Morning Star

 

The holy night of His birth, with shining glory and gleaming star,
Was the brightest night on earth, so far.
The sky was ethereal, with angels adorned,
But ordained events passed, and soon it was morn,
Daytime, in which He was called “Morning Star”!
People saw glimmers and set out from afar.

Now morning, midday, evening, and night,
His glory outshines all, and He is our Light.
Children and parents, husbands and wives,
He’s The One Living Light for each of our lives!
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Still

After a long, busy, tiring, but pleasurable, Advent, I find myself still and resting in peace today. What an eventful time I’ve had here at “Gloryteller” over the last three weeks and three days! It passed so quickly, I can hardly catch my breath!
I’ve learned new things about the Christ Child’s birth and some of the “old” things have struck me in new ways. I went deep into the Profound Mystery, and today, after the crescendo buildup of excitement surrounding

The Birth That Shook The Earth,

I find myself overwhelmed;
physically and emotionally 
drained,
but spiritually uplifted . . .  

The Baby is sleeping peacefully now.
He and His family have endured a world-changing night;
A mother-changing, husband-changing, son-changing night!
I feel like I went through it with them, in a sense . . .
And, at this moment, about all I can do
is be still and adore Him,
be still in the knowledge that He is my Lord God,
be still and worship Him,
be still and rest here at His feet . . .

Still, still, still,
His bright eyes softly close
And Mary, breathless,
Draws him sleeping
To her heart,
Made pure for keeping
Still, still, still,
His bright eyes softly close.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
He hears, and sweetly smiles.
And kneeling Joseph
Joins in chorus
With the angels
Bending o’er us
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
He hears, and sweetly smiles.

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep,
He breathes a tender sigh,
For soon he’ll wake
The world from slumber
Bringing life
And endless wonder
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
He breathes a tender sigh

Sleep, Holy Jesus,
Sleep . . .

   ~   ~   ~
I really like this Austrian Christmas carol in the form of a lullaby.
(a “lullbaby” perhaps?)
It so saturates me with peace . . .
But now I must sadly, yet joyfully, send out one last,
heartfelt,
Merry Christmas
and wishes for peace to you this season.
It is Christmas night, 2019,

Goodnight
from Len, here at Gloryteller.com

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  Für Juli
 Stille, stille, stille,
Seine hellen Augen schließen sich leise
Und Maria, atemlos,
Zieht ihn schlafend
Zu ihrem Herzen,
Rein zum Halten gemacht
Immer noch, immer noch, immer noch,
Seine hellen Augen schließen sich leise.

Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf,
Er hört und lächelt freundlich.
Und kniend Joseph
Joins im Chorus
Mit den Engeln
Über uns gebeugt
Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf,
Er hört und lächelt freundlich.
 
Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf,
Er atmet einen zärtlichen Seufzer,
Denn bald wird er aufwachen
Die Welt aus dem Schlummer
Leben bringen
Und endloses Wunder
Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf
Er atmet einen zärtlichen Seufzer
 
Schlaf, heiliger Jesus Schlaf
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Christmas Eve 2019 – The Hunger

The last few hours of The Advent of Christ are before us.
We can wait no longer and we don’t need to.
Our hunger for hope, peace, joy, and love, is hard to bear;
We prepare the meal we will eat tonight after church.
We know we will be hungry for that food too,
but I want my hunger for Jesus to be foremost!

We can stay awake watching long into the night,
or go to sleep and let Him be born in peace.
Either is fine, for in the morning we will have the certainty
of Jesus’ birth!

The birth that shook the earth!

About 2020 years ago, everything was in place
to bring the astounding event into reality for humanity.
God’s gracious, merciful plan was about to
take a new turn and reach a new level.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
And the Word became human.

And the Word was named Jesus,
He was born in a stable,
wrapped in cloth, and placed in a manger to sleep . . .

Placed in a manger . . .
Have you ever thought about that?
A manger is a type of feed trough for animals.
Here on the farm we call that a “feeder”.

It occurs to me that Jesus, lying in that feeder,
seems to have made Himself a symbol
for our spiritual nourishment!
Both a symbol and a reality all at once!

Is it any wonder that He told Peter, “Feed my sheep”?
Is it any wonder that He called Himself

“The Bread of Life”, or spoke over some bread, saying
This is my body“?
He wants us to partake of Himself!
To drink deeply!
“The Bread of Life”, and “The Water of Life”!

He, lying in that feeder, was already telling us,
“I AM your nourishment, your sustenance;
Come to Me and be filled”!

~ ~ ~

Happy Christmas Eve!
Your Gloryteller

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The BIRTH !


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His birth!
It simply rocked!

This rock!
Knew not its worth!

Until The Birth!
The Birth That Rocked The Earth!
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Suddenly Sunday – The Fourth Sunday of Advent

 

The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Today, December 22, 2019, is the fourth Sunday of Advent.
Already!
We light the fourth candle – the love candle,
in my book, the easiest one to light in the heart,
for Father God loved us first and sent His Jesus
to enable us to love Him in a completely new way, and
interact, and have a real relationship with Him.
Love rescued, and love reconciled!
This candle also signifies His imminent presence.
The Advent season is all about expectant waiting;
excited, hopeful, waiting for the Baby’s presence!
We want Him to be born soon!
We want to see Him!
He seems so close;
the air is charged!
We can almost feel angels in the air.
The Spirit of God certainly presides over our village.
Tomorrow night, everything will be poised,
miraculously in position,
as it was around 2020 years ago!
Mary, her Baby, Joseph, shepherds,
angels – lots of angels!
Peace and joy are closing in.
Tuesday night is the Holy Night – Jesus Christ’s night.
The Advent of Christ is all but complete!

Are preparations perfect?
Is my heart ready for His arrival?
I find myself wishing that I could be less imperfect;
better prepared,
And more ready.
Yet, hope in Him, the peace and joy He brings,
His love, and all His magnificent light,
uphold and uplift my soul.
I am ready as I can be for Jesus’ arrival!
Soon, incarnation!
Soon, adoration!
Soon, celebration!

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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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Carol of the Birds – Let Heaven and Nature Sing!

Yesterday’s post used birds prominently
in a poignant allegory that alluded to
why Jesus had to be incarnated.
This next uses birds prominently
to make another important allusion:

In tribute to the people of his native country, Catalonia, (at the time of this writing in 2017, embroiled in issues with independence from Spain) ninety-four-year-old Pablo Casals, famed cellist, composer, and conductor, had often ended his concerts with “El Cant Dels Ocells” (“The Song of the Birds”), a Catalonian Christmas carol.

“It is so beautiful,” he said, “And it is also the soul of my country, Catalonia.” “The birds in the sky, in the space, sing: “Peace! Peace! Peace!””

Song of The Birds, or, Carol of the Birds, isn’t as widely known as many of the more traditional carols, but I wish it were. (please note that there are two or three songs which have the same name, but different lyrics and tunes.) (and even this Catalonian song has several different versions)

I am fascinated by the idea that the birds might represent nature, or the created universe, when it first becomes “aware” of The Creator’s arrival inside His creation. What happiness, and joy, and awe, and peacefulness, is expressed by these “voices of nature”.

This may be frivolous speculation on my part, wondering how nature “perceives” its Creator; is it somehow “conscious” or “aware” of Him in a way we cannot understand, we aren’t conscious of, and can’t have much knowledge of? And maybe not “individual” awareness like that of one rock or mountain, but a collective awareness with the whole of Creation giving glory and being glory for our mighty God.

 I know a few people who hear this music as haunting, morose, even depressing.
Not me!
I hear bright awe and respect;
deep and joyous, sacred mystery;
gentle, peaceful, yet glorious and ecstatic, worship,
in reverence for the Christ-child.

How do you perceive it?

Below are four different lyrical versions of “Carol of the Birds”.
There may be more, I’m not certain,
but these are poetic, and deep,
 compelling, and emotional.
One could almost imagine that nature,
or Creation, is praying to, and worshiping,
our all knowing, all encompassing, Creator-God;
Our Christ-child, our Jesus. The version directly below
contains the verses used in the video.
If you don’t have time to read the different
versions, please skip down to my commentary
to find some of the things
all the versions have in common.

~ ~ ~

The words given below are as most commonly sung
in the English version;

A star rose in the sky
and glory from on high
did fill the night with splendor.
Came birds with joyful voice
to carol and rejoice with
songs so sweet and tender.

The eagle then did rise,
went flying through the skies,
to tell the wondrous story,
sang: Jesus, born is he,
who comes to set us free,
he brings us joy and glory.

The sparrow with delight
said: This is Christmas night,
our happiness revealing.
The sky with praises rang,
as finch and robin sang
their songs of glad rejoicing.

The lark upon the wing
said: Now it seems like spring,
no more is winter pressing;
for now a flower is born
whose fragrance on this morn
to earth brings heaven’s blessing.

Sang magpie, thrush, and jay,
It seems the month of May
in answer to our yearning.
The trees again are green
and blossoms now are seen,
it is the spring returning!

The cuckoo sang: Come, come,
And celebrate the dawn
this glorious aurora.
The raven from his throat
then trilled a festive note
to the unexcelled Señora.

The partridge then confessed,
I want to build my nest
beneath that very gable
where I may see the Child
and watch whene’er he smiles
with Mary in that stable.

~ ~ ~ 

A more literal translation from the Catalonian:

In seeing emerge
The greatest light
During the most celebrated of nights,
The little birds sing.
They go to celebrate Him
With their delicate voices.

The imperial eagle
flies high in the sky,
singing melodically,
saying, “Jesus is born
To save us all from sin
And to give us joy.”

The sparrow responds,
Today, this Christmas Eve,
Is a night of good cheer!”
The greenfinch and the siskin
Say in singing, too,
“Oh, what joy I feel!”

The linnet sang,
“Oh, how lovely and beautiful
Is the child of Mary!”
The thrush answers:
“Death is conquered,
My life now begins!”

The nightingale twitters,
“He is more beautiful than the sun,
More brilliant than a star!”
The redstart and the stonechat
Celebrate the infant
And his virgin Mother.

The wren sang
For the glory of the Lord,
Inflating with fantasy;
The canary follows:
Its music sounds like
A great song from Heaven.

Now comes the woodlark
Saying, “Come birds
To celebrate the dawn!”
And the big blackbird, whistling,
Went celebrating
The greatest Lady.

The tit says,
“It is neither winter nor summer
But rather springtime;
A flower is born
That gives a sweet smell all around
And fills the whole world.”

The francolin sang,
“Birds, who wants to come
Today at daybreak
To see the good Lord
With all of his splendor
Within a stable?”

The hoopoe goes singing,
“This night has come
the greatest of Kings!”
The turtle dove and rock dove
Admire, and to all
Sing without sadness.

Woodpeckers and bullfinches
Fly between fruit trees
Singing their joys.
The quail and the cuckoo
From afar have come
To see the Messiah.

The partridge sang,
“I am going to make my nest
Inside of that stable,
To look upon the Infant;
How he trembles
In the arms of Mary.”

The magpiemistle thrush, and jay
Say, “May is coming!”
The goldfinch responds,
“All the trees become green again,
All the branches flower
As if it were the spring.”

The chaffinch whispers,
“Glory today and tomorrow;
I feel great joy
To see the diamond
So handsome and brilliant
In the arms of Mary.”

The scops owl and little owl
Seeing the sunrise
Leave confused.
The tawny owl and eagle-owl
Say, “I cannot look;
Such splendors are in front of me!”

~ ~ ~

Joan Baez version:

When rose the eastern star, the birds came from a-far,
in that full might of glory.
With one melodious voice, they sweetly did rejoice,
and sang the wondrous story.
Sang, praising God on high, enthroned above the sky,
and his fair mother Mary.
The eagle left his lair, came winging through the air,
his message loud arising.
And to his joyous cry, the sparrow made reply,
his answer sweetly voicing.
“O’ercome are death and strife, this night is born new life”,
the robin sang rejoicing.
When rose the eastern star, the birds came from a-far.

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Beautiful lyrics of unknown origin:

1. Upon this holy night,
When God’s great star appears,
And floods the earth with brightness
Birds’ voices rise in song
And warbling all night long
Express their glad heart’s lightness
Birds’ voices rise in song
And warbling all night long
Express their glad heart’s lightness

2. The Nightingale is first
To bring his song of cheer,
And tell us of His glad – ness:
Jesus, our Lord, is born
To free us from all sin
And banish ev’ry sadness!
Jesus, our Lord is born
To free us from all sin
And banish ev’ry sadness!

3. The answ’ring Sparrow cries:
“God comes to earth this day
Amid the angels flying.”
Trilling in sweetest tones,
The Finch his Lord now owns:
“To Him be all thanksgiving.”
Trilling in sweetest tones,
The Finch his Lord now owns:
“To Him be all thanksgiving.”

4. The Partridge adds his note:
“To Bethlehem I’ll fly,
Where in the stall He’s lying.
There, near the manger blest,
I’ll build myself a nest,
And sing my love undying.
There, near the manger blest,
I’ll build myself a nest,
And sing my love undying.

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What are some of the things these different versions have in common?

The most celebrated holy night
in which a great light appears.
The heavens are filled with God’s glory!

The earth is flooded with brightness.
That illumination allows birds to awake, fly and sing,
when most do not do so in darkness.

From eagle to sparrow, all kinds of birds
sing of Jesus’ birth.
They extol the virtues of Him and His mother.
They praise the Highest Lord
with voices both loud and sweet.

The birds come from near and far away,
and sing of how He will set them,
and all creation free.
They joyfully sing of how Heaven’s blessing
has come to earth, and of how He will overcome
darkness, sin, and death.

The birds sing of the dawn of new life;
eternal springtime blooming;
they sound thankful and hopeful.
They worship and adore Him!
They want to stay near Him;
They pledge loyalty.

Best of all, the multitude of birds rejoice!

And who do these birds represent?
Nature?
All of creation?
Yes, all of that, and maybe
me.
And you.
And all of us.
~ ~ ~
Merry Christmas!
Sing loudly and sweetly!

Len @ Gloryteller.com

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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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Advent, Week Three!

Today, the third and final full week of Advent begins, preceding the joy-filled celebration day!
It is getting closer! We can hardly wait! Intensity grows, as does the magnitude of the hope we have,
and the peace which is coming!
This week we savor the JOY surrounding His coming to live with us!
Emmanuel – is coming here because of The Father’s love for all people.

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

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

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

I, the least of believers,
proclaim this joy, 
proclaim His glory,
(like it says in the header above)
And like so many believers,
so many bloggers,
I repeat the sounding JOY!

Joy To the World,
and Peace to ALL mankind!

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

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

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

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love!
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May God bless your joyous preparations,
your happy, yet serious, contemplations,
your thankful remembrance of His purpose for
coming down,
And of His all- encompassing love.
He is coming, He is here, He is coming again!
REJOICE!

Your Advent Gloryteller

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The Second Week of Advent Begins Today


The second week of Advent is focused on peace.

Waiting becomes slightly more intense as we add the expectancy of
hope and peace in preparation for our Savior’s arrival.
Of course it is a passive intensity of expectation
as we actively wait!

 We light the second candle,
If not on our tables,
Then in our hearts.
And light increases.
It doubles!

We can hardly wait until the full light of His glorious presence shines upon the world, and also upon each of us!

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

Jesus is the only One that can bring us to peace with Father God.

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

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

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


Come to us, Child of Glory,
We can hardly wait.
Come to us quickly,
Your hands hold our fate.
LS<

A happy and blessed Advent season to you
from your Gloryteller.

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Advent Arrives Today!

“Advent” is here!
It is today! December 1, 2019
Happy Advent and happy December!

All Creation is pregnant with anticipation!

This is the time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin “adventus” which means coming, or arrival, of a person or thing.

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

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

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

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

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

We are waiting, and prayerfully preparing, not just for events, but for the arrival of the Personage
without whom there would be no experience of exciting spiritual adventure, no exploration of things unknown, no real and true experience of love and life whatsoever.

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

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

The expectant waiting and preparation of my heart applies not only to Christbirth,
but to Resurrection Sunday and Thanksgiving as well.
Advent is an important concept.
It is exciting and peaceful too.
I want to make it part of me;
I want to live it.

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The Reflection

Today, the temperature is dropping quickly. The wind is blowing hard from the north. Our sugar maple has been nearly stripped of its beautiful leaves as have the red maples, and, indeed, all of the deciduous trees. Winter wind chill has arrived with a powerful cold-front and “the wolf is at the door”.
      Yesterday, the sugar maple had more than half of its bright golden leaves intact on its head, and the other trees displayed various hues of reds and yellows, oranges and purples. The sun shone and the day was near perfect. I even went walking without a coat in early morning, down to the trail around the big pond .
     As I rounded the east side, I looked across the pond as is my habit, at the large, colorful trees which have long been standing on the west side. The sky above was that perfect blue which is elusive even on the nicest of days. The perfect sky acted as a backdrop to highlight the colors and shapes of the trees. The sun was at that perfect morning angle that makes things surreally, beautifully, colorfully real.
Suddenly, I looked at the pond’s surface. I saw the reflection of the trees and sky for only a moment, then the surface disappeared! There was no breeze and the surface was like a mirror. There were no ripples, no color difference, no fuzziness, nothing to differentiate the reflection from the “real”. All was still. “So still,” I whispered.
“Be still and know that I AM God,” came the whispered reply.
“I will,” I thought.
Everything but
the pond, trees, and perfect sky kind of disappeared then. It was as though I had entered another dimension where the reflection was the real.

      The upside-down trees were just as “real” to my sight as the upright ones. The colors and shapes of all the leaves stood out sharply. I bent over and looked at the reflection with my head upside-down. I couldn’t tell the difference, but my mind still tried to figure it out. Standing upright, my mind said “The bottom one is the reflection.” I looked into the mirror-pond and thought, “Yes, but the sky is just as deep there as it is high in the real.” The pond had taken on depth as “infinite” as the sky! Wow! Astounding!
      My spirit finally spoke, with the Holy Spirit echoing (or was it the other way ’round?) :  “So it is with Jesus! He is the perfect reflection of The Father here below. Equal in beauty, equal in depth. God and God. Deep and Deep. Highest and Highest. Everlasting and everlasting!” 
      Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.”
                       “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”
                       “He who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me.”
                       “The Father is in Me, and I AM in the Father.”
      “So, who are You, then,” I asked The HS. “Are You the place where the “real” and the “reflection” connect? The “fold” where you can flip the two “pages” together and make them match? Are You the breeze that is not blowing this morning? Are You the special way that the sun is shining on this whole scene?”
      “Hahaha! I love you so! I AM, kind of, all of those, but most of all, I Am the One who is helping you to stand here and see!
Now take a last deep look. Drink this in, for the sun is rising, the breeze will soon increase, and this moment will never come again. Go in peace and write! Write soon! Tell this reader of the glory you’ve seen!”

      I drank and drank. I thought and thought. I thanked and thanked. Then I reluctantly turned and walked on air all the way up the hill, and home.

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Burden of Years

In youth we bear the burden of too few years,
As seniors, the burden of too many.
Somewhere between, there is a moment
of enjoying exactly the right amount.
Memorize that moment.
The moment when the “burden” is balanced.
And there you can live!
Free in spirit,
Free in wisdom,
Free of body,
Sitting free of burden at the feet of
The Ancient Of Days.
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Mountain of Love

The new bell tower atop Iron Mountain.

I recently returned from camping on Iron Mountain. That won’t mean much to most of you, but to some folks the mention of Iron Mountain elicits great joy, and happy memories.
Located between Mena and Hatfield, Arkansas, Iron Mountain is the main gathering place in the nation, and really the world, for the CMA. Country Music Awards? No!  Don’t feel bad. That was my first thought too, when I first saw those three letters together. It turns out the CMA acronym I’m talking about stands for Christian Motorcyclist Association! And, in case you thought “Christian bikers” is an oxymoron, there are Christian bikers. A large number of them!
My first taste of CMA was over a year ago when my cousins invited me to the annual “Changing of the Colors” rally at Iron Mountain. My cousins promised good fellowship and worship with them and their fellow CMA-ers. I went expecting to visit with them and worship with maybe two-hundred other Christians, but when I walked into the large auditorium, I was surprised and overwhelmed to see at least ten times that many!
Worship was exuberant and meaningful. I knew the songs and could participate freely and joyfully. It was great to be in the middle of all that with my cousins. The speakers were good at what they are called to do and I learned a great deal about CMA. It is a worldwide organization and one of the most successful of its kind. The thing that captured me is their strong evangelistic goal – to bring the Good News of Jesus to a lost world. That is my calling too, so I was captivated – captured by all that they are “about”. Their fundraising events for world missions are called “Run for the Son”. Their motto is “Here if you need me.”
I quickly did the training and became a member with the indispensable help of my cousins.
I met many, many fine people; people who call me brother; people who call me “family”.
In my home church of about three-hundred, not everyone does that. I have, unfortunately, had people who have seen me in church for fifteen years walk right past without a sign of recognition or a greeting. Not so with CMA! There is no such thing as a stranger. Anywhere on the mountain, an encounter with another person will grant you a smile, a nod of greeting, a handshake, a good word, a pat on the shoulder, even a hug and the exclamation, “Brother”! It is truly one, big, loving family.

As I told a couple from Minnesota with whom I have become close friends, “You are very good at making people feel included. You make me feel like I truly belong!” My cousins A.H., D.H., and T.H. (Yes, you, T., honorary cousin! ) are that way as well. All the CMA is that way!
We all love Jesus and also one another. That is The Great Commandment! We all want to do our part to take the Good News out to the world and make believers. That is The Great Commission!
I’m feelin’ it and I hope they feel it from me.
The presence of Love is all over Iron Mountain, and through the CMA, He radiates outward to the ends of the earth! 

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The Wheat and the Grape – A Sacred Harvest




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I read in Our Daily Bread today that “our Savior hung between Heaven and earth
to bear every sin of every generation on His shoulders.”
He hung between Heaven and me . . .
What pain it gives me to revisit that scene . . .
But the above statement led me to think deeply about
what He had told his disciples
and us,
only the night before He hung there – 
what we must do to remember Him;
to remember who He was,
to remember what He did,
how He did it,
and why.

As I pondered,
and contemplated,
and thought,
“The Lord’s Supper is absolute genius”
is what I concluded.

(not that I think I’m the first, nor the only one, to proclaim that)
(and I know that I foolishly reiterate the obvious,
because of course it’s genius, it’s Jesus! )

He broke the bread and compared it to His body
which would imminently be broken for us.
He poured the wine out and compared it to His blood
which would soon be poured out for us.

“He hung between Heaven and earth.”
He was, and is now, intermediary between us and The Father.
Not as a wall, but as a bridge.
He made a way to raise us to His shoulders,
thus standing between us and the evil one “in the earth”.

As for myself, there is far more here than “meets the eye”.
Have you ever thought about how grains
like corn, barley, rye, and wheat are all separated
from the earth by a woody stem?
The seed head of the wheat plant is the “fruit”, in a sense,
that we use to make our bread.

The same applies to “the fruit of the vine”;
tomatoes, cucumbers, kiwi, guava, and, get this – passion fruit –
and predominantly, grapes.
All grow above the ground on woody or semi-woody vines.
They all contain juice, but grape juice makes “traditional” wine.
(side note: there is great debate whether Jesus’ “fruit of the vine” was unfermented juice, or wine)
I’m in the wine camp because wine stores better, not to mention that the Bible states “wine”.
I won’t even dwell on apple, orange, peach, plum trees, or berry bushes,
each of which produce juicy fruit on woody stems;

but I’m getting off track.

The point is that grapevines, like wheat plants,
produce their fruit “between Heaven and earth” on woody stems,
and the final product of both were used at the Lord’s Supper.
The Last Supper of our Lord!

By now you may be making the connection I’m getting at.
Lord Jesus compared His body to a broken loaf of bread,
and His covenantal blood to the poured-out juice of the grape,
in order that:
“as often as you
eat this bread
and drink this cup,
you will do so in remembrance of Me.”
Connecting His spiritual Self to the physical act of
eating and drinking something specific,
is brilliant in my estimation.

It makes the act sacred, and simultaneously
makes our remembrance of Him sacred.
But for me, it doesn’t end there.
Jesus was always using agricultural metaphors because,
I assume, most everyone in His day knew something of the subject.
Is it a great leap to make that He also connected Himself
with the fruit of the earth?

With harvest?
With life-giving, life sustaining, food and drink?
With saving us from spiritual starvation?

If that connection is only for me to make
in order to strengthen my faith in Him,
to take me deeper into our relationship,
to tell me more of the story I long to know more about,
or to give me insight into something so sacred
that I scarcely can digest it,
Then so be it.
You, dear reader, can make of it what you will.
If it doesn’t do anything for you; if it sounds wrong, leave it.

But here’s the thing:
I maintain that Jesus not only connected Himself to
The Bread and The Cup,
But also to the wheat and the grape.
Rich and ripe,
He stood like a sturdy stalk of wheat
before a terrible threshing,
and He hung like a beautiful cluster of grapes
before a horrible crushing.
He stood and He hung there between Heaven and earth,
between us and oblivion,
between us and eternity,
to intentionally endure the torture of threshing,

and the horrible crushing pain – for us, dear reader. . .
The first and best fruit of the earth,
until the harvest was finished.
He made Himself our everything,
even our spiritual food and drink.
Essential, lifesaving, sacred, and beautiful.

The Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Harvest.
Absolute Genius!
Absolute Jesus!

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Thinking About Repenting

No, I’m not thinking about whether or not I should repent, haha, I’m thinking about what repenting means – what it means when a person repents, and more to the point, my position on its importance in the walk of faith.
      There are a few different definitions of the word repent, from the mundane “feeling bad or sorry about your failings”, to “showing sincere remorse for one’s wrongdoings”, to “changing one’s mind and lifestyle”, to the more Biblical “turning away from sin to obtain forgiveness”.
      God’s Word makes it clear that repentance – turning away from sin and sin nature – is one of His requirements for salvation and eternal life. However, in the nest of my puny mind, an idea fledges, ready for flight, that simply regretting one’s past, changing ones mind, or lifestyle, or even turning away from sin is not enough. It is not the depth of what is required.
      After much thought, research, and scripture reading, I agree that repentance is a turning, but it is not only a turning away, but also a turning toward. Going a step further, I maintain that it is, or should be, more a turning toward Jesus than just a turning away from sin.
      We can’t depend on ourselves to do any of that serious kind of turning, can we? We are completely inadequate for it. So how do we turn? We believe in, and trust, and have faith in Jesus for our turning!
He said it: “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” We are incapable without Him! How can we turn away from sin without the grace by which He enables our faith in Him?

Ephesians 2: 8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Turning from sin on our own and thus receiving salvation would be like saving ourselves, would it not? It would be of our own works. Impossible!
I believe that all our well-being hinges on our relationship with Jesus, and that begins with the gift of faith, undeserved but given through God’s grace. I believe that the moment one believes, and has trust and faith in Jesus; the moment we turn to Him as Lord of our lives, is the moment, by His grace, that we find it possible, and highly desirable, to turn away from our sins, and our sin. That repentance, that turning is of the heart. It seems to me that it is not simply a “one-and-done” either. It is a turning toward Him again, every moment. In this broken world, it has to be.

That’s my opinion on repentance. It is fully fledged and has taken wing. I believe it and I’m sticking to it (until, by His grace and for His glory, He sets me straight according to His Truth).
I’m Gloryteller. Talk with you later. : )

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Beautiful Feet !

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of the messenger who brings good news,
the good news of peace and salvation,
    the news that the God of Israel reigns!

Isaiah 52:7

My feet have been those feet.
Consider making your feet those feet,
whether on the mountains,
in the meadows,
on the mainstreets,
or in the malls.
The feet that deliver the message
of the good news of Father God and Jesus
are always beautiful!
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Grammer or Grammar

An offbeat Gloryteller original:

People who wanna communicate good
should take grammar more serious.
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Wandering Among Dogwood Lamps

Late last night, there was thunder. After several moments, an eerie flash caught my eye from where I lay reading. Through a doorway across the room, then through a double window across another room, our dogwood tree was perfectly framed. Momentarily, the entire tree became an exquisite, living Tiffany lamp, lit from the inside by a mysterious argent light source . . .

April is “dogwood time” in the Mid-South. This year, our delightful dogwood is extraordinarily beautiful. Its flower petals are whiter and much larger than they have ever been, densely covering all the branches. They are so large that when a breeze ripples through the tree, the petals flutter like the wings of large, white butterflies . . .

Yes, I am familiar with the legends and symbolism surrounding the dogwood tree. The legends, I discount. They are interesting as fables but have no Biblical or historically factual basis. The symbolism, however, I do embrace. I like every reminder, every metaphor, that reminds me of Jesus and His love:

The petals, which are actually specialized leaves, or bracts, are the purest white, which reminds me of Christ’s perfect purity. There are four petals arranged in a cross-like pattern, and each petal has a semicircular hole at the tip, reminiscent of those that might be made by a nail. In addition, each “hole” is mysteriously stained with a pinkish or reddish blotch. The true flower is in the center of the four petals. It is green and yellow and is said to be a reminder of the crown of thorns that was forced painfully onto Jesus’ head. Interestingly, the “berries” often form in clusters of three. Their red color among the green leaves reminds me of Christbirth – the Christmas season! The sets of three, to me, symbolize the three divine persons of the Holy Trinity.

. . . . There was lightning once again, then more thunder, and this time it was closer. I turned my reading light off. The enveloping darkness was immediately banished by the intense, momentary, white glow of the dogwood. Once again, it looked as though it was lit from within, and somehow I was transported; translated to a place I had been only in my imagination until last night. This time it seemed real.
I was walking on a winding, groomed garden path surrounded by surreal beauty. Unearthly beauty, except that here, too, there were dogwoods. The garden was so large, I could not see the beginning nor ending of it. An ancient place; possibly the parent of all gardens . . .

The path meandered, and the dogwoods that lined it were all lit from inside their canopies by light that made the sun seem dimmer by comparison, yet it was a soft light. Magnificent blooming magnolias of all kinds and colors formed a backdrop. There were sprays of color from crabtrees and redbuds behind the dogwoods, as occasional apple, peach, and pear trees displayed their richly-flowered abundance. All were lit with the same urgently-joyous white glow.

As I continued, I perceived a change: the blooming trees were giving way to ancient olive trees. Soon, I was in a much different garden; possibly the parent of all olive gardens! Those thick, gnarly trunks had the look of having seen countless days; having seen wonders and also tragedies. This place was reminiscent of the garden where Jesus would go to pray . . . and each old tree also glowed from inside, but with a more yellow-green light; a more somber light.
I walked on, but was dismayed when the path changed to pebbles and dirt. Pebbles, and dirt, and rough rocks. There were no more trees, only dry-bones desert. There were no more lights, no glow. No joy. None.
I looked back and there was only a dismal, grim cross on a barren hill. I was lost in desolation. Isolation. I ran and stumbled repeatedly. The sky was dark at midday . . .

After a seeming eternity, the dry, rugged path skirted the top of a high cliff from which I could look down upon an expansive valley. I saw the garden of olives. Beyond that was beauty of which I could see no beginning nor any end.  Across the valley were snow-covered mountains glowing mightily from a mysteriously powerful inner luminescence. Low on the mountainsides were aspen trees in “new leaf”, not yet even knowing how to shimmer and quake. There were flowering trees of every description lit from the inside with indescribable light. Multitudes of multicolored butterflies were alighting in the trees for the night. In the increasingly dusky light, even larger numbers of fireflies were replacing them in the air; blinking stars among numerous full-moons.
I knelt on one knee.

“I must somehow get back to that”, I thought. “I was not made for this distressing place; this despair. I know now I was made to live in the immense Garden – in the place of The Lights – to enjoy them forever.”
I can’t tell you what, or whom, it was that lifted me by my arms and glided me down – wafted – like an ecstatic dandelion seed in a cool spring breeze, to the valley of beauty far below. At last I stood in wonder, at home on the dogwood and firefly-lit path; tall, living, dogwood Tiffany lamps standing joyfully much farther than I could ever see.
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Changing Fathers; Who’s My Daddy?

“What father, when you ask for a loaf of bread, would give you a rock?

What father, when you ask for a fish, would give you a snake?

Or if you ask for an egg, what father would give you a scorpion?”

My “first” and former “spirit father” did that.

He always gave me something terrible disguised as good, for “he” is evil; “he” is the father-of-lies.

There was always “something fishy” about that unsavory character. In John 8:44, Jesus says something important and powerful of “him” (to the Pharisees): “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father-of-lies.

Jesus also called this devil, this Satan,
“the enemy”
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“the evil one”,
“prince of this world”,
“the tempter”,
“the accuser”.

“prince of demons”,
“the god of this world”.

It follows that we live “behind enemy lines” in this world. The enemy “owns” it in a sense. He usurped it from the rightful owners, our original ancestors, through fraud, deception, and deceit. The father/master of deceit is the originator of the first sin; he told the first lie. Of course, our progenitors were, more or less, willing accomplices in giving away what had been theirsthe entire world, even the entire universe. Today he still entices people to unwittingly give up wonders that are rightfully theirs.

Yet we born-again believers, we “new believers” are safe in our “new” Father’s stronghold, the same as those who have “always” believed. Not safe from pain, suffering, and persecution, necessarily, but at peace and safe in His promises; safe from the everlasting soul-death that the god-of-this-world wants for us.

We are soul-safe!

I disinherited and disowned the god-of-lies-of-this-world! I renounce, deny, and avoid him. He is my sworn enemy. The enemy of my soul.  There is no love in him, only the love of himself. I have a truckload of negative things to say about the father-of-lies, but maybe it is best to leave those to Jesus, who knows him best; Jesus, who said it all in red letters! You can see everything He said for yourself, and you really should!

 

My “new” spiritual Papa. My Abba. My “new” Daddy! I worship Him!
He spoke my name in eternity long before
He formed my body.
I’m certain He spoke to me inside my mother
and outside, before I could think or speak myself.
Sadly, I forgot that Paternal voice,
only to finally recognize it in my spirit
many decades later.
I began to remember Him!
I realized He had never forgotten me!
I saw the Light I had been blinded to!
I. Changed. Fathers!
And I’m forever grateful, and glad, and filled with Joy!

My “new” Father- the REAL, the ONLY – the first One – who always gives me far better than I ask or deserve, sooner or later, if I am patient. The best of bread, even if I asked for undeserved stale crumbs; the tastiest of fish, even if I would have settled for half-spoiled mudfin.
I discovered that principles I had rejected were actually true;
that while I was still His enemy, and a prodigal far from Him,

He made my reconciliation and my redemption
possible through Jesus’ loving sacrifice.
He welcomed me home with open arms.

 He extends to me forgiveness and undeserved grace.
He serves me new mercy every morning.
He leads me into the light and stays with me there.
There is no evil in Him, only good.
As far as I know, He doesn’t hate anyone or anything except for evil.
He does not promote fear. He desires love and devotion.
 He loves unconditionally and extravagantly.
He is love.
While the   false, fraudulent, “father”   stews in defeat,
Father God sends His Holy Spirit to me, through Jesus,
to help begin to clean me up; make me righteous; dress me up;
make me “look” my best, 
for I am a part and a member of something extraordinary.
Something indescribably beautiful which He calls
The Bride of His beloved Son.

One day, I will be adorned gloriously with my siblings,
worthy to stand next to The Groom
in the presence of His; of our,
Highest Father.

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 I am blessed to have discovered
the identity of my real Father.
The Great One,
Ancient of Days,
Who loves me!
Not everyone is so fortunate.
If you don’t know, there are only two options.
One choice.
Who is your daddy?
Choose wisely.

 

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The Basic Christian Library

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Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

"The Circle" 4-book series by Ted Dekker.
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