tales2apoint

…stories and poetry to touch, teach, & turn the heart toward truth.


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The Prisoner

I awake in a dark, wet, cave-like dungeon. The stench of human waste overwhelms me, and I remember that some of that stench belongs to me. And what other choice do I have here? It’s not like I can walk away from these chains to a proper bathroom facility. I’m not sure what’s worse: being isolated from my dearest friends or being bound to men who care as much about me as the rats that feed on the filth around me. The most I see of the outside world is the polluted rainwater and sewage that trickle down from the marketplaces above. I am always cold. I am always hungry. And I always hurt. Of the difficult places I’ve been, this is the most unpleasant.

I am left here with the memories of a dichotomous life and a desire to finish well. When I was younger, I was blessed by the fellowship of devout, honorable men. We took great care to “please God” with our hygiene, conduct, and diet. When I was younger, I was known as the man who was as close to perfect as could be attained. When I was younger, I was more unhappy than I’ve ever been.

Now, I’m not imprisoned here because I’m a dangerous man—at least not in the traditional sense. In fact, you could say that I’m here because I’m too loving. I love my God and Savior too much to stop living for Him.

My enemies have placed me here, and here I will patiently await the time of my trial. I have been in prisons like this one many times and have been released, but I feel an ever-growing confidence that this time will be my last.

Some of my friends have risked their lives to visit me here over the years. I cannot express my thankfulness for their faithful love. Even though this body of mine has been sorely abused, I am thankful. I am thankful to serve my God. He is the truly faithful one. I am in need of nothing. Whether or not I live on in this body, I do not fear. For I have learned no matter where I am to be content in the perfect provision of my Lord, Jesus Christ.

Yes, I am in prison for faithfully proclaiming the life-saving Gospel of Christ, which I continue to do even here. Yes, humanly speaking, my treatment is unjust. But let me tell you, I am exactly where God wants me. Yes, I will likely die soon at the hands of wicked men. But I can assure you of this, in spite of it all, I count this suffering as a true privilege. There is no place I would rather be than where God has placed me. I am Paul, and I am thankful to be here.

___________

For further reading: Prisons in Paul’s World; Philippians 1:12-26; & 2 Timothy 4:5-22.
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Gentle Shepherd, Spotless Lamb

Behold the Lamb of God

Bruised, afflicted, crucified

Sacrificed for the sins of many

A wooden cross His altar

Forsaken by His Father in wrath

Then revived in perfect justice

Behold the spotless Lamb of God

Who reigns as mighty King

Behold the gentle Shepherd

Gracious, caring, kind

We are now His ransomed flock

Though we had gone astray

But as the holy Lamb of God

He wooed us to God’s royal fold

Where we are kept in safest care

Behold the Lamb, our Shepherd, God


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The Propitiator

I step across a line unknown

And find your deepest fears fulfilled

In this land of questions stilled

I bring an answer yet unshown

The line I cross was drawn at Fall

And holds unmoved by passing time

A stronger mix than sand and lime

Arranged by death in tempter’s crawl

 …

I leave a path of softest green

And cross into a darker realm

A ship with evil-driven helm

A land where sin has lost its sheen

 …

From farthest east, to west, then back

This haunted line the earth encircles

And to each wand’rer deftly calls

To those who greater wisdom lack

 …

But I, in turn, cross not as fool

I hasten here by noblest means

To show the world that justice leans

Toward the just, against the cruel

Some call me Love, some call me God

I AM WHO I AM, and I’ve been sent

To free the dead who shall repent

To grant true faith by grace-filled nod

For further meditation:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5:21

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:9-11

Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. I Peter 3:18

Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. John 17:1-5

“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. Luke 22:42-44

Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the [w]ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:45-46

He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:44-46

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:7-10

Romans 5


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Pelisca and the Little, Grey Horse: A Modern Parable for Children

I would like to tell you about a special, little lady named Pelisca and a day she will always remember; but first, I must tell you how Pelisca got such a special, little name.

While Pelisca’s mother was waiting for her to be born, she was playing a word scramble game. There on the page were the letters, “P-E-L-I-S-C-A.” When her mother unscrambled the letters, she found that they spelled the word “SPECIAL.” Pelisca’s mother liked that very much, and decided that P-E-L-I-S-C-A would make an excellent little name for her own special, little daughter. From the day she was born, everyone knew that Pelisca was to be a special, little lady indeed.

Now, many years later, Pelisca had a special, little day. It went something like this…

It was on the first, little day of the special, new week when Pelisca woke up early in her special, little periwinkle-blue house. She jumped up, cleaned up, and put on the same special outfit that she wore every Monday: a chocolate-brown business skirt and a bright-orange blazer. She loved to start the week off looking sharp.

After a special little breakfast of eggs and grapefruit, Pelisca drove carefully through the especially busy town of Littleton—waving at friends along the way. Just in time, she entered her special place of work and went straight to her own little office. In her office, on a special, little periwinkle-blue shelf, were perched several nifty, little statues.

While her periwinkle-blue computer got warmed up for a busy day of work, Pelisca made herself a fresh, little pot of coffee and poured it into her special, periwinkle-blue mug. Then she carefully dusted her special, little collection of trinkets on the shelf.

This little collection was her very favorite part of her very special, little office, and she took time each day to admire and appreciate each one. First was a little, pink pig, munching on an old ear of corn. Second, was a little, golden-brown statue of a squirrel with BIG blue eyes that seemed to smile right at her. Next, sat a special, little black-and-white cow with a yummy mouthful of hay in her cud. She had a big, red collar around her neck with a special, little yellow bell hanging from it. There was also a little, pale-pink bunny sniffing a pretty, purple flower, and a…

Pelisca gasped! A statue was missing! And she knew exactly which one it was: a special, little gray horse with a long, curly tail and a sleek, black saddle.

Pelisca was very worried that it was missing, and she searched quickly all over her special, little office for it. No matter how hard she looked, though, she just COULDN’T find it! Saddened, little Pelisca slumped into her periwinkle-blue desk chair and tried to work on her computer. Only two minutes passed, though, before Pelisca wadded up a piece of periwinkle-blue paper and, discouraged, tossed it into the periwinkle-blue garbage can beneath the partly-empty shelf.

That’s when Pelisca got an especially nifty idea…the trash! Her special, little horse statue must have been knocked by accident into the garbage can and taken away by the cleaning man. She had to find it and rescue it!

First, Pelisca grabbed for her periwinkle blue telephone and called the maintenance man, but he didn’t answer. She left a special, little message on his phone, then sat back down and tried to work while she waited for him to call her back.

She waited, and waited, and waited…but he just didn’t call!

Flustered, little Pelisca made a BIG decision; she was going to go and find her special statue all by her own little self!

She jumped up from her chair, marched outside, rolled up her bright-orange sleeves, and climbed right into the STINKY, little dumpster! She dug around in the trash searching for her special, little horse statue—hoping very much that she would find it without stepping on it first.

Pelisca dug in the dumpster for nearly twenty minutes and was about to give up in distress, when she found a periwinkle-blue scrap of paper in a clear garbage bag. It had to be from her trash can! She searched frantically through the bag.

In her haste and excitement, she didn’t even notice digging past an old banana peel that she’d eaten last Tuesday, or the mushy corn flakes that she had forgotten to finish on Friday. By now, her bright orange blazer was covered in chocolate brown smudges to match her skirt, and she smelled like last week’s strawberry yogurt…YUCK!

Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, Pelisca’s finger brushed against something little, cold, and grey. She’d found it! Quickly, Pelisca snatched up her special, little horse statue, jumped out of the stinky and NOT-very-special dumpster, and ran inside to tell all of her friends & co-workers what she’d found.

Later that week, she even took special, little periwinkle-blue cookies and blue Kool-aid to work to celebrate her special, little adventure! She had learned a special, little lesson about how God rejoices when one of His special, little creations repents and gets found by His love.

Based loosely on the parable of the lost coin in Matthew 15:8-10


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Don’t Dismiss What You Misunderstand…

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Anyone brash enough

to deny the existence of God,

either in the explicitness of tongue

or in the implicity of lifestyle

–or both–,

has not yet defined

–or at least accurately defined–

Who God is.

Any lucid human being

who has allowed himself

to fully encounter

the true definition of all that God is

–much of which is self-evident–

has little choice

but to admit his human insufficiencies

in comparison to God

and his need

–longing even–

for God’s divine workings

to grant unto him

the staggering freedom he desires

from a mortality

which plagues each heart

indefinitely and persistently.

The existence of God

is not only written on each heart,

but also is the desire

for that which God’s grace is prepared

to endow upon those humble enough to accept it

—forgiveness and reconciliation

with a relational,

eternal,

loving,

and just God

(Father,

Friend,

and Intimate Companion).