The Griswold Switch

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus
has been that “Griswold Switch” for me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On Using Secular Christmas Traditions To Lead People to Jesus

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

“What do you think about the false deification of Santa Clause?” asked somebody.
“Sure, I’d be glad to weigh in on the Santa controversy,” I replied . . .

It has been said, ad nauseum, that secular traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and even the word “Christmas” should be condemned and abolished by Christians because they distract and detract from the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
I disagree.
Those many traditions are so ingrained into society that they cannot now be reversed nor abolished even if we wanted to, which most of us don’t. They can, however, be used in a positive manner to point to God’s glory. I’ve previously discussed how the Christmas tree points to Jesus Christ. It is easy for me to tell, as well, how Saint Nicholas‘ (the real-life man behind the legend of Santa Claus) life and existence points to the life and teachings of Jesus.

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

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

I believe that we should not only accept, as a fact of life, the secular traditions – the things that have been distorted and perverted away from the original intent of honoring the Christ-child, but turn them back upon themselves to their original purpose which is to celebrate His birth, to point to Him, to highlight Him, and to glorify Him in the unfettered, hopeful, optimistic, rejoicing manner in which the host of angels announced His arrival to the shepherds, and to us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

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

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The Primal Christmas Tree

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A fun little distraction while we wait.
Do you like prime numbers?
(Prime numbers are evenly divisable
only by themselves and 1)
To help you get started, the first three
prime numbers are 2, 3, and 5.
Remember, 1 is not a prime number.
Children of any age, look what can be done with them:

(One Star and five prime numbers . . . a Christmas tree of perfection!)
(Remember to turn your phone sideways or it won’t work right)
Can you decipher the pattern?
Count up the stars (*s) or the words in each row.
Which numbers do you get?
Are they all prime numbers which make up the “trees”?


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The

Star is

on top, sovereign

His light illuminates all life

below.  All below Him, made in perfection.

Gathered, enfolded, protected – like a mother hen does – under His wings.
!!!

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!!!
Is this tree upside-down? Wrong? Distressing? Let it not be so!  It

is made in perfection, for He is still supreme and sovereign.

All lives supported upon His shoulders. Kept

by His strength. Maintained by

His goodness.  Lit

by His

Love.
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Always remember Who created the prime numbers,
and all numbers, and how to count
things, and math, and music, and rhythm,
and orderliness, and the dance of the
moons around planets, planets around stars, and
stars inside galaxies!
God created all those for our use
and our enjoyment!

Merry Merry Christmas!
Happy Happy Christbirth!
How many days left? Is it a prime number?  : >)
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©Lenn Snider
12-21-20

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

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One Solitary Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia
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As eloquent and powerful as this piece is,
I feel that even this is inadequate to explain
the full importance 
to human life on this planet,
of our Immanuel’s life,
sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension.
.
–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 holy, 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 we were,
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 come in and clean it all,
just like new,
Every room, 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 do it.
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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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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The Wheat and the Grape – A Sacred Harvest




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I read in Our Daily Bread today that “our Savior hung between Heaven and earth
to bear every sin of every generation on His shoulders.”
He hung between Heaven and me . . .
What pain it gives me to revisit that scene . . .
But the above statement led me to think deeply about
what He had told his disciples
and us,
only the night before He hung there – 
what we must do to remember Him;
to remember who He was,
to remember what He did,
how He did it,
and why.

As I pondered,
and contemplated,
and thought,
“The Lord’s Supper is absolute genius”
is what I concluded.

(not that I think I’m the first, nor the only one, to proclaim that)
(and I know that I foolishly reiterate the obvious,
because of course it’s genius, it’s Jesus! )

He broke the bread and compared it to His body
which would imminently be broken for us.
He poured the wine out and compared it to His blood
which would soon be poured out for us.

“He hung between Heaven and earth.”
He was, and is now, intermediary between us and The Father.
Not as a wall, but as a bridge.
He made a way to raise us to His shoulders,
thus standing between us and the evil one “in the earth”.

As for myself, there is far more here than “meets the eye”.
Have you ever thought about how grains
like corn, barley, rye, and wheat are all separated
from the earth by a woody stem?
The seed head of the wheat plant is the “fruit”, in a sense,
that we use to make our bread.

The same applies to “the fruit of the vine”;
tomatoes, cucumbers, kiwi, guava, and, get this – passion fruit –
and predominantly, grapes.
All grow above the ground on woody or semi-woody vines.
They all contain juice, but grape juice makes “traditional” wine.
(side note: there is great debate whether Jesus’ “fruit of the vine” was unfermented juice, or wine)
I’m in the wine camp because wine stores better, not to mention that the Bible states “wine”.
I won’t even dwell on apple, orange, peach, plum trees, or berry bushes,
each of which produce juicy fruit on woody stems;

but I’m getting off track.

The point is that grapevines, like wheat plants,
produce their fruit “between Heaven and earth” on woody stems,
and the final product of both were used at the Lord’s Supper.
The Last Supper of our Lord!

By now you may be making the connection I’m getting at.
Lord Jesus compared His body to a broken loaf of bread,
and His covenantal blood to the poured-out juice of the grape,
in order that:
“as often as you
eat this bread
and drink this cup,
you will do so in remembrance of Me.”
Connecting His spiritual Self to the physical act of
eating and drinking something specific,
is brilliant in my estimation.

It makes the act sacred, and simultaneously
makes our remembrance of Him sacred.
But for me, it doesn’t end there.
Jesus was always using agricultural metaphors because,
I assume, most everyone in His day knew something of the subject.
Is it a great leap to make that He also connected Himself
with the fruit of the earth?

With harvest?
With life-giving, life sustaining, food and drink?
With saving us from spiritual starvation?

If that connection is only for me to make
in order to strengthen my faith in Him,
to take me deeper into our relationship,
to tell me more of the story I long to know more about,
or to give me insight into something so sacred
that I scarcely can digest it,
Then so be it.
You, dear reader, can make of it what you will.
If it doesn’t do anything for you; if it sounds wrong, leave it.

But here’s the thing:
I maintain that Jesus not only connected Himself to
The Bread and The Cup,
But also to the wheat and the grape.
Rich and ripe,
He stood like a sturdy stalk of wheat
before a terrible threshing,
and He hung like a beautiful cluster of grapes
before a horrible crushing.
He stood and He hung there between Heaven and earth,
between us and oblivion,
between us and eternity,
to intentionally endure the torture of threshing,

and the horrible crushing pain – for us, dear reader. . .
The first and best fruit of the earth,
until the harvest was finished.
He made Himself our everything,
even our spiritual food and drink.
Essential, lifesaving, sacred, and beautiful.

The Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Harvest.
Absolute Genius!
Absolute Jesus!

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On Using Secular Christmas Traditions To Glorify Not Mislead

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“What do you think about the lie of Santa Clause?” asked somebody.
“Sure, I’d be glad to weigh in on the Santa controversy,” I replied . . .

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

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

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

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

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

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One Solitary Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

© 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia
~~~~~
As eloquent and powerful as this piece is,
I feel that even this is inadequate to explain
the full importance 
to human life on this planet,
of our Immanuel’s life,
sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension.
.
–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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It’s Hard To Dance When You Don’t Hear The Music

^^^

^^^^^

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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That of Himself

I believe that God places that of Himself into every person, and, indeed, into everything He creates. We don’t have to look far to gain knowledge of Him; to be awestruck by His astonishing attributes.

 

And I thank Him for that!

 

 

Photo credit and verse: Ann Hartsook

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That of Himself

I believe that God places that of Himself into every person, and, indeed, into everything He creates. We don’t have to look far to gain knowledge of Him; to be awestruck by His astonishing attributes.

 

And I thank Him for that!

 

 

Photo credit and verse: Ann Hartsook

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He. Came. Down.


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*****
*******
***********
*

He Came Down

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*
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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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Straining To Reach Beauty

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

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

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Labyrinth

In the Heart of My Mind I often go walking
through lush, open meadows where the colorful, wildly beautiful,
gardens of my existence meander extravagantly. It is there
where I am complete, and full, and joyous in my Creator.
But . . .

Off to the far side, down on one end in the rocks, there is a hole. Sometimes, on the night of the Dark Moon, I declare – no, more like endure – a Fool’s Night. I go to that enticingly repulsive hole and slip in. Not always by intention. Oh no, hardly ever by my own design or volition, but I am tricked into it; goaded, prodded, pushed, even within the gardens in the Heart of My Own Mind. I’m tricked in my dreams, or in moments of weak daylight musing.
Slip in, I meant, for there is a slick, muddy, slope leading down; down into the labyrinth. The mud stinks, and now I, having fallen on my back, stink. This is The Labyrinth of Darkness Past.
As I move, trembling, through the rock-walled passageways, I pass rooms. Some rooms contain pits filled with waste, others have manacles and chains fasted to the walls, or nooses hanging from the ceilings. There are rooms housing dark, ghostly, disembodied memories. There are sharp-toothed error-worms seething in writhing masses, gnawing at the tranquility of the flora rooted in the gardens above. There are whip-words lashing out, eager to scourge innocent flesh. There are specters of sadness howling, weeping apparitions of disappointment lurking, wraiths of heartbreak groaning.
Sharp, cold, gusts of regret add to the bitter ambiance as I trudge along the main hallway. Self loathing blows me toward abysmal chasms of despair. I want out, but I am caught in a bizarre, self-destructive ritual.
Once again I realize that the despair here is all my fault; that this cruel dungeon is of my own making.
As usual, I only enter one of the hellish rooms. This Fool’s Night, in the dark of the moon, I visit a ghastly memory of heartbreak. One I caused, I inflicted. Watching it all happen again, the broken heart of another becomes my own. I was selfish, and foolish, and deserve this painful self-recrimination, this self-flagellation, this self-loathing.
I don’t know why I made this unconscionable mistake. It was careless and stupid. I would personally express sorrow, ask forgiveness of my victim, offer restitution, but it is too late. The fateful incident, like so many others, is fettered and imprisoned in this horrid labyrinth forever. I flounder painfully in the putrid mire of them all.
But why? Why do I allow the trickery of a Fool’s Night during the Dark Moon?
Why do I remember so vividly the dark side of my former self? The good outweighs the bad by far. I remember some of it now. Times I did the right thing. Times I made someone happy. When I sacrificed and gave instead of taking. Even before I became the new man. But those are not as vivid. Perhaps it is humility. Perhaps darkness is vivid and good is muted because of chicanery!
The enemy! That accuser! I see now! I am not a criminal – have never been in jail. I’ve broken no major human laws  (exceeding the limit of speed – yes, that is bad enough). I’m an ordinary sinner. My despair can only serve that ravenous beast! By the larceny of dreams. By the murder of memory, it deceives. I picture the liar laughing. No, that beast shall not steal my joy. The enemy of my soul will not! Begone! I have turned away from that life which was more death than life. I have received grace undeserved, mercy in my guilt. Forgiveness. Freedom. My redeemer has redeemed me, taken my sin upon his own shoulders, and, I pray, will redeem – has redeemed – my unkind actions and words, somehow – made them right – gave peace to those I hurt. Somehow He has, He does, and He will. The remembered casualties of my negligence, the ones I perceive entrapped in these labyrinthian rooms have perhaps already moved on, forgiven me, found the Redeemer for themselves, been set free. I ask that they have. That is my hope and my faith.
I hold them out to Him. I give the wraiths, apparitions, and specters into His large, open, hands. He gave His all to rectify my sin; to take it upon himself. He said He would remove my sins as far as the east end of the labyrinth is from the west end, if I would only turn and believe. And He did say He came to heal the brokenhearted.
As I let them go, I find I have traveled full circle and am back at the entrance. An ornate, polished, wooden ladder has been placed to aid my exit. I but touch the ladder and am snatched out of The Labyrinth of Darkness Past fully awake and aware. Aware of His presence in the Garden of My Existence. I don’t look back. The labyrinth should be destroyed. I don’t know if I can blast it by myself, but when the time is right, I’m sure He can, or else He will give me the strength. He also gives me a shield against the trickery of the enemy. I should remember to wield that on the next night of the Dark Moon.
       
I think of people like me who occasionally endure chronic remorse – especially those people who’ve been born anew.  I pray for your encouragement. Be lifted up! We all fall short of His glory. I have to wonder if anyone doesn’t carry the shame of hidden past guilt. Forgiveness is key. We must forgive the one who has trespassed against us – even if that one is our self, I think.
       We also, as I said, must place it into God’s open hands; place it at the foot of His cross; or employ any other imagery that helps you give it over to Him. A burden such as this is too big, too heavy, for a mortal to hold. Dear Reader, you are not alone in your Labyrinth of Past Regret. You have me and my prayer for you, but most importantly you have Him who cares about you. He will help you grapple with your labyrinth. He will seal the entrance for all time. He will protect, preserve, and help you to inhabit the wildly beautiful, the joy-filled gardens of your existence at the Heart of Your Mind. Thanks be to God.
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Saved From Myself

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

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

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

saved from myself.

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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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Seeing A Scene Between The Lines — Another God Nod !

Re-posted from three years ago:
~ ~ ~

^^^^^

It happened completely unexpectedly on my birthday,  while reading a major novel.
I have never experienced this particular peculiar “special effect” while reading,
so I’ve been trying to assemble the right descriptive words with which to relate it:

I was reading, and I’m still reading, a “real”, hardcover, paper-and-ink version of the classic “Atlas Shrugged”.
As I was reading along, eyes moving along at a fast clip, my attention was drawn to the space above the line which I was reading.
I noticed something materializing there.
Without slowing down or stopping, I noticed a three-dimensional scene beginning to appear above the line.
It was as though I was driving at highway speed, watching the scenic countryside “moving past” as I watched out of my side window.
It was only a second before I reached the end of the line and thought, “What in the world was that?  What’s going on now?”
(It seems I hardly ever have to wait long for
something anomalous
something amazing
something astounding
something bizarre
something “coincidental”
something “crazy”
something epiphanic
something exceptional
something extraordinary
something mysterious
something remarkable
something super-natural
something surprising
something  unconventional
something unique
something unusual
and/or
something whimsical
to occur).

So I immediately returned to the beginning of the line and read it again, scientifically looking for a cause for this effect, a connection, or an explanation.
There was nothing special about that particular line nor the sentence which it was a part of.
The “effect” was still there, fence posts in the foreground zipping by, green hills farther out “moving” more slowly, and the mountains and clouds on the horizon not appearing to move at all.  As I kept reading, the background scene expanded to fill all the spaces between several lines as though I were actually there at that particular time and place.  Then the scene began to fade quickly and was gone in a few short, but pregnant, seconds.
I thought:
“What a thrilling thing!”
And I wondered:
“What are You trying to tell me?”

“He’s gone hallucinatory”,  you’re thinking.
Over the edge,
Delusional,
Imagining things,
Lost his mar……
You get the picture — I know what you’re thinking.
Yes you are!  I know it!
Well, maybe you have a point, but I don’t think so, and even if you do, God can still work with this.

You see,
I look at it as another instance of grace;  a most-undeserved nod from God, timed perfectly,
tailored uniquely for me, a personal revelation prepared for my use in my personal testimony, and my personal ministry.
It’s typical that I should get a God Nod – my term for a message, an elbow bump from God – while reading a book authored by a pro-abortion atheist, views I strongly disagree with (Ayn Rand, a very, very talented, enjoyable, and skillful writer/novelist, and anti-socialist which I do agree with),
but what do I do with this?
How  can I use it?
What do I write?

Reveal yourself, John Galt!
Hmmm, The “John Galt Line”…..

wow

It came to me…

The scenery between the lines reminds me of pieces I have written about reading the Bible as a living text. It’s about what’s in the lines, and also what’s between the lines, but it’s more than that. It has a depth of scenery that appears to be whizzing past the moving reader, yet the scenery is still and stationary. The trick is, I gather, to stop, turn ninety degrees, and look past the lines, deeper into the page.  I tried it, and as I did, the faraway, Unmoving Mountain began to draw toward me (and also get larger) as I approached It, just as it would happen if a driver going past turned directly toward his/her desired objective. What a great metaphor!

“Line upon line, precept upon precept” is, to my mind, a good thing – a good way to build a work.  The lines are stacked in two dimensions, the precepts in three, or more!

The Word of God has layers and unfathomable depths to be explored.
Turn into it when it seems everything is whizzing past.

When you seek to move closer to Him, He will move closer to you, dear reader.

My trust in our Lord has led me into the most amazing life I could have imagined.

I wish you even more than you can imagine, and pray that you, too, will get unexpected Nods from God
as you read, write, and travel through the scenery of your life.

Bless you!

L<  Gloryteller

P.S. – I would be very interested to hear of your God Nods!

Has anything remotely similar ever happened to you?
Join the discussion, or start one.  You are appreciated!

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About The Music Links Below

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

The Basic Christian Library

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

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

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

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

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

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

Copyright Licensing

Creative Commons License
gloryteller.wordpress.com, and all proprietary work found here, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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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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