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

First Sunday

“Advent” is here!
It is today!

All Creation is pregnant with anticipation!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

also, the first flame in my heart.

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

Advent First Week

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

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

O, Jesus, 
We await your sweet arrival!

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

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

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

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

(*emphases, mine)

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

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

Advent Week Two

The second week of Advent is focused on peace.

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

 We light the second candle,
the candle of peace,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advent Third Week


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas Day


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

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

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

Joy To the World,
and Peace to ALL mankind!

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

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

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

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

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

 

 
 

 

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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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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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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 both “Merry Christmas”
as well as “Happy Christbirth”,
and I do say “Happy Easter”
 althoughHappy Resurrection Sunday” is much more descriptive,
because I know I will be understood by the general public
when I use the common language,

and also by Christians, in general.
And by any of 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!

– And –
In the Spring, I mean

 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 much more descriptive 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,
at 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 and reborn 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 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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Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven

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A Children’s Christmas Carol for Everyone

I lift up Keith and Kristyn Getty and I thank them for this beautiful song.
And I thank Him for them!
And I thank Him for you, my dear reader!

This Baby, making His first sounds, learning His first words, 
taking His first steps, becoming self-aware.
Just like us in every way.
Yet, in every way, different.

“Come to turn me, a stranger, into a child of God.”

Remember, JESUS is the subject of Christmas,
and the object of Christmas is US.

LS

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The Perfect Christmas Gift

My friend, I give you the gift of a song; music with a video.
It speaks for itself.

“The Perfect Christmas Gift”,
written and performed by Sandy Howell.
Uploaded by Bob Marshall.
Many thanks to you both.


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Breath Of Heaven – Mary’s Song

Sixteen years ago, almost to the minute,
Breath of Heaven visited me.
Permeated me to the depths of 
Body, Soul, and Spirit.
I was forever changed,
Becoming the best version of myself.
Forever, infinitely, and most of all, eternally.

Breath of Heaven is always there,

softly taking me in,
gently sending me out . . .


I still can scarcely breathe . . .

Oh! My Breath of  Heaven! Oh!

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Not even one of us can fully understand,
nor scarcely appreciate young Mary’s plight . . .
And consider Joseph’s . . .

These poignant video clips are from The Nativity Story,  upload thanks to Aaron Hassen.

Please read down to the end:


Breath of Heaven
By Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
*And I wonder what I’ve done,
*Holy father you have come,
*And chosen me now to carry Your son.
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*I am waiting in a silent prayer,
*I am frightened by the load I bear,
*In a world as cold as stone,
*Must I walk this path alone?
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*Be with me now . . .

*Be with me now . . .
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*Breath of heaven,
*Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
*Lighten my darkness,
*Pour over me your holiness,
*For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
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Do you wonder as you watch my face,
*If a wiser one should have had my place?
*But I offer all I am,
For the mercy of your plan,
*Help me be strong
Help me be . . .
Help me . . .
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Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
~~~
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
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.  .  . Have you ever found yourself saying these same words –
the ones I starred?

I have.

Yes, I have been chosen to “carry The Son”, in a sense.
In that very important sense, all true believers have been chosen to
“carry Him”.
And, sometimes, I feel completely unworthy.
Do I offer all I am?
Do I LOVE?

And I pray that the Father stay near me and hold me together.
The thought of bearing this precious burden; this gift;
this responsibility; this sacred life, is daunting – 
sometimes frightening.

What if I fail?

A wiser, less broken, less flawed soul should take my place . . .
Yet, I am exactly the kind of person He seeks,
chooses, and challenges, to “carry Him inside”.
One only must be willing.
And the Archangel, himself, said, “Don’t be afraid”.

Yes, the world is cold as stone,
and the path, often difficult,
but I don’t have to walk it alone –
never alone.
The Lord is with me.

*Breath of heaven
Hold me together-
My desperate plea –
Like David, He hears, and holds me up.

He lightens my darkness,
and if that were not enough,
He pours His holiness over me,
and His grace,
and His mercy.

I am not wise, but He chose me,
somehow.
He chose me and He helps me.
And through Him, I am sufficient.
And I am honored.

Breath of Heaven is always there,
softly taking me in,
gently sending me out . . .

Amy Grant, how did you know?

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Merry Christmas from Gloryteller.com
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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 one way or another,
about Christ’s crucifixion, His resurrection, and His ascension.

Today is no different.
But wait,
it is different, for today is His 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 for me
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!

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With love,
Your Gloryteller

 Resurrection Sunday,  4-12-2020 

(re-posted, with edits, from 3-31-2013)
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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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Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven

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A Children’s Christmas Carol for Everyone

I lift up Keith and Kristyn Getty and I thank them for this beautiful song.
And I thank Him for them!
And I thank Him for you, my dear reader!

 

This baby, making His first sounds, learning His first words, 
taking His first steps, becoming self-aware.
Like us in every way.
Yet, in every way, different.

 

“Come to turn me, a stranger, into a child of God.”
Remember, JESUS is the subject of Christmas, and the object of Christmas is US.

LS

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The Perfect Christmas Gift

My friend, I give you the gift of a song; music with a video.
It speaks for itself.

“The Perfect Christmas Gift”,
written and performed by Sandy Howell.
Uploaded by Bob Marshall.
Many thanks to you both.


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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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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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Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven

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A Children’s Christmas Carol for Everyone

I lift up Keith and Kristyn Getty and I thank them for this beautiful song.
And I thank Him for them!
And I thank Him for you, my dear reader!

 

This baby, making His first sounds, learning His first words, 
taking His first steps, becoming self-aware.
Like us in every way.
Yet, in every way, different.

 

“Come to turn me, a stranger, into a child of God.”
Remember, JESUS is the subject of Christmas, and the object of Christmas is US.

LS

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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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Breath Of Heaven – Mary’s Song

Not even one of us can fully understand nor scarcely appreciate Mary’s plight . . .
And consider Joseph’s . . .

(Rest in Peace, Donna Summer.  I’m glad we still have your amazing voice.)

These poignant video clips are from The Nativity Story,  upload thanks to Peperamico.

 

Please read to the bottom:


Breath of Heaven
By Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
And I wonder what I’ve done,
*Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now to carry Your son.
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*I am waiting in a silent prayer,
I am frightened by the load I bear,
*In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
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*Be with me now . . .

Be with me now . . .
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*Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
*Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
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Do you wonder as you watch my face,
*If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am,
For the mercy of your plan,
*Help me be strong
Help me be . . .
Help me . . .
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Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
~~~
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
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.  .  . Have you ever found yourself saying these same words –
the ones I highlighted?

I have.

Yes, I have been chosen to “carry The Son”, in a sense.
In that very important sense, all true believers have been chosen to
“carry Him”.
And, sometimes, I feel completely unworthy.
And I pray that the Father stay near me and hold me together.

The thought of bearing this precious burden; this gift;
this responsibility; this life, is daunting – 
sometimes frightening.
A wiser, less broken, less flawed soul should take my place . . .

Yet, I am exactly the kind of person He seeks,
chooses, and challenges, to “carry Him inside”.
One only must be willing.
And the Archangel, himself, said, “Don’t be afraid”.
Yes, the world is cold as stone,
and the path, often difficult,
but I don’t have to walk it alone –
never alone.
The Lord is with me.
*Breath of heaven
Hold me together-
My desperate plea –
Like David, He hears, and holds me up.

He lightens my darkness,
and if that were not enough,
He pours His holiness over me,
and His grace,
and His mercy.

I am not wise, but He chose me,
somehow.
He chose me and He helps me.
And through Him, I am sufficient.
And I am honored.

Breath of Heaven is always there,
softly taking me in,
gently sending me out . . .

 

Amy Grant, how did you know?

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Merry Christmas from Gloryteller.com
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The Perfect Christmas Gift

My friend, I give you the gift of a song; music with a video.
It speaks for itself.

“The Perfect Christmas Gift”,
written and performed by Sandy Howell.
Uploaded by Bob Marshall.
Many thanks to you both.


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It Is Voting Day

It is voting day. The final, official day of voting in this election cycle ending two weeks of early voting.
It occurred to me what a good thing early voting is, when I realized that many voters will be prevented from voting today for various reasons; icy roads, snowstorms, tornadoes, floods, sudden illness, accidents, any number of disasters up to and including death.
I voted early in order to circumvent those impediments to my vote.

There is another vote to consider. A much higher vote. I early-voted several years ago on this one.
If you haven’t yet, I ask you to cast your ballot, cast your lot with the ultimate candidate.
Everything is at stake in his election.
He is the only one who can save our country.
He is the only one who can save your life and the lives of your friends and family.
He offers everlasting life in place of eternal death.
He loves every single soul, even those who slander Him, and vote against Him!
He is the only one who can and will keep every promise He makes.
He is the only one who will be with you through every trial, every disaster, every sorrow and loss.
His laws are always fair and just.
He is Christ Jesus.
His title is Chosen One, and in His name can be found the names Deliverer, Rescuer, Saver and Redeemer of People.
He has been called Wonderful. Counselor. Almighty God, and Everlasting Father.
He is running for the position of Leader of Your Life

So, cast your lot with Him now. Early-vote before something unexpected makes it too late.  
His polls are always open. He doesn’t want to lose a single soul to death. 
Vote for unconditional love. Vote for peace. Vote for salvation and redemption.
Cast your lot with Jesus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It . . . It’s you . . .”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m ready. Climb swiftly now!”

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

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

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

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

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

“Are you all right?” I gasped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What will you say, My Friend?

~~~

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

All Rights Reserved

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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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