Thankful for a Grateful Heart

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Ten thousand million billion moments
With which my life is filled.
Each one shorter than a second,
Less; even shorter still.
Each one begins, and each one ends,
But is not taken away.
And each one has no meaning, then,
At the end of the average day.
Meaningless moments, but for Christ,
Who redeemed them all for me,
Tied them all together,
Made them all to be.
A whole life – a life that begins and ends,
But is not taken away.
As if that were not enough,
He also gave me words to say
A prayer of thanks for a grateful heart,
The gift of which is precious.
A heart to embrace the building joy
Of gratitude for Him, so gracious.
So, I give heartfelt thanks
For the moments,
For the life,
For redemption,
For Christ,
For the gift of a grateful heart,
And for more,
Much more,
I thank You;
Thank You, Lord!


Happy Giving of the Thanks today!

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Momentously Graced

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Grace comes moment by moment,
Abiding until the next.
Life, a momentary comment,
By grace is momentously blessed.

L< Gloryteller
7-28-13

Therefore, I Must Write

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Write, write, write!
Must write, must write. 
Must write uniquely,
as uniquely commissioned,
or die an invisibly unique
and uniquely individual,
empty. . . living. . .  death.

I write, therefore, I yam.

I write, therefore, I yam, therefore, I . . .

 

He Returns On Fire In The Third Person

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Gloryteller has returned in the third person, on fire to write.   (Who even missed him or noticed a lack of recent posts?)
He was “on retreat” in The Mountains once more.
He is, once more, humbled.
He is humbled beyond his usual daily state of  humbled-ness.
Unexpectedly.
Surprisedly.
Hiking and climbing  joyously with his youngest son, “College Guy”,
who is such a one that there should be no surprise at being humbled by him — by him and of course by Creator God, Who lets him, and indeed helps him,
do what he can’t do,
go where he can’t go,
see what he can’t see,
and be what, and whom, he can’t be.

As the mountains caught fire, he did too, in the spiritual sense.
Humbled, yet on fire?  Yes, like the lightning-sparked blazes in the forests, it was completely natural.
Fire is a muse to him.
So is driving.
So is hiking.
So is lightning.
And thunder-like-a-cannon is a muse to him.
And sitting on a peak, and watching the clouds, and living a life.
So are many writers a muse to him.  (You might be one of them)
So are extraordinarily ordinary people, and not so ordinary, like Tim The Waiter, who most likely will never read about his genuine, inspiring self here.
Sources of inspiration —
Muses.
Nothing more than types and shadows of The One Source of  his true inspiration.
He’s back, yet still away.
Humbled.
Emboldened.
Muse in his own right.
Blazing with ‘musement.
‘Mazement.
He contemplates.
He ruminates.
He wonders.
He ponders……..

What fire burns there?
What does a muse muse about?

He picks up his flat-keyed pen and begins to spark lightning-fires,
His muses prompting, chittering, talking excitedly all at once.

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Father, Son, Pinnacle

Father, Son, Pinnacle

I Shared My Everything

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^~ ~ ~^

With you

Not only some cash

Not only some time

Not  only my past

Nor pain

Not only my failure and success

My love

True, and again, yes

But most of all I shared my faith

Spurned or embraced

That is all I have that really matters

Even Faith-So-Small

My everything and All-In-All

My joys and my sorrows

To make a difference

THE Difference in hope for your tomorrows

A deposit with endless interest

Awaits you there

When and where

And if you will accept the prayer

Of faith

Of everything with you I gladly share.

Oh, Heart! Seek Happiness? Accept Joy!

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Oh, Heart,
is it happiness you seek?
Happiness highly desirable?
Yet dependent?
Elusive happiness?
Happy chasings of things outside yourself?
Oh, frivolous pursuit!
Oh, Fleeting Fates!
Oh, Fickle Muses!
Oh, changing time and seasons!
Oh, whims and peculiarities of others.
Oh, Heart!

The perhaps;
the unhaps.
Ah, to erase,
to replace the un.
Happy-chance relies on happenstance.
The right things need to HAPPEN,
Oh, Heart,
for happiness to come.
Aye, to come, yet it so quickly goes . . .
So often it flees and will not stay in permanence
because something else happened unforeseen,
or didn’t,
or someone loved,
and changed,
or did not,
or lied,
or stole,
or went away,
or stayed the same,
or quit,
or gave up,
or did not last,
or laughed,
or betrayed,
or let chances pass.
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But,
Oh, Heart!
Have you considered Joy?
Joy is different.
It’s beyond definition,
although the world tries to define it,
confine it,
call it an emotion.
The world calls it synonymous with happiness,
But it is far from the same.
Joy is elementally incomprehensible if you don’t have it.
Oh, Extreme,
Oh, Deep,
Oh, Profound,
Utterly overwhelming,
at times,
but not captive of time,
nor whims of others,
nor Fates and Muses,
nor the chase, nor bruises,
save the Great Chase of Christ,
of His children;
His Divine Romancing,
of His bride.
Oh, Heart,
when you slow,
and turn,
and let Him catch your tattered strings,
and you let Him in,
and you see, and touch, and savor
His Joy,
and suddenly it is yours,
Oh, Heart!
Oh, Abiding gift!

Is it, then, Joy you might seek?
Joy so independent of what has happened;
is happening;
will happen?
Joy in knowing,
in enjoying a walk with Jesus,
joining with Jesus,
rejoicing in Jesus?
Great delight?
Rich fullness?
Exceeding gladness, oh, Heart?
Inside your own walls!
Happiness multiplied X times!

To have happiness and Joy together,
oh, Heart, is a precious gift.
But,
take heart,
Joy persists even in sadness.
No one can steal your Joy
unless you let it be taken.
There is unhappiness,
But there is no unjoy,

Joy wells up from deep inside,
Overflows to the outside,
is a living, life-giving, sustaining thing;
is abundant, noticeable, contagious;
is independent of external forces.

As happiness is precarious,
Joy is precise.

As happiness happens to you,
Joy joins with you.
Joy jumps with you!

“Happiness” is referred to about 30 times in the Bible
while “Joy” is proclaimed about 300 times!

Happiness runs through your fingers the harder you try to hold it.
Joy wells up, overflows cupped hands,
and is unlimited at its source.

Oh, Heart!
Let the Lord  remake you to contain
even a small vial of the Joy in His glory.

Happiness comes from what happens, oh, my Heart,
Joy comes from Jesus!

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Listen, Oh, Heart!
Happiness flows in and flows away.
No one knows if it might stay.
But Joy!
Joy, Oh Heart, ever bubbles from its Source.
Welling up endlessly, any time of day.
Happiness depends.
But because He lives in you,
Oh, Heart,
Your Joy will never end.

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© 4-29-13 Gloryteller – L.S.
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Image

Defending His Words With My GPS

Photo of TomTom Go 500

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A GPS plays a special role while traveling strange roads.  It tells us where we are, where to turn to reach our destination, how far we have come, how far we have yet to go, what the speed limit is, and where the landmarks, restaurants, and gas stations are.  It keeps us from getting lost!  It also increases our overall understanding of areas unfamiliar to us.  A GPS can greatly enhance the enjoyment of a trip.

It occurred to me that I, as a writer (and we writers, collectively), have a special role, since our craft is expressed through use of our language.    It matters how we use our GPS……..  GPS?  I see the questions in your eyes.

Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling! 

GPS!

It’s a matter of words – how we string them together in a proper, coherent manner into phrases and sentences.

G,P, and S are our tools –  the paint on our canvasses which color our written thoughts.

They are the instruments by which we give tone and texture, pitch and resonance to the songs of our printed voices.

They are the rich furnishings that embellish an empty house (blank page) and transform it into a home (poem, article, story).

Without the order furnished by the use of good grammar, punctuation, and spelling, (and, here, I must add vocabulary) there is confusion and chaos.  There is reader discomfort.  Instead of the stream flowing smoothly, their cognative canoes encounter obstacles which impede progress.  Instead of the intended float-trip through a beautiful landscape of understanding, there is a laborious detour through a swamp of lost meaning.

Today our language, (both the written and the spoken) is under attack by laziness, carelessness, apathy, ignorance, and lack of meaningful use by the general public. It seems few people actually care anymore about The Queen’s English  (meaning the standard, correct, conventional, most easily-understood-worldwide form of the language).  It is dying a slow death – even in the “media” – even in schools.  Our language is undergoing a deliberate “dumbing down”.  It seems to me that bad grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary are somehow becoming more socially acceptable to many people than good grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary.  To me, that is a very sad circumstance.  The consequences are tangible, for example, when thousands of job applications are rejected for not having been written properly.  It is essential to be able to express one’s thoughts and ideas clearly, concisely, and in an intelligent manner.

As writers, we find ourselves in a unique position.  We have a responsibility, and an obligation to make proper use of our language, not only for our readers’ benefit, and our own benefit, but for the benefit of the English language itself, and Society itself.

I must now state that I am not a journalist, nor an English major.  I’ve never had a creative writing course; the way I write is God-given.  All my knowledge of reading and writing came from grades one through twelve in public school, way back when “reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic” were considered very important, and were taught classically.  There was no “dumbing down” back then, only “smartening up”.  That being said, this post may still contain some GPS errors, but it’s not for lack of trying, and it’s not for lack of caring about English.  I’m no expert, but whatever my shortcomings, I’m still a writer.  Writing is my passion, my delight, and, most importantly, my calling.

As writers, we find ourselves the appointed guardians, supporters, and defenders of  The Language, and not only our language but God’s language;  His words.  HIS WORD.   Writers and readers alike should gain proficiency in GPS and vocabulary, especially if they happen to be reading or writing about The Bible, God’s people, or King Jesus — The Word of God, Himself.

Metaphor Mountain

 

I “love” mountains and I “love” The Mountains.

(I’m using quotation marks because I’m trying to teach myself to use the words “love” and “hate” appropriately, that is to save them for situations in which their true meaning applies)

What I really mean to say is that I like mountains intensely.  In my book, one can only love living entities that one can have some sort of relationship with, like God (especially Him), a person, or perhaps a pet.  Of course the words love and hate can be used metaphorically and that’s the way they are most often used.  You hear it umpteen-zillion times a day. (Wink) I, myself, hate that.  Oops, I dislike that.  It is so common we don’t even notice the frequency of “I love it when”…., or, “I hate it when”. It’s annoying when I hear “I just love your hair, and that purse, I just love that, that’s to die for!”. We all do it, but how did we get so far from the true usage?   Love God with everything you’ve got.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  That’s a tall enough order for the word “love”. Hate the sin, love the sinner! Another mighty tall order, yet, in those two sentences are found the true meaning and usefulness of the words love and hate.

I’ve gotten slightly off the trail. Let’s get back on it: If there were inanimate objects I could love, however, they would be “the mountains”.  I have had, and am having, some wonderful real and metaphorical relationships with them, a few notable individual mountains in particular. If I had a “bucket list”, being in the mountains would be on it right after being with my people.

Mountains have real and metaphoric value in my life because they emphasize several opposing concepts:

Ascending and descending.
Higher and lower.
Danger and safety.
Climbing and falling.
Struggle and peace.
Beauty and desolation.
Heaven and Earth.
Spirit and flesh.
Good and evil.
And the awareness of the proximity of
life and death.

I could expand this list almost endlessly, but you get the point.

Recently, the subject of death has been on my mind. My post, https://gloryteller.com/2013/03/25/one-last-mountain/,  uses ascending a mountain as a metaphor for death.  Perhaps it will become more than a metaphor.  Perhaps I will “meet Death” on the slopes of a real mountain. Most likely it will be a metaphoric mountain that will claim my bodily life.

When I was transformed into a believer, my many and various fears were either taken away completely or were significantly diminished. My almost obsessive fear of death was one that was removed. All that is left is the natural, instinctive, compulsion to preserve my bodily life. Death, to me, is the necessary step I must take to reach Paradise, Heaven, and eternal life in the presence of my Lord and my Heavenly Father. Yet, it dawned on me that perhaps I’m taking death too lightly. Is it really a natural part of life? Is there nothing that can be done about it? If it is normal and natural, should anything be “done” about it?

I subscribe to the school of thought that death is a corruption thrust into a creation that was perfect before selfishness turned into sinfulness and spoiled the whole plan. I also believe that there is something that should be, and can be, done about death, and that is to believe, and believe in the Savior, who was sent to vanquish it. Death is the consequence of our sinful nature, but He accepted true death in our places, so that we would not have to face the permanent consequences of our selfishness. Jesus defeated selfishness with selflessness! Everything that should and could be done about the problem of death has already been done! Problem solved! Done! Over! Finished! But only for believers in the One who did it perfectly and died for it perfectly! (I’ll leave it to you to discern and comprehend the larger, more complex, concept of death beyond the relatively simple death of a body.)

So, that being said, perhaps I still don’t really know enough about death, nor the process through which it will take me. Perhaps when the moment comes, I’ll be unprepared and I might succumb to fear, or find out that everything I thought I knew was wrong. It only happens once, and, although there are those who claim to have returned to their bodies, or returned from Heaven or Hell after they died, I suspect that death is an individually unique occurrence to which the testimonies of others have little value. There is only one person I personally know who has returned from death – my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I only trust what He said about it. That is recorded in the New Testament.

To climb a mountain, it is vital to be prepared. It’s interesting that the word “vital” comes from Latin roots meaning “relating to life, or the quality of being alive”. In my case, it means being able to preserve my life and my ability to stay alive throughout the whole journey; until the adventure is completed. I must pack the essential food, water clothing, and first aid supplies. I must have a map of the area and the route to the top either in my “head” or in my pack. I must be in good physical condition. I must have a positive mental attitude. I must have skills and knowledge, and be able to use them wisely. I must read extensively about the subject. I also must know how to pray and talk to the only One who will be my companion all the way. There will be only one chance to “get it right”.

Preparing to summit a mountain is like anticipating both bodily and metaphysical death – knowledge about what will kill you, makes you stronger. The stronger you are, the more likely a good outcome. The Bible says every person will die, then live again in an eternal body. The only question is “ which of two eternal ‘places’ will a person exist in after that”. I choose life – abundant life – with God.

Yes, that metaphoric mountain rises before me, and yes, evil will stalk me all the way up, but, before me, Jesus walked, and fell, and died, and lived again on that final mountain so that I would need to fear no evil; so that I would not have to fall, and break, and die before reaching the summit. His Spirit will accompany me and I will rely on His strength as I get weaker on my journey to the top, where He, Himself, awaits my arrival. From this land’s end until The Endless Land, I will trust God and believe in The Son of Man, and that not a moment too soon, for now, day breaks the gloom of night, and I can begin to see my humbling,        huge,        sobering,         mysterious,       towering,        massif on the horizon.

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I AM, I Must, I Overflow

I, Writer

I AM an artist who has a painting inside,
Begging its colors be seen.

I AM a sculptor who has a statue inside,
Screaming to take form in stone.

I AM a singer who has a song in me,
Shouting to be given a voice.

I AM a songwriter who has a streaming score of notes in me,
Imploring that I arrange them into music.

I AM a minister with a message that wants out,
Pleading to be given life.

I AM an actor with the line of a lifetime,
Prompting me incessantly to be delivered.

I AM a poet, an epic verse within,
Oh, how it longs for its flight into the world.

I AM all the above and too many more to name,
Having gifts within to be shared and un-contained.
Too full!
Alas, it is a cloying form of cruelty,
A pretty kind of pain.

I AM
All the above,
For Real and in Figure,
I AM a writer with untold stories stewing,
Steaming, brewing,
Lines and verses,
Of characters, and plots, and loves, and loss, and joy,
And glories
Ready to burst forth from my heart, and chest, and breath, and pen.

Only a writer could know…..
Especially,
A Writer like God……

An Expanded Prayer To My Father In Heaven

 

My Father

 

Oh, my Father-God and my Lord, Who walks the vast halls of Heaven,
Where You live, and breathe, and reign sovereign
Over everything finite and eternal.
From where You speak,
From where You write Your Word,
From where You see all, know all, and do all,
From where You give Your unfathomable grace,
Your mercy, and forgiveness,
From where You open Your hands and pour out goodness,
And from where You sent Your Love Incarnate, Immanuel.

Your name is Holy.
Let me kneel humbly, respectfully,
In reverence to Your glorious name.

May Your kingdom, Your realm, be established,
May Your kingship be proclaimed,
May everything You desire to happen
Be done here on Earth, just as it is in Heaven.

I ask that You continue to provide all I need
In the form of wholesome food and water to nourish my body,
As well as The Living Bread, and The Living Water,
And understanding of Your Word, with personal revelation,
To nourish my soul.

I ask that You help me remember how You paid my debts
On the horrible cross of torture.
How You took my sin upon Yourself, Jesus,
How You gave Yourself in propitiating atonement, and in conciliation,
And appeasement, for my trespasses against You, Father-God.
Help me Lord to continue to learn to forgive others their debts against me,
Their trespasses, wrongs, crimes, and sins against me,
Just as You have so mercifully and graciously forgiven mine through Christ.

I ask You, Lord, to lead me away from the temptations of this world.
Help me keep your Word, Your principles, in obedience.
Lead me through the minefields, the snares, and the pitfalls,
For they are many, and my enemy shows me only the bait,
But hides the trap well.
Protect and deliver me from that devil, from that evil one, in Jesus name!

And finally, Almighty Father, I want to proclaim Your Kingdom.
It is the Kingdom of kingdoms, and You are the King of kings!

I proclaim that Your power is absolute.  It is the power that created
Beautiful Creation in its entire completeness.
It is the power to create human beings in Your image,
Human minds, souls, and hearts.
It is the awe-inspiring, miraculous power to change those hearts,
And save those souls.

And, I proclaim Your Glory, Lord.
How can I explain Your Glory?
It is too beautiful, too splendidly colorful, too exquisitely bright!
It blinds my eyes, baffles my mind, closes my mouth.
It is love unleashed, fervent, and intense.
It is Your inexplicable mercy, and grace, and kindness, and generosity.
It is as inexplicable as You, my God.
You’re glorious in Your Glory.
You ARE the Most High Lord,  Holiness Itself, Ancient of Days, The Great I AM.

Yes, Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory,
For all time, and through unfathomable eternity.
You are my ABBA, my Heavenly Father-God to Whom I pray this prayer.
In Jesus’ most holy name.
Amen, and Amen.

 

A Writer’s Prayer

A Writer’s Prayer

“Lord, inspire me.”

Yes, that’s it.
Short prayers that speak volumes are best for me,
And He has never failed to answer in volumes.

Beyond My Understanding

 Beyond My Understanding

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.    Proverbs 3:5

Way beyond my understanding.
All I know is
It was a miracle that remains
And the miracle was a gift
Delivered to crumbling doorstep
Outside my sagging door locked tight
Nailed shut,
Yet breached,
It sat inside on rotting floor
Shining to be opened.
To be believed past unbelief
By miracle, not my doing.

Gift

It is salvation wrapped in grace undeserved.
The gift of faith to see hope once unseen.
A new heart unchained
Full with compassion
And repentance like a changing wind.
Heart to feel abundant love long unfelt
And mirror eyes to see myself as I am seen
Then others too, the same.
And mercy, charity, a call to pray,
A heart to sing, a heart to praise,
Hands to raise, a Book to read
All unwrapped and taken out,

When gift, upon gift, inside gift, unveiled
Then took away all fears and doubts
Healed my aching soul complete
And full and whole, then more, and more
A heart to tell of gifts and Glory,
Of His Great Love,

Holding out poor offerings,
And gratitude, a heart of thanks, 
I thank you JESUS, thank you LORD!
That You should care for me.
To rebuild my house,
To give me gifts,
To give me Yourself.

Oh, Miracles beyond my dull understanding,
Though nothing is beyond Yours,
I can but sit in rejoicing gratitude.
And no better gift
Nor more precious treasure
Could forever enter
Through my splintered door.

No One Doesn’t

No One Doesn’t

One can push the fact away. Deny it.
Ignore it.
Refuse it.
Reject it.
Decline it.
Or flat turn it down.
The fact is this:
No one doesn’t want love.
Everyone wants love.
Whether they know it or not.
Even needs it, to my mind.
It feeds the soul.
It quenches her thirst.
Shelters her.
Clothes her in glorious splendor.
No one doesn’t long for love.
No one doesn’t!
Like breathing.
You can’t breathe properly, nothing seems right.
Some accept that, many deny it.
But it remains, beyond denial.
Beyond refusal.
Beyond all rejection of the idea.
As nectar remains deep inside the flower.
As life is encased inside the hard, dry seed.
The longing lives in us all.
A smoldering coal.
Unquenchable.
An unreachable itch.
Unscratchable.
We search a lifetime to reach, to quench.
I know that in myself.
Ahhh, to love and be loved…
Then sometimes we get close to the true thing.
Happiness, found and satisfied.
Love, at last!
It lasts a lifetime, sometimes.
But even then, a tickle, deep inside a hidden part.
Says, even that was just a shadow behind a veil.
A distant blurred image in smoky air.
The old longing still murmurs and rubs.
But WHYYY?  We rail. This has to be it, or all is lost.
Then we cry out against the One who put it there.
Wait……… The One………
Could there be a reason?
Something more?
A Truth I didn’t see before?
A seed of longing meant for me?
To search and find the one true thing?
God’s everlasting love for me!
The Love that always satisfies!
The Good News of the Prince of Peace!
The perfect Love that makes one free.
It’s the Love by which all other loves are seen.
It’s the Love inside which all other loves exist.
It’s the light by which our souls are lit.
No more itch, no more inner burning.
No more chafing, murmuring.
Except in the longing for more of Him.
Which, we need but ask, He gladly gives.
No one doesn’t long for that.
The proof  is in this overflow.
The love that’s pouring from this pen.
This here, this now, this absolute joy!
From Him, back to Him.
For me, for you.
Deny that, be ignorant of it, refuse it,
Push it away, reject it,
We still need it, want it, live for it.
It’s so deep and wide,
That because of it, out of it, and for it,
Jesus was born, and lived, and died, and arose.
No one doesn’t long for that kind of love.
Not in the soul, one doesn’t.
No one doesn’t long for Love.
No one doesn’t.
No one.

God Gives That We May Give To Him

At Christmastime, when I was a boy, my dad understood the relative poverty of his children, so he would give us each a small amount of money to be spent on gifts for the other family members.  What was a small amount to him was a small fortune to us, so we each happily shopped with Mom and picked out trinkets and treasures for our siblings and parents.  Wrapping the gifts was fun, but the best part was the excited anticipation we had for Christmas morning when the family would partake in what we children had built in our minds to be the Olympics of giving and receiving.  It was as good as it gets, and after all the unwrapping, and showing, and laughing, and modelling, and cheering, and thanking, we all felt richer and more blessed than we were before.  But it was Dad and Mom, I think, who felt the most blessed, for having given to us so that we could bless each other with gifts.  The money they gave us came back to them, multiplied, in seeing generosity, unselfishness, and brotherly love instilled into us and put into action.  And so it is with God.  He gives out of His abundance, into our poverty, that we may bless others.

Remember:
God gives to us out of His riches,
The gifts we receive are to bless others,
Which is our greatest gift to Him, in turn.

Whether the gift of writing, of singing, of making music, of delivering a message, of healing, of encouraging, of hospitality, of giving time or treasures, of working or helping, of giving testimony, of sowing seeds, of doing a kindness, of giving a hug, or a simple smile, you do have one gift – or more – that you can share with others who are destitute until they receive your unique offering.  All these things came from God.  Shouldn’t we make sure they get back to Him through the proper channels?

Carrier!

Carrier!

 Do Not be alarmed by what I have to tell you.
How do I phrase this? ……………………… I’ve been infected.

Years ago, I was exposed. The infectious agent was introduced into my heart through an opening that had not been there before. It was my own doing that it was left open, though. I meant to do it because I had made a choice. I had chosen to invite Salvation in, and thus was exposed to The One Truth, and The Only Life. I was immediately overwhelmed and taken over! Infected! Much like a computer is “infected” by downloading a foreign program that takes over its operation. Much like a human virus that, once inside you, replicates inside one’s cells, not killing, (although I did die to my old self) but changing the DNA. Thus I succumbed.

As a side note, do you know that some scientists propose that nearly 10% of the human genome (the entire “code” of human genetic information) is composed of leftover viral DNA that humans have carried around in their own genes for many thousands of years?

In a like manner, I have been carrying “Heavenly information” left within me by the infecting power of Holy Spirit. I am a Carrier! I have been imparted, and implanted, with belief in the Good News of Jesus Christ! Being a Carrier of information this important, and because of the nature of this glorious infected state, I have a driving need, a compulsion, a commission, to pass it on to others. That’s not so difficult since it’s airborne and contagious.  Those who have developed resistance through long exposure to the enemy’s anti-Body, may take longer by varying degrees.  But, sharing a few words of my own testimony, of the wonder of my own infectedness, or of Jesus’ great love for the prospective infectee often has the desired effect. The agent I carry is so infective that the mere sight of me carrying this Life, this Joy, is sometimes enough to transfer it. Often, I share a gift of food, or supply needed materials that I’ve liberally infused with Holy infectedness, and they catch it.  Other times I have to leave seed and spore of the Good News where the Spirit bids, and He sees to it that it infects and grows in His good time.

I was infected by a Christ-follower. That’s the only way it can be spread, but it can spread fast when fellow carriers each do their part to make more carriers.

The thing is, once this infecting Agent is fully established in the heart, in the very DNA, it is there for good. I mean that in every sense of the word.  I have never heard a person say they wish it hadn’t happened.  Truth, Salvation, Life, and His unfathomable Love are infectious like that.

Her First Christmas Card

To my own
Morning Star.

Her First Christmas Card

Between. That’s where he was. Dave was between sleep and consciousness. Between clarity and the fog brought about by unbidden change. Between the deep mystery of Christmas Eve and the lambent hope he always found on Christmas Day.

He was warm and relaxed under Mary’s favorite comforter. Although teetering on the rim of the slope leading back down into the pool of sleep, he began to remember. Years of Christmas memories. Welcome, warm ones. She was in them all from the beginning. He remembered the card he had bought her before their first Christmas together. Undelivered that first Christmas, he had left it in his sock drawer under his mother’s Bible. It had remained undelivered, regretfully, because of circumstances better left buried. Complicated days, those had been. Yet, they had worked their way through them with love, and with indispensable Divine help.  He gave her the card the next year, when it could be wholeheartedly given.

Even now the demands of the season had come between them. Kept them apart yet again. Highlighted their differences. Hampered communication. Brought frustrations, then prevented resolution of those frustrations. When he tried to picture them together in unity, in oneness, the image of “One Being” kept sliding apart into two, like that of binoculars which refused to stay in focus. How he longed to have everything right and perfect between them.

So it was right, tonight, that he remember that card, for reading it together had become one of the centerpieces of their unity during many Christmases ……

Because You Mean So Much”,

it said, above pine branches and a sprig of holly complete with red berries. He smiled in the recalling.

Gilded around the edges. Swirling red flower stems and buds as a background for the message. He had memorized the front:

I believe that God brings certain people into our lives for a reason.

Some days it’s to help us see something new and wonderful.
Sometimes it’s to encourage us and strengthen our faith.

And sometimes it’s to remind us that we are never truly alone….”

He nodded in affirmation. Mentally, he opened the card. The same evergreen pine and holly
above a verse:

How natural it is that I should feel as I do about
you, for you have a very special place in my heart”, Philippians 1:7.”

The two tears which began forming in his ever-green eyes testified to the truth of that scriptural passage. How appropriate that the verse was centered on the left-hand page, for it had been the heart of his message to her. He had to pry his attention from it to the continuance of the main message found on the last page:

Whatever purpose God had in bringing us together,

I’m just grateful that He did.

You’ve been a real source of understanding in my life,

and it means more to me than I can ever say

to have the gift of your friendship and caring.”

“Merry
Christmas”

He grinned unreservedly.

He had held his heart too close – or maybe not close enough. Missed some chances back then. It took months to recover his balance, but thanks to prayer, God had sent blessings, grace, and miracles.
He was wide awake now. All was calm and all was bright. Too calm and too bright? Moonlight traced a bright rectangle on the carpet as he became aware that her warmth and her steady breathing were absent. She wasn’t next to him in their big bed. Throwing back the comforter, he moved his legs over the edge, put his bare feet on the floor, and stood up intent on finding and joining her. Almost through the bedroom door, he turned back. There it was, right where he kept it under the Bible, behind the socks. He grasped the red envelope which contained his first Christmas greeting to his Beloved.

As he passed the arched doorway to the kitchen, the new stove caught his eye with its bright, clean, modern lines. The old one had been serviceable, but was badly worn. It had had none of the new digital gadgets. It was ordinary. “Kind of like me?” He mused. He missed the old thing.. He was sentimental that way. He remembered all the times they had danced near that stove, especially while meals were being prepared upon it. It had been a place of comfort in the chill of winter. Amused, he remembered the big pots of chili being prepared for company – with large pans of cornbread in the oven. Ahhh, the smells! Ahhh, the dancing in the close embrace of his Beloved…..
Down the hall he turned the corner and there she was, silhouetted in front of the glass doors which opened onto the deck. Looking out upon the snow-covered cornfields, she was radiant even in her white flannel pajamas – the ones with the little candy canes among the faces of angelic-looking sleeping children. Moonlit brightly! The filmy, sheer blue gown she wore over her ‘jams’ added to her mystery. Heartwrenchingly lovely! His Morning Star! Gosh, she was something truly special!

“I knew you would come, I felt it,” she said quietly. Had she been crying? “Our moon is perfectly full tonight of all nights!”
“Mary.” He kept his voice soft and low. “Just for us, do you think? Wow, it
is big! I think that’s the brightest, most beautiful one I’ve ever seen, and so unusually far to the northeast!” Perhaps he was annoyingly analytical at times. He put his arms around her from behind.
“Yes, I’m sure this one is just for us”, she whispered………… “Dave? I was just thinking of my lovely, perfect, Christmas card that you like to read to me every year on Christmas Eve. Would you read it to me later, in bed? I really need that tonight.”
“My love, I have it right here.”
“Wow,” she exclaimed in wonder and delight as he gently turned her to face him. Then he kissed her. It lasted. They paused, and, inspired, he began whispering the words to ‘Silent Night’. She joined him then, and they were softly singing together, for only with him could she truly sing her heart’s song…..And he, his. Only with her.
They sang, began swaying, then began dancing. In close embrace. Rejoicing together by the light of the Christmas full moon.
Angels danced unseen, and sang as well. They could feel them. “Silent
night, holy, holy, holy, night. All is calm, all is bright.”

Right on cue, the grandfather clock began “chiming twelve” as if to say, “Re-joice, re-joice, for-Christ-the-Lord-is-born-this-day!”

He counted the syllables aloud just to make sure, for he was compulsive that way. She giggled happily. Ring-ringing! Exactly twelve chimes – twelve wondrous sounds with meaning reverberating through eternity.
They looked into each others’ eyes and said in unexpected unison, as was their habit and their gift, “Happy Birthday Jesus” ……………. Eyes wide – always amazed when this happened.

Then : “I Love You, always remember that!” In unexpected unison, they had done it again!
Green and brown sparkles swirled as their eyes twinkled……………..

Their images resolved into One.
Under the brilliant full moon,
All Heaven and Earth
celebrated, rejoicing with them.

The angels kept dancing,

And so did they.

***

Peace, Love, and Hope
Beyond your understanding,
Be yours tonight.
Merry Christmas, 12-24-2012

© Copyright by Lenn Snider 12-24-2012

Evil Translated

Great Evil Translated To Greater Glory

The greater the amount of evil defeated in saving one’s eternal life, the greater the glory attributed to God.
(LS 11-29-12)

I don’t mean that one sin is “worse” than another.  I don’t mean that a certain grace imparted is greater than another, nor that it is harder for God to defeat a “greater amount” of evil in any given person’s life.  There is no sin that can’t be forgiven, and no evil that He can’t defeat.
What I mean is that, from the perspective of a person who was granted the miracle of saving grace later in life, the odds of my seeing and accepting that grace seemed slim, at best.  The awe and wonder I have in light of that are immense!

I also mean that the large amount and the “seriousness” (as judged by Earthly standards) of the selfish evil accumulated in my own life that was defeated by Grace, is a metaphor for the “increasing amount” of wickedness, and evil, and selfishness I see accumulating in the world today.  The longer He lets it build up – the worse it gets – the more awe and wonder there will be when He comes in all His Glory!  That metaphor concludes with all the evil of the world being defeated in due time, and on that day, great will be the glory of God!  On that day, all people will “bow their knee” to Christ.  (Sadly to say, for a great many souls who don’t know Him, and consequently whom He doesn’t know, that will be their last desperate act before their everlasting death.)  For Eternal Life, and for the Great Glory of God, I continue to present my case – His case for evil to be translated to glory, and I continue to pray toward that end.

A Seeing Heart

A Seeing Heart

Train up your heart to see

Train up your heart with grace

A heart that cannot truly see

Will never see His face

LS<

 

Eccentricity — Short Post Series

 

Eccentricity

 

Eccentric toward the world,

Centric toward God.

LS<

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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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