Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!


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Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think,
in one way or another,
about Christ’s crucifixion, His resurrection, and His ascension.

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

Today, let there be loud singing and joyous dancing.
Let there be massive celebration over all the Earth,
for our Jesus is alive!

Let there be all of that but, most importantly,
let Him be the Lord of your life.

Rejoice, My Soul,
All People, Rejoice!

I celebrate this holiest
Of all the days of holiness,
For as the sun appears to rise in the East,
The Son of God did arise on Easter
– Resurrection Day,

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

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With love,
Your Gloryteller

 Resurrection Sunday,  4-5-2015 and 3-27-2016
(re-posted, with edits, from 3-31-2013)
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Good Friday? Good Sunday!

It is Good Friday.  This is the day of remembrance of how my Lord Jesus suffered the agony of torture and death.
Like the criminal on His right, I believe a part of me hung there and died with Him that day – the dark part that needed to be put to death – in order that I might be saved into eternal life with Him. Like He spoke to that wretched, miserable, condemned man, He still speaks to me today through His Word, with labored breath, gasping one painful word at a time as if we are face to face –
                  “I. Forgive. You.” “You. Shall. Be. With. Me . . .” 

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

His torture and death were my fault in a sense.  (My brothers and sisters argue that it is theirs, which may be true, but I maintain I am the guiltiest)   He went ahead and saved me anyway. He forgave me that fault –  “It’s forgotten,”  He said, graciously.

What kind of Love? . . . I can scarcely fathom.

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

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


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

Thank you victoryinjesus123 for uploading this beautiful video.

Oh, and one more thing – the power of the cross is only the beginning.
The power of His victory over death lies at the doorstep beneath the joyously-open doorway of His empty tomb!
THANK YOU, JESUS!
That hardly seems enough to say,
Yet it is heartfelt.
Father, help me LIVE those three words.

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The Wheat and the Grape – Sacred Harvest




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 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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Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!


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Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!

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

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

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

Rejoice, My Soul – All People, Rejoice!

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

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With love,
Your Gloryteller

 Resurrection Sunday,  4-5-2015
(re-posted from 3-31-2013)
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The Wheat and the Grape – Sacred Harvest




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 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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Good Friday – The Expense of Safety

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A Good Friday Story –
The Expense of Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you victoryinjesus123 for uploading this beautiful video.

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

I Present SPRING

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What can I say about Spring
that you don’t already know?
It’s about the joy of new life.
New life from old life.
New life out of death.
New life is alive with the bloom of everlasting life.
Exultant!
Joyous!
Achingly beautiful!

Vivaldi knew music, and he knew Spring in a unique, special way.
He composed the following music about Spring:
To my mind, it is exultant, joyous, and achingly beautiful
just as are the colorful flowers, butterflies, birds, and bees herein.
New life from old life.
New life out of death.
It’s another way to tell of God’s glory, another facet of proclaiming His brilliance!
He makes all things new!
Dear reader, I present you with colorful new life,
I present you with Vivaldi’s “Spring”.

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Thank you Simon S. Alba for posting this video.

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Mirror-Man

The writer watches himself from above the action, unseen, from the vantage point of memory.

The scene plays out in the shabby, one-room hovel which was the former condition of his heart.  One wall of the small room has a door, the other three are covered with large, old, worn mirrors. The watcher sees himself standing in that poor space, staring into the mirrors, admiring his own beauteous image. He occasionally hears an annoying, distracting, tapping sound but he tunes it out.
In time, in the rows of endless images of his gorgeous self, a shadow begins to appear on the tenth face back. In that particular face, desolation emerges, the image turns grotesque, and it disappears as do all the faces behind it. He tries to bring them back. Self-worship should not require this much concentration. He fails as, one by one, the shadow overtakes the regal visages of nine, eight, seven, and six, turns them hideous, and obliterates them over time.  In distress and fear, he begins to notice the empty poverty of the room in the background – his room. The dark shadow begotten of the fallen faces, remains in the space behind him, congealing in an evil swirl. In the mirrors, he begins to see shades of death and he is appalled.
The tapping continues, becoming slightly louder and more urgent. It is ignore-able but harder to disregard than before.

At the same time, the watching-man above the scene sees another man waiting at the door. He has been standing on that stoop for a long time and has not just been waiting, but knocking softly at short intervals. His bare feet are aching, his legs tired, and his knuckles are bruised and sore, but he perseveres. He will not ever give up seeking the answer of the man inside, whom he cares about. They have a history, although the man inside may be unaware of it, or in denial of it.
The man at the door remembers grappling with the other man’s personal sin.
Clutching it to him, the horrible thing had clawed and ripped at his chest and its fangs tore desperately at his throat as it tried to escape his powerful strangling grasp. His love for mirror-man drove him to vanquish his monster rather than let it destroy the poor man. He would kill it even if he had to die with it.
He remembered that he had been successful – he had held on – but at the high cost of all his own blood. He remembered that he had defeated the enemy and he had been restored, but the memory of that painful battle still gnaws at him and he hopes with his whole being that the man inside will simply answer his knock and let him inside.

Meanwhile, the mirror-man is transfixed by what is happening in his mirrors. Images five and four are dissolving into ugliness, but he still can’t turn around and see his barren cubicle the way it really is. He can only see it backwards in the darkening glass.  He becomes more and more aware of the insistent tapping and he looks at the mirror image of his sagging door. The door seems to be outlined by a warm light that originates outside. “Could that be the news man bringing word that I have won the lottery?”, he wonders. “Could it, perhaps, be the delivery man delivering a belated birthday gift?” “Or pizza, did someone at least send me pizza?”

Now, the “impartial” observer above can hardly keep from getting involved. “You’ve become gnarled and hunched over in front of your delusive mirrors”, he thinks. “You are losing yourself in them even as you worship yourself. Stand up! Turn away! See who is at the door!”

Image three is resisting the dreaded change. It says, “Stand up!”
Image two is wide-eyed as it urges, “Turn away, you fool!”
Image one smiles, raises a hand, touches his hand, and orders, “In the name of God, answer the door!”
Astonished, mirror-man cocks his head, listening. Slowly, he tears his gaze from the three remaining faces and turns from them to see the hovel he has made for himself. “What have I done?”
Neglect,
Disrepair,
Starvation,
Emptiness,
Despair.
Not a bed, nor a comfortable chair,
and between him and the miserable door,
is a choking, smoky, dark fog, which, after much flailing and batting with his hands, finally moves behind him. It is as though the darkness is actively trying to keep him from the door, yet the thought of getting something for himself impels him toward the latch. The brightness makes him shield his eyes, even though he only, hesitatingly, opens the door a crack. Pulling it wider, he says, “Yes? Who’s there?”

He looks into the kindest eyes he has ever seen, certainly much nicer than those in the mirror.
“I’m so happy that you answered my tapping. I was hoping beyond hope that you would not leave me standing here forever”, he states pleasantly. “May I come in?”

“Well, um, yes, come in. Excuse the mess . . . do you have something for me?”

“Mess excused. As a matter of fact, I do have something for you.” He steps in.

“But, I see that you have nothing in your hands . . .” He did not notice that the darkness behind him had retreated to one mirrored corner as soon as the man entered and lit up the room.

The man of light points toward all the mirrors. “I don’t think you will be needing these any longer.”
Sensing what was about to happen, mirror-man shouted, “No, don’t, I do need those!”
With a slight wave of his finger the surrounding glass shatters and falls to the floor in small pieces which are immediately swept into the swirls of the dark fog. Spinning violently, the fog and all the reflecting crystals, each containing a single dark image, rise through the ceiling and are gone. The room becomes transformed from a shack into a nicely furnished room. “From a mirror room into a living room,” mirror-man muses to himself, “This must be just a weird dream, wake up, wake up!”

“This is no dream, it is Truth. One Truth, One Way, One Life.”

“Wait, you are not the news man, or the delivery man, but the One I have heard of, the One who my mother told me about as a child. Right? I was hoping for a birthday gift, or for the lucky money which life owes me.”

“Wrong and right. I am indeed your News Man. I bring you the best news you can imagine! And, I am indeed your Delivery Man, for I am here to deliver you from your self. I am indeed here to bring life into this room and into you, yourself. I am The One of your mother – her Lord, in fact, and I do bring you a gift called grace, and a gift called rebirth, so you are close to being right on all counts. Can we sit and talk awhile? Let us speak together, that’s all I’ve wanted for a long, long time. I’m sorry I have no pizza, but I’ll provide some nourishing bread and cool water.”

Looking in wonder at his warm, peaceful new living room, and at the Man’s hands and feet, his heart is softened. “Yes, please sit, my Lord, you’ve been on your feet much too long.”

After an astonishing night in which the Man of Light tells mirror-man everything about his life, and much about Himself, and about His Father, God, morning comes. The transformed man fishes around in his pocket as he asks, “This place needs You, Jesus, I need You, will You please stay?” He offers the intricate key to his newly repaired door.

“I need to think about that . . .”, the Light One pauses, “Only kidding, actually that’s all I ever wanted, of course I’ll stay!” They both laughed heartily.
Mirror-man lives only for his Lord now, and occasionally does get pizza.
They have lived together in that joyful room for a decade – no mirrors – only looking at each other with big, happy grins.

And so it is with the writer who watches himself from above the action, unseen, from the vantage point of happy memory.

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One Man’s Story Illustrating The Meaning Of Ressurection Sunday – Easter – “I Am Not My Own”

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It has been almost ten years since the guy in this story believed God for the first time.  Seven years after “his” rescue, “he” was commissioned to write about that very personal Life-event. This is the first story that the Holy Spirit of Jesus poured into “him” and then helped that hatching writer set into words. Although it is full of metaphor and illustration, which some might find challenging, even troubling, it is based upon, and inspired by “his” own personal rebirth, transformation, and resulting personal relationship with “his” Savior:

I Am Not My Own

 

“Waiting to die” pretty much summed it up. Nothing before me. I was lost without a compass or map. No sun to show direction. Just utterly lost. No purpose. No meaning. I must have taken a wrong turn sometime, somewhere in the past, somewhere back on the journey up this metaphoric trail called “life”. I had relied completely upon myself, needing no-one else. I knew something had been missing, but I had ignored that thought. Looking after my own wants and desires, I took little accounting of others’ well-being. I admit life had been mostly about me, yet there was an emptiness, and that I had ignored as well. But surely it isn’t my fault that I found myself in a bad place! Where was the love? Where was this God my mother and grandfather talked about? I had shaken my fist at the sky in anger.
“You don’t exist and I hate you.”
I had always been right. I just didn’t make mistakes. Yet there must be something more. No, that’s silly, this is all there is! Me, Myself and I. Live for today, for you only get one chance at life. “I am my own man. I‘ll do it my way!” I shouted my arrogant mantra. “Take pleasure while you can before it’s too late.”

Darker and colder. Hope is fading…….  Wait. The “trail” splits up ahead.  I have a choice of directions in which to take my life, but I can’t tell which way would be best.  For the first time, I can’t tell which way to go.  My superior intellect should be able to divine the right way. Intuition. Deduction. Maybe I can get back in the game. Yes, the Universe will tell me the way. I’ll meditate. “Ohhhmmmm.” I’ll close my eyes. Breathe deep – let it out. “Ohhhmmmmm.”  “Find the right  way, before it’s too late…….. too late………………. too late…………………………..”

Suddenly I find myself on a real trail;  a rocky, dusty, steep, very real mountain trail.

The sky is dreary and the air is heavy with the feeling of an impending storm. I’m not alone on my ascent up the mountain. There is a man struggling to carry or drag something on the trail above me. As I draw closer to him I notice that he is struggling with a heavy wooden cross. His robe is soiled and dusty, and heavily bloodstained. His straining face is shining with sweat and his features are wracked with excruciating pain. In surprise turning to shock, I notice that a wreath of long, cruelly sharp thorns has been pressed into the skin of his scalp and forehead. Rivulets of blood are slowly trickling into his eyes and down his bruised, battered cheeks. One eye is nearly swollen shut. He doesn’t seem to know I’m here.

I stop as he loses his footing and falls to one knee in the rocks. Breathing hard – nearly panting, he manages to rise and lift the cross to his shoulder but it is apparent that his strength is failing. It seems urgent that he reach the summit with that cross. In an unusual moment of pity, I wonder if there is anything I can do to help him. I’m not without compassion, am I? But no, he is probably some sort of criminal who doesn’t deserve my help and, anyway, I wouldn’t want to get into trouble. The same men who have hurt him could very well do the same to me. Yet torture of this kind is sort of disturbing no matter who he is or what he has done.

He is nearing the top of the dry, barren mountain. I follow him at a safe distance, with a sort of morbid curiosity, and watch as he shuffles painfully across a flat area until he stops, pauses, then half shrugs and half throws the cross off his shoulder onto the hard ground. He drops with painful exhaustion onto his hands and knees over the heavy wooden cross. His fingers come away covered with his lifeblood when he touches his punctured forehead.  He places his shaking hand upon the crossbar and turns his face toward me, then he stares right into my eyes and one corner of his mouth lifts in just a hint of a smile. Blood is dripping from his wounded head onto the cross. I am so startled that I look away in confusion and embarrassment. I do not know him, yet this pitiful man acts like he knows me. Frightened, and not knowing why, I turn away and quickly walk down and around a small hill until I find a cave-like formation in the rocks where I can be out of the blast of the wind and hopefully sheltered from the gathering storm.

I sit with my knees bent and my arms around them. Thinking. Wondering. Who was that man?  What happened to him? What is he doing? Why?  The wind, which had been raging, suddenly becomes completely still. The light begins to fade. In a short time it is completely dark and I am desperately afraid, for I know it is only midday. If I should move, I risk falling into a hole or off a cliff.

“Helllp! Someone, please help me!”  Silence…..      Impatient, I take a few tentative steps, carefully feeling for safe places to put my feet. I take a few more steps but a ledge of rock shifts under me and I find that I’m sliding down a slope. I manage to grasp the edge of a large, flat rock as I slide past it. The edges of the rock are sharp, cutting my palms as I try to hang on. Now I am hanging in the air by the tips of my fingers.
“Hellllllp!” I cried again. “For the love of god, someone, anyone. I’m falling. Save me. Oh my god, save me.”
A small light appears below my feet. A glow like a small candle. Greenish yellow. I look down and see that my feet are just above a solid, flat rock so I drop onto it. Now what?
“You’re welcome” someone says. “Now come, there is something you should see. Just be quiet and follow me.”
“Who’s there?  Who are you?” No reply. The tiny light moves across the rock such that it lights a path for my footsteps. I can tell that we are circling upward and to the right. “Thanks for the help. I thought I would die!”
“Yes, you would have. Shhhhh”
I follow and reach a flat place. The light moves away from the ground and stops near a pair of feet. The feet are nailed to a post with a huge iron spike! Oh, my lord, I need to get away from here! The light winks out. But, I can’t get away if I can’t see. Maybe I’m hallucinating. Let me awaken from this nightmare! The light appears higher up. I see a hand nailed to a crossbeam. I can’t look. Someone has nailed this guy to the cross he was carrying!
I’m horrified. This is too much. “Let me go! Get me out of here!”
“Wait”
Now the glow moves across the beam until it reaches a vertical post and I see a sign with words written on it in a foreign language. Beneath the sign I see a wreath made of thorns upon a head which is hanging down. Then I’m shown the man’s other hand – also pierced with a nail. So much blood. I feel ill and kneel on the cold stone. Obviously it is the same man I followed up the path.
“Who is this poor man?”
“Soon you will know,” the voice said softly.
“What has he done to deserve this?” I whispered.
“Nothing. He has done only good. What you see is innocent blood. Now we must move away so that he can finish what he came to do – what has to be done that only he can do.” I follow the light behind a large boulder then stand and wait.
The light is gone again. It is still dark as midnight. No stars or moon or sun.
“ Don’t leave me. You still there? ”
“ I Am.”
“What is that stench?”
“ Be still, it’s coming. They are all coming.”
The smell of dead things hits me. Sulfur. Every foul smell I have ever smelled hits me. I see something coming from beyond where the crucified man is. It is black. More black than the dark. So black that it stands out against the darkness. It is floating like a hairy, spiny blanket and reminds me of a sting ray the way it moves through the air. Terrifying sounds begin to blare from the thing. A cacophony of screams, wails, and growls. The sounds of terror and of war and of hate. It opens its yawning maw revealing row upon row of sharp yellow teeth. Anything that got near that vicious mouth would be snatched in and cut to bits.
“What in the world is that?” I asked, terrified. Whatever it is, I think it sees me. It is between me and the cross and it is looking to devour me like prey. I am paralyzed with fear. Then the man on the cross intervenes. He says something I can’t understand as though speaking directly to the predator. I hold my breath. It turns toward him. What a relief!
“ It is something you have never understood. Close your eyes so that I can make you see a little better.” With that the light appears like a small oil lamp, touches me on the forehead and then over my heart, and disappears. Something inside me says “That is the first sin.” Now the hideous thing is settling onto the cross for I can see its outline wrapping around the outline of the cross and the figure of the man. I hear the sounds of a violent, gasping struggle. Sin seems to be trying to suffocate him and crush him with its considerable weight. It seems to burn him like strong acid, yet he appears to be neutralizing and absorbing it.
I breathe a sigh of relief until I see more sins coming from all directions, heading straight for him like wasps with stingers bared. They attack him like the first, only by the hundreds, then millions, then billions. The expanse of the dark sky is filled with them. Piling onto him. The man is in agony beyond my understanding. This is no ordinary man.
“How can he endure this nightmare? Isn’t it enough that he has been tortured, and hangs there bleeding to death? Now he has to be attacked by these monstrosities?” As if in reply all I can hear is the muffled sound of weeping. I can’t help but weep myself and sink to my knees under the constant streams of unspeakable things passing overhead. I curl up and cover my ears. All the while the inner voice is comforting me. Giving me small insights. Keeping me from going crazy with terror. “How long have I been here?”
“Nearly three hours.”
“This is horrible, why do I have to watch this? Worse yet, why is it happening to this nice man if, as you say, he is innocent? What in god’s name is going on?”

“This mysterious, wondrous man is receiving all the blasphemy, all the malicious thoughts and deeds, all the selfish ideas and cruel acts that ever happened and that will ever happen. He is absorbing them somehow. To His very marrow. I am not even certain exactly how He is doing it. It is supernatural, for He is beyond nature now. I can feel how He recognizes each individual sin-beast and recalls the depth of His own love for the bearer of each monster. And there’s even more to it than that. He is becoming sin, transforming into it because of its viciously contaminating nature. And yes, you spoke well, He is doing it all in God’s name. I know that a multitude of angels could be called to save Him, but He knows He must do this and do it alone – completely and terribly alone. This is the only way – to trade places with you – to endure what you could never endure. He who has been perfect is ready to give up everything He holds very dear – even His relationship with His Father and His eternal life in Heaven and He is doing it all for you. He is becoming what he despises most to save you. You did ask to be saved, remember? This poor guy, as you call Him, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! No one can come to the Father except through Him because of what He is doing right now! You are seeing Lord Jesus, the one and only Son of God, in His finest hour. Giving His utmost. Giving His all for His brothers and sisters. He is working toward His own destruction. Yes, you are right. It is almost too much for even me to bear.”
I still had my doubts.
“ Are you telling me that this Jesus, God, Heaven stuff is real?”
“ What do you hear inside?”
I sat in stunned silence and listened…. In a very small voice I heard myself say “Yes, I’ve been so wrong……..”

“Stand up, you should see this”
I stood. The last of the black abominations was being taken in. Save one. It was massive. Uglier and nastier, more foul-smelling and noisier than any of the others. I shuddered. “What in the world is that?” There was a long pause……..

“Don’t you know?……………. That one is yours.”
Hanging my head and through my sobs I confessed. “Yes, it is so full of unforgiveness, and selfishness, and every other bad thing. Yes mine is the worst. I‘m so sorry.” Just the weight of my terrible sin alone should have crushed Him, yet He bore them all. I don’t understand.”
“He accepted your punishment. Now you are almost free. Your ‘lifesaving’ is a gift from Us, but there is just one more thing you must do. I’ll see you soon, there’s something I must do too.  Don’t worry, it’s a good thing.”
“Us?  Who?…. Wait !…. What do I do now?!!
“You have been chosen, but He doesn’t ever force.  You can accept His choosing or reject it.  So choose.  Choose wisely, for as you have seen, Life and death have been laid before you. Of course Life is preferred.  Who, or what, will be your Lord?  We have great hopes for you, but the choice is yours and there can be no compromise. Choose.”  Then the Light-Being was gone.

I stand here in shock as the sky’s light begins to return. Am I witnessing my first dawn? I turn toward Jesus. The cross seems worn and bent. He seems almost……..

But even now He is dying, and with His last breath I hear Him declare loudly, not in defeat, but in triumph:

“IT IS FINISHED!”

All creation seems to be groaning and weeping. Nooooooo! How can this be! I can’t lose Him now! All Heaven and Earth is wailing in protest, the thunder is deafening and an earthquake is throwing me into the air. My landing is sure to hurt, but I’m not afraid, for suddenly belief overtakes me.  My fear is gone.  I believe that I will be delivered to safety and the name of my Savior is Jesus Christ, Messiah, Son of God. Immanuel. God With Me. I believe, and everything has changed! But, oh, how I wish He weren’t gone. I so would have liked to talk with Him…… Noooooooooooooo!!!

I can’t watch as they take His body away. I simply stay in a fetal position behind my boulder and wonder in awe – and in deep sadness. For another day, maybe two, I just wait and think.  I think of how stupid I was to set myself up as my own god, as judge of who I thought should be forgiven or not forgiven; who should be condemned or glorified.

Why do I feel light and new?  I don’t deserve to.  My burden is gone but so is He. I should be sad and I am, but somehow this air is clean and fresh. Are those birds that I hear? Why do I hear someone singing?

Toward dusk, I stand and walk to the cross. The cuts on my palms are open and bleeding again and they hurt. Standing at the foot of this horrible post, I feel small. I can hardly bear to look at it, yet something catches my eye. There is something written there behind where His wonderful, pure heart once beat. He must have done it when He collapsed atop the cross and smiled at me. There are words in a foreign language with my name under them. Another is there beside mine. I see crimson hand prints on both sides of the cross where his hands gripped it. I don’t know how it could be that the blood is still fresh, but it is. Impulsively I stand on my tiptoes, stretch, reach upward and place my hands over his hand prints. Mercy, Lord!  Instantly a circuit is completed! My hands are held firm! His blood enters my cuts and there is no more pain. Not in my hands nor my heart. Connected by blood, I feel His presence! He is my Savior. My Lord Jesus! I am His and He is mine! A bright, white light wraps itself around my feet and travels up my legs. Engulfing. Permeating. It reaches my chest, then the top of my head. I feel clean and new and whole. The feeling of a warm blanket descends upon my head and, as it slowly falls, wraps me in comfort from head to toes. My whole body – my whole being – tingles with joy as though sparkling light is becoming a sensation inside me. I lift my palms from the cross and, like a child, raise them to the sky. I have chosen Life. He is alive in me and I live in Him.  At last I know who and whose I am, and why. “Thank you Father, Thank You, Thank You; Thank You, Jesus!” I just sit at the foot of the cross and weep out joy for a long time…………..

I awake at dawn smiling , whispers of sunshine warming my face. I’ve slept soundly all night and remember dreaming that I enjoyed a banquet in a palace full of beautiful people. After an amazing meal, there was a party. Everyone there smiled at me. All through the night we had such fun singing and dancing……

Whispers.  Laughter.  Exuberance!  My eyes opening.  The little Light-Being was back, bouncing all over the ground and over me. Excitedly it announced, “Joyous News!  Happy, Happy Morning!  He is alive, indeed it is true! The stone was not as heavy as it looked, nor the tomb secure from Light in its darkness! He awoke and walked alive from His grave!  Death is undone! His work is indeed finished today! All that He gave up has been restored to Him.  Everything!  Even now He walks among His people. He even knows of your choice!  He wants to talk with you! Come quickly!”
I was already running down the trail as all my inner-being proclaimed, “‘My Savior Lives!’  Wait, who are you?  Slow down!”
And in the distance ahead, behind me, and in my inner, renewed soul, I heard, “I AM the Wind at your back!”

It seems a season later.  A day perhaps? I am a different person now – a new person with a new heart. It’s simple, yet hard to explain. My fears and doubts are gone. Selfishness is replaced by love. I know meaning, yes, and purpose. And there is this joy – this amazing joy! I look at my cupped hands. They are completely healed, and in them the little bubble of Light wiggles and pulsates. I ask it, “I wonder what those words meant. The ones on the cross, in the blood that doesn’t ever seem to dry. What would He write to me in His own blood?”

“Don’t you know? Can’t you guess? My child , it’s in Aramaic. He is saying

“I LOVE YOU”

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Oh my dear Lord! Now my Father and Creator and I can talk and have fellowship. He tells me I will always be His and that He will always be mine! He said I could keep the little Light-Being which led me to Him and which helped me to see, even when times were darkest.  In fact it has expanded to fill my inner- man, and resides in me today, and to this day, He and my Lord Jesus still love to show me my page in His Book of Life.
It says: “(Len, grandson of David) — Acquired, and adopted, December 2, 2004 AD at 9:33 am central time. On that day, Father and I danced and sang with him, and all Heaven and the angels rejoiced until half-past eternity!”
(He has a great sense of humor!)

Acquired! Wow!

And that’s how I learned that I am not my own, but that I was acquired – purchased by His blood and paid for by Him dying in my place and carrying my sin away! Acquired and purchased not as a mere possession, but redeemed and adopted as a treasured son, brother, and heir.

Not my own! Entirely His!

Oh, and about that name that I saw beside mine on the cross, written in His blood. My dear friend, haven’t you guessed?  Do you not know?

It is yours!!

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Copyright © 11-22-2010  by Len, Gloryteller.  All rights reserved.

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Remembering Rachel 3-31-14

~  ~  ~

For Ron and Mary, and for the family and close friends of dear Rachel S.
whose sense of loss must dwarf my own.

~And for Rachel~

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The whole congregation prayed as one for a miracle – for Rachel’s healing.
Many prayers have been said for Rachel and her family.
I don’t know why those prayers don’t seem to have been answered.
Maybe they have, I think they have, but in a way we can’t understand because our wisdom is lacking.
I have no answers for why things happen as they do,
but I do know The One who does.

He asked me to write for Him,
so once again I sit here in a sort of cauldron of amazement mixed with sadness,
and loss mixed with joy, as He feeds me words and I try to copy them properly;

as I try do this thing that’s not as easy as anyone thinks,
I know it’s not as hard as if I were alone. . .

I sit here and write my heart out for Him and for you . . .

~  ~  ~

A Touching Moment

Over a year ago, on the Sunday when the whole congregation lifted up Rachel in prayer, I saw her standing by herself after the service so I walked up to her and held my hand up, chest high, in the “high five” position. Her eyes met mine with a quiet, gentle, questioning look, but, without hesitation, she raised her hand to mine. What a special surprise it was, when, instead of “high-fiving”, she placed her warm hand perfectly on mine and tenderly held it there for several seconds, while her eyes became clear and bright, and full of life, and she gave me one of her small, heartfelt smiles. In that slight smile was a certain “knowing”, a certain loving compassion, a certain comforting, a certain closeness. She was comforting me! That was the essential Rachel! It was only a small gesture, but she gave me a tender moment of herself – from her heart – that has lasted; one of those rare human moments that will stay with me and be cherished because, through Rachel, God revealed something more of Himself. I can hardly wait to be where Rachel is now, where all of us who know Rachel, and Jesus, will be able to press our hands together, embrace, and rejoice within His loving presence.

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Speaker For A Sister

I read a book  (second in the “Ender” series by Orson Scott Card) in which a man, when called upon to do so, “speaks” the life of a “departed” person publicly. This “speaking” involved the Speaker’s researching the life of the deceased through opening records and interviewing people. He looked for The Truth of the subject’s life no matter how painful that truth might be when he spoke it, for in The Truth is healing, and in The Truth is freedom for the living.
The truth is that, although we were friends and fellow believers, I’m not sure I knew Rachel well enough to “speak” for her. The only Truth I can try to speak is His Truth. Here’s some truth: All of the people I know, and know of, who did know her better than I, said that she was loved, and/or liked, and/or highly valued, and/or cherished by them all. 
She was beautiful in the all the various ways we think of beauty.
She sang beautifully, especially during worship.
She was adventurous.
She liked a little non-conformity.
She liked to wear exciting colors.
She was intelligent, witty, and kind.
She would be the first to admit that she was far from perfect.
She was a gifted artist who also wrote well.
She liked learning and teaching, and did both well.
She loved people and enjoyed helping them.
She was a thinker, and a doer.
She loved and followed Jesus, and would want to tell me that I should have listed this first.
She would have been right once again.
I was notably impressed by the dignity, and quiet humility,
and faith that she maintained throughout her illness.

That alone was a huge testimony of her faith.
~I am a poor speaker for her.~
I’m glad that there are many others coming forth who are better-qualified than I,
for the testimony of her life, as she lived it with God foremost, is a wonderful, powerful thing,
even as is the testimony of her death, and it needs to be spoken often and well.
She was that kind of “bigger than life” sort of person. I heartily agree with my friend, who wrote publicly:
“The world is a better place because of her life, and a much poorer place because of her death.”
I, for one, am humbled and thankful that I had the privilege of sharing a tiny part of her life,
and to be able to, in my tiny way, “speak” for her here.
Mine is only one of many lives that is richer for having known her.

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Of God, Grief, and Glory

On a highly personal note, I have a personal “revelation”
that He seems to want shared:
I was sitting by myself in the back of the church, excited to be worshiping in His house again, when The Lord began sharing His Spirit with me.
(If you have questions concerning this, I can’t adequately explain it, not at this moment.
It takes a kind of knowing, so please bear with me. Just go with it.)
He shared His excitement with me, conveyed that He was glad I was there when and where He wanted me to be, but He was especially excited that very soon He would be bringing Rachel to Himself – that’s the way He expressed it.
(I had been told earlier that Rachel was barely hanging on to life)
He wanted to comfort me in my sense of loss and concern.
He poured into me, strongly, how much He cares for Rachel; how deeply He loves her;
so much that He sent Jesus to shed His blood for her and give up His life for her, to save her life – her second life – the most important one, by far. He showed me how He had redeemed her for this day, her day of glory, and forever more. Do I need to describe the peace and comfort that settled upon me? How I wept when I realized that He was not only speaking of Rachel, but of you and me, dear reader?


I hesitate to share such intimate personal testimony.
Could it be misunderstood? Misused?
I want to keep it to myself. Selfishly? Maybe.
Defensively? Sure.
But it’s all I have to give you, so
He says I must give it.

I write my heart out for Him and for you . . .

~  ~  ~

This next closing poem was inspired by something Rachel wrote.
I dedicate it to her memory:

Why A Blue Sky ?

Why is the sky blue?
Why am I me, and you, you?
Why do we live, and breathe, and move?
Why do tears fall as they do?
Why, Some things are not for me to know!
Except that I can ultimately say
That in God’s kind goodness,
In His wise reason,
In spite of our rudeness,
To enrich our every season,

  Out of His great love,
He intended it all to be just this way.

*****

(I can also say that I’ll soon know why,
when I have my own glorious day,
Though I may have glorified Him poorly in my life,
May I glorify Him well in my death)

~  ~  ~

If she were here, I’d say “See what you did Rachel?
See what you inspired in all of us?”

And she would flash that beautiful smile and probably wink
and smack me with a real “high five”.

With love,
Missing you, and
Looking to see you soon, Sister.

~  ~  ~
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I Present “Spring”

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What can I say about Spring
that you don’t already know?
It’s about the joy of new life.
New life from old life.
New life out of death.
New life is alive with the bloom of everlasting life.
Exultant!
Joyous!
Achingly beautiful!

Vivaldi knew music, and he knew Spring in a unique, special way.
He composed the following music about Spring:
To my mind, it is exultant, joyous, and achingly beautiful
just as are the colorful flowers, butterflies, birds, and bees herein.
New life from old life.
New life out of death.
It’s another way to tell of God’s glory, another facet of proclaiming His brilliance!
Dear reader, I present you with colorful new life,
I present you with Vivaldi’s “Spring”.

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Thank you Simon S. Alba for posting this video.

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Happiness Is Being Born TWICE!

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Today is the anniversary of my second-birth day.
My rebirth day.
My original birth was kind of like Christmas;
Without it, there could have been no Resurrection Day.
Without my first birth, I could not have been reborn.
My life could not have been repaired, resurrected and redeemed.
First was my birth day,
Then an Advent of sorts – a long time of waiting and preparation.
(even if I didn’t realize some of that stuff, that garbage was preparation)
Then the great gift of joy in a second-birth day!
Needless to say, for my birth and rebirth
I am extremely thankful!

Happy birthdays to me,

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

Thank you, Jesus,

For making it possible!
For me, and for all people!
Thank you, our Highest Lord!


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Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!

Rejoice! Rejoice! With All Your Might, Rejoice!

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think, in some way, about Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Today is no different.
But wait, it is different, for today is the church’s official celebration of that creation-changing, world-changing, life-changing Day.
Today, let there be loud singing and joyous dancing.
Let there be massive celebration over all the Earth,  for our Jesus is alive!
Let there be all of that but, most importantly,
let Him be the Lord of your life.

Rejoice, My Soul – All People, Rejoice!

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

With love,
Your Gloryteller

 Resurrection Sunday,  3-31-2013

 

The Expense of Safety

A Good Friday Offering

The sole ferry to safety was ready to depart.
Special admission only.
One solitary ticket stand.
Last chance.
I had not the standing,
Nor the price of admission.
I stood forlorn in fear,
I would certainly be tortured and killed.
Then a Man stepped up.
Radiating such undisguised love,
Unveiled compassion.
He gave me His own precious ticket with a smile.
No hesitation.
He paid my price.
Dooming Himself.
Bewildered, I caught hold of it.
I stood astonished,
Forgetting even to thank Him in my haste,
As they cruelly beat Him down,
Dragged Him away,
To what fate I couldn’t know,
Didn’t want to guess.
My fate . . .
In horror, I watched
As I walked backward
And, not nearly grateful enough,
Stepped onto the boat.

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An Expanded Prayer To My Father In Heaven

 

My Father

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No One Doesn’t

No One Doesn’t

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

My Friend, There’s Someone I’d Like You To Meet

My Friend, There’s Someone I’d Like You To Meet

Early on, I saw him from afar.  He was ordinary and plain, dressed poorly in dirty clothing.   Yet, he carried himself with a certain dignity.  I moved on and forgot about him……

Until miles later when I met him in passing.  “Dirty feet,” I thought.  “Oily hair.  Calloused, grubby hands.  Still dresses shabbily.  Bad haircut and doesn’t shave.”   Yet, he looked confident as he spoke to the people he met.  I don’t think he noticed me as I passed with only a glance, saying nothing.  No-one to bother with…..

Until time flew, and the years became heavy, and I found myself wandering into the back alley of my life.  Losing myself.  Confused by myself. Stumbling in despair amidst garbage, and wreckage.  Holes in my worn-out walking shoes. Walking on cold, wet, well-traveled dirt, the way ever-narrowing between breath-stifling walls. Suddenly I slipped. I felt myself falling and sliding down the steep-sided pit of what must have been an old storm sewer.  After I landed, I sat and wept.  There was no way out.  It was getting hotter.  Darker.  I sat in the hot, sulfurous muck and wept.  The muck was rising.

Fear gripped my throat. “Helllllp.  Is anybody there?  Does anybody hear me?”

“I’m here.  I hear you.  Be still and all will be well.”  A candle was lit behind me, illuminating a face.

“It….It’s you……”

“It is I.  Always have been me,” he said, grinning. ” Don’t you remember how, early on, I waved at you from a distance, but you didn’t want to see?  Later we met in passing and I smiled, but you didn’t speak.  Many times I walked behind you, beside you, and before you, but you avoided, sidestepped, ignored, looked past, seemingly blind, deaf, and dumb.  Well, don’t feel bad.  I get that a lot. It happens to lots of folks.  You’d be surprised how many I’ve met for the first time in a pit like this one.  Why you deprive yourselves for so long kind of mystifies me. It’s a cryin’ shame and such a waste of good time, don’t you think?”

” I……I……sorry…..,” I looked away, embarrassed.  “Umm, this stinky stuff is rising……”

He was holding a strong stick with which he began poking and pounding a hole in the bottom of the filthy pit as he spoke some foreign-sounding words.  After awhile the muck began to drain out.

“Thanks.  How did you do that?”

“It’s not so hard if you know how to speak to it.”

I began to notice that he was clean, in spite of the surrounding filth. I was the smelly, dirty, oily, grubby, and shabby one. It was, indeed, a crying shame.

“Let’s get you outa here,…… that is, unless you’d rather stay.”

“Nooo!” I cried desperately, “This is horrible! I want out! But……but……I don’t see any way out! There’s no way ouuuut!” It was like hearing someone who’s going hysterical, only it was my own panicked voice. I waited for the counteracting slap in the face that always came in the old movies…….

“Be still, my friend, be still. I am your way out. Do you believe me? Look at me……”

I looked. “Yes……. it’s strange, but, but, yes I do believe you. Please get me out of here.”

With that, he smiled, held the candle up, and looked toward the impossibly high rim of the pit.

“When I say the word, you climb this rope, okay?” With a gesture, he indicated his whole slender self. I stared, thinking a whole series of negative thoughts, then nodded in the affirmative.

He then stuck the candle into the loose side of the pit and in one continuous motion, ran three steps across the floor and two steps up the side, gave a determined yell, stretched his full length upward, grabbed the rim firmly with his fingers, and kicked his toes into the wall.

“I’m ready. Climb swiftly now!”

My first jump missed. His feet were well above my head, so I took a run and caught my fingers inside the backs of his shoes. They should have pulled off his feet, but they were miraculously tight. I scrambled and dug furiously with my feet until I could grab his clothing and pull myself up, hand over hand.

“That’s right, pull up until you can get your feet on my calves.”

I finally got my hands over his shoulders and my feet on his calves. That had to hurt him, but he didn’t make a sound.

“Now use your feet and knees to get any purchase you can on my back. Persevere, my friend.”

I was already panting. Exhausted. But then he did an amazing thing. Reaching back with his right hand, he grasped my right wrist and pulled upward. My shoes scraped his back cruelly. I hurt for him as he put my right hand on the rough rim of the pit. He reached down around my back and used my belt to pull me up farther while hanging onto the rim with only his left hand. This man was strong! I straightened my left arm above his left shoulder, then placed my knee on his right one.

“Are you all right?” I gasped.

“I endure,” he breathed. “Keep climbing.”

I managed to get my foot on his left shoulder. Pulling with my arms, I then placed my other foot on his right shoulder and stood. The side of his face was pressed against the wall. I moaned at the pain I must be causing him as I swung one leg, then the other, over the edge and rolled to safety. As I moved to help him, I heard his feet scrambling and saw him press with his arms and pull himself up until his arms were straight. Then he swung a foot up, pushed, and rolled over beside me.

“Thank You,” I heard him whisper.

“What? Thank you, Man!” I gasped, relieved.

At that, he stood and grinned down at me. He reached down and helped me stand on wobbly legs.

“There were probably a dozen easier ways to do that, but I wanted to make a point. Surely you see the metaphoric value in what just happened.”

“ Metaphor? Stinking hot pit….. Wait. Who are you. What’s your name?” I asked with hesitation.

“It would be better if I showed you. You will have to close your eyes to see. Hold my face in your hands and don’t let go.”

His image began to resolve before me. I saw his feet. Grimy, stained with dried blood, a deep wound in each. I shuddered as I heard words enter my mind. “These are the feet that walk into the light. The ones that carry the Truth, the Word of Peace. These pierced feet were made to carry you to safety. You needed but ask it.

His hands were closed, but I could see that the backs had wounds like his feet. I began to be alarmed and tried to let go of his face and open my eyes, but they wouldn’t open and I felt his strong, gentle hands hold my own hands to his cheeks. “It’s all right. Be at peace. Pierced for you, these are the hands that can lift you. Heal you. Help you. Hold you close and safe forever. You need but ask it. As his hands turned over and opened, I was amazed to see that my name was written in red across his right palm. His left palm contained a single word in red.  Forgiven.

I wanted to comment, but my mouth wouldn’t open. Just as well. It contained only foolish words. What I had thought was myth and legend and Christian delusion was being revealed to me as real truth. Boy, had I been wrong……again…….

I saw his chest rising and falling. Laboring for breath. And inside it, he revealed his innermost heart. I must tell you that words are inadequate to describe it. Even the small portion that he thought I could handle. This pierced heart is the “place” where he keeps the care, the concern, the immense love he has for me. It was overwhelming to comprehend. My own heart struggled with the hugeness of it, yet I felt it being expanded in order to partially accommodate and understand such wonder and beauty. “Yes, it’s beyond all your understanding, but one day you will be given comprehension, if you but ask. My heart has spoken to yours many times, but you did not know its language. Do you recall? Do you know me yet?”

“You must be the One my family and friends have called The Savior, The Christ. Of course you are! You just revealed that beyond a doubt! You’re Jesus. They call you Son of God and Son of Man, right? The One who was born on Christmas and died on Easter!” I’ve seen you on TV……. Sorry, that was lame…….. They don’t do you justice………….

“Well, you’re on the right track. Look at me once more!”

I looked at His face. His torn, bleeding, tortured face. On his brow was a cruel crown. I somehow knew that it was the crown of my wickedness. Of my sin. And it was heavy. And painful. And the horrible weight of it was pressing down unbearably on Him but He was not crushed.

“Whyyy,” I moaned as he removed my hands from His face and let my eyes open. When my eyes were fully opened, I saw Him differently. He was whole. He was radiant. He was bright with majestic splendor! And now, there was no crushing headpiece, but on His head He wore a brilliant Crown of Glory. If I fell to my knees in awe, He must have lifted me up then…….

“Why? Because you couldn’t. You would have been crushed and destroyed under it. Like what happened in this pit, only I can deliver you from the “great death” and by “great” I don’t mean good, I mean enormously bad. The price of your reckless spending had to be paid, but you were broke. You bought what the enemy was selling on credit until your debt was outrageous. He can collect anytime, you know. We abhor the thought of that happening to you, so I bought your debt and paid it myself, in hopes that you would someday turn toward me and against the enemy. Toward Truth and against lies. To be given a new heart. A heart filled with joy. And to be transformed back into the person you were always intended to be. Yes, We paid it all in the hope that you would merely want to pay it back. You, could never settle that kind of debt, of course, so We make it free. A “wash sale”, in the hope that you will turn around, believe in me, say yes, choose life, and follow Us……..

Speaking of “wash”, no offense, but you smell quite bad. Hahahahahaaaa. You must be thirsty as well. Let’s leave this place and find some water to take care of that. We’ll greet the morning together and you can tell Me what you’ve decided about your life……..

I’ll never forget the huge hug he gave me as we left that alley. His cheek left a film of sweat on mine that stayed cool as it evaporated away and I walked with Him into the peaceful warmth of a new sunrise, a new heart, a new hope, and a brand-new life……..

Of course, I said yes! Once I said yes to Him, He asked something of me. He wants me to make introductions. Everywhere. In any and every way I can think of. I said yes to that as well. Gladly!

That’s why I wait at the edge of the deep pit. I stand at the entrance to the alley of death. I walk the mean streets and frequent the black markets hoping to find you there because there’s someone I’d like you to meet. And when I do find you there, my greatest hope is that you will come with me a short way to where He is so that I can say “Lord Jesus, I’d like you to meet My Friend, and, My Friend, meet Jesus, my Savior-Lord and my King!” He will say “I’m most pleased to meet you.” What will you say, My Friend?

Good Friday? Good Sunday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you victoryinjesus123 for uploading this beautiful video.

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

Rejoice! Rejoice With All Your Might! Rejoice!

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think, in some way, about Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Today is no different. Wait, it is different, for today is the Church’s official celebration of that creation-changing, world-changing, life-changing Day.  Today, let there be loud singing and joyous dancing.  Let there be massive celebration over all the Earth,  for our Jesus is alive!  Let there be all of that, but, most importantly, let Him be the Lord of your life.

 Rejoice!

Rejoice, My Soul – All People, Rejoice!

I celebrate this holiest

Of all the days of holiness,

For as the sun appears to rise

In the East,

The Son of God did arise

On Easter – Resurrection Day,

The greatest Day the Lord Has Made.

I rejoice and I am exceedingly glad in it,

For my Savior lives!

Oh, Lord, He lives!

Now and forever, He lives!

And because He lives,

So can I!

For my heart, too, was sealed

With hardened stone

And in that darkened tomb

Dwelt death.

With tender touch He moved

The hardened part away

To let in light and life

So death was put to death.

The Holy Spirit Jesus sent

Was sent to live in me.

As Christ began to breathe again

I felt my spirit leap.

It leapeth still in Heaven’s realm

So graciously removed from hell

That I can only raise my hands and say

Rejoice, all people, rejoice!

Hallelujah, praise God, rejoice!

For our Savior lives and breathes in us.

He arose, he conquered bitter death, and saved.

He does that, still, today!

With love,

Your gloryteller

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

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The Basic Christian Library

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

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

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

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

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

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

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