28 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – Day Ten – Judging Others




Greetings Dear Reader,

“Father, please show me my sin.”

I can judge others so harshly sometimes.  I can be completely blind to the roof joist sticking out of my own eye whilst trying to remove the speck of saw dust in someone else’s.  The problem is that when I judge others I also fail to be kind to them.

I definitely do not treat them the way I wish to be treated once I have passed judgment on them.  When I judge someone else I rush right pass the commandments to love God and my neighbor.  I must instead see the faults of others in the light of their need for compassion and love.  When I have done wrong I want to be loving spoken to about how to be restored.  If this is what I wish then I need for others to see that from me. 

There are things that are wrong.  It not judgmental to call what is wrong “wrong” but it is sin for me to think anything that unloving about the individual doing the wrong.   It is unkind for me to want anything but Christ’s best for another.  When I indulge in thinking less of someone else I am not doing that. 

Every moment is precious.  Every thought matters.  I need to use each of them to think well of others and desire that they see Christ clearly.  Anything less is sin.

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."

27 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – Day Nine – Pride of Knowledge

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Father, please show me my sin.”

This happens so often around me that I fail to see when I am drawn into it.  I laugh when my new students get into knowledge wars over things like Star Trek trivia or which video card is best for which game.  It is easy to stay out of that most of the time.  The problem comes for me when I do not think before I speak and I will boast about what I know about a subject. 

God has blessed me with a good mind and I too often count on my own knowledge to make me look good.  I know that I feel much better when I simply use that knowledge to help others or do what is right.  I love to learn new things and gain insight on the amazing.  Too often though I use my knowledge to be self-sufficient instead of allowing the wonder to take me into deeper appreciation of who God is and what he does.

Knowledge makes us proud and can lead to thinking we know when we have just scratched the surface.  I know that appearing to always know is a source of deep pride to me and instead of it making me look good it makes me look foolish.  I must find the place where my knowledge is viewed as an opportunity to be humbled by the vastness of God instead of a tool to build up my own pride.

Pride is a sure path to rejection of God.  The pride of knowledge is a fast path to that rejection.  I must not allow what I know to keep me from seeing how much I need the one who knows all things.  Knowledge is not the key to truth.  It is a component of it but not the center.  No matter how much I know I come to the place where faith is necessary.  Lord I know, please help my ignorance.

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."

26 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – Day Eight – Bargaining With God

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Father, please show me my sin.”

This sin hit me this morning as I was committing it.  It is so clear in Scripture that we are to give freely without hope of reward or return.  Often I find that I am bargaining with God in my mind.  It is not when it is clear that God wishes me to do something.  It is when I want something from God.

It goes like this.  I find myself thinking that I would like for God to do something for me.  Instead of just asking and trusting I list all the things I could do for God if he this thing for me.  I hope that you Dear Reader realize how preposterous this is.  There is nothing God needs me to do for him.  He is completely self-sufficient.

These “if then” conversations reveal selfish motives and a manipulative spirit.  I am using my God-given gift to negotiate in an attempt to get God to do what I want.  Even typing that last sentence I feel so foolish.  I truly hope that sometimes God just laughs at me and pats me on the head.  I realize though how offensive it is for me to do this and will find a way stop.

I need to simply acknowledge that God is a loving Father who wants to give good things to me.  He wants me to ask with a heart full of trust and respect.  If I simply delight in him he will give me the desires of my heart.  If I give up everything and simply follow in faith all that I need will be given me. 

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."

25 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – Day Seven – Little Sins

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Father, please show me my sin.”

As someone who loves to manipulate words to make them express what I wish I find that there is a way of doing this that is very dangerous.  We have terms for things that are wrong but we have decided that they are not as wrong as other things.  We compare sins to each other rather than to the standard that God sets for sin.

The first problem I face when I do this is that it makes those “small sins” easier to accept.  No sin is acceptable to God.  His standard for comparison is his holiness.  From this perspective my most insignificant sin makes me just as guilty as anyone else. 

Every white lie, venial sin, or minor transgression is linked to the one sin that condemns us all.  I have written about the greatest commandment and its link to following Christ.  From the perspective of my sin I violate it every time I do something small that is wrong.

Since Christ says, “Indeed you must love unconditionally Yahweh who is your God with the center of your physical life.  You must love Yahweh unconditionally with the core of your spiritual life.  You must love Yahweh unconditionally with the vital force that animates you.  You must love Yahweh unconditionally with all of your understanding, feeling, and desire.  You must love Yahweh unconditionally with all of your force and might.”, anything that I do that is wrong violates this.

I tend to comfort myself by making excuses for the tiny sins.  This is so dangerous because it leads to tiny dismissals of the great command.  If I harbor a small grudge or hold onto a little anger I do not love God unconditionally because he has asked me to forgive.  I seldom talk about slippery slopes but in this case I have often seen the indulgence of small sins lead to eventual rejection of God all together.

When I refuse to love others I am refusing to love God unconditionally.  When I allow small sins against others I am refusing to love them unconditionally.  There is no room for this in following Christ.  It is quite easy to see how the weight of many small rejections can lead to an eventual rejection of God.  There are, therefore, no little sins.  I must fight instant by instant if necessary to guard against this.

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."

24 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – Day Six - Pretense

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Father, please show me my sin.”

Pretense is something my beloved Son, Maxim hates.  I see him curdle when he sees it in people he cares for and wishes they would just be real with him.  I grew up in a world where pretense was often necessary for survival.  There were people to whom being genuine was an act of war.  I learned at a young age that sometimes speaking the truth got you in trouble.

There are still truths that I dare not speak and I spent a great deal of my life fostering pretenses in hopes of being accepted by others.  I rarely think that who I am is acceptable to anyone.  This is all pride and sin. 

I must move in the knowledge that God loves me for who I am.  He is pleased to guide me in truth and I do not need to put up any false walls to protect myself from anything.  Only God knows how hard it is just to admit that.  I know that if I am genuine that God will meet me and show me that he loves me.  I just need to trust him to allow those who need who he created to see it.

I am realizing that anything short of following Christ with every breath is pretense.  It is just difficult to shake years of bad habits.  I must dress and go to church.  Pray that I can abandon this sin when you pray for me.


Organ stopped its playing
Everyone’s gone home
But I’m here wish that some way we could meet

Preacher stopped his preaching
Somehow it goes on
In my heart, somehow I feel so incomplete

You and me all alone in your house
Don’t know how to say it
I guess that I’ll just play it by ear
Meet me here

Pews and isles so empty
Still you seem so near
And I cry Hoping that some way I might know you

Choir stopped its singing
Somehow I still hear
And the tears are blinding the eyes that need you

You and me all alone in your house
Don’t know how to say it
I guess that I’ll play it by ear
Meet me here

Don’t know how to say it
I guess that I’ll play it by ear
Meet me here

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."

23 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – Day Five – Expectations

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Father, please show me my sin.”

How often do we go into a situation expecting things to turn out in a particular way?  Then when it does not we are disappointed.  I do this so often without realizing just how wrong it is.  I place expectations on people and God far too often.  There are expectations that are healthy.  If someone tells me they will do something it is not wrong to expect them to do it.  It is a just expectation to count on God to keep his promises.

Where this gets dangerous for me is when I expect God to do things the way I want or when I expect people to act the way I think they should act.  I will place an expectation on someone else then get angry when they do not do what I expect them to do.  This is so unjust and unloving.  Worse still is when I expect God to work things out the way I wish him to and then am disappointed or angry when he does not.

God has made it clear that following him is just the opposite.  I am to have no expectations of others but to love them where they are in the moment.  Too often I expect others to act in the way I would act.  That always proceeds from pride and arrogance.

I have a friend who went into a hard situation expecting very specific things from God.  When things did not turn out the way he expected he began to question his faith and not is very far from following Christ.  Instead of seeing the beauty and grace in what he did accomplish he blamed God for not meeting his expectations. 

To do this to people or God is unjust and harms my ability to love others and meet them where they are on the journey.  It keeps me from seeing who God is in light of everything that is unfolding.  Expectations keep my vision to narrow and my faith too small.

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."

22 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – Day Four - Procrastination

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Father, please show me my sin.”

So just for the sake of levity I actually thought, ‘I will write about this later in the month.’  I sin so often by putting off unpleasant tasks.  I see things before me that I should or must do and put them off until it is a pressure.  I am not lazy.  I just do not like to unpleasant things when there are pleasant things to do. 

When I see this in my life and get the unpleasant thing out of the way I always feel better.  When I do not it hinders my joy and the undone things nag at my mind until they are done.  The real problem is that I create deadlines that are urgent instead of just important and that hinders my freedom to be available to family and friends.

I realize in the grand scheme this is not as disastrous as some of the other holes in my character but it is a problem.  Worse, it leads to other issues that are more detrimental.  It is the small procrastinations that lead to great delays and important things undone.

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."

21 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – Day Three - Anger

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Father, please show me my sin.”

I did not think I would get through this process without any sleepless nights but it is only day three.  It is interesting how I go to bed thinking I know what I will write about in the morning.  I dash off a few lines to remind me.  Then I get up and pray that single line.  Something entirely new springs to the forefront shoving my grand thoughts aside. 

I awoke abruptly about half an hour ago in a state of full on anger.  This always means that I have not dealt with something that I should have before going to bed.  Of course once I am angry if I do not deal with what is causing it I am unfit for company, sleep, or pretty much anything else.  It takes time to dial back the steam and think like a human who wants to follow the Divine.

Paul counsels us to “Be angry (an agitation of the soul) but in that anger do not sin.  Do not go to bed in wrath and indignation. Do not give the evil one reserved space to work. ”  I can tell you that this always gets me.  If I do not deal with things properly when I am angry I find my mind racing and unable to fade into sleep.  Worse, if I do fall asleep I awaken agitated, un-rested, and far earlier than I should.

Holding on to my anger always hurts me yet I still do it.  It is not wrong to feel the anger but in the passion of my soul I must be a master of my thoughts, attitudes, and actions.  When I do not do this I hurt others and treat them in a way that does not reflect Christ. 

I want to be like Christ and deal with anger appropriately.  What does that look like?  First I must be careful as to what gets to touch my anger and ignite it.  So often the things that anger me are because my pride has been stepped on by someone.  In truth my pride needs a good stomping most of the time.  I must also assure that when I feel anger I still control my thoughts and tongue. 

It is wrong to give my passion to that which is unrighteous in any way.  I realize that the thing that has me angry at the moment is a genuine wrong done to me.  That said, I still have not dealt with it properly.   When someone wrongs me, whether they see it or not, I must forgive them.  I must adjust my expectations and deal with the situation in light of who Christ wishes me to be as his follower. 

So I am going to go spend some time in prayer and readjust my thinking (again, and again, and again).  Then perhaps I can recapture some of the sleep I still feel I need tonight. Be angry and sin not.  It is the stuff after the “and” that hammers me down.

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."

20 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – Day Two - Fear

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Father please show me my sin.”

This bubbled up so fast it actually surprised me.  I could count all the times I felt fear in response to things yesterday.  I cannot remember a time in my life where I have not had to fight fear.  It assails me every time I try to do something good or new.  It mocks me with remembrances of my failures every time I try to connect with someone else.  Some of my fears are raw and inexplicable whilst others are exquisitely cultivated from my past failures and sin.

My Grandfather could always sense when I was afraid and he would gently remind me “it is OK to feel afraid.  It is never OK to let the fear be in charge.”  Paul wrote to his apprentice Timothy, “God has not given the Spirit for timidity, cowardice, or fear.  He has given us the Spirit of inherent power, unconditional love, and sound self-control.”  When the nation of Israel wanted a king Samuel warned the people, “Fear only the LORD, and serve him sincerely. Consider the great things he did for you.”  God even consoled Samuel that the people were not rejecting Samuel but God.

There is a healthy fear but if I am to acknowledge my sin as God reveals it to me I must say I have little of that and an abundance of the unhealthy stuff.  Fear drives me to do things that make me a poor example to others.  It pushes me to become things I am not and neglect the gifts in me.  How can I hope to connect to God and follow him more closely if I allow the fear to rule me? 

I think that few people realize how deeply I feel this resounding fear.  I also feel a great fear of what they will think of me when they do.  This, however, cannot be what guides me.  I must instead follow Christ.  What I feel is not what matters.  What I do is.  Most of my great sins find their root in fear.  All Christ wishes is for me to see the depths of his love for me and respond to that.

God spoke these words of comfort through Jeremiah.  “I Jehovah know the thoughts and plans that I have devised on your behalf.  They are plans for completeness and soundness.  They are not evil or malignant.  They are intended to provide a future filled with hope.  You will call on me and come to me.  You will pray to me and I will listen to you.  You will seek and desire me.  Then when you enquire of me with all of your mind, soul, and understanding, you will encounter and secure me and discover what you have lost.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 ATT)

From this root of fear grow so many of my failures.  Digging it out is painful and slow.  But dig I must if I am to continue to follow.  Roots after all are tethers that keep one from moving.

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."

19 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – Day One – Systems and Formulas

Greetings Dear Reader,

“Father please show me my sin.”

I like to know how things will work out.  In my studies of psychology I have always favored the behavioral approach.  If I can adjust the behavior then the heart will follow.  Sometimes this works.  Often it just makes me look manipulative and controlling. 

God is not an “if then” proposition.  If my approach is to think that if I follow the right pattern things will work out as I wish them to then I am terribly wrong.  God does not want my formula for following he wants my faith and obedience.  He wants me to realize that there are no set patterns but only him and my following him. 

I cannot hope to put into place a system for following Christ.  Although get up and follow Christ is a simple pattern that one could argue is a system, this is not the point.  There is no formulaic response to understanding God.  I challenge anyone to apply that to his or her spouse and see how it turns out.  From where I sit I can count six different systematic theologies.  All of them can teach me things about God that are important to understand.  None of them can tell me who God is. 

God demands a relationship with me based on my knowing him and following him.  He already knows me.  It is up to me to either follow and learn to know him or to think I know and fail in my following.  I begin with this thought to ponder that some of the things Jesus said had much more depth than I have given them.

When Jesus spoke with Nicodemus he addressed this.  He told the Pharisee “Don’t be surprised when I tell you that all must be born from above.  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don't know where the wind comes from or where it's going. That's the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

We can see the effect and impact of the wind but there is no formulaic way to say what the wind will do or where it will go.  We can generalize and talk about past observations but we cannot say the exact pattern to follow to be wind.

How many times did Jesus do things that amazed people and then comment on their need for faith?  We should not be surprised when things happen that require faith for them to happen.   If I am to follow Christ more closely I must give up my desire for a road map and to know the way and simply follow. 

This terrifies me.  Then again that is what faith is for.  That is the essence of following someone. 

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."

18 February 2013

Thirty Day Challenge – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Some years ago a friend of mine told me about something he did in his pursuit of being closer to Christ.  This man helped me through a very difficult time and he said that his ability to do so came from this exercise.  What I am pondering here is something that frightens me.  If I do this honestly it could be both painful and taxing.  If, however, I can achieve a measure of the grace and holiness that I see in my friend it is a path worth traveling. 

Beginning tomorrow and for thirty days I am going to honestly pray a simple prayer.  I am going to make my first prayer every morning “Father please show me my sin.”

My friend told me that when he did this he was amazed at how quickly he began to honestly see the ways in which he neglected God and the needs of others.  So I am going to try this.  I cannot promise it will be pleasant or pretty.  I am going to be open and honest about my thoughts and responses. 

I am wondering if you Dear Reader are willing to walk with me on this path.  You need not say one way or the other.  I am the one putting myself out there.  If you do choose to walk with me on this path I am willing to have a conversation about it.  We can have that conversation privately or you are free to make comments on the Blog page.

I admit that I feel fear regarding this but then that is to be expected.  So tomorrow morning I will open the window and let in the light.  Though it may be harsh and revealing it will also be warm and guiding.  I know that if I am honest I will come through this a better man.  That is in keeping with my plans for the year.  Walk with if you will.  I know I could use the company.

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."

17 February 2013

Hey Dad!

Greetings Dear Reader,

We have all seen the image.  A boy finds a puppy.  The puppy follows the boy home and the boy asks, “It followed me home.  Can I keep him?”  For my younger Son, Bezel it was a snake.  We allowed the snake, named Bandit to live under the house. 

When I taught in another state it was in a time where we still used overhead projectors and transparencies.  I had a cartoon that I would share with my students.  It was one of Bezel’s favorites.  I can no longer find it or I would share it with you.  I showed Jesus at the door of heaven and God opening the door.  Behind Jesus were people from every possible origin.  The caption read, “Hey Dad, they followed me home.   Can I keep them?”

As Sunday morning breaks across my window I ponder the simplicity of this truth.  My journey home feels different of late.  I know a lot of theology and philosophy but what I really care about is turning for home.  I do not mean for me but in general the shadows of the day feel long.  The sun has passed its zenith and I feel the urgency to get home for dinner. 

I remember this feeling as a boy at my Grandfather’s.   We would be in the garden pinching suckers from the tomato plants.  The sun would hit the trees and the garden would suddenly be enveloped in shadows.  My Grandfather would look at those shadows and then at me.  He would smile.  “We best be getting back to the house.  Janie will have supper ready and she has made something special for you.”  Those moments are the deepest sense of home I can recall as a boy.

When I see the terror and horror in the world and ponder the descending darkness I long to turn for home.  I do not say this with any depression nor do I feel maudlin concerning it.  I am just longing for the recreation of things so that they are all good.  Until that day I will follow.  I will watch the shadows get longer and enjoy the journey.


Though you are homeless
Though you're alone
I will be your home
Whatever's the matter
Whatever's been done
I will be your home

I will be your home
I will be your home
In this fearful fallen place
I will be your home

When time reaches fullness
When I move my hand
I will bring you home
Home to your own place
In a beautiful land
I will bring you home

I will bring you home
I will bring you home
From this fearful fallen place
I will bring you home
I will bring you home


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."

16 February 2013

On Love – A Posit worth Pondering

Greetings Dear Reader,

Last night I shared a lovely dinner with my Son, Maxim and his family.  Whilst we were dining he commented on my Valentine’s Day Blog with a posit worth pondering. (The link will take you there if you have not read it.)  In the midst of the excellent steak and roasted vegetables we discussed my expressed view that if one is following the first commandment as expressed by Jesus then one will naturally be following the second.

Maxim’s posit was that it was the opposite.  He suggested that we can only know we are following the first if we are following the second.  I heartily think that both are true.  If my thoughts are not to love every other person then I have no lateral evidence that I love God. 

I should explain this.  Faith and love have vertical and lateral requirements.  James, the physical brother of Jesus, addresses faith by saying that if I say that I have faith and am not doing good things then my faith is lifeless.  Love is the same thing.  I must show my love for God by the love I show to every man. 

If I hope to believe that I love God then I must be able to show that love by the way I treat those he loves.  Since he loves everyone then I must love everyone.  If I do not live out the love I have for my fellow humans then I cannot find a place to stand in saying that I love God.  Others will not see it and I will not be able to say with any authority that I love God.

If I live out my love for those around me when my fallen nature wishes me to be selfish and solitary then I can see evidence that I move out of my love for God.  No matter what construct I build to assure my heart that I have faith in God if I do not act out of love then I have no place to stand.

I ask my Grandson Orion all of the time, “Why does Grandpa do things for you?”  He knows now that the answer is “because I love you.”   All of the theology, tradition, and practice mean nothing if I do not hold a fierce love in my heart for every single person.  They matter to God just as much as I do.  Jesus suffered and died for them too. 

It is loving others that causes me to not act out of my want and perceived need.  It my love for God lived out in my love for others that moves my heart to look up at the stars and pray for my Children and Grand Children.  It is in the transition of a heart once filled with hate and anger that tells me my faith is real.  My love for others is my greatest evidence that I do belive.  But that is a tale for another day.  For now I will just say that my Son is right.  One cannot hope to believe that they love God if they do not love the people he loves so deeply.  On this hangs all our hope of others seeing the truth of the Gospel. 

I thank you Maxim for an excellent dinner and observation.  I love you dearly.

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."

15 February 2013

What Am I Thinking About You?

Greetings Dear Reader,

Although I like riddle games I am not starting one.  I am, rather, pondering the love that I spoke about yesterday.  Since my actions begin with my thoughts I need to consider how I think of others if I am going to truly love them.  I must ponder how I view others in order to love them properly.

I cannot hope to love someone if my first thoughts when I see or consider them are unloving.  If my thinking begins with “Oh no; here comes….  He is such a liar” how can I hope to be loving toward that person.  I have lied.  If my response is to compare the quantity and quality of our lies then I am measuring things against man’s standards and not God’s.

If I think negatively about anyone then I am rejecting someone whom God loves.  It is in my thoughts that I begin the path away from loving God and man.  What I think about anyone, even the very least of Christ’s brothers exposes my own sin and self-centeredness. 

So how do I combat this?  I think the first step is in remembering who I am.  I am a “covetous old sinner.”   My very best day is a dirty rag when properly compared to God’s holiness.  Any time I think of myself as better than others I have forgotten this truth.  My brokenness needs to be an opportunity for me to be kinder and more gracious.  If I see who I am clearly then I cannot be honest and still focus on the sin of others to define them.

I need to see every man as God sees him.  “The end of all my prayers is to care like my Lord cares.”  When I focus on the unlovely things about someone I cannot do this.  When my thinking is absorbed with another’s faults or my hurts over his or her wrongs then I cannot see them as Christ does. 

It is too easy for me to get filled up with what is wrong with someone and miss the beauty and grace of who they are to Jesus.  If I truly wish to love others I must begin with that thought about them.  I must love someone for who they are to God and not how I see them.  If I focus on this thought then anger, bitterness, and judgment have nowhere to sit.  If I think well of others and I can take steps toward loving God the way I should.


As each day passes by,
I feel my love run dry.
I get so weary, worn,
And tossed round in the storm.
Well I'm blind to others' needs,
And I'm tired of planting seeds.
I seem to have a wealth,
Of so many thoughts about myself.

I want to, I need to, be more like Jesus.
I want to, I need to, be more like Him.
Our Father's will was done,
By giving us His Son,
Who paid the highest cost,
To point us to the cross.
And when I think of Him,
Taking on the whole world's sin,
I take one look at me,
Compared to what I'm called to be.

I want to, I need to, be more like Jesus.
I want to, I need to, be more like Him.
Remember, there's no greater love,
Than to lay down your life for a friend.

The end of all my prayers,
Is to care like my Lord cares.
My one and only goal,
His image in my soul.
Yes my weakness is revealed,
But by His stripes I'm healed.
He's faithful and He's true,
To complete the work he begins in you.

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."

14 February 2013

On Love

Greetings Dear Reader,

First I wish to send my fondest desire for all of you to have a happy Valentine’s Day.  Second I want to micro-focus on love for a moment.  When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment is he responded this way.

One of the Scribes approached Jesus while he was reasoning with the Sadducees and saw that Jesus had given them an excellent answer.  He asked Jesus, “Which commandment takes precedence over all the others?”  Jesus answered him, “The commandment that takes precedence over all other is this: ‘Attend to this Israel, Yahweh our God is one Yahweh.  Indeed you must love unconditionally Yahweh who is your God with the center of your physical life.  You must love Yahweh unconditionally with the core of your spiritual life.  You must love Yahweh unconditionally with the vital force that animates you.  You must love Yahweh unconditionally with the all of your understanding, feeling, and desire.  You must love Yahweh unconditionally with all of your force and might.’  Furthermore, the second commandment is similar.  You must unconditionally love every other person as you love yourself.  There is no injunction stronger than these.” (Mark 12:28-31, ATT)

In light of these words I ponder what it means to love someone else.  A dear friend and mentor once pointed out that if one keeps the first commandment then one cannot violate the second.  Everything about what we do is to be directed to this end.  Imagine the unfolding of events if we did this.  Even if just a handful of us did this most of the time.  We are required to do it always but imagine if we worked toward that.

All of the political and social striving that we do would be focused on this end.  We would realize that everyone needs good medical care and demand it for everyone.  We would see that homelessness and hunger are everyone’s responsibility and that we cannot relegate them to organizations and institutions.  We would understand that all life is precious and would stop killing the innocent and weak. 

If I am always about the business of loving Yahweh unconditionally in all that I do then everything else falls into place.  I would be too busy doing this to be selfish, self-centered, and unkind.  My time would be consumed in pursuit of things that matter and I would work things out under the banner of unconditional love when there is disagreement. 

Should this not be our true focus on a day dedicated to celebrating love?

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."

13 February 2013

An Unexpected Gift

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes people will honor you unexpectedly.  Yesterday was such a day.  A coworker came to my desk with a large bag.  It was a fully rib dinner from a local barbecue.  My colleague did not need to do this nor was it expected.  Her actions were solely to celebrate me and show gratitude for the work I do.

The meal was excellent.  I emerged with fingers covered in sauce and my belly was full.  Beyond that I realized how much the unexpected kindness had impacted me.  It made me wonder about this all evening.  This is random acts of kindness week.  Kindness is something I try to be intentional about but I also allow room for the spontaneous.

I think there is always room for more kindness.  The impact on me of this kindness was to make me wish to be kinder.  I am fueled to look for opportunities to be kind.  None of the things we do to be kind are wasted.  A great byproduct of being kind is that we find it harder to hold onto anger and hurt.  Kindness has a healing effect in me. 

When I am kind I feel better.  This unexpected gift of a dinner made me feel good as well.  It moved me to more kindness.  I hope to continue to grow in this.

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."

12 February 2013

The DMV



Greetings Dear Reader,

With the advent of a new year of life came the necessity of renewing my driver’s license.   I have not had to do this for eight years so there are some changes that needed to be addressed.  I now have a vision restriction on my license.  The license has changed to comply with the new federal laws regarding real identification.  This meant I needed my passport to get my driver’s license.

All of this was accomplished easily and in what seemed like a short amount of time.  I was there about twenty minutes.  What got my attention was the encounters I had in those twenty minutes.  During my time at the DMV I ran into two former students, one current student, and two friends from church.  Three of them were also renewing driver’s licenses and the other two were getting plates for vehicles.

It has been my practice when I run into friends in public that I take the opportunity to pray for them throughout the day.  There is little in common with these people.  I do not think that any of them know each other.  How odd it is to me that we all arrived at the DMV at the same time.  Whatever the reason it was good to see people I know and reconnect with them for a moment.

How often I wonder has this happened.  How often have I prayed for a friend after a chance meeting?  What has been the impact?  I may never know the answers to this but it makes me curious.  I do know that I have been faithful in praying for my friends and perhaps that is all that matters.

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."

11 February 2013

My Fifty-Third Year

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I begin my fifty-third year I find that there are things I seek that are elusive.  I was sure I would be making my sole living from writing by now but I am not quite there yet.  I love teaching and so I am not discontent to continue it.  It is rather that I have a great deal to write and not a much time as I wish to do so.

So I have set some goals for the year and we will see what other plans evolve.  I do know that I am determined to end the year in a deeper relationship with Christ and in following him more closely.  What that looks like is uncertain but some of the pieces in place. 

One of the things of which I am certain is that it includes you Dear Reader.  I value you more than you can know.  I am working at deeper discipline and improvement of my writing.  I am working to get it noticed on a larger stage.  I do not seek wealth and riches.  What I seek is to tell tales that till the ground of the soul for the seed of the Gospel.

As always I will remain open to your questions and concerns in this forum as well as sharing my own thoughts with you.  As we journey together know that you mean a great deal to me.

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."

10 February 2013

My Fifty Second Year

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I come to the end of my fifty-second year I ponder what the story of my life really is.  Thirty nine years ago I was on the verge of taking my own life.  I was miserable and felt alone in the world.  I was on the edge of heavy drug use and believed that my life did not matter.  I had planned my demise and would have gone through with it.  God had other plans.

A man looked into me and singled me out.  He took me aside and told me he knew of my desire to die.  He said he saw the pain in me and that I was planning to end my own life.  I had told no one of this and was astonished that he knew.  He then told me that who I was could change many lives if I wished to change them.  He told me that I could offer the hope I so desperately needed to others.

That spring night in Georgia saved my life and my soul.  The man that reached into me and saw more than I was passed away this year.  I have pondered often the ways in which I have honored and dishonored his investment over the years.  I think about what I want now as I turn another page and begin a new year of life. 

I want to honor his faith in God and in me.  I want honor the faith of my Grandfather too.  I want my children to do the same.  I want to reach into the lives of others in the same way.  Yesterday as I watched the movie Les Misrables I was overcome by the way in which Valjean is motivated by the act of grace and forgiveness given to him.

I wept as I heard this man transform and love others above himself.  Imagine if everyone reacted to the grace given them in this way.  Imagine if we could respond to the misery of life by reaching deeper into others.  Imagine if we allowed nothing to stand between us and our potential to do good to others.

Valjean has the chance for riches, vengeance, and safety.  He rejects them all for love, mercy, and grace to others.  How can I not follow Christ in the same way when so much grace has been given to me?  How can I now expect others to do the same?  He must increase and I must decrease.  The link below will allow you to hear this amazing piece of music.


What have I done?
Sweet Jesus, what have I done?
Become a thief in the night!
Become a dog on the run!
Have I fallen so far
And is the hour so late
That nothing remains but the cry of my hate,
The cries in the dark that nobody hears,
Here where I stand at the turning of the years.
If there is another way to go
I missed it twenty long years ago.
My life was a war that could never be won
They gave me a number and murdered Valjean
When they chained me and let me for dead
Just for stealing a mouth full of bread.
Yet why did I allow that man
To touch my soul and teach me love?
He treated me like any other.
He gave me his trust.
He called me Brother.
My life he claims for God above.
Can such things be?
For I had come to hate the world.
This world that always hated me!
Take an eye for an eye.
Turn your heart into stone.
This is all I have lived for.
This is all I have known.
One word from him and I’d be back
Beneath the lash, upon the rack.
Instead, he offers me my freedom.
I feel my shame inside me like a knife,
He told me that I had a soul.
How does he know?
What spirit comes to move my life?
Is there another way to go?
I am reaching, but I fall,
And the night is closing in,
And I stare into the void,
To the whirlpool of my sin.
I’ll escape now from the world
From the world of Jean Valjean.
Jean Valjean is nothing now.
Another story must begin!

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."

09 February 2013

War – Final Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

The call of Christ is to community.  Somehow the church has turned the inner war we all fight into a private little war that only get attention at the bypass on the way to monthly communion.  The war rages and cannot be hidden.

We have put into private counseling rooms what needs to be shared openly so we do not think we are alone in our struggle against sin.  We do not talk to each other.  We do not confess our sin and reach out to our parents and elders seeking Godly counsel in the way to fight this war.

When sin becomes public we shoot our wounded and use them as an example of what not to do.  Instead of loving restoration we judge and condemn.  We mask our own sin and feed on the gossip about the sins of others.  Jesus has called us to community.  We are to commune over our common private wars and care for each other. 

As I face the daily war and write about I often find that I wonder who I can really tell my heart to and find common ground.  The call is to community.  The call is to unite in Christ and together wage the inner war by sharing our burdens an carrying the burdens of others.

The war will rage on in my heart until it stops.  The war rages in yours as well Dear Reader.  I will not judge you but will pray that we both fight for the light and not the darkness.  There are no secular issues.  We cannot dismiss Christ from anything in our lives and hope to prosper.  I can only hope to follow him, die to self, and moment by moment fight the good fight.  Fortunately I have God’s grace to aide me.

So it is I that must die to my own selfishness and let Christ live out redemption through me.  At the end of it all I want to have accomplished some for Christ.  I want my life to matter in the great campaign for redemption of man.  All my fallen nature wants is a better video of game and calorie free ice cream.  So the war continues and I pray that I fight well.  I pray the same for you.


Make my life a prayer to you
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

I wanna shine the light you gave
Through your son you sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know you're really there

Well I want to thank you now
For being patient with me
Oh it's so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
I guess I'll have to trust
And just believe what you say
Oh you're coming again
Coming to take me away

I wanna die and let you give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope you gave me
The love that set me free

I wanna tell the world out there
You're not some fable or fairy tale
That I've made up inside my head
You're God the son and you've risen from the dead

I wanna die and let you give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope you gave me
The love that set me free

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."

08 February 2013

Second Thoughts – An Empty Chair

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

This past Sunday one of my students passed away.  I will not name him out respect for his family and their privacy.  He was twenty-four and his heart failed.  My youngest Son is twenty-five.  I cannot imagine the pain of losing him.  It is hard enough to live without seeing him every day.  Two parents who love their son will bury him this week.

This student loved his parents.  He talked often about them and how supportive they were of his desire to better his life.  He worried over his father’s health and even took some time off from school to help care for him.  This young man was moving away from the errors of his past to the bright future he had as a networker.  

He was intelligent and kind.  He and I would talk often to bolster his confidence and urge him to keep trying.  He would often point out other students who were struggling and say “go give them an ‘I believe in you talk’.  That is what they need.”

He was quiet and always sat off to himself in class.  He was terrified of standing in front of class to present but last week, his last day in my class he conquered that fear after dodging the task for weeks.  He had great potential.

I wept when I heard that he had passed.  I weep for his family now as I write this.  I love all of my students but it is the ones who have to work hard to succeed who really get anchored in my heart.  This week as I told the rest of the class about his passing I wept again.  Tonight I sit quietly missing a student who will not graduate or finish his course.  I have a drink at hand and will raise a glass to him once I post this.

We have lost something with the passing of this student.  The networking world needs his kindness and compassion.  More I have lost something.  I will always see him in the last chair in lab one.  I will know how much effort he put into that work station learning and growing.  I will recall how much faith he put in me to believe that he could become something.  The true calling of teaching was realized in our endeavors.  For that I am a better man.  With his passing I am also diminished.  His empty chair will speak to me and encourage me to be even better for my students.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. – Meditation XVII - John Donne

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."

War – We Will Lose Things

Greetings Dear Reader,

If I pursue Christ and try to kill my fallen nature there will be loss.  I have lost many things through giving in to my fallen nature.  I have hurt others and caused some to lost faith.  I cannot fix this and carry both the loss and its pain.  The more severe pain is the loss from doing what it right.

I should seek neither solace nor pity for the losses incurred from my own sin.  However, when I suffer because I do what is right then I can cling to Christ and the comfort he offers.  How lost I would be without this.  Sometimes we walk into the situation knowing that standing for what is right, even gently and with humility will cost us dearly.  Other times we are blindsided by rejection and judgment when we know we are doing what is right.

The real plight comes to this; if I wish to follow Christ then I must expect there to be a great cost.  Look at the price he paid for us to be able to follow him.  We are warned that we will be hated.  We are warned that our own families will not honor us.  We are told that the price of following is death to self. 

So I must accept and live that to follow Christ offers great loss.  Those losses will hurt. Those losses will bring bitter tears.  I will say that Christ offers hope.  Those losses will be recompensed.  Those losses will fade in comparison to the joy that Christ promises.  I see those around me try to ignore or bypass the war.  You cannot.

Worse I see people who know Jesus trying to live without him.  Whatever reason they give it is impossible for me to imagine trying to be anything good without Christ.  So the losses will go on and the pain will continue but it is all worth.  He would rather die than live without me.  That is enough to get me to count all loss for the sake of him.


How can they live without Jesus
How can live without God's love
How can they feel so at home down here
When there's so much more up above

Throwin' away things that matter
They hold on to things that don't
The world has gone crazy
But soon maybe
A lot more are gonna know

For maybe they don't understand it
Or maybe they just haven't heard
Or maybe we're not doin' all we can
Living up to His Holy Word

'Cause phonies have come
And wrong's been done
Even killing in Jesus' name
And if you've been burned
Here's what I've learned
The Lord's not the one to blame

For He's just not religion
With steeples and bells
Or a salesman who will sell you
The things you just want to hear

For His love was such
That he suffered so much
To cause some of us
Just to follow, follow

So many laughing at Jesus
While the funniest thing that He's done
Is love this whole stubborn rebellious world
While their hate for Him just goes on

And love just like that
Will bring him back
For the few He can call His friends
The ones He's found true
Who've made it through
Enduring until the end
The ones He's found true
Who've made it through
Enduring until the end

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."

07 February 2013

War – On the offensive

Greetings Dear Reader,

In any war there comes time for an offensive push against the enemy.  This writing is that push.  Analyzing why and how the enemy torments me allows me to see his weaknesses as well. 

The offensive is this; I am pursuing what is right and good.  I will not give quarter or rest to my fallen nature.  He would destroy me if he could.  He must die.  He can war within me all he wishes but I will use any weapon to destroy him. 

I begin by realizing how psychotic I sound.   The duality that is a regenerated man is by its nature(s) a mad arrangement.  I also acknowledge that I cannot do this without outside help.  The call of my fallen nature is to self and selfishness.  The call of the regenerated nature is to community and giving. 

Only when I die to the things I “want” and embrace the things I should be will I gain ground.  Not until I allow the self to be poured out and the Spirit of God to replace it will I find the hope necessary to win.  So I renew the battle.  I attack the enemy and vow to show him no mercy.  The war rages on and I hope to die so that I can live.  I hope to become empty and beautiful.


 My past won't stop haunting me
In this prison there's a fight between
Who I am and who I used to be

This thorn in my side is a grace
For because of it the flesh and blood of God
Was offered in my place, my place

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

Where did my best friends go?
In my defense they disappeared
Just like Your friends did to You, oh Lord

But You were there, You gave me strength
So this little one might come to know
The glory of Your name, Your name

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

Awaiting, set apart like incense to Your heart
A libation I'm pouring out
Empty and beautiful, beautiful, beautiful

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Savior, You kept the faith in me

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."

06 February 2013

War – Losses

Greetings Dear Reader,

Every time I give in to my fallen nature it is a loss.  Every loss is cumulative ammunition for that nature to use against future attempts to do good.  My enemy constantly lists my losses in my head to attempt to hinder my plans for doing what is right.  Things like “you have failed as a father”, “you will never find a true companion”, or “you will never realize your dreams” are constant dirges of the enemy.  Messages from the past are always scrolling across the marquee of my mind to remind me that I have not value.

Even when I have done well and given my best that dark nature tells me I am worthless and a failure.  The only way this message gets silenced is when I recall what God thinks of me and cling to that.  I have said early in this series that the battle is constant.  Sometimes the war in my mind is maddening.  Fear and doubt try to paralyze me when I want to do something right. 

Everything about the war is fought in the mind first.  What I think about the accusations of the enemy determines what I do about it.  I cannot simply ignore the losses I have incurred or they will work silently on my mind and weaken my defenses.  It is necessary that I fight back and shut down the lying propaganda.  I must fight on, constantly battling the volleys of the enemy and by God’s grace launch my own offensive.

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."

05 February 2013

War – Habits

Greetings Dear Reader,

Each morning I fill my water bottle, drink it half way down then refill it.  I have done this for most days the four years. There are things I do without even thinking about them anymore.  We all have good habits and bad ones.

Once again the war rages in this area.  I want to do good things.  I want to do them well.  Purging bad habits can be such a challenge.  It amazes me how difficult it can be to develop a good habit and to purge a bad one.  Of course the opposite is true as well.  Bad habits set in so easily and good ones fade quickly when neglected. 

The war on this front is one of will and determination.  I look at how things develop and ponder what I can do to change them.  It is always an uncomfortable act of determination.  Anything less and I will not become better disciplined or further prepared to do what it right.

So as I seek to fight a better fight I see things I must dismantle but often fail in the vigilance required.  It must become a habit to do things well.  It must become a daily discipline to avoid the things that weaken me.

“The things I would I do not and the things I would not I do.”

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."

04 February 2013

War – Diet

Greetings Dear Reader,

Napoleon is credited with the quote, “An army moves on its stomach.”  It is so true that what we eat impacts who we are and how we perform so much.  I have paid careful attention to what I consume over the last few years to manage my weight and diabetes.  I realize that if I am to be spiritually strong I need to be very careful what I consume too.

What I feed my mind and spirit determines my strength to fight this war.  Failure to dine on things that enhance the strength of my new nature makes it weak and vulnerable.  Everything I take in changes me in some way.  I am constantly bombarded with messages that tell me who to be and what to do.

I must filter all of those messages through who Christ is and who he wishes me to become as his follower.  Everything about this is centered on what I allow in or how I filter what I consume.  I cannot passively consume things without knowing what I am taking in.  That will damage me.

If I am to keep an advantage in this war I must take in the things that feed my spirit.  I must devour healthy things.  I must refuse things that will harm or weaken me.  Once again the only way to win is constant vigilance. 

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."

03 February 2013

War – Thinking

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have learned that if I do not think I do what is wrong.  I must ponder everything except the few right actions that I have done so often they are habit.  If I do not consider my responses then I will offend, be hurtful, or be selfish.

I must think about Christ and his view of the world.  I must ponder how Christ would be with things that make me angry or even inconvenienced.  I must constantly seek to see Christ in the moment and follow his lead.  I must think constantly about what is the right way to think.

Everything I do begins with a thought or the ignoring of thinking.  I think about how I feel about a situation and then either thoughtfully respond or thoughtlessly react.  Whenever I react instead of responding it is likely that I will do what is wrong.  When I take a moment to think it gives me space to choose to do what is right.

I must not only think but I must think well.  If I am to make any progress in this war I must allow my thinking to be shaped by Christ and his example, his teaching.  For me it all begins in the mind.  If I do not have the mind of Christ in things how can I hope to follow him.

“To think well is to serve God in the interior court.” – Thomas Traherne

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."