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,

Friday, May 15, 2015

"Soooooo Much!"

(Pencil Sketch of me and my youngest 2015)

I love being a father.

I feel as though I fail more than I succeed with patience and flexibility as a father more than I succeed, but I also see where I have learned along the way to this point I am at now as a parent.

My kids are like yours, if your blessed to be in the role of a parent, in the fact they each express their love to me in completely unique ways. It is in the uniqueness of this expression that I find complete and utter amazement each time their love is expressed.

Think just a moment about something that your children do for you as a way of expressing their love for you.

Got it in mind? Good! Now look at this passage with me for just a moment.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:"
                                                                                                                   ~ Romans 8:16

I love the mental picture that this passage gives. We are the child and God is our Father. Now I fully realize this can be a painful picture to those who were raised with an absent, abusive, or even a father who caused harm. If that was your case, I want to encourage you to ask God to help you see Him for the Father that He truly is. He is greater than the best ideals we could list as requirements for "The best dad".

I grew up in a large family where my father's time for individual attention was limited. My dad is an amazing man but he is also human. There were many things that I looked at him and subconsciously attached to my view of God. Re-learning God has been the most exciting / difficult part of my spiritual journey.

I see the picture I posted above and I read the passage I posted above and I see a picture of what the relationship I have with God as my Father should look like.

Safe, comfortable, trusting and completely secure in the understanding that Daddy loves me for no other reason than I am His son.

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." ~ 1 John 3:1

As I mentioned earlier, my kids all express love in their own unique way and the one on the top is who inspired this post.

This one has a really cool way of expressing his love to me. When I get home, he runs out the door to wrap his arms around me and say, "I love you soooooooomuch!!!"
I know lots of kids say that to their parents, but when this kid says it to me, he does his best to imitate a voice that I use when we play with his stuffed animals. He is trying to give back something I have done that makes him feel loved and special. My son is expressing his love by imitating and expression of love that I give to Him.
An impersonated tone of voice accompanied by the tightest hug that he can give.

I cannot even begin to relate to you how loved I feel at that moment in my day.

I was reading a passage of scripture today and saw something similar to my son's statement of "...soooooo Much!" and wanted to share.

"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." ~ John 21:15-17

Jesus was telling Peter that He wanted Peter to love those who He loved. Jesus did not tell Peter every detail of feeding his sheep (People). He just said, "If you love me, feed them."
Peter would do that in his own unique way and in so doing, it would be sending the message to his Heavenly Father, "I love you sooooo much".

Here is the whole point that I am trying to make.

If you are God's child the He is your Father. You have been given God's love. You have the opportunity to express your love to God by extending the love He has given you in your own ways to those He loves. 

Our expression is that unique thing that God gives us that makes us feel loved and special. It is in your gifts and talents.
For some it is is what you write. It is in that unique ability to express that you are best able to inspire, uplift and point others to an understanding of God as their Father.
Perhaps it is the way you sing, relate to others, communicate. You may be gifted with a way of sensing people's hurt or helping others reach places God has for them. The gift is not as important as what you do with it.

It is giving that "voice", that the Father gives you, to others the Father loves that is your way of saying "I love you soooo much" to Daddy.
He does not need that expression  to love you and you do not do that so He will love you. You do that because you genuinely love Him and you want Him to know it.

It is called living FROM Jesus rather than living FOR Jesus. The difference between the two is HUGE.

What is your gift?

What are you doing with it?

Who are you extending love to through that gift?

The sheep mentioned in this passage were the ones that had been scattered (Ezekiel 37) and they were the ones that He came to seek and to save. They were His people and He came to bring them into an understanding of who He is and what He had for them.

"...And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." ~John 21:17

Using your Gift to strengthen, encourage, or care for another is the ultimate expression of love. Use your gift!

Climbing with you,

*If you enjoyed this post, may I  also recommend:

"Unfinished" : Click Here

"Where do you come up with this stuff" : Click Here

"Love notes from Father" : Click Here

Monday, May 11, 2015

Status: Unfinished

My name is Dan and if you know me personally, have read any of the posts up to this point, or follow my posts on Instagram then you have figured out that I LOVE to draw.
Before I get into why I have these two pictures posted above, let me just say, the ability to create and be artistic has been one of my favorite things about life.
I love creativity!                                                  
I love being able to see something that no one else can see, and bring it to life. I love to watch others work in their gifts because you literally have the privilege of seeing The Creator expressed through them at that moment. Be it music, poetry, or art, skills and talents utilized with a passion is a beautiful sight to see. I love making and building things that are unique and for as long as I can remember, I have always looked for ways to create things that I want to express to the world around me.                                                                  
 To the right was a project I made out of some old wood scraps. I also am a Superman fanatic and I wanted to make a box to hold my Superman DVDs in style so using the scraps of wood, I created a "Fortress of Solitude" themed display box.

If it can be dreamed up, it can be done! The drawback to this is that the routine tasks become difficult to perform because there is just to many ways to get things done beside the normal everyday methods. I was making breakfast and put some strawberries out on the plate to balance it out in nutrition and color when I spied a ceramic kitchen knife on the corner of the counter. It was all over at that point because the strawberries needed to be made into something more than just strawberries. See what I mean? It's a hopeless situation. Materials + tools = create.

My favorite method of expression would be through art. I LOVE to draw.
Drawing, for me, is one of the most relaxing activities that I can engage in because the possibilities of where you can take a picture is completely limitless.The flow of the pencil on the paper pushes away any thoughts but the ones that you choose to help you accomplish what you are trying to express. Whether its drawing a soft ripple in a wave or the eyeball of a child.                                                                            (The pieces to the right are scratch board chess pieces that were created as part of a set of three, and the smaller colored piece was a drawing I did of my oldest son and I standing on the beach in St.Augustine, Florida. We went there on a trip when he was about 14 months old.)                      
 If I had to pick a favorite way to draw it would be Portraits. They either turn out really REALLY Good or they turn out really REALLY bad and the thrill for me is the possibility for my work to go either way. It has gone both ways on my personal projects as well as pieces I have been commissioned to draw for others. No, I will not post those pictures!

 (Me and my oldest son when he was two years of age. I call this piece "Daddy's Arms". It speaks to me of what my heavenly Father desires for my relationship with Him to look like. Safe, trusting and completely comfortable in His love for me.)

(# 2 Pencil sketch of me and my oldest son at 2 weeks old)
(Pencil sketch of my youngest son at 3 years old. He is wearing his Captain America Helmet and  Batman cape while clutching his Captain America shield and two trusty mag lights in each hand. He is also wearing a diaper because even the toughest of superheroes are capable of making stinky situations.)
I was going through the art studio the other day and laying out projects and pieces I need to get done that have been taken to various stages of completion when the thought hit me: "Dan, these pieces are NOT finished yet."
The pieces I have on the desk need various levels of work yet and it was in the pile on the desk that I got lost in thought.  

The unfinished pictures were of people who are also unfinished. The beauty of that thought needs to sink in for just a moment so may I please restate the obvious?

Every one of us currently stands at one level of completion or another and there is not one of us who has "arrived". We are all a work in progress. A sketch on the desk if you will and to expect completion in ourselves or another is wrong.

People do not always do what you think they should and people will let you down. This will happen continually because to never do so would mean that a person is finally done.

I do not need to dwell on specifics here because all of us are at different stages but no matter how badly you think you have messed up may I just remind you that ...


 The details of your portrait at this stage may look terrifying, ridiculous, or even shameful but the picture is nowhere near complete. The lines are not all darkened and the shading has been left out and at this stage in the process it would be easy to throw in the towel because of the way things appear. What you have right now is a work in progress. To close the book now would be like reading a child the story of King Kong and closing the book at the part where the ape grabs the girl and runs off into the jungle. The story was nowhere near the end and neither is yours. You are not finished yet and neither is God finished with your portrait. 

(This is a pencil sketch of King Kong that currently lies in my "Unfinished" pile)

Let me go back the side by side that I opened this post with. One picture is of me sitting at my art desk, pen in hand and ready to go, the other is of who I truly unfinished work.

You are also unfinished and for someone reading this post, you have been beating yourself up over choices and circumstances that you may have experienced, chosen, or even created and may I just say that the creator, THE MASTER ARTIST is not done with your picture yet. You can exhaust yourself by trying to "Make it happen" or work yourself into completion in your own strength or you can realize that the pen is and will continue to stay in His hand. He is the only one that can create a masterpiece from your lines and smudges.

When I draw at the house, I constantly tell my kids, "Do NOT shake the table". When we try to control things in our story and make things happen out of our own strength I refer to this as "Shaking the table".

Stop struggling trying to "Self improve" and realize that the only way this thing is going to work together for God is through Christ! (Romans 8:28)

Self effort will only take you as far as you are able to take you. (I have tried this method) God is perfectly able to transform your scribbles into a truly beautiful work!

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." ~ Ephesians 2:10

This is you. Workmanship. God created you to be seen and displayed because in you, He is able to be seen. Let me illustrate this. As you looked at the art above, you thought to yourself, "This guy is good." (I'm not saying this to be vain) Your thoughts went to the artist didn't they?
So you and I as His workmanship cause others to think of the The Artist. We complain about the lousy lines and smudges of our picture and who does that reflect upon ultimately? We keep our trust IN Him and our eyes and ears turned toward Him as He works in us and who does that reflect upon ultimately?

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:" ~ Colossians 2:8-10

 The issue of your righteousness is fully COMPLETE in Him, but the picture of your life, legacy and influential impact is far from complete. Let Him work and stop shaking the table!!!

"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:" ~ Phillipians 1:6


Stop beating yourself up and stop being so tough on those around you. God's desk is FULL of unfinished pictures and yours is in it's place on that table. Here is your word for the day.

"He is not finished, so you are not finished. If He is still working, back up and stop shaking the table. Give Him room to work."

 Climbing with you,

* If you enjoyed this post, may I recommend:

"You had it all the time" :Click Here

"God's Phone Booth" : Click Here

"Just a Scratch" : Click Here

Monday, May 4, 2015

Choosing to Live

I had an incredible opportunity this past week and was able to seize it in its moment when it went by.

I unpacked my distractions, troubles, and loaded the suitcase up with swimming trunks, flip flops, sunscreen, zero expectations, and  went on a vacation with my family.

We went to St. Augustine Florida, one of our favorite places in the world. My wife and I grabbed our kids and headed out to a weeks worth of recreation (Re- Creating) what our family unit was made to be. We swam in the pool, shopped the old city, took in the local sites, had some of the most fantastic ice cream on the planet and re-discovered dynamics of our family relationships that we had let slip in the busyness of life.

One of my favorite activities personally was a five a.m. run around the lake where we stayed. This is an activity that God uses to speak with me, and I would like to share with you a thought that He and I shared during one of those 5 am run/talk/pray/meditate sessions.

God used Moses to outline a very clear choice that His people were given as a nation. He outlined many different laws as a society which if followed, would allow them to exist as a nation set apart and as a testimony to the God that they served.
"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." ~ Deuteronomy 30:19

There is a lot in this passage that we could discuss but for the sake of this post, I would just like to point out the obvious.
God provided man a CHOICE.
Life is about choices. Each choice brings about its own set of consequences and wherever you may find yourself in life as you read this post, you cannot deny the fact that you alone made the choices you have brought you to the places where you have been.


There are circumstances in our life that happen that are not our choice but how we respond to those circumstances is our choice.

I truly wish I could say that I make great choices all of the time, but the truth is, I do not always make great choices. I make the wrong choices with my time, relationships, finances, and with my responses more times than I am proud to admit. I have to accept that yyesterday is in the tomb, tomorrow is in the womb, all we really have is today.

I was meditating on this choice God gave man and He brought to mind another example of when He gave man a choice.
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." ~ John 10:10

What makes God's choices so beautiful is that He has given us the ability to make and keep them. We live out His life IN us.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." ~ Galatians 2:20

Because of Christ's death and Resurrection, I can now truly LIVE as He intended for me to live. Through my faith IN Him! I can choose to walk in the Spirit. I made a short list of choices that morning as I meditated and I wanted to share them with you.

CHOOSE TO: Be Impeccable with Your Word.
  • I Choose today to speak with integrity.
  • I Choose today to say only what you mean.
  • I Choose today to Avoid negative self talk and gossip.
  • I Choose today to use and choose my words to speak truth and love.
  • I Choose today to be careful about what I allow myself to think about, because my thoughts determine my actions and responses and my response determines my future. 
CHOOSE TO: Not Take Anything Personally
This is a big one for me because I tend to over think things. Have you ever had someone say something hurtful about you behind your back or even to your face?
We all have had that happen and have even been the one doing it to others right? But nothing others say or do is because of you. What others say is a projection of their own reality. Your value and acceptance has already been determined by God and no one can reject you because no one can truly offer acceptance. Acceptance is no ones to offer but God and He has accepted you because of Christ!  What others say is simple a projection of their own reality.
Properly established identity in Christ brings with it and immunity to the opinions and actions of others. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you wont be the victim of needless suffering.
CHOOSE TO: Not Make Assumptions
The next time you make an assumption about somebody or something do more research -- or redirect your thoughts to something positive. Scripture tells us where to direct our thoughts and also explains that we, through Christ, have the ability to direct them to a better place.  (Philippians 4:8)
95% of the time, it’s probably not even close to being reality.
I can’t tell you how many times I have made an assumption only to find out later that I wasted all kinds of time and energy because my worry or concern was unfounded.
CHOOSE TO: Always Do Your Best
Even though your best is going to change from day to day,make sure you simply do your best under ANY circumstances and you’ll avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.
   "Yesterday is in the tomb, tomorrow is in the womb, all we really have is today."
So always do your best!
Do yourself a favor and jot these down, print them out,or better yet, grab a note pad and write 4 choices of your own and share them.
I have all four "Choices" printed out and posted on a white board in my office.
It’s a great reminder of how to truly live.
"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." ~ Deuteronomy 30:19

We live by the choices that we make. George Strait sings, "There's a difference in living and living well." and it's true. God did not just give us physical life, He gave us the ability to truly be ALIVE in Him and to LIVE through Him the life that we were made to live.

Our days on this earth are numbered so don't just breathe today, Choose to LIVE.

Climbing with you,