A Child Giving Thanks

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Here is the beautiful voice of a beautiful,
Very young child giving thanks to God.
These are her words;
She helped to write this song!
Straightforward.
Honest.
Uncomplicated.
Pure.
From her heart.
O, that I can remain so,

For I am nothing if not His child,
And less than nothing if not thankful for everything 
 little Rhema Marvanne sings about in her brilliant
song of worship.
The visuals are quite astounding as well.

Credits:
My thanks to:  Rhema Marvanne – Original song with Lyrics by Rhema Marvanne and Larry Randall, Music by David Howarth. Taken from Rhema’s 3rd album, Believe, recorded when she was 8 years old. Published by Howarth Music Publishing (BMI) 2012.
My thanks to The Father for Rhema and her family.
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Cooking A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner – Yes I Can – Thanks, Almighty God!


Yes, dear Reader,
Unlike many men, especially old-school men such as myself,
I’m capable of planning and cooking
a full-blown turkey-and-stuffing anchored;
mashed potato filled;
gravy-slathered;
two vegetable enhanced;
candied sweet ‘tater and
green bean casserole complimented;
cranberry sauce enlivened;
dinner-roll augmented;
and pie-crowned Thanksgiving dinner.
I don’t want that to sound like bragging,
nor self-exaltation,
it’s just the truth.
Here’s the thing:

It’s a blessing that I can cook almost anything,
and even do a little baking, but the blessing came at the expense of my mother’s suffering.

You see, when I was 13, my mother dislocated her elbow during a fall. That very painful injury prevented or hampered her doing many of her homemaking duties including cooking the daily family meals. As the eldest child, I was appointed Cook’s Assistant. Until she was fully healed, I performed the mechanical operations of cooking while poor plaster-casted Mom directed me and taught me. That was one of my life’s momentous turning points, because I have used those cooking skills countless times for my own benefit and for the benefit of others.
Today, Mom is on my mind.
Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to cook and for everything else you did and taught.
Thanks, Father God, for Mom and for all my many blessings.
Thanks for my ability to imagine and invent things, and for the ability to make, and build, and create the things I imagined – everything from small tools to buildings and a home, and thanks for the ability to repair, or at least “rig up” almost anything. Thanks, God, for the ability to grow food on Your land. Most of all, thanks, Lord for the very surprising gift of the ability to write.
As much as I like to cook, I’d rather write about cooking.
I’d rather write than do almost anything else.
As for Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that this website is partial fulfillment of my God-given purpose. More than anything else, I’m thankful to You, Lord,
for gathering me to Yourself and giving me the joy of salvation –
the joy of knowing You!

“O, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good!
His loving mercies endure forever!
O, give constant thanks unto the Lord!”

Happy Thanksgiving, dear Reader!
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Peace Like A River For My Soul

Asher B. Durand

Asher B. Durand

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Peace is kind of like love.
Everyone needs it.
Most civilized people want it.
Many seek it in one way or another.
So do I.

The quality of peace is not strain’d either.
It, too, falls like gentle rain from Heaven
upon the needful ones below. (thanks, Shakespeare)

Some folks have real peace and some have a pseudo,
temporary, fleeting kind of peace.
So do I and so have I.

Some look for it in all the wrong places.
Yup, that was me.

Many have no peace whatsoever and have no idea
where it comes from,

how to get some,
or even what it is.

Again, been there.

When I find myself in need of the comfort and enjoyment of peace,
which is most of the time,

like many folks I seek and readily find peace
in what is commonly called “Nature”.
“Nature”, in a broad sense, is universally understood.
You are probably forming mental pictures right now
about how you perceive and define “Nature”.
Now envision some of your favorite peace-inducing “Nature” scenes;
places you have been, or even pictures of real places or those imagined by someone.
Did that bring you a bit of peacefulness?

But –
“Nature” (nature – to bring it down off its pedestal)
is only a reflection of the super-natural;
of God’s supernatural glory. (He is above nature – He made it!)
Isn’t it delightful that even this somewhat hazy reflection
of Heaven can still bring us earth-side peace?

I personally enjoy a pastoral scene, one with water in it,
and even better, one with a mountainous theme.
A clear, unpolluted, starwatching-sky is also a delight.

Sunshine and sheep,
Cattle and a creek,
Grass and rolling hills,
Green and blue and still.

A clear night sky,
Star-filled and wide,
Shapes made of  light,
Faith becoming sight.

A picture will do, but being there in person is best.
Sitting and contemplating;
meditating and cogitating;
or simply ‘taking it all in’ and enjoying the serenity,
the quietness,
and the upwelling joy begotten of His Light and Life.
It’s great!
But i
f I am walking, I like an upward path through my favorite “Nature”.
Ascent is so metaphoric.
I walk upward into His waiting embrace.
What peace, elation, and joy all at once!

I like to visit nature alone to find great peace,
  and this occurs to me – even my extrovert friends seek peace alone there sometimes.
Many of them enjoy walking an upward path by themselves.
There is something calming about solitude.

Peace is this:
Just being still and knowing that He is God.

And this:

. . . the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your heart and mind . . .”

Wonderfully this:
“You will go out with joy and be led out in peace.
The mountains and the hills will break into songs of joy in your presence,
and all the trees will clap their hands.”

Especially this:
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.”
Yes, that was The Prince of Peace speaking to each of us,

in fact He mentions ‘peace’ at least four hundred times in His Word
in all its different meanings and nuances.

Personal peace is important.
Without it, there is a certain emptiness;
an unmet longing.

In today’s turmoil, peace is elusive.
Tranquility, and quiet,
harmony and calmness,
concord and agreement,
safety and security,
and freedom from anxiety and worries
are in short supply.
But peace is important to God.
As His creations, He made it important to us as well,
and He saw how incapable we were
of having any through our own devices.

So He sent His Son, The Prince of Peace,
while we were still enemies of His,
to humble Himself as human in order
to make peace between the warring parties,
The Father vs. the fallen.
Jesus’ sacrificial death was the condition of the cease-fire,
the requirement of justice,
the peace treaty,
the just agreement of concord,
the new covenant of peace between mankind and The Father,
between each person and Father God,
and between Him and myself.

I believe that with His final exhalation,
He whispered Divine peace into the heart of Creation,
and into mine. His peace, like His joy – gifts that cannot be
lost, if guarded, once they are embedded in your heart.

It is said that all Creation rejoiced when this treaty was struck.
I believe that “Nature” “broke into song,
and the trees clapped their hands”
not only for mankind,
and myself,
but for Its Own sake as well,
for
that was the beginning
of the restoration,
the redemption and the repair
of not only humanity, but of all Creation –
in peace.

Thank You Lord, for peace.
Without it, life earth-side would be much more difficult.

So,
what better way to seek and find peace than to
walk with The Bringer and Giver of Peace,
The Wonderful Counselor of Peace,

The Prince of Peace?

He willingly,
eagerly,
whole-heartedly
Walks and talks with me,
(and wants the same with you)

on my upward path through nature,
and not only through idyllic scenes,
but through every season,

taking me,
leading me,
pushing me,
supporting me,
carrying me,

giving me,
showing me,
His peace, and wonder, and glory,
until we reach the arms of The Father,
where I’ll be wrapped in the Ultimate Peace,
the final,
enduring,
everlasting,
Peace of His eternal presence.

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There is a special hymn that is commonly associated
with peace: “Peace Like A River/All Is Well With My Soul”.
If you don’t know the background of this song, you should check
out the remarkable story of the author, Horatio Spafford.
There is a line in the fourth verse which speaks deeply within me:
“Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.”
Many versions of this hymn are slow and, well, peaceful.
Here is a version that is upbeat and joyous.
It really struck a chord in me:

Thank you Spring Harvest for the music and Humpty Fell for the fine video!

©Gloryteller.com 10-27-15
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Who Am I ?

To know one’s identity is highly important.
Just ask those with amnesia.
Just ask anyone who doesn’t know, or is uncertain,
or who is “trying to find himself, or herself”.
This piece of knowledge is extremely valuable;
vital, even.

This writer knows the answer.

Who am I?
I AM my Father’s child!
A simple statement.
Make it as complex as you like, for it is indeed huge!

My cousin Ann, of whose attributes I can’t say enough,
quite astutely says that she is:


“Born of one father,

Born again of another.”

A remarkable statement of identity!
I’m pretty certain she means “Born first on earth
of her father, my uncle, and born again of
Father God through Jesus Christ.”
Ann is not only clever, but she is full of truth!

However,
When I thought of myself in light of her statement,
I realized that “I” – “my Father’s child”,
was first born to Him in Heaven,
in a sense,
in the high, holy sense,
the only sense that matters to “me”.
Conceived by Him and born to Him.
Then borne by Him to my bodily habitation on earth.
Borne to my second father,
born unaware of the First.
When finally, finally, I became aware of my First Father,
my initial, original, foremost, paramount, primary, principal Father,
Whose merciful forgiveness of,
and passionate love for me,
transcends my meager understanding,
it was then that I “stepped into the seeming void of faith”
and found the truth of my identity in Him.
It was then that I was born again in Christ Jesus with help from
His Holy spirit.
Reborn!
In Christ, who is in the Father, who are in me!
Here on earth in a body,
but not being a body, or a brain,
but only having one,
while being something – someone – entirely new and different.
My being and my life are in my Father!
Thank You, Father, for my life and my identity (in You).
Indeed,
I AM my Father’s child!
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Moonstruck

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

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

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

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

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

On one side, Light. On the other, dark shadow. As for me, I choose Light. As for me, I maintain the struggle, grappling with the shadow-prince of this world, all the while calling upon The Light to prevent the eclipse of my joy.
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Random Thoughts From The Farm

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Thought #4.
“People don’t need most of what they want,
but worse, many people don’t want
what they need most.”


#19.

I made a mnemonic device to eliminate the confusion on when to use “then” or “than”:
ThAn compAres. 
ThEn tells whEn (or sEquencE of EvEnts).


#20.

“Now I need a device to help me remember  “mnemonic” . . .”


#21.
My original racist joke:
“An ordinary Asian guy walks into a bar and orders a Singapore Sling. The bartender says, ‘Sorry, sir, look at the sign. We only serve Grasshoppers, Salty Dogs, and White Russians.’ “


#22.

“People who want to communicate good should take grammar more serious.”


#26.

“When you undertake to make yourself more alluring, consider well whom (or what) you may be luring.”


#27.

“Must write,
must write.
Must write uniquely as commissioned,
or die an invisibly unique and individually empty death.”


#28.
“Grace comes moment by moment,

Abiding until the next.
Life, a momentary comment,
By grace is momentously blessed.


#30.

“Occasionally I think well.
Most other times, I think, “Wellllll?” . . .


#33.

“Another Random Thought:  Why does it seem that political parties are such a “far cry” from the concept of an enjoyable, festive, fun gathering? (My mental image when someone says “party”).  Why is it that political parties are on the opposite end of the spectrum from that?”

#34.
A Homegrown Original from 9-5-13 :
“What do you have when all your iguana does is sleep, and can’t stand up anymore?
Are you ready for it?  Drum rollllll . . .
Reptile dysfunction  . . .”
Pa- Dum- Pa !

#35.
Another Random Thought from 9-5-13:
“At what point does a practicing physician become a performing M.D. ?  Hmmm?”

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That is more than enough for now, right?

I have 189 of these so far, so bear with me!
Ha ha ha ha ha,
God bless you, dear Reader!

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A Thought From My Garden

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Thought #185.  (I thought this thought while IN my garden,
in case you thought my garden thinks thoughts of its own.)

“Love everyone, and be friends with those rare people you also LIKE.”


(Bis Juli und Ben, die inspiriert diese. Gott segne sie, immer.)

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The Deeper Life – And Greener

I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I  I

I have lived my life on both sides of the fence
And found it to be immeasurably more
Meaningful,

Joyous,

Fulfilling,

Rich,

And deep,

On Jesus’ side.

Belief in Him has changed everything for me.
I urge you to jump the fence to Jesus,
If you haven’t already.

 Staying on your side,
Or jumping,
Is the most important move you will ever make.

The topsoil is deep where I am;
The grass is a sweet, dark green.
The grass is greener on this side of the fence,
and that’s the way it will always be.
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Grace Dance

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As willows swing in the breeze,
As seaweed sways with the tide,
So, soft and graceful the dance,
When The Son is one with His Bride.
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I Present SPRING

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What can I say about Spring
that you don’t already know?
It’s about the joy of new life.
New life from old life.
New life out of death.
New life is alive with the bloom of everlasting life.
Exultant!
Joyous!
Achingly beautiful!

Vivaldi knew music, and he knew Spring in a unique, special way.
He composed the following music about Spring:
To my mind, it is exultant, joyous, and achingly beautiful
just as are the colorful flowers, butterflies, birds, and bees herein.
New life from old life.
New life out of death.
It’s another way to tell of God’s glory, another facet of proclaiming His brilliance!
He makes all things new!
Dear reader, I present you with colorful new life,
I present you with Vivaldi’s “Spring”.

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Thank you Simon S. Alba for posting this video.

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Grace Is To Be Embraced!

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Grace Is To Be Embraced!
It should be rejoiced over!
It’s unconditional love!
The Giver should be praised!
The Giver should be lavishly thanked!

Grace Is To Be Embraced!
It is given as a Divine embrace to you and me!
Whether you’re dirty, grimy, sweaty, or stinky,
An unearned, undeserved, holy hug!
Accepting grace is to be hugged by God!

Grace Is To Be Embraced!
Grace should be accepted, well, gracefully!
It should be extremely well-liked!
The One who earned it for us,
The only One who ever deserved it,
Needs to be loved in return,
Unconditionally,

Unreservedly,
Unequivocally!
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Mirror-Man

The writer watches himself from above the action, unseen, from the vantage point of memory.

The scene plays out in the shabby, one-room hovel which was the former condition of his heart.  One wall of the small room has a door, the other three are covered with large, old, worn mirrors. The watcher sees himself standing in that poor space, staring into the mirrors, admiring his own beauteous image. He occasionally hears an annoying, distracting, tapping sound but he tunes it out.
In time, in the rows of endless images of his gorgeous self, a shadow begins to appear on the tenth face back. In that particular face, desolation emerges, the image turns grotesque, and it disappears as do all the faces behind it. He tries to bring them back. Self-worship should not require this much concentration. He fails as, one by one, the shadow overtakes the regal visages of nine, eight, seven, and six, turns them hideous, and obliterates them over time.  In distress and fear, he begins to notice the empty poverty of the room in the background – his room. The dark shadow begotten of the fallen faces, remains in the space behind him, congealing in an evil swirl. In the mirrors, he begins to see shades of death and he is appalled.
The tapping continues, becoming slightly louder and more urgent. It is ignore-able but harder to disregard than before.

At the same time, the watching-man above the scene sees another man waiting at the door. He has been standing on that stoop for a long time and has not just been waiting, but knocking softly at short intervals. His bare feet are aching, his legs tired, and his knuckles are bruised and sore, but he perseveres. He will not ever give up seeking the answer of the man inside, whom he cares about. They have a history, although the man inside may be unaware of it, or in denial of it.
The man at the door remembers grappling with the other man’s personal sin.
Clutching it to him, the horrible thing had clawed and ripped at his chest and its fangs tore desperately at his throat as it tried to escape his powerful strangling grasp. His love for mirror-man drove him to vanquish his monster rather than let it destroy the poor man. He would kill it even if he had to die with it.
He remembered that he had been successful – he had held on – but at the high cost of all his own blood. He remembered that he had defeated the enemy and he had been restored, but the memory of that painful battle still gnaws at him and he hopes with his whole being that the man inside will simply answer his knock and let him inside.

Meanwhile, the mirror-man is transfixed by what is happening in his mirrors. Images five and four are dissolving into ugliness, but he still can’t turn around and see his barren cubicle the way it really is. He can only see it backwards in the darkening glass.  He becomes more and more aware of the insistent tapping and he looks at the mirror image of his sagging door. The door seems to be outlined by a warm light that originates outside. “Could that be the news man bringing word that I have won the lottery?”, he wonders. “Could it, perhaps, be the delivery man delivering a belated birthday gift?” “Or pizza, did someone at least send me pizza?”

Now, the “impartial” observer above can hardly keep from getting involved. “You’ve become gnarled and hunched over in front of your delusive mirrors”, he thinks. “You are losing yourself in them even as you worship yourself. Stand up! Turn away! See who is at the door!”

Image three is resisting the dreaded change. It says, “Stand up!”
Image two is wide-eyed as it urges, “Turn away, you fool!”
Image one smiles, raises a hand, touches his hand, and orders, “In the name of God, answer the door!”
Astonished, mirror-man cocks his head, listening. Slowly, he tears his gaze from the three remaining faces and turns from them to see the hovel he has made for himself. “What have I done?”
Neglect,
Disrepair,
Starvation,
Emptiness,
Despair.
Not a bed, nor a comfortable chair,
and between him and the miserable door,
is a choking, smoky, dark fog, which, after much flailing and batting with his hands, finally moves behind him. It is as though the darkness is actively trying to keep him from the door, yet the thought of getting something for himself impels him toward the latch. The brightness makes him shield his eyes, even though he only, hesitatingly, opens the door a crack. Pulling it wider, he says, “Yes? Who’s there?”

He looks into the kindest eyes he has ever seen, certainly much nicer than those in the mirror.
“I’m so happy that you answered my tapping. I was hoping beyond hope that you would not leave me standing here forever”, he states pleasantly. “May I come in?”

“Well, um, yes, come in. Excuse the mess . . . do you have something for me?”

“Mess excused. As a matter of fact, I do have something for you.” He steps in.

“But, I see that you have nothing in your hands . . .” He did not notice that the darkness behind him had retreated to one mirrored corner as soon as the man entered and lit up the room.

The man of light points toward all the mirrors. “I don’t think you will be needing these any longer.”
Sensing what was about to happen, mirror-man shouted, “No, don’t, I do need those!”
With a slight wave of his finger the surrounding glass shatters and falls to the floor in small pieces which are immediately swept into the swirls of the dark fog. Spinning violently, the fog and all the reflecting crystals, each containing a single dark image, rise through the ceiling and are gone. The room becomes transformed from a shack into a nicely furnished room. “From a mirror room into a living room,” mirror-man muses to himself, “This must be just a weird dream, wake up, wake up!”

“This is no dream, it is Truth. One Truth, One Way, One Life.”

“Wait, you are not the news man, or the delivery man, but the One I have heard of, the One who my mother told me about as a child. Right? I was hoping for a birthday gift, or for the lucky money which life owes me.”

“Wrong and right. I am indeed your News Man. I bring you the best news you can imagine! And, I am indeed your Delivery Man, for I am here to deliver you from your self. I am indeed here to bring life into this room and into you, yourself. I am The One of your mother – her Lord, in fact, and I do bring you a gift called grace, and a gift called rebirth, so you are close to being right on all counts. Can we sit and talk awhile? Let us speak together, that’s all I’ve wanted for a long, long time. I’m sorry I have no pizza, but I’ll provide some nourishing bread and cool water.”

Looking in wonder at his warm, peaceful new living room, and at the Man’s hands and feet, his heart is softened. “Yes, please sit, my Lord, you’ve been on your feet much too long.”

After an astonishing night in which the Man of Light tells mirror-man everything about his life, and much about Himself, and about His Father, God, morning comes. The transformed man fishes around in his pocket as he asks, “This place needs You, Jesus, I need You, will You please stay?” He offers the intricate key to his newly repaired door.

“I need to think about that . . .”, the Light One pauses, “Only kidding, actually that’s all I ever wanted, of course I’ll stay!” They both laughed heartily.
Mirror-man lives only for his Lord now, and occasionally does get pizza.
They have lived together in that joyful room for a decade – no mirrors – only looking at each other with big, happy grins.

And so it is with the writer who watches himself from above the action, unseen, from the vantage point of happy memory.

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Seeking Grief Relief . . .

A Stream of Consciousness Outpouring . . .

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Today, I have a heavy heart.
I have an aching heart.
I have a broken heart.

It is so heavy that it has sunk toward the bottom –

away from where it should be and down where it should never be.
Its usual buoyancy has succumbed to the weight of the world.

Another young friend has suddenly and unexpectedly gone to be with God.

On one hand, I realize that the passing of a believer,
no matter how young, should, in a sense, be cause for sweet rejoicing,
but, on the other hand, at this moment it only tastes of bitter loss.
My mind is grappling with my heart.
My heart and mind are at war with each other.
I realize that no-one is guaranteed even one more heartbeat,

but distress is becoming dismay,
off and on, I’ve shed tears all day.

Empathy can be a painful and sore.
Compassion for close ones hurts to the core.

First Rachel . . . and now James . . .

Another who was “bigger than life”,
who had a unique zest for life.
Who was well-loved, and who was full of love himself.

A close friend of my son,
He was only twenty one,

A large portion of our community is reeling.
I can’t help but think that this would be exponentially harder
If that were my own son . . .
The one thing that’s worse than being reminded of one’s own mortality
is being reminded of that of one’s children.

And now I’m conflicted.
My head rejoices for his soul, for him – he knew the Lord.
He is communing with Father God and Jesus,
but my heart grieves for all the reasons it does,
and all the reasons it should,
when a young adult has lost his chance to have a full life;
A life in the world, for that’s where I am!

I have to write these feelings out of me,
but I seem to be stuck.
Frustrated.
Annoyed.
Wounded.
Drifting.
How do I organize a piece such as this?
I don’t.
Won’t.
I refuse.
It has to be spontaneous.

A small part of me wants to rail at God,

but I have this thing called faith in Him.
It’s not His fault; He loves James.
I imagine James talking with Jesus at this moment.
I envision Father God taking a picture of Jesus sitting on His throne.
James is popping up behind Him and getting in the photo by surprise,
with his big smile,
with a wink,
and a “thumbs up”.
I believe that is called “photobombing”, or something like that.
Delightfully classic James . . .
I picture Father and Jesus getting a big, warm, hearty
laugh with James. I’m most certain they are very fond of him.

But here’s the thing:
I don’t understand.
(why do I always have to understand?)
Why does the Bible say we can pray and, essentially,
get the desires of our hearts?
Hundreds, perhaps thousands of prayers went up for James
when we heard that he had been severely injured in an auto accident.
Our request was for healing, restoration, and life,
none of which was granted. (as far as we know)
My head says he got his promised eternal life,
for James was a believer and follower of Christ from a young age.
Eternal life in Heaven is the ultimate answer to our prayers,
but we also prayed for the miracle of complete physical
restoration here on earth, and that did not happen.
“Your will be done”, we say.
So why bother to pray? (another rhetorical question)
Because He told us to!
Praying must have some affect that we don’t entirely understand –
something great for the prayed-for,
for God, or possibly Jesus, or for the pray-er.
I’m rambling, I know . . .

Jesus said we would be able to do what The Father
enabled Him to do, and even more, including healing, casting out demons,
and even restoring life,
but I don’t seem to be able to do those things

and I would like to know why. (Why do I always question?)
I think He wants me to ask questions, though, for that’s the way I learn.
I do want to learn all I can know about Him.
Moreover, I want to know Him.

I do want to know things;
things most likely beyond my understanding,
and which are perhaps none of my business,
but I pray to know anyway.

However, even in my grief over James, over his family’s heartache,
and over my son’s dismay at the loss of a great friend,
I remain steadfast in my faith.

I would like to know if you, dear reader, have ever felt these things.
If so, I’m comforted to know I’m not by myself in this.
I’m also comforted to know that, by reading this, perhaps
you don’t feel so alone yourself.

I refuse to let these frustrations, these questions, lead me away from
Love and into doubt – or worse even into apostasy.

It was uplifting that one of the Facebook quotes I had written about James
was used by the pastor in the service.
It is a joy that God uses me to help others.

Writing is cathartic, therapeutic, and even healing for me.
Writing is escape, refuge, and security.
Reading is no less.
If you have persevered and gotten this far, please pardon me, dear reader,
for using this forum for my own outpouring, my vent, my relief.

I must remember my “ministry of groaning” in a time like this.
The wordless groaning, (a sort of low, quiet wailing from my soul)
which comes out of the depths of my spirit and manifests itself
even through my voice. (if there is loud music in the background for cover,
the sound of it is all the louder)
When I have run out of tears and words to utter, it seems to help.
God actually put that principle into my spirit one day
when I was desperately praying for another grieving friend.
I told Him I had run out of tears and out of words to say.
“Groan for him, He said quite clearly.
This “gift” is so personal it is difficult to write about here . . .

Grief is spilling out of my heart, trying to drag the resident joy out with it,
but I must not let it succeed, Lord, don’t let it succeed,
for the joy of knowing You is my only salvation in times of crisis like these . . .

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It has been two weeks, to the day, since I wrote the above.
In that time, I have written much, but not trusted myself to post.
I did not want my own self-centered disillusionment to
take away from the glory of my Lord.

Finally, two mornings ago, the long awaited,
long suppressed,
authentic,
spontaneous, groan came to me.
For myself,
and for others through me.
It can’t “work well” if it is forced.
It has to come with The Lord’s help,

and with His timing.
Without notice, it began in my toes ,
worked its way up through the marrow of my legs,
spread through my core, ever upward,
filling me,
and out through my throat,
expressing wordlessly the pent ache.
Sometimes the groan only comes forth from my heart.
This time, through my voice.
Crying to The Most High Lord more eloquently
than my words could have done.
Groaning for the bereaved family, for the city, for my son,
and for myself.
Sweet sympathy,
concentrated compassion,
the messy turmoil of groaning
bringing order at last.
At last.

All that is left is to somehow turn this piece so that it points
to the great glory of God.
To give God greater glory should always be my primary concern
when I write. His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.

I think it is best, at this point, to use His own words instead of mine:

Psalm 34:18
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

2Thessalonians 2:16-17
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”

AMEN

 

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Perfect and Permanent Memory

The human mind is an imperfect vessel.
When injury, disease, or aging affects our intellectual capabilities,
we need the assurance of a perfect vessel to hold our
belief,
our faith,
our core values, 
and our relationship with God and His Word.
That perfect vessel is our heart.
The heart is where our belief begins,
is nurtured,
and is completed.
It is where the love of God resides
– both His Love, and our love for Him.
Although loss of memory can be disconcerting,
we can rest assured that the heart’s memory is perfect and permanent.

Dr. Jim Richards is a ‘heart man’.
He says: “It stands to reason the door to the Kingdom
is a heart that believes, not a mind that is informed.”

True,
yet I don’t think that, once a heart does believe,

there is anything wrong with a mind that is appropriately informed.
A properly educated mind can serve a faithful, believing heart very well.

The moment I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior,
I felt I was fundamentally changed
– that everything was new inside and out.
That included a ‘new heart’.
A close friend, when I confided that, said
“Yes, you have been given a new heart.
Just be careful what you put into it!”
That’s some sage advice.
I’ve tried to be careful what I let in – what I fill my heart with.
That’s not as easy as it sounds,
but I think that as I’m filling this heart full of Scripture,
sound theology,
love for God and my fellow man,
faith,
hope,
and Christian values,
there won’t be room for anything that shouldn’t be in there.
As I fill it with all those solid things,
I’ve noticed something magnificent
the Lord pours in joy,

like ice cream,
to fill up all the spaces!
And my heart will remember it all perfectly,
and permanently,
beyond my mind’s understanding.

~  ~  ~

The man said, “Love the Lord your God with all your
heart,
and with all your soul,

and with all your strength,
and with all your mind”;
and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
And Jesus replied,
“Yes, do this and you will live.”
Luke 10:27
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Grace Dance

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As willows swing in the breeze,
As seaweed sways with the tide,
So, soft and graceful the dance,
When The Son is one with His Bride.
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Cooking A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner – Yes I Can – This Is About Thankfulness


Yes, dear reader,
Unlike most men, especially old-school men such as myself,
I’m capable of planning and cooking
a full-blown turkey-and-stuffing anchored;
mashed potato filled;
gravy-slathered;
two vegetable enhanced;
candied sweet ‘tater and
green bean casserole complimented;
cranberry sauce enlivened;
dinner-roll augmented;
and pie-crowned Thanksgiving dinner.
I don’t want that to sound like bragging,
nor self-exaltation,
it’s just the truth.
It’s a blessing that I can cook almost anything, and even do a little baking, but the blessing came at the expense of my mother’s suffering.
When I was 13, my mother dislocated her elbow due to a fall. That very painful injury prevented her from doing many of her homemaking duties including cooking the daily family meals. As the eldest child, I was appointed cook’s assistant. I performed the mechanical operations of cooking while poor plaster-casted Mom directed me. That was one of my life’s momentous turning points, because I have used those cooking skills that she taught me countless times for my own benefit and for the benefit of others.
Today, Mom is on my mind.
Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to cook and for everything else.
Thanks, God, for Mom and for all my blessings.
Thanks for the ability to imagine and invent things, and for the ability to make, and build, and create the things I imagined – everything from small tools to buildings and a home, and thanks for the ability to repair, or at least “rig up” almost anything. Thanks, God, for the ability to grow food on Your land. Most of all thanks, Lord for the very surprising gift of the ability to write.
As much as I like to cook, I’d rather write about cooking.
I’d rather write than do almost anything else.
As for Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that this website is partial fulfillment of my God-given purpose. More than anything else, I’m thankful to You, Lord, for gathering me to Yourself and giving me the joy of salvation – the joy of knowing You!

“O, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good!
His loving mercies endure forever!
O, give constant thanks unto the Lord!”

Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader!
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Joy-Flower

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As he entered the dimly lit room, Yao Lin-On carried the capsule he had made like it was a knife . “This will end my daughter’s suffering,” was his only thought as he approached her bed. He had witnessed the terminal suffering of one of his nieces from the same slowly-disabling, flesh-wasting illness, several years in the past. Those horribly painful images had never left his memory, and he was determined not to let his precious Le-Lan walk the same agonizing path. He wept once again as he looked at her small, sleeping form. “At least she seems to have no pain when she is in deep sleep, but when she wakes, the medication is terribly insufficient . . . How can I let this continue, God? I, the one she has trusted, the one who brought her to this new country, to these new beliefs, to this new Father God and Jesus. I, who daily shared Biblical teachings with her, and worked to make sure that she understood Your Word. I, the one who cared for her after the loss of her mother. I, who love her dearly. I, the only one left to do what, it seems, You, God, won’t do. Yes, I have pleaded in my prayers, I have begged, I have asked politely, I have screamed, I have enjoined and bargained. All to no benefit for Le-Lan. Where is her healing? Where are the promises? Where, at the least, is merciful death? It must be that, now, at the end of my sanity, it is left to me to condemn myself to hell for her sake. Is that what You want? I retain my faith in You! Why are You leaving the task to me, Lord?”

He sat in the hard wooden chair next to the unconscious girl’s bed, laid the large, white capsule on the nightstand next to her teacup, and took her hand gently, as not to wake her. Her fingertips were black. He moaned aloud as he looked at her once-beautiful head of hair, now in ragged patches, at her missing teeth, where her room-brightening smile had been. “I cannot let her suffering be. I can’t let my little Joy-Flower wither away in pain. In a moment, little one, in just a few more moments, My Joy, I will wake you and give you your tea. So hard, this seat, so heavy my arms, so achingly tired.”

He felt her hand stir, her patchy breathing quickening. “Papa? I’m glad. . . , I’m glad you are here,” she whispered in English, the difficult language that, together, they had worked so hard to learn.
“Yes, I’m always here for you, sweet child. Be still, everything is, what is the word? . . . Okay.”
“Papa, lean closer . . . . please listen even if this is hard to understand. I’ve been talking to Jesus. He has been with me all through my illness. When it hurts so bad, Papa, He puts His cool hand on my head. He holds my hand while you hold the other. Papa, He sings to me while you cry. He tells me that you might lose your faith in Him because of me. Oh, Papa! I don’t want that! You must trust Him. Remember all the amazing things we learned about Him? They are all true, Papa!”
“I know they are, sweetheart, shhhh, don’t tire yourself.” He looked away and thought, “Maybe they are true, but He still has some things to answer for . . .”

“Papa . . . . . . . . .” she paused, “I know what you want to do tonight . . . “
Yao Lin-On’s body jumped, startled, rattling the hard chair.
“There is nothing I can do to stop you, but I want you to change your mind. Poppy please, don’t do it. If you love me, don’t.”
He stared at her face. “How could she know?” He was angry. “You know nothing of it,” he wanted to say.
“Poppy, listen,” she whispered faintly, but urgently, “If you do this thing that you think will help me, you will tear us apart forever. You will condemn yourself. If you do it, we will be apart forever. Poppy, it would break my heart if Mama and I were without you. We love you so much, and so do Jesus and the Father.” Please don’t, Poppy, please.”
“Poppy” was her most loving name for him. Mountain brooks of tears ran down his face.

“We do love you, Yao Lin-On, father of our delightful Le-Lan. We share your concern for her. We are also very concerned for you. We hear your prayers for healing and for a miracle. What you don’t realize is that what you keep praying for, We have already done. Le-Lan’s body lingers in your world, but her LIFE has been with Us since the moment she believed in her Savior. She hangs on because her story is not finished, mostly where you are concerned, but also with others who are watching her. Have you not noticed that through all her trials, she never once lost faith? Haven’t you seen that she always proclaims Our kingdom with her body and her spirit, no matter how hard her path? Through your own diligence, she had teachers who understood that in order to awaken to a new life, a person has to die in the old one. Le-Lan knew that she had to die to her self, in order to live in Christ Jesus on earth, and she knows that soon she must sleep the last sleep, which you call death, in order to live in Heaven with Us. She will follow her own path into that sleep, her last thought on earth will be of Us, and she will awaken fully alive in Our arms. Your part is to wait and watch over her sleep. Only wait and keep faith until your own last thought, in your own last sleep. We hope that last thought is only of Us, and that you will follow beautiful Le-Lan into Our waiting arms.

Yao Lin-On looked at the sleeping Le-Lan as he came back to himself. “Was it a dream? A miracle? An inner conversation with himself?” He thought and thought as he stared at the euthanasia capsule for a long while, shuddered, took it away, and flushed it down the toilet. Returning to Le-Lan, he found that she was breathing steadily and beginning to awaken. With emotions boiling over, he took her frail body into his arms.
“I brought you some tea, Joy-Flower, can you drink some? Do you feel a little better, this morning?”
“No, Papa, I . . . feel  . . . worse . . . today. My . . . stomach hurts . . . so bad.”
He bit his own lip hard to drive back the tears.
“But . . . I sure do love you, Poppy,” she whispered slowly and softly into his ear.
“I love you right back, my Joy-Flower.”
He had a sense of calm peace, then, and, for far too many days, he knew that those were the last words he would hear on earth from Le-Lan. She, at last, slept her final sleep. Yet, he was confident in proclaiming that those were the first words he would hear from her in Heaven. It shouldn’t have surprised him, but it did, how many others were amazed, and changed, after watching the pain, and the faith, of the man of God, Yao Lin-On, and his beautiful daughter of God, Yao Le-Lan, Joy-Flower.

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About the making of Joy-Flower

One of my writer friends commented:
“Absolutely beautiful. How did you come up with this storyline?”
My reply was this:
 “It’s difficult to explain God’s involvement, participation, and presence in the creation of this story, but I’ll try. One morning I awoke (or did I?) and it was in my heart to write about the subject of a man being angry at God for what he perceived were broken promises and unanswered prayers. Then I “heard” Him say the name of the protagonist. I was a little surprised, and had the audacity to question, “Why the Asian name? What do I know of this?” I soon began to lay out the story and He filled in my blanks. It even took an unexpected turn into another unexpected, complex subject. It was all done in one “take”. I’m confident that Joy-Flower has a purpose far beyond what I can imagine, and that one day He will tell me the whole story behind it; the rest of the story of  its future. Thank you so much for reading it, J.! Your question made me think about it, which stretched my pen further than I thought it could go. I needed that!”

So, if I were pressed to describe writing, from my perspective it seems to be the expression of the inexpressible, using combinations of words that have not been combined before, with the nearly incomprehensible involvement of our nearly unfathomable God.
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Joy-Flower
Copyright by Gloryteller, Len Snider, 11-4-2014
All rights reserved
The names of the two main human characters are fictitious.

 

 

 

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Joy-Flower

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As he entered the dimly lit room, Yao Lin-On carried the capsule he had made like it was a knife . “This will end my daughter’s suffering,” was his only thought as he approached her bed. He had witnessed the terminal suffering of one of his nieces from the same slowly-disabling, flesh-wasting illness, several years in the past. Those horribly painful images had never left his memory, and he was determined not to let his precious Le-Lan walk the same agonizing path. He wept once again as he looked at her small, sleeping form. “At least she seems to have no pain when she is in deep sleep, but when she wakes, the medication is terribly insufficient . . . How can I let this continue, God? I, the one she has trusted, the one who brought her to this new country, to these new beliefs, to this new Father God and Jesus. I, who daily shared Biblical teachings with her, and worked to make sure that she understood Your Word. I, the one who cared for her after the loss of her mother. I, who love her dearly. I, the only one left to do what, it seems, You, God, won’t do. Yes, I have pleaded in my prayers, I have begged, I have asked politely, I have screamed, I have enjoined and bargained. All to no benefit for Le-Lan. Where is her healing? Where are the promises? Where, at the least, is merciful death? It must be that, now, at the end of my sanity, it is left to me to condemn myself to hell for her sake. Is that what You want? I retain my faith in You! Why are You leaving the task to me, Lord?”

He sat in the hard wooden chair next to the unconscious girl’s bed, laid the large, white capsule on the nightstand next to her teacup, and took her hand gently, as not to wake her. Her fingertips were black. He moaned aloud as he looked at her once-beautiful head of hair, now in ragged patches, at her missing teeth, where her room-brightening smile had been. “I cannot let her suffering be. I can’t let my little Joy-Flower wither away in pain. In a moment, little one, in just a few more moments, My Joy, I will wake you and give you your tea. So hard, this seat, so heavy my arms, so achingly tired.”

He felt her hand stir, her patchy breathing quickening. “Papa? I’m glad. . . , I’m glad you are here,” she whispered in English, the difficult language that, together, they had worked so hard to learn.
“Yes, I’m always here for you, sweet child. Be still, everything is, what is the word? . . . Okay.”
“Papa, lean closer . . . . please listen even if this is hard to understand. I’ve been talking to Jesus. He has been with me all through my illness. When it hurts so bad, Papa, He puts His cool hand on my head. He holds my hand while you hold the other. Papa, He sings to me while you cry. He tells me that you might lose your faith in Him because of me. Oh, Papa! I don’t want that! You must trust Him. Remember all the amazing things we learned about Him? They are all true, Papa!”
“I know they are, sweetheart, shhhh, don’t tire yourself.” He looked away and thought, “Maybe they are true, but He still has some things to answer for . . .”

“Papa . . . . . . . . .” she paused, “I know what you want to do tonight . . . “
Yao Lin-On’s body jumped, startled, rattling the hard chair.
“There is nothing I can do to stop you, but I want you to change your mind. Poppy please, don’t do it. If you love me, don’t.”
He stared at her face. “How could she know?” He was angry. “You know nothing of it,” he wanted to say.
“Poppy, listen,” she whispered faintly, but urgently, “If you do this thing that you think will help me, you will tear us apart forever. You will condemn yourself. If you do it, we will be apart forever. Poppy, it would break my heart if Mama and I were without you. We love you so much, and so do Jesus and the Father.” Please don’t, Poppy, please.”
“Poppy” was her most loving name for him. Mountain brooks of tears ran down his face.

“We do love you, Yao Lin-On, father of our delightful Le-Lan. We share your concern for her. We are also very concerned for you. We hear your prayers for healing and for a miracle. What you don’t realize is that what you keep praying for, We have already done. Le-Lan’s body lingers in your world, but her LIFE has been with Us since the moment she believed in her Savior. She hangs on because her story is not finished, mostly where you are concerned, but also with others who are watching her. Have you not noticed that through all her trials, she never once lost faith? Haven’t you seen that she always proclaims Our kingdom with her body and her spirit, no matter how hard her path? Through your own diligence, she had teachers who understood that in order to awaken to a new life, a person has to die in the old one. Le-Lan knew that she had to die to her self, in order to live in Christ Jesus on earth, and she knows that soon she must sleep the last sleep, which you call death, in order to live in Heaven with Us. She will follow her own path into that sleep, her last thought on earth will be of Us, and she will awaken fully alive in Our arms. Your part is to wait and watch over her sleep. Only wait and keep faith until your own last thought, in your own last sleep. We hope that last thought is only of Us, and that you will follow beautiful Le-Lan into Our waiting arms.

Yao Lin-On looked at the sleeping Le-Lan as he came back to himself. “Was it a dream? A miracle? An inner conversation with himself?” He thought and thought as he stared at the euthanasia capsule for a long while, shuddered, took it away, and flushed it down the toilet. Returning to Le-Lan, he found that she was breathing steadily and beginning to awaken. With emotions boiling over, he took her frail body into his arms.
“I brought you some tea, Joy-Flower, can you drink some? Do you feel a little better, this morning?”
“No, Papa, I . . . feel  . . . worse . . . today. My . . . stomach hurts . . . so bad.”
He bit his own lip hard to drive back the tears.
“But . . . I sure do love you, Poppy,” she whispered slowly and softly into his ear.
“I love you right back, my Joy-Flower.”
He had a sense of calm peace, then, and, for far too many days, he knew that those were the last words he would hear on earth from Le-Lan. She, at last, slept her final sleep. Yet, he was confident in proclaiming that those were the first words he would hear from her in Heaven. It shouldn’t have surprised him, but it did, how many others were amazed, and changed, after watching the pain, and the faith, of the man of God, Yao Lin-On, and his beautiful daughter of God, Yao Le-Lan, Joy-Flower.

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Copyright by Gloryteller, Len Snider, 11-4-2014
All rights reserved
The names of the two main human characters are fictitious.

 

 

 

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Destructive Doubt, Rhetorical Questions, and Faith – Urgent, Read Immediately

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I feel an urgent need to write specifically about faith versus doubt.
At this moment, it is imperative,
crucial,
critical,
essential,
indispensable,
vitally important:
Someone is having doubts.
Someone is losing their faith in The Father.
Or never had any.
So many hard questions remain unanswered.
So many prayers unanswered,
or seemingly answered with a “no”.
So many promises seemingly not kept.
So much blame
to be unloaded,
and assigned.
So much heartbreak.
So much pain.
The internal debates wear one down,
sap our strength,
stress our beings,
abscond with our joy,
waste our lives.
Those kinds of troubles can alienate a person,
isolate,
Make one feel alone,
even in a crowd.
Make one feel like they are
the only one who has gone through so much,
who has had to bear this specific torture,
and you’re right,
No-one has had your exact experience.
But you’re wrong about being alone in it.
You are not alone,
never alone.

 I, myself, have had questions and doubts about
God’s existence,

His caring,
His promise keeping.
His love.
I, myself, asked things early-on like
“Why should I believe?”,
and, “What if it’s all a big hoax?”,
and, “Why don’t You seem to hear even my most
heartfelt,
earnest,
fervent,
prayers?”,
and, “Why do good people,
people who care,
and who act right,
and who are good to others,
people I love and care about,
die too soon,
while evil people,
people who only hate and hurt,
and murder,
people who detract from life,
and from Your glory,
people who I (forgive me) detest,
persist,
live on,
even thrive while doing more and more harm?”

I’ve had those, and countless more,
doubts and questions,
both before and a bit after my rescue,
my lifesaving encounter,
with my Lord.

Now I know that I have an enemy who likes,
encourages,
abuses,
and twists,
my doubting and questioning,

who whispers about them in my secret ear,
to use them against my good,
and promote his own evil.
When I ask my doubting questions,
I hear his faint,
but clear,
insane laughter,
for doubts are like lies,
and he is the father of lies.

I smile inside myself when I realize that is happening,
because knowing is being forewarned,
 forewarned is forearmed,
and I’m armed with a powerful weapon.

I still have questions and I ask them,
but, doubts?
Doubts can do damage.
Doubts can threaten trust.
Doubts can mislead, deceive,
and obscure Truth,
runaway doubt can destroy.
Of course there is something I call
“healthy skepticism”,
discernment,
“useful doubt”,
but you have to understand the difference,
which I don’t want to address at this moment.

The thing is, my questions and destructive doubts
are different after knowing God than they were before.
Before, the enemy,
with my permission,
used them to try to destroy me.
Now I can try to use them for my good.
And yours.

A big obstacle to my faith is that I am, by nature, a
rational,

logical,
reasoning,
pragmatic
thinker.
“Stuff” has to make sense to me.
There has to be order.
There has to be a reason something is the way it is.
Therefore, science was once my god, in a sense,
instead of the real, true God whose works
we attempt to understand through science.

In other words, I lived only by sight and not by faith.
Now, I am predominantly the opposite.
Now I know r
ationality and logic
can get in the way of my spiritual thinking.
One can overthink one’s self into trouble.
One can complicate what is supposed to be simple
and veer far from the truth.

Now, I try not to “lean too much on my own meager understanding”.
I try to remember that there is not just a “big picture”, but a “great, huge, majestic picture”
that I can’t fathom
that I’m not allowed to know,
even if I did have the capacity to understand.
I’ve learned to recognize when I’m
stuck in circular questioning
or trapped in doubt.
I’ve come to realize that when I
doubt and question God, I’m making Him into the god
that I, myself, am creating rather than
the One who created me;
the “word” from my mind, rather than
the true Word,
the great I AM,
the One true, factual God of the Bible.

When I realize that I’m getting lost,
(It’s often not simple or easy)

I have to push the offending thoughts away,
with a mental, even a kind of physical stiff arm,

and get myself back on the trail to my destination:
home.

It’s simple; I have made my choice of faith in Him.
I will let nothing change that decision.
I simply cannot!
I know He is good, and kind, and cares about me.
I know that He keeps all His promises
in ways that would – and will – amaze us,
when we can finally fully understand.
I don’t want to lose my faith in Him,
nor my personal relationship
with Him.
It took too many years to get it.
I lived too long without it.
I can’t let anything or anyone steal it.
Without it, I’d be less than nothing;
I’d be lost in the worst sense of the word.
Here’s a question I have asked:
“If I were to turn my back on the Lord,
which of us would be harmed, or “hurt” more?”
My answer is, “I would be, infinitely so!”
His answer is that He would hurt greatly for me,
because of my choice, but He would wait with open arms
in hope that I would change my mind.

It boils down to this:
To be sure, we all have questions and doubts.
It’s a human thing.
It’s how we handle them that makes the difference.
Dwelling upon destructive doubt and rhetorical questions is a waste of time.
Our choice is between faith in Jesus and Father God, or the enemy . . .
there is no between, no middle ground, no compromise.
You might say “I choose myself”,
but that is the same as choosing the enemy, not God,
as your Lord and master.
So, please, choose life, choose love,
choose faith in Jesus, and
stick to it with all your might!

*  *  *

I do have many other drafts waiting in the wings
that I want to finish and publish,

but this new theme was put on my heart with an “urgent” notice attached.
It seems like an emergency that needs immediate attention.
It is a form of sacrifice to be used this way,
yet it is a joy to serve.
I pray that this quickly gets to the readers who need it.
Reader, I care about what happens to you.
I’ve shared your struggles, believe me, maybe worse!
You have no idea what I’ve been through,
only God does,
therefore He is the “logical”
One I turn toward for support, and comfort.

I hope and pray that my words help you.
Sincerely,
L<

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Faith Of Our Fathers – The Power In A Young Man’s Faith


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He has a ministry already, this young man of God.
He may not even know the power he has
as he quickly proclaims his faith publicly in the face of his wrenching heartbreak.
He may not know that the most unlikely people are watching as he says goodbye;
watching, and being influenced, in life-changing ways:

He said:    “Dad, thank you for being an awesome role model in my life!
I love you and I know that you loved me!

I know that you are in a better place and are with our Father
.

I wasn’t ready for you to pass so soon, and I don’t think anyone was.

Let God’s will be done, and trust in his plan.

May you rest in eternal peace.
Thanks for being such a great dad.
I love you Dad.”
J.A.K.

*   *   *

You’re only beginning adult life,
one of my “younger brothers in the Spirit”,
yet, even in the throes of intense grief,
you still publicly proclaim your unwavering faith,
– the faith handed down by my friend, your wonderful father –
(oh, what a legacy)
You show the power of the love you were given
by your earthly father, and most of all, by your Heavenly one.
You proclaim the love between father and son,
you testify to your unshakable belief in Jesus, Father, Spirit,
and I’m inspired;
   under these circumstances, I am touched . . .
That is the truest test,
the brightest evidence,
the hardest proof,
the best power of  The Truth,
the highest worth of faith . . .
And even as my heart breaks for you,
Like Theirs does,
I’m so very proud of you.

*   *   *

What more could I ask of my own son,
when the time comes,
than to grieve hard, to mourn,
also, to sing and rejoice,

and to loudly, visibly, proclaim our faith.

*   *   *

Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious Word!

Refrain:  Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers, we will strive
To win all nations unto thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
We all shall then be truly free.

Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.

Frederick W. Faber

 

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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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