20 October 2018

The Least of These ~ But what about…Part 1


Greetings Dear Reader,

I have a friend who has been my friend since I first found Christ and actually before I made the choice to follow Jesus.  His family was good to me when I was determined to destroy myself with drugs, depression, and anger.  He asked the following about yesterday’s post. 

“So well said! So, we pull up to an intersection where an individual displays a sign of homelessness or hunger - we face a couple of decisions! 1- is this a real needy individual? 2- should I play a part in helping. I can speak for myself in that I don't always know what to do ....” (Glenn)

I am going to take a couple of days to respond to this because I wish to be sure that I am honest, introspective, and do not just give a pat answer.  I also think it will take a couple of days to ensure that I cover the entire answer. This may hurt if you have tender toes or like easy answers.

First, I will begin by addressing the exact situation that Glenn mentions.  Having lived in a town where a group of people formed a cooperative to stand on the corner and seek donations as a full time avocation, I understand his question.  There reasoning was that “working” the corners paid more than working a McDonald's.  In the gentlest way possible I want to point out that Jesus addressed this. 

Mat 5:42 “Give to everyone who asks you for something. Don't turn anyone away who wants to borrow something from you.”  I have read this in many translations.  In none of them are there qualifiers.  There is nothing that says “unless you think they are an addict or a drunk.”  No matter how we address it this is a command from Jesus. 

Does that mean that the guy or gal at the stoplight is asking me directly?  I do not know. I do know that what is done with my gift of kindness is between the receiver and God.  If I give a gift it is no longer mine to manage.  I never wore the bright brown mustard yellow wool sweater that my aunt gave me.  It was a gift for me to use as I saw fit (which it did not).  Two years after I received it a friend commented on how much she liked it when she saw it in my coat closet.  I gave it to her.  My aunt’s gift to me was never used by me but it was used by someone who loved it.

I am not saying that we are to be irresponsible with what God provides but we see over and over that the Father wants us to be generous, liberal givers.  Consider these words from Solomon.  “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9) I would rather spend my time having an eye toward the needs of others than worrying about their motive and machinations.  Solomon also says this.  “The one who is gracious to the poor lends to the LORD, and the LORD will repay him for his good deed.” (Proverbs 19:17) There are very few places where we can assuredly say that the Creator of all things is indebted to us.   I want to embrace the idea of the Father owing me something with humility and grace.

But wait! There is more.  You see, we are not simply supposed to give to the poor and needy.  Paul instructs Timothy carefully.  “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.” 1 Timothy 6:17-18

Not only are we supposed to be ready and willing to give liberally to the poor.  We are required to be willing to communicate with them.  If we look at the meaning of the word translated “communicate” we find this:

Communicate, koinōnikos
1) social, sociable, ready and apt to form and maintain communion and fellowship
2) inclined to make others sharers in one’s possessions, inclined to impart, free in giving, liberal (Thayer)

We are required to be sociable and make those in need part of our community.  We are to commune with them.  We cannot do this if we drop the thirteen cents from our six-dollar Grande cup into the homeless guy’s empty one without making eye contact.  We ignore opportunities to be generous and establish community every day.  We trade generosity and community for hot milkshakes. 

So how do we apply this?  For me I must realize that even though I am poor right now I am not excused from giving where I can and being good to those in need.  (I mean this.  As blessed as I am I have no income and cannot seem to get a job.  If you feel generous and want to help you can through my Patreon page. www.patreon.com/aramisthorn)  I do not know what it means to you and I will get on to more of this tomorrow.  What it means to me and for me is that I must look for opportunities to be generous and kind to the poor.

We have so much more than we realize.  It is in giving that we find our true richness.  It is in seeking community that we find our desire to give.  When we see those begging for food perhaps we should picture Jesus with the basin and the towel washing the feet of the man who would deny him.  Perhaps that image will become more important to us than the motivations of the guy on the corner with the cardboard sign.  No matter what we imagine, it always becomes a matter of our heart to give over another human’s failings.  It is our love for the Father and our neighbor that must move us.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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19 October 2018

The Least of These ~ Unity

Greetings Dear Reader,

When we consider the poor in our lives, how do we think?  Do we see the homeless and needy as part of our community?  Do we love them as neighbors?  If we follow Christ do we see them as part of our church?

Forgive me if this makes you uncomfortable.  I am not trying to create guilt or pressure.  I am trying to recall my own obligation relative to those who are poor and in need.  The least of these in every community are not the sole responsibility of the local government.  We are not allowed to relegate them to the fringe or marginalize them as people we can ignore. 

Those in need are our business as much as any other good endeavor.  The danger is that if we neglect those in need we damage our own unity in Christ.  We become unable to function in the manner we are intended to just as if our physical body had a traumatic injury or loss.  Instead of being able to follow Christ we limp along believing that we are following. 

We fail to follow when we create the disunity of neglecting the poor in our community. I cannot claim to be seeking unity and to love all humans if I do not seek to help the poor where I can.  Even now, when I am down to near nothing I need to be aware of ways in which I can give to the needs of others.  My prayer needs to be that I have enough to give to those in need.  I cannot create unity and peace if I neglect those in need.  There are so many with greater needs than mine.  The call is to community and I am supposed to include everyone.  Do you agree Dear Reader?

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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18 October 2018

Second Thoughts ~ The Silence of God


Greetings Dear Reader,

I am sure that I will write more about the silence of God at a later date.  This song shattered me today.  One of the places where I am arrogant is in forgetting that when God seems silent to others it can be a great crisis.  Today I was crushed by the weight of those I love who struggle with or have given up on faith.

My faith that God is there and that he hears me is easy.  My faith that he will do for me what I want him to do for others is another matter.  I have been weeping all day for the ones I love who need to feel the love and healing of the Father.  I have been aching all day at how painful it must be to lose faith when it was once so strong.  It must feel so lonely to have seen God do things in your life and reach the place where you dismiss them or rationalize them away. 

If only to understand their plight I welcome the places where I cannot find the answers I seek.  The things that break us apart are so powerful.  I can see that I am being torn all the way down to that which is basic and vital.  We have all seen God move and make himself known to us.  In our pain and sorrow we forget it.  Palindrome, Maxim, Bezel, Christmas, and Avalon.  Please forgive me for not seeing the depth to which this is a failure in me and for not being better at seeing your needs.

I have no idea how to make restitution to you for not seeing this.  I assure you that I feel the depth of it now.  I love you all more than I can express.  My timbers are shaken to the foundation.  If you will, please listen to this song and pray for me Dear Reader. 

The Silence Of God – Michael Card

It's enough to drive a man crazy; it'll break a man's faith
It's enough to make him wonder if he's ever been sane
When he's bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the heaven's only answer is the silence of God

It'll shake a man's timbers when he loses his heart
When he has to remember what broke him apart
This yoke may be easy, but this burden is not
When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God

But when you have to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they've got
When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
'Cause we all get lost sometimes...

There's a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
He's kneeling in the garden, as silent as a stone
All His friends are sleeping and He's weeping all alone

And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought
So, when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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The Least of These ~ Socialism that Works


Greetings Dear Reader,

In the second book written by Luke, Acts, he explains that the early church held all things in common and that everyone was given freely whatever was needed.  When social welfare is based on the belief that God owns everything and that he will supply all that we need, it can work.  I have yet to see that enacted by anyone who claims to be a socialist in our society. 

The problem with modern day socialism is not the idea of social welfare.  It is trying to enforce it out of obligation or law instead of love motivating it that works.  I am not here, however, to rant against secular socialism.  I want to focus on the idea of being socially aware of the needs of others.

If I am going to really consider the needs of the poor then I must limit what I own.  It is not wrong to have things that I like.  It is not that the Father does not want me to have good things.  In fact, it is just the opposite.  He wants to give us what our heart desires.  He provided for this in the Law, mentions it in the proverbs, and promises in the epistles.

It is in seeking him first that it is conditional.  We are to pursue Christ and consider all “things” lost for the sake of doing that.  When I share freely and liberally with those who have need then the Father is free to give us what we desire that falls in line with following his Son. 

If we truly desire to follow Christ then we need to realize that all of mankind is our responsibility.   The church should be known for its generosity and provision for those in need.  Instead we build gold domes and crystal palaces.  If we hope to transform the world we need to get past the ideas of greed and possession.  We need to embrace the idea that if anyone is hungry we will sacrifice what is needed to feed them, even our enemies. 

What is the impact if we depend on the Father for all that we need and desire and consider all things available to those who need?  If we give to those in need no matter their station and status we lose nothing.  It is in this giving that we find freedom from things and the power of mobility to follow Christ.

I must approach the season of giving with the heart of one who only has Christ as a possession.  “With Jesus our only possession then giving becomes our delight.”  In a world that has lost respect for the church and sees it as callus and greedy, perhaps a dose of social welfare is exactly what is needed.  I know that I need to have that approach with everyone.  Perhaps we can talk together as we journey Dear Reader and discuss how we will lighten our burden by sharing with the poor. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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17 October 2018

Second Thoughts ~ October Options


Greetings Dear Reader,

As I have begun to all out pursue gaining my living from my writing I have put some things in place that might interest you.

The first is that I have set up a Patreon page so that those who have expressed a wish to or those who do wish to can support my efforts.  The patron amounts go from $3.00 to $1000.00 (if you sign up for the $1000 one I will come thank you face to face wherever you are.).  Patreon Page: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn

If all of my blog readers signed up for the $3.00 option I could meet all of my obligations and put out two books per year.  There are also rewards for the upper tier options.  Please consider supporting me even if it is just because you like my BLOG.  I have also set up support goals that will benefit all my patrons should I reach them.

Even if you do not want to support me in this way, please consider sharing my link to the page on your social media pages.  Even that exposure would be very helpful.  As always Dear Reader, I will continue to write and work on following no matter what.  Your presence is precious to me no matter even if you are silent. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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The Least of These ~ Opening Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

Halloween is a couple of weeks away.  Harvests are mostly gathered in the Northern Hemisphere.  Spring planting and promise of harvest is renewed in the Southern one.  The world is ready to turn toward the season of celebrations and winter or summer.  In the United States there are already reminders of Thanksgiving and Christmas in the shops.  Our Canadian neighbors have already had their Thanksgiving.  Churches and social services organizations are gearing up for their campaigns to aid the poor.

I want to spend some time pondering the poor and who they really are.  I feel that we have set aside too much of our responsibility in helping those who are in need.  It seems to me that we do not really take care of each other.  I am not doing this because I want to shame or chastise anyone else.  Rather, even though I am struggling with my own needs, I have to make sure that I do what I can to help those in need.  I must not forget that part of my seeking the provision of my needs to ask that I have enough to help the poor.

It troubles me deeply that we need to think about this at all.  It should be our nature to care for those in need.  It should be part of our common practice to feed our enemies when they are hungry.  Instead we argue about it and point to our own fear as justification for it.

Please walk with me among the bright colours of Autumn in our hemisphere and the growing warmth of Spring in the Southern one.  Let us reason out how we can always have an eye out for those in need as we journey.  If I have little it does not free me from caring for those who have less.  When I have abundance, the responsibility is to understand and live out that I can do more.    I do not wish to fail whilst I am struggling to have the right heart, mind, and actions concerning those who are also in need.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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16 October 2018

Daily Bread ~ Closing Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

At the very core of our existence are very basic needs.  They are needs created in us as a species.  If we have these basic needs met we can subsist.  The truth is that we are not meant to merely subsist.

We can trace almost all of the ills in our culture to ways in which needs are not met.  We feel fear that leads to doing things that we think will fulfill our needs.  We adopt habits and strategies other than faith and following Christ to get our needs met and then we are astounded when they do not work. We still, over and over again think that we can depend on experiences and things instead of God.

If I am to honestly become someone who depends on the Father for daily provision, I should be able to write about it every day.  There are moments where that provision is obvious.  There are too many instances where I fail to acknowledge that the Father has provided for me.  Even more there are things are pursuing that are false fulfillment of genuine needs.  They do not satisfy and they do not last. 

The promise is that the Father has and will provide for me.  This does not mean that I will have everything I want but, rather, that I will be cared for as a loving Father cares for his child.  As I said before this is very difficult for me.  I have very little to go on in understanding what this looks like.  The counsel I am getting, however, is to allow the Father to show this to me.  In my writing I must move on to other matters but I must embrace the idea of allowing the Father to give me my daily bread for life. 

The entire creation is meant to be under the care of the Father.  Increasingly the culture is to be independent and self-sufficient.  We are intended to be cared for like little children.  We are also intended to have the love and loyalty of little children.  We are designed to follow the example of our elder brother, Jesus.

I must make this attitude the core of my daily existence.  I am unsure how to do that.  I am concerned that when things are easier that I will forget to see every day as one that I need to depend on the Father for everything.  Please, Dear Reader pray that I never forget this lesson again; not for a single day.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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15 October 2018

Daily Bread ~ Head Above Water


Greetings Dear Reader,

Choosing to live the path of Daily Bread is not a magic spell or arcane incantation.  There is not a secret formula or perfect ritual.  Like everything about faith and following it takes faith and discipline.

Every day, countless times it seems, I have to bat away worry and despair that I will not have what I need.  The deep dive is to refuse to let these things have purchase whilst being honest about them.  As my brother said, “it is an emotional roller coaster.”  It is also necessary.

There are a few practical things that I do to cope:

I refocus on the Father and that the promise is that he will supply all of our need.  I have seen him do this over and over.  I have been homeless.  I have been destitute.  I have also seen the Father provide in ways that I cannot imagine. 

When I find my mind worrying about something that is not a concern for today, I form a day wall.  I remind my mind that I am asking for DAILY bread not weekly or monthly.  If I am truly going to walk this path in faith I need to stop asking for the security of knowing the answers.  The real truth is that when I thought I had the answers I was wrong.  Jesus really does not want me to worry about tomorrow.

I remind myself of the things I have already seen that are not explainable but have met my needs.  There is no chance.  There are no coincidences.  Following in faith means acknowledging that every decision about what unfolds before me is based on the Father’s responses to my choices.

This is why obedience in faith is so very important.  The Father promises to care for us but our responsibility is to obey him so that we remain under his protection.  If it is raining and I step out from under the umbrella I should not be surprised if I get wet.  If I am not going to trust the Father and follow the Son then I should not be surprised when I am not protected from the consequences of that choice.

None of this is easy.  My nature is to want to know.  Faith is easy for me but it is also difficult at times.  I am a planner and projector.  Our culture and system are built on the idea of independence and self-sufficiency.  We would not tell a little child to care for all of his own needs.  This is how the Father wishes us to come to him.

I encountered a new Avril Lavigne song that describes how I feel at times.  Some days I am simply praying for the Father to keep me from drowning in all this.  “The singer revealed she wrote the song during her scary battle with Lyme disease and said that the lyrics are basically a prayer to God asking for help as she tries to get through a difficult time in her life.” (ABC News) 

Then as I am feeling like I am drowning in my own tears I hear this as well: “You feel like you are drowning.  You feel like you do not know what to do.  The pressure is building around you and you feel like you cannot handle it.  It is the Water Walker that promises to rescue you.” 

It is not easy.  It is not simple.  It is, however, the only path that faith allows.  If you are still walking with me Dear Reader then please pray for me.  If you have stopped following then be assured that I am praying for you. 

Head Above Water – Avril Lavigne

I've gotta keep the calm before the storm
I don't want less, I don't want more
Must bar the windows and the doors
To keep me safe, to keep me warm

Yeah, my life is what I'm fighting for
Can't part the sea, can't reach the shore
And my voice becomes the driving force
I won't let this pull me overboard

God, keep my head above water
Don't let me drown, it gets harder
I'll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knees
Don't let me drown, drown, drown
Don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown

So, pull me up from down below
'Cause I'm underneath the undertow
Come dry me off and hold me close
I need you now, I need you most

God, keep my head above water
Don't let me drown, it gets harder
I'll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knees
Don't let me drown, drown, drown
Don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown
Don't let me drown, drown, drown
Keep my head above water, above water

And I can't see in the stormy weather
I can't seem to keep it all together
And I, I can't swim the ocean like this forever
And I can't breathe

God, keep my head above water
I lose my breath at the bottom
Come rescue me, I'll be waiting
I'm too young to fall asleep
God, keep my head above water
Don't let me drown, it gets harder
I'll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knees
Don't let me drown
Don't let me drown (don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown)
Don't let me drown (don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown)
Keep my head above water, above water.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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14 October 2018

Daily Bread ~ …and Circuses


Greetings Dear Reader,

In case you do not catch the reference, “Bread and Circuses” Is “a diet of entertainment or political policies on which the masses are fed to keep them happy and docile.”  In seeking our daily bread, we must always be aware of the circus that we have built around that seeking.  We have a system of vast complexity surrounding a thing for which we are supposed to simply depend on the Father.

There is enough in the world that no one should go hungry.  Beyond the practical aspect of this the Father has promised to provide for our needs.  Instead of taking care of each other we hoard or deny.  We take for ourselves and allow others to suffer.  Worse, we put laws and systems in place that make it harder to care for the needs of others. 

It goes deeper still.  We indulge in things to excess when we know that there are needs clamoring all around us.  We pass the Salvation Army red kettle and buy extra candy.  Corporations cut jobs so that they can increase profits.  Our government indulges in excess whilst complaining that they do not have enough funds to pay for aid programs.  The difficulty reaches to every level of our culture.

We are entertained, distracted, and mollified by games and shows.  We will spend vast sums on football tickets, beer, and food whilst ignoring the homeless man outside the parking lot.  I am not saying that entertainment is wrong.  I am concerned that we are so far out of balance.

I am supposed to ask the Father to provide enough so that I am not tempted to steal and so that I have enough to give to the poor.  I am required to care that even my enemies have their daily bread.  I must not be content for anyone to lack the provision of the Father. 

If I am going to live as one who cherishes all that the Father commands then I cannot simply ask him to provide for me.  I must desire for everyone to have his or her daily bread.  I must love everyone enough to seek their needs be met as well as mine.  I long to focus on this as we journey Dear Reader.  I already know I find great joy in feeding others.  I will find so much more joy in seeing that desire spread among us all.


Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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13 October 2018

Daily Bread ~ Bread


Greetings Dear Reader,

There exist few smells in the world that please me more than that of baking bread.  When Avalon was still with me and we moved into our first apartment, she was so very excited that we could smell the bakery from our home.  When we moved into our first house, the first night we slept there I set the bread maker so that she could awaken to that aroma on the first morning in that home. 

There is something magical about warm fresh bread.  I used to include it whenever I made a special  dinner.  I would often choose it when selecting what to bring to a potluck meal.  We need to remember, however, that man does not live by bread alone.  We also need to recall the other half of that quote from Jesus, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” 

Let us drill down on that for a moment.  If I make exquisite bread that is savory and sweet all at one but then declare the meal complete, there will not be satisfaction for my diners no matter how good the bread is.  Even thought this is true, it goes further than that.  The Father wants to give us so much more.

Living by every word is not just following a list of rules or subscribing to the demands of this or that church.  It is embracing the idea that we have a Father who loves us light-years beyond the love of our earthly progenitors.  It is accepting that he wishes for us to truly count on him to provide all that we need. 

When Jesus speaks about this he stresses that our needs are not supposed to even enter our mind.  We are not to give it a thought.  We are supposed to keep journeying toward the Kingdom of God and allow the Father to care for our needs as we do so.  I admit that I struggle with this even as I write it. 

There are cares and difficulties that clamor for my thoughts and energy.  It becomes a mental tennis match of my lack of faith serving a shot of doubt and worry.  My faith bats it away trying to focus on Christ and following him.  My fallen nature returns the volley with despair and guilt.  I must constantly infuse my thoughts with what the Father promises me. 

He has given everything, including his own Son to show me that he loves me.  He has promised to care for me.  Those around me have made it clear to me that I have a difficult time allowing others to serve or care for me.  I must be still and learn this.  I must fight the thoughts that doubt that.  I must cast my all my care upon him because he cares for me.  He cares for you as well Dear Reader.  Perhaps we can remind each other that we need not worry.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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