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

Justice

Justice…

How bittersweet is justice?

To love justice is a conundrum. I’m quick to call it forth on those who have committed wrongdoing and demand the law be upheld; yet, as a believer, I know the justice that would be upheld against me if it weren’t for what Messiah did. Selah.

Lord, help me to be more lenient with others. Help me to be more grateful and thankful that the justice that should be served against me has been forfeited. Open my eyes to the understanding of Your forgiveness. Give me the strength to overcome my own wrath and to fall in love with kindness and mercy for others.

-From Death To Life

Bible App Verse Of The Day Series: July 3, 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 will have to suffer only a little while; after that, God, who is full of grace, the one who called you into His eternal glory in union with Messiah, will himself restore, establish and strengthen you and make you firm.”

1 Peter 5:10

Suffer…

Man, if this is not a despised word I have no clue what is. Especially in modern Christendom. Before we continue, let’s get one thing straight; other than a few current sects of Christians in select regions of the earth, I’ll say with upmost confidence that the majority of us modern-day believers can’t legitimately compare our sufferings to those of the members of the first century church. If you are not familiar with their sufferings, please do some research and count your blessings.

The suffering Peter is writing about spans a couple chapters. In chapter four he is quick to point out the physical suffering of Yeshua the Messiah, and how we are to conduct our attitude towards suffering because of His example. Let’s not be confused; though He suffered tremendous physical pain during the process of His death, the physical suffering being emphasized throughout chapter four is more geared towards denying our fleshly lust and desires, and enduring criticism from nonbelievers, as well as our fellow believers.

If you have ever had the displeasure of enduring the snake bite of hearing one of your brothers or sisters in Messiah bashing you behind your back, make no mistake, it can cause physical pain.

We’re not going to leave out any type suffering at all, though. I firmly believe suffering in general is subjective to the individual enduring it. What may cause one person suffering might not cause another suffering. This goes for all types– physical, mental, or spiritual.

Suffering is a part of life whether we want it or not. We can sometimes see it coming as clear as day, yet other times it blindsides us from out of nowhere. It can be caused by anything.

You’ll be hard pressed to find in scripture where suffering is just denied like it’s a man trying to get a girl’s number. But dare I say it’s somewhat welcomed as a revered friend in scripture? Hmmm…

If our relationship with Messiah is that of upmost trust and faith, why should we have a reason to fear suffering? Especially if we know that The Father is perfecting us on the other side of it! So the real questions arise; do you trust Messiah to deliver you from your suffering no matter what, even if the result is death? Furthermore, in death, would you trust Him to deliver you? How can you trust Him in death if you barely trust Him in life?

This all may be hard to digest, but the essence of it all is where is your faith in Messiah in ALL circumstances, good and bad? In suffering, our faith is truly established. It is by design. Your fight isn’t against suffering, it’s in the contention for your most holy faith. It’s for the God kind of faith. The faith that knows beyond any doubt that He will never leave me nor forsake me no matter in death or life! Suffering is just a catalyst that produces this kind of faith. Do not despise it! Selah.

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses that have endured long before us. Look to them and the Holy Spirit for strength. You will never be alone in your suffering. Messiah and all that are in Him are with you! Amen!

-From Death To Life

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

Bible App Verse of the Day Series: June 22, 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 are my refuge and my shield. I have put my hope in Your Word.”

Psalm 119:114

[Though it’s not solidified that David wrote this particular psalm; it is widely believed he did due to the content therein. I will write my article based on that common belief]

There’s nothing like reading the Psalms of King David. He was a man before his time, it seems, because he was advanced in his understanding of his place in God like none other before him. In his psalms, it is beyond apparent that David lived a transparent lifestyle before God. He didn’t hide behind the tradition of law waiting for the next blood atonement sacrifice to be made in order for him to pursue repentance and forgiveness from God. He didn’t rely on the Torah to be his deliverance. He put that trust in the Law Giver Himself. He trusted in the heart God gave him.

The word refuge in this translation isn’t my favorite. The Hebrew word (סתר – “sah-tehr”) is best translated as “hiding place”. Some bible translations get this correct.

It’s hard not to equate “hiding place” to a childhood memory of playing hide and seek. We would cover ourselves under bedsheets, or bury deep into a messy closet, or even empty out a cabinet in the kitchen. Either way, the concept ultimately is not to be found by whoever is seeking you. Though this meaning may have relevance to what is being said in this verse, it doesn’t exactly paint the proper picture of its richest meaning.

To hide in The Lord is to be enveloped in His presence as if it were a cloak of identity. Colossians 3:3 says, “for you died, and your life is hidden in Messiah who is in God”. In essence, if we live in the order we are purposed to, we can become absorbed into His identity. We no longer bear our name, but His. The revelation of this can render the Accuser powerless towards us in what he does. If we are hidden in Messiah, the Accuser can’t approach us to accuse. All he can see is Yeshua the Messiah whom has already defeated him, and the innocence emanating from His being. There is NOTHING to accuse.

Unfortunately, it must be iterated that we of course are not hidden in Him if we live whatever way we please. There are boundaries. But is this not the Grace of God?? He doesn’t leave us ignorant of His expectations of us. We have instructions in Torah and the Ten Commandments that guide us into His identity. Hallelujah!

Let us be hidden together in Messiah. Let us be shrouded in His name so that it is all that can be seen and heard. He deserves nothing less from us! Amen!

-From Death To Life

Reckless Love

If you have not heard this song I highly recommend giving it a listen before continuing on with this article. Check it out on YouTube, or click the link below for iTunes.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/reckless-love/1320253615?i=1320253941

[Added: My friend Matt Jones and I covered this song not long after I wrote this. Click to view on YouTube.]

This song is written by Cory Asbury, a worship artist acquainted with Bethel Music out of Redding, Ca. The praise for this song is met with equal, if not greater, disdain from believers. The title, which is obviously a derivative of a few lyrics in the song, can either make someone gush with affection for it or cringe with the belief of it being bad doctrine. I have decided to write my take on it because I find it quite sad that the body of Messiah ends up so divided about things misunderstood.

There will be bias from me in this article because I am a worship leader and because I love the song. Just a heads up.

What’s the argument?

For those who oppose the song, “reckless” is not how they picture the Love of God. Regardless of the rest of the biblical and relational lyrics of the song, for these people, it seems like getting past the word reckless is like trying to swallow a fistful of horse pills without any assistance from water. They just can’t seem to muster it. If we’re sticking strictly to biblical terms of the description of God’s love, reckless of course isn’t there as far as the use of exact terms go. So it’s understandable there is some adverse reaction. However, we must not forget that Jesus Himself said challenging things to His followers and the priests that they struggled with. Some things He said were to be heard/understood in the spirit and not necessarily in the natural, logical processes of the human mind.

Another thing I’ve heard regarding this song, and songs of the like, is that if you have to explain what it means it shouldn’t be played in church. I say, with a resounding British accent, POPPYCOCK! Again, Jesus spoke in parables that left many stumped and bewildered. So this is not a valid thing to say in comparison to the way of the Master.

Is “reckless” a good adjective for God’s love?

Context means everything when communicating and especially with the written word of God. Worship is no exception. Some responses to this song have been, “God isn’t some reckless, hooligan teenager!”

#Obvi #eyeroll

We all know recklessness can be a bad thing. No one would disagree with that. However, it can be good too, as when used in the context of this song.

To grasp the context of the use of reckless in this song, all the lyrics are important. The chorus goes as follows:

Oh, the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down, fights till I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still you give yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God

That second stanza, in my opinion, is the backbone of why the writer of this song is able to justify the use of the term reckless. This is biblical! It can be found in Matthew 18:12 and Luke 15:4. This is the epitome of reckless when used in the context of love. Love will make people do reckless things to save and protect their loved ones! The bridge of the song seals the context even further:

There’s no shadow you won’t light up, mountain you won’t climb up, coming after me

There’s no wall you won’t kick down, lie you won’t tear down, coming after me

In other words, God is going to do whatever it takes to rescue us! He’s going to send plagues to Egypt! He’s going to split seas! He’s going to set mountain tops on fire! He’s going to lead us to lands to claim that are currently possessed by giants! He’s going to be with us in the lion’s den and the fiery furnace! He’s going to send His only Son to be sacrificed in hopes that even just one might be saved!

I can’t say that His actions are recklessly and irresponsibly committed because ultimately He’s God and the only one capable of doing what He does, and He is mighty to do it! He is precise with His action and knows exactly what He’s doing. But yet, contextually, it’s hard to find another term that adds up to the emotion of God’s actions. Reckless gets the point across of God’s willingness to hunt us down when we stray, or, as a good father would, put Himself in harm’s way to keep us from danger.

The difference between saying it and singing it.

If you were to just say, “God’s love is reckless”, it does tend to warrant a raised eyebrow or two. But it becomes inherently poetic when it’s sung in this song. It portrays valiance, strength, persistence, and fearlessness; the, “…anything it would take to get to my love!”, kind of recklessness.

If you still don’t see it the way it’s intended, please try not to argue with anyone who that song is ministering to. It’s not your place. As a worship leader, I have had to learn to never dismiss a song as “unanointed” because there is usually always someone it is ministering to.

Lastly, click here to watch a video that will hopefully show you why the original version truly does work in proving the nature of God’s love. God bless and enjoy.

-From Death To Life

No Escape

Run where you may, as far as you can,

My eyes are on you, I have a plan,

My gaze will not leave your weary soul,

In the darkest cave, in the deepest hole,

With all your might you run so hard,

Trust me when I say, you can’t run far,

You think your running will lead somewhere,

But all you’ll find is that here is not there,

There is not your goal, as you’d suppose,

Here is what you desire, as you’ll soon know,

There is no height, nor depth,

No width, nor breadth,

My love is everywhere,

Everywhere that you step,

Every move you make, every turn you take,

There is no hiding, there is no escape,

I know no bounds, no space and time,

Could ever separate you from this love of mine,

Your stride is weak, I can tell, I can see,

Your heart will soon fail, just turn to Me,

I see your feet, bloody and frail,

Not much longer, they’ll surely fail,

You’ll stumble head first, I’ve seen this before,

But I promise I’ll catch you, you won’t hit the floor,

I’ve called your name countless times,

Just say mine once, I’ll make you mine,

Run back to me, just turn and go,

We will celebrate, here is your ring and robe,

Slow your pace, come walk with Me,

I’ll carry you for awhile, if that’s what you need,

My arms are strong, mighty to save,

They do not grow weary, I will not faint,

Look in my eyes, don’t you see now?

I will never leave you, no way, no how,

If you should decide to run again,

The chase is on, Myself I will send,

I’ll leave it all just for the one,

I’ll bring you back, consider it done,

“Welcome home!”, the angels sing,

Rejoicing in laughter and endless praising,

“Look, He’s done it!”, they declare about Me,

“He is mighty to save! Holy, holy, holy!”,

Strive no more, rest in My home,

I’ll serve you My best, I’ll give you Shalom,

I love you, My child, more than you can know,

I’m so glad your here, I’m overjoyed that you’re home.