and my son is just starting book five so you can do the math on how many issues he has read thus far.

I say that to say this.

I know what is coming in the next few "issues", and I also know what it felt like and how devastated that I felt when I experienced what he will be experiencing soon for the very first time.

 You see there are a few comic book issues that have a significant impact on the character and this upcoming issue is one of those impacting moments. In Issue # 121 Peter Parker's girlfriend Gwen Stacey is killed in the middle of a battle between Spider man and the Green Goblin.

I remember how I felt when I read this story as a boy, and went back and re-read each panel to be sure that I was reading the story correctly.

Gwen was dead? Like, she was really gone and she was not coming back. Ever.

Peter's true soul mate was gone forever? Just like that?

It was true, and I was extremely saddened by this. It's just a comic book story after all but this story came back to me as my son excitedly told me all about the characters that he was reading about. I remembered the battles and conflicts that he was recalling in his reading, and he went on completely clueless as to what the next few "issues" would hold. In fact, I was not anticipating how he was going to feel because of the upcoming issues, but I know that it is part of the story of Spider man, and Peter Parker would not be Spider man without these events that the writer would give him to shape his story.

Have you ever found yourself reading the storyline that THE WRITER has put on your page and thought to yourself, "This is good just like it is". You excitedly devour where you are in life and enjoy every moment to it's fullest and the last thing you would ever expect would be for THE WRITER to put in a character changing plot curve?

The last thing you would ask as the main character in your story would be for a plot change that would alter your way of living out your story.

Let me share a few thoughts with you about THE WRITER (God) and the story line that He has cast us in.

In the New testament, We find that Jesus walked with the disciples and they had become very comfortable with Him. Just when things were going great and "issue" after "Issue" revealed some new and exciting revelation about the heart of God for them  and us, the storyline took a drastic turn. Jesus was killed by crucifixion. Jesus knew this "issue" was coming up in the story and when the disciples came to this story they fell apart. Jesus returned and then told them of another upcoming story change. He was ascending to heaven but this storyline change in their lives would be the BEST thing that could have ever happened. It would be a change in the story of the creation / creator relationship that would make it AMAZING! God the Son was ascending and God the Holy Spirit was descending. He was entering the life of every believer! Can I show you the "Issue 121" of the New Testament?
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."   ~ John 16:7

What made this panel to the left so Iconic was the first part of this scene where the webbing wraps Gwen's leg with a resounding "SWIK!". What most people missed was that just to the right of her neck the artist also included a "SNAP!". As the page continued the reader would jump back to this panel and their heart fell. This little sound changed everything.

John 16:7 was the sound that changes everything for the believer. We need to go back and read this again and again and every time we do, our hearts LIFT!

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."   ~ John 16:7

In the Bible times, only the high priest could enter into the Holy place for the people. Their sins were atoned for through sacrifices representing what was to come in Christ, but they were still not in a position to access God's presence. Christ's death on the cross eradicated man's sin nature. Paul says it has been crucified with Christ!!! The Old Covenant was finished and the New Covenant was introduced through the cross. This covenant with man was based entirely upon Christ and His finished work.

"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. " ~ Hebrews 10:16-18
The Holy Spirit came when Jesus ascended and He reminds the believers of this truth!!!

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." ~ Hebrews 10:19-25


This story we live out is going to have plot twists and turns. Some we may enjoy and others we may never want to revisit ever again, but what we need to remember are two amazing truths.


It is not about us.

Every event allowed into our story has been perfectly designed to help us demonstrate and reveal God's Spirit to others. We were created to express the creator and it is not about the pieces being chipped away from the sculpture that matter, it is about what the sculpture reveals when the pieces are chipped away.

Loss, hurt, and pain are a part of the process and truly no condition is permanent. If life has you feeling like you just saved the city and you are swinging high then soak in the sun as you swing above the sky scrapers. If life has you feeling as though you will never be a hero again than please stop and take notice of what we forget happened back in the panel of our story in JOHN 16:7. We have Him in us and the story with all its twists and turns has always been about Him. We are just along for the ride!

He is going to work and His work is not always about what is fair. His work has always been about purpose. He shapes us and molds us in every panel of life and regardless if you agree about the way He has drawn your situation, please know that He is working through you and the story you live out. We can fight it, shut down, stop reading if we want. many people do or they find ways to try to work around what He has drawn into their lives. They try to cover up the panels with drugs, sex, stimulants, or even depressants. Anything than to have to accept the scenes that forever change them as a character. It has never been about you. If we are not the main character in our story than who is?

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

The main character in our story is... (Drum roll)... GOD!


You are not alone in your story. On the days that you win and on the days that you learn, you are not alone.

He is working in you and through you and conforming you to the image of Christ! He has written your story to show Him and to reveal His love.

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
                                             ~ Philippians 1:6

We can hold these truths tightly because there will be panels that bring change and in a lot of cases it will be changes that we feel diminish our characters costume or shows of strength and guess what. They were. It is not about us, it is about THE WRITER and His ability. If there were no writer, there would be no character so we walk by Faith. We place our faith in the fact that God is who He says He is, and the God has done and will do what He says HE has done and will do.

Climbing with you,

Friday, June 26, 2015

What to do when your boss is a MAD MAN

I find so much beauty and comfort in the events recorded in the Bible. During my meditation time this morning I came across an amazing event in the Bible I had passed over and it was in this event I discovered a beautiful truth I knew needed to be shared.
History is full of mad men and if you know your history, then you are aware that many of the mad men who fill our history books have been people in high power positions. They say that power changes people but I believe power, money, and fame simply make someone more of what they already were.
Adolph Hitler was always a mad man even when he was an unemployed house painter. It was not the power of the Third Reich that made him insane enough to inspire the killings of over six million Jews in the holocaust but rather the fact that this man was truly demented.
In the book of Daniel we start out with one of the main players who is most certainly unstable in his thinking and reasoning. His name is King Nebuchadnezzar. Chapter two tells us that the king is sleeping only to be awakened by a dream. He could not even remember the dream he had but he was terrified by it and called his wise men into his royal chambers to interpret a dream he himself could not remember. He explained to these men that he had a dream but could not remember it. He demanded that they recall the dream he had and then interpret it. If they could not, he would dismember them and kill their families.
This my friends is "The Shining" type of crazy!!! 
I can just see him busting his head out from the royal bed curtains shouting out, "Heeeeerrrrreeees Nebby!!!!"

I digress. Nebuchadnezzar makes this insane command and of course his wise men fail to satisfy his commands and the king follows through on his threat and this is where I want to focus our attention.

This is a portion of the story that I have missed up until this very morning.

"For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain." ~ Daniel 2:12-13

Daniel was gathered up in the middle of the night along with every wise man in the kingdom. It did not matter if they knew what was going on (Daniel did not because he was sleeping during the kings "Shining" moment.) Details never matter to the mentally unbalanced individual  because detail provide reason and a mad man does not deal in reason. He deals in his or her own madness.

I have worked for a true mad man before. They carried a title that implied Christianity but behind closed doors, they operated and made personal theology based upon demonic and personal sheer madness and it reflected onto the lives of those who worked for him. When you deal with a mad man, levels of promotion matter little because the mad man only sees life through his own fractured lens. Those who work for a mad man can be quickly moved around from responsibility to responsibility with little to no consideration for what the trickle down affect of instability will be. To a mad man, wise men can be easily replaced when you advertise with a bright LED sign how much you have to offer on the surface.

I find Daniel's reaction amazing!!!

"Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:  He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.
Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:  hat they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven." ~ Daniel 2:14-19
Daniel did not react as the others did. When the knock came and he was grabbed from his home, Daniel did not flood his Face book and twitter feeds with postings of articles from the local conservative paper on how atrocious the kings insane actions were. He simply asked, "What is going on?"
Now here is where the story gets truly AMAZING! Look at the response from the chief executioner Arioch.  "Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel...."
Wait a minute! Why is Arioch even wasting the time explaining to Daniel. He is the chief executioner. He is paid to kill not to think. He is paid to NOT reason or answer questions. He has one job. Kill whoever the mad man says must be killed. To delay in your task meant you could be killed for insubordination.
"Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation." ~ Daniel 2:24
Arioch relayed the matter because, I believe, Arioch knew the king was a mad man. Wise men could be replaced and so could chief executioners. He took a chance on Daniel. I truly believe that Arioch knew the killing of a house full of wise men would not fix the kings problem. More wise men would come, as they had before, and more wise men would die at the whim of a mad man.
"Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation. The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? " ~ Daniel 2:25-26
 "Life is a series of responses and our response determines our future."
Life is a series of responses and our response determines our future. Daniel had a choice in all of this. Respond in anger over the frustrations caused by a mad man, or walk in his purpose in the palace he was placed in. He chose his purpose.
The story was never about Daniel. It was about a much bigger scope and Daniel was placed where he was, not for himself, but for a mad man.
"Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart." ~ Daniel 2:27-30

 Please notice the last sentence of this passage.

"...For God showed it to me for your benefit."

God was interested in a mad man because God is even interested in those who have NO interest in Him. Let me repeat this.

God is even interested in those who have NO interest in Him.

He is not willing that any should perish but that ALL should come to repentance.

History is full of mad men and if you know your history, then you are aware that many of the mad men who fill our history books have been people in high power positions. Let me just throw this out there and say be very careful before you decide to pray for revival.

We pray for it, put up signs in our yards and slogans on our church bulletins begging God to send revival. We have special prayer meetings and post drastic pictures on or Face book feeds invoking others to join us in our pleas for "God to send revival to His church and to America!!!"

I am all for revival, but let me ask you a question. Historically speaking, how does God bring revival?

He allows circumstances to press His people and others into a place where they truly recognize that they need Him. Why do we have the problems in our political and legal landscape today? How can the stuff that happens be allowed to happen?  Could it be that God is answering our prayers to bring revival?

I see posts about how we need revival but then cries to remove people from office because of the junk that they seem to get by with. Did God allow that person into a position of power? Out of all the people that could be in power, does the God of the universe have a say in who is allowed to be in power?

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:1-2

Could it be that God is not so much interested in our indignation against the "Brazen behavior of the wicked" as much as our response to His allowed methods of bringing about a dependence upon Him?

Daniel had no need to speak evil of Nebuchadnezzar. Everyone in the palace secretly acknowledged the guy was insane behind his back. Daniel recognized that this was a man who needed to encounter how big and mighty his God was. Daniel calmly went to God on behalf of a mad man and requested God to bring Nebuchadnezzar into a  state God awareness. He was not interested in the approval of a mad man, but rather in the mad man seeing the power of God.

Complaining about a lost person's actions is insane. They are doing what they know. You cannot exhibit or give away what you do not possess. So post away about how terrible so and so is or what political party continues to let you down. Your focus , while well intended, is off. 

Paul kicks our barn doors in with this nugget.

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." ~ Romans 13:1-7
The story was never about Daniel. It was about a much bigger scope and Daniel was placed where he was, not for himself, but for a mad man. Yes, go vote, send letters to your senators and congress. Yes be informed and aware, but above all pray. Pray for a God awareness in the hearts and minds of our leaders. Pray for opportunities in which you can display God's power. The only one that can change a persons heart and mind is the one who made that person's heart and mind.

"Life is a series of responses and our response determines our future."

Climbing with you,

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Reasons Why I Write

My name is Dan, and I am a writer.
This would be my honest confession because I LOVE to write. I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go and am often pulled into a conflict of being in the moment or stopping to write about something that stood out to me while I was in the moment.
I want to walk you through a through something I discovered this morning while reading and it was one of those times of conflict that a writer often deals with:

Continue meditating on the pattern of thought

 Write down what came to your heart
Writing won the battle.
I was reading a passage of scripture while preparing for another post when I came across a passage that I had never noticed before. I should have moved on but the part of my brain which drives me down the highway of thought immediately pulled the car over and parked. How could I have missed this?
 I was reading Genesis 36 and was trying to sort out Abraham's family tree. What a mess!
"And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father."
                                                                                                             ~ Genesis 36:24
I know right? WHAT???
This passage is spoke about a descendant of Esau and the way it was worded caught my attention. It was right in the middle of a genealogy so I had to stop and study this thing out. Mules in the wilderness??? What does this have to do with a post about being a writer?
It was not just the mules this guy found that was important, it was where the mules were when he found them. With a little bit of research what you will find is that Enah found the mules in the middle of a hidden and natural hot spring. This guy discovered natural hot springs in the middle of the wilderness which prospered his family. He discovered something which would make a lasting impact. He found a source of refreshment and healing,shared it with his world before being swallowed up within a list of forgotten names in a barely read chapter of an often ignored book. Anah  makes this fantastic contribution and then slips back into a list of names of people who were once here and now gone. When was the last time you have ever heard an inspirational sermon about "good old Anah"?
This has been on my mind quite a bit this morning.
This thought of discovering a source of healing and passing it on even if you will never be associated with what you discovered.
We all want to be the main character in the story sometimes don't we? This Anah inspires me because this passage prompts me to ask the obvious question.
Q: What reason did he have to share such a valuable discovery?
The answer to this question is even more obvious than the question itself.
A: Others were in need of what he discovered and there would be people who would live better because of a shared discovery.
I then had to write down a simple list on the whiteboard of my mind of the benefits of a hot spring.

A hot spring can cleanse the skin.

A hot spring relaxes and calms the senses.

A hot spring soothes aches and pains by providing a body with 90% buoyancy so that joints can rest.

A hot spring provides heat which improves circulation allowing the full power of the blood to move throughout the body.

I find it safe to say  that others in his world of influence were in need of what he had discovered. He shared a source of healing which has left a lasting impact on the area this was shared in until this very day. The results of what he shared provided a more active and full life to those he shared it with. He knew what he discovered needed to be passed on regardless if he was the main character or not. As it turns out, he was NOT because before I read this passage and wrote this blog post, neither you or I had ever given him a second thought.

I read this passage this morning and asked myself a few questions.

Why do I write?

Why do I put the effort and expense into putting thoughts I discover into a blog post or into a book form?

Why put yourself out there to risk being misunderstood or making a mistake that would bring criticism?

Why open up your heart and your life in this way?

What are my reasons for writing the things  I write?

NOUN [ ˈrēzən ]
noun: reason · plural noun: reasons
  1. a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event:  synonyms: cause · 

 1. I write because I need what I discover and if I need what I discover, than those around me need what I discover.

The Holy Spirit has many functions in the life of the believer and a few of those functions would be to comfort the believer and instruct the believer. I write to express what God gives me in this journey of discovering my identity IN Christ and everything that comes with the gift of God. I write for me and then I share that with whoever is searching on the same trail.

"Your God given message is the solution to someone else's problem."
2. What I discover can heal and improve the quality of a person's life.

The understanding of grace of God can cleanse the body of Christ, the church.

The understanding of the relentless love of Christ for the believer can calm and relax the senses.

The understanding of God's complete forgiveness alleviates aches and pains of the soul by providing a mind with buoyancy so that it can rest.

The understanding of a believers true identity IN Christ provides a heart with a warmth which improves circulation of the Spirit allowing an comprehension of the full power of the blood to move throughout the body of Christ, the church.

We have been made complete in Him! We have the source and He came to give life and life more abundant!

3. It is not about who discovered what, the only thing that matters is what was discovered.

If I asked you to tell me some people in the book of Genesis who made an impact, Anah would not have made your list. There are some "big" names but this guy would not have made the cut. In the end, the names matter little in comparison to what was discovered. Anah did not provide the effects of the hot springs to those around him, he simply allowed the discovery to do what the discovery was meant to do since God put it where He did. It soothed, refreshed, healed and strengthened.
If you discover a truth from the scriptures, you share it and let it do it's thing!

Post your scripture verses on face book, and share your favorite passages of scripture on Instagram and twitter. Hang your passages that mean the most on your walls at home , in your car, and in your office. Let the Word of God go out and I promise you, It will NEVER return void.

4. Discoveries were meant to be shared because you and I are only the vessel of the discovery, not the source.

It was John the Baptist who put it simplest in his statement, "I am a voice". He was stating that he was not the source but rather just the megaphone. The Apostle Paul said, "He must increase and I must decrease." The discovery is not about you. It never has been.

What is your gift to express the discoveries that God gives you?

Musical ability?
Acts of Service?

There are countless avenues for discovery and for the expression of those discoveries.

There are people who are waiting to be healed, strengthened, encouraged and propelled into their own purpose through your discovery!

 Go discover and then go share what you discover. The apostles said, "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.." and neither can we!

Climbing with you,