Nine Years

On this day nine years ago a very special event took place in my life. A deeply spiritual, and undeniably God ordained moment, shook the constructs of time and space. On August 29, 2009… my wife and I came into holy matrimony with each other before God and many of our closest friends and family.

This day was the fruition of a dream come true.

God is such a good god. He foresaw all things before our marriage, and beyond the fullness of our marriage, and knew the best and only woman for me is Abigail Caldwell (my woman in pink). He was gracious enough to give me a dream in the middle of the night to ensure my success of locking down one of the finest females to exist. Amen.

Even with clear, prophetic direction, I still had to step out in faith to attain my bride. As we all know, she was (and still is) highly out of my league. My ability to pursue her is a testament of biblical proportions of God’s grace. Even to this day I rely completely on the grace of our Heavenly Father to be the husband she deserves.

The past nine years have had its ups and downs (What marriage hasn’t?), and we have been through a lot as a family. But part of the foresight of what God saw in us included great achievement, love, and the will to overcome.

Abbie,

My love, my best friend, mother of my son— you are the only woman for me. Nine years has gone by quickly and I look forward to 1,000 more with you. I’m sure deep into eternity that feeling will stay the same. Even though we both believe strongly that God has big plans for us, whatever they may be, I want you to know that I would be just fine with the simplest life as long as we’re side by side.

You possess the graciousness of The Creator of the universe. I am in awe of the goodness of God that you are my wife. You have proven your love for me countless times. You have been my greatest supporter in my most down times. You have made me believe that God can “do it again”. God has used you to mend my soul. God has used you to prove His own love for me. God has used you show me my future. But most of all, God has used you as a covering over me. Your prayers are priceless. Your beauty is matchless. Your strength is endless because your strength is Yahweh. I value you above all things, second only to God and Messiah.

I love you deeper than I ever have before. Deeper than I ever thought possible.

Happy Anniversary, 👻🐻

-Love, Danny

Bible App Verse of the Day Series: June 29, 2018

[I have decided that I will occasionally write about the You Version Bible app’s “Verse of the Day”. Sometimes just reading or hearing a particular passage of scripture can be a nonchalant activity that we do daily. I humbly admit I am guilty of this. As believers in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, we have an obligation, not only to ourselves, but also to each other, to discuss and meditate on the Word of the living God. This is so that we can all cultivate the soil of our hearts and encourage healthy growth of the seed that is planted.]

“You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

-Isaiah 26:3

Shalom! Thank God for the prophet Isaiah (Yesha’ yahu for you Hebrew scholars)! The book of Isaiah is so powerful. It is thick with emotion! It is vibrant with God’s love and indignation for His people! One could easily misinterpret Isaiah as a book of threatening consequences for the people it’s directed towards, but I don’t see it that way. God proves His willingness to forgive transgressors and sinners in this book. His motive is to correct the course of His people to position them into a place of promise and blessing. God’s correction is never to result in condemnation, but always salvation!

What I love about this verse is that it proves true peace only comes from true trust in God. It is quintessential cause and effect.

Trust in God = Peace

God insists on provoking His people to trusting Him. He says, “Try Me! What do you have to lose?”

Unfortunately, faith has been misrepresented somewhat by the modern church. This next statement is not to throw prosperity under the bus, because it’s evident in scripture that God wants us to be prosperous. However, today’s “faith” is emphatically taught incorrectly. This may be opinion, but I don’t believe faith has one ounce to do with money or material affects. The reason I believe this is because there is nothing on this earth, not matter how valuable a human may claim it to be, could ever attain the worth of the least worthy thing in heaven. True wealth spoken of in scripture is ALWAYS directed towards our heart and it’s worth, and our relationship with God. All material things that follow should be considered a side effect of trusting Him. That’s not to say that someone who is monetarily wealthy and claims to love God has a better relationship with Him over someone less fortunate. My point is to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Wealth does not equate or prove someone’s trust or faith in God. And vise versa— trust in God doesn’t always produce wealth.

So with that out of the way, true trust in Him produces shalom (שלום)! The value of shalom is immeasurable. It’s priceless! You can have all the riches in the world and yet have nothing if you don’t have shalom.

I always love using the example of when Yeshua and His disciples are on a boat during a severe storm. In the midst of panic and chaos, was The Master praying psalm 91 in a corner? No… He was asleep… Let that sink in for a bit (pun intended). That is our example. Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder if He ever would’ve woke up to calm the storm had He not been provoked by His disciples. I have no doubt that no matter what His decision, that boat was not going to sink.

Trust and faith, in the conceptual sense, are the exact same thing. In Hebrew, the word for faith is אמונה (“eh-moo-nah”). It’s root word is אמן, which is AMEN! (We’re not only saying “let it be so” when we say amen after prayer. We are saying “we trust you Lord! You alone are our foundation and rock! You alone are our provider for all things!”) Ultimately, the picture this Hebrew word is painting is to lean on; put full weight on; to trust and confide; to be firm and stable. If we lack faith, we lack trust. If we lack trust, we lack peace. We can not possibly know peace without trusting Him.

Lastly, this passage of scripture declares the cruciality of what our mind is fixed on. We trust Him because when our minds are fixed on Him, and therefore, we have perfect peace as a result. So, ultimately, the key to perfect peace is to keep your mind ever fixed on Him. All His ways. All His promises. All His goodness. All His patience. All His perfection. All His glory…

It is impossible to exhaust your mind of Him.

May His perfect peace embrace you like an infant day and night. May thoughts of Him become your obsession, because I assure you, His thoughts of you are His obsession.

AMEN!

-From Death To Life

No More Doubt About It… Defense Wins Championships

First things first… I stand corrected. My picks for the National Championship game was Clemson and Georgia. I pegged Clemson to win because they have a solid defense, but also because I don’t think anyone would refute they have a better offense than Bama. Enjoy.

This year in the FBS college football playoff, the four most deserving teams punched their tickets to the Sugar bowl and Rose bowl. Georgia vs. Oklahoma; Clemson vs. Alabama.

A long standing belief in the vast football universe is that “Offense wins games; defense wins championships!” College football has once more testified to that this year.

Out of all four teams, only one stands apart from its counterparts— Oklahoma. By far, hands down, unequivocally, Oklahoma has the best offense in College Football this season. But, comparatively speaking, their defense isn’t necessarily anything to write home about. The other three teams hold something in common that no one can argue against; each have great defenses. Alabama, Georgia, and Clemson all are attributed to playing solid, consistent defense.

The Georgia/Oklahoma game was epic. It can easily be said it is an instant classic. Oklahoma had a lot to prove in this game, and despite the loss, they sure did just that. They are no one to be trifled with; they can put up points on anyone… ANYONE. Including elite defenses. The first half, they made Georgia’s defense look mediocre at best. The bad part about that is we all know it’s not. In fact it’s stellar. Georgia’s defense is arguably the best in the nation this season. Come the second half though, the Dawg’s defense came hungry and ready to feast. They shut out the most prolific offensive attack in the third quarter. That’s huge. Georgia won the game in that quarter, if you ask me. Had they not shut Oklahoma out that quarter and had another shootout with the Sooners, there wouldn’t have been an overtime. The Oklahoma fans would be yelling “Boomer Sooner” in Atlanta, January 8.

I’m sure a lot of doubters will say Georgia got lucky with that blocked field goal in 2OT. Or with the coffin nailing TD run by Sony Michel. But make no mistake; you can not refute that Kirby’s defensive dawgs is what kept them in the game, and ultimately is who should be attributed with the win.

A low scoring affair was the expectation of the Clemson/Alabama game for most people. The offense for each team can arguable be the “weaker” side of the ball in comparison to their respective defenses. It was clear in the second half whose defense wanted it more— Alabama’s. Not that Clemson’s defensive effort wasn’t enough. It’s just that Bama’s defense dominated Clemson’s offense.

Defense 2; Offense 0— and I’m sure defense will be undefeated after all is said and done.

The two best defensive teams in the country will be competing for the National Championship… and rightly so. Hats off to the SEC for producing a match up of two Juggernauts that are about to beat the brakes off each other.

New Year’s Resolutions Are A Sham

Quick! Someone call “Guinness Book Of World Records” because come January 1st millions of people worldwide will attempt to do the exact same thing— commence their New Year’s resolutions.

It’s the time of year when lists are magnetically fastened to refrigerators, reminders are set to do mild exercises at the most inopportune times, kale smoothies become breakfast, and countless other goals set forth by people wanting, and needing, anywhere from minor to major life changes. We have all been here. Nothing inherently wrong with it.

Recently, a friend asked me if my wife and I are “resolution people”.  I answered with a feeble and unconvincing, “I guess so.”  I had never been asked that question before to be honest.  It’s always been a more direct question like, “What are your New Year’s resolutions?”, as if to assume I certainly need any.  I don’t take offense to much, but I could see where a direct question like that could cause a snowflake to melt and evaporate in less than a Planck instant.  “Are you resolution people?”…  I gotta say, it produced some thinking.

I began to realize based off of this question, that though I may set resolutions, I can not truly call myself a “resolution person”.  But come to think of it, does setting resolutions make me, or anyone else, a “resolution person”?  Anyone can make a list and either complete it or not.  What good is a resolution to lose 20 pounds only to put it back on later in the year during the holidays?  Not much of a resolution if you ask me.  The meaning of resolution is; the act or process of resolving; the act of solving.  It is a very direct, absolute word.

Olympic athletes have a resolve. Doctors have a resolve.  Navy Seals have a resolve.  All these people, and of the like, categorically have resolved within themselves to live a certain way; to become certain people; to let nothing stop them on who they intend to be.  The goal isn’t necessarily the resolution. No. The resolution is the person.  True resolutions should be inward. It’s not something you should limit to a list of does and don’ts.  It is something you resolve to become, and furthermore— remain.

We can have our “bucket list” type things to do as New Year’s goals, like skydive or climb Everest.  Those are good, awesome things.  But setting one adventurous goal pales in comparison to resolving to be an adventurous person.  I will forever believe that who we are will always transcend what we do.

This new year, I resolve to become a Person of Resolution.

Adventures in Furniture Buying

This article is based on a recent, personal experience of buying new furniture. The business practices stated within this article do not represent the business practices of all furniture stores. Due to the subjectiveness of this article, and the personal experience content, there can be no guarantee that the results can be duplicated for you, if and when you attempt to purchase furniture. Enjoy.

In September of 2016 my wife and I began considering new furniture for our living room. We had the same couch and chaise lounge since we got married in 2009. It was great furniture that has years more use to it, but for us it was time. We had originally started considering building a new home which in turn led to us thinking about furniture, but plans for that unfortunately fell through.

On December, 30 2017, we made our purchase. A beautiful couch, loveseat, and chair and a half with an ottoman. It only felt right to share the experience we had in our adventure in furniture buying.

I’m not going to name the company that we dealt with, mainly to avoid conflict if somehow down the line that were to arise. The majority of our previous purchases have been from this chain, and overall we have been satisfied with our dealings with them.

…This go around was slightly different.

One Saturday we went in to look at the furniture we were interested in. We had already been acquainted with the brand and felt that it fit our wants and needs. Of course we were quickly greeted by an anticipating salesman as soon as we walked through the door. …shocking, huh?

He was a nice guy that apparently knew his stuff and was very personable. Having a background in automotive I am highly unintimidated by salespeople. So as we perused the showroom, he gave us info about the furniture of course, but also mentioned at lease twice that their company doesn’t mark their furniture up as much as others do. To me, that’s an immediate red flag, but I just let him talk as highly as he wanted about who he works for. As we rerouted back to what we were originally looking at I examined the price guide on the coffee table and noticed prices were “slashed” from MSRP. To be honest, up to this point I never really had a haggling bone in my body, but I felt the fire rise up in me to want to make a deal. We didn’t buy that night though. We were waiting until after Christmas to see how much cash we would get to help.

The following Tuesday morning I saw a commercial on TV for the company we were at saying “sales tax paid” until the first of the year. Intrigued, we went back up there that night only to find that the “slashed” prices were raised $100 on almost each item in that living room collection. This is not a new business practice and once again, I was not surprised. Nonetheless it still pissed me off and added fuel to the flame of haggling already kindled within me.

The next day I chose to do a little online investigating because the salesman informed me that they price match any advertised price… Challenge accepted. I checked the manufacturers website for a SKU# and exact title for the furniture and off I went. I consistently found prices identical to the original company we dealt with, but I also found prices much higher. Not to mention the half dozen articles verifying the high markup in the furniture industry. Through my web surfing journey I stumbled across a company that had the exact set we wanted. One problem though. They were in Colorado. I didn’t let that stop me though because the pricing was considerably lower than what was listed by the original company. As soon as my eyes saw it it dumped a deluge more of gasoline to make the haggling inferno inside me turn white hot… it was time.

Like a four year old running to the teacher to rat on his classmate, I immediately called the salesman to tell him my find. It was a high I’ve never felt before and I am proud to say I am forever hooked. He asked me what website I found the pricing and I informed him. He quickly stated he’d need to get with his manager to check on what they could do, but before I let him hang up the phone I spat out my offer. In response he says, “No guarantees, Mr. Kent. I’ll get back with you as soon as possible.” (Click)… I thought to myself, “I’ve won this battle!”

A little later he calls back. I rushed away from my desk to answer. I expected, “Sir, you got a deal!”, but noooo… They had to throw in that I would have to pay at least $300 in shipping to get it to me from that company in Denver, and that that company can’t be making a dime on that furniture for the price they have it listed for. I stopped him abruptly mid-sentence at that point, “Don’t give me that. I’ve been in sales and around retail long enough to know that a business does not sell anything to make nothing. You can’t tell me that you aren’t making money if you sold me the furniture at what I offered.” He jabbed back, “This is what we can let it go for, blah blah blah…”. I firmly and assuredly repeated what I would pay for it and of course, like before, he had to go back to his supervisor. The final reciprocal phone call, I thought, would be my victory solidified…

…it wasn’t.

They gave up the fight, but not in the way that favored me. They basically decided it would be better for them not to get a sale at all and would not come off their counteroffer. I was beyond dumbfounded. What arrogance?! What horrible business practice?! I’m pretty sure there is an unwritten statistic that verifies at least 20 out of 10 salespeople would agree, “A little profit is better than no profit.”

The devil is a liar!

After the call I was about 95% sure he’d call back that night to apologize and beg for my business, and eventually agree to my offer. Nope. The call never came.

I gave it till that Friday to call back. When I did, the salesman was very cordial and was still genuinely interested in helping me. He informed me that his hands really were tied on the matter. I made a counteroffer on their counteroffer, and let him know we’d be checking other places, but would be stopping by again Saturday. He didn’t call back that day.

That Saturday, we went back. The salesman approached and was easily read as being overwhelmed by a busy day. We conversed about my last offer, and to my dismay they still wouldn’t budge. We strolled through the store to arrive by the furniture we want. The salesman thought at this point it’d be best for me to deal directly with the sales manager. I agreed. As the manager approached, my wife asked if she and my son should go to another part of the store. I strongly agreed. My son doesn’t need to see this side of me yet. To be honest I didn’t know how it would play out.

We haggled together… it was awesome. I wanted the furniture, and he knew it. I knew that was why he wouldn’t meet me where I offered. However, he made one last offer. I paused and stared at the price for dramatic effect. “Let me go talk with my wife.” I turned away quickly, as if I was mad, for more dramatic flare.

We agreed to the price.

Though we didn’t get it for what we wanted to give for it, we still came out better than some putz who went in there and paid full sticker. We learned a stout lesson with this endeavor— get over my pride, and haggle.

As an average consumer who has to budget and make good, responsible financial decisions I owe it to myself and my family to not pay full sticker on major purchases ever again. Even if we were well off, I would still haggle. From now on I will put up a fight that proves I work hard for the money I’m spending, and am not willing to give it up easily.

Haggling is an American institution. Join the club.