31 July 2014

Am I Enough – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

From time to time I like to travel for a bit with people I long to meet.  Once a long time ago, when I was in the grasp of a poor life choice one of my closest friends told me that I just needed to be alone like Job.

He truly turned out to be like one of Job’s friends.  I, however, was nothing like Job.  My behavior has since improved and I would still not consider myself anything near Job.  I was very wrong back then but anyone who knew would see that leaving me alone was the very worst thing to do.

Job is one of my favorite people in the Old Testament.  He has many lessons to teach us about walking with God.  He has many things to teach us about the character of God and his love for us.  He also has much to teach us about adversity. 

God is asking Job a simple question.  It is one that we all have to answer eventually.  God asks Job, “Am I enough? Will you be satisfied with just me?”  This is much harder of a question than it seems.  Job is asked this question is the midst of great terror and pain.

I intend to close the summer walking with Job.  Someone I love dearly is walking through great pain and sorrow at this time.  He does not have the comfort of a close walk with God to see him through the pain.  I am searching for ways to help him and ways to assure that I keep my integrity whilst helping him.

Walk with me if you wish.  As always your thoughts and questions are welcome.

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 2014

Words out of Fashion – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Jesus made it clear to us that he was the living Word of God.  We use so many words that are not loving or necessary.  When God wanted to communicate his love to us he sent Jesus as the living Word. 

Communication is the foundation of all that we do to interact as people.  Our primary vehicle for that is the use of words.  When we use words that are true but offensive in love we are never wrong.  Words like sin and accountability are necessary but never to be used to bludgeon others.

I am only to use them from a position of love and compassion for those still trapped in a life without Christ.  Too often we use words as weapons that are the same words that apply to our own guilt before God.  We have power, authority, and words.  We are only to use them from a position of humility born of commonality. 

We must use unpopular words at time but only to communicate to others their need for Jesus.  I can only do this once I have earned the right to be heard by using my actions, my heart, and yes my words in a way that reflects Christ.

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 2014

Words out of Fashion – Jesus

Greetings Dear Reader,

Although Jesus is never truly out of fashion it has become very unpopular to talk about him.  I must admit that his followers are largely responsible for this.  If we behaved in the way that we should Jesus would be very popular.

Our reputation is what becomes Christ’s reputation in our culture.  Unfortunately the worst of us gets the attention.  Whether it is a greedy televangelist or a pastor using his pulpit to teach hatred that is not who Jesus is.  When we do wrong things in the name of Jesus we damage the ability to communicate his message to the world.

Jesus is so many things that I become word-tied trying to think about describing him.  I wonder how many people who have opinions about Jesus have actually read the Gospels.  An honest look at who Jesus is by those who do not believe is vital.

I must live in a way that makes people want to know who Jesus is.  Part of my obligation as his follower is to help others see him as he is.  I must live out his love, compassion, and forgiveness in honest humility.  We no longer live in a society where one can assume that people understand who Jesus is.  I cannot ignore their need but must allow them to find Jesus and hopefully my life will help them seek 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."

28 July 2014

Words out of Fashion – Honor

Greetings Dear Reader,

We speak of this in reference to our military and the sacrifices made for our continuing freedom.  That is good and just.  We should never lose sight of it.  That, however, is not the end of the honor we need as a society.

We need to be a people of honor.  We need to be people who honor our word, our elders, and each other.  Honor is not something elusive and high profile.  Honor is keeping our word in little things. 

It is protecting the hearts of children by being good to their other parent.  It is seeing the needs of others ahead of our own needs.  Honor is loving someone because they exist not because they seem worthy. 

Following Christ for me is about daily honoring his wishes for me as his follower.  It is putting aside what I want from others and being good to them.  It is seeing others do wrong and loving them instead of judging, rejecting, or hating them. 

If I am to honor Christ then I must balance honesty and humility.  I must always seek to be good to others.  I must think, feel, and act in harmony with Christ.  Everything about honor is tied to God.  I believe that I cannot honor anyone else without honoring Christ first.

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 2014

Words out of Fashion – Sin

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sin is defined as an immoral act that is considered a transgression against moral law.  Before I say anything else about this thorny topic let me be very clear that everyone sins.  I sin.  This is not a judgment in any way.  It is a part of the human condition.

Whenever something is pointed out as a sin in our culture we are accused of being judgmental by those who find that particular sin acceptable.  Some things, when identified as sin result in the identifier being seen as hateful and bigoted. 

I do think that we spend too much time focused on the sin of others.  We focus on our own sin.  If I put my energy into following Christ and showing his love to others I can impact them in a way that their sin becomes evident to them.  I do not need to point it out.  That is the job of the Holy Spirit.

As a culture we embrace that idea that if we deny something is wrong it is not wrong.  Unfortunately we do not get to determine that.  By denying sin we deny our accountability to God.  We deny that there is a moral standard that we do not get to determine.  My refusal to submit to those standards does not absolve me of the accountability to them.  That is the essence of sin: failure to adhere to God’s standards.

It is unpopular to use the word sin but sin still exists for all of us.  Here is the litmus test: You shall love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and mind.  You must love your neighbor, your friend, and your enemies.  If you do all of this all the time you are sinless.  If you say you do all of this all the time then you are a liar and, therefore, not sinless.  I know that I fail.  I know that I sin. 

It may be unfashionable to say so.  That does not remove us from the need to see that we sin and avail ourselves of God’s forgiveness. 

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 2014

Words out of Fashion – Accountability

Greetings Dear Reader,

When we remove ourselves from a system of accountability we are in the position where we do that which is right in our own eyes.  We are terrible at governing ourselves.  We want our own wants and desires over most things.

I realize that sounds harsh but as an observer of people, we most often do what we want to do no matter it impacts others.  I am not talking about the big things.  I refer to the everyday lack of accountability. 

When we are not accountable for our actions we are selfish and neglectful.  We put our wants above the needs of others.  We relegate the real needs around us to below our passions and privilege.  As we leave accountability behind we also lose the bedrock that holds us to our obligations.

I must be accountable to Christ for every aspect of who I am and what I do.  His standards must be mine.  His values must be mine.  I must not do anything small or large that is not a show of fealty to his rule over my life. 

I cannot just give my life to Christ.  I must be accountable for every moment simply because he owns them all and has authority over me.  If I do this enough I will realize that I can get to the place where I do so out of love for him and all that he 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 2014

Words out of Fashion – Standards

Greetings Dear Reader,

It seems that everywhere there used to be clear lines of right and wrong our culture has chosen to blur those lines.  One of my favorite books is The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett.  I remember my Grandfather coaching me on having standards for right and wrong.

I am never going to try to tell someone what his or her standards should be but I do believe that as a society lowers its standards the society erodes.  There are injustices in our culture.  There are people in need in our society.  I think that the first place standards need to be addressed is by Christ followers.

We are responsible for the needs of others, full stop.  We spend more effort on the television, the boat, or the golf swing than we do on the poor and homeless.  We allow those who do not follow Christ to dictate what we consume.

Everything about what we do has to have standards that align with Christ.  I must assure that my beliefs on social issues conform to who Christ is and what he asks me to be as his follower.

A dear friend reminded me of the word sacred yesterday.  This word refers to things that are set apart to God.  It evokes the holy, hallowed, and consecrated in our lives.  We need to have standards that are sacred.  I need to assure that my values and virtues align with Christ no matter what popular thought tells me to think.

It is a lie that I have to agree with you to love you.  It is a violation of the basic standards of following Christ that we have to be tolerant of everything.  I have to have clear standards for my faith and following without using them to hammer on others.  My standards must set me apart in a way that draws others to Christ.

My standards must not be an offensive weapon.  I cannot expect those who do not share my faith to do as I do.  I cannot expect those who do follow Christ to be the same as me.  The standards must be mine as a tool to live the life of a Christ follower in a way that is consistent and faithful.  That is enough to manage without demanding it of 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."

24 July 2014

Words out of Fashion – Vow

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that we only use this word in certain contexts currently.  Those contexts, however, are vital.  The primary usage for those who do not believe as I do is in marriage. 

The problem is that we do not seem to realize that the lack of use indicates the importance of the matter.  The use of “vow” indicates the solemn nature of what is being promised.

vow [vou]
Noun
·         a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment: marriage vows; a vow of secrecy.
·         a solemn promise made to a deity or saint committing oneself to an act, service, or condition.
·         a solemn or earnest declaration.

Verb (used with object)
·         to make a vow of; promise by a vow, as to God or a saint: to vow a crusade or a pilgrimage.
·         to pledge or resolve solemnly to do, make, give, observe, etc.: They vowed revenge.
·         to declare solemnly or earnestly; assert emphatically (often followed by a clause as object): She vowed that she would take the matter to court.
·         to dedicate or devote by a vow: to vow oneself to the service of God.

A vow is a guarantee.  It is something that binds someone to a course of action, a person, or a life choice.  This is one of those instances where what God has to say on the matter, well matters.

Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 The Amplified Bible (AMP)
4-6 When you vow a vow or make a pledge to God, do not put off paying it; for God has no pleasure in fools (those who witlessly mock Him). Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not allow your mouth to cause your body to sin, and do not say before the messenger [the priest] that it was an error or mistake. Why should God be [made] angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?

Vows are one way streets.  Unfortunately we have become a culture where this is not understood.  It is still true but we live as if it is not.  Whether it is marriage, faith, or civil a vow is binding even when we no longer want it to be binding. 

I have violated this truth and the consequences still echo throughout my life.  I have watched others violate vows and the slow but incessant consequences continue.   Those who make vows to God and think they are free of them because they stop believing are in serious error. It is true that vows are serious matters.

I must keep the vows that I have made that are not beyond my reach.  I must not judge or be unloving to those who do not do the same.  I must also see that failing to keep a vow to God does have consequences that are unavoidable.  I realize it is not popular but vows are never things that fall out of fashion with God.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

23 July 2014

Words out of Fashion – Vulgar

Greetings Dear Reader,

I think that we have completely lost a sense of understanding of this word.  Dictionary.com defines vulgar as:
1.    characterized by ignorance of or lack of good breeding or taste: vulgar ostentation.
2.    indecent; obscene; lewd: a vulgar work; a vulgar gesture.
3.    crude; coarse; unrefined.

We live in a culture where that which is vulgar is increasingly acceptable.  It is those who see vulgarity in art, language, and music as acceptable that create an issue.  Words that were once labeled as unacceptable for common use are now overheard by children at the grocery store.

So many things in our music and art celebrate vulgarity.  I am not a prude nor am I trying to tell someone else how to live.  It does bother me greatly that is more acceptable to publicly drop the “F” bomb that it is to talk about Jesus unless you are including him in the vulgarity. 

I am not going to tell someone else how to live.  I do find it offensive that we have lost the respect of those around us in this way.  Vulgarity becomes more acceptable and we celebrate it over things that are good.

This is one of those issues that creeps for me.  I think that if I do not set and maintain a standard that I begin to see things as acceptable that are not.  I must assure that my consumption of art and my use of language are aligned with respect and love for others.  I must guard my tongue so that I do not say things that are offensive.  If I edge toward indecency then one day I will be indecent.  That is not how I wish to be as one who follow Christ.

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 2014

Words out of Fashion – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

People who know me well will verify that I love words.  I see words as the essence of communication.  I choose the words I use carefully and savor the inference of meaning.  I realize that this exasperates some of you but what I care about is clear communication.

Being a speaker of English I enjoy a language where works are borrowed, co-opted, pillaged, and kidnapped from other languages.  There are so many ways to say things.  Words drift in and out of popularity depending on the environment, culture, or many other factors.

Some words need to stay in our culture that have fallen out of fashion.  When we lose some terms from common understanding I feel that it erodes our culture.  I know that I need to keep them on my radar so that they remain a part of who I am.  I do not mean that I wish to be every word I will discuss but rather that I want to assure that I either embrace or avoid the ideal that the word represents.

Many words are clear in their meaning.  Others have variations of meaning or are so full that they need context.  As I have always told my students when it comes to words context is everything.  Let us walk a little further discussing words that I feel are vital to our culture.  Your thoughts as always are welcome.

The Final Word – Michael Card

You and me we use so very many clumsy words.
The noise of what we often say is not worth being heard.
When the Father’s Wisdom wanted to communicate His love,
He spoke it in one final perfect Word.

He spoke the Incarnation and then so was born the Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine.

And so the Father’s fondest thought took on flesh and bone.
He spoke the living luminous Word, at once His will was done.
And so the transformation that in man had been unheard
Took place in God the Father as He spoke that final Word.

He spoke the Incarnation and then so was born the Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine.

And so the Light became alive
And manna became Man.
Eternity stepped into time
So we could understand.

He spoke the Incarnation and then so was born the Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine.

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 July 2014

Mica Man – Broken for Use – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

The thing about mica is that is has little use in its raw form other than geological study or the curiosity small boys.  It must be separated or processed to be of use.  It must be broken to become whole.

Those who would really follow Christ must do the same.  Everything about following Christ is deconstruction and reconstruction.  I must allow Christ to peel back the layers and reform them into something of use to him. It is only then that his light can get through.

It is only through that process the dross is left behind.  It is only through it that the light can get through each layer.  I must be broken to be of use.  It is the sum of my parts in the hands of Christ that can change me and benefit the lives of others.  Outside of that I am just a dull brown rock that crumbles easily under pressure.

Father – Terry Talbot

The alabaster case of oil was open
And washing the feet of Jesus
The sweet perfume was poured

I am like the cask I must be broken
So from my heart will flow
A life unto my Lord

Father break me,
Take me through the fire,
O Father hold me mold me,
Just as you desire
I am just a cup to overflow your will
But I know I must be empty to be filled

I saw myself as only drifting
Lost upon the waters
Sinking like a stone

Then your tide washed around me  
I was lifted
If I follow the morning star I’ll be sailing home.

Father break me,
Take me through the fire,
O Father hold me mold me,
Just as you desire
I am just a cup to overflow your will
But I know I must be empty to be filled

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 2014

Mica Man – Isinglass

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the uses of mica that is not as common is that of making peepholes for boilers and furnaces.  The isinglass is much stronger than common glass and more resistant to the heat.  It allows a view that might not otherwise be available.

I too am to be transparent and resilient.  I am to allow a view of Christ and his intensity in a way that is safe.  Clear transparent safety is the type of love I am supposed to show everyone.  If I fail to be these things then I cannot show others an honest view of who Christ is.

It is easy to tell others who Jesus is and why they need him.  It is another thing to live it; show it.  How I treat others is the only way I can show them the validity of Jesus as someone to follow.  No argument speaks louder than genuine kindness.  No apologetic is more convincing than unconditional love.  Nothing can show Christ more clearly than real transparency.

I must be transformed into isinglass that allows others to see Christ in a safe and inviting way.

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 2014

Mica Man – Layers Donkey

Greetings Dear Reader,

There is this scene in Shrek where Shrek is explaining to Donkey about the nature of ogres. He explains that ogres are like onions; they have layers.  He also runs through all of the things that ogres supposedly do that are evil and mean.

He acknowledges that his reputation is one that is not good.  I must always own my failures.  It is not that I must dwell on them or make them the sole composite of my layers.  I must allow that they are part of the composite that forms my layers.

I must be aware of the way they impact my thinking so that I prevent them from impacting my actions.  I know some people so tethered to their failures that use them to manipulate others.  Others use the layers of failure to keep them from acting on good things.  I must that I am made of the layers that are success and failure.

It is the sum of who I am that I must bend to Christ and his desires for me.  The pain and failure are part of that.  I must find a way to allow Christ to use my failures to make me better.  I must not allow them to limit who I become.  They are in the past.  Christ has forgiven me.  There may still be consequences but I must endure those and build better layers through them.
 
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 2014

I Need Your Help

Greetings Dear Reader,

I try to only share what I am walking and not ask anything of you.  Today I need your help Dear Reader.  My family is in need of much prayer.  Things are unfolding that will cause pain and harm.  Please pray for my Children and Grandchildren.

Pray also that I have wisdom in every word I speak and every thought I allow to 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."

17 July 2014

Mica Man – Infinite Layers

Greetings Dear Reader,

I said yesterday that I must allow Christ to see all my layers.  In truth he already does.  I cannot hide anything from God.  A more accurate way to say it is to admit to all the layers that I have and yield them all to Christ.

40,000 plus galaxies and counting
The reason that Christ can identify and understand all of my layers is because of his infinite layers.  If I hope to be freed at every level I must acknowledge the ability of Christ to understand all of those layers.

It is knowing that someone knows me better than even I know myself that can give me the courage to delve into the many layers.  If I am to live a life pleasing to God then all of me must yielded to Christ.  Every layer, every doubt, every hope, and every moment must be his.

I must confess that I do not always know how to do this.  I suppose that it begins with believing that Christ can and will do this in me.  Then it is a process of moment by moment choosing to yield each layer as it is revealed.  It is choosing to follow no matter how painful the path seems in the moment.

If I seek to know the infinite layers of Christ then he will show me how to yield the layers of who I am to him.  He must daily become my entire fulfillment and felicity.    

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 2014

Mica Man – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I was very young I had a brief romance with geology.  I was fascinated by rocks.  I had been exposed to quartz and its many colours and forms.  Marble was a wonder to me.  The rock that spurred my deep interest was one I found in my back yard.  It was mica.

I found a piece about the size of a dinner plate in the construction area behind my house.  I was six and easy to amaze.  I love how it peeled off into thin transparent layers.  I spent days examining, peeling, and imagining uses for this amazing rock.

Mica is a silicate mineral.  It has many uses.  What mica mostly taught me about was layers.  It comes to mind often when I think about a problem that there are many layers to it.  Many things are below the surface and I may not see them.

Who I am and how I live is also like Mica.  I am composed of layers.  As one who wishes to follow Christ I must allow him to see all those layers.  I will spend some time trying to figure out how to make every layer available to Christ.  Perhaps we can find something that will help you too 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."

15 July 2014

The Crimson Thread – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize there are many more stories through which we could travel.  Other issues are demanding my attention and I think I have mad my point.  Christ is there in everything.  He is there every moment working to bring us back from the destruction we have caused.

The cross is the great divider of time.  The time we looked forward to the redemption and the time we look back to it all focus on the cross.  Jesus, the living God walked through all history to the cross.  He died there to redeem the sin of Adam and all his unborn children.  He walked out of the tomb as proof that God accepted the payment for our sin.  All he asks of us is a little faith.

This just might be the best bargain ever…for us.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

14 July 2014

The Crimson Thread – David and Goliath

Greetings Dear Reader,

This is one of the stories that appealed to me so much as a boy.  I always saw myself as David of course.  I have fought and slain giants in my life.  Most of them were giants I created through my own selfishness and sin.

David was brave and prepared.  He loved God.  He sought God’s heart and despised anything that hindered that seeking.  Later in life he failed in great ways but he always returned to his pursuit of God’s heart.  He always came back to that place where he acknowledged his need for and dependence on God.

There are many good things to learn from David.  There are giants that cry against the power of the living God.  There are ways to defeat them.  The story is grand and beautiful.  I think, however, that we miss who we really are in the story.

I think that we are the Israelites watching all of this unfold.  We are the ones on the sidelines letting a twelve year old boy do the great things of faith that we should be doing.  Too often we wait for others to act.

I must move.  I must follow.  I must be willing to risk it all to be who God wishes me to be for his purposes.  I can become David in the story but only if I stop watching when it is time to face Goliath.  Who then is David?  He is Jesus,  He is the one facing down the giant of our sin.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

13 July 2014

The Crimson Thread – Moses

Greetings Dear Reader,

I had a teacher years ago who summed up Moses’ life in this way.  “It took Moses forty years to become somebody.  It took God forty years to show Moses he was a nobody just like everyone else.  God used the next forty years showing Moses just how much he can use a nobody.”

One of the key elements to Moses story is the redemption of Israel from slavery in Egypt and the establishment of a new nation.  He also used Moses to establish his laws wish Israel.  The thread is evident throughout the interaction with Israel.  Everything about the law is intended to lead us to our need for Christ.

The Ten Commandments for example serve the purpose of showing us our sin.  They teach us that we do wrong.  They show us that we are in need of redemption.  The crimson thread is woven deeply and richly in teaching us that we need Christ. 

I am a crooked stick.  Even though my heart’s desire is to follow Christ as closely as possible I fail.  The law of Moses shows me my need for a redeemer.  It confirms that I am fallen like Adam and everyone between us.  The Law is the teacher that shows me why I need Christ.  The tapestry grows and my part in it is to see Christ.

Exodus 20:1-17

And God spoke all these words:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery.  You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.  You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” 

The Ten Commandments – The Statler Brothers

Moses led God's children out to find the promised land
And on the way he stopped each day and looked to Heaven and
Asked God for help as he could not withstand the task alone
And then one day he looked away and thereby lay a stone
God said write upon this stone these words I say to you
And if you all obey My rules I'll see you safely through
God opened Heavens doors and then He guided Moses hand
And said go and tell My children these are My Commands

Go and climb that mountain Moses
Climb that mountain now and pray
Climb that mountain now and tell us
What our Lord has had to say

Thou shall have no gods before Me is My first Command
And thou shall not make any graven image by thy hand
Thou shalt not take My name in vain and thou wilt guiltless be
Remember thou to keep the Sabbath day alone for Me
Honor thy father and thy mother and Thou shall not kill
Thou shall not commit adultery and Thou shall not steal
Love thy neighbor as thyself and show thy neighbor peace
Covet not thy neighbor's house nor anything that's his

Go and climb that mountain Moses
Climb that mountain now and pray
Climb that mountain now and tell us
What our Lord has had to say

Moses showed these words of God to all the children there
They pulled up stakes and headed out to find the Promised Land
That Moses had described to them and told of comforts there
The children of oppression thought they'd not find anywhere
But they were soon to part from him and push alone awhile
For it was never meant for him to walk that final mile
The children cried as we must go on Moses without you
Then talk to God just one more time and tell us what to do

Go and climb that mountain Moses
Climb that mountain now and pray
Climb that mountain now and tell us
What our Lord has had to say

Go and climb that mountain Moses
Climb that mountain now and pray
Climb that mountain now and tell us
What our Lord has had to say

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 2014

The Crimson Thread – Job

Greetings Dear Reader,

I think that I will spend some extended time with Job (pronounced with a long “o” as in probe, globe, and lobe) again later this year.  He is one of my favorite people.  I look forward to meeting him one day to tell him how his life helped mine.  The crimson thread here is in the way God deals with Job.  God believes in Job so deeply that when being questioned by Satan he uses Job as an example of those who love him.

Job knows that he is awaiting redemption.  He knows he will see his redemption.  He believes in the resurrection of man by the redeemer.  He loves God and his children.  He is an example of Christ as the suffering servant in many ways.  He is also someone who I would emulate.

There are many reasons to honestly look at this man.  For now I will remember he suffered much more than I ever have and his faith was true.  So was his humility and integrity.  I must strive to do the same.

Job Suite – Michael Card
(I realize this is long but it is well worth the listen) 

Blameless and upright, a fearer of God
A man truly righteous, no pious facade
One about whom God was accustomed to boast
And so one whom Satan desired the most

One day the accuser came breathing out lies
"It's Your holy handouts, his faithfulness buys"
In one desperate day his possessions were lost
His children all killed in one raw holocaust
His children all killed in one raw holocaust

And yet through it all; through the tears and pain
He worshiped his God Found no reason to blame

Once more the Deceiver denounced and decried
"It's skin for skin, and hide for hide,
Strike down his flesh and he'll surely deny
And confess that his praying has all been a lie."

"Very well, take him," the Holy One sighed
But you must spare his life, my son shall not die
So Job was afflicted with terrible sores
Sat down in the ashes to wait for the Lord
Sat down in the ashes to wait for the Lord

And yet through it all; through the tears and pain
He worshiped his God Found no reason to blame

A throne of ashes
A crown of pain
A sovereign of sorrow
A mournful reign

May the day of my birth be remembered no more
May darkness and shadow come and claim it once more
Why did I not perish on that dreadful day
And sleep now where kings and counselors lay

What I dreaded most has now come upon me
Why is light given those in misery?
I loathe my own life, so my tears fall like rain
As I find that there is no peace in my pain

Lord, send a Comforter now to my door
So that this terror will frighten no more
A Counselor between us, to come bear my oath
Someone who could lay a hand on us both

These friends of mine are no comfort to me
So deafly they listen, so blindly they see
Their words and their doctrine, they all sound so true
The problem is Lord, they're all wrong about you!

I know my Advocate waits upon high
My Witness in heaven sees the tears that I cry
A true intercessor who will condescend
To plead with God as a man pleads for his friend

If I've been untrue, if I've robbed the poor
If I'm without guilt, what am I suffering for?
God would not crush me for some secret sin
And though He slay me still I'll trust in Him

I know now that my Redeemer's alive
He'll stand on this earth on the day He arrives
And though my own body by then is no more
Yet in my flesh I know, I'll see the Lord
I'll see the Lord,
I'll see the Lord

Who is it that darkens my counsel?
Who speaks empty words without knowledge?
Brace yourself up like a man
And answer me now, if you can

Can you put on glory and splendor?
What's the way to the home of the light?
Does your voice sound like the thunder?
Are you not afraid?
Where were you when earth's foundations were laid?

Who gave the heart its wisdom; the mind its desire to know?
Can you bind the stars; raise your voice to the clouds?
Did you make the eagle proud?

Will the ox spend the night by your manger?
Did you let the wild donkey go free?
Can you take leviathan home as a pet?
If you merely touched him, you'd never forget

Who is it that darkens my counsel?
Who speaks empty words without knowledge?
Brace yourself up like a man
And answer me now, if you can

I am unworthy, how can I reply?
There's nothing that you cannot do
You are the storm that calmed my soul
I place my hand over my mouth
I place my hand over my mouth

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 July 2014

A Pause of Recognition

Greetings Dear Reader,

I am pausing in my current writing cycle to recognize my younger Son, Bezel.  Yesterday we celebrated his birthday.  He is fine Son whom I love dearly.

I have seen how loyal he is to his friends, his family, and the people he serves in his work.  We were talking of childhood memories of him and my heart was filled with love for him anew.

Happy Birthday Son.

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 2014

The Crimson Thread – Joseph

Greetings Dear Reader,

Most people have heard the story of how Joseph was sold by his brothers.  An excellent musical depicts his life and rise to power.  One of the things that is unique about his story is that he is one of the few people in the Bible for whom no sin is recorded.  I do not mean to imply that he never did wrong. 

I do mean to say that his part in weaving the crimson thread is to be an example of both the suffering servant and the benevolent king.  His story is one of betrayal and forgiveness.  His story teaches us that what other mean for evil God can mean for good.

The problem of evil is one that is too big to tackle in this venue.  It is one that we will wrestle with until the end of evil.  What I must do is that in the darkest of circumstances Joseph chose to do what was right and good.  I can do the same if I choose.

In following Christ I must do what is right no matter what the circumstances.  I must do what is good no matter what the cost.  It is following in faith that leads me to the places I am supposed 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."

09 July 2014

The Crimson Thread – The Offering of Isaac

Greetings Dear Reader,

This is one of those stories that both bothers and encourages me.  Abraham is told by God to take his only son into the wilderness and sacrifice him as he would a sheep or goat.  The tradition of animal sacrifice is common and some that follow other gods practice human sacrifice. 

Isaac is old enough to ask questions.  I cannot imagine the pain for Abraham in the questions his son asks.  Where is the lamb?  How do you tell your son that God wants you to kill him?  It sounds insane.  It sounds monstrous.  Even the response that one must have faith that God knows what he is doing sounds lame and crazy.

In all of that Abraham does the only thing one can when God has eaten at your table.  He obeys in faith.  In the most dramatic way God intervenes.  He stops Abraham as the knife is raised to strike.  He then reveals his purpose by providing a ram for the sacrifice.

The entire drama is for the effect of showing us that God will provide the sacrifice necessary for our sin.  God will be the sacrifice for our sin in the form of the Son.  His arrival for that purpose is still two thousand years away.  Today he will comfort his friend with the understanding that they are moving the story forward.  They are weaving the thread of redemption into the tapestry of the world.

For now I am to see that even when things seem horrible wrong God is at work.  I am to follow in faith even when I do not understand God’s plan.  I and people dear to me are walking through such a place right now.  God will provide a way.

God Will Provide a Lamb – Michael Card

Three days journey to the sacred place
A boy and a man with a sorrowful face
Tortured yet faithful to God's command
To take the life of son with his own hands

God will provide a Lamb
To be offered up in your place
A sacrifice so spotless and clean
To take all your sin away

Here's wood and fire, where's the sacrifice
A questioning voice and the innocent eyes
Is the son of laughter who you waited for
To die like a lamb to please the Lord

God will provide a Lamb
To be offered up in your place
A sacrifice so spotless and clean
To take all your sin away

A gleaming knife, an accepted choice
A rush of wind and an angel's voice
A ram in the thicket caught by his horns
And a new age of trusting the Lord is born
For God has provided a Lamb
He was offered up in your place
What Abraham was asked to do he has done
He's offered his only son
What Abraham was asked to do he has done
He's offered his only son

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 2014

The Crimson Thread – Abraham

Greetings Dear Reader,

One could camp here for quite a long time.  Abraham’s story is rich and reveals much about the Father to us.  The pattern of dealing with individuals continues.  The focus will narrow to a family for quite some time.  That family will grow into a nation. 

For now we see a man who by faith leaves his family and journeys hundreds of miles away.  He is promised a large family but has no children.  He is assured of riches and prospers.  He has trouble.  He fails to obey God sometimes.

In all of that Abraham is still loved by God.  The Father considers him a friend.  The Father enters into an eternal contract with Abraham.  He promises to create blessings for the man and that his family will eventually bless the entire world.

A descendant of Adam, of Seth, of Noah, and of Shem is the friend of God.  For two thousand years God has been rebuilding the bridge to cross the gulf we created in the Garden.  We see that God longs for a relationship with us. 

I must remember that Abraham was as flawed as I am.  I must also remember that he got to have meals with God whereas I must follow in faith.  According to God I have the better portion of blessing in this.  I will continue the journey encouraged by this.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

07 July 2014

The Crimson Thread – The Tower of Babel

Greetings Dear Reader,

There are a couple of things in this story that we do not recognize unless we look for them.  First is that God viewed man’s ability to advance as something that needed hindrance.  Second is that God acknowledges that nothing is impossible for us.

His approach is to confound language.  God establishes that communication is the key to our advancement.  As we lose our ability to communicate we lose the power to work together to create.  We are sub-creators.  We are designed by God to innovate, discover, explore, and build.

When we acquired a sinful nature we learned to turn that creativity to evil things.  The story of Babel does not imply that the people there were doing anything evil.  It does imply that to keep man safe from his own evil God had to slow him down.  Once again the Father acts to give us time to get to the Son.

God is involved in the lives of his creation.  He wants to redeem us.  All of the power and strength of his original creation cannot be allowed to continue if we are to make it to the cross.  I must see the intervention at Babel as God communicating to me that he is working.  He is on his way but must do it by the rules he has laid out for us all.

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 2014

The Crimson Thread – The Flood

Greetings Dear Reader,

The story of the flood is one of the best known stories in the Old Testament.  It was the first Bible story I remember hearing.  I think that the world is in bad shape now.  I cannot imagine how bad it must have been for the Father to decide that the entire planet needed washing.  The Father sorrowfully reports that, “All day long their deepest thoughts were nothing but evil.” 

The story is related through the actions and ordeal of Noah and his family.  We focus on a good man who is chosen by God to carry on the human race.  Noah has only faith to keep him moving forward.  It takes 120 years to build the ark.  The flood lasts an entire year.  Again, however, I wish to focus on God here.

What must of it have been like to felt hat your creation has become so evil so quickly.  It is such a hard thing for a father to watch his children do things that are harmful to them.  It is for the sake of redemption that he starts over.  This vast intervention in the history of man is to develop the plan of redemption that is already in process.

I have studied this story extensively and see the way in which God is attempting to call us back to him through it.  I had a teacher in college who said in the best way I have ever heard.  “The story of the Noahic Flood gives us the dry ground we need with God to get to the cross.”    

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 2014

Second Thoughts – Peanuts

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 wrote about my feeling about Crackerjack recently.  Even though my feelings for them have not changed they played an integral part of my enjoyment of last night’s baseball game.  My Grandson, Orion was sitting next to me and I opened a box of Crackerjack. 

I offered him some.  He refused saying that Bastion (his younger brother) is the one who likes popcorn.  I gave Bastion some of the popcorn and then poured some more into my hand.  Orion immediately snatched the two peanuts that were in my hand.

He thought this was funny and proceeded to steal the peanuts every time they were poured into my hand.  I began to call him things like peanut pilferer and legume leacher.   This evolved into him taking every peanut that emerged with the addition of bipodal burglar and nut nipper.   

In the midst of celebrating the freedom of America by watching baseball and eating hot-dogs I found such deep joy in the innocent peanut theft of a three year old.  It is in those moments that I see how deeply God loves it when we approach him as children.  Even though I am completely disappointed that Crackerjack has become a second rate product I will now buy more.  I must support my peanut thief.  I must maintain that reminder of the way in which God wishes to steal our hearts for himself.

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 Crimson Thread – Walking With God

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things that always intrigues me about the Old Testament is the times when there is a passing mention of something that is very significant to me.  The story of Enoch is like this.  Here is his entire mention in the book of Genesis.

Genesis 5:21-24
When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God for 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was gone because God took him.

It is of note that Enoch’s father was Cainan.  This is important because in the lineage of Jesus we see that he is a direct descendant of both Cainan and Enoch.  We know from Jude that Enoch prophesied but we do not have the source of his prophecy.

Unless one delves into the Hebrew language of Genesis it is not obvious that the story of Enoch is unique.  Enoch is also mentioned by the author of Hebrews and it is here that the original mention in Genesis gets it intrigue.  Hebrews 11:5 reads,   “Faith enabled Enoch to be taken instead of dying. No one could find him, because God had taken him. Scripture states that before Enoch was taken, God was pleased with him.”

Walking with God implies community with him in thought, word, and deed.  Even though Enoch had personal, physical interactions with God it was his faith that made the difference.  We learn from Enoch that desires to be close to us.  He likes us.

Too many people see God in the Old Testament as harsh and angry.  That is not true.  If we really look at his interactions with men we see him calling out to us that he loves us.  We see him seeking to be as close to us as we will allow.  The crimson thread is that Noah’s grandfather never died. 

My Grandfather used to always say, “Enoch and God like to take long walks together and talk.  One evening God said, ‘Enoch we are closer to my home than yours.  Why don’t you just come on home with me.?”  My heart is to be that close to the one who loves me so much.  How about you?

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

04 July 2014

The Crimson Thread – Cain and Able

Greetings Dear Reader,

There is so much subtext in this story that I think we miss something so obvious.  God is still talking directly to us.  What I would not give for that.  Then again it would leave me without any excuses in the belief department.  Still, this is so important to an understanding of who God is in the picture.

Late on God will explain that without blood there is no remission of sin.  I do not get to why God chose that blood is the key to redemption.  It is, however, what he chose.  It is horrid that Cain kills his brother.  It is tragic that the one who did good is the victim.  It is also our nature. 

What I must learn is that once again it is God who is at the center of this.  It is the Father who sees his creation slipping further away.  It is death claiming another victim.  It is the echo of Adam’s sin reverberating in his children.  It is Abel’s blood crying out from the ground for justice. 

The crimson thread is seen in the way God deals with Cain.  He offers Cain a way to live.  He provides a way of redemption.  This is how God deals with us.  There is always a way back to him.  There is always hope.

I just heard someone say yesterday that “hope” is a four letter word.  It is what I cherish.  In the midst of every tragedy faith gives us hope.  If I see that even the worst events lead us toward the eventuality of redemption I can follow 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."