31 July 2013

The Names of God – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that my thoughts on this matter have not been very deep.  I realize that most of what I share here has been the work of others.  There is a reason for this.  My focus has been on how this impacts me.  When I ponder who God is I am often left awed and speechless.  The former is joyous and the latter is rare.

When they combine I try to just swim with the tide and see where it carries me.  When I review the names that God uses to reveal himself it astonishes me.  This amazing and transcendent God love me.  This unfathomable force wishes some very simple things from me. He wishes me to love him and all those around me. 

When I survey who he is in light of this simple requirement it brings me to great pause.  How can I not trust such infinite power and love with obedience to such simple commands?  How can I sit in judgment of others when I know that God knows the depth of my own failures?  The God who is all these amazing things is who I attempt to follow.  I have so far to go to catch up.  Fortunately he meets me daily right where I am.


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."

30 July 2013

The Names of God – יהושׁע, yehôshûa‛, Jehovah is Salvation - Jesus

Greetings Dear Reader,

Instead of delving into the name by which we know the Messiah I want to ponder for a moment the many titles that we ascribe to Jesus.  Many years ago a dear friend, Allison, created a beautiful piece of art that depicts the names that we give to Jesus.  She gave it to me as a gift at the end of the semester and I still have it. 

I look at it almost daily to remind me of the one I try to follow.  The total list of names and titles for Jesus in the Bible is over 200.  Below is a part of that list.  I think I will let them speak for themselves.  They do for me.

Original Art by Allison Young



Advocate
Almighty
Almighty God
Alpha and Omega
Amen, The
Ancient of Days
Anointed One
Author of Salvation
Begotten
Beloved Son of God
Blessed of God
Bread of Life
Bridegroom
Bright and Morning Star
Chief Cornerstone
Chosen of God
Christ
Comforter
Consolation of Israel
Cornerstone
Counselor
Creator of All Things
Deliverer
Divine Son
Emmanuel
Eternal God
Eternal Head
Eternal Judge
Faithful and True
Finisher of faith
Firstborn
Firstfruits
Forerunner
God
God's Anointed
Good Shepherd
Governor
Great I AM
Head of the Body
Healer
Heir of All Things
Holy One
I AM
Image of God
Immanuel
Jehovah
King
King of Kings
King of Zion/Sion
King of the Jews
Lamb of God
Light of the World
Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Living Stone
Living Water
Lord
Master
Mediator
Messiah
Mighty God
Most High God
Only Begotten of the Father
Our Passover
Physician
Prince of Peace
Prophet
Propitiation for our Sins
Rabbi
Redeemer
Resurrection
Revealer
Righteous Judge
Root of Jesse
Savior of the World
Seed of Abraham
Seed of David
Seed of the Woman
Shepherd
Son of God
Son of Man
Son of Righteousness
Spiritual Rock
True Vine
The Way, the Truth, the life
Wonderful
Word of Life
Word, the
Worthy

This is who I try to follow.

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."

29 July 2013

The Names of God – יהוה רעה, yehôvâh râ‛âh, Jehovah my Shepherd

Greetings Dear Reader,

Until I began to delve into the word Shepherd I never really knew all the facets of meaning to which David ascribes this title.  Just a few of the uses are helper, feeder, keeper, companion, and friend.

David understood that the God of the Universe was also all these things for him.  He understood that even though from a human perspective things might be different that he would truly never be in want of anything. 

He understood that the LORD who made all things and is everywhere is also personal and has love for him.  He understood that the God he follows will guide, protect, and provide for him. 

Everything about my life should be about this following.  There is nothing I truly need that will not be provided.  There is nothing that can get to me without my Raah allowing it.  He is always with me and promises I will always be with him.

What does this mean in terms of my vocation, life, where I live and what I pursue?  That is still unfolding.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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."

28 July 2013

The Names of God – The Amen

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the names for God is Alpha and Omega; the Beginning and the End.  Many years ago I was privileged to hear Dr. S. M. Lockridge preach his sermon on the Lord’s Prayer.  His focus was on who God is.  As I promised earlier here is a link to the heart of that sermon and the accompanying text.  I feel it is a great way to spend seven minutes of your Sunday morning.


 The Bible says my King is a seven-way king
He's the King of the Jews; that's a racial king
He's the King of Israel; that's a national King
He's the King of Righteousness
He's the King of the Ages
He's the King of Heaven
He's the King of Glory
He's the King of kings, and He is the Lord of lords. That's my King.
Well....I wonder, do you know Him?

Don’t try to mislead me.  Do you know my King?

David said, "The Heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork."
My King is a sovereign King.
No means of measure can define His limitless love.
No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply.
No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings.
He's enduringly strong.
He's entirely sincere.
He's eternally steadfast.
He's immortally graceful.
He's imperially powerful.
He's impartially merciful.
That’s my king
Do you know Him?

He's the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world.
He's God's Son.
He's the sinner's Savior.
He's the centerpiece of civilization.
He stands in the solitude of Himself.
He's august and He's unique.
He's unparalleled.
He's unprecedented.
He is the loftiest idea in literature.
He's the highest personality in philosophy.
He is the supreme problem in higher criticism.
He's the fundamental doctrine of true theology.
He is the cardinal necessity of spiritual religion.
He's the miracle of the age.
He's -- yes He is -- He is the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him.

He is the only one able to supply all of our needs simultaneously.
He's the only one qualified to be an all sufficient Savior.
I wonder if you know Him today?
He supplies strength for the weak.
He's available for the tempted and the tried.
He sympathizes and He saves.
He strengthens and sustains.
He guards and He guides.
He heals the sick.
He cleansed the lepers.
He forgives sinners.
He discharges debtors.
He delivers the captives.
He defends the feeble.
He blesses the young.
He serves the unfortunate.
He regards the aged.
He rewards the diligent....and He beautifies the meek.
I wonder if you know Him?

Well, my King....He is the King!
He's the key to knowledge.
He's the wellspring of wisdom.
He's the doorway of deliverance.
He's the pathway of peace.
He's the roadway of righteousness.
He's the highway of holiness.
He's the gateway of glory.
He’s the master of the mighty
He’s captain of the conquerors
He’s the head of the heroes
He’s the leader of the legislators
He’s overseer of the overcomers
He’s the governor of the governors
He’s the price of princes
He’s the king of kings
He’s the LORD of lords

That’s my king
Yes
Yes
That’s my king
Do you know Him?

Well my King, His office is manifold.
His promise is sure
And His light is matchless.
His goodness is limitless.
His mercy is everlasting.
His love never changes.
His word is enough.
His grace is sufficient.
His reign is righteous.
And His yoke is easy, and his burden is light.
I wish I could describe Him to you, but He's indescribable -- Yes He is!  He is God! 
He's incomprehensible.
He's invincible.
He's irresistible.
I’m trying to tell you that the heaven of heavens cannot contain him
Yet alone a man explain him
Well, you can't get Him out of your mind.
You can't get Him off of your hands.
You can't out live Him, and you can't live without Him.

The Pharisees couldn't stand Him,
but they found out they couldn't stop Him.
Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him.
The witnesses couldn't get their testimonies to agree.
Herod couldn't kill Him.
Death couldn't handle Him
And the grave couldn't hold Him.
Yea!!!, that's my King, that's my King.

He always has been and he always will be
I’m talking about
He has no predecessor and he has no successor
There was nobody before him and there will be nobody after him
You can’t impeach him and he’s not going to resign

Yes, and Thine is the Kingdom....and the Power....and the Glory
All the power belongs to my King
We talk about black power, and white power, and green power but its God’s power

....Forever....and ever, and ever, and ever -- How long is that? And ever, and ever.
How long is that? 
And when you get through with all of the forevers, then. AMEN!
Good God Almighty!  AMEN!   AMEN!

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 July 2013

The Names of God – יהוה נסּי, yehôvâh nissı̂y, Jehovah my Banner

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I was younger I drank way too much coffee.  Understand that I have worked hard to perfect making a good cup of coffee.  I roast my own beans and get the best out of every one of them.  However, when I was younger I consumed too much and made it a priority over other things.

One of my mentors called my circle of coffee consumers “The Brotherhood of Baleful Brewers of the Bitter Black Bean.”  He once cautioned me that enjoying coffee was a good thing but never to make it my banner.  Until I took a full year off from consuming it I did not fully understand his meaning.

We all wave banners.  One learns quickly what peoples’ banners are.  I am defined to others by the banners I wave.  I have a technology banner.  I have food banner.  What I must have and wave and live under is a God banner.  I must, however, not identify with it for my own purposes. 

God sets his banner over his own to love and protect them.  I must not allow my actions to make that banner be soiled.  I must be who I am called to be in Christ and follow the banner where it leads me no matter what the cost.  I must not let minor banners supplant the prominence of the banner that God has placed over me. 

A banner is to be a symbol of my principles.  When others see my banner I should hope that everything they see points them toward God.  It is not thus so I must work to reconstruct what is my banner.  Whether fixed on a hilltop or doorpost it must always reflect that my allegiance is to and my protection is from The Almighty God who IS.

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 July 2013

The Names of God – אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה, I AM

Greetings Dear Reader,

As my dear friend Richard pointed out, one of the names that God gives himself is I AM THAT I AM.  Moses attempts to side step the requirement of God that he return to Egypt to assist in the deliverance of the people of Israel.

Exodus 3:13-14  Then Moses replied to God, "Suppose I go to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' What should I tell them?"  God answered Moses, "I Am Who I Am. This is what you must say to the people of Israel: 'I Am has sent me to you.'"  

Many consider that YHWH, or the Tetragrammaton derives from this statement.  In ancient Hebrew “ehyeh” is the first person singular of the verb “to be.”  In the Septuagint it is translated as “I am HE WHO IS (ho on): and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, HE WHO IS (ho on) hath sent me unto you.”

In this simple rendering we find both the eternal and immutable natures of God.  When learning Latin as a boy I remember memorizing the conjugation of the verb “to be.”  The Latin for “I am” is “sum”.  It is also interesting that in Latin this is the verb for complete. 

What all this means for me is that the God I follow is singular.  He is has always been and will always be.  Again he does not need introduction or verification.  He simple is.  He asks me to accept this on faith and I do.  I believe there is an aspect of mysticism to this that I cannot yet comprehend.

The thing that carries me in this thought is the fact that because God is eternal, immutable, and Omni-present there is not a moment in my future where he is not already standing waiting for me to arrive and find him in that moment.  Every moment, like Moses and the burning bush, is a singular moment of holy ground.  If I am to set apart a life to God then I must set it apart in moments.  Each step must be as if I am walking on holy ground and approaching he who IS.

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 July 2013

The Names of God – יהוה, yehôvâh, Jehovah

Greetings Dear Reader,

The יהוה occurs 6528 in the Bible.  6412 times it is translated as “Lord”  and 108 times as “lord”.  Four times it is translated “god” and four times as “Jehovah”.  The name is first used in Genesis 2:4.  “This is the account of heaven and earth when they were created, at the time when the LORD God made earth and heaven.”  (Jehovah Elohim)  In Exodus 6:3 God explains to Moses “I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but I didn't make myself known to them by my name, Jehovah.”  I will get to the significance of this shortly.

In all literature concerning the Hebrew texts there is a common thread.  When searching for a definition of this name there is never a clear one.  Instead there is most often an explanation of the etymology of the word.  Names have meaning and power.  I will say this often during this cycle.  With that in mind what is it about this name that makes it so indefinable?

I think it is that we couple it with other things.  This God of the Bible is unique.  His name is singular in its meaning and rather he defines himself by additional things adjoined to the name.  An example would be Jehovah Shalom or The LORD of Perfect Peace.  I cannot dwell on this without pondering all the ways in which God uses his name to let us know him better.

Who God is must be understood by his attributes.  It must be conceived by the names and offices he holds because of who he is.  I will provide a link and the entire text later down the path but I wish to ponder here a portion of the sermon by the late S.M. Lockridge.  In this sermon he discusses who God is.  I cannot here project the energy with which the following is presented but I benefit from just reading the words.

Well my King,
His office is manifold.
His promise is sure
And His light is matchless.
His goodness is limitless.
His mercy is everlasting.
His love never changes.
His word is enough.
His grace is sufficient.
His reign is righteous.
And His yoke is easy, and his burden is light.
I wish I could describe Him to you, but He's indescribable -- Yes He is!  He is God! 
He's incomprehensible.
He's invincible.
He's irresistible.
I’m trying to tell you that the heaven of heavens cannot contain him
Yet alone a man explain him
Well, you can't get Him out of your mind.
You can't get Him off of your hands.
You can't out live Him, and you can't live without Him.

So what does this mean to me?  It is significant that God reveals himself by what he does.  He is Jehovah + something.  Well I cannot begin to properly follow God if I do not have at least a limited understanding of who he is.  I cannot know who he is unless I see his attributes in the light of his desire to have a relationship with me.  God is so much more than the harsh and hard judge that so many believe him to be.  I must seek to know him for who he is and not what others represent him to be.

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 July 2013

Second Thoughts - Chili Cheese Dogs

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.

Yesterday was national Hot Dog day.   Sonic offered their amazing Chili Cheese Dogs for $1.00 each.  I mentioned this in class regretting the I did not have time to go over to the only Sonic in town and avail myself of this opportunity.

I had closing responsibilities at school meaning that I would not be able to leave until almost eleven p.m.  To my delight a student returned after leaving class with a box of Chili Cheese Dogs for me.  His gesture and words were very kind and greatly appreciated. 

It made me more aware of the impact it has on others when we go out of our way to be kind to them.  I want to always be thoughtful and kind.  I am sure I can find more ways to do so.

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."

The Names of God – אלהים, Elohim

Greetings Dear Reader,

In Genesis the first line assumes that God is there.  As Moses penned this he had no idea that he was begging a body of literature that would become God’s written revelation to us of his relationship to us.  Still he assumes that God is God.  He assumes that everyone knows who he means by Elohim. 

This name is plural of the name Eloah which is the same as Allah in Arabic.  The name Elohim denotes the fullness of divine strength and the sum of his powers.  The plural form of this name, when referring to God is almost always used with a singular verb. 

The way in which this is used is interesting.  In Genesis 1:26 there is a seeming contradiction in the use of nouns and verbs.  I do not wish to bore you with a grammar lesson but here it is significant. 

“Then God said, ‘Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness. Let them rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the domestic animals all over the earth, and all the animals that crawl on the earth.’”

When it reads that “God said” it is the plural form with a singular verb.  It signifies something very similar to the “royal we” or the plural of majesty.  It is the plural of excellence.  This is significant in Hebrew because it separates the use of Elohim and elohim.  So what?  How does this impact me as one who wishes to follow Christ?

One of the foundational aspects of this faith is that the God I worship, love, and try to follow is assumed to be there.  He does not need an introduction.  In Genesis he creates the stage and steps onto it in his full power and majesty.  He is in himself the embodiment of all that is good.  As Genesis unfolds in the first chapter he proceeds from nothing to all of creation and calls it good.

From then on is the story of how we bring about the corruption of that good and God’s intent to restore it; to redeem it.  My following and my faith can be a part of that redemption process.  As I am being redeemed I can participate in the grand redemption effort.  Making things better and bringing them back to the state of goodness is reason enough to follow this plan.

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 July 2013

The Names of God – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Names are amazing things.  They have a great deal of power.  If someone knows your name they can communicate in a unique way.  Names have meaning and in some cultures a name changes over time to reflect the person. 

Recently a friend gave me a framed list of some of the names of God.  It is beautiful and hanging in my office as I write this.  It caused me to ponder some of the ways in which God is addressed by others.  If I truly wish to know God then I must consider who he is within the names he provides for us to know him. 

God is limitless in who he is.  Plumbing the depths of this is beyond me, but perhaps through the journey of his names I can learn how to better love him.  Walk with me if you wish.


El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonai,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.
El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkahmka na Adonai,
We will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

Through your love and through the ram,
You saved the son of Abraham;
Through the power of your hand,
Turned the sea into dry land.
To the outcast on her knees,
You were the God who really sees,
And by Your might,
You set Your children free.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonai,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.
El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkahmka na Adonai,
We will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

Through the years You made it clear,
That the time of Christ was near,
Though the people couldn't see
What Messiah ought to be.
Though Your Word contained the plan,
They just would not understand
Your most awesome work was done
Through the frailty of Your Son.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonai,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.
El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkahmka na Adonai,
I will praise you 'till I die,
El Shaddai.

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 July 2013

The Sea - Again

Greetings Dear Reader,

I think that we forget sometimes that the great lakes are more like great inland seas.  I have been to all of them at some point in my life except Lake Superior.   Over the weekend I was granted a surprise trip to the shore of Lake Michigan.  The water was too cold for true swimming but just sitting by the vast water was beautiful.

I sat there for hours watching birds, boats, and people.  I was served an excellent shrimp and salad lunch. The conversation was lovely.  I was reminded of the things that I need to do to recharge who I am.  The vast expanse of something that runs to the horizon always causes me to think.

I thought about life a great deal that day and the things I need to day to assure that it is my life I am living.  If I am to follow Christ with all my heart I must remember all the things that make me better at that.  I must work toward the things that draw me to him being more of my life. 

Time by the sea, a gift that I savor today, has spawned some new thinking and I must think it well.  I must discern how to change the things I must and move forward in doing so.  It would be a shame to waste this gift.

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 July 2013

Early Morning Prayer

Greetings Dear Reader,

I wonder Dear Reader what you pray about in the morning.  If you do not please do not be offended at the question.  I do.  Every morning I spend some time talking with God about things for which I am thankful, in need of, or about which I am concerned.  I also pray for my family and friends.

I have had people tell me that prayer does not do any good.  My question is “how do you know?”  Often people will reference an incident  where they prayed for something specific and it did not happen the way they wished it to happen.  Prayer never obligates God to do as you ask. 

I value my prayer time in the morning because it allows me to focus on things that are outside of me.  It reminds me that others have needs.  It reminds me to be more aware of the things outside of my life going on in the world.  It reminds me to love others and be kind to them.  It usually puts my day in perspective.  I also pray for you 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."

19 July 2013

A Disappearing Daughter

Greetings Dear Reader,

My Daughter Christmas and I often go shopping together.  We will be walking along talking and enjoying whatever it is we are seeking.  Christmas gets excited about the most interesting things.  We will be at the farmers’ market or walking down the street when every once in a while she disappears. 

We will be walking along.  I will look over to say something and she is just gone.  I retrace my steps to look for her and she is already in the midst of helping someone in need.  She will be fetching something off of a high shelf for a short person.  She will be helping someone carry packages.  She will has twice been caught returning a lost child to its mum.

There is this thing in her that sees needs and rushes to meet them.  She is driven to be kind and compassionate to others.  He spirit thrives on small acts of help and assistance.  I find this one of the very Christ-like things in her.  It is an encouragement, delight, and challenge.

I am challenged when I see this to be more aware of the needs of others.  I am driven to be as aware and to act as she is.  Once again, I find that seeing the good in someone else pushes me to be a better man and to follow Christ more closely. 

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 July 2013

At the End of Self

Greetings Dear Reader,

First let me be clear that I am not there.  I have a long way to travel before I see the beginning of the end of my self-absorption.  I want to be selfless but I get in my way.  I know that the more I put this part of me away and give myself to others in good ways the more universal good I can do.

What does it take to get to the end of self?  First I have to daily remind myself that I am not my own.  As my feet hit the floor each morning I have to remember that the day is a gift to me from God.  I have to put that in perspective of what God wishes me to be doing.

I have to treat every interaction as an opportunity to be selfless in some way.  Every conversation must contain my best efforts at showing love and kindness to others.  Every person has needs that I can reach into and meet in some way.

I must also let others do the same for me.  I cannot be selfish even in my selflessness.  I must allow others to be selfless as well.  If I model this then perhaps others will follow suit. 

What gets in the way most of the time is worrying if my needs will be met or if I will get what I want.  There is a difference.  Either way I get in the way of selflessness by trying to get what I want.  The truth is that if I simply do not worry about it and continue to strive for the needs of others then Christ assures me I will have what I need.

If I do not believe that Christ will supply my needs then I will not be as selfless.  So an element of selflessness is faith.  Again faith is required to do something I need to do.  It seems it always comes back to faith.  So getting to the end of self requires faith.  I am OK with that.

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 July 2013

Things I Need

Greetings Dear Reader,

We speak of so many things in terms of need versus want.  So often the things we need are more important to us when in fact we do not need them, we want them.  What we want too often takes precedence over what others need as well.

I would consider for a bit the definition of need that works better if we are looking for an accurate representation of need in our culture.  I would submit that in our culture when most people express that they need something they are expressing a discrepancy.  Their “need” is actually a discrepancy between that which exists and that which is desired.  “I need a new video card” actually means a new one is on the market that is better than my currently functioning one.  We are taught to be dissatisfied with what we have and to need a new one.

I wonder how often we squander what we have in resources on things we do not really need.  It seems that if I focus on what I truly need I spend less and waste less.  As we begin our annual household purge I am keenly aware of things I thought I needed that have not been used.  I hope this year as I purge my home I can also purge my mind of the need for things I do not 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."


16 July 2013

On Gratitude

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have so many things to be thankful for.  This week I am reminded of how deeply blessed and rich I am in the area of food.  I am keenly aware that from a world perspective I live in luxury when it comes to this.  Still there are things that I get to enjoy for which I am even more thankful.

Today I feel so grateful for Georgia peaches, key lime pie, and Chick-fil-A Sandwiches.  I have gotten to enjoy all of these over the last few days and in addition to the blessing that having them is, I am reminded of how much I truly have.  I live in a world where I do not ever need to worry about my next meal. 

It is not wrong to enjoy these things but it is wrong to do so without considering those who are in need of common necessities.  I have students who struggle to provide food for themselves.  If I enjoy my luxuries without doing something to help the needs of others then how can I truly say that I am following Christ?

It is not wrong for me to enjoy these things but I must keep room in my blessings for remembering and caring for the needs of others.  There is no place for me to enjoy without gratitude and understanding of the needs of others.  I do not really see the depth of any blessing from God if I do not see it in light of his overall provision.

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 July 2013

Every Relationship Requires Change

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the areas in which we fail as humans is thinking that we will not change for this or that person.  While it is right that who we are should be what people love and accept, we do change for every relationship in which we take part.  Whether it be family, friends, or lovers we change some things in order to accommodate the needs of those people.

If we are honest we know that we do this and yet so often we refuse to see the change required in us to have a viable relationship with Christ.  We would be horrified at someone who wanted all the benefits of a relationship with us without incurring any of the responsibilities.  Yet this is what I do to God when I refuse to change the things in my life that are not healthy or right.

If I do not accept that this, like every relationship requires that something change in me then I am being selfish and self-deceptive.  I cannot put my own wants ahead of the needs of others and expect to be following Christ.  In the same way I cannot put my desires over the things Christ needs of me and believe that I am giving my best to the relationship.

I have seen people walk away from Christ because the Gospel demands that we change things we do not wish to change.  People will decide that it is too hard to forgive, to love, or to accept someone else.  The choice will be made to walk away from the relationship with Christ rather than abandon things we want.

Every relationship requires change.  When Christ asks me to change he is doing it for my own good.  Every choice to avoid this change is a rejection of Christ.  I must embrace these changes if I truly wish to follow.

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 July 2013

The Riddle – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday we had a birthday party for my younger Son, Bezel.  I love him more than I can put into words.  He is a kind and compassionate man.  He has many friends who think highly of him.

As I close my thoughts on this song it is my Son that is foremost in my heart.  He is still looking for the answer to this riddle.  I think that he does not see how much his mother and I both love him.  I think he does not understand his potential for greatness or the many gifts God has infused into who he is.

The riddle for me is to how to show others that the riddle is so very simple.

Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world: You and I...

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 July 2013

The Riddle – We’re all We Got

Greetings Dear Reader,

I guess we're big and I guess we're small
If you think about it man you know we got it all
Cause we're all we got on this bouncing ball
And I love you free
I love you freely

I find it so interesting that so much of the why or our existence comes back to taking care of each other; loving each other.  I have written much about this but this song gives me a new thought on it.  If you believe in God then you realize that he insists that the basis on which we interact is love.  If you do not believe in God then all we have is each other.

Either way the impact of unconditional love is undeniable.  I have seen over and over the effect of people showing unconditional love.  I have experienced the healing and encouraging power of it.  I have been privileged to share it with others.

This one thing is a clue to the great mystery.  Even now thinking about it pushes me to hone my practice of unconditional love for others. 

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 July 2013

The Riddle – The Batter Swings

Greetings Dear Reader,

This part of a line from the song touches something so deep inside of me.  It resonates against that place where the basic binary choices are made in my soul.  Some years ago I wrote about this.  Those words covey how this relates this to my life better than anything I have put down since.

Excerpt from The Mound – Sheet Rock on the Road – Aramis Thorn

The pitcher looks in and takes his first signal from the catcher.  Their secret language of numbers and motions tells the pitcher what to throw and the catcher what to expect.  Sequestered in the pitcher’s glove is the ball.  He carefully rotates to get the grip essential to the proper pitch.  Carefully adjusting his footing, he looks in one more time to get his bearings.  The stretch and delivery can be ponderous or lightning fast.  Either way the sphere is launched and the batter must choose.  Like all of life, he as little time to decide but he must decide to swing or not. From that single binary choice flow a multitude of linear binary choices.  If he does not swing is it a ball or a strike?  If he swings is it a hit or a miss?  If it is a hit is it fair or foul?  Is it a grounder or in the air?  Is it a fly ball or line drive?  Is it fieldable or out of reach?  Is it a home run?

The time from pitch to home run is a matter of seconds, and every pitch has that potential.  Each ball thrown could end up sailing over the fence into the glove or head of a waiting fan.  It does not matter which team hits the home run everyone loves to see it.  In every game, every pitch from every pitcher has the same potential.  Weather curve-ball  breaking ball, or fastball the binary choices unfold with the same potential conclusion.  Every batter has the chance to reach that potential, even pitchers

This is why baseball is sacred.  From it I learned about potential and fair play.   My Grandfather knew there were life lessons in the box seats at Atlanta Stadium and he diligently passed them along to me with a fair supply of hot-dogs and soft drinks.  You never boo the opposition.  You always cheer a great play even if it is the other team.  You do not leave your empty cups in the stands.  You are nice to the vendors.  The most important lesson though is on the mound.  Poised there is the pitcher and the next pitch is imminent.  The linear binary will unfold even if no one but the pitcher acts.  It will pass too quickly to see.  This is the definition of life. Like every pitch, every moment has new potential but only if we choose to swing. 

No batter is every successful by just standing there.  He must be a part of things.  He must choose when to swing.  My Grandson witnessed his first home-run a few weeks ago.  He knew the import of the moment even at age 2.  We all know when we are faced with chances to make a difference.  We will not if we do not swing.

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 July 2013

The Riddle – To the Mystery

Greetings Dear Reader,

I am astounded at all the things I used to think I knew.  I am just as astounded at the things of which I am still certain.  I am certain that God is there and that he is active.  I am certain that the designated hitter is a bad idea.  I am certain that the more we learn about the universe the less we actually know.

Science in the world has found so many things and yet those answers still lead to more questions.  The universe keeps unfolding as we probe outwardly.  What we learn informs so many areas of our knowledge.  Still, however, we have so many more questions.  I think that we have not even begun to grasp the depth of what we do not know. 

One of the things that keeps me engaged in all of this is that I do not think our depth of knowledge ever will explain nor will it dismiss God.  I still find mystery in so many things.  Even when I can explain the physics, chemistry, or process I find that it is the unknown that tantalizes me.  

The mystery that drives me the most is love.  We can assign chemical reactions and survival of the species to love all we wish.  That someone will sacrifice everything, including life for the love of another is a mystery.  This to me is a clue to all other things.

In pondering the mysteries of existence and its purpose I must inform that thinking through God’s insistence that his relationship to us and ours to each other be based on love.  I wonder how the Bible would read were we to translate it based on this premise?  I am not saying that current translations are not good.  There are some excellent ones.  I do think there are things that could be translated better.

I do wonder why we do not begin with this great mystery when we approach the great questions of the universe.  I think that the power of unconditional love is the most penetrating and invasive thing there is.  I think that on some levels it is irresistible. 

Love is the mystery that runs through all other things.  When we try to remove it we lose something.  When we are without it we feel the loss and we are not complete.  I think it is a clue to the great mysteries and a substantive part of the answer. 

There are secrets that we still have left to find
There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
There are answers we're not wise enough to see
He said... You’re looking for a clue; I Love You 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."

09 July 2013

The Riddle – Don’t Miss Out?

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of my greatest regrets in life are lost moments with my Sons.  Because of choices I made I missed time with them that I would have rather had.  I cannot blame anyone else and I am sure this will haunt and shame me to my grave.

How is this related to The Riddle?  I think that all parents walk through a place of regret.  They make choices that at the moment they refuse to see will have life-long impact.  We need to be so careful how we treat each other.  We need to be sure that we do not live attitudes or have actions that teach our children things that will harm them.

Our children will live out the things we do whether we or they realize it.  They will modify our failings to fit their lives or they will create new failures of their own in reaction to avoiding ours.  I do not mean that my children are failures.  I am very proud of them.  What I do mean is that I can see in their choices some of the damage done by my wrong ones.

Having just had a wonderful evening with my children over the weekend I know that they love me and value me.  There is in my heart still the constant din of the ways in which I have failed them.  Part of the riddle for me is how to heal that damage.  It may be beyond me to do it.  It may be that the natural consequence of my choices is to live with that failure.  There is, however, always hope for healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

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 July 2013

The Riddle – What is the Riddle?

Greetings Dear Reader,

First I must ask if you have listened to the song.  If you have not it would be worth it to go to yesterday’s link and listen.  It will give one context.  Second I need to address what the riddle is.

It is the question we all ponder and I will attempt to answer it.  It is a timeless question.  What is the reason for the world and our existence?  I know that there are those who disagree with me and that is an option.  I believe that design demands a designer.  I believe that the world was intelligently designed with a purpose.

What this song does is ask that question from the perspective of the beautiful things in the world.  One of the paths to discover of my purpose was to see what is beautiful about our world.  While I find great beauty in the natural world I find more infinite beauty in the human spirit.

When we band together we are amazing in our ability to do good.  When an individual is kind he or she transcends something intangible.  In this song Michael Ondrasik captures some of those moments so well.  The moment between a father and a son when the father challenges him to seek the reason for the world is so important.

He uses art (a Dylan song), the natural world (eclipse of the moon), and love (swoon) to show the many ways in which we can see that we have a purpose.  I know that these kinds of things all speak to me.  I know that they inform my belief and more importantly my questions.

The beautiful things of the world should push me to seek and to see the purpose of the world.  We can create, observe, and experience beautiful things.  Why?  What is intended of this?  How does it benefit us if we are not designed by something greater than us?  The world tells us that beauty matters.  It drives me to seek the source of that beauty.

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 July 2013

Second Thoughts - Orion’s Smile

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.

Yesterday Maxim, Bezel, Christmas, Orion, and I attended a baseball game.  We arrived early and feasted on Brats, Hot dogs, and Hamburgers.  Throughout the game we kept reminding Orion that there would be fireworks at the end.  He did really well and when it was time he locked his attention on the late evening sky.
 
He sat with his Father silently smiled as the rockets rose and burst in so many colours.  His comment at the end was “we need some more of that.”  I agree.  Anything that brings out his beautiful precious smile needs to be in the category of MORE.

I found great joy and beauty in the time with my Children and my Grandson.  I found great joy as I shared moments with each of them.  It makes the journey so great that God has blessed me with such beautiful loved ones.

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."


The Riddle – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I believe that the question that moves through us all at one point is the question as to why we are here.  I heard one of my favorite songs on this subject again over the holiday and decided to ponder it more deeply.  I have great respect for John Ondrasik and his music.  He has been kind to me when I have needed to use his music on special occasions.  I want to be clear that I am not attempting to exegete his lyrics but rather discuss how they have impacted me. 

This song, The Riddle is one that I have loved from the first moment I heard it.  Before I launch into my thoughts on it, I wanted to give you the opportunity to listen to the song.  Listen for the subtleties in the lyrics.  Listen for the inflection in the singing.  Most of all enjoy the song.  The link below will take you to the song and I have provided the lyrics.  We will get started on my thoughts on this tomorrow.


There was a man back in '95

Whose heart ran out of summers
But before he died, I asked him
Wait, what's the sense in life
Come over me, Come over me

He said, Son why you got to sing that tune
Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon
Let an angel swinging and make you swoon
Then you will see... You will see

Then he said,
Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world: You and I...

Picked up my kid from school today
Did you learn anything cause in the world today
You can't live in a castle far away
Now talk to me, come talk to me

He said,
Dad I'm big but we're smaller than small
In the scheme of things, well we're nothing at all
Still every mother's child sings a lonely song
So play with me, come play with me

And Hey Dad
Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world, You, and I...

I said,
Son for all I've told you
When you get right down to the
Reason for the world...Who am I?

There are secrets that we still have left to find
There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
There are answers we're not wise enough to see
He said... You’re looking for a clue; I Love You free...

The batter swings and the summer flies
As I look into my angel's eyes
A song plays on while the moon is hiding over me
Something comes over me

I guess we're big and I guess we're small
If you think about it man you know we got it all
Cause we're all we got on this bouncing ball
And I love you free
I love you freely

Here's a riddle for you
Find the Answer
There's a reason for the world: You and I...

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 July 2013

Second Thoughts - A Reader’s Comment

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.

Recently I posted about the difficulty I have writing sometimes.  One of you, Dear Reader, posted the following:

Anonymous said...
Please don't stop writing...ever!

You have no idea how much that simple request meant to me.  I do not know who you are; neither do I need to know.  What I have now is that someone wishes me to write.  I have to anyway or I would probably go mad.  I do, however, think that others do not realize how much it means to a writer when one takes the time to interact with him in a forum like a blog.

It is easy to like the posted writing on my Facebook page or even on a friends re-post. I am always grateful for this.  It is more energizing when one makes the effort to go to my Blog page and actually comment.  I read, evaluate, and save every one of these.  I go back to them when writing responses or furthering a conversation.

So for each of you that takes the time to visit my page and offer an interaction, I thank you.  I look forward to more conversation. 

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."


That Freaky Cardinal

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have written before about the cardinal that lives outside my living room window.  He takes great joy in pecking at the window and the mirrors on my car incessantly.   He is attacking his reflection. My Grandson has named him the Freaky Cardinal and asks about him often.  It seems that this insane beautiful bird has something to teach me.

My house is not air conditioned and I slept downstairs last night with the windows open and the fans running.  At two in the morning this same freaky Cardinal decided to pay me a visit.  It was not the usual pecking at the window.  Rather he chose to perch on the edge of the raised window and sing. 

The song woke me from a deep sleep. It inserted itself into my dream before calling me to consciousness.  It was beautiful and enchanting.  Here is a good sample of Cardinal Song.  I was a bit annoyed about the time but the beauty of him just sitting there and singing overrode the annoyance. 

As I write this it is daylight and he again attacking the window.   On balance I must say that all the annoying tapping is compensated for by his early morning singing.  Perhaps if I focus more on the beauty of this bird’s song his tapping will be a meager price to pay.  Perhaps I can learn to look for the beauty in all the things that annoy me and become less easily annoyed.

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 July 2013

My sin versus YOUR SIN

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things that saddens me greatly is the way in which we differentiate between our sin and the sin of others.  I say “we” because even though I do not wish it I do this from time to time.  An un-captured thought or moment of carelessness causes me to see another’s actions and judge him. 

This is shameful for me.  I have no right or freedom to judge the sin of someone else.  I am fallen and sinful.  I sin and my sin is what I must be concerned about when I ponder sin.  Instead we ponder the sins of others and assign them more severity of our own.  When we get in the business of comparing sin we become blind and foolish.

It is simple for me to negate the severity of my own sin if I focus on the sin of others.  I must daily realize the depth of grace and mercy required for me.  I must moment by moment strive to live in a submissive manner that honors God.  If I battle my own sin then I have no time to judge others. 

When I compare sin I only breed judgment and resentment.  When I fail to see the shortcomings of others with compassion and grace then I am in danger of setting myself above them.  It is my duty to God to work at negating my own sinful nature and honoring him by loving and caring for others. If everyone who follows Christ adopts this attitude then what would be the result?

A final thought would also be that if we say we do not sin then we have a problem altogether larger. 

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 July 2013

Independence Day 2013

Greetings Dear Reader,

Recently a friend and I were conversing about the needs of another friend.  The final thought he gave on the issue was that a man’s word is his bond.  He was right and his comment brought to full view a reminder of why I value this man so much.  He is veteran who lost a leg due to a roadside bomb.  He is also a gifted artist and intelligent loyal friend.

Thinking about him and his values reminded me just what today is about.  In juxtaposition with another recent incident I was reminded that freedom has both a price and comes with responsibilities.  We have rights guaranteed us by our system of government.  Those rights were obtained by the shedding of blood and are guarded by the same.  Those rights come with the responsibility to assure that everyone is given those rights equally.  Those rights come with the responsibility to be involved and assure that our government serves us and does not rule us.

As a follower of Christ I must obey the law and assure that all men (1) are treated equally under the law.  I must not allow my freedoms to be in opposition to my faith.  I must not violate the laws of God for the freedom to do as I please.  I must always recognize that people died so I can have picnics.  I must assure that I do not numb my heart toward the needs of those around me. 

Whilst I celebrate Independence Day I must not fail to pray for the three young brothers who are serving in the Army and whose mum has been so good to my family.  I must not fail to acknowledge the service Raven, my daughter-in-law has rendered and continues to render.  I must realize that until everyone is free to sleep in the peace that I sleep in every night that the responsibilities of my freedom have not been met.

Freedom is the opportunity to do good to others not the opportunity to take and soak in and keep.  It is the responsibility to defend the weak not act weak so I can get a free ride.  It I take anything from any government program that I can work for instead I am stealing resources that could be diverted to genuine need.  If I do not participate in the constant reformation and positive construction of my country’s government then I am ignoring the duty that goes with my rights.

Freedom has both a price tag and duty.  We are never independent of that.

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."

(1) Just a note about my use of the word “men” here.  I oppose most forms of political correctness in speech.  I especially find the idea of authorial intent important.  When I use a word it means what I intend it to mean.  It does not mean whatever someone else’s political agenda or sensibilities mean.  In this case the word :”man” means mankind, humans, and thus is an all-inclusive term.