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Once Upon a Time

By Ken and Jan Merop

Cleveland, Tennesseeken and Jan Merop


That’s the way good fairy tales always start…once upon a time.

With those four words, intrigue is born.  The storyteller embarks on a journey with his reader to tell a suspenseful, enthralling tale, wring out tears of distress or joy and sowing seeds of hope while engaging the reader’s imagination.

Have we lost the art of good storytelling?

Children are so saturated with moving images that seem to fly from their thumbs or with special effects that leap off the T.V. screen, that books are not holding the interest of the young as they used to.

However, I still find that children love to snuggle with a loving adult and hear a story.  Sometimes we can read the story.  Other times it’s more exciting just to tell it.

Like a story, I heard given to youngsters at a church service.

Rather than read about God delivering the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, this pastor regaled the children with action and suspense.  He had them make mean faces when speaking of the pharaoh.  He had them show amazement when God parted the Red Sea.  And, several times throughout the story, he reminded them that God always wins.

“If God always wins,” he asked, “whose side do you want to be on?”

“God’s!” they all exclaimed.

But, the whole point of stories is to come to a satisfying conclusion.

In fairy tales, that happens with the words, “They lived happily ever after.”

In life, happily ever after isn’t always the case.  Except…

When I read the Bible, God’s love, power, grace, mercy, and holiness permeate the Scripture.  God knows how to work all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Therefore, “happily ever after” can be part of our lives.  Psalm 23: 1-4 & 6b, NKJV, sums it up perfectly:  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Once upon a time…Jesus came, lived a perfect life, died in my place, rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven.  He will come again to receive all believers and we will live…happily ever after.  Selah


Pastoral Portrayal

Come stroll the perimeter of this meadow.

In this rural setting, imagine a shepherd with his sheep.

How peaceful and nourishing a place to

“lie down in green pastures.”

Walk it again in the opposite direction

And restore body and soul.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want…

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life and I will dwell

in the house of the Lord forever.”

Psalm 23: 1 and 6


After six years in the mountains of Avery County, Ken and Jan Merop are now living in the hilly Tennessee countryside of Cleveland, TN…just outside of Chattanooga.  Ken’s photos can be seen at

Read more Christian news from Ken and Jan HERE.