A Paul Harvey Christmas Message – The Man and the Birds

 

A Brilliant Modern Day Parable

Do you remember Paul Harvey?
Have you even ever heard of him?
He was an American radio broadcaster for nearly six decades.
His soft-spoken telling of current events and
“the rest of the story” with that gentle voice of his
kept me company over many a lonely lunchtime sandwich.
This next brings back floods of good memories.

This whole broadcast is good,
but if you want to skip ahead to the story,
it begins at about 5:10.
May you and yours have a joyous Christmas!



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On Using Secular Christmas Traditions To Glorify Not Mislead

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“What do you think about the lie 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 by Christians because they distract and detract from the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
I disagree.
Those many traditions are so ingrained into society that they cannot be reversed nor abolished. They can, however, be used in a positive manner. I’ve previously discussed how the Christmas tree points to Jesus Christ. It is easy for me to tell, as well, how Santa’s (“Saint Nicholas‘ “) life and existence points, to the life and teachings of Jesus.
I only implore you, dear reader, not to foster the lies about Santa Clause, St. Nicholas, or Father Christmas, but tell the factual truth about 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 are the Christlike reality.
It’s the same for the gift-giving, the lights, 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, words and 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 true purpose which is to celebrate His birth, to point to Him, to highlight Him, and to glorify Him in the unfettered, hopeful, optimistic, rejoicing manner in which the host of angels announced His arrival to the shepherds, and to us.
Those traditions can be used to help us illuminate Him in a darkened world. I believe this proclaiming is our commission, our duty, and our pleasure, as believers and as beneficiaries of The Father’s miraculously humble, and humbling gift.
The gift of The Savior Child, our Light of the World, is given to every one of us, but that gift must be received and willingly accepted before it can be unwrapped and enjoyed.

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

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

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

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Why I Call It “Christbirth”!

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 I’m not thrilled about the word Christmas.
I’m not crazy about the word Easter either.
But I very much love the events those two words represent.

Words are only symbols that we use to convey,
or identify, things, events, or ideas. Often, the words
we devise (or, in this case, that are devised for us) are
less than ideal, or appropriate, or even accurately descriptive
in representing the actual thing being described.

I believe that “Christmas” is such a word.
I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to delve into the origins,
meanings, and protests concerning the word “Christmas”.
I have been through it, and it’s not pretty.
Some say it’s downright blasphemy, wickedness, and sin to use it.

However,
Nevertheless,
and, Be That As It May,
the event that has come to be known to us as “Christmas”
is the event that shook the earth.
It is the truth of the event that is important,
not necessarily the word we have adopted to describe it.
To my way of thinking, the birth of Jesus was, and is,
the most momentous occurrence in history.
It is to be celebrated – its story told and retold in truth
to the ends of the earth.
So ( Blast semantics!) I do say Merry Christmas,
and I do say Happy Easter, instead of
Happy Resurrection Sunday,
because I know I will be understood by the general public,
and also by Christians, in general.
And by those greetings, I mean
Hallelujah!
Rejoice!
Celebrate enthusiastically!
For, unto us a child is born!
Our Savior lives!
He has come to live with us!
– Or
 He is risen!
Our Savior lives!
And in His glory He will come down again!

So, here’s the thing – here’s my point:
Instead of the term “Christmas”, I prefer the word
“Christbirth”
(which I think I have invented, haha,) 
(but someone may have beaten me to it, I really don’t know)
to represent this wondrous, marvelous event,
but, no matter what word we use in reference,
in Jesus’ birth, the very Word of God came to live among us,
with us, and, in time, in us, so that we,
despite our inclination to sin,
might have the right to be “born” into a new world –
a world of saving grace, faith, hope, and of love,
into God’s presence;
born in a new, a wondrous,
 a marvelous, and a miraculous way,
Just as Jesus was, before us!

Happy Christbirth!
Merry Christmas!
Rejoice!

Your Gloryteller

 

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Not A Single Life Can Compare To His. Not One . . .

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One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village,
the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village,
where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty,
and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a home.
He never went to college.
He never visited a metropolis.
He never traveled more than two hundred miles
from the place where He was born.
He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but Himself.

In His early thirties, the tide of public opinion turned against Him.
His friends ran away.
One of them denied Him.
Another betrayed Him.
He was turned over to His enemies.
He went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
 While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His clothing,
the only property He had on earth.

When he was dead, He was taken down
and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

More than twenty wide centuries have come and gone,
yet today He remains the central figure of the human race,
and the leader of  mankind’s progress.

I am well within the mark when I say
that all the armies that ever marched,

and all the navies that ever were built,
and all the parliaments that ever sat,
and all the kings that ever reigned,
put together, have not affected the life of mankind
upon this earth as significantly as has that
One Solitary Life.

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Paraphrased From Dr James Allan Francis in
“The Real Jesus and Other Sermons”

© 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia
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As eloquent and powerful as this piece is,
I feel that even this is inadequate to explain
the full importance 
to human life on this planet,
of our Immanuel’s life,
sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension.
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–Your Gloryteller

 

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He. Came. Down.


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He Came Down

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He came down.
Mary said YES,
then He came down.
Born like us.
Born with us.
Born for us.
Born to us.
Born unto us.
Born into us.
He came down from His Glory,
Leaving Holy Home and Father, to become a creation, in a real sense, just like us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
To be born most humbly into the broken, reeking mess that we, mankind, had made of the world.
To be born into the shameful, smelly mess that I had made of my own wretched heart . . . . . . . . . . .
The defenseless egg of God,
having scarcely a shell.
A tender shoot,
a tiny lamb,
he came down naked,
to be born covered
with another’s blood,
mother’s blood.
Born to be pierced,
and poured out,
and to ‘cover’ all
others with His
pure, holy blood.
He came down
with only Love as a defense.
Double-sided love.
He came down to the dung heap,
the lowest, the basest of places,
a place of no honor; of ignobility,
because that’s where I was,
I and my neighbors,
hiding under the
layers of earthly dirt.
He could have said
“No, not again”.
He could have said
“To hell with this” . . .
He didn’t have to
rise from His manger
to knock on my
heart’s door.
To clean it all,
just like new,
from ceiling to floor,
window, to wall,
and spend His life,
His all, for me,
to bear away my sin.
Yet, He would be
the first to admit,
if He weren’t so humble,
that He did have to.
Someone had to
do something.
But no-one could,
except Himself.
I didn’t deserve
His coming down, this
Wonderful Counselor,
this Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
This Immanuel.
Savior Lord.
JESUS CHRIST!
But, He came down,
out of love,
bearing light,
carrying forgiveness,
sowing grace like seeds,
ready with a cool drink,
gentle hands to wash our feet,
with tears of compassion,
where sin and mercy meet,
and I’m so glad,
so happy,
so joyously thankful
that He did,
that my meager glory goes up.
I send it up.
I glorify His name,
Who was born into many names,
and into ONE name,
and that name is
The-Name-Above-All-Names.
He came down,
and now He reigns
King of My Heart.

Glory to God in the Highest Heaven!
That

He.
Came.
Down!
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The Happiest Christbirth to you, today!
LS< Your Gloryteller
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Mary, Did You Know?

I think she knew, 
don’t you?
A Mother Just Knows . . .

In these advent days,
the story is all about the Love between
– Mary,

– her Baby inside, Emmanuel,
– 
Father God,
– the Holy Spirit,
– her husband, Joseph,
– and all who would come to know them.
. . . The Love that swirls around them all,
radiating downward from the Highest;
at once, mysteriously enveloping,
and joyously abiding in
 the innermost depths,
of those below.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It . . . It’s you . . .”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m ready. Climb swiftly now!”

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

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

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

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

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

“Are you all right?” I gasped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What will you say, My Friend?

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

All Rights Reserved

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About The Making of Joy-Flower

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

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

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

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

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

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A Good Friday Story;
A Good Anytime Story –


The Expense of Safety

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

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

Serious guards watching.
Last chance.
Distress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The Rest of the Story

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

as I stepped onto the ferry.
Relief overwhelmed me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

α ∞ Ω
~~~~~~~~~

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He Follows Patiently. Your Turn.

 

 

 

In the book of your life,
Jesus follows you closely, quietly,
As you walk your path,
As you lay down new lines,
And lines become paragraphs,
As you turn your pages, He walks with you.
Lie down, and He lies down close by.
If you run, He runs.
If you try to outrun Him,
Or lose Him,
He effortlessly stays close behind.
Veer right or left,
He is faithful in the turning.
Stop, and He stops.
Continue in your way,
He continues with you.
But if you turn around and look back,
He does not turn around.
Not ever.
He looks into your questioning eyes.
Always.
He speaks softly to your heart.

Turning to Him is all He wants.
Asking Him to take the lead
Is all you need.
To write your new page.
To fill out your whole, true story,
To complete the never-ending
Book of Your Life.

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music: Ian Post
“Genesis-The Light”
on Sound Cloud

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Once, It Was Enough

My life was fine when I didn’t have Jesus in it.
At least, that’s what I thought.
It was enough, but now that empty life can never be enough. 

I licked a spoon that was used to stir egg nog.
It was not enough!
I wanted more!
I wanted a drink! 

Jesus gave me that sweet drink of the life.
He gave me the more I didn’t know I’d been waiting for.
No more futile striving for only a thin film of the sweetness.

 Now I have Him,
and with Him,
the sweet, rich,
fragrantly spiced,
deliciously satisfying,
 glass of joyous life to drink from,
that is always full,
never empties,
and is endless!
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A Paul Harvey Christmas Message – The Man and the Birds

 

A Brilliant Modern Day Parable
This whole broadcast is good, but if you want to skip ahead to the story, it begins at about 5:10.

May you and yours have a joyous Christmas!



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He. Came. Down.


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He Came Down

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He came down.
Mary said YES,
Then He came down.
Born like us.
Born with us.
Born for us.
Born to us.
Born unto us.
Born into us.
He came down from His Glory,
Leaving Holy Home and Father, to become a creation, in a real sense, just like us . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To be born most humbly into the broken, reeking mess that we, mankind, had made of the world.

To be born into the shameful, smelly mess that I had made of my own wretched heart . . . . . . . . . . .

The defenseless egg of God,

having scarcely a shell.
A tender shoot,
a tiny lamb,
in perfect humility,

he came down naked,
to be born covered with
 another’s blood,
a mother’s sacrificial blood.
Born to be pierced,
and poured out,
and to cover all
others with His
pure, holy blood.
He came down
with only Love as a defense.
Double-sided love.
For us here below,

from Him, up above.
He came down to the dung heap,
the lowest, the basest of places,
a place of no honor;
of ignobility,

because that’s where I was,
I and my neighbors,
hiding under the
layers of dirt.
He could have said
“No, not again”.
He could have said
“To hell with this” . . .
He didn’t have to
rise from His manger
to knock on my
heart’s door.
To clean it all up,
just like new,
from ceiling to floor,
window, to wall,
and spend His life,
His all, for me,
to bear away my sin.
Yet, He would be
the first to admit,
(if He weren’t so humble),
that He did have to.
Someone had to
do something.
But no-one could
except Himself.
I didn’t deserve
His coming down, 
this Wonderful Counselor,
this Mighty God,
this Everlasting Father,
 this Prince of Peace.
This Immanuel.
Savior Lord.
JESUS CHRIST!
But, He came down,
out of love,
bearing light,
carrying forgiveness,
sowing grace like seeds,
ready with a cool drink,
gentle hands to wash our feet,
with tears of compassion,
where sin and mercy meet,
and I’m so glad,
so happy,
so joyously thankful
that He did,
that my glory goes up.
I send it up.
I glorify His name
Who was born into many names,
and into ONE name,
and that name is
The-Name-Above-All-Names.
He came down,
and now He reigns
King of My Heart.

Glory to God in the Highest Heaven!
That

He.
Came.
Down!
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The Happiest Christbirth Celebration to you, today!
LS< Your Gloryteller
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On Using Seemingly Questionable Christmas Traditions For Good

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

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

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

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

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

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The Step, Part III

I took a step onto solid Rock  . . .

Their overwhelming touch changed everything –
Everything I thought I knew,
Everything I am.
Changed it all for my good.

They didn’t have to do it;
(or did They, because that is who They are?!)

I didn’t deserve their efforts.
They came nevertheless;
To feed me,
Save my life,
Forgive me,
Deliver me from evil,
Weave me into their plan,

Give my life purpose,
Walk me home,

Give me rest,
And most of all, just love me!

That one step made all the difference.

I am home!


The End,

(of a bad thing)

The Beginning,

(of a glorious thing)

If you haven’t already,
I urge you to turn,
And take a step toward home.


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Forever Home

                    

                  Forever Home

 

When our count of days goes way too fast

When earthbound lives are gone and past

 

In sad, lamenting grief we’re cloaked

We limp to You, our only hope

 

We lost them, those who were our own

Or were they not, and just on loan

 

With great compassion You lift us up

For what You gave them, they left with us

 

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

So eternal, enduring, death can’t destroy

 

Fragrantly lingering, it wafts through our hair

Like tropical breezes, love whispers its care

 

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

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

 

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

You care about us, Your plan is in place

 

We lack understanding, only You know

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


For You have given us this sleep

The one that, here, we think so deep

 

Yet it is light, and lasts but a whit

So brief, and at the end of it

 

We waken to You, forever home

At last, Your Treasure is our own.

 

At last! Your Joy is now our own!


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One Last Mountain

 

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

saved from myself.

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Before

3d63998d9680e585464b69e20a9259e1_-quill-and-paper-clipart-quill-and-paper-clipart_641-720


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

 

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

even BEFORE
You gave me a spirit;

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

You knew me BEFORE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Book of Your Life

 

 

 

Open the unexamined Book of Your Life.


From Chapter One,
Jesus follows you closely, quietly,
As you walk your path.
Turn the pages of your journal,
He walks with you.
If you run, He runs.
If you fall, He waits.
Lie down, and He lies down nearby.
If you weep, He quietly cries.
If you try to outrun Him,
Or get away,
He effortlessly stays right behind.
Veer right or left,
Into the hollow, the empty,

He is faithful in the turning.
Stop, and He stops.
Continue in your barren, winding way,
He continues with you.
But turn around and look back,
He does not turn His back.
Not ever.
He engages your pleading eyes.
Always.
You turning to Him is all He wants.
Asking Him to come alongside,
To take the lead,
Is all you need.
To begin a better path.
To write your new page.
To fill the complete Book of Your Life.


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About The Music Links Below

I don't own, and have no claim on, these music videos. The following are simply links inside my website pointing back to the original locations of the videos. The names of the creators of these videos are cited wherever possible, and only "embedding-enabled" selections are used.

The Basic Christian Library

"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. This is fundamentally what Christianity is all about.

"The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. Another converted atheist presents His compelling case for believing in Jesus.

"Left To Tell" by Imaculee Ilibagiza. This profound work is her own extraordinary story of endurance, discovery of the Holy Spirit, grace, healing, and an astonishingly compelling account of the necessity for forgiveness.

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

"The Circle" 4-book series by Ted Dekker.
A man is the bridge between two very different worlds. Sound familiar? Can he save both? This T.D. work is brilliant in my book.

"This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness" by Frank E. Peretti. Tales of spiritual warfare from a unique perspective. Stirred a small controversy, but sold millions. What are we Christians afraid of? Hey, it's fiction!

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