Fathers and Sons

I was thinking this past Father’s Day how blessed I am to be a father.
I have been blessed with three sons, a granddaughter, and a grandson who are each sources of parental joy. Each of those parental relationships is a blessing of the highest order.

Thinking further, I realized that my fatherhood is a key to cultivating insight, empathy, sympathy, and compassion for my contemporary fathers, and of fathers and grandfathers past. I have to nurture patience and forgiveness for those I deem irresponsible fathers. I must go a step farther to hold back their judgement which belongs, ultimately, to the One Father. I must accept the difficult task of emulating His love, kindness, protectiveness, caring, and provision.

In addition, I get the privilege of identifying with, and learning from, the Biblical fathers’ experiences and hard-earned wisdom:
Of Adam, the first human to become a father.

Of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (called “Isreal”), and Moses.
Of Joseph – steadfast father of Jesus in all ways that were of earthly importance.
Of Job, a father who lost all his beloved children and, in the end, had the same number “replaced” by Father God. Furthermore, being blessed with grace, ” he saw them and their children into the fourth generation.”
Then there is the father of the prodigal son. Only fictional, only metaphorical, only made up.
But no!
He is a clear picture of our loving Father God Himself, presented by the Holy Son, Himself.
He is real!
He never stops loving his child. He is filled with unreserved, unconditional joy when the child returns home.
And the son is me . . .

The last biblical father I’ll cite is the first.
Eternal Father of His eternal Son.
Creator and Father of all – Father God Himself.

It occurs to me that, inside the riches of fatherly experience, I am also blessed to be a son. I received that blessing first. I can empathize with other sons as well as other fathers. I have the distinct feeling that my son (each of the three) has always been with me and always will be; an inseparable part, a symbiotic co-entity.

Not every man is destined to become a father, but every man is a son. Not every woman is destined to be a mother, but every one is a daughter. In my mind, motherhood/daughterhood is equal in importance to fatherhood/sonship in His kingdom. Never think that I imply it is anything less. 

We may not all be parents, but through the parent/child relationship we can nevertheless experience parenthood from that vertical perspective. Looking up to and looking up at the parent is a good way to understand the parent and thus parenthood. Observing and listening from a lower viewpoint is an advantage. Looking up to, and at, our perfect “parent” in Heaven, our Kingly Father, is a good way to get to know Him, to participate in the great Father – child story, and to take our rightful place as heirs; as princes and princesses, in the Great Kingdom. It is commanded: “Respect your parents so that it will go well with you and your life will be long.” (my paraphrase) This extends, I think, all the way to our Heavenly “Parent”.

I often “see myself” as having been gathered in off the curb and adopted, unconditionally, and without any reservation, as His own child, but more than that, gifted to be reborn – born over again into his family because of the sacrifice of my “big brother”, Jesus.
Fractured first birth healed and made right by the second.

I am almost able to imagine what it took for The Father to turn his back on His suffering son. What agony they both suffered! Who could do that besides the First and Second persons of the Holy Trinity? And all for one purpose they deemed worthwhile – to save this father, this son – and all my fellow fathers and sons; mothers and daughters. How many of us would have tried to tell them, “don’t do it, it’s too much, the cost is too high, No! I’m. Not. Worth. It!” ?

Today, I’m glad they thought I was worth it . . . I worship them for it. I bless them with my meager “blessings” as they have abundantly blessed me . . .

I am indeed fortunate and blessed to be a father, as well as a son.
My hope is that I have imparted some of the greater meaning of that declaration; some of the grander aspects of the relationship.

Although my participation is partial and very imperfect,
participating in The Great Story of Fatherhood and Sonship is a highly meaningful aspect of my life as a believer.

Thank You, Father God!
Thank You, Son of Sons!

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The Expense of Safety – A Reprise – And The Rest Of The Story

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A Good Friday Story;
A Good Anytime Story –


The Expense of Safety

The Ferry to Safety was ready to depart.
Freedom, so close!

Special admission only???
Hope fading.
Whoever missed the boat was lost.
Completely lost and without hope.
One solitary, stringent ticket stand.
A waiting line far too long.

Serious guards watching.
Last chance.
Distress.

But I had not the standing,
Not the requirements,
Not the paperwork,

Nor the price of admission.
I stood forlorn in fear that
I would always wear these chains,

Or be, (oh, so slowly) tortured and killed;
Despair.

Then a man stepped up,
Radiating such undisguised love,
Unveiled compassion.

He gave me his own precious ticket with a smile.
No hesitation.
He paid my price.
Dooming himself with the selfless gesture.
Bewildered, I caught hold of it.

And just in time.
I stood astonished,
Forgetting even to thank him.
“Hurry, it departs;
It’s your one chance,”
He cried over his shoulder

As they cruelly restrained him,
Beat him to the ground,

Roughly dragged him,
Torn, and bleeding,
Yet miraculously silent as
They pinned him brutally against the ticket stand.

His fate I couldn’t know,
Couldn’t imagine.

Didn’t want to guess . . .
In horror and denial,
I watched the scene as I walked backward,

And stepped,
Not nearly grateful enough,
Onto the departing boat.



The Rest of the Story

I was in shock.
And I was safe.
My chains had dropped from me,
into the water,

as I stepped onto the ferry.
Relief overwhelmed me.

Was this how true freedom felt?
After a time, I noticed many others were there.
Some were kneeling, some looking upward
with bowed heads and raised hands.
A woman saw that I was alone.
“You are the last.”
“Yes . . . . . ,
I . . .
It’s incredible!

A man paid my price!”
I was still astonished.
“Mine too!” she exclaimed.
A man looked up . . . “Mine too!”
A child waved; in her hand a ticket:
“Me too!”
“Me too!” cried a young boy.”
A group of teenagers:
“Me too!” “Me too!” “And me!”
“He paid my fare!”
“He gave me his own ticket!”
All of us!
People were gathering into one group,
listening to each other.
“I threw my pass away years ago,
but he gave me another today!” said several.
“I lost mine and he gave me a replacement as well.”
“I didn’t deserve one.”
“I was in prison.”
“My neck was in the noose; I was good as dead.”
“He let me off the hook for the terrible things I said about him.”
“He forgave me too!”
“He gave me another chance.”
“He gave me another, and another, and another.”
“He told me it was ‘never too late’,
when he handed me his boarding pass.”
“He looked at me with love.
Nobody ever did that!”

“I know he saved my life, and not just once!”
“He told me God loves me!”
“I heard him forgive those guards.”
Yes, even while they did detestable things to Him.
I . . . I think . . . they killed him.

“Because of us,” I thought, in sorrow.
“Because we couldn’t get our own passes.”
“We could never qualify.”
“He deserved his ticket more than anyone,
yet he gave it to all of us and forfeited his life.”
 “He loved his life as much as we love ours.”
“Who was that poor man?”
An elderly lady approached on unsteady legs,
holding her ticket toward me in an outstretched hand.
Her eyes were filled with tears.
“He gave me this. I tried to refuse, but he insisted.
It was all . . . he . . . had.

What love he radiated. What love!” she sighed.
Her pass was identical to mine.
They all were.
I looked up at the wheelhouse,
and, to my delight, noticed that the huge watercraft
was named JOY.

As the day passed, people began telling their stories.
Everyone had a story involving the man we called
our hero, our rescuer, our deliverer.
We praised the man with our stories and with singing.
We fasted, partaking only of sweet, cool, water   –
The purest we have ever tasted.
In the evening we ate bread and grapes.
All these things were provided from coolers on the deck.
We became conscious of God’s presence and provision.
Those of us who were new to the faith experience were welcomed
into the family of believers and followers of that one man.
Because of what he did for us, we all worshiped him;
Because he showed us compassionate love,
We adored him;
Longed to see him again,
If only . . .

The boat seemed to expand in size while more people
came up from below.

So many breathing freedom!
Our ongoing rescue continued through the second day,

through which we repeated the fast, the worship,
the stories, and the evening meal.
When would we finally reach the Land of Promised Safety?
We wondered, but with faith and confident hope.
The massive boat churned a wake and plowed its way forward,
persevering steadily on course 
through a third day,
 as our faith and hope grew.
Then, in the cool of the evening of the third day,
we saw land . . .

And I, the undeserving;
I, the ingrate;
I, the impatient;

I, the selfish;
I, the forgiven;
and I, the thankful-rescued,

stood on the foredeck and saw The Man
standing with a grin,
and with open arms,
on the pristine sand of freedom’s shore.

α ∞ Ω
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He. Came. Down.


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He Came Down

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He came down.
Mary said YES,
Then He came down.
Born like us.
Born with us.
Born for us.
Born to us.
Born unto us.
Born into us.
He came down from His Glory,
Leaving Holy Home and Father, to become a creation, in a real sense, just like us . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To be born most humbly into the broken, reeking mess that we, mankind, had made of the world.

To be born into the shameful, smelly mess that I had made of my own wretched heart . . . . . . . . . . .

The defenseless egg of God,

having scarcely a shell.
A tender shoot,
a tiny lamb,
in perfect humility,

he came down naked,
to be born covered with
 another’s blood,
a mother’s sacrificial blood.
Born to be pierced,
and poured out,
and to cover all
others with His
pure, holy blood.
He came down
with only Love as a defense.
Double-sided love.
For us here below,

from Him, up above.
He came down to the dung heap,
the lowest, the basest of places,
a place of no honor;
of ignobility,

because that’s where I was,
I and my neighbors,
hiding under the
layers of dirt.
He could have said
“No, not again”.
He could have said
“To hell with this” . . .
He didn’t have to
rise from His manger
to knock on my
heart’s door.
To clean it all up,
just like new,
from ceiling to floor,
window, to wall,
and spend His life,
His all, for me,
to bear away my sin.
Yet, He would be
the first to admit,
(if He weren’t so humble),
that He did have to.
Someone had to
do something.
But no-one could
except Himself.
I didn’t deserve
His coming down, 
this Wonderful Counselor,
this Mighty God,
this Everlasting Father,
 this Prince of Peace.
This Immanuel.
Savior Lord.
JESUS CHRIST!
But, He came down,
out of love,
bearing light,
carrying forgiveness,
sowing grace like seeds,
ready with a cool drink,
gentle hands to wash our feet,
with tears of compassion,
where sin and mercy meet,
and I’m so glad,
so happy,
so joyously thankful
that He did,
that my glory goes up.
I send it up.
I glorify His name
Who was born into many names,
and into ONE name,
and that name is
The-Name-Above-All-Names.
He came down,
and now He reigns
King of My Heart.

Glory to God in the Highest Heaven!
That

He.
Came.
Down!
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The Happiest Christbirth Celebration to you, today!
LS< Your Gloryteller
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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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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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The Perfect Christmas Gift

I just posted a series of CHRISTmas music videos.
Please scroll down to view all the advent season content I have left
for your pleasure and for His glory.
May your Christmas/Christbirth celebration be the
warmest, most meaningful, most blessed,
and most joyful yet!
***Your Gloryteller***

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

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


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He. Came. Down.


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He Came Down

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He came down.
Mary said YES,
Then He came down.
Born like us.
Born with us.
Born for us.
Born to us.
Born unto us.
Born into us.
He came down from His Glory,
Leaving Holy Home and Father, to become a creation, in a real sense, just like us . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To be born most humbly into the broken, reeking mess that we, mankind, had made of the world.

To be born into the shameful, smelly mess that I had made of my own wretched heart . . . . . . . . . . .

The defenseless egg of God,

having scarcely a shell.
A tender shoot,
a tiny lamb,
in perfect humility,

he came down naked,
to be born covered with
 another’s blood,
mother’s blood.
Born to be pierced,
and poured out,
and to cover all
others with His
pure, holy blood.
He came down
with only Love as a defense.
Double-sided love.
He came down to the dung heap,
the lowest, the basest of places,
a place of no honor;
of ignobility,

because that’s where I was,
I and my neighbors,
hiding under the
layers of dirt.
He could have said
“No, not again”.
He could have said
“To hell with this” . . .
He didn’t have to
rise from His manger
to knock on my
heart’s door.
To clean it all up,
just like new,
from ceiling to floor,
window, to wall,
and spend His life,
His all, for me,
to bear away my sin.
Yet, He would be
the first to admit,
(if He weren’t so humble),
that He did have to.
Someone had to
do something.
But no-one could
except Himself.
I didn’t deserve
His coming down, this
Wonderful Counselor,
this Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
This Immanuel.
Savior Lord.
JESUS CHRIST!
But, He came down,
out of love,
bearing light,
carrying forgiveness,
sowing grace like seeds,
ready with a cool drink,
gentle hands to wash our feet,
with tears of compassion,
where sin and mercy meet,
and I’m so glad,
so happy,
so joyously thankful
that He did,
that my glory goes up.
I send it up.
I glorify His name,
Who was born into many names,
and into ONE name,
and that name is
The-Name-Above-All-Names.
He came down,
and now He reigns
King of My Heart.

Glory to God in the Highest Heaven!
That

He.
Came.
Down!
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The Happiest Christbirth Celebration to you, today!
LS< Your Gloryteller
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Happiness Is Being Born TWICE!

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Today is the anniversary of my second-birth day.
My rebirth day.
My original birth was kind of like Christmas;
Without it, there could have been no Resurrection Day.
Without my first birth, I could not have been re-born.
My life could not have been repaired, resurrected, and redeemed.
First came my birth day,
then an Advent of sorts – a long time of waiting and preparation.
(even if I didn’t realize some of that stuff,
that garbage was preparation)

then the great gift of joy in a second-birth day!
Needless to say, for my birth and rebirth
I am extremely thankful!

♫Happy birthdays to me,
Happy birthdays to me,
For both, I am thankful!
Happy birthdays to me!♫

On this day a few years ago,
I caught Him!
He had been chasing me
harder and harder,
faster and faster,
for about two months.
He chased me until I caught Him!
The lost was found!

The blind saw!
Fear fled!
The enemy ran!

That moment was the perfect meeting of the physical
and the spiritual.
The perfect arc between
the seen
and the unseen.
Grace touching flesh.
Faith bathing a heart.
Salvation invading a body of being.

It was instant, yet time seemed to stretch
into the infinite – into veritable eternity.
One moment, I was slowly dying in a hopeless world,
the next, I was delivered into Heaven!
I was like sea glass –
all the rough, broken edges smoothed –
I was remade from refuse into a beautiful gem!
I was a new creation and I felt it!

It was transformation – metamorphosis!
My cocoon dropped off!
I was free!
A newly adopted child

with a newly granted citizenship
including new customs, traditions,
benefits, privileges, responsibilities,
and a new language!
I wept!
I overflowed!

Needless to say it was a moment of pure JOY!
Joy so intense that it remains to this day.

Thank You, Jesus!
In a sense, I was born with You in that stable.
O, how can I ever thank You enough

for making that possible?!
For me, and for all people!
Thank You, our Highest Lord!
YOU ARE Wonderful!
Counselor!
Mighty God!
Everlasting Father!
Prince of Our Peace!
Happy Birthday to You, dear Jesus,
and because of You,
to me too!


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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,  4-5-2015 and 3-27-2016
(re-posted, with edits, from 3-31-2013)
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Move On, But Remember To Keep Celebrating His Arrival

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

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

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

Blessings, dear reader,
from me, your gloryteller.

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

 

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

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

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

And insisted. And persisted. And insisted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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He Came Down

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He came down.
Mary said YES,
Then He came down.
Born like us.
Born with us.
Born for us.
Born to us.
Born unto us.
Born into us.
He came down from His Glory,
Leaving Holy Home and Father, to become a creation, in a real sense, just like us . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To be born most humbly into the broken, reeking mess that we, mankind, had made of the world.

To be born into the shameful, smelly mess that I had made of my own wretched heart . . . . . . . . . . .

The defenseless egg of God,

having scarcely a shell.
A tender shoot,
a tiny lamb,
in perfect humility,

he came down naked,
to be born covered with
 another’s blood,
mother’s blood.
Born to be pierced,
and poured out,
and to cover all
others with His
pure, holy blood.
He came down
with only Love as a defense.
Double-sided love.
He came down to the dung heap,
the lowest, the basest of places,
a place of no honor;
of ignobility,

because that’s where I was,
I and my neighbors,
hiding under the
layers of dirt.
He could have said
“No, not again”.
He could have said
“To hell with this” . . .
He didn’t have to
rise from His manger
to knock on my
heart’s door.
To clean it all up,
just like new,
from ceiling to floor,
window, to wall,
and spend His life,
His all, for me,
to bear away my sin.
Yet, He would be
the first to admit,
(if He weren’t so humble),
that He did have to.
Someone had to
do something.
But no-one could
except Himself.
I didn’t deserve
His coming down, this
Wonderful Counselor,
this Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
This Immanuel.
Savior Lord.
JESUS CHRIST!
But, He came down,
out of love,
bearing light,
carrying forgiveness,
sowing grace like seeds,
ready with a cool drink,
gentle hands to wash our feet,
with tears of compassion,
where sin and mercy meet,
and I’m so glad,
so happy,
so joyously thankful
that He did,
that my glory goes up.
I send it up.
I glorify His name,
Who was born into many names,
and into ONE name,
and that name is
The-Name-Above-All-Names.
He came down,
and now He reigns
King of My Heart.

Glory to God in the Highest Heaven!
That

He.
Came.
Down!
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The Happiest Christbirth Celebration to you, today!
LS< Your Gloryteller
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The Perfect Christmas Gift

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

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


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Happiness Is Being Born TWICE!

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Today is the anniversary of my second-birth day.
My rebirth day.
My original birth was kind of like Christmas;
Without it, there could have been no Resurrection Day.
Without my first birth, I could not have been re-born.
My life could not have been repaired, resurrected, and redeemed.
First came my birth day,
then an Advent of sorts – a long time of waiting and preparation.
(even if I didn’t realize some of that stuff,
that garbage was preparation)

then the great gift of joy in a second-birth day!
Needless to say, for my birth and rebirth
I am extremely thankful!

♫Happy birthdays to me,
Happy birthdays to me,
For both, I am thankful!
Happy birthdays to me!♫

On this day a few years ago,
I caught Him!
He had been chasing me
harder and harder,
faster and faster,
for about two months.
He chased me until I caught Him!
The lost was found!

The blind saw!
Fear fled!
The enemy ran!

That moment was the perfect meeting of the physical
and the spiritual.
The perfect arc between
the seen
and the unseen.
Grace touching flesh.
Faith bathing a heart.
Salvation invading a body of being.

It was instant, yet time seemed to stretch
into the infinite – into veritable eternity.
One moment, I was slowly dying in a hopeless world,
the next, I was delivered into Heaven!
I was like sea glass –
all the rough, broken edges smoothed –
I was remade from refuse into a beautiful gem!
I was a new creation and I felt it!

It was transformation – metamorphosis!
My cocoon dropped off!
I was free!
A newly adopted child

with a newly granted citizenship
including new customs, traditions,
benefits, privileges, responsibilities,
and a new language!
Needless to say it was a moment of pure JOY!
Joy so intense that it remains to this day.

Thank You, Jesus!
In a sense, I was born with You in that stable.
O, how can I ever thank You enough

for making that possible?!
For me, and for all people!
Thank You, our Highest Lord!
YOU ARE Wonderful!
Counselor!
Mighty God!
Everlasting Father!
Prince of Our Peace!
Happy Birthday to You, dear Jesus,
and because of You,
to me too!


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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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A Tribute To The Unforgettable Zina Nicole Lahr.

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Zina Nicole Lahr

Zina Nicole Lahr

 

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

I didn’t even know her

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

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

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

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

The Community of Humanity mourns your loss, Zina.

I want them to know you –

Know at least a part of who they lost.

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

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

These are quotes from her blog,

normallyoddzina.wordpress.com  :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


See you soon, sister Zina.

Love,
Me

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


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Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!

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

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

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

Rejoice, My Soul – All People, Rejoice!

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

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With love,
Your Gloryteller

 Resurrection Sunday,  4-5-2015
(re-posted from 3-31-2013)
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Good Friday – The Expense of Safety

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A Good Friday Story –
The Expense of Safety

The ferry to safety was ready to depart.
Special admission only.
One stringent ticket stand
With a long line.
I had not the standing,
Nor the price of admission.
I stood forlorn in fear that
I would be tortured and killed.
Then a Man stepped up.
He gave me His ticket with a smile.
And just in time!
He paid my price!
I stood astonished,
Forgetting even to thank Him,
As they cruelly restrained Him,
Beat Him down,
Dragged Him away
To what fate I couldn’t know,
Didn’t want to guess. . .
In horror, I watched
As I walked backward
And stepped onto the departing boat.
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About The Music Links Below

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

The Basic Christian Library

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

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

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

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

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

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

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