I Am Sand

I am Sand
Sand, I am
Man of sand
The sand which
Largely lies piled
In the lower chalice
Of a cosmic time glass
An amper-sand glass
&
Sand sculpture above
Once elaborate
Ornate
Flowing slowly from the funnel
Cone-like sand castle rising
Ordinary
Final

&

I am sand
Sand, I am
Man of sand
Dust of the earth
In God’s large left hand
Held as sand sculpture
Fearfully and wonderfully made
Precious and pouring down
Beautifully
Into His right
Caught and held dear
Man of sand
Saved by Him
Not a grain lost
Re-formed
Redeemed
Not final
Everlasting in His hands

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M.L.K. Wisdom and A Prayer From Francis of Assisi

(I wrote this piece a decade ago. Hatred has multiplied exponentially since then on many fronts, especially today, as we simply ask people to think about what constitutes murder, and the wrong in the shedding of innocent blood. Today, it has become fashionable for a faction of society to hate with a vengeance anyone who disagrees with their depraved ideology. I wish these people could understand . . . “don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?” (James 4:4 ) When they violate their own “hate crime” laws, how should we respond to their insults, threats, violence, and terrorism? Dr. Martin Luther King, a leader whose principles most seem to have forgotten, had answers for all of us:  )

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Like cockroaches coming out of the woodwork, an infestation of hatred is multiplying and invading contemporary society. I should say, it is appearing out of the darkness behind the woodwork of society. 

Notice how shining a bright light on those disgusting insects sends them scurrying back into the darkness. That’s how it is when the pure, cleansing, light of love sends hate back to its dark source – the enemy of our souls who thrives in evil darkness. Hate is so destructive, yet so enticing. What a great tool for him who seeks to kill our souls and spirits.
How do we fight it?
Hate them back?
Fight darkness with darkness;
trade evil for evil?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King

No, he is right,
We must end darkness,
But who has the light? 
Who can take away the place
Where hate lives,
Where evil hides?
Who has the power,
Who has the light?
Only Jesus, and, well, the one in the mirror,
The one facing you!
Yes, you,
If you would be free,
Pray this prayer of the man from Assisi:

Dear God, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master,
Grant that I not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~ Prayer of St Francis.
These are extremely difficult concepts, but these are extremely difficult times.
However, we are:
Born to eternal life through Emmanuel our Savior!
Take heart! The dark one cannot abide this Light. 
Invoke His name! Jesus! Lamb of God! Almighty God With Us!
See?!
The evil one flees!

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Straining To Reach Beauty



“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it . . . At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door . . . We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.” ~ C.S.Lewis

Isn’t he great?
I know what he means – I think.
But Lewis is right, it can hardly be put into words.
I want to be immersed in the beauty I enjoy with my senses.
I want to be baptized in it.
I want it to soak into me and heal the ache.
I want it to fill the voids of longing and loss.
I strain against my earthbound chains to reach it.
I want to revel in the pure joy of it.
I want to unite with it;
to be it.
Earthly beauty must be but a metaphor,
a poor representation,
of Heavenly beauty.
Did He not create it as a foretaste,
a tidbit,
a sampler of His own absolute beauty?
Ahh, to imagine how durably our spirits must have been created
to stand in His presence
and to bear the unutterable,
unfathomable,
power and glory,
and beauty,
emanating from The Father and from Christ Jesus!
With each new encounter with beauty,
I strive;
I wrench and heave at my chains.
Little by little,
link by link,
they weaken.

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Then, Realization, God Spoke To Me

Caught up in worldly troubles, I hadn’t been watching, I hadn’t been listening. My attention was not where it should have been. Everything has been going wrong, especially with my vehicles, and with my writing opportunities. In my frustration, I reached out for help. I was under serious attack!
Then one frustrating afternoon, the realization dawned on me that God had spoken to me that very morning. It wasn’t vocal. It wasn’t overt. It was through a very timely Scriptural reading which told me He would calm every storm if I but communicated my needs in prayer.
Next, he spoke by sending a close friend who guessed the exact-sized hole to drill in an essential auto part that had broken. The storm began to calm.
Then, when I was purchasing a part to fit the hole, He spoke to me about buying an obscure little part, having odd looking threads, that was hidden among others. It might be a possible backup part – it was an afterthought.
Soon, I was ready to tap threads into the formerly-mentioned hole, but the first part would not fit. The backup part might fit, I thought, but I didn’t have the proper tap. Oh, yes I did! It turned out that the cheap little tap-and-die set I bought a few days previous had a little die tucked away, almost hidden, in the corner of the case. That was perfect for the job! Amazing! God had spoken again . . .
And again, when I successfully performed, on the first try, a technique I’d never done before. The backup part, the little “afterthought” screwed in perfectly! The complex larger part was like new, restored and re-installed on the engine without a hitch, and works well. (Kind of like I was restored, He reminds me)
And again, when three friends came with tools, experienced hands, and good advice, to do the seemingly impossible to get my truck running.
They haven’t given up on the project, or me, to this day.
Oh yes, I mentioned my writing opportunities. Obviously, I am writing! I’m back! But not without fighting for it. Distractions, house problems, storms knocking out my internet for a whole day . . . He is calming those storms too, and I’m completing this post.
Dear reader, you might say “coincidence, all of it”, but I maintain my Father God is speaking to me. I’m certain, steadfast, firm, and I am “listening” now. Perceiving Him, discerning, watching, hearing, sensing Him near. And I am speaking back. It’s a conversation!
I believe that God is a personal God, not only in the sense that He is the ultimate “person“, but in that He longs for a personal relationship with each of us. Jesus’ earthly mission made that opportunity possible!
Personal relationships are of primary importance. We keep them alive by speaking to each other in all the various real and metaphorical ways. Sometimes the small things say volumes.
I believe God has a language of love tailored and tuned for our exclusive individual understanding.
Let God speak volumes to you!

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Happy CIAMC Day !

It’s here already! Where has the month gone?
I’m celebrating the second Christmas Is A Month Closer Day!
Let us sing and dance!

If you’re baffled, here is what’s going on:
https://gloryteller.com/2022/02/28/one-month-closer/

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One Month Closer

In mid-January, we took down all our Christmas/Christbirth decorations. I don’t like doing that as it seems the season always flies by faster than a reindeer. I remember feeling uplifted by the thought that each passing day only brings the next Christmas season closer.
By mid-February, tax filing, home improvements, and other projects pushed all thoughts of celebrating Christ’s birth out of mind. Last week, on February 25, I realized that two calendar months had already passed since Christmas. That was fast! Quickly doing the mental math, I realized there were only ten months left until next Christmas. Even less until Advent. It’s coming fast, so to mark the occasion I invented a new “day of observance”, CIAMC Day, or Christmas Is A Month Closer Day! I’m excited, because it recurs on the 25th day of each month except December! If you’re thinking my life is pretty boring, you’re wrong. I’m very seldom bored (I want to say never). It’s creative things like this that keep my mind active and keep me looking forward to the next celebration.
Mark it on your mobile calendar each month, if you feel like it, dear reader. It would be great if you celebrated with me! And, by the way, did you notice the two words in the acronym between “Christmas”, and “Month”? I AM ! Yes! There He is again, He is here, even in this small reminder!

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Fading In

Today is Tuesday, 2-22-2022, and it is being called 2s day! I have to laugh! I have, unfortunately been absent from writing here on this, my beloved website, for most of nine months. Life things, world things, home things, had to be attended. I normally don’t write much during the summer anyway, due to being active and outdoorsy, but I’ve also lost an autumn, a winter, and, ouch, a Christmas writing season. I almost got depressed, not having the time to compose, or even rub two words together. But many pieces of work pressed on me, and I did “write things in my head”. They accumulated a kind of “pressure” that I must open the valve of writing to relieve. Here is one of them:

EMBRACE THE FADE

I’m getting old. My eyesight is dimming. I can no longer see “the world” as well. It is fading from my sight. My hearing is diminishing as well. Some frequencies are just gone! It was bound to happen. They, whomever they are, say this is normal and natural. Perhaps, but I do not like it  . . .

My strength, too, is fading. I can no longer lift heavy objects without pain. I cannot grip with power, nor can I throw things far. I am slower. I can no longer run far, or even walk as far as I once was able. I can no longer do the many wonderful things that, in my youth, I could do easily and do well.

Worst of all, my memory is fading in distressing ways. My once copious vocabulary is condensed into just a little more than essentials. I struggle to think of the right words when, not long ago, a large number of them were within my grasp on my mind’s menu. (It’s a destitution of words)
I thank God for internet dictionaries and thesauruses! 

Perhaps even my soul and spirit are beginning to fade from the world. Am I perceiving correctly?

I hope you haven’t given up and quit reading because it sounds like I’m complaining, and this is a very negative piece. Far be it, and God forbid, for I thank Him joyfully that I have made it this far up the road, and that He has allowed me to have this much left! His grace, and mercy, toward me abound!

And here’s the thing:

Sure, this world is fading from my sight, and my hearing, and there are artificial means to partially remedy that, but resistance is futile when all is said and done. However! It has been given me to reveal some good news! As my old world inexorably fades out, my New World is fading in, so to speak. Perhaps a better word for it is materializing. Or, being manifested. And, oh!, the wonders I am just beginning to see and hear! 

The new strength I’m just beginning to know, and my grasp of new things is germinating. I know now that there is a whole new vocabulary God has for me. Names and ways of description that never have been used in this old world. My soul and spirit being bound to a body in this physical plane are slowly and gently being untangled and freed. The “world” is fading in their sight as well, as a departing sailing vessel fades into the mist and emerges out of a mist to dock on the other side. Are they beginning to perceive the new body, and new world that will be theirs? 

As I ponder these things, I have peace. I’m learning not to fear. The last vestiges of fear are fading out, never to fade back in. The pain of fading out here is eclipsed and erased in the brilliant and glorious fade-in where Father God and Jesus are waiting to bring me, bring all true believers, the unfading complete perfection of sight, and sound, and mind, and body, and Love, and Life.

 

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Observing Advent – Four Sundays and the Weekdays Between, With Steadily Increasing Hope, Joy, Love, Light, and Ultimate Peace!

First Sunday

“Advent” is here!
It is today!

All Creation is pregnant with anticipation!

This is the time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth – the most unprecedented, and unequaled; the most earth-shaking event in human history!
(Well, depending on how you perceive it, it’s definitely one of the top two!)


The word “Advent” comes from the Latin “adventus” which means coming, or arrival, of a person or thing.

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

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

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

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

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

When someone important to us is coming to visit, we know we must wait. Patiently or not. Before their arrival, we must prepare as best we can. Thus, we are waiting, and prayerfully preparing, not just for events, but for the arrival of the Personage without whom there would be no experience of exciting spiritual adventure, no exploration of mysteries unknown, no real and true experience of love and life whatsoever.

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

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

I ceremoniously light the first candle in the Advent wreath,
the candle of hope,

also, the first flame in my heart.

The expectant waiting and preparation of my heart applies not only to Christbirth,
but to Resurrection Sunday, Thanksgiving, and Jesus’ final return as well.
Advent is an important concept.
It is exciting, yet peaceful at the same time.
I want to make it part of me;
I want to live it.

Advent First Week

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

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

O, Jesus, 
We await your sweet arrival!

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

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

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

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

(*emphases, mine)

The hope that we children of God have is a confident hope,
an enduring and an eternal hope.

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

Advent Week Two

The second week of Advent is focused on peace.

Waiting becomes a bit more intense as we add the expectancy of
hope and peace in preparation for our Savior’s arrival.

 We light the second candle,
the candle of peace,

If not on our tables,
Then in our hearts.
And light increases.
It doubles!
We can hardly wait until the full light
of His glorious presence shines upon the world,
and also upon each of us!

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

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

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

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

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

Advent Third Week


We are in the third and final full week preceding the joy-filled celebration day!
This week we savor the JOY surrounding His coming to live with us!
Emmanuel – here because of The Father’s love for all people.

In this third week, we also remember all the proclamations made about our coming Christ-child, our Messiah, our glorious Savior; proclamations by Isaiah, by angels, by Elizabeth, by Mary, by Zechariah, by more angels, and by many others.

Luke 2:9 Just then, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people!

He is coming not to condemn those lost in the dark, but to give them a saving light.
What joy it is to know Him, having been one of those lost, and now having His light.
And what a joy it is to know the astounding love of The Father,
Who sent 
this generous gift of His Son!

(many thanks, Spadecaller, for the upload. Your art is moving!)

I light the third candle,
the candle of joy,
And light increases again.
Even the stars seem brighter,
and the moon waxes!
The candle flames have kindled
a fire of rejoicing in my heart!
I, the least of believers,

proclaim this joy, 
proclaim His glory,
(like it says in the header at the top)
And suddenly, we come to:

The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Today, December 24, 2017 (four years ago) is the fourth Sunday of Advent,
which also coincides with Christmas Eve.
We light the fourth candle – the love candle,
in my book, the easiest one to light in the heart,
for Father God loved us first, and then sent His Jesus
to enable us to fully love Him.
Love rescued and love reconciled!
This candle also signifies His presence.
The Advent season is all about expectant waiting;
excited, hopeful, waiting for the Baby’s presence!
We want Him to be born soon!
We want to see Him!
He seems so close,
The air is charged.
We can almost feel angels in the air.
The Spirit of God certainly presides over our village.
Everything is poised; miraculously in position.
Mary, her Baby, Joseph, shepherds,
angels – lots of angels!
Peace and joy are closing in.
Tonight is the Holy Night – Jesus Christ’s night.
The Advent of Christ is all but complete.

Are preparations perfect?
Is my heart ready for His arrival?
I find myself wishing that I could be better prepared,
And more ready,
But,
He. Was. Born. Last. Night ! ? !
Could it be?
Yes, it is:

Christmas Day


And so, the season of expectant waiting is complete!
I light the largest, purest, center candle,
the only One left.

and the flame in my heart roars to life!
To life!
Hope is fulfilled!
In our Immanuel, our Jesus,
all prophecies and promises are now reality!

His name is Light of the World!
His name is Peace!
His name is Son!
His name is Love!
His name is Savior!
His name is King!
His name is Everlasting!
 His name is God!
His presence is good news, bringing great joy for all people!
His presence makes darkness flee!
The Light of the World has finally come!
And like so many believers,
so many bloggers,
I repeat the sounding JOY!

Joy To the World,
and Peace to ALL mankind!

Joy to the World, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing!

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy!

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found!

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love!

~   ~   ~
And yet,
it is not over . . .
I must stay prepared;
keep waiting expectantly;
with confident hope,
with all the peace, joy, and love, grace can provide;
The “second” Advent begins now,
And all Creation is pregnant with anticipation!

 

 
 

 

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I Joyfully Announce A “Birth”

I’m pleased to be here to announce the birth of my new book.
But pleased is not enough.
I’m happy to announce it!
No, happy doesn’t quite do it either.
I joyfully announce the birth of my new book!

It’s my first paperback, and I’m like a kid who just 
received exactly what he wanted for Christmas!
No, I’m not like a child, I am a child – a child of God!
I am the ordinary, if not insignificant, young boy, remarkable only 
because I happened to be on the scene, and I was willing to 
give Him my plain little loaves of stories that He, Himself, inspired.
Along with the loaves, I shared some of the small,
but potentially nourishing, word-fishes I had in my lunch sack .
I hope, and pray, and have faith, that my Master
will multiply these light loaves and salty fishes, these stories,
as only He can do, that they might be 
“eaten”, digested, and otherwise put to good use
by any readers who might need spiritual sustenance,
might need a nudge toward The One
who can resolve and redeem all troubles.

Every single reader of my stuff is
loved, and cherished, and prayed for,
by yours truly

 

Glorystories: A Gloryteller Compilation by [Lenn Snider]

Find it here:
https://www.amazon.com/Lenn-Snider/e/B09B5HZK65/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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Prophet, I’m Not

 
But, although I’m not,
although it doesn’t seem one of my gifts,
through the H.S., I do know this:

Someday, somewhere, someone will,
by the most remote chance,
stumble upon,
trip over,
by happy accident,
or puzzling “coincidence”,
by a mysterious urging,
or mere curiosity,
read one of my stories,

one of my posts,
one of my poems,
one of my lines,
or one of my fabricated words,
and, quite unexpectedly, think:
Perhaps he’s onto something.
Perhaps God is real.
Maybe this points to Him.
Could this be a message from God?

Maybe there is Some One who actually cares.
A God Who loves.
One who creates,
and forgives,
and rescues,
and saves,
and transforms,
and is ever-faithful,

and gives undeserved favor,
and shows mercy,
and is present,
and gives joy with His presence.

“Perhaps” will become “possibly”,
possibly will become probably,
probably will become definitely,
definitely will become yes!,
and yes! will develop into the joy of a deeply personal relationship. 
Perhaps . . .
Perhaps you are that someone.
And perhaps I AM a bit of a prophet after all . . .

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You’re Living On The Surface . . .

 

A repeat post I sense The H.S. wants me to put up.

Father, send this to someone who needs it.
Father, bless the need of the reader who reads it. Amen.

^~ ~ ~^

I don’t remember what mood or incident triggered this rather “different” drafting;
rather more outspoken, and opinionated, and, maybe, judgemental than my usual.
It is almost a rant – a departure from my normal voice, but I feel
that it was put in me for a reason; that it is a rant against the enemy,
and that a special someone will benefit by hearing it, and I pray
the Holy Spirit sends it where it should go:
To YOU – there is more of every good thing than you think possible,
more joy than you can imagine in a relationship with your
Creator who loves you dearly and wants you near.

    ^~ ~ ~ ~^

You’re Living On The Surface

I see you up there where my own self once languished,
Pleasure seeker.
(Never think that I arrogantly deem myself better than you,
For I have been you
And am you)
But at the same time,
This is how the Endteller said it would be;
That most would not see past their hands
Feel past their skins
Think past their morning coffee
Their all-day coffee-chased pills
Their evening intox
Giving themselves away in so many imaginative ways
Their narco-laced, caffeine-based,
Red-saffron blood-fed
Self-stimulated gorge
And surge
And purge

And urge
Huge, insatiable appetites whet
Tiny, urgent, skimming lives.

Food, drink, pleasure, weep;
Slather, blather, rinse, repeat.
Rat-race to anxiety,
Retreat into a fetal sleep.

Where Me, Myself, and I is a
meaningful relationship.

Loving only love is false.
Where the tee-vee is the mirror
And the mirror is queen,
Where desperation-devastation has the taste of sinn-amon
Sin-ammonia
Sin-pneumonia
Stinking poison
Sin euphoria
Where life’s meaning wades in a shallow, muddy puddle
And no new taste
(sing this part to your favorite tune)
No new place
No new clothing
No new feeling
No new art
No new wine
No new toy
No new noise
No new bauble
No new ring
No new car
No new poem
No new scenery
No new skin
No new lie
No new anything can satisfy for long.
No new association is a satiation anymore
And even the plaintive inside voice
That says “there must be something more”
Is fading.
This is how the Endteller said it would be
Oh, Beautiful,
Oh, sad, lost, desperate pleasure seeker.
Oh youthful, doomed, nightmare dreamer.
And there’s no way out but more of the same
More of the same
More of the shame
More of the same…

The elusive answer is hiding in plain sight:
Awaken from surface sleep,
For morning awaits with gifts in her hands.
Transforming and new
For there is much more than you have seen or imagined.
Dive deep beneath the flotsam of an empty existence,
Dive deep to where Love Himself waits well beyond the shallows
Though you may not love Love yet,
There, in the depths where you are loved so intensely,
Is a start
Is your ransom
Is your beginning
Is your only hope
Dive deep, drown in Love
Oh, Beautiful, becoming, emerging seeker.
Astound the Endteller.
Dare the depths and be saved from the nowhere-place
The nothing-time
Of a surface-self existence.
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“I Want To Meet The One Who Made This”

My dear reader, I’d like to convey a true story along with some thoughts:

In May, a certain man made his way to a campground in Rocky Mountain National Park. He considered this campground, the Moraine Park Campground, to be the “back porch” of a prominent mountain he had come to know and think highly of.
His camper was self-designed and self-built in the A-frame style. It was completely unique and some might say exceptional. Having been painted red, with silver, white, and blue highlights, the camper upon its aluminum trailer stood out and attracted a large amount of attention.
People would stop while driving past and inquire, “Did you build that?” Others would walk past and say, “That’s amazing!” A few would ask to take a look inside, at which time the man would gladly show them inside to take a look at his ideas and his handiwork. The man was glad that his camper prompted smiles and happiness.
The most memorable incident happened just after the man went inside his camper to put on a jacket. He had left the door slightly ajar and there came a knocking on it, along with a male voice saying, “Hello in there?”
“Hello, I’ll be right out.”
“So sorry to bother you,” came a female voice.
“No bother at all,” he said, opening the door to find a friendly looking couple at his doorstep.
“We are so glad you’re here! We have been trying to catch you home for two days and this is our last try before we have to leave.” Looking at her husband, she exclaimed, we just walked all the way over here hoping; “He just really wanted to meet the person who made this!”
“I’m glad you caught me, too! I’m so flattered! Can I show you around?”
They had a very pleasant conversation following the tour, and all parted with la
rge smiles.

The encounter made a lasting impression on “camper man” and he began to think. “They really wanted to meet me, and I’m glad to have met them. But I wonder why folks are drawn to seek out people who have made or done something special. By extension, folks seem attracted to others who possess special abilities, knowledge, wisdom, fame, celebrity, wealth, or power. Is it simply curiosity? Bragging rights? Hope that some of that “specialness” will rub off? A need to have their approval or blessing? To gain a friendly relationship with said person? An honest desire to give a bit of credit and praise to someone they deem deserving?” With that couple, he was certain that the latter two ideas had been involved.

So, those desires seem almost universal, and if that is true, why don’t more people seek out God? It seems like we all should naturally be drawn to Him! No other being has His abilities, knowledge, wisdom, fame, celebrity, wealth, and power. He is the Ultimate in all those things. Not to mention that He is the Ultimate Rescuer, Doer of Good Things, Lover of Our Souls, and Creator of All Things (especially us). I know the average person might have trouble believing
that Someone they can’t see not only exists, but loves them. They might have trouble believing they are created souls and not a cosmic accident. They might have trouble believing that when we stand in the center of such overwhelming beauty in the likes of our national parks, that He created that and all beautiful things. There was a time when I, I mean “camper man”, found all of it hard to believe, but the best thing he ever did was to seek That Guy, get to know Him, praise and worship Him, become friends, love and have an awesome relationship with The One Who sacrificed His own life to save mine because He loves me!

Camper man’s most fervent prayer is that every person follow their inner urgings and say:

I really want to meet the One who made this!












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A Platform Of Grace

Great blocks of grace, upon grace, upon grace
Layered from peak to earth
Forming wondrous pyramidal base
Which I gratefully abide atop
Surveying the miracle of rebirth
The Highest, whom I might praise nonstop
See brightest springtime rays of morning
Where mercy, upon mercy, upon mercy’s dawning
Secured by the mortar of rescue undeserved
Falling like rain from One I scarcely served.
The gilding of hope, upon hope, upon hope
Edges draped with gleaming golden rope
Where I am preserved, I wait
Held by Love’s embrace, upon embrace, upon embrace
Temple of Jehovah, Yahweh, Adonai
Jesus, Messiah, El-Shaddai
O Ancient Of Days, right here I’ll wait
Being held by Love, upon hope, upon mercy, upon faith
Living high upon grace, upon grace, upon grace
Upon grace, upon grace, upon grace.

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The Griswold Switch

I just coined a term:
The “Griswold Switch”!
What in the world is that?

Definition:  1. The forgotten, or yet to be discovered, solution to a major problem, or a mystery.
2. The elusive missing piece of a puzzle that is making someone crazy who can’t find it.
3. The prime factor upon which everything hinges; the thing that makes everything “work” correctly.
4. The means by which darkness is dispelled and light is brought forth, said light revealing truths which were previously hidden from “blind eyes”. 

       In the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” *, Clark Griswold is trying desperately to make Christmas wonderful for His family despite not getting his expected annual holiday bonus. Part of his efforts include the more than 20,000-light exterior illumination of his house. He hilariously risks life and limb to create a spectacular display, however, every time he makes the final connection in the yard, the display comes on and immediately goes off, or doesn’t come on at all. He gets frustrated. He’s at his wit’s end.
      As it turns out, all the octopus-like circuitry for the display is connected to a certain receptacle in the garage controlled by a light switch which his mother and his wife flip on and off not knowing the consequences. By coincidence, his wife finally leaves the switch on, and Clark is able to make the connection, lighting the overly brilliant display and causing a massive power surge at his house. As I remember, the solution is only revealed to us, the audience, and not even to the Griswolds themselves.

Yes, you guessed it, that is the “Griswold Switch”!

I know people who have sought their own “Griswold Switch”
all their lives and have not found it.
I, myself, finally found it in the early autumn of my life.

Jesus
has been that “Griswold Switch” for me.

I had forgotten Him.
Re-discovering Him, I found Him
to be the solver of all problems,
the One for whom there are no mysteries. (1.)

He is the crucial and indispensable piece
central to the puzzle of life. (2.)

Jesus is the One who makes all Creation work properly.
He is the Prime Factor upon whom all life hinges,
including my own. (3.)

He switched me on – lit me up –
Caused a glorious power surge in my circuits.
His light dispelled darkness in my life,
and illuminated The Truth,
which is the beginning of the understanding
of God’s eternal existence, and the revelation
of what The Father’s love looks like 
through that of His Son.  (4.)

I now think of Jesus as much more than 
my “Griswold Switch”.
He is my glorious and highly revered “God Switch”!

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* This is an irreverent movie. It contains a lot of profanity and misuse of the name of God and Jesus.
On that basis, I can’t recommend it.
However, I can’t condemn it either. If I did that, I couldn’t explain my term “the Griswold Switch”. My advice is, if you wish to watch it, watch with discretion and discernment. It is a “worldly” movie, but some parts are hilariously funny.

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2021 Should Begin With Prayer

I am prompted by the Spirit to use my site to present a prayer to begin 2021.
But what kind of prayer? Which one? Should I create one?
Wait, the best and most important prayer has already been given:

Our Father,
Who lives in Heaven,
Sacred is your name.
May Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done,
Here on earth as it is in Heaven.
Lord, give us bread for the day
and forgive our wrongs toward You,
as we forgive those who
have wronged us.
Lead us away from temptation, Father,
and deliver us from evil.
Amen
For the Highest Kingdom, the Greatest Power, and
the most majestic Glory belong only to you, Father,

forever!
and Amen

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He Reigns, He Shall Reign Forever

The year 2020 has been arguably the worst I’ve ever seen in my many years. Well, in many ways, it was, yet lots of good things happened as well. I prefer to dwell on those and count my blessings, for this is the “day” the Lord has made and I will be grateful – I will rejoice and be glad in it!

The result of the disasters of 2020, for me has been an increase of faith in Jesus whose birth we just celebrated, an increased awareness of His love, a resurgence of hope, a greater awareness of joy welling up, and the permeating peace He gives integrated with all the above gifts.
Peace to you, dear reader, and to you, a happy and blessed 2021 !

I began December with this deeply awe-inspiring music from Handel, so I shall end it the same.

Hallelujah 
Written by George Friedrich Handel

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah


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Angels From the Realms of Glory Sing Gloria In Excelsis Deo

I like this special production. The music is top notch! The effect of angels coming down from the sky is spectacular, and all participants are praising Him with all their might! Glory to God in the highest Heaven! Every knee shall bow, even the camel!

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My Third Christmas Story

A Sugarplum of a Dream Danced In My Head –
My Third Christmas Story –
Not Only A Christmas Story


I write from my experiences, from my knowledge, from divine personal revelation;

I write from my imagination,
from my heart,
and from my dreams.

I don’t completely understand dreaming. I can’t exactly figure out how it works, or can I fathom how Father God can somehow use a dream for my good,
or how the enemy can use one as a lie against my good. I’m thankful
for the gift of being able to discern which is which.


All I know is that some dreams are infused with truth,

and some are infested with mistruths.
All I know is that in dreams I often fly . . .

Some of what follows is odd, somewhat “crazy”, disjointed, strange, and as my fabricated redneck cousin, Chaff Rantley, would say, “Don’t make no sense”.
That is the way most dreams are, but there was something unique and special about the one I had last night. Many of my dreams are complex and detailed, with plots and storylines that I would be glad to use if I could only remember them for more than a few seconds after I awaken.

However, in a detailed dream, God gave me what turned out to be my “next” Christmas story. I awoke three times, then dreamed on, three times keeping the same theme, which is highly unusual in my dreaming experience. After each “chapter”, I thought, without logical cause to do so, and being only half to one-third awake, “This is my next Christmas story.”
This particular one was a dream that I somehow remembered in vivid detail. I didn’t intend for this story to be a long one, but God “wouldn’t leave me alone about it”, and I believe it turned out pretty much the way He wanted it to be.

~ ~ ~

Travelling in my black Jeep ( * I grin.*  I have never owned a Jeep and don’t care for black vehicles), I became ensnared in a freak blizzard, the 100-year kind. Because the snow was getting deep and the visibility was so poor, I pulled off the mountain highway at an isolated intersection. I was looking for a place to stop and take shelter, and ended up on a gravel road. The wind was howling, and my 4-wheel drive was churning furiously through deep snow. At the top of a long slope, up on a high hill, I found a small town that appeared to be roughly a quarter mile long – slightly longer than four, dream football fields , stretched out along one side of the road. The barely readable sign read “Calvinton”.

The buildings were situated just off the road. I passed a small church, an old restaurant/diner/tavern, a tiny library, sheriff’s office, P.O., and city offices, among other random buildings. Their parking lots were all adjacent to the road, or close to it. I saw a residential area behind the buildings. It felt as though I were in a very odd, unusual, part of Canada – a country I hope to visit one day, but haven’t yet in real life. It looked like one of those idyllic porcelain Christmas villages, only kind-of impoverished.

I made a U-turn at the far end of town, came back, and parked at the diner. The church was next door. I saw the church, got curious, and went in. The church parking lot was graveled, but well plowed of snow. It was chilly inside but much warmer than the wind chill outdoors. The unpadded wooden pews could have used refinishing and the lighting could have been better, but it was comfortable, if a bit drab and austere. I noticed the standard pulpit, and standard small altar, standing upon the standard platform.

Sitting in the left-hand back pew, was a man with slightly disheveled black hair, a black five o’clock shadow, nice slacks, dress shirt, and loafers. His arms were draped over the back of the pew and he had had one leg stretched out casually on the seat, but grew tense when he saw me, and placed his foot on the floor. Looking me square in the eyes and raising his voice, he said, “Isaiah: 64, God has turned his back on us and left us to die under the swords of our enemies!” I was taken aback as he shouted, “Vengeance is mine, says the god of evil! An eye for an eye! Kill them ALL!” Then he pointed an index finger at me and yelled, “If God exists, he is a bad god! Evil! If he exists, I hate him! But he does NOT exist! This is a place of death! Now get OUT of here!”

I recoiled. The black five o’clock shadow seemed to have roots in his soul. I considered running, for a second, but a hand touched my shoulder. I turned to see a man in coveralls who motioned for me to follow him. While Five O’clock glared at me, Coveralls took me to the other side of the church, toward the front, where a tall stepladder stood under the building’s only stained glass window.
“Excuse my garb, I’m the maintenance man here. I’m also the pastor. More the former than the latter, these days. My window is leaking and I’m patching it up. Oh, and don’t mind Bob, he has his reasons for ranting. I figure, what better place for him to curse God than here?”

We shook hands, made introductions, and talked. The lithe, eagle-eyed, middle-aged pastor eagerly told me of himself, the town, and Bob. He talked non-stop. It seemed as though he hadn’t had anyone to speak with for a long time. I learned many things: Due to dire circumstances he got his seminarial/divinity/pastor’s degree at the online, and mail-order, San Juan’s School of Faith and Bible College.  He joked – he was a ” St John’s Fool of Scathe”. Being a fan of spoonerisms, I got it, and laughed.  This pastor confided that although his degree was online-mail order, he was serious about bringing the presence of God and His Word to this little town. The pastor said Bob was one of his best parishioners, in that, “hardly anyone else ever comes here any more”. He’s my lost sheep, a congregation of one. But, he stopped listening to me long ago, and probably stopped seeing me. Perhaps he listens to me pray. Perhaps something seeps in. No outward signs yet, sad to say . . .”
It seems Bob and his wife had attended services there until the wife had passed away during the birth of their son. Together, they had operated the town’s combination attorney/accountant/tax preparers’, and insurance office. They had done quite well, as you can imagine, until tragedy took her. Bob had gone a bit off kilter; some said he went mad.
He told me how The Word was sorely needed here due to the greater tragedy that befell when a terrible school bus accident killed many of the village’s children and the heart of the town along with them. That was 13 years ago. All the families with surviving children gradually moved away. His congregation faded, the schoolhouse sat empty, and the heart of the town sank. Sure, life went on. Business, and commerce, and ranching, went on. Going to work and coming home went on. But it was like a town without a reason. Its heartbeat weak, its pulse thready.
Some people still attended services, like Mary Ann something, Sheila somebody, some ranchers male and female, and his foster son, for whom he had great love and compassion as he did for every soul in town. Bob stayed home on Sunday morning. That was the nonexistent god’s day.

“Well, I’ve talked enough, gotta get this done. You should go next door to the tavern, meet some of the folks, have a brat and a brew, wait out this blizzard. Good meeting ya. Oh, and we would appreciate a prayer or three if you wouldn’t mind.”
“Be glad to,” I replied.

Bob’s glare never wavered. He strained to hear every word, it was obvious.

I awoke, well, partially. “This is my next Christmas story,” I thought. “What? The snow is the only thing remotely common to the Christmas season. That was strange . . .”
I rolled over.

Part Two

I walked through the blizzard to the diner, saying a quick prayer for Pastor and Bob, and went in. Adjacent to the main eating area where there were booths and tables, through a wide door, there was an indoor Biergarten sort of room under a lean-to roof. “This must be the tavern,” I thought. I wandered in and sat on the bench on one side of the single long wooden table in the center of the room. I ordered, and the waitress, Sheila, delivered my lunch. It was huge, delicious, and inexpensive. I ate with several ordinary down-to-earth townsfolk. As is my habit, I conversed with anyone willing. They were amiable. And the food was a delicious, though curious, mix of Austrian, German and Norwegian fare. Ha! Yes, Norwegian!  There was lots of good craft-beer. There was a great lot of conversing. People were jovial enough, yet there was an underlying feeling of a distressing loneliness; of something missing, of going through the motions – an emptiness.

My dream persona was a freelance writer, published in various magazines and newspapers. Once the woman named Mary Ann discovered that, she began to place old photos of the town, newspaper articles, old documents, even artifacts, like outdated baseballs and gloves, in a pile in front of me. She must have been hoarding the stuff away for years. I found out the woman was a retired teacher; kind, and insightful, who now worked in the “city” government office and also in the library. She had experienced a premonition that some positive press would save the wasting soul of Calvinton. I was intrigued with the idea of writing about the town, its denizens, and its history. On top of the pile, there was a newspaper article illustrating better days. The town’s buildings were gaily decorated, children were snowball fighting, a manger scene glorified the front sidewalk of the church. Figure skaters used the frozen pond. Hockey was played. There were colored lights; a tree lot. The caption said, “Christmas in the High Country”.

Suddenly, there was the strangest sight outside the window looking across the slope of the hill. An ice-removal maintainer was working to open the road. There were two large green and blue bulldozers hooked up in series, pulling a very long military style (think WWII Seabees style equipment) grader with huge, heavy, blade in the center. The grader had a rectangular body consisting of about 3 x 4 x 60 feet of solid steel. It was going slowly; a turtle’s pace, yet sparks were shooting off the blade as it peeled up the hard, thick ice on the uphill pull. I can’t explain the sparks, nor any of what follows.
Between the two front dozers, was attached a sky blue race-car with a woman inside, army-helmeted head leaning out the window, who appeared to be directing the operation using a walkie-talkie. The three front machines (dozer – car – dozer) were connected in a line with huge log-chains by which they pulled the long, boxlike, blading machine.
The blade itself looked stout and sharp enough to cut the top right off a granite boulder. There was also a great, large, bulldozer pushing the whole train. At one point the blade rode up over the ice causing the female foreman in the car to want to stop , back up, and reset to get under the ice again. The front dozer stopped but the one behind her didn’t, which crumpled the rear of her nice, pristine race-car. She was livid, screaming into the walkie , “I said stop, you lamebrained     @$#%$^&&^##@%^     so-and-sos!!!”, while waving her arms and bouncing up and down in her seat. She finally got the whole, complex rig backed up and reset. After a long effort, they reached the top of the hill. I told you it was a weird dream, (chuckles) . . .

Just then, a good looking, tall, very fit, young man of about 18 walked in. He said, “Aii-ara-bu-nee.” I immediately saw his challenge. Deaf Boy, I called him. Sad to say I have no proper name for him at this time. Blame the dreamstate. He wore a starched-and-pressed, button down, light maroon with white pinstripes, long sleeved shirt, jeans, and work boots. He worked at the town’s combination grocery/feed/hardware store. Deaf Boy sat beside me and got it across to me how if I put my head bones against his in a certain way, or used a plastic glass against the side of his head to talk into, He could translate the vibrations into something meaningful. It worked! Eventually, I pieced together from him and various others that he was the preacher’s foster son, deaf at birth, super intelligent, and that Mary Ann had home-schooled him at the library using picture-books to teach him reading and writing, and most everything else. She also taught him some lip reading and signing, but he preferred the head vibes, and even learned his own kind of speech. Everybody loved him. So did I.

Then the large, muscular, sheriff and his deputy came in. They wore the stereotypical tight, military style khaki shirts, the wide brim hats, and the sunglasses. They were all sidearms and shiny boots as they sat down on either side of me, I presume, to check out the stranger in town. Even though they said nothing, it was slightly intimidating until the pretty, good-natured, Sheila came to my defense telling them quietly and politely, but firmly, to back off, which they did. “How about giving him some slack. Come get a cuppa fresh coffee” she said. They followed her like puppies. Did I pick up on the quick “look” that passed between Sheila and Deaf Boy? You bet I did.

Rats. Roused again . . . “This is my next Christmas story,” I thought, fuzzily, for the second time. How funny, odd, and strange. At least some vestiges of Christmas had surfaced this time. I smacked three times thinking it was done, and turned over again. Perhaps I only dreamed that I had awoken . . .

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Part Three

 It was mid-afternoon in Calvinton as my dream-self returned to the Biergarten. I was sitting in front of, and delving into, Mary Ann’s growing heap of memorabilia. Out of the blue, I felt compelled to return to the church. Bob’s plight was bothering me. God wouldn’t leave me alone about it. I had to learn more about Bob and about Calvinton.
The wind driving the snowfall sideways had not abated. Drifts were building on the downwind side of everything standing. I entered the church and closed the door gently. Bob was still in his place, but he was bent over and had his hands on his forehead, shielding his eyes. He was busy muttering to himself and didn’t look up, or acknowledge my presence.

The preacher caught my eye. He was motioning for me to join him in front of the left-hand front pew where he now had the step ladder set up under a rectangular opening in the high ceiling that led to the attic storage space. Beside the ladder, were three of the pieces of the church’s manger scene – Mary, the Child in his manger bed, and Joseph.
“Would you mind following me up the ladder and handing me Mary in a minute?”
“Be glad to help,” I grinned.
He went up, and I heard him moving things around.
“Okay, ready for Mary.”
I carried Jesus’ mother up and handed her to Preacher.
“Come on up, it’s warmer up here.”
I did, and watched as he covered Mary with a sheet. The whole process of lifting her up above all the other items, and caring for her, seemed somewhat symbolic, if you get my drift.

“I got to know some of the people next door, and some things about this town,” I stated. “I would like to write an article about this interesting community, but I need to know more, if only to satisfy my own curiosity.”

He motioned me to sit in one of the two folding chairs conveniently placed near Mary. “What would you like to know?” he asked.

“Well, I’ve made a few assumptions and formed a few guesses, but I want to be able to write the truth. First, I’d like to know what happened after Bob’s wife died. You mentioned a son?

“Yes, the baby was born healthy,” he paused and stared at me. “It wasn’t long before it was apparent that the boy didn’t respond to sounds,” he paused again, seeming to discern my ability to perceive beyond the surface of things. “If you guessed that Jess is my foster son, you are correct. Bob was suffering terrible grief at the loss of Iris. When he discovered little Jess was handicapped with deafness, the bottom fell out. He couldn’t conceive of how he would be able to care for and raise the boy without a mother; without his wife. Bob withdrew into himself and later developed a strong hatred for the God he convinced himself was responsible. At very least, He ignored prayers and did nothing, in Bob’s mind. He wanted to hurt that god – if indeed he even existed. Jess, essentially had no-one. So, needing a form of sacrifice in my ministry, and because of my compassion for the child and his family, I took him into my home and cared for him with the help of a few kind people in the church. Iris was an avid believer and would have wanted Jess to be raised as a Bible-believing Christ follower. Bob knows, on some level that Jess is his baby boy. We think that he comes here to be near the boy and not just to rail against “his enemy”. We think that, bit by bit, the message of the cross will sink in. We also never kept Jess from knowing he is Bob’s son. He prays every day for his dad to be well and whole again.”

“You and Mary Ann have certainly done a remarkably good job with Jess. I commend you.”

“Thanks, but Jess, himself, made it easy. He is a very bright and loving young man.

“And what about the dire straights Calvinton seems to be in? The community seems to have lost its spirit. It seems to be bleeding internally. Mary Ann has high hopes that I can somehow bring a revival through publishing a few pro-Calvinton articles. 

“I think she has a point, but, in my opinion, healing of this town requires a qualified Physician, if you get my meaning. The heart and soul of a community is no less in the hands of its Creator than the hearts and souls of its citizens. They have, to a large extent, turned their backs on Him, allowing His enemy’s conniving cohorts to put in place lies of every destructive kind. I pray against those devils constantly along with my little circle of Guardians in the church. I have even had visions of families with children returning, and, until that time, turning the vacant schoolhouse into a center of learning for the deaf. Jess and Mary Ann would be a nice fit in a place like that. Bottom line is that the church must become the center of the community again, somehow. There must be a body of believers – the Bride – before this town can see restoration. 

“I’ll have to agree on that point. I will try to reflect your hopes in my writing.”

“Thanks, my friend. Well, it’s getting late. Shall we finish this task and head to the diner for some supper? My treat!”

“Sounds good to me!”

I went first down the ladder. The figures of Joseph and the baby Jesus were still together. Joseph was kneeling next to the manger with his hand touching his adopted baby’s head as if in a blessing, as if in wonder, as if in love. Preacher hadn’t come down yet and I saw why. From the opening in the ceiling, he motioned to me with his eyes to look up the aisle. Bob was walking hesitantly toward me.

“You really should leave,” he insisted gruffly. “There’s nothing for you here and you can’t help. There is really no God here. This is the place where the damned come to lose themselves. Is that what you want? You need to go!”

“Well, only the damned can be saved,” I muttered barely above my breath.

“What? . . . What did you say?” his pitch was rising.

“Nothing, I was just . . .
I prayed silently. “Oh God help me, I’m in over my head here,”

At that moment, Bob’s eyes fell upon the scene of Joseph worshiping his son. He was transfixed. It was as though they were speaking to him. I sensed a crux, a tipping point. I heard myself say, “Sir, would you mind if I prayed with you for a little while?” Now I was in it. Oh, God, what do I say now? I have no idea!
I silently begged God to work the miracle upon Bob’s heart that He had upon mine.

“It won’t do any good. It’s too late for me.” Nevertheless he turned and sat in the front left-hand pew. “I won’t stop you, Stranger, but I sure don’t see the point. There is nobody here to pray to.”

As if in answer to my desperation, a picture with a caption appeared in my spirit.
“Just talk to Me; from your heart, that’s all.”
The picture was a child on his knees beside his bed, hands folded, large eyes looking up. “Brilliant,” I thought. I sat on the floor beside Bob’s knees and folded my arms on the bench next to him. Before I buried my face in my arms, I saw that he was shaking his head and rolling his eyes.

“No! I can’t just stop not believing. I would lose myself, lose who I am. I won’t do it. I’m not listening!” If God is real, and I’m pretty sure He’s not, He must hate me bad.

Perceptive Preacher had wisdom, and good timing. I heard him put on some background music. Soft and gentle, an instrumental version of Great Is Thy Faithfulness. I’m not much of an out-loud pray-er, but I launched it anyway:

“Father God, I thank you for that time when I was still Your enemy and You sent me a messenger who told me:
‘It’s never too late; He loves you;
Told me ‘He is with you, not against you; There is nothing that He can’t forgive.’

Back when I couldn’t believe, I was afraid of the truth, Father, I was blind, and lost, and losing hold of my life, yet I was was told of what You had endured to save me . . .
I was so broken. Thank you for healing me. Thanks for having a greater plan for me and working all things for my good in spite of my lack of understanding.”
“Thank You for making a way, a path, for me to live with You in Your eternal home,
from where my loved ones beckon to me.
I do want to spend Forever with You and with them, dear Lord.”
Your amazing love gave me a way to believe in You; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Shedding a few tears, I continued;
“Thank you for loving me, Father. I ask the same grace and mercy and compassion for my friend, here. 
I praise You in his place, for he doesn’t know how right now.
Gather him to You, Father.
I ask and I plead in Jesus’ name . . . Amen”

Halfway through, I heard Bob begin to weep. Before I was finished, he was on the floor beside me, sobbing, with his head buried in his arms on the seat, like mine. There was only music for a long time. He became quiet. I heard him very softly whisper, “Iris”. . .  then “Amen”.

There was only soft music, then there was light. I raised my head and looked up. Sunlight was streaming through Preacher’s stained glass window. Even the air seemed to be transformed. “The storm must be over,” I thought. “In more ways than one.”

I heard the door open, looked, and saw Mary Ann hurrying into the sanctuary. I stood, and Bob stood beside me. I think Bob had wept the “scales” right off his eyes. There was a look of fear and surprise on his face, yet I noticed the unmistakable glint of hope in in his eyes. I also perceived an aura of weight dropping off his once-drooping shoulders.

Mary Ann, staring at Bob, was concerned and excited.”Is everything alright? We saw a strange light coming from here and thought there might be a fire.”

Behind her came the two lawmen, the feed store owner, assorted ranchers and townspeople, who began streaming into the church, their steady flow mimicking the sunlight streaming through the stained glass. They all stopped and stared at Bob and me. Someone said, “Yup, it was dreary outside when the snow quit, we felt a far away shakin’, like an avalanche, and then saw lights in the church winda’s. We thought there had been a ‘splosion and the church was own far! The door was flang open, then we heard an aingelic kinda music and the sun come out!”

Someone else observed, “That’s right, we were kind of, well, drawn over here!”

Another stated, “Sheesh, I ain’t been in the church fer quite a while, this place sure seems differ’nt! I like it!”

It was as though a shockwave of The Baby’s first loud birth-cry had sounded from Preacher’s manger scene, radiating outward in a circular pattern over the whole town.

Some of the last to enter, were Sheila and Deaf Boy – I mean Jess – hand in hand. The crowd opened to let them through. Bob had the barest hint of a peaceful smile on his face when their eyes met. Jess assessed the situation and discerned. Bob looked at Joseph and his infant son, then back at Jess.

“I, . . . I, . . . I don’t . . . know what to say, . . . except, this stranger here . . . this messenger . . .  God is here! He is real, and alive! I know because He just touched me. I owe Him an apology. I owe all of you an apology. It was like being in prison . . . I have wasted so much time, but no more!”

He brushed away the remaining tears and walked slowly, hesitantly, toward the young man and held out his hand. Jess’ voice was low, yet bold and sincere.
“Ah – ub – oo, -Nan.”
He bypassed the outstretched hand and instead embraced his birth father. Cheek to cheek and headbone to headbone, Bob’s long pent and overdue reply was, “I love you too, son, . . . we . . . both do. Your mother would be so proud . . .

The sun streaming in took on the qualities of a warm tropical breeze, which wafted through the expanding group of Calvintonites and out the still-open church door. Some in the front of the crowd took a knee facing the cross, and the altar where Preacher stood smiling. Some bowed their heads. Some looked up at the sunlit window. And all knew that redeeming transformation was taking place right where they stood.

Myself? I noticed “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” was still playing, and I whispered a heartfelt “Thank You”.

I awoke for the third and final time. (Or am I still dreaming? : )
Yes, I’m certain this is, indeed, My Next Christmas Story!

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Epilogue


Assuredly, I built upon the framework of my dream.

I filled in many blanks, added missing details, and surely, I embellished.
That’s what a writer does, especially one who dreams and writes in the Spirit.

But it took a dream to let me witness something I have longed for – a soul redeemed, right in front of me, due, in part, to one of my prayers.  I still couldn’t figure it out, though, “My Next Christmas Story?” What did that mean? It wasn’t even close to Christmas, and it seemed like Christmas themes were only a small part of the dream-story. It wasn’t even reality, although many, rightly, in my opinion, argue the reality of dreams.

I pondered, then it hit me like an avalanche! I had witnessed the miracle of Christ being born into the inner man. God with Bob. Immanuel. Jesus, coming to live in him just like He came to live in the world – and in me! To save us out of love for us.
Being born into the spirit of a single lost and needful man, and not only that, but into the spirit of a stagnant, ill, and needful town. Christmas! Christbirth! Jesus, born into the world, a town, a person, for redemption – for love’s sake.
And, also, for Resurrection.
Redemption and Resurrection of everything.
Next Christmas Story, indeed!
Not only that, but why not My Next Easter Story as well?

©Gloryteller Len Snider @Gloryteller.com
5-30-2017
All rights reserved


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On Using Secular Christmas Traditions To Lead People to Jesus

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Here’s a repeat piece that I didn’t get posted before Christmas:

“What do you think about the false deification of Santa Clause?” asked somebody.
“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 and abolished 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 now be reversed nor abolished even if we wanted to, which most of us don’t. They can, however, be used in a positive manner to point to God’s glory. I’ve previously discussed how the Christmas tree points to Jesus Christ. It is easy for me to tell, as well, how Saint Nicholas‘ (the real-life man behind the legend of Santa Claus) life and existence points to the life and teachings of Jesus.

I only implore you, dear reader, not to foster the mistruths about Santa Clause, or Father Christmas, but tell the factual truth about those figures. Fact is, they are legends and fantasies based on a good man’s acts, but they must not be passed down as reality. The generous acts, themselves, are the Christlike reality.

It’s the same for the gift-giving, the lights, the colors, the tree, the decorating, and the joyous celebrating. One can ignore any or all of it, or one can use those traditions of secular Christmastime as reminders of Jesus’ birth, life, instructive words, and miraculous deeds. I strive for that as I constantly try to keep Him at the forefront of the celebration.

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 original 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.

We can’t do away with Santa, and I don’t want to do that anyway. We can, however present him in a different light – the light that shines when he extends a gift to a child who has none, or the glow when he calls to a little one to come sit on his knee, or the beacon that shines when he tells the story of Jesus’ birth to a group of awestruck children, or when he silently prays for a sick or needy child and their family, or the radiant streaming rays that illuminate the scene when he kneels to worship beside the manger which contains his Savior Lord swaddled in humble cloth. All those actions mimic or respect Christ, The Light of the World, as Santa, the legend, mimics the real man, Nicholas, who was a somewhat Christlike child of God, himself!

We have so many commonly seen secular symbols that can be used to point to Jesus at Christmastime:

 Common decorative wreaths, for example, can be found on doors, in windows, or inside many secular homes, even on city light posts, but the circles of evergreen boughs symbolize eternal life and the never-ending love of God. The non-believers don’t even know that! We believers even elevate the wreath to worship status. The five candles of the Advent wreath are lit in order bring to mind hope, peace, joy, love, and the purity of Christ, the Light of the World who was sent for us. It also encircles the promise that He will return to us, not in humility this time, but in His full power and glory!

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness —
on them light has shined. Isaiah 9: 2-7

The Advent wreath is loaded with symbolism to “get the ball rolling” early in December before the really secular traditions begin.

The ever-present Christmas tree itself is a real or a reasonable facsimile of an evergreen tree, which also symbolizes eternal life. It points to Heaven, and, in my world, all the lights, ornaments, and decorations on the tree represent all believers in Jesus. The lights remind me that The Light of the World has come and we wait for Him to come again.

The presents under the tree are reminders of the original Christmas gift – the gift of Jesus sent to us by Father God, and His presence with us – and the wrappings, His swaddling cloths. Everyone who is able participates in the giving of gifts. Some gifts are frivolous and some needful. Gift giving is a reminder of how Father God sent us, the very needy, a huge gift of forgiveness, grace,mercy, hope, and love delivered through His Son. And we all, believers and non-believers, must receive any and all gifts with gracefulness and gratefulness. The gift of The Savior Child, our Light of the World, is given to every one of us Earthlings, but that gift must be received, and willingly accepted before it can be unwrapped and enjoyed.

The star at the top of the tree points to Christ and leads people to Him. It reminds us of the nativity story because of its important role therein. If there is an angel instead of a star, it evokes memories of the very powerful presence of angels involving Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph. Even more astonishing was their appearance to the shepherds just after Jesus’ birth – not just one, but a whole host of them!

 Those traditions and others I’ve not thought of can be used to help us illuminate Jesus in a darkened world. I believe proclaiming Him is our commission, our duty, and our pleasure, as believers and as beneficiaries of The Father’s miraculously generous, humble, and humbling gift.

We are still living in a land of deep darkness, thousands of years after Isaiah’s God-given words. Billions of people are walking in darkness today, but many have seen the great Light. It is given to them to shine the Light of the World upon the land of deep darkness and all those walking in it.

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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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Still

After a busy, but very pleasurable, Advent season,
I find myself still, and resting in peace this evening.
What an eventful time I’ve had here at “Gloryteller
over the last three weeks and five days!
It passed so quickly, I can hardly catch my breath!

I’ve learned new things about the Christ Child’s birth
and some of the “old” things have struck me in new ways.
I went deep into the sweetly miraculous Profound Mystery, and today,
after the crescendo buildup of excitement surrounding –

The Birth That Shook The Earth,

I find myself overwhelmed;
physically and emotionally 
drained,
but spiritually uplifted . . .  

The Baby is sleeping peacefully now.
He and His family have endured a world-changing night;
A mother-changing, husband-changing, son-changing night!
I feel like I went through it with them, in a sense . . .
And, at this moment, about all I can do
is be still and adore Him,
be still in the knowledge that He is my Lord God,
be still and worship Him,
be still and rest here at His feet . . .

Still, still, still,
His bright eyes softly close
And Mary, breathless,
Draws him sleeping
To her heart,
Made pure for keeping
Still, still, still,
His bright eyes softly close.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
He hears, and sweetly smiles.
And kneeling Joseph
Joins in chorus
With the angels
Bending o’er us
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
He hears, and sweetly smiles.

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep,
He breathes a tender sigh,
For soon he’ll wake
The world from slumber
Bringing life
And endless wonder
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
He breathes a tender sigh

Sleep, Holy Jesus,
Sleep . . .

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I really like this Austrian Christmas carol in the form of a lullaby.
(a “lullbaby” perhaps?)
It so saturates me with peace . . .
And tonight, dear Jesus, I will simply be still and know –
know that you are no more than human
know that you are no less than God . . .

But now, dear reader, I must sadly,
yet joyfully, send out one last,

heartfelt,
Merry Christmas
and wishes for peace to you this season.
It is Christmas night, 2020,

Goodnight
from Lenn, here at Gloryteller.com

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Für die deutschsprachigen Völker:  
 Stille, stille, stille,
Seine hellen Augen schließen sich leise
Und Maria, atemlos,
Zieht ihn schlafend
Zu ihrem Herzen,
Rein zum Halten gemacht
Immer noch, immer noch, immer noch,
Seine hellen Augen schließen sich leise.

Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf,
Er hört und lächelt freundlich.
Und kniend Joseph
Joins im Chorus
Mit den Engeln
Über uns gebeugt
Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf,
Er hört und lächelt freundlich.
 
Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf,
Er atmet einen zärtlichen Seufzer,
Denn bald wird er aufwachen
Die Welt aus dem Schlummer
Leben bringen
Und endloses Wunder
Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf
Er atmet einen zärtlichen Seufzer
 
Schlaf, heiliger Jesus Schlaf
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