Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Life between the chapters

He looked out at the impossibly deep sea that stretched out in front of him and had to ask if somehow he had misread the instructions from earlier on his journey that now led him here.

"Was it His voice in my spirit, or was it my own thoughts that I heard?" he thought to himself as his hands nervously clutched the rough wooden staff close to his chest..

Less than a mile behind him, was well over one million people that had left everything that they knew to be familiar in favor of following Moses and God's voice that he heard.

Behind them by only a few hours, was the army of a Pharaoh that had decided to renege on his ruling to let Moses and the children of Israel go free.

You know the story. The world knows the story and as much as anthropologists and scholars work to create documentaries disproving this event, they cannot explain why Egyptian chariot wheels are at the bottom of the Red sea, and even more incredible is that they try to say this event took place at the "Reed sea" which was only 12 inches deep.
Tell me how an entire army drowns in twelve inches of water again? I guess both versions of this event require massive amounts of faith after all.
It was the Red sea that they crossed and as I was reflecting on this year past and the year ahead, I wanted to share something that God put on my heart.

The red sea in this story is a symbol, to me, of barriers that stand between us and where God leads us in life.
The barrier is in fact a barrier because it appears to be uncrossable and for many, those barriers become stopping points.

Moses had a lot of words, but was not words that parted the red sea for Moses. It was an action based upon faith.

Last year may have brought you to a barrier in your life and just because the calender changes years, the barriers of last year can remain just as daunting in the new year.

It may be financial, health related, relationship difficulties, personal heartbreaks or even feelings of hopelessness that seem to stop you in your tracks but I want to encourage you with something that stood out to me in this story and what I have decided to take as my theme for this year ahead.

Go back with me to Moses' beginning in his relationship with God. We talked about it in "Hunk a hunk o burnin love"(Click here), and we pick it up here. In chapter 3, God gives Moses his purpose in life.

Identity always brings purpose (Click here) and when you discover who you are IN Christ, the purpose He has for you becomes clear.

God showed Moses why the events of his life took place the way that they did, and He explained moses' purpose to him. Lead my people out of bondage into what I have promised to them in their relationship with me. Moses had some objections, but notice what God gives him to work with. I want to give you 3 things to remember going into your new year that will determine what happens with you and your barriers.

"And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee." ~ Exodus 4:1-5

"What do you have Moses?"

He just had a staff. Moses had no clue on the day that he thought he was selecting a staff to heard sheep with, that he was in all actuality picking up and becoming familiar with the very thing that God had selected to overcome every obstacle Moses would face ahead. Long before the fourth chapter of Moses' story, the solution for his fourteenth chapter was already being prepared.


God does not change between chapters and His purpose for your life does not change. His gifts and callings are without repentance. He has called you to speak a message to the world and to the spirit of others. This is the fourth chapter of your life and this does not change because of the barriers that arise between the fourth chapter and the fourteenth chapter of your story.

I love that at each barrier, God reminded Moses by way of a question, "What is in your hand?" The stick. Look at the barrier of the fourteenth chapter.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen." ~ Exodus 14:15-18


The staff was the gift that God gave Moses. The size of the staff seemed insignificant in the face of the barrier, but it was God and not the staff all along. The staff (gift) was meant to demonstrate the incredible and inexhaustible strength of the God behind it.

What gifts has God given you?
What abilities?
What skills?

I am quite sure that the reason God instructed Moses to use raise the staff is because Moses was not thinking of his gifts in the barrier moments. It takes God to remind us of such gifts and if you are facing a barrier today, ask Father to remind you of the ways that He has equipped you to overcome that barrier.

I promise you that He is bigger than the barrier and that His plan is bigger than a permanent stop.His purpose for you is MASSIVE!!! ( You had it all the time: Click Here)

 What has He called you to do? What message has He given you to speak? What topic or line of truth always seems to dominate your conversations or thoughts?

"And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left."                                                                                            ~ Exodus 14:21-22

 This past spring, I felt stirred to do something that I had never done before. I felt stirred to create a 13 week devotional book that was able to teach others what Father had been teaching me in my study time. Who I was to Him and who He was to me.

He used the Song of Solomon to throw the roof off of my understanding of His love for me and I began to write a devotional for each passage of that book. When it was done, I had 90 love letters from God to me, and had written 90 love letters back to Him. My relationships here and expectations of those relationships began to change and that is when I knew He wanted me to put this book to print. I knew it needed to go out because the book changed me.

I began to pray for the right publisher and the Lord made the choice very clear to me in a publisher that would not only help with the book but also with the direction and writing platform for this blog. I finished the manuscript after a summer of writing and when I looked at the cost of publishing and realized that this would be a barrier.
I look at what I need to accomplish this and what I have and the difference seems staggering, especially for a single income family.

I had to go back to the chapter four of this journey with my Father and rehearse His purpose that He spoke into my Spirit. (We all need to do this at the barriers we face.) 

It was there in chapter four of this Journey with Father that I heard Him ask me, "What is that in thine hand?"
I have a blog that I truly love writing and through it, helping people see Him through it. I love to draw and create ant it was then that I saw what I was supposed to do.


 I love this passage in the barrier moment!

"But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: "

 Hold out what you would normally hold back.

I'm holding what God has given me out and watching Him use such a seemingly small thing to do something that will impact more than just the one holding out the gift.

The gift was never for us to begin with. It was always about bring Him glory.

 I know Moses took the next day off of work after this one!

He holds out, in the fourteenth chapter of his story, what God had given him way back in his fourth chapter and God did something incredible!!!

I began to draw art pictures and post them on social media and people began asking to purchase them. Each sale brought the barrier smaller and smaller bit by bit. This has truly been awesome to watch happen and I am excited to see how Father brings this dream to a reality!

Most of us hold back on the gifts that God has given to us, and parting with original artwork seemed like a horrible thing, but you have to ask, "Do I want the stick, or do I want the barrier open?"

I encourage you at your point of barrier, to look to the chapter four of your journey with God in this and rehearse what purpose He placed on your heart. Do NOT give up and do NOT settle to just sit at a barrier when your purpose calls you to go beyond it. It was not just Moses' barrier that He faced , other people depended on that barrier being overcome.

Your purpose is too great to quit, and your message needs to be heard! What has God given you to work with?

Size of gifts or talents matters not, God only uses them as an instrument of demonstrating His power to others!!!
"Hold out what you would normally hold back and watch Him move the sea!"

 This is my motto for this new year and I am looking forward to seeing God prove Himself!
 Climbing with you,
 *If you would like more information on the upcoming devotional, it's progress or even ways that you can help in this project, please feel free to contact me at:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Winning Strategy for the New Year

I saw this picture a few days ago and, because I happen to be going through a phase of attention that is fixed on all things related to chess, it caught my eye.
The pieces stand in contrast to the background, but it was the slogan that caught my attention. We live in a very strange time as a society and a culture here on this planet. We are consumed with self and image and yet we are looking around to find someone, something or some set of circumstances with which to hang blame as to why we are unable to be the persons that we strive to be.
I read a passage in Romans that I want to share with you and then come back to this picture that is posted above because there is a mindset that here that needs to be examined.
"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." ~ Romans 14:5-11
Paul is speaking about the individual here and he makes some very powerful points. We were not meant to live as an island. God places us where He pleases and He does so at His purpose and for His pleasure. We tend to look at our surroundings and complain because of the people that we share those surroundings with and we "find" reasons as to why we do not belong among the people and in the places that we dislike.
Jonah did this, and he judged the people as  worthy to suffer the fate that awaited a choice of their independence from God's word to them. 
Habakkuk wrestled with God's decision to punish His peoples disobedience by delivering them into the capture of even more disobedient people.
We judge quickly and we tend to do it quickly and often without thinking. So Paul admonishes us to look inward and follows on the heels of this with the final sentence.
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."  ~ Romans 14:12

That statement as a whole is very interesting because it essentially says, "Instead of being consumed with self and blaming others for your lack, look inward and judge the mentalities that you have as a person and understand, the ground was made level at the cross. What did you do with the new nature, indwelling Spirit of God, forgiveness and every other benefit that was given to you at the cross?

At the cross, you were given not just a new future but you were  given a brand new past as well!!!

I read this passage in Romans and I looked at this simple picture and the not so simple statement that was implied.
"After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box."

I enjoy playing chess and I am fascinated by the individuality of the pieces on the board. They each have talents and abilities, strengths and weaknesses and depending on the one moving the pieces, beautiful outcomes can take place!

But the quote is true because no matter the strength of the piece on the board, at the end of the game, they all go back into the same box.

I thought of a story in Matthew's gospel that made me think and in turn, changed my perception of this matter of giving account for ourselves to God.

"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." ~ Matthew 25:14-30
I have always had this story presented to me as a call to use my talents for God, but if this is speaking about talents as in singing, art, basket weaving or whatever the case may be, then this implies if I do not sing or paint or make baskets for Jesus, then I will be thrown into hell.
Let me give you some thoughts about this story to consider that take a slightly different route.
Man was given "Life" by God.
The first man in the story refused to do anything with the "life" and offered it back at the end. It would be the man who is offered "life" by God and refused it only to live his vapor of life out and die without Christ.
The second and third were given "life" as well. They accepted it and turned around and gave it out to the best of their abilities. The "Life" that they gave out doubled in proportion to their ability to disperse it. The kingdom expanded!
Not everyone will sing a song that moves an audience of thousands with their life, but everyone can sing a song. Even if the only audience you have calls you mom or dad.
Not everyone can speak words that will go across the planet and influence hearts by sharing "Life" that they have been given, but everyone can speak to their neighbor and share the "life" that they have been given. God throws the message alot further than we can .
Different pieces on the board being what they are able to be to the best of their abilities and allowing the Master to move and direct them as He will. This is the plan!
You can stay mired in the fact that your reach is not as far as another persons or judge another person as lazy because your reach is further than theirs, or you can understand that it is about what you do with what you have been given?
You can blame others for why you did not move as you were supposed to in this life, or you can determine that you have been given everything you need from God at salvation, to be fashioned as He intends you to be. Either Romans 8:28 is true or it is a lie.
Stop looking around at others and take a good look in the mirror because in the end, it was what you did with what you had that counts. How innefective would a chess piece be if it refused to move because it was not able to offer the abilities of another piece on the board?
Here are three things to remind yourself each day that will impact your skill and ability to play in the game of life.

1. I have been gifted with everything that I need to play the game I was made to play.
2. I will not let another person's opinion determine my value to The Master, as He alone has already decided my value and my place on the board.
3. I have been placed here to make a difference and will be able to say at the game's end that I did my best to be who He has made me to be.
Step up to the board and  walk in the understanding that God makes no mistakes and there is nothing keeping us back from attaining what He has called us to perform except our own understanding of who we truly are in Christ. He is LIFE!!!

Move in confidence today that He has placed you exactly where you are for His purpose to be worked out in you.

Climbing with you,

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Starring Role

It is the Christmas season and I wanted to do something special with the posts on the blog. I would like to take the next two posts and look at the birth of Christ from a few very different points of view. I have been out an about in the "Christmas rush" and it is really hitting me just how important that it is this year to look back at the reason for the season.
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." ~Matthew 2:1-2

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." ~Matthew 2:9-10

We are all very familiar with the story of Christmas. We know all about the star, and the baby in the manger. We know all about the angels in the heavens, and the shepherd in the fields with there flocks by night. But if we take the time to see the story through the eyes of everyone that was involved, there are so many things that we can learn, and be reminded of that can change our season as well as our new year ahead.

The first view point that I wanted to look at the first Christmas with would be that of the wise men.

I love this story because I can see these guys one night, studying the stars, and seeing one that they were not certain about. This bothered them. They could not walk away from this. It agitated them to point of action. They could not look around this one… They had to see this thing through; until they had the answers they wanted to have.

They saw a star. Big deal right? I mean you are studying stars, so isn’t that what you want to see?

Well, if you were a wise man from the east it was a big deal, because wise men got the name wise men because they studied more than just the menu at Red Lobster.( Although, that is pretty impressive)
These men had studied the Bible, and the knew of a prophecy that was foretold, by Daniel about the King of the Jews being born about the time of the star sighting. They also knew that in the book of numbers, it was said that the star of Jacob would rise.

They said, "We have seen his star…"

Among the ancients, the appearance of a star or comet was regarded as an omen of some remarkable event. Many such appearances are recorded by the Roman historians at the birth or death of distinguished men. They say that at the death of Julius Caesar, a comet appeared in the heavens, and shone seven days. 

These wise men also considered this as an evidence that the long-expected Prince was born. It is possible that they had been led to this belief by the pbiblical prophecy of Balaam.

  "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." ~Numbers 24:17

The wise men came on a very important mission. They had heard of the King that would be found beneath this star, and wanted to show honor to him. We do not know how many wise men there were and the timing of their arrival varies upon which live nativity re-enactment that you see,but we do know that they carried three gifts. I can imagine that they often checked there cargo on that long journey to make sure that everything was safe and undisturbed.At every jostle and shake of there camels, running a protective hand over the saddle bag, or the pouch to make sure that the treasure was still there.

They had seen his star, and wanted to come meet and honor this new King. It was foretold in the book of numbers that the star of Jacob would rise, and we read in many passages of scripture that there was a GLORIOUS LIGHT that shined round about the shepherds on the night of Christ’s birth. That light could have been the star that the wise men saw, I do not know, but I do know that they saw a star, and they went in search of a king.

I hurt for unsaved people this time of year. I mean all the Christmas season is for them is a day off of work, and buying a present that someone they love will probably hate. The advertisements this time of year ask for donations to share "Hope" but really, their idea of hope and what people truly need are two different things. Hope to them is just a gift to make their physical life better for the moment.

Stores have swapped the word Christmas with the word Holiday. Holiday trees, Holiday sales, and Holiday deals are now what it seems to be about with the use of the phrase "Season’s greetings" and "Season gatherings", the real reason seems hard to see.

The world tries so hard to stop people from looking for the King and yet I  say that the world is still secretly looking for answers. If you know the Christ, than you truly know the answer. Knowing Christ and knowing about Christ are two different things, so I say that if you truly know Christ personally, then you know He provides the answer that the world is looking for.

The world pushes God away, and yet they are pushing away the very one they are looking for.
If you know the King, then you, like it or not, full fill the role of the star.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." ~Matthew 5:16

We have a reason to shine!!!
We know where to direct people!!!
We have the answer!!!
Where is the King? Let me tell you!!!

As those who have the answer, it is our job to help those who are looking for the King, find the king they are looking for.

The Bible says that we are like stars and we have a tremendous privilege of being now able to shine.

"And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." ~ Daniel 12:3

18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble." ~ Proverbs 4:18-19

You know if you live in the city and you go outside at night, with all the distractions and the lights, it can be very hard to see the stars at night but no matter how dimming the other distractions can be, you can always see the North star. It just shines so clear, constant, and bright.

Making a stand for God is never, and will never be easy when you are alone, but shining for God is what you are able to do.

The Light shows those in darkness that there is more available than the darkness.

It does get discouraging and sad to see so much hurt and emptiness in the church just as well as outside of the church and the stark reality of it is, people are lost, empty and desperately searching. The world, and there wise men are looking. They cannot identify Him and they confuse Him for another person, item, high or emotional state of peace. We know His name is Emmanuel, and we know that He is the King that they seek.

Have you allowed Him to make you bright and clear in your purpose and message?
Jesus quoted a passage from Isaiah and it is what the world is seeking to find in all of it's distractions. He came to bring the answer.
 "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," ~Luke 4:18

People are looking, and we have the ability to direct.

Climbing with you,

Monday, November 24, 2014

Nothing is Wasted

It was a pile of scrap pieces of old plumbing fixtures that rested at the bottom of the box and the plan was to throw them away. After all, it was clutter and it needed to be gone, but somewhere between where the box was picked up and the dumpster something extraordinary happened.

An old and busted cork board was scrounged up and squares were crudely drawn. The pieces were sorted through and fitted together into seemingly odd shapes and sizes and when it was all said and done, a very unique and beautiful chess set was created.

I could not help but think as I began to play a game on what was once a dumpster bound cork board about how incredible it was that these broken up pieces had been re-purposed and now had an entirely different destiny than anyone else would have thought.

You have to remember that I am an artist so a creation like this deserves a name. This piece was not created to just be a chess set, it was created to "Speak" to everyone that would ever see it. It was designed to convey a message from the Father because you and I are no different than the pieces that were used in the building of this re-purposed set.

We are all given a task and were created to convey a message. Sometimes in the process of life, between the store shelf and the dumpster so to speak, something happens to us.

Perhaps we get broken or misused or become no longer usable in the fashion that we ourselves or others think us to be. A decision is made, an uncomfortable conversation takes place, angry words are exchanged, dreams are dashed, hopes are unfulfilled and we find ourselves feeling worthless and dumpster bound.

I found some old metal letters from an engraver that had long since been removed from use and named this piece "Nothing is Wasted".

As I mentioned earlier, a similar scenario took place many years before this set was created.
"After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No." ~ John 21:1-5
The time is after the crucifixion and the place is anywhere but where they were supposed to be. The boat they were in was similar to the cardboard box I mentioned earlier. It contained the broken hearts and fragments of what used to be the strong and confident disciples.
Jesus had been crucified, and they had skipped town to hide. This was not news to Jesus because He had even told them Himself that they would desert Him in His hour of capture. One of the disciples had loudly bragged that he would never leave Jesus' side and yet he was the same disciple that cursed Jesus and encouraged the others to join him in the cardboard box as it sailed on a sea of regret to a dumpster of wounded souls.
Peter who pledged his undying allegiance was the first to break ranks. Is it a wonder that the pieces of this once useful disciple were found in the box?
I love this passage in Mark. It brings tears to my eyes to see, because of how powerful it is. Jesus has ressurected and meets some of His followers and gives them prescise instructions.
"But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you." ~ Mark 16:7
WOW!!! Did you see it?
Look again please! "But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter ..."
Do not forget to tell Peter!!! You are not broken beyond repair and your life of use is nowhere near finished!!!
Peter, you may feel as though you are broken beyond repair and that you have let me down so much.
Don't you love the fact that there is never at any time been a moment that you have ever held God up?
You can only let down something that you hold up. You would be amazed at the places that God goes in order to be with us. God had a plan for Peter's broken pieces and He created something with Peter that the rest of the world stood back and said "Wow! That is really amazing!"
It was pieces that God used. Fragments.
Odds and ends of a broken heart. Shards of a purpose that had been broken into a million pieces. Cracked egos, severed emotions, and dreams that have been so disfigured that they seem to no longer be recognizable.
These are The Creators materials that He selects in order to build His Kingdom.
The Disciples discover that the man calling out to them from the shoreline was in fact the one who years before called out to them from the shoreline. It is Jesus and they race toward the beach as fast as they can and look what they see when they get there.
"As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread." ~ John 21:9

So, why fish and bread? have you ever wondered that?

I can see them sitting around Him once again, overwhelmed by His presence and the love that is given to them. And then which one was the first to connect the dots as they took a bite into the meal?

Bread and fish. When did we last share a meal like this with Jesus?

It was on a hillside with companies of people that numbered in the thousands. They did not have enough food and the money bag was light.

What was it Jesus asked for? 

Wait, it was a little boy that approached Andrew with a lunch that was five loaves of bread and two fish.
Can you see them chewing that meal slowly by the fire on the beach that morning with Jesus as their minds went back to that day on the hillside?

Jesus took the lunch and blessed it and broke it and began to pass out food to the multitude and when it was all done, and everyone was full, they gathered up seven baskets full because Jesus said, "Gather the fragments that remain that nothing may be lost..."

The meal was, in my opinion, a reminder to these fragmented men that with Jesus, "NOTHING IS WASTED".

A re-purposed chess set or a restored human being, the picture is simplistically powerful. I wanted the piece to speak to everyone who had eyes to see it.

This chess set was a message from the Saviour to the broken, misused, worn out and rejected. With Me, "Nothing is Wasted".

There are really only two types of people in the world today. People who are broken and people who are repaired, and if you are repaired, then at one time, you were in fact broken.
If you feel as though you are in the box of broken and wasted and on your way toward the dumpster, you are in the perfect place to see the Creator at work. Cry out to Him and see what He has in store for you.
Climbing with you,


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why The Wilderness Is Never A Waste

I was reading and doing some meditating on a passage of scripture as I am finishing up this new 90 day devotional that I am putting together and I came across a passage that truly rocked my socks.

It was in a very unlikely place that I would have gone to for a passage to put in the devotional, but what stood out to me was absolutely beautiful! Don't you just love it when God uses something that seems so ordinary to speak so loudly?

Before I take you to the passage, I would like to share with you a definition that comes from The definition is for the word WILDERNESS.


1. a wild, uninhabited, and uncultivated region  
2.any desolate tract or area        
3. a confused mass or collection
4. a voice in the wilderness, a voice crying in the wilderness, a person, group, etc, making a suggestion or plea that is ignored       
5. in the wilderness, no longer having influence, recognition, or publicity
In the scripture analogies, a wilderness is often always associated with a bad thing. By definition, it is a place of desolation.
The children of Israel wandered in a wilderness because of their disobedience to God in taking refusing to take ownership of the promised land. Moses wandered the wilderness after killing an Egyptian, and when you hear people talk about the "Wasted years" of their life it is often referred to a time of wilderness wandering. It is a time where you don't seem to be accomplishing anything productive in comparison to what you could accomplish if you had a fixed purpose or destination to reach.
It seems to be the same thing as wasted time. It is a place of idleness and desolation, and it is a place of regret and waste.
I have experienced wilderness seasons of life spiritually and over the last several years Father has been teaching me to understand these times in a better light.
Let me show you a powerful passage that Father showed me this past week.
"Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee." ~Song of Solomon 8:5
I love this passage!!!
The story of the Song of Solomon is one of the most beautiful that I have ever read and when God began to open things up to me within that book I knew that He wanted me to write the devotional entirely from this book. It speaks of a different love than most of us feel that God has for us and it has been absolutely transformational for me in the process of putting this together.
The story is between a shepherd girl and a king but it also symbolizes Christ and His church (You and me).
In earlier passages we find this girl leaving on a search and finding the King, but here she is returning to where she was from AFTER she has met the King.
She is walking out of the wilderness and she is not the same person that went into the wilderness. 
She went into the wilderness as a Shepherd girl of commonality and emerges from the wilderness as queen of royalty. 
She went into the wilderness alone with only what she did as her source of identity, just a shepherd girl. She comes out of the wilderness with a companion and a new identity that has been established because of the relationship that she now has with her companion.   
She went into the wilderness relying on herself and emerged now leaning in dependence upon the King.
She went into the wilderness as she was and emerged as what she was meant to be.

I guess I wanted to write this post because I believe that there is someone who will read this that has been hung up for YEARS on the idea that they have wasted much of their life before Christ and those feelings have kept them from understanding the value of what they had in the wilderness.
You look at the understanding and level of relationship that you have with God now, and look back at regret that you could not give those "wilderness" years to Him and have enjoyed back then what you have with Him now. You get angry and intolerant of people that bypass your "Bridge out" sign and you tend to easily write them off because they are wasting their time at the same empty wells that you went to at one point in time in your search for THE WATER.

Please understand that I hurt for people who bypass a "Bridge out" sign only to discover a dry well and I will continue to speak out about the emptiness of those wells, but I also see the value in it.
Please understand that your wilderness was what you needed to direct you to THE KING.
It was in your wilderness that you are able to learn your identity. Wilderness wandering times in the lives of those we love are frustrating for sure because we want to spare them hurt, frustration and pain, however it is only in this wilderness time that we can discover our need of a lasting source.

I love how this girl went into the wilderness on her own steam. It was a picture of self reliance to the max and when she emerges, it is with display of her total dependence on the King. She leaned on Him.

If you read earlier in the story, she says, "I went looking for grapes, almonds and pomegranates." She went out looking for things to satisfy herself and then she says, "My desire led me to the chariot of a noble man".

I LOVE it!!!
If you could put it into our terms it could easily sound like this, "I went out in search of security, intimacy and significance. I looked for those things in people places and things, and my desire for those things ended up leading me to a place of emptiness. In that emptiness I found THE KING!"

I don't encourage anyone to wander in a wilderness, but if they are, they have a tremendous opportunity to find God!

"Well Dan, what am I supposed to do when someone that I love seems hell-bent on leaving out into a wilderness in life in search of fulfillment and identity?"

You love them.

What??? Well, what if they never come back to what they have been taught is right?

You love them and you let them know that no matter how far that they go out in search, your light is on for them. Let God be God and let Him prove just how big that He is.

I think of the Wilderness wanderings in my life and I think of this story that I heard awhile back.

After a heated fight between a father and a son erupted, the son chose to pack some clothes and leave his father and mother. After being gone for several years, the boy missed his parents and his home as his anger ebbed away. Finally he knew he should go home. Waiting for his train, he began to fear that maybe his dad didn't want him home. He ran to a pay phone and called home. His mom answered and was flooded with relief when she heard her son's voice. She quickly begged him to come home. He explained that he had already bought a ticket but was afraid that his father didn't want him home, so he asked his mother: "Mom, can you guarantee dad wants me to come home?" The mom was silent for a moment and when the boy asked why she was so quiet the mom said, "Son, your dad is a changed man since the day you left. He hardly speaks anymore -- even to me, and you know how close we are. He never smiles or laughs. He simply goes to work, comes home, broods over dinner, watches TV then goes to bed. On the weekends he sits by his workbench in the garage all alone.
"But mom," the son said, "Does he want me to home? I'm not coming home if I'm not wanted. Mom, what do you say, my train is here and I need to board?" "I can't give that guarantee son, your father won't talk to me, just please come home," pleaded the mom. "I gotta know, mom. Can you give me the guarantee?" "Son, I just don't know about a guarantee." The boy then got an idea. "Mom, he said, "tell dad I'm on the train and I want to come home. Tell him the train will run on the tracks that go behind the back of your property. If he wants me to come home, tell him to hang a white handkerchief from a branch of that old dead apple tree we were going to chop down that's out by the tracks. If I see a handkerchief, I know I can come home; if there isn't one, I'll know I'm not wanted and I'll keep going on the train. Mom, I gotta go. Tell dad what I said. Bye Mom." The boy hung up and jumped on the train. He entered a train car that was filled with strangers. He sat by a window next to an older, stately-looking man, but he kept to himself staring out the window. Finally the older man nudged the boy and said, "Son, it's obvious you have something on your mind. I'll leave you be if you want, but sometimes it helps to talk over your troubles. I've been told I'm a good listener."
The boy looked at the face of the kind stranger and began to tell his story. The boy told of his fight with his father, how he had left home years ago, and how now he wanted to go home. He told of calling his mom and how she was to let the father know the boy was on the train and that if he was welcome, to tie a white handkerchief on the branch of that old dead apple tree. Then up ahead he saw the last bend before the train would run along the back of his parents' property. He pointed the bend out to the stranger, then buried his face in his hands, and doubled over with crying, too afraid to look what was or was not on the tree. The boy felt the train make the bend. He asked the stranger if he would please look out the window and tell him if the handkerchief was there or not as he could not bear the idea of it not being there. The stranger agreed to look out the windows on his side as was asked and could see that they were approaching the apple tree. The boy was hoping that the stranger would yell, "There it is!" or "Hurray!" or "Look at it!" but instead there was simply an audible gasp. The boy knew it must be bad news so he cried harder.
"Is it there mister?"  the boy chocked out, "Is the handkerchief there?"

"Oh no son", the stranger wept. "I don't see a single handkerchief hanging in that tree. There are so many handkerchiefs hanging in that old tree that it looks like it is snowing outside!!!"
The boy sat up and pulled away his hands, and looking out the window as the train passed the apple tree, he saw the most beautiful display of forgiveness and love than he could ever contain. There was an older version of himself standing there with an silver haired woman and they were waving a large white sheet between the two of them! The message was oh so clear. The dad was saying, "Please come home! You are welcome to come home! I need you home. I want you to come home!"
I tell you that to tell you this: Our Father in heaven welcomes us to His home. Oh, He doesn't hang a handkerchief from an apple tree, but His Son Jesus hung on a tree called the cross that reconciled us again to the Father. And it wasn't white flapping in the breeze, it was red. Jesus' red blood flowed, cleansing us of all of our sins. The message is unmistakable; we are welcome again into the family of God, because Jesus' sacrifice makes it so. God, our Father, is welcoming us home. He's giving us eternal life in heaven. He wants us home with Him.

Please understand that I do not encourage anyone to make a wilderness wandering, but if someone you love is out there searching every empty well that they can find, Can I encourage you to love them and pray that Father will bring them to an awareness of Himself. You cannot make anyone find what they are looking for, but you can be there for them when they do!

Climbing with you,


Friday, November 7, 2014

Deadlier Than Kryptonite

In last weeks post "Always Look Again" (Click Here), you and I went on a trip to the local comic book store together and we made a fantastic find!

Today I would like to share with you, the best find yet! I am so glad that God's voice is so big and powerful that He can speak through a burning bush, or a comic book. He is absolutely AMAZING!!!!!

It is no secret that I am a Superman fanatic! I have an entire "Man Cave" filled floor to ceiling with Superman artifacts and in the neighborhood of 3,000 comic books which the majority would be Superman titles. I am kind of a "fan" you might say.

I don't follow sports and I don't hunt. I'm not opposed to any of it, but the whole comic book scene is a hobby that I really do enjoy and as I stated in the previous blog post, I have loved it since I was first introduced to it as a child.

Superman is and always has been my favorite superhero. He always did the right thing no matter what and in every situation, he looked out for the guy who could not or was not strong enough to stand up for himself.

Superman had a major weakness  though and it was called Kryptonite. When he was exposed to it, the effects of this element would weaken him tremendously and if left exposed to Kryptonite, its properties would eventually kill him.
Over the course of his history, many people used this weakness to kill Superman but he somehow always managed to find a way to foil their plans until one day, he rounded up all of the kryptonite in the world (with the exception of one piece which he entrusted to the Batman) and disposed of it.

There was a lot to this Kryptonite and the smartest thing that the man of steel did was to make efforts to avoid it.

That makes sense right?

Stop trying to resist what you should be avoiding.

There was one thing that stopped Superman that was NOT kryptonite. It was, in my humble opinion, deadlier than the largest dose of Kryptonite.

In fact, the longer I have been part of the body of Christ, the more obvious it becomes that this same situation takes place in real life. There is a large number of people that would profess to be Christians that have been hit by this weapon deadlier than Kryptonite.

What was detrimental to the effectiveness of the man of steel, is equally as destructive to the Christian of today. We can all draw parallels of flesh patterns that weaken and can even destroy a Christian, but I am speaking now of something deadlier than Kryptonite of the flesh.

Anyway, I was in the comic book store with you last week and we looked through the long boxes of comic book goodness, I found this issue and it sums up the situation that the majority of Christians struggle with to this day.

In this particular issue, Superman goes toe to toe with a villain named "The Master Jailer". The Master Jailer was fascinated by locks and traps and his specialty was creating traps that were custom fit for a person's particular strength and ability.
As the story unfolded the Jailer threw many traps at the man of steel only be disappointed by their ineffectiveness. When Superman grabs the Master Jailer, the ultimate trap is sprung.

The master Jailer hits Superman with a special ray that makes The Man of Steel believe that he is not Superman but in fact just a dock worker named Mike who is going to be late for his shift if he does not get back to work. His identity is muddied and since identity always brings purpose, Mike.. I mean Superman punches in and lives life with no purpose.

The confused Superman spends much of the story working tirelessly unloading ships at the state docks and although he still has this unbelievable strength and ability, he has no clue who he was made to be while the Master Jailer is on the crime spree of his life. The Jailer could care less if Superman was exhibiting his strengths and abilities, just as long as he remained in the dark as to his true identity.

Are you drawing the parallel yet?

Satan is the master jailer and his deadlier than Kryptonite attack on believers is to somehow convince them that they are NOT who God says that they ARE.

I speak to people all the time and as I speak to Christians, what I see more than any other thing is a lack of understanding on Spiritual Identity. Their righteousness is a behavior modification campaign and holiness is something that believe that you achieve to have. They spend hours upon hours engaged in labor trying to just do their best. They exhibit the fruits of the Spirit but are never quite free in Christ enough to live it out because they are trapped in a performance based acceptance mindset. If I do this I will be Holy, if I do that I will not be Holy anymore.

They have been confused. The master jailer has used good things to convince them that they are NOT who God made them. The truth of the matter is, God made them Holy through His son Jesus Christ. Any attempt on my part, through my own strength to achieve "holiness" is in fact self-righteousness. It was righteousness generated by my own intentioanl actions or labor.

God created you new at Salvation and placed a new heart within you. The flesh (Operating out of your own resources) will be something you struggle against and always will with this earth suit, but you have been changed at your core! His Spirit now resides within you.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  ~ Romans 12:2

The world needs Christians to just honestly wake up to who they are IN Christ. You take the power from another place and put it to work here!

The church at Ephesus had left her first love. They were known for having impecable doctrine and for being "busy" with activities. The busyness was a distraction from the reality that they had lost their identity to a calander of events. They lost thier identity of who they were to and in Christ, to well intentioned programs and events.
 I was told along time ago when looking at a swollen carcass of a dead racoon alongside the highway, "Never confuse swelling with growth".

"In this kingdom, you really do get what you seek after."

 If you seek after a passionate, dynamic, and genuine love relationship with Jesus Christ, you will find it! It works in opposite as well.

If you look around where you are and see what you have, it is proof of what you have truly been seeking after.

Christ came to make you free indeed!

Take a good look at who you are IN, THROUGH, and BECAUSE of Him and you will leave the "Religious activity" timecard at the spot where you take back to the skies!

Climbing with you,