The Second Week of Advent Begins Today

The second week of Advent is focused on peace.

Waiting becomes slightly more intense as we add the expectancy of
hope and peace in preparation for our Savior’s arrival.
Of course it is a passive intensity of expectation
as we actively wait!

 We light the second candle,
If not on our tables,
Then in our hearts.
And light increases.
It doubles!

We can hardly wait until the full light of His glorious presence shines upon the world, and also upon each of us!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Jesus is the only one that can bring peace with Father God.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to all mankind upon which His favor rests!” Luke 2: 13-14

Here’s a song that is full of hope and peace,
And light too!


Come to us, Child of Glory,
We can hardly wait.
Come to us quickly,
Your hands hold our fate.

A happy and blessed Advent season to you
from your Gloryteller.

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Hope Came Down

Unten Hoffnung Kam

He came down so that we could live – really live – with Him
and our loved-ones in Heaven.
Forever together.
We need that hope more with each passing day . . .

~ ~ ~

This is the last day of the first week of Advent 2018.
The theme of hope continues with this song:

Thank you, Kari Jobe and Bob Marshall for the upload.

Merry Christmas from Gloryteller.com

 Frohe Weihnachten von Gloryteller.com

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Breath Of Heaven – Mary’s Song

Not even one of us can fully understand nor scarcely appreciate Mary’s plight . . .
And consider Joseph’s . . .

(Rest in Peace, Donna Summer.  I’m glad we still have your amazing voice.)

These poignant video clips are from The Nativity Story,  upload thanks to Peperamico.

 

Please read to the bottom:


Breath of Heaven
By Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
And I wonder what I’ve done,
*Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now to carry Your son.
~~~
*I am waiting in a silent prayer,
I am frightened by the load I bear,
*In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
~~~
*Be with me now . . .

Be with me now . . .
~~~
*Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
*Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Do you wonder as you watch my face,
*If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am,
For the mercy of your plan,
*Help me be strong
Help me be . . .
Help me . . .
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
~~~
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
~ ~ ~

.  .  . Have you ever found yourself saying these same words –
the ones I highlighted?

I have.

Yes, I have been chosen to “carry The Son”, in a sense.
In that very important sense, all true believers have been chosen to
“carry Him”.
And, sometimes, I feel completely unworthy.
And I pray that the Father stay near me and hold me together.

The thought of bearing this precious burden; this gift;
this responsibility; this life, is daunting – 
sometimes frightening.
A wiser, less broken, less flawed soul should take my place . . .

Yet, I am exactly the kind of person He seeks,
chooses, and challenges, to “carry Him inside”.
One only must be willing.
And the Archangel, himself, said, “Don’t be afraid”.
Yes, the world is cold as stone,
and the path, often difficult,
but I don’t have to walk it alone –
never alone.
The Lord is with me.
*Breath of heaven
Hold me together-
My desperate plea –
Like David, He hears, and holds me up.

He lightens my darkness,
and if that were not enough,
He pours His holiness over me,
and His grace,
and His mercy.

I am not wise, but He chose me,
somehow.
He chose me and He helps me.
And through Him, I am sufficient.
And I am honored.

Breath of Heaven is always there,
softly taking me in,
gently sending me out . . .

 

Amy Grant, how did you know?

~ ~ ~

Merry Christmas from Gloryteller.com
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The Perfect Christmas Gift

My friend, I give you the gift of a song; music with a video.
It speaks for itself.

“The Perfect Christmas Gift”,
written and performed by Sandy Howell.
Uploaded by Bob Marshall.
Many thanks to you both.


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Hopeful Message for the First Week of Advent

The first week of Advent is said to be concentrated upon the hope of the Savior’s arrival as supported by the Scriptures’ prophetic promises. There are several pertinent verses, but I chose this one :

“The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:14-15).

O, Jesus, 
We await your sweet arrival!

~~~~~~

Words and Music for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
by Charles Wesley:

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Mark E. Hunt devised a second, or middle, verse.
I like it and included it here:

Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end;
By His life He brings us gladness,
Our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number,
Born within a cattle stall;
This the everlasting wonder, 
Christ was born the Lord of all.


2. Born thy people to deliver,

born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to Thy* glorious throne.

(*emphases, mine)

 

 

The hope that the child of God has is an eternal hope.
Peter tells us that the Child of God has
“an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you” (
1 Peter: 1-4 )

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The Godsend – A Christmas Story From Len, Gloryteller

It only takes about 40 minutes.
Read it to someone you love.
Read it to several someones.
Gloryteller appreciates your time.
Thank you in advance!

https://gloryteller.com/the-godsend-a-boys-christmas-miracle/

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A Christmas Who’s Who

We must remember this,
Amidst the noise and fuss,
JESUS is the subject of Christmas,
And the object of Christmas is US.

*LS*

Merry Christmas from Gloryteller.com!
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Advent Arrives Today!

“Advent” is here!
It is today!

All Creation is pregnant with anticipation!

This is the time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin “adventus” which means coming, or arrival, of a person or thing.

In this special and absolutely unique case,
what is coming is rich in mystery;
profound in its implications!
Excitement builds in Heaven and earth!

I find it interesting that the words “Advent” and “adventure” are so closely related, which is fitting since we are waiting and preparing for the arrival of  a series of awe-inducing, exciting events :

All that surrounds Jesus’ Nativity celebration,
A son is to be given,
800 year-old prophecy to be fulfilled,

The imminent arrival of Emmanuel, “God With Us”,
The Kingdom of God being established on Earth,
Reconciliation with the Father,
Renewal of all things,

Rescue of the perishing,
Redemption of souls,
Atonement,
Forgiveness,
Abundant life,
Signs and wonders,
Miraculous acts,
Great Joy will be made available to all people,
Messiah! Savior! Christ! He’s coming, 
alreadynot yet, and soon!
The image of The Father will walk on earth,
The advent of Love!
And more, and more, and more!
And, in the fullness of time, Jesus’ long-awaited final return!

We are waiting, and prayerfully preparing, not just for events, but for the arrival of the Personage
without whom there would be no experience of exciting spiritual adventure, no exploration of things unknown, no real and true experience of love and life whatsoever.

But for the birth of the little Lord Jesus, I could not live.
As He is born, so am I.
So are we all!

I wait and look forward to honoring His birth; to observing the amazing circumstances that surround it.
It has “happened” again and again in countless hearts and minds.
It is happening now in mine,
and will again, endlessly, with passage of time.

The expectant waiting and preparation of my heart applies not only to Christbirth,
but to Resurrection Sunday and Thanksgiving as well.
Advent is an important concept.
It is exciting and peaceful too.
I want to make it part of me;
I want to live it.

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A Pre-Christmas Act of Worship In A Massive Retail Store

Every December, I like to start the Advent season by posting the video of this enormous, soaring, amazing, heart-warming event. I try not to use the word “love” lightly or frivolously, but I absolutely love this composition from Handel, this immense pipe organ, this crowd, this choir of believers, and the Subject of this song!

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Jesus Lives!
Let Him Be Worshipped
And Adored At All Times,
In All Places,
By All Willing Hearts!
~

Worship is not a matter of the place,
no matter how commercial, or secular, or even “holy”.
It’s not a matter of the crowd,
no matter its composition, from the faithful, to the skeptical.
It’s not a matter of the means of praise,
no matter how lofty and soaring, or off key and humble,
nor how vocally and instrumentally technical.
It’s not a matter of numbers,
no matter if a large gathering,
or a single off-key voice,
singing or speaking,
with a clapping beat,
or no beat at all.
~
Worship, it seems to me, is a matter of
the condition of each worshipper’s heart.
Only God has full estimation of that;
however, in this retail store there seems to be a crowd of
like-minded, like-hearted, worshippers
setting commercialism aside for an eternal moment

with one great-big, majestic, musical instrument
All led and kept together by one amazing conductor.
How analogous to our God and His people!
~
There might be examples of all the above conditions of worship in this video.
He is worshipped and adored here – yes, even here – inside the huge Macy’s in Philadelphia – a worldly, consumeristic, retail marketplace, where materialism and money normally are king. But not on this day!

This highly organized flash mob sings along with the world’s largest working pipe organ, the massive Wanamaker Grand Court Organ.

The “sounding joy”, the full, immense, amount of joy served-up is overwhelming!
In the fullness of time,
every knee will bow to Him,
and,
“He shall reign for ever and ever.”

This year I wanted to add the lyrics:

Hallelujah 
Written by George Friedrich Handel

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
(For the lord God omnipotent reigneth)
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
(Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah)
Hallelujah

The kingdom of this world;
is become
the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ
and of His Christ

And He shall reign for ever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords

And he shall reign
And he shall reign
And he shall reign
He shall reign
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever
and lord of lords hallelujah hallelujah
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords
And he shall reign forever and ever

Forever and ever and ever and ever
(King of kings and lord of lords)

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah

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Christmas Groovin’

Lately, I find that the troubles of the “world” are getting me down. It’s all, like, tryin’ to steal my groove, man! Know what I mean? People seem too serious about things, to the point where “things” are stealing their time and energy; taking over their lives, making them like slaves to a cruel master. There seems hardly any time left for the facets of life which are most important, but get pushed to the back burner. Lighten up! We need some fun. We need some whimsy!
Does anybody remember the sixties? Simon and Garfunkel? The Rascals?

I woke up feeling good this morning:

Arkansas Christmas Groovin’

The world is doin’ a stint in joovy,
It doesn’t seem to have a cloovy,
But I awoke all feelin’ groovy,
Needed something fun to doovy,
Decided to go and see a moovy,
But halfway through, I had to poovy,
Then met a girl outside the loovy,
Walked in alone, came out with yoovy,
Now we really feelin’ groovy,
At the stand, we bought a smoovy,

Then she asked, “What shall we doovy”,
So we walked down to the zoovy,
The folks were all like ahhs and oovy,
Some peeps were yellin’ “Woo Pig Soovy
They were sure all feelin’ groovy,
Hand in hand we walked through snoovy,

Christmastime is always groovy,
Now, by the fire we feel, like, cooovy,

All is well, we feelin’ groovy

 

~  ~  ~

O, thank You Lord, for keeping us separate from the “world”
while living in the world.
Thank You for the spirit of playful joy that lifts us;
Gives us hope.
Thank You for the greater joy we find in Christmas!

 

 

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Backseat

There He is again,
Concerned while I am striving,
He’s sitting in the backseat,
When He knows He should be driving!

I have forgotten once again,
Until we are arriving,
 He should have been behind the wheel,
And I should just be riding!

Sometimes I fail and I forget,
To have Him in the car at all,
I’m truly absent-minded,
Until I see the crashing-wall !

He’s riding there behind me,
Not fearful in the least,
But He should have the throttle,
This bike’s too much for me.

He should be in the pilot’s seat,
He needs to have that yoke,
My flying skills are funny,
They’re really quite a joke!

My locomotive’s whistle screams,
So loud that I can scarcely hear,
Why’s He back there shovelin’ coal?
 He should be Engineer!

Sometimes I put Him in the back,
Riding with the load,
He should be handling this big rig,
When hauling down this road!

I should always have Him steering,
On winding roads and steep,
Not just when I need a break,
Or when I want to sleep!

I’m in this car I call my life,
He’s walking toward the door,
I think I’ll slide to the passenger side,

For only He can really drive,
Only He can make this tiny engine roar!
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Cooking A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner – Yes I Can – This Is About Thankfulness


Yes, dear reader,
Unlike many men, especially “old-school” men such as myself,
I’m capable of planning and cooking
a full-blown turkey-and-stuffing anchored;
mashed potato filled;
gravy-slathered;
two vegetable enhanced;
candied sweet ‘tater and
green bean casserole complimented;
cranberry sauce enlivened;
dinner-roll augmented;
and pie-crowned Thanksgiving dinner.
I don’t want that to sound like bragging,
nor self-exaltation,
it’s just the truth.
It’s a blessing that I can cook almost anything, and even do a little baking, but the blessing came at the expense of my mother’s suffering.
When I was 13, my mother dislocated her elbow due to a fall. That very painful injury prevented her from doing many of her homemaking duties including cooking the daily family meals. As the eldest child, I was appointed cook’s assistant. I performed the mechanical operations of cooking while poor plaster-casted Mom directed me. That was one of my life’s momentous turning points, because I have used those cooking skills that she taught me countless times for my own benefit and for the benefit of others.
Today, Mom is on my mind.
Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to cook and for everything else you did for me.
Thanks, God, for Mom, and for all my blessings.
Thanks for the ability to imagine and invent things, and for the ability to make, and build, and create the things I imagined – everything from small tools to buildings, and a home, and thanks for the ability to repair, or at least “rig up” almost anything. Thanks, God, for the ability to grow food on Your land. Most of all thanks, Lord for the very surprising gift of the ability to write.
As much as I like to cook, I’d rather write about cooking.
I’d rather write than do almost anything else.
As for Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that this website is partial fulfillment of my God-given purpose. More than anything else, I’m thankful to You, Lord, for gathering me to Yourself, and for giving me the joy of salvation – the joy of knowing You!

“O, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good!
His loving mercies endure forever!
O, give constant thanks unto the Lord!”

Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader!
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It’s Hard To Dance When You Don’t Hear The Music

^^^

^^^^^

To my friend who does not yet hear The Music,
Who does not yet believe it exists.
Who cannot fathom dancing with our Creator:


I used to be deaf to The Music,
the special kind of music between The Creator and His creation.

It is said that those who dance are considered insane by someone who doesn’t hear the music. 

Like many older men and women who thought they had heard it all and were comfortable in their ignorance, unaware of their deafness, I began to hear The Music. I had joined the community of the blessed.
At first a faint melody, but with time it became clearer, enjoyably compelling, and then it began to move my limbs, one at a time; then, my soul. At first a happy flute solo, and with time, a rich, full symphony.

It was a lot like not being able to hear it when a person blows a dog whistle, but you can clearly see that a dog hears it, because you can see the dog’s reaction when it is blown. Thus, you begin to understand the “insane” people. They obviously hear something you don’t and are reacting naturally to it. They are not insane. Their confident dancing arises out of the irresistible music that moves them, and they beckon you to join them.

To those who are perishing, it is foolishness, but for those who hear it, it is life.

Knowing God, and having a relationship with Him is like that. It is a music that only believers in Him can hear and understand. What complete and utter joy there is in dancing to that incomparable Music!

It is not beyond you to hear it.
I believe our Maker places the ability to hear Himself in every person. And not only the ability, but an innate inner longing to hear it. Many ignore it. In many it has been buried deep under the rubble of hurt.  Many deny it, or shun it, or slander it, but His Music persists all around us and it is definitely there to be heard.

My hope; my prayer, is that sooner or later you will listen for it, and will hear it, whether it begins faintly or thunders suddenly. Better sooner than later, better later than never, because dancing for Him; with Him, is nothing less than life itself; it is everlasting life!

I implore you, listen for it! Take a leap of faith. Begin to trust. Let yourself hear and believe.
You might begin to hear The Music in a voice, a birdsong, a waterfall, an orchestra, in wind chimes, or simply as a compelling inner tune that your soul cannot deny. You might hear it surrounded by the silence following a heavy snowfall, or alone in a meadow, or on a mountaintop.  If you be still and listen past your own noise, you will hear it just as I did.
Just as I still do, and will always.
I like being one of the “insane dancers”. I have never been so grateful for anything, as I have for the gift of hearing His Music and following it to Him Who has an unconditional love for me. I would like it much better if everyone would tune their ear, and turn their ear, to that incredible 
Music, and begin The Dance of Life.

O Lord, let me always be ready with a megaphone, a personal sound system,  an instrument, a singing voice. Let me always be an amplifier” hearing-aid” for Your song! 

My friend, once you’ve heard the purity; the truth, in its melody; the love and peace in its harmony, you will know what I mean, you will join us, and your heart will begin its own joyful dance.

Love to you.
Always,
Gloryteller

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That of Himself

I believe that God places that of Himself into every person, and, indeed, into everything He creates. We don’t have to look far to gain knowledge of Him; to be awestruck by His astonishing attributes.

 

And I thank Him for that!

 

 

Photo credit and verse: Ann Hartsook

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It Is Voting Day

It is voting day. The final, official day of voting in this election cycle ending two weeks of early voting.
It occurred to me what a good thing early voting is, when I realized that many voters will be prevented from voting today for various reasons; icy roads, snowstorms, tornadoes, floods, sudden illness, accidents, any number of disasters up to and including death.
I voted early in order to circumvent those impediments to my vote.

There is another vote to consider. A much higher vote. I early-voted several years ago on this one.
If you haven’t yet, I ask you to cast your ballot, cast your lot with the ultimate candidate.
Everything is at stake in his election.
He is the only one who can save our country.
He is the only one who can save your life and the lives of your friends and family.
He offers everlasting life in place of eternal death.
He loves every single soul, even those who slander Him, and vote against Him!
He is the only one who can and will keep every promise He makes.
He is the only one who will be with you through every trial, every disaster, every sorrow and loss.
His laws are always fair and just.
He is Christ Jesus.
His title is Chosen One, and in His name can be found the names Deliverer, Rescuer, Saver and Redeemer of People.
He has been called Wonderful. Counselor. Almighty God, and Everlasting Father.
He is running for the position of Leader of Your Life

So, cast your lot with Him now. Early-vote before something unexpected makes it too late.  
His polls are always open. He doesn’t want to lose a single soul to death. 
Vote for unconditional love. Vote for peace. Vote for salvation and redemption.
Cast your lot with Jesus.

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That of Himself

I believe that God places that of Himself into every person, and, indeed, into everything He creates. We don’t have to look far to gain knowledge of Him; to be awestruck by His astonishing attributes.

 

And I thank Him for that!

 

 

Photo credit and verse: Ann Hartsook

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My Friend, There’s Someone I’d Like You To Meet !

For Ann and David, and for all my new friends at CMA.  You all are my role models, my family, and my friends. Blessings!

~   ~   ~

 

Early on, I saw him from afar.  He was ordinary and plain, dressed poorly in dirty clothing.   Yet, he carried himself with a certain dignity.  I moved on and forgot about him . . .

Until miles later when I met him in passing.  “Dirty feet,” I thought.  “Oily hair.  Calloused, grubby hands.  Still dresses shabbily.  Bad haircut and doesn’t shave.”   Yet, he looked confident as he spoke to the people he met.  I don’t think he noticed me as I passed with only a glance, saying nothing.  No-one to bother with . . .

Until time flew, and the years became heavy, and I found myself wandering into the back alley of my life.  Losing myself.  Confused by myself. Stumbling in despair amidst garbage, and wreckage.  Holes in my worn-out walking shoes. Walking on cold, wet, well-traveled dirt, the way ever-narrowing between breath-stifling walls. Suddenly I slipped. I felt myself falling and sliding down the steep-sided pit of what must have been an old storm sewer.  After I landed, I sat and wept.  There was no way out.  It was getting hotter.  Darker.  I sat in the hot, sulfurous muck and wept.  The muck was rising.

Fear gripped my throat. “Helllllp.  Is anybody there?  Does anybody hear me?”

“I’m here.  I hear you.  Be still and all will be well.”  A candle was lit behind me, illuminating a face.

“It . . . It’s you . . .”

“It is I.  Always have been me,” he said, grinning. ” Don’t you remember how, early on, I waved at you from a distance, but you didn’t want to see?  Later we met in passing and I smiled, but you didn’t speak.  Many times I walked behind you, beside you, and before you, but you avoided, sidestepped, ignored, looked past, seemingly blind, deaf, and dumb.  Well, don’t feel bad.  I get that a lot. It happens to lots of folks.  You’d be surprised how many I’ve met for the first time in a pit like this one.  Why you deprive yourselves for so long kind of mystifies me. It’s a cryin’ shame and such a waste of good time, don’t you think?”

” I . . . I . . .sorry . . . ,” I looked away, embarrassed.  “Umm, this stinky stuff is rising, I don’t think I can stand much more of this . . .”

He was holding a strong stick with which he began poking and pounding a hole in the bottom of the filthy pit as he spoke some foreign-sounding words.  After awhile the muck began to drain out.

“Thanks. What a relief!  How did you do that?”

“It’s not so hard if you know how to speak to it.”

I began to notice that he was clean, in spite of the surrounding filth. I was the smelly, dirty, oily, grubby, shabby one. It was, indeed, a crying shame.

“Let’s get you outa here . . . that is, unless you’d rather stay.”

“Nooo!” I cried desperately, “This is horrible! I want out! But . . . but . . . I don’t see any way out! There’s no way ouuuut!” It was like hearing someone who’s going hysterical, only it was my own panicked voice. I waited for the counteracting slap in the face that always came in the old movies . . .

“Be still, my friend, be still. I am your way out. Do you believe me? Look at me . . .”

I looked. “Yes . . . it’s strange, but, but, yes, I do believe you. Please, get me out of here.”

With that, he smiled, held the candle up, and looked toward the impossibly high rim of the pit.

“When I say the word, you climb this rope, okay?” With a gesture, he indicated his whole slender self. I stared, thinking a whole series of negative thoughts, then nodded in the affirmative.

He then stuck the candle into the loose side of the pit and in one continuous motion, ran three steps across the floor and two steps up the side, gave a determined yell, stretched his full length upward, grabbed the rim firmly with his fingers, and kicked his toes into the wall.

“I’m ready. Climb swiftly now!”

My first jump missed. His feet were well above my head, so I took a run and caught my fingers inside the backs of his shoes. They should have pulled off his feet, but they were miraculously tight. I scrambled and dug furiously with my feet until I could grab his clothing and pull myself up, hand over hand.

“That’s right, pull up until you can get your feet on my calves.”

I finally got my hands over his shoulders and my feet on his calves. That had to hurt him badly, but he didn’t make a sound.

“Now use your feet and knees to get any purchase you can on my back. Persevere, my friend.”

I was already panting. Exhausted. But then he did an amazing thing. Reaching back with his right hand, he grasped my right wrist and pulled upward. My shoes scraped his back cruelly. I hurt for him as he put my right hand on the rough rim of the pit. He reached down around my back and used my belt to pull me up farther while hanging onto the rim with only his left hand. This man was strong! I straightened my left arm above his left shoulder, then placed my knee on his right one.

“Are you all right?” I gasped.

“I endure,” he breathed. “Keep . . . climbing . . .”

I managed to get my foot on his left shoulder. Pulling with my arms, I then placed my other foot on his right shoulder and stood. The side of his face was pressed against the wall. I moaned at the pain I must be causing him as I swung one leg, then the other, over the edge and rolled to safety. As I moved to help him, I heard his feet scrambling and saw him press with his arms and pull himself up until his arms were straight. Then he swung a foot up, pushed, and rolled over beside me.

“Thank You,” I heard him say, in a panting whisper.

“What? Thank you, Man!” I gasped, relieved.

At that, he stood slowly and grinned down at me. He reached down and helped me stand on wobbly legs.

“There were probably a dozen easier ways to do that, but I wanted to make a point. Surely you see the metaphoric value in what just happened.”

“ Metaphor? Stinking hot pit . . . No way out . . .  Wait. Who are you. What’s your name?” I asked with hesitation.

“It would be better if I showed you. You will have to close your eyes to see. Hold my face in your hands and don’t let go.”

His image began to resolve before me. I saw his feet. Grimy, stained with dried blood, a deep wound in each. I shuddered as I heard words enter my mind. “These are the feet that walk into the light. The ones that carry the Truth, the Word of Peace. These pierced feet were made to carry you to safety. You needed but ask it.

His hands were closed, but I could see that his wrists had wounds like his feet. I began to be alarmed and tried to let go of his face and open my eyes, but they wouldn’t open, and I felt his strong, gentle hands hold my own hands to his cheeks. “It’s all right. Be at peace. Pierced for you, these are the hands that can lift you. Heal you. Help you. Hold you close and safe forever. You need but ask it. As his hands turned over and opened, I was amazed to see that my name was written in red across his right palm. His left palm contained a single word in red. Forgiven.

I wanted to comment, but my mouth wouldn’t open. Just as well. It contained only foolish words. What I had thought was myth and legend and Christian delusion was being revealed to me as real truth. Boy, had I been wrong . . . again . . .

I saw his chest rising and falling. Laboring for breath. And inside it, he revealed his innermost heart. I must tell you that words are inadequate to describe it. Even the small portion that he thought I could handle. This pierced heart is the “place” where he keeps the care, the concern, the immense love he has for me. It was overwhelming to comprehend. My own heart struggled with the hugeness of it, yet I felt it being expanded in order to even partially accommodate and understand such wonder and beauty.

“Yes, it’s beyond all your understanding, but one day you will be given comprehension, if you but ask. My heart has spoken to yours many times, but you did not know its language. Do you recall? Do you know me yet?”

“You must be the One my family and friends have called The Savior . . . The Christ . . . Of course you are! You just revealed that beyond a doubt! You’re Jesus. They call you Son of God and Son of Man, right? The One who was born on Christmas and died on Easter!” I’ve seen you on TV . . . Sorry, that was lame . . . They don’t do you justice . . .

“Well, you’re on the right track. Look at me once more!”

I looked at His face. His torn, bleeding, tortured face. On his brow was a cruel crown. I somehow knew that it was the crown of my wickedness. Of my sin. And it was heavy. And painful. And the horrible weight of it was pressing down unbearably on Him but He was not crushed.

“Whyyy,” I moaned as he removed my hands from His face and let my eyes open. When my eyes were fully opened, I saw Him differently. He was whole. He was radiant. He was bright with majestic splendor! And now, there was no crushing headpiece, but on His head He wore a brilliant Crown of Glory. If I fell to my knees in awe then, He must have lifted me up . . .

“Why? Because you couldn’t. You would have been crushed and destroyed under it. Like what happened in this pit, only I can deliver you from the “great death” and by “great” I don’t mean good, I mean enormously bad. The price of your reckless spending had to be paid, but you were broke. You bought what the enemy was selling, on credit, until your debt was outrageous. He can collect anytime, you know. We abhor the thought of that happening to you, so I bought your debt and paid it myself, in hopes that you would someday turn toward me and against the enemy. Toward Truth and against lies. To be given a new heart. A heart filled with joy. And to be transformed back into the person you were always intended to be. Yes, We paid it all in the hope that you would merely want to pay it back. You, could never settle that kind of debt, of course, so We make it free. A “wash sale”, in the hope that you will turn around, believe in me, say yes, choose life, and follow Us . . .

Speaking of “wash”, no offense, but you smell quite bad. Hahahahahaaa. You must be thirsty as well. Let’s leave this place and find some water to take care of that. We’ll greet the morning together and you can tell Me what you’ve decided about your life . . .

I’ll never forget the huge hug he gave me as we left that alley. His cheek left a film of sweat on mine that stayed cool as it evaporated away and I walked with Him into the peaceful warmth of a new sunrise, a new heart, a new hope, and a brand-new life . . .

Of course, I had said yes! Once I said yes to Him, He asked something of me. He wants me to make introductions. Everywhere. To everyone I can. In any, and every way, I can think of. I said yes to that as well. Gladly! 

That’s why I wait at the edge of the deep pit. I stand at the entrance to the alley of death. I walk the mean streets and frequent the black markets, hoping to find you there, because there’s someone I’d like you to meet. And when I do find you there, my greatest hope is that you will come with me a short way to where He is, so that I can say “Lord Jesus, I’d like you to meet My Friend; and, My Friend, meet Jesus, my Savior-Lord, and my King!”

And He will say “I’m most pleased to meet you!”

What will you say, My Friend?

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Copyright © by Lenn E. Snider  04/17/2012

All Rights Reserved

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Ojibwe Insight Expanded

Sometimes, I sit alone in pity for myself,
but,
all the while,
the breath of God wafts me across the great, vast, universe.

I forget how His favor bathes my life with beautiful wonders
and how He shows me great mercy.

I forget that I am never forgotten, always loved, never alone.

Sometimes I forget, in lonely sorrow for myself,
that the Creator’s hand has carried me,
in caring pity,
in sympathy,
across majestic mountains,
past lakes of stars, 
and high up,
into peace,
into the moon-washed Valley of Sparkling Waters
where He has shown me my final – and eternal – campsite.

Sometimes I sit in pity for myself
While my   self   is away with the Great Father,
dancing with unfettered joy.

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HE Is Greater


Summer is officially finished, even though summer temperatures and humidity are still upon us here.

Vacations and travels are a memory.
Hard, hot work is past.
School is going full blast.

I must settle-in back here to continue a different work. A loftier work, not physical, but still hard.

While I was away, things were evidently happening around here. I recently discovered a symbolic rendering of a truth I have known for several years. It seems to have become popular. I saw it on a car window, on a T-shirt, and in a church:

HE>i

I know, I know, you are thinking “that has been around for fifteen years and you are just now seeing it?”
Yep, I just became aware of the symbol, but I have long been aware of the message – HE, the Lord God Almighty, is greater than I. He is more than I am – much more, infinitely more. 

However, completely believing that is not that simple. By nature, I want to place myself above all in my world, even above God, sometimes. It is so easy to forget that HE created me, and not the other way around. No wonder Paul said he had to “die to self” every single day. We are born into selfishness, it is not learned. Thus I must fight myself and try to kill my selfishness every day, every moment.
O heart, I must change you! Can I? No, it takes grace and the healing, transforming, leading of The Holy Spirit.

Eventually, slowly, perhaps I will come very close to full belief that HE>i. One day, I hope self will be entirely defeated – dead and gone – and I will live in Him alone. Then, may

His wisdom be > mine! His knowledge be > mine! His glory be > mine!

After all, they always were , but my self just didn’t know it.

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About The Making of Joy-Flower

There came one of those shining moments when one of my writer friends commented:
“Absolutely beautiful. How did you come up with this storyline?”
My reply was this:

I was only partially responsible for “coming up” with any of the Joy-Flower story; title, middle, or ending!
“It’s difficult to explain God’s mysterious, intense involvement, participation, and presence in the creation of this story, but I’ll try.
One morning I awoke (
or did I?) and it was in my heart to write about the subject of a man being angry at God for what he perceived were broken promises and unanswered prayers. It would also turn out to be about a man taking the power of life and death into his own hands.
Then I “heard” Him say the name of the protagonist. I was a little surprised, and had the audacity to question, “Why this unique Asian name? What do I know of that culture, wonderful as it is?”
Nevertheless, I trusted, and soon began to lay out the story. He filled in my blanks. It even took an unexpected turn into other complex subjects.
I fell in love with our two characters, as I was meant to.
It was all done in one sitting, one “take”.
Without The Divine Presence, there could have been no
Joy-Flower.
The Asian flavor is puzzling, yet I’m confident that Joy-Flower has a purpose far beyond what I can imagine, and that one day He will reveal the whole story behind it. I can hardly wait to find out from Him what comes out of Joy-Flower.
Thank you so much for reading it, my friend! Your question made me think in-depth about the creation of this story, which stretched my pen further than I thought it could go in explanation. I needed that!”

Note: Since that day, I have edited, modified, and added further to the story, as prompted by The Spirit. It has become, arguably, my favorite work because of His close involvement, guidance, and Divine input during its writing. If you would like to read the piece click this link right here. If you have read it before, I urge you to try this “new, improved” version.

~ ~ ~

So, if I were pressed to describe writing, from my perspective it seems to be the expression of the heretofore unexpressed, using combinations of words that have not been combined before, with the nearly incomprehensible involvement of our nearly unfathomable, completely infallible, God.

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