Christ's Glory, Not Mine

Devotions, advice, and book reviews from science fiction author Andrea J. Graham

Home to Glory

photo credit: MashrikFaiyaz Road to Heaven II via photopin (license)

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.”

–Rev 21:4

I slipped into my grandpa’s room,
Eyes swollen from crying,
Fear gripping my heart,
Expecting to see a shriveled-up skeleton
With sunken eyes filled with despair.
Imagine to my surprise, I found
Just my grandpa, looking small in the bed,
Shriveled up yes, but my, there’s that same sparkle
In his eyes, and smile on his lips!

“Grandpa,” cried I, “What’s this joy I see?
How can you be so glad?
You’re dying! How can you smile?”

Grandpa laughed and, as he swung his legs to the floor,
He said, “Because there isn’t any loneliness in heaven,
And there isn’t any pain.
When I die, I’ll be free from this body of decay,
I’ll put on Glory and run to my Jesus,
And Jesus will take me up to the mansion he’s built for me,
To live where my Gladys lives and never be alone.”

And again, he cried, “Glory, child, Glory makes me glad.
Come death, as it may,
But I’m going home to glory!
I’ll be with my Jesus forever, by and by
In the place where there is no more sorrow,
and there will be no more pain,
nor any tears, and there will be no more death.
And forever I will cry Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!”

Seeing the disbelieving look in my eyes,
And knowing the doubt in my heart,
Grandpa said to me, “Bring me my walker,
I’d like to take you to see a couple friends of mine.”

When Grandpa had his walker and we were going down the hall,
He said, “Now first is Brother Larry. He was redeemed
Seven years ago from wild, riotous livin’,
But is reaping the fruits of his sin in his flesh still yet,
This is his twelfth trip to the hospital this year,
And it looks like it is gonna be his last.”

“Wow,” said I, “Now he has to be upset.”

Grandpa just smiled at me and introduced me to Larry.
Larry was wasted in the flesh as I’d expected,
But imagine my surprise, instead of fear in his eyes
And a frown etched on his face, there was the same twinkle
In the eye and smile on the lips!

“Larry,” said I, “What’s this joy I see?
How can you be so glad? You’re dying!
Why this cheerful countenance?”

And Larry cried, “Because there ain’t no devil in Heaven!
Nor is there any tempter in Glory,
When I die, I’ll go to heaven and be free from this body of sin.
I’ll run to Jesus and put on His righteousness.
Jesus will take me up to live with him in the mansion he’s built for me,
Free from the tormentor forever in Glory.”

And again, he cried, “Glory, Darlin’, Glory makes me glad.
Come death, as it may,
But I’m going home to glory!
I’ll be with my Jesus forever, by and by
In the place where there is no more sorrow,
and there will be no more pain,
nor any tears, and there will be no more death.
And forever I will cry Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!”

Now that was impressive, but Grandpa had still another friend
To introduce me to.

“Now, next we have Sister Lisa. She’s about your age.
Never had a boyfriend.
Never been kissed.
There’s a tumor in her brain,
Which is slowly snuffing out her light.”

Having not yet learned my lesson, I entered Lisa’s room
Expecting to see a pain-wracked body,
Filled with anger and hate,
Trying to mask the fear in her eyes,
This time I was still yet more surprised
To find yet again the exact same twinkle
In the eye and smile on the lips!

“Lisa,” said I, “How can you be so glad? You’re dying!
Before you’ve even had a chance to live!”
What’s this joy I see?

Lisa clapped her hands and said, “Because there ain’t no pain in Heaven!
Nor is there any Sorrow in Glory,
When I die, I’ll go to heaven and be free from this body of death,
I’ll put on my bridal gown and go meet the Bridegroom,
Jesus will be my escort to the Great Wedding Feast,
Where I will live life abundantly, forever in Glory.”

And again, she cried, “Glory, Friend, Glory makes me glad.
Come death, as it may,
But I’m going home to glory!
I’ll be with my Jesus forever, by and by
In the place where there is no more sorrow,
and there will be no more pain,
nor any tears, and there will be no more death.
And forever I will cry Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!”

This time, my heart too welled up,
Having been moved by these three testimonies,
And the Hope Grandpa and his friends had in Jesus,
I went down on my knees,
And choose this Christ who gives joy in the face of death.
So now someday I shall also sing:

Glory, child, Glory makes me glad.
Come death, as it may,
But I’m going home to glory!
I’ll be with my Jesus forever, by and by
In the place where there is no more sorrow,
and there will be no more pain,
nor any tears, and there will be no more death.
And forever I will cry Glory, Glory Hallelujah!”

—Andrea J. Graham

 


Chili Rellenos (Contains Dairy and Gluten)

Note from Andrea: while I’m swamped with adoption stuff, my friend and sometime co-author Cindy Koepp offered to share some recipes with you. Enjoy!

Quico Piedra, the star of “Hard Knocks” and Joya’s bratty cousin in “Jewel Among the Stones,”* loves chili rellenos. Here’s a recipe for them…

*episodes from Avatars of Web Surfer

You’ll need…

Big, fat peppers (Anaheim, for example)

Cheese (queso asadero or cheddar or monterrey Jack or … whichever you like)

¾ cup flour … plus a bit more

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

Sour cream or salsa, if desired

Big toothpicks

Oil for frying

 

  1. Roast the peppers in a broiler, turning a couple times until they’re blackened all around.
  2. Put them in a covered container to cool off
  3. Meanwhile, mix eggs, flour, and baking powder to make dough. (some recipes have you add spices to the dough like cumin, cilantro, etc)
  4. Once the peppers are cool, rub off the charred skin
  5. Slit the peppers and remove the seeds and membranes
  6. Stuff the peppers with the cheese
  7. Pin them closed with toothpicks
  8. Dunk them in the batter then dredge them through the extra flour
  9. Fry them in the oil until they’re brown all around
  10. Serve with salsa and/or sour cream if you want.

 

If, however, you are like my folks who can’t do deep fried anything, you can also do this much simpler version, much more like jalapeño poppers.

You’ll need…

 

Jalapeños (or other peppers)

Cheese (any kind you like)

Sour cream or salsa

 

  1. Slice the jalapeños in half and remove the seeds and membranes
  2. Load with cheese
  3. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350
  4. Serve with sour cream or salsa

Break In

photo credit: country_boy_shane The Citadel – National City Building via photopin (license)

The street lamp lured the two young vagrants towards their only hope of warmth in the dark night. The store was closed, but a lock pick fixed that in short order.

Inside, the young man cursed. “It’s as dark in here as it is out there. Find a light.”

“How?” the shabbily dressed girl asked. “I can hardly see my hand in front of my face.”

Maybe they couldn’t. I could see just fine. Not that there was much to see, besides me, anyway. I was the main thing for sale around here. This place was generic Corporate America. No different from any other corporate headquarters, other than everyone but upper management having all gone home for the night. Even the janitor had taken off.

The young man sighed. “At least it’s warm. Let’s find what we came for already.”

Blind eyes glanced around as they turned in a slow circle, struggling to see through what to them was a dark gloomy night that the lights should have kept safely outside. The girl’s eyes landed on me, peering hard. “I think I might see something.”

No, don’t. Not this way; you’ll set off the security system.

The girl’s companion shivered. “Let’s get out of here. Something doesn’t feel right.”

The fools ran forward, towards me.

Blue sparks flew from the ceiling and zapped the youths. They didn’t even have time to scream before the ionizer had dusted them both. Gone, just like that.

That was it. No more of this.

A swift kick, and my display case shattered. I rolled out and hit the ground running. No time to mess with the hassle of going upstairs the normal way, and they’d be expecting something like that. But I knew a better way to get into upper management.

Dashing around the corner, I found the grate covering the old service elevator’s shaft. A screwdriver had the bolts off in two minutes flat. I climbed inside and shimmied up the service elevator shaft’s stainless steel rails. On the second floor, at my easy tug, the rusty service elevator doors creaked apart with a groan.

The light from the office glowed golden yellow from the open door. It was a perfect square. Three feet square.

I scrunched down and limboed through the door. Easy for me, but no one should have to jump through hoops like this, and I bypassed the normal steps to management.

At my entrance, the resident Woman in Charge, in a perfectly pressed power suit, came flying at me, red faced and flustered that some miscreant got past security. “You can’t come in here!”

I regarded the manager calmly. “Sure I can.” I pointed at the door to the owner’s office. “That’s my office.”

At the sound of my voice, my manager and her associates assumed a posture that was far more appropriate for employees in the presence of their boss. Finally, upper management had figured out I was the guy that gave them the keys in the first place—the same keys they used to lock me out and treat me like a product to market and sell.


Everyday Miracles: Faith

photo credit: Hugo Nidáguila viendo el mar via photopin (license)

 

After last week’s call for the everyday, ordinary miracles you have experienced in your life, I got a nice letter from Lance Price who blogs at: Lance-Price.com He reminds us of one of the greatest, most overlooked miracles we can experience: faith itself.

He writes:

While my testimony didn’t take place in one day, it certainly has been quite the picture of a transformed life. I was raised Catholic, but I never believed in anything I was taught. My parents divorced when I was 11, and that brought my agnostic doubts to downright declared atheism by the time I was 13. When I reached the very bottom-most area
of existence and begged for death and tried committing suicide, I finally surrendered to the questions, “Why am I alive? What’s the purpose of existing?” Over a long journey which took me from my original birth state of Michigan to Florida, and then from Florida to California, God met me where I was and opened my eyes to the purpose He has for me. Now, I write on Lance Price Blog 2017, sharing not only
my testimony, but also writing about purpose, pain, how we can find our most fulfilling, gratifying life by asking Jesus to meet us where it matters most.

To give you a more extensive view of this story, anyone can look at my article, “Finding Miracle At Our Breaking Point”.

I believe testimonies are empirical evidence of not only God’s existence, but of His love and the way He transforms us in ways only He could do. We all need a miracle of God, and many times that comes in the form of testimony. I’m grateful that God opened my eyes, and I do believe there’s no turning back once we’ve seen the love of Christ in action. Truly, there’s no one like our God!

Lance

Thank you for sharing, Lance. I agree, testimonies can be powerful forces and we can make more of a difference in sharing our stories than we realize sometimes.

Anyone who wants to can read the long verison of his testimony in his article “Finding Miracle At Our Breaking Point”.

So what about the rest of you? What’s your story?


Everyday Miracles: Your Turn

photo credit: Ajithpoison Northern lights via photopin (license)

Last week, I told you about a time when I was questioning and doubting God, over a petty quibble, in retrospect, and all worked up in a tizzy, praying for answers. When before I prayed, God had already answered with a miracle. Not a big flashy display. God didn’t snap his fingers and straighten out my scoliosis-twisted spine or anything like that. Simply, one moment, a frying pan was right-side-up in my sink and disgusting. The next I looked, it had been turned upside down and was spotless.

Such a small “huh,” inducing moment, a change in an everyday situation that I might not have realized was a God thing if my husband hadn’t confirmed he’d ever left me the mess that I thought I’d imagined after everything suddenly changed.

God has a frequent habit of turning things upside down and cleaning them up. Usually he works on hearts, not dishes.

But now it’s your turn. I am looking for your stories, not the big flashy, exciting testimonies. The common ones, the ordinary, every day moves of God, the ones we are tempted to explain away. Whether it is a dish or your heart, doesn’t matter. A few more examples:

  • A very slow “runner” participated in a 10 kilometers (six miles) long race held at four, that took her two hours to finish when sunset was at five-thirty. She happens to also be afraid of the dark, and the race venue was in a system of public parks that close after sunset. So it was also illegal and she is also afraid of breaking the law. Scared and alone in the dark, adrenaline drove her faster than she normally can go, for longer than normal. It happened to be a supermoon that night. She was grateful to God for his having planned all these things ages past and blessed her along with who knows many other via natural phenomena of his design.
  • A bullied high school freshman got shoved down nearly an entire case of stairs to a hard concrete landing. The girl’s experience was one millisecond she was falling face forward, the next she was flat on her back. Her first instinct was to immediately get up and continue on to class like nothing had happened. To her slight confusion, an adult witness rushed over in a near panic and held her down, not allowing her to move. The girl gathered, eventually, to the adult, it looked like the fall should have resulted in serious head and/or neck injuries. But her head and neck were perfectly fine. The school still insisted on sending her home, but she limped away with only a mild sprain in her knee that healed fast. As an adult, she remembered this and realized God had protected her from a more serious injury that day for whatever reason. The incident brings to mind Ps 91:11-12, the verses the enemy twisted.
  • A young married couple, headed out on a snowy highway one hard winter, and hit a patch of black ice at around 60 miles an hour. The husband, driving, lost control of the vehicle and it spun a full 180 degrees until it came to a stop, facing the wrong way on the highway. This was in an area where people don’t know how to drive on snow and it is common place for in storms for people to not leave enough following distance to stop safely and avoid an accident in such emergencies. They could have easily been killed. Instead, God had timed things so the traffic behind them was far enough away for them to get turned around and going in the right direction again before anyone hit them.
  • A college student was focused on dressing to fit in and to please the world, who had argued in favor of women wearing pants against a boyfriend taught against it. She won the argument, the boyfriend had always been leaving the matter in God’s hands, she had been the one pressing it. God reached down and touched this tomboy who hated skirts and suddenly she found herself loving the pretty garments and how she felt in them to the point where she wanted to wear them all the time, a personal preference from early childhood that had been snuffed out. As an adult, when she is struggling in her faith, feeling insecure in her relationship with God, etc. God often points to this personal sign of her covenant with him and reminds her of how God changed her heart.

Note I also would welcome testimonies about grief, any painful thing God has for whatever reason not protected you from, and how the Lord has worked to bring you through it and change you rather than the painful circumstance. You can share in the comments or email your guest post to me. You do not have to be a professional writer; I’ll help you clean up your post, if needed. If you are a pro, though, please include a photo and a short bio with only one link to your works, please. Regular readers may share anonymously if desired.