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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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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Hopeful Message for the First Week of Advent


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.

Mark E. Hunt devised a second, or middle, verse.
I like it and included it here:

Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end;
By His life He brings us gladness,
Our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number,
Born within a cattle stall;
This the everlasting wonder, 
Christ was born the Lord of all.


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 the child of God has is 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 )

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

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To my friend who does not yet hear The Music,
Who does not yet believe it exists.
Who cannot fathom dancing with our Creator:


I used to be deaf to The Music,
the special kind of music between The Creator and His creation.

It is said that those who dance are considered insane by someone who doesn’t hear the music. 

Like many older men and women who thought they had heard it all and were comfortable in their ignorance, unaware of their deafness, I began to hear The Music. I had joined the community of the blessed.
At first a faint melody, but with time it became clearer, enjoyably compelling, and then it began to move my limbs, one at a time; then, my soul. At first a happy flute solo, and with time, a rich, full symphony.

It was a lot like not being able to hear it when a person blows a dog whistle, but you can clearly see that a dog hears it, because you can see the dog’s reaction when it is blown. Thus, you begin to understand the “insane” people. They obviously hear something you don’t and are reacting naturally to it. They are not insane. Their confident dancing arises out of the irresistible music that moves them, and they beckon you to join them.

To those who are perishing, it is foolishness, but for those who hear it, it is life.

Knowing God, and having a relationship with Him is like that. It is a music that only believers in Him can hear and understand. What complete and utter joy there is in dancing to that incomparable Music!

It is not beyond you to hear it.
I believe our Maker places the ability to hear Himself in every person. And not only the ability, but an innate inner longing to hear it. Many ignore it. In many it has been buried deep under the rubble of hurt.  Many deny it, or shun it, or slander it, but His Music persists all around us and it is definitely there to be heard.

My hope; my prayer, is that sooner or later you will listen for it, and will hear it, whether it begins faintly or thunders suddenly. Better sooner than later, better later than never, because dancing for Him; with Him, is nothing less than life itself; it is everlasting life!

I implore you, listen for it! Take a leap of faith. Begin to trust. Let yourself hear and believe.
You might begin to hear The Music in a voice, a birdsong, a waterfall, an orchestra, in wind chimes, or simply as a compelling inner tune that your soul cannot deny. You might hear it surrounded by the silence following a heavy snowfall, or alone in a meadow, or on a mountaintop.  If you be still and listen past your own noise, you will hear it just as I did.
Just as I still do, and will always.
I like being one of the “insane dancers”. I have never been so grateful for anything, as I have for the gift of hearing His Music and following it to Him Who has an unconditional love for me. I would like it much better if everyone would tune their ear, and turn their ear, to that incredible 
Music, and begin The Dance of Life.

O Lord, let me always be ready with a megaphone, a personal sound system,  an instrument, a singing voice. Let me always be an amplifier” hearing-aid” for Your song! 

My friend, once you’ve heard the purity; the truth, in its melody; the love and peace in its harmony, you will know what I mean, you will join us, and your heart will begin its own joyful dance.

Love to you.
Always,
Gloryteller

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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.
I was in grave danger,

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. 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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Hopeful Content for the First Week of Advent

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!

~~~~~~

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 the child of God has is 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 )

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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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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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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,
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 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,
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 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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Move On, But Remember To Keep Celebrating His Arrival

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

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

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

Blessings, dear reader,
from me, your gloryteller.

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

 

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

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

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

And insisted. And persisted. And insisted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It struck me during the recent eclipse what an apt visual metaphor a lunar eclipse is for how the things of this world dim and veil the Heaven of God. The light of the sun is blocked from illuminating the full moon by the dark shadow of the earth. That is just what happens when the light of The Son of Man is blocked from illuminating our hearts and minds by the dark shadow of the world’s misguided value system.

The Light is His redemptive action, His saving grace, His compelling promise, His immense love, and His radiant glory.

The full moon is our need for relationship with Him, our obedience out of love for Him, our longing to be eternally in His presence, our heart for worship, our giving, our promotion of His kingdom, our joy in the privilege of sharing the good news of His story with the lost world. It represents our individual hearts and our collective heart as a people.

The shadow cast by the earth represents the distraction of
self indulgence in the pleasures of the world,
the false idea that there are no absolutes and every person’s unique view of “the truth” is valid,

that there is nothing other than what can be seen,
that death is the end of life and there is no living spirit that continues,
that God, His Son, and His Heaven are a myth,
that there is no such thing as sin and we can do whatever we want,
that there is no right or wrong except what each individual determines is right or wrong for “them”,
that our spiritual enemy is a myth, which is exactly what that enemy wants us to believe regarding all the above “world’s values”.

On one side, Light. On the other, dark shadow. As for me, I choose Light. As for me, I maintain the struggle, grappling with the shadow-prince of this world, all the while calling upon The Light to prevent the eclipse of my joy.
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To A Discouraged Young Man

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

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

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


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A Tribute To The Unforgettable Zina Nicole Lahr.

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Zina Nicole Lahr

Zina Nicole Lahr

 

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

I didn’t even know her

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

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

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

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

The Community of Humanity mourns your loss, Zina.

I want them to know you –

Know at least a part of who they lost.

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

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

These are quotes from her blog,

normallyoddzina.wordpress.com  :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


See you soon, sister Zina.

Love,
Me

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http://www.outsideonline.com/1921491/brief-wondrous-life-zina-lahr
was valuable in writing this tribute. Thank you, Outside Online!
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Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!


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Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think, in some way,
about Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

Today is no different.
But wait,
it is different, for today is The Church’s official celebration of that
creation-changing,
world-changing,
life-changing Day.

Today, let there be loud singing and joyous dancing.
Let there be massive celebration over all the Earth,  for our Jesus is alive!
Let there be all of that but, most importantly,
let Him be the Lord of your life.

Rejoice, My Soul – All People, Rejoice!

I celebrate this holiest
Of all the days of holiness,
For as the sun appears to rise in the East,
The Son of God did arise
On Easter – Resurrection Day,
The greatest Day the Lord Has Made.
I rejoice and I am exceedingly glad in it,
For my Savior lives!
Oh, Lord, He lives!
Now and forever, He lives!
And because He lives,
So can I!
For my heart, too, was sealed
With hardened stone,
And in that darkened tomb
Dwelt death.
With tender touch He moved
The hardened part away
To let in light and life
So death was put to death.
The Holy Spirit Jesus sent
Was sent to live in me.
As Christ began to breathe again
I felt my spirit leap.
It leapeth still in Heaven’s realm,
So graciously removed from hell
That I can only raise my hands and say,
“Rejoice, all people, rejoice!
Hallelujah, praise God, rejoice!”
For our Savior lives and breathes in us!
He arose!
He conquered bitter death and saved!
He does that still, today!

~ ~ ~

With love,
Your Gloryteller

 Resurrection Sunday,  4-5-2015
(re-posted from 3-31-2013)
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Previous Older Entries

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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My Signature Story

"I AM NOT MY OWN" is the piece that inspired the building of this site. It is the story that this site, as well as my life, is centered around. This letter to you is the one i would most like for you to read out of all the ones you will find here, because it describes how profoundly the works of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit can change one human life.

For Your Reading Enjoyment, This Is Like A Park, Use It, Enjoy It, and Leave Everything Where You Found It.

The content here's not to be used,

But to only be read and perused.

If you copy it off,

My lawyer's not soft,

And your fortune is mine - you got sued!

Gloryteller :-)

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