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


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,

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.
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.

I soon was “saved from myself “, 
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.





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,
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 subsequent 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,

You gave me a spirit;

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.

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 out 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”,

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.
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,
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.
I bare my soul before you!
Yours truly and sincerely,



Ojibwe Insight Expanded

Sometimes, I sit alone in pity for myself,
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.



Happiness Is Being Born TWICE!


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!
Mighty God!
Everlasting Father!
Prince of Our Peace!
Happy Birthday to You, dear Jesus,
and because of You,
to me too!



A Leap-Day Leap of Faith 2-29-16

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

–John Greenleaf Whittier

~    ~    ~    ~

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.
“Chasing? Yes, I think she used the word chasing. . .”

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.



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.


Live In Your Joy

~    ~    ~

Artist - Traci Parks

Artist – Traci Parks


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


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


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



Move On, But Remember To Keep Celebrating His Arrival

*  *  *  *

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 Savior,
no hope,
no real love,
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.
Even what He is and will be beyond that!
* *
* * *
* * * * *
* * *
* *
Have a
All Through
The Year!

Blessings, dear reader,
from me, your gloryteller.



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


~ ~ ~ ~
* * *

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, in December, 2011:
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,
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”.
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:

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids“, – the “Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption“, a  national organization for the adoption of hard-to-place children:

The Adullam Youth Outreach”, who provide refuge, teaching, and so much more to children in distress:

“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:

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:

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




Happiness Is Being Born TWICE!


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!
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!
Mighty God!
Everlasting Father!
Prince of Our Peace!
Happy Birthday to You, dear Jesus,
and because of You,
to me too!



A Child Giving Thanks

Here is the beautiful voice of a beautiful,
Very young child giving thanks to God.
These are her words;
She helped to write this song!
From her heart.
O, that I can remain so,

For I am nothing if not His child,
And less than nothing if not thankful for everything 
 little Rhema Marvanne sings about in her brilliant
song of worship.
The visuals are quite astounding as well.

My thanks to:  Rhema Marvanne – Original song with Lyrics by Rhema Marvanne and Larry Randall, Music by David Howarth. Taken from Rhema’s 3rd album, Believe, recorded when she was 8 years old. Published by Howarth Music Publishing (BMI) 2012.
My thanks to The Father for Rhema and her family.


Cooking A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner – Yes I Can – Thanks, Almighty God!

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;
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.
Here’s the thing:

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.

You see, when I was 13, my mother dislocated her elbow during a fall. That very painful injury prevented or hampered her doing many of her homemaking duties including cooking the daily family meals. As the eldest child, I was appointed Cook’s Assistant. Until she was fully healed, I performed the mechanical operations of cooking while poor plaster-casted Mom directed me and taught me. That was one of my life’s momentous turning points, because I have used those cooking skills 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 and taught.
Thanks, Father God, for Mom and for all my many blessings.
Thanks for my 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!



Peace Like A River For My Soul

Asher B. Durand

Asher B. Durand

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~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Peace is kind of like love.
Everyone needs it.
Most civilized people want it.
Many seek it in one way or another.
So do I.

The quality of peace is not strain’d either.
It, too, falls like gentle rain from Heaven
upon the needful ones below. (thanks, Shakespeare)

Some folks have real peace and some have a pseudo,
temporary, fleeting kind of peace.
So do I and so have I.

Some look for it in all the wrong places.
Yup, that was me.

Many have no peace whatsoever and have no idea
where it comes from,

how to get some,
or even what it is.

Again, been there.

When I find myself in need of the comfort and enjoyment of peace,
which is most of the time,

like many folks I seek and readily find peace
in what is commonly called “Nature”.
“Nature”, in a broad sense, is universally understood.
You are probably forming mental pictures right now
about how you perceive and define “Nature”.
Now envision some of your favorite peace-inducing “Nature” scenes;
places you have been, or even pictures of real places or those imagined by someone.
Did that bring you a bit of peacefulness?

But –
“Nature” (nature – to bring it down off its pedestal)
is only a reflection of the super-natural;
of God’s supernatural glory. (He is above nature – He made it!)
Isn’t it delightful that even this somewhat hazy reflection
of Heaven can still bring us earth-side peace?

I personally enjoy a pastoral scene, one with water in it,
and even better, one with a mountainous theme.
A clear, unpolluted, starwatching-sky is also a delight.

Sunshine and sheep,
Cattle and a creek,
Grass and rolling hills,
Green and blue and still.

A clear night sky,
Star-filled and wide,
Shapes made of  light,
Faith becoming sight.

A picture will do, but being there in person is best.
Sitting and contemplating;
meditating and cogitating;
or simply ‘taking it all in’ and enjoying the serenity,
the quietness,
and the upwelling joy begotten of His Light and Life.
It’s great!
But i
f I am walking, I like an upward path through my favorite “Nature”.
Ascent is so metaphoric.
I walk upward into His waiting embrace.
What peace, elation, and joy all at once!

I like to visit nature alone to find great peace,
  and this occurs to me – even my extrovert friends seek peace alone there sometimes.
Many of them enjoy walking an upward path by themselves.
There is something calming about solitude.

Peace is this:
Just being still and knowing that He is God.

And this:

. . . the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your heart and mind . . .”

Wonderfully this:
“You will go out with joy and be led out in peace.
The mountains and the hills will break into songs of joy in your presence,
and all the trees will clap their hands.”

Especially this:
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.”
Yes, that was The Prince of Peace speaking to each of us,

in fact He mentions ‘peace’ at least four hundred times in His Word
in all its different meanings and nuances.

Personal peace is important.
Without it, there is a certain emptiness;
an unmet longing.

In today’s turmoil, peace is elusive.
Tranquility, and quiet,
harmony and calmness,
concord and agreement,
safety and security,
and freedom from anxiety and worries
are in short supply.
But peace is important to God.
As His creations, He made it important to us as well,
and He saw how incapable we were
of having any through our own devices.

So He sent His Son, The Prince of Peace,
while we were still enemies of His,
to humble Himself as human in order
to make peace between the warring parties,
The Father vs. the fallen.
Jesus’ sacrificial death was the condition of the cease-fire,
the requirement of justice,
the peace treaty,
the just agreement of concord,
the new covenant of peace between mankind and The Father,
between each person and Father God,
and between Him and myself.

I believe that with His final exhalation,
He whispered Divine peace into the heart of Creation,
and into mine. His peace, like His joy – gifts that cannot be
lost, if guarded, once they are embedded in your heart.

It is said that all Creation rejoiced when this treaty was struck.
I believe that “Nature” “broke into song,
and the trees clapped their hands”
not only for mankind,
and myself,
but for Its Own sake as well,
that was the beginning
of the restoration,
the redemption and the repair
of not only humanity, but of all Creation –
in peace.

Thank You Lord, for peace.
Without it, life earth-side would be much more difficult.

what better way to seek and find peace than to
walk with The Bringer and Giver of Peace,
The Wonderful Counselor of Peace,

The Prince of Peace?

He willingly,
Walks and talks with me,
(and wants the same with you)

on my upward path through nature,
and not only through idyllic scenes,
but through every season,

taking me,
leading me,
pushing me,
supporting me,
carrying me,

giving me,
showing me,
His peace, and wonder, and glory,
until we reach the arms of The Father,
where I’ll be wrapped in the Ultimate Peace,
the final,
Peace of His eternal presence.

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There is a special hymn that is commonly associated
with peace: “Peace Like A River/All Is Well With My Soul”.
If you don’t know the background of this song, you should check
out the remarkable story of the author, Horatio Spafford.
There is a line in the fourth verse which speaks deeply within me:
“Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.”
Many versions of this hymn are slow and, well, peaceful.
Here is a version that is upbeat and joyous.
It really struck a chord in me:

Thank you Spring Harvest for the music and Humpty Fell for the fine video!

© 10-27-15


Who Am I ?

To know one’s identity is highly important.
Just ask those with amnesia.
Just ask anyone who doesn’t know, or is uncertain,
or who is “trying to find himself, or herself”.
This piece of knowledge is extremely valuable;
vital, even.

This writer knows the answer.

Who am I?
I AM my Father’s child!
A simple statement.
Make it as complex as you like, for it is indeed huge!

My cousin Ann, of whose attributes I can’t say enough,
quite astutely says that she is:

“Born of one father,

Born again of another.”

A remarkable statement of identity!
I’m pretty certain she means “Born first on earth
of her father, my uncle, and born again of
Father God through Jesus Christ.”
Ann is not only clever, but she is full of truth!

When I thought of myself in light of her statement,
I realized that “I” – “my Father’s child”,
was first born to Him in Heaven,
in a sense,
in the high, holy sense,
the only sense that matters to “me”.
Conceived by Him and born to Him.
Then borne by Him to my bodily habitation on earth.
Borne to my second father,
born unaware of the First.
When finally, finally, I became aware of my First Father,
my initial, original, foremost, paramount, primary, principal Father,
Whose merciful forgiveness of,
and passionate love for me,
transcends my meager understanding,
it was then that I “stepped into the seeming void of faith”
and found the truth of my identity in Him.
It was then that I was born again in Christ Jesus with help from
His Holy spirit.
In Christ, who is in the Father, who are in me!
Here on earth in a body,
but not being a body, or a brain,
but only having one,
while being something – someone – entirely new and different.
My being and my life are in my Father!
Thank You, Father, for my life and my identity (in You).
I AM my Father’s child!




To A Discouraged Young Man

                                                                          ~  ~  ~
I would rather just give you a big bear hug and sit with you quietly, but these words will have to suffice.

To paraphrase Mr. C. S. Lewis, this world constantly shows us that we weren’t made for it. We were made for a better land – our true home. We are strangers here, often alien even to our own bodies. Physical issues are hard. Time here is often wearying. Dismay seems to be inordinately long, while fun, satisfying, and pleasurable times pass quickly into the mundane, the hum-drum, and the mediocre. We long for something we can barely grasp. So much is missing and nothing seems to last except the ache.

Take heart! I’ve found that fixing my mind on our eventual forever home changes my perspective. I don’t know why we are placed here to endure these things, but I do know that we are called, like Saint Paul was, to persevere, and to build character. We are to find our way home and take as many people with us as we can, even if we must carry them, even if we must lead crawling before them. I’ve often seen that the suffering faithful are unintentionally the most compelling role models. Their testimonies are intensely attractive. You are not alone in your thoughts and feelings. You are unique, but not alone. Being older, having lived long in this broken plane, I can truly sympathize, and I care about you. So I encourage you, dear brother, to put your hope in Heaven where our Father lives. Believe in Him. Do the best you can in this land, but strive for Home where our real life, true and beautiful, awaits.
In Jesus’ love,



His Omni-ness

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α   His Omni-ness    Ω

Isn’t it astounding that each person can truthfully say to Almighty God:

“You are my personal God, Lord, Father, and Savior!”

I am, in effect, the only one on Your mind right now!”

“Jesus gave His life just for me and my salvation!”

“You made all creation for my enjoyment!”

“You love me as if I were your only child!”

“Thank You, O Highest Lord!”

I believe that in Your omnipotence,
Your omnipresence,
Your omniscience,

And all Your “omni-ness”,
All the above sentences are true!
You have infinite “time” to think about,
Care about,
Commune with,
Speak with,
BE with,
And to LOVE each of us as if we are Your only one.

Because of the redemptive power of Jesus,
I love that I can say those words,
and I love that you can say them too, dear reader.
So go ahead, say them!
Make His day!


Contemplating Paradise




Attack of The Predator

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  Along with millions of other people,
I watched a shark try to attack a surfer on a live television broadcast.
It was so much like life, so much a metaphor for this worldly/spiritual existence:

From my vantage point, I can see the stealthy approach
of our spiritual enemy when the victim cannot.

I feel the escalating danger of the situation.
I watch in dismay as the predator circles,
quickly judging the unsuspecting prey and planning its attack.

is the Infamous Terminator.
It watches for weaknesses,
ferrets out flaws and failings,
It determines defenses,
sizing him up,
figuring him out,
taking his measure,
(the English language is so full of idioms like those)

The strike happens very quickly.
It has done this countless times before,

with countless victims.
I’m tempted to say destruction is its “second nature”, but it is not;
it is the assailant’s primary nature, to kill and destroy,
That is its base and core nature.
I watch its final turn and am outraged at the savagery of its lunge.
I feel helpless.
I want to shout a warning to the victim.
I want to give him eyes to see the beast coming.
I want to somehow put armor on,
and jump into the space between him and the killer.
I want to arm him and give him ammunition.

I want to pull him out of the scene –
somehow snatch him away from imminent death.
What I end up doing is saying a hasty prayer.

In the real-life television story,
the surfer punched the shark and escaped shaken but largely unharmed.
Psychologically damaged, maybe –
he said he might not ever go into the ocean again.

But in realspiritual real-life, the victim never escapes the wiles
of the spiritual enemy through their own power,
their own intellect,
their own knowledge,
their own skill,
nor their own efforts.
They always must be saved from that apex predator
by the One who is stronger than it is.

What can I do to save them?
Not much.
I can only tell them about the enemy of their soul and spirit,
about its nature, and tactics,
and strategy of deception.
I can illustrate how their imminent destruction will take place.
I can point to the danger, and shout warning;
try to give them eyes to see the hideous beast.
I can try to arm them with the truth about it.
I could try to defeat
it by sacrificing my own life.
That would be futile.
I can stand in the gap between it and them in prayer,
which is most useful and prudent,
but, best of all, I can tell them of The One
who can save them –

the only One.

Jesus Christ!

He is the one who can do all of the above,
all that no-one else can do,
and He has done it!
Suffered the pain of sacrificing His own life . . .
He has defeated death and defeated it – the enemy –
for all who believe in Him.
That includes you, dear reader, if you desire it.

It is His nature. He has done it countless times,
for countless vulnerable people.

I know, because He did it all for me when I first believed;
when I just sincerely believed Him!

So, all I can do is plant the seeds of His Truth,
and I can pray that they find Him,
that you find Him,
and I can assure them of His love for them,
and for you!

If He could save me, out of love and compassion,
from the stealthy,
fatal attacks

of that bestial,
killer of my soul,
He can save you as well.

He. Can. Save. Anybody!





A Tribute To The Unforgettable Zina Nicole Lahr.

*   *   *   *   *


Zina Nicole Lahr

Zina Nicole Lahr


I watched one of her amazing videos yesterday morning.
“What an inspiring personality”, I thought.
Then reality bit hard and my heart sank.
She is inspiring . . .
And she died.

I didn’t even know her

And I only learned of her existence yesterday,
I learned of her existence, and shortly thereafter I learned
That she existed in the past tense . . .
How heartbreaking that was to me.
But I want her to be remembered.

I want to remember her.
And I want her remembered.

“Why am I even writing this?”, I ask myself.
Because God won’t leave me alone about it.
I tried to distance myself,
But He struck me with an unexpected, intense, compassion for
Zina and her family.
At first I did not understand why.
Now, I’m certain that it was to demonstrate
His own intense, compassionate love
For me, through her,
And to somehow relate that to others.

So here I go again, honoring the life of
Who seemingly passed away too soon
Suddenly, tragically,
In a hiking accident, no less –
Something which could easily happen to me.

The Community of Humanity mourns your loss, Zina.

I want them to know you –

Know at least a part of who they lost.

I want to be instrumental in their knowing
And in the memory of her.
Because of compassion for her family
Who have endured too much.
Two daughters,
But never forgotten.
Losses and trials too many.

I read everything I could find about her online,
And there is quite a lot.
I watched her You Tube videos.
Impressive, informative, inspiring.
She was genuine and real.
No pretenses necessary.
Please go there (to You Tube) too, dear reader.

These are quotes from her blog,  :

“If God is Love, and God goes beyond measurable definition,
then I want to live in a Love that transcends what my love can offer this world . . .”

“I want my interactions with this world, all the beautiful pieces it contains, what is beyond it… what is created, what is explored, and what is loved…and the Creator of it all, to reach out and touch my soul… and make me suddenly very aware I have one.”

“the body, keeping us living in this world, [is] yet the biggest obstacle within it. It’s a sort of frustration, a growing pain, that can drive us to become inspired and into imaginative creativity.”

Her character saturates her brief blog. The way she holds forth her thoughts about heart-wrenching things like losing her best friend and her beloved older sister, is special. The way she expressed how she loved the life of her newborn nephew, and her very own life, which she saw as renewed daily, is uniquely her.

 I have a kinship with Zina –
Manifested in
A love of Jesus.
A zest for life.
A passion for writing, art, music, dance, and movement.
A love of creating,
And Creation itself,
of nature,
of science,
of expression,
of invention,
of adventure,
of learning,
(in the mundane, the exciting, and all between)
In being odd,
Never bored.
(I am who I was made to be – He can use that)

She was most interesting,
She, reportedly, could take a car engine apart and reassemble it,
Yet she never drove a car!

She was inspiring in many ways
Such as in her perseverance, determination, and will-power
To stick to her principles
She was celibate,
Never had a drop of alcohol,
Didn’t do recreational drugs.
Her sense of child-like wonder was completely natural
And authentic.
She knew her Lord,
Knew her calling.
Was passionate and compassionate.
Full of grace,
And full of LOVE.

Here’s the thing that really got to me
About Zina and her love;
When her life’s work was just taking off
In her west coast Mecca,
Zina turned down what must have been her dream job,
The start of an amazing career,
Showcase of her awe-inspiring talents,
To return home to care for the grandmother she loved
Who had been diagnosed with cancer.
It is rare these days,
That sacrificial love.

She was a maker.
I am a maker.
She didn’t mind that folks thought her odd (eccentric)
Nor do I.
She was a thinker and a doer.
Me too.
She was kind, gentle, and caring.
I am working on it . . .
In my view, she was somewhat Christlike (not perfect).
The thing is, Jesus was all the above good things,
Only perfectly so.

Like Zina, I’m out-of-the-ordinary (who wants to be ordinary)
I’m an unapologetic nonconformist who learned how to play the “game”.
I’m an adult, outwardly, but inside I’m a child who never quite grew up.
A Peter Pan figure in disguise?
Who learned how to act in public, for the most part,
For short periods.
And that is okay.
One of the best feelings in life is the one that happens
When I realize that someone loves me just for who I am at the core
– just like God does.
It seems to me that most adults have become jaded in their relationships,
And to the wonders of creation – the large and small,
The distant and close; the mysteries all around;
The beauty that makes one catch their breath moment to moment.

Unlike Zina’s, the goggles on their eyes become thick with age,
And clouded.

So, I’m grateful, dear Lord,  for Zina’s life and
Her special goggles that let us SEE
If we but dare look through them.

*   *   *

(Subscript Note:  The purposes I hope to have fulfilled here are:
First, to bring glory to God,
Then, to honor Zina’s memory,
To speak up for her and tell my version of some of her testimony,
And, last, to tell something of my own journey through Creation.)

Zina, will you kindly make me a trinket as only you can
From a crystal and some sunbeams,
That I can hold in my hand?
I will gratefully receive it
Soon, when I am blessed to see you,
At the end of my dreams.

See you soon, sister Zina.


*   *   *
was valuable in writing this tribute. Thank you, Outside Online!




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