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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Once, It Was Enough

My life was fine when I didn’t have Jesus in it.
At least, that’s what I thought.
It was enough, but now that empty life can never be enough. 

I licked a spoon that was used to stir egg nog.
It was not enough!
I wanted more!
I wanted a drink! 

Jesus gave me that sweet drink of the life.
He gave me the more I didn’t know I’d been waiting for.
No more futile striving for only a thin film of the sweetness.

 Now I have Him,
and with Him,
the sweet, rich,
fragrantly spiced,
deliciously satisfying,
 glass of joyous life to drink from,
that is always full,
never empties,
and is endless!
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The Wheat and the Grape – A Sacred Harvest




*   *   *

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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The Wheat and the Grape – Sacred Harvest




*   *   *

 Our Daily Bread said 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 see 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.

“The Lord’s Supper is absolute genius”
is what I concluded.
(not that I think I’m the first, nor the only, one to think that)
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 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 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.
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 are 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.

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 a story I long to know more of,
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, leave it.

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.
The first and best fruits 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!

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Plain Clay Jar


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I am like
the sealed, plain,
clay jar, that contained
bitter water, which feared
being broken but wished that it
could be broken so that the bad
water would run out, but after it
was inevitably dropped, and when
the inevitable crack opened in its side,
the jar was dismayed that only a part of
the bitters ran out and it sat damaged, thinking
it could never be a whole jar again, and found that
being broken was a far worse thing than it had imagined,
so it wished and wished that it could be an undamaged useful
jar again, even if it had to hold bitter water, when suddenly the
Spirit of Plain Clay heard the longings of the poor jar, found
the crack, entered through it, sealed the crack behind Him,
and changed the bitter water to sweet, clear water, which
He multiplied to fill the jar, after which the jar begged
Him to stay, Spirit said  Forever, If You’ll Have Me,
at which point the jar knew brokenness to be a
blessing, for without the crack, the glorious
Spirit of Plain Clay would never have gained
entrance;  I am like that — if clay jars could
fear, could wish, could be dismayed, could
 think, could imagine, could wish, could
beg, and could know, and if there were
a glorious Spirit of Plain Clay —
I AM like that.

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Chicken Proverbs – And God Created The Chicken –

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Still being in a festive mood, even this long after celebrating
Christ’s birth and Christmas, I’m stretching my writer-wings
to launch this new blogging year with something I hope will be
fun for you to read:

And God Created The Chicken!

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Chicken Proverbs,
Sayings,
Adages,
Expressions,
Idioms,
Phrases,
Puns,
Jokes.

First, some background –
some “fractured factoids”:

Chickens Rule!
They rule in terms of  historical significance; they have been in domestication for an estimated 7,000 years, give or take a paltry thousand years.
They rule in their abundant usefulness, which always reminds me of God’s abundant provision for our needs.
They rule in terms of sheer, overwhelming numbers; I have read that there are between 20 and 40 billion domesticated chickens alive today, depending on the reference source.  The “poultry” difference (“paltry” if you don’t like “cheep” puns – patronize me!)  of 20 billion may be due to the fact that the many free-range birds on the ground, (and in the trees) today, run very fast, hide well, and are difficult to count . . .
Observation:  I don’t know eggs-actly why, but the meat of many animals is renamed; beef, pork, veal, venison, for eggs-ample, but poultry meat is named for the bird:  chicken, duck, turkey, pheasant.  I have no eggs-planation.  Oh! that was so cheep!  (I’ve got a million of ’em)
Anyyywayyyy . . .  I have a new batch of “teenage” chickens that I raised from three-day-old chicks.  Watching them brings to mind all the chicken-related adages and idioms, yolks, and so forth, I’ve heard throughout the years. I’ve gathered several below.  (If you lose interest in reading all of these, please skip to the “meat” of this post which begins at the “~~~~~~~~~”  break.  Thank you for not giving up!),
By the way, I won’t bother to explain these.  If you’re mystified, that’s what Internet Eggsplorer is for . . .


Let’s take a peep at some Chicken Proverbs (not the Biblical kind):

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
“If you stick your neck out, you might get it chopped off.”
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
“That’s like letting a fox guard the hen house.”
“Chickens are an egg’s way of making more eggs.”
“A poor man only eats chicken when he is sick – or when the chicken is sick.”
“Birds of a feather, flock together.”
“Why did the chicken cross the road?” (“To get to the other side.”)

Some Chicken Sayings, Adages, Expressions, Idioms, Phrases, Puns, Jokes:

“What came first, the chicken, or the egg?
“Our nest egg is diminishing.”
“I really laid an egg yesterday.”
Caught with egg on your face.”
“He’s coming out of his shell.”

“Hatch an idea.”

“He got nervous and “flew the coop”.
“Feeling too cooped up.”
“She rules the roost.”
“We feathered our nest.”

“I chickened out.”
“Cute chick.”
“I don’t want to hear a peep out of you!”
“Those chickens are coming home to roost.”
“She’s no spring chicken.”
“That ain’t chicken feed.”
“He’s chicken-hearted.”
“Playing chicken.”
“Running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”
“Going to bed with the chickens and getting up with them too.”
“His writing looks like chicken scratching.”
“It tastes like chicken.”

“Getting your hackles up.”
“Her feathers are ruffled.”

“Making it from scratch.”

“Took me under her wing.”
“Mad as a wet hen.”
“She’s like a mother hen with those kids.”
“She has a big brood.”
“He’s in his den brooding.”
“That was a real hen party last night.”
“Cackling like a bunch of hens.”
“Hen-pecked.”
“Scarce as hen’s teeth.”

“Why is everybody always picking on me?”
“Pecking order.”
“Dumb cluck.”
“Henpecked.”

A Chicken Jolk:
“If you treat a chicken badly, she will squawk on you!”

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The large arsenal of chicken-related adages and idioms is not limited to only the above.  There are more.  Can you think of any?
Yes, chickens are ingrained in our society and in our ancestral psyches, but my favorite references to chickens are Biblical.
You knew I would get around to this, didn’t you?!
You are quite clever!

There is “Peter’s ignominious rooster.”  Oh, how he must have sat all that horrible night with a fear and loathing of that bird.
That rooster’s morning song is mentioned in Matthew, Mark, Luke, AND John.  Also, at least one verse in proverbs refers to a rooster’s call.
Thus, the rooster indirectly came to be a symbol for resurrection in medieval times.

My favorites:

Luke 13:34
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone to death those sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her brood under her wings! But you were not willing!

Matthew 23:37  is better in my opinion:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.

and Psalm 91:4: 
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

These verses give me a delightfully real and personal insight into God’s loving, caring, protective character, of which we are the most fortunate beneficiaries.  I have physically felt Him “gather me under His wings”. I hope you have too, for that is a large part of what a close relationship with The Highest Lord of All Creation is about!

Well, I’ve over-covered the subject, and I’ve crowed enough, so I need to get busy out at the coop.  I have to make another chicken run!   Hehehehehe . . .

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O Christbirth Tree, O Christbirth Tree!

 

χ
My
Christbirth
**tree is ever-green**
**With everlasting life**
Its branches are its members
***Clothed in colorful lights***
**Lights reflected by ornaments**
******Of all shapes and sizes******
*****Which shine just as brightly*****
********It’s filled with surprises!********
*******Wrapped ’round with garland*******
*************As a bundling rope*************
************The whole tied together***********
***********With warm faith and hope***********
**************The star at its crown is**************
***************Wreathed in white light**************
***************Can be seen near and far***************
************’Cause it’s clear, pure, and bright************
*****************That’s the part of the tree*****************
*******************That ultimately pleases*******************
**************************You see*****************************
*************For the Star at the point and the apex****************
******************************Is Jesus*****************************
****************And the branches, the lights, and ornaments************
*******************************Are we***********************************
************************For He is the Bridegroom**************************
********************We are His church, bride, and wife**********************
*********************The trunk that stands in The Water,********************
***************************The Water of Life.*******************************
Water
of
Life

* * *
Happy Christbirth!

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The Primal Christmas Tree

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

(One Star and five prime numbers . . . a tree of perfection!)


*

**
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*****
*******
***********
!


The

Star is

on top, sovereign

in His supreme place.

His light illuminates all life

below.  All below Him, made in perfection.

Gathered, enfolded, protected – like a mother hen does – under His wings.


!
***********

*******
*****
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**
*


Is this tree upside-down? Wrong? Distressing? Let it not be so!  It

is made in perfection, for He is still supreme and sovereign.

All lives supported upon His shoulders. Kept

by His strength. Maintained by

His goodness.  Lit

by His

Love.

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Remember, Trust, and Fear Not

* * *
^                ^

I’m like Israel.
I’m always in some stage of forgetting.
Forgetting what God has done for me.
Always in some season of fluctuating lack, or abundance, of trust.
Lacking trust in Him.
Always wandering back and forth in the space between complete remembrance
and idolatry.
Between desperate, abiding trust,
and going aside to find my own way.
Gaining freedom.
Careless with freedom.
Freedom tipping dangerously
back and forth at the edge of destruction.
And so it is with my country.

It is said that great civilizations can’t be destroyed from without,
but easily from within.
I try to fight The Worm inside;
the one who hides its presence.
Insidious.
Parasitic.
Spanning the length of my inner workings.
Feeding, wiggling, waiting.
Trying to poison me gradually,
without my noticing.
But I notice.
I know it’s there
trying to kill the very one who feeds it.
And I try to poison it back.
In anger.
In revenge.
I take poisons to kill it,
or, at least, to drive it out.
But it won’t go,
And that’s killing me . . .

Alas! I have forgotten, once more,
that I can’t, and never could, by myself.
That there is The Saving Promise,
and The Trust in its Maker
that I let fade to my own harm.
I’ve only to remember that He has defeated that Worm.
Has His foot on its neck.
It knows it’s finished, yet
it writhes and thrashes,
and spews its poison,
Attempting to inflict yet one more wound inside.
But it is harmless as long as I remember to trust Him;
to keep Him precisely between myself and that monster.
Remember and trust.
Oh, Israel!
I can’t, even for one moment, forget,
Nor let trust fail.
Nor neglect thanking Him for what He has done, is doing, and will do.
To keep me safe.
And to keep me free.

~So it is with me.~
~And so it is with my country.~

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Reviewing My Past As I Look Forward To Leaving Time Behind

~ ~ ~ ~
^ ^ ^ ^ ^

My life is being read back to me
by a speed-reader becoming more adept
with practice; soon a master,
fading lines racing,

the pages turning faster,
the rate of turning accelerating,
quickly, inexorably revealing my story, 
which, hopefully, was, and is,
And will be, all to Jesus’ glory.

* * * *
^ ^ ^ ^ ^

You’re right, those of you who say I spend a lot of time reliving my past,
reminiscing in nostalgic reflection,
Recalling recollected memories.
That’s not such a bad thing is it,
considering there is much more of my past behind me
than there is of my future ahead of me?
(Of course I’m speaking Earthily and physically, not spiritually.)

Jesus, my saviour, knew that feeling, I think.
In His early thirties.
Lines racing.
During His ministry.
Pages turning inexorably.
A man (Man) of time – living in time.
A fellow victim of time?
A fellow captive?
A servant of time?
(If a victim, a captive, or servant, He was a perfect one)
At least, a subject of time, bound by its rules.
Hardly as old as I am.
Half my age, His time was running out.
Time leaks away, as lifeblood from a relentlessly-dripping wound.
Yet He knew He was going to live “forever”
(was there a moment of horror when He thought He wouldn’t?)
in a place where the words “past”, and “future”,
and “before”, and “after”, and “forever”
have no meaning except in the context of life in the world
– the physical, materially-created universe.
In Heaven, there is only “now”, I reason.
(Even then, a special and unique kind of now.)
(Some say, even here, that “now” is all that exists)
But time is only for The World, even though
God is able, I think, to move in and out of this time-ridden world at will.

Things have happened.
Other things will possibly happen . . .
Yes!  This next line happened!
Sequence!
Time has kept all my lines from happening at once!

As I draw closer to my last line here, literally, in this post, and here, figuratively, on Earth,
I reflect upon the time of my birth,
childhood,
teen-hood,
adulthood,
the time of my re-birth,
a new, different, more real childhood,
and all the times between all the “hoods”.
Then the time after.
In comparison, the time I’ve been blessed with after having been born-again
is like living with one foot – like the frozen, anticipated, next step – in the joy of the timeless place
with Jesus and Father God.

A part of me has become rather fond of time, though it is a capricious master.
Reliable and steady, yet inexorable, unrelenting, and unforgiving.
It flies.
It waits for no-one.

It certainly is not waiting for me.
But God is. 
Patiently, forgivingly,  (which are, indeed, “time words”),
and lovingly (which is a timely, and an eternal word.)

“Reliving”, or thinking about the past is interesting and useful.
Living “in the now” is also important,
but to live in the “eternal now”,
to live with the Highest Lord, is what I really want.

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Previews, Glimpses, Sips, And Samples

~ ~ ~

^^^^^

At a food show, the chef fed us morsels from each course of his famous ten course gourmet dining experience.

The wine steward poured us sample sips of his oldest vintage.
But the actual meals and drinks were beyond our means,
Our ability to fully appreciate,
Beyond our wherewithal…

We were left with our dreams and ‘air-filled’ beans,
Not that beans aren’t good, mind you…

At the homemade ice cream store, the clerk gave us delicious samples of exotic frozen wonders, but there were too many and we had to decide upon one or two…

We watched the trailer – actually a teaser – of the new blockbuster movie.  We could have watched it right then, but it was a month from release in theaters…

We looked at paint swatches, but they were too small to get the full visual picture of how the whole room would look with those colors…

We saw photographs of architectures and landscape designs for our new home, but each was more beautiful than the last and we couldn’t wrap our head around them, couldn’t decide…

We saw photographs of paintings, which, of course, couldn’t do justice to the real works of art…

We heard samples of music which we knew were not a fair representation of the complete recorded songs, which, themselves, failed to convey the complete experience of watching and hearing the artists play and sing the music before us “live”…

Perfume samples faded too soon…

The smell of lilacs.
We just want them to keep blooming all year
So that we can have the real thing
And not just a pleasant memory…

We saw the digital computerized results of the collisions of subatomic particles moving at nearly the speed of  light.  The pictures are digital because the particles are traveling so fast, their trails are very short, and their “lives” are less than flashes.  The researchers are reasonably certain that they have found the elusive Higgs Boson — the “God particle” — that confers mass upon all matter.  Those particles border upon the unreal in our local timespace, but their effects and their existence is, in a sense, eternal…

So it is to live here in the world of the created universe.
We see but a glimpse of the immense and the miniscule.
Of the quick and even the slow.
Of the true hues and created colors.
But we’re glad to have eyes.

We hear but a whisper of the eternal symphony.
But we’re glad to have ears.

We get only a momentary, fleeting taste of a magnificent feast.
But we’re glad to have the sense of taste.

We are thankful to have senses, but
We’re left with a longing for more,
No, not just more, but a longing for The Real Thing.
The big, full, complete, Real Thing.
All of it!

The thing is:  that God gives us the capacity to experience Him through His created works surrounding us here in our temporary home, the incompletely restored universe.  We have sensory organs, limited as they are, and we have minds which seek to understand, all the while knowing that the completed “big picture” will not be ours.  The complete fullness of God’s Mind, His Power, Majesty, and Glory is beyond our ability to experience.  Not here, not now, not yet.

What is it like to chase an electron?

What is it like to see all the countless wavelengths and hear all the countless frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum?

What is it like to hear the choir of all the stars in all the galaxies singing at once to the Risen Creator-King while all the angels’ voices soar in counterpoint?

What is it like to taste a ten-million-course banquet assembled by a host of angel chefs while the Persons of the Trinity dine at the table with us?

What is it like to see Your face,
Oh, Lord?

We likely will not know these things while alive on this world, but we have faith that we will know when we all hear the worldwide trumpet note that accompanies His returning shout as He comes at last to finish the redemption of all creation and all His people.

Until then, we are blessed, privileged, and gifted
With all of His
Sips,
Hints,
Nudges,
Samples,
Glimpses,
Whispers,
Previews,
Foretastes.

~ ~ ~
^^^^^

Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me.  1 Corinthians 13:12 

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2

But as it is written in the Scriptures, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him and wait for Him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9 
[ There are things God hath prepared for those that love him, and wait for him, which sense cannot discover, no teaching can convey to our ears, nor can it yet enter our hearts. We must take them as they stand in the Scriptures, as God hath been pleased to reveal them to us. –Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary]

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Evil Tries, Good God Triumphs

~ ~ ~

Nowhere, Nothing, No-One, Never —

Of Trial and Triumph

~ ~ ~

There is nowhere
Evil can go
that Good can’t reach.

There is nothing
Evil can touch
that Good can’t redeem.

There is no-one
Evil can take
that Good can’t release.

There is not one life
Evil can chain
that Good has not the key.

~ ~ ~

~  ~  ~  ~

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Defending His Words With My GPS

Photo of TomTom Go 500

^^^

A GPS plays a special role while traveling strange roads.  It tells us where we are, where to turn to reach our destination, how far we have come, how far we have yet to go, what the speed limit is, and where the landmarks, restaurants, and gas stations are.  It keeps us from getting lost!  It also increases our overall understanding of areas unfamiliar to us.  A GPS can greatly enhance the enjoyment of a trip.

It occurred to me that I, as a writer (and we writers, collectively), have a special role, since our craft is expressed through use of our language.    It matters how we use our GPS……..  GPS?  I see the questions in your eyes.

Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling! 

GPS!

It’s a matter of words – how we string them together in a proper, coherent manner into phrases and sentences.

G,P, and S are our tools –  the paint on our canvasses which color our written thoughts.

They are the instruments by which we give tone and texture, pitch and resonance to the songs of our printed voices.

They are the rich furnishings that embellish an empty house (blank page) and transform it into a home (poem, article, story).

Without the order furnished by the use of good grammar, punctuation, and spelling, (and, here, I must add vocabulary) there is confusion and chaos.  There is reader discomfort.  Instead of the stream flowing smoothly, their cognative canoes encounter obstacles which impede progress.  Instead of the intended float-trip through a beautiful landscape of understanding, there is a laborious detour through a swamp of lost meaning.

Today our language, (both the written and the spoken) is under attack by laziness, carelessness, apathy, ignorance, and lack of meaningful use by the general public. It seems few people actually care anymore about The Queen’s English  (meaning the standard, correct, conventional, most easily-understood-worldwide form of the language).  It is dying a slow death – even in the “media” – even in schools.  Our language is undergoing a deliberate “dumbing down”.  It seems to me that bad grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary are somehow becoming more socially acceptable to many people than good grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary.  To me, that is a very sad circumstance.  The consequences are tangible, for example, when thousands of job applications are rejected for not having been written properly.  It is essential to be able to express one’s thoughts and ideas clearly, concisely, and in an intelligent manner.

As writers, we find ourselves in a unique position.  We have a responsibility, and an obligation to make proper use of our language, not only for our readers’ benefit, and our own benefit, but for the benefit of the English language itself, and Society itself.

I must now state that I am not a journalist, nor an English major.  I’ve never had a creative writing course; the way I write is God-given.  All my knowledge of reading and writing came from grades one through twelve in public school, way back when “reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic” were considered very important, and were taught classically.  There was no “dumbing down” back then, only “smartening up”.  That being said, this post may still contain some GPS errors, but it’s not for lack of trying, and it’s not for lack of caring about English.  I’m no expert, but whatever my shortcomings, I’m still a writer.  Writing is my passion, my delight, and, most importantly, my calling.

As writers, we find ourselves the appointed guardians, supporters, and defenders of  The Language, and not only our language but God’s language;  His words.  HIS WORD.   Writers and readers alike should gain proficiency in GPS and vocabulary, especially if they happen to be reading or writing about The Bible, God’s people, or King Jesus — The Word of God, Himself.

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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.

^^^

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Writing Is

Writing Is

Writing is an outlet
Perhaps it’s electrical
Like plugging into joy and powering everything up
Sometimes just an opening to let things out
A passage for escape
A channel to drain frustration
A conduit for tears
A vent
For when the desperate cry needs a way out,
Or a place to go because it can’t stay here.

Writing is a conveyance
An express for expression
A quick delivery
A pleasant personal messenger
A slow train of thought
Running down the line
Turning on a phrase
A powerful vehicle, hauling harvests of words,
Heavy loads of thoughts,
Ideas that must get to market or rot in storage.

Writing is a wright’s den
A workshop, a sweatshop
Where ideas are whittled and turned
With sharpened tools
Woulds and mettles worked and tempered
Common prose peened and hammered
Poetic beauty buffed to a shine
Polished and finished, punctuated and grammar’d
Bible, book, a script, a play, a limerick, a joke,
A story, a note, or music made, all by a word-wright’s skill.

Writing is a window
That faces the world, transparent
Or looks at the writer’s soul
Exposing everything both ways
A mirror in which to see yourself
Reflected as a character
And sudden revelation
Like a bird slamming into the glass
Because it was uninformed
But now it knows more
Because solid truth is undeniable
When crafted, smithed, and wrighted plain
Or into metaphor and out again.

 

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Evil Translated To Glory

Great Evil Translated To Greater Glory

The greater the amount of evil defeated in saving one’s eternal life, the greater the glory attributed to God.
(LS 11-29-12)

I don’t mean that one sin is “worse” than another.  I don’t mean that a certain grace imparted is greater than another, nor that it is harder for God to defeat a “greater amount” of evil in any given person’s life.  There is no sin that can’t be forgiven, and no evil that He can’t defeat.
What I mean is that, from the perspective of a person who was granted the miracle of saving grace later in life, the odds of my seeing and accepting that grace seemed slim, at best.  The awe and wonder I have in light of that are immense!

I also mean that the large amount and the “seriousness” (as judged by Earthly standards) of the selfish evil accumulated in my own life that was defeated by Grace, is a metaphor for the “increasing amount” of wickedness, and evil, and selfishness I see accumulating in the world today.  The longer He lets it build up – the worse it gets – the more awe and wonder there will be when He comes in all His Glory!  That metaphor concludes with all the evil of the world being defeated in due time, and on that day, great will be the glory of God!  On that day, all people will “bow their knee” to Christ.  (Sadly to say, for a great many souls who don’t know Him, and consequently whom He doesn’t know, that will be their last desperate act before their everlasting death.)  For Eternal Life, and for the Great Glory of God, I continue to present my case – His case for evil to be translated to glory, and I continue to pray toward that end.

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About The Music Links Below

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

The Basic Christian Library

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

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

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

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

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

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

Copyright Licensing

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My Signature Story

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

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

The content here's not to be used,

But to only be read and perused.

If you copy it off,

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And your fortune is mine - you got sued!

Gloryteller :-)

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