On Using Secular Christmas Traditions To Glorify Not Mislead

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

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

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

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

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

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

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One Solitary Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

© 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia
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As eloquent and powerful as this piece is,
I feel that even this is inadequate to explain
the full importance 
to human life on this planet,
of our Immanuel’s life,
sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension.
.
–Your Gloryteller

 

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Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven

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A Children’s Christmas Carol for Everyone

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

 

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

 

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

LS

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He. Came. Down.


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He Came Down

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He came down.
Mary said YES,
then He came down.
Born like us.
Born with us.
Born for us.
Born to us.
Born unto us.
Born into us.
He came down from His Glory,
Leaving Holy Home and Father, to become a creation, in a real sense, just like us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
To be born most humbly into the broken, reeking mess that we, mankind, had made of the world.
To be born into the shameful, smelly mess that I had made of my own wretched heart . . . . . . . . . . .
The defenseless egg of God,
having scarcely a shell.
A tender shoot,
a tiny lamb,
he came down naked,
to be born covered
with another’s blood,
mother’s blood.
Born to be pierced,
and poured out,
and to ‘cover’ all
others with His
pure, holy blood.
He came down
with only Love as a defense.
Double-sided love.
He came down to the dung heap,
the lowest, the basest of places,
a place of no honor; of ignobility,
because that’s where I was,
I and my neighbors,
hiding under the
layers of earthly dirt.
He could have said
“No, not again”.
He could have said
“To hell with this” . . .
He didn’t have to
rise from His manger
to knock on my
heart’s door.
To clean it all,
just like new,
from ceiling to floor,
window, to wall,
and spend His life,
His all, for me,
to bear away my sin.
Yet, He would be
the first to admit,
if He weren’t so humble,
that He did have to.
Someone had to
do something.
But no-one could,
except Himself.
I didn’t deserve
His coming down, this
Wonderful Counselor,
this Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
This Immanuel.
Savior Lord.
JESUS CHRIST!
But, He came down,
out of love,
bearing light,
carrying forgiveness,
sowing grace like seeds,
ready with a cool drink,
gentle hands to wash our feet,
with tears of compassion,
where sin and mercy meet,
and I’m so glad,
so happy,
so joyously thankful
that He did,
that my meager glory goes up.
I send it up.
I glorify His name,
Who was born into many names,
and into ONE name,
and that name is
The-Name-Above-All-Names.
He came down,
and now He reigns
King of My Heart.

Glory to God in the Highest Heaven!
That

He.
Came.
Down!
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The Happiest Christbirth to you, today!
LS< Your Gloryteller
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A Pre-Christmas Act of Worship In A Massive Retail Store

Every December, I like to start the Advent season by posting the video of this enormous, soaring, amazing, heart-warming event. I try not to use the word “love” lightly or frivolously, but I absolutely love this composition from Handel, this immense pipe organ, this crowd, this choir of believers, and the Subject of this song!

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Jesus Lives!
Let Him Be Worshipped
And Adored At All Times,
In All Places,
By All Willing Hearts!
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Worship is not a matter of the place,
no matter how commercial, or secular, or even “holy”.
It’s not a matter of the crowd,
no matter its composition, from the faithful, to the skeptical.
It’s not a matter of the means of praise,
no matter how lofty and soaring, or off key and humble,
nor how vocally and instrumentally technical.
It’s not a matter of numbers,
no matter if a large gathering,
or a single off-key voice,
singing or speaking,
with a clapping beat,
or no beat at all.
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Worship, it seems to me, is a matter of
the condition of each worshipper’s heart.
Only God has full estimation of that;
however, in this retail store there seems to be a crowd of
like-minded, like-hearted, worshippers
setting commercialism aside for an eternal moment

with one great-big, majestic, musical instrument
All led and kept together by one amazing conductor.
How analogous to our God and His people!
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There might be examples of all the above conditions of worship in this video.
He is worshipped and adored here – yes, even here – inside the huge Macy’s in Philadelphia – a worldly, consumeristic, retail marketplace, where materialism and money normally are king. But not on this day!

This highly organized flash mob sings along with the world’s largest working pipe organ, the massive Wanamaker Grand Court Organ.

The “sounding joy”, the full, immense, amount of joy served-up is overwhelming!
In the fullness of time,
every knee will bow to Him,
and,
“He shall reign for ever and ever.”

This year I wanted to add the lyrics:

Hallelujah 
Written by George Friedrich Handel

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
(For the lord God omnipotent reigneth)
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
(Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah)
Hallelujah

The kingdom of this world;
is become
the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ
and of His Christ

And He shall reign for ever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords

And he shall reign
And he shall reign
And he shall reign
He shall reign
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever
and lord of lords hallelujah hallelujah
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords
And he shall reign forever and ever

Forever and ever and ever and ever
(King of kings and lord of lords)

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah

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Cooking A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner – Yes I Can – This Is About Thankfulness


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.
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 you did for me.
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 for 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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That of Himself

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

 

And I thank Him for that!

 

 

Photo credit and verse: Ann Hartsook

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That of Himself

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

 

And I thank Him for that!

 

 

Photo credit and verse: Ann Hartsook

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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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On Using Seemingly Questionable Christmas Traditions For Good

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“What do you think about the lie of Santa Clause?” asked nobody.
“Sure, I’d be glad to weigh in on the Santa controversy,” I replied . . .

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

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

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

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

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A Pre-Christmas Act of Worship In A Retail Store

Every December, I like to start the Advent season by posting the video of this enormous, soaring, amazing, heart-warming event. I try not to use the word “love” lightly or frivolously, but I absolutely love this composition from Handel, this immense pipe organ, this crowd, this choir of believers, and the Subject of this song!

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Jesus Lives!
Let Him Be Worshipped
And Adored At All Times,
In All Places,
By All Willing Hearts!
~

Worship is not a matter of the place,
no matter how commercial, or secular, or even “holy”.
It’s not a matter of the crowd,
no matter its composition, from the faithful, to the skeptical.
It’s not a matter of the means of praise,
no matter how lofty and soaring, or off key and humble,
nor how vocally and instrumentally technical.
It’s not a matter of numbers,
no matter if a large gathering,
or a single self-conscious voice,
singing or speaking,
with a clapping beat,
or no beat at all.
~
Worship, it seems to me, is a matter of
the condition of each worshiper’s heart.
Only God has full estimation of that;
however, in this retail store there seems to be a crowd of
like-minded, like-hearted, worshipers
setting commercialism aside for an eternal moment

with one great-big, majestic, musical instrument
All led and kept together by one amazing conductor;
How analogous to our God and His people!
~
There might be examples of all the above conditions of worship in this video.
He is worshipped and adored here – yes, even here – inside the huge Macy’s in Philadelphia – a worldly, consumeristic, retail marketplace, where materialism and money normally are king. But not on this day!

This huge, highly organized, flash mob sings along with the world’s largest working pipe organ, the massive Wanamaker Grand Court Organ.
This organ is a National Landmark in and of itself!

Wanamaker Grand Court Pipe Organ (this shows only a small fraction of its pipes)


The “sounding joy”, the full, immense, amount of joy served-up is overwhelming!
In the fullness of time,
every knee will bow to Him,
and,
“He shall reign for ever and ever.”

This year I wanted to add the lyrics:

Hallelujah 
Written by George Friedrich Handel

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
(For the lord God omnipotent reigneth)
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
(Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah)
Hallelujah

The kingdom of this world;
is become
the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ
and of His Christ

And He shall reign for ever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords

And he shall reign
And he shall reign
And he shall reign
He shall reign
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever
and lord of lords hallelujah hallelujah
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords
And he shall reign forever and ever

Forever and ever and ever and ever
(King of kings and lord of lords)

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah

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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 you did for me.
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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Languages of Love

An early writing from an early Gloryteller:
(Revisited, rearranged, and re-posted)

What he heard one glorious morning:


Written as fast as He imparted it

sans punctuation
Stream of consciousness
making demands on a reader

to supply hizzerher own marks
It is packed
pressed down and running over
All saying
Open me
Read me again harder

Intensely with feeling

Will you rise to the challenge

~ ~ ~


He speaks every moment

Every place in time
In all interrelated spatial positions

To every creature
And to all creation
Primarily to every heart
And soul who will listen

Every searching mind
May hear the delicate
The precise presiding mathematics

See it in waveforms dancing
Lyric logarithmic
It is indeed everywhere
And in everything

Numbers are the letters
Equations are the words
Complex sentences cascading into paragraphs
Chapters
Books
Libraries
Enumerating Love
And quantifying Compassion

Explaining the structure
The form and function
Of a tree
Of a seashell
Of salt
Of music
Of  you
And me

~~~

Music too is everywhere
And in everything
Messages for every hearing heart
Are you listening
Do you hear the numbers flow
Babbling streams rhythmic audible
Intricately woven tapestries
Of tiny objects singing with ponderous power
And ponderous objects
Containing the hum of inner intricacies

  Noted tones forming letters
 Bars and lines stating phrases
Colorful movements
 Passages soaring with power
Then diminishing to grace

Of operas
Concertos
Whole symphonies
Overtures to all creation

Explaining things unseen
Abstract harmonized with substance
Beauty illuminated
Emotion elucidated
Eternity exclaimed in melody
Glory exponentially expounded
In cooperating frequencies
In particles and waves
Vibrating
Spinning
Circling
Dancing the Great Dance
In the Great Painting
In the Grand Ballroom
Of The Master

A celestial choir singing artistic creativity
Dignified craftsmanship
Timely invention
Science hums with insights
Poetry counts the treasures of thrift
Word and the senses recite Truth

Look and you will find
Faith comes by hearing
Taste and see
A sweet fragrance to Him
He touched their eyes
To illuminate the beauty
Of His sacrifice
His wondrous return

~~~

He shows Himself everywhere
In intellectually intricate patterns
In everything
His Heart speaks

What was made
We didn’t make
In the greater sense
We merely participate

Unworthy creatures we
Surely not math did we create
Surely not music
Not art
Not science
Not The Great Story
The Great Poem

No not Love

Only trouble

~~~

His Image His Nature His Love
He would communicate
To hearts souls minds
So many languages He speaks
Signs and wonders abound
Science
Thought
Art
Inventiveness
Creativity

Sight Hearing Smell Taste Touch
Math
Music
Word
He spoke it all and speaks it now
Citing passages of musical verse
Arrangement
Orchestration
The Great Composition

His endless
Sacred
Lyrical

Languages of Love

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Written fast as He imparted it
sans punctuation
Making heavy demands on a reader
It is packed pressed down and running over
All saying
Open me
Read me again harder
Intensely with feeling

Did you rise to the challenge

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Copyright 8-27-12, and 8-7-2017
Gloryteller Len Snider@Gloryteller.com

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Good Morning, Mountains

I was there at daybreak when the mountains awoke . . .

(I began to worship, not them, but their Creator)

 

“They can’t wake up, and can’t sleep.”
“They are not alive,” you say.

Their existence is a type of life, to my way of thinking.
By my ascription, and by my regard, I bring them life,
And they receive it, even though I have only a
Miniscule understanding of their truest life.
A type of life that traditionally belongs to beings.
And if they are beings, certainly the most massive on the planet.
Certainly among the most majestic!

You may say, “Don’t anthropomorphize,” but why not?
Do they not have faces?
Ancient, craggy, faces?

Long-enduring, weathered faces?
Do they not have names?
Names of nobility, and of honor?
Flanks?
Sides?
Feet?
Do they not move, albeit imperceptibly?

Calm and unhurried?
They turn and roll and rise!
Don’t they shed their rocky skins?
And where is the heart of a mountain?
Deep, pressurized-miles within!

So . . .
At daybreak . . .
By myself, with my Lord Guide beside . . .
I rode down into the valley, 
And stood beside the racing, melt-swollen river.
The dim, misty, light of dawn lent a surreal feel to the scene.
We looked up Spruce Canyon, high into the peaks.
Surrounded by the Living Creation,
And watched the sun illuminate those peaks,
Whose eyes began to open and reflect hues of  yellow, orange, and pink.
Who lifted their heads and tipped their white nightcaps.
Whose chests were shrouded with blankets of clouds.
Who began to push those comforters downward towards their feet.
Who began to yawn and stretch in the yellow,
Downward-spreading warmth.

The feel was no longer surreal, but absolutely real!
Overwhelmingly, breathtakingly, real.

Making mental notes,
Fixing memories indelibly,

We rode on,
Up the valley to nestle among those great, revered, toes,
Wiggling in the morning canyon.

I was the only human there to see . . .
I was there at daybreak to see the mountains awake . . . 

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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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A Pre-Christmas Act of Worship In A Retail Store

Every December, I like to start the Advent season by posting the video of this enormous, soaring, amazing, heart-warming event. I try not to use the word “love” lightly or frivolously, but I absolutely love this composition from Handel, this immense pipe organ, this crowd, this choir of believers, and the Subject of this song!

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Jesus Lives!
Let Him Be Worshipped
And Adored At All Times,
In All Places,
By All Willing Hearts!
~

Worship is not a matter of the place,
no matter how commercial, or secular, or even “holy”.
It’s not a matter of the crowd,
no matter its composition, from the faithful, to the skeptical.
It’s not a matter of the means of praise,
no matter how lofty and soaring, or off key and humble,
nor how vocally and instrumentally technical.
It’s not a matter of numbers,
no matter if a large gathering,
or a single off-key voice,
singing or speaking,
with a clapping beat,
or no beat at all.
~
Worship, it seems to me, is a matter of
the condition of each worshipper’s heart.
Only God has full estimation of that;
however, in this retail store there seems to be a crowd of
like-minded, like-hearted, worshippers
setting commercialism aside for an eternal moment

with one great-big, majestic, musical instrument
All led and kept together by one amazing conductor.
How analogous to our God and His people!
~
There might be examples of all the above conditions of worship in this video.
He is worshipped and adored here – yes, even here – inside the huge Macy’s in Philadelphia – a worldly, consumeristic, retail marketplace where materialism and money normally are king. But not today!

This highly organized flash mob sings along with the world’s largest working pipe organ, the massive Wanamaker Grand Court Organ.

The “sounding joy”, the full, immense, amount of joy served-up is overwhelming!
In the fullness of time,
every knee will bow to Him,
and,
“He shall reign for ever and ever.”

This year I wanted to add the lyrics:

Hallelujah 
Written by George Friedrich Handel

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
(For the lord God omnipotent reigneth)
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

For the lord God omnipotent reigneth
(Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah)
Hallelujah

The kingdom of this world;
is become
the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ
and of His Christ

And He shall reign for ever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
King of kings forever and ever hallelujah hallelujah
and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords

And he shall reign
And he shall reign
And he shall reign
He shall reign
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings forever and ever
and lord of lords hallelujah hallelujah
And he shall reign forever and ever

King of kings and lord of lords
King of kings and lord of lords
And he shall reign forever and ever

Forever and ever and ever and ever
(King of kings and lord of lords)

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah

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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!

~ ~ ~

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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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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Previous Older Entries

About The Music Links Below

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

The Basic Christian Library

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

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

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

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

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

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

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My Signature Story

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

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

The content here's not to be used,

But to only be read and perused.

If you copy it off,

My lawyer's not soft,

And your fortune is mine - you got sued!

Gloryteller :-)

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