It’s Hard To Dance When You Don’t Hear The Music

^^^

^^^^^

To my friend who is an atheist:

I used to think somewhat as you do, so I know something of  “where you are”.
“Late in life”, I discovered something that “works” infinitely better.
It is said that those who dance are considered insane by someone who doesn’t hear the music. 
Like many older men and women who were, unlike me, actually brilliant and talented,
I began to hear The Music.  It became clearer, and then it began to move my limbs.
It’s like not being able to hear a dog-whistle, but you can tell that a dog does, because you can see its reaction when it is used.
God’s music is like that, and what complete and utter JOY there is in dancing to it!
My hope is that you will hear it, whether it begins faintly or thunders suddenly.
Whether in a voice,  a birdsong, an orchestra, windchimes, or simply an inner tune that won’t be denied.
Once you hear the pureness, the truth, in its melody, you will know what I mean, and your heart will begin its joyful dance.

Love to you.
Always.
Gloryteller

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Metaphor Mountain

 

I “love” mountains and I “love” The Mountains.

(I’m using quotation marks because I’m trying to teach myself to use the words “love” and “hate” appropriately, that is to save them for situations in which their true meaning applies)

What I really mean to say is that I like mountains intensely.  In my book, one can only love living entities that one can have some sort of relationship with, like God (especially Him), a person, or perhaps a pet.  Of course the words love and hate can be used metaphorically and that’s the way they are most often used.  You hear it umpteen-zillion times a day. (Wink) I, myself, hate that.  Oops, I dislike that.  It is so common we don’t even notice the frequency of “I love it when”…., or, “I hate it when”. It’s annoying when I hear “I just love your hair, and that purse, I just love that, that’s to die for!”. We all do it, but how did we get so far from the true usage?   Love God with everything you’ve got.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  That’s a tall enough order for the word “love”. Hate the sin, love the sinner! Another mighty tall order, yet, in those two sentences are found the true meaning and usefulness of the words love and hate.

I’ve gotten slightly off the trail. Let’s get back on it: If there were inanimate objects I could love, however, they would be “the mountains”.  I have had, and am having, some wonderful real and metaphorical relationships with them, a few notable individual mountains in particular. If I had a “bucket list”, being in the mountains would be on it right after being with my people.

Mountains have real and metaphoric value in my life because they emphasize several opposing concepts:

Ascending and descending.
Higher and lower.
Danger and safety.
Climbing and falling.
Struggle and peace.
Beauty and desolation.
Heaven and Earth.
Spirit and flesh.
Good and evil.
And the awareness of the proximity of
life and death.

I could expand this list almost endlessly, but you get the point.

Recently, the subject of death has been on my mind. My post, https://gloryteller.com/2013/03/25/one-last-mountain/,  uses ascending a mountain as a metaphor for death.  Perhaps it will become more than a metaphor.  Perhaps I will “meet Death” on the slopes of a real mountain. Most likely it will be a metaphoric mountain that will claim my bodily life.

When I was transformed into a believer, my many and various fears were either taken away completely or were significantly diminished. My almost obsessive fear of death was one that was removed. All that is left is the natural, instinctive, compulsion to preserve my bodily life. Death, to me, is the necessary step I must take to reach Paradise, Heaven, and eternal life in the presence of my Lord and my Heavenly Father. Yet, it dawned on me that perhaps I’m taking death too lightly. Is it really a natural part of life? Is there nothing that can be done about it? If it is normal and natural, should anything be “done” about it?

I subscribe to the school of thought that death is a corruption thrust into a creation that was perfect before selfishness turned into sinfulness and spoiled the whole plan. I also believe that there is something that should be, and can be, done about death, and that is to believe, and believe in the Savior, who was sent to vanquish it. Death is the consequence of our sinful nature, but He accepted true death in our places, so that we would not have to face the permanent consequences of our selfishness. Jesus defeated selfishness with selflessness! Everything that should and could be done about the problem of death has already been done! Problem solved! Done! Over! Finished! But only for believers in the One who did it perfectly and died for it perfectly! (I’ll leave it to you to discern and comprehend the larger, more complex, concept of death beyond the relatively simple death of a body.)

So, that being said, perhaps I still don’t really know enough about death, nor the process through which it will take me. Perhaps when the moment comes, I’ll be unprepared and I might succumb to fear, or find out that everything I thought I knew was wrong. It only happens once, and, although there are those who claim to have returned to their bodies, or returned from Heaven or Hell after they died, I suspect that death is an individually unique occurrence to which the testimonies of others have little value. There is only one person I personally know who has returned from death – my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I only trust what He said about it. That is recorded in the New Testament.

To climb a mountain, it is vital to be prepared. It’s interesting that the word “vital” comes from Latin roots meaning “relating to life, or the quality of being alive”. In my case, it means being able to preserve my life and my ability to stay alive throughout the whole journey; until the adventure is completed. I must pack the essential food, water clothing, and first aid supplies. I must have a map of the area and the route to the top either in my “head” or in my pack. I must be in good physical condition. I must have a positive mental attitude. I must have skills and knowledge, and be able to use them wisely. I must read extensively about the subject. I also must know how to pray and talk to the only One who will be my companion all the way. There will be only one chance to “get it right”.

Preparing to summit a mountain is like anticipating both bodily and metaphysical death – knowledge about what will kill you, makes you stronger. The stronger you are, the more likely a good outcome. The Bible says every person will die, then live again in an eternal body. The only question is “ which of two eternal ‘places’ will a person exist in after that”. I choose life – abundant life – with God.

Yes, that metaphoric mountain rises before me, and yes, evil will stalk me all the way up, but, before me, Jesus walked, and fell, and died, and lived again on that final mountain so that I would need to fear no evil; so that I would not have to fall, and break, and die before reaching the summit. His Spirit will accompany me and I will rely on His strength as I get weaker on my journey to the top, where He, Himself, awaits my arrival. From this land’s end until The Endless Land, I will trust God and believe in The Son of Man, and that not a moment too soon, for now, day breaks the gloom of night, and I can begin to see my humbling,        huge,        sobering,         mysterious,       towering,        massif on the horizon.

^^^

An Expanded Prayer To My Father In Heaven

 

My Father

 

Oh, my Father-God and my Lord, Who walks the vast halls of Heaven,
Where You live, and breathe, and reign sovereign
Over everything finite and eternal.
From where You speak,
From where You write Your Word,
From where You see all, know all, and do all,
From where You give Your unfathomable grace,
Your mercy, and forgiveness,
From where You open Your hands and pour out goodness,
And from where You sent Your Love Incarnate, Immanuel.

Your name is Holy.
Let me kneel humbly, respectfully,
In reverence to Your glorious name.

May Your kingdom, Your realm, be established,
May Your kingship be proclaimed,
May everything You desire to happen
Be done here on Earth, just as it is in Heaven.

I ask that You continue to provide all I need
In the form of wholesome food and water to nourish my body,
As well as The Living Bread, and The Living Water,
And understanding of Your Word, with personal revelation,
To nourish my soul.

I ask that You help me remember how You paid my debts
On the horrible cross of torture.
How You took my sin upon Yourself, Jesus,
How You gave Yourself in propitiating atonement, and in conciliation,
And appeasement, for my trespasses against You, Father-God.
Help me Lord to continue to learn to forgive others their debts against me,
Their trespasses, wrongs, crimes, and sins against me,
Just as You have so mercifully and graciously forgiven mine through Christ.

I ask You, Lord, to lead me away from the temptations of this world.
Help me keep your Word, Your principles, in obedience.
Lead me through the minefields, the snares, and the pitfalls,
For they are many, and my enemy shows me only the bait,
But hides the trap well.
Protect and deliver me from that devil, from that evil one, in Jesus name!

And finally, Almighty Father, I want to proclaim Your Kingdom.
It is the Kingdom of kingdoms, and You are the King of kings!

I proclaim that Your power is absolute.  It is the power that created
Beautiful Creation in its entire completeness.
It is the power to create human beings in Your image,
Human minds, souls, and hearts.
It is the awe-inspiring, miraculous power to change those hearts,
And save those souls.

And, I proclaim Your Glory, Lord.
How can I explain Your Glory?
It is too beautiful, too splendidly colorful, too exquisitely bright!
It blinds my eyes, baffles my mind, closes my mouth.
It is love unleashed, fervent, and intense.
It is Your inexplicable mercy, and grace, and kindness, and generosity.
It is as inexplicable as You, my God.
You’re glorious in Your Glory.
You ARE the Most High Lord,  Holiness Itself, Ancient of Days, The Great I AM.

Yes, Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory,
For all time, and through unfathomable eternity.
You are my ABBA, my Heavenly Father-God to Whom I pray this prayer.
In Jesus’ most holy name.
Amen, and Amen.

 

Writing Is ?

Writing Is?

Writing is not my life,
But the Life I write of
is.
Writing is not my god,
But the God I write of
IS.

Beyond My Understanding

 Beyond My Understanding

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.    Proverbs 3:5

Way beyond my understanding.
All I know is
It was a miracle that remains
And the miracle was a gift
Delivered to crumbling doorstep
Outside my sagging door locked tight
Nailed shut,
Yet breached,
It sat inside on rotting floor
Shining to be opened.
To be believed past unbelief
By miracle, not my doing.

Gift

It is salvation wrapped in grace undeserved.
The gift of faith to see hope once unseen.
A new heart unchained
Full with compassion
And repentance like a changing wind.
Heart to feel abundant love long unfelt
And mirror eyes to see myself as I am seen
Then others too, the same.
And mercy, charity, a call to pray,
A heart to sing, a heart to praise,
Hands to raise, a Book to read
All unwrapped and taken out,

When gift, upon gift, inside gift, unveiled
Then took away all fears and doubts
Healed my aching soul complete
And full and whole, then more, and more
A heart to tell of gifts and Glory,
Of His Great Love,

Holding out poor offerings,
And gratitude, a heart of thanks, 
I thank you JESUS, thank you LORD!
That You should care for me.
To rebuild my house,
To give me gifts,
To give me Yourself.

Oh, Miracles beyond my dull understanding,
Though nothing is beyond Yours,
I can but sit in rejoicing gratitude.
And no better gift
Nor more precious treasure
Could forever enter
Through my splintered door.

No One Doesn’t

No One Doesn’t

One can push the fact away. Deny it.
Ignore it.
Refuse it.
Reject it.
Decline it.
Or flat turn it down.
The fact is this:
No one doesn’t want love.
Everyone wants love.
Whether they know it or not.
Even needs it, to my mind.
It feeds the soul.
It quenches her thirst.
Shelters her.
Clothes her in glorious splendor.
No one doesn’t long for love.
No one doesn’t!
Like breathing.
You can’t breathe properly, nothing seems right.
Some accept that, many deny it.
But it remains, beyond denial.
Beyond refusal.
Beyond all rejection of the idea.
As nectar remains deep inside the flower.
As life is encased inside the hard, dry seed.
The longing lives in us all.
A smoldering coal.
Unquenchable.
An unreachable itch.
Unscratchable.
We search a lifetime to reach, to quench.
I know that in myself.
Ahhh, to love and be loved…
Then sometimes we get close to the true thing.
Happiness, found and satisfied.
Love, at last!
It lasts a lifetime, sometimes.
But even then, a tickle, deep inside a hidden part.
Says, even that was just a shadow behind a veil.
A distant blurred image in smoky air.
The old longing still murmurs and rubs.
But WHYYY?  We rail. This has to be it, or all is lost.
Then we cry out against the One who put it there.
Wait……… The One………
Could there be a reason?
Something more?
A Truth I didn’t see before?
A seed of longing meant for me?
To search and find the one true thing?
God’s everlasting love for me!
The Love that always satisfies!
The Good News of the Prince of Peace!
The perfect Love that makes one free.
It’s the Love by which all other loves are seen.
It’s the Love inside which all other loves exist.
It’s the light by which our souls are lit.
No more itch, no more inner burning.
No more chafing, murmuring.
Except in the longing for more of Him.
Which, we need but ask, He gladly gives.
No one doesn’t long for that.
The proof  is in this overflow.
The love that’s pouring from this pen.
This here, this now, this absolute joy!
From Him, back to Him.
For me, for you.
Deny that, be ignorant of it, refuse it,
Push it away, reject it,
We still need it, want it, live for it.
It’s so deep and wide,
That because of it, out of it, and for it,
Jesus was born, and lived, and died, and arose.
No one doesn’t long for that kind of love.
Not in the soul, one doesn’t.
No one doesn’t long for Love.
No one doesn’t.
No one.

God Gives That We May Give To Him

At Christmastime, when I was a boy, my dad understood the relative poverty of his children, so he would give us each a small amount of money to be spent on gifts for the other family members.  What was a small amount to him was a small fortune to us, so we each happily shopped with Mom and picked out trinkets and treasures for our siblings and parents.  Wrapping the gifts was fun, but the best part was the excited anticipation we had for Christmas morning when the family would partake in what we children had built in our minds to be the Olympics of giving and receiving.  It was as good as it gets, and after all the unwrapping, and showing, and laughing, and modelling, and cheering, and thanking, we all felt richer and more blessed than we were before.  But it was Dad and Mom, I think, who felt the most blessed, for having given to us so that we could bless each other with gifts.  The money they gave us came back to them, multiplied, in seeing generosity, unselfishness, and brotherly love instilled into us and put into action.  And so it is with God.  He gives out of His abundance, into our poverty, that we may bless others.

Remember:
God gives to us out of His riches,
The gifts we receive are to bless others,
Which is our greatest gift to Him, in turn.

Whether the gift of writing, of singing, of making music, of delivering a message, of healing, of encouraging, of hospitality, of giving time or treasures, of working or helping, of giving testimony, of sowing seeds, of doing a kindness, of giving a hug, or a simple smile, you do have one gift – or more – that you can share with others who are destitute until they receive your unique offering.  All these things came from God.  Shouldn’t we make sure they get back to Him through the proper channels?

Doxology

Doxology

 

 

The word “doxology” comes from the Greek words “glory” and “saying”.  That sounds a lot like “glorytelling” to me, so lets explore a little deeper.

A doxology is a short prayer, verse, or hymn expressing praise to God.  Often poetic, I see it as a triumphant, glorious conclusion to a session of praise and worship of  The Triune God by a congregated “body of believers”.  Let us review a few of the doxologies available to us to glorify the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit:

This one is a familiar doxology, often added at the end of the Lord’s Prayer:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.”
This verse seems to be an addition to the ancient text of Matthew 6:13.  I rather like it there.  It seems right to say this out loud.  It can also be sung.

In the Epistle of Jude, the last two verses are considered to be a doxology:
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

This Roman Catholic doxology is sung by the presiding priest after the eucharistic prayer:
Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever. Amen.

Here is one I remember singing in the Methodist Church of my youth.  It is from an unknown author, and is known as “The Gloria Patri” and “The Lesser Doxology”:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, Amen.

Certain Canadian Churches, as well as The United Church of Christ, sing  this doxology:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise God, all creatures here below;
Praise God for all that love has done;
Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One.

Then there is this one, sometimes called “The Greater  Doxology”.  It is an expansion of Luke 2:14 :
Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the highest)

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men of good will.
We praise You,
we bless You,
We adore You,
We glorify You,
We give thanks to You
For your great glory,
Lord God, Heavenly King,
God the Almighty Father.
Lord Only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
You Who take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
You Who take away the sins of the world,
hear our prayer.
You Who sit at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.
For You alone are holy,
You alone are the Lord,
You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
With the Holy Spirit
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

This next is an old standard simply called “The Doxology”.  I happily sang this in my youth as well.  I’m sure you will recognize it.  It goes like this:
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
These lyrics were written by Thomas Ken in 1674  as the final verse of his hymn “Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun”.  The music for “Doxology”, which is sung in many churches today, is attributed to Louis Bourgeois and his “Old 100th Genevan Psalter”, from 1551.  Here are the complete lyrics of the beautiful “Awake, My Soul,….” :

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

Thy precious time misspent, redeem,
Each present day thy last esteem,
Improve thy talent with due care;
For the great day thyself prepare.

By influence of the Light divine
Let thy own light to others shine.
Reflect all Heaven’s propitious ways
In ardent love, and cheerful praise.

In conversation be sincere;
Keep conscience as the noontide clear;
Think how all seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.

All praise to Thee, who safe has kept
And hast refreshed me while I slept
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake
I may of endless light partake.

Heav’n is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art,
O never then from me depart;
For to my soul ’tis hell to be
But for one moment void of Thee.

Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew.
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design, or do, or say,
That all my powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole glory may unite.

I would not wake nor rise again
And Heaven itself I would disdain,
Wert Thou not there to be enjoyed,
And I in hymns to be employed.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

There are many doxologies in the Bible, and they are all a blessing to both worshiper and God.  I urge you to find and use them.

In conclusion, I would like to offer my own version of “Doxology” in order to replace the word “ghost” (not that there’s anything wrong with it):

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise God, holy Three In One;
Praise loving Father, Spirit, Son.
Amen, Amen.
LS<

What an honor to proclaim His glory,
In doxologies spoken and sung.
For it’s a pleasure to repeat the story,
Of The Father, The Spirit, and Son.

LS<

I Would Rather Live My Life….

I Would Rather Live My Life….

 

I would rather live my life believing there is a God and die to find out there isn’t than live my life believing there isn’t a God and die to find out there is.” – Albert Camus

This statement sounds good at first glance doesn’t it? Perhaps a good starting point for a journey of faith? If one looks more closely, it is, however, lacking. It barely scratches the surface. What about knowing there is a God? What about knowing God personally? What about knowing we are loved and treasured? What about knowing exactly how He wants us to live our lives? What about knowing that Jesus is our personal Savior, Lord, and risen King? What about reading what He has to say about all this in His own Words? What about knowing exactly who we will face when we die, and also what happens after that?

I would rather live my life knowing my Creator God, my Lord and Savior, and what He says about Himself – and me – than to live my life wondering and speculating about Him.” LS<

Another Divine Paradox

Another Divine Paradox

And then I considered Job…….

 

“Oh, Divine paradox that trials may be desirable,
That attack indicates being on the right track,
That oppression can be a positive expression,
That the enemy’s wrath means I’m on the right path,
That God weaves the brambles of satan’s discouragement into a soft, glorious, robe of encouragement.

 

When I was newly born-again I was warned that I would be attacked because the devil considered me vulnerable.  It happened several times, but I withstood because forewarned was forearmed!  But, as I grew in faith, and with the passage of time, that warning wore off.  Now, every time I drop my guard, the debbil is ready and very willing to punch me where it hurts, especially just when I feel I’m getting closer to God.  It seems that he attacks when threatened.  Doesn’t want to be forgotten by his old pal who has betrayed and forsaken him.  He wants his revenge, no doubt.  The ultimate stalker.  The quintessential murderer.  Should we take it as a sign that we are on the “right track” with the Lord when we are sore-oppressed by the enemy?  I think so, yes.   “Because God redeems even this….”
By this be encouraged, oh People.  Be forewarned, and stand your ground.
Remember, the more worthy the adversary, the more cunning and vicious satan’s attack.  Be a worthy adversary!

(each time God sits a writer down to write, satan knows he’s lost another fight)
wink 😉
LS<

 

 

Her First Christmas Card

To my own
Morning Star.

Her First Christmas Card

Between. That’s where he was. Dave was between sleep and consciousness. Between clarity and the fog brought about by unbidden change. Between the deep mystery of Christmas Eve and the lambent hope he always found on Christmas Day.

He was warm and relaxed under Mary’s favorite comforter. Although teetering on the rim of the slope leading back down into the pool of sleep, he began to remember. Years of Christmas memories. Welcome, warm ones. She was in them all from the beginning. He remembered the card he had bought her before their first Christmas together. Undelivered that first Christmas, he had left it in his sock drawer under his mother’s Bible. It had remained undelivered, regretfully, because of circumstances better left buried. Complicated days, those had been. Yet, they had worked their way through them with love, and with indispensable Divine help.  He gave her the card the next year, when it could be wholeheartedly given.

Even now the demands of the season had come between them. Kept them apart yet again. Highlighted their differences. Hampered communication. Brought frustrations, then prevented resolution of those frustrations. When he tried to picture them together in unity, in oneness, the image of “One Being” kept sliding apart into two, like that of binoculars which refused to stay in focus. How he longed to have everything right and perfect between them.

So it was right, tonight, that he remember that card, for reading it together had become one of the centerpieces of their unity during many Christmases ……

Because You Mean So Much”,

it said, above pine branches and a sprig of holly complete with red berries. He smiled in the recalling.

Gilded around the edges. Swirling red flower stems and buds as a background for the message. He had memorized the front:

I believe that God brings certain people into our lives for a reason.

Some days it’s to help us see something new and wonderful.
Sometimes it’s to encourage us and strengthen our faith.

And sometimes it’s to remind us that we are never truly alone….”

He nodded in affirmation. Mentally, he opened the card. The same evergreen pine and holly
above a verse:

How natural it is that I should feel as I do about
you, for you have a very special place in my heart”, Philippians 1:7.”

The two tears which began forming in his ever-green eyes testified to the truth of that scriptural passage. How appropriate that the verse was centered on the left-hand page, for it had been the heart of his message to her. He had to pry his attention from it to the continuance of the main message found on the last page:

Whatever purpose God had in bringing us together,

I’m just grateful that He did.

You’ve been a real source of understanding in my life,

and it means more to me than I can ever say

to have the gift of your friendship and caring.”

“Merry
Christmas”

He grinned unreservedly.

He had held his heart too close – or maybe not close enough. Missed some chances back then. It took months to recover his balance, but thanks to prayer, God had sent blessings, grace, and miracles.
He was wide awake now. All was calm and all was bright. Too calm and too bright? Moonlight traced a bright rectangle on the carpet as he became aware that her warmth and her steady breathing were absent. She wasn’t next to him in their big bed. Throwing back the comforter, he moved his legs over the edge, put his bare feet on the floor, and stood up intent on finding and joining her. Almost through the bedroom door, he turned back. There it was, right where he kept it under the Bible, behind the socks. He grasped the red envelope which contained his first Christmas greeting to his Beloved.

As he passed the arched doorway to the kitchen, the new stove caught his eye with its bright, clean, modern lines. The old one had been serviceable, but was badly worn. It had had none of the new digital gadgets. It was ordinary. “Kind of like me?” He mused. He missed the old thing.. He was sentimental that way. He remembered all the times they had danced near that stove, especially while meals were being prepared upon it. It had been a place of comfort in the chill of winter. Amused, he remembered the big pots of chili being prepared for company – with large pans of cornbread in the oven. Ahhh, the smells! Ahhh, the dancing in the close embrace of his Beloved…..
Down the hall he turned the corner and there she was, silhouetted in front of the glass doors which opened onto the deck. Looking out upon the snow-covered cornfields, she was radiant even in her white flannel pajamas – the ones with the little candy canes among the faces of angelic-looking sleeping children. Moonlit brightly! The filmy, sheer blue gown she wore over her ‘jams’ added to her mystery. Heartwrenchingly lovely! His Morning Star! Gosh, she was something truly special!

“I knew you would come, I felt it,” she said quietly. Had she been crying? “Our moon is perfectly full tonight of all nights!”
“Mary.” He kept his voice soft and low. “Just for us, do you think? Wow, it
is big! I think that’s the brightest, most beautiful one I’ve ever seen, and so unusually far to the northeast!” Perhaps he was annoyingly analytical at times. He put his arms around her from behind.
“Yes, I’m sure this one is just for us”, she whispered………… “Dave? I was just thinking of my lovely, perfect, Christmas card that you like to read to me every year on Christmas Eve. Would you read it to me later, in bed? I really need that tonight.”
“My love, I have it right here.”
“Wow,” she exclaimed in wonder and delight as he gently turned her to face him. Then he kissed her. It lasted. They paused, and, inspired, he began whispering the words to ‘Silent Night’. She joined him then, and they were softly singing together, for only with him could she truly sing her heart’s song…..And he, his. Only with her.
They sang, began swaying, then began dancing. In close embrace. Rejoicing together by the light of the Christmas full moon.
Angels danced unseen, and sang as well. They could feel them. “Silent
night, holy, holy, holy, night. All is calm, all is bright.”

Right on cue, the grandfather clock began “chiming twelve” as if to say, “Re-joice, re-joice, for-Christ-the-Lord-is-born-this-day!”

He counted the syllables aloud just to make sure, for he was compulsive that way. She giggled happily. Ring-ringing! Exactly twelve chimes – twelve wondrous sounds with meaning reverberating through eternity.
They looked into each others’ eyes and said in unexpected unison, as was their habit and their gift, “Happy Birthday Jesus” ……………. Eyes wide – always amazed when this happened.

Then : “I Love You, always remember that!” In unexpected unison, they had done it again!
Green and brown sparkles swirled as their eyes twinkled……………..

Their images resolved into One.
Under the brilliant full moon,
All Heaven and Earth
celebrated, rejoicing with them.

The angels kept dancing,

And so did they.

***

Peace, Love, and Hope
Beyond your understanding,
Be yours tonight.
Merry Christmas, 12-24-2012

© Copyright by Lenn Snider 12-24-2012

Shards

A   FORE-WORD

I feel very strange.  The day before yesterday I was strongly led to write this unusual piece – “Shards”.  (unusual, for me, in its pain and darkness – I’m more into joy) Around noon yesterday (Friday, 12-14-2012) I saw the horrible, heartbreaking tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on the news.
I had not planned to give God much of a part in this poem.  I intended it for encouragement for one individual, that “they” might be encouraged by it and know that they are not alone in their plight of brokenness. However, yesterday morning, as I awoke, I was strongly led to change it, and include His compassionate nature in the final stanzas.
I hesitated to post this in fear of being inappropriate, but I feel strongly that He wants someone to read this.  I emphasize that this was written before the tragedy.  It is my hope and prayer that it will draw someone to Him and  lead them into his arms.
Today I will post “Shards”.  I have no answers to the usual questions which tend to make people turn away from God in times like these.  “Where’s God?” “Why does God allow innocent blood to be spilled; innocent lives to be taken?”  “Why does He so often allow evil to prevail?”  “Is it because of the rebellious and disobedient nature of mankind?”  “Is it because when we, as a people, decided to ‘go it alone’ without Him, He decided to show us how that would work out for us?”
This is all I know at this moment:   I refuse to let these questions shatter the faith that I, with His grace, have gone through so much to maintain.  I refuse to be captive to my own meager understanding.  Jesus didn’t come to earth to eliminate murder.  We still live under the curse of evil and we all face death – old and young alike – but Jesus came here to address death and defeat it for each of us through His resurrection.  I refuse to let evil steal my joy and my hope, for this is what it boils down to, for me — that our only hope to be reunited with those innocent souls is through Jesus Christ.  I am absolutely certain that Jesus’ compassion for innocent souls, those taken too soon, is immense, for, in a sense, He was one of them It is through faith, trust, and belief in Him alone that we will  be allowed to rejoin those beautiful innocents again in full joy, to sing, and dance, and laugh, and love with them forever.

Shards

The countless shards of one shattered heart,
An exploding, expanding sphere of chaos,
Spreading wide and scattering  apart,
Across the world, a swarm of loss.
Shards acutely sharp,
Across the heavens, destruction hurled,
Shards immutably hard,
Dark devastation unfurled.

Small flechettes ripping flesh and bone,
Piercing even the fragile membrane
Between the body and the soul,
Replacing joy’s song with despair’s refrains
Shredding the universe into coarse turmoil,

~~~

Where, in the lovingkindness of His heart of compassion,
God gathers them all in His arms, and His hands,
And skillfully, then, He begins to re-fashion
Refitting them back as only He can.

Remaking, shaping, forming, unshattering,
Deftly rounds off the pain and re-tunes –  it’s an art,
He fits them all back, in a shape that’s most flattering.
Then removing the thing that tore them apart,

He creates a new unshatterable heart.
He creates a brand-new unshardable heart.

By Grace Un-Limited

 

By Grace Un-Limited

 

Oh, Lord, I have swum astounded, deep into clear Hawaiian lagoons

Holding my breath in the pressing foreign world

On my own before I knew You

In rocky marine corridors where fear is, and faith calls

Twenty feet down in discomfort, but not crushed

Where beautiful creatures live and breathe effortlessly

Looking up in urgency, life and light seemed much too far away

Yet I rose up from distress and received life through Your mercy.

 

Oh, Lord, I have climbed to dizzying heights in the Rockies

Only on Your power, not my own, amazed that You allowed it

Where breathing became gasping and cold winds blew

Where even clouds and birds played far below my perch

And glorious formations waited for me to stand upon them

Inhospitable, the threatening no-man’s-land, even dangerous

Hesitation overcome by hope of life renewed

In flatter places well-made for my warmth and breath.

 

Oh, Lord, I have delved deep  into vast, southern subterranean chambers

Where squeezing darkness rules in uneasy peace

Where tunnel and precipice wait and bat wings warn

Where immeasurable  crushing weights loom overhead

Where magnificent earthly artwork poses to be admired

Exploration of being — of Spirit, of Earth, and of Spirit again

Who am I to be adventuring out of self and into You who creates

From a Living Love so unrestricted, so infinite, so boundless?

 

Oh, Lord, Your grace has pulled my heart, my mind, my very soul

Strongly, surely, toward quick-receding limits

Then beyond limits where that beautiful grace can be grasped

Where hope, and faith, and mercy can be held, and felt, and measured

Where peace is palpable, and there is no end

Where Your very Love can be embraced, and seen, and heard

And where, only through Christ, my being, my existence, my overwhelming joy

Is released, freed, and un-limited from the ends of Earth into Life Without End.

 

Copyright by Len Snider, Gloryteller   11-1-12

 

 

Too Much Me In Me

 

 

Too Much Me In Me

 

There’s too much me within me, Lord

There’s too much me in me

So much too much I wish you’d take

Away the excess You don’t need

Then more’s the room You’ll make

For work and glories You can use

Lord, empty all the wasted me

Replace the empty space with You!

Boiled Down

 

I have taken a hiatus, of sorts, from writing during this demanding season, but the heat has at least served to boil something down for me.  Today, while doing the most mundane work, wrapped in sweat and dirt, I was given renewed purpose and also a new way to express my purpose:

To come to know my Father-God’s GLORY in new, deeper, more exciting, more relevant terms, whether the individual revelations be particulate or magnificent;  and then, in my own way, with His guidance, to constantly make known that GLORY to all the people who have eyes to see, and for all nations who have the ears to hear.

I have faith in His faithfulness to bring this to be in me.

Solid stone heart made tender and pliable.

Unworthiness made righteous.

Dreary unforgiveness fading as the grey flees sunrise.

His Selfless Love replacing selfish “love”.

To come to know and, in the knowing, to make it known…..

Yes, this will be do-able.

He boiled it down.

 

Love’s Deep

Love’s Deep

 He awoke suddenly, startled into full consciousness from a deep sleep. It was the reverberation of the dream that had roused him. He blinked and turned onto his back. From experience, he knew that when he awoke right after having a dream that he could remember that dream, but this was different. It was as though the memory had preceded the waking. It had been so intense, so vivid, so full of implications that weren’t apparent at the moment. So…….. intentional………

 He had just opened the door to one of the stalls in Grandpa’s old red barn so that he could get his riding mower and cut the grass around the house. He had paused for a moment, turning to enjoy the clear blueness of the Spring sky and the excited singing of the birds, when he saw her walking toward him from the direction of the house. His beautiful young wife was smiling as she approached. She was full of life and showed it in the confident way she carried her tall, slim frame, and in the way she was dressed. Today she was wearing a black, form-fitting dress with white trim circling the neckline, the sleeves, and the bottom hem. There was quite a contrast between her dress and his short-sleeved blue work shirt, jeans, and boots, as well as between her light hair and eyes that matched the sky, and his dark hair and deep brown eyes. As she came closer, he remembered that she had a Ladies’ Group meeting at church at ten o’clock this morning. She was coming out here to say goodbye. That was sweet of her. He felt his love for her welling up as it always did at the mere sight or thought of her. He ‘drank in’ her look, from her long, straight, light brown hair, to her blue eyes, to her amazing lips framing an even more amazing smile. He also ‘drank in’ the look in her eyes. The look of love she usually had for him was unusually intense this morning! It was remarkably deep, even mysteriously so. Enthusiastically ardent. Strongly, deeply emotional. Then the touch of her hands on his face was tender, implying a deep spiritual desire; her kiss, intimately personal, fervently powerful, her affection fiercely burning, evoking blazing bonfires and wild horses galloping, their muscles rippling. Enigmatically, mysteriously inexplicable, it was. He had heard of unconditional love, but this time it was palpable – graspable in a new way, and solidly unchangeable. And now the surfaces and interfaces between them were disappearing and they were somehow moving into each other, not necessarily becoming one, not this moment, but inhabiting one another completely. This was the way they both wanted to stay forever. This was love. Maybe seconds, maybe millennia later, she withdrew from the embrace, running her hands down his arms. Squeezing each others’ hands, they still inhabited each other – occupied each other, their eyes locked, arms still reaching toward the other. Transfixed in wonder, he had never known such a loving feeling directed toward himself. He watched her turn………. and then he was awake and alone in awe and frustration in his dark bedroom.

 The dream, itself had only lasted a few seconds. Short, as dreams go, it was over much too quickly. “And, how strange,” he thought, as he reflected on it. “We were so young………..”

 He was sixty-eight now. Grandpa had been dead for fifty years. After Grandpa had passed on, his dad and he had taken over the farm Grandpa built. Four-hundred acres of row crops, pastures, livestock facilities, and grain storage buildings had been a handful. After Mom died, Dad was never the same. His windmill no longer turned in the wind and he had died too. Then he, Dave, and his new wife, Mary, had run the place until it became too much for them and they leased out the croplands on shares. He still called it “Grandpa’s farm”, though, and the barn was still “Grandpa’s barn”. That part was true to life, but in the dream he was young, and the worst part of all was that the young ‘wife’ in the dream was not Mary………. . Mary had been beautiful, yes, but she’d had dark hair and hazel eyes. And she had died three years ago. But his dream had seemed so real. The girl was a stranger, yet had ‘really been’ his wife. It was like another reality – a different life. And her love – the love between them was real – overwhelmingly real. “Get a hold of yourself, Dave,” he muttered to himself.

 “Ohhhh God, You know I’ve been so lonely, why would You do this to me? It felt like I was cheating on the memory of my Mary. What was the good in that?

Why would You show me a love like that, so intense, so powerful, when even my true love, Mary, and I hardly ever had moments that deep?”

He thought about the overwhelming, intensely deep, real love he had experienced in the dream. He wanted that so badly. How could a man taste that and not pursue it forever? His silent inner-weeping welled up.

“Ohhhh, Lord ………..”

 Then a quiet voice spoke so intensely into his soul that his whole body jerked:

That’s The Way I Love You” …………….

The revelation swirled through him, his whole being tingling. The realization that it was true permeated his being with a warm joy, a welcome peace……..

 “Ohhhh, my Lord, I never knew it was like that.”

His whole being was being flooded with astoundingly wonderful word-pictures. The Lover and the Beloved. Visions filled with fragrance, with music, with flavor, and color:

Love’s deep, yearning pursuit…….

Love’s deep, longing, desire……….

Love’s deep summoning……………..

Love’s deep, fiery-wild embrace…..

Love’s deep, caring concern…………

Love’s deep, all-inhabiting indwelling.

Love’s deep Romance……………………..

Your Deep, YOURS, my Lord …………………….. Oh, how You romance us! And that is only part of it, isn’t it. That’s only the tip of the iceberg that my human heart can perceive, isn’t it? But….. but, Lord, I still don’t understand why You didn’t use my Mary to show me……………………..”

You had to know the difference.

…………………………………………….“ Yes, You are sufficient, Lord. I’ve been needing something, but I just didn’t know what. I feel a lot better, Lord, and I thank You. You love me that much?

Now and evermore have I loved you both.”

I only wish I could return that kind of love”………..

You can, in your way. It is within you.

He tried and tried to find the right words to describe the miraculous encounter, the precious revelation. How could he tell it to others? Love’s selfless deep? Love’s wondrous deep? Love’s unreserved deep? Love’s unconditional deep? It was so mind-boggling. Love’s fathomless deep! Yes that’s it!

Be vigilant, child. Your commission is set. Now find your new heart.”

He tried to go back to sleep and continue the dream. Once in a great while, that actually worked………..…………………

 The next morning was Sunday morning. He got ready for church with a new passion for praise and worship of his Almighty Loving Father and Savior. He had a feeling that this service would be special.

 He was drawn to sit toward the back of the auditorium, on the left side. He usually sat in the center, but the center seemed too crowded. As the soft pre-worship music permeated the large space, he became aware of the conversation of the two ladies who sat in front of him. He was not one to eavesdrop, yet he couldn’t help but gather bits and pieces of their conversation, mostly from the one on the right who spoke rather too loudly and too much. He determined that the lady on the left, who was more soft-spoken, was visiting from out-of-state. She seemed about his age. There was something about a young man, possibly her son. Something was all wrong. He was in love with the wrong girl, perhaps. He saw a tear roll down her cheek, and heard the words “lonely”, and “Joe”, and, “ intense personal relationship”, and “ he loves so deeply”.

 “Looks like I’m not the only one thinking about love today,” he thought.

 The worship songs were fervent and meaningful. The message by Pastor DeWayne wasn’t about love, as he had expected, but was about rescue and redemption, which, when he thought about it, had a lot to do with love. The end of the service was coming too quickly for him.“Now it’s time to stand and form groups of three or more to pray for each other,” said the pastor. Since Dave was part of the church’s prayer team, he knew what to do. There was no-one close except for the two ladies in front of him, so he leaned forward and said, “How can I pray for you sisters this morning? My name is Dave. Do you have any prayer needs? I, personally have some back pain I could use some intercession for, but mostly I have praises.”

 “Oh, I have some arther-itis in my fingers that’s been botherin’ me,” stated the one on the right, the louder and shorter of the two, “I’m Betty and this is Sarah. She’s from Texas, ya know,” she inserted, before the taller, more reserved woman could respond. “Pleased to meet you,” everyone said at once.

 “Let’s join hands, if that’s all right, and form a circle. You know Jesus said that wherever two or three or more gather in His name, He will be there in their midst.” They did, and Dave poured himself into praying for Betty’s fingers, and into praises for their Lord. Betty prayed about Dave’s back, rather too long. “Amen,” Dave smiled to himself when she finished.

 “Sarah, you haven’t said much. You don’t have to be shy around here. Isn’t there something we can pray for you?”

 “Well, it’s complicated, but I think I’m okay. Thank you so much for the thought. I have mostly praises myself, like you said.”

 “No she’s not okay,” blurted Betty. “She’s all in a tizzy because she dreamed of this young man last night and she felt like she was cheatin’ on the memory of her husband, Joe. On top of that, she’s been beside herself with loneliness – jist emptiness, poor thing, since Joe passed. Could we please talk to God about that?”

 “I can relate, Sarah,” Dave said softly with compassion, “I lost my wife, Mary, too.” He felt Sarah’s discomfort. The hand he was holding began to sweat and so did his. Her hand was so soft……. . What Betty had said began to sink in.

 “I told you all that in confidence, Betty,” she said calmly, “But you missed the point. God used that dream to show me His immense love for me, and I’m at peace now. She looked at her hand in Dave’s. His hand was so strong…… . She began to blush. Dave looked at her face. She was downright pretty! That smile looked very familiar. His face began to flush.

“Uhhhh, what’s goin’ on here,” Betty demanded.

Dave noticed that he had dropped Betty’s hand and that he was holding Sarah’s in both of his.

 What was going on? Dave’s eyes met Sarah’s clear blue eyes and hers met his deep browns. And in that moment they knew their new hearts.

 “Sarah, did you, by any chance, ever have a black dress with white trim?”

 Her eyes began to fill with tears. “Did you ever have an old barn?”

 “Yes, and I still have it!” they both exclaimed.

 (“Now and evermore, I have loved you both, He said.”)

 With that, an increasing knowing passed between them and they began the long fall into the Deep of one another. No, not the depths. That’s another thing. The Deep – not a place, but a state of being! It was the manifestation of His all-encompassing, all-pursuing, all-inhabiting Romance imparted from God to person and from person to person, the Deep calling to the Deep , the Deep occupying the Deep, the Deep exquisitely alive in the Deep!

 “Selfless Deep?” Dave asked, wide-eyed.

 “Yes. Wondrous Deep?”

 “That’s right. Unreserved? Unconditional?”

 “Love’s Fathomless Deep?” They both began to giggle like children.

 By now, Betty was beside herself, feeling very left out. “You two know each other, right? Or is this some kind of coincidence? You’re speakin’ your own language. Please, give me a clue.”

 “More like a Godincidence, Betty,” quipped Dave without ever taking his gaze from Sarah’s eyes.

 “My friend, we have a lot to explain. We will fix your befuddlement,” said Sarah warmly. “I met Dave last night in my – our – miraculous dream, then in person just now. We knew each other – know each other. It’s hard to explain but we have been given something, and have been shown something very special that is going to knock your socks off! First we will tell you all about it, then we will tell the whole world. Spreading the message of His universal love for His people is the mission He is calling us into as we speak. It’s as though He is outfitting us with everything we need for a long journey. He is strengthening our connection with each passing second.”

 (“Your commission is set, He said”)

 “That’s the truth, my dear. Let me take you both to lunch and we will fill you in, Betty,” Dave proposed, never letting go of Sarah’s hand. “Sister, God’s love for each of us is so much, well, more than we ever thought, or knew. You’re not going to believe the way God loves you, and He’s telling us that we could use your personal testimony as an eye witness to our miracle as we travel, if you are feeling the strong pull of the Holy Spirit in that direction.”

 “If only you knew,” now Betty’s emotions were rising. “I’ve been needin’ something myself. Been feelin’ restless, and I’ve been havin’ thoughts and dreams and ideas about goin’ out and tellin’ the good news of Jesus. I never much thought I would be a good evangelist, but the good Lord has been preparin’ me in little ways that I didn’t much notice until now. I had a feelin’ He would send somebody to me sooner or later. That’s the way He works. He sends jist the right person at jist the right time. His timing is always good. I was kinda hopin’ for Him to send a sister………..or a man……………but, anyway, I cain’t wait to hear what He revealed to you two. I love to hear personal testimonies and you must have a doozie! I love to tell mine too. It’s jist little and simple, but there is great power even in a little story about Him. Yep, I think the fields are white for the pickin’ and I’m ready to go, I’m ready to learn and grow and give my life to Kingdom work! Oh! Praise the Lord, I’m so blessed! Yes! I’m up for lunch and I cain’t hardly wait to learn from you two. This is my calling, I jist know it! You’re not gonna believe how much I like to talk. Prolly too much! Oh, my heavens, I’m doin’ it again aren’t I? Hahahaha!”

 Dave and Sarah smiled intently as they heard every word Betty said, hearts beating wildly, hand in hand, and all the while immersed in the rich, deep, love inside each-other’s eyes.

It’s something like this……

Copyright © by Lenn Snider 5-3-2012

All Rights Reserved

Good Friday? Good Sunday!

It is Good Friday.  This is the day of remembrance of how my Lord Jesus suffered the agony of torture and death.  A part of me died with Him that day – the part that needed to.

When I stood accused of selfish sins and crimes that I knew I was guilty of, He effectively said to me as He stood there weak, trembling, and covered with blood: “Don’t worry, you’re good.  Get behind Me.   I love you too much to let this happen to you. I’ve got this.” 

His torture and death were my fault.  (my brothers and sisters argue that it is theirs, but I am the guiltiest)  But He forgave me that fault and went ahead and saved me anyway.  “It’s forgotten,”  He said, graciously.

So, I don’t know about the “Good” part of Good Friday.  It is also called Black Friday and Holy Friday, either of which I can relate to, especially “Holy Friday”,  but hardly Good Friday, except that good resulted from it.  You can’t have a resurrection without a death, especially THE Resurrection following THE Death that rocked the foundations of the world.

If anything should be called “Good”, it is Resurrection Day – “Good Sunday”, the joyous day that I lived through Him, and had Life because of Him, and was shown the true meaning of Love.

I once again turn to Stuart Townend, Keith and Kristyn Getty to express with music and images what cannot be expressed with words alone.  I pray that every heart that hears and sees this will be broken, transformed, and renewed at the foot of that one horrible, and glorious, cross………..

Thank you victoryinjesus123 for uploading this beautiful video.

Oh, and one more thing – the power of the cross is only the beginning.  The power of His victory over death lies at the doorstep beneath the joyously-open doorway of His empty tomb!  THANK YOU, JESUS!

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. 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!

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!

With love,

Your gloryteller

Re-posted For Resurrection Sunday,  4-8-2012

Introducing Inspired Ann

“Choices” is the first post on my dear cousin’s new website.  It is a very special post for at least two reasons.  It is about our Father and our older Brother, and it is written by a member of my family, my dear cousin Ann.  She has plenty of wonderful things to say at http://inspiredannotation.wordpress.com.  I hope you give her a “read”.  Ann, you express your perception of the glory of God in a uniquely beautiful way.   You have a gift and an anointing, and I am very proud of you!

CHOICES

January 23, 2012

I look at the marvels in Your kingdom and wonder,

why is it that anyone would choose to live in destruction?

I see the power in Your blood and ask, why is it then,

that people choose sickness, anxiety, frustration?

In this world death displays its power, but in You, life is freely ours.

I choose to live! I run to You! Jesus, You make everything new.

I look at the lives of those You have changed

and wonder, why would others not want the same?

I see the gifts You provide for Your children and ask,

can some deliberately choose ruin, emptiness and lack?

Could anyone really not want You as Father?

Of all the choices we make every day,

there is but one choice, the only true way

to find blessing, joy, abundance and safety

if we would only cry out and bow our knee

and declare that Jesus is Lord God Almighty.

Beautifully written! Well done! Congratulations on your great initial offerings, and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging/briteing.

I’m quite amazed at how similarly we “see” things, then I remember that we share blood – the blood of our fathers; the blood of our Savior!

I know why people choose to live in destruction. For the same reason I did when I was kept “blinded and deafened” to the Truth by an enemy who constantly seeks our loss, our death, and our utter destruction. That is the one who makes sin and death look like pleasure and fun, and who hides the resulting “ruin, emptiness, and lack” until it can spring, roaring at our backs, dragging us hopelessly to the ground.

From the place I’m standing now, I don’t see why people don’t want to embrace Him as Abba – Father, especially when presented with the message of the beautiful Truth written by such a one as you. That you exist, that you write so well from a joyful, overflowing heart is a testament to our merciful, grace-giving God. He has truly gifted the world – and me – with you, and I thank Him once again!

“Inspiredannotation” – Perfect !!!

May God bless this, and all, of your endeavors!
Lots of Love,
Len “Gloryteller”

(Re-posted with permission.  Many thanks, my cousin.)

P.S.  Chaff Rantley is my “adopted” cousin;  Ann is my “real” cousin.  Love you both, hehe.

An Open Letter To My Brother(s)

My dear, dear Brother,

It has been in my heart to write you,  brother that I love, whom I have known all my life, whom I have known for a time, and whom I have not yet met….  That sounds kind of mysterious doesn’t it?!  This letter is about helping you to understand some important things.  You may have been wondering how my life turned out.  Well, it has been quite a trip!

I have seen and done a full range of amazing things.  I have experienced defeats and victories I did not imagine possible when we were “younger boys”.

I have been in places no one should go and also in places of unfathomable beauty.  I have found love, lost it, found it again, and kept it;  been hopelessly discouraged and blissfully happy.

I will forbear detailed descriptions, my brother, for something has happened to outshine, overpower, and truly transcend everything else – every person, place, and experience – that has happened to me in this world.

It is only that sight, that victory, that glorious place and transcendent state of being that I wish to speak of now, for I found what I had never found before, what I hadn’t even sought, (at least not that I knew of) though it was in plain sight.  I had been blind.  Ignorantly arrogant.  Arrogantly ignorant, too.

Then, through God’s Grace, I saw what I had refused to see and went where I hadn’t allowed myself to be.  It was a miracle.  A gift.  A discovery.  A Divine Revelation.  Suddenly, I BELIEVED GOD and I BELIEVED IN GOD!  I BELIEVED IN MY RESCUER and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST!  Those were names I rarely repeated, even as blasphemy.  They just didn’t exist in my vocabulary.

I discovered Who and Whose I Am and that has made all the difference in my life.  I became a BELIEVER.

Of course you might be thinking things like, “How could you do this?  How could you be one of them now?  You were such a good, skeptical agnostic.  A cynic.  You liked atheism.  You are a scientist.  You demand proof.  You are not a superstitious person.  You demand truth.  Don’t fall for The Great Delusion.  Be logical, be reasonable!  Come to your senses, man.”

I have said and thought the same things myself.  Many times, self-righteous unbeliever that I was.

Yes, I am a scientist who loves logic and truth, and I’m a Christian too.  A Christian first.  Let me explain….

(Oh, I wish this were easier for me to explain.  Can you read between the lines?  I’m trusting you to read with an open mind – open to my deep caring and concern for you – and that I wouldn’t try to lead you into any bad place.  If you love me, remember, love engenders trust.  Just trust that your welfare, your good, and your very Life, have been paramount in my mind and heart for at least seven years.)

PROOF

I can offer you no scientific proof that my God exists.  Science can’t prove His existence.  It can’t disprove Him either.  That is not the “job” of science anyway.  Science is a system of knowledge dealing with the operation of general, physical (natural) laws.  However, God created nature.  He is above nature.  He is supernatural!   (No, not “that” kind of supernatural, lol.)  I can’t prove He created nature either.  That requires us to pre-suppose that He exists.  So, we are at an impasse.  I can’t prove to you what I unequivocally know to be the truth.

I’m now beginning to realize what a daunting task I’ve taken on, trying to convince you of the legitimacy of what I now believe with all my heart.  You are blessed with a superior intellect and can easily rebut my every attempt to convince you, if you so desire, (in fact, we do have a spiritual enemy who would be delighted if you do just that) however I only beg your patience, and forbearance.  In respect for our history and if you care for me, please, at least try to suspend your disbelief just for the duration of this letter, like you would for an incredibly imaginative sci-fi movie, as I try to explain.

METAPHORICALLY  SPEAKING

I like metaphor.  Figurative speech.  You and I have carried on whole conversations by substituting oblique words and phrases for “real” ones.  That makes me smile when I think about it!  One of my favorite movies, “Contact”, is loaded with metaphor.  Ellie’s struggle is a metaphor which conveys the struggle of an evangelical worker like me to present the truth of Jesus’ story to an unbelieving world.  Here is a bit of  dialog from “Contact” illustrating how difficult it is to explain the kind of transcendent thing that happened to Ellie Arroway, and to me:

I’m betting you know the storyline.  If you don’t, you should watch this great movie.

Michael Kitz: Wait a minute, let me get this straight. You admit that you have absolutely no physical evidence to back up your story.
Ellie Arroway: Yes.
Michael Kitz: You admit that you very well may have hallucinated this whole thing.
Ellie Arroway: Yes.
Michael Kitz: You admit that if you were in our position, you would respond with exactly the same degree of incredulity and skepticism!
Ellie Arroway: Yes!
Michael Kitz: [standing, angrily] Then why don’t you simply withdraw your testimony, and concede that this “journey to the center of the galaxy,” in fact, never took place!
Ellie Arroway: Because I can’t. I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves, that we are not, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if only for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and hope. But… That continues to be my wish. 

(The italics are mine.)   Yes, I  had an absolutely profound experience.  I can’t prove it, but I can try to explain it.  My Lord wants me to do that – over and over as long as I live on Earth.  Unlike Ellie, I know exactly what happened.  Yes, everything I know as a human being and everything that I AM tells me unequivocally that it was real and is real.  I was given a wonderful gift – one that changed me profoundly and fundamentally forever.  I was, and am, convinced that I am a unique and precious creation of God – His child – and being that, I am loved by Him beyond my understanding.  I am not alone and never have been.  Most importantly, I do wish to share that message with everyone, especially with one as close to me as you are.  That is my wish, my purpose, my duty, and His will for me.

In a future letter, I would like to describe, if it is even describable, what happened in that one precious, spectacular, miraculous, breathtaking, moment when belief replaced unbelief.  But for now, I need rest.  This is exhausting!  But, just know  that I would exhaust myself to my very end to help secure your immortal Life against complete destruction and into the never-ending peace and wonder of God’s kingdom.

With sincere love I wish you well,

Peace upon your House!

Your Brother

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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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