One Last Mountain

 

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

I’m walking so much older now
Much slower than before
It’s time to lay some burdens down
And shoulder them no more

Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His
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A Leap-Day Leap of Faith 2-29-16

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“Nothing before, nothing behind;
The steps of faith
Fall on the seeming void, and find
The Rock beneath.”

–John Greenleaf Whittier

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Les, a man – an agnostic man – was conversing on the telephone with a friend. The friend was trying to explain faith to the unbeliever but was having little success. The fifteen-year-old daughter of the friend overheard the conversation and impulsively interjected a comment from across the room.

“What’s that Laura said?” asked Les, “I couldn’t quite make it out.”

“Oh, she is quite the student of poetry – and she has quite a deep understanding of her own faith. She just said this: ‘Why don’t you just tell him what John Greenleaf Whittier said about faith? – Nothing before, nothing behind; The steps of faith fall on the seeming void, and find The Rock beneath.’ “

“I’ll write that down. Sounds a little deep for me. Thank her for the thought, though.”

“Wait, Les, she also wants me to relay another message. She thinks God is chasing you. Oh, that kid! You had better listen, she is a very insightful girl!”

After the call ended, Les got curious and ‘Googled’ the poem. “Yup, here it is, she got it word for word!”
Nothing before, and Nothing behind.”
“The seeming void . . .”
“Kind of sounds like me.”
“The Rock – finds The Rock.”
Sounds like she wants me to believe The Rock is God . . .”
Curious, he saw a ‘related link’ and clicked it.

Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance that what we 
hope for will come about
and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.”

“Hmmm,” he thought. He went back to the poem. Looked at it harder.
Went deeper – and it was deep!
He went back to the verse even though he had avoided anything to do with the Bible for a long, long time.
He sensed warm breath on the back of his neck.
“Chased? Yes, I think she used the word chased. . .”

He found this under the verse:
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

“11:1-3 Faith always has been the mark of God’s servants, from the beginning of the world. Where the principle is planted by the regenerating Spirit of God, it will cause the truth to be received, concerning justification by the sufferings and merits of Christ. And the same things that are the object of our hope, are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in Christ. This persuasion gives the soul to enjoy those things now; it gives them a subsistence or reality in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them. Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the bodily eye. It is a full approval of all God has revealed, as holy, just, and good. This view of faith is explained by many examples of persons in former times, who obtained a good report, or an honourable character in the word of God. Faith was the principle of their holy obedience, remarkable services, and patient sufferings. The Bible gives the most true and exact account of the origin of all things, and we are to believe it, and not to wrest the Scripture account of the creation, because it does not suit with the differing fancies of men. All that we see of the works of creation, were brought into being by the command of God.”

Esteeming himself a scholar, a learned man, a lover of art and poetry, he looked and studied and delved into the words and concepts which had escaped him – no, which he had ignored and run from for years.
“How do I catch hold of this stuff? It all seems so impossible. Yet what all this implies is that I need to step outside my blind self  more, and into the part of me that can see.”

“Les, let Me . . .” 

“I think I need to slow down and let God catch me a little.
But how did Laura know I liked poetry?
How did she know to quote me that one poem out of millions of them?
How did she know that it would touch me – change me?
How did she know to say ‘God is chasing me’ so that I became aware of such pursuit?”

“It’s her faith. Laura knows my love. She is mine.
She wants you to know me as well,
as do I.”

Les called his friend. “Hi! I was wondering if Laura is at home. She is? Are you guys busy? I was wondering if I could come over and talk to you both about the message she had for me. Lunch? Sounds great, be there in an hour.”

Les took the steps of faith, well, a leap of faith, really,
and within two months I,
I mean he,
was HIS as well, and has never had a single regret.

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The Psalm That Is Music To My Soul

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Hallelujah!!!
   Have I found my defining verses?
 My life statement?
My heart’s fondest song? 
There are so many to choose from, but I think this one was chosen for me.
May I quote it for you?  
OK, I will.

Psalm 57:7-11  :

“My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul !
Awake, harp and lyre !
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of You among the people.
For great is Your love reaching to the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
Let Your glory be over all the earth.”

Ohhh, 
I pause,
breathless in absolute wonder of it . . .

Do you have a Bible verse, or set of verses that define your life,
or are your heart’s fondest song? 
Please share them with all of us. 
  We will be blessed to hear them!
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Why?

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When disaster strikes,
when tragic loss of lives occurs,
why do we second guess ourselves
after the fact?
Why do we have to look back?
Why do we say,
“What if I had only said  _______,
or done _______ ?”
Why do we search for answers when there are none,
or the answers are beyond us in their complexity?
What do we gain when the past won’t change?
Will it help if there is something or someone to blame?

How can we cope when we have no control?
Where can we run, when futility finds us?
When will we abandon wasteful rhetoric?

Why do we keep asking “Why”,
crying, WHYYYYY?

Why?

It is futile to ask the wind, the sky, the universe.
Hopeless.
Useless.
Pointless.
Of no value.
To no avail.
And vain.
A waste of faith.
A waste of time,
especially if one knows The One
Who knows the answers,
the One who kindly, lovingly, comforts us
when the only word that will come is “why”.
The One who will, on our day, answer us without being asked,
for He already knows why
we continuously,
helplessly,
ask . . .

Why
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Faith Is Poetic

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Two poetic quotations which help clarify the mystery of faith :


“Nothing before, nothing behind;
The steps of faith
Fall on the seeming void, and find
The Rock beneath.”

John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier

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AND :

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Matthew Henry explains:

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:

11:1-3 Faith always has been the mark of God’s servants, from the beginning of the world. Where the principle is planted by the regenerating Spirit of God, it will cause the truth to be received, concerning justification by the sufferings and merits of Christ. And the same things that are the object of our hope, are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in Christ. This persuasion gives the soul to enjoy those things now; it gives them a subsistence or reality in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them. Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the bodily eye. It is a full approval of all God has revealed, as holy, just, and good. This view of faith is explained by many examples of persons in former times, who obtained a good report, or an honourable character in the word of God. Faith was the principle of their holy obedience, remarkable services, and patient sufferings.

On a personal note;
When my faith saw these two “poems”,
it immediately deepened itself.
It’s hard to explain.
It’s miraculous; a wonder,
and the explanation is in the poetry itself.
Have a faith-deepened day!
Gloryteller

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I Shared My Everything

^~^

^~ ~ ~^

With you

Not only some cash

Not only some time

Not  only my past

Nor pain

Not only my failure and success

My love

True, and again, yes

But most of all I shared my faith

Spurned or embraced

That is all I have that really matters

Even Faith-So-Small

My everything and All-In-All

My joys and my sorrows

To make a difference

THE Difference in hope for your tomorrows

A deposit with endless interest

Awaits you there

When and where

And if you will accept the prayer

Of faith

Of everything with you I gladly share.

One Last Mountain

One Last Mountain

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

Re-posted for R. L.,  a dedicated reader who liked the way this format “walks” across the page.
It’s actually a quirky glitch in the WordPress transposition of the way I really wanted it displayed. 🙂

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

           Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

                      But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

                                 And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

                                              Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

                                                          You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

                                                                       Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

                                                                                   Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His

                                                                                                                                                                                           

One Last Mountain

One Last Mountain

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

I’m walking so much older now
Much slower than before
It’s time to lay some burdens down
And shoulder them no more

 Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

 But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His

                                                                        

Shards

A   FORE-WORD

I feel very strange.  The day before yesterday I was strongly led to write this unusual piece – “Shards”.  (unusual, for me, in its pain and darkness – I’m more into joy) Around noon yesterday (Friday, 12-14-2012) I saw the horrible, heartbreaking tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on the news.
I had not planned to give God much of a part in this poem.  I intended it for encouragement for one individual, that “they” might be encouraged by it and know that they are not alone in their plight of brokenness. However, yesterday morning, as I awoke, I was strongly led to change it, and include His compassionate nature in the final stanzas.
I hesitated to post this in fear of being inappropriate, but I feel strongly that He wants someone to read this.  I emphasize that this was written before the tragedy.  It is my hope and prayer that it will draw someone to Him and  lead them into his arms.
Today I will post “Shards”.  I have no answers to the usual questions which tend to make people turn away from God in times like these.  “Where’s God?” “Why does God allow innocent blood to be spilled; innocent lives to be taken?”  “Why does He so often allow evil to prevail?”  “Is it because of the rebellious and disobedient nature of mankind?”  “Is it because when we, as a people, decided to ‘go it alone’ without Him, He decided to show us how that would work out for us?”
This is all I know at this moment:   I refuse to let these questions shatter the faith that I, with His grace, have gone through so much to maintain.  I refuse to be captive to my own meager understanding.  Jesus didn’t come to earth to eliminate murder.  We still live under the curse of evil and we all face death – old and young alike – but Jesus came here to address death and defeat it for each of us through His resurrection.  I refuse to let evil steal my joy and my hope, for this is what it boils down to, for me — that our only hope to be reunited with those innocent souls is through Jesus Christ.  I am absolutely certain that Jesus’ compassion for innocent souls, those taken too soon, is immense, for, in a sense, He was one of them It is through faith, trust, and belief in Him alone that we will  be allowed to rejoin those beautiful innocents again in full joy, to sing, and dance, and laugh, and love with them forever.

Shards

The countless shards of one shattered heart,
An exploding, expanding sphere of chaos,
Spreading wide and scattering  apart,
Across the world, a swarm of loss.
Shards acutely sharp,
Across the heavens, destruction hurled,
Shards immutably hard,
Dark devastation unfurled.

Small flechettes ripping flesh and bone,
Piercing even the fragile membrane
Between the body and the soul,
Replacing joy’s song with despair’s refrains
Shredding the universe into coarse turmoil,

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Where, in the lovingkindness of His heart of compassion,
God gathers them all in His arms, and His hands,
And skillfully, then, He begins to re-fashion
Refitting them back as only He can.

Remaking, shaping, forming, unshattering,
Deftly rounds off the pain and re-tunes –  it’s an art,
He fits them all back, in a shape that’s most flattering.
Then removing the thing that tore them apart,

He creates a new unshatterable heart.
He creates a brand-new unshardable heart.

To Meet Him There – An Act of Worship

 

TO MEET YOU THERE

 

Your creations, oh Lord,

Capture me

Convince me

Confirm You.

Immense mountains

Majesty and mystery

Massive earthrock moving skyward

Magnificence like mercy’s power,  Your Prominence,

Your Eminence,

Away and up, I climb to meet You there.

Color – carved canyons

Complex, winding wide

Cut in solid stone, rim to rim

Connecting continuous flowing Truth exposed.

Down in, I climb, to meet You there.

Verdant valleys I find,

Filled full for every need

Verifying You –  Your care for me.

Daily, hourly, each moment, I see

Your good, Your kind, Creativity.

 

Oh, God !  You make me to walk in wonder.

Wonder like a child

Wonder with which I can worship You

Wonder I never want to lose.

And as wonder unwraps faith, my Lord,

Faith shows me farther,

Deeper into unseen wonders

Where Your wondrous glory shines,

Then, through that thin place I climb,

To meet You there.

 

 

Bloggin Is Hard

Chaff Rantley, back agin.

Okay, this here bloggin’ or brite-in as my cuz calls it, aint quite as easy as I thawt.

I had to study up on rapture acuz that word aint in the Bible thet I can find at all, no way.  Thats why I got corn-fused.  Read this what Paul told them Thessalonianses–

15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

Near as I can figger, thets what ‘the rapture’ means — being snatched up into the air by angels and took to Heaven straightaway!  Well I’m all fer that I caint hardly wait!  But as fer some guy named Harold  trying to tell us  zackly when itll happen I have this to say to him—

    36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.   42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.  Matthew 24: 36-44

My sweet wife showed me howta do thet, thanks Hun and she dont want her name in public so I wont but how do you like that!  JESUS said that and I believe HIM and not some Harold dude who thinks he has some inside knowin about some secret code. Guess we still should forgive him – he shore dont know what hes doin……………………. I still think he wants to go camping.

Chaff

Upstream Run

This brite post is a tribute to a good man, Les Wenger.  As husband, father, uncle, and friend, Les will be sorely missed.  The story “Upstream Run” was conceived to honor his memory.  Thanks to his family: Mary G., Diane, Andrea, Gerald, and Peter for their indispensable parts in the creation of this post.  Please go here to view Andrea and Peter’s  beautiful tribute.  Then click here to read my story, “Upstream Run” written to honor Les, and to glorify God.  Most of all, thank You my awesome Lord God for giving me so much.

Les Wenger

Things Beyond My Understanding

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.    Proverbs 3:5

Way beyond my understanding.

All i know is

It was a miracle

And the miracle was a gift.

Delivered to crumbling doorstep

Outside my sagging door locked tight

Nailed shut.

Yet breached,

It sat inside on rotting floor

Shining to be opened.

To be believed past unbelief

By miracle, not my work.

Gift

It is salvation wrapped in grace undeserved.

The gift of faith to see hope once unseen.

A new heart unchained

Full with compassion

And repentance like a switching wind.

Heart to feel abundant love long unfelt

And eyes to see as i am seen

Then others too, the same.

And mercy, charity, a call to pray

A heart to sing, a heart to worship,

Hands to raise.

All unwrapped and taken out,

When gift, upon gift, inside gift, given

Then took away all fears and doubts

Healed my aching soul complete

And full and whole and more and more

A heart to tell of  gifts and Glory

Of  His Great Love,

And gratitude, a heart of thanks,

I thank you JESUS, thank you LORD!

That You should care for me,

To give me gifts,

Rebuild my house,

To give Yourself.

Miracles beyond my full understanding.

But nothing is beyond Yours!

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The Psalm That Is Music To My Soul

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Hallelujah!!!
   Have I found some of my defining verses?
 My life statement?
My heart’s fondest song? 
There are so many to choose from,
but I think this one was chosen for me.

May I quote it for you?  
OK, I will.

Psalm 57:7-11  :

“My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul !
Awake, harp and lyre !
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of You among the people.
For great is Your love reaching to the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
Let Your glory be over all the earth.”

Ohhh, 
I pause,
breathless in absolute wonder of it . . .

Do you have a Bible verse, or set of verses that help to define your life,
or are your heart’s fondest song? 
Please share them with all of us. 
  We will be blessed to hear them!
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A Step of Faith

Not long before I took my first step of real faith, my Lord sent me a messenger who graciously gave me this quotation:

“Nothing before, nothing behind; the steps of faith fall on the seeming void and find the rock beneath.

John Greenleaf  Whittier

 

The ideas I found in that sentence so resonated in me that it was instrumental in my taking the first steps of faith.

I can only hope that this message will have that same effect on any special someone who may be staring into the void.

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About The Music Links Below

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

The Basic Christian Library

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

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

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

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

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

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

Copyright Licensing

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My Signature Story

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

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

The content here's not to be used,

But to only be read and perused.

If you copy it off,

My lawyer's not soft,

And your fortune is mine - you got sued!

Gloryteller :-)

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