31 January 2014

Stupid Human Tricks – What a Lovely Building

Greetings Dear Reader,

I often mention the church I attend and my love for it.  Several years ago we moved into a new building that was both expensive and massive.  The electricity of the moment when we had our first service there was vibrant.  The senior pastor started each of the services there the first day the same way.

Our church provides excellent coffee for the thousands who attend each week.  Our pastor began every service that day by intentionally pouring some of that coffee on the carpet on the platform.  In the service I
attended I could hear the gasps of others as he did this.  His statement that followed was very clear.  “This church is not about the building it is about the people.”  They constructed the building

I think that the church in the world could make a vast difference if it showed as much care for its people as it does its edifices.  We do not need another gold cross or marble floor.  We need to put all of our resources into the people that Christ loves.  The stupid human trick is believing that the building matters.  It should be clean and safe.  It should be used.

I must assure that I never see the edifice as what matters.  It is always the use of it to further the Gospel that matters. 

The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead – Crash Test Dummies


Let’s Begin…

Peter Pumpkinhead came to town
Spreading wisdom and cash around
Fed the starving and housed the poor
Showed the Vatican what gold's for

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?
Oh my!

Peter Pumpkinhead pulled them all
Emptied churches and shopping malls
Where he spoke, it would raise the roof
Peter Pumpkinhead told the truth

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?
Oh my!

Peter Pumpkinhead put to shame
Governments who would slur his name
Plots and sex scandals failed outright
Peter merely said
Any kind of love is alright

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?
Oh my!

Peter Pumpkinhead was too good
Had him nailed to a chunk of wood
He died grinning on live TV
Hanging there he looked a lot like you
And an awful lot like me!

But he made too many enemies...
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkin
Hooray for Peter Pumpkinhead
Oh my oh my oh!
Doesn't it make you want to cry oh? 


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 January 2014

Stupid Human Tricks – Appearance of Evil

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have always been one to play with words.  I twist them, turn them inside out, and force them to reveal their innermost nuances.  When I do this out loud it often drives my children mad.  It also allows me to look at things from many perspectives. 

For years whenever I sought council from my Christian leaders about things that might be good but questionable I was told to “Avoid every appearance of evil.”  This comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:22 where it
reads “Abstain from every appearance of evil.”   According to my early advisers this meant that I was to never look like I was doing wrong.  This advice was used to manipulate me into following rules that have nothing to do with the Gospel. 

Taken in context (when reading the Bible context is EVERYTHING), the particular phrase is instructing me to abstain from evil whenever it appears.  This is always sound advice. 

It occurs to me that it is too easy to manipulate words.  One must assure that one does not use the valuable truths of the Bible for the purpose of manipulating others.  It is one of the stupid human tricks that minimizes the Gospel and hinders others from seeing Christ for who he really is.

I must assure that I avoid evil.  I must also assure that I do not use the Word of God for my own purposes.  It has its own purposes and those are much more vital than anything I could wring out of the words.  I will, however, continue to perform root canals on the Word of God to assure that I am doing what it says.  I want to live the truth and not just some stupid human trick version of it.


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 January 2014

Stupid Human Tricks – Going to Church

Greetings Dear Reader,

I love the church I attend and I truly believe that they get it right in trying to live out the Gospel.  In days past, when I first began to try and follow Christ the pastor at the church I attended would push everyone to be at every service.  There were three a week and he would actually say, “If you love God you come Sunday morning.  If you love your church you come Sunday night and if you love your pastor you come Wednesday night. As a young believer I wanted to show my love to all three and did all that I could to be there. 

The Bible verse used to “motivate” us to always be at church comes from the book of Hebrews 10:24-25 - We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things. 25 We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.

We were told that this meant we had to be a church every week.  I am sure that this is making that passage carry much more baggage than was intended.  It is using guilt and manipulation to push people into something.  I think that going to church is important and there is a place for it.  I also think that I must be there when I need to be there.

What is wrong is to coerce others into attending church.  I would ask which is more important: to be there or to be there because you are there with all your heart.  From time to time my Son and Daughter-in-law have need for care for my Grandsons on Sunday morning.  I will always choose to help them over attending a church service.

I took some time off from going to church to be sure I was going because I wished to go.  I love going to church.  I do not go every week and yet the echoes of guilt from that first pastor of my faith are still there.  We are not to burden others with the practice.  We are to increase their faith based actions.

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 January 2014

Second Thoughts – Iced Palm Trees Please

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.

I am originally from the South, Georgia to be specific.  Today my southern friends and family are being
Photo by Amanda Sue
visited by the coldest snow and ice they have seen in some years.  A friend in Pensacola, Florida posted the picture of the iced palm tree.  I have been listening to people cheer the snow and complain about the weather all day.

It put me in mind of how accustomed I have become to the cold and snow.  Three inches of snow is nothing to me and it shuts down Atlanta.  It is not a matter of anything other than being accustomed to it.  The hardships we know become the hardships we can handle. 

This pushes me to think that if I see all my difficulties in light of this that I can become better and handling them.  If I see the unusual problems as simply things to which I am not used but problems that can be handled then I can do better.  I can be more faithful and follow Christ more carefully.

I care about my friends who are unaccustomed to the frigid weather.  I hope they are safe and warm.  I would please me if they knew that their brief discomfort has given me a new insight into how I can 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."

Stupid Human Tricks – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Some people who are dear to me have become disillusioned with both faith and church.  I feel the pain of this daily as I pray for them.  I also endeavor to be honest about the gospel and following Christ.  Unfortunately I have not always done this and there are places where the church is not doing this well.

In an attempt to be clear I am thinking through some things that I feel we do as Christians that do not really communicate the gospel.  Please remember that these are my thinking on issues and not an attempt to tell others how to live.  I will say that it is vital that we consider all that we do in light of whether it communicates the Gospel and the love of Christ for everyone.

Unfortunately we still engage in things as a congress of believers that hinder the Gospel.  In thinking through these things I must assure that I only embrace practices that further the Kingdom of God in the ways that are a true reflection of who God is.  Too many times we damage the message by being poor messengers.

God cannot be judged by the actions of men.  It is a confusion of categories.  This does not mean that we do not judge God by his followers.  There is a car around town with a bumper sticker that reads, “Dear God, please protect me from your followers.” 

I am to follow Christ is such a way that others are drawn to follow as well.  I am responsible to put every area of my life into a perspective that echoes the things that Christ wishes others to see.  My journey is one that should draw others by my words and actions.  My journey must be free of the things that dilute and pollute the Gospel.  I invite you to walk with me and interact on these topics.

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 January 2014

What Am I Carrying – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

The journey is a difficult one.  The weariness of struggling with sin and assuring that I follow without being too much of anything involved in that following.  I must only embrace things vital to the gospel.

Further I must assure that I do not carry things that will make the journey more cumbersome and difficult.  Anger, fear, control, and guilt are all burdens we are not meant to carry.  When I allow them in my life I slow my progress in the journey.  Like lead they slow me and sap the energy required to do the proper things.

It becomes easier to avoid these burdens if I work at it.  It takes focus and effort not to collect things that will hinder me.  The good thing is that leaving these things behind leaves room for the things that ease the journey. 

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 January 2014

What Am I Carrying – Control

Greetings Dear Reader,

Would you please visualize something with me for a moment?  Picture for me a perfect oak leaf that has dried and fallen from the tree.  It is captured by a gust of wind.  Sailing on this breeze it flies above the trees and journeys far beyond the forest of its origin. 

Choose the alternate to delete control
I think that I forget that if I am following Christ this is what my life is supposed to be like.  Jesus said to Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it wills and you can hear the sound of it.  You cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So is everyone who is carried by the Spirit of God.”

As I write this the wind is gusting outside at 20-30 miles per hour.  Snow is blowing and drifting.  The wind delivers the flotsam and jetsam of the world through the air around my house.  None of the items carried by this vast wind are in control.  If I am carried by the wind of the Spirit then it is foolish to believe that I can control anything but my obedience to the Spirit.

When I try to control things I really mess them up for myself and others.  When I try to carry control I miss the ways in which the Spirit makes moment by moment course corrections for me so that I can take each step in the journey where he wishes me to take it.  I am not able to see things as God does and I must yield to his guidance.  After all, if I am following then I must let someone lead.

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 January 2014

What Am I Carrying – Anger

Greetings Dear Reader,

By God’s grace I have reached the point where I do not become angry as easily as I once did.  The anger pool is no longer brimming over always ready to flood.  There is, however, some deep anger that I have yet to root out. 

It is this that burdens the journey.  It is a wolf that is always at the door.  It is the tinder always wanting to catch fire.  When I am under pressure of stressed I can feel it banging against the door demanding to rule the moment. 

I must constantly find ways to forgive and restore.  I must always move on from anger to forgiveness.  Every time I keep the anger and stow it away I add burden to the journey.  It is not satisfied to sit there with its own weight and place.  It grows and gathers mass.  It infects other things.  It seeks to boil over and sing out whenever it wishes.

I must with diligence, discipline, and humility ferret out the anger and remove it from my kit.  I must not let fear and guilt allow me to hold onto it.  Anger has its place but that place must be short lived and infrequent.  That place where anger is allowed to live must be small and narrow.  It must have a short lease and a strict admission policy.

The sun must not set on my anger.  I must forgive before I seek sleep and rest.  I must empty anger from my pack daily.  I must not use my anger as an excuse to sin.  Hanging on to my anger gives a foothold to my enemy.  I must not let anger have any permanent place in my journey.

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 January 2014

What Am I Carrying – Fear

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have long thought that fear is the root of all things wrong in the world.  We fear that we will not have what we need so we do not love, give, or care enough for others.  Fear hinders so much when we give it space.  There are so many things I would love to do but fear holds me back.

There is a narrow healthy place for fear.  My Grandfather told me once when I felt afraid of something, “It is okay to feel afraid.  Never let the fear be in charge.”  Christ does not want me to fear things in a way that hinders me.  He rather wants me to feel the fear and let it make me more alert.  He still wants me to see him in that moment and keep following.

I know that most of the terrible choices I have made in life have been mired in selfishness that is born of fear.  Just as guilt tethers me to the past fear often leads me off the path.  If I follow my fear I am not following Christ. 

Fear is only there to get my attention.  No matter the situation it is still Christ who must guide me.  No matter how I feel the reality is that fear must not be a burden I carry.  The how of that is a choice.  The how of that is not always easy.  If I continue to follow no matter how I feel then I will be alright.

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 January 2014

What Am I Carrying – Guilt

Greetings Dear Reader,

I think that the weight of guilt may be one of the most malleable and dense things in the universe.  It seeks its own level, finds every available crevice, and replicates to stretch every available place in my spirit.  As it does all this it also increases its density to make every breath, step, and movement a laborious affair.

This is not how Christ wishes us to travel.  It is not the way in which I am to fill my heart and mind.  God’s blood bought our forgiveness.  His ridicule, pain, rejection, and death are there to free us from guilt.  I am free.

Unfortunately sometimes I still live as a slave.  I shackle my own good with the chains of things for which I am already forgiven.  I try to create good things and the weight of past sins holds me back from seeing and seeking my own potential.  I do well and imprison the joy of it because I dwell on failures that cannot be undone.

Christ wishes me to learn from the past but not be manacled to it.  If I carry guilt and regret for the past with me I cannot journey forward with the joy and love that Christ desires for me.  There must be no room in my kit for guilt that I should have left behind.

I must travel.  I must move with consistency and purpose.  I cannot carry guilt or it will hinder me from being all that I can be for Christ and 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."

21 January 2014

What Am I Carrying – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Every day when I leave for my other vocation I carry with me a pack that contains my laptop, my tablet, and some other technology I use in my trade.  It weighs about thirty eight pounds.  I always speak of the life I live as a journey.  It is my journey, our journey toward God.  I realize that you do not all agree with me but this is still where I am. 

When I pick up that pack to go to work it feels often heavy.  Recently it is heavier than in years past.  It has set me thinking of what I carry in my journey of life.  What are the things in my pack that hinder me?  What are the things which I should have with me at all times?

The journey is burdensome enough without carrying things I do not need.  Walk with me a bit if you will whilst I ponder this.  Let me know if I miss something.

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 January 2014

God Shuffled His Feet

Greetings Dear Reader,

I am sure some of you are thinking of the song as you read this title.  It is part of what is on my mind.  What I am really thinking about is the level of dissatisfaction that permeates the world.  I recently encountered a moment when I felt so dissatisfied with what I had just because of something someone else had.

This is such a subtle wickedness.  It is so wrong of me to forget how much I already have in the moment and to covet what others have.  I wonder what it will be like to be predisposed to be content. 

There are things that I want that are acceptable to want.  There are dreams that I have that I am trying to build based on how God has created me.  It is the dissatisfaction in the midst of plenty that plagues me.  I want to possess things.  I want more.  I have to be vigilant not to allow these raw desires to become what drives me. 

I must measure each thing in light of what is best for my journey with Christ.  Every thought must be held captive by my gratitude for what I have and by my desire to possess only those things which make the journey better.

I am rich in that all that the Father has is already mine.  I am poor because I forget that I am his heir and wish for things that are not eternal.  If I can be dissatisfied in this then I truly need to focus more deeply on being aware of what matters.

God Shuffled His Feet – Crash Test Dummies

After seven days
He was quite tired so God said:
"Let there be a day
Just for picnics, with wine and bread"
He gathered up some people he had made
Created blankets and laid back in the shade

The people sipped their wine
And what with God there, they asked him questions
Like: do you have to eat
Or get your hair cut in heaven?
And if your eye got poked out in this life
Would it be waiting up in heaven with your wife?

God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them;
The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him

So he said: "Once there was a boy
Who woke up with blue hair
To him it was a joy
Until he ran out into the warm air
He thought of how his friends would come to see;
And would they laugh, or had he got some strange disease?

God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them;
The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him

The people sat waiting
Out on their blankets in the garden
But God said nothing
So someone asked him: "I beg your pardon:
I'm not quite clear about what you just spoke
Was that a parable, or a very subtle joke?"

God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them;
The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him


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 January 2014

Come To Me To Start Again

Greetings Dear Reader,

Most of you know how much I love music.  Songs grip me and I will listen to them over and over until they work out the truth in me they are trying to bring to the surface.  Recently I was reminded of my love for the Goo Goo Dolls.  I realize most of you will immediately think of Iris.  This is a great song.

The song that has been wending its way through my mind and spirit, however, and a richer more hopeful love song.  I think that I forget sometimes that the journey with Christ is intended to be a Divine romance.  Christ courts us as the Bridegroom.  He loves of with so much passion and use the imagery of marriage as his seeking us.

He does not care how damaged and broken I am he still seeks me out.  He does not care how often I run away he still pursues me.  He does not care where I have been he just wants me to be willing to start again.  Love, forgiveness, restoration, and a new start are available to me daily. Lord knows I need it.

Enjoy your Sunday Dear Reader. In case you are wondering, I love you deeply. There is always time to start again.

Come to me Goo-Goo Dolls

I'll be kind, if you'll be faithful
You be sweet and I'll be grateful
Cover me with kisses dear
Lighten up the atmosphere
Keep me warm inside our bed
I got dreams of you all through my head
Fortune teller said I'd be free
And that's the day you came to me
Came to me

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo

Come to me my sweetest friend
Can you feel my heart again
I'll take you back where you belong
And this will be our favorite song
Come to me with secrets bare
I'll love you more so don't be scared
When we're old and near the end
We'll go home and start again

Ooo Ooo Oooo, Ooo Ooo Oooo

I caught you burnin' photographs
Like that could save you from your past
History is like gravity
It holds you down away from me
You and me, we've both got sins
I don't care about where you've been
Don't be sad and don't explain
This is where we start again
Start again

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo

Come to me my sweetest friend
Can you feel my heart again
I'll take you back where you belong
And this will be our favorite song
Come to me with secrets bare
I'll love you more so don't be scared
When we're old and near the end
We'll go home and start again
Start again

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo

Today's the day I'll make you mine
So get me to the church on time
Take my hand in this empty room
You're my girl, and I'm your groom

Come to me my sweetest friend
This is where we start again, again

Come to me my sweetest friend
Can you feel my heart again
Take you back where you belong
This will be our favorite song
Come to me with secrets bare
I'll love you more so don't be scared
When we're old and near the end
We'll go home and start again (yeah)
Start again (yeah)

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo

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 January 2014

Me Casa Su Casa – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

It is to be a hallmark of following Christ that I am generous.  God also requires me to give and do it cheerfully.  If I do this I can accomplish much in the way of following faithfully.

If I see things as mine and hoard them then I damage my ability to be free to follow Christ.  Following is truly a journey and all that I carry that is not part of the following slows me down.  At this point in my life I see how some things have become weight instead of wealth.

If I focus on generosity I will learn that I love to give.  I have seen how it works out in me.  I know the joy that I encounter when I have a house full of people.  I know the joy that I feel when I help others. 

I must live a life where my house is your house, my time is your time, and my things are your things.  I must seek opportunities to be generous and kind.  It has and will make a difference.  It will make the journey lighter and more filled with joy.

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 January 2014

Me Casa Su Casa – What About Things

Greetings Dear Reader,

Since possession are only to be tools to help in following Christ I must be ready to part with them when others have need.  I think it is easy to forget that we do not really own anything.  In light of the truth that all I have is allowed by God then “my things” are not truly mine.  If I fail to be generous with my possessions then I am not treating them as God would have me treat them.  Another aspect of this is that I am to depend on God for all my provision.  If I cling to things then I am not depending on God. 

I must also consider that “my things” provide me the opportunity to be generous to others.  If I cling to possession I cannot give freely.  Things I possess must not be possess me.  My things must be tools to the end of showing love, kindness, and generosity to others.

We live in a world where we can make a weekly television show about hoarding.  It takes an entire semi-truck toe move a household.  I have things I have not touched in five years.  All of this tells me that I must be generous with the bounty I possess.

Even as I write this I see things around me I do not need.  I begin to understand more and more why Christ told us to give things to others if they need them.  I must live a life where my things are your things because they are all God’s things.  If I can do this it creates a new level of freedom in following Christ.  The less I carry the lighter the journey.

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 January 2014

Me Casa Su Casa – What About Time

Greetings Dear Reader,

Time is one of those things astounds me.  In a day we all have the same amount.  How I use it is what matters.  Do I give my time to others when they need it?  Do I manage my life in such a way that I am available to others?

One of the things that I have learned over the last few years is how much I can be flexible in this area if I choose to do so.  One of things that teaches me the most is watching the needs of my eldest Son’s family.  Because they have to young sons it is always tough to find time to do things.

I have found great joy in remaining flexible with them.  I cannot understand how parents can put time demands on their children when there are little ones involved.  It is so much easier to be kind and patient about time and events.  It I a way of giving time that really benefits others.

Time is also one of those gifts that when I give it I must give it fully.  I have a friend who will gladly volunteer her time for things but then complain about how long it is taking from almost the first moment of the event.  We need to truly give our time when we volunteer.  I must be vigilant that I give this gift as wholeheartedly as I do any gift.

If I truly wish to make my time your time then I must use my other time wisely so that I am not rushed or hindered by other cares.  Like any other resource I am accountable to use my time to follow Christ more closely.  That does not mean that I am only to be doing things related to church or ministry but rather that every moment is used to follow Christ with all that I am.  I must be available to others to meet the needs that present themselves.  In truth, my time is belongs to no one but God and I must assure that I share what he gives me with 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."

15 January 2014

Mi Casa Su Casa – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

How often do we really need to give shelter to others anymore?  Yet we recognize the importance of hospitality for Christ followers.  It is only rarely that someone needs shelter in my home lately but when they do it gives me great joy to do so.  So how do I live out the command to have hospitality when there are few strangers knocking at my door?

My first assumption is that I must look for opportunities to be hospitable.  It must start with a heart conditioned to show openness and giving to others.  I must be looking for opportunities to give to the needs of others.  I must be outside of myself enough to be aware that others have needs.

What does it mean to live a life where hospitality is a part of my being and journey?  I am commanded to do so without grumbling.  I am to contribute to the needs of others by sharing what I have.  Being hospitable is associated with being holy, upright, and disciplined.  I have received and given shelter in time of need but I think there is more.

What are the things I can do that will make me a more hospitable person?  As I ponder this I wonder where the practical areas are in our current world.  I keep a spare room in my house for those in need.  I need to find a way to incorporate this into the rest of my life.  As I walk through my thoughts on this I hope you will join 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."

14 January 2014

Second Thoughts – The Square Kilometer Array


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.

Concept of the SKA
Thanks to a heads up from a friend I have been reading about the Square Kilometer Array from a standpoint of data collection.  The article I was reading mentioned that the array is expected to generate about ten petabytes of data every hour.  A single petabyte of data is 1024 1 terabyte drives.  A 1 terabyte drive will hold about 200 movies so we are talking about 2,048,000 movies per hour in data.

All of that information about our universe makes me feel very small.  As a person who trades in data when I am not trading in words I find that our need to store that which we collect growing at an alarming rate.  With the anticipated data generation so high I begin to wonder if we will become of world of data hoarders.

It makes me realize that in some ways I already am.  I have about six terabytes of data that I store and backup just for personal or social use.  In this long array of binary information are movies, music, pictures, and the data to run my various games and applications.

I am accountable for all I have.  I am to use all that I am given to better follow Christ.  In light of that what does this impending accumulation of these vast stores of knowledge mean for me?  I love space and the infinite imagination of God that created it.  Every new discovery fills me with wonder.  It is not enough, however, to see the magnificence and sit in awe of God.  I must find a way to use this to be a better follower of Christ.  I do not have the answers yet but the anticipation leaves me with much excitement.

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 Glass is ALWAYS Full

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I first encountered this statement and the accompanying graphic I could hear the voice of my eldest Son feigning irritation at me being technical.  I am sure I was literal or technical too often with him.

What struck me as I pondered the statement was that the glass is literally always full.  What we really mean is that we want the glass to be filled with the thing we want.  That the glass contains both air and water is only satisfying if it contains the proportions of air and water that we desire.

This puts me in mind of my attitude about need.  When we truly have a need then it is right to express that need.  That definition of need refers to something that essential to life and health.  In our culture we often use the word need to describe a discrepancy between that which exists and that which we desire.

God promises to provide all my needs according to the magnitude of his ability to provide.  This does not mean that I will get all that I desire but that I will have all that is essential.  God does care about what I desire and will provide those things as well when they match up with following him.

The glass is only half full when we are dissatisfied with the content of the other half.  It is my attitude and discontent that I must manage.  If I feel that I do not have enough of something I want I need to first assess my reason for wanting it.  I must manage my use of “need” in light of that which I truly need and that which I desire.

All of my desires are not bad and some of them are even noble.  I still need to assure that when I view a situation as half full, half empty, or complete that the view is in harmony with what Christ wishes for me.  The glass is always full.  Am I in tune with Christ and his provision for me in a way that I am satisfied with the content?

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 January 2014

What Fuels Me – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We all fill our tank from somewhere.  What we fill it with matters so much.  What matters more as the I am deliberate about the choices ahead of time.  Even the choices of how we fill our tanks with leisure matters.

I once filled a gas tank diesel.  The owner of the car had switched engines and did not tell me that the label “Diesel Fuel Only” was no longer accurate.  The car made it about a block.  It was salvageable and thanks to a friend I was able to drain the system and put it right.

No matter which tank I fill I must be aware of the fuel I use.  I must be vigilant that I only fuel my body, soul, and spirit with things that move closer to Christ and enable me to follow with all that 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."

12 January 2014

What Fuels Me – The Bible

Greetings Dear Reader,

Once again I will mention that I try not to “Bible thump” in my posts.  If you needed that or I needed to do it there are plenty of sources.  I do, however, want to be clear that I read, believe, and love the Word of God.  There was a time when I had the time and I read the entire Bible through once a MONTH.  Yes, I said month.

I still read it all the way through every year at least.  I gain stronger faith and love by this activity.  It took a long time for me to come to the place where I believed the Bible.  It took some time for me to develop the habit of regular reading.  Now I feel a loss when I do not read daily.

In this book for me are the guidelines for the journey with Christ.  There are the experiences of others to teach me what to avoid.  It is a weapon against those who would destroy my faith.  It is a reminder of my need to love, forgive, and care for others.  It is where I get the answers to some of my difficult questions.  It is also where I remember that all the answers are not there for me and that I need to be OK with not having all the answers.

If I had all the answers I would not need faith.  I am bound by Christ’s command to never stop loving.  In the Bible I find the reminders I need that I must be aware and motivated by both of these things.  I know that some of you have walked away from your faith in the Word of God.  I must live out this fuel so that you see that it is real 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."

11 January 2014

Second Thoughts – A Child’s Heart

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.

I was privileged to spend some time with my Son, my Daughter-in-Law, and my Grandsons tonight.  At one point my eldest Grandson (3) was sharing markers with the younger Grandson (1 ½)  as they were drawing pictures.  The eldest wanted to use one of the markers that the younger had in his hand. He tried to trade with his brother but the child refused.

When his mom suggested that he wait the elder brother did just that.  I have a thing I do with him when he does something very good.  I give him a “Time In”.  I called him over to me and gave him a big hug and thanked him for listening to him mum and being good to his brother.  He responded by being even kinder to his brother.   

You could see in his heart the delight in being honored for doing well.  I found that I was silently praying that he never loses that feeling. How much do we need to be reminded that when we do well our Father in heaven sees it and delights in us?  I know that sometimes I become weary of choosing to do what is right.

I find that sometimes I feel that others do not see the good I do then I am reminded that the love of the Father for what I do is enough.  It is enough to know that he is pleased.  I must learn to live every moment knowing that the joy in my Father’s heart is enough.

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."


What Fuels Me – Love

Greetings Dear Reader,

There are times when I am so filled with love for others that it overwhelms me.  I cannot do all the good I would do but I strive to do as much as I can.  I work to make this my prime mover.  When I succeed I make a difference in lives.  When I do not I cause harm and destruction.

Love is so powerful when it is given freely.  It quells fear.  It crushes barriers.  It changes lives.  It is when we fail to love that fear and selfishness becomes our motivators.  When I act out of love for others I can meet them where they are and invest in their lives appropriately.  When I do not I seek my own agenda.  When I do not act out of love things that do not matter take control of me.

Since love is to be my benchmark as a Christ follower it must be what drives me.  I have reviewed before that I must love my neighbor, my fellow believers, and my enemies.  For those who do not realize it that means everyone.  If I am fueled by love then I have the mover that allows me access to everyone.  It remains up to me to assure that I fire on all pistons with love for each person I encounter.

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 January 2014

What Fuels Me – Faith

Greetings Dear Reader,

Thank you for being patient with me whilst I worked through the less pleasant aspects of what drives me.  I could mention other things but the truth is that the two prime negative movers for me are those I have addressed. 

Fortunately God has provided things that fuel me that are good as well.  Faith is one of them.  I try to speak clearly and though I believe the Bible I try to not use it as my jumping point in these thoughts.  It does inform most of my thoughts.   I want to use two particular quotes

Hebrews 11:6 No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Romans 14:23 But if a person has doubts and still eats, he is condemned because he didn't act in faith. Anything that is not done in faith is sin.

If you are unsure of the context of these two quotes it is worth your time to read the surrounding text.  I do my best never to use quotes from the Bible out of context.  I feel that both of the statements about faith here translate universally based on the context.

If then I must have faith to please God and anything I do outside of faith that I am doing what is right is sin I must assure that faith is what drives me.  This is not intended to be a puerile statement.  Faith is to be an informed and intelligent.  I am to know why I do what I do in following Christ. 

There are times, however, when all I have is faith.  If I am not experienced at excising my faith then when that it all I have there will be little in the tank to move me onward.  Faith drives me at times.  There are things I do that I would not do were it not for the urging of my beliefs.  I am a better man than I would be without faith.

It drives me when I need to fight fear and greed.  It puts my perspective where it should be when other cares try to overwhelm me.  Faith comes easy for me and I must be aware that is not true for everyone.  It is the essence of what fires my soul to be faithful to Christ and to follow him.  There is a purer fuel for me and we will ponder that tomorrow.

By Faith – Michael Card

By faith one was commended for the sacrifice he made
Another out of holy fear built an ark the world to save
Another left his homeland and as a stranger he'd reside
But none received the promise then and so, in faith, they died.

Others conquered kingdoms, quenched the fury of the flames
Some made strong in battle, some were raised to life again
But many more were martyred midst the crowds loud clamoring
By faith they would not bow the knee nor kiss the emperor's ring

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

Being sure of what we hope for, seeing what is yet unseen
A universe from nothingness, new life where none had been
The known made from unknowable and hope for the comfortless
Who hear and hold on firmly to the faith that they possess

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

So fix your eyes upon the Champion as you seek to run the race
Understanding that He cheers you on as you long for His embrace
So hold on and do not grow weary of the faith that you profess
Remembering that you are ringed around by this cloud of witnesses

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

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 January 2014

What Fuels Me – Greed

Greetings Dear Reader,

Please be patient with me Dear Reader.  I will get to the positive stuff.  I must, however, address the things that hinder me so I can honestly embrace the things that are good that drive me.  In most cases I am a generous person.  There are areas in which I am as greedy as Midas.

When I am fueled by my desire to possess something it is a horrid thing.  I replace my love for Christ with obsession for a thing that I cannot truly possess.  This leads to me making poor choices about how I use my time and resources.  This results in other areas of my faith and following being neglected. 

For me the missing piece when I do this is that I think that I can actually find joy or satisfaction in a possession of any kind.  The love of any item is a pointless love.  The collections become sources of pride and arrogance for me.  I use them to make my status seem better when in truth my status can be no better than when I am fully following Christ.

It seems that when I exercise my greed that my tank feels full for a moment.  Then just as quickly the satisfaction is gone and I want more.  Greed is a hunger that can never be satisfied.  It is lust that goes always unfulfilled.  It is fuel that is consumed too quickly with not lasting economy. 

When I am seeking to fill my tank I must avoid this costly choice.  I must gravitate to things that will sustain me.  That which is fueled by greed does not last on the journey. 

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 January 2014

What Fuels Me – Fear

Greetings Dear Reader,

Unfortunately there are still times when I am driven by fear.  Most of the time this is a social problem.  I fear that others do accept me or approve of me.  This is so deeply rooted in the abuse and damage of my youth.  The past works hard to tether me to the pain and rejection.  For a long time I saw almost everything as a rejection of who I am.

By the grace of God I have moved beyond much of that but there are still times when my core reaction is fear.  There are still events where I feel that who I am is neither accepted nor valued.  In these moments giving in to fear causes me to fail to follow Christ properly.

When I fuel my motivations with fear I am by default putting my interests first.  This is always wrong.  If I fear that I am not being loved, appreciated, or valued as I wish to be then I am being self-centered.  It is not who others see me that matters.  It is accepting how Christ already knows and views me that must fuel me.

If I accept the love that Christ has for me then it will arm me to fight the fear.  If I act in fear then I am not excising my faith.  When I feel fear is it vital that I respond with faith.  It is only in this that I can assure that I am seeking Christ and not what I think I want or need in the moment.

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 January 2014

What Fuels Me – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I have worked through some things that I wish to address in my own life this year I have gone to the very core of what motivates me.  I spent some time listing things that I truly want in my life and how to get to them.  In order to do that, I had to choose things that I am going to remove from my life as well. 

As I pondered these things I saw that I got hung up on some things that are not healthy for me but I do them anyway.  I wondered what motivated me to be that person in that part of my life.  I realized that I had to address what fuels me in those places and by that I mean what drives me to do the things I would not.

Overall I am pondering what motivates me.  Everything I choose to devote my time to is fueled by something.  If I can address which engine is driving my choices then I can work toward only making the choices that are good for my life and following.  I can learn how to fuel only the engine that will move me closer to Christ.

As I think through these things it may seem simplistic at times.  It is, however, true that not everything about following Christ is complicated.

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 January 2014

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas – Epiphany

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

In truth we know very little concerning the Magi and their visit to Jesus.   It is likely that the visit was not very close to the birth but we celebrate it today.  They were not kings.  They were Magi.  We do not know their number or their names.  A great deal of myth has sprung up around them.

What touches my heart is what they did.  They traveled from far away to honor the birth of someone they did not know.  They did it based on the reading of the stars.  In those days there was not distinction between the science of astronomy and the practice of astrology.  A star informed them of the birth of Christ.  The religious leaders in Jerusalem filled in the birth place. 

All of this is told because of story that follows.  The Magi came to honor Christ.  A mad puppet King rightly saw the birth of Christ as a threat to his power.  In this small part of the Christmas story is a truth that permeates the journey of Christ to the cross.  Wonder and horror equally fill the story.  Life and death are at the center of the drama.

It is still this way.  The entire purpose of the Christmas season is the act of God turning death into a fighting chance to live.  As I turn from Christmas trees to palm branches in my thinking I realize that the cradle is always the first step toward the grave.  We cannot get to the cross or the empty tomb is we do not have the incarnation.

For this reason if no other my heart must always be fixed on the celebration of the birth with a tear in my eye for the cross and joy in my heart for the resurrection.  In this we live and move and have our being.

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 January 2014

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas – Twelfth Night

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

I hope that his part of the journey has been enjoyable for you.  With the end of my post on the twelve days of Christmas I also complete my vacation.  I have had some good times and some needed rest. 

Twelfth Night cake - Origin of the
"King Cake"
It always saddens me a bit to put away the decorations and begin the long winter watch until spring.  I love the cold and snow but to me it is much more pleasant with the coloured lights and festive draping.  One of the most profound moments was when my Grandson said something that one does not expect from a three year old.

We were talking about all his presents that he got for Christmas and I light heartedly asked if he had enough presents.  He looked me straight in the eye and said, “We have enough presents.  We have lots of toys and I am happy.” 

So much of what we do seems centered around getting more.  I do not need more stuff and I truly lack very little.  This year I wish to give and become more.  I wish give more of my time to things that change lives. I long to become more loving to my family and friends.  I want to become more of a writer and less of any other professional pursuit. 

I may be putting away the trees and the decorations but I never truly put Christmas away.  I carry Christmas in my heart every day.  Nothing about it is more important to me than celebrating the Son of God by honoring him in all that I do with my life.  My last post on this will be with the Epiphany tomorrow.  Today I will mourn slightly over the departure of the trappings for a season.  I will not, however, put away Christmas as long as I live.

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 January 2014

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas – Saint Simon Stylites

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

I am not going to spend any time talking about Simon. One can read about him here if one wishes.  I am going to say that on this day I wish to honor everyone who takes all or a portion of the life given them to devote time to prayer and solitude with God.  I take a little time each day for this and must say that it serves as a good thermostat to the remainder of my day.

It is with this in mind that I approach this eleventh day of Christmas.  I have spent time each day pondering Christ and what I must do to be a better follower.  I have spent time in prayer for my family and friends.  I have reviewed my life in light of what makes an eternal difference.

I think that if I do not do these things deliberately I will ignore them passively.  My time of solitude and thinking has led to some decisions for change and even some acknowledgement of things I have accomplished.  I always want to remain in this place until I remember the richness of those in my life.  It would be easy to become reclusive and isolated but that will not get me closer to the task of loving and serving others.

Mountain Top – Amy Grant

I love to sing and I love to pray
Worship the Lord most every day
I go to the temple and I just want to stay
To hide from the hustle of the world and its ways

And I'd love to live on a mountain top
Fellowshipping with the Lord
I'd love to stand on a mountain top
'Cause I love to feel my spirit soar

But I've got to come down from that mountain top
To the people in the valley below
Or they'll never know that they can go
To the mountain of the Lord

Now praising the Father is a good thing to do
To worship the trinity in spirit and truth
But if we worshiped all of the time
There would be no one to lead the blind

But I'd love to live on a mountain top
Fellowshipping with the Lord
I'd love to stand on a mountain top
'Cause I love to feel my spirit soar

But I've got to come down from that mountain top
To the people in the valley below
Or they'll never know that they can go
To the mountain of the Lord

Now I am not saying that worship is wrong
But worship is more than just singin' a song
It's all that you say and everything that you do
It's letting his spirit live through you

Still I'd love to live on a mountain top
Fellowshipping with the Lord
I'd love to stand on a mountain top
'Cause I love to feel my spirit soar

But I've got to come down from that mountain top
To the people in the valley below
Or they'll never know that they can go
To the mountain of the Lord

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 January 2014

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas – Jesus

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

Today is the day when we intentionally venerate the name of Jesus.  This is one of those things that amaze me.  The name is derived from the Hebrew word that means “Jehovah is salvation”.  Is that not what all this celebration is supposed to be concerned with?  God came to “be with us” so that he could redeem us. 

He came as a child.  That child, given to us is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.  It seems more and more in our culture that you can do all the good you wish as long as you do not do it in the name of Jesus.  It is this name that is to set us apart.  It is this name that is to be a Scandalon (stone of stumbling) for those who both accept and reject him.

It still saddens me when the name Jesus is used as an epithet.  It saddens me further that those who follow
Christ have made it easy to do so by their failure to be the salt and light that they should. 

As I celebrate the tenth day of Christmas I must be aware that it is Jesus who must be emulated and central.  I must make my life such that his name is one that gives pause to others.  I must not take the name for foolish or selfish purposes.  I must not treat Jesus either lightly so as to diminish my respect for him as God.  Neither can I treat him with such austerity that I neglect his humanity.

It is no accident that Jesus causes division.  I must live in such a way that the division is only the result of people who resist Christ and not by poor attention to love, kindness, and holiness.  I cannot live as though every moment must be wrapped in my devotion to this name, but I must do it in such a way that others benefit from my actions not pontification.   

Scandalon – Michael Card

The seers and the prophets had foretold it long ago
That the long awaited one would make men stumble
But they were looking for a king to conquer and to kill
Who'd have ever thought He'd be so meek and humble

He will be the truth that will offend them one and all
A stone that makes men stumble
And a rock that makes them fall
Many will be broken so that He can make them whole
And many will be crushed and lose their own soul

Along the path of life there lies a stubborn Scandalon
And all who come this way must be offended
To some He is a barrier, To others He's the way
For all should know the scandal of believing

He will be the truth that will offend them one and all
A stone that makes men stumble
And a rock that makes them fall
Many will be broken so that He can make them whole
And many will be crushed and lose their own soul

It seems today the Scandalon offends no one at all
The image we present can be stepped over
Could it be that we are like the others long ago
Will we ever learn that all who come must stumble

He will be the truth that will offend them one and all
A stone that makes men stumble
And a rock that makes them fall
Many will be broken so that He can make them whole
And many will be crushed and lose their own soul

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."