Good Friday? Good Sunday! Resurrection Sunday!

    As time goes by, reading this well-worn post bothers me more and more. I don’t like talking about pain, torture, death, sacrifice, and heartache, but I need to face the truth. There is raw truth in what follows:

Today is Good Friday. This is the day of remembrance of how our Lord Jesus suffered the agony of torture and death for our great benefit. I can justify that name only with some mental gymnastics . . .
Like the criminal on His right, I believe some part of me hung there and died with Him that day – the darkest part that needed to be put to death – in order that I might be saved into eternal life and be with Him always. Like He spoke to that wretched, miserable, condemned and dying man, He still speaks to me, to us all, 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, in effect, said to me as He stood there (weak, trembling, and covered with blood)  (and tears try to form as I say it) :

“Don’t worry, you’re “good”. Get behind Me. I love you too much to let this happen to you. I’ve got this.”

   I can’t help but feel His torture and death were my fault in a sense.  (My brothers and sisters argue that they share the blame, which may be true, but I maintain that, in a sense, I’m the most at fault)  He went ahead and saved me anyway. He went to the cross in my place. All He asked is that I repent (turn away from sin and toward Him) and that I believe in Him and proclaim Him as my risen Lord and Savior – so He forgave me that fault –  “It’s forgotten,”  He says, graciously.

What kind of Love? . . . I can scarcely fathom.
As the song says, “Love has a name,
And it is JESUS!”

   So, I don’t know about the “Good” part of Good Friday. I’m ambivalent, unsure.
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.
And, one can’t have a resurrection without a death, especially THE Resurrection following THE Death,
both of which rocked the foundations of the world, as did His birth. Everything about Him did!

   If anything should be called “Good”, it is Resurrection Day. What happened that day is the most radically important event ever in history (His Story) – “Good Sunday” if you will – the joyous day that I (we) returned to life and lived through Him, and had Life real and true because of Him, and through His return to life, His defeat of death, we were shown the true meaning of Love.

Resurrection, to me, is like “rebirth” – the return of life into something that was dead.

   I once again turn to Keith and Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend,  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 outside the joyously-open doorway of His empty tomb! Let us each tread that step, leave our tombs, and embrace new life the way He showed us!

THANK YOU, JESUS!
That hardly seems enough to say,
Yet it is heartfelt.
Father, I pray you help us LIVE those three words.
Amen

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Observing Advent – Four Sundays and the Weekdays Between, With Steadily Increasing Hope, Joy, Love, Light, and Ultimate Peace!

First Sunday

“Advent” is here!
It is today!

All Creation is pregnant with anticipation!

This is the time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth – the most unprecedented, and unequaled; the most earth-shaking event in human history!
(Well, depending on how you perceive it, it’s definitely one of the top two!)


The word “Advent” comes from the Latin “adventus” which means coming, or arrival, of a person or thing.

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

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

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

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

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

When someone important to us is coming to visit, we know we must wait. Patiently or not. Before their arrival, we must prepare as best we can. Thus, we are waiting, and prayerfully preparing, not just for events, but for the arrival of the Personage without whom there would be no experience of exciting spiritual adventure, no exploration of mysteries unknown, no real and true experience of love and life whatsoever.

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

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

I ceremoniously light the first candle in the Advent wreath,
the candle of hope,

also, the first flame in my heart.

The expectant waiting and preparation of my heart applies not only to Christbirth,
but to Resurrection Sunday, Thanksgiving, and Jesus’ final return as well.
Advent is an important concept.
It is exciting, yet peaceful at the same time.
I want to make it part of me;
I want to live it.

Advent First Week

The first week of Advent is said to be concentrated upon the hope of the Savior’s arrival as supported by the Scriptures’ prophetic promises. There are several pertinent verses, but I chose this one :

“The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:14-15).

O, Jesus, 
We await your sweet arrival!

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Words and Music for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
by Charles Wesley:

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

2. Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to Thy* glorious throne.

(*emphases, mine)

The hope that we children of God have is a confident hope,
an enduring and an eternal hope.

Peter tells us that the Child of God has
“an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you” (
1 Peter: 1-4 )

Advent Week Two

The second week of Advent is focused on peace.

Waiting becomes a bit more intense as we add the expectancy of
hope and peace in preparation for our Savior’s arrival.

 We light the second candle,
the candle of peace,

If not on our tables,
Then in our hearts.
And light increases.
It doubles!
We can hardly wait until the full light
of His glorious presence shines upon the world,
and also upon each of us!

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

Jesus is the only one that can bring peace with God.

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

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

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

Advent Third Week


We are in the third and final full week preceding the joy-filled celebration day!
This week we savor the JOY surrounding His coming to live with us!
Emmanuel – here because of The Father’s love for all people.

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

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

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

(many thanks, Spadecaller, for the upload. Your art is moving!)

I light the third candle,
the candle of joy,
And light increases again.
Even the stars seem brighter,
and the moon waxes!
The candle flames have kindled
a fire of rejoicing in my heart!
I, the least of believers,

proclaim this joy, 
proclaim His glory,
(like it says in the header at the top)
And suddenly, we come to:

The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Today, December 24, 2017 (four years ago) is the fourth Sunday of Advent,
which also coincides with Christmas Eve.
We light the fourth candle – the love candle,
in my book, the easiest one to light in the heart,
for Father God loved us first, and then sent His Jesus
to enable us to fully love Him.
Love rescued and love reconciled!
This candle also signifies His presence.
The Advent season is all about expectant waiting;
excited, hopeful, waiting for the Baby’s presence!
We want Him to be born soon!
We want to see Him!
He seems so close,
The air is charged.
We can almost feel angels in the air.
The Spirit of God certainly presides over our village.
Everything is poised; miraculously in position.
Mary, her Baby, Joseph, shepherds,
angels – lots of angels!
Peace and joy are closing in.
Tonight is the Holy Night – Jesus Christ’s night.
The Advent of Christ is all but complete.

Are preparations perfect?
Is my heart ready for His arrival?
I find myself wishing that I could be better prepared,
And more ready,
But,
He. Was. Born. Last. Night ! ? !
Could it be?
Yes, it is:

Christmas Day


And so, the season of expectant waiting is complete!
I light the largest, purest, center candle,
the only One left.

and the flame in my heart roars to life!
To life!
Hope is fulfilled!
In our Immanuel, our Jesus,
all prophecies and promises are now reality!

His name is Light of the World!
His name is Peace!
His name is Son!
His name is Love!
His name is Savior!
His name is King!
His name is Everlasting!
 His name is God!
His presence is good news, bringing great joy for all people!
His presence makes darkness flee!
The Light of the World has finally come!
And like so many believers,
so many bloggers,
I repeat the sounding JOY!

Joy To the World,
and Peace to ALL mankind!

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

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

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

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love!

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And yet,
it is not over . . .
I must stay prepared;
keep waiting expectantly;
with confident hope,
with all the peace, joy, and love, grace can provide;
The “second” Advent begins now,
And all Creation is pregnant with anticipation!

 

 
 

 

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Hopeful Message for the First Week of Advent


The first week of Advent is said to be concentrated upon the hope of the Savior’s arrival as supported by the Scriptures’ prophetic promises. There are several pertinent verses, but I chose this one :

“The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:14-15).

O, Jesus, 
We await your sweet arrival!

~~~~~~

Words and Music for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
by Charles Wesley:

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Mark E. Hunt devised a second, or middle, verse.
I like it and included it here:

Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end;
By His life He brings us gladness,
Our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number,
Born within a cattle stall;
This the everlasting wonder, 
Christ was born the Lord of all.


2. Born thy people to deliver,

born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to Thy* glorious throne.

(*emphases, mine)

The hope that the child of God has is an eternal hope.
Peter tells us that the Child of God has
“an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you” (
1 Peter: 1-4 )

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I Joyfully Announce A “Birth”

I’m pleased to be here to announce the birth of my new book.
But pleased is not enough.
I’m happy to announce it!
No, happy doesn’t quite do it either.
I joyfully announce the birth of my new book!

It’s my first paperback, and I’m like a kid who just 
received exactly what he wanted for Christmas!
No, I’m not like a child, I am a child – a child of God!
I am the ordinary, if not insignificant, young boy, remarkable only 
because I happened to be on the scene, and I was willing to 
give Him my plain little loaves of stories that He, Himself, inspired.
Along with the loaves, I shared some of the small,
but potentially nourishing, word-fishes I had in my lunch sack .
I hope, and pray, and have faith, that my Master
will multiply these light loaves and salty fishes, these stories,
as only He can do, that they might be 
“eaten”, digested, and otherwise put to good use
by any readers who might need spiritual sustenance,
might need a nudge toward The One
who can resolve and redeem all troubles.

Every single reader of my stuff is
loved, and cherished, and prayed for,
by yours truly

 

Glorystories: A Gloryteller Compilation by [Lenn Snider]

Find it here:
https://www.amazon.com/Lenn-Snider/e/B09B5HZK65/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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On Using Secular Christmas Traditions To Lead People to Jesus

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Here’s a repeat piece that I didn’t get posted before Christmas:

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

It has been said, ad nauseum, that secular traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and even the word “Christmas” should be condemned and abolished by Christians because they distract and detract from the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
I disagree.
Those many traditions are so ingrained into society that they cannot now be reversed nor abolished even if we wanted to, which most of us don’t. They can, however, be used in a positive manner to point to God’s glory. I’ve previously discussed how the Christmas tree points to Jesus Christ. It is easy for me to tell, as well, how Saint Nicholas‘ (the real-life man behind the legend of Santa Claus) life and existence points to the life and teachings of Jesus.

I only implore you, dear reader, not to foster the mistruths about Santa Clause, or Father Christmas, but tell the factual truth about those figures. Fact is, they are legends and fantasies based on a good man’s acts, but they must not be passed down as reality. The generous acts, themselves, are the Christlike reality.

It’s the same for the gift-giving, the lights, the colors, the tree, the decorating, and the joyous celebrating. One can ignore any or all of it, or one can use those traditions of secular Christmastime as reminders of Jesus’ birth, life, instructive words, and miraculous deeds. I strive for that as I constantly try to keep Him at the forefront of the celebration.

I believe that we should not only accept, as a fact of life, the secular traditions – the things that have been distorted and perverted away from the original intent of honoring the Christ-child, but turn them back upon themselves to their original purpose which is to celebrate His birth, to point to Him, to highlight Him, and to glorify Him in the unfettered, hopeful, optimistic, rejoicing manner in which the host of angels announced His arrival to the shepherds, and to us.

We can’t do away with Santa, and I don’t want to do that anyway. We can, however present him in a different light – the light that shines when he extends a gift to a child who has none, or the glow when he calls to a little one to come sit on his knee, or the beacon that shines when he tells the story of Jesus’ birth to a group of awestruck children, or when he silently prays for a sick or needy child and their family, or the radiant streaming rays that illuminate the scene when he kneels to worship beside the manger which contains his Savior Lord swaddled in humble cloth. All those actions mimic or respect Christ, The Light of the World, as Santa, the legend, mimics the real man, Nicholas, who was a somewhat Christlike child of God, himself!

We have so many commonly seen secular symbols that can be used to point to Jesus at Christmastime:

 Common decorative wreaths, for example, can be found on doors, in windows, or inside many secular homes, even on city light posts, but the circles of evergreen boughs symbolize eternal life and the never-ending love of God. The non-believers don’t even know that! We believers even elevate the wreath to worship status. The five candles of the Advent wreath are lit in order bring to mind hope, peace, joy, love, and the purity of Christ, the Light of the World who was sent for us. It also encircles the promise that He will return to us, not in humility this time, but in His full power and glory!

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness —
on them light has shined. Isaiah 9: 2-7

The Advent wreath is loaded with symbolism to “get the ball rolling” early in December before the really secular traditions begin.

The ever-present Christmas tree itself is a real or a reasonable facsimile of an evergreen tree, which also symbolizes eternal life. It points to Heaven, and, in my world, all the lights, ornaments, and decorations on the tree represent all believers in Jesus. The lights remind me that The Light of the World has come and we wait for Him to come again.

The presents under the tree are reminders of the original Christmas gift – the gift of Jesus sent to us by Father God, and His presence with us – and the wrappings, His swaddling cloths. Everyone who is able participates in the giving of gifts. Some gifts are frivolous and some needful. Gift giving is a reminder of how Father God sent us, the very needy, a huge gift of forgiveness, grace,mercy, hope, and love delivered through His Son. And we all, believers and non-believers, must receive any and all gifts with gracefulness and gratefulness. The gift of The Savior Child, our Light of the World, is given to every one of us Earthlings, but that gift must be received, and willingly accepted before it can be unwrapped and enjoyed.

The star at the top of the tree points to Christ and leads people to Him. It reminds us of the nativity story because of its important role therein. If there is an angel instead of a star, it evokes memories of the very powerful presence of angels involving Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph. Even more astonishing was their appearance to the shepherds just after Jesus’ birth – not just one, but a whole host of them!

 Those traditions and others I’ve not thought of can be used to help us illuminate Jesus in a darkened world. I believe proclaiming Him is our commission, our duty, and our pleasure, as believers and as beneficiaries of The Father’s miraculously generous, humble, and humbling gift.

We are still living in a land of deep darkness, thousands of years after Isaiah’s God-given words. Billions of people are walking in darkness today, but many have seen the great Light. It is given to them to shine the Light of the World upon the land of deep darkness and all those walking in it.

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

Above all,
Remember Who is glorious,

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

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Still

After a busy, but very pleasurable, Advent season,
I find myself still, and resting in peace this evening.
What an eventful time I’ve had here at “Gloryteller
over the last three weeks and five days!
It passed so quickly, I can hardly catch my breath!

I’ve learned new things about the Christ Child’s birth
and some of the “old” things have struck me in new ways.
I went deep into the sweetly miraculous Profound Mystery, and today,
after the crescendo buildup of excitement surrounding –

The Birth That Shook The Earth,

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

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

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

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

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

Sleep, Holy Jesus,
Sleep . . .

   ~   ~   ~
I really like this Austrian Christmas carol in the form of a lullaby.
(a “lullbaby” perhaps?)
It so saturates me with peace . . .
And tonight, dear Jesus, I will simply be still and know –
know that you are no more than human
know that you are no less than God . . .

But now, dear reader, I must sadly,
yet joyfully, send out one last,

heartfelt,
Merry Christmas
and wishes for peace to you this season.
It is Christmas night, 2020,

Goodnight
from Lenn, here at Gloryteller.com

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

Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf,
Er hört und lächelt freundlich.
Und kniend Joseph
Joins im Chorus
Mit den Engeln
Über uns gebeugt
Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf,
Er hört und lächelt freundlich.
 
Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf,
Er atmet einen zärtlichen Seufzer,
Denn bald wird er aufwachen
Die Welt aus dem Schlummer
Leben bringen
Und endloses Wunder
Schlaf Schlaf Schlaf
Er atmet einen zärtlichen Seufzer
 
Schlaf, heiliger Jesus Schlaf
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A Paul Harvey Christmas Message – The Man and the Birds

 

A Brilliant Modern Day Parable

Do you remember Paul Harvey?
Have you even ever heard of him?
He was an American radio broadcaster for nearly six decades.
His soft-spoken telling of current events and
“the rest of the story” with that gentle voice of his
kept me company over many a lonely lunchtime sandwich.
This next brings back floods of good memories.

This is a perennial favorite of mine.
The metaphor is so spot-on,
So full of pure wisdom and insight
That I can’t help but apply it
To my Christbirth celebration.
This whole broadcast is good,

but if you want to skip ahead to the central story,
it begins at about 5:10.
May you and yours have a joyous Christmas!



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

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One Solitary Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

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Mary, Did You Know?

I think she knew, 
don’t you?
A Mother Just Knows . . .
And, after all it is Mary!

In these advent days,
the story is all about the Love between
– Mary,

– her Baby inside, Emmanuel,
– 
Father God,
– the Holy Spirit,
– her husband, Joseph,
– and everyone who would believe and come to know them.

. . . The Love that swirls around them all,
radiating downward from the Highest;
at once, mysteriously enveloping,
and joyously abiding in
 the innermost depths,
of those below.

Those were some very moving scenes from Roma Downey’s epic miniseries THE BIBLE.
I hope they will move you a little closer to the One who once lay in the manger.

(Though it looks odd here, lay is correct. It’s the past tense of to lie.
Jesus was placed in a manger to lie there, but ironically, never told a lie in His life.
I hope that made you smile.)

Blessings this Christmas season from your Gloryteller!

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He. Came. Down.


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He Came Down

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He came down.
Mary said YES,
then He came down.
Born like us.
Born with us.
Born for us.
Born to us.
Born unto us.
Born into us.

He came down from His Glory,
Leaving Holy Home and Father,
to become a creation, in a real sense, just like us . . . 

To be born most humbly into the broken,
reeking mess that we, mankind, had made of the world.

To be born into the shameful, smelly mess that
I had made of my own wretched heart . . . 

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

Glory to God in the Highest Heaven!
That

He.
Came.
Down!
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The Happiest Christbirth to you, today!
LS< Your Gloryteller
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Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven

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A Children’s Christmas Carol for Everyone

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

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

“Come to turn me, a stranger, into a child of God.”

Remember, JESUS is the subject of Christmas,
and the object of Christmas is US.

LS

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Breath Of Heaven – Mary’s Song

Sixteen years ago, almost to the minute,
Breath of Heaven visited me.
Permeated me to the depths of 
Body, Soul, and Spirit.
I was forever changed,
Becoming the best version of myself.
Forever, infinitely, and most of all, eternally.

Breath of Heaven is always there,

softly taking me in,
gently sending me out . . .


I still can scarcely breathe . . .

Oh! My Breath of  Heaven! Oh!

~  ~  ~  ~

Not even one of us can fully understand,
nor scarcely appreciate young Mary’s plight . . .
And consider Joseph’s . . .

These poignant video clips are from The Nativity Story,  upload thanks to Aaron Hassen.

Please read down to the end:


Breath of Heaven
By Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
*And I wonder what I’ve done,
*Holy father you have come,
*And chosen me now to carry Your son.
~~~
*I am waiting in a silent prayer,
*I am frightened by the load I bear,
*In a world as cold as stone,
*Must I walk this path alone?
~~~
*Be with me now . . .

*Be with me now . . .
~~~
*Breath of heaven,
*Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
*Lighten my darkness,
*Pour over me your holiness,
*For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Do you wonder as you watch my face,
*If a wiser one should have had my place?
*But I offer all I am,
For the mercy of your plan,
*Help me be strong
Help me be . . .
Help me . . .
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
~~~
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
~~~
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
~ ~ ~

.  .  . Have you ever found yourself saying these same words –
the ones I starred?

I have.

Yes, I have been chosen to “carry The Son”, in a sense.
In that very important sense, all true believers have been chosen to
“carry Him”.
And, sometimes, I feel completely unworthy.
Do I offer all I am?
Do I LOVE?

And I pray that the Father stay near me and hold me together.
The thought of bearing this precious burden; this gift;
this responsibility; this sacred life, is daunting – 
sometimes frightening.

What if I fail?

A wiser, less broken, less flawed soul should take my place . . .
Yet, I am exactly the kind of person He seeks,
chooses, and challenges, to “carry Him inside”.
One only must be willing.
And the Archangel, himself, said, “Don’t be afraid”.

Yes, the world is cold as stone,
and the path, often difficult,
but I don’t have to walk it alone –
never alone.
The Lord is with me.

*Breath of heaven
Hold me together-
My desperate plea –
Like David, He hears, and holds me up.

He lightens my darkness,
and if that were not enough,
He pours His holiness over me,
and His grace,
and His mercy.

I am not wise, but He chose me,
somehow.
He chose me and He helps me.
And through Him, I am sufficient.
And I am honored.

Breath of Heaven is always there,
softly taking me in,
gently sending me out . . .

Amy Grant, how did you know?

~ ~ ~

Merry Christmas from Gloryteller.com
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Hopeful Message for the First Week of Advent


The first week of Advent is said to be concentrated upon the hope of the Savior’s arrival as supported by the Scriptures’ prophetic promises. There are several pertinent verses, but I chose this one :

“The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:14-15).

O, Jesus, 
We await your sweet arrival!

~~~~~~

Words and Music for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
by Charles Wesley:

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Mark E. Hunt devised a second, or middle, verse.
I like it and included it here:

Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end;
By His life He brings us gladness,
Our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number,
Born within a cattle stall;
This the everlasting wonder, 
Christ was born the Lord of all.


2. Born thy people to deliver,

born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to Thy* glorious throne.

(*emphases, mine)

The hope that the child of God has is an eternal hope.
Peter tells us that the Child of God has
“an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you” (
1 Peter: 1-4 )

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A Pre-Christmas Act of Worship In A Retail Store – HALLELUJAH!

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

 *

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

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

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


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

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


The “sounding joy”, the full, immense, profound amount of joy served-up is overwhelming!

In the fullness of time,

every knee will bow to Him,
and,
“He shall reign for ever and ever.”

This year I wanted to add the lyrics:

Hallelujah 
Written by George Friedrich Handel

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah

WOW . . .
I sit once again in awestruck silence,
in abject humility,
before Him . . .

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A Pre-Christmas Act of Worship In A Massive Retail Store – HALLELUJAH!

In late November or early December I like to start the Advent season by posting the video of this enormous, soaring, amazing, heart-warming event. I try not to use the word “love” lightly or frivolously, but I absolutely love this composition from Handel, this immense pipe organ, this crowd, this choir of believers, and especially the Subject of this beautiful masterpiece, Jesus Christ!
He alone is King of Kings and Lord of Lords,
And He alone will reign with The Father in omnipotence forever!

 *

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

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

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


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

The “sounding joy”, the full, immense,
profound amount of joy served-up is overwhelming!


In the fullness of time,

every knee will bow to Him,
and,
“He shall reign for ever and ever.”

This year I wanted to add the lyrics:

Hallelujah 
Written by George Friedrich Handel

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah
Hallelujah

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He. Came. Down.


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He Came Down

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

Glory to God in the Highest Heaven!
That

He.
Came.
Down!
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The Happiest Christbirth to you, today!
LS< Your Gloryteller
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A Paul Harvey Christmas Message – The Man and the Birds

 

A Brilliant Modern Day Parable

Do you remember Paul Harvey?
Have you even ever heard of him?
He was an American radio broadcaster for nearly six decades.
His soft-spoken telling of current events and
“the rest of the story” with that gentle voice of his
kept me company over many a lonely lunchtime sandwich.
This next brings back floods of good memories.

This whole broadcast is good,
but if you want to skip ahead to the story,
it begins at about 5:10.
May you and yours have a joyous Christmas!



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Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven

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A Children’s Christmas Carol for Everyone

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

 

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

 

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

LS

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Hopeful Message for the First Week of Advent


The first week of Advent is said to be concentrated upon the hope of the Savior’s arrival as supported by the Scriptures’ prophetic promises. There are several pertinent verses, but I chose this one :

“The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:14-15).

O, Jesus, 
We await your sweet arrival!

~~~~~~

Words and Music for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
by Charles Wesley:

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Mark E. Hunt devised a second, or middle, verse.
I like it and included it here:

Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end;
By His life He brings us gladness,
Our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number,
Born within a cattle stall;
This the everlasting wonder, 
Christ was born the Lord of all.


2. Born thy people to deliver,

born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to Thy* glorious throne.

(*emphases, mine)

 

 

The hope that the child of God has is an eternal hope.
Peter tells us that the Child of God has
“an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you” (
1 Peter: 1-4 )

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The Wheat and the Grape – A Sacred Harvest




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but I’m getting off track.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About The Music Links Below

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

The Basic Christian Library

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

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

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

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

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

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

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