It’s Hard To Dance When You Don’t Hear The Music

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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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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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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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The Expense of Safety – A Reprise – And The Rest Of The Story

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A Good Friday Story;
A Good Anytime Story –


The Expense of Safety

The Ferry to Safety was ready to depart.
Freedom, so close!

Special admission only???
Hope fading.
Whoever missed the boat was lost.
Completely lost and without hope.
One solitary, stringent ticket stand.
A waiting line far too long.

Serious guards watching.
Last chance.
Distress.

But I had not the standing,
Not the requirements,
Not the paperwork,

Nor the price of admission.
I stood forlorn in fear that
I would always wear these chains,

Or be, (oh, so slowly) tortured and killed;
Despair.

Then a man stepped up,
Radiating such undisguised love,
Unveiled compassion.

He gave me his own precious ticket with a smile.
No hesitation.
He paid my price.
Dooming himself with the selfless gesture.
Bewildered, I caught hold of it.

And just in time.
I stood astonished,
Forgetting even to thank him.
“Hurry, it departs;
It’s your one chance,”
He cried over his shoulder

As they cruelly restrained him,
Beat him to the ground,

Roughly dragged him,
Torn, and bleeding,
Yet miraculously silent as
They pinned him brutally against the ticket stand.

His fate I couldn’t know,
Couldn’t imagine.

Didn’t want to guess . . .
In horror and denial,
I watched the scene as I walked backward,

And stepped,
Not nearly grateful enough,
Onto the departing boat.



The Rest of the Story

I was in shock.
And I was safe.
My chains had dropped from me,
into the water,

as I stepped onto the ferry.
Relief overwhelmed me.

Was this how true freedom felt?
After a time, I noticed many others were there.
Some were kneeling, some looking upward
with bowed heads and raised hands.
A woman saw that I was alone.
“You are the last.”
“Yes . . . . . ,
I . . .
It’s incredible!

A man paid my price!”
I was still astonished.
“Mine too!” she exclaimed.
A man looked up . . . “Mine too!”
A child waved; in her hand a ticket:
“Me too!”
“Me too!” cried a young boy.”
A group of teenagers:
“Me too!” “Me too!” “And me!”
“He paid my fare!”
“He gave me his own ticket!”
All of us!
People were gathering into one group,
listening to each other.
“I threw my pass away years ago,
but he gave me another today!” said several.
“I lost mine and he gave me a replacement as well.”
“I didn’t deserve one.”
“I was in prison.”
“My neck was in the noose; I was good as dead.”
“He let me off the hook for the terrible things I said about him.”
“He forgave me too!”
“He gave me another chance.”
“He gave me another, and another, and another.”
“He told me it was ‘never too late’,
when he handed me his boarding pass.”
“He looked at me with love.
Nobody ever did that!”

“I know he saved my life, and not just once!”
“He told me God loves me!”
“I heard him forgive those guards.”
Yes, even while they did detestable things to Him.
I . . . I think . . . they killed him.

“Because of us,” I thought, in sorrow.
“Because we couldn’t get our own passes.”
“We could never qualify.”
“He deserved his ticket more than anyone,
yet he gave it to all of us and forfeited his life.”
 “He loved his life as much as we love ours.”
“Who was that poor man?”
An elderly lady approached on unsteady legs,
holding her ticket toward me in an outstretched hand.
Her eyes were filled with tears.
“He gave me this. I tried to refuse, but he insisted.
It was all . . . he . . . had.

What love he radiated. What love!” she sighed.
Her pass was identical to mine.
They all were.
I looked up at the wheelhouse,
and, to my delight, noticed that the huge watercraft
was named JOY.

As the day passed, people began telling their stories.
Everyone had a story involving the man we called
our hero, our rescuer, our deliverer.
We praised the man with our stories and with singing.
We fasted, partaking only of sweet, cool, water   –
The purest we have ever tasted.
In the evening we ate bread and grapes.
All these things were provided from coolers on the deck.
We became conscious of God’s presence and provision.
Those of us who were new to the faith experience were welcomed
into the family of believers and followers of that one man.
Because of what he did for us, we all worshiped him;
Because he showed us compassionate love,
We adored him;
Longed to see him again,
If only . . .

The boat seemed to expand in size while more people
came up from below.

So many breathing freedom!
Our ongoing rescue continued through the second day,

through which we repeated the fast, the worship,
the stories, and the evening meal.
When would we finally reach the Land of Promised Safety?
We wondered, but with faith and confident hope.
The massive boat churned a wake and plowed its way forward,
persevering steadily on course 
through a third day,
 as our faith and hope grew.
Then, in the cool of the evening of the third day,
we saw land . . .

And I, the undeserving;
I, the ingrate;
I, the impatient;

I, the selfish;
I, the forgiven;
and I, the thankful-rescued,

stood on the foredeck and saw The Man
standing with a grin,
and with open arms,
on the pristine sand of freedom’s shore.

α ∞ Ω
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Something Happens

Something happens when you begin to follow Jesus in earnest.
I’ve discussed it with a great many people;
people of diverse backgrounds and profiles.
In differing words, and in a variety of ways,
they all agree that 
something happens!

And that something that happens when you say yes to God

is unexpected,
has an aura of mystery,
is somewhat incomprehensible,
is difficult to describe using the limitations of language.
Yet, the essence of our dialog,
the substance of our stories of coming to faith,
the validating assurance of our choice,
has a common theme:
Something great happens!

When we accept Jesus as our Savior,
our almighty God,
our risen Lord,
we universally perceive something important changing “inside” us.
The changes are for our good,
for the better;
for the best.
And we have confidence that they will keep happening

in even greater ways.

When our spirit experiences that first encounter;
makes that crucial connection with our Living God,
something truly, inexplicably, wonderful, happens.
Something beautiful happens!

And it doesn’t just happen.
He causes it to happen!
Out of love!

He opens a door.
He makes a way.
It’s supernaturally personal.
Life walks in.

New life!
Real life!
Joy bursts in.
Grace settles in.
It is difficult to explain,
But do I really have to
when literally billions of people have known that 
something happens?!

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On Using Seemingly Questionable Christmas Traditions For Good

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“What do you think about the lie of Santa Clause?” asked nobody.
“Sure, I’d be glad to weigh in on the Santa controversy,” I replied . . .

It has been said, ad nauseum, that secular traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and even the word “Christmas” should be condemned by Christians because they distract and detract from the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
I disagree.
Those many traditions are so ingrained into society that they cannot be reversed nor abolished. They can, however, be used in a positive manner. I’ve previously discussed how the Christmas tree points to Jesus Christ. It is easy for me to tell, as well, how Santa’s (“Saint Nicholas‘ “) life and existence points, to the life and teachings of Jesus.
I only implore you, dear reader, not to foster the lies about Santa Clause, St. Nicholas, or Father Christmas, but tell the factual truth about them. It’s the same for the the gift-giving, the lights, and the joyous celebrating. One can ignore any or all of it, but I believe that we should not only accept, as a fact of life, the secular traditions; the things that have been distorted and perverted away from the original intent of honoring the Christ-child, but turn them back upon themselves to their true purpose which is to celebrate His birth, to point to Him, to highlight Him, and to glorify Him in the unfettered, hopeful, optimistic, rejoicing manner in which the host of angels announced His arrival to the shepherds, and to us.
Those traditions can be used to help us illuminate Him in a darkened world. I believe that is our commission, our duty, and our pleasure, as believers and as beneficiaries of The Father’s miraculously humble, and humbling gift.
The gift of The Savior Child is given to every one of us, but it must be accepted before it can be unwrapped and enjoyed.

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Whatever you do,
Whatever you think,
Seek Him in all things
And have yourself a happy,
Have yourself a joyous,
Have yourself the merriest Christmas!

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

Give Him all your glory,
Keep it Christmas-Story-ous!

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Cooking A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner – Yes I Can – This Is About Thankfulness


Yes, dear reader,
Unlike most 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.
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 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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Forever Home

                    

                  Forever Home

 

When our count of days goes way too fast

When earthbound lives are gone and past

 

In sad, lamenting grief we’re cloaked

We limp to You, our only hope

 

We lost them, those who were our own

Or were they not, and just on loan

 

With great compassion You lift us up

For what You gave them, they left with us

 

By Your grace, it’s their love we’ve enjoyed

So eternal, enduring, death can’t destroy

 

Fragrantly lingering, it wafts through our hair

Like tropical breezes, love whispers its care

 

And we know they are with us, as You’ve been from the start

For their love warms our being, lifts our arms, and our heart.

 

So, there lies our hope, it’s Your love and Your faith

You care about us, Your plan is in place

 

We lack understanding, only You know

How to bring home your people, You care for each soul


For You have given us this sleep

The one that, here, we think so deep

 

Yet it is light, and lasts but a whit

So brief, and at the end of it

 

We waken to You, forever home

At last, Your Treasure is our own.

 

At last! Your Joy is now our own!


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One Last Mountain

 

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

I’m walking so much older now
Much slower than before
It’s time to lay some burdens down
And shoulder them no more

Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His
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Saved From Myself

One of the most difficult jobs God gives us
is gently convincing someone of the concept
that they need to be, in effect, saved from themselves.
From their broken nature.
From poor decisions based on selfishness.
From their lack of a sense of a higher hope,
and purpose, 
and meaning.
From their arrogant, rebellious, reckless,
self-elevation

To the position of god.
It is a universal need all people have in common.
It was true for me;
myself most of all.
My own worst enemy (but for that other).
Yet I dismissed the notion of salvation out of hand.
Adamantly.
Still, He had someone in the wings
who was perfect for the job.
He placed that person right in my path.
With perfect timing.
Giving voice to a theme song
tuned to my stubborn rebel ears. 
Unexpectedly, I believed those personal lyrics.
Surprisingly.
Inexplicably.
Amazingly.
Thankfully.

I soon was “saved from myself “, 
Delivered.
Into a relationship with my Creator God.
I have not looked back.
I rejoice!
Now, I sing to you.
Am I the one He has reserved in the wings for you?
Or are you destined to step onstage for someone else?
It can be a most difficult job.
“Don’t be discouraged,” He encourages.
I’m living proof not to be –
I did not need it, or so I thought,
Yet, thankfully,
I was

saved from myself.

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Before

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Oh, Great God,
You said of Your magnificent Self,
in effect:
“Before there was anything, I AM”.

 

In distant time,
rather, I should say,
before You even started time moving on its relentless travels,
You, my Great Father,
Were,
Are,
and Will Be –
all at once (thus, the I AM!)
Before then, You knew me
!
You, the Great Creator, saw me in Your mind’s eye!
You saw me – Your ‘perfect’ me and also every later flawed aspect of me –
and still You loved me,
took pity upon me, and loved me;
rejoiced in me, and loved me.
You knew me, envisioned me, and loved me,

even BEFORE
You gave me a spirit;

BEFORE
You spoke my name in a whisper and bestowed my soul.

You knew me BEFORE:

 You constructed my body deep within my mother’s miraculous life-supporting anatomy.
Before You breathed life into tiny me.
Before I was delivered from my confinement into the vast world.

BEFORE:
I learned about You, but still didn’t know You.
Before I was sadly blinded concerning You.
Before I turned away from You, although Your
concern and compassion for me never wavered.
Before You never left my side;
I should have died many times;

You carried me.
Before I made countless mistakes.
Before I disappointed You; most likely saddened You to tears,
and shook You to your core with outrageous blasphemies,
even though You knew those things were in my heart.

You loved me long BEFORE:
Before You sent me a messenger who knew You,
and showed me who You are;
the reality of You,
Someone to whom You meant Everything.
Someone who knew life before You,
when something seems to be missing;
when there is an emptiness in one’s heart 
only a relationship with one’s Creator can fill;
when there is a hunger and a thirst
that can only be satisfied by His comforting
words of love, of peace, and of joy.
Who pointed to the way You were chasing, calling, pursuing me.
Who showed me Your unconditional love;
taught me of Biblical truth,
of faith,

and of grace,
and mercy,
and salvation,
and, most importantly,
introduced me to the real Immanuel,
“God With Us”,
Jesus.

You, Father God, saw me BEFORE:
You, whose existence I had previously refuted,
proved Yourself to me time and again –
even more than necessary to convince –
extravagant in Your thoughtful pursuit.

Before You imparted Your Holy Spirit into me,
and before that moment when my joy overflowed and overwhelmed me.

Before You called me “My Child” and kindly adopted me into Your family.

I have a Before and an After.
Every before implies its own after.
Before, I was dying without You.
Now I am fully and completely alive with You!
Now I bow before You alone,
and I will be with You ever after!

You knew me BEFORE:
You gave me new birth,
made me a new being,
a new creation.
You knew me before You made me,
as well, 

a messenger of Your Great Glory.
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Dear Reader – I’m your humble messenger, 
To demonstrate His unconditional love as my own.
No matter what has happened in my past,
nor yours.
Our mutual Father in Heaven,
Creator,
commissioned me to write this message to you,
as a plea to take it to heart,
to show you the difference between
a life before receiving Him and His message,
and the life “after” —
A dying life into an increasingly living life!
The “after” life is amazing, and it is everlasting!

I pray for you constantly because I care for you.
You know me.
You know you can trust what I’m saying.
Father God knew you and loved you
Before and He does now.
You need and deserve a great After!
Trust Him.
All my caring, loving, good wishes, and hopes,
I send wrapped up in this message. 
Yours truly,
Gloryteller

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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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Happiness Is Being Born TWICE!

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Today is the anniversary of my second-birth day.
My rebirth day.
My original birth was kind of like Christmas;
Without it, there could have been no Resurrection Day.
Without my first birth, I could not have been re-born.
My life could not have been repaired, resurrected, and redeemed.
First came my birth day,
then an Advent of sorts – a long time of waiting and preparation.
(even if I didn’t realize some of that stuff,
that garbage was preparation)

then the great gift of joy in a second-birth day!
Needless to say, for my birth and rebirth
I am extremely thankful!

♫Happy birthdays to me,
Happy birthdays to me,
For both, I am thankful!
Happy birthdays to me!♫

On this day a few years ago,
I caught Him!
He had been chasing me
harder and harder,
faster and faster,
for about two months.
He chased me until I caught Him!
The lost was found!

The blind saw!
Fear fled!
The enemy ran!

That moment was the perfect meeting of the physical
and the spiritual.
The perfect arc between
the seen
and the unseen.
Grace touching flesh.
Faith bathing a heart.
Salvation invading a body of being.

It was instant, yet time seemed to stretch
into the infinite – into veritable eternity.
One moment, I was slowly dying in a hopeless world,
the next, I was delivered into Heaven!
I was like sea glass –
all the rough, broken edges smoothed –
I was remade from refuse into a beautiful gem!
I was a new creation and I felt it!

It was transformation – metamorphosis!
My cocoon dropped off!
I was free!
A newly adopted child

with a newly granted citizenship
including new customs, traditions,
benefits, privileges, responsibilities,
and a new language!
I wept!
I overflowed!

Needless to say it was a moment of pure JOY!
Joy so intense that it remains to this day.

Thank You, Jesus!
In a sense, I was born with You in that stable.
O, how can I ever thank You enough

for making that possible?!
For me, and for all people!
Thank You, our Highest Lord!
YOU ARE Wonderful!
Counselor!
Mighty God!
Everlasting Father!
Prince of Our Peace!
Happy Birthday to You, dear Jesus,
and because of You,
to me too!


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A Leap-Day Leap of Faith 2-29-16

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“Nothing before, nothing behind;
The steps of faith
Fall on the seeming void, and find
The Rock beneath.”

–John Greenleaf Whittier

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Les, a man – an agnostic man – was conversing on the telephone with a friend. The friend was trying to explain faith to the unbeliever but was having little success. The fifteen-year-old daughter of the friend overheard the conversation and impulsively interjected a comment from across the room.

“What’s that Laura said?” asked Les, “I couldn’t quite make it out.”

“Oh, she is quite the student of poetry – and she has quite a deep understanding of her own faith. She just said this: ‘Why don’t you just tell him what John Greenleaf Whittier said about faith? – Nothing before, nothing behind; The steps of faith fall on the seeming void, and find The Rock beneath.’ “

“I’ll write that down. Sounds a little deep for me. Thank her for the thought, though.”

“Wait, Les, she also wants me to relay another message. She thinks God is chasing you. Oh, that kid! You had better listen, she is a very insightful girl!”

After the call ended, Les got curious and ‘Googled’ the poem. “Yup, here it is, she got it word for word!”
Nothing before, and Nothing behind.”
“The seeming void . . .”
“Kind of sounds like me.”
“The Rock – finds The Rock.”
Sounds like she wants me to believe The Rock is God . . .”
Curious, he saw a ‘related link’ and clicked it.

Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance that what we 
hope for will come about
and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.”

“Hmmm,” he thought. He went back to the poem. Looked at it harder.
Went deeper – and it was deep!
He went back to the verse even though he had avoided anything to do with the Bible for a long, long time.
He sensed warm breath on the back of his neck.
“Chased? Yes, I think she used the word chased. . .”

He found this under the verse:
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

“11:1-3 Faith always has been the mark of God’s servants, from the beginning of the world. Where the principle is planted by the regenerating Spirit of God, it will cause the truth to be received, concerning justification by the sufferings and merits of Christ. And the same things that are the object of our hope, are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in Christ. This persuasion gives the soul to enjoy those things now; it gives them a subsistence or reality in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them. Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the bodily eye. It is a full approval of all God has revealed, as holy, just, and good. This view of faith is explained by many examples of persons in former times, who obtained a good report, or an honourable character in the word of God. Faith was the principle of their holy obedience, remarkable services, and patient sufferings. The Bible gives the most true and exact account of the origin of all things, and we are to believe it, and not to wrest the Scripture account of the creation, because it does not suit with the differing fancies of men. All that we see of the works of creation, were brought into being by the command of God.”

Esteeming himself a scholar, a learned man, a lover of art and poetry, he looked and studied and delved into the words and concepts which had escaped him – no, which he had ignored and run from for years.
“How do I catch hold of this stuff? It all seems so impossible. Yet what all this implies is that I need to step outside my blind self  more, and into the part of me that can see.”

“Les, let Me . . .” 

“I think I need to slow down and let God catch me a little.
But how did Laura know I liked poetry?
How did she know to quote me that one poem out of millions of them?
How did she know that it would touch me – change me?
How did she know to say ‘God is chasing me’ so that I became aware of such pursuit?”

“It’s her faith. Laura knows my love. She is mine.
She wants you to know me as well,
as do I.”

Les called his friend. “Hi! I was wondering if Laura is at home. She is? Are you guys busy? I was wondering if I could come over and talk to you both about the message she had for me. Lunch? Sounds great, be there in an hour.”

Les took the steps of faith, well, a leap of faith, really,
and within two months I,
I mean he,
was HIS as well, and has never had a single regret.

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When Faith Goes Still

I must confess that, at times, usually only briefly, my faith becomes rigid and cold – stark and inanimate. I get the picture of a steel beam lying on the ground. It is of no real use there. Waiting.
It gets that way when my understanding fails. When I think of the rape of an innocent or the murder of a child . . . I am so horrified that I wonder why God is not horrified as well. My distress asks “Why do You not intervene?” That is when my faith goes still and cold, yet I hang onto it and grasp it as if it is my last treasured possession. If I went right now to research answers, I could find dozens of rational answers. Maybe even comforting answers.

At this moment, I just want to see what my own heart says:
That He is God and I am not.
That my understanding is shallow and incomplete.
That He loves the soul of the most demon-possessed murderer as much as He does mine/me,
and He gave Jesus’ life so that one, too, might be saved.
That His forgiveness of a repentant believer is unconditional, as is His love.

That, except for His grace and mercy, my situation could be just like theirs – or worse.
That He doesn’t want to lose even one soul to Darkness.

It is a most difficult concept for me to love that person, or, at least, their soul, as much as I do my own. Just maybe, it might be that the faith and understanding of the above-mentioned innocent child is more animated and warm than my own. Would they gladly give their life for the healing and saving of the soul of their tormenter if Jesus were right there to explain, and help them, and teach them?
After all, He suffered the same horrors.
He understands what is at stake.
Would they gladly forgive?
Would I?
Can I?
Do I?
I should.
I am supposed to.
But, being an older human, it is hard.

The people opposed to God say that they won’t believe in a god who doesn’t have compassion for the innocent – who will not intervene in their behalf when they think He should – a god who loves murderers. If He were the kind of god that they have invented in their minds, they might be right;
but they don’t know Him.
Everyone “murders” something, in some way, nearly every day.
He does intervene in ways unseen.
Jesus was innocent.
He does have compassion.
He IS compassion.
And that, my friend, is the point at which the rigid, cold, stark, inanimate faith that I could only hold onto like a waiting seed, once again comes to life!
Warm, pliable, animated, and comforting because of His compassion and His love.
A gift amidst the horrors of a broken world.
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Live In Your Joy

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Artist - Traci Parks

Artist – Traci Parks

Remember

Dear Child

Your Joy cannot be taken away

For it lives in that untouchable place

In your very inner center

Between the disaster under your feet

And the fleeting happiness surrounding your head

Between the dismay in one hand

And the current distraction in the other

Joy exists in a place between all the heartache

All the strife

All the good and the bad things that can be touched

And felt and heard and seen

It is always there in-between

Untouchable

If you know the Lord

Joy is there in an open treasure-box

Like a light-emitting gem that wells up

On the peak of a rainbow-crystal fountain

Joy is full of color and light and warmth

It is far beyond mere happiness

Mere synonyms can but dimly allude to its wonder

Precious gift along with grace

Leave it open not closed away

For others may sense it and open their own

Remember 

Dear Child

Who makes my own Joy seem brighter

Your Joy cannot be taken away

Nor can it be given but by the One who made it

If you don’t know Him

Get to know Him

He is ready

He loves you

Each can have their own Joy

So keep yours shining in its perfection

Look at it often

In its untouchable place in-between

In your very inner center

Live there with your Joy

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Move On, But Remember To Keep Celebrating His Arrival

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A friend of mine posted this observation:
“Christmas is over and it’s time to move on from celebrating the birth of Jesus to following the life of Jesus.”

I get his point.
(I don’t think He intends to minimize Christmas)
For one thing, it is all too easy to become fixated on this one aspect of Jesus’ incarnation,
thus missing the importance of His whole life, and the purpose of His presence here.
I think my friend wants to emphasize the importance of following Him
in trust, and in obedience, above all else.
To do that, it’s crucial that we “move on” and take Him from His manger bed,
(even though there is nothing like having a new baby to hold)
to love Him and watch Him as He learns to talk, and then to walk,
as He grows in wisdom and knowledge,
as He learns to use His hands to build and to heal,
as He becomes an adult who teaches, preaches, and ministers to His people,
as He carries His cross to a culmination of crushing sacrifice,
as He conquers death and is resurrected.
And not only lovingly watch, but lovingly participate in these things with Him
as He enters, invited, into our hearts.
Understanding Him, and following His life and His Word are the priority for a believer.

I must be true to myself, on the other hand,
and say that I disagree that “Christmas is over”.
The seasonal celebration may be over.
The secular holiday may be over,
but my heart’s celebration of my Savior’s birth will never be over.
The upwelling, unrivaled, unquenchable joy that my Lord’s arrival brings will never end.
I will not be moved.
His birth is the culmination of all the pre-Nativity preparation,
planning, decision-making, and
the very character, the nature, and the acts
Of Father God, and of His Son, who is the Word, the Creator, the Sustainer.
Jesus’ birth is the beginning, on earth, of something so miraculous,
so mysterious,
so remarkable,
so astounding,
so important,
so world-changing,
so life-changing,
that I cannot, and I will not be moved from it.
Its implications bring me to worship in a special way.
The story of His birth pulls me into a deeper relationship with Him.
The story of His life brings me to better relationships with people.
The story of His sacrifice on the cross, and His resurrection,
and the gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit
allow me a deepening relationship with our Father God.
It’s my hope, and my desire, to celebrate His birth,
His whole life, everything He was, and is, and will be,
every day.
That’s a tall order, I know, but I have a beginning point that
The Father provided in this one amazing birth;
“the birth that shook the earth” –
“the birth that shaped the earth”-
“the birth that saved the earth”.
Without this one birth – Jesus’ birth – there would be
no controversial Nativity Scenes,
no Santa Clause to argue about,
no Christmas trees,
no carols,
no Christmas parties,
no brightly wrapped gift packages,
no rampant commercialism,
no Christmas vacations,
no decorating,
no pretty lights,
NO LIGHT IN THE WORLD AT ALL,
no Savior,
no hope,
no real love,
no GOD WITH US.
Imagine a world, a life, without the birth of Jesus in it . . .
That would be a nightmare.
That is why I won’t be moved,
nor lightly “move on” from it.
The beginning of His Story is the beginning of so much!
That is why I hold close the holy celebration of Jesus birth.
That is why I celebrate His whole holy life from birth to ascension.
Even what He was before that.
Holy!
Even what He is and will be beyond that!
Glorious!
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Have a
Happy
Joyous
Christbirth
Celebration
All Through
The Year!

Blessings, dear reader,
from me, your gloryteller.

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A Brief History of “The Godsend” (I Keep Forgetting) Help Charities, Buy This Book, Please!

 

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The Godsend” is already four years old!
It’s hard to believe it has been on the market for three years!
It was written to bring forth the message of Christmas in a new way.
It also brings messages – messages God wanted me to convey – about adoption, belief in God, and a child’s belief in Santa Claus, all interwoven in an inspiring, Christ-centered story.
Please understand that I don’t deem myself an exceptional writer,
and I don’t think “The Godsend” is going to be award-winning literature,
but I do know that it is God-commissioned, God-ordained, and God-given.
The mission of this book, like most of what I write, is to tell the story of Christ,
and present His grace, mercy, and love within a new kind of story in order to reveal His glory,
to help people come to know Him, and/or to lead the reader into a new, deeper relationship
with our Highest Lord and King.
Needless to say, it’s all for His great glory, not my own.
I’m only the messenger . . .

The first version was posted here, on Gloryteller.com, in December, 2011:
https://gloryteller.com/2011/12/20/the-godsend/
Its late posting date, relative to Christmas, 2011, was unfortunate
because not many people had time to read it during that busy time.

I hadn’t intended to pursue the little story any further, . . .  then God intervened . . .
Only a month after it appeared here, my friend,
William T., told me of the “The Godsend’s” impact on him.
“The whole time I was reading”, he said, “I was seeing something
special in my spirit.  It was the image of a mother reading your
story aloud to her child.  It was having an effect on them both. I had
the impression that they had a lot in common with the Christopher family,
and
that their family was led closer to God, and His peace,
all because of your story. You must publish this,” he insisted.

And insisted. And persisted. And insisted.

I felt the tug of the H.S. on my heart, and I thought, “Yes!
If for no other reason than for that one mother and one child, I will expand and publish it!”
So I set out on the LONG, difficult journey into digital publishing.
I studied, I rewrote, and, as God gave me more and more each day, I edited, I re-rewrote, and re-re-edited again, and I formatted, and re-formatted. Oh, how I proofread! Over and over.  Like all writers must.
Then I had to learn how to make a virtual cover – oh man!
Hours, days, and months of painstaking labor ensued (a labor of love).
In the process of making the cover, God led me to, and I became acquainted with, an artist, a woodcarver, and a “Santa”.  Each of those Christians had an impact on my walk of faith. A wonder occurred: The Santa, (Santa Cliff ) “God-incidently” shares my last name, but is not directly related to me!

On November 26, 2012, I announced the premiere of the E-book “The Godsend”.
https://gloryteller.com/2012/11/26/announcing-publication-of-the-godsend/
I was a little discouraged, though, about the low sales volume that season, even though I offered the book for free on an introductory basis.
I corresponded with one of my writer friends, Lizzie, who had written on her website about how The Great “I AM” worked in her circumstances.  God used her writing for my encouragement, and healing:
” Dear Lizzie,
After hour upon hour of revision, proofreading, and formatting, I published “The Godsend” on Amazon and Smashwords. Out of the 400+ people in my church and in Facebook friends, I sold six units. Discouraging, right? I keep forgetting that I told Him that if I can help one person to know Him, the hours of work would be worth it. I keep forgetting that The Great I AM is faithful even when I am not. I keep forgetting that, in His hands “The Godsend” cannot fail its purpose. I keep forgetting that He never gave up in the face of crushing discouragement and suffering. Thanks Lizzie, for reminding me in your lovely post that I’m not alone as a writer nor as a believer. You and I are so much alike in spirit. Finally, I’d like to report that I, too, am constantly experiencing His restoration, love, healing, peace, and forgiveness. Let us continually be aware of the miracle of the Great I AM, not only standing beside us, but occupying us with His presence!”       Thanks Lizzie!

Finally, I’d like to promote the reading of this book by pledging my donation of ALL its proceeds (not just profit) to three worthwhile ministries:
“The Call” , who facilitates the much-needed adoption and foster care of Arkansas children:  http://thecallinarkansas.org/about-us/

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids“, – the “Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption“, a  national organization for the adoption of hard-to-place children:  http://www.davethomasfoundation.org/what-we-do/wendys-wonderful-kids/

The Adullam Youth Outreach”, who provide refuge, teaching, and so much more to children in distress:  http://www.adullamyouth.com/index.html

“Seed money” is already on its way to these organizations. I intend to make nothing for myself from sales of this book.
So, there you go – a chance to entertain yourself and help others.  That families and children who need peace might be led closer to the Lord and find His peace; that children be adopted, cared for and loved; and, that children in stressful and distressful circumstances be gathered under wings of protection and love.  Give it to someone for Christmas – It’s a win, win, win, win, win, all because God told me about the plight of Davey Christopher and Nick Smith, to reveal more of His great glory.

The Godsend is available on Kindle or Kindle for PC here:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Godsend-ebook/dp/B00A8TPVPM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353944048&sr=8-1&keywords=lenn+snider

The Godsend is also available on Smashwords, for PC (in PFD format), Sony Reader, Nook, Apple I-Pad, Kobo, and most e-reading apps ( including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others) here:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/256725

Many thanks, dear reader, for your help by reading, helping to promote, or reviewing “The Godsend”.  Blessings be yours!
Sincerely,
Gloryteller
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