The Expense of Safety – A Reprise – And The Rest Of The Story

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A Good Friday Story;
A Good Anytime Story –


The Expense of Safety

The Ferry to Safety was ready to depart.
Freedom, so close!

Special admission only???
Hope fading.
Whoever missed the boat was lost.
Completely lost and without hope.
One solitary, stringent ticket stand.
A waiting line far too long.

Serious guards watching.
Last chance.
Distress.

But I had not the standing,
Not the requirements,
Not the paperwork,

Nor the price of admission.
I stood forlorn in fear that
I would always wear these chains,

Or be, (oh, so slowly) tortured and killed;
Despair.

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 with the selfless gesture.
Bewildered, I caught hold of it.

And just in time.
I stood astonished,
Forgetting even to thank him.
“Hurry, it departs;
It’s your one chance,”
He cried over his shoulder

As they cruelly restrained him,
Beat him to the ground,

Roughly dragged him,
Torn, and bleeding,
Yet miraculously silent as
They pinned him brutally against the ticket stand.

His fate I couldn’t know,
Couldn’t imagine.

Didn’t want to guess . . .
In horror and denial,
I watched the scene as I walked backward,

And stepped,
Not nearly grateful enough,
Onto the departing boat.



The Rest of the Story

I was in shock.
And I was safe.
My chains had dropped from me,
into the water,

as I stepped onto the ferry.
Relief overwhelmed me.

Was this how true freedom felt?
After a time, I noticed many others were there.
Some were kneeling, some looking upward
with bowed heads and raised hands.
A woman saw that I was alone.
“You are the last.”
“Yes . . . . . ,
I . . .
It’s incredible!

A man paid my price!”
I was still astonished.
“Mine too!” she exclaimed.
A man looked up . . . “Mine too!”
A child waved; in her hand a ticket:
“Me too!”
“Me too!” cried a young boy.”
A group of teenagers:
“Me too!” “Me too!” “And me!”
“He paid my fare!”
“He gave me his own ticket!”
All of us!
People were gathering into one group,
listening to each other.
“I threw my pass away years ago,
but he gave me another today!” said several.
“I lost mine and he gave me a replacement as well.”
“I didn’t deserve one.”
“I was in prison.”
“My neck was in the noose; I was good as dead.”
“He let me off the hook for the terrible things I said about him.”
“He forgave me too!”
“He gave me another chance.”
“He gave me another, and another, and another.”
“He told me it was ‘never too late’,
when he handed me his boarding pass.”
“He looked at me with love.
Nobody ever did that!”

“I know he saved my life, and not just once!”
“He told me God loves me!”
“I heard him forgive those guards.”
Yes, even while they did detestable things to Him.
I . . . I think . . . they killed him.

“Because of us,” I thought, in sorrow.
“Because we couldn’t get our own passes.”
“We could never qualify.”
“He deserved his ticket more than anyone,
yet he gave it to all of us and forfeited his life.”
 “He loved his life as much as we love ours.”
“Who was that poor man?”
An elderly lady approached on unsteady legs,
holding her ticket toward me in an outstretched hand.
Her eyes were filled with tears.
“He gave me this. I tried to refuse, but he insisted.
It was all . . . he . . . had.

What love he radiated. What love!” she sighed.
Her pass was identical to mine.
They all were.
I looked up at the wheelhouse,
and, to my delight, noticed that the huge watercraft
was named JOY.

As the day passed, people began telling their stories.
Everyone had a story involving the man we called
our hero, our rescuer, our deliverer.
We praised the man with our stories and with singing.
We fasted, partaking only of sweet, cool, water   –
The purest we have ever tasted.
In the evening we ate bread and grapes.
All these things were provided from coolers on the deck.
We became conscious of God’s presence and provision.
Those of us who were new to the faith experience were welcomed
into the family of believers and followers of that one man.
Because of what he did for us, we all worshiped him;
Because he showed us compassionate love,
We adored him;
Longed to see him again,
If only . . .

The boat seemed to expand in size while more people
came up from below.

So many breathing freedom!
Our ongoing rescue continued through the second day,

through which we repeated the fast, the worship,
the stories, and the evening meal.
When would we finally reach the Land of Promised Safety?
We wondered, but with faith and confident hope.
The massive boat churned a wake and plowed its way forward,
persevering steadily on course 
through a third day,
 as our faith and hope grew.
Then, in the cool of the evening of the third day,
we saw land . . .

And I, the undeserving;
I, the ingrate;
I, the impatient;

I, the selfish;
I, the forgiven;
and I, the thankful-rescued,

stood on the foredeck and saw The Man
standing with a grin,
and with open arms,
on the pristine sand of freedom’s shore.

α ∞ Ω
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The Step, Part III

I took a step onto solid Rock  . . .

Their overwhelming touch changed everything –
Everything I thought I knew,
Everything I am.
Changed it all for my good.

They didn’t have to do it;
(or did They, because that is who They are?!)

I didn’t deserve their efforts.
They came nevertheless;
To feed me,
Save my life,
Forgive me,
Deliver me from evil,
Weave me into their plan,

Give my life purpose,
Walk me home,

Give me rest,
And most of all, just love me!

That one step made all the difference.

I am home!


The End,

(of a bad thing)

The Beginning,

(of a glorious thing)

If you haven’t already,
I urge you to turn,
And take a step toward home.


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Cooking A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner – Yes I Can – This Is About Thankfulness


Yes, dear reader,
Unlike most men, especially old-school men such as myself,
I’m capable of planning and cooking
a full-blown turkey-and-stuffing anchored;
mashed potato filled;
gravy-slathered;
two vegetable enhanced;
candied sweet ‘tater and
green bean casserole complimented;
cranberry sauce enlivened;
dinner-roll augmented;
and pie-crowned Thanksgiving dinner.
I don’t want that to sound like bragging,
nor self-exaltation,
it’s just the truth.
It’s a blessing that I can cook almost anything, and even do a little baking, but the blessing came at the expense of my mother’s suffering.
When I was 13, my mother dislocated her elbow due to a fall. That very painful injury prevented her from doing many of her homemaking duties including cooking the daily family meals. As the eldest child, I was appointed cook’s assistant. I performed the mechanical operations of cooking while poor plaster-casted Mom directed me. That was one of my life’s momentous turning points, because I have used those cooking skills that she taught me countless times for my own benefit and for the benefit of others.
Today, Mom is on my mind.
Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to cook and for everything else.
Thanks, God, for Mom and for all my blessings.
Thanks for the ability to imagine and invent things, and for the ability to make, and build, and create the things I imagined – everything from small tools to buildings and a home, and thanks for the ability to repair, or at least “rig up” almost anything. Thanks, God, for the ability to grow food on Your land. Most of all thanks, Lord for the very surprising gift of the ability to write.
As much as I like to cook, I’d rather write about cooking.
I’d rather write than do almost anything else.
As for Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that this website is partial fulfillment of my God-given purpose. More than anything else, I’m thankful to You, Lord, for gathering me to Yourself and giving me the joy of salvation – the joy of knowing You!

“O, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good!
His loving mercies endure forever!
O, give constant thanks unto the Lord!”

Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader!
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Saved From Myself

One of the most difficult jobs God gives us
is gently convincing someone of the concept
that they need to be, in effect, saved from themselves.
From their broken nature.
From poor decisions based on selfishness.
From their lack of a sense of a higher hope,
and purpose, 
and meaning.
From their arrogant, rebellious, reckless,
self-elevation

To the position of god.
It is a universal need all people have in common.
It was true for me;
myself most of all.
My own worst enemy (but for that other).
Yet I dismissed the notion of salvation out of hand.
Adamantly.
Still, He had someone in the wings
who was perfect for the job.
He placed that person right in my path.
With perfect timing.
Giving voice to a theme song
tuned to my stubborn rebel ears. 
Unexpectedly, I believed those personal lyrics.
Surprisingly.
Inexplicably.
Amazingly.
Thankfully.

I soon was “saved from myself “, 
Delivered.
Into a relationship with my Creator God.
I have not looked back.
I rejoice!
Now, I sing to you.
Am I the one He has reserved in the wings for you?
Or are you destined to step onstage for someone else?
It can be a most difficult job.
“Don’t be discouraged,” He encourages.
I’m living proof not to be –
I did not need it, or so I thought,
Yet, thankfully,
I was

saved from myself.

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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 re-born.
My life could not have been repaired, resurrected, and redeemed.
First came 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!♫

On this day a few years ago,
I caught Him!
He had been chasing me
harder and harder,
faster and faster,
for about two months.
He chased me until I caught Him!
The lost was found!

The blind saw!
Fear fled!
The enemy ran!

That moment was the perfect meeting of the physical
and the spiritual.
The perfect arc between
the seen
and the unseen.
Grace touching flesh.
Faith bathing a heart.
Salvation invading a body of being.

It was instant, yet time seemed to stretch
into the infinite – into veritable eternity.
One moment, I was slowly dying in a hopeless world,
the next, I was delivered into Heaven!
I was like sea glass –
all the rough, broken edges smoothed –
I was remade from refuse into a beautiful gem!
I was a new creation and I felt it!

It was transformation – metamorphosis!
My cocoon dropped off!
I was free!
A newly adopted child

with a newly granted citizenship
including new customs, traditions,
benefits, privileges, responsibilities,
and a new language!
I wept!
I overflowed!

Needless to say it was a moment of pure JOY!
Joy so intense that it remains to this day.

Thank You, Jesus!
In a sense, I was born with You in that stable.
O, how can I ever thank You enough

for making that possible?!
For me, and for all people!
Thank You, our Highest Lord!
YOU ARE Wonderful!
Counselor!
Mighty God!
Everlasting Father!
Prince of Our Peace!
Happy Birthday to You, dear Jesus,
and because of You,
to me too!


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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 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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Move On, But Remember To Keep Celebrating His Arrival

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A friend of mine posted this observation:
“Christmas is over and it’s time to move on from celebrating the birth of Jesus to following the life of Jesus.”

I get his point.
(I don’t think He intends to minimize Christmas)
For one thing, it is all too easy to become fixated on this one aspect of Jesus’ incarnation,
thus missing the importance of His whole life, and the purpose of His presence here.
I think my friend wants to emphasize the importance of following Him
in trust, and in obedience, above all else.
To do that, it’s crucial that we “move on” and take Him from His manger bed,
(even though there is nothing like having a new baby to hold)
to love Him and watch Him as He learns to talk, and then to walk,
as He grows in wisdom and knowledge,
as He learns to use His hands to build and to heal,
as He becomes an adult who teaches, preaches, and ministers to His people,
as He carries His cross to a culmination of crushing sacrifice,
as He conquers death and is resurrected.
And not only lovingly watch, but lovingly participate in these things with Him
as He enters, invited, into our hearts.
Understanding Him, and following His life and His Word are the priority for a believer.

I must be true to myself, on the other hand,
and say that I disagree that “Christmas is over”.
The seasonal celebration may be over.
The secular holiday may be over,
but my heart’s celebration of my Savior’s birth will never be over.
The upwelling, unrivaled, unquenchable joy that my Lord’s arrival brings will never end.
I will not be moved.
His birth is the culmination of all the pre-Nativity preparation,
planning, decision-making, and
the very character, the nature, and the acts
Of Father God, and of His Son, who is the Word, the Creator, the Sustainer.
Jesus’ birth is the beginning, on earth, of something so miraculous,
so mysterious,
so remarkable,
so astounding,
so important,
so world-changing,
so life-changing,
that I cannot, and I will not be moved from it.
Its implications bring me to worship in a special way.
The story of His birth pulls me into a deeper relationship with Him.
The story of His life brings me to better relationships with people.
The story of His sacrifice on the cross, and His resurrection,
and the gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit
allow me a deepening relationship with our Father God.
It’s my hope, and my desire, to celebrate His birth,
His whole life, everything He was, and is, and will be,
every day.
That’s a tall order, I know, but I have a beginning point that
The Father provided in this one amazing birth;
“the birth that shook the earth” –
“the birth that shaped the earth”-
“the birth that saved the earth”.
Without this one birth – Jesus’ birth – there would be
no controversial Nativity Scenes,
no Santa Clause to argue about,
no Christmas trees,
no carols,
no Christmas parties,
no brightly wrapped gift packages,
no rampant commercialism,
no Christmas vacations,
no decorating,
no pretty lights,
NO LIGHT IN THE WORLD AT ALL,
no Savior,
no hope,
no real love,
no GOD WITH US.
Imagine a world, a life, without the birth of Jesus in it . . .
That would be a nightmare.
That is why I won’t be moved,
nor lightly “move on” from it.
The beginning of His Story is the beginning of so much!
That is why I hold close the holy celebration of Jesus birth.
That is why I celebrate His whole holy life from birth to ascension.
Even what He was before that.
Holy!
Even what He is and will be beyond that!
Glorious!
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Have a
Happy
Joyous
Christbirth
Celebration
All Through
The Year!

Blessings, dear reader,
from me, your gloryteller.

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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 re-born.
My life could not have been repaired, resurrected, and redeemed.
First came 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!♫

On this day a few years ago,
I caught Him!
He had been chasing me
harder and harder,
faster and faster,
for about two months.
He chased me until I caught Him!
The lost was found!

The blind saw!
Fear fled!
The enemy ran!

That moment was the perfect meeting of the physical
and the spiritual.
The perfect arc between
the seen
and the unseen.
Grace touching flesh.
Faith bathing a heart.
Salvation invading a body of being.

It was instant, yet time seemed to stretch
into the infinite – into veritable eternity.
One moment, I was slowly dying in a hopeless world,
the next, I was delivered into Heaven!
I was like sea glass –
all the rough, broken edges smoothed –
I was remade from refuse into a beautiful gem!
I was a new creation and I felt it!

It was transformation – metamorphosis!
My cocoon dropped off!
I was free!
A newly adopted child

with a newly granted citizenship
including new customs, traditions,
benefits, privileges, responsibilities,
and a new language!
Needless to say it was a moment of pure JOY!
Joy so intense that it remains to this day.

Thank You, Jesus!
In a sense, I was born with You in that stable.
O, how can I ever thank You enough

for making that possible?!
For me, and for all people!
Thank You, our Highest Lord!
YOU ARE Wonderful!
Counselor!
Mighty God!
Everlasting Father!
Prince of Our Peace!
Happy Birthday to You, dear Jesus,
and because of You,
to me too!


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Cooking A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner – Yes I Can – Thanks, Almighty God!


Yes, dear Reader,
Unlike many men, especially old-school men such as myself,
I’m capable of planning and cooking
a full-blown turkey-and-stuffing anchored;
mashed potato filled;
gravy-slathered;
two vegetable enhanced;
candied sweet ‘tater and
green bean casserole complimented;
cranberry sauce enlivened;
dinner-roll augmented;
and pie-crowned Thanksgiving dinner.
I don’t want that to sound like bragging,
nor self-exaltation,
it’s just the truth.
Here’s the thing:

It’s a blessing that I can cook almost anything,
and even do a little baking, but the blessing came at the expense of my mother’s suffering.

You see, when I was 13, my mother dislocated her elbow during a fall. That very painful injury prevented or hampered her doing many of her homemaking duties including cooking the daily family meals. As the eldest child, I was appointed Cook’s Assistant. Until she was fully healed, I performed the mechanical operations of cooking while poor plaster-casted Mom directed me and taught me. That was one of my life’s momentous turning points, because I have used those cooking skills countless times for my own benefit and for the benefit of others.
Today, Mom is on my mind.
Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to cook and for everything else you did and taught.
Thanks, Father God, for Mom and for all my many blessings.
Thanks for my ability to imagine and invent things, and for the ability to make, and build, and create the things I imagined – everything from small tools to buildings and a home, and thanks for the ability to repair, or at least “rig up” almost anything. Thanks, God, for the ability to grow food on Your land. Most of all, thanks, Lord for the very surprising gift of the ability to write.
As much as I like to cook, I’d rather write about cooking.
I’d rather write than do almost anything else.
As for Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that this website is partial fulfillment of my God-given purpose. More than anything else, I’m thankful to You, Lord,
for gathering me to Yourself and giving me the joy of salvation –
the joy of knowing You!

“O, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good!
His loving mercies endure forever!
O, give constant thanks unto the Lord!”

Happy Thanksgiving, dear Reader!
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Peace Like A River For My Soul

Asher B. Durand

Asher B. Durand

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Peace is kind of like love.
Everyone needs it.
Most civilized people want it.
Many seek it in one way or another.
So do I.

The quality of peace is not strain’d either.
It, too, falls like gentle rain from Heaven
upon the needful ones below. (thanks, Shakespeare)

Some folks have real peace and some have a pseudo,
temporary, fleeting kind of peace.
So do I and so have I.

Some look for it in all the wrong places.
Yup, that was me.

Many have no peace whatsoever and have no idea
where it comes from,

how to get some,
or even what it is.

Again, been there.

When I find myself in need of the comfort and enjoyment of peace,
which is most of the time,

like many folks I seek and readily find peace
in what is commonly called “Nature”.
“Nature”, in a broad sense, is universally understood.
You are probably forming mental pictures right now
about how you perceive and define “Nature”.
Now envision some of your favorite peace-inducing “Nature” scenes;
places you have been, or even pictures of real places or those imagined by someone.
Did that bring you a bit of peacefulness?

But –
“Nature” (nature – to bring it down off its pedestal)
is only a reflection of the super-natural;
of God’s supernatural glory. (He is above nature – He made it!)
Isn’t it delightful that even this somewhat hazy reflection
of Heaven can still bring us earth-side peace?

I personally enjoy a pastoral scene, one with water in it,
and even better, one with a mountainous theme.
A clear, unpolluted, starwatching-sky is also a delight.

Sunshine and sheep,
Cattle and a creek,
Grass and rolling hills,
Green and blue and still.

A clear night sky,
Star-filled and wide,
Shapes made of  light,
Faith becoming sight.

A picture will do, but being there in person is best.
Sitting and contemplating;
meditating and cogitating;
or simply ‘taking it all in’ and enjoying the serenity,
the quietness,
and the upwelling joy begotten of His Light and Life.
It’s great!
But i
f I am walking, I like an upward path through my favorite “Nature”.
Ascent is so metaphoric.
I walk upward into His waiting embrace.
What peace, elation, and joy all at once!

I like to visit nature alone to find great peace,
  and this occurs to me – even my extrovert friends seek peace alone there sometimes.
Many of them enjoy walking an upward path by themselves.
There is something calming about solitude.

Peace is this:
Just being still and knowing that He is God.

And this:

. . . the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your heart and mind . . .”

Wonderfully this:
“You will go out with joy and be led out in peace.
The mountains and the hills will break into songs of joy in your presence,
and all the trees will clap their hands.”

Especially this:
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.”
Yes, that was The Prince of Peace speaking to each of us,

in fact He mentions ‘peace’ at least four hundred times in His Word
in all its different meanings and nuances.

Personal peace is important.
Without it, there is a certain emptiness;
an unmet longing.

In today’s turmoil, peace is elusive.
Tranquility, and quiet,
harmony and calmness,
concord and agreement,
safety and security,
and freedom from anxiety and worries
are in short supply.
But peace is important to God.
As His creations, He made it important to us as well,
and He saw how incapable we were
of having any through our own devices.

So He sent His Son, The Prince of Peace,
while we were still enemies of His,
to humble Himself as human in order
to make peace between the warring parties,
The Father vs. the fallen.
Jesus’ sacrificial death was the condition of the cease-fire,
the requirement of justice,
the peace treaty,
the just agreement of concord,
the new covenant of peace between mankind and The Father,
between each person and Father God,
and between Him and myself.

I believe that with His final exhalation,
He whispered Divine peace into the heart of Creation,
and into mine. His peace, like His joy – gifts that cannot be
lost, if guarded, once they are embedded in your heart.

It is said that all Creation rejoiced when this treaty was struck.
I believe that “Nature” “broke into song,
and the trees clapped their hands”
not only for mankind,
and myself,
but for Its Own sake as well,
for
that was the beginning
of the restoration,
the redemption and the repair
of not only humanity, but of all Creation –
in peace.

Thank You Lord, for peace.
Without it, life earth-side would be much more difficult.

So,
what better way to seek and find peace than to
walk with The Bringer and Giver of Peace,
The Wonderful Counselor of Peace,

The Prince of Peace?

He willingly,
eagerly,
whole-heartedly
Walks and talks with me,
(and wants the same with you)

on my upward path through nature,
and not only through idyllic scenes,
but through every season,

taking me,
leading me,
pushing me,
supporting me,
carrying me,

giving me,
showing me,
His peace, and wonder, and glory,
until we reach the arms of The Father,
where I’ll be wrapped in the Ultimate Peace,
the final,
enduring,
everlasting,
Peace of His eternal presence.

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There is a special hymn that is commonly associated
with peace: “Peace Like A River/All Is Well With My Soul”.
If you don’t know the background of this song, you should check
out the remarkable story of the author, Horatio Spafford.
There is a line in the fourth verse which speaks deeply within me:
“Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.”
Many versions of this hymn are slow and, well, peaceful.
Here is a version that is upbeat and joyous.
It really struck a chord in me:

Thank you Spring Harvest for the music and Humpty Fell for the fine video!

©Gloryteller.com 10-27-15
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His Omni-ness

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α   His Omni-ness    Ω


Isn’t it astounding that each person can truthfully say to Almighty God:



“You are my personal God, Lord, Father, and Savior!”

I am, in effect, the only one on Your mind right now!”

“Jesus gave His life just for me and my salvation!”

“You made all creation for my enjoyment!”

“You love me as if I were your only child!”


“Thank You, O Highest Lord!”

I believe that in Your omnipotence,
Your omnipresence,
Your omniscience,

And all Your “omni-ness”,
All the above sentences are true!
You have infinite “time” to think about,
Care about,
Commune with,
Speak with,
BE with,
And to LOVE each of us as if we are Your only one.

Because of the redemptive power of Jesus,
I love that I can say those words,
and I love that you can say them too, dear reader.
So go ahead, say them!
Make His day!

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Witnessing A Shark Attack

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Along with millions of other people,
I saw a shark try to attack a surfer on a live television broadcast.

It was so much like life, so much a metaphor for this worldly existence:

From my vantage point, I can see the stealthy
approach of the spiritual enemy when the victim cannot.

I feel the escalating danger of the situation.
I watch in dismay as the predator circles,
quickly judging the unsuspecting prey and planning its attack.
sizing him up,
figuring him out,
taking his measure,
(the English language is so full of idioms like those)

It all happens very quickly. IT has done this countless times before,
with countless victims.
I’m tempted to say it is “second nature”, but it is not;
it is the assailant’s primary nature, to kill and destroy,
That is ITs base and core nature.
I watch ITs final turn and am outraged at the savagery of ITs lunge.
I feel helpless.
I want to shout a warning.
I want to give him eyes to see the beast.
I want to somehow jump into the space between him and the killer.
I want to arm him and give him ammunition.

I want to pull him out of the scene –
somehow snatch him away from imminent death.
What I end up doing is saying a hasty prayer.

In the real-life television story,
the surfer punched the shark and escaped shaken but unharmed.
Psychologically damaged, maybe –
he said he might not ever go into the ocean again.

But in real, real-life, the victim never escapes the wiles
of the spiritual enemy through their own power,

their own intellect,
their own knowledge,
their own skill,
nor their own efforts.
They always must be saved from the predatory beast.

What can I do to save them?
Nothing.
I can only tell them about the enemy of their soul and spirit,
about ITs nature, and tactics,
and strategy of deception.
I can illustrate how their imminent destruction will take place.
I can point to the danger, and shout warning;
try to give them eyes to see the hideous beast.
I can try to arm them with the truth about IT.
I can stand in the gap in front of them in prayer,
which is more useful,
but most useful of all, I can tell them of the one who can save them –
the only one.
He is the one who can do all of the above,
all that no-one else can do –
effortlessly.
He has defeated death and defeated IT – the enemy –
for all who believe in Him.
All.
That includes you, dear reader, if you desire it.

It is His nature. He has done it countless times.
I know, because He did it all for me when I first believed;
when I just believed Him!

So, all I can do is pray that they find Him,
and I can plant the seeds of His truth
and of His love for them.

If He could save me from the stealthy,
deceptive,
fatal attacks

of that bestial,
predatory,
killer of my soul,

He. Can. Save. Anybody!

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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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About The Music Links Below

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

The Basic Christian Library

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

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

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

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

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

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

Copyright Licensing

Creative Commons License
gloryteller.wordpress.com, and all proprietary work found here, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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My Signature Story

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

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

The content here's not to be used,

But to only be read and perused.

If you copy it off,

My lawyer's not soft,

And your fortune is mine - you got sued!

Gloryteller :-)

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